Fetsum: Time for constructive debate to unity

I will share my independent opinion on EFND & EGS Transition Team’s promising call for unity down the road but first, from the forum on my last article: Keshi Mars
: “Hello Fitsum, I understand your concern

I will share my independent opinion on EFND & EGS Transition Team’s promising call for unity down the road but first, from the forum on my last article:

Keshi Mars: “Hello Fitsum, I understand your concern about the Ambassador. But you can’t blame him for not endorsing GI. There are too many Globals, in fact with younger and energetic members. What is expected from you and Prof. with due respect is to join them in finance and advice.”

Adhanom: “Medrik is not one of them. Moreover, it has no followers but few elites who think are entitled to be leaders like their former coach, Iseyas. You mentioned existence of many global organizations that is totally untrue. I can give a global name to my self but that does not mean I am global. Global is when every Eritrean is invited to elect representatives.”

Response: There may be Globals everywhere like what Adhanom said but none of theirs is similar to GI’s concept of globalism in my grasp. I advice Keshi to learn the difference based on what they all claim to advocate instead of concluding as such. I cannot talk for the professor but there is no way for me to join a group that refuses to dialogue with other citizens because open discussion is the first step to unity and I don’t want to be a servant of an exclusive leader or a dictator that wants to address national issues alone. The Ambassador’s refusal to chat with or endorse GI without clear explanation renders him a person with no interest to relate to other Eritrean activists at equal significance except from above.

Senkam: “This article seems primarily to dig into the hypocrisy of the Ambassador. And, then iced it with positive notes like wishing the ambassador success in his discussion on the subject matter with Eritrean communities, with a tone of an underlying doubt or disagreement. Almost all groups active in the justice seeking camp understand the effect of negative energy on advancing their cause. What they find an uphill battle is though how to STOP it. And the negative energy keeps circulating. This negative atmosphere blows in todays social media and fogs the trust among the Eritrean community, which in turn erodes their alliance and association to these groups. If the author of the article has even the slightest of positive take on what the ambassador is going to do as he hinted, it would be much helpful to our grand objective if he had restrained from divulging all these conversations. Not because they were not facts but this culture has to stop.”

Response: Where is said negative energy coming from, the inclusive or the exclusive? What is the problem with the article if you think it contains facts as you hinted herein? I think negative energy emanates from the rejectionist camp not from discussing facts with the public for awareness. GI has so far been very modest trying to collect the Eritreans into focusing on democratizing Eritrea while containing important information within which I don’t like, but informing the people about their issues without falsification is positive in a sense because information is power. How can then we empower the people by hiding information from them? What has to stop is the culture of secrecy and fear of being challenged on the merit, not discussing facts. I have nothing personal against the Ambassador but our national issue is common to all of us that no person or group can legitimately solve alone. This was my last article’s intention that you classified as something negative.

Senkam: “The Ambassador may have worse records while he was with the regime than those raised here. However, once we identified our objective we have to able to focus on the bigger picture and avoid being lost in some irrelevant details. Otherwise, our criticism should point to those ideas that we think will risk our unity.”

Response: The Ambassador has fought for our independence to deserve respect like any other Tegadalai minus exceptionalism. What he did with the regime is immaterial to me compared to what he wants to do now about our situation. I was EPLF’s supporter after all, but refusing to discuss the common issue with other Eritreans is not acceptable at this stage of the fight where unity on principle is the only solution against the very organized common enemy. My article was directed at his dismissive action that risks our unity and not at his outlook of the situation which is none of my business.

TZ: ”Dear Fitsum, I honestly think every Eritrean should have the right to freely express his or her opinion. What is wrong if the Ambassador believes what we need today is not to proliferation of movements but the coalescence of effort based on shared vision. And we all know that this is a typical principle of Medrek group that the Ambassador is part of. What does his opinion have to do with him having public meetings? Please if we are working for Democracy let us behave maturely, tolerantly, respect each other and refrain from calling names like “arrogant” ext.”

