Inform, Inspire, Embolden. Reconcile!

Lampedusa Tragedy: Need to Address the Root Cause

On Thursday 3 October, about an hour before mid night, I received a call from BBC World Service Radio asking if I was willing to give live interview during news broadcasting at 3am (2am GMT). As I was travelling to Germany early morning the next day (4th October), I agreed to the interview, especially that I was already going to stay awake that night finishing some work related to my daily job and activism.

Although my BBC Radio interview lasted for few minutes, I found answering the question of why do people have to take such high risks to flee their country the most painful. It is not so easy to give analytical details on the issue of why people choose to flee to the unknown that would often expose them to risks of torture and death in the hands of human traffickers or in the harshness of the Sahara Desert or the high seas. My quick response was therefore to highlight the root cause of the problem and how that has been pushing young citizens to choose between modern-day harsh slavery in concentration camps known as “military service” for indefinite periods or flee such a situation at the risk of dying while crossing Eritrean borders with neighboring countries, or being kidnapped by criminal human traffickers for ransom or death while crossing the desert or the Mediterranean Sea. Addressing the original cause of this tragedy is the only viable long-term solution.

My two-day visit to Germany was to participate in a seminar organized by young Eritreans known as “United4Eritrea”. The program was initially composed of panel discussions and workshops that tackled two main themes: The Current and Future situation of Eritrea, and the Plight of Eritrean Refugees with particular focus on those suffering in the hands of human traffickers in the Sinai Peninsula. Speakers included Eritreans and Europeans with first hand knowledge and expertise on issues presented within the above themes. However, soon the Lampedusa tragedy became part of the two days activities, which also included a candle vigil outside the seminar hall.

The Lampedusa tragic incident on 3 October 2013, where over 300 Eritreans, including pregnant women and children are reported to have perished will become an issue that will influence future humanitarian and immigration policies at the European level, and may also hopefully find its way to the corridors of the African Union for some concrete action against dictatorial regimes such as the one we have in Eritrea.

PFDJ Reaction

As far as the PFDJ regime’s reaction to the sad incident is concerned, Foreign Minister Osman Saleh’s reported statement at the recent UN – General Assembly meeting may be considered the only humanitarian gesture the regime can afford to offer amid international public outcry. Even here and behind the diplomatically worded expression of sadness and condolences, PFDJ’s Foreign Minister was still referring to the Lampedusa tragedy as “International Migration” problem and responsibility and not his regime’s.

As for the PFDJ regime’s media, it was “business as usual”. While world media focused on the tragedy as well as on the nationality, age, gender and status of the victims, the PFDJ regime was still referring to them as “African Illegal Immigrants”. The regime’s media headlines were dominated by reports on how the so called “Cabinet of Ministers” was discussing the implementation of grandiose plans in 2014 to develop Massawa and Assab ports, achieve food-security and construct roads in Western Eritrea, projects that could have long been accomplished in the past 22 years of Eritrea’s statehood had we had a legitimate and accountable government elected to serve the Eritrean people. As if this was not enough, the regime’s ministers were participating in music and dance “festivals”, which clearly indicates how un-remorseful the tyrants in Asmara are.

Diaspora opposition’s responsibility

Although the PFDJ regime is the root cause of Eritrea’s problems, those opposed to the tyranny also have some responsibility to bear when they waste time and resources undermining one another. It is about time that unnecessary frictions and ego-centric blame cultures are put to an immediate end to make way for a united front among the willing that can effectively work to deliver on three main fronts: media, diplomacy and public mobilization in the diaspora, which can give complimentary support and incentive to pro-democracy forces inside Eritrea, particularly inside PFDJ fold, to work collaboratively to transform the country towards an era of rule of law and inclusive democratic governance. To this end it will be of great help to postpone power-rivalry among opposition groups until at least the country establishes a constitutional governance order with enacted laws to manage political parties, political pluralism and political participation in post-tyranny Eritrea. If this succeeds, the current confusion and unnecessary polarization in the diaspora opposition camp can be minimized to focus meagre resources and efforts on effectively achieving the desired political change in Eritrea. This is possible with the growing and promising independent youth movement.

