VOA broadcasted a report on interviews conducted with two members of ‘Shebbab’ group of UIC in its Jan. 06, 2007 broadcast.  These are one of those reports that put ordinary Eritreans to question the credibility of the VOA report and its Shebbab interviewees.   According to this report, Eritrean and Somali trainers trained Shebbab members on conducting guerrilla warfare, planting mines and handling various types of explosives to be delivered in Iraq-style insurgency, which is indiscriminate in waging its bloody conflict.  Although PFDJ has most likely trained groups of Somalis and Oromos in guerilla and insurgency warfare, we are forced to question if the PFDJ regime would directly or indirectly train these groups in the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), car bombing and other methods associated with “terrorist” acts now familiar on our television screens with tragedies in Iraq.  
  Whether true or false, that our cherished Eritrea would even be associated with such despicable act is disheartening.  Our immediate reaction to such reports is to dismiss it as enemy propaganda and forget about it.  But the question is, can we ignore such reports or should we raise our concerns, and even alarms, over the latest reports in order to put the Eritrean regime on notice that we are following such desperate behavior closely.  This possibility should be kept in our radar.  

This writer had hinted in past articles that the PIA regime has been seeking to escalate the friction with Woyane in search of his Pyrrhic victory.  PIA believes that he needs the Badme victory, and beyond that the fall of the PMMZ regime, for him to regain his credibility among the ever dwindling support base among PFDJ sympathizers.  In search of this Pyrrhic victory, PIA had every intention of using Somalia as staging ground for training, launching and supporting insurgency in Southern Ethiopia.  In order to analyze the latest development, we should expand our field of vision and examine events around the neighborhood in the last four years,

  • Eastern Sudan insurgency were involved in targeting [blowing up] civilian transport trucks heading towards Port Sudan,
  • Unexplained and unclaimed explosions in the City of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,
  • Explosions in Baidoa aimed at eliminating senior TFG leadership in Somalia – acts never seen in past 16 years despite Al-Ithad’s existence during this period [although suspicion also falls on this groups for acts in Ethiopia].


In seeking to understand these types of dangerous developments in our region, we have to look for patterns – including motives, connecting factors, timing, methods, etc… – because no regime interested in self-preservation will privately or publicly claim that it is responsible for such actions.   

Especially for us Eritreans, we must continually engage in speculation because the Eritrean regime remains unaccountable for its actions.  On the morning of May 13th, 1998, Eritreans woke up to find out that we were at war with Ethiopia.  There were no hints that such calamitous events were about to take place, although the regime was fully aware of such possibility and even chose to escalate it without any wider consultation or forewarning Eritreans.  As PIA made it clear during his last interview, developments in [natural resources] mining sector, i.e. our own domestic affairs of importance to ordinary Eritreans, isn’t something the Eritrean government wishes to discuss and would rather wait until it is actually exploited.  These unaccountable PFDJ leaders are telling Eritreans that Eritreans should wake up to a foregone conclusion.  This is ‘af arkbu politics’.  This philosophy may not be as damaging for positive developments, but is disastrous for negative developments.  This type of “you shouldn’t know until it happens” or “wake up to a war” style of governing a nation has already cost Eritreans dearly.   The public should be told of risks as assessed from time-to-time and it should be up to individual Eritreans to decide whether to dismiss or to take precautionary actions that reflect the individual’s tolerance for risk. 

We must speculate about this dangerous development because we, Eritreans, don’t want to wake up again to find out that there are tangible evidences that connect this desperate PFDJ regime to such types of dangerous ‘terrorist’ methods to attain its Pyrrhic victory.   As painful as it is to discuss this possibility that could tarnish our cherished Eritrea, none of want to wake one morning to find out it is true and that it is too late to address it.  By addressing it, or at least by being slightly more vocal, just maybe, PFDJ might think twice in the future from resorting to using this method thinking that it can fool the public. 

