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Bologna Conference: The Benefits of Non-Violent Struggle in Eritrea

I was recently invited to speak at a conference organised by EYSC (Eritrean Youth Solidarity for Change) in the historic Italian town of Bologna held from 30th August to 1st September 2013. My presentation focussed on the merits of non-violent struggle against the tyrants ruling Eritrea from 1991 to present day.

EYSC is a diaspora based youth movement with a potential for effective contribution to the ongoing non-violent struggle inside and outside Eritrea. The youth group employs many technical skills in pursuit of change in the homeland, including facebook with a following of about 12,000 engaged in  lively debates on issues of Eritrean concerns.

The theme of the Bologna conference was: Eritrean Solutions for Eritrean Problems. There were eleven scheduled speakers who presented inspiring messages. I was particularly touched by Dr. Rebka Sebhatu’s presentation, which focused on the traditions of Eritrean oral history including the tradition of storytelling. She eloquently related the stories with our cultural values and identities that the ruling regime in Asmara has been trying to destroy. 

The EYSC organisers clearly showed high organisational skills in pulling together a conference that was attended by Eritreans from around the world, including participants from as far as Melbourne, Australia and California, USA.

In my presentation, I explained that the method of struggle pursued by a people to achieve democratic change most likely determine the form of change they achieve. Experience has shown that, in general, using violent means to change a dictatorial regime into a democratic system of governance results in counter violence by the opponents. In essence, the message of democracy, justice and peace will be replaced by revenge, hate and unrest.  Violence breeds violence, destroys lives and properties, silences dialogue and rationale, and eventually replaces one dictator by another or even leads to breakup of a nation into mini states ruled by several war lords who would act as local dictators.  

As the ruling tyrants in Eritrea eventually grow weaker and lose support from within their rank and file, the best option is to reach out to these forces of change within the ruling party, including the army, the intelligence services, the police, civil servants and PFDJ (“ruling party” in Eritrea) members to play a decisive role in removing the tyrant and initiating the process of democratization. The best strategy is always to seek change to come from inside Eritrea and has to be fully operated by Eritreans from beginning to end. External support is greatly appreciated but should not compromise Eritrean sovereignty, unity, and strategic interests.  

Non-violent resistance is a strategy that is more engaging and allows the people to participate in their cause and determine its outcome to be consistent with their dreams and hopes for change. Non-violent resistance requires a great deal of courage, sacrifice and dedication to a cause. Its principles are rooted on political defiance based on the power of the masses thereby requiring tremendous amount of patience and endurance of pain.  In the Eritrean case, state institutions currently serving the ruling tyrants can be called upon to side with the people, to defend the people, and to help the people remove the tyrant and his cronies from power, and to help stabilize  the country during the transition period to democracy and beyond. Targeted violence practiced by the current state institutions against the tyrant may therefore be justifiable provided it is limited in scope and purpose to achieve the end result called for by the masses. What is not justified and dangerous is for opposition groups based outside Eritrea to have violence as a strategic means of struggle, and hence have their own partisan “armed cadres/wings/militia/liberation army” to remove the tyrannical regime and to promote their own partisan politics and programs. In fact having different groups with their own armies is a recipe for failure and chaos.

It can be argued that the Eritrean opposition taken individually or combined does not have the necessary political public support or the means and capacity to wage a successful armed struggle against the current regime for various reasons. Nevertheless, one can observe the early symptoms of individualism and intolerance in their political rhetoric and outright condemnation and criminalization of independent Eritrean opposition activists who promote non-violent struggle. This suggests, if the culture of intolerance is maintained, the opposition camp may impose dictatorial rules by violent means in the future. It is for this reason that the pro-democracy non-violent movement should not shy away from peacefully challenging all adversaries including some leaders in the opposition camp. After all democratic change is not just about removing one party or leader and replacing them by another, but about spreading the culture of democracy both vertically and horizontally.

Non-violent struggle is deep rooted in the Eritrean contemporary political history. In 1940s the Muslim-League led Independence Bloc (an umbrella for pro-independence Eritrean parties) was a non-violent movement. The Bloc succeeded in rallying Eritreans from all walks of life for the cause of independence and in sowing the seeds for liberation from foreign colonialism. In 1958, when the Ethiopian monarch began consolidating its violation of the UN-imposed federal union between Eritrea and Ethiopia (1952-1962), and decided to lower the Eritrean legitimate flag (blue ground with green olive branch emblem, which, ironically, is still detested by the current tyrants), Eritreans resolved to fight back through a non-violent trade union and political movement. It was at this time that the Eritrean Liberation Movement (ELM – commonly known as cell of 7 ማሕበርሸውዓተin Southern Highlands and as حركة movement in the lowlands) was launched as a non-violent pro-independence democratic patriotic movement. In post 1991, soon after Eritrea’s full liberation from Ethiopian occupation, the ELF-RC, and later G13, G15, EPDP and other parties and groups have consciously took the decision to pursue non-violent strategies to challenge and expose the Eritrean regime. In addition to its numerous benefits, the non-violent strategy is therefore well rooted in the Eritrean struggle for justice and independent democratic state.

