A Human Rights Lawyer Vs. A Trained Healer

Human rights lawyer vs. trained healer

The perversion and the Orwellian double speak has reached a new summit. Now some young Eritrean professionals in Diaspora, the supposed trained healers are turning into accessories to the executioners in Eritrea. Presumably those who aspire to become professional healers are there to heal the ill, the frail, and the unhealthy as they ease the pains and lift the veiled disease, eradicate the culprit that is causing human suffering. In the Orwellian world of Eritrea however some healers have become the embodiment of what ails Eritrea as they have become no more than enablers of a regime known for its criminal enterprise. But, of course, to these indoctrinated healers all is dandy so long they have their cappuccinos to sip when they visit Eritrea (more on this a little later).

How a healer who is trained to almost divinely intervene and heal the ill reconciles the thousands upon thousands of young Eritrean disappearances and the known 10,000 detained without any due process of law is just unfathomable. Well, in the following pages you will meet such a dazed healer who was incensed because his unhindered bluff was turned into a fluff by no other than a young a woman, who is legally trained to use her profession in its proper context and for its proper purpose.

For the benefit of those who may not have been privy to this, an article was posted recently by an Human Rights Attorney Ms. Jihan Kahssay titled “Brain washing the young- YPFDJ panelists redefine human rights” : ( and a response to her article was written by Mr. Simon Tesfamariam “Setting the Record Straight: An Open Letter to Jihan Kahssay” :

Juxtaposing both articles it is very obvious to see the contrast in presentation about the state of Eritrean affairs by two Eritreans.  Ironically while the attorney identifies the ailment, it is the doctor who not only attempts to put Band-Aid on it, but refuses to accept the diagnosis entirely. Simply sidesteps the diagnosis and delivers vicious and unrelenting attack much as a malicious virus would do to a body. Not on the merits of the arguments, mind you, but on technical, procedural, and personal ground, full of reproach and broaches to bring a case of libel – and beyond such implied libel it also teeters to the realms of implied physical threat on Ms. Jihan’s person. Such bravado is nothing new to the PFDJ indoctrination machinery, which amounts to no more than a dog whistle to the unhinged supra-nationalist element, if you will. In this day and age these types of threats should not have a place in any discussion of any kind but in the perversely Orwellian world of Eritrea it is alive and kicking.

More than a week has gone by, it appears Ms. Jihan did not want to dignify by responding to the ego wounded doctor’s open letter, and it seems that she may not and frankly, she should not; there is absolutely no merit to his argument nor any sensibly reasonable thought that one can ascertain to his voluminously screeching screed. For heaven’s sake, nine pages are spent just to rebuttal, and a page and-a-quarter of which deals with whether Ms. Jihan was invited or not (more on this a little later). Suffice is to mention for now, Ms. Jihan did attend and fully disclosed her name, did she not?  Why dwell on this instead of what is at issue. But, in the world of the perverse, everything is taken personal, no stones are left unturned, and for that reason questioning her Eritreanity is not spared.

In her article Ms. Jihan described a Young People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (YPFDJ) conference she attended under the “invitation” of the organizers at UC Davis over this past memorial weekend holiday. Invited or not the lady attended and pertinent issues that she deemed of importance were addressed, and what transpired as a consequence of her astute observations became an insightful article. Part of that observation she illustrated that core Human Rights Violation in Eritrea were not discussed, such as indefinite military conscription; severe restriction of freedom of speech, press, association and religion; frequent disappearances; forced labor; the detention of political prisoners; and the shoot-to-kill policy for people attempting to leave Eritrea without authorization, but panelists denied outright the occurrence of human rights events of significant proportions including ongoing human trafficking in the Sinai desert, an attempted military coup by 100 armed personnel that took place in January 2013, and the UN’s allegation that 10,000 political prisoners are held in Eritrea.She chronicled the event as she saw it and concluded that it was little more than an hour of indoctrination and rhetorical sidestepping. A shorter version of the said article was also posted at the UC Davis’s newsletter a few days later.

In his response to Ms. Jihan, Mr. Simon attempted to tackle the aforementioned assertions as he alternated between condescension and spin doctoring; the facts as Mr. Simon saw them and the preponderance of which that he presents as evidence are herein enumerated:

Ms. Jihan alleged violations of university campus rule as stipulated in the contract (?) YPFDJ’s rule of registration.

Uncanny attempt to draw similarity: Demand for civil rights Vs Demand for economic rights before civil rights:  As it relate to Eritrea and the struggle of African Americans in the U.S

Human Trafficking  

PFDJ, Asmara, Support for the President

It should be duly noted here that each issues enumerated above will be addressed but not necessarily in the same order. Before I do, let us remember one more time that this issue should not have been about Ms. Jihan or Mr. Simon. This issue is larger than any individual. It is about the suffering of people that we claim to love and only their issue should have been front and center as Human Rights abuse in Eritrea seemed to me was the central theme of Ms. Jihan’s note, apparently, not for Mr. Simon.