In our speculation, we should ask ourselves if this desperate regime is capable or willing to engage in such dangerous activities.  Although this writer had believed that this dangerous method is entirely within the realm of possibility, with the latest report, this writer has raised the likelihood of using such dangerous method from possibility to higher probability in pursuit of Pyrrhic victory.    In weighing this probability, we should examine the following factors to determine if the regime would engage in this type of dangerous activity,

  • Motive – the regime is stuck in a desperate situation only getting worse by the day.  In my last article, this writer discussed PIA’s strategies to win his Pyrrhic victory have been based on escalating tensions with those who have denied him his victory.   These strategies are NOT being formulated as the previous strategy fails, but rather all these strategies of conflict escalation [or alternative plans] were formulated and prepared simultaneously but implemented in phases as situations on the ground required them.  PIA feels that he must claim his personal victory on the border issue and regain some of his severely damaged domestic credibility before he can proceed with his one-man rule.  Winning is everything. 


  • Disposition – the key question is whether the regime is disposed to use extreme methods to achieve its aim.  The answer is an unequivocal ‘yes’.  The regime has imprisoned thousands of innocent Eritreans in prison incommunicado and without due process of the law.  It has executed many young people.  The list of repressive measures are simply too many and well known to repeat them here.  If we overlook semantics and examine the nature of ‘terrorism’ it is suffice to say that the Eritrean regime is engaged in ‘terrorizing’ its own people, and thus is fully capable of undertaking such dangerous methods beyond its borders to achieve its desperate aim.  The purpose of ‘an act of terrorism’ is to instill fear in people to achieve certain aim.  Whether the method is car bomb or ‘giffa’ or ‘locking up 200 innocent people in containers in hot area’ doesn’t change the true definition and nature of ‘terrorist act’.  Moreover, in their own twisted minds, they are all doing these terrorist acts for worthwhile causes.  Regardless of the reasons why PFDJ is engaged in various acts to instill fear in the people of Eritrea, its method is no different than any other ‘terrorist act’.   


  • Accountability & Transparency – PIA’s regime isn’t accountable to anyone.  There is no political force that can mitigate the regime’s extreme measures.   PIA doesn’t seek any wider consultation and pursues policies based on one political philosophy “Might is Right”.   There is no independent media that can keep the regime accountable.  Without accountability and transparency, the regime is capable of engaging in extreme methods. 


  • Track record – PFDJ has been actively training Oromo and Sudanese opposition groups.  Beyond trainings, PFDJ has been involved in covert military operations designed to support Sudanese opposition groups.  Similarly, PFDJ has been actively involved in training Somali opposition groups.  One can be certain that these trainings aren’t for the purposes of becoming the Good Samaritans. 


Examining these and other factors, one is lead to believe that such claims made by the Shebbab group is not only possible, but is probable. 

According to the Shebbab group, their trainers were composed of Somalis and Eritreans.  But this raises further question,

  • Were the Somali trainers trained by Eritrean army?
  • Were the Somali trainers formerly part of the Siad Barre army? Or,
  • Were the Somali trainers trained by Al-Qaeda?


Each one may have its own implications.  But the unsettling fact is the claim that the Shebbab members were trained in IEDs and suicide attacks.  This may answer our question.   Assuming that the Shebbab groups’ claims are probable and assuming that Eritrean trainers wouldn’t have the expertise in IEDs and other similar ominous methods, it is highly likely that Somali trainers with Al-Qaeda connections and trainings conducted their trainings on Eritrean soil.  This has ominous implications.

As long as these ominous methods are used against African civilians and governments, the world won’t pay any attention.  The problem is when these insurgency groups employ their methods against the interests of powerful nations.  In the world of post 9/11, the nature of war has changed.  Conflicts do not necessarily involve states-against-states, but rather involve states-versus-shadowy groups.  Unfortunately, there is no effective means to persecute shadowy groups.  Consequently, Western strategy to deal with shadowy groups is to hold nations that shelter, train and arm these groups accountable for their actions.  Our deep concern should be, what could happen if a member of Shebbab trained in Eritrea for the purpose of fighting in his country, let us even say for legitimate reasons, instead uses his training against Western interests?  Can Eritrea be held responsible for his acts? 

