Opposition Strategy for Success

There Is No Easy Walk To Freedom Anywhere, Nelson Mandela

This article should be read more like an action novel – “OPERATION YIA’KL” or simply as my wishful thinking.  But then again, “Reality/Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction”.   In addition, this article is designed to liven up discussions for upcoming EDA meeting [Congress]. 

Personal Note

There is an old adage,

“Adi Injerakha, Adikha!”

As much as I appreciate the wisdom of our forefathers, I have always wondered about this one, and have engaged in much debate over it.

Every time I write my articles, I ask myself why I am so engaged in Eritrean Diaspora politics when all the freedom and economic wealth I need for my family and I are well-provided for by the West – America, Canada and Europe.  I spend much of my free time debating my Eritreans friends, who themselves spend most of their free time doing the same, over issues thousands of miles away.  I know that within my lifetime, Eritrea won’t be able to provide me the freedoms and economic wealth that the West is providing to my family.

Unfortunately, my identity – who I am – is intricately tied to my background.  My children and I can never shake it off.  Let alone those of us born and raised in Eritrea, even those born in the West and don’t even speak its [Eritrean] languages have been bitten by that identity, and my children are my living proof.  “Eritrea” is in our blood; it is in our genes; it is our blessing and yet our curse.

During my refugee days in Europe and then my eventual settlement in Canada, I campaigned for Eritrean independence in my own little ways.  In my enthusiasm for Eritrean independence, the only liberation organization that I could have supported back in mid-80s was EPLF.  During my first brief post-independence trip to Eritrea in mid-90s, I could smell the enthusiasm, the hope and the future – why we sought our independence.  That impression lasted with me for many years until my next extended trip to Eritrea in [year] 2004.  The contrast in public mood between these two trips was like day-and-night.  I couldn’t reconcile the two Eritreas.  But during those fateful days in Eritrea I had to admit to myself what Eritrea had become.  The despair, the loss of hope, the disappointment, the fear and destitution circulated in the air and permeated into the land.  It was a bitter reality pill to swallow.

During my return trip, I was totally at a loss to explain what happened to our struggle for freedom, respect, rule-of-law and simply human decency and courtesy.  I began debating myself – should I ignore this because it will come to pass, should I throw my voice into the opposition website, should I … Finally, I understood that although my adopted country has been very good to me, my roots still remain there – my extended family, my relatives, my old neighbors, my schoolmates, the shopkeeper across the street from my house, my … there are so many of them.  I could picture them in my head.  I can’t just abandon them!  We can’t just abandon them there!  We, Eritreans, don’t cut-and-run; we have never cut-and-run in our history!

So on August 04, 2004, I sent my first article titled “Road Map for Average Eritrean”.  How time flies – that was two years ago.  I wrote much of it from the heart – and a little bit from the mind.  Two years later, I have learned much about Eritrean politics which I had neglected after our independence.  Before my last reality check in [year] 2004, I had thought like every Eritrean that we were still enjoying our independence –not necessarily for ourselves but more so for our fellow countrymen in Eritrea.  I was frozen in time for almost a decade.     

Looking back to my earlier articles, I had engaged in some of the very cardinal sins I had hoped to avoid in writing my articles.  In commencing my writing campaign, I had hoped that it would be a battle of ideas, views, opinions, strategies, policies, etc… and to avoid from having to engage in dirty personal politics, which serves no purpose.  I told myself that I will leave the personal politics for those who are spiteful, uninspiring, and shades of the very same people we are struggling against. 

Comparing my earlier articles with the latter ones, I see a slight but significant shift in my views.  For instance, in my very first article, I admonished Awate.com for one of their articles sympathizing with opposition leaders who have spent most of their lives in exile.  Two years later, I have come to view many things their way.  It was their experience against my-then-discovered shock of the state of things.  Experience won!  I deeply apologize for offending the fine Awate team and the many other very fine Eritreans who have chosen to continue struggling for their visions of Eritrea.  However, all along, I have never lost my respect for anyone of them, because doing that would have been to transcend politics and defile my own deeply held values of respect, decency and human courtesy.  If we are unable to distinguish between differences of opinion with human respect, then we have lost everything.       

[The following article is a collection of my past articles.  It is critical that my readers understand that this article isn’t written for the benefit of the very active members and leaders of the opposition camp who have many years of experience in Eritrean politics, strategies and blueprints for struggle.   They may just shake their heads and say, ‘Ab Wig’e Zeyweale Belih’ or ‘little knowledge is dangerous’ when reading this article.  The purpose of this article, as well as all my other articles, remains to stimulate discussion and to challenge people on their views.  I strongly believe that political struggle requires communication that leads to mutual understanding.  That is the only way to achieve our objectives.  I also believe that what I can liberally say and speculate, the leaders of the opposition can’t say them even if they wanted to do so without severe repercussions or backlash.]


Message from EDHR: [copied from EDHR’s website]

“To avoid occurrences of similar deportation attempts, it is highly recommended that Eritrean asylum seekers threatened with deportation and/or those who have information of Eritreans risking deportation, to contact Eritreans for Democracy and Human Rights (EDHR) as soon as possible.”

E-mail: webmaster@edhr.org
Tel: 0736 831 476
Website: www.edhr.org

It would be helpful if every website dedicate a corner or clear cross-link to contact numbers/addresses of Eritrean Human Rights Organizations which can help Eritrean Refugees.  It would also be helpful if an accessible central information/database is established for such activities.

Opposition Struggle

As forcefully as I may present my views, it is not designed to impose them on others – after all, I can’t and I wouldn’t want to either.  I have never claimed to possess ultimate wisdom.  I like to use the adage, “Ab Wigi’e Zeywe’ale, Belih!”  Probably, I fit this description more than anyone who has taken to Eritrean opposition writing campaign.  However, I equally realize that too much “realism” or too much “experience” leads to mental block, constipation in our thinking process, and tendency to maintain the “status quo”.  Too much “realism” leads to ‘old ways of doing things’ and ‘doing the same things over and over again [repetitiously]’.  Too much “realism” may lead to petty personal politics.  Progress can only be achieved when ‘idealism’ nudges ‘realism’.  It is the push-and-pull between these two forces that keeps the world – and history – in motion.  

“Experience” may form the basis of our “realism”.  But all experiences aren’t shared.  Experience under one set of circumstances may not necessarily apply to a totally different set of circumstances, or may require certain modifications.  Experience in armed struggle may require certain modifications to adapt to political struggle, lest we unsuccessfully apply armed struggle to political struggle.   If “experience” can’t be universal, then “realism” can’t be either.   Attempting to apply the same “realism” to every situation will fail. 

For someone who is outside active opposition, it is difficult to gauge if active opposition is quietly or secretly drawing up a blueprint for waging their struggle against the regime or in their utmost efforts to avoid political or personal controversy if they have handcuffed their own robustness.  Although we wouldn’t want to prejudice their efforts, we aren’t without any clues.  If active opposition has drawn up a blueprint for removing the regime, it won’t work unless they are able to publicize and rally the public behind them.  Unlike an armed campaign which are planned in secrecy, political campaign has own its dynamics – openness.  It is all about getting your message out in articulate manner and rallying the pubic behind your agenda, platform, blueprint and leadership.  Although every politician and political party can draw the rosiest picture to the public about their parties’ and their coalitions’ political platforms in very general terms that can’t be disputed, ‘messages’ are effective when the recipients of the messages can directly relate to the messages, and second,  is only as good as the people who deliver those messages.  Hiding behind the democracy flag is easy, but unfortunately ‘democracy’ is never legislated into law.  Creating effective multi-party democracy is a long-term effort deeply rooted in our abilities to create effective and flexible organizations and proper institutional foundations.  The nagging question is always whether we, active Eritreans, have the capacity at this time of creating dynamic democratic institutions through skills, negotiations, compromises and above all ‘action-oriented’ commitment [not just as armchair critic].  Before we offer our blind [read irresponsible] optimism, we should think harder – we should think twice.  In my view, instead of focusing on individuals who might show more commitment to ‘democracy’ [after all, we may have some idea who they are] than others, active opposition should set aside our propensity for personality politics and instead focus our efforts in ensuring the establishment of the dynamic legal and institutional factors that allow democracy to flourish.   If we commit our efforts to processes rather than people, we can achieve our objectives.  Naturally, processes are implemented by people, and thus some might say if our leaders aren’t capable or unwilling to implement then the processes will fail.  But the most important factor isn’t whether there are enough skilled people or willingness to implement them, but the wider community of political activists shouldn’t give any excuses for the leaders in failing to implement what needs to be done.    

With zillion challenges that await us, we should be asking why the latest coalition of opposition groups hasn’t drawn up plan-of-action nearly two years after its formation.  It is at least good to know that ‘they seem to agree where to tie the sheep.  But the question remains, will you and how do you get the sheep?’  Political wars, like physical wars, are fought one political battle at a time.  In my view, we haven’t yet drawn up a blueprint to win this political war by breaking it down to series of battles.  In context of political struggle, battles can be viewed as certain milestones.  The wider implication of its inability to formulate strategies and plan-of-action is how can it govern with immensely complex issue in forming the next regime.