Mr. Simon spends much of his opening page on the issue of “invitation.” He tries to prove that Ms. Jihan was not “invited” to the conference as she claimed she did, thus violated the YPFDJ’s rule of registration to attend, and contractual agreement the organization signed with the UC Davis. After he personally checked and confirmed with the organizers and after reviewing the video surveillances of the event Mr. Simon states that no official invitation was extended to Ms. Jihan. He makes a big fuss about the surveillance video to create an impression of any impropriety her presence might have caused. He tells us that the video surveillance camera showed Ms. Jihan at times walking, and other times standing wearing her street cloth (not the event chosen attire); he goes on to say that during her presence at the conference, Ms. Jihan also violated the university campus as stipulated in the contract (whatever that means). He goes not only overboard but almost becomes obsessively recrementitious in his use of the word “video” that which he knows full well cannot produce or show it to the public to back up his claims. Yet, he continued to spew his suggestion of malicious intent on the part of Ms. Jihan.

I’m therefore asking you to produce the video in its entirety, unadulterated and unedited. Let the world see and judge for itself what went on behind closed doors at the YPFDJ conference. Of course, you won’t, because transparency is not in the language of PFDJ.

The unwitting truth by his own admission…

Ms. Jihan is an Eritrean. Like every other Eritreans who were there to attend the conference peacefully, Ms. Jihan did. So what is the beef with the University, you may ask? None what so ever! Most certainly the university is not in the business of checking people’s nationality or political affiliation. After all this is America, and the UC Davis at that! Furthermore, three things stand out in this so-called video debacle as asserted.  1) This simply corroborates Ms. Jihan’s claim that she attended the conference: that she was not hiding: that she was walking openly and freely in plain view in her casual attire. She walked through the same doors and corridors, as everyone else, and most importantly she made no secret about her presence.  2) To the contrast, this whole fiasco shows, lack of security, or the surveillance defense is much ado about nothing. What is important however is the third.  At no time was Ms. Jihan ever asked to leave or escorted out…even as he claimed in his article that she was met by some organizers/security personnel as it is being alleged to have been shown in the video.  Therefore the tacit approval suggests that Ms. Jihan was at the conference most probably at the invitation of someone, or/and most definitely at the knowledge of all concerned.

Uncanny attempt to draw similarity:

Demand for civil rights Vs Demand for economic rights before civil rights: A case of intentional misdiagnosis or disregard of the truth?

Here is where the spin master is hard at work. You see; he tries to conflate the case of human rights violations in Eritrea that Ms. Jihan has alluded to above with that of racism:  A society that was divided on racial and color line, a society that rendered one human being a property of anther (Dred Scott V. Sandford).  Linking slavery and Jim Crow to political openness, amounts to intellectual malpractice.  Attempting to make connection by invoking W.E.B Dubois and Booker T. Washington is naive at best and disingenuous at worst. Contemplate for a moment; where blackness naturally bound in servitude as the property of a person that can be bought and sold, and whiteness that is inherently free and good, is the beneficiary of Jim Crow laws and institutions. History attests that African Americans did not settle for the false choices of civil rights or economic rights before civil rights. They fought for both and attained both. These parities however are hardly analogous to Eritrea. Most importantly, the suffering of African Americans should not be diluted to such a degree to advance one’s political objectives of the sorts being attempted here.

Human Trafficking

It is in this section of the discussion that Ms. Jihan and Mr. Simon locked horns.

Ms. Jiahn alleges “Simon Tesfamariam, blatantly denied the occurrence of human trafficking in the Sinai desert… [He] explicitly compared this to global campaigns used to justify colonization during the Scramble for Africa. He questioned the credibility of human trafficking claims and demanded the release of victims’ names and addresses as evidence, despite ample documentation and reporting on the issue….”

Mr. Simon strongly rejected the above claim and deflects the question this way: “ the truth about my positions on human trafficking of Eritreans in relation to human right and on the alleged “coup” attempt have both been well documented on my blog.  Regarding the former, I cited 134 references for any critical thinker to carefully analyze and come to their own conclusion about the human trafficking of Eritreans.”

 Keep in mind, Ms. Jihan is critiquing what was said or not said at the YPFDJ conference, not his blog. Brilliant deflection you might say, right?

Let us examine then what it says in his blog.

Scrupulously lengthy with nuances designed not to answer the facts but to hide, he blames and indicts that everybody is out to get Eritrea “Eritreans must be ready for any eventuality as the external forces that seek regime change in Eritrea are left with no choice but to pull the human rights card.”The sabre-rattling continues: “Eritrea is among the very few African nations that have avoided entanglement with the U.S. military machine. As a consequence, Eritrea ha been subjected to a campaign of sanction, threats and lies, much of it centering on allegations of human trafficking…”   

He proceeded to accuse the President of the United States in taking part in the human trafficking scheme.  In a speech delivered at the Clinton Global Initiative where President Obama was supposedly to have said, “We’re in partnering with groups that help women and children escape from the grip of their abusers.” Therefore “President Obama is essentially admitting to taking part in smuggling people out of Eritrea and North Korea.” 

