It is absurd to expect the currency change to be a tipping point for disobedience.
In keeping with its founding principles of inflicting the utmost suffering on our people, the PFDJ once again sent shock waves in Eritrea by announcing the currency change. Both the clueless and those in the know offered their conjectures, but there was nothing enlightening about both as they all stated the obvious, yet they were both wrong on one thing: that the undue hardship imposed on the people will rally them to action, that this currency change will be the tipping point that will lift the slapdash and wobbly resistance of the people to embolden and unleash the bottled up anger to finally break the shackles. But lest we be fooled; all shackles were not created equal as some of are “golden shackles”.
But the silliest one and the most thoughtless of all was the call from a former PFDJ technocrat. He called on the Eritrean people to disobey, “embely bel hizbey”. He advised the people to safe-keep their “hard-earned money” instead of bequeazing it to thieves of Isaias Afwerki’s government.
“Thieves”, I agree that much!
“It is yours to keep and since you have earned it, one day when you erect your own government on the rubbles of Isaias’s regime you can exchange your money. No one will deny you that. “
He invoked the time when property and real-estate were returned to their rightful owners after independence, so he continued, “except for some spending money, keep your money safely tucked where it is until dawn arrives, which is soon as the PFDJ and its tentacles are on their death bed, on the verge of breathing the last atom of their oxygen.
He sounded that he did not even believe his own advice.
The people of Eritrea, who have memorized and heeded Isaias’s theorem of water does not travel to where people are, people travel to where water is, will not have problem meeting the deadline and the limit that the regime has imposed. The change that they have saved by selling their cow, their camel or produce will be burned before the deadline expires and soon they will be using the new currency. It is conceivable that the technocrat is privy to billions of Nakfa tucked away by a few, if so, is he advising these people to stay put with their “hard” earned money?
Under PFDJ the “black” economy blossomed, it was nurtured by PFDJ. PFDJ’s illegal economy predates PFDJ itself. The precursor of PFDJ, the EPLF perfected the illegal activity in the Sudan and Middle East and when it entered Asmara, it was a seasoned underground economy expert. This mentality leaked into the country and many people made their wealth by latching to it and collaborating with PFDJ. PFDJ would act as the protector in many cases, not only for physical security but provided protection from the tax man. So they both flourished. In The last fifteen years as the human and organ trafficking flourished, many made millions both protected and encouraged by PFDJ. This is the economy that functions outside the banking system, so the money was kept in safety boxes in the shops and private houses. There is nothing “hard earned” about the wealth that was accumulated by human trafficking, organ harvesting and tax evasion. These people should be punished not be consulted for free to keep their money and to exchange it after PFDJ collapses.
There is some sort of dementia about any leader, a technocrat who has served the PFDJ and along the way gotten beaten by its venom. First they wait until the last minute, until they have exhausted all their chances of ascending Isaisa’s greasy pole, or until they are told by Isaias to report to an Indian coolie who has come to Eritrea scouring for opportunity. They get disgusted by: “If you cannot make in India, immigrate to Eritrea.” With their hopes dashed, they leave to a conference blessed by the same person who denied them ascent. And they have well-rehearsed excuses, we were trying to diplomatically swaying Isaias. For example, our technocrat in question in one of his informative, astute interviews with Assenna said that his predecessor had a different style. He would hound Isaias in some public functions and whispers to him his funding needs, ‘tsiggiE illu….”. This is code for begging Isaias, who controls the coffers of the country, the treasurer of Eritrea who writes checks to triumphant athletes. The interviews of the technocrat in question were informative, informative of his skills to run successful enterprise, informative of his skills as an astute business manager, who have earned his stripes. No doubt about that, not even a shred. He sounded it, he articulated it and he was loquacious about it.But also it was informative at least for this writer of the dementia of the elites that served the PFDJ in some capacity. This includes the humiliation of a famous artist, who dangled from the roofs of Isaias’s residence to hang his own paintings. After toiling for fee, unrewarded for his hard work and talents, demoralized he fled to the West.
Now our technocrat who severed his ties with the dictator after he was disgusted by the notion of reporting to a coolie is advising those who stashed some dough to disobey the dictator by not showing in the bank to exchange their old currency. “The dawn is arriving, keep it safe compatriots, it is your money.” To these wealthy people their dawn has already arrived with PFDJ, many of them are organ traffickers, human sellers, tax evaders and they should be brought to justice not hailed as genius who worked hard for their money.
The timely call is, has been for the last twenty five years and will be the timely call until PFDJ’s collapse is this: those guarding the gates of Ela-Ero and all the prisons erected by PFDJ to open the gates to free all prisoners, your sins will be washed away by the blood that oozed from the bodies of the prisoners. The call is for the mothers and fathers to rebel when their daughter is raped or impregnated by unscrupulous PFDJ functionary or general, to raise their axes and swords, if they have none of these tools, raise and throw the stones and rocks that dot your front yard and fight the tools of PFDJ. Forget organizing and collective disobedience, defend your house, your honor and your family. That is the timely call, not disobedience that revolves around a currency exchange of a few who have amassed it with illegal means and or outright crime. These people, their counsel is the PFDJ and they have been taken care of. When Bahta Hagos was charmed by the Whiteman, his brother, Sengal reportedly told him: “Bahta hawey embaza attiAshu, tsaeda temen entenekisu, dellalka ayrekeben eyu fewsu”, (brother Bahta do not be too naïve, when the white snake bites, you cannot find the antidote). Replace the white snake with PFDJ that is what happening with the technocrats who severed and dallied PFDJ.
It is unbecoming to lump together all those who amassed sizable wealth to mere corruption, human trafficking as we can be sure there are some who earned it legally by toiling and moiling but the majority who in the last few years have saved millions are crooks and criminals who are has amassed not only wealth but also muscle to intimidate and disappear people by wielding the power of their “golden” handcuffs that both shackles and lends them unfettered power.