A “Bullet Away” Scenario: The Moment Has Arrived

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”  Albert Einstein.

First off a simple personal question: you are a Diaspora Eritrean living somewhere in the free world; What would you do if a notorious psychopath – one who has a history of repeat criminal offences is released to your neighbourhood to roam freely day or night in the very same streets where your kids walk to school or the parks where they play?

Would you brush it off as a minor nuisance, saying “the guy has already done his time” and just move on with your life, even if you know the likelihood of him re-offending by murdering or raping someone?  Very unlikely, I would presume.    

It goes without saying that your natural instincts of defending your loved ones, especially your children would compel you to raise hell to have the psychopath removed from your neighbourhood at any cost. Failing that, you would probably fight tooth and nail to force the authorities to impose stringent conditions on the psychopath, like wearing monitoring devices, watching his every move round the clock, or locking him up for good on the first incident of re-offence and so on and so forth.

In simple terms, these instinctual reactions define the clear difference between you being a human or a “non-human”, say like a boulder or a brick-wall for example. I wouldn’t even dare say a brute here – because even brutes were created with enough instinctual urge to defend their young from all sorts of perils, even if that meant endangering their own lives in the process.

Now imagine this for a second: What if the child-killer psychopath is actually at the helm of absolute tyranny, as is the case in Eritrea – what would you advise your people to do? 

You know they can’t protest, because if they do, they stand the risk of being crushed long before they even start. The dictator has been sucking the life out of the entire nation in a slow agonizing death for almost twenty years now without anybody saying “ehem”; so go figure what he will do if un-armed elderly civilians, women and under-age children (all that are left in town) were to protest against his rule.

You also know that they can’t go to the authorities because the psychopath dictator happens to be the sole authority in town. You know all too well what happened to all those decent folks who went talk and appeal to the so-called “authorities” in the past – they all disappeared, never to be heard from again.

What to do then?

Some brave Eritreans in the Diaspora took it upon themselves, as they have always done in the past, to protest against the bloody carnage which their people are being subjected to at the hands of the despicable PFDJ regime. To the outside world, these protests may not carry as much weight, because unfortunately, they are viewed as “protests by proxy” and particularly more so, at a time when the entire region is up on flames and dictatorships are being decimated left and right. As they say, looks are deceptive and sadly enough, what is passed by many as “relative calm” inside the country is nothing but an utter resignation of a helpless people who seem to have succumbed to their macabre fate.  

For us Eritreans though, irrespective of what the World thinks, these Diaspora protestors are among the most courageous and most selfless citizens, who at the bare minimum, keep the flame burning – the flame of dissent and the quest for freedom. Every inch of Eritrea belongs to them, just as much as it belongs to all those they have left behind.

They know that their protests may not topple the PFDJ regime tomorrow – but unlike the cynics among us, they also know this: that coaxing unarmed and outnumbered civilians inside the country to join the current upheavals in the region and to start protesting against the regime may not be an easy task given the regime’s excessive brutality. In other words, they are fully cognizant, as are the people inside the country, that internal popular protests as a means of toppling the PFDJ regime would be too costly and ultimately, unsustainable.

That’s why the Diaspora Eritreans will never relent on their efforts to keep the flame burning as they have been doing for quite sometime now. They know very well that at some point, they will be able to relay the baton to those they have left behind.

After all, it was through the relentless efforts of many Diaspora Eritreans that PFDJ’s inflow of hard currency was brought to a choke-hold. As a result, the PFDJ regime was reduced to all sorts of daylight banditry just to survive. It even went so far as to dump the nation’s mineral resources for way-below-market meagre returns – just like a crack addict would do anything to get his quick fix.

It is also worth mentioning that it was through the incredible efforts of many Diaspora Eritreans by which the dubious façade of the PFDJ was shattered and the real ugly face of the regime was brought to the fore for all to see.   

