Moral Crusade: that has changed the political landscape of Eritrea

By Petros Tesfagiorgis The occupation of Forto, the Ministry of Information, on January 21, 2013 by soldiers from the   Eritrean Defence Forces has shaken the foundations of PFDJ and exposed the emptiness of its repressive ideology. The

By Petros Tesfagiorgis

The occupation of Forto, the Ministry of Information, on January 21, 2013 by soldiers from the   Eritrean Defence Forces has shaken the foundations of PFDJ and exposed the emptiness of its repressive ideology.

The demands for the implementation of the constitution and the release of all prisoners of conscience, is the demands of the oppressed Eritrean people who are silenced because they are denied the right to express themselves.   The Forto mutineers made the demands visible for all to see, the Eritreans in particular and the international community in general.  Although they have not achieved their mission, their bold initiative and selfless sacrifice has become a moral crusade that opened the gates of hope for the people of Eritrea.   Wedi Ali will be remembered in the Eritrean history as the first martyr in action in an attempt to deliver the people of Eritrea from PFDJ serfdom.

The legacy of the January 21 Forto uprising:

The event has reinforced the conventional truth/wisdom that, more often than not, change comes from the inside.  It has ushered in a fundamental change of views in the thinking of those who expect change to come from the outside believing that the people of Eritrea are incapable of bringing change by themselves. This is not to deny outside help but to establish that Eritreans should be on the driving wheel. In a way this can be a defining moment of realizing the state Eritrea is in and draw some sort of road map of struggle compatible with the objective reality of the country.

The Forto uprising has broken fear:  For too long the people of Eritrea were seized by a contagious disease called conspiracy of silence more often than not out of sheer fear.  The uprising has inspired the people particularly the youth in transforming the height of fear into a spirit lifting challenge. They felt the fire, they felt the energy so much so  as to boldly invade the Eritrean Embassies in  Europe, USA, Canada etc. expressing  support to  and solidarity with the Defence Forces and calling for the implementation of the constitution and the release of all  prisoners of conscience.  In Eritrea leaflets are being distributed and graffiti are drawn in strategic places.

The mutineers left a legacy where the people of Eritrea should focus.  They pressed the right button that raised the fundamental issues that restores the dignity and respect of the Eritrean people.  The burning issues are to fight for justice, the rule of law, respect of human rights, the release of all prisoners of conscience and the implementation of the constitution. It is essential to adopt these issues as a core strategy in which all Eritreans from different walks of life, religious denominations and nationalities could rally behind and establish them as the common denominators for unity in struggle.    The people of Eritrea have to move on and deal a death blow to the divide and rule policy “divide et Empera” of PFDJ and avoid the temptation of falling into that trap. PFDJ is still capable of playing such games as reflected in the Forto uprising by imprisoning more Moslems.

The Challenge for the people in  Diaspora:

Those people in Eritrea either member of the Defence Forces alone or with help from the civilians are the main actors to bring change in Eritrea.  However, the Diaspora has a crucial role to play.

The armed forces demand has reverberated all over the world as featured by the international media such as Aljazeera, BBC and many more. The challenge of the Diaspora is to build on it and carry the struggle forward and seek support from the international community such as governments, political parties, human rights and humanitarian organisation, and peace and freedom loving individuals from all walks of life.

Therefore, working with the international community is crucial to advance the activities for a just cause taking advantage of the freedom of expression and association prevailing in those countries. Some of the measures to be taken are enumerated by Yosief Gebrehiwet in his article at Asmarino.com. It goes, “It requires active participation on our side. Among other things, this will require intense focus (a) on the mining companies, with the goal of stopping all mining prospects in the country; and (b) on the Red Sea Trading Corporation’s (and other parastatals’) economic dealings outside the country….. (c) On the regime supporters network in Diaspora etc.

But parallel with this, which happens to be the most important and difficult, is the challenge of empowering the people.  It means raising their level of their consciousness as to feel powerful to believe in themselves and get involved in the activities that bring democratic change in Eritrea.