Eritrean Diaspora Youth

Eritrean diaspora youth possess a wealth of knowledge, courage and clean start to build on the positive contributions of their seniors while avoiding the culture of bickering over trivial issues. They can effectively establish links and working relations with their counterparts inside Eritrea to drive change that can put an end to the suffering of the youth and the Eritrean people at large. To get there, there will be a need for well coordinated efforts both among diaspora youth groups as well as within those inside Eritrea. Such efforts should pursue non-violent strategies. Violence may be justified only if it is declared by state institution such as parliament for self defense from an outside enemy. It may also be necessary when the army chooses to side with the Eritrean people as the 21 January Forto army movement did when a group of Eritrean soldiers led by martyr Saeed Ali Hejay (a.k.a Wad-Ali) occupied the Ministry of Information building on a Monday morning on 21 January 2013 and courageously broadcasted their pro-democracy position by demanding, among others:

1. Release of Political Prisoners
2. Constitutional Governance
3. An-End to Indefinite Military Service
4. Social Justice and Equal Opportunity

A Word of Thanks

Finally, a word of thanks to “United4Eritrea” for organizing a very useful and enlightening seminar in Frankfurt on 4-5 October 2013, to the speakers and panelists who traveled from different countries in Europe as well as to our Eritrean-German youth who worked hard and for long hours to host an inspiring event that highlighted the real issues of concern to every Eritrean. Keep up the good work! And do not shy away from working with fellow Eritreans who espouse principles and ethos similar to those of yours. Together we shall prevail and see our people and country free of tyranny and tyrannical political culture.

May the souls of our compatriots in Lampedusa, Sinai, Mai-Ayni, Adi-Harish, Shegerab and Libya Rest in Peace!

<Bohashem@arkokabay.com>

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  • luna

    Few Awate readers wrote their comments stating why NPR corespondent from her Paris base reported the way she did. I think, the tragedy from the ship wreck which had happened on Oct. 3, 2013 initially mentioned the victims were from Somalia, Ghana and Eritrea. Soon after, additional news feed came mentioning most were Eritreans.

    The news feeds the corespondents got were with very little additional details and that might have forced most to repeat what they had already heard at first over and over again. I think that must have been the problem. No one pays them to bend the truth as they are professionals. What was the motive for the reporter to report otherwise! It is against the principle and oath of a journalist.

    Eritrea is not usually on the world media as it did recently in relation to the Lampedusa tragedy which killed hundreds of Eritreans. So, some correspondents have difficulty even to differentiate between the many African countries unless it is their area of work where they specialize in.

    When talking about the Eritrean situation it is paramount for the nationals to try to understand what the root cause of these and similar tragedies are. Without stressing that it would be like deflecting the issue by blaming other secondary problems or players. In the end it won`t add up to show the real face and severity of our problem.

    Let us not make our tragedy a passing incident with a short shelf life to be forgotten soon. The right thing to do is to hold hand in hand and demand for free expression, freedom of movement and the right to have our free will to life and liberty. A spade must be called a spade!

    Please, refrain from posting unsubstantiated information which does not add to the on going dialog but discourage others from expressing their thoughts contributing to our common growth. This is an open forum and we must be able to appreciate!

  • Berhe Tensea

    The Eritrean people is suffering from a curse .That curse is the destruction of ELF ,people , are still under colonialists mainly The Tembenis and other bastards .

  • Berhe Tensea

    Large scale GIFA is under way in Asmara. The caw boy is busy rounding up his herd.

  • Tamrat Tamrat

    The root cause is Crystal Clear! What is not Clear is how to stop pfdj to continue its grusome rulling once and for all not only from Eritrea but from all east africa.

    Oppostion movements inside the country is unthinkable due to the consquneces to those who has tried. The 10,000 in prison with out charges and thousands who are not known the where about of them.

    Though the size of the pro governments inside the country is not known but all key governmental positions and security, police and military definitely belong to them.

