Political Discourse

This conversation was done at awate.com between Amanuel Hidrat and me aimed at bringing a common view on the political discussions.

Selam Tesfat,

I know what I am saying. I know the concepts I am using that has purely conventional meaning. Not like those who want to create their own definition to fit their own argument (sometimes they call it world power languages any way). If they have the know how let them rebut to Bereket’s argument. Educating the public is one thing and talking about the reality of the opposition is different thing. Two different broad subject matter that needs division of labor. Both have to go side by side.

Second, the challenge is, to educate the public as to (a) what kind of regime we have (b) and how to fight it. If the opposition failed to agree on both of them, there will be no “unity of purpose”, and there will be no effective strategy to remove the despot either. I stick with my guns without knee jerking. What this lame excuse “majority” don’t understand it is mind boggling. The whole purpose we are here is to educate each other and increase our consciousness. I just want them, those who opted to say that there is no “political and economic monopoly” by the ruling party, what I call it “state monopoly,” let them make their argument. I challenged them.

Reformers have never said that the current regime is a “totalitarian regime.” Where did you get it? There is difference between dictatorial regime and totalitarian regime, in that dictatorial regimes are concerned on the “political power” and the “security apparatus”. As a result they control the mass media to protect their “Political power”. The totalitarian regimes goes beyond it, to make the state itself a “state monopoly.” To do that they will tell you “a party could own private property” to monopolize the economy. In a totalitarian regime the “state” and the “government” are the same. There is no clear demarcation between the two. In Eritrea the state and the government are the same, as there is no private sector and civil society. The party is the government, the government is the state, having the structure of “state monopoly”. Hence those who don’t see this “state monopoly” in Eritrea, let us see their argument. I believe the reality on the ground proves my argument. No question about that. Without defining the regime correctly we can never come to a solution. It will be wrong diagnosis and wrong solution. And yes it greatly matters to me and those who have the same view like me.
Amanuel Hidrat

Dear Amanuel H.,

All we are trying to do is to increase the awareness of our current political situation and push to a higher level of understanding to our political complexity. We are trying to devise a new microscope so that the core differenciating issues can be identified and tackled and hence to educate.

The second part of your point is indeed what we are working on it. You brought some terminologies and explained them very well. Before going to the political languages, I would be very happy if you clarify to me the meaning of the english words in Tigrigna but first let me put mine.

System = ስርዓት and (can also serve for regime)
Totalitarian= ገባቲ

If I am wrong, I will be corrected. Having these as their english equivalence, whether reformers or dismantlers, they all use the same terminologies, am I right. I am quite sure these describtive terms are so commonly uttered everyday by every able to speak Eritrean.

But our discussion here is a bit advanced. We are way from politics 101 and I believe that we are at advanced, PhD or minimum Master thesis level of discussion (serious). Therefore, I don’t expect a one day full awareness to be achieved across the whole Eritrean society so that we can have the same undesratnding.

On the other side of political thesis, an equal but opposite full awared argument presents to dismiss the views over PFDJ. They may say the same terms but the essence, the true core meaning and thereby the message they transfer is not the same. They know what they are doing and it is because of their political view.

Dear Amanuel, you know how much respect I have for your political views but here I am not to defend, appreciate or create new terms. We are clarifying the bottle necks we have. Unless we idenitfy them, the marsh to freedom will take longer than expected. I appreciate your dedication to inform people and we are glad for having you. You are one of our bench marks. On the other side, there are people who are already approved as a bench mark too.

My call is then, not to force one to leave his bench mark but to know what reference he uses. I see confusion within and even with the PFDJ ardent supposrters confusion. Confusion of political awareness. But, for the conscious political groups, I believe that what they say is their stand. And a call to reconcilation is from this point of understanding.

I know your stance and I am happy for it. But I am afraid that the reconcilation mechanism you are upto might not be helpful. reconcilation is not to drop the view one has but to know there exists differences and accept the differences. Through acceptance, discussion emerges and through discussion, common points are picked and from this a unity of purpose can be developed. I fully acknowledge and I am with you on the terminological understanding. But I see people with different terminological use and at the same time I don’t see any reason to say first we need a common landing of definitions. Let people have a choice to define on what ever way means. Let these all definitions come and search the differences. This is a healthy way of reconcilation.

