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Regional Alignments And Democracy: Parallel Lines That Do Not Meet

The following is a speech by Mr. Omar Mohammed Ahmed, a veteran of the Eritrean liberation struggle, delivered in a meeting of Eritrean activists and opposition members in Rotterdam. In the speech Omar addresses the issue of sectarianism and regionalism, and the need to detect and expose it. Awatestaff has translated the original Arabic for the benefit of its readers. The Arabic version of the speech is found at Awna1.

When we address the issue of regionalism, we are not particularly aware of an affinity to a given region, but it is rather pointing at tendencies or leanings that incite regional strife–which we recognize as a secondary contradiction that must be addressed through democratic dialogue–leading to political polarization with the aim of achieving short-term objectives that are in total contradiction with the interests of a democratic struggle.

We also start from the belief that the Eritrean society is characterized by numerous affiliations: linguistic, ethnic, and religious. The pioneers of the national movement, both in the period of the struggle for self-determination and during the stage of the armed struggle, emphasized the importance for adhering to political discourse that attracts people with various affiliations to devote all their energy to achieving the national goals. Currently, as we confront the dictatorial regime, we are in dire need, more than ever before, to mobilize all physical and moral energy in order to achieve our democratic ambitions.

There is no impenetrable, solid wall, between the components of the Eritrean society which is rich in diversity. And that is a starting belief to achieve constructive coexistence, development, and a state that relies on institutions and the rule of law. The faith in Eritrea constitutes it’s peoples’ shared pains during colonial times, and during the successive shared struggle for national independence. These pains and common aspirations have melted various affiliations in one pot, and the Eritrean society became aware that its various affiliations, and citizenship in its modern concept, form a uniting umbrella.

The liberation of Eritrea from foreign occupation, followed by the declaration of independence and a National State, was a historic opportunity to solidify the concept explained above by starting the process of building a state of institutions, by consolidating national unity, and by beginning to repair what was damaged by the long ravaging wars, in order to achieve a comprehensive and thorough development drive. However, the wing that had the leverage within the leadership of the Eritrean Popular Front Liberation Front clung to a policy of exclusion, and rejection of dialogue with other national forces, it indulged in adventurous practices. That result in the stifling crisis that Eritrea is going through and it is the threat that may push the country into becoming a failed state.

The dictatorial regime was able to fill the political vacuum; it was a natural outcome of the apparent failure of the national movement during the period of the armed struggle. Therefore, objective and subjective circumstances prevented the emergence of a real opposition force inside Eritrea; the alternative was the continuation of opposition forces to operate in exile, outside the homeland.

There is no doubt that a genuine opposition that can mobilize energies, physical and moral, against the dictatorial regime must, primarily, be established within Eritrea. However, the exiled opposition forces has revived great hopes among the masses that hoped the opposition would be able to create a favorable political atmosphere for the appearance of a real and strong opposition within Eritrea, to shake the pillars of the current system, and establish a democratic alternative.

The opposition has achieved some successes, particularly in exposing the practices of the dictatorial regime. But it has been progressing and regressing: one step forward and two steps backwards. Its crisis are worsened by the reproduction and proliferation of organizations, and political circles that are not ashamed of instigating secondary contradictions within the ranks of the society and the political forces. What is sad, and at the same time laughable, is the fact that all these circles claim to be struggling to establish democracy.

Such issues became complicated and and as a result frustration overwhelmed the Eritrean masses who became captives of the squabbles and confusion … and this is an unhealthy atmosphere, and not suitable for a serious political undertaking, especially in this phase of democratic struggle. That is why, more than ever, we are in dire need of a clear vision, by staying away from fluid phrases and sentences, and instead cling to clear political terminologies that would not allow confusion and ambiguity, and to adopt transparency in our political activities.

Starting from this perspective and understanding, we must state loudly that “regionalism and democracy are parallel lines that do not meet …” and the only way to overthrow the dictatorship and establish a democratic alternative is by devoting all our energy, physical and moral, towards achieving our national and democratic goals.

We must start our motion by believing that the dictatorial regime does not represent a specific region or a certain sect, and that the overwhelming majority of the Eritrean people, in their diverse affiliations, have no interest in the continuity of the regime, but day after day their fears are growing, knowing that the fundamental crisis prevailing in the country threatens Eritrea being declared a failed state.

Additionally, due to the tendency of some to instigate secondary contradictions and foment political polarization on a regional basis, and in light of the challenges facing the interests of democracy and peace in the entire Horn of Africa and the southern Red Sea region, “the Eritrean political entity” faces a real threat.