It is true that the regime is on a fast lane to self-destruction.  The emphasis here is on the word ‘self’, and thus its destruction has little to do with what Diaspora opposition has done to it to date.  Again, I emphasize on “Diaspora opposition” because we are all aware that PIA’s political self-destruction was lit by many brave Eritreans in the regime’s dungeons.  The regime is staking its political life on the border because it doesn’t have any justification why it locked up so many Eritreans in its dungeons and slavery campaigns.  In a desperate act to kill the 1997 Constitution which would have limited the presidential term, the regime locked up the Constitution in its closet and waged a war of desperation in futile attempt at diverting public attention.  The 1997 Constitution was a culmination of subtle war-of-tugs between the regime and the reformers.  The border friction was a necessary evil for the regime, which may not have planned for full scale war, but enough to divert public attention away from the Constitution.  Under the pretext of ‘national security’, the regime imprisoned all those who demanded reform.  The regime had hoped that by the time the border was settled, it would have destroyed any ‘reform movement’.  The regime would have, it hoped, that the people would express a collective sigh of relief that the border was finally demarcated, and would excuse the regime for its harsh treatment of the reform movement.  The regime had hoped, having destroyed the reform movement and having the border demarcated with a full political victory, that it would return to the old rhetoric of ‘legacy of war’, ‘damaged country’ and ‘remnants of traitors’ as pretext to delay implementing the Constitution for another decade or century.              

Unfortunately, none of us, which includes the regime, are provided with ‘crystal ball’.  The regime swallowed a bone that is still stuck in its throat.  However, until certain force knocks it off, it will continue to limp taking the whole country, possibly the whole region with it.  Like some of our politicians, the regime’s capabilities and   capacities aren’t measured by its positive contributions to Eritrean people or the country but rather by its ruthlessness in pursuing destructive policies if it doesn’t get things its way.  The regime doesn’t have the capacity nor the wisdom to know when to quit for the sake of humanity.  “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”  Any regime that pursues to implement its so-called [even genuinely felt] good intentions by drawing blood has lost its mission right from the start.

For the benefit of those who may not have read my last article, I will reiterate how the dictatorial regime can be removed,

  Acceptability of Option Likelihood of occurrence Impact on Diaspora Opposition
1.  Dialogue Option should be left open because transition can be smoother This is most unlikely to happen Diaspora opposition camp may influence outcome.  Domestic opposition can’t engage in Dialogue
2.  Military Coup As an option, it isn’t desirable because this may not lead to Freedom & Democracy. At this point in time, this has the highest possibility of outcome.  But the regime has made every effort to create schism among military leaders. Diaspora opposition camp won’t have any influence.  Domestic opposition, esp. reformers, may return to power as military may seek public approval.
3.  Armed Struggle As an option, this creates the most schism, bloodshed, and finally another dictatorship as it must eventually cleanse internal opposition too.  This method fails to learn from history the lessons of democracy. This is most unlikely to happen because it requires massive financial, logistical, popular and diplomatic resources.  Diaspora opposition camp may provide support, but ultimately those on the battlefield will usurp power.  It is in our history.
4.  Conflict with Neighbor War is never an option. This may happen with two regimes stuck in a grind. Any political group brought to power through foreign forces will only create schism among the population.
5.  Popular Uprising This is the best option because Eritrea can embark on true democracy – our next phase of struggle. This has almost equal likelihood as military coup.  If properly managed this offers ‘win-win’ situation for all Eritreans both at home and abroad.


Synopsis of Methods of Change

  1. Dialogue – As stated above, the possibility of this scenario occurring is slim to none.  The question is whether the dialogue would be to propose a return to the path of democracy while keeping the regime in power [unacceptable proposal], or would it be for the purpose of handing over power in exchange for certain assurances [acceptable proposal].   In either scenario, the regime, if considering dialogue at all, would ‘engage dialogue’ or ‘install favorable individuals’ from within domestic forces only.  Regardless, the opposition camp should never rule out ‘dialogue’ if the remote possibility does occur.  Dialogue is in the regime ball court, and in the meantime, the opposition camp should continue to pursue the other means of change.


  1. Military Coup – a distinction should be made between top level officer(s) Coup versus army rank-and-file mutiny.  The latter is a legitimate form of grievance and is a workable option available to the opposition camp.  Rank-and-file includes servicemen in the slavery campaign.  Coup conducted by top level army officers however has at least two adverse [and interrelated] implications.  First, Coup would mean that army officers will most likely usurp power. Second, the vanguards of democracy can only be the people, and thus by having the military effecting the change, most likely this would deviate us from our ultimate democratic struggle.  It is rare where military men have given power voluntarily to the people.  We don’t want to learn the hard way or repeat the lessons of history if we can avoid it.


  1. Armed struggle – is probably the least workable and with the worst implications.  Its impact is no less than declaring civil war. Even if we set aside the legal and moral questions, this method of change has many obstacles.  First, waging an armed struggle, i.e. beyond hit-and-run [even less than guerilla tactics], requires massive financial resource which the opposition camp doesn’t have.  If armed struggle is considered ‘hit-and-run’, this method has had little effect as the ‘fifth column’ had tried it with little success, and even the continued clash between Ethiopia and Eritrea hasn’t impacted the regime much.  In fact, the regime may just need these types of distractions.  Second, unlike armed struggle for independence, winning and holding a military base within Eritrea has little possibility due to various military factors.  Third, waging armed conflict from neighboring countries is challenging.  Sudan has its own internal problems that have led to ebb-and-flow of relations with Eritrea which has its own similar problems.  It is questionable if armed struggle can be waged from Sudan with full confidence that it supports the opposition camp all the way.  The issue with Ethiopia, or even to use its territory as a base is more complex.  There is the issue of DMZ that the opposition must cross to engage in their activities.  This option has its own legal and diplomatic implications.  In addition, Ethiopia may not want to spark another round of border conflict sparked by Eritrean opposition ‘army’ intruding into Eritrean territory from Ethiopia.   Fourth, and most important, unlike the armed struggle for independence, every opposition soldier that kills the regime’s soldier could very well be his brother, sister, father, or son.  Opposition foot soldiers may detonate something from a distance and block their minds as if the soldiers that they just killed are simply enemies, but beyond that close combats can’t take place.   Fifth, reconciling two brothers who fought each other is never easy – in fact, the scar is a lifetime as we have learned from the EPLF/ELF conflict.  Just as we are hoping to move beyond the tragedies of yesterday, we are calling for another generational conflict.  That is failing to learn from our own recent history!


  1. Conflict with [or aided by] Neighbor – some say that Tanzania ousted Uganda’s Idi Amin, Vietnam ousted Cambodia’s Pol Pot regime, etc…  But it is suffice to say that national unity can NOT be created if this regime is knocked off by a neighbor that is not well regarded by the Eritrean people.  Most likely, the next government won’t have allegiance from many sections of the population, and its legacy will always be one that was brought to power by ‘Woyane’.  Moreover, the regime won’t concede to the neighbor without much bloodshed.  Finally, the foreign power that installs the new Eritrean government will ask for reciprocity of favors.


  1. Popular uprising, civil disobedience, mutiny, peaceful movements – have the best chance of success.  This method doesn’t require immense financial resource which the opposition camp doesn’t have.  This doesn’t require over-reliance on fickle neighboring countries’ domestic politics. The only resource the opposition camp requires to wage effective political campaign is solid leadership and clearly defined strategy and tactical/operational plans.  Equally, it is important that every opposition member rally behind solid leadership and clearly articulated strategy – not necessarily because we all share one-mind but because this is a case of ‘Mienti Mogogo Tihlef Anchewa’. 


Note:  Inciting the public or certain groups to engage in insurrection, rebellion, or mutiny may be viewed as the subversion of popular government in genuine democratic systems.  However, the current regime in Eritrea doesn’t have any form of legitimacy to govern the country.  The regime remains in power through the power of the gun, massive violations of basic human rights, human decency, acts of terror and fear and every other means contrary to creating and maintaining viable and stable nation.  Any government that doesn’t respect the supremacy of its people to anoint their leaders and governments, and that fails to abide by both natural and man-made laws (including traditional, contemporary and universal) can never invoke its own illegitimate laws to impose nor to persecute others.  Laws decreed and enforced through the barrel of the gun have no legitimacy.  There is a name for those who use this method.

Who are the Instruments of Change?

Eritrea is divided into various demography groups.  But the most important distinction for our purposes is between rural and urban areas.  Statistics vary but some 65-75% of the population lives in rural areas (excluding the impact of the Slavery Campaign).   

Before answering this question, we must ask ourselves certain questions,

  1. Can the Eritrean people protest against the regime in a manner we have seen in Orange Revolution?  As long as the opposition is fractured, people won’t rise up without solid leadership. That would be suicidal because the movement has no direction.
  2. If Orange revolution isn’t an option, then spontaneous uprising would most likely lead to chaos only, with possible massacres, and possible subsequent power vacuum resulting in further bloodshed.  Any type of uprising must have leadership; it requires direction and coordination.
  3. In sustained protest, i.e. Orange Revolution type of change, Eritreans from various parts of Eritrea may join in the protest.  In spontaneous uprising, those who can participate in the protest can only be those in major cities, with Asmara being most important.
  4. But again, as the regime is located in well-fortified Massawa and if EDF doesn’t join the public by mutinying, the regime will weather out the uprising.  After the public has protested for few days without any leadership, people will return to their houses.  A couple of days after that the regime will unleash its vengeance.    
  5. Caretaker government must be announced immediately after the commencement of the uprising to ensure that the uprising has a direction and objective.  [discussed later]


Considering the many challenges of public uprising, the opposition camp must strategize in well-thought out manner.  In my opinion, if public uprising is to be orchestrated, there must be recognition that there must be high coordination among the following groups,

  1. Rank-and-file soldiers: some form of disobedience or mutiny must be orchestrated, [first step]
  2. Civil Service: which is largely made up of tegadelties and Warsais must be able to sabotage or shutdown communication lines and other services needed by the regime to mobilize its loyal troops, and/or to assist opposition leader’s message of the assumption of power by the ‘reformers/opposition’ over public broadcasts.  Other key installations, esp. electrical generating stations, must be secured. [second step]
  3. Simultaneous public uprising is orchestrated. [third step]


Sequence of events must occur within few hours, i.e. probably even on the same day – and not exceeding couple of days.  This is not an easy task – and nothing will ever be, but it is doable.  But leadership is the most critical component here.