Response: I am not against his method of solution or public speeches for I support freedom of speech 100% but I said his repulsive action vis-à-vis GI’s modest invitation for moral support contradicts with the topics he chose to discuss with the people (sharing common vision for democracy). You cannot talk about sharing common issues and democracy from exclusive point of view for the attitude defies the concept of sharing all together: that is all I said! I also know few things about him that I did not like when he was running the University of Asmara that I chose to not expose because they are irrelevant to this topic and I am not vindictive. “Arrogant” was, however, how I could express his rejection of the professor’s humble appeal for unity without adequate explanation.

Alem: “Tz, U are right he has the right to fight for for democracy the way he chooses and he has been doing that since he was thrown out of hgdf camp by iseyas. What are his accomplishments in those 16 years? Should not he assess himself. All the young Eritreans who reside where he resides, who bitterly oppose Iseyas the beast are ripe fruits ready for harvest. How many of these know Ambasador Andebirhan. Almost none. The same blame goes to other opposition groups. they need to come and engage the ordinary people who are looking for an effective organization.”

Response:  The reason for our failure to collect and lead the people is because we are not assessing our failed performance and adjusting it accordingly. The regime can afford going without assessing its performance but we cannot. Yet, we have the gusts to dismiss assistance from other activists in the fight. What do you expect from the pattern except failure; yet we blame the people for not following us. Of course all Eritrean groups should engage the ordinary people towards effective organization as you said, but how can they do it without willingness to work together and becoming the role models of unity first? We have so far been the role models of arrogance and division my brother. Thank you Alem for sharing your opinion.
k.tewolde: “The Eritrean people collectively should self determine their destiny by electing their leaders democratically and cement a solid checks and balance institutions to hold them accountable. Flipping a burger only gives you a burger not a filet mignon.”

Response: I agree.

Nahon: “Former Ambassador Andebrhan and many like him are not used to let people take things in their own hands. It’s not in their culture to let people elect their leaders. That is why you see leaders of so the called Medrek still working behind closed doors. They want lead without being elected, without consulting the public to know what they want.”

Response: May be!

Lalimba:Crazy, crazy, crazy, Dear Mr. Fitsum. In your introductory remarks you mentioned that those were your views and have nothing to do with GI.But how, when you have posted the correspondence between GI chair and Mr. Andeberhan. You also referred yourself as a whistle blower. You managed to access to correspondences because of your membership to GI and you are not passing the info to a third party as whistle blowers often do. You have the right to accuse Mr. Andeberhan of double standard but not this way. By divulging official correspondence, you have put GI’s integrity in jeopardy.”

Response: Posting the communication on my own has nothing to do with GI community if you may cool down a bit for the sake of justice because I am almost certain that they would have tried to stop me from doing it had I went for their approval. You must understand that I diffuse my independent mind for the most part whether I am a GI member or not. You should, therefore leave the movement alone!

What do you mean “not this way” and can you please tell me how I should have shared the information with the people? Is this your opinion or the objective truth and who has the right to define “this way or that way” and based on what standard? Did I breach any rule here; is sharing information with the public a crime? I respect your thoughts on this but there was no code of conduct to this effect that would restrict me from exposing a relevant information to what the Ambassador was about to do; the topics he was tuned to discuss. I did not say I was a “whistle blower” if you may re-read the text since anyone including you could have accessed the information from GI forums but I said you can call me that if you feel like it. I don’t think your attempt to mislead people saying I Jeopardized GI’s integrity will work because I wrote it without consulting the GI community. It does not make sense even if GI exposed it on its own because it has responsibility to do so if it considers itself a transparent entity that aims at empowering the people. Our people deserve to know everything about their political business; it is their right and the best way for any group to relate to them. Please don’t exaggerate the Ambassador’s value beyond reality needless to tell you that you should support GI for your sake, not for me. You can follow whatever you want to follow but I know you, him and me are individuals that do not represent our people and you cannot blackmail the movement with your biased judgment for it had no control on my action beyond its communication with the Ambassador. At the bottom line, I am only interested on the people’s interest not on GI’s or else! Your “you have put GI’s integrity in jeopardy”, thus only tells me how destructive and unfairly vindictive you were.