At the moment apart from those active few unsung heroes silence still prevails.   The majority of those who support the PFDJ are also victims enslaved by TV-ERE powerful propaganda and luck of awareness. Bob Marley, the Reggae legend:  in his song “the sound of freedom” goes, “let’s emancipate ourselves from mental slavery”.   The Eritreans who supports PFDJ are found in the same category. It is also a pattern in most of the African and Caribbean countries. Bob Marley’s message is central to this tragedy.  The Civil Societies must try to engage with the supporters.  However they have their own weakness and are not strong enough or organised enough to take up such challenges. They need to create institutions with clear objectives, organisational structures with an inbuilt system of accountability and work plan against which failures are recognized and achievements can be measured, monitored, assessed and reviewed every six months or every year. (To be discussed in my next article).

The truth is those in Diaspora who supports PFDJ are losing self-respect and personal dignity by the day as the regime starts to collapse from the inside. They are being pushed out from serving the regime but the pull factor is weak.

The Diaspora’s other responsibility is to help the refugees, advocate for their safe sanctuary. In this particular objective the human rights activists are doing a good job, they are relatively efficient and high achievers.

However in the area of humanitarian assistant the support is still rudimentary. There are many humanitarian organisations but they are fragmented and their scarce manpower is unable to reach out those who need support.

I quote “Only Eritreans can bring this about, but there are things we could do to lessen the suffering of the victims of this tyranny.” Asmarino.com

In   his article Dan Connell brought into light the challenges of the Eritrean Diaspora, the friends of Eritrea and the international community in general in helping the refugees to build their lives in the countries they have been allowed to settle.  (I will touch on the need of support to Eritrean refugees in article to follow.)

To be continued:

aseye.asena@gmail.com

Review overview
38 COMMENTS
  • petros Haile March 16, 2013

    Selam Petros,

    You touched all the vital aspects of the struggle against the PFDJ tyranny, and most of all your emphasis that only Eritreans can bring about change is right to the point … For many well meant Eritreans who gave up hope, Hopefully, Wodi Ali woke them up, and for those who still hopes the messiah come from the south, it is time to reconsider their position and start believing in their own strength and focus on homegrown solutions .. at the end of the day, that is the only way we can secure peace, stability and prosperous Eritrea …
    If one cares to understand what it means to live under a foreign influence, I suggest to watch Al-jazeera special on Lebanon, “Lebanon: Sibling of Syria”, (45 Minuites documentary), striking similarities on the likely future scenario of Ethiopians in Eritrea, if the Eritrean opposition in Ethiopia don’t mend their way …

    • ahmed saleh March 16, 2013

      I agree , it was the principle of Eritreans at their struggle for independence ” no foreign
      interference , Eritrea by Eritreans ” . And now still valid and we said it again Eritrea
      question belongs only to Eritreans without outside intervention but for their support they
      are invited .

      • belay nega March 16, 2013

        “I agree , it was the principle of Eritreans at their struggle for independence ” no foreign
        interference , Eritrea by Eritrean”

        WAKE UP MEN

        YOU REPEATING THE SAME SLOGAN WHICH DROVE YOU TO ALL THIS MESS

        “SELF RELIANCE”

        THE CONSEQUENCE OF A CONSEQUENCE

        “BUYING A CAR WITHOUT CONSIDERING THE RUNNING COST”

        • Grass March 20, 2013

          Belay Nega, you confuse me with your opinions. What is your stance? Are you one of these dark forces who is sent to cause confusion amongst us Eritreans so then we can not unite to discuss our issues? I assure you stranger you will not be successful. Power to the people!

          • belay nega March 20, 2013

            HALLOW GRASS

            “Belay Nega, you confuse me with your opinions.”

            DO NOT BE CONFUSED UNLESS …….

            “Are you one of these dark forces”

            NO,RATHER I AM A PERSON WHO ACCEPTS AND LIVE IN REALITY

            ” I assure you stranger ”

            COME ON MEN LEAVE ALONE ME ERITREAN EVEN ETHIOPIANS ARE OUR BROTHERS BY BLOOD AND ORIGIN WHATEVER IS GOING ON BETWEEN US IS VERY UNFORTUNATE.

  • ahmed saleh March 16, 2013

    Yes in deed FORTO operation conquered the surrender to leadership out of fear. Wedi Ali
    and his comrades exercised the God given right of the spirit of power , love and a sound
    mind . Regardles the outcome , they are the winners because they defeated the fear of trying .
    Do noy forget every loser who try to do some great things is always a winner and the torch
    will find onother great person who would achieve the unfinished goal .