Considering these factors, there are major challenges facing the Eritrean democratic forces. In order to confront these challenges, the opposition has to elevate and prepare itself. Any proper approach to the process of rehabilitation must start from an objective assessment of the current situation, both internally and externally–to bolster this process it’s a must that the corrupted political and intellectual awareness be confronted. At the forefront of the agenda lies the task of exposing the trends of “regionalism.”

But why focus on this issue, specifically at the current juncture? There are many reasons, mainly:

  1. The proliferation of political circles that escalated its activities aiming at regional alignments.
  2. Addressing secondary contradictions publicly poses a direct threat to the Eritrean national unity and the democratic struggle.
  3. Secondary contradictions are one of the strongest weapons of dictatorships and totalitarian regimes. It is not possible to overthrow these regimes by using the tools that it is qualified to use.
  4. Regional alignments are loopholes through which foreign influences infiltrate, and pose a threat to an independent national ownership of decision, and create a favorable climate for igniting civil wars.

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  • MAIL@FedEx

    Why are some formerly Eprdf now woyanes suffering from paranoia ?
    Is there something they have stolen from Tigray and Ethiopia while
    woyane/tplf was dominating eprdf ? And blackmailing,undermining and
    subverting it by mis-interpreting the true Nation/Nationalist policies applying
    it wrongly into sub-national tribal enclave ?
    The reason that prompted me to say this is that the formerly eprdf bunkrupt
    Arena woyanes who has controled eprdf for a while by kiking away true Tigrian
    nationalists like TPDM, EPPF and others by widening the gap between Tigrians
    of different ideologies get paranoid when people of the greater Tigre nation
    awakens and starts to mobilize in a sober mood to take control of his state affairs
    which is astrayed and muddled by so many uninformed heads and hands as a
    result of the belaugered and cornered woyane/tplf propaganda which badly erode
    the political wealthe and base of eprdf just concentrating only on militancy base to
    contain the whole of Ethiopia together which is unsustainable.
    Therefoore, the current wailing of these recluse and subvertive formerly eprdf
    groups and their desperate flight is only an attempt to bully eprdf’s farsighted
    modestly turning wheels and an attempt to evade and confuse it by creating
    smoke screen and virtual chaos and dreaming to get away with what has been
    Woyane should have been learned earlier before checkmated to recognize the
    sovereignity of the Tigray peoples in their state region and transfer political
    power and administartion of the state to the respective peoples before unnecessarily
    wasting its valuable time and all its energy to suppress the whole Tigrians in the North
    and the west who sees them suspiciously and outside Enderta province. Rather than
    imposing Enderta hegemony on Tigray it should have understood how such things
    of imposing Merhabete on the whole of Amhara caused the disintegration of the Amhara
    So what I would say is that, The traditional political centers of Tigre nation that has been
    so for millenias should be recognized and should not be re-ordered a new by woyanes
    to make their home woredas on top of the others by using the unfortunate war between
    Tigrian brothers North and South as fortunate opportunity and the crisis as Grace from
    heaven. Yes there is undemocratic rule and new federal experiment in Ethiopia; but that
    doesn’t or shouldn’t mean to exploit and use the gap/vacuum created for narrow interests
    at the expence of the whole during this transitions by preaching and acting blasphemously.
    This is more of a blackmail and coercion of the state and union peoples and their gov’ts than
    to call it just struggle for better future.
    Because, woyanes have robed and raped Tigrey and Tigreans by making them fight each other
    and by being blind supporters of warring parties and have destroyed the political and administarive
    infrastructue and social values of the people making it unable to regain to its 1989 or 1990 conditions
    which was by far better than after 1991 and now. I f some say they were better after 1991 they are
    only self serving opportunists who are are against the people and the Tigre nation and its unity who
    want to push the others out and want to control power exclusively.
    This is the main reason why woyanes oppose and are against PMMZ and PIA.

  • Abinet

    Thank you Guist for the correction . They are mercenaries indeed . That is what I try to show him . I think love is blind.

  • Nitricc

    If you are not a product of dedebit then even it is worst.
    Do you understand what I am saying? I am saying Eritrea’s problem is the lack of the rule of the law and the lack of due process to the people who are in prison. Once you implement that everything will be back to normal. In your weyane country the problem is not the lack of the rule of law, they have the fake one and people are okay with that but what they have is BLOOD. They massacre the Amara, they massacre the Oromo, how do you intend to fix that? You can not. It is the blood we are talking about.
    Regarding Wedi Ali, well, he tried to do what is right in his mind and it didn’t happen. You are just assuming when you say he betrayed by others. How do you know? Where you there? You see how gullible you are. Don’t speak with absolute certainty for things you did not involve.

