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Eritrea: Enduring the Perils of Betrayal and Conspiracy

Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki holds the distinction of being one of the longest-serving rulers in Africa. This record alone puts him in league with such well-known African strongmen as Omar al-Bashir and Idriss Déby. Yet, his capricious nature betrays the inspiration he draws from the likes of Mummar Gaddafi and Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo infamous for their even longer authoritarian rule. Hence, obviously unsatisfied by the level of notoriety he has already achieved, he seems to be looking to emulate the feat of dictatorial longevity the two achieved.

President Isaias’s absolute control of, and dominance over, a country he has ruled with an iron fist for nearly three decades have earned him a place of infamy in the annals of African political history. Seizing, as he did, such immense power — and exercising that power with utter ruthlessness for a whole generation — would be logically expected to satiate even the most callous of ambitions. But, evidently, not so in Isaias’s case. Eritrean politicians and former associates with insights into his thinking have long argued that the man has an ingrained, secretly-held ambition for political power and influence whose scope extends beyond Eritrea to include Ethiopia and perhaps even the Horn of Africa region.

Subtle hints of such aspirations did, indeed, bubble from time to time in the president’s utterances of the early post-independence years. But, it is his conduct since the 2018 Eritrea-Ethiopia rapprochement that made his ambitious intentions find a more overt and frequent expression. The nine-month period following the peace accord saw the two leaders exchange frequent state visits and hold repeated summit meetings amid a fanfare of publicity. Isaias’s speeches and decisions of that period were geared to advancing his regional agenda in a way that threatened to undo Eritrea’s sovereignty and violate its territorial integrity. Not surprisingly, therefore, the president’s observed political maneuvers and the unholy alliance that incited them have since stoked doubt, consternation and even anger among Eritreans.

A Legacy of Eritrea’s Liberation Struggle

The dictatorship that President Isaias has imposed on Eritrea is rooted in his sardonic betrayal of the very society that had bestowed on him so much honor and reverence. Like it or not, the man has had arguably the most profound impact on modern Eritrean history. His status as the nation’s first and, so far, only leader is just a sequel to the dominant role he played during most of the long liberation struggle including as its uncontested leader during its final years.

Young Isaias Afewerki was one of the few driven revolutionaries who gained recognition quickly after joining the armed struggle and steadily grew in stature over the first few years of service. And when he rose through the ranks to leadership positions, Isaias’s fame soared among the population. Nevertheless, in contrast to his reputation as rebel leader, his personal qualities remained largely unknown to the public due to the nature of his rebel organization (EPLF) and the realities under which the struggle was waged.

It was not until after Eritrea’s independence that a window into the president’s personal side was afforded by his public engagements and governance direction. His public image began to take shape thereafter fed by individual perceptions and by rumors that often swirled around his personality, physical health and mental state. But, there also exist credible reports on those issues by sources who either possessed the wherewithal (or were well-placed/connected enough) to be in the know. Their accounts, therefore, provide a valuable clue to the mindset that drove the president’s recent, potentially dangerous actions and statements.

For instance, in secret diplomatic cables he sent to the State Department in 2008/9, then US ambassador to Eritrea, Ronald McMullen ends one of his brief appraisals of the political, economic and social conditions in Eritrea with the statement “ … and the country’s unhinged dictator remains cruel and defiant.”[1] The diplomat also relates views about Isaias’s mental state that a foreign official and a leading Eritrean businessman confided in him. The earlier cables additionally characterize Isaias as hot tempered, unpredictable, paranoid with erratic behavior and mercurial temperament.[2] Some of these characterizations were later echoed by Andeberhan Woldegiorgis, a former senior official who worked intimately with Isaias for decades in both the EPLF and the PFDJ-regime it morphed into following the country’s independence.[3]

Eritrea’s “Policy” Direction

Eritrea’s present reality is defined by an economy that is moribund, a society that is unraveling and a political space that has shrunk to the point of exclusively accommodating a tyrant. The regime which engineered this reality lacks a constitutional basis, is devoid of people’s representation and does not even possess a functioning Cabinet. It has systematically stripped public institutions of their legitimate authority and reduced them to mere instruments of oppression. In its functions, the regime scorns the rule of law and shuns transparency and accountability.