After the caretaker government is installed, civil service is needed to immediately operate at or near full capacity to ensure that the country returns to normalcy without delay.  The first few days to weeks, the caretaker government’s primary function is to ensure continuity and security – and not to indulge in the luxury of politics.   

[Diaspora] Opposition’s Own internal Challenges

First, we must ask ourselves, what does active opposition [in Diaspora] want?  But again, their questions can’t be any different than what every Eritrean, as individuals or as groups, wants.   We can narrow down our wishes to the followings,

  1. rule-of-law
  2. democracy – or specifically defined as the promulgation of laws (which is the basic function of democracy) that reflects the followings
    1. consideration of ethnical differences,
    2. consideration of religious differences,
    3. considerations of any other ‘natural’ differences that can’t be abridged, (such as protection of women’s rights)
  3. Balanced economic growth for all regions, and
  4. the solid guarantee of rights and freedoms of individuals, their natural rights to life, liberty and property


We can all argue from here to eternity on how to achieve such social harmony and economic prosperity.  Searching throughout history, none of us can point to any one [one-size-fit-all] solution that has worked for every society throughout time.  Yet, we all argue as if our proposed solutions are the ultimate wisdoms.  Ultimately, we can only realize our aspiration NOT in the solutions, policies, strategies, and our intellect we share or propound but in our respect for each other, our compassion and humility.  If we don’t or can’t draw our strength from deep within ourselves, all the rest of our efforts are wasted.

Although we all share the same core values, the two possible areas of differences of opinion might be, first, which method of struggle should be pursued, and second, how do you balance power among the aspiring politicians.

I don’t believe that there is any difference of opinion on the most ideal method of struggle.  But the difference remains among the opposition camp as to which method is the most feasible.  In my opinion, in formulating a strategy our consideration should NOT only be feasibility, but equally on the most workable and desirable in terms of putting us on the right foot towards our ultimate objective of creating a viable and stable democratic Eritrea.   

The other challenge remains the personal suspicions that permeate the opposition camp, esp. among the active ones.  Although healthy competition among aspiring politicians is always desirable, it becomes destructive if we don’t know the limits of competitive politics.  If we aren’t prepared to lose – and there will always be losers – we shouldn’t be in the game at all.  But again, ultimately ‘loser’ is reserved for those who aren’t graceful in their loss, or for those who can’t differentiate between personal loss and collective win.    

During these tragic times, the very thought that aspiring opposition politicians would be tugging for power can only be a sign of loss of perspective – or even the same grudge politics exhibited by the regime.  In my view, the proven leaders and the proven proponents of Eritrean democracy are the imprisoned reformers, journalists, and thousands of other political prisoners in the regime’s dungeons.  These men walked into their death fully aware that they may never see daylight again.  If their pursuits were only the attainment of power, there were many other alternatives available to them.  There can never be any heroic act above foregoing your personal interest, even your life, for greater good.  In their heroic act, they teach us that we must give up our personal aspirations and life for the collective good.  We judge every politician, both those within the regime and those in opposition, by the standards these political prisoners set with their precious lives.  We judge our politicians not by their grandiose plans, or how high they raise the democratic flag, but rather we judge them by what they are willing to give up today for the collective good, for the sake of the general Eritrean people, and for Eritrean history.  We should continually ask ourselves, how will Eritrean history judge us if brutality continues under our watch while we remain under radar in the struggle for the removal of the regime?  

It is convenient and easy to say that the opposition is weak, the regime is brutal, or that the neighboring countries aren’t helping or to blame each other for our weaknesses.  There are even pretentious opposition politicians who engage in politicking when expressing reasons why the opposition camp has failed.  If blame is to be apportioned, every opposition member receives the same share of blame regardless of political shade or which side of the camp.  But all these are excuses – and excuses never got results.  Before we ask what the general public has done or should do to help the opposition, we should first ask ourselves what the active opposition has done in constructive way that can raise our politics to a more sophisticated level that will assist us in advancing the cause of opposition and bring the general public aboard.  Are our intentions and efforts productive or counterproductive?  We have to continually evaluate this in an open and transparent manner.  Human nature is to escape from accountability and continuous genuine evaluation – regardless of which side of the political aisle we belong. 

Among the major concerns is that it remains perplexing why the opposition camp has failed to draw up its plan-of-action although it said it would formulate one.  This doesn’t bode well.  It will be an enormous disservice to the future Eritrea if we continue making excuses why the opposition leaders and parties have failed to draw up a collective strategy to ensure that they have some control in the outcome of regime change.  We won’t navigate through the challenges of democracy if we continue to make excuses for our politicians.  As they have chosen to present themselves as leaders on their own freewill, they have the responsibility, rather the duty, to ensure that they burn midnight oil to draw up clear strategies and tactical plans for both to remove the regime and then to ensure that we navigate smoothly through the first couple of years of challenging period in the post this regime.  Just like physical war, one must put aside all other tasks and must rush towards the battle frontiers and defend with one hand while drawing up strategies with the other hand.  Just like physical battles, political battles don’t give the luxury of time.  

The regime finds its comfort in knowing that possible internal opposition is controlled through continuous ‘giffa’, slavery campaign and its web of security apparatus.  Similarly, the regime finds its comfort in knowing that the external opposition leaders and camp can’t put away their yesterday’s politics long enough to put together a coherent strategy to launch their final blow against the regime.  To date, the regime hasn’t been proven wrong.  The opposition camp can only prove the regime wrong when the opposition camp draws up a robust strategy that puts the regime on notice.

We should note that, for fairness, there is a positive progress within the opposition in the form of an increasing coalescence among the core opposition political leaders and parties.   In preparing for the congress of a coalition of opposition groups at the end of the year, we should ask ourselves where we are headed, and spell out what we intend to achieve at the end of the congress.  Unless we set a target or an objective to achieve, how do we hold ourselves accountable?  How do we know if we are making progress?  Are we capable of devising a complex, yet workable, plans – and more importantly to sell it to the public?  Can we undertake ‘change management’, to steer a whole nation in certain direction based on universally accepted principles and values rather than to engage in wishful thinking or simply blowing with the wind?  What does that say about our ability to manage even more complex issues that may await us in post this regime?      

Why the Urgency to Remove the Regime

The coalition camp can engage in organizational and coalition plans that may take few weeks, few months, or even longer.  But we should remain cognizant that socio-economic, legal and political situations are deteriorating at much faster rate than the opposition organization’s ability to evolve into effective organizations to meet the mounting challenges facing Eritrea.  In addition, in reorganizing the opposition camp, we must be cautious in drawing excessively from our past experiences of the armed struggle for independence in devising strategies for the current period – we don’t to prepare for yesterday’s battle today.  The dynamics of the current struggle is totally different from our previous struggle.  Back then, our propaganda was that we fought external enemies or foreign colonizers, which meant that we maintained our enthusiasm for independent nation governed by our own brothers and sisters despite much hardship.  The enthusiasm among the young generation of Eritreans in sixties and seventies for Eritrean independence was coupled with certain ideological beliefs in communism/socialism that gave the movement its backbone.  In contrary, the enthusiasm for Eritrea among the current generation is understandably waning.

When Eritreans won independence, EPLF established government from clean slate.  On independence, the new Eritrea broke away cleanly from the old Eritrea, which was administered by Ethiopia as one province among many.    The next Eritrean regime won’t have this luxury.

Fifteen years after independence, the current regime has introduced dangerous divide-and-rule politics to a level never seen before even under former colonizers.  It has corrupted many individuals in order to buy their loyalty and silence.  In classic modus operandi used by dictatorial regimes, it forces people to engage in collective sins or acts that violate human rights, human decency and laws as manifestation of their allegiance with the government.   Where they [esp. high officials] fail to mistreat people or to engage in corrupt practices or to subvert laws, their holy conducts are viewed with suspicion and steps are taken to corrupt them as sign of their allegiance or else are demoted at their jobs or harassed to a point of creating personal stress.

Generally the government is actively engaged in pitting one individual against another, one group against another to ensure that they can’t trust each other enough to threaten its power.  The consequences of such ruthless policies are to weaken the social fabrics and bonds among the population.  The Eritrean social fabric that we fought for so hard and with heavy price is being destroyed by this regime.  If what characterizes a nation is simply economic wealth – and not the respect of our traditional values and cultures – we could have just as well stayed with Ethiopia, or we could just do anything we can to migrate to the West by filling out DVs every year under different 15 names.  Instead, what characterizes a nation is its unique cultures and traditions – and above all the respect for basic human rights.  Eritreans don’t need a regime that uses its people as experimental guinea pigs for its social engineering nor for its voodoo economics.  Although any society will change with time under its own freewill, it should be done at its own natural pace, NOT through social re-engineering.  In fact, the majority of a population is capable of changing quickly if the right socio-economic conditions are created, but unfortunately dictators can’t create that environment.   Their legacy is simply in destroying the cultural and moral fabric of societies and thus creating a moral vacuum that eventually must be dealt with harsh treatment to bring back into control. 

The regime continues to sow the seeds of corruption among the civil service and military.  Even countries such as Nigeria and Pakistan where corruption is now endemic, corruption used to be a taboo some fifty years ago.  Now corruption and nepotism is so endemic that it is woven into their national fabric.  Countries such as these must be grazed to the ground before corruption can be rooted out.  Similarly, unless Eritrean society is salvaged with a sense of urgency, the next government will only be picking bones.