I need not continue…it is self-evident. Moving heaven and earth to find someone to blame will not exonerate the perpetrators and beneficiaries of these heinous crimes. Ms. Jihan’s summation of what was said at the conference captures the true essence of the blog.

PFDJ, Asmara, and Support for the “Unhinged Dictator”

Mr. Simon tried unsuccessfully to detach the “Y” from the rest PFDJ.  In so doing he redefined its formation.  He said “…there are no parties in Eritrea but there is instead a broad based popular movement called the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), which is currently leading a provisional government tasked with steering the nation as it transitions towards a fully developed and institutionalized participatory democracy from which genuine political parties can eventually form. YPFDJ takes inspiration from the PFDJ movement…”  I don’t know who the intended audiences are here? Could it be those 100,000 tourists who sip an imaginary cappuccino at godena Harinet in Asmara? Why imaginary, you may ask… because A) No milk, B) No electricity to keep it cold, and C) No fuel to operate with generators.

In real life however, there is only one party (PFDJ) in Asmara that’s running the country to the ground. In the third congress that was held in February 1994 the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) formally changed its name to PFDJ without any ceremony. Simply renaming the front and rearranging the seats the old guards secured their position in the transitional government, whilst the rank and file was left to bear the hardship. Predictably, this so called interim government that was not to exceed four years has now been in power for more than twenty years. In the meantime, it is recruiting and grooming ‘little’ YPFDJs to take over as the old gizzards die out. As for that fantasy of “participatory democracy” not a single step worth mentioning the name has been taken to steer the nation towards fully or partially becoming democratic. Instead, according to the wikileaks release US Ambassador to Eritrea Mr. Ronald K. McMullen and who first coined the term “unhinged dictator” in his classified cable reported to Washington  “Young Eritreans are fleeing their country in droves, the economy appears to be in a death spiral, Eritrea’s prisons are overflowing, and the country’s unhinged dictator remains cruel and defiant.”  For those who paid close attention, early signs of unhinge-ness of our President was there: In the first five years after independence, Eritrean had changed 4 Defense Ministers, 5 Foreign Ministers and 6 Finance ministers: Classic definition of insanity?

Asmara and the Unhinged Dictator

I was born and raised in Asmara, ok, ok, Akhriya. I’ve seen the city in its glory days and the not so glory days. But I have been told by someone who visited this year how utterly depressed and miserable Asmara is today, by extension, of course the entire country. It is no longer a city. It is a big village. It decayed beyond recognition of its past and of its grace. Its future is being robbed before our own eyes, and its residents are helpless. The city of plenty now suffers from chronic shortage of everything except AK47. No water, no electricity, no fuel, no cooking oil, no flour, no kerosene, did I mention No Water, the sustainer of all living things. Yet the plight of the poor and the destitute for solution fell on deaf ears, the unhinged in the meantime out hinged himself. His solution to the problem, he prescribed it in the following elucidation (sab nab mai ykhaid imber mai nab sab aimatsin eyyu, which roughly translates as “humans go in search of where the water is, water does not go searching where humans are). Life’s necessity, such as water, a country’s leader does not even have an inkling sense of remorse to apologize to the public for not providing the basic necessities that all human beings should never be deprived of; but of course that is part and parcel of the perversion where everything is perversely topsy-turvy that the blame must go on anyone and anything but to the very regime that is supposed to be responsible for.

I urge you to watch the following short report by Eri Tv reporter of the crisis of water in Asmara followed by the unhinged dictator’s response to the crises.

On Water shortage as Reported by EriTv:

The President’s response to the question of Water shortage in Asmara:

In the end what we are left with are two starkly different people, on the opposite polar of the norm.  But hope is not dashed when one sees a young woman choosing a field of endeavor that uses rule of law to help those who have been dealt a blow of authoritarian wrath, of dictators’ madness, in the name of politics, power, and sheer perversion. 

As she tells truth to power, she is standing up for the weak, the deprived of peace, liberty, and justice; only to be strenuously opposed by presumably in a field of healing – A profession that ought to live life of tender, loving, and caring of all humankind.

Yes indeed! Hope is alive and well when one sees the likes of Ms. Jihan who are able to see through the indoctrination machinery out of one gathering in which young men and women are ordered to wear a certain attire the way cult leaders tell their disciples as they put them in state of trance to serve the ill will of a dictator some seven thousand miles away. Ms. Jihan was, apparently not fazed as I am certain she stood out like a sore thumb in the sea of uniformed young women and men her age pledging to serve the killing machine in the Horn of Africa. What Ms. Jihan produced in that happenstance meeting that she attended is human rights work at its best. We, as well the world, are witnesses to the crimes being committed against Eritreans. The indefinite detention; frequent disappearances; forced labor; the detention of political prisoners; and the shoot-to-kill policy for people attempting to leave Eritrea without authorization by PFDJ continue unabated. Those who are on the wings of the old guard will not fare any better than their predecessors. For the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.



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