In light of these stark truths, therefore, it is important to clarify the intended sense of the words in the Section Heading above. First, the heading should be understood to mean not a ‘national policy’ direction, but one that is singly dictated by a strongman in pursuit of his personal wishes and interests. Second, the term ‘policy’ is used here not in the ordinary sense of the word, but rather loosely to refer to the strongman’s dictatorial agenda.

  1. Domestic Policy

The regime which dragged Eritrea into its present sorry state has itself undergone a steady degradation which, over time, led it to devolve into successively more villainous and less inclusive forms of government. What started off as an incipiently-democratic provisional government in 1993 degenerated in stages first to an authoritarian regime; then to a rule by a sole party that supplanted national government and usurped its powers; and finally, to a “team” goaded by the president and comprising a handful of aides and party officials, a few military commanders and the chiefs of the National Intelligence and Security apparatus that casts a long shadow over life in the country.

Despite these structural changes, however, the system has remained remarkably faithful to its blueprint for governance which essentially includes: (a) employing police-state measures/tactics to intimidate, muzzle and control the population, (b) compelling the flight of national investment capital and capacity — hence, deterring foreign investment — to impoverish the country and (c) subjecting citizens to forced labor, thereby subjugating and dehumanizing the population. This policy has fueled an exodus of the youth and of the professional class out of the country while keeping the rest of the population cowered in fear of the regime.

Eritrea’s wretched political and socioeconomic conditions of the last two decades — and their documentation by the international community — provide incontrovertible evidence that the aforementioned social tragedies have been happening on a grand scale and are, in fact, the intended goals of the regime’s governance policy. Pursuing a policy marked by such levels of cruelty and mindless thuggery seems to be aimed at more than just perpetuating the regime’s grip on power. The president’s history of intrigue and conspiracy and his lust for limitless power suggest that the policy is designed to reduce the country to an impoverished, beat-up and subdued society incapable of standing in the way of his adventurous quest for regional power and dominance.

           2. Foreign Policy

A corollary to the Eritrea-Ethiopia peace accord is an “alliance” that the leaders of the two countries forged under a “cooperation agreement” the details of which remain unknown even to their respective governments. The period that followed these deals witnessed President Isaias’s newfound zeal for diplomacy and a revival of his long-dormant ambition for power and domination over the Horn of Africa region.

No sooner had peace been restored than the president sprang out of isolation and partnered with the Ethiopian leader to launch a regional diplomatic campaign. Its declared objective was promotion of their “shared vision” of regional “integration and unity”; but subsequent developments revealed that it was, in fact, a bid to realize their respective ambitions for power and influence in the region. The campaign initially generated a flurry of frantic diplomatic activities; but it was not long before the scheme fizzled out with no tangible results. So, having hit a wall with his regional agenda, the president seems to have subsequently decided to scale back on his ambition and, for now, focus his efforts on just Ethiopia.

In his latest interview with Eritrean state media, the president strangely, but unambiguously declared his intent to interfere in Ethiopia’s internal affairs with the aim of influencing the course of its shakey political process.[4] Logic suggests that he is banking on his ill-defined and secretive “alliance” with PM Abiy Ahmed and the latter’s acquiescence to provide the vehicle and justification his interference will require. As for the Ethiopian people, Isaias has already been pandering to their emotions intent on blunting their sensitivity to his planned meddling. His Ethiopia-related statements and actions of the past two years, for example, have worked up ultranationalist elites into reviving their deep-rooted territorial sentiments and ambitions.

His singular goal now seems to be coaxing a widening segment of Ethiopian society into placing their trust in a repentant “identity defector” who — having previously fought a 30-year liberation war against the country — now seeks acceptance as a “true son” of Ethiopia and claims to have her national interests close to his heart! President Isaias has been striving to achieve this goal by peddling falsehoods and deceptions crafted out of distorting facts, denying truths, negating reality and revising history. The following events demonstrate his stratagem of deceit:

  • In a CGTN interview conducted during his visit to Gondar, Ethiopia in November 2018, Isaias was asked what the happiest day of his life was. He responded, “Speaking as a private citizen rather than a leader, there can be several possible answers: my admission to college, my settling into married life, the birth of my child, the demise of the Dergue regime, etc. I swear to my bones and blood that I had no greater happiness than the day we came to an agreement with our Ethiopian brothers.”[5]
  • His speech at a groundbreaking ceremony for a new Eritrean Embassy building in Addis Ababa in December 2019 started with the statement “The people of Ethiopia and the people of Eritrea, as we have been saying, had remained estranged for over three generations for no reason.”[6] [emphasis added]

With those shockingly perfidious remarks, Isaias Afewerki betrayed the trust of the Eritrean people and their national aspirations; he desecrated the legacy of the heroes and heroines of the liberation struggle (by insinuating there was ‘no reason’ for their martyrdom); and he demeaned himself by nullifying his lifetime achievements and denying his past. This sinister, reprehensible behavior is a signpost pointing toward his imminent downfall and the shameful end to his regime.

Conclusions

A sober consideration of prevailing realities in Eritrea (and the region) reveals that the clock is ticking on President Isaias and his regime. Put bluntly, the president is really running out of time to do much of anything. Nevertheless, his recent history suggests that — short of experiencing mental or physical incapacitation — he will never abandon his quest for regional power. If so, the intrigue, conspiracy and intervention that commonly underpin his politico-military adventures can have ruinous consequences for Eritrea and for the region as a whole. Therefore, the Eritrean opposition movement should be mindful that this is a time not for a let-up, but rather for an intensification in the struggle to send the enervated regime to its grave!

Beguiled by the diplomatic/political drama that the two leaders acted out periodically, some in the region had given support to the Isaias-Abiy “alliance”. Much of it has been narrowly based, opportunistic support from special interest groups inspired by wishful anticipation that the alliance’s political charade will yield outcomes that serve their own selfish interests. However, the only outcomes the region witnessed in the last two years are political instability, economic downturn, civil strife and large-scale population displacements draped in the political/diplomatic gamesmanship of leaders. This stark reality will, hopefully, remind ultranationalist zealots that events are being guided and history is being shaped — as they will in the future — by factors other than the selfish wishes and dreams of the few.

References

  1. theguardian.com/world/… wikileaks-eritrea…
  2. wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/08ASMARA543_a.html
  3. bbc.com/news/world-africa-44824682
  4. eastafro.com/2020/02/07/eritrean-president
  5. bing.com/videos/… voice+of+Assenna…
  6. bing.com/videos … hadas+eritrea+newspaper

About Yohannes Zerai

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መሰል ንኽትሓትት ነጢፍካ ግቡእ ንምትግባር…

(እዚ ጽሑፍ ዕላማኡ ንኣስተንትኖ’ዩ’ሞ መዓዲ፡ ገሳጺ፡ ምናልባት’ውን ከም ገለ ክብል መሃሪ እንተ መሲሉ ሰኣን ኣኻእሎ …

  • Nitricc

    I am Eritrean and this is my history/ deal with it .

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4pyh3kCqhw

    • Sultan M.G.

      Gen Nittric:
      Thanks for sharing.
      Just an FYI:
      This is just the tip of the iceberg of the Eritrean people’s heroism .
      Just to recap:
      -The leftover 3 out of a 100 EPLF Fighters played the final blow to the NADDEW COMMAND Destruction with the help of Yacob Wedi Seghid thru his rocket launcher!
      -Few wounded Fighters while having surgery along with their field surgeons, picking up arms and fighting back and winning against thousands of well armed Ethiopian soldiers
      -Just two Local women capturing a well armed soldier
      -Shooting down a well armed helicopter with an AK-47 while the Russian Commando was trying to save their surrounded Top Advisors.

      -Finally, destroying the best and well armed more than 20k strong army within 48 hrs at the minimum but precious cost of 450 EPLF FIGHTERS !

      That is Eritreanism at its best!

      The replaying of this video clip during the 29th anniversary is for a REASON (in May of 2020)!
      Just laugh at the dumb AgAzians , Digital WeyAne and their Dying Recruiter , the walking dead TPLF !
      The Eritreans deserve the best of the best of everything.
      Tell this to PIA , please, who apparently allegedly ordered Gen Mesfin Hagos to halt this lightening, effective,very unique and rare in its nature super efficient military operation!

