JUSTICE AND ALI ABDU
Dedicated to RAESI TESSEMA by Fetsum Abraham RAESI TESSEMA: I leave the historical details of this spiritualist icon of justice for people to learn from any possible sources. Raesi Tessema, was, however the governor of Akeleguzai once
Dedicated to RAESI TESSEMA
by Fetsum Abraham
RAESI TESSEMA: I leave the historical details of this spiritualist icon of justice for people to learn from any possible sources. Raesi Tessema, was, however the governor of Akeleguzai once upon a time in his generation where the communal justice system of the era was traditionally under the jurisdiction of his authority. This man faced a very intricate problem that tested his perception of justice as a matter of destiny: his son killed a person and his case came to his table for judgment. The appropriate punishment for such a crime in that province was Capital Punishment (“The lawful infliction of death as a punishment; the death penalty against the criminal”). As devastating as it was, this blessed gentleman delivered such a verdict by means of hanging against his son. He was said to have stayed throughout the process of his son’s death reading his Bible and praying at home.
One cannot bless the self with inner integrity and peace of mind higher than this mark of spirituality dear Eritreans! Fairness is colorless and has no ethnicity and religion. This father figure gave impartial justice because that was his political philosophy: justice was his concept of life and he lived it practically by choice. He overcame the temptation of bias by arresting his ego in favor of fairness and lost a son as a result by his own judgment.
I am dignified to dedicate this article to RAESI TESSEMA, the figure of SELFLESSNESS and FAIRNESS especially at this point in the Eritrean experience where justice has died to defend humanity. In the progression, I remind people to be careful from passing a verdict on someone without evidence. We have to learn something from the spiritual integrity of RAESI TESSEMA on the value of a human life: that JUSTICE IS NOT UNLESS CONSISTEN!!
I briefly displayed my opinion on the question of Ali Abdu in at least two of my past articles, but I felt like sharing my thoughts on this controversial subject with a better detail especially after I read the reaction of some concerned Eritreans to the following paragraph in my article “HILINA”.
In that article I said this: “I can not justify the fate of Eritrean liberators Ugbe Abraha and Mahmood Sherifo who were forced to commit suicide or die in prison just for asking the implementation of our constitution. I despise to live in Eritrea where its liberators such as Dr. Asefaw, General Tekeste Haile and even brother Ali Addu can not live in because of senseless injustice. I do not want to be an Eritrean in an Eritrea that jails and kills its makers because I do not deserve it as much. I cannot do it without being selfish. I just do not want to be an Eritrean for the sake of identity. It breaks down at this fundamental contradiction of the concept in my conditionally pacifist outlook of life.”
• Quiet a few good brothers and sisters did not want Ali Abdu in the list and actually expressed their honest opinions about my statement. I appreciate the positive feedback very much so and I partially justify the collective reaction with respect. Here is my GUILTY WITH EXPLANATION plea to those I promised to respond in the forum.
• Let me try to get the “I despise to live in Eritrea where its liberators such as Dr. Asefaw, General Tekeste Haile and even brother Ali Addu can not live in because of senseless injustice” out of the way first. If the notion that Tegadelti secured the Eritrean independence is either acceptable or correct, then my conclusion that Ali Abdu contributed to the liberation of the country is consistent with the hypothesis because he was a TEGADALAI. Having been Tegadalai is the only requirement here for being a “liberator” in my understanding. Therefore, Ali qualifies for this status (liberator) without a problem.
My personal opinion of Ali Abdu is negative. This man served the Afwerki regime as his best man in the circle. Many people have been hurt by his negative contribution in the Eritrean society. We know, however, that Eritrea is managed under absolute dictatorship by the worse dictator in the world: a tight political condition that does not allow any one to do anything without his approval. There is no room for modulating, modifying or amending a centralized idea that radiates from the presidential office in Asmara. The dictator has total control over the society and he alone decides what to do in the country. Under such a highly secretive and overly suspicious structure, no employee can work independently: one must follow the instructions without hesitation. This is the case to all servants of the system including the Ambassadors, Ministers and the Generals. They are restricted to only do what they are told to do. In a way, they have been robbed of their individuality substantially, but by choice: some of them conform to this humiliation and others leave the system behind when they get the chance.
There is no doubt that Ali Abdu (Former MINISTER of INFORMATION) was a dedicated servant of the Eritrean regime; probably the closest and most obedient man to Afwerki as well. Unconfirmed sources of information say that he was molded to be the most powerful politician under the president and was more important than the Generals and all Ministers combined. This Minister was, nevertheless, incapable of taking any action outside the dictator’s instructions similar to all individuals in the government.