  • murad Ali March 16, 2013

    The heroism of Serheet Forto was not for nothing. It has already started to pay off dividends, never mind in a small trickle.
    HEGDEF Embassies have recently been receiving circulars marked “As endorsed by the cabinet of ministers meeting” as opposed to post-Forto circulars that always read “from the President’s Office”.
    The regime has become nervously aware of the tightening noose round its neck as well as the stifling heat of political and diplomatic isolation that has begun to take their toll on a regime that has been left with little room for manoeuvre.
    The regime has got the message big time though pretending to appear otherwise.

  • belay nega March 16, 2013

    POOR PIETROS

    “by imprisoning more Moslems”

    YOU STILL STICKING IN YOUR PRINCIPLE “WIN TO LOOSE” AS EVER?

    I DO NOT BLAME YOU BECAUSE YOU DO NOT HAVE ANY BODY TO WORRY ABOUT IN ERITREA

    • Andom March 16, 2013

      Why are you trying to irritate Eritreans, poor Weyein boy? You people can’t do it for yourselfves. Somebody has to always do it for you and once you ar established,you betray the hand that saved you and and fed you. No wonder why the Amharans despise you!

      It seems that you are one of the Weyane puppies that that drools here and there to desturb the discussions that Eritreans are having between and among themselves. The Weyane regime that you seem to admire and support is a temporary entity living on the handouts of its masters. Weyane is little and will sooner or later be relegated to its Tigray or whether if and when the rule of law and democracy start to function in Ethiopia rightly. If not, Weyane is a minority and will be trashed by the rest when it comes to removed it by the very sword it came to power.

      It would be wise for you to mind your business and let Eritreans mind theirs. Start to communicate with your own compatriots before it becomes too late for you and your kind. People who can’t mind their own business are people who don’t know how to handle their own business but love to go about flaunting their filth to undeminde others. You people seem to not able to live with or without Eritreans who delivered your from your miseries.

      • belay nega March 16, 2013

        “You people can’t do it for yourselfves.”

        THAT IS WHY WE GO TO AWASSA AND DEBREZEITY.

        “once you ar established,you betray the hand that saved you”

        THAT IS WHY A GUY [P.E.A] WHO MADE TO BE A COUNTRY YOU CALL HIM MAD DOG.

        “It seems that you are one of the Weyane puppies that that drools here and there to desturb the discussions that Eritreans are having between and among themselve”

        YOU MEAN THE DISCUSSION CONDUCTED BY THE FOLLOWING CHAIRMEN:

        -SEBHAT NEGA

        -BEREKET SIMON

        -ABAY TSAHAYE…..ETC.?

        “When rule of law and democracy start to function in Ethiopia rightly.”

        I THOUGHT YOU GUYS GOING TO ADDIS TO LEARN ETHIOPIAN MODEL OF DEMOCRACY ..HAAAAAA

        ” Start to communicate with your own compatriots before it becomes too late for you and your kind.”

        THAT IS WHY I ALWAYS TELL YOU LET US COMMUNICATE ERITREAN ISSUE WITH ERITREANS NOT ETHIOPIANS

    • David March 16, 2013

      Petros Tesfagiorgis is an opportunist whose conscience died long time ago. You should expect a lot of stupid statements from him.

      • Grass March 20, 2013

        David, please get a grip. What makes a person opportunist? What has petros gained? I am in disbelief to see someone who is so vicious and senseless as yourself. You may be able to deceive those who do not know him but you certainly will not be deceiving those who know him.
        The guy lost everything fighting for justice and freedom and you call him opportunist.
        Power to the people.

    • Grass March 20, 2013

      Belay Nega, you are doing it again. … I am now convinced you are here to disrupt Eritreanism and Eritreanness. You never make sense except for uttering garbage.
      Petros is a well known fighter and when he witnessed injustice and broken promises he decided to oppose it. If he was opportunistic I think he would have done really well by remaining silent. We need a few more like him who are selfless servants of the people.
      Power to the people.

      • belay nega March 20, 2013

        GRASS

        “except for uttering garbage.”