    • Kokhob Selam

      General Nitricc,

      This is not for some of us, but for all of us. We are proud of this history but then this past…What about now? We should start to think about now and coming generation. We should live not in illusion. Let us think now,now and now,,We Eritreans should listen to each other and solve all our problems..

      Now, we the earth is In Matrix,,we should processed toward heaven on earth journey. Agree.?

      KS,,

  • Paulos

    Selam Kbur Haw Ismail AA,

    New players are coming to the fore but Isaias’ ambition has remained the same. Certainly ambition and vision or sense of mission are not the same for the latter employs teleological axioms to execute long term plans. What has remained difficult to gauge or to know is Isaias’ not the end results but the calculus in the middle.

    From Eritrean Opposition block vantage point, the question we need to ask is, who can possibly stop Isaias as he strives to realize his personal ambitions at the expense of Eritrea and the well being of Eritreans. The nub that cuts deep into the critical question is—who is an ally and who is the enemy. Sadly however, the question is relegated to the back-burner when the Opposition shoots at random in the wind when a potential ally or even the single most important ally is taken for an enemy. Clarity of thought and strategy matters.

    • Ismail AA

      Selam Dr. Paulos,

      “Clarity of thought and strategy matter(s)”. No question; without that neither design nor purpose would make sense; harmony of both, in idea and instruments of execution, would by necessity complement one another. In my humble opinion, thus, at formative phase of anything developing, new elements or players, as you aptly put it, the development in question cannot move in the direction of fulfilment or attainment.

      On practical nature of things, the enemy in Eritrea stands clear before Eritreans as the end goal is as well. It is infact the indomitable choice of the stakeholders that glazes the opposition forces that claim to represent them on the face. Time has brought those forces to the middle, which you have described as “calculus” of the matter, if I have grasped the idea correctly. Sorting out the calculus has been the fateful challenge, which would determine the course of things; it would all boil down to logical alignment of forces.

      Thanks for sharing mind stirring thoughts, as usual.

      • Paulos

        Selam Kbur Haw Ismail AA,

        What I had in mind was the Eritrean Opposition relations with the new players in the region in particular. For instance, as you know, Abiy is creating alliance with Isaias that can further weaken any political leverage the Eritrean Opposition might have had. Given the new dynamics, how do the Eritrean Opposition see TPLF? Enemy, a strategic ally or neither?

        • Ismail AA

          Selam Dr. Paulos,

          Indeed, I did not miss the point though I refrained from getting in to details, and stopped at alluding to alignment of forces. Since you made a straightforward question regarding the TPLF, the first step question would be, which TPLF are we talking about? Is it the faction in power that missed real opportunities to act as strategic ally of the Eritrean opposition as a corporate body representing the people of Eritrea? Or is it the TPLF in power that missed opportunities by subordinating the bigger alliance I mentioned to partisan ideological strategic interest?

          In my humble view, the current picture of things in Tigrai fits in the dynamics of the “calculus in the middle” you had mentioned yesterday. First thing that should be how to deal with the calculus in the home front as prelude to looking at the external front: discriminating enemies from allies.

          • Paulos

            Selam Kbur Haw Ismail AA,

            Fair and valid points. I agree. Thank you.

  • said

    Greetings,
    Thank you Yohannes for your in depth article. Eritrean Are Proving themselves by the day at the individual levels, like yourself,making strides, despite the horrendous odds, mounting challenges and an advanced enlightened Western World proving increasingly double-standard and susceptible to IA biases. You pointed out rightly so ,the list African longest dictator, IA heading a failed state of his making and a dysfunctional government and being true son of Ethiopia . for good reason you left out the long list of his crime and is not topic of the day . IA is ruthless with those who questioned his policies and persisted in his policies that cost many Eritrean people dearly from the time he joined the Eritrean front and throughout the long period at the top the helm ruling Eritrea since independence we have seeing the catastrophic and dire result . Any one from his minion ministry tried to tell him the slightly the truth about what was happening in Eritrea ,they lost their position and that they were placed under house arrest for years or just being eliminated and this including G13 dissenters and list is long . IA dictatorial leader to hear dissenting voices due to the total suppression is not welcome . Eritrea faces an ominous future.

