To Members of the Eritrean Community in Australia: a Call not to Disappoint the Suffering People of Eritrea

Dear Esteemed Members of the Eritrean Community in Australia,

The Committee selected to oversee the boycotting of the Eritrean regime’s festival in Melbourne reaches out to all of you with this urgent call to boycott the festival. The Eritrean Community in Australia which has been recognised for its principled stand vis-à-vis many and varied matters is hereby duty bound to continue its honourable tradition of speaking out when it comes to issues of Eritrean national significance. In adopting such noble stand, only humanistic, moral and patriotic considerations affect its decision. The upcoming peaceful protest, resistance and rejection against the festival are in line with this. Simply translated, our abstinence from the festival is about commitment to the cause of the oppressed Eritrean people. It is even more important to clearly spell out our disapproval given the Eritrean regime’s speculation, its attempt to call into question and its desire to test the scale of our commitment and will to hold out. It is the regime’s ultimate dream to see members of the Eritrean Community in Australia take part in its festival celebrations. The joy and celebratory tone of the festival can never reflect the true nature [dire and gross] of the situation inside Eritrea.

Today, in Eritrea there are hundreds of prisoners, prisoners of conscience, journalists and civil-rights activists and so on and so forth. There are many more mothers whose ill-fate has been to bury their dead daughters and sons in unmarked mass graves. Similarly, family members [parents in particular] are forced to languish in prisons under indescribable appalling conditions for contrived and trumped up charges that accuse them of abetting their children’s escape from the country. As far as their daily livelihood goes, for the Eritrean people the hardship and misery screw has come full circle. The regime is waging war against the people on all levels of life; economic, cultural, religious faith… etc. Eritrean society as a whole is experiencing mass displacement and all kind of unimaginable humiliation. Every Eritrean has received his/her fair share of injustice and suffering at the hands of the ruling regime. Paradoxically enough, despite the calamitous situation in Eritrea, the regime has taken to labelling Eritreans who stand for upholding citizens’ rights as reckless subversives devoid of any patriotic sentiment. Note that patriotic duty for the regime comprises in Eritreans living abroad flocking to its festivals and dancing to its tune.

Precisely because we refused to be part of its diversionary exercise [supremely expressed by the festival], the regime has resorted to smear campaign calling its opponents all sorts of negative and defamatory names. We cannot afford to indulge in the proceedings of a dubious party at this dark hour in the life of our fellow country men and women. Fear, sorrow and uncertainty has subdued the Eritrean nation and has become the norm. Eritreans with minimum information about their country cannot fail to grasp the downward spiral that the country is going through. In fact, given the regime’s mal-practices, there is nothing pleasant and joyous coming out of Eritrea at the present moment. In thinking about the upcoming Eritrean government festival, it is worth asking what would the people’s responses to our participation be?  After all, these are the very people who [day in day out] directly are in receipt of the full brunt of the Eritrean State’s abuse and violation of their basic human rights. Just imagine the consternation, the deep and painful feelings of hurt that they will be impacted with.

Having clarified our reasons for rejecting the festival and having only briefly touched on the current unpromising situation inside Eritrea, we would like to admonish and urge members of the Eritrean Community in Australia not to attend this so-called cultural festival. Rather, to rally and picket and to peacefully demonstrate as part of the parallel “Festival of Resistance” would be the right step for members of this community to take. Alternatively, members of the Eritrean Community can boycott the festival by at least remaining at home for the night.

Finally, what this Committee intends to state in no uncertain terms is to emphasise the point and deliver the message that members of the Eritrean Community who oppose the official festival are not against Eritrea nor its people. On the contrary, concern and love for their home country and its people drives and informs their action. What we are really against and abhor is the Eritrean regime because of its unjust policies and practices.

Melbourne Rally Organising Committee

Eritrean Community in Australia.

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Posted by on Jan 2 2007 Filed under Resistance. 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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