    The majority of eritreans in Eritrea are under the age of 35. And this Groupe due to the massive pfdj systematic campaign is detached from the traditional value of its parents (from the norm) knows the Eritrea created by pfdj the way it is now. This is explained by the great YG very thoroughly. No one undermines what the yearly graduation of all the best of the nation’s in Sawa in the presence of the very ‘father’ of the nation, one of the corner stone of the pfdj institution mind set brings on the youth thus the nation.

    The Young know the hardship their country goes through and due to isolation from other media they blem the hardship on the enemies of pfdj. For them it is difficult to know the difference between the country Eritrea and the government pfdj.

    The oppostions are divided and polarized and they have done not significant impact to enlighten and engage the majority eritreans in Eritrea.

    The only opposition party which aprroches pfdj’s home so Close as near as to Ethiopia is ENCDC. But this party must Challenge pfdj itself,the ethiopian rulling party, and depending on how flexible it is towards ethiopian rulling party demand must Challenge the rest of the oppostion.

  • said

    Dear A /Rahman
    We are ruled by hardcore DIA and very small group of generals’ wretched political leadership. And they use PFDJ Supremacism. They consider ordinary comrade their lesser bottom brethren at best, but more likely like total vermin like the rest of supporter’s .And they couldn’t care less about the rest of us dead or alive at home or abroad. DIA and very small group of generals, a field of extremist ideologues, the nation is held hostage by a small group of unrepresentative and idiot figures who don’t have much of a anything, let alone have clue about human rights, justice and economics, they careless about where they’re taking the country. DIA disregard for the lives of citizens and of soldiers. And preparing to sending unconscionable numbers of Eritrean to their deaths. That’s not governance.
    PFDJ Supremacist believing their lives, families and deeds worthy of the ultimate recognition worth living, this is how disgraceful and despicable they are. Some people have, of course, been duped into believing and that PFDJ lives is worth more living than themselves? People have been conditioned – by the PFDJ gangster mafia – to regard this as normal servitude. They have lost moral compass, their dignity and integrity.
    EPLF top cadres are familiar with lesson Bolshevik revolution in 1917 turned out worse than tragedy. While might be motivated by the noblest idea of intentions, the revolution led to an historical horrific catastrophe situation that has plagued Russia for almost a century. Lenin’s seizure of power was the culmination of a nation state in deep catastrophe crisis. Lenin issued his call for insurrection in a now-famous letter .The government is tottering. We must deal it the deathblow at any cost. To delay action is the same as death. These words, knowingly or unknowingly, that inspired and thought PFDJ hard core zealots who seek nothing less then to inflict a “deathblow “to their perceived enemy the people of Eritrea, they are the real authors of so much death and destruction, to Eritrean people and the force that eliminated EPLF top cadres and the skilled politician and brilliant military strategist who came to prominence. Never the less serviced their country honorably, never a sellout, most of us knew that already. A lesson to learn from.
    The central challenge of our time lay in motivating, inspiring, cultivating the acquisition of a high degree of political consciousness by the subjected, exploited and oppressed, Eritrean population the will to fight to collectively free us ourselves from the shackles of DIA and hard cronies oppression. We live in time in which, both Diaspora and Eritrea proper the PFDJ ruling maintain their dominance through the systematic extreme oppressive system brainwash and perversion of consciousness. This is the most powerful weapon to keep the people disparate and the youth subdued, and the biggest obstacle to be overcome. We our Eritrea leaders to lead, It is in a figure like many heroes like Nelson Mandela and others great figures of recent time ,wherever and however, that we need to find an example worthy of example and emulation that serves to inspire us to continue the struggle against oppression and modern slavery imposed on us by DIA and hard cronies

  • yegermal

    Dear Awate Team,

    was wondering why the following posts is not being published. Thanks

    Dear Awatistas (followers of NPR),

    Please write to NPR asking them to correct the Morning Edition piece by Eleanor Beasly in which she states (don’t forget to provide links with evidence that shows the majority of the victims are Eritreans):

    “The migrants were fleeing poverty and war in Somalia and Sudan, brought across the Mediterranean from Libya by a Tunisian smuggler. The accident shocked Europe..”

