The Simple Truth about the Eritrean Boat People

Assenna.com Commentary:  Here the term ‘Eritrean boat people’ does not only refer to the tens of thousands of youngsters who are taking to makeshift boats in an effort to flee the stifling situation in Eritrea in

Assenna.com Commentary:

 Here the term ‘Eritrean boat people’ does not only refer to the tens of thousands of youngsters who are taking to makeshift boats in an effort to flee the stifling situation in Eritrea in order to start a new life elsewhere, but also those who have been infected by the ‘leave bug’ in tenfold measure – young people in the flight-pipelines who are biding their time to leave the country.

Suffice it to say that the climate in Eritrea at the moment is quite tragic.  In every town, village and military camp, the yearning of the young people of Eritrea is to obtain a passage on an outward-bound trek. What is more tragic is the fact that their parents do not want to see their children fall into the non-ending national service trap which turns youngsters into slave labourers with no prospect of breathing space.  The parents would rather see their children try their luck elsewhere even if the passages are extremely dangerous.

Again, the term does not ignore the plight of other segments of the Eritrean society – former liberation fighters who felt betrayed by the system, conscientious citizens who were critical of the mismanagement of the country’s affairs , business people who were pushed out of business, the educated elite who felt unwanted and more.

When one contemplates about the ‘boat people’ the thought that comes to mind is the saga of the ‘Vietnamese boat people’ the world witnessed during the late 1970s. Although there are some similarities between the Vietnamese and Eritrean Boat people, it is important to mention that there is a distinct difference between the two histories.  The Vietnamese fled from the conquering army of the North Vietnamese forces whom they fought against for years; while Eritreans are fleeing from the forces they once embraced whole-heartedly – basically forces that liberated the country. That alone makes the chronicle of Eritrean refugees inimitable.

Why were Eritreans lulled into believing the liberation forces, under the leadership of Isaias Afwerki, were going to bring justice and democracy after 30 years of armed struggle?  Eritreans, men and women, young and old, combatants and non-combatants, villagers and town-dwellers, Muslims and Christians, members of the local and diasporic communities contributed to the independence struggle in one way or another.  It is also true that Eritreans, rather naively, took it for granted that power would be handed over to the people after independence.  No one thought the costly struggle would be betrayed and Isaias Afwerki, leader of the victorious freedom fighters, would turn himself into a vicious dictator and appropriate power exclusively and indefinitely.  It can be argued that the sudden turn of events completely caught everyone off guard; and people’s blind trust is at the core of this blunder.

After independence, the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF), the victorious army, changed its name to People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) in order to transfigure the political game for the worse altogether.  The unsuspecting people of Eritrea believed PFDJ would introduce, as the name denotes, democracy and justice into the country’s political landscape.  Years after its formation Eritreans waited patiently that PFDJ would reform itself and incorporate a properly defined civic understanding of sacrifices made to gain independence – one built on the celebration of diversity, of humane values, and of social justice for the millions impoverished by decades of the armed struggle.  As the government party signalled one way and turned the other, people began to witness that self-rule was perpetually shrouded by a gun culture, memories of a martyr which was unjustly exploited, and the regime’s watchful eye on those who wished true democracy and justice would gradually prevail.

The heart-wrenching side of the story is to do with the ex-fighters who thought and talked about the homes they had left behind under the baking sun in the battlefields of Eritrea, and at night wished upon a wandering Sahel star for their wishes to come true – of warm homes to go back to.  Unfortunately, it did not take long after independence for their wishes to be extinguished as Eritrea plunged into utter darkness. Now we can confidently say that utter darkness has given birth to the plight of the Eritrean Boat People.  That is the simple truth.

Revolutions have always been in the hands and heads of the young. The frustrated young always inherit and spearhead world revolutions.  Isaias Afwerki is aware of this fact.  That is why he is using the young as a pawn in his political game by denying them proper education, invading their space completely, trapping them in the sapping national service chores and in the end, pushing them over the edge. When will our young learn to counter Isaias Afwerki’s evil strategy? When will they learn that fleeing is harder and more dangerous than resisting oppression at the home-front?

aseye.assenna@googlemail.com

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19 COMMENTS
  • k.tewolde April 5, 2017

    It is one of the most burning question of our time and I will attempt to answer it in few words. When the parents and mentors who are dispatching them see them square in the face and tell them who their real enemy is.Otherwise, they will remain a generation of programmed robots with no identity whose flight mode only flashing and can make a U turn upon remote command. The HGDEF conveyor machine is working 24/7.