What are the consequences of such active or passive support for Eritrea?

The possibility isn’t far fetched.  One of the reasons given by the American administration to actively engage in the Somali politics is that some of the top leaders of UIC are responsible for the 1998 Nairobi and Dare Selam tragedies.  If true, there is no reason to believe that these Somali leaders aren’t disposed to repeat these acts using Eritrean trained Shebbab members.  The consequence for Eritrea is immense if it is held responsible for the terrorist acts of such members.  Let us look at some of the possible consequences,

  • Eritrea may be told to pay reparation for damages – not unlike what Col. Ghaddafi had to pay in the amount of over $ 3 Billion US to rejoin the world community.  Where would Eritrea find such funds to compensate victims?  We would be mortgaging our future for generations.
  • But the world has changed since Col. Ghaddafi’s alleged transgressions.  In today’s world, there is the International Criminal Court (ICC) which may require Eritrea to hand over its PFDJ leaders.
  • Eritrea would be shunned from the world community as ‘terrorism sponsoring state’ [as Sudan for instance], unable to receive the necessary bilateral and multilateral assistance to embark on socio-economic growth.  Its citizens might face all forms difficulties in the world for the purposes of traveling and transacting business.


The possibility of ‘Shebbab’ members engaging in terrorist actions is more likely with their loss in Somalia than if they were in government, because in government UIC would have been preoccupied with governing a nation.  Naturally, in two or three years the UIC alliance would have drifted apart leading to infighting.  Such infighting would have led to implosion first, then exploding to other parts of Somalia and then to neighboring countries.  By then, the connection between PFDJ and Shebbab would have loosened up. 

Ethiopia has been reaping the benefits of Emperor Haileselassie’s legacy of shrewd diplomacy for over 70 years.  Would we inherit PFDJ’s legacy of diplomatic belligerency for 70 years?  

What is the responsibility of PFDJ Officials?

As long as the ‘Shebbab’ members are involved in ‘terrorist’ actions against African people and African nations, no one would pay attention to such events.  The victims wouldn’t have the resources to investigate and persecute the violators.  The risk for PFDJ officials if these ‘Shebbab’ members – and it takes only one member – are to take actions against Western interests is that the responsibility for these acts would be spread out to those who sponsored and trained these ‘Shebbab’ members.  In the world of post 9/11, nations and their government officials are responsible for the acts of insurgents-cum-terrorists that they train.  The responsibility for the acts of ‘Shebbab’ members will fall squarely on PFDJ officials.

PFDJ Officials such as Gen. Sebhat Ephrem, Mr. Alamin Mohammed Seid and Mr. Tesfai Ghebreselase have chosen to allow PIA to destroy Eritrea to save their own skins.  In their cowardly calculations, they figure that as long as they survive PIA’s brutal regime that the next government would not mete out the same inhumane punishment against them as their PFDJ is currently meting out against thousands of Eritreans.   Since these coward PFDJ officials are continually calculating their personal risks, they should consider what their legal, both domestic and international, and moral responsibility is if PFDJ continues to expand its belligerent and criminal policies, and acts against the direct interests of more powerful nations leading to grave mistakes.  Like the rest of us, they don’t want to wake up one morning to find out that Eritrea and its “government officials” are responsible for some act way beyond its border.  

For clarity, Eritreans won’t capitulate against their own direct interests, but it is totally a different matter to pursue belligerent policies without any intention of seeking tactful means of resolving differences and conflicts.  There is no place for personal vendetta in the treacherous world of politics.   There is no place for ‘zero-sum’ game.    


1.    War against Eritrea

There is no doubt that Woyane is waging a war-by-other-means against Eritrea.  Some of the more powerful countries in the world are either directly or indirectly supporting the Ethiopian regime emboldening it to take illegal stance towards the border decision.  But ultimately, it is PFDJ itself that is emboldening them to take these extremely antagonist positions towards Eritrea.