        I ASSURE YOU I AM AGAINST GIGO’S [GARBAGE IN GARBAGE OUT]

        “Petros is a well known fighter and when he witnessed injustice and broken promises he decided to oppose it.”

        AFTER 2000 EVEN MY LATE MAM LEARNED ERITREAN GOV HAD A PROBLEM ……ETC

        “We need a few more like him who are selfless servants of the people.”

        IF YOU SHOW ME PETROS THE SELFLESS I WILL SHOW YOU P.E.A THE DEMOCRAT

  • Mehret March 16, 2013

    Hi Petros,
    Thanks for the timely article.
    However, after reading your article, I found it difficult to see you as a strong fighter for democracy. Especially when I read about the ‘weak’ pull factor and X-PFDJ you mentioned.
    ‘They are being pushed out from serving the regime but the pull factor is weak.’
    In the first place, PFDJs do not push their follower; they suck them in. Those people who are running away now are those who have had enough of what they want and do not care of what happens to the country. They have snatched what they wanted. They have enjoyed whatever they wanted to enjoy and whatever they were thinking they were enjoying. So they were never core believers in PFDJ. To them, it was all about what they wanted. They will not join this struggle for the right of our people as this struggle does not and can not offer them what PFDJ offered them. It does not stand for it!
    Secondly, the people who you think are being pushed by PFDJ can not be trusted because of their history. How do we know they are not infiltrators? How do we know they still are not users and abusers and blood suckers?
    This is not the right time for us to talk about them, after all.
    However, if they have waken up recently from the hypnosis of PFDJ and want to amend and make up for what they did, they should come forward, confess and show genuine regret and do their share. If they don’t, nobody is going to ‘pull’ them in. Why should anybody? We have to spend any energy and resources we have in saving the people who were abused by them and their master or X-master.
    Another point I would like to make is that the people in eritrea can do the job of finishing the tyranny. But WHO WILL TAKE OVER? is most people’s reservation. The responsibility of alleviating this worry is that of eritreans in diaspora especially educated people like you and maybe me. Are we doing it? We are only bickering over names and methods or at our best blaming Ethiopia for our misery. How many educated Eritrea people (senior ones, not age-wise though)in diaspora have written petitions or talked to diplomats and government officials of any country (I mean other than inviting them for dinner) and made any difference in directing and redirecting the tide against PFDJ. How many of us have dedicated our education to pay back our people and decided to go around the world and do something that stands out and made our people’s misery heard or recognized. Have we organised ourselves and said to the people in eritrean ‘WE ARE READY NOW. LET’S DO IT’? I am not going to go any further as you have not yet finished your article. I look forward for what I would call ‘then,let’s do it now’ part II of your article.
    At this point, I would like to acknowledge and admire what the youth in diaspora are doing and the moves like meeting the foreign affairs Minister, Arbi Harnet and demonstration. All this despite the poisonous infiltrations and fights the PFDJ are putting up against them. God bless them.

    Looking forward to the continuation of this article.

    • Embasorya The Mighty March 16, 2013

      When you are a private property of Woyane you can not talk about infiltration. First look at yourself in the mirror. You can not pretend that you are doing anything good for the country.

      • Grass March 20, 2013

        Embasoyra, I don’t think Petros is a private property of woyane and you can never accuse a veteran fighter like him of being a private property.
        Private property in my understanding is owned by someone or do you mean they pay him? can you expand on thid?
        Do you have evidence?

        He fights injustice and that is that.

  • Embasorya The Mighty March 16, 2013

    “The people of Eritrea have to move on and deal a death blow to the divide and rule policy “divide et Empera” of PFDJ and avoid the temptation of falling into that trap.”

    Do you think the ruling party in Eritrea has the control over the Hawasa guys who are divided along religious,ethnic and awraja lines?

  • haile g. tensae March 16, 2013

    HI Petros
    Thanks for remainding the Eritrean; however. You said” the only solution is from inside only”. There is no inside or outside to find justicies. The Eritrean people interset is one and only one.
    I am asking you as a learned and experiened person in the “who is Who NGO World”
    what did your organization do to expose the misery and injusticies of Eritrean by the Tyranny Issayas? You know all the cladstine activities of PFDJ tell me what did you to the world abaut that?
    Marginalazing outside opposition has no room for justices. It is not the right time to score a point as Isay so. You can do better than that. Ask yoursef, as ealder, as scholar, as refugee, as former Tegadalay or fighter. As NGO member.
    Let do a small contribution rather than dowel on pety things.