EFND & EGS Transition Team (May 24, 2017):  “A Call for Unity and Action: While we are celebrating our independence, and honoring the selfless sacrifices of our fallen heroes and heroines, as citizens, it is our responsibility to get actively involved. It is our duty to stand up and be united as a common front condemning the crime against humanity in our country, Eritrea. We urgently need to mount a concentrated effort to bring justice, democracy, and peace to our nation and our longsuffering people”

Comment: Fantastic! I believe it can be done if we all put our energies to it. The question is how we can “actively involve” and “stand up and be united as a common front condemning the crime against humanity in our country, Eritrea” when we cannot even sit down and discuss the problems and solutions together. Everyone knows that we need unity to change our situation but can we achieve it minus dialogue with each other? Is the call for unity only to condemn the crimes against humanity in the country with the distance between us intact or also to produce a hybrid solution together? Recalling that the two groups were discussing issues with GI and stopped it after the initial contact, what may this call for unity signify without any directive as to how we should do it? Are they now willing to go back to discussion with GI towards uniting in principle and drafting a working strategy that satisfies all Eritreans in the fight? Can you please guide us how to unite instead of leaving us confused only calling for it and leaving the rest for us to figure out according to our feelings? How can we act without suggestion and where is the practical aspect of the call?

With all the uncertainties around, I hope the message means you are ready for dialogue with fellow Eritreans in the resistance. If this is the case, we have to immediately start it and see what we can do together. Please come back and tell us how we can help each other so we can join you for we cannot afford fruitlessly wasting resources as such. Let your momentum of unity continue by frequent appearance so we can use your wisdom and experience to minimize the distance between us as soon as possible. The best place to start may be accepting dialogue with GI, for instance if the movement publicly renews its invitation for it. You can also tell us what we should do to have a chance discussing with you about the situation but I don’t think any rational group or individual can take advantage of the beautiful paragraph from our brothers and sisters that closed the call without any directive for unconditional discussion about unity, of course with all respect, unless the message continues to come with practical suggestions. I wish you the best and waiting for your next post with elevated optimism.

As you know, I have been posting articles on my own discussing the opposition forces in the Civic Society probably with harsher attitude than necessary provoked by the unbalanced cumulative output vis-à-vis the intense suffering of our people under the enemy. Feel free to blame me for my opinion but our collective struggle with its good intentions could not so far impact our situation because of reluctance to manage it together despite the many years invested on. We did not progress forward since 1999, the time EDA came to reality and no sign of change as it stands today about 18 years into the resistance. This is too long to remain without progress and too costly for the helpless people under the domestic parasites.

Our civic groups in the flip could not show concrete progress despite struggling for many years as of today. All the differences between the political parties and the civic groups should have been significantly narrowed by now in terms of a common working strategy to confidently face the world and the society’s emergency situation with relatively stronger unity and determination but only if we were sincere about the cause. We claim to love our society; yet we have been misusing our collective talent to hardly rectify the situation at hand. I feel like we have been swayed by higher commitment to our parties and groups in “party or group first” outlook putting our people’s interest at secondary level of priority. At times, personal issues stand in the way of our national issues the resultant effect being abandoning our people’s cause because of unconscious wisdom if not intentional sabotage. The same approach year after year and the same suffering as a result, lives slipping away in the monotonous style of struggle that so far proved us incapable of resolving our problems together. We could not catch up with time which is shrinking for most of us in this short life where every resource should have been utilized for the wellbeing of the people scattered around like a caravan without direction.

Yet, as progressive as GI has been, I resent its excessive patience and reservation to fully expose its activities to the people vis-à-vis the relevant components of the resistance. The movement has been individually contacting the opposition groups within reach and the feedbacks are in record. It has been enjoying support from few groups and tolerating the cold shoulder and negative reaction of others with intense degree of quietism; giving love, concern, humility and peace the chance to eventually do the magic of unification. Whether the approach is a derivative of wisdom and strategic benefit for all of us, it has to seriously consider it in view of its claimed transparency and empowerment of the people. In so saying, I have been modestly approached to consult the GI community for opinion anytime I write something containing its duties and I think this is a fair deal and will try to comply in the future, obvious saying I would have made it more transparent if I had the power.