The question is, how are these countries destroying Eritrea?

  • Is there physical war taking place? No!
  • Are they training or financing insurgency acts against Eritrea leading to violence in Eritrea? No!
  • Have any of these countries, except Ethiopia for obvious reasons, imposed economic embargo against Eritrea? No!
  • Have any of these countries cut their diplomatic relations against Eritrea? No!


The question is, what have Woyane and America deprived Eritrea because of whatever their policies towards Eritrea are?  The simple answer is: nothing, nada, zilch!  Creating the image of some monster stalking Eritrean sovereignty exists in the desperate political minds of PFDJ officials.

What we know for sure – as sure as the Sun rises on the East and sets in the West – is that it is PFDJ officials who have waged war against Eritrea.  It isn’t Woyanes or Americans who are

  • Imprisoning innocent Eritreans without any due process of law and treating them in the most inhumane manner,
  • Executing innocent Eritreans,
  • Forcing thousands Eritreans to flee Eritrea, many only to be swallowed by the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea,
  • Deliberately depriving people of their livelihood,
  • Creating mental stress among the population through endless ‘giffas’ and requiring parents to account for their siblings who have fled the country,
  • Holding the entire Eritrean youth hostage, destitute, desolate and hopeless in the middle of nowhere in order to destroy their enthusiasm for their country
  • Deliberately creating schism among the population


All these and other atrocities are being committed by the very bloody hands of PFDJ officials.  How can we say that it is the Woyanes and Americans who are destroying Eritrea when it is the very hands of PFDJ committing all these atrocities against Eritreans?  PFDJ is doing exactly what the Woyanes want done to Eritrea – destroyed.  With a repressive regime like PFDJ, who needs enemies? 

The current war against Eritrea is being waged by PFDJ in order to escape accountability, and the Woyanes are only happy to sit and watch while PFDJ destroys Eritrea.

2.    Stalin’s War

The Red Army was paralyzed by Stalin’s purges.  Officers would not move without direct orders, stifling imaginative tactics and leadership.  The High Command had more political than military ability.

Ten thousand tanks and 2,300 aircraft operated by 2,300,000 men stood against this coiled armada. While most of the equipment was old or obsolete, the Soviet T-34 and KV-1 heavy tanks were better than the Germans’ best.  Unlike the Germans, who were flush with success and experience, the Red Army was quixotic.  It was surprised by the resistance of the Finns and the failure of its junior officers in 1939, but smashed the Japanese in a border dispute in China. 

When the barrage opened on the morning of June 22, 1941, Red Army units were slow to react.  Officers radioed for permission to fire back.  Tanks numbering in the hundreds were knocked out of action by superior tactics backed by superior morale.  The Red Air Force was destroyed on the ground. 

Only seven Red Army divisions opposed Army Group North as it swept down from Finland. Quickly the Baltic States fell, and the populations celebrated the German columns marching in, thinking they were their liberators.  By July 1 Army Group North reached the Dvina River.  Army Group Center moved around the north edge of the Pripet Marshes and encircled first Bialystok and then Minsk by the second week.  290,000 prisoners were taken in this operation.  Army Group South was marching on Kiev despite heavy rains.

Stalin was paralyzed by Hitler’s betrayal of the Nazi-soviet nonaggression Pact and by the destruction and did not react to the crisis in time.  While he sat in Moscow paralyzed by the rapid advance, the Red Army was bleeding to death.  Across a huge front of 1400 miles, the Germans started advancing rapidly.  The Red Army fought fiercely partly out of fear of being shot for cowardice and partly because they feared a German occupation.  But many Soviet units were deployed badly and their commanders would not mount a mobile defense for fear of the firing squad.  The Germans destroyed Russian units and rounded up large numbers of prisoners.

OKH believed the Russians could not sustain this level of casualties.  On July 3, Colonel General Franz Halder announced that the Germans would encounter only token resistance beyond the Dnieper and Dvina Rivers.  Hitler concluded that the Russians had lost the war.