The following can be listed as summarized advantages of non-violent means of struggle:-

         It deprives violent tyrants of legitimacy and justifications to rule against their people’s will

          It gives space for people to own the struggle as well as the outcome of the struggle, whereas in violence scenarios ownership of the means of struggle as well as the outcome often falls in the hands of the conflicting parties. Somalia, CDR (former Zaire) and Libya can be cited as examples of how violence between conflicting parties may lead to state failures

         It draws local and international public sympathy when the conflict is between tyrants and unarmed civilians, instead of tyrants and armed opposition groups

         It paves the way for smooth transition towards democratisation. In the absence of violence people and their legitimate representatives would be able to discuss and agree to manage transition towards democratisation without fear of repercussions from armed groups and war-lords

         It minimises bloodshed, hate and endless conflicts based on people’s cultural, regional or religious identities (e.g. Lebanon/Somalia/Syria)

         It promotes mature political discourse, rule of law and justice mobilisation

Non-violence tools available to Diaspora Eritreans:-

1. Diaspora public mobilisation can effectively help deprive the pfdj tyrannical regime of the 2% income tax and other financial resources that they generate from Eritreans. Public awareness raising events such as holding rallies and demonstrations, seminars and conferences such as the Bologna conference to discuss and promote ideas and solutions for our country’s problems contribute a great deal to the democratisation efforts. In recent years Eritrean activists have been using creative non-violent means to reach out to our people inside Eritrea through telephone calling campaign known as “Freedom Friday” ( ዓርቢሓርነትجمعة الحرية) where random calls are made to thousands in Eritrea encouraging them to express their rejection of tyranny by staying at home on Friday evenings.

2. Media the role of media is crucial in informing the public and raising awareness as well as exposing and challenging tyrants. Media tools include Radio, TV, CDs, DVDs, Internet, Arts (including drama, poem, music, paintings etc.). Dictators in general and the Eritrean tyrant in particular fear independent media more than any other opposition movement, e.g. PFDJ media avoidance of Arab-Spring news, banning of Aljazeera TV broadcasting in public places after the Forto 21 January 2013 movement can be mentioned as some examples of the regime’s paranoia and fear of truth . Also the effective role played by cyber media outlets such as awate.com can not be underestimated in breaking the fear barrier as well as in promoting open political discussions among Eritreans.

The focus should therefore be on building media institutions that can effectively contribute to the struggle for change towards democratisation.          

3. Diplomacy:This tool can be used based on two approaches:-

a. Institutional Diplomacy (e.g. lobbying governments, human rights organisations, parties through inter-party friendships etc.)

b. People’s Diplomacy (e.g. lobbying local parliamentarians, including use of voting and other civic rights) to promote our people’s cause.

Any Potential Role for PFDJ Members?

It is difficult to describe the PFDJ as a political party. That is because it does not function like one. Since its creation in 1994, the “party” held no congress or central committee/leadership meetings. Its tyrant leader is the only authority with unlimited power to dismiss, imprison and eliminate any party member, including those who are members of the leadership. e.g. G15, Abdallah Jaber, Mostafa Nour-Hussein etc. The party’s situation and absence of basic party functions was eloquently confirmed by Dr. Assefaw Tekheste, ex-EPLF and PFDJ member, during the Bologna conference.

All indicators in the last few years show that there is a growing pro-democracy movement inside Eritrea and within the PFDJ camp. The existence and role of pro-democracy movements inside Eritrea can be seen in the fast increasing loss of public support for the tyrannical regime. This movement may not be adequately visible with organisational and leadership structures, but their work can be seen in the dwindling numbers of those participating in pfdj festivals in the Diaspora, challenging questions they raise during meetings with pfdj leaders, and the continuous imprisonments of hundreds of pfdj members inside Eritrea.

Unlike violent movements where the resolve would be to wipe out one another, the non-violent movement’s strategy is inherently to “convert” and win over the “enemy”. This means, PFDJ members, institutions and supporters are potential pro-democracy forces that we should work hard to win over and deprive the tyrant of their support. This guarantees victory and also helps the transition towards democratisation process.

A Word of Thanks to EYSC and few points for our collective consideration

EYSC deserve special thanks for pulling together a conference that was “fruitful, flexible and fun” as they planned.

It is good that such conferences will be held annually. I reiterate the suggestion I made during the final moments of the conference that future events should not be exclusive to all opposition groups and individuals only, but should also be open to PFDJ members and supporters, if willing to participate in. Engagement and communication is half way towards building mutual understanding and cooperation for common good. The annual Bologna Forum may further be used to raise awareness of challenges facing our country such as the economy of a mal-administered and war-torn country, youth unemployment, transitional justice, foreign policy etc.    

It is crucial for members of the non-violent pro-democracy movement to come together under one umbrella platform to coordinate their efforts and strengthen their networks based on common guiding principles.

The non-violent movement should seek to constructively engage those who opted for armed struggle or who entertain and promote such views. They are not enemies, and their views may be based on anger and frustration, rather than on well studied strategies.

I hope we are all able to use the next Bologna Forum event to report on tangible progress made between now and then.

May Peace & Justice Prevail in Eritrea!

Comments to: Bohashem@arkokabay.com

About A/Rahman Sayed (Bohashem)

A/Rahman Sayed – Human & Political Rights Activist. Born and raised in a multi-cultural and multi-ethno-linguistic family speaking Arabic, Tigre and Tigrigna, later on learned Amharic and English at school, graduated in Social Science (International Relations), and post-graduated in Comparative Federalism (combined with Conflict Resolution). He has been a human and political rights activist for over 20 years. He believes the two rights are intertwined and that they should be the main rallying themes for the pro-democracy struggle in Eritrea. He considers their achievement can potentially lead to a just and democratic society. He is a frequent contributor to Eritrean (opposition) and international media as a political analyst and campaigner. He has given regular interviews on Eritrean and African affairs to well established media outlets such as the BBC, Aljazeera English and Arabic, VOA-Tigrigna, DW-Amharic etc. He was the spokes person for the Brussels International Conference on Eritrea and the Horn of Africa held in November 2009. His political interests include: Federalism as a conflict management/resolution tool as well as a system of governance for plural societies, Horn of Africa confederation and economic integration, women empowerment and leadership in the public sphere.