Looking at the situation from my view, the civic groups are too immobile or slow to unite for action and GI, too soft and tolerant to their negative reactions. The very slow speed of the first contradicts with my concept of efficiency and time and GI’s extra-softness with my tendency to openly communicate with the people challenging matters on the merit.

Life is a parabola my dear Eritreans where people’s slope of biting the dust dives at a faster rate than we can imagine specially after the 40s for us to take the concept of time vis-à-vis the long suffering of the society more seriously. I think most of us will phase out within the next few years, I wonder if we ever pay attention to this reality when we decide to do something with each other. There is no more time to play around for the very long experimentation stage should expire and there is no Eritrawinet after death for our IDENTITY (ethnicity, religion, outlooks, etc.) will disappear with our FORM (body) at the time of the event. I am convinced that I am an Eritrean only for the few years left to live before facing mortality. The only chance I have to impact our society is while I am still alive for nothing will matter otherwise except legacy. I think we would be more productive if we challenge problems remembering that we will die sooner or later; it would help us to be more cooperative, practical, selfless and compassionate. We would feel stronger responsibility of accomplishment and help our society with constructive relationship instead of allowing the ego to seduce our minds into division thinking we were immortal. We certainly would prioritize the condition of our people to our personal or group issues had this been the case. It is this concept that drives me to be as open as possible and even assertive at times despite any group’s feeling about it. I apologize if I hurt anyone but please don’t associate my work with GI unless told in the workload, for I neither own the movement nor let it own me beyond supporting its outlook as an Eritrean. Direct your attack if any towards me not towards the movement which also has a problem with my style of communication beyond its control.

In light of the experience so far, I acknowledge and suggest the following points to the GI community:

1)   The movement is unique and transparent in the areas of openness for any interested citizen to participate in its discussions and forums.

2)   It is inclusive and hard working in terms of contacting individuals and groups for dialogue towards a collective road map to democracy. I admire its uninterrupted weekly meetings and Paltalk appearances with the people.

3)   It has a unique strategy for global unification that can do the job behind the people’s support.

4)    Disclosure of information is key to empowering the people and it should as soon as possible itemize what may be classified and public so that we can work accordingly instead of depending on anarchic suggestions based on how its members individually feel about the exchange of information with the people.

5)   It has to better organize its branches or teams (writers, mobilization, financial, media, etc.) by drafting set of rules for the respective members to follow and work under.

6)   It has to assertively address issues and freely communicate with the people consistent with its “transparent and empowering” composure. It has to break the culture of softness and silence for the people to enjoy substantial awareness about their political business.

As for Assenna; I believe the people deserve to differentiate one from another through direct information via the website. The call of unity by

EFND and EGS can be enhanced with practical response from Assenna. It is, thus the right time now to invite different groups for constructive debate so that the people can learn about and evaluate what is going on in their own languages and act accordingly. It would also minimize the current confusion in the resistance overall. Thank you!

aseye.assenna@googlemail.com

Review overview
9 COMMENTS
  • Araya Debessay May 29, 2017

    Dear Fetsum,
    I also would like to join you in welcoming the merger of EGS and EFND. This is very encouraging news indeed as it sets an example for other groups who claim to be working for the good of the Eritrean people. As you have correctly pointed out, members of these two entities are high caliber individuals who have the potential to contribute to ending the suffering of the Eritrean people. I do hope they see the benefit of having a grassroots based global leadership which we are sorely missing.. In my view, the merged entity can play a role in promoting the success of the grassroots movement through seminars/symposium and by issuing educational material. Let’s hope they will live up the level the public expects of them.