As the Germans advanced as much as twenty miles a day, the Red Army slowly began to reorganize in the face of the enemy.  On June 30, Stalin appointed himself the head of the State Defense Committee, and assumed all political, military and economic power in the country.  On July 10, the Russians also split their forces into a three-group command structure, designated Northwest, West and Southwest Forces.  These were nothing like the Germans’ Army Groups, since their officers lacked the expertise or authority to direct large-scale operations.  Each border military district was converted into a “front” which was the largest effective command the Russians could coordinate.

For the first time, the Russian people heard the voice of their leader. Stalin addressed the entire country on July 3 [two weeks after the start of conflict due to Stalin’s paralysis.]  He welcomed aid from the West and proclaimed a scorched-earth policy, denying the Germans everything and calling for the Russians already under occupation to fight hard against the invaders.  He also appealed not only to communist ideals but to Russian nationalism.

Throughout July and August, the Germans continued to advance.  Army group North planned to launch their final drive for Leningrad on August 10.   Army Group Center took its two panzer groups out of action for a refit on August 8 after capturing 138,000 prisoners in one week.  Army Group South destroyed twenty Soviet divisions that were trying to escape across the Dnieper.  On August 25, units from two Army Groups surrounded 665,000 Red Army soldiers who were 150 miles east of Kiev.

Everybody knew that the key to the war was Moscow.  Stalin was still in a panic when German reconnaissance units advanced on Moscow’s outskirts in November.  But ’General Winter,’ the Russians’ other ancestral ally, froze the Germans’ equipment in the mud.  Army Group Center Commander von Back argued for a winter advance, despite questions of whether or not to wait for the spring to advance on the city.”

[All emphasis added]

The Lessons:

1.      Soviet Union was weakened by Stalin’s purges, gulags, man-made famines, collectivization, etc…  PFDJ’s Eritrea is now weakened by PFDJ gulags, purges, man-made famines [in the making], etc…

2.      Stalin wanted to believe that Hitler would honor their pacts.  PFDJ media tells us that PIA wanted to believe PMMZ would NOT engage in aggressive act against Eritrea.

3.      Stalin ignored many intelligence and army reports that Hitler was mobilizing its troops to invade Soviet Union.  The General of the South Western Front asked Stalin to redeploy its troops to take defensive positions in case Hitler invaded. Stalin refused.  The General was later executed as ‘traitor’.  In reality, the General was executed because Stalin didn’t want any witnesses to his blunders.

4.      Throughout the war with Hitler, Stalin ignored many recommendations from his army officers leading to many defeats and losses.

5.      After Hitler launched war against Soviet Union, Hitler disappeared from the public and was in state of paralysis for days until his ministers beseeched Hitler to take charge of nation.  In the meantime, Hitler’s army was obliterating the Soviet Union.  Once Stalin retook charge, he would proceed to accuse his top officials of conspiring to overthrow him.

6.      Ultimately, Soviet Union overcame Hitler’s aggression because of the following reasons,

a.      The valiant efforts of the people of the Soviet Union despite Stalin’s paralysis and misjudgments,

b.      Soviet’s vast lands and deadly cold weather,

c.      Hitler was engaged in conflicts in many fronts with the Allied forces      


3.    DeBaathification


Mr. Paul Bremer, CPA administrator, issued his first decree by announcing the DeBaathification of the Iraq government.  The main instigator of this policy was Mr. Chalabi who had his own agenda.  Gen. Jay Garner, the first person tasked with leading Iraq in post-conflict period had planned to introduce gradual change in Iraq, and was in shock over this dangerous policy and tried without success to dissuade Mr. Bremer from decreeing DeBaathification of the Iraq government.  Gen. Jay Garner ominously predicted the start of insurgency that would subsequently inflame the whole nation of Iraq. 

After the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and spiraling chaos, the Maliki government is now proposing to bring back former Baath members.   It is always better to think ahead and learn from other experiences than finding out yourself that one’s ‘ideal’ solution is in fact disastrous.  