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  • Haben

    Dear writer,

    If we are expecting change by means of non-violence then we better have all the religious leaders (Christians and Muslims) bring their members for fast and prayer. Otherwise, the writer is fantasizing. You mentioned the forces inside to become the agents for change by convincing them, this has been tried and the G-15 are experiencing slow death by torture. When you have a government that refuses to negotiate and only rules by intimidation and harassment, we the victims are left with only one choice, to remove the tyrant by any means.

    The writer seems to want us to tolerate what is going on while seeking non-violence way of change in Eritrea. Easier said, than done. Think about this statement- What you can tolerate, you cannot change.

  • Michael, B.

    T. Kifle
    What do you have in mind? All-out war for plan A? Even if you see the peaceful venue as an alternative to violent means and have it as plan B, you miss nothing from the principle of regaining your basic rights. To think so would still be valid means and effective. Neither unreasonable nor opportunistic. Our national goal by peaceful force would be neither irrational nor unattainable. Be flexible and take as plan A1 and combine any means at your disposal to reach your goal. There is no implicit failure in our proposal. Did I misunderstand your take?

  • T. Kifle

    I see it as a kind of settling for plan B because Plan A, apart from its failure to deliver results, is believed to have caused a collateral damage to the collective psyche of “patriot” Eritreans. So this is the best way of staying away from Ethiopia and feed the ego with self-gratification

  • Michael, B.

    Dear Arha
    I was just trying to tell that A/Rahman was discussing a topic which was missing in Eritrean websites discussion: the fight of the peaceful and peacemakers. I was not and am not and never will be advocating submission to such regime of reneged cheap Mafiosi. And yet, it is important to explore the nonviolent venue of the strong, brave and resilient Eritreans.
    Arha be and stay Arha. Never surrender to the criminal and never give up the Eritrean ultimate peace, the rightful goal. Let us direct our efforts to attain our freedom and reach our national destination. No quarrel among ourselves but mutual understanding, respect and love.
    Respect and love in particular for the mothers, sisters and daughters simply because they deserve more, because they have been denied that for so long.
    A nation must be built not by force of arms but by the rule of law and sustained by peace-loving citizens and by law-abiding people

    • Arha

      Hi Michael, I share your stand.

      Eritrea is a gift to ALL of us from our martyrs. It has been kidnapped by the unelected, unaccountable, aggressive, brutal, killer, liar, unrepentant, controlling group of people.

      Economical embargo, arm embargo and you name it embargo all of it is just an elongated suffering of our people. Therefore, money and armament is not as issue for these criminals. How long can it go like this? what can be done to revive the real dream of our martyrs? What did our martyrs do to liberate the land and the people? did we gave up our liberty? how much did we get for it? can we live without it? do we need to answer all these question or just simply go and get it back? what are we waiting a revelation from the heavens? the dream of receiving a revelation for sure will never materialist?

      I agree with you when you wrote “Never surrender to the criminals” I know time is a factor but long time is long? especially if they are swooping chairs in order to elongate their life span like a cat with a 9 lives

      I think our nation must not be built by force but must be reestablished by any means possible and run and sustained by the rule of law.

  • RAHEL

    YOU WANT TO OVER THROW A NON ELECTED BLOOD SOCKEDING GOVERNMENT WHO HAS BEEN KILLING ERITREANS SINCE 1970 NON VIOLENT .you must be kidding .those who passed this resolution should be agents of this blood socked eritrean government ANY human being with his right mind and understanding the situation of eritreans will support this .this entity who is desimating eritreans should be eliminated by any means possible .if there is a moron who believes eritrea will have a responsable government by peace full means is dreaming an end less dream

  • Arha

    Dear Bohashem

    The isuue is not about violent vs non-violent

    The problem is the mistrust among Eritreans! and consequently the result of no clear agenda on what is OUR problem with the regime

    Whether we like it or not unfortunately there is a vertical differences among Eritrean and so what is needed is an Eritrean Eritrean Dialogue in order to establish a clear AGENDA for the way forward. An AGENDA that promote an Eritrean Christian to fight for the right of Muslim and non-Muslim Eritrean and for an Eritrean Muslim to fight for the right of Eritrean Christian and Non christian. I don’t think the following separately on their on will work as an agenda:

    -Christian agenda
    -Muslim agenda
    -Non-violent agenda
    -Violent agenda
    -Ethiopian agenda
    -Sudan agenda

    We need an ERITREAN AGENDA and we can’t have one unless we go through the process of “MAKASHAFA”- let us cleanse our hearts and minds, speak up with the intention to rectify the problem and not to exercise a blame game. I suggest conferences like Bologna should be used for that– we need a clean slate Let the opposition come, let higdef come and for that matter let everyone come and if need be we can bring Eritrea/Eritrean friendly witnesses !!. Otherwise and until we do that let ISSAYAS enjoy his time on the magical chair, after all we know exactly the good and bad he done!!

    • L.T

      Are you Arhe Ahmednaka Asgodm?

      • Arha

        I am not.

        I am an Eritean who would love to see and Live in an Eritrea that the majority fights hard the rights of the minority. To some this might sound an diealist idea but to me it is a sing of humanity at its best.

