New Year Resolution: Step up the struggle for democratic change
By Petros Tesfagiorgis Never ever give up on your dreams: Never stop fighting for what you believe in. Let the Justice Seekers make these values as their “New year resolution” and step up the struggle for
By Petros Tesfagiorgis
Never ever give up on your dreams: Never stop fighting for what you believe in. Let the Justice Seekers make these values as their “New year resolution” and step up the struggle for justice and democratic change in Eritrea.
The situation in Eritrea is going from bad to worse. The regime has taken steps to make the life of the people miserable by controlling how much money people draw from their banks (5000 Nakfa a month). The move has destabilized the trade regime as money is locked in Banks. Recently 450 business were closed accused of defying the orders.
A large percentage of Eritrean families depend on remittance sent from the Diaspora working abroad. The regime made the exchange rate artificially low and plunged the people into vicious circle of poverty. The demolition of private properties is continuing unabated, creating homelessness.
The situation of asylum seekers turned out to be dangerous as well. Europe is closing its borders to African asylum seekers and immigrants and is bribing African Governments to detain refugees in concentration camps to be deported to their country of birth or dumped in some African Countries. To that end, the EU funded Libya to detain African refugees. That decision gave chances to smugglers to sell African refugees for as low as 200 US dollars per person. The responsibility lies in EU. The outspoken journalist Martin Plaut has this to say. “What the Europeans Union is doing is not only a shame; it is a political mistake of historic proportion.”
The Israeli Government have decided to deport 40,000 African refugees mostly Eritreans and Sudanese to Ruanda in exchange for supplying arms at a lower price. This is slave trade of Africans by other means.
How Eritreans meet the challenge during these dark times will determine the world our children and grandchildren live.
What part can the Eritrean Diaspora movement play? We have to choose our next steps wisely, with deep understanding, commitment and long term vision. However, in this seemingly hopeless situation there are some significant achievements. In a nut shell the following are some of the achievements,
- In London a big, well attended demonstrations has taken place in front of the Libyan Embassy by Africans, Caribbeans and peace and justice loving European to end slavery in Libya. A standard Letter was sent to individuals to ask their members of parliament to raise the question with the government.
- There were persistent lobbies by Eritrean Civil Society and International human rights activists such as Amnesty International, Journalists and doctors without borders, IOM (International Organisation for Migration) and UNHCR opposing the EU in their decision to fund the Libyan Government in order to stem the flow of refugees to Europe.
- The Brussel conference which was attended by up to 40 civil society organisations and individuals attracted the attention of many EU parliamentarians and other concerned people from different professions. Its impact was obvious. It worried PFDJ so much so it issues a statement accusing the meeting for advocating regime change in Eritrea. The meeting heralded the beginning of serious collaboration among civil societies and foreign human rights activists.
- The persistent lobbies in Holland against the coercion of the Eritrean Embassy to pay 2 % tax and intimidation of the justice seeker has paid off. The Parliament of Holland has passed a resolution demanding the closure of the Eritrean Embassy in Holland.
- The decision to continue the hearing in Canada of the use of forced labour by Nevsun is another big blow to the regime. The reputation of Nevsun is getting damaged affecting its activities.
- The other development is the worldwide demonstration of Eritreans in support of Al Dia Islamic school students who boldly came out to the streets asking for the release of the 92 years old Haji Musa Nur, the chairman of the school board. The student challenged the climate of fear in Eritrea and inspired the Diaspora to rise up to the challenge and stand up for justice. .
All these activities has serious impact so much so the Italians Government has made a U-turn and decided to bring 10,000 refugees from Libya to Italy. Today the Eritrean regime is isolated internationally. When the American Ambassador went to visit the Horn of Africa, while she visited South Sudan and Ethiopia she did not bother to visit Eritrea. It became difficult for politicians to be seen friendly to the regime accused of committing crime against humanity.
The Year 2017 is a defining moment for Eritreans in Diaspora to write history of fighting injustice and rise up to the challenges presented by PFDJ. It is the moment in time when the Eritreans can shape the destiny of their country. They have to step up their activism and live up to their slogan “We are the voice of the Voiceless”.
There is one fundamental issues concerning peace, the justice seekers seem not to realize its impact in empowering the people. Besides, the wishes for peace among all sections of the Eritrean societies is massive. During the X-Mass and New Year it was echoed in all social Medias and in prayers. The justice seekers have yet to capture the wishes and aspiration of the ordinary people and translate it into campaign material and be the voice of the unheard. (More to follow).
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