In one of the independence speeches [2001?], PIA prioritized Eritrea’s immediate challenges,

1.      Corruption,

2.      Aids, [possibly 1 & 2 mixed up in my memory],

3.      Threats from Woyane,

Classic to the regime, and perfecting the old political art of hypocrisy, it announces the ills of the country as foreteller of what it intends to use as its campaign of subverting the Eritrean society.  When PIA said that corruption is the number one threat, he meant he will use it in subtle manner to control power, but which absolves him when people notice ever-increasing corrupt activities in their country.  PIA’s speeches are forecasters of what is to come rather than telling us what happened in the past or as serious effort to deal with those issues.  When 1987 2nd EPLF Congress announced mixed economy as its economic policy PIA was the first on the bandwagon pledging his support when he had no intention or belief in such system.  But his subsequent subversive acts to undermine mixed economy were always defended by his claim that he was the first to support mixed-economy as policy in 1987.  Similarly, when 3rd EPLF Congress approved to implement Constitutional government, PIA was publicly one of the first to support such system, while doing everything behind the curtains to subvert it.  His public expressions are designed to give the opposite impression of what he intended to do.  The above speech was no different.  True enough as predictors of what is to come, Eritrea is now swimming in deep pool of corruption and AIDS epidemic.          

Everyday that the regime remains in power and feels its power base continues to be threatened, it will continue to engage in destructive acts.   This paranoia is now permeating to all levels of our Eritrean society – the feeling of hopelessness, destitutions, and despair is manifesting in the mass exodus outside the country, massive arrests, and many other acts that is destroying the very country and its values that so many thousands brave Eritreans sacrificed their lives for.

‘Time is our Number One enemy’.  If we don’t operate under this sense of urgency, the Eritrea the next government and next generation inherit might as well be worse than the tragedies we have witnessed in many other third world countries.  Time used in vigorous opposition action is always time well spent even if the results may still elude us.  Time used to shuffle and reshuffle the same opposition political characters is a waste of time, and only prolongs the life of the regime.  Running campaigns by faceless committees is waste of time.

Even at this point in time, we are swimming against a heavy current of Eritrean domestic political turmoil.  The ‘strong currents of domestic political turmoil’ will only get stronger and thus ensuring that our future efforts, no matter how refined they may have become over time, won’t be strong enough to overcome it.  

One last factor to remember is what is called ‘the victims of the war of attrition’.  When two elephants fight it is the grass that suffers.  The reason that the regime has unleashed its terror against the people is because reformers rattled its cage.  There is a small degree of war of attrition between Ethiopia and the regime.  Beyond the grudge match with PMMZ, PIA’s ultimate war is on the reform movement.  As long as the reform movement continues to squeeze the regime, it will continue to unleash its punishment on the people.  Those of us in the opposition are one of the main actors in this war of attrition.  Those who are caught up this battle are ordinary Eritreans – the grass.  We have to say, what will happen in two, five, or ten years if this war of attrition continues?  We shouldn’t compare the struggle for independence with today’s situation.   

Those opposition movements which continue to rattle the cage have a responsibility to ensure that their actions don’t lead to a war of attrition.  To do so would mean to participate in the people’s suffering.  Although the war of attrition might be unavoidable, we should operate in a sense of urgency that reflects that even our action has its [unintended] consequences.  If we think that the Eritrean people are simply pawns in our campaign against the regime, then we might be engaging in the same ruthless power game as the regime.  We should be burning midnight oil; we should be focused on the immediate issues.  Eritrean human rights organizations and media are doing an excellent job to expose the regime and to expedite change in Eritrea.   However, the opposition political organizations seem unable to address urgent issues, unable to formulate plan-of-action and to strategize to bring about change.  They only need to concentrate on one focused task – not an issue of running a country in the long-run – but to organize and remove the regime, and to ensure security immediately after the collapse of the regime.  Remote control politics creates entrenchment of views and positions that doesn’t take into consideration realities on the ground.  We should be struggling in a sense of urgency as if we were there.  If we are expecting the ‘mosquito’ to do the work for us, we could be waiting for long time.

We hope that the end of the year congress will look hard on these issues.  There is no time!    


PIA believes that he needs the border victory to absolve himself from the sins of imprisoning thousands of Eritreans for calling for political reforms.  If the border isn’t demarcated and PIA was to simply state that Eritrea is ready for constitutional democracy then a stinging question would follow, ‘why did it take you six years and the blood of thousands for you to arrive at this decision?’   PIA is stuck!  Without total victory, PIA feels that his regime is at the end of its rope.

Delay in demarcation isn’t a reason to live in a state of paralysis.  If we look at the other side of the border equation, the Woyane regime has the same challenge of border uncertainties.  We are talking about Woyane here – remember Eritreans were supposed to be the teachers and Woyane the student during the armed struggle.  Yet, guess what, “Woyane” has managed to hold public elections since the end of the conflict with Eritrea, has allowed much more press freedom and has allowed its youth to live without slavery campaigns.  What a contrast – the teacher totally paralyzed and devouring its young and the student at least putting up a brave fight to stay afloat. 

PIA could have returned to the business of running Eritrea as a viable country after the Cessation of Hostilities with Ethiopia.  But that would have meant the implementation of the Constitution, holding elections and other tasks that every other nation does – and that is what PIA wants to avoid.  He doesn’t want the constitution and the rule-of-law, which would have made him accountable as a leader.  

With the border demarcation, PIA hopes to claim his personal victory and, hopefully, to erase the memory of the thousands of reformers and hope to create his one-man State, period.  But as we have painfully witnessed in the last few years – misjudging steps and compounding mistakes has become the hallmarks of the regime.  This is the problem of living in your own bubble.  It is gambler’s mentality never knowing (or admitting) when you have run out of luck but instead bets higher and higher amount in the hope of recouping his losses – only to end up totally broke.   

The issue of Western powers ganging up against Eritrea pops up once in a while.  Generally, we have to differentiate between what colonialists did [i.e. exploitation] years ago to their colonies up to the end of Cold War and today’s realities.  Those who grew up in the fifties and sixties still view the West as imperialists bent on exploiting and destroying the third world.  This is simplistic propaganda by third world dictators who need external enemies and hatred to justify their dictatorships.  The Kims [North Korea] need to create perpetual illusionary external crisis to divert the public from its everyday domestic misery.  Although we may not agree with Western’s foreign policies, it is suffice to say that the West needs stability and certainty of the future to ensure its socio-economic prosperity.  Who wouldn’t want stability and certainty?  Eritreans want that!  North Koreans want that!  Those who are creating misery for the world’s population are dictators who remain unaccountable for their actions and who oppress their own people.  Leaders of third world need to emulate the South Koreans and other emerging economies – the rest is simply decaying politics designed to maintain power with the barrel of the gun.  These are dictators who sit in their fortresses, behind sandbags, and mow down the innocent.     

PIA’s tragedy, which is ultimately Eritrea’s tragedy, is that he could have walked down the path of wisdom as Nelson Mandela and especially as Mustafa Kemal Ataturk did, rather than following Pol Pot’s path.  The choice was all his!

A ‘Sample’ blueprint to bring Eritrean public aboard the opposition train

This blueprint is simply designed to engage readers in discussion.  In reality, blueprint is drawn up through extensive discussion of politicians, interest groups, the public and experts.  The following blueprint should be viewed only as how some of us would have begun to draft it.

The advantage of non-political individuals beginning this process is that one is not constrained by personal politics, organizational limitations, and the fact we don’t have to sell it to the public.  It is almost like selecting your dream team and strategy to play international football.  To the contrary, opposition groups of the ELF variety need to engage in an immense organizational ‘change management’ to reconcile their differences with the EPLF variety, and similarly, the EPLF variety must undertake similar strides in reconciling their difference with the ELF variety in order to formulate realistic roadmap free of organizational politics.

Some might say that certain EPLF variety have already merged with ELF variety to transcend that politics.  Without prejudicing their valiant efforts, we would be more convinced if we knew that their merger is not based on “minimum programs”, i.e. leaving burning issues for another day, but is in fact based in their abilities to reconcile the burning issues and then formulate clear strategies that deal with the current struggle and with issues of the immediate post this regime.  Ultimately, no single organization can unilaterally address burning issues, and must strive to bring every opposition political organization onboard.

Before I proceed, some may define burning issues as the issues of land, language, etc…  These are complex issues that require much public debate and consultations.  We should be wary of wise men who try to simplify complex issues for us.  In reality, burning or urgent issues pertain to set of challenges that require our immediate attention such as removing the regime in controlled manner and then how to ensure the next government is established without falling off into an abyss of chaos.  These are the burning issues that will define tomorrow’s Eritrea – to determine today where the country is headed tomorrow.  It is easy to be optimistic in the comfort of our home here, but for the sake of the general public who look towards the opposition camp for leadership we owe it to them to ensure that we have mapped out effective strategy.  Planning for something that has so many variables is never easy.  But ‘doing nothing’ can never be a substitute for an even poor planning.  At least we can learn and modify poor planning, but ‘doing nothing’ will only sweep us downstream into oblivion.  ‘Doing nothing’ is never a valid alternative.          

The most important factor to keep in mind in preparing the blueprint for transition, which includes regime change and managing a possible turmoil during transition, is to try and get into every Eritrean’s mind.   When every opposition party negotiates with other opposition parties, each is negotiating to achieve its own organizational [intended] goals starting from its minimum program.  The outcome is a joint ‘charter’ that serves the involved parties.  The same argument should be used to formulate a plan that includes every Eritrean.  Just because the general public isn’t sitting with the opposition camp on the negotiating table doesn’t mean that they should be excluded from our plan, but rather their interests should be part and parcel of our ‘charter’, our strategies and our tactical plans.   When we present our blueprint to the public, they won’t be concerned by our grammar, our spelling, or whether the blueprint is logical – this is the job of those who have little stake in the outcome of our struggle.  The people who want to hear opposition blueprint/strategy, i.e. the stakeholders, will instead ask themselves (each one of them) if their personal interests are served by or enshrined in the blueprint.   

