Why on Aiga Forum?
Mussie Zena
Feb. 20th. 2010

Why the Ethiopians say the Eritrean issue is all about Eritreans in public and works in maneuvering problems on Eritrean opposition undercover by entertaining such an irresponsible article on their biggest government website www.aigaforum.com? I am saying the Ethiopians and not only aigaforum because the website is government owned.

Except for very few, I believe that PFDJ is the enemy of the whole Eritrean people. But why the writer of the article “Eritrea – Pushing the Panic Button to Its Peaks” on www.aigaforum.com (date not mentioned but it is probably on Feb 16 or 17, 2010) wants to brand all highland Eritrean Tigrinyas as PFDJs or the other side of the same coin and aigaforum shows its support by posting the article on their website. As you can see from his article the writer is a user that he would be grateful of the Tigray Tigrinyas and accuses all the Eritrean Tigrinyas of romanticizing hollow pride, identity crisis, contempt and disillusionment. In my opinion, he praised the Tigray Tigrinyas just because they hold a government and he is looking for extra backing for himself or his group from the Ethiopian side. Otherwise they are all Tigrinyas. In case he is considerate to the Tigray Tigrinyas because they accommodate article 39 on their constitution that is all about the Ethiopians. In case of Eritrea it will or will not be the truth as it is up to the people of Eritrean to decide.

I do not have any dilemma about Ethiopians in building an ethnic based federal system except to be glad as far as the people of Ethiopia are happy. To avoid ambiguity, I also have no problem if Eritreans chose to have the same kind of structure. But what matters to me is whenever we talk about ethnicity I notice people trying to lay all the burdens of the evils of the PFDJ towards the “Eritrean highland Tigrinyas minority” (quoting from the writer’s article). The writer argues the 700,000 Eritrean Tigrinya highlanders are minorities among the 5.2 million Eritreans but he did not say a word about the 6 million Tigray Tigrinyas who are also the same among the 80 million Ethiopians. I wonder why the writer couldn’t challenge this simple logic when he said “the Eritrean Tigrina minorities” in Eritrea. I feel he wanted to thrill his Tigray Tigrinya bosses.

By the way why do we must need or why it seems to be fare to blackmail the highland Tigrinyas in order to talk about or comprise a decentralized ethnic based government in future Eritrea? Why don’t we attack the PFDJ with out mentioning ethnic Tigrinya? Why don’t we also keep our breath for a second and think about those Tigrinya Eritreans thrown at every corner of the planet because they are not PFDJs? What about those in prison? Can’t we able to discuss or agree in a professional manner why we need or we do not need our future Eritrea to be ethnic based without degrading the Eritrean Tigrinyas? I myself would say still we can. If we can do this why we knowingly want to dishearten other fellow Eritreans and need to create a gap among ourselves.

As a typical example I am born from a Tigrinya family in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and my parents took me to Eritrea immediately after independence when I was a teenager. I had stayed for 8 years in Eritrea and it has been 9 years since I left the country. While I was in Eritrea I had the chance to know the true colour of the PFDJ and that is why I have decided to join the struggle against it. I did not even know I was an Eritrean until I came to Eritrea let alone to know I am Eritrean Tigrinya. While I was in Ethiopia I used to remember when people called us “Tigrie”. I had no clue whether I am Ethiopian Tigrinya or Eritrean Tigrinya. Hence, I would like to ask the writer of the article on where would be my position according to your blind and narrow judgement? I hope it will not be with the always bad doers “the minority Eritrean Tigrinya highlanders”. If you say so… do you think I care? I don’t care except keeping the flame of democracy alive. Do you assume I need to be the fan of self determination up to secession to be a genuine Eritrean opposition? I don’t think so. I believe it is not rational to label all Eritrean Tigrinya highlanders as “naturally terrible” just because they are instinctive to Tigrinya families. This argument is not only totally twisted but also extremely undemocratic. After all, if the writer is not silly no one has ever chosen his family; we only had the chance to know our ancestors after birth. Had it been possible to pick up our roots, many people in the world could have chosen to belong to other ancestors than they have today.

Simultaneously, it is very surprising to find out aigaforum the well known Ethiopian government owned website showing us such a gesture knowing that the EDA umbrella organization head quartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia has all kinds of Eritrean opposition organizations including organizations with “minority Eritrean highland Tigrinyas”. I just can’t understand the motive behind the publication of the article on this giant website. If they are trying to tell us that they are supporting the notion of the writer on his weak attitude I would only say it is not reasonable. Or as we are in their land as an opposition, if they are trying to enlighten or dictate us by means of such articles and opinions that we should have an ethnic based federal government in future Eritrea I will say (as they always speak in public) it is only our (“Eritreans”) business to establish any kind of government the way we want. As far as they (Ethiopians) were free to decide on their political fate I ask them to give us a space to do so.