The Minister was recently interviewed and the Eritrean political life accordingly appears like “….he and the other ministers do not have to know anything about what happened [to] Dawit [Issac] and other imprisoned journalists and politicians.”
In Ali’s words; “Neither I nor any other minister dared to ask what happened to Dawit Isaak. It is taboo to ask about things that are not related to one’s job to do. There is an old guerrilla culture in the country. It carries out orders without asking why, he says. Ali Abdu says it is routine to suspected dissidents arrested without court papers, without any documentation. Those who do the work, oral orders. Sometimes, there is over the phone and in coded language. They are afraid of being intercepted by Western intelligence services.”
Eritrean government officials including the second strongest man of power in this discussion were and are simply symbolic puppets no better that mobile statues with a collective human mind owned by the absolute dictator, the only man that counts in the Eritrean society. The seemingly big individuals in the entire political structure of the country serve only as the boss’s material objects conditioned to transmit his mind without a say like remote controlled robots. There is no hard copy documentation in the working environment for no record should be traced in the future about the crimes done behind the screen. One is called to do or say something by phone and he does it; and another bites the dust!!! This conclusion is in harmony with Ali Abdu’s short but precise interview.
The question is what the government officials do in Asmara and elsewhere at large?
The so-called Eritrean Cabinet of Ministers and Ambassadors are actually socio- economic parasites that get paid for the sake of formality literally without a job.
Here are examples to this effect:
Yemane Gebreab, is for instance the Head of Political Affairs and Presidential Adviser at the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ). His main job is to preach Afwerkism (the political philosophy of the party). But how can he teach anyone a non-documented philosophy only known to the president? His other responsibility is to advice the president. But how can he advice an absolute dictator who “knows every thing” and does not want to be advised? In short, Yemane Gebreab has nothing to do in his daily life in Eritrea except chilling around and getting paid dearly for it.
Girma Asmerom is an Eritrean Ambassador to the African Union in Addis Ababa. He is the only Eritrean politician in Ethiopia who lives isolated from the massive Eritrean people and the opposition groups there; similar to the most internationally isolated president in Asmara (excuse Bashir for his recent visit). With no contact with Eritreans, Girma has nothing to do with any type of communal or social activities in that country.
Clearly, Ambassador Girma’s main job is diplomacy but no foreign country wants to do diplomacy with isolated and sanctioned Eritrea that is not even allowed to be an IGAD member yet. Therefore, he does not have any diplomatic assignment to do in Addis. His role may then be waiting for AU meetings to paraphrase his boss’s messages (the monotonous border stuff) without any input and modification from his mind. This brother is chilling as well in isolation in Addis with out a job. I cannot tell you how he kills his time but he has a lot of it and money to do whatever he wants to do.
The same thing applies to the Eritrea’s Ambassador to the United Nations Araya Desta. All he has to do in New York is attending meetings whenever applicable and transmitting the same issue concerning the border misunderstanding with Ethiopia probably from the same document that was exhausted in the platform for the last 12 years. This brother is chilling like the others as well with nothing else to do in the City.
What appears to be going on is that the president is stretched to the limit controlling everything and the officials are idly sitting around draining their brains. They may then go to the office to do whatever they want to do (probably playing cards, computer games, taking naps or even boozing a bit) and go back home when the time is up. As this mode of operation deeply infiltrates the group, one may not have to go to work all together since there is nothing to do except waiting for orders from above, which can be done with the help of wireless telephones from anywhere in the city (Café, Bar, etc)
It is a comfortable life out there folks in terms of rest and money! Plenty of time to enjoy life and to sleep around, but this comes with a heavy cost in terms of mental deterioration; chronic sense of uselessness specially when they are not allowed to read books and discuss things that do not conform to Afwerkism. What do you do without the freedom to read and write? Where do you enhance your creativity in the absence of these rights? For how long can you rationally live in such a condition and how much boozing can the body sustain? Life loses its essence without motion, the brain rusts and the duplicative mind becomes unproductive making the victim a walking zombie without purpose.
In such a setup Ali could have only been used as a transmission medium of instructions from the president to other officials under his superficial authority. One would still guess though, that Ali Abdu would be the first person to know the most sensitive matters of the country by virtue of being the INFORMATION MINISTER and the closest man to the boss! But this assumption was contradicted by his recent interview to the surprise of many observers. The extremely secretive nature of the regime would not allow this: On the burning issue of Dawit Issac, for instance, Ali Abdu said that;
“..he is sorry about what happened Dawit Isaak and other journalists. But it is only the president himself and his closest security that has information about Isaak. Not even the police chief know anything about it.”