    One learn from history. Stanley Milgram observes in his classic study of obedience to authority, “contended that the prosecution’s effort to depict [Adolf] Eichmann as a sadistic monster was fundamentally wrong, that he came closer to being an uninspired bureaucrat who simply sat at his desk and did his job. … This is, perhaps, the most fundamental lesson of our study: ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process.”
    As you mentioned ,Mr Andeberhan Woldegiorgis, a former senior official who worked intimately with Isaias for decades in both the EPLF and the PFDJ-regime. who execute and enforced EPLF policy and the PFDJ-regime state policy, simply he was doing what he was ordered to do. EPLF/ PFDJ- policy decision maker are responsible for their actions BECAUSE they are executing and enforcing IA cruel policy and cabinet position, those who act on their behalves. The number of Eritrean lives lost is staggering since independence on the effects and lost opportunity on Eritrean economies and development prospects is incalculable, include denying and methods used in prohibition of private business ownership. Eritrean government enacted harmful and state controlled policies in spite of the damage they were causing to the general population. The PFDJ- policy was deaf to any criticism of its actions and Failure to abide by these policies led to brutal punishment. While IA, lured by his obedient minions into believing falsely Eritrea is progressing

    Eritrea plagued by decades of instability and conflict with its neighbouring countries. Let’s begin with the obvious. Ever since independence . let’s put things into context , Are these Eritreans still “Eritreans” in the sense of being an equal compatriot, deserving of respect as a human being? most of whom share a very similar Ancestry. All with the consequence of placing Eritreans soldiers, who were made to believe that they were “defending” Eritrea, in a position of killing enemy or being killed by them. IA is hard core student of Mao Zedong.
    In Frank Dikötter, a Dutch historian and author of Mao’s Great Famine: The History of China’s. Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-1962, estimates the number of deaths in at least 45 million. IA did not learn from one of the greatest tragedies in human history, he embraced it

    IA justify repression ,curb freedom of expression and human rights imposing on entire nation the deprivation of freedoms and liberty . The rise of IA “hellish dictatorship was very obvious ” Non of few elite EPLF leaders opposed and did not spoke out against at the time it was happening. There was a time when, with the obedience of the Shabia masses, IA committed a very serious crime and death of many of innocent people. Some of those in power praised IA and remained silent about his crimes .Their pathologies are part of their character are irredeemable and antipathy toward people who aren’t like them . It is naive to deny that political identity and tribalism are realities in the politics of NUSO . It tells us clearly something about where IA politics is going, It hard to believe they do not realize the real dangers to which the entire nation is exposed. But I am certain that all men of good will seriously objected and paid heavy price for the respect for the dignity of individuals, and the freedoms of peoples.

    And his minions of PFDJ, their total luck of moral and ethical responsibility and IA total indifference in the face of many collective tragedy and Eritrean sacrificed. Eritrean went through hell and faced great loss of both the battle of boarder and the struggle up to independence and subsequently many faced worst tragedy after independence, many died unnecessary deaths; while individuals and families have certainly grieved for their loved ones, there has been almost nothing in the way of a public mourning and remembrance of the lives lost and our society resigned to inaction.

  • Mokie Berhe

    Salam All. Another poorly written article which again pursues a common conspiracy theory that PIA has ambitions to extend his political power over Ethiopia and the HoA ‘Greater Eritrea Manifesto’ and that Eritrean sovereignty has been laid at risk. Only the TPLF & sympathisers believe this BS so please give it a break. Not once does the article mention the TPLF elephant in the room and their extremely negative role in the mix; how convenient. Eritrean opposition strategies against PIA/PFDJ simply cannot exclude the TPLF which should be maintained in the Bushnell 3x9x40 until such time as they withdrawn from Eritrean land.

    • Paulos

      Mokie,

      I actually agree with you. The Awate editorial team should refuse to publish any article that doesn’t mention TPLF. Particularly any article that doesn’t put TPLF in a negative light. Bahlbi’s article can be used as a prototype, henceforth. I am sure Aya Saleh agrees with me.