In this historical period especially when we are targeting at a national conference I basically couldn’t see any good reason and I believe it is not wise to cooperate in posting such an article that could let down those “Eritrean Tigrinya minorities” who are struggling against the inhuman PFDJ regime. In fact, I do not need to be told the Ethiopians have the same political programs with the ethnic based Eritrean opposition organizations however I only would like to counsel them to extend any extra compassion to them in private.

Hoping to get an explanation for the critical question in my mind about the backstage drama of posting the above mentioned article from the aigaforum website administrators, here I invite my readers to examine the full article posted at www.aigaforum.com. It was on the front page until on February 20, 2010. In connection with part of the writer’s article about the upcoming PFDJ demonstration and in case he wishes to know my stand on it he can listen to my interview with Radio Selam based on Washington DC, on the 21st of February @ 2PM Washington DC time at www.wust1120.com - Selam Radio.

Mussie Zena:- zenamg@yahoo.com

Eritrea – Pushing the Panic Button to Its Peaks

Abdullah A. Ado – Email: abdullahadoa@gmail.com

Pushing the Panic Button over UNSC-Sanctions:

As I write, aware of the impending demise of Afewarki and his military Junta’s dictatorship, PFDJ-henchmen including Ali Abdu, Minister of Information, Yemane Gebreab, Head of the Political Affairs (PFDJ), and Teame “Mekele” a member of PFDJ are said to be in Frankfurt, Germany at the Innside Premium Hotel Niederrand. On this mission, they are tasked by Afewarki to: (a) coordinate PFDJ-clandestine activities in collaboration with those who sympathize with PFDJ; (b) plead to the Diaspora to show up in the February 22nd 2010 gatherings and demonstrations against the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions; (c) establish new, independent routes of laundering money; (d) coordinate and put into action cyber attacks on websites which are proactively sending out current affairs; and (d) closely follow up opposition groups’ demonstration planned to take place in Geneva, Switzerland on February 23, 2010. These PFDJ-junta henchmen are on a last minute PFDJ-trip before the implementation of the UNSC-embargos curtails them; and to disclose Afewarki’s relief and make it possible to prolong his PFDJ-military junta rule. Indeed Afewarki and his PFDJ-junta are highly concerned and in search of a way out of the quagmire they have indulged into due to the rapid decline of support from Diaspora.

On his part, on February 6, 2010 Eritrea's EU-Ambassador, Girma Asmerom, arrived at Folket Huset, in Backa, Hisingen, Gothenburg, Sweden, to speak to those Afewarki and his PFDJ-junta-friendly Swedish-Eritrean groups and plead to them to come out in huge numbers on 22 February 2010 and demonstrate in public in order to awaken the Swedish public opinion against the UNSC-sanctions passed on December 23, 2009. To his surprise, however, some 30 members of the newly established Swedish-Eritrean Association for Democracy and Justice were actually gathered to protest against Afewarki and his PFDJ-junta outside Folket Huset. Seeing these demonstrators Girma Asmerom slipped out of the meeting hall through the back door protected by the Swedish police in place and avoided likely confrontations by protesters that held placards with pictures of Eritrean prisoners of conscience without trial in Eritrean deserts – including the Eritrean Swedish national Dawit Isaak Esayas and demanded the immediate release of these prisoners.

Following suit on the order transmitted by tyrant Issayas Afewarki ambassadors are attempting to refute the UNSC-embargos imposed on Eritrea; and even orchestrating events including holding press conferences. A case in point is the recent press release made by Salih Omar, ambassador to Kenya, in which he claimed that accusations against Eritrea for its involvement in Somalia has never been substantiated or verified. But his contention was instantly refuted by the Somali Ambassador in Kenya who indicated as evidences were put on UNSC-table for their decisions.

Ruling under the barrel of the gun

As evidently observable, most of the PFDJ-Junta members are Eritrean highland Tigrinya minorities who are about 700,000 people of the nearly 5.2 million people within Afewarki’s Eritrea, a fiefdom held in complete hostage; while the very people of Tigray where TPLF originated from, and who rescued EPLF from the paw of the Dergue are over 6 million population wise. So what is all these where Eritrean Tigrinya highlanders romanticizing their hollow pride, identity crisis, contempt and disillusionment. For those of us who side with the oppressed Eritrean population, Afewarki and his military junta are our subjugators including Afar, Kunama, Saho, Beja, Bilen and other minorities. As far as we know, the Eritrean highland Tigrinya minority group rules Eritrea under the barrel of the gun. Even during the early 1990s referendum moment we were warned by Issayas Afewarki and his Gestapo soldiers that kept on threatening the public with such statements as: "If you vote Red you are dead!" Now that Issayas Afewarki is spending a large portion of the national funds on weapons, he used that as an excuse to stay in power and cancel the regular elections and the drafted constitution.

