Setting The Stage

I don’t really know where to start. So much has happened in the last two years that I would be lying if I told you I have been following Eritrean politics the way I used to. Several friends have suggested different entry points including private disclosures. I do understand the pressures that my allegedly dubious and ghostly personality might have applied on my good friends in Awate – particularly on Brother SG. If that is Ok at least for now, I would request to skip on the personal stuff with an apology for the inconvenience. First: I am a private guy – I don’t really know so many people and I don’t care to know more – and that’s why I don’t feel compelled to share personal biographies with random readers. Second: In my opinion political debates are about issues – not persons – both of which constitute mutually exclusive actors in any political game. A specific rule of thumb for any engagement in Eritrean politics is to either hide the person and win on issues – or hide the issues and win on person. I chose the first. I am guessing some of “our usual suspects” might be thinking of the “hide the person” part too much and may be tempted to think that “disclosing the person” might equate to “losing on issues”. Not exactly! It is actually a one-way street: disclosure (paparazzi style) boosts the little guy on issues and destroys the big guy on both. Believe me it is true because it worked for me: out of nowhere, some people have already equated me to the great Saleh Gadi with decades of sophisticated intellectual and practical input in nearly all our debates.

But I think it is necessary to start with some kind of disclosure so that the readers, especially those that one tries to motivate into action, would at least have a clue as to what is it that any of us (writers) are trying to achieve and why we sometimes twist and turn stuff to fit what we think is good for the nation as a whole. To be honest with you – I have no idea. I would guess that in my case for instance I learned some of the techniques (old-fox tricks) including the disclosure one above from what I am sure many of you have read twice: “Rules for Radicals” by Saul Alinsky. I am mentioning this because partly, I would like to justify the subject of this article and my tendency to “Personalize” campaigns. Personalization, as you know, is a key rule proposed by Alinsky – so if you have any questions regarding any human being mentioned below, I will give you the publisher’s name in case you might have some recommendations for the next Alinsky to incorporate your reservations in the next publication which I promise to read and follow afterwards.

To get into the subject matter of this article with full transparency on the rules of the game: the intention is to set the stage where I think I have prepared myself to intervene. The target: the ENCDC. The purpose: to propose debate areas to liberate it from partisan bickering and get it going. The strategy: to negotiate or bulldoze obstacles out of its way. The tactic: whatever works to scare-off spoilers. The “method”: zoom-in on Dr. Yusuf Berhanu as the ultimate hope of leading this stage of the opposition by liberating him from himself and his former spoiler colleagues.

Well – you don’t think it will work? Who cares! We will just try another “method” or whatever works until it works. You only need to be clear on one thing. Do you want to prevent the re-emergence of the PFDJ ever again in any future Eritrea? Just focus on preventing the re-creation of the ELF (Jebha Abay) at the present. The PFDJ has already burned down all the boats of any possibilities of ever recreating itself again. It is Jebha Abay that you have to watch out for from reappearing again and recreating the whole cycle all over.

I tried to at least read something (and use the “invisible man” protocol – described below) before starting this blind game. First website-on: Farajat, my second favourite after Awate. Let us see what we have:

Brother Saleh Al-Haj Mohammed (Farajat, March 27, 2012) details some promising achievements in the areas of diplomatic relations between the Islamist organizations of Al-IslaH and Al-Khalas and similar organizations in Egypt and Algeria. He guesses that whoever had arranged the meetings must have been someone who has a sophisticated knowledge and connections to the Islamist establishment in the region and mentions Beshir IsHaq’s tour in Europe as part of the achievements. He raises the questions that every one of us should ask: where is all this leading to? Why are these guys running around each on their own like wild dogs when all of them had agreed to do things together only the last quarter of last year?

I wished he wouldn’t do this but you know how stubborn people can be – he insisted on dropping the Bingo question: where is Dr. Yusuf Berhanu in all these? He probably didn’t read Gedab News of February 23, 2012 because “last January, Dr. Yusuf Berhanu … met officials of the US government … [and] several other regional and Western officials in a bid to secure support”. Gedab did not say if those “US and Other” officials belonged to diplomatic, military or intelligence services.