    Moving forward, it is important that we keep an eye on DIA’s operatives and always be ready to debunk the lies they provide to news media. Their savvy use of media tools is unparalleled and it is where they have been beating us to a pulp. It is high time we work hard to overcome this enormous challenge. ARE YOU ON BOARD?

    P.S.: I am quite appreciative of what many of you do here. But we must graduate from what I call “preaching to the choir mode” to informing the world at large about the untold tragedy that has befallen our people.

    Here are the links :
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2013/10/09/230794848/after-boat-tragedy-calls-for-a-unified-european-policy

    http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=231248988&m=231248977 at 00:33 audio

  • L.T

    Abu-human;
    True?false?who can say?One thing we know for sure is that Awate culture blemed to Eritrea enorm and formed a nature.
    Your dream to young Eritrea are how did we get them from Eritrea to the terror Ethio/western Renaissance Nile human.Who lies and inspired them to playfulness of this tragedy?At the heart of this question-between 5 and 10 thousand people of Eritrea who were murdered by you.
    Eritrea is not bad,evil and troublesome mother and your expressed and concept is simply and non reflect to find to subject.
    Your article are polemic,anecdot,asyl,cosmopolit,school,chaos,taxi,anorexi,drama,xenofobi…..

    • Danny

      L.t.,

      Ata [moderator: tone down Danny.Deleted xxxxx] eti txHfo zeleKa halewlew si ember do baElKa tenbebo iKa? What kind of [person] are you?

  • Henok

    It is even beyond tragedy that the Western medias are claiming the victims are from somal, sudan and Eritrea. Today I heard NPR report to the insident by a reporter who resides in Paris. She said the immigrants where from Sudan and Somalia. Does the PIA paying the reporters of the West to not mention Eritrea?

  • TiETiE( Shiro bubble)

    Anywhere in the world there is no paradise living – everything is through hard anywhere. Having good leadership, work, education, the right to eat and sleep,the right to test self, having some money to help self and family, overall law abiding government all these are not in Eritrea. if eritrean can not stabilize their mind with these opportunities then declare state of – HwTeTa. It is sad Eritrea lead by few narrow minded people- from small area. the horrific tragedy will bring that God judgement day.

  • TiETiE( Shiro bubble)

    to blame united states is wrong – America helped many Eritrean.
    The core cause and responsible for this tragedy and previous similar is Hgdef.period.
    why?
    after 1991 it was time to build economy and stabilize the war ravaged people. few dangerous people from particular location lead the country so the result is this.
    Overly poor people for years become easily fooled, look any hope, take risk-HwTeTa.

    BeAlu Ti AmlaK YeAkleKum Yebelena.

    • eritrea first

      Wrong. USA is to blame for this tragedy. Here is the reason. financed and encouraged short sighted and backward Ethipia to attack Eritrea making life hard for Eritreans. Posted 300k army forcing Eritrea to spend its meager resources and man power on the boarder again paid by usa…..sanction eritrea with the lamest excuse. I could go on but I am busy…hope this helps u see better the complex problem facing the Eritrean people.

      • TiETiE( Shiro bubble)

        you wrong not me
        after independence there was no reason to behave militaristic but the nation was under the leadership of false people that could not see the world. For Eritrean independence was the point but Eritrea headed into boasting militarily. poor nation, new nation, no technology, could not feed itself, could not generate REVENUE, eat from donation and having small weapons all the level 1and 2nd wars should not behave militaristic overall to kill is to be killed that Eritrean were not born warriors. For the freedom it was true price after that it was false and done by false people who sought boasting at the expense of the poor family. Butterfly NeBsa ZeyKeDeNeT MeRiyeT KeDeNeT. While people were hungry and looking work and education and heal from the 30 war wounds the Hgdef lead by Bloody and headless Wuchu gone to war in Congo. Is not this threat to the developed world? poor nation, no technology and lead by disgust people like wuchu the developed world reason to target Eritrea leadership especially after the war with the weyane. DeKi AnaTsu KraAya Kbla yEreYa. the Hgdef put trap on their neck unaware then the innocent people such as last week tragedy paid it.