The following would have been my blueprint, which could always change to reflect current realities, 

“Failing to plan is to plan for failure”

Opposition Camp’s Plan-of-Action, Positions and Policies on Urgent Issues

[Note:  the purpose of this suggestion isn’t to supplant EDA’s Charter, but only one suggestion of refining some sections of it for clarity.  In addition, in my view, EDP’s latest political resolutions on certain timely issues are the correct approaches to addressing certain types of specific issues.]

 I.      On National Unity and Sovereignty

Whereas the current regime continues to pursue a policy of underhanded divide-and-rule policy,

Whereas the current regime continues to use the border issue as divisive politics,

Cognizant that Eritrea is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country, and that its institutions must reflect that,

Cognizant that the Eritrean legacy of struggle for independence must reflect the sacrifices and aspirations of its four decade struggle,

We, members of the opposition camp, have adopted the following policies to address challenges,

National Sovereignty

1.      We remain committed to the inviolability of Eritrean sovereignty,

2.      We remain committed to resolving Eritrean challenges through internal forces and mechanisms only,

3.      Etc…

Border Resolution

4.      We believe that the border decision is final and binding,

5.      We shall commence a gradual restoration of positive relations with Ethiopia once the “War of Declaration” is rescinded,

6.      The ultimate owners of the border decision is the Eritrean people,

7.      Etc…

National Reconciliation

8.      Armed Struggle for independence

a.       Cognizant that Eritrean independence is the culminations of the sacrifices of many organizations and individuals throughout our 4 decade armed struggle for independence,

b.      Cognizant that many of Eritrea’s current symbols reflect the legacies of one liberation organization only,

In order to reflect the true legacy of our struggle for independence,

c.       Flag

                                                                 i.      A committee will be established to draw up a proposal for new flag that reflects our true legacy,

                                                               ii.      The current official flag will continue as symbol for the first year of post-current regime,

                                                              iii.      A new flag will be adopted as temporary flag until such time a constitutionally elected government officially adopts it,

d.      Martyr’s Day

                                                                 i.      Whereas we honor our martyrs everyday in the freedom we enjoy,

                                                               ii.      Whereas the …

                                                              iii.      The new martyr’s day will be changed to December 1, until such time a constitutionally elected government approves it,

e.       Constitution

                                                                 i.      Cognizant that failure to adopt the 1997 Constitution during the transition period may create uncertainty for the rights and freedoms of Eritreans,

                                                               ii.      Cognizant that the Constitution is composed of two components: first being the Bill of Rights and Freedoms, and second being the Structure of Government,

                                                              iii.      Cognizant that these two components are intertwined through checks-and-balances of government structure to assure the respect for the Bill of Rights and Freedoms,

                                                             iv.      Cognizant that the 1997 Constitution has been superceded by circumstances that requires its revision to reflect the lessons learned,

                                                               v.      The ‘rights and freedoms’, as referenced in Sec. 1 to Sec. 23?? of the 1997 Constitution, shall enter into effect immediately after the establishment of the next government immediately after the fall of the current regime.  This section shall be renamed and decreed as the ‘Bill of Rights and Freedoms’, and will remain in effect until new Constitution is ratified.

                                                             vi.      As principle, all rights and freedoms emanate from natural laws and not man-made laws.  All Eritreans have naturally vested rights to life, liberty and property.  All citizens can engage in activities that aren’t specifically restricted by law, and don’t violate other people’s rights and freedoms.

                                                            vii.      A committee of experts and representatives of various ethno-religious groups shall be established to draw-up or modify the Constitution and to hold national referendum within 2 years after the establishment of the next government.  The national and government structure of future Eritrea will be left to future debates …

f.        Integration of opposition armies into regular army

                                                                 i.      Cognizant that ….

                                                               ii.      Active armed members of the opposition camp as of Dec. 31, 2006 shall be integrated into the regular army ….

9.      Establishment of “Truth and Reconciliation Committee” in order to embark on the healing process of the nation quickly and ensure that we stay focused on the more difficult task of building the foundation of democracy.  We will announce the details of its workings by April 30, 2007.

    II.      On caretaker and transitional government

Cognizant that there cannot be a power vacuum after the collapse of this regime,

Cognizant that the establishment of an all-inclusive ‘government of unity’ [i.e. both internal and external political forces and interest groups] may take from few days to few weeks,

We, members of the opposition, have agreed to establish a committee to undertake specific actions to end the unbearable situation of our fellow countrymen by bringing about change as quickly as operationally possible,

a)      Whereas EDA’s structure continues to operate as is, a separate and independent committee is set up to address immediate issues,

b)      Provisional Joint Mobilization & Coordination committee will be established and tasked with the creation of the caretaker government.  Members of the committee shall be,

i.         Mr. Mesfin Hagos, Provisional Commander-in-Chief

ii.       Mr. Adhanom Gebremariam

iii.      Mr. Abdella Adem

iv.     Two others from EDA (RC + ELF)

[Note: the above names are only suggestions and that, if nothing else, chemistry among the members is critical factor in ensuring success.  The decision is ultimately up to active members and leaders of the opposition camp.  Nonetheless, popular movement can only work if the selected leader has an already established tie with the forces of change in Eritrea.]

c)      Eritrean Defense Forces – army, navy, and air force – shall report directly to the coordinating committee, and specifically to Commander-in-Chief,

d)      The provisional joint mobilizing/military coordinating committee will be established from the current period and shall remain operational for two weeks after the establishment of the caretaker government.

e)      The primary function of the coordinating committee shall be to

i.         Provide certainty in leadership,

ii.       Call the EDF to switch allegiance,

iii.      Provide leadership and direction for insurgency and popular uprising,

iv.     In periods immediately following the collapse of the next regime,

                                                                        1.      Maintain the sovereignty of the nation,

                                                                        2.      Establish security,

                                                                        3.      Free political prisoners and prisoners of conscious,

                                                                        4.      Transfer power to caretaker government two weeks after the collapse of the regime.

v.       Caretaker government shall be composed of the following individuals,

                                                                        1.      Mr. Haile Woldetensae, Head of Caretaker Government

                                                                        2.      Mr. Petros Solomon, Internal Affairs & EDF

                                                                        3.      Mr. Hamid Hmid, External Affairs

                                                                        4.      Brig. Gen. Stephanos Seyoum, Finance

                                                                        5.      Mr. Saleh Keckia, Coordinator for Transitional Government

vi.     Executive Council shall be established three weeks after the collapse of the regime comprised of the following 25 members,

                                                                        1.      15 members comprised of caretaker government, political prisoners and prisoners of conscious (as selected by consensus of the surviving members of G-15),

                                                                        2.      7 members comprised of opposition leaders in Diaspora,

                                                                        3.      3 members comprised of elders who sought to reconcile split within PFDJ,

 III.      On Rights and Freedom

1.      As stated above, and as principle, all rights and freedoms emanate from natural laws and not from man-made laws.  All Eritreans have naturally vested rights to life, liberty and property.  All citizens can engage in activities that aren’t specifically restricted by law, and don’t violate other people’s rights and freedoms.

2.      Cognizant that,

                                                               i.      Eritrean private media and human rights organizations continue to play critical role in exposing the regime’s atrocities and in holding the regime accountable for its actions, and their role in mobilizing the Eritrean public to defend its inherent rights and freedoms, 

                                                             ii.      Even beyond this regime, future Eritrean government requires the same degree of commitment by non-political organizations to keep it accountable,

                                                            iii.      The vast majority Eritrean private media and human rights organizations have always shown their sensitivities on many delicate issues,

                                                           iv.      The journey towards creating a stable democratic Eritrea can only be achieved through checks-and-balances, and due to utter destruction of the judicial system in Eritrea, and due to time-consuming nature of building effective and cross-checking executive and legislative bodies, the media, human rights organizations and interest groups should be fully encouraged without any impediment to ensure our success.

3.      Thus, the opposition camp policy is that private “print” media, human rights organizations and interest groups can exercise their rights and freedoms to conduct their activities 45-days after the collapse of the regime regardless of whether any laws pertaining to these issues are decreed or not.  We, in the opposition, consider any violation of these rights and freedoms to be the first breech of the new regime in respecting citizens’ basic rights and freedoms, and should be a dangerous development that could lead to sliding back to backroom politics that created the current regime.

  IV.      On Justice

Cognizant that the legacies of brutal regimes are the fermentation of discord among the population and the subversion of the rule-of-law and justice,

Cognizant that the first casualty of dictatorships is the collapse of the judicial system,

Cognizant that the re-establishment of competent courts to handle the floodgate of allegations, charges and complaints may take years to establish,

Cognizant that preoccupation on criminal proceedings against former regime members may distract the next government from its bigger task of leading and managing our country,

Whereas those who aided and abetted the regime in carrying out its injustice against the Eritrean people should be punished,

We, members of the opposition camp, have adopted the following policies to address the above challenges,

1.      For those who didn’t commit capital crimes and who extend full cooperation in transitioning to the caretaker government, there shall be full amnesty,

2.      There shall be no criminal charges dating back to pre-independence era pertaining to armed struggle,

3.      For this policy purpose, capital crimes are defined as violations of other people’s rights including life, liberty and property, and explicitly excludes financial misappropriations of public’s funds,

4.      Special Courts will be abolished,

5.      In accordance with the Bill of Rights that will enter into effect immediately after the establishment of the caretaker government, the rights of the accused will be fully respected,

6.      The caretaker government will make every effort to expedite the judicial process to handle allegations against individuals accused of political crimes. 

7.      Etc…

     V.      On Socio-Economic Issues

Social Policies & Programs [realistic and that addresses public’s direct and immediate concerns]

1.  Pension:  Social security is the bedrock of social stability.  We are currently studying ways to implement pension plan immediately after a new government is formed.  This is an issue that can’t wait one more day.  Pension plan should have been a priority from the first day of our independence.  Unfortunately the regime uses every means as political tool, and thus jeopardizing the security of our citizens who have dedicated their lives for their country. 