I am stressing this because I believe that the previous reconcilation methodologies were not complete. Instead of uniting the opposition camp, it divided. Dear Amanuel, “unity of purpose” is the final product of reconcilation. Through reconcilation, we produce unity of purpose. To reach that level, first, let’s come with what ever definitions, means, terminologies, you name it, we have and lets believe that reconcilation is important for creating strength. Diversity should not be a threat but an apportunity to our common endeavour.

What I saw before in the Eritrean landscape is that they come with unity and create diversity, the divisions. But the truth should be from diversity to unity. This is what reconcilation is. For this later description, we have the ELF and EPLF case and later the PFDJ case.

1. ELF was a united force during its establishment but later it got diversified and weakened and even led it upto defeat and worse till today it is getting more and more diverse.

2. EPLF was in the first days a diverse force but later it got united through reconcilation. Through reconcilation, it became strong and defeated formidable forces like ELF and Derge and reached upto independence. But I didn’t forget the monster force within the EPLF who later formed the PFDJ criminal junta.

3. PFDJ came united on purpose and later got diversified on its ways. And today, we have Eritrea failing, it is just like that of ELF during the 1980s. ELF had a strong army, upto 15,000 well equiped force but since the core leadership became so diverse in its ways, it became like a bee colony which lost its queen. PFDJ is the same now. PFDJ decayed internally (first the G-15) and later many defects. Eritrean people are still there with all its potential but since the leadership is weak, there is no way to stay in power even if there is no strong opposition force.

To conclude, dear Amanuel, lets learn from our past and current history. We can not follow the same trend of PFDJ and call “unity of purpose”. Lets modify our approach and call lets appreciate our diversity. Our diversity is our beauty and through diversity we build a strong nation, just like that of EPLF during the armed struggle. But a careful analysis is needed not embrace a criminal junta within like that of the later PFDJ. For this we need a constant stirring, debate, opposite forces within the same basket. Even we have to welcome the Neo-Andnetawyan as far as they are very clear on their political stance. There is no crime in believing that way. The only crime is when they appear as normal justice seeker, like that of

PFDJ junta and later hijack our struggle for freedom.

Too long, but I believe you are a patient and cool reader. I didn’t write it to Nitricc or Hope or Andnet and likes.




Full discussion can be followed at http://awate.com/eritrean-opposition-preparatory-committee-launches-its-field-work/#comment-1824447371

Meditiation of the Day

 This meditiation was done while contemplating on the Eritrean political paradox at awate.com forum comment section. I brought it because I was thinking about the status Eritreans are in I thought a thoughtful meditiation is good to enlighten the Eritrean people. More can be accssed at http://awate.com/eritrean-opposition-preparatory-committee-launches-its-field-work/.

Amanuel Hidrat is a writer, political thinker, skillful debater and one of the very few educated freedom fighters who spent his early period of his life with ELF. He currently lives in New Jersey, USA.

Dear Amanuel Hidrat,
I think we did our work. Whether Eritrea is North Korea of Africa or not, now, the issue will be handled by academicians. We should acknowledge for the seriousness of such description that even a student from Harvard University took it as a thesis. To the surprise of the World of Academia, his references are only UNHCR 1993 history book and a friend who works in The Eritrean embassy. What is more exposure than this? Thanks to an Eritrean scholar who exposed this work, Bereket Stephanos. The student from Harvard University will be forced to re-visit his thesis and will definietly change his conclusions. Thanks to Bereket Stephanos and for you too for bringing the issue on a spot.

The other part of your argument, dear Amanuel H., by now I think we have identified the bottle neck of the opposition camp. Opportunists are always opportunits, lets leave them aside. But on the serious opposition groups, serious I mean, those who truely are fighting for Justice to come in Eritrea, vocabulary choice matters.

Word choice matters for the agenda beholder. If one wants to reform PFDJ, describing PFDJ as a system or equating with North Korea will not serve the purpose but totalitarian and dictatorial do. Refomers claim is a problem with the individuals in power and this problem arises from their impotency (are not the right leaders and have no the right skills) and specifically dictator Issaias Afeweki. For reformers, PFDj is a totalitarian regime and hence he took all the power at the center. Else, the ideology is fine, the vision is fine, the mission is fine, objective is fine, and policies too, to mention some. For example, for the reformers, national service is not slavery but a duty of citizen and the country desprately needs it because Ethiopia is there as an eternal enemy of Eritrea. If the totalitarian regime is removed and the power held by one man is taken, then, the rest will be fine.

