Pillars of Delusion
Sometimes I fail to understand the real intentions of the so-called democratic countries in the West. They preach democracy by whatever means at their disposal, even going to war to impose it, and believe that in the process they can make the world safe for trade and industry, meaning their trade and industry. But when one realizes that, most of the time, they let countries with natural resources and geopolitical advantage, to go ahead with their totalitarian or despotic political systems, and force poor and helpless nations to bow to their wishes, one feels disgusted.
What is strange though is that such double-standard has been stretched out of all proportion and is affecting the way immigrants are seeing at things and at themselves here in Europe and America.
What is the meaning of allowing immigrants to stay in the host country enjoying all the rights and privileges of democracy and then turning a blind eye to marches and rallies held by the same in support of tyrannical governments back home? How strange that the same people who get political asylum because they have been tortured by their own governments and would be killed if they are deported, how can such people be allowed to unfurl the banner of tyranny in a democratic country and defame their countrymen who struggle for democracy and rule of law?
Looking from this perspective, Dawit Yissak is not only a prisoner of the Eritrean government; he is a prisoner of the Eritrean Diaspora and of the host countries as well. He is the prisoner of those who avail themselves of democratic rights here and want to have none of it back there. He is the prisoner of those countries that have allowed justice to become the servant of capital and wealth.
I want to ask a simple question? If Dawit were by some miracle to pop up here in our midst, would the detractors clamor and shout for his arrest and imprisonment? With a mind twisted and bent by massive dose of ERi-TV propaganda and a constant travel to Eritrea, they would do just that.
The West talks about human rights to the extent that it is even trying to ban the wearing of Burka and the Hijab, arguing that it is against democracy and human rights. How do you like that?
The Burka and the Hijab (detached from religious dogmas) are, according to my view, preferable to the provocative way of dressing that is common among most young women in Europe and America.
Anyway if the external (or physical) Burka or Hijab is to be considered undemocratic, why not the internal (or mental) Burka or Hijab that is ‘worn’ by those who support tyranny and harass the advocates of freedom and democracy. What is external is not basically harmful and tends to change with the passage of time, but what is internal can turn out to be more insidious and difficult to heal.
If the West is against the way immigrants dress in public, why isn’t it against the way immigrants think in public too? Why is it allowing immigrants to take to the streets and attack the very democracy which has given them comfort, freedom and hope in the first place, and from whose absence their own brothers and sisters are suffering back home?
Just to illustrate my point, let me bring here an argument I once heard between two Eritreans in a certain European country. Alganesh, a blind supporter of the regime in Eritrea, she hardly knew her country. Tekle, a victim of injustice and tyranny, he had just escaped from Eritrea.
The conversation, which transpired in the house of Tigisti (a friend of Alganesh), went more or less in this manner:
Alganesh: “Do you feel comfortable to settle here while your country is at war and in dire need of young people like you?”
Tekle: “I feel no less or no more comfortable than your children who are enjoying life in America at present.”
Alganesh: “What!? For your information, my children are ready to defend their country any time they are called for duty.”
Tekle: “Well, not exactly to defend the country, but most probably to defend your villas and ground-plus-ones that you have ether inherited from your parents or have already started to build.”
At this juncture, Alganesh growled like a beaten dog. She turned to her friend Tigisti and asked her if she had anything to say to such a brazen-faced betrayal and outright denial of one’s own country and identity. Tigisti told her to bring to an end what she herself had of her own will chosen to start.
“Talking about identity” went on Tekle, “it is the person with dubious identity that always wants to appear more Catholic than the Pope.”
At this point, Tigisti made a sign at him to stop it. She thought the discussion was getting too personal. She hated when people stopped defending the truth and began defending themselves.
But Alganesh wouldn’t stop. She wanted to continue the confrontation as a faithful servant of the Party by which she got replenished during every meeting and gathering. Never kneel down! She said to herself repeating hollow slogans she heard in diverse meetings.