        Have a good day LT, sometime ago I read nice articles for you in awate.com
        Arha

        • Arha,

          “The fight for the rights of minority is a song of humanity at its best” is the quotation of the day. If Eritreans failed to recognize this sacrosanct humanity, it is a direct denial for all the sacrifices our minorities have made for the collective identity “Eritreanism” we fought for.

          • Amanuel Hidrat,

            Your dream to force the poison-pill ( the woyane craft …. the right of all nationalities for self determination up to cessation…), down the throat of Eritreans through the Trojan Horse, EDA, as a means of legal disintegration of our country, is fading at a speed you can’t imagine.

        • Selam Dawit (DM)’

          You read me wrong. In fact I don’t believe “self-determination up to cessation”is appropriate in the Eritrean proper. It ha no reality in our society. But there are many other ways we could address the grievances of our minorities – how to share political power and economic opportunities. I have written about the subject and my take on how we could handle the marginalization of our minorities. You could revisit it at awate.com. If you don’t see the marginalization of our minorities then we have a big difference and we can debate on it without any arrogance.

          • Arha

            Dear Amanuel

            your reply is polite, short, to the point and sweet.

            I hope the day will come in Eritrea when we don’t have to talk about majority and minority but about merits. However, for now I totally agree that we need to do a lot of catch up and cratie a real level plain environment/circustances particularly for the institutionalied marginalized minorities.

            I like it when you wrote “…withoyt any arrogance” and if I may add “without supeiority complex!!!”

          • I hope you are genuine on that, and yet, raising minority issues when the country at large is at cross-road ,is, to me, very suspicious; I do not think your position on the subject is identical with that of woyane by accident but by design.

          • Selam Dawit Meckonen,

            Always my position is – risk all if it right. That is always an epic decision in my political life. Fighting for the rights of minorities is by design to protect Eritrean unity on one hand and recognize their rights in all spheres of human activities be it political, social, or economical. I took it seriously and will continue to take it seriously.

            Now this is a serious political argument. Whether I raised it before or now, or will be raised in the future, because it is the “focal point” of Eritrean politics, and will remain so until we handle it correctly. So Dawit rather you become suspicious to my argument, I invite you to make an intellectual argument about the subject again without arrogance to set the record straight in order to avoid the mistrust rooted within our society. There are many ways to learn the reality of “mistrust.” Start to talk in a round table with our diversities to learn their grievances and go from that to search an Eritrean solution.

  • Nanu

    an out of box thinking….Good Job…Keep it up and Enlight us .

  • DIA power over our people must convince his intended subjects subservient to do what no self-respecting, no thinking and rational individual would ever think of contemplating doing, basically , to be the blind followers and subordinating by giving away their rights and pursuit of his or her interests to DIA and cronies to someone worthless agenda. To overcome the insanity of making one’s own purposes – indeed, one’s life – inferior to the self-serving interests of the DIA and his cronies ,the tiny criminal Mafioso so called undeserving ignorant elitists, PFDJ have been empowered to control and condition gullible minds in the virtue of subservient ,totally obedience and unquestioned self-sacrifice. Those who resist national service are labeled an patriotic ,an Eritrean, self-serving and selfish, a word whose meaning, to the DIA and cronies , simply comes down to no more than this: “one who puts his life his freedom ,his family and his country as selfish, greedy interests an patriotic and ahead of interests of the DIA and his cronies.
    To question the regime and to ask the penetrating question Why this and why that , for to do so is to invite facts and truth into the political equation. Some Eritrean wise and intelligent minds never to bought to lies and propaganda, they have long been aware that propaganda and lies are the menu of the day and hot currency with which DIA political dictorship systems transact his business as always done.
    But realty, facts and “truth” is to the power-seekers they try to find out. That some Eritrean, the observant of current economical and political might advertently comes across the incongruity of a manufactured lies with the sorrow and unforgiving harshness of the real Eritrea dire condition is unavoidable, whose with knowledge ,education and expert training will make their explanations more understandable and palatable to those who have discovered the real contradiction of the DIA and his cronies.
    Far more dangerous and troublesome to the DIA and cronies are the patriotic Eritreans who find, uncover and reveal to their people the truth found behind the falsehoods. The lies, misinformation, misleading ,denial, exaggerations and other distortions and misrepresentations of actual facts reality are understood to educated mind and intelligent minds to be essential to liberate and free their people from DIA and his cronies from economical and political interests from the control of the nation .DIA can only be maintaining his power with oppression and distortions of fact and truth. Those who say “I never believe anything the DAI tells me,” or “never accept anything as true until it has Those who reveal the lies upon which politics rest are enemies and an embarrassment to the DIA and supporters who plan organize, scheme to control and consume others in service to their servitude hegemony and obedient and obligation to regime interests. To those cronies and supporters of the regimes who insist upon the privileges of DIA power, the rest of Eritrean lives and their humanity amounts to nothing .by conditioning minds in the necessity of keeping domical and maintaining the obedient society as it is presently organized , and of being prepared and ready to make major sacrifices to protect the interests of DIA and cronies .
    To tell the truth and provide and to bring alternative system of governs system as an evidence of much better way of equitable economical and political life for the higher qualities of human dignity, for a steady fast character, for a moral courage, and commitment to honesty and truth – traits that offer a synonym for “dignity and integrity” – remain and impeded within the soul of our people and mankind. These are the kinds of people the men and women who will help to build and create justice for all based on social systems that serve our people selfishly , not DIA and his tag cronies the very few who create misery, havocs and control the instruments of our people and the nation destruction.
    When men whom serviced the country of high moral, dignity and decent character must go underground, fear, hide out, or are wrongly imprisoned or leave their country or threatened with death by the tags of DIA you can be rest assured that the society dominated by such criminal and brutishness is in its death throes. A brutal dictorship system that insists on salving and controlling our people through objectionable brute force and increasing levels of systematic violence; that takes ,steal and loots the many for the enrichment and aggrandizement of the DIA and few his cronies ; that suffocate, enforces and regulates any expressions of human behavior that are not of full service to the benefit and interest of DIA and his cronies are diminishing in number . DIA as usual never takes responsibility as leader of the totally failed nation and keep blames other and officially denies any wrong doing ,hopefully this will help awaken our compatriot and friends to the manipulation, disgraceful, untruthful and fundamentally dishonest nature of DIA one-man dictorship political systems must go with trash of history