4.    Trip to Egypt

It is now obvious that the Egyptian president invited PIA to politely inform PIA that their venture in Somalia hasn’t borne any fruits and that they must accept reality on the ground.  For Egypt to accept the proposal to send AU peacekeeping force while PIA opposes it is a major policy difference.  To soothe PIA’s frustration, PIA was wined and dined at Sharm El Sheik and probably given a couple of million USD as consolation.   One can speculate that this money was paid because PIA took only two of his top officials, as reported in PFDJ media, who handle PIA’s personal purse.   Egypt can recoup that money by illegally over-fishing in Eritrean waters.  Hmmm, probably the two finance men went to Egypt to get hard cash for the PFDJ illegal fishing contracts given to Egyptian companies.  But the question is, why two money men together?  Good thing the third one didn’t go, or did he?

Aswan Bank of Egypt – Could you please transfer this USD to this numbered account at the Singapore Bank for Unaccountable Leaders.  Yes, I have the power of attorney …     

Simultaneously, the second official walks into Pyramids Bank of Egypt – could you please… at Cayman Bank for Siphoned Off Cash.   Yes, I have the power of attorney …

5.    Trade Union Meeting in Asmara

Interesting!  What trade union exists in Eritrea?  Isn’t it against the law [let’s just say unwritten law] for more than 4 people to gather in Eritrea?  What is PFDJ doing at a trade union meeting … is it as an organizer?  Or, representing a government ministry responsible for labor?  If there are any trade unions in Eritrea they might be,

Ø       Trade Union of Embezzlers,

Ø       Trade Union of Torturers,

Ø       Trade Union of Enslavers,

Ø       Trade Union of Cowards, etc…

6.   EDA Congress

Few years ago, I heard a story that I vaguely remember. 


A father, his young son and a donkey were traveling to a distant village.  They were passing through a village when he heard people ridiculing him.  The villagers were saying, how could he let his young son suffer by making walk when the young boy can ride the donkey, which wasn’t carrying a load.  The father didn’t want to be ridiculed again so he put his son on the back of the donkey and continued on their journey.


Then they came to another village.  The villagers ridiculed the father again saying how could the young boy ride on the donkey while the older man is walking.  The father asked his son to get off the donkey and the father mounted the donkey and continued their journey.


Then they came to a third village.  The villagers ridiculed the father once again saying the big man is going to break the back of the donkey.  Whatever he did, the father was ridiculed for his actions.  The father got off the donkey and carried the donkey on his shoulders all the way to his destination.       

There is increasing number of comments on the internet over the coming EDA Congress.  Many will focus on the new wordings of the EDA CharterWithout downplaying the importance of drafting coherent and workable Charter, there are a couple of benchmarks we should look at,

                                i.            Organizational improvements – would EDA formulate new organizational policies that allow EDA members to become more robust in propagating their messages without creating ill-feelings with other members of EDA.   This may include dispute resolution mechanisms, code-of-ethics, broadcast message standards, policies on how to deal with Eritrean public [in Diaspora],

                               ii.            Struggle against PFDJ – Among many other activities, EDA should,

a.      Continue to conduct seminars held by multiple parties – as recently held with leaders of EDP, RC and ENSF.  EDA should plan and announce [i.e. commit itself] to hold such meetings at least once every two months,

b.      EDA should have one or two of its or member parties’ leaders at every public rally.  If Members of Parliaments of other countries are participating at these rallies, it is only appropriate for them to be there.  This is aside from the fact that politicians are first and foremost citizens and politicians second.

c.      As many Eritreans have already pointed out – EDA must aggressively engage in its diplomatic efforts.  For better results, two or three different parties should send their leaders together to lobby foreign officials.