2.  Housing:  Every Eritrean is entitled to basic necessities of life: food, shelter and clothing.  Whereas the current regime has made it unaffordable for vast majority to live in the city, we, in the opposition, have devised a number of measures to address affordable housing in the short and long term.  Naturally, the new government won’t have the resources to address everyone’s issue within a short time.  However, we will take the following steps to address housing issues,

a)      Temporary, not exceeding 3 years, rent control to stabilize house rents.  However, the opposition parties agree that rent control can only exacerbate rental supply both in the short- and long-term unless the root cause is addressed.  This is only a short-term effort to stabilize the market,

b)      We endeavor to address land issue on as priority, and thus enabling new affordable houses to be built,

c)      Employment creation that allows people to rent houses at market prices,

[Note:  affordable housing projects are great for political campaigns but difficult to implement.  Affordable housing may prematurely entice rural dwellers to migrate to cities.  Government funded projects always invite corruption, etc..]

3.  Education:   suffice to say that all students will finish their secondary education in schools of their choosing.  The new government will overhaul the current education system to reflect new realities in the world.

4.  Health:  Suffice to say that ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’.  Our efforts will be geared towards supplying clean water to both urban and rural areas.   

Economic [realistic and that addresses public’s direct and immediate concerns – and not promises that will be Singapore in couple of years]


1.      Employment:  We have separated this issue into three categories,

a. those that are currently employed with the government and the regime affiliated organizations:  our position is that throwing out people out of job doesn’t solve our socio-economic challenges.  Every action will be taken to ensure that people continue to be employed.

b. Warsai:  demobilization without jobs will create many challenges.  We have two pronged strategies that address the challenges of those who return to the countryside and those who return to the cities.  Those who decide to return to the countryside shall be provided assistance to modernize their farming methods.  Second, cooperatives and marketing boards will be established or existing ones enhanced to ensure that those who till the land and raise their herds are earn full market prices for their efforts.  For those returning to cities, our strategy call for …

c. In general, …

2.      Private Sector:  Enhancing the private sector requires strengthening the rule-of-law, guaranteeing rights to properties, enhancing investment laws, etc…  In addition, as land is critical in ensuring economic growth, we shall endeavor to formulate workable land reform to ensure that it benefits all Eritreans,

3.      Natural Resources:  The new government will strive to exploit Eritrea’s rich natural resources through vigorous efforts to attract private investors to ….

  1. Foreign InvestmentThe new government will …




VI.      Plan-of-Action to Bring About Regime Change [Code-Named “OPERATION YIA’KL”]

Establishment of Joint Mobilizing & Coordinating Committee

1.      The Opposition Camp resolves to establish a Joint Mobilizing & Coordinating Committee to,

a.       Draw up detailed strategies and tactical plans that will lead to effecting and to expediting regime change,

b.      Undertake campaigns to garner support, especially domestic support, to carry out its plans,

2.      The primary function of the coordinating committee shall be to

a.       Prepare operational plans,

b.      Raise necessary funding for operation/logistics,

c.       Undertake necessary propaganda to informally legitimize their leadership,

d.      Call the EDF to switch allegiance,

e.       Provide directions for insurgency and popular uprising,

f.        In periods immediately following the collapse of the next regime,

                                                                         i.      Maintain the sovereignty of the nation,

                                                                       ii.      Establish security,

                                                                      iii.      Free political prisoners and prisoners of conscious,

                                                                     iv.      Transfer power to caretaker government two weeks after the collapse of the regime.

Operational Plans

1.      Purpose of Operational Plan,

a.       Immediate objective:  to instill paranoia in the regime, which will enhance the general population’s perception and attitude towards the opposition camp thus expediting the regime’s downfall,

b.      Ultimate Objective: to instill confidence in Eritrean public that the opposition camp in general, and the mobilizing committee specifically, have well prepared plan-of-action to remove the yoke-of-torture from the backs of the Eritrean people,

2.      Actions to expect in preparation of regime change,

a.       The general strategy will be made available to the public because the change will and can only be effected through the people of Eritrea.  This is not a military campaign but a political one.  The only means to communicate with and organize the public is through public media.

b.      Contacts will continue to be made with domestic agitation cells whose functions will be to ensure certain factors are in place to enable regime change and the establishment of caretaker government.

c.       During the preparation phase, the most important task will be to create invisible bond between the opposition leadership and the people of Eritrea.  Until the hours of our historical callings, the mobilizing committee will send messages that will synchronize our plans with the public’s understanding and expectations.

d.      As the hours of our historical call approaches, there will be continuous radio broadcasts will be made to instruct all segments of the population to switch allegiance, effect instantaneous mass demonstrations, and other similar acts that will be announced through the radio broadcasts.

3.      The Joint Mobilization and Coordination Committee shall be comprised of the following members,

a.       Mr. Mesfin Hagos, Provisional Commander-in-Chief

b.      Mr. Adhanom Gebremariam

c.       Mr. Abdella Adem

d.      Two others from EDA (RC + ELF)

The mobilizing committee will work with continued consultation and consensus of the wider opposition camp whose interests are enshrined in EDA and others.

[Note this for illustration purpose only: the above names are only suggestions and that, if nothing else, chemistry among the members is critical factor in ensuring success.  The decision is ultimately up to active members and leaders of the opposition camp.  Nonetheless, popular movement can only work if the selected leader has an already established tie with the forces of change in Eritrea.]

4.      The task of the coordination members will include,

a.       Constant communication with domestic opposition forces,

b.      Constant speeches, interviews, and campaigns to familiarize the members of the mobilization committee to the public, and thus informally legitimizing their leadership to extend to those inside the country,

c.       Make all the necessary preparations to assume responsibility of effecting agitation for uprising and then creating the initial caretaker government, and in order to do so,

                                                                         i.      The public should remain aware that the regime will increase domestic espionage, security, ‘giffa’ and reshuffling troops to ensure that any potential domestic opposition cells remain disjointed,

                                                                       ii.      However, the need for change is much greater than these acts of desperations on the part of the regime,

                                                                      iii.      At the appointed hour,

1.      Although, in order to confuse the regime various propaganda will be broadcasted and certain codes will be issued to opposition cells in Eritrea that will commence a series of acts,

2.      In preparations to undertake public uprising, the mobilizing committee will travel and work together, moving in-and-out of Sudan, giving the impression to the regime that uprising is imminent, i.e. may take place at any given time,

3.      At the appointed hour, the series of actions may begin as follows, but clear instructions shall be given at zero hour only [possibly when the head of the regime is traveling abroad.  Efforts may be made with international forces to jam the head of the regime’s communication with domestic security forces for couple of hours]

a.       Broadcast call for rank-and-file soldiers to mutiny and certain undisclosed actions and events shall take place,

b.      Upon confirmation of army mutiny, opposition leadership shall fly/drive into secure area within Eritrea and radio broadcast into Eritrea through secure satellite link,

c.       Civil service, esp. those engaged in communications networks, shall be given precise information on how they need to proceed with further broadcasting new leadership messages – satellite feed might be needed,

d.      A Call to the public will be made to rise up, mass rallies, shops to close, etc…  

4.      Establish secure area [most likely Sudan] less than two hours [by flight or drive] to reach a certain secure area within Eritrea [say close to Sawa which is close to Sudanese border], and where radio broadcasts can be made announcing the transfer of power in the care of opposition/reform forces.  It is critical within the first couple of hours of insurrection/uprising that the opposition leadership enters Eritrean and lead from within Eritrean territory.  If broadcasts continue to be made from thousands of miles away, the uprising may falter.  This operation would be conducted at an immense risk of the leadership, but again we can’t ask others to rise up against the regime at their personal risks and not hold ourselves to the same commitments.  Thousands of imprisoned Eritreans have cleared the path for the rest of us.  

5.      The remaining actions will be devised by the committee – may include 3-day curfew, all troops to return to barracks, all military to cease making outgoing radio contacts, only incoming …

6.      Other operational details to remain confidential …

5.      The establishment of caretaker government,

[Note:  the Sudanese government’s support towards the opposition camp may appear outwardly fickle.  Although the Sudanese government may appear to clamp down on Eritrean opposition [such as meetings], it knows that its ultimate interest remains in the removal of the Asmara regime and the creation of stable and accountable Eritrean government.]



During the current period to remove the regime


After the collapse of the regime, there will be many burning issues that require immediate actions and policies in order to ensure that the government takes actions in timely manner and thus assuring socio-economic and political stability in the country.  These studies, and hopefully these studies will recommend policies, will address only issues that require immediate attention and not those that require full public participation.  In addition, the policies recommended by these committees won’t be entrenched in stone and may be modified in the future to reflect realities at that time.  At the very least, these studies may outline the framework of the urgent issues.   We want to limit politicians’ tendencies to say, ‘we need to study this…’, when in fact they are procrastinating on hard decisions.

Issues:              “Demobilization” – [some Eritreans in Diaspora have been members of Demobilization Committee in Eritrea], issues include demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration.

                        “Pension Program” – not only for socio-economic reasons for political stability as well,

“Press Laws” – not only laws but also why it is imperative to allow press freedom immediately after the collapse of the regime.  Moreover importance of sunshine laws/freedom of access to public records can be addressed,

“Accountability & Transparency” – including the establishment of the Office of Ombudsman and ethics and conflict-of-interest in government,

“Land Reform and Economic Issues” – the issue is NOT on how to deal with land itself but the urgency to address land reforms if there is to be any kind of economic growth.  Delaying land reform will stagnate economic growth in Eritrea, thus precipitating all kinds of problems.  Thus the study would explore issues what the impact would be in delaying reform.