  • Michael, B.

    Countrymen!

    A/Rahman is talking about non-violent means and ways, I think, among other things. It should be allowed to keep it separate from the ends and outcomes. For non-violent to be peaceful, I believe, it has to be non-violent & peaceful from start to finish, at least ideally!
    And il signor Machiavelli did not say the end justifies the means, (la fine giustifica i mezzi) not really as quoted here
    Governare è far credere / To govern is to make it believe?
    The way to go down to hell is easy, for one goes downwards with blinded eyes? / La via dello andare allo inferno era facile, poiché si andava allo ingiù e a chiusi occhi
    “I’m not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow

    “The lion cannot protect himself from traps, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten wolves?

    “The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.”

    “Since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved”

    “There is nothing more important than appearing to be religious.”

    Is it true that the tyrant for Machiavelli is always vituperable? Because he sets his own interest (advantage) and not the people’s wellbeing,…? / Il tiranno è per Machiavelli sempre “vituperabile” perché pone al centro della sua iniziativa il proprio vantaggio e non il pubblico bene ed opprime in questo … ?

    The book was later on condemned by Pope Clement VIII.

    By the way, this is exactly 500 yrs. since N. Machiavelli wrote Il Principe! Is anyone willing to translate the work? It would still be good enough to render it from any linguistic version into Tigrinya or Tigre and why not into any Eritrean language?
    The art of translation is yes ungenerous for the one doing the work and yet it is rewarding for the beneficiaries: the people.

    • Arha

      Dear Michael

      “For non-violent to be peaceful, I believe, it has to be non-violent & peaceful from start to finish, at least ideally!”

      you wrote from “start to finish” are you saying for every action that Essayas takes in killing the people there shouldn’t be a reaction. I ask where the peacefulness in that? I call that submissive and if that is going to be my response then I have to be prepared for all types of humliation, indignity..etc. The choice is either I have to die once or thousands of times. i don’t know about you but I would rather die once in dignity!! and wish all the best for those who decide to die otherwise!

  • brothers and sisters! Why are we fighting against each other while we are in the same boat looking for democracy and a RULE of LAW? Any struggle it must start with non violent then if it finds it self in no solution for its demand. There is no other option ,but to lift armed struggle. I believe this is what happened in our armed struggle. Now, we have two options in our hand the preferred one would be non violence, and the second one will be by armed struggle. Then why is to much complaining against the non violence. Where is the armed struggle within the last 22+ years. Do we have a chain of command strong united fronts. As my understanding it is not there at all. I heard so many small armed groups by the name of religion and semi regional groups here and there. Do we rely think this kind armed groups could bring us peace and security, and democracy I doubt it. I am sorry the life out there. The leaders of these group should think very well, and should work very hard to form a united front. I am sure those who advocate for armed struggle if they rely meant it,They should work their home work first to bring unity and clear vision under one command of chain Otherwise, let the non violence grow and grow.

    • Ali_PaPa

      Selam Ogbai,

      Armed struggle needs need men and women who are ready to stand up kick the eray-mray of DIA the wacko who are destroying the Eritrean people just as the retareded Weyanes wanted it. When a beggar comes to power, he will try everything he has to make others beggars as he was and that is exactly what DIA and his retarded Weyane cousins are doing to the Eritrean people till their time comes to in shame and disgrace for betraying that gave all they had to liberated Eritrea and put the DIA the insane and his wicked and backbiting Weyanes cousins in power! Now, even if there were men and women who have the guts to pick up arms and put DIA and his regime of parasites in their right place, his Weyane cousins will not allow it except keep the useless and toothless Eritrean opposition that it feeds with beggars wages where they are and where! Besides, who is going to shoot who, with what, where, and where? These useless Eritrean political organizations uniting and dividing according the divide and rule methoreds of the lawless Weyanes who run the show using the like of Qornelious and Tewelde Sagima or whever his sale out name!

      Meanwhile, few hired bellies whine and blubber here and there to undermine Eritean unity by degrading the strugggle of our people that liberated saw both Eritrea and Ethiopia liberated only to become highjacked by the sons of betrayal and thugery from both sides of the great Mereb River:-). Give it up people, armed struggle is for the likes of Wedi Awate and Wedi Ali who have the guts to stand up to the crooks from LibiTuwiTuway that are now ruling and ruining Eritrea till the are religated to the dust-bin of Horn-History!

