What ever might have happened in Asmara to silence the rebellion, there is NO EXIT WITHOUT A CONSTITUTION, I don’t even understand how Afwerki missed this basic social requirement of coexistence and expected us to live without one for so long unlike any other nation in the Universe. Leaving this extremely degrading offense aside, when I wrote my article “Defection or Nullification” (posted on 1/17/2013 in assenna), I was challenged by the content of spirituality encapsulated within because the concept of nullification is a very dangerous phenomenon that does not come in a comfortable psychic platter. It is a risky business that involves life if performed in miscalculation. There is simply no room for mistake in the process, needless to state that it would be selfish to expect sacrifice from other people without passing a verdict on their lives for the sake of society. By all standards of life, I would, thus very much choose a peaceful means of resolving our social contradictions; one that does not involve the death of any human being affected by the circumstances including the president; only if possible!! Unfortunately, there have been concrete universal experiences where an important party in a given social contradiction denies the possibility of resolving sociological problems peacefully. The grip of dictatorship becomes too suffocating to give peace a chance like it was in Libya and people take a violent action to nullify the adamant as the only possibility of overcoming their predicament; fantastic if it works, sad if it doesn’t. So is in the Eritrean experience: the regime has refused to continue leading lawfully and peacefully, to be nullified peacefully or to nullify itself safely.
In so stating, the president of Eritrea has no illusion that he would rule without a Constitution until death neutralizes him from the Eritrean society. He has no illusion that he would permanently ignore the plight of our people in his prison enterprise at the excuse of the Badme conspiracy and in fact has confidently said in Aljazira that “they were history”. He had sworn never to receive Badme from Ethiopia through diplomacy in order to effectuate the two evil agendas above. This president could not humiliate the Eritreans more than refusing a dead Eritrean to be buried in his country no matter what he did in the past. He could not humiliate our exceptional heroes of the struggle for independence more than erecting a foreigner’s statue in Asmara. He could not humiliate our women stronger than completely veiling the first lady from the Eritrean society for 22 years of his dictatorship. He could not humiliate the youth more than denying them higher education and permanently enslaving them at SAWA with out any provocation from Ethiopia.
The way he set it up conforms to this school of insanity and hallucination. The problem is that Eritreans can not afford to wait for the death of the vision less president since we don’t have a vice president or a political arrangement that can take control immediately after his death. Neither is there an organized body that can undergo a decent political process to democratize the country after Afwerki who does not care about the well-being of Eritrea and Eritreans after his death. He has disparaged the society through effective divisive mechanisms by means of extreme control.
People are tired of the regime in all aspects of life; from freedom to economy, peace to slavery. Family structure is disturbed, education crippled and every human right abused. The truth asserts that even Afwerki’s most immediate supporters have saturated their hope and patience except their fear. Quiet a few, however,have overcome their fear to stand for justice as witnessed in the recent rebellion in Asmara.
The question is what the nature of the resistance had been in the country’s latest development. Based on the available information from international sources, the action was not an attempt to nullify the president through coup de etat but rather was an attempt to resolve the Eritrean crisis peacefully by giving him one more chance to cooperate. There was no blood shade or any form of violence although the situation might have turned out to be one at the end of the day.
Therefore, there was no failed coup de etat as it seemed to have been when the news was dispatched. The resistance felt that Eritrea can not continue lawless survival and can not get away with incarcerating people illegally without due trial. This was at least be what the activists wanted to tell the world, the Eritrean people and the president at large. As a result, they partially transmitted their demands through the media successfully and peacefully left the scenario leaving the rest for him to decide. It can not get crispier and more civilized than this.
What the president did with this extraordinary event is his business but action had been taken to warn him to correct his ways or face the consequence. Whether we like it or not, the event implies the following important realities.