                             iii.            Unambiguous positions towards certain key issues such as Warsai Yekealo, pensions, tegadelties, reconciliation, etc…  Despite abuse, the public is reluctant to rise up because they don’t know what awaits them next.  If EDA isn’t able to appease the public’s fears, we will have to wait until hell freezes over before people take matters into their own hands.   Our position should instill confidence in the people.   We have to say, ‘These are the problems that concern you; we are willing to discuss them and address them; we believe they can be resolved in this way …’ Even the fact that EDA would be willing to discuss, even if people don’t agree with its positions, gives people confidence.  Similarly, we hope that EDA has a sophisticated and prudent strategy to engage PFDJ other than what some advocate ‘bite your teeth, and play a game of who blinks first while thousands are suffering’.

                            iv.            Leadership – Nobody is asking for a demigod.  Leadership is needed that is capable of

a.      Able to propagate the public’s message with full confidence,

b.      Able to coordinate activities and resources across many individuals and groups,

c.      Able to address organizational conflicts in satisfactory manner,

Some write articles on extremely delicate issues with so much fervor and passion that they miss the forests for the treesHas it occurred to some that probably the best “African” government might be the one that offers next to nothing [i.e. only some basic infrastructure work, basic legal and security services (like two laws only: don’t steal and don’t kill).  Hyper-governments with hyper-agendas might just be recipe for disaster.  Can parties say, “Hey, we don’t believe in government-led national growth, but leave it to individuals.”   

The government would start with do-the-least-possible, i.e. after all this is Sub-Saharan African government’s capacity, and then slowly build-up the country.  In the meantime, individuals will be given maximum rights and freedoms, i.e. within the rule-of-law, to pursue their personal interests.  You till, you trade, you work, you learn, you marry and you shall succeed.  No interference from a government with hyper-agendas.  It is up to the individual!  Is this a radical idea?  Individualism in a governance-challenged country like Eritrea provides the maximum protection to all individuals regardless of one’s religion, region or ethnicity.  

Let take the example of Somalia, which hasn’t had any form of central government for some 16 years.  Aside from the issue of security and Municipality functions (i.e. garbage disposals, water, road works, etc…), Somalia has been a thriving place economically.  It introduced cell phones and internet before Eritrea.  There is a currency, private schools, private hospitals and many other services.  It is more dynamic than many other African countries with so called “central governments”.   Somalia is a prime example of what individuals can do when opportunities avail themselves.  What we may need in Eritrea is just a very limited form of government that provides only ‘security’ and functional municipalities.  What has Somalia lost for not having anyone looking after its foreign policies?  Zilch!

This isn’t to say that discussions and debates shouldn’t take place to address many issues about the future of Eritrea.  Among many others, this writer enjoys addressing these issues to formulate long-term vision.  But probably we shouldn’t get too excited to a point where we bite a lot more than we can swallow.

It is with great dismay that many of us read the latest disputes by certain members of Eritrean Democratic Council over the formation of the League of Eritrean Democratic Forces.  Without prejudicing who is correct and who is at fault, we should closely follow the developments within the context of continued organizational challenges we face within the Eritrean community.  This isn’t the first incident of such organizational challenges for Eritreans, and won’t be the last. 

It is pointless to articulate rosy vision or draw up perfect Charter if we still remain organizationally challenged.  Keeping political organizations accountable isn’t the task of the members only, but is the responsibility of the wider Eritrean community of political activities to ensure that everybody plays by the rule-of-the-game [rule-of-law] regardless of our political inclinations.  If our only political philosophy is ‘to win’, and believe that rules can and should be bent as needed or only apply to others – esp. by those who should know better – all our aspirations won’t see daylight.  Quickly sweeping problems under the rug is a sure way of repeating them. 

Congratulations to Eritrean Australians for Peace and Justice, Eritrean Youth Action Network (EritrYANA) and Farajat for your excellent efforts.   Your continued efforts and dedication is a source of inspiration for all us.  Predictable change is brought about the seemingly little things we do everyday – and not by propagating grandiose schemes at the expense of the seemingly little efforts we can do everyday.    

“Halewa Wesen” boarded the fast moving train quickly approaching its destination?  Are you on it?  Will you be with us to build the foundations of a great Eritrea from the very holes PFDJ has dug to bury our cherished Eritrea?

Berhan Hagos

January 17, 2007  

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