  • Any means and strategy for struggle when based on the objective reality and circumstance could be more effective and right choice to adopt at particular time and place.known that the nature and history of the dictatorial regime in Eritrean and its absolute intolerance to any difference of opinion from inside and its record of aggressive reactions to many peaceful events and attempts made in past in that line are good enough to dissuade any seroius opposition force to contemplate and confine ones strategy to only non violent methods of resistance to bring about full democratic change. The proponents of non violence not only failed to practically impliment what they theorotically have been preaching for years to deliver tangebale results on the ground but also tried in way or another to appease the regime hoping they would appeal to its favour and strike a deal cutting the way to other opposition groups to coperate by convincing the regime to undergo even face saving half baked Changes This does not imply in any way to exclude the non violent methods as non viable alternative and revert only to violent methods with out condition as equally is wrong to assert that only non violent methods are the only viable choice. Thus people should therefore use all possible means of struggle as required by circumstances without excluding any.

    • Arha

      Ustaz Mahamud

      Well formuated/articulated message particularly when you wrote “Thus people should therefore use all possible means of struggle as required by circumstances without excluding any.”

      Furthermore: arming oneself shouldn’t be taken to mean violence at any cost but rather to mean self defence against agression and carnage and also as a reminding/deterrant messaged to whoever (Issayas regime for sure is one those )dare to commit crimes against the eritrean people, who had enough saffaring and said ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. If the regime is not willing to implement the constitution then let the judge/reference be human right violationn. You violet other peoples human right then expect your right to be violated

  • Chef

    A/ Rahman
    Yes, Dr Assefaw is right. PFDJ lacks the basic features of a ‘Party’. It is a network of willing spies. He claims “PFDJ institution, supporters… potential pro-democracy force.” How bold ! Did he also mention about how he intends to use the cannibalistic military in his the post-Issais era. How about the living members of ‘defunct’ Eritrawi Desawi Self? Did he come forward to denounce it till date, as did Yemane Teclegiorgis, a former co-member?
    Sium Tsehye whose video camera was as loud as Fenkil Operation’s artillery piece or louder than Wedi-Tukul’s song that went ‘ BaTze’Xey Siyes bemekeb metTsiuki … in i990. The documentary Kibtset is Sium’s masterpiece that exposed the Dergu’s napalm crimes.
    In the summer 2001 before his trip to Dongollo, Sium had said: “Izi wudeb Izi, seb demu endafseses, abal-selfi, Zey-abal selfi, endable Zifelali equa eyu”. (While people were shading their blood this organisation discriminated between party member and non-party member). This was a critical reflection of the HiZbawi-Haylital/ EPLF/ PFDJ nexus by a true tegadalay betrayed by his fellow tegadelti.
    Our good medical doctor is unashamedly telling his patient to learn to live with his fatal medical problem than prescribing the right drug to cure it. One of the gravest mistakes is his attempts to have us believe that a micro-organism, a robot, a beats and an Eritrean react to a stimuli in the same way. His deliberately exaggerated theory of ‘one-man-show’ in Eritrea is not only preposterous but also cynically.

  • Ahmed idris

    I think the nonviloce struggle is more likly to leed to democracy ,,,
    That doesn’t mean it will be streataway like that ,but it’s an ongoing struggle
    Which might take a long period of time ,but it will reach its goal at a long struggle .
    By the violent means of struggle we go Noway .its a visious circle of hate and revenge .

    • Amin

      If you can predict that peaceful means of struggle can lead to democracy, at the same time, you must predict the time that will consumed to achieve so. So how much are we speaking about? If it is going to take 10 years, or 20 years, to achieve that, you must predict the lives of the people that will be lost under the oppressive regime.

      If we need freedom, we have to pay for it. Even if it costs more than 100,000 lives, it is worth paying. Besides, peaceful means of struggle misunderstood here, it is just a demand for freedom, and unfortunately, nobody will give you your rights or your freedom, FREEDOM IS NOT GIVEN AT YOUR REQUEST OR YOUR DEMAND. you must take it by all means possible.

  • YOHANNES

    how are you Mr. Gandhi what do you mean by peaceful solution. In Eritrea they have dyed thousands of young people do you think they died for nothing. Mr. Gandhi do you want to achieve something from this regime . there is no peaceful struggle in this world , it is always action weather it is good or bad. you became Crist in this since. after all you are right the Eritrean they have never struggle for themselves but for others. Look Ras Michael for Egyptians, the askers for the Italians and commands for Ethiopians.
    As usual Issas Is spending a lot of money to liberate Amhara from the tigrians rule, and he will be happy when the tigrians will be under the pseudo amahara like the Pseudo kebesa, or bihere Tigrigna I don’t know how to call them. pseudo tegaru may be the best. I would like the Eritreans specially the Pseudo tegaru should understand better, they have to liberate themselves from Goitana. Look how Issaias is helping his goitana Amhara, it is Pseudo tegarus problem to search Goita, because they can’ to do nothing without Goita. if they are not able to resolve their problem and identify their identity. people with out identity will remain always confused and trouble maker and he will look for Goitana, to resolve his problem. the regime in Ethiopia is not Goitana but hard tigrians , infact the regime in Asmara is helping the goitana Amhara . Eritreans have a complex of inferiority but they don.t want to admit it. The Goitana Italian is better than the Tigrian Brother, because you think inferior to you because you know how to eat spaghetti, and baptized by the pseudo name Eritrea and Eritreans, and you hate Tigrians because they don’t admit Goitana. I am sorry children of Goitan be in Bologna Ethiopians they don’t need you. Go to sudan and Sainay to be punished and treated very bad, that is what you merit. You have eat spaghetti and lasagna and go back to where you come. Ethiopia needs to discuss with Issaias not with you . you are the most hapless opposition. Bologna was anti Ethiopia and I think Ethiopia is blessing for your peaceful struggle if you can .
    God Bless You we understand what are this peiple ,
    .