Obvious is that the seemingly impenetrable tight control of Afwerki has proven to be defiable. His extreme oppression has produced a void within the rulling circle that can be manipulated by those dedicated to salvage their people from the dilemma of his destructive political philosophy. The dictator is loosing it slowly and today has a problem to completely control the flow of contradictory events to his regime. Unlike in the past, there is a room to design a formula that neutralizes Afwerki if necessary and the tendency will continue full fledged ahead until the light comes out of the dark. The development at least testifies in support of this reality in my opinion.
Another important implication of the event is that young people in the military have shifted their strategy of struggle for freedom from escaping the country to resisting the regime openly. This initiative is bound to eventually expand to all members of the military including the kids in SAWA with a great potential to explode nationally if the regime handles the matter recklessly. Besides, the absence of top military officials from this activity and their failure to join the resistance shows that they are still slaving for Afwerki because of fear or opportunism; they can not, however, control the mass and the young slaves of the nation in uniform. The youth has passed a strong message to the top military officials that it will take care of business should they continue their humiliating obedience to the emasculating president.
The fact that the resistance left the scene without firing a bullet and killing anyone clearly manifests that no one was willing to change Eritrea through blood shade but only through civilized and transparent arrangement. Neither does their action imply fear of the president nor his capacity to pacify the situation by force. The first, because they would not have done what they did had they been afraid of him. The second, because no one from his regime appears to have violently challenged them to retreat from their act, at least initially. At the bottom line, they showed maximum respect to the people and the president himself indirectly stating that they did not want to kill Afwerki but that they wanted their country and society to conform to civility. They wanted rule of law and justice to dictate the socio-political terms of their society rather than the destructive Afwerki. To come to this conclusion, people had patiently taken his 22 years of absolute dictation on matters that affect their lives, which he drastically failed to show up.
In the flip of the coin, the event gave the president another chance to wake up to the Eritrean reality under his leadership. It gave him the opportunity for civility or safe exit from his entrapment through negotiation with his people. The message clearly says that the time for Afwerki to urinate on the people is over.
Unfortunately, the president went wrong again by maximizing control and purging the activists; chances are he will dearly pay the price in terms of his life in the next move which is shortly inevitable. Activism has learned a lesson from this experience not to give him another opportunity to play around next time; it should and will finish him off without hesitation. Therefore, the energy invested in this cause it self is bound to produce fear in the mind of the president and his stooges further complicating their determination to dictate for ever. Should paranoia encourage the regime to stick with its terrorism it would be at the risk of intensified resistance to nullify it by force.
There is, however, a very subtle message in all this drama that some naive individuals may miss easily. The president has deceived himself into pretending that he foiled a coup attempt in the complete absence of one and exasperated his situation by violence against individuals in the resistance. His blind supporters if still breathing on the other hand would then buy this none sense and continue slaving for him for nothing. The fact remains, however, that the collective resistance is confident and capable of resolving the Eritrean dilemma by violence because is a popular front that comprises every Eritrean including those in the Army except the few individuals in Afwerki’s circle. Changing the situation by a bloody coup de etat will soon become reality in our country should Afwerki refuse this time to implement the Constitution and release our political prisoners as soon as possible.
As Weldeab Wedemariam once said “you have tightly caught the beast’s tail and do not let it go until you break his head” when our struggle suffocated the Mengistu regime at the end of the day, we should not let this opportunity slip away by sitting idle. We should secure the safety of the rest of brothers and sisters in the movement with loud voices and concrete actions in every street of the world. Eritreans in Diaspora should universally show their support to the resistance in massive demonstrations as soon as possible. In the progression, I congratulate all Eritreans for getting this close to freedom; I give my maximum respect to the brothers and sisters who took the risk of life in making this significant historical account, while I feel dignified to let them know that we are one and together for ever. Thank you for breaking the walls of silence in Eritrea. Thank you for shaking the foundation of Afwerkism for others to clean out the debris in the near future.Thank you for gallantly facing the coward whose concept of life is to humiliate the Eritrean society. You have served your people graciously. May god bless you for initiating the downfall of darkness in our country through this assertive message to the world!