The National Assembly And The Road Ahead
2011 will be remembered as the year where the roots of success were sowed in our struggle against HGDEF’s tyranny. The National Congress was a success by all standards and despite the ill wishes and the co-ordinated smear campaigns of the bigots and their sympathizers, it was as detractor-proof as could ever be imagined for such an open forum.
The democratically elected delegates stayed focussed, unperturbed by any distractions – and elected a National Assembly, thereby setting the stage for the final showdown with HGDEF and its reign of terror.
Despite these successes though, it is important to remember that it was never meant for sensible Eritreans to take the National Assembly as an end in on itself – it would be too naïve to even contemplate that. The Assembly is obviously more of a means than an end – a means to put our struggle on the right track. Thus, what remains to be seen now, is how fast we trek the road ahead.
But having said that, it is also important to remember that just a little less than a year ago, we were at a juncture in our history where the worst wars imaginable – wars of secession were about to be declared. These past few weeks, with the success of the congress, not only were such wars averted – but also concrete steps were taken to consolidate all efforts and coalesce around a common goal for the immediate removal of the PFDJ regime.
So how do we build more impetus on this momentum of 2011 in order to turn 2012 into a year of action in our struggle against tyranny?
First and foremost, the plight of our people who are wallowing in excruciating misery be it inside the country or in dilapidated refugee camps in the Diaspora demands that we show a sense of urgency in all of our actions.
Endless meetings months or even years apart at times, sporadic protests and letter writing campaigns could hardly be considered urgent enough to even garner a nod of verbal/moral support here and there, let alone for them to be used as lethal weapons to extricate a bloody dictatorship.
If Eritreans are to be galvanized into a raging fireball against tyranny – then the National Assembly in general and its executive committee in particular who are now tasked with leading the way, must act with the absolute sense of urgency which the plight of our people calls for.
Suffice it to say that as we speak, Eritreans of all ages and creed are perishing by the thousands in the most agonizing of ways, and if this alone doesn’t call for urgency in addressing their plight, it is very hard to imagine what will.
But again, even if urgency is sought, it is not meant for it to be in words, slogans, condemnations and the like, but rather in action – decisive and immediate action. That is the only way to bridge – up the current disconnect which exists between HGDEF’s victims and those the victims are trying to reach out for help.
Besides, when our people see that HGDEF thugs can not continue to commit their crimes unchallenged – when they see that these cowardly thugs can also be destroyed just like any other criminals and terrorists, they will outgrow this deep sense of victim-hood and helplessness which they find themselves in, and will without a doubt, start to fight back against HGDEF’s tyranny with full force.
And what is meant by action here is not a long protracted guerrilla warfare (it had been tried over the past twenty years) but rather, swift and decisive actions which will target the top brass of the PFDJ regime and its entire criminal apparatus.
That PFDJ thugs will never relinquish power peacefully is not a convenient make-belief accusation, it is actually their stated policy. Let us be honest here – the bloody dictator, whose vulgarity knows no bounds, has already reiterated this position himself on more than one occasion – it is a matter of record.
He stated this position in broad daylight both to local and to foreign audiences, without any sense of shame or reservation, or even without an inkling of deference to the sacrifices of so many heroes and heroines, who built the nation with their blood, sweat and tears.
Also, as if that wasn’t enough of an insult to the nation, for the regime’s power base – the N’su N’hna crowd, this position is more of a religious rite than one of a political expediency – they will take it to the grave – if one is to take the sloganeering of these cowards at face value. (and after all this, if you can believe it or not, these “worshippers of moloch” as the great Burhan Ali once referred to them, have the audacity to disparage others as “chahamat”, “fanatics” and what have you).
Whether we like it or not, removing the PFDJ regime is fatefully hinged on having an armed conflict with it – period. Anything short of using direct force against the regime is just a waste of effort, and worse yet; all it will do is just embolden the regime to be even more brutal than it already is.
Thus, given the inevitability of using force against the PFDJ regime, it goes without saying that (1) As the regime is now on its death bed (2) As the plight of our people has now reached a tipping point, where secessionist wars or irreversible anarchy could set in, and (3) As the entire region is now engulfed in revolutionary fervour, where deeply-entrenched dictatorships are being decimated left and right – the time to do away with HGDEF once and for all could never have been more appropriate than now.
Our success in this regard is predicated on acting with a sense of urgency, but above all, urgency also calls for being effective.
With a successful National Congress, 2011 has ushered a new era by providing all the necessary and effective tools to make 2012 the year of action:
- An elected National Assembly (interim parliament) made up of Eritreans of diverse political, social, and ethnic backgrounds – a source of stability in the immediate aftermath of HGDEF’s removal. (more impetus to take immediate action)
- The creation of various committees (interim administration) tasked with the day-to-day affairs of the state. (no room for anarchy)
- The creation of the Military Office – a crucial department tasked with consolidating the armed resistance and the laying out of effective military strategies, including defining and identifying targets. (swift top-down operation)
The clearly stated interim status of the Assembly, its committees, sub-committees and departments is but an unqualified indication that the intention here is not to create a dynasty or god’s kingdom on earth – not at all. It is rather a genuine attempt by dedicated and self-less nationals, who are trying to help dislodge a dictatorship and to empower their people to chart their own destiny. It is as plain and as simple as at.
How does that compare for a change, with the convoluted aspirations of the chauvinists and the bigots and their bloody journey of the past twenty years?
Where the concept of Eritrea failed in the past two decades (when looked at squarely from a human welfare standpoint), was in the fact that some among us looked at hzbawi gnbar not as a means but rather as an end. Unfortunately, they also looked at HGDEF by extension as an end in on itself.
And worse yet, they took their ugly and bigoted “Ertra” too, as a culmination of sorts.
Just one dead end after another; entities which represented the dwarfed expectations of little people – people who could hardly dream beyond a meagre loot – a war booty at best.
Eritrea was paid for too dearly for it to be reduced to a war-booty for a few chauvinist bigots.
The bigots among us don’t have the word “urgency” in their vocabulary – theirs is a 40-year project of ethnic cleansing. The exclusionists don’t like it either – it disrupts “controlled- change “, and that is, if any one is actually naïve enough to even accept that as change in the first place.
All others fully understand and accept the need for urgency to address the plight of our people for one simple, yet crucial reason – they can relate to their pain.
What’s the line the regime’s apologists use when they try to resist change covertly or in disguise?
“You don’t have a mandate” they will blurt. One may be tempted to reply; “But you don’t have a mandate either” – a real chicken-or-egg scenario, but that’s beside the point.
The point is, you don’t need a mandate to demand your rights – and revolutions are nothing but processes of demanding rights. If you organize your revolution by creating interim assemblies, councils, governments and the like – then that’s even for the better. It helps you avoid chaos and anarchy. The only time a revolution could be challenged as having no mandate, is when the revolution tries to outlive its purpose.