Dr. Bayene Speaks Frankly to the GIC:

*Kassel Festival Represents a United Opposition Message to the Eritrean People

*The Three-Party Unity is a Popular Desire and Strong Support for the Alliance

*The Fourth Meeting is Legal by the Participation of the Heads of the Three Organizations

Gulf Information Center
July20, 2005 


Dr.Beyane is an old fighter. He was a member of the ELM and then joined the ELF in 1964. He was active within the Eritrean student movement when he was studying at the College of (Alemayou) which was known, in the past, by the university of Haile selassie. He was able to get the masters degree from the University of Pennsylvania, USA. He was the only black student among (75) students of the college at the time.He got his PHD and enlisted his name within the outstanding honor students at the university. He had put aside every thing and chose to sacrifice for his people and took part at the liberation struggle. Now he is continuing his struggle for democratic change. The GIC’s Arabic Desk conducted with him an interview which came across a number of files of the Eritrean arena. The following is the translated excerpts of the interview by the English Desk of the GIC:


What does the conduct of Kassel Festival under the umbrella of the Eritrean Alliance mean?

This year’s Kassel festival holds many meanings on the opposition level. It is a united message to the Eritrean people that the umbrella of the alliance represents a real desire of national consensus and reflects the coherence of all the united national powers with a national vision represented by the alliance. We consider this festival a big political, social and cultural phenomenon in the Diaspora. And we are glad to be hold this festival under the umbrella of the alliance and it will be honored by the presence of the Chairman of the Executive Office of the Alliance Mr.Hussien who heads the delegation of the Alliance to the festival; and it is considered a great transformation to the course of the Alliance which held a number of a united meetings in the Sudan. It is a festival of all in which several Eritrean organizations take part; and it, in its turn, seeks ways of joint work among Eritrean powers which are struggling for democratic change in Eritrea. And the Kassel festival of this year, which is being held under the umbrella of the Alliance, has special connotations.

*But what do you expect from this festival to alleviate the sufferings of the Eritrean people?

There is strict belief that this festival will conclude good results in all levels. As a result, the dictator regime will face a real threat. And it is contrary to what is propagated for it from false rumors to fabrications in order to mislead the Eritrean people inside the homeland. And the festival, in itself, is a strong message to the dictator regime which was being strengthened by the disparities and differences that the Eritrean opposition was suffering from before the establishment of the Alliance in the beginning of this year. We consider this festival a great transformation in the course of a common work which will replace the efforts that the individual organizations are carrying out which reflects the state of dispersion in the opposition arena. And there will be a festival in London under the umbrella of the EDA in September. This festival was being held in the past under the umbrella of the ELF and there is a general orientation from Eritrean communities at this time, for example the Eritrean community in Australia celebrated the “Independence Day” in a very united way. and the Kassel phenomena which came by the efforts and initiatives of the masses, cadres and leadership of the organizations in Europe, particularly Germany is considered a beginning for the launch of collective work of the Eritrean national powers -be it under the umbrella of the EDA or outside its umbrella. And the train of the joint work has set out and will not stop except at its last destinations (Asmara-.)

*What do you say about the Alliance?

The best umbrella the opposition has ever found and we consider it a national achievement and our capabilities is at the disposal of the leadership of the alliance and our organization offers an absolute support… a support that has no limit. And we endeavor to enhance the role of the EDA to make it strong body of the Eritrean opposition.


*But you are accused of tearing out the EDA by establishing the Salvation Front?

We do not allow any body to tear out the EDA and we refuse the principle of establishing a united front within a united front. And the Salvation Front, according to last year’s Kassel declaration, focuses on the principle of an integrative unity by transforming the five organizations into one organization. This was what had been accredited in the congress of the legislative bodies of the three organizations. And we refuse an establishment of a united front within the alliance- be it from us or others- because the EDA basically represents a united front.

*But there are those who think that the integrative declaration of the three-party constitutes a threat to the EDA?