      • Tesfamichael Tewolde

        This is how Eritreans wan to solve their internal political problem: “The Awate editorial team should refuse to publish any article that doesn’t mention TPLF. Particularly any article that doesn’t put TPLF in a negative light”.
        GOOD LUCK1

      • Sultan M.G.

        Doc,
        Disclaimer:
        I completely endorse Dr Yohannes’s claims about the negative and destructive role of PIA.
        My beef with the article is for being incomplete and biased.
        While your sarcastic comment is enjoyable, with all due respect Dottore ,you should, by now, declare officially who you are and what you stand for.
        Ustaz Ismael politely and diplomatically clarified to you , addressed and answered your concerns and questions!
        The sneaky and well informed Mokie has a point in criticizing Dr Yohannes’s( Wed General Zera’ Mariam) biased and half baked Article.
        If Dr Yohannnes has to talk about conspiracies and conspirators against Eritrea and Eritreans, then he should complete his article with complete facts and full truth, not just with partial/selective “facts and truth”!
        To your dismay and to refresh your memory those conspirators are :
        -The TPLF and its masters including the USA, the EU, Britain specially,Israel and their Intelligence Services( the CIAs, the Mossad -and the M16)!
        The TPLF as a Strategic Ally?
        Are you serious?
        The same TPLF , which has done its best by all means possible to destroy Eritrea and Eritreans covertly and overtly and continuing to do so as we speak ????
        Please, re-read Ustaz Veteran Ismael’s polite and diplomatic but piercing response to you below!

  • Yohannes Zerai

    Selam Ismailo,

    Thank you for your comment and apologies for the delay in responding to it.

    Yes, the substance of your remarks is in a nutshell where our country and its people stand vis-à-vis the continuing machinations of the tyrannical regime and its kingpin. Luckily, we as a people are no longer in the dark as to the grand scheme of these criminals and where they plan to take the country with it. The interesting sequence of events and developments that occurred in our country, in neighboring countries and in the Horn of Africa region in general since mid-2018 have exposed not only their hidden agenda but also their weaknesses and vulnerabilities. If there are any lingering mysteries about the nature of the regime’s runaway banditry, it is just the details — the twists and turns in the road so to speak. But those secondary factors cannot obscure the route and direction the regime plans to force the country and the people to travel.

    The opposition movement is now equipped with robust knowledge of the enemy (along with its plans, modus operandi and chicanery), maturity of its own organizational skills, clarity of its objectives and a sense of urgency for change. Armed with these assets, the movement is poised to wage an effective struggle to remove the regime from power. At the same time, however, opposition forces also need to counter and neutralize the regime’s habitually suicidal actions and decisions that could further endanger the country and its people. These two tasks are, in fact, complementary facets of the same struggle that can and must be undertaken in tandem.

    A contemporary example of the regime’s proclivity for adventuristic foreign policy is the militaristic mood that its “leadership” are reported to be currently slipping into. Assena Tv recently reported that the regime has, since mid-May, been pushing its military commanders to ensure combat readiness of the EDF at the same time that it is recalling and arming soldiers who had been placed on administrative leave for various reasons. All these preparations reportedly are taking place amid the regime’s explicit talk of “regaining control of our occupied lands” through the use of force.

    These domestic maneuvers and what many believe to have been the reason(s) for Isaias’s recent visit to Ethiopia combine to strongly suggest that the regime is edging toward yet another military adventure in the region. Given this likely possibility of a military conflict, therefore, Eritrean opposition in the diaspora should agitate to sensitize and urge both the population at home and the country’s defence forces to oppose the regime’s war-mongering and refuse to participate in its preparations or take part in any offensive military action it may initiate.

    • Ismail AA

      Selam Johannes,

      I appreciate for you for sparing time (despite severe constraint) to give some useful extras that elucidate some salient issues in your article. Dictatorships have lifespans that show peculiarities common to one another. The individuals at the center share irrationally extravagant overstretching egos to conquer and control. The despot in our own country has proven not to be an odd exception. One of the ruthless enemies they face is impartiality of the time factor.

      Towards the end of their lives, and when time in space of nature of creation takes its toll, they rash themselves and get compelled to more and more blunt in exposing their true mission. As the power base become weaker and start to shrink from the peripheries towards the center, dictators realize the impact of time and age, which compel them to commit deadly mistakes, which at their heyday do not dare to do.