    • habte

      The dumb and fearless (by your own admission) knows exactly Eritrea’s problem and at the same time you have the solution that simple and you tell people not to speak with absolute certainty while you are doing it . You are always playing a diversionist I don’t know if that is un-intentional or if that is a mission time will tell, but be careful how to identify our Eritrean problem it is not as simple as that.

      • Nitricc

        I only admit to stupid people that i am dumb and fearless so, i assume you are the stupid one too so, i am dumb but not stupid like you and your Stupid dedebit sister. Why be lazy? Tell us what the problems are. I hate lazy people more than the stupid once. Get lost.

  • Nitricc

    How do you figure a volcano to erupt in PIA’s Eritrea? There is no ground for it to happen. Unlike your weyane, in Eritrea there are no major misdeeds big enough to cause what about to happen in Ethiopia. You wanted it all, greed. If your weyane just stick to rapping the Ethiopian resources; it wouldn’t dangerous as it has become. The problem is start killing in masses. You forgot the saying “be nice your way up because you will meet them your way down.”
    The major mistake on documentary is when they say “ TPLF is doing all this to benefit one ethnic, the Tigre people” absolutely wrong and dangerous statement. The people of Tigray benefited nothing from the greedy TPLF. Sure, TPLF used and blackmailed the people of Tigray for its own power and greed but to say the people of Tigray benefited, not true. Now, the day of the end for TPLF is on the Horizon. Its military grip is reaching tipping point. Every six month promotes new unqualified Tigryan Generals to close the gap for over growing other ethic soldiers. The more unqualified Tigryans get promoted the more other qualified ethic to show antipathy towards the system. At the end of the day 83 million will out do 7 million. Now, there is one hope and be thankful to PIA. He got you TPDM. It might save you, if not you doomed.

    • Abinet

      Last time I checked tpdm was asking the residents of asmara for ” MENQESAQESI.”
      How is that for national pride? Can we safely call it the baby steps of colonization ?
      It reminds me of the story of a camel in the small tent.
      First the nose , then the head , then,then, then …. Until it takes over the small tent. I’m loving it.

      • Nitricc

        You are way back behind. TPDM is our eyes and ears to keep in check Talaqiwa Ethiopia. Why do you think we invested to great in TPDM over the other Ethiopian opposition? It is a chase match and we are a head of you. The sad part is you can’t beat us in any of the game lol

        • Abinet

          Tpdm is also your brain. I hear you.

  • Nitricc

    “Regional Alignments And Democracy: Parallel Lines That Do Not Meet”
    Translation TPLF’s divisive ethic and regional rule is the end of Ethiopia.
    I am not surprised with what I heard from this documentary about the state of Ethiopia under the rule of Dedebitwian. I am sure; the Dedebit grad will have heart attack after finishing listening to this documentary. I check with the most of what is said but I disagree with the part of the action plan they have proposed. It is high time for the Ethiopians to save their country. I could have said who cares what happen in Ethiopia but I am not sure the volcano that erupts our there won’t affect my country. So, Ethiopians stop burying your head in the sand; do something.
    Here, listen to it.


  • Hope

    A good and timely speech.At the right place as well as the so called Rasta,an Ex-EPLF???is bluffing nonstop in Holland about Region based politics.
    Another TPLF Agent.
    I wish he added about Religion and Ethnic based divisive Politics as well.

  • guest

    Did i hear it right? Did he refer to himself as President Abdul Kareem Omar Nasser at the end of his speech?

    • Nitricc

      hahahahah yes he did. lol he must be Hayat’s cusine. you know she is an Eritrean Muslim woman from Rora-MensaE or is it Afabet? lol .for real though; who is this guy?

      • guest

        I dont really know him. As far as i am concerned, he already lost my vote.

  • Nitricc

    Good read AT. I have my own idea not only to combat this contiguous virus called regionalism but to completely to eradiate it from the face of Eritrea. I could have shared right now and right here but the idea is a head of its time and almost all of you will be out raged and I don’t feel like being a punching bag. Anway; what I wanted to know is this. Who is this guy? Would please any of you explain to me who he is and what organization he leads?