On the other hand, for a justice seeker who wants complete freedom, an emanicipation, he has to see the core source for all these mieseries in Eritrea. The complete freedom seeker wants to break the chains and the chain is the SYSTEM. To break (dismantle) the system is the only means to have full freedom. Dismantling the system by default removes the tyranny in Asmara and hence it becomes the end of dictatorial or totalitarian PFDJ regime, aka DIA.

But, putting the two camps on the table, the reformers and the dismantlers, has both merits and demerits. The reformers are afraid of the future developments and hence they believe that the current system is good to keep the nation intact. On the other hand, the dismantlers are not much aware on the post-PFDJ developments. When the dismantlers argue that no future government can be worse than PFDJ, the reformers are spectical about the future government.

Therefore, we need a careful analysis on the word choice by each camp. I will not expect reformers to label Eritrea under PFDJ regime as North Korea or is governed by system. They better prefer dictatorial, totalitarian, one-man regime, Issais regime, etc. And the dismantlers step one ahead and see PFDJ as system which nurtured a dictaorial regime, totalitarian, one-man, etc. To paraphrase, The system is descrived as a set and the others are within the set.

Finally, from afar, for an honnest reader, both camps resemble the same as they both claim that they are fighting for Justice and indeed they are. But on a serious political discourse, there is big clashes and usually ends with severe political frictions and can reach upto civil war.

On my personal view, I see the presence of these two camps as a good start for democratic nation. They can establish two string parties, right and left and in between, minority parties. Their presence can remove the two extreme dangers that may happen in post PFDJ Eritrea.

Caution though, unless these two camps understood their difference properly and reconcile within themselves, the probablity of civil war in Eritrea is at its brisk. And I kindly call all concerned Eritreans and especially the elites, to enlighten the justice seekers camp on the paradox, complexity and dilemmas we are indulged in and call a reconcilation process to happen soon. If not, Eritrean people will continue to suffer, PFDJ will decay and Eritrea can be a failed state in the near future.

Meditiation of Thursday evening 29.01.2015

A poem in Tigrigna

This poem was originally written by me at awate.com in response to a peace loving artist and poet Kokhob Selam, a good hearted awatista. Here, I wanted to keep it for my record and that is why it is re-appearing.

ኮኾብ ሰላም ወ ኮኾብ ሰላም
ስምካ አንክሰምዕ፡ ዝረክብ ሰላም
ግጥምኻ እንከንብብ ዝረክብ ሰላም።

ኮኾብ ሰላም ወ ኮኾብ ሰላም
ሞት’ኮ ዝነበረ እንደኣሉ
ሞት ደኣ ዳግማይ ሂወት እንደኣሉ
ዝነበረ እንደኣሉ ዝሞተ።

እንተ’ታ ቅዋም ዝብልዋስ
እታ ናይ 1952 ዶ መሲላቶም
እታ ሃጸይ ሃይለስላሰ ዝቐተላ ኣብ ቤቶም።

ሃጸይ ኢሳይያስ ደኣ መኣስ ቅዋም ኔራቶም
ቅዋም እታ ቃላታ ኳ ዘይመካይድቶም
ቅዋም ምስ ሰምዑ እንደኣሉ ዚ ኩሉ ሕማሞም።

ሕማምም ንቡር’ኮ ኣይኮነ
ደም ሰብ እንደኣሉ ቁርሲ ምሳሕ ዝኾነ
ቀትሪ’ኮ ኣይኣኽሎን
አረ ቫምፓየር’ዩ ለይቲ ድም ቀለቡ ዝኾነ።

ኣንታ ኮኾብ ሰላም፡
ሕንከት’ኮ ባህልና’ዩ ዝነበረ
ናይዞም ጸገንቲ በየንዩ ዝቦቖለ፧

ኮኾብ ሰላም
ኮኾብካስከ ይምርሓዮም ናብቲ ምድረ ሰላም
ሕያዎት ጓሶት ክመጹ ናብቲ ምድረ ሰላም
ሰላም አንደኣሉ ብዓል ኻልድ ዝኣኽሎም ዝነበረ።

እወ ኮኾብ ሰላም
ኮኾብካ ስደደሎም
ሕያው ጓሶት ሰላም።

Tesfabirhan WR