      At that point, they indulge in activities mistakes that qualitatively increase momentum the activities of their enemies or victims of their oppression and subjugation. We all remember the adventure of Saddam Hussein to overrunning Kuwait. And, this time, too, Isayas might do similar mad things that could seal off the life of his dictatorship.

  • Haile S.

    ሰላም ዮሃንስ፡

    እንቋዕ ኣብርሆት ዝድርብ ጽሑፍ ሒዝካ መጻእካ!
    ካብ ዝበልካዮ፡ እስኪ ሓደ ሓደ ኣብ ግጥሚ ክሰኩዕ ኣፍቅደለይ። የቐንየልና

    ሕማም ኢሳያስ ናይ ሕምብርቲ
    ንባዕሉ ጥራይ ዝርኢ ጠማቲ
    Navel gazing ሓንጎሉ እዒንቲ
    ንህዝቢ ዝዛረቦ ቋንቋ ኩልጊዜ ንባዕሉ መጓቲ

    ከፍሪ ዝደሊ ናእሽቱ ተማእዘዝቲ
    ዘይፈቱ ልምዲ ዝቐሰሙ ዓበይቲ
    ኣመሓደርቲ ማለት ወረ ውሃብቲ
    ኣማኸርቲ ማለት ንዕኡ-ሰማዕቲ
    ኣይፋልካን ዝብልዎ ተጻባእቲ
    ኣዘዝቲ ዘየፍረየ ብዘይካ ተኣዘዝቲ
    መጎስቲ ‘ተዘይኮይኑ ዘይፈቱ ገሰጽቲ ከሰስቲ
    ዘተግብሩ ኣይመባልዕቱን እንትርፊ ተዋሳእቲ
    ዘምጽእ እምበረይ ዘይፈቱ ዝሰድድ መልእኽቲ

    መጻሕፍቲ ማለት ካየንበብካ ተገንጸልቲ
    ጸላኢኡ ዝበሃሉ እዞም ተመሃርቲ ተመራመርቲ
    ኮለጃት ይፈቱ፡ ጸላዕላዕ የብሎ ዝብልዎ ዩኒቨርሲቲ
    ዘይተተግበረ ክተግብር ሓመድ ኣልሒስዋ Originality

    መቐረት ዘይፈልጥ ናይ ዜጋታቱ ሙዑጉርቲ
    ደቀይ ሃብሮም ኢሉ ዘየጣቕዕ ዝፈቱ ንዕኡ መጣቓዕቲ
    ዘስሕቕዎ እንኮኦም ምቁራት-ቋልዑ ነባል-ቤዝ ተላገጽቲ
    ጸወታ ዘዘውትር ክልተ ጎረሓት ስንቆም ሓሙኹሽቲ

    ኢድ ምዝርጋሕ ዘይፈልጣ እንትርፊ ማእሰርቲ
    ዝፈቱ ናይ ታሪኽ ፈትፈትቲ ኣቛማጣዕቲ
    ትማሊ ዝበሎን ሎሚ ዝኸሓዶን ሓዋወስቲ
    ንሱ ዝበሎ ንሕና ንብሎን ሓንቲ ዝብሉ ሃደድቲ

    ኣስናኑ ፍሽኽ ዘይፈልጣ ቁጥዓ ለበስቲ
    ኣብ ዓዱ ስሒቑ ዘይፈልጥ እንትርፊ ኩርፍፍቲ
    ትያትራትና ዘይምቅራ ገይርወን ብዘይካ ጽሉል ጽልልቲ
    ተዋናያት ሃገርና ኮይኖም ተሪፎም ብሰንኩ ተሰደድቲ

    ኤርትራ ጌርዋ ናይ ሕልሙ ሕዛእቲ
    ናይ-ሕማመይ ትወልድ ኣደ-ፍውስቲ
    ክፍለይዋ ዝግደዱ ክኾኑ ፈለስቲ

    • Yohannes Zerai

      Dear Hailat,
      You said it all! Yes, that is how indubitably destructive Isaias and his ways have been for the last three decades and will, regrettably, continue to be until he draws his last breath. So much so, that even on the eve of his inevitable demise, he seem to be neither able nor willing to bring himself to do anything that would resemble an attempt to redeem himself — not that it would matter to the Eritrean people in the least, but it would have at least revealed to the curious if he has the slightest drop of humanity in him.