These thoughts are wrong and we hear them here and there; and they are in my estimation satanic thoughts; and they are some forms of an escape from unity. They are from certain followers of the regime and a misleading group which live in the obsession of power and enrichment of the plans of the individual organizations and on the tunes of differences and conflicts. Unity contradicts with their individual interests which take it as a means of living. We have declared a tripartite agreement for an integrative unity. And it is “we have to become one” instead of three organizations within the alliance. In my opinion, we will be strong organization and a basic pillar for the alliance. And we open the gates for similar experiences for unification of alike organizations in their programs within or out of the alliance. We support the reduction of the big number of organizations and we consider unity is might and also a demand of our thirsty people for democracy ever since the liberation period. And we are convinced that the only one which disturbed from the unity is the regime and its followers.

*Six months have passed since the EDA was established. How do you asses it?

Generally, there have been many positive works the EDA has carried out. One of which is the leadership has been appointed through a democratic way. In general, the way the EDA has come up with includes the regularities and rules which arrange its upcoming course. And we can also make clear positives and negatives from its work; and if there are shortcomings in a democratic way, I can say that the EDA goes on powerfully on a strong ground which can make us work with responsibility and that push us to wards collective work. Anyhow, the three-party unification stands behind the EDA with all its might.

*You declared in Kassel a unity of five organizations but they have now become three?

We had agreed as five organizations to reach an integrative unity through four meetings of the supreme leadership. There were several discussions on a number of issues which focused on reaching an integrative unity. And through these discussions, the three organizations were able to accredit the principle of integration and then its ratification by the conferences of the programs of unity; and the leadership of the agreed organization ratified it and they began the implementation of the unity. Whereas for the two other organizations (Kunama and Afar), I think they are ethnic organizations and do not want to involve in the integrative unity. These issues were raised in the third meeting which agreed to hold its fourth meeting on the 10thJune, 2005.And according to the greed upon schedule, the meeting was held on the level of the chairmen of the three organizations. And the three chairmen, in their turn, have accredited the principle of integrative unity which was ratified by the conferences of the organizations, the last of which was the last conference of “Sedege” and that of the EPM. Also, the executive body of the National Congress held last May a meeting and I was commissioned, at the time, to participate in the fourth meeting of the leadership despite the personal circumstance which I had. As a result, for the respect of what had been agreed upon at the third meeting, I participated at the fourth meeting although only forty days had passed on the death of my daughter. And every body was aware of the meeting time. Anyhow the heads of the three organizations are the supreme authority that chairs the meeting and it released a statement on that.

*But the chairman of the Salvation Front an his deputy were absent from the meeting and there are those who say that the meeting is illegal?

Firstly the fourth meeting was legal by the participation of the chairmen of the three organizations for they are the top presidential authority at the organizations according to practical hierarchal work. And I don’t want to go deep into the details of the absence of the two ethnic organizations. I have mentioned the reasons of their absence earlier.

However, we have commissioned the chairman of the Salvation Front for a task by the presence of the heads of the organizations and the over all issue is about representation of the organizations. No more. And there was the Chairman of the EPM whose presence does not give any justification for any claim; and after that the issue of unification has been limited only to the three organizations.

*There are questionings about your choice for the EPM to be integrated with you?

 We have met in objectives and visions which are considered common. There are close programs which perhaps were the reason for the convergence between us. And this has been developed into the choice of establishing integration; and we have agreed with them in visions. And our grassroots in the Diapora work together just side by side. And this was what had been reflected in our conferences which accredited the principle of unity.

The convergence among us is not based on the choice of persons. But rather it is convergence on joint programs and visions.

 Similar convergence had also happened with the organization of Sedege and the cooperation with them is developed to the degree of integration. We are looking forward to establish unity with others .For example we consider the ELF  among the most closer one to us based on the experience of our and their grass roots which are considered from one school. Moreover, our grassroots and that of the EDP have cooperation. And we find our selves’ understanding and cooperating greatly in coordinating many issues with the EDP despite the difference of the two schools.

And we deal with it with an open mind and heart and we are looking forward to reach many understandings because all of us are struggling for a democratic change

How do you asses the internal situation and what is your message to the people?

 The organizations should make the masses the focus of their objectives and they should endeavor to take the people out of its ordeal; and we should benefit from our relations with the neighboring countries which have showed readiness to provide all support for the desired change. The issue of establishing democracy is the objective which is making us put aside personal interests. And the joint work is the short cut to realize the dream of our people.



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Posted by on Jul 20 2005 Filed under Interviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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