        • eritrea first

          Who told you that poor countries can’t have army? I don’t understand what you are trying to communicate with me, but it seems like you like to put down Eritreans. That is not nice…Try to be civil about it.

  • Abinet

    Mr Saleh , who was dancing in Atlanta while the whole world is devastated ? It doesn’t matter if they are supporters of IA or not . They are your countrymen .They do not know shame . If this is the way they show their sorrow to their own people ,just imagine their reaction towards others .

    • Saleh “Gadi” Johar

      Ms. Abinet,
      Yes, my problem was with your generalization, those who danced in Atlanta do not even make half the number of people we lost in Lampadusa, were the victims also arrogant? You see, when you are specific, you avoid falling into pitfalls. Generalize, and you insult the victims. Your note earlier, to which I responded, lambasted all of us. That was wrong and that is my issue. I hope you understood my point. Not only can imagine their reaction to others, I know it. Their attitude towards those who oppose the tyrant is even worse. But please, do not consider us their mirror image.

  • Abinet

    The root cause of this young country’s problems are arrogance and extremely inflated ego, hateful attitude towards everyone and lack of trust.stop blaming IA . He is just a product of the society that hates itself. If you need any proof look back and see how you acted from 1991-1998 . We Ethiopians will never forget those years .Now with IA deflating your ego ,I hope you will be humble and learn to live in peace and respect with everybody including yourself . I wish you all the best in developing this beautiful young country . I hope to visit it one day . Peace be with you.

    • Saleh “Gadi” Johar

      Abinet,

      How do you feel now that you have psychoanalyzed all five million Eritreans in one sentence? Wouldn’t you think your statement, “The root cause of this young country’s problems are arrogance and extremely inflated ego, hateful attitude towards everyone and lack of trust” is the pinnacle of arrogance and condescending attitude? What next? would you tell us that has something to do with our genes? Why do you want us to stop blaming IA? We will blame him and anyone who belittles and insults us, like you just did.

  • Wediere

    Selamat Bohashim,

    You said:

    ….To get there, there will be a need for well coordinated efforts both among diaspora youth groups as well as within those inside Eritrea. Such efforts should pursue non-violent strategies.

    No one would argue with the mode of struggle the Diaspora should pursue, actually if the financial assistance to PFDJ was diverted to the refugees, the ordeal we see would have been shortened and lessened. My problem and dilemma is with the paragraph that follows the above:

    Violence may be justified only if it is declared by state institution such as parliament for self defense from an outside enemy. It may also be necessary when the army chooses to side with the Eritrean people as the 21 January Forto army movement did when a group of Eritrean soldiers led by martyr Saeed Ali Hejay (a.k.a Wad-Ali) occupied the Ministry of Information building on a Monday morning on 21 January 2013 and courageously broadcasted their pro-democracy position by demanding, among others:

    Those of you who religiously call for non-violent mode of struggle have created this Principle in your head and when you try to explain it, it just goes against basic common sense.

    Nowadays common sense is not really common, unless we move from this type of thinking we will remain frozen while the fate of our people worsens

    Some of the terms and points that are in the paragraph, you need to expound on.

    State institution…..what is that to really supposed to mean in our current Eritrea?
    One or maybe the only entity in mind is the Army/EDA…..if a member of EDA takes action, you can’t call it state institution, how high and broad does it have to go to satisfy your stringent rule to have legitimacy. I mean you conveniently accepted Wad-Ali’s action even though it does not fit the Principle. DIA must feel safe and good when he reads such statements from prominent opposition activist.

    For me DIA and his gang have no legitimacy, with this I could swallow for the sake of peace and security the call for non-violence. However, when the illegitimate goes to the extent of inflicting violence and spreading tyranny on the land and it’s people, anyone who decides to defendhimself with whatever in hand, they are legitimate to do so. Not only that (which is the least), if they are capable to remove the tyrant they should do so.

    You should stick to what you feel comfortable and within your mean to add value…..safe that ……don’t confuse those who are on the verge of acting, as the situation we leave in it is not sufficient to fight tyranny with words ( and all that it covers ). This approach would also help reduce the opposition “bickering ” about mode of struggle…….