  • adhanom May 29, 2017

    It is good to be positive. It is good to hope for unity. But choosing to work behind closed door to bring democratic change is like throwing your fishing net into maybella hoping to catch a fish. A fish can not survive in that environment and there is no fish to fish in maybella. There is no democracy to expect from anti-democratic forces. Some one can tell me if there is democracy with out ellection. While ambasador andebirhan has the right tochoose his way i would like to urge professor araya, fuxium and other gi members to press ahead, enroll, energise and organize the ordinary eritreans like me to bring the desired chang. Democracy is not a gift that one can give to others when he wishes to. It reqiures participation and contribution from every citizen.

  • Simon May 30, 2017

    ሓደ ዓርከይ እንታይ ዝብል ዛንታ ‘ነግረኒ መስለኩም?

    ሓድ ድኻ ሰብ ኣይ ኔሩ (ስኡን ንበሎ) ። ሓንቲ ፍልጥቲ እንዳ ሳንድዊች ድማ ነበረት።
    እዚ ስኡን: ባኒ ሒዙ ኣብ ቅድም’ቲ እንዳ ሳንድዊች ኬዱ ነቲ “ጨና ናይ ሳንድዊች” ስሒቡ: ሽዑ ነቲ ባኒ ይበልዕ።

    ብዙሕ መዓልታት ከምኡ ክገብር ዝተዓዘበ ዋና ነይቲ እንዳ ሳንድዊች (ርኹብ ንበሎ) ነቲ ስኡን እንታይ ትገብር ኣለኻ ክብል ይሓቶ
    ስ ኡን: ገንዘብ ስለዘይብለይ, ጨና ናይ ሳንድውች ስሒበ ሽዑ ባኒ ይቖርስ ይብሎ
    ርኹብ: ክትከፍል ኣለካ ይብሎ።
    ስኡን: ገሪምዎ ድማ ኣይከፍልን ይብሎ።
    ርኹብ:, ናብ ቤት ፍርዲ ይወስዶ።
    ፈራዲ: ነቲ ጥርዓን ምስ ሰምዐ,:ንስኡን ክትከፍል ኣለካ ይብሎ።
    ፈራዲ: ንርኹብ ድማ ንድሕሪት ገጽካ ግበር ይብሎ ‘ሞ ሕርካም ናብ መሬት ይድርቢ።
    ፈራዲ: ንርኹብ ሰሚዕካዮ ዶ ትድምጺ ይብሎ።
    ርኹብ: እወ።
    ፈራዲ: እሞ እቲ ድምጺ ዝሰማዕካዮ, ክፍሊት ናይቲ ብጨና ዝምገቦ ዝነበረ ‘ዩ ይብሎ። ሕጂ: ሓባይብ ኴንኩም ድማ ይውስኸሉ

    ኣሰናውያንከ ከመይ ተተርጉምዋ?

    • amanuel May 30, 2017

      Simon
      Ezias neta n 30 amet eeeh zibelnala, zitehagomnala, 91 dima zirekebnaya mesiluna zisaesaenala fithi ( naxinet) timesil.
      Eti dagnas gele kab temben do kon yikewin.

  • petros tesfagherghis May 30, 2017

    Dear Fitsum:
    EX-EPLF members among them generals, colonels. Professionals and rank and file fighters and members at one time or the other defect from PFDJ and joins the movement for democratic change. One of the hailed hero is Wedi Ali. Wedi Ali until the day he sided with the oppressed people and tried to bring to an end the reign of terror was an army officer involved in all activities carried out in Eritrea. It means he was also part of the problem
    Andebrahan and many of the ex-PFDJ who defect to the people were part of the problem in Eritrea, it is precisely because they were part of the problem that they are now part of the solution in a big way.
    Let us see the bigger picture the opposing must use its contacts to convince as many as possible PFDJ members to side with the people. After all the biggest push for change will come from the inside and a big portion is from dissatisfied PFDJ members including from the defence forces. It is because of these facts that when Andebrahan Woldegergis joined the movement and to play an active role is a plus. He must be welcomed. It is also his right as an Eritrean.
    The problem of the opposition is fragmentation and luck of effective organisation that stalls progress. Let us not be judgemental particularly from our comfort Zone. In history army chair revolutionaries do not bring change.
    Fitsum, well done to be respectful when you criticize Andebrahan. This way there is the options of more dialogue. Constructive criticism ties activists for democratic change together. In the opposition these culture is absent, it is full of destructive criticism which eventually benefit the regime. I do have concern myself of Medrick, I think it would have been more fruitful of Andebrahan- Medrick- spend more time in building effective organisation and membership base first than try to reconcile – the many opposition political parties
    My congratulation to the unity of EFND and EGS and their press release for a call for Unity and Action.

