Eritrea: The Final Push (Part I)
It is no secret that the PFDJ regime has long been dead and that whatever is left of its gaunt structure is teetering on the edges of a cliff waiting for the mercy of a final push. This may sound a bit ironic, but by the looks of it, even the dictator himself and his accomplices are acting as though finally, the game is over.
Gone are the days when they used to cover their lies with denials – “who is Joshua? I don’t know him…” the dictator once said. At least, one could argue that there was some acknowledgment of guilt there. The mere act of their denials were clear indications of their full recognition that torturing and murdering helpless prisoners of conscience are indictable crimes which they knew that someday they would be answerable to. They just bet on the illusion that such a day would never come. To their dismay, that day is fast approaching, and of all the people, if you can believe it or not, they are the ones who are sensing it more than anybody else. They are acting like there is no tomorrow in the horizons.
That is why denial as a cover, is all but gone these days. Instead, it will be more of in- your-face type of brazen acts of savagery and pillaging from desperate thugs who have nothing else left to lose. In the few years past, when extra-judicial actions were taken against those who sought reform, it was done under the dubious and farcical pretexts of allaying threats to the sovereignty and the national security of the nation. They kept repeating those lines every time they were confronted by reporters from independent international media outlets.
Today, the cases of all those savaged beyond human imagination by a despicable regime is according to the dictator, a matter of “history”, as though the human lives destroyed amount to nothing – absolutely nothing. “I do not know about this issue. This issue can be considered forgotten!” said the dictator, as though the families and the loved ones of all those he tortured to death are not owed even an iota of explanation, let alone to get due process for their loved ones. It is not even a matter of denial or obstruction of justice anymore – it more like, “we did it, so what?” It is like they know that they are goners one way or the other, and they’re asking you “what the hell are you going to do about it?”
Again, when PFDJ thugs slaved around the poor conscripts to no end; when they expropriated the ancestral lands of poor peasants and robbed helpless traders of their lifelong savings and meagre possessions; or even when they failed to honour the very same debentures they issued to some unsuspecting elderly folks – when all these crimes were committed, they were done under one dubious pretext or another – “national service”, “government owned land”, “market reform”, “contributions towards the war effort” and so on.
These days, sensing an imminent end to their doomed adventure, they don’t even feel any sense of shame robbing people in broad daylight. Worse yet, their daylight robberies are not even limited to the confines of the Eritrean borders anymore. As many of you may have heard, a few weeks ago, they crossed the border into a neighbouring country, the Sudan, by carrying out shifta-style raids, with the sole purpose of stealing cash crop harvests from Sudanese farmers.
As the shocked Sudanese farmers watched in total disbelief and bewilderment, PFDJ thugs kept busy loading their transport trucks with thousands of bushels of sesame and other cash crops to be hauled back to Eritrea, shifta Gebre style.
Their loot will be sold to their business partners; Rashaida racketeers and also to other accomplices for the much needed hard currency and will eventually end up among other places, in the Sudanese market itself. Talk about import/export ventures – “bado tish’Ate” style. It makes you wonder at times, how low these monkeys are willing to stoop before they are finally taken out of their misery and before they bring even more shame than they have already done to the poor nation.
The cut-throat rivalry among the gangsters and the warlords whom they always address with full military ranks of “general”, “colonel” etc. is also at full swing. Not that the turf war between these gangsters ever stopped or subsided in the past 20 years, but for it to be played in the wide open and not under the cover of the dark as in the past, is indicative of how much there is a race against time by these gangsters. They want to hoard as much loot as possible before they flee the country, but that is if they could ever flee the country at all.
As yet another nail in PFDJ’s coffin, even the so-called diplomats working at the regime’s embassies throughout the World refused to go back to the country, these ones as well, sensing the imminent collapse of the regime. In almost all diplomatic circles, there is only one plausible explanation under which diplomats refuse to go back to the offices of the ministry which hired them or assigned them to their posts. They would do so only if they are parting with the regime they represent and usually, that action is followed by a declaration of intent, a statement of issues and eventually, a request for political asylum or safe passage by the diplomats.
On the other hand, and again as is common practice in the diplomatic circles, any diplomats who refuse to comply with a re-call order or even a mere request for consultation would be deemed absconders by the regime they represent and obviously would be fired or relieved of their posts.
In PFDJ’s so-called diplomats’ case, none of that happened. Instead, as a solid proof that the so-called diplomats were themselves bona-fide crooks, just as was the regime itself – they both found a common ground in the unprecedented move of conducting their consultation meetings in a foreign country, as though their so-called government was one which was based in exile.
The crooked diplomats wouldn’t abscond because they figure they could keep milking the regime until it drops flat and they also reckon that, they and their families would be safe and sound as long as they keep their distance from Eritrea. Conversely, the regime also wouldn’t fire them for refusing to comply with its orders because as crooks are in short supply these days, the regime would be very hard-pressed to replace them in earnest. So what do they both do? They settle for a middle ground to meet in the Cairo suburb of El-Mohandseen.
