Mature Reason, But Immature Opposition
Mature Reason, But Immature Opposition For more than a decade, Eritreans have got evidenced mature reasons to fight for justice, but practically failed to establish a mature opposition to liberate the oppressed people form tyrannical government.
Mature Reason, But Immature Opposition
For more than a decade, Eritreans have got evidenced mature reasons to fight for justice, but practically failed to establish a mature opposition to liberate the oppressed people form tyrannical government. In my previous article, “PIA Gets Depreciated, Opposition Fails to be Appreciated” posted on assenna website, I have clearly stated the inherent weaknesses of the leadership, and partly the failure of the opposition to overwhelm the struggle for change mobilizing and guiding the young generation. The question of building a mature organization that truly tackles the existing problems, and completely democratize Eritrea should be taken as national obligation and responsibility without any form of partiality.
In the process of healthy political transformation, revising the past history through which the struggle had passed is a crucial experience to plan, shape, organize, coordinate, maintain and operate the opposition properly and effectively assessing the political history, character and trend of the nation critically. But, most of the time, politicians are lethargic to learn from past experiences occupied with their super ego and aggressive political ambition. In spite of some criticism, Tesfay Temenowo is doing a great job to narrate the national history in more instructive, disciplined and respectful manner that could inspire a substantial number of citizens to have a wider picture about their national history; and largely a big lesson for paltook “history” narrators on how to approach the discipline differentiating “propaganda” from actual history.
In fact the national history of Eritrea is somehow complex, and demands careful, intensive and scientific investigation and assessment in order to interpret and analyze the collected data in more logic and systematic way. History does not exist without having credible sources. The Government of Eritrea is not open for independent academic research that leads to web-based ill-researched and emotional historical narrations and posting without looking the subject/content from different dimensions, and possibly without indicating the authentic sources. Most of the topics presented in social media are very selective, and controversial presented with certain political motive through which citizens cannot harvest a true history.
The present narration of history can be classified into two sections- those in favor of PFDJ working to manipulate and beatify the national struggle for independence where as the opposition side usually seen to slander and undermine the struggle driven by “false nationalism”. Nonetheless, genuine history accounts the positive and negative merits of the struggle with clearly defined context, space and time to interpret the data or information in balanced way. Thus, no matter the political perspective and position of the person, history must be told or written with free of emotion, imagination, biases, prejudices, and any form of political orientation.
We usually believe that the armed struggle of Eritrea conducted for 30 years to liberate the people from Ethiopian occupation or annexation. But, twenty years (i.e. 1961-1981) was largely spent in bitter clash among Eritrean nationalists found themselves divided along the lines of ethnicity, religion, and region worsened by power struggle and grip. This caused hatred, division, conspiracy, tension, and murder ended up with bloody civil war. The more consolidated struggle which was transformed into practical offense against Ethiopia began in 1984 though there were significant military victories before; and the nationalists reached around the vicinities of Asmara.
It is very difficult to trace the exact date of the origin of the opposition groups, but the removal of Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) by Eritrean People’s Liberation Front in Collaboration with Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in 1981 led the disbursal of many nationalists in different part of the world. They started to oppose either at individual or group level. More or less, at least those exiled Eritreans have lived in diasbora with strong grievances against the system in Eritrea. Nonetheless, the swift revival of opposition groups has emerged in 2001 with imprisonment of G-15 and private media journalists, and silence of freedom of expression. The grievances of the citizens are further strengthened by tyranny, hostile character, torture, imprisonment, extra-judicial killings, failed economy, sick diplomatic skills, conflict with neighboring countries, endless military service, social crisis, and terrible corruption among military officers. Thus, Eritreans have mature reasons to struggle for justice, but the opposition still remains immature and incompetent to save the nation.
We can see the following stages of establishing a mature and coherent group that the opposition groups are still incapable to achieve them:
|No.||Stages of Group||Positive development||Nature of the oppositions’ Development|
|1||Forming||Anticipation and optimism||More ambitious|
|Tentative attachment to the group||Strong affiliations on the basis of ethnicity, religion or region|
|Suspicion and anxiety about the job||Fear of “PFDJ” or Ethiopian “infiltration”|
|Determining acceptable group behavior||Developing not acceptable group behavior that guides the party|
|Defining tasks and strategies||No practical strategies to achieve the desired goals|
|2||Storming||Resisting the tasks and opposing new approaches for improvement||Controversy between violence and non violence to achieve the desired goal|
|Sharp fluctuation of attitude and political stands||No consistency in their political stand, and continuous political shifts|
|Strong arguments and misunderstanding among members||Strong arguments about ethnic, region and religious basis of the oppositions; misunderstanding about the leadership and role of Eritrean opponents by origin Ethiopians; conflicting understanding about the degree of Ethiopian intervention in the internal affairs of Eritrea; the question of violence and non-violence as strategy of liberation; the covert and overt power struggle amongst; controversy among national, organizational and individual interests|
|Defensiveness, competition and choosing sides||Usually defensiveness, competition and choosing sides for acquiring political ambition.|
|Establishing impractical goals||Ethnic and religious based goals and political ambition which does not address the national question|
|Disunity, misunderstanding increased tension and jealousy||Day in and day out incubation of political parties without clearly defined national objectives|
|3||Norming||Bringing constructive criticism||Engaged in destructive criticism|
|Eagerness to join the group||Enthusiasm to establish new group or party ignoring the existed force|
|Harmony instead of conflict||Conflict instead of building harmony|
|Close friendship and sharing personal issues||Personal hatred, tension, conflict and competition|
|A sense of group cohesion, spirit and goals||Frequent division and fragmentation|
|Maintaining and emboldening the group||Stagnating or disrupting the progress of the group|
|4||Performing||Better understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses||Accusing each other to avoid taking serious national responsibility|
|Constructive self-change||Rigidity and self-defense|
|Managing and solving group problems||Slandering, and accusing each other complicated the problems instead of working to solve the problem faithfully, respectfully and dedicatedly|
|Strong attachment among group members||Tension and competition rather than establishing harmonized group|
|5||Adjourning||Sharing the responsibility of the results whether it is positive or negative; and hard to detach one another||Rush to disband the group, and working to avoid taking responsibility for faults occurred.|
In conclusion, in spite of the fact that the existing opposition parties or possibly fronts have strove to form a coalition force to synchronize the struggle to liberate the people from oppressive regime theoretically, they could not go beyond storming stage in practice. The major reason they stated out is that “infiltration” of PFDJ and divisive sentiment of the old generation. Nevertheless, the coalition should do an independent academic research to find out the accurate factors for the failure of forming a solidified front to facilitate a peaceful process of transition from autocracy into home grown democracy. I do believe that healthy and sustainable change is by the people and to the people.
April 24th, 2013