This testimony discloses the extent this most important Minister of his time was irrelevant in the Eritrean political arena, ladies and gentlemen!
Ali finally left the regime that stole his intelligence and conditioned him to work against the people for many years. This defection should naturally situate him in the side of the resistance by default logic in my opinion. It at least qualifies him for AMNESTY in future Eritrea through a procedure by which the concept is practically reduced to reality. “Repentance for Forgiveness” is one factor that should play a big role in our society’s forward mobility drive (like in many other societies with similar experience), should it be found relevant to Ali Abdu’s situation. It can even get to the point of serious contradiction between him and the society should there be questionable violations relevant to the issue. In any case; Amnesty and Reconciliation will take care of justice in his case in transparent Eritrea (I hope everyone understands the necessity of RECONCILIATION to the Eritrean society, although this crucial process has also been suppressed by this president for so long.)
• A civilized justice arrangement must be fair to the two opposing sides under its jurisdiction. Here is actually where the integrity of a given justice system is measured in reference to objectivity. Someone states the following to that effect;
“Aside from the related requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the presumption of innocence is largely symbolic. The reality is that no defendant would face trial unless somebody—the crime victim, the prosecutor, a police officer—believed that the defendant was guilty of a crime. After the government has presented enough evidence to constitute Probable Cause to believe that the defendant has committed a crime, the accused need not be treated as if he or she was innocent of a crime, and the defendant may be jailed with the approval of the court. Nevertheless, the presumption of innocence is essential to the criminal process. The mere mention of the phrase presumed innocent keeps judges and juries focused on the ultimate issue at hand in a criminal case: whether the prosecution has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the alleged acts. ”
Human life is a serious issue and civilized societies deal with its activities in such a civilized manner. In short, an accused is innocent until proven guilty by a fair justice system or until an accuser proves him guilty in a fair justice system. It cannot be clearer than this. This perception is the mark in so far as Eritrea Vs Ali Abdu is concerned. Our individual feelings and opinions on this brother do not matter unless we substantiate his crimes materially. One cannot do this without being an Afwerkist where ANARCHIC JUSTICE can subjugate any citizen in the country for no reason or without explanation; a proof, any other rational means of understanding or documentation.
Apparently, emotional discharge is something that understandably takes place because of what is happening in the country, but giving a verdict based on it is a crime. I cannot convict Ali Abdu without evidence and a due process no matter how I feel about him. Once I trespass this line of fairness, I have voluntarily given up my right to defend myself from any accuser. Neither can I vindicate him from the charges without a due process that asserts his innocence but every step in this issue has to be legalized to be JUST and to acquire popular validity. Time will tell the answer!
The fact remains that every judgment I pass on an individual directly affects my individual right. If I convict Ali Abdu without evidence, I will automatically lose my right to defend myself whenever I am accused including my right to complain about being at the mercy of anyone that wants to hurt me by means of unsubstantiated accusation. We cannot promote democracy and human rights without defending the essence of fairness, since democracy does not work in the absence of justice.
As the subject stands at this point in time, I fully believe Ali Abdu deserves the benefit of the doubt and his accusers carry the burden of proof, consistent to the most fundamental theory of NEUTRAL JUSTICE that we are trying to achieve in Eritrea. Ali Abdu, therefore stays innocent until proven guilty. Should the people of Eritrea establish a criminal case against him, they must prove it in court first where he can defend himself lawfully and leave the rest to the justice system. This is what we expect to see should his case materialize in democratic Eritrea. For now, I think we will benefit more by accepting him to the Resistance. Please use your democratic right to participate and comment on this article in accordance to how it grabs you in the mind!!!!
Ali Abdu’s Quietism
Other than that, I am surprised by Ali Abdu’s brief exposure to the public and his disappearance then after. He may not have too much to tell based on how his working condition had been but I believe this man can help the resistance a lot and can even vindicate himself from the clouds of doubt through fearless participation in the struggle for freedom from the grip of dictatorship. I appreciate the information he gave on the fate of Dawit Issac, a sad story of a young Journalist who disappeared without trace in Afwerkist Eritrea, but what is next? Why is he quiet at the time we are waiting to hear more from him? I do not think this is a constructive approach. To me, his silence after defection is more bothersome than his servitude to the dictator when he was under. Once again, patience is a virtue!