I Beg to Differ

There is a common trend in the discourse of Diaspora Eritreans that any activity or activism that operates inclusively amounts to acquiescing to or supporting the status quo in our homeland.

I intend to argue that this is a misguided notion.

I haven’t written publicly on any topic outside my field of expertise (biology) since 2001 (Facebook doesn’t count!). I am breaking my silence primarily prompted by the following recent Awate articles: De-Politicizing A Program is Politics: A Case of Radio Blina and Eritrean Apathy: No Boletika Zone.

I fully understand the craving for brevity that many of us are addicted to in these days of smartphones and tablets. So, I will try my best to make my case piecemeal and without too much hyperbole.

In De-Politicizing A Program is Politics: A Case of Radio Blina, the author, Tesfabirhan Weldegabir Redie, having given an overview of the current status and history of the Blin in Eritrea, concludes:

“The basic social structure of the Blen is deteriorating, probably nearing a state of endangered society and their culture and language is facing catastrophe. In light of that, the Blen are taking important initiatives to preserve their identity and Radio Blina is born to ameliorate such a situation. However, though the idea and dedication is commendable, keeping the radio program free of politics is not a good idea.”

I ask, why not?

I presume Mr. Redie’s answer would be to point at the long list of adversities the community has faced in the past and is facing today, and the urgent need to tackle them.

Not to be polemical about it, but for that to be an adequate answer to my question, common sense dictates:

(1) Convincingly demonstrating that a radio station whose primary and sole mission is the propagation of the entire community’s language and culture prevents the members from organizing and mobilizing, as Blin, or with other likeminded individuals and groups, to fight for this same or any other cause.

(2) Proving, even if it is just through logical reasoning, that the radio station, either in its existence or its programming, is playing the role of an “an enabler” vis-à-vis the adversities the Blin community faces.

(3) Proving community activism is zero-sum game; or that the Blin in particular are incapable of “walking and chewing gum”; or that no community should indulge in strategizing and prioritizing its activism when faced with severely challenging times and circumstance.

Disclaimer: I have no association, present or past with Radio Blina, nor do I, to the best of my knowledge, have or had in the past, knowledge of or relation to any of its operators. I am a Blin.

Editor’s note: the content by Dr. Kemal doesn’t fall within the perameter of the required minimum 1000 words for publication, but we have made an exception to promote debate on the topic. Please check the posting guidelines



Related Posts