On Semere Tesfai’s Disagreeable Thoughts
In his latest article, instead of enlightening and informing us about our united and great people, who have been denied freedom, subjected and oppressed for very long time, Semere came with a disagreeable article. His characterization of the 600 opposition members who congregated at Awassa and EDA, as Islamists and Ethnic Organizations is unfounded. Instead, he should have told us more about his beloved Isaias regime, the PFDJ.
EDA works in daylight, in an open and transparent way, and within a clearly defined democratic principle and political process.
From my reading, EDA leaders have developed a tolerant attitude towards discourse and have managed to open up to all political groups, both the moderate and the secular. The leaders of EDA have reassured Eritrean citizens that they will not interfere in their personal lives and that they will respect their right to choose their future government. EDA also knows the importance of international relation in the economically and politically interconnected world of today. They do not need a lesson from Semere.
Diehards like Semere always existed in Eritrea and they are inflicted by all kinds and forms of Islamphobia—an irrational fear of Islam—and bigotry that threatens the very fabric of the Eritrean way of life; He is kind of person who will never reform, change or attempt to build bridges. As always, the efforts of bigots to demonize Islam and Muslims have become a political football and it is high time that they are isolated, exposed and dismantled.
Semere’s article and purpose is to create fear. Obviously his aim is to inspire fear in a small segment of our population in order to enhance the imposition of Isaias regime’s agenda from a deeper psychological and metaphysical perspective.
EDA Values Human rights and lives
In every effort it took, be it for political, moral, or religious reason concerning the value and importance of human lives, EDA has emphasized its commitment to safeguard and protect them. Since peace and friendship are essential to safeguarding and protecting life and human rights, all war and conflict should be opposed and overruled. Peace requires an understanding that physical conflict and killings cannot be avoided without wiping out the motives for war in the behaviour of human beings.
Now there is a unique opportunity for Semere and his likes: to demonstrate that they will no longer support the despotic regime of Asmara and instead support the democratic process of the opposition.
By refusing to intervene in favour of one party against another, and by accepting the results of the democratic process and unity of the EDA, even if it is not to their liking, the leaders of Ethiopia have remained consistently disengaged.
Throughout history Eritrea has suffered a lot as a result of the attempts to exclude same ethnic groups and Muslims by denying them a role in the public sphere and that is what needs to be corrected. Democracy is the only option for bringing stability, security and tolerance to the region, and it is the dearest thing to the hearts of Eritreans who will not forgive any attempts to derail the pursuit of those values. But in the discourse of the Isaias regime, Islamists are seen as newcomers to politics, as gullible zealots who are motivated by radical ideology and lack of experience tyhat is why in Isaias’ Eritrea Islamic institutions are suppressed. Muslim and Christian activists are imprisoned, tortured and killed. And such experiences has given rise to profound bitterness among the population.
It is important that EDA is careful not to fall into the trap of overconfidence: it must accommodate other trends, even if it means making painful concessions. Our societies need political consensus, and the participation of all political groups, regardless of their electoral weight. It is this interplay between the main group and others that will both guarantee the maturation needed to lead us to a democratic transition in order to achieve an Eritrean political consensus and stability that has been missing for decades.
Semere is a chauvinist bigots just like the PFDJ regime and the insane master in Asmara who is cut from the same cloth and followed by the ‘Sheep-people’ who like to travel in packs. Those are people who associate with persons of similar social class, age, and values—if not for any other reason it is because in their eyes, it makes their life more controlled and comfortable. Their associates inside and outside Eritrea, their colleagues and friends, validate their beliefs because they believe in what they believe. Yes, the tendency is the perpetual need to be part of a majority… a herd that follows opinion leaders like docile sheep. There is total ignorance, arrogant satisfaction and comfort in knowing they are correct, even safe, among folks of similar beliefs. That is largely why a totally false information and opinion is expressed in the mainstream opposition media of the Eritrean people; and ironically, independent media oulets like awate are not accepted by them without any thought or reflection, much less challenge. They possess a distinct propensity to avoid unpleasant ideas, realities and prospects.
Denial is a coping mechanism common to the herd regardless of their intelligence, education, knowledge, and background. Therefore they deliberately remain ignorant except that they willingly accept the conventional wisdom of the PFDJ regime that pursues its separate foolish but easy agendas. Does this suggest that persons in high position of authority within the Isaias regime are responsible for deliberate killing and lyng? Of course! As an absolute minimum they speak in 1% truths, omit highly relevant information or say nothing at all. Is this so difficult to believe given the fact that so much of their personal and organization’s self interest is at stake? Yes, they want to rule over all Eritrea unhinged. We are trying to tell the bigots to get their “head out of the sand” and face up to the realities that are impacting our fatherland and ancestral home.
It is well known to Eritreans that the extremely dangerous and demagogue group live by the energy of hate and prejudice against others. Self-anointed, they claim to own the role of defenders of secular and enlightened values—many, if not all, are guilty of too many crimes and blunders that can be volubly attributed to the theocratic warmonger ambivalence, and at times hostility, towards facts and truths that stand to refute their empty rhetoric. They stagger and stumble, shamelessly. They are exposed and they are screaming nonsensically, with implausible and wholly debunked ludicrous contention, that the Eritrean opposition is under siege by Islamic theocratic megalomaniacs: Blaming “the Muslim generically for anything is intellectually disrespectful and highly ethnocentric.” And obviously it is always cloaked in the mantle of the so-called Isaias regime’s secularism and the enlightenment. Much of the Godless’ narrow secular, un-progressive energy has been wastefully channelled into the minds of naïve Eritreans, and it is a crime against our people.