    • Saleh “Gadi” Johar

      Is this directed to Mr. Gandhi? I just wanted to know where you read that statement by Mr. Gandhi? I like to read that, would you please put the link to Mr. Gandhi’s article?

  • Ali-Papa

    Mr. Sayed, your views are fine and mature that need time to bear fruit. On the benefits of a none-violent means of struggle over the violent one, the tyrant and his eray-mray regime should be stopped by all means and meanes necessary without external interference whose interest is to have the Eritrean people reduced to nothing as alms seekers from being alms givers! The wicked and backbiting Weyanes could not have come to power in Ethiopia without massive Eritean military, financial, political, diplomatic and the like support from cradle to grave although they and their stoogies and hired guns may deny this and run around lying about it trying to convince idiots and the ingnorat from here and there. It was and still is that the tuiwisted-heart Weyanes with their punctured egoes never tire from biting the very hands that fed and bought them to a states of being master of their former masters, the Amharas, that once treated and ruled them like beggars till Eritreans came to the rescue from all fours to do away with the then fuedal and later communist regimes that oppressed them!

  • MR. BOHASHEM,

    IN TIGRIGNA, WE SAY “SIBRA ZEBLU KUDA” MORE THAN THAT, YOUR ARTICLE IS A MESSAGE OF REGRET. ARE YOU TRYING TO FALSIFY OUR ARMED STRUGGLE OF THERTY YEARS? GO AHEAD, IF YOUR TWENTY TWO YEARS OF PAN HANDLING EXCERCOSE IS INADEQUATE, ADD MORE. I WISH YOU A HAPPY JOURNEY IF THERE IS A DESITNATION YOU CAN REACH.

    MR. BOHASHEM, PLEASE DO NOT MIS REPRESENT MAHBER SHEWATE. IT WAS NOT EXCLUSIVELY FOR NON VIOLENCE WAY OF STRUGGLE. IN FACT, IT WAS BAY FAR FOR A HIGHLY POLITICALLY ORGANIZED ARMED STRUGGLE. BUT, WE WERE NOT LUCKY FOR IT’S CONTINUETY.

    “IN A DESERT YOU CAN RUN, BUT CAN NOT HIDE”. IN OUR SITUATION, IN THE NATURE OF CONTRADICTION WE NEED TO RESOLVE, YOU CAN TALK FOREVER UNTIL YOU GO FOR GOOD. THANK YOU BROTHER, WE KNOW WHICH WAY TO GO. IT IS GOOD THAT NOW EVERY ANGLE IS CONCLUSIVELY VERIFIED.

    • Ali_PaPa

      Mr. Kifle,

      The Eritrean armed struggle that liberated both Eritrean and Etobia from Hail ShaiTan and Mengsitu the devil was waged by heroes heroins whoh are no more! Do you really think the “guahmamat wudbat” Eritra that are detached from the very people they claim to struggle to liberate can do that using Weyane Weyane’s guns and takns? You must be out of touch with reality because Weyane’s interest and DIA’s interest are one and the same at the end of the day: Their interest is Ethiopian interests and will haul the toothelss Eritrean opposition out of it dependent ane misrable noisy existence when the right time comes. If you think otherwise, DIA’s interview here and his old prophecy of, ” the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea will evolve toward being meaningless” or something to that effect!

      • Mr. Ali_PaPa,
        Are you sure you are not kidding? Why do you jump to the opposition instead of to the nature of contradiction? It seems you will be OK if the opposition is reliable. You see, you bit yourself to the extent that your statement rings hollow. It is not a surprise that DIA will swing to any where at any time. If that was your hope, where is your muscle? Read your paragraph again and I am sure you will learn a lot.

        bashay.

        • Ali_PaPa

          Mr. Kifle,

          Instead of jumping around here and there, tell me if there are men and women who can raise gun and tango to Asmara without your Weyane friend! Useless and toothless organizations and the men that run them are nothing but Weyane babies that only know how to picnic and unite and split and ocme to say they are struggling to liberate Eriteans from DIA and his retarded regime while in reality they are being held at bay till the time comes Weyane and her friend DIA the Mafia are made to sit, kiss, and make up and run the show as they were told when they came to power in both countries! Then, Weyane will tell its useless and whining Eritrean opposition clients to shut up making noises or pack up and take a hike! If you are fool, you will live in your delusions of one day coming to power in Eritrea on the backs of Weyane tanks to a society that you have betrayed and sided with its arch-enemy Etobia in its time of expulsion, dispossession, himulliation, and hurt by you Weyane friends! Mark my world, all will retire or expire with DIA and his beggar Weyane cousins as they are of the same make and peers that brought about the misery that our people are going through! Dream or dreamer and before you know it, DIA and his Weyane cousin will drag you down with them too hell and there, say hello to Devil with hornes:-) This hasty rejoinder to you should do for now and taking it easy from huffing and puffing too much Weyane crap!

          • Mr. Ali_PaPa,

            You are fond of one and only one monotonous song. Moreover, you have one friend at least with whom you can enjoy that very song (Woyanie). unfortunately, nowadays, your best friend is singing differently. What will happen to you my dear?

            Bashay.

  • Dawid Mensur

    The G 15 was a nonviolent group but the response was violent. If you currently live and work in Eritrea and your immediate loved ones are there you would say “By any means ncessary” . If you live in the US or Eropa you can afford to say non-violent. What a paradox Saluh Gadi/EPDP and his likes saying on this on spetmebr the mother month of our struggle.