  • Lalimba May 30, 2017

    Dear Mr. Fitsum,

    Thanks for your response.

    You wrote the following in response to my comment on your citing of correspondence between GI and Mr. Andeberhan:

    Posting the communication on my own has nothing to do with GI community if you may cool down a bit for the sake of justice because I am almost certain that they would have tried to stop me from doing it had I went for their approval. You must understand that I diffuse my independent mind for the most part whether I am a GI member or not. You should, therefore leave the movement alone! What do you mean “not this way” and can you please tell me how I should have shared the information with the people? Is this your opinion or the objective truth and who has the right to define “this way or that way” and based on what standard? Did I breach any rule here; is sharing information with the public a crime? I respect your thoughts on this but there was no code of conduct to this effect that would restrict me from exposing a relevant information to what the Ambassador was about to do; the topics he was tuned to discuss…I don’t think your attempt to mislead people saying I Jeopardized GI’s integrity will work because I wrote it without consulting the GI community. It does not make sense even if GI exposed it on its own because it has responsibility to do so if it considers itself a transparent entity that aims at empowering the people.

    Please don’t exaggerate the Ambassador’s value beyond reality needless to tell you that you should support GI for your sake, not for me. You can follow whatever you want to follow but I know you, him and me are individuals that do not represent our people and you cannot blackmail the movement with your biased judgment for it had no control on my action beyond its communication with the Ambassador. At the bottom line, I am only interested on the people’s interest not on GI’s or else! Your “you have put GI’s integrity in jeopardy”, thus only tells me how destructive and unfairly vindictive you were.You see, Sir, when you

    My response:
    I repeat:: Nobody is saying your communicating with Mr.. Andeberhan is a sin. I am only referring to your posting of official correspondence. I do not know about you and GI house rules but that is a common understanding that members, especially members in leadership position, should not divulge such info. I have discussed the issue with some close friends within GI who are equally shocked.

    Your last statement above says a lot about who you are. I’m sorry that I hit some nerves there. My only hope is that GI leadership will nip this in the bud before things get out of hand.

    • amanuel May 31, 2017

      Lalimba
      Fisum,s disclosure was only a confirmation of what the ordinary eritreans had suspected. We have known the eplf leaders long enough that unless we vigorously and violently force them to accept it they do not believe in democracy or justice. There is always exceptions, and we can have some like wedi ali the super hero, but i am afraid dr andebirhan is just the other face of same coin with iseyas

      • almazina June 2, 2017

        Lalumba
        Do not we have the right to know if they are going to be our leaders. Shame on you, instead of encouraging openness and transparency which are core values of democracy, u are attempting to promote quite the opposite. Need to know what needs to be or not to be kept secret. This is not sensitive operational secret.

  • k.tewolde May 31, 2017

    Here we go again talking about ‘high value’ personalities and characters on how to handle and cajole them to do things they are suppose to do,Folks if that is the approach they expect from the people who they are suppose to lead to freedom and democracy,they don’t have value.True leaders are self deprecating,naked and vulnerable to the elements,stand in the front to absorb the assault hurled by the enemy.they bleed first and they quench their thirst last,they listen to what everybody has to say patiently and speak at the end,open minded and constantly evolving. Leaders are not professors,orators and lecturers but devoted students of their people,they are always tuned to the need of the masses not the other way around.True leaders are devoted servants of their followers whome they earned the trust from.Three piece suit, a tie and a polished leather shoe and firing a political memo from unknown podcast ain’t gonna cut it.

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