In what direction Eritrea is being taken ? Part 1

Ever found you have something to say but just can’t find the right place, words or time? Then you may decide somebody else express it for you and many more others in writing to share your thoughts, ideas or stories of important events in history. In this respect now I’ve decided to say something about my perspectives on Eritrea by myself instead on this occasion due to Eritrea’s 20th Independence anniversary.
The Eritrean people longed to see a free and democratic Eritrea that the Eritrean Revolution promised. Sadly the PFDJ regime and its die hard cronies still resemble a blood thirsty terrorists intend on inflicting suffering, misery and even death on our people arbitrary, not the democratic and justice values they purport to embody. I remember as a young child born in Asmara, evading from the Dergu occupation forces along with some of my family members. On our way to one village where some freedom fighters were stationed I was told who we were going to meet there. I assumed some of my uncles, cousins and aunts etc who some joined the Revolution long ago before I was born and did not even know or had heard anything about them before would greet them. As soon as we arrived there safely and met them, I felt that I belonged to them and wanted to be like them despite being too young at the time. One day after a few days the village was besieged by the DERGU occupation soldiers whilst we were there and that’s when I first witnessed a battle in close range involving combat actions live. As ever I was impressed by the heroic fighting of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Army’s (EPLF freedom fighters) who were far less in numbers compared to the enemy’s but managed to break the siege, defeat the enemy and forced them to retreat with heavy losses. Most of those fighters I dare say are martyrs now. I admit since then I owe both Eritrea and those who saved me from the besiege everything. I had grown very close to the Revolution where many joined from abroad and within Eritrea for a cause worth sacrificing from then onwards.
I vividly remember when I went to the Revolution school later where I was first taught politics whilst I was still in Elementary school. Abdu a veteran war disabled hero taught us the EPLF’s principles (democracy, justice, equality, unity and progress), the imperialists who are our ideological enemies (the USA, France and Great Britain) and the Zionist Israel etc. Hang on; I was just wondering what those principles were meant to be for all the EPLF freedom fighters then and now. No doubt the people of Eritrea had believed in those core values and principles as well. I can’t remember in my life that I have ever heard or come across a freedom fighter saying that they were fighting to bring the dictator ruler Isaias Afewerki to power forever though. In fact he was not the leader who could represent the hopes, the dreams and aspiration of our people and that’s why we were deceived then as always. The Revolution leaders had always pretended that future free and independent Eritrea would be democratic and fair where the people would be shared and given power but not denied power. In addition, the children and the young sons and daughters of the Revolution were promised a bright future and ultimately would became leaders of Eritrea but all those were myth.
Throughout the time Mass Organisations in Liberated areas and in Diaspora and secret cells of Masses operating inside and beyond enemy controlled lines played a central role in ending the harsh military Dergu occupation. So much for the Revolution promised that the peasant, workers and the whole people would be protected by the Revolution. Once again the Eritrean Masses are faced with a situation they had seen time and time again-oppression by the PFDJ regime. All their lands which they had been deprived by the Dergu, still have not been returned to them yet. Thus, too many veteran freedom fighters after the independence of Eritrea left the country, even some defected to the opposition because of their unhappiness with the regime’s system of governance at a local and regional level and its domestic and foreign policies. Furthermore, the appalling desertions of the Revolution’s principles on issues including basic human and religious rights were hard to take.
Hopefully now the PFDJ supporters and indeed the reluctant ones ( who are not involved in any politics) too will look back on an era that resulted in 4 wars with 4 neighboring countries and the live losses of tens of thousands young service men and women, also the displacement of third of our population within Eritrea alone so far since Eritrea gained independence. I do wonder, on this issue, whether I once believed this country was a nation of justice and peace lovers and that a natural compassion and empathy at the core of our collective psyche. Given what I’ve witnessed in recent years, I am not so sure.
The youth have the ability to bid to revive a sense of nationalism or patriotism. In most recent events led by the Egyptian youth, it was indicated that from student revolt it became popular uprising. That’s why their vision has not stalled. Similarly nowadays the Eritrean youth in Diaspora (Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, Europe, Australia, and North America etc) demonstrated that they could re-connect with the hopes and aspirations of the Eritrean people. While there was deep anger felt at the broken promises of the Eritrean Revolution by the PFDJ regime’s circles who they see themselves revolutionaries, it is not enough to wait for the regime to fail. The youth should now join the current wave of a revolution by Eritreans throughout the world and should not allow the Revolution to crumble. You need to do that hard thinking strategy of your own to keep the momentum in Diaspora working or going by taking revolutionary actions.
In the past some of the opposition (civic or political) and youth hinted they did not wish to be involved. Some had already either stood down or left (absconded, abandoned) from their duty in the opposition and had chosen to become passive for the foreseeable future. And that’s just unacceptable. Even though there were far more tough times at the time of the Revolution hardly our fighters gave up. After all ideas and principles are something worth fighting for. They are how you feel in your gut, about the values you hold dear and the beliefs that you instinctively have I guess.
The youth have always been regarded as a national treasure as they had played a crucial role liberating and defending Eritrea. However, it’s equally crucial to get back there quickly to take reasonable and proportionate steps to safeguard the people. It is tough to see the Eritrean people going near extinction day after day as if it was compulsive viewing but please don’t bury your heads in the sand. Yet if those feelings of antipathy could be united into common action, something effective can be done from now onwards I believe. You have got to show dedication, determination and leadership. At this stage the youth have moral, human and national obligation to free the Eritrean people from absolute rule by the PFDJ regime.
I am not surprised people in Diaspora have risen up recently in large numbers, albeit belatedly. Of course the popular uprising will have an impact on the regime’s down fall. Given our noble history as people and nation I think the struggle for democratic change have stayed too long and came too late though.


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Posted by on May 26 2011 Filed under Articles. 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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