“You think you came from hell, but if you had switched on the Eritrean TV it wouldn’t have taken you long to change your mind and realize how our country is marching from victory to victory both socially and economically,” she went on, seemingly running out of ammunition.
“Now you are talking sense,” Tekle said staring at her. ”It was, to begin with, the Eritrean TV that has stunted your mind, blinded your vision and poisoned your thinking. Then I forgive you your narrow outlook and aggressive stance. I wish you a fast recovery.”
“I love my country right or wrong, but you are ungrateful to those who brought you independence and freedom,” she growled trying once more to have the last word.
“I always loved and will ever love my country,” he assured her. “It is the regime in power that I don’t like. Yes, they brought independence, but it was one devoid of freedom and human dignity, an independence that all people are running from. A type of government that all the martyrs in their graves are lamenting about, a leadership that helps the ignorant to be on the ascendancy and the wise to languish in underground prisons…….”
Alganesh had to stop. She was now certain beyond any shadow of doubt that both Tekle and Tigisti belonged to the Fifth Column or perhaps were under the Woyane’s (Ethiopian) payroll or, why not, downright CIA agents. And so, she decided (as she always did without success) to distance herself from Tigisti. She thought she could always find another Eritrean to befriend without in the least defiling herself and inadvertently finding herself in the heretic’s camp.
The problem is that Alganesh with her children secure in America, wanted all Eritrean youngsters back home to fight and die for her country. She wanted them to train in Sawa military camp, and then get hardened enough to fight yet another stupid war, so that she could have a lot to gloat over, in case of victory; or a lot to hide, in case of defeat.
One Sunday afternoon, she happened to be sipping coffee in Tigisti’s living room, as was her wont. Well, she had to find someone to spit her venom on. And Tigisti was an easy prey because of her tolerance and patience. And in the course of their conversation, Alganesh began to talk about freedom and democracy, how the enemies of Eritrea were everywhere defaming the country calling the government a dictatorship and so on and so forth.
Tigisti preferred to hold her peace. But when Alganesh started to push the point too far by stating that true democracy did not exist in Europe or America, that the only genuine democracy was the one that was being practiced back home at the time, Tigisti had to react.
“My dear Algu If that is the case, then why don’t you simply pack up and go back to your beloved Eritrea, why suffer in an undemocratic and tyrannical country like this one?” she told her.
”Well, I thought of being more of use to my country by being here in Europe than by going back there. Do you know what I mean?” she asked.
“Do you mean that at least you can pay the 2% tax to PFDJ by stealing it from the host country? Are you perhaps playing Robin Hood without knowing it [stealing from democratic countries and handing it over to tyrannical governments]?” retorted Tigisti.
”Who is Robin Hood? And what do you mean by stealing? I am not a thief!!” barked Alganesh.
“Would you have allowed peaceful Ethiopians residing in Eritrea to pay 2% of their salary to the Ethiopian government?” rejoined Tigisti.
Alganesh didn’t want to continue the discussion. For the first time in her life she felt rather scared and disoriented. She knew that Tigisti was a no-nonsense woman, but this was too much to swallow and too much to bear.
The problem with most PFDJ sympathizers is that they have a disease in their hearts. They have learned to see things upside down and inside out. Any good argument brings forth the worst in them. Theirs is a world of delusion and fantasy. They need to see a doctor.
From that moment onwards, Alganesh remained guarded in her speech and deemed it wise to bridle her emotions from time to time. But, the constant contact with the PFDJ sympathizers and cadres, and the yearly festivals that were held in big European and American towns by the Party in power to replenish the credulous and the opportunists with fresh propagandas and lies, made her to continue as an indefatigable apostle of the Party.
But more than that, Alganesh had a big villa in Asmara, a vast family property. She didn’t want to lose it. One false move and she had to kiss it goodbye.
And sometimes she had to lie and fabricate just so she could look patriotic and loyal in a world that she created around herself. A world supported by pillars of delusion.