So what is all this mumbling about Eritrean identity? Can we then call this a genuine highland-lowland ‘unity’? Not as far as the oppressed Afar, Kunama, Saho, Bilen and Beja communities are concerned. Mind you, Eritrea is still on the making. It is a fragile nation formation experiment that can easily crumble by its own internal frictions and factions. Every abnormal action being waged by Afewarki and his PFDJ-military junta are leading to a possible faction and to the good old days of the ghedli era. The Sawa garrisons’ national service policy is nothing but an exact copy of Shaabia in between the 1960s through to 2001; created with the aim to manipulate and acculturate the youth teghadelti group out of the silent and salient majority within Eritrea with what Afewarki terms as indoctrinating ghedli values in the youths’ mind.

Elites busy with drafting scenarios:

While pushing the panic button around the glob is continuing, few Eritrean Tigrinya Highland group elites in Diaspora continue with their age-old fashionable lame excuses trying to divert attention from critical issues of Issayas Afewarki’s military junta rule at home. In so doing they continue with idealist arguments in conference halls waging for a peaceful takeover of power and on how to continue the status quo with highlanders securing the usual top seats of power. To this effect, suffice to look at few of the known websites, where almost all articles coming regularly from these Eritrean highland Tigrinya elite groups reflect the key concern they have after Afewarki’s demise. They talk of what would happen once tyrant Issayas Afewarki is gone for no return? What kind of constitution should Eritrean peoples have? What kind of government should Eritrea install next? What languages should Eritrea have as its official national language? How do Eritrean peoples resolve the traditional land issue at stake? What should be the role of religion in future Eritrea? Which is viable - Decentralized and Federal or unitary and unionist regime?

Obsessed as they are with promoting their exclusive Tigrinya Highlanders agendas that have entirely to do with the hereafter, they pay little attention to the shocks faced by the silent and salient majority of the Eritrean peoples here and now. For Eritrean Tigrinya highlanders, it is not Issayas who is their primary obstacle or enemy; but whoever they think will be bickering and competing against them now and in the hereafter for taking the seat of power in Asmara. As they were customarily acting during the revolutionary heydays of the 1960s through to 2001 their cry for “democracy” has provided them with an excellent camouflage to do whatever they are doing in politically correct ways in their mind-set-up. But tragic enough our peasant and pastoral communities within Eritrea lack the “barest minimum” of Eritrean highland Tigrinya “democratic play” that could prevent them from all the havoc and horror-filled living conditions we witness in Issayas Afewarki’s Gestapo junta ruled Eritrea in the name of ghedli that has been and still is taxing our peoples’ limbs and lives mercilessly. So it is rather high time that we in Diaspora speak for them, demonstrate for them, and to call a spade a spade and slap them on the face.

As far as RSADO is concerned we say the fragile Eritrean nation formation can only hold water if there is attitude change and constitutional governance. Otherwise what is in a name ‘Eritrea’ and its ‘sovereignty’ without keeping our oppressed pastoral and peasant communities’ worth, respect and value? What do we have in stake in an unimplemented draft Constitution, where only Eritrean highland Tigrinya elite in Diaspora collectively drafted without the consent of the silent majority peasants and pastoralists?

Those of us who write exposing the genocides and madness acts and actions of Issayas Afewarki and his corrupt PFDJ-junta in Eritrea are often attacked, verbally, in pen, and physically and in false reports on the internet, often by ‘Eritrean highland Tigrinya minorities in Diaspora’ who continue protecting their own financial interests and their kin holding autocratic power at the cost of surviving on peasants and pastoralists labour and military services.

Concluding Remarks:

As far as RSADO and the vast majority of peasants and pastoralists are concerned, if the UNSC-sanctions are realized, it is not the Eritrean people who suffer from the arms embargo, travel ban and assets freeze; rather it is only the coffers of Issayas Afewarki and his PFDJ-military junta’s corrupt henchmen whose assets may eventually be frozen. In fact, it is better to freeze their assets. These assets are nothing but stolen from the slave-labour of Eritrean salient and silent majority.

But the empty rhetoric and cries by Eritrean highland Tigrinya groups of ‘‘fake unity’’. Boils down to answering the following critical question: Who is really carrying the brunt of the suffering due to Issayas Afewarki’s non-stop oppression in Eritrea? As far as we see it these are the rural peasants and pastoralists. In such circumstance, we can’t unite with those who do not appreciate our dying for Eritrea on the formation stage; we cannot hold a rally pretending that the UNSC-embargos are a bad thing for our people. Things could not possibly get any worse for the Eritrean masses than what is so ticklish enough for Afewarki and his ruling junta clicks caught in panic and run around the glob pleading for a demonstration show-off cases.

For those of us who side with and represent the oppressed peasants and pastoralists of Eritrea, the UNSC-embargos are a way forward. If the global demonstration is against Issayas Afewarki and his military junta, then that would be wonderful action for us to join, clap-our hands, and make our voices heard to the wider-world telling enough is enough. But rallying and encouraging the Eritrean Diaspora to challenge the golden opportunity that has befallen with the UNSC-Sanctions would be an absolute waste of human resources. On the contrary, it is high time to make a joint wake-up call and unite all Eritrean peoples in Diaspora against Tyrant Issayas Afewarki and his PFDJ-military Junta.

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