You know when curiosity gets into your head and how it “killed the cat”? I woke up in the middle of the night and out of the blue decided to get to the bottom of it and find out what kind of “US and Other” officials might the good Doctor be hunting. Imagine such a crazy idea keeping your head busy for no good reason other than to justify wasting valuable time on beila-beilew. That’s me. I am a guessing machine and I always miss. You know what my favorite spare-time activity is: predicting lottery numbers. This time I applied some of my lotto techniques and my random number fell on an “Urgent Message from Executive Office of the Eritrean National Council for
Democratic Change (ENCDC)” posted on on Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 08:09 pm (just after Meqreeeb). I found it very interesting that the whole message was essentially about “a donkey praying to leave behind a land growing no grass”. Don’t get me wrong but simple correlation would lead anyone to pick the department of veterinarian services as the identifier of any of the “US and Other officials” that ever met any of the ENCDC dignitaries.

I must be honest with you, I heard about Gemel, Gobye and Uukkot in the course of post independence Eritrea but definitely not Adgi. Adgi I think is the genius of the ENCDC and in particular the Executive Office. The strategies of this particular adgi (Kbret yihablna), according to the “urgent message” include: (1) Shaving-off Eritrea’s resources and channelling them through laundry stations in “Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda (Kampala [not Gulu]), Zambia and South Africa” – Here the appeal is for all Eritreans to report related information to “proper authorities anywhere in the world” [may be the Police Station or may be the mob of defeated fan in a Soccer Stadium and may be in Timbuktu or in the next Corner-Store] and to a Yahoo e-mail address of “Save Eritrea from Adgi [S.E.A.]”; (2) Shaving-off Eritrea’s human resources and channelling them through networks of human traffickers to the Sinai Desert for organ harvesting – Here the main concern is to remind you that it is a painful procedure because it is carried out “without anaesthetic administration, and proper surgical procedures”.

The same Gedab report opens with “Eritrean resistance leaders have been conducting a series of diplomatic shuttles that were not possible before the changes that happened as a result of the Arab Spring and the congress that was concluded in Hawassa, Ethiopia on December 2, 2011.” Excuse me but while I accept the first observation of diplomatic opportunities opening up as a result of the Arab Spring, I couldn’t see why innocent Hawassa had to be implicated for the achievements of a stillborn. If the implied “possibilities” were referring to the Islamists who rolled to power in Egypt – which chronologically practically preceded Hawassa – could the report be saying that Hawassa was a by-product of TaHreer Square? May be the link referred to “the other” meetings? But Dr. Yusuf Berhanu used to be the foreign relations guy of the Salvation Gang for a while and I am sure we did read about his meetings with “US and Other officials” for years (long – very long before the Arab Spring). Unless there is a new twist in the matter (for instance in the Adgi department of the ENCDC) and these particular “US and Other officials” had something to do with the beast, why were these particular meetings attributed to Hawassa?

Do you have more time to waste reading this stuff? OK – then let us go for another round of guesswork.

I must be clear that I am not blaming Gedab – it just reported what had happened. But read the same Gedab report again. Of course you have the impression that the whole set of diplomatic meetings and activities rest on the positive side of the ENCDC and its Executive Office (me too). Why not? 600 intelligent men and a few women just finished blessing the ultimate dream machine of working together (presumably towards the same direction) a few months ago. That’s why Hawassa is mentioned as the link among the activities in the report. Any sensible person would interpret any move by any of the Adgis (that helped shave the town out of Key-WeT and Gored-Gored for two whole weeks) must have something to do with their promise to shave Eritrea out of the PFDJ. I think I am a sensible person and I accept this to be true. However, just for argument’s sake let us ask ourselves, how do the following activities fit together as “one intention”? (a) The National Council (the machine of joint intention and then action) is composed of a rainbow of Eritrean opposition organizations including some Islamist organizations that I believe are still in US list of terrorist groups; (b) two of these Islamist organizations fly all the way to Egypt and Algeria to meet the wrong people (other colleagues in the same terrorist list); (c) Dr. Yousuf Berhanu wins the license to meet “US and Other officials” and according to the report secures promises of obviously “US and Other” support for “the resistance”.

