Season of Migration to the PFDJ
During the last three-Covid-years, the PFDJ was restlessly awaiting the end of the pandemic to relaunch its propaganda onslaught. Now it’s back to normal and the PFDJ is active trying to regain its momentum. Parties, wild dancing craze, surrendering, wring regret statements, are abundant. Round ten, twenty or thirty of the onslaughts is on. Spies, habitual chameleon type, unprincipled elements, are throwing themselves and being received with ululations by to the lap of PFDJ. But don’t be worried too much. Do you know why you don’t have to? I will try to assure you.
In 1966 AlTayeb Salih wrote a novel entitled Season of Migration to the North, which became so successful it was translated into many languages. AlTayeb Salih also wrote Ers’ azZen, a novel that was made into a popular movie screened in Sudanese cinemas in the seventies.
Season of Migration to the North explains how colonialism had impacted the Sudanese culture and identity told through a Sudanese character who travelled to England and returned to Sudan an educated man. I have borrowed and tweaked the title for today’s Negarit.
The Eritrean revolution started with a clear goal: to struggle for freedom, liberation and to defend Eritrean human dignity. Unfortunately, soon it was hijacked by a few individuals who slowly deformed it. The result is what Eritreans are suffering from today. But can Eritreans blame the economy for the quagmire they are in?
Economy is the commander-in-chief
The nature of the economy of a nation dictates the wellbeing of the people. Colonialism wouldn’t have existed if not for the economic power of colonizers whose ambitions are limitless. Had the colonizers been from poor nations, they wouldn’t have had an edge over the helpless under-developed nations. And social progress is subservient to the type of the economy.
The worst that happened to Eritrea (as in many other places) is the lack of access to education, health, and other social development aspects. Poor nations are denied an honorable life.
The struggle era Eritrean organizations had an edge over the people. They were armed and equipped with ideologies as opposed to the general poor social organizations. Though the objective was mainly to uplift the people and their culture, the organizations focused on changing and molding the society as they wished. Worse, they aspired to achieve full control of nations forgetting the goal of economic and social transformation. They became worse monopolies and oppressors. The EPLF perfected that method and reached 1991 with a zeal to reengineer the society.
Their inspiration was the great march of Mao Tse Tung and other pseudo revolutions. They focused on discipline and creating a submissive society by destroying the existing culture which they replicated with a new culture of oppression, militarism, and undermined civil liberties.
Decades of indoctrination produced flocks of parrots, propaganda mouthpieces who surrendered their freedom. They also aggressively attacked the cultures of the people wholesale and forced the society to abandon its values. The revolution resulted in making the people submissive and docile. Embarrassingly obedient.
The last year became the season of migration to the PFDJ by a few confused and opportunist conformists. Until then they pretended to be justice seekers–for a decade or so.
Naive or foolish?
In 1975 there came a man to join the ELF in the Eritrean highlands. He was elegant and appeared to have lived a comfortable life. When the battles reached the outskirts of Asmara, it seemed independence was so close and many of his friends had flocked to join the struggle. He detested the idea of staying in the city like a cripple (like women!) when his friends arrive victoriously and be considered heroes. He bought enough food for his wife and left her some money to last his wife for a year. He then bid her farewell. He was very generous and spent his money lavishly. Soon he discovered the journey of the struggle is not short as he thought. Demoralized, he sneaked out to the Sudan, the refugee land, and disappeared.
Similarly, many thought, the struggle for justice in Eritrea will be concluded soon with victory. Some preferred to join and but chose to remain anonymous. Others were conniving and stayed in the sidelines for fear of retribution if the justice project failed. Sadly, many of them were wrongly identified as “the Silent Majority”. However, they were not silent—the overwhelming majority never stopped attacking the opposition camp, they defamed and demoralized the opposition using tactics perfected by the PFDJ. The opposition camp lived in a state of confusion until Covid hit and weakened it further. The Ethiopian civil war triggered by the breaking of the alliances in Ethiopia, and PFDJ intervention in it, made it worse.
When the Covid restrictions were relaxed, it was time for the PFDJ make up for the three years propaganda activities lost to Covid. Due to that, the migration to the PFDJ heightened, and the opposition camp lost a few of its allies. The highlight was the recent festivals in several places, where to PFDJ didn’t take advantage to call for a national reconciliation. Instead, it wanted mass surrender of opposition and pseudo-opposition elements. The homesick, the socially deprived, the lonely, and those who wanted to marry or attend a cultural dancing party flocked to wild parties. They sheepishly surrendered to the PFDJ diaspora franchise and promoted their actions as a patriotic act!
The Six-day War
In the 1967, the Arabs were devastated by the outcome of the six-day war. Thus, the support supply line of the ELF dried up. Soon, that was followed by the Halhal debacle were the ELF suffered a backbreaking military defeat. The Ethiopian government heightened its propaganda and encouraged the combatants to surrender and enjoy the amnesty granted by “Moa anbessa z’amnegede Yehuda, His Majesty Haile Selassie First king of kings of Ethiopia”. The faint-hearted responded and surrender went on unabated. Soon it was followed by the surrender of an ELF commander, Welday Kahsay, and his troops. The Ethiopians sticked two stars on his shoulders and he became a first lieutenant. They made him parade Eritrean towns with his troops to prove to the people that the amnesty was genuine.
The Ethiopian consulate in Sudan, particularly in Kassala, deployed its intelligence agents and worked day and night to lure combatants to surrender. Some Eritreans were part of these activities. Soon, the crisis was crowned by split of groups within the Eritrean liberation Front. The struggle changed its course. Forging and breaking alliance, then rebreaking and allying again along sectarian and regional cleavages continued. In less than a decade, the EPLF and TPLF created the most destructive alliance that deepened the social fissures. That malady is continuing in many forms to this day.
So, why are some people surprised when a few persons surrender to the PFDJ? What’s new about that? Nothing.When prophet Mohammed died, a considerable number of his followers were shocked, and confusion overwhelmed them. Reacting to the state of the Muslims at the time, Khelifa Abubaker said a famous quote:
من كان يعبد محمداً فإن محمداً قد مات، ومن كان يعبد الله فإن الله حي لا يموت
Roughly translated it means, “those who worshipped Mohammed, he has died; those who worship God, He is ever living and never dies.”
In the Eritrean struggle, the steadfast, the principled and true believers struggled for a goal, to achieve freedom, justice, and human dignity for Eritreans. They are survived by those who still have that goal at heart and are staying the course. They will not drop out, however, those who lack the tenacity will. The genuine should not be surprised by stay the course. They just need to watch and learn when the PFDJ and its propaganda tools distance bona-fide citizens because they refuse to accept the injustices. Because they refuse to the submit to the cruel PFDJ policies. The same PFDJ that embraces social rejects and known traitors to its folds.
It’s time that people created true alliances devoid of hate and jingoism. An alliance that respects human dignity and rejects the culture of aggression and war. Eritrea is not created to bath in blood every decade or so. It doesn’t exist to glorify violence and crude military culture. We are living in the age globalization that has triggered forces that reject peace and stability. The victims are supposed to work to ameliorate destructive influences of globalization, not foolishly cheer along. A leadership like the one leading Eritrea takes pride for its infatuation with war. It’s out touch with the world reality, and it’s killing the dignity and honor of Eritreans. But with dedication, Eritreans will finally succeed in claiming their freedom and dignity.