    • k.tewolde April 5, 2017

      In conclusion- and no one has yet to come up with a chainsaw to cut that infamous conveyor belt clean off.

  • Geshu April 5, 2017

    Evil people and society get an evil “sirAt” or system that they truly deserve for life.
    Where is the empty and fake heroism of Eritreans that we brag about unashamedly??

  • PH April 5, 2017

    …..”Rather see their children try their luck elsewhere even if the passages are extremely dangerous”
    It is tragic fact indeed! If we simply have observed the EPLF mentality ?the simple truth is clear. “ሓምት ቀደምና ፉጹም የለን።ኢቲ ቀናን ( በለጻዊ ኣተሓሳስባ ) ህግደፍ ሲዒሩና ኢዩ።ኢንተዘይከውን ፡ሓሞትና ኣይምተዘርገን።
    .

    • Daniel April 5, 2017

      Much better to observe the EPLF mentality than your old criminal, corrupt and barbaric Islamic ELF mentality or inhuman killing past.
      Indeed, you are a tragic creature or product of the savage killing fields and are conditioned to repeat your barbarian Arab slave masters and sponsors of destruction terrorism.

  • Haile TA April 5, 2017

    The refugee problem is a serious problem. Isayas is getting away with a major crime that the UN can certainly look into. He has his YPFDJ people planted among us who are accomplices to the crimes that are being committed. He is benefiftting from the exodus by depleting the country of its young people; exploiting them to death before he pushes them out; trafficking and many more crimes. Besides the refugees have no choice but send money back to their families. Who benefits from this? Partly the government.
    Isn’t it time to take action against the YPFDJ? Let’s start by lobbying Asena to draft a letter that lists out the crimes – we can all sign the letter. We can identify the YPFDJ leaders and include their names in the letter. So Asena, please prepare a petition letter. We can raise some money to hire a lawyer to represent our concerns.
    Haile

  • Kalighe April 5, 2017

    “No one thought the costly struggle would be betrayed and Isaias Afwerki, leader of the victorious freedom fighters, would turn himself into a vicious dictator and appropriate power exclusively and indefinitely. It can be argued that the sudden turn of events completely caught everyone off guard; and people’s blind trust is at the core of this blunder.”

    Assenna

    Iseyas was a dictator from his early years in Meda. We are talking about thousands killed because of him in early seventies. There is no “sudden turn of events “. Whatever happened in nineties, was in line with what had happened throughout the years in the last two decades before independence, (at every stage on group of people left the stage not be heard of again).
    I know, Amanuel may not be happy with this truth, as many like him who feel uncomfortable to look into EPLF pre-Independence crimes are very selective in reading history. But there is no doubt, the current events are deeply rooted in the past.

    • Joshuwa April 5, 2017

      You should be thanking the devil and dictator man Isaias Afewerki for giving you the evil Arabic language and identity that you fought for and are now fighting (by noisy rhetoric and behind screens as chickens) to get a new Muslim flag and evil backward Sharia law for poor Eritrea. You and your muslim Sahos are the only beneficials so far from Isaias.
      Your backward ignorant Islamist jihadist would have been far worse brutal killers than diablos DIA. It is not only Aman who may not be happy with ‘your kind of twisted Muslim truth’ but the whole people of Kebessa are wary of your hidden Islamic agendas and Jihad domination. But we won’t be fooled by your crocodile cries and muslim deceiving acts.
      If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is “lazim” a Saho muslim duck.
      Cut all your cheap and amateur muslim gimmicks! Kalighe aka Sol, andom, adhanom, alem, Mohammed, Khalid, Wedi Hagher just to name a few of your many ‘baAl bellaroba’ nicks.

