EFND Response to Saleh Gadi Johar’s Article titled, “Crusaders” Branding Others, “Islamists”

Dear Saleh:

Focusing on your critic of EFND and its documents rather than on the unhelpful personality issues, we would like to let you know that we see your article in a positive light. We agree with you that, despite our efforts, EFND is not yet as diverse as we would like it to be. However, we would like to assure you, your readers, and all Eritreans that we will continue to devote as much energy as possible to make EFND reflective of the Eritrean society as much as possible. We would also like to take your offer to help in this regard and to link us up with groups, such as the Eritrean Lowland League (ELL). As you may know, we invited them to our conference but they were not able to participate. Hopefully, they will do so in the future. We also have a request to make and that is for you to publish our reports and communiques, just like the other Eritrean sister websites do. You have declined to publish them in the past but, hopefully, you agree with us that Awate readers should read our reports directly instead of reading interpretations of them. Besides, exposure to diversity of ideas and views is as important as diversity of people in properly informing our people.

On the broader issue of goals and objectives of EFND, we would like to inform Awate’s readers that our sole objective is to create a platform for all Eritrean opposition groups, civil society organizations, as well as individuals to discuss the frightening predicament that our people and our country face. We owe it to our people who are (a) drowning in the Mediterranean Sea with no one hearing their shouts for help; (b) dying in the Libyan desert; (c) being tortured in the Sinai; (d) rotting in prisons denied even the basic right of trial in a court of law; and (e) enduring denigration in refugee camps in various countries and hundreds of thousands of them languishing in camps in Sudan for several decades. We have no doubt that you will agree with us that all these victims are Eritreans of various ethnic, religious, and regional identities. We strongly believe that it is our shared responsibility to do what we can to free the Eritrean society from such abuses. Regimes come and go and the current regime in Asmara will no doubt go sooner or later. It is high time that Eritreans of all identities deliberate about the political arrangements for the day after the regime is no longer there. We cannot envision the establishment of a governance system that accommodates the fundamental interests, values, and aspirations of all of

our diverse identities without inclusive dialogue among our diverse communities. Our key objective at EFND is to create a platform where such dialogue takes place. Our reports and communiques are merely talking points intended to initiate dialogue and nothing more.

Finally, we would like to remind Awate’s readership, as well as all Eritreans, that when colonial powers tried to dismember Eritrea our forefathers from all corners of Eritrea stood tall and left us behind a country with its territorial integrity and national identity intact. Our martyrs also sacrificed themselves to restore it to us. We owe it to our courageous and wise forefathers and heroic martyrs to work in unison to preserve and develop our precious inheritance. No doubt, bad governance has put a strain on our unity but let us have a longer term perspective and remember that the Eritrean people will reclaim their country and put in place a governance system that manages their diversity properly. Let us also not forget that despite the burden of an utterly incompetent and cruel regime, which has betrayed all the causes of our struggle, our unity still remains stronger than those in most of our neighbors. Let us work hand in hand to strengthen it.

We thank you very much for your input and your offer to help us become more inclusive. We look forward for more constructive discussion in the future.

Yours respectfully,
EFND Coordinating Committee
November 16, 2014

Editor’s note: for information on what is published and rejected, please check item # 9 and #10 of our posting guidelines here.


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