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The Eritrean Elites And The People

Recently, I observed a relative tranquility in the Eritrean cyberspace, may be the success of the NCDC diverted the course of action into the righteous direction.

A considerable number of participants also highlighted their views with regard to the event and confirmed that at least “we can sit together at the table.”

Above all, Assenna.com deserves the utmost praise for the detailed coverage that was followed by the exposure of rare interviews with the representatives of the entire segments of the Eritrean people. The emergence of new writers  with top educational titles is also another asset for the enrichment of our websites. The  political atmosphere seems promising and the silent majority are gradually waking up, I hope I am not mistaken. For consistency, let me take you back to the topic. 

Elites Ddefined

They are members of a small group of people in power that rules the rest of the people for its own benefit. The same few people have been ruling the world for centuries, concentrating strength and wealth, all at the expense of the rest of us. Elites exist because, in any power structure, someone is needed to make decisions, hence, they monopolize the authority of representation, thereby thay are responsible for determining either the wellbeing of, or a disaster of a given community. Usually, elites live in safe quarters and exploit the fate of the poor people from that comfort zone. By nature, human being  is selfish, but at the same time contributes something for the surrounding social environment to gain support or pride from the people.The contributions of elites varies from positive to neutral and negative influence. Usually, everywhere in the world, tragedies and instability have been fading away with the multitude of elites. Alas, in our case, the opposite is true; in essence our problems are much more easier to resolve than many other African states, but it has escalated and has reached an impasse with the emergence of the growing number of arrogant elites.

Why that much focus on elites? Because, nowadays, we are suffering from political impotence and many partners and friends are throwing humiliating comments on us: Eritreans can not organize themselves and they lack the very basic skill of integrated work. I have a Sudanese neighbor and whenever we meet, we share experiences and we carry political debates about our respective homelands. He tells me that to make change is not a difficult task and the Sudanese elites and people have had the capability to remove a government that harasses the people, let alone political dissatisfaction, even minor economic reasons could bring the regimeto its knees. One time, a simple demonstration  in Khartoum changed the entire situation overnight. He supported his argument with a series of events that took place in the post-independent Sudan.Then I tried to identify the plain weakness of Eritreans. I hardly found any flaws in the character of ordinary citizens. Indeed, they are courageous (widely known for their proud history ), tolerant, hard working and forgiving people. So, where is the problem? Is it ignorance? No. It is not. We can not blame them of being ignorant for it is a colonial legacy that was later deliberately extended by the PFDJ and they had experiences on that. I thought for a while and recognized that the entire burden of our problems lie on the elites.

Lack of sufficient information

Majority of the elites that are actively involved in the current political discourse of the opposition camp have never seen post independent Eritrea, and if they had, they stayed only for a short period of time. Here Ii am referring to those who have ELF background and some independent intellectuals. Consequently, they fail to sense the true image about the current reality in Eritrea. Acquiring information through correspondence and cyberspace without closely observing them, leads to susceptible judgments that are consumed without intense scrutiny. Let alone the Eritrean elites in exile, even those of us who experienced the cruel treatment of the PFDJ, get confused. Really, it is quite serious to reach a conclusion based on scanty information—it simply portrays Bela-Below type of findings.

Network of personal relations

Most of the Eritrean elites fall at the age category between late 50s to late 60s, and therefore, they lived a complex political life during the armed struggle. Ideological differences and procedural setbacks left incurable scars in the mindset of these individuals. The worst of it is the poor and sensitive relationship they developed. Personal conflicts and meaningless grudges affected the whole organizational structure of the opposition camp, thus, they endangered the unity and the collective assignment to hit the target. What was the purpose of inventing the proverb Edme Tsega Eyu (age is grace), so many years ago? It holds numerous wise messages; when somebody gets older, he or she is expected to be tolerant, reconciliatory and able to manage all sorts of social conflicts. It is on this stage that men purify their soul and ask forgiveness for all the sins they committed in the past. The shmagelle have been using it since time immemorial, despite their lack of basic modern education.

Our “enlightened?” elites, not only failed to cement the sociopolitical ties of the people, but also could not forget the personal hostilities and nightmares of the horrible past. They are still dribbling us on the same court of enklil.

Bigotry and partisan politics  

Being sure of themselves and lacking empathy for others is also one of the major drawbacks of the elites. Misconception and stereotypes has damaged the entire political debate and perpetuated intolerance among the stakeholders for decades. There is no doubt that freedom and power go hand in hand, whatever the case might be, the pursuit of power should not deter us from boosting our impetus towards justice. This is not the proper time to contest and engage on coalition politics, it is time to prioritize collective interests and remove PFDJ by any means. But how can we do that? It is just through the dialogue under the shade of that famous tree. Say “YES” to dialogue and “NO” to boycott.

On his last piece “Awate.com, September 15, 2010”, Amanuel Hidrat  introduced a new system of converting social problems into scientific formula’s. I like the way he put it, and hopefully his metaphors from chemistry would guide the lost elite to work for the betterment of our society. I felt that chemistry alone can not do it to the end and derived my own mathematical version to help Tebeges:

Oh, elites, the problems you share > the problems that divide you

I also urge other writers to create their own, may be from physics; we need much more tactics to save the nation from the betrayers.

Eid Saeed and Happy new year

lembetina@yahoo.com

About Beshir Abdulkadir

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