Can we have some disclosure here? Did those “US and Other officials” whose primary job in the region is to guard against the spread of Islamic extremism in the region [unless you have a different idea] at least have any reservations that the Eritrean Islamist movement is linking up and reaching out to redundant capacity from Algerian and Egyptian colleagues and Al-Shabab’s runaway phantoms? Brother Omer Jaber mentions a similar allegation made by the PFDJ in reference to “links to the Arab Spring” (Farajat, March 27, 2012). Did Dr. Yusuf Berhanu have any reservations or responses to the PFDJ allegations? Does he want to explain to us if what those Islamist organizations have been doing in Algeria and Egypt is actually part of the achievements of Hawassa or his job-description post-Hawassa?

Don’t get me wrong on positions. Don’t worry about the Islamists: if you really want to support them and see some results on the ground, then go against them. They die if nobody picks on them and tells them that they are just a bunch of bull-crap. They are born out of humiliation and react to nothing other than humiliation. They get lost and have no idea what to do, where everybody decides to support them and tell them how wonderful they are. It is like they live to prove a complex point to others rather than to disprove a simple point to themselves. You remember what happened when four of them came together to form the Tadamun group a couple of years ago. Do you remember how excited everyone was to push and motivate them to do something about the nightmare in Eritrea? What happened to the Tadamun? It turned out into a big lie and its leaders had no better idea than to hide their faces in Ethiopian Soup Kitchens. You would think they would at least have a drop of decency and feel ashamed for misleading people and come out to apologize to all of us that they had no idea they would ever be respected by any decent human being. But that is not our issue today. Let us go back to Dr. Berhanu’s gang.

The Eritrean National Salvation Front (ENSF) commonly known as DHnet (medHanitom tTfa’e) is a well-organized gang of seasoned mobsters that before being trusted to liberate a new Eritrea should respond to why they had failed to liberate the old Eritrea: that if it weren’t for some desperate action (guess by whom?) would still be a distant imagination. According to crow-eyed observers (Ayni QoqaH) who attended and followed up developments leading up to Hawassa, these bunch of Al Capones (meEgergerti) had zoomed-in on one and only one goal: to capitalize on the less-than-honorable departure of the EPDP from the Eritrean opposition camp. Their strategy: a nasty one! According to rumors, they have for a while been mobilizing an alliance of Akoleguzay activists to take over “the Gap” left by the untimely death of the EPDP. “The Gap”!? What “Gap”? “The gap” the EPDP itself had helped to cultivate in people’s minds: that in its absence the opposition would be taken over by a combination of “the wrong people”.

Don’t even think about relying on my swanky analysis, dubious sources and “manufactured” databases. Did you brush your teeth? Good enough! Don’t worry about clothes all you need is a pair of black socks, a newspaper with two tiny peeping holes and dark sunglasses. The “invisible man” did it and you can do it too. Stroll to the next Startbucks and pretend like you have no hidden-agendas. Sit within eavesdropping distance from a bunch of big-mouths who might have anything to tell about the proceedings in Hawassa. Aim your peeping holes and listen! You will be surprised – very surprised – that for the first time in our history “the right people” would be complaining about how, if it weren’t for DHnet’s genius, “the wrong people” would have shaved them off along with the Kitfo.