For that matter, they do not have the temerity to dispute their demagoguery regarding their claim of threats posed by EDA, whom they brand as an umbrella of Islamic theocrats. Unfortunately, their disingenuous repeated rhetoric lends some credence to their argument when they mischievously denounce any opposition to the PFDJ, particularly the EDA, without evidence. This group that is part of the Isaias regime in terms of political values, can easily be described as “the worst elements among Eritrean society” because they reject the liberal-secular Eritrean society over a reactionary, ethnic, narrow-nationalism that has traditionally been the bane of most Eritreans.
Unlike the EDA, as most of us know, Isaias favoured his narrowly selected and trusted Ethno-centrists, the uneducated and indoctrinated elements, and the undemocratic atheists, to fill the positions of his personally created obedient government. His regime is not made from the pool of highly educated professional technocrats. In the end, however sadly, the transformation had been complete. This result is an Ethno dominated Eritrea—pure and simple, no matter how many sugar-coated layers one tries to add to it. In all of that, surely you cannot fail to recognize the disdain with which the unelected Eritrean regime has taken over all of Eritrea—its land and its people’s pride.
Eritreans are great people who have paid heavy price for their freedom. Indeed, they are among the noblest people on earth. They fought for freedom and continue to so. You cannot fail to see that Eritreans should not and cannot tolerate the upstart Isaias regime. It is an old enemy of our people equipped with new garb and a sinister agenda to rule over Eritrea. It is a regime that has built its identity based on the indoctrination and ideology of yesteryears communism and all kind of trash ending with “ism.” It has alienated all religions though from the begining it has focused on Islam.
New Power Realities
Semere and the small folks in his group are trying to prove that they have already won the game and must keep the spoils by the gun (“Power Realities.”) They are gloat that they and the Isaias regime are ‘in what they call the reality—power based Ethno group and community. They falsely hurl racist insults in an attempt to define the democratically elected and seasoned Eritrean opposition, particularly the EDA which they brand as an Islamist and Ethnic Organization. They believe that solutions emerge from their judicious study of discernible reality. But that’s not the way the world really works anymore. True, now the Isaias Ethnic-regime has power, and it is acting with confidence that created its own new reality. Semre and his group forget that the EDA and the opposition is also studying that reality—judiciously—and soon action will follow to create another New Reality. That too needs to be studied by the bigots, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re all actors in a play called history though Semere and the Isaias regime would like to hold to Power Realities while the EDA, and all other opposition, are left to just study what Isaias’ regime and its cohorts do. Isn’t this how very sick the Isaias regime and its followers are?
Semere’s is trying to act like a Think-tank on international and domestics affairs. I wish he would spare us that because he is not qualified to be even a student in that field. His analysis of global and Horn of Africa affairs are idiotic opinions that foolishly advocate the Isaias regime’s interest. It is not worthy of any consideration. Eritreans have heard that kind of music and they are living it—they cannot be deceived to relive the same situation again.
The doctrine of the megalomaniac Isaias, his regime and that of the PFDJ for which Semere is advocating, would always unleash Eritrean’s immense military resources against the weak and defenceless Eritreans. This sad chapter of our history is about Eritreans who are suffering silently and it is a direct result of the oppression by the Isaias regime and its PFDJ thugs—all those who subscribe to the chauvinist agenda, its relentless obsession to defeat, destroy and dismantle the Eritrean social fabrics.
Most Eritrean are witnesses to the wars against their religion and the persecution of the minorities among them. In all civilizations, there are forces that represent tribalism and forces that represent humanism. Isaias’ regime is composed of a very small, a very tiny minority, with a fixed caste hierarchy that represents almost a tribal exclusiveness. Eritreans are generally kind to their neighbours and they always hope for a better tomorrow. But they being pulled from two sides by two contradictory worldviews that cannot coexist: they are ruled by a dictator but aspire for a liberal democracy. Living in a police state, ruled by the PFDJ gangs, they cling to their hopes for freedom, holding to their faith in their God and maintaining their humanity.
Our people do want any war with any of our neighbouring countries though Semere conjures it; the people want to live in peace, a genuine peace. Now they are totally consumed and preoccupied in internal and domestic issue centered on living for the day. On the other hand, ordinary people—solders, students, teachers and the like—are perplexed about life under a regime that controls them and limits their opportunities to achieve their full potential. Men and women from Asmara to Zalanbesa routinely chafe at their sense of powerlessness to influence national politics and foreign policy, or to check the corruption and abuse of power they see all around them. They can neither articulate the full sense of their own humanity nor exercise the total rights of their own citizenship. They react by getting on with their lives, working hard yet getting nothing in return, educate their children when they know their fate is bleak—and that is a result of a useless curriculum, under-paid teachers, underfunded education, poor health system and non-existent social program.
It seems we are now living in a new era in which reality is making us. Our people are witnessing change all around them and they are attempting to adjust and to imagine another way of living and soon their sun will have to shine.NB: this article first appeared as a long comment on Semere Tesfai’s article a day ago; the author decided to rewrite it in an article format.