On the other hand, as the entire region is engulfed in a revolutionary fervour where deeply- entrenched dictatorships are being uprooted and are facing the wrath of those they oppressed for years, the self-aggrandizing cynics among us –  those who  spent twenty odd years doing nothing – absolutely nothing  except for condemning and shaming any meaningful and forceful act of defiance against the PFDJ regime as terrorism, jihadism and what have you – those very same cynics, if you can believe it or not,  were among the first to claim full credit for the righteousness  of  their so-called “struggle”. What a farce! What have they achieved in the last twenty years that they are so proud of? Perfecting their guayla skills? Give me a break!

Unlike our day-dreaming cynics, those who revolted against tyrannies in North Africa and parts of the Middle East had one thing in common – they fought back. They fought back fiercely with everything at their disposal. It didn’t matter if it was bricks, sticks, guns or just sheer numbers that they had to use, the bottom-line is, and again, unlike our cynics – they fought back, tooth and nail. They refused to negotiate, they just fought to have their key demands met –   that their dictators relinquish power immediately and unconditionally.

Even those dictators who are still hanging on by the threads know that their reigns are faits accopmlis. It is not that they believe things will return to normal anytime soon, not at all. They are just hanging on to do what they enjoy doing best – inflicting more pain.    

What the peoples of the region have achieved in a matter of weeks, our cynics couldn’t even achieve a fraction of in twenty long years of a so-called struggle. Yet, the cynics had the audacity to compare their dubious “do-nothing” approaches to those unfettered, all-out wars of free-spirited peoples who would stop at nothing to destroy their oppressors.

To make matters even worse, the cynics increased their verbiage of giving false hopes by saying – “change will come from within”, “the people will rise up soon”, “change coming from the outside will not succeed” and a slew of other hollow sloganeering and dubious fear-mongering.

For almost twenty long years, inspiration has never been their thing. There were many popular revolts to be inspired by, but our cynics never even raised an eyebrow. Now that the entire region seems to be caught up in a revolutionary fervour, all of a sudden they seem to be inspired, but as always though, for all the wrong reasons. They want more of the same – a laid back approach with no sense of urgency, a “do-nothing policy” confused for peaceful resistance and making futile efforts to negotiate with HGDEF.   

If the monotonous “do nothing” approach of the past twenty years is any indicator of failure, then without a doubt, the approach has failed us miserably. All one has to do to figure this out is just to conduct a simple comparison of where we were twenty years ago and where we stand today. Back then, HGDEF had only baby teeth, but now, and to the dismay of many, they have ugly fangs. All throughout their reign of terror, their crimes went from worse to the unfathomable, thanks to the “do nothing” approach which has served as the single most empowering inducement for the regime to escalate its crimes.

So folks, if there is an option left for redeeming Eritrea, it is the option of destroying HGDEF, head first. It is the only option and if we are to be truthful with ourselves, I think we have danced enough around the issues – it is time to put an end to this misery. Besides, given what is going on in the region, the moment has now arrived to do things differently – it is about time that we change gears.

There is no point in rehashing here all the well-documented crimes committed by HGDEF, which would make anyone cringe in utter shock and pain, even if one was just to hear about them, let alone to experience them first hand; but it enough to say this : take the crimes which are happening now in Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria and while at it, take also the crimes which took place recently in Tunisia, Egypt and Côte d’Ivoire all combined and then multiply them a hundred fold,  both in numbers and in savagery –  all those crimes would  pale in comparison to the crimes committed by HGDEF against a defenceless and a captive Eritrean population, both inside the country and throughout the Diaspora.   

The only difference is that, when one Libyan woman complains of rape, the whole World comes to her aid, and rightly so, I might add; but unfortunately, when groups upon groups of Eritrean women complain about similar or even worse crimes of rapes and tortures – hardly anybody notices.

Likewise, when demonstrators are shot dead in any of the above mentioned countries, condemnations and threats of severe sanctions are hurled at the perpetrators left and right, and if that fails in abating their crimes, then swift military actions are taken against them, as was the case in at lease two countries so far.

Again unfortunately, when it comes to Eritrea, young men and women, some even under-age are sprayed with bullets like stray dogs and their bodies displayed in broad daylight for no reason other than for trying to flee from forced conscription (exercising a basic human right), yet throughout the world, nobody even gives a flinch at these despicable crimes.        