      • Daniel April 6, 2017

        I absolutely agree with you brother Joshuwa, really well said and keep it up.
        What has this swollen-head moslim taliban got to hide by changing his poisonous nefaHito colors and craps?? Let’s all keep reminding by exposing this mad Arab saHab gimel that he is not that smart to get away with lies and Arabic/Islamic propagandas to deceive gullible Eritreans.
        Some unknown diKhalas with savage past may support and follow in his ELF Islamic evil missions and Arabic foot soldier foot steps blindly. Let’s also not forget that this moslim nefaHito uses more deceiving pen-names like Mokie, Hagherawi {more Arebawi}, HawuKha abey alo crapand etc…

        • Daniel April 6, 2017

          please read the last line as {HawuKha abey alo craps} and etc…..

    • k.tewolde April 5, 2017

      Well said Kalighe, that killing machine was designed, manufactured and put to work early on in the caves and ravines of Denden and Algena, and many innocent people became its victims including my cousin,one of the fearless combatant who use to lob back hand grenades that was thrown at him from the enemy, his older brother recently passed away here in the west recounting of that fateful moment everyday of his life.Today’s grim spectacle back home did’t come out of the clear blue,it is that familiar lethal machine only this time fine tuned,calibrated,oiled and consuming the current generation.

      • k.tewolde April 5, 2017

        In conclusion- it will take a collective epiphany,a colossal spiritual cleansing,a national revival of the conscience,a sincere honest apology to the Eritrean people and most of all to bow down flat in our face and ask forgiveness from the merciful divinity who witnessed the heinous sin being committed….. and watch the heavens open and thousands of angels hover upon that beguiled land of ours………free at last! free at last! Thank God we are free at last! so the good people will sing…………Amen!

  • meretse April 6, 2017

    PH,
    Selam to you and to all
    In your above comment you said, ሓምት ቀደምና ፉጹም የለን።ኢቲ ቀናን ( በለጻዊ ኣተሓሳስባ ) ህግደፍ ሲዒሩና ኢዩ።ኢንተዘይከውን ፡ሓሞትና ኣይምተዘርገን።
    ከምዚ ናትካ ሪእቶ ብትሕዞ ዝወርድ ውሑድ ኢዩ። ህዝቢ መንእሰይ ሓዊስካ ሕማማትና–ዓበይቲ ጎቦታትን ፣ ሩባታትን ፣ ሜዳታትን ፣ ሃይማኖትን ኢዮም ኢሉ ስለ ዝኣመነ ፍሕት ክብል ኣይከኣለን። እዚ ግን “ምክኒት ጎባይ ኣድጊ” ኢዩ። ካብ ሓላፍነት ምህዳም ሓሊፉ ካልእ ኣየስምዕን ኢዩ። ይክፋእ ይጥዓም ግዜ ዋና ኣሎዎ ——— ስለ ዘመን ካብ ዘሓንጠጥክዎ ከካፍል
    ናይ ሎሚ ኮምበለ ዘይብሉ ፋሪሓ
    ምስ ኣጣል ዝወፍር መንጓድ ኣርሓ
    ምልዖ ገዲፉ ዝማጺ ዕንጕለ
    ኣቕርንቱ ዝሰብር ምእንቲ ከይልለ
    ሓማይ ኣካዓየ ኣግሊሉ ንባዕሉ
    እሞ ሕጂ’ዶ ኣነ “ናብ ዳስ ኢየ ኢለሉ”

  • meretse April 6, 2017

    ከምዚ ናትካ ሪእቶ ብትሕዞ ዝወርድ ውሑድ ኢዩ። ህዝቢ መንእሰይ ሓዊስካ ሕማማትና–ዓበይቲ ጎቦታትን ፣ ሩባታትን ፣ ሜዳታትን ፣ ሃይማኖትን ኢዮም ኢሉ ስለ ዝኣመነ ፍሕት ክብል ኣይከኣለን። እዚ ግን “ምክኒት ጎባይ ኣድጊ” ኢዩ። ካብ ሓላፍነት ምህዳም ሓሊፉ ካልእ ኣየስምዕን ኢዩ። ይክፋእ ይጥዓም ግዜ ዋና ኣሎዎ

    • Kokob April 6, 2017

      Mr Meretse Asmelash,
      Well said as usual brother Meretse.
      However, have you been kicked out from the awate.islam mujahadeen website?
      And how are your two Salehs the mujahadeen mustazes or sheikhs of mahber crippled ELFs?
      Haw Meretse, please explain what “gobay” mean!!!! Mine was the simple “Ebara miKhiniyat”.