“Constitution” – addresses gaps in the 1997 Constitution, election laws, and discussions on the 2001 multiparty law

“Judicial Reform” – the regime has destroyed the judicial system in Eritrea.  Study would explore the impact of the absence of properly functioning legal system in Eritrea, its impact in implementing the constitution and other issues. 

“Truth & Reconciliation” – as a means to heal wounds quickly and proceed into the difficult task of building a democratic Eritrea from ground up,

“Challenges of Democracy” – including institution building.  We must understand exactly what institution building means and why the process of institution building must start from day one. 

Although some Eritrean intellectuals have presented their studies at various political organizational meetings, this would be more than individual efforts and would formally establish committees, preferably sanctioned by the opposition political parties and adopted these parties as their framework or even policies.  The study groups may hold discussions online getting feedback from wider participants.  It is a slow process but much can be accomplished over time.  Instead of regurgitating old politics, we can become more productive.  Indeed it is difficult to prepare studies with little information.  But there are many other countries with similar experiences as ours and we can use it as starting point.  We aren’t reinventing the wheel here.

While the opposition camp is formulating its policies, the opposition camp should engage in campaign to address Eritreans’ specific concerns.  Regurgitating how ruthless the regime is doesn’t mean much to Eritreans in Eritrea – after all, they are living with it and they know it.  What they want to know is – what is the opposition camp serving.  They are saying to themselves, what do they want us to do.  Instead we should tell them that will assure them of what the next government will bring, how they can organize – simply ‘THE HOW TO’ book is what they want.

Continuous message designed to mobilize the population for specific act is equivalent to ‘softening the ground’ before zero-hour or D-Day to use military terminologies.  In formulating strategy, only ‘negative’ propaganda won’t work.  It is more effective to address specific concerns to mobilize people.  Even if the next government won’t have the capacity to address all issues, at least the concerned people realize that their concerns are recognized.  We must understand ‘mass psychology’ in formulating our political campaigns rather than trying to be self-righteous by believing that one’s own views, opinions or positions are the ultimate wisdom.  There is no such thing. 

Continuous Message to Eritreans by members of the Mobilizing Committee taking turns with sameness of message

Note: to my readers:  Public message might contain rhetorical language, i.e. words are used to assure or inflame public uprising, and doesn’t necessarily mean that our policies in practice will reflect some of the impractical rhetoric.  Thus rhetoric or certain propaganda shouldn’t necessarily be viewed as policy. 

Independent Eritrea is a product of the sacrifices of thousands of precious Eritreans who fought not only for land or the flag, but for freedom, peace, justice and democracy.  The people that laid down their lives for our freedom aren’t strangers but our own flesh-and-blood, our brothers and sisters, our parents, and our children.  When we earned our independence through blood and sweat, we never thought that our freedom, peace and justice would be taken away by the few bad apples amongst us.  These are our flesh-and-blood who fought with us, ate with us and lived with us.  We never thought that they would ever bring such tragedy to our nation, to our people, to our children. 

The Eritrean people are now living in severe socio-economic hardship.  But physical hardship is something we can tolerate; we have done that many times throughout our lives.  What we are enduring today is something we have never felt before, something we never experienced before – the emotional torture meted out by people from amongst us.  They are betraying our trust – taking away our children, imprisoning our spouses and then keeping them incommunicado, and taking away our livelihoods.  This is a time of emotional confusion, if our brothers and sisters can do this to us what is left of our country?  Why did we fight for independence?  Is this Almighty’s curse to us and thus should we just accept this punishment without resisting? How could some of our own brothers and sisters collaborate with the regime for their personal gains while the rest of us are suffering under a regime never even experienced before under previous colonizers?  We are now thinking what we never thought would happen after independence – flee the country of our own brothers and sisters?   

What has befallen our precious country has happened to every other country in the world.  Most of Asia, parts of Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa and even Western nations experienced the same cruelness and punishment from their own flesh-and-blood – from their own countrymen.  Unfortunately they all share our tragedy.  At the beginning they all thought the regime would come to its senses and is better to lay low until then.  They hoped their social lives and welfare would eventually improve as long as they remained alive by keeping quiet and bowing their heads.  Instead of things getting better, the people of Eastern Europe and Asia and many other countries found out that hoping for things to improve just meant waiting for their turns to go to prison, to suffer in slavery campaigns called gulags [which also served as prisons], to wait for their children to be raped by corrupt officials, and simply to wait for many more worse things to happen to them.  Unfortunately people realized later than sooner, that things wouldn’t improve and that they were just waiting for their extermination – physically or mentally one-by-one.  They gave up idle hope.  One-by-one, all these people rose up and said enough, “Yiakle”, and stormed government houses and fought any troops loyal to their oppressors.  They fought with their kitchen knives, with sticks, and anything they could find around them.  These brave people finally won – a victory they could have had much earlier but had to wait until people just gave up hoping and wishing for things to improve and realized that each one had to do something to change things. 

Those of in Diaspora are in much better condition than those of you inside the country.  We have our freedoms.  But don’t look at our physical well-being, because emotionally, deep down inside, we are as tortured as you are or probably even worse.  We can tolerate physical torture, but nothing is worse than emotional torture.  We spend our every waking moment thinking, contemplating, campaigning and every action to bring peace to you – so that you can enjoy the same freedoms that we are enjoying here in the West.  Many Eritreans are writing petitions, organizing rallies, maintaining websites to keep your plights front and centre in this shrinking world of internet, civic and human rights organizations are contacting every national and international organization to bring about relief to you.  Although our efforts have not fully translated into alleviating your pain and burden, we are making progress.  Every nation, save a couple of countries, has shunned the regime.  The American government has refused visa to the regime’s officials and restricted their movements to few kilometer radius in the capital city.  Other countries have withheld diplomatic and economic assistance the regime.  At this time, the regime is isolated internationally and considered a pariah regime determined to engulf the region by interfering in every volatile situation in the region.

Those of us in the opposition camp have been actively engaged in coordinating our efforts.  We were all thrown into a state of confusion by the turn of events in Eritrea.  Some of our colleagues within the opposition could see trouble brewing from many miles away.  Some of the others hoped to change from within.  But what we all agree is the sense of urgency and the need to pool our full resources to lift the yoke of burden placed on you [Eritreans].  We have now devised both operational plans and strategies to effect change in the direction our beloved country should be heading.  Your initial reaction might be that they, i.e. politicians and the opposition camp, are the same as the current regime, that getting rid of one regime is just replacing it by another.  You may say, “Kab Zeytifelto Amlak, Tifelto Seytan”.  But that is what the people of Poland, Ukraine and Philippines said to themselves at the beginning, that all politicians are the same.  But the people acted anyway because ultimately the nation belongs to the people.  All these countries and many others are now enjoying social harmony and economy prosperity.        

Some of us might still say that we sacrificed so many for our independence but what did that get us – misery and despair!  Why should we sacrifice ourselves for this one – to bring more misery and more despair?  Unfortunately life and country is just like farming our land.  We have to continually water it, weed it and in general take care of it continuously.  We have to toil our land continually through the year, year-after-year, then pass it on to our children.  Our fallen heroes tilled the land with their blood and brought us independence.  It is we who forgot to continue tilling the land after they handed over the land to us.  Because of our negligence, the land is full of deep-rooted weeds [this is only a metaphor not to be taken literally] that are spreading everyday threatening our very own existence.  We forgot to weed them out continually throughout our fifteen year independence.  Unfortunately, we must still weed them out; we have no choice lest we choose to starve to death. 

If we look at our heroes we can see much hope.  How can we compare the ruthless pursuits of self-interest shown by PIA, Ato Alamin Saed, and Gen. Wuchu with the self-sacrifices and wisdoms of Ato Haile Drue, Ato Petros Solomon, and Ato Mahmoud Sheriffo?  Can we ever compare the two groups?  No, we can’t!  To even use the names of our heroes on the same sentence as with our oppressors is to defile the names of these heroes.   As we must live with ‘good’ vs. ‘evil’, ‘hallal’ vs. ‘haram’, ‘day’ vs. ‘night’, ‘flower’ vs. ‘weed’, we must fight ‘evil’ and ensure the ‘good’ wins.  This is NOT a fight to be waged by one man or few people.  It is a task that every Eritrean must ask, what I am doing to bring about change.  Or, Am I waiting for others to bring change for me?  If I wait for others, and others are waiting for me, aren’t we going to all carry this burden all our lives and then pass it on to our children?

Dear Tegadelti for independence,

Most of us gave up our youth and many others gave up their lives for Eritrean freedom, peace, social justice and economic prosperity.  We know deep down in our hearts that this isn’t the Eritrea we fought for.  What are we afraid of that we are so quiet?  Are we afraid of Ethiopia?  But this can’t be – we won against them when Dergue had the full support of then Soviet Union and its satellites, and we didn’t even have a country.  Now that we have a country, why should we be so concerned?  I don’t think our concern lies with Ethiopia – this is just an excuse.  After all, as we all know there is no point in barking after the hyena cleaned out house and left.  We all know how the war was waged, or rather mis-waged, and there is no need to regurgitate here what you know.

Are we afraid of our people?  But this can’t be, because to even think this would mean to defile our struggle for independence and to defile the thousands that gave up their lives for the Eritrea we have.  Instead, I would like to think that many of you are concerned about your future.  Many of us have sacrificed most of our lives in the battlefields of Eritrea.  We want to live in peace for change.  You now have husbands and wives, children, and other responsibilities to take care.  We know how you would have handled such brutality if the same things had happened twenty or thirty years ago when you were still single; if you didn’t have other responsibilities you would have been the first to fight injustice against our people.

