By Berhane M Tekeste
When a covert, exclusionary, and discriminatory activity is busted, it triggers suspicion and mistrust by nature and necessity. And where there is suspicion and mistrust, say all you want, not all that glitters is gold!
In an open letter addressed to the president of the EU on the eve of the meeting, a major opposition alliance comprised of 13 opposition organizations, the Eritrean Democratic Alliance (EDA), condemned the two-day (9-10 Nov) closed Brussels Gathering as divisive, discriminatory, and interference in its internal affairs.
“We are here to remind that this exclusive conference with all its form and content is disruptive, creating mistrust and exclusionist divisive mentality and behavior. It disarrays the overall capacities of the member organizations in particular and the opposition camp in general. In fact it’s a step to intervene in our internal affairs.” Said the letter.
The closed gathering is sponsored by Europe External Policy Advisors, a Brussels-based lobbying firm. It is taking place under the theme “Joining up EU and US Policy towards Eritrea and the Horn for the Promotion of Democracy and Human Rights”.
Further, over the weekend, an Eritrean Radio station, Dimtsi Messelna Delina, broadcasting directly to Eritrea in Tigrigna language and sympathetic to the said gathering decried lack of any support for the Brussels gathering among members of the Eritrean diaspora! Listen: http://www.eritreadaily.net/JukeBox2008/audio/EEPA2.mp3
There is a good and legitimate reason for lack of support of the gathering! The said gathering was hatched among and between the sponsors and select Eritreans for months while the public was kept in the dark until the machinations of the event were busted 10 days before the start of the gathering by Eritrean opposition website, awate.com, in all details! And lack of transparency and discriminatory mode of operation naturally trigger legitimate suspicion and mistrust. Members of the Eritrean diaspora were so dumbfounded by the news hence the apprehension toward and lack of support for the covertly brought about gathering in Brussels.
Once a covert activity is busted, people suspect the purpose and intent of the entire undertaking top to bottom regardless of any and all efforts to the contrary. Yes, where there is suspicion and breach of trust, not all that glitters is gold!
Once busted, the only defense the sponsors and organizers of the gathering knew was to declare the gathering private and closed event, which they did and announced it as such on their website! Case closed, stay away!
There is more to this mysteriously organized event. On the last day of the gathering, there comes Johnny come late, the EGS declaring its support for the gathering! Hallelujah! Sure, you never know there might be a spot for EGS in the ‘Eritrean consultative group’ that the lobbying firm Europe External Policy Advisors is closely working with? But again, team awate.com that has blasted the gathering via an editorial on the eve of the meeting is not only mere member but a founding member of the EGS. With that, the Brussels Team has not only fractured a major opposition alliance, EDA, but also the EGS. Who is speaking for whom? Does EGS speak for awate.com too? Does the EDA speak for those of its members attending the gathering as well?
Now, it is mind boggling why in the world an event with purpose and intent of promoting democracy and human rights and in the interest of the people and country of Eritrea be brought about in such a secretive, exclusionary, and discriminatoy manner?
View and read full text of EDA’s letter at EDA
EDITOR’S NOTE: awate.com is the initiator of the Eritrean Global Solidarity (EGS: a civil society umbrella group), a founding member, and a board member, but it was not consulted regarding the letter sent by the EGS to the EEPA. The letter doesn’t represent it.