      This, then, is the truth! Notwithstanding the petty claims and rumors of “imminent reforms” that his dwindling supporters periodically toss in front of the accelerating train of change in vain attempt to slow it down and maybe, just may be “rescue” the sinking ship!

      Thank you

  • As I stated in my blog https://SeberAngle.wordpress.com repeatedly, The statement “Dictator since 1991” is completely incoherent and incorrect. I will give the reasons behind my comment.

    I believe, be it now, that the tyrant of Eritrea, Isaias Afwerki had been a dictator even during the gorilla war in the fields.

    I blame the now inebriated ‘old Oppositions’ that have only muddled the people of the imaginary Eritrea. They arose by perspectives of negativity, to the breadth of being established by religious influence at root. To the extent of hating “Shaebia” as a Christian entity. I give you the original “Jebha”.

    Of course, negatively endowed, countless, they have not convinced me and the public about the negative mode of tyranny that transpired in Eritrea. Personally, having been able to find free time only recently, I came to see the dictatorship that unfolded in the country. Now, I get to see why the old oppositions saw the negative mechanisms of the rule in the country, only from being frustrated, angry and circumvented. It is this perspective, that has given opportunity to dictate in the country.

    Thanks to the newly arising movements like “yiAkl”, it is now that positively engaged opposition taking shape. I still worry, the intoxicated old oppositions will struggle to manipulate the new movements of “yiAkl”.

  • Brhan

    Thank you Yohannes for you article.

    Such kind of articles shed light in understanding this mafia gov’t and its hidden info. It, i.e. gov’t thinks that it can hide hidden from sophisticated organization, let alone from ordinary citizen. It closed independent media, runs routinely campaigns that will distract the public ( such as the “news” about the death of Isayas or his critical illness) and spies on citizens and these all to conceal its info.

    But thanks to contributors like you who come with articles that reveal the truth about this regime.

    Last but not least, I wished your analysis to include significant roles of the diaspora opposition such as the recent initiative to make the EU accountable for helping slave type projects in Eritrea. Eritreans have knocked the doors of EU and the EU is to reply to that knock and writing on what other doors to be knocked in the context of your article will shed more light to our struggle against the dictator.

    • Yohannes Zerai

      Selam Brhan,

      The positive wording and genuine spirit of your message stand out in your comment. Thank you for both.

      I understand (and agree with) your pointing to the need for:

      (I) 1. Recognizing, crediting, celebrating and publicizing the efforts and accomplishments of elements/groups of the opposition movement,
      2. Identifying and suggesting targeted goals that the movement should pursue and worthwhile missions it could undertake. These would include, among other things, (a) vigorously challenging and exposing falsehoods that enemies spread about the Eritrean people and their just struggle against oppression and injustice; (b) taking legal action against foreign parties/entities who — in violation of international law — set out to hurt the interests of our people and/or prop up the tyrannical regime that oppresses them and (c) forging alliances with international political, legal and human rights organizations that sympathize with the plight of our people and stand for justice and democracy.

      In theory, I could have perhaps tried to address in my article the issue you raised in Item #1 above. But in practice, doing so would certainly have made the article unwieldy in so many ways. Chief among them would be the attendant problems of (i) multiplicity of themes of the writeup and (ii) the consequent excessive length of its text. At any rate, that the said issue was not included in my article should not be of concern. Given the importance of the subject, a full-fledged article can be written solely on that topic.

      As for Item #2, the ideas I jotted down above and many others like them (that, I am sure, people like yourself have in mind) need to be fleshed out into well-defined actionable plans/measures that the forces of the movement may consider, modify and perhaps even adopt as is for implementation. The task of suggesting and proposing such ideas and action plans, of course, falls on the shoulders of each and every one of us in the opposition camp. Indeed, we should ensure that the debates and discussions that we hold at this forum — and at other opposition fora — generate such contributions/inputs to the struggle we all believe should be waged to bring about democratic change in the homeland.

      Again, thank you for your input.