We may pretend to live normal life by keeping our heads down, but what kind of Eritrea are we leaving for our children?  For many of us, our children are reaching their teens, for some already going to Sawa.  Our children can’t see the future other than more war propaganda, more ‘giffa’, more of our daughters getting raped by army officers, more Eritreans fleeing from the country, and just more of desperation.  Do you remember when we won independence we had said that our children will never have to shed blood?  Now we are watching them shedding blood of their own brothers and sisters – not even of own enemies, but our own flesh-and-blood. 

We would like to think that we have failed to remove this ‘tsere hizbi’ regime because we remain disorganized.  But we can’t remain disorganized forever.  Those of you inside the country may not have the means to organize because of the regime’s ‘halewa sewra’.  Those of us opposition in Diaspora have finally organized ourselves and have devised strategies and operational plans to bring change in the regime. 

We all understand that every dictatorial regime is engaged in forcing people to participate in its collective or mass sins.  This is a form of rite of passage or initiation to prove one’s loyal to the regime, lest the person become ostracized.  Many of you continue to prop up the regime because of your uncertainties about what the next government will bring.  Let us look at the average ‘tegadalay’ or ‘tegadalit’.  He/She [referred as ‘you’ here] didn’t continue your education to higher level because you chose or you were forced at young age to take up arms against our colonizer.  You fought all your life and won independence.  At independence, you finally have an independent Eritrea but because you had given up your education years ago you feel insecure about your future.  The regime gave you a job at some middle administration at ‘Mimhdar’ or ‘Zoba’ but you never felt that you had enough education to properly perform your job.  Besides you know that this regime had fired [‘mintsiltsal’] many Eritreans who worked for the Dergue government.  In the back of your mind, you are saying ‘Will this happen to me with the next government?’  Many others work in higdef owned business organizations, and wonder would the next government fire them?  You have so much uncertainties and insecurities.

In general, many tegadelities are reaching the age of retirement.  Many of you wonder if the next government would fire all of you from your jobs which are indirectly your pensions.  This regime has purposely failed to provide the necessary safety net for you.  Instead of providing you with social security, it is building Massawa-Asseb road for over Birr 1 Billion so that 20 trucks can travel on it every month.  Why does the regime spend so much money on16 Mig fighter planes when we didn’t use a single one during the last war and after the cessation of hostilities?  Isn’t this like the dog that barks after the hyena had cleaned out the stable or cow shed?  Why waste so much money on armaments when we can better use it to ensure the security of our/your retirements?   

What are you afraid of when you know that the next government which we strive to establish will be made up of our own flesh-and-blood – our own countrymen?   What we should be afraid of is where this brutal regime will take us if we don’t stop it today.   The next government, which we are currently organizing, has a vested to ensure that all Eritreans’, and this includes tegadelites, basic requirements are always met.  This is the only way to maintain stability in the country, which is the most critical factor to ensure political stability, social harmony and economic prosperity.  You gave your lives for your country, now the country owes you to take care of you.  

Those of us opposition in the Diaspora have now worked out a plan that will enable all us to organize ourselves in such a way that takes many of your limitations into consideration.  Ideally, a movement and especially its leadership should be established from within Eritrea.  But the regime is keenly aware of such possible organized public uprising and hence continues to engage in extensive spying, “giffa” and other heinous acts to preempt any such possibility.  Those of us in Diaspora have the freedom to organize but handicapped because of the distance from you.  But, whereas the regime may have the means, we have the ‘will’ – and where there is a ‘will’, there is a way as we have proven to ourselves and to the world in our struggle for independence.

In the upcoming months, we ask you to continue following our radio broadcasts and websites for many pertinent information to organize ourselves for the purpose of removing this regime and creating a stable and sustainable government.  Much of our campaign is open or public because our struggle is a political one and thus we must involve the Eritrean public.  Naturally, some of the details of our operations will remain secret and will only be given to our cells inside Eritrea who will organize the necessary agitation to effect regime change.

In the end the choice is ours – we can become the instruments of change ourselves and put Eritrea on direction that respects everybody’s rights, or other events outside our control will force us to change.  The latter will surely mean the end of our sense of security.  We hope you will think hard about your future, the future of our kids and the future of our country.  We hope that will think deep and join us in our last historical call.

Dear Warsais,

When Eritrea earned its independence, you were little kids.  Most of us had such high hopes for you.  We fought for so many years so that you can live in peace and freedom.  We looked forward to the days when you would finish school and become doctors and engineers building prosperous Eritrea.  We had hoped that we could retire while you govern a prosperous Eritrea.  Instead you have been thrown into dark ages.  This regime is now feeding you despair instead of hope, slavery instead of prosperous jobs.  You can’t see the future.  But the future of Eritrea is yours.

The current regime tells you that in the age of globalization that it can import any foreigner it wants to replace you.  In an age of globalization, why doesn’t the regime find foreigners to fight its war of grudge, why not find foreigners to dig its fruitless dams, why not find its foreigners to idle in the middle of nowhere?   

You are brave men who defended the country against external enemy.  You are very intelligent and hardworking young people who can build not only Eritrea but the whole of Africa.  We, in the opposition, believe that no Eritrean is replaceable.  Eritrea belongs to those who were born on its soil, tilled its land, sweated for it and bloodied for it.  Many of you rightly feel that this regime has abused you and tortured you. Your instinct is to escape from the wretch hole called PFDJ country.  But there are few odds against you that you must consider.  First, there is a possibility of getting caught.  Second, once you arrive in the neighboring country, you will have difficult time migrating to Western countries.  Third, even if you reach to Western countries, there is always a nagging feeling of those we left behind.  In the West, we live comfortably physically but we can’t detach ourselves mentally from our families, relatives, neighbors and friends we left behind to be abused by the regime.   

We know that you aren’t afraid of bringing change in your situation, but you don’t know what the future holds for you in Eritrea.  You don’t know how to organize yourselves to rid of the regime.  We, in the opposition, have devised strategies to remove the regime with your help.  Some of you will say, they are there and we are here.  But there are always reasons why things don’t work.  But the first reason why things don’t work is when instead of thinking ways to make something work, we focus on the various reasons why things can’t or shouldn’t work.  The new government to be established is your government – you are the generation that should determine your own future.  You aren’t adolescents anymore.  You are mature young men who are ready to take the bigger responsibility of managing your country. 

We are asking you to help us help you take over your future.  The Eritrea we create will address your immediate and future concerns.  You are wondering if you would be compensated for the lost years under the regime.  You have so many questions about your future.  We can assure you that we strive to ensure that your demobilization and reintegration into society takes into consideration the sacrifices you made and your expectations in the future.  We are not going to give false promises, but we consider your well-being as priority.  If you, our youth, can’t see the future, then Eritrea won’t have any future.   In the next few months we will give you instructions what needs to be done.            


Dear Farmers,

Many of you have your children in the wasteful slavery campaign while you don’t have anyone to help with your difficult tasks at your old age.  We, in the opposition, have message for you.  …..

Dear Mothers/Women,

Dear Fathers,

Dear Students,

Dear ……,

Messages to every group would be reinforced again and again, NOT just telling them how miserable their lives are which they don’t need anyone telling them because they are living through it everyday but that the opposition camp has coordinated strategies to alleviate their miseries, both in removing the regime and in addressing their other immediate concerns.  Failing to do so is simply to remain what we are – opposition in Diaspora while the country sinks into an abyss

Ending with Personal Note again

Such pleasure to live in such peaceful country where one has the freedom to express one’s views without harassment.  We cherish our freedom and will defend it here in the West, and we want to share the pleasures of this same freedom with our flesh-and-blood back in our ancestral home.  We are not hypocrites that apply two standards – one for ourselves here in the West and another totally the opposite and destructive and inhumane standards for those who live in the third world countries such as Eritrea.  Our beliefs are universal!  It never waivers!  We don’t fall for cheap divisive politics!

I would like to recommend Bob Woodward’s latest book “State of Denial” to our higdefiwiyan brothers and sisters.  The collective wisdoms of the founding leaders of America remain true over two hundred years later.  The limit of power – not only through checks and balances but also by limiting the term of presidency – is the cornerstone of democracy.  Thousands of years ago, Athenians used to hold regular meetings of its some 6,000 citizens to cast the name of one person to be banished from Athens.  The person to be banished was one who was most powerful and thus a threat to the system of government in Athens.  The word for such public vote was ‘ostracis’ – a word now commonly used, ‘ostracize’.  History of man never changes!

As I was finalizing this article … or booklet … or whatever you want to call it … a couple of campaigns popped up on opposition websites that I can’t help but extend our appreciation.  The latest article by my favorite writer Saleh Younis was exquisite as always giving us such deep insight with few words.  Aaron Berhane’s story is heart wrenching.   Asmarino.com continues to exemplify what effective campaign is all about.  EMDHR continues to show us why Eritrea still has bright future.  I also reserve my appreciations to a couple of people who have exerted efforts above everybody else – Elsa Chyrum and Amanuel Iyasu.  Most of us talk and write about helping Eritrean refugees of this brutal regime, whereas Elsa has been helping hundreds of them.  She is worth thousands of us.  Amanuel Iyasu has been writing very timely and insightful articles that have kept us understand the nature of the regime.  Their latest video titled “Eritrea: voices of torture” just fires up our anger at this brutal regime.  Thanks to Elsa and Amanuel for their latest exposé, keep up your efforts and May the Almighty One return your efforts thousands times over.    

To my fellow freedom lovers, believers in democracy and rule-of-law, people of compassion and respectful of human decency …  see you at Bar Impero and Bar Moderna on KeckiaBitweded Avenue (formerly Kombishitato) in Democratic Eritrea soon.  We shall prevail!  

There Is No Easy Walk To Freedom Anywhere, Nelson Mandela

Kalsina Newih’n Merir’n Eyu, Awetna Nai’gidin!

Wudket N’Tsere Hizbi Higdef!

Kem Wetru Awet N’hafash!

Berhan Hagos

October 4, 2006

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