    I just supports anyone that is on “avanti senza freno”…it is not for the opposition to control (that opportunity was lost), but to maximise on the result from the combined energy and effort.

    Regards
    AOsman

    • denden

      MR A osman,

      “Nowadays common sense is not really common, unless we move from this type of thinking we will remain frozen while the fate of our people worsens”

      I thought you can buy “commen sense” from any shopping centre near you, may be any where but Eritrea!!!

  • Ermias

    If I may dive in here – all I know about the opposition organizations is that they do not have any sort of organization and they are deeply divided. So I will not say more than that. I have to re-iterate, awate.com is probably the best hope we have for coming up with some revolutionary idea to galvanize and organize the youth. We need no political organizations at all to bring about the change we need. We help get IA taken out, the brave young Eritreans will take care of the colonels, the generals, the Yemanes (but conveniently they will be abroad in those days) and the rest of the gangsters.

    After that, we can worry about whom to put in power. But for now, I would say anyone who has fought during the independence wars stay out of our way because all of you have seen too much blood and killings and I don’t trust any of you to have compassion towards human life just as in HIGDEF. Yes, that is how cynical I am and that cynicism I am sure represents more Eritreans mindset than not.

  • TF

    After the above comment on the root cause and the reaction to the tragedy, I read ERI TV will prepare an Editoreal. Dejavu???? where was the government the last 6 days. when the world was busy covering the news and when nations and people of the world was mourning and covering the news, and looking for bodies and survivals.
    Again, the root cause of the tragedy is the regime and regarding the coverage which is going to be done by ERITV, it is too late and too little, taking the magnitude of the incident in to consideration. but also, let him / the presidents show his reaction. Is this not a major national tragedy? If not now then when.

  • said

    Italy to hold state funeral after shipwreck
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24456058
    Italy to hold state funeral after shipwreckhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24456058

  • yegermal

    A/Rahman,

    Thank you for the timely and highly inspirational article. The Lampedusa tragedy has shocked us immensely and while it has prompted sporadic and disorderly response from DIA’s operatives, the organized opposition is not faring better. At the minimum, each and every opposition group should’ve sent representatives to Lampedusa not only to help the rescue efforts but to serve as first-hand news source for victims’ families and the Eritrean people at large. Unfortunately, even in times this critical, the opposition has assumed its usual “frozen” posture. Mind boggling! When you call on the opposition to put aside “trivial” matters and direct focus and energy on fighting against the rogue government of Eritrea, you speak for most of us that are very frustrated with the internecine bickering about nothing that is rendering the opposition irrelevant. But am afraid the opposition (including the youth groups) as it stands currently lacks the ingredients for reform. i.e., 1)dedication, 2)know-how, and 3)funds (to hire full time activists); all of which the PFDJ propaganda machine has in full supply.

    Your mention of the “three main fronts: media, diplomacy and public mobilization in the diaspora” is a good trust. I hope going forward you will expand on how to galvanize support to achieve them.

    Bravo!

  • T..T.

    The Eritrean Democratic Alliance (EDA) has been a testing ground for unity of the Eritrean opposition. EDA tried uniformity of programs, agendas and many other approaches as awareness of the change for a united program and action. The approach went successfully and reached acceptance for the change. When the members started the commitment stage, elements within the ELF-RC repeatedly inhibited the implementation of the commitment stage through systematic chaos and tension. Then, those barriers or elements of anti-unity were removed by the pro-unity elements within the ELF-RC. The ELF-RC was, then, purged and renamed itself Eritrean National Salvation Front.