This situation may be explained as a simple and convenient symbiotic relationship between some desperate suckers of sorts, but even more telling than that – it goes to show you that all PFDJ thugs without any exception whatsoever, are just counting their days until that final push comes. It can never get any clearer than this folks.
There is no question that the political achievements scored by the opposition groups in the last year or so are of such a detrimental value that the PFDJ regime and its sympathisers and clones are in total disarray. It goes without saying that, they are all secretly planning their exit strategies before the final push comes and the axe falls on the head. How else could one be reduced to stealing wad-akkar?
Over the years, they counted on the fact that the opposition groups would never coalesce around a common strategy, but as always, they were wrong. All the opposition groups with the exception of the few exclusionists and decoys who by the way, for all intents and purposes are now functionally defunct, came under one umbrella and charted a winning strategy which culminated in the formation of the all-inclusive ENCDC.
The PFDJ and its clones also counted on the fact that their fear-mongering tactics directed at the Tigrigna community would work and that the ethnic Tigrignas would provide the necessary buffer for the regime to carry on with its despicable tyranny. But again, they were wrong – dead wrong.
The ethnic Tigrignas are at the forefront of the fight for democratic change and have vowed never to be taken for a ride by anybody, least of all a deranged thug and his cult of bigots. If anything, their positive role which helped make the national conference a success, their relentless efforts within the ENCDC to help it achieve its mandated tasks and above all, their overall campaign to stand for justice, which calls for unity in diversity and equality and not through subjugation and assimilation – all these positive and crucial roles are indicative of the courage of a people who are determined more than ever before to create a just, a democratic and a compassionate Eritrea, where all its citizens live in peace and dignity.
So all in all, it can be argued that the political climate is already set and that the next national conference which will be held in less than a year’s time from now will give Eritreans one of the most crucial political platforms which had eluded them for almost twenty years – a government-in-exile. Such a government will help avert anarchy and set the stage for the immediate transition to pluralist democracy and the rule of law in the country.
But the most important question still remains: Are all these political achievements enough to give the teetering HGDEF regime the final push?
Not quite. There is another crucial factor which needs to be addressed immediately and with the same tact and spirit of compromise by which the political aspect of our struggle was handled. It is the issue of armed resistance.
There is no question that the armed resistance against the regime is equally as important, if not even more important than the political fight itself, which as mentioned before, and thanks to EDA’s and the ENCDC’s relentless efforts, is on the right track. There is no doubt that the political fight will provide one of the most crucial requirements in the immediate aftermath of the PFDJ regime’s removal – political stability. It will definitely help avoid anarchy and keep peace and order, securing a smooth transition to the rule of law.
That said, it is also important to remember that the political fight alone can not remove the PFDJ regime or what is left of it. Even after the formation of a government in exile – it is not like the opposition groups are going to tell the dictator to move over or like the dictator himself is going to invite them to take over, just because they happen to be ready for the task.
We all know that it would never happen that way; our case is a much deeper fight to bring genocidal war criminals to justice for it to be reduced to a mere ceremonial change of guards. But we all know this too – that things can’t carry on the way they are forever and that at some point, there should be finality to this sad episode in our people’s lives. Like it or not, the idea of a final push is inevitable.
And that my friends, is the task for the armed resistance groups which happen to be more than capable to give the PFDJ regime the final push – if they could only outgrow their current clustered allegiances and coalesce around a joint command structure which would go in tandem with the new political realities in the opposition arena.
Part II of this article will deal with the do’s and don’ts of the armed resistance, how to zero in on the regime for the final push and how best to co-ordinate strategic efforts to effect immediate change towards the rule of law in the country.
Peaceful Resistance – In contemporary Eritrean political context, an oxy-moron which translates – suq ilka tehagom.
Peace in the Horn gathering – Organized by the regime’s apologists and most likely financed by the regime itself. But here is a challenge for the attendees: Ask the organizer(s) to provide you with a full disclosure statement of how the meeting was financed and then show it to the public, together with your own disclosure statement showing any expense allowances you may have received from the organizer(s). Failing that, you’re just in for the ride, which is very sad.
Gigantic undertaking to topple HGDEF – The exclusionists don’t want you to raise arms against HGDEF, they don’t want you to fight back or defend yourself – they just want you to sit back and wait until they deliver. “How is it that they are going to deliver, you ask?” Well, they are going to embark on another gigantic undertaking which will deal HGDEF a lethal blow, and according to them, you can hold your breath for that, my friend: They are going to write another open letter to Angela Merkel about the EXCESSES of “President” Issaias; much stronger than the previous one which almost knocked the dictator off his rockers!