  • Hameed

    The principle on which you have built your entire agruement has failed in Egypt. The people of Egypt have demostrated peacefully and forced the Husni Mubarak to resign, but now the whole process of democratization Egypt collapsed and all revolutionaries are chased by the regime led by General Cee Cee. A peaceful revolution led to a bloody regime. This leads me to conclude that all peaceful resistence doesn’t necessarily lead to a peaceful democratic outcome and all violent resistance doesn’t necessarily result into voilent condition.

    • Hameed,

      The following sentence is an absolute and perfect rebuttal to the whole article: “all peaceful resistance doesn’t necessarily lead to a peaceful democratic outcome and all violent resistance doesn’t necessarily result into violent condition.”

    • Gebre

      Dear Hameed,

      Who are the revolutionaries and what is their real agenda? Please note that you can NOT build any democracy when only one religion is at the helm of power. All the messy results of the Spring movements in all the countries are the results of the involvement of religion in politics. Morsi (the brotherhood) was removed because he (it) hijacked the revolution by contaminating the constitution with religion. So Hameed keep away religion from the venue of politics otherwise you will move nowhere.

      • Hameed

        Dear Gebre,

        Every citizen has a right of living in his country, has a right of freedom of speech, a freedom of worship and freedom of organizing himself in any party or group he likes. In some countries, we find more than one religion and political parties with different idealism. The question is how do these groups live in peace in their country: the solution is to make a contract that rules the country through a ballot-box. Dear Gebre, those you don’t like don’t vote for them, but don’t deprive them of their rights as citizens or make coup d’etat to hold power.

        • Gebre

          Dear Hameed,

          I absolutely agree with everything you have put in the first sentence with only a comment on the party in which a citizen should be a member of. My belief and the belief of most people around the world is that a POLITICAL party should be free of religion. In other words the only solution for coexistence of all peoples of all religions in a country is secularism. You are guaranteed all the rights you have mentioned above under secularism. Any constitution should guarantee the rights of every citizen irrespective of their religion. The constitution is neutral for everybody. So, Hameed, ballet-box is nothing without a neutral constitution in the background. The democratization process after the Arab spring has been stalled by religion.

          We see from the distant past up to the present time, religions have been the cause of all the major wars and sufferings of human kind. To mention only from the last century, we can list: The Irish war between Protestants and Catholics; Palestinians and Israelis are of the same distant ancestry. Only religions have divided them with all the sufferings over the years; the different diminutives of Islam are the main causes of infighting in the Middle East; all the incessant confrontations between Islam and Buddhism or other religions is still a menace to humanity. To have a party based on religion is therefore fundamentally wrong.

          Lastly, my brother Hameed, no religion is better than any other. Everyone is simply born to the religion of their parents and everyone by default likes or follows that religion.

          Let us keep religion and politics separate and march to the ballet-box!

          • Hameed

            Dear Gebre,

            I think the two world’s devastating wars cause was not a religion. Secondly, the cause and the continuation of the war between the Palestinians and Israelis are the secular world you are speaking about. Even the secular world are not far from religion, in the USA we get “we believe in God” as their motto. In some European countries they have Christian parties and some other European countries they have a cross in their flags, so there is no pure secular system far from religion.

            In the Arab Spring countries the problem is not religion,but lack of constitution that governs them, the moment they convene a contract among them and all abide by the contract every thing will go well.

            I say again those you don’t like don’t vote for them, but don’t deprive them of their citizen rights

            I am

  • TheTruth

    Based on your comment, you’re either Ethiopian or a subservient slave of their’s. Get off your knees for god’s sake.

  • TrustBldg_is_a_process

    Man, you’re talking about those who are exposed to Isayas’s bullying every second. In USA, our children are reminded that effects of exposure to bullying in class produce social isolation, maladjustment, depression, fear, despair, helplessness and shocks, even nightmares. And those damages are crystal clear in our youth who are crossing the border daily. Are you for sure telling us to expect much from our people who couldn’t even snatch from Isayas’s hands the keys to their basic needs? I don’t believe so.
    Man, you better reassess your position. It would sound better if you said that what is strengthening the tyrant is the weakening of the opposition. How so? Isayas who is scared of his shadow, knows that only through fragmentation of the opposition that he could stay in power. Secondly, he doesn’t want the opposition nearby, say: in Ethiopia or Sudan. Right now, Sudan is out of the question. The opposition is in Ethiopia. Our youth are also in Ethiopia and of course in Sudan. Right now, Sudan has its own problems – big screw from the Gulf States. Otherwise, we know that the Sudanese govt does not like Isayas, the one who was/is behind all of its present headaches. And, right now Ethiopia is offering help to our refugees making schooling and other things available to them. Just to mention a few, Eritreans youth born and raised in Saudi Arabia who were denied to classes above eighth grade are heading to Ethiopia and Sudan. But, more of them are heading to Ethiopia because Sudan is becoming a very fertile ground for disappearance of those Eritreans who stand for their rights.
    Man, try to make a sense – I mean stop imposing on the weak a silence. The opposition is not calling for an Arabs-like of betrayal to their people by calling upon other governments to intervene using force. And, it shouldn’t be to the level of no use of force at all because the opposition is carrying out selective actions upon those who are harming our people. Who knows, maybe the opposition is planning to take similar action direct against Isayas by infiltrating his house and forcing him to announce his resignation. Just, what is needed from us a thank you for those who are helping the youth and for those are engaging the youth in talks of unity.