DHnet (a highly misplaced term) knew one basic fact: with the EPDP absent, they practically monopolize and puppet-run any EDA (ENCDC) related activity in the West. The only other EDA competition had to come from Brother Beshir IsHaq’s “Federalist Movement”, which (according to Bado Seleste) obviously had promised way more than it can deliver to the remaining bunch of Islamist groups and ethnic organizations. Better accept this to be true than imply any conspiracies by very good friends that I respect so much. The result as we all know was an effective disguised coup d’état in Hawassa where DHnet mobsters and sleeper-cells appeared everywhere in the categories of quota assignments. The guy (I think the name was Afwerki) who first introduced us to this idea was actually someone (that I must respect so much) who must have spent hours to publish “statistics” on Harnet (the EPDP’s website – I couldn’t locate the ref). My first reaction was of course – izom rgumat!?! Now that I go back and rewind the tape starting from the first ENCDC congress of 2010, I hate to say it, but it is exactly the EPDP’s prophecy that is unfolding. I think I should take this opportunity to apologize to the EPDP for anything wrong that I might have said about them (although I don’t remember any such negativities) and to appeal to them to get back into the game (with expert input in Skunis politics).

However, what the EPDP never managed to predict was that the DHnet Gang would one day turn around and conspire against the very people that had conspired to help them practically kick the EPDP out of the game: the EDA “leadership” (as if there is anything more to it than “leadership”). I am not trying to defend the EDA, that hasn’t realized yet that the feeling of being alive, bodiless and floating with no worries or responsibilities is actually that of the lucky residents of heaven. The EDA practically committed suicide on the day the ENCDC was born. People don’t even know what to make of the remains any more.  An opinion poll (in spite of its limitations) on Farajat (March 24, 2012) asks: Should the EDA [its remains] stay after achieving the National Council? The bar charts show that: 44% said it should be dissolved [cremated]; 24% said the Executive should stay and the legislative should freeze [mummified]; 22% said it should stay [in the spirit world].

I am not saying everything is doom and gloom though. I am not mentioning the positive stuff because I don’t think what those guys need is one more waTa-Areza. So let us also appreciate the kinds of problems they might be facing. The following are just examples:

Gedab News (February 4, 2012) reported that Dr. Yusuf Berhanu “has issued directives on how the local committees should be organized … [and that it has specified the following seven operational areas:] Australia, Ethiopia, Europe, Middle East, North America, Sudan, and South Africa.” The report adds that “the directive gives the responsibility of supervising the process of election and formation of the committee to seven designated members of the ENCDC who would relinquish their supervisory role immediately after the local committee is elected.” You have to appreciate this because, what if a “designated member” decides not to relinquish “his” (not “her”) supervisory role? Isn’t the whole problem because of a “designated member” placing the nation under a sleepless microscope? Some of you might wish that none of the ENCDC members would ever relinquish their supervisory roles. That’s exactly the case! But excuse my curiosity again: why would Dr. Berhanu of all people want them to relinquish their supervisory roles anyway?

I think we have the answer in the same report: “According to the directive, the chairman of the ENCDC (equivalent to “Speaker of the House”), his two deputies and two secretaries are not eligible to be members of the local committees [i.e. no supervisory roles for them].” I completely agree with this one in particular. First, can you imagine having two deputies and two secretaries following your every move from the washroom to the bedroom? What if these followers are designated “supervisory roles”? And what if they decide not to relinquish these powers? “1984”!?!

The report continues: “the other elected council members of the ENCDC can elect and be elected to any position in the local committees.” The seven “temporary supervisors” mentioned in the report I believe according to Click-Here are part of the “23-member Executive Committee”. How did whoever imagine and draft those directives get the slightest hint of the faintest probability that a “designated member” of the Executive at a national level (equivalent to a member in “the Cabinet of Ministers”) ever think of clinging to a “supervisory role” at a local committee (equivalent to a “Neighborhood Uqqub”). What is wrong with you guys – clinging to every straw of opportunity to supervise and run your fellow human beings? If such a probability does indeed exist (and the “directives” prove it does), could it be that some of the “23-member Executive Committee” have nothing better to do. If you have any information on an “Executive” that hasn’t shown creativity in finding out what is it that he is expected to “Execute”, please use the S.E.A Yahoo e-mail address mentioned above to report them to the Doc before heading to the Soccer Stadium.


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