    • PH April 7, 2017

      ኩቡር ሓው Meretse
      ናይ ቡሱላት ርእይቶ ኣቅሪብካለይ።በዚ-ኣጋጣሚ’ውን ኣበርክቶኻ ቁቡል ኢዩ።ብወገነይ ስደት ፍታሕ ከምዘይኮነ ኣውኪኤ።ኣተሓሳስባ ወይ ድኽመት ከምዘለና ሙኽኑይ ዝገብሮ ኩሉ ህዝቢ ‘ውን ፈሊጡዎ ከምዘሎ ሽርሒ መራሒ ህግደፍ ሕብሪ ቀይሩ ምስ ጎቦታትን ሩባታትን ከይተረፈ ተመሳሲሉ ዝጎጎበ ነፋሒቶ “ጎባይ ” ብምባል ዝገለጽካዮ ኮይኑ ተሰሚዑኒ።ግን፡ብትርጉም ምስ ገለ ሰባት ሕጂ’ውን ኢዲያት ከይትማሰል ይፈርሕ።

  • hidat April 7, 2017

    PH “”””BELEXAWI HIGIDEF SIERUNA”””””””NIHIGIDEF KALEE KURUB ZEIMIN KALIEE INTETIBIL INBER HIGIDEF BIBELEX KITIKESO………………..KKKKKKK ZEIHISEB…………………………TEBELEXTIS ETOM HIGI HIGIDEF ………….(HIZIBI)………AB ZETATAHALOM………………….ZIGEBERKA GERKA NIHIGIDEF ALIKA AB LAELI KIKUYETU LAELIN TAHTIN ZIBLUU ZELEWU EYU ZIMILKET:

  • meretse April 7, 2017

    Happy Friday brother Kokob. Here are some answers to your questions
    Do you have any idea what “Gobay”means? Sure, I do. Gobay is politically correct name for Gini (ግኒ). Many people worship Gini for self-interest (they practice this faith to get what they want). It is somewhat like Bon Dieu belief- meaning Good God (Vodou). OPS! I rather not talk about religion.
    Did Awate kicked u out? No Sir. I am still there and here.
    Question number two: u asked about the well-being of my cousins? As usual all my cousins and nieces there and here are doing fantastic. ብዙሕ ኣይትሻቀል “ ይርምጽ ኣሎ” !!!!!!!!
    Re: ELF >> I will talk to u later. For now, I want to leave you with the following stanza:

    ገና ብጎበዙ ገና ብንእሱ
    ናብ ስደት ዘምርሕ ኣጥፊኡ ፋኑሱ
    ጎምበለ ዶ ይምነ መሶብ እንዳማቱ
    ንድሕሪት ገዲፉ ንዋቱ ጥሪቱ
    ቁምነገር ተረኪቡ ንሕሉፍ ምጥማት
    ላምባዲና ሒዙ ይራገም ንጸልማት
    ኣብ ፎቆዶ ቦታ ሓዊ ኣጓጒዱ
    ክራጋሕ ይውዕል ነንሕድሕዱ
    እዚ ድዩ እቲ ረብሓ ቁምነገር ዝብሎ
    ኣቅርንቱ ቆሪጹስ ምስ ጓዕማማት ውዕሎ ………. > >

  • PH April 8, 2017

    ዝኸበርኪ ሕውቲ hidat.
    ህግደፋዊት ክትኮኒ መሰልኪ ኢዩ።እንተ ኣነ’ሞ ምልኪ ሕጊ እምበር ምልኪ ውልቀ ሰባት ከይኣምን ሚሒለ ኢየ።ዝዓበየ ዝኒኣሰ ዝሞቁሕን ዘባርርን ከመይ ኢለ ክድግፎ? ።በልጽ ክብል ከለኹ ንስለ ውልቃዊ ዕግበት ስልጣን ህዝቢ ብወገን ይኹን ሃይማኖት ፋሕፋሕ ኢንዳበለ ብጠቅላላ ምድረበዳን ባሕርን ዝውሕጦ ዘሎ ንረብሓ መን ኢዩ?ብዘይ ሕጊ’ኸ ስርዓት ኢኣሎ ድዩ?ብዘይ ህዝቢ’ኸ ሃገር ኢኣሎ ድዩ?መልሲ ካባኺ።

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