    After surviving the upheavals, EDA reassessed and implemented the commitment stage successfully. Installation and institutionalization of the change became smooth and easy, of course with here and there calls for slowing or hastening the courses of change for united bodies (branches: e.g. military wing) and actions. Then, boom, all of sudden the ENCDC movement evolved and successfully made its way into the change. The members of EDA already were at the stage for change, so flexible and open to new ideas. However, the splinters kept attempting into the folds by sneaking in, just like they did convince Wedi Temnewo to ill-comment and spark uproars at the Washington’s opposition evening. Every time we make steps forward toward a united action, there there are sneakers creating problems. Who are these elements, an example: a member of them is Alem Goitem of Meskerm.net? So, what is the solution? Although signs of extensive participation and involvement are easily touched to make the unity of the opposition possible, equally the sneakers are creating lack of psychological safety creating a sense of lack of confidence in a united body and actions by ENCDC. So, the only way out of the problems of weakening the opposition is to first lower the voices of disunity and heighten the calls for a unity as well as a united action.

  • Berhe

    The root cause is the dictator, plain and simple………..

  • TF

    Finding the root cause of the problem is the main part of finding the solution

    It is now almost a week since the “disgrace tragedy” as was also said by Pope Francis happened. The first reaction of the world was the same, (the media coverage, comments, interviews, speeches by many responsible authorities of Italy and many other countries was sadness, shame and talking about responsibilities, and looking for solutions ). But, the world and we have not heard any reaction from the President of the nation (Eritrea) where almost all the victims came from. Nothing was said by, SERVING THE TRUTH, ERITV, and Eritrean official news outlets; it is business as usual, news about festivals and Mekete.
    Therefore, all kind of defense and diversions, to the tragedy, is expected to come from the government, its supporters and government apologists ( don’t like the word but I hope it serve its purpose here). In my view, the defense and diversion manifests like this:, starting from the soft approach, “let’s not point fingers at each other” to the extent of sayings, the cause of the problem are the victims themselves, the opposition because the opposition encourages the youth to leave the country, the family of the victims because they send money etc.. The usual accusations to Weyane, USA , Italy with various conspiracy theories is expected. Even though, it is still very hard to understand and “accept”, when you see some trying to convince us = confuse us, that the regime in Eritrea is also mourning. (By trying to find a couple of condolence lines here and there, from government officials and emphasizing them).
    Leaving this aside and also obvious, I think it is important to comment on the cause and effect analysis about the tragedy. It might be better to identify it by explaining the difference between cause and root cause, strictly speaking between the root cause and immediate cause (as the immediate cause can be anything and everything; such as: because of the fire set in the boat, the number of people in the boat, the captain of the boat, reaction of the coast guards, the immigration policy of Europe, etc.. etc.. ).
    Hence, the cause can be many but the ROOT CAUSE of the problem and this tragedy is ENTIRELY THE REGIME IN ERITREA. People and specially our brothers and sisters are fleeing the country because they can’t see any HOPE, FUTURE in their own country (like all of us). Since nobody except the government = HIM =the president) has a say in the affairs of the nation the responsibility, the cause is totally the government.
    It is true, we Eritreans in general and the opposition in particular have to do more to end the suffering of our PEOPLE and by that our nation. Among other steps, we should be louder in telling the world the suffering of our brothers and sisters leaving the country. Tell the world, the problems our people/youth are facing in the way to safe country. In this regard the problem starts from the money paid to the generals and/or mediators- delalo, in Eritrea for facilitation to come out of the country; the unjustifiable imprisonments and at times the murder that take place by the same generals or their orders; the atrocities- rape, organ harvest, killings in the deserts of Sinai, on the way to Israel, and similar problems on the way to Libya, Italy and other parts of the world. Yes, more must be done to end all these suffering and misery as quickly as possible, but still ALL FINGERS SHOULD POINT TO THE GOVERNMENT and its SUPPORTERS. I think there should not be any confusion and no room should be left to blame anyone else except the government as it is the government in Eritrea which is the root cause of the problem and the tragedy.
    While the root cause is the government, the consequences/effects of the root cause are many, one of which is the tragedy of Lampedusa. It is one of the many known and unknown, told and untold tragedies Eritreans are experiencing, and NEVER in the history of our people has been like this. That is why, people and especially the youth are fleeing the country knowing well the dangers ahead of them, it is that bad.
    The choice then becomes between some percentages of success to enter a safe country or live in hell, where there is no hope and no future, which unfortunately is Eritrea now for its citizens. In this particular journey of our brothers and sisters, the percentage of success was only about 31% (155/500); since up to now the number of survivors is 155 and the number of migrants in the boat was 500. (http://edition.cnn.com/2013/10/08/world/europe/italy-lampedusa-boat-sinking/ ) Again, the safe country in this journey was Italy; I would say the word safe country can be relative once one leaves his own country. The hell, which its citizens are abandoning, is Eritrea. (Hell = the situation in Eritrea; starting from long =endless years of military service, no possibility of deciding your own fate/life, no participation in political, social economy of your own nation as everything belongs and is owned by HIM=President, unexplained imprisonments, abuses, crimes, to hardships, like shortage of bread electricity etc… please read articles about current life in Eritrea, in Eritrean websites or ask anyone who visited Eritrea recently for details,).
    While I have pointed my finger to which I think is the root cause, I would like to ask on the reaction of the tragedy:

    A) To ardent regime supporters:

    How do you think, the regime and specially the President and formal channels ((ERITV, Hadas Eritrea etc..) reacted to the tragedy? What was/ is the official view? What official and formal measures did the government took? What are they telling you about this tragedy? What are they saying? Are you happy/ Satisfied with the measures taken by the government?
    B) To those who gather and amplify condolences comments by government officials from and here and there including about “flag flying at half-staff in honor and mourning…. In Eritrean Embassy in DC” )
    Do you think, that is how it should be? Are you satisfied by those measures? Do you think that is a POSITIVE CONTRIBUTION to the current situation in Eritrea? Which side of the fence are you or it does not matter? Is it SERVING THE TRUTH?
    C) To All,

    Do you think the president reaction to this tragedy is as usual, like when do his interviews – the patronizing way- sort of, we didn’t cry because we don’t want to make the “children” type of thing( “children” meaning Eritrean people) cry. (Knzarebelu aydelenan baelna hiznayo) or
    Maybe, Mourning or talking about it is considered equal to showing “weakness=crying” to the enemies. (Enemies= temberkekti Eritreans, “opposition”, Weyane, America????
    Ok whatever the reason, we haven’t seen any formal reaction from the government=president, which I think; to the say the least is very bizarre.
    In summary, what I want to say is:
    1- The root cause of the problem (tragedy of Lampedusa and other similar tragedies) is the government = President Isayas
    2- Tragedy of Lampedusa is one of the effects/ consequences of the root cause
    3- The reaction from the government to all the consequences/ effects of the root cause (his rule and handling of Eritreans and Eritrea) is INHUMAN and in particular the governments’ reaction to this tragedy is bizarre.
    4 Again, point fingers to the victims and their families is very hard to tolerate
    5- Regarding amplifying comments or some steps that might have taken by government officials here and there. My understanding is: Don’t divert this issue, although you have the right to do so. I think it is destructive contribution (am not sure if it is a right term?) and I would say, never underestimate peoples intelligence; as people can read between the lines.
    Having said that, I wouldn’t be happy with myself and I also wouldn’t like to encourage widening our differences, if the difference is ONLY on levels, if it is only about the level of tolerance in our understanding and evaluation of the regime.
    On the other hand, I would welcome if the spirit of the emphasis (though difficult to understand) is an attempt or a way to encourage those Eritreans still supporting the regime to join the opposition camp.
    But how could you think this to be acceptable when:
    a) You say, bring at this particular time of mourning, disaster
    b) At the cost of any opposition. (My understanding; Opposition= Any individual, Group or Organization , that does not take side with current government, that opposes the government; that wants , works , struggles to change the current government of Isayas Afewrki)

    (As you can see from this last part, I am struggling to understand you hence contradictions. But, I believe you are in the wrong side of the fence- hope this message reaches the individuals in question)

    The ROOT CAUSE of the tragedy and our / Eritrean problem is the rule of Isayas and the Solution is he, his government must leave the Scene.

    • Danny

      I would not be the least surprised if the dictatorial government of Eritrea goes around to the briefed families and start collecting 50,000 Nakfa for each victim as it had done in the past. This government is that evil.

      • yegermal

        Danny,

        Neither would I. It has collected ransom from the families of those that were caught while crossing the border.

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