Call this duality in global reactions to the terror committed by dictatorial  regimes an outright act of hypocrisy, call it cold indifference or even a conspiracy, if you like – the bottom-line is,  as a decent Eritrean with genuine grievances, it should mean one thing and only one thing to you:  that you are alone, my friend.

In any society other than present day “Ertra”, HGDEF thugs would have been sent to the gallows a million times over, even for a fraction of the crimes they have committed so far.

Thus, anything less than the immediate targeting and destruction of PFDJ thugs in order to bring about change in the country would be tantamount to giving false hopes to the poor people. The idea that because dictators are falling like rotten apples all around us and   that all we have to do is to just sit tight and wait for change to come to us at its own pace, is just too farcical at best and cynically conspiratorial at worst.

With respect to our plight, if there is one thing which is worse than doing nothing, it is the act of giving false hopes.  This is so because the debilitating effect of giving false hopes goes far beyond those who choose to do nothing – it also mollifies those who would have otherwise acted more aggressively against the regime.

All that the cynics among us are doing is just giving false hopes to a large segment of our society. Unfortunately, this plays very well with HGDEF’s chauvinist agenda, which is and has always been an open secret. It all boils down to nothing other than a futile effort to create a bastardized nation moulded in their image.

This bastardized nation has been twenty years in the making. The bloody dictator thinks that another twenty years of “doing nothing” or of giving false hopes by the cynics would give him enough time to complete his chauvinist social re-engineering project.

But to the dictator’s sheer horror, it has been amply demonstrated by the courageous revolutions in the region that there is nothing formidable about dictatorships. Dictatorships that took forty to fifty years to build crumbled flat only in a matter of a few weeks time of direct challenge. All it took was the resolve of a people to fight back with everything at their disposal.

When the former American Ambassador to Eritrea described the PFDJ regime as only “a “bullet away” from crumbling, he wasn’t making a passing remark just for the heck of it. His assessment was as valid then as is more so now, especially given PFDJ’s never-ending stupid and suicidal adventures, which seem to get worse by the day.  

Indeed, the regime is only a bullet away from falling apart and if the nation is to be spared the risk of its civilians being bombed and shelled as is happening now in Libya, then the snake’s head must be cut-off first.

As many of us have said before, destroying PFDJ tyranny is not a monumental task and does not require colossal manpower and logistical commitments. All it needs is a small task force which can execute its mission with precision – deadly precision.


The Passing Of A Fighter

قال الله تعالى : من المؤمنين رجال صدقوا ما عاهدوا الله عليه فمنهم من قضى نحبه ومنهم من ينتظر وما بدلوا تبديلاً :   صدق الله العظيم

Abdalla Idris, veteran fighter and long-time ELF leader passed away last week and like many others of his martyred colleagues and trench comrades, he never got a chance to get even a simple burial in the country he spent a lifetime struggling to liberate.

At a time when even street thugs are accorded state funerals at martyr’s cemeteries, veteran fighters like Abdalla Idris are forced to perish in foreign lands by a regime that has no sense of shame.

This disgraceful act by the PFDJ regime may not affect our martyrs themselves one bit, for they have passed to a better place. For those of us still living though, it gives us all the resolve in the World to make a humble attempt to pay back our martyrs.        

How do you pay back a martyr?

If somebody were to die for you, at par value, there is absolutely nothing that you can do to match his or her sacrifice. You can offer all the wealth in the World, you can assemble all the marching bands, offer all the fame and glory  – but still, even all of that combined wouldn’t amount to a fraction of what you got in return – a precious human life. Nothing we offer in lieu, could ever match the sacrifice of even one single martyr.

If we truly and genuinely value the sacrifices of our martyrs, and I believe most of us do, then the closest we could ever come to paying them back is to carry on with their dreams. It is to stay the course and champion the causes they died for. It is to achieve and uphold the ideals in pursuit of which their lives were cut short.

If we look at the wide cross section of our martyrs, their dreams, causes and ideals were just as diverse as the social and religious make-up of Eritrea itself. Despite that diversity though, they all had one core thing in common – the pursuit of freedom.

May their souls rest in peace.

Wa-Allah-ul Muafiq


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