  • belay nega March 16, 2013

    “as former Tegadalay or fighter”

    THE BAATAY’S AND GHEDLY NEVER MET AT A POINT AS FAR AS I KNOW THEM OF COURSE

    • ahmed saleh March 17, 2013

      WEdi Baatay did what his country ask him to do at the time his people need him . Personally
      I do not not know him but as a brother of my childhood friend while he was in diaspora I wonder
      how come a person from rich and good family became a victim from hooligans like you .

      • ahmed saleh March 17, 2013

        Sorry , my respond wa to Negga the weird commentator .

      • belay nega March 17, 2013

        ahmed saleh

        ” became a victim from hooligans like you”

        I WOULD RATHER BE HOOLIGAN AND NATIONALIST THAN SEASONAL BIRD LIKE YOU

        I BEEN WITH MY PEOPLE DURING SUMMER AND WINTER

        • Mehret March 18, 2013

          how childish and immature!

          • belay nega March 19, 2013

            YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU TALKING ABOUT

    • Grass March 20, 2013

      Belay Nega, here you are again making no sense. Enda Baatay like most Eritreans suffered and fought for their country significantly. They contributed like many Eritrean.
      Please support your statements with chronological events if you can, other wise we will deem you a half wit.
      Power to the people.

      • belay nega March 20, 2013

        OK MR GRASS [HASER NEFAY]

  • haile g. tensae March 17, 2013

    HI Petros
    Thanks for remainding the Eritrean; however. You said” the only solution is from inside only”. There is no inside or outside to find justicies. The Eritrean people interset is one and only one.
    I am asking you as a learned and experiened person in the “who is Who NGO World”
    what did your organization do to expose the misery and injusticies of Eritrean by the Tyranny Issayas? You know all the clandstine activities of PFDJ tell me what did you do to inform the world community abaut that?
    Marginalazing outside opposition has no room for justices. It is not the right time to score a point as I say so. You can do better than that. Ask yoursef, as ealder, as scholar, as refugee, as former Tegadalay or fighter. As NGO member.
    Lets do a small contribution rather than dowelling on pety things.

  • Embasorya The Mighty March 17, 2013

    Haile G.Tensae,

    There is no tyranny in Eritrea. No one is going to allow you to destroy the country by collaborating with Woyane. If you consider protecting our achievements is a form of tyranny then you are totally wrong.

    • haile g. tensae March 17, 2013

      Hi The Mighty
      If you are defending tyranny you have the right; therefore, you have to stand with your objective and expose yourself. Who are to begine with. Get out from the “wushate” or the veil to stand up for your rights and principles. Weyane; they donot need my collaberation. They can do it themselves.

      Wake up: If you know yourself and what you contrubute to your country is not by insulting fellow citizen. It shows that you are a class of PFDJ propagandist society.

      Eritrea is for the five million people, multiple religion and more than eight tribes and ethnics. If you are going to talk a national issue be a man of honor to others.
      Good lucks

      • belay nega March 18, 2013

        ATO HAILE

        “Eritrea is for the five million people, multiple religion and more than eight tribes and ethnics. If you are going to talk a national issue be a man of honor to others”

        CONSIDERING THE ABOVE STATEMENT[EXCELLENT]

        WITH ALL RESPECT, IS THERE ANY THING YOU REGRET ABOUT YOUR POEM [MEGAREGIA YIKENTET]?

        • haile g. tensae March 18, 2013

          Ato Belay Nega
          Megareja Yikentet is an open book; therfore, It can be interpreted according the reader. I hope you get the message. As to your question, I do not have any regeret at all.
          thanks

          • Sahil March 19, 2013

            Ato Belay Nega
            What is your opinion on Ato Haile’s poem “ Megaregia Yikentet”?

        • Sahil March 19, 2013

          Ato Belay Nega
          What is your view on Ato Haile’s poem “ Megaregia Tikentet”?

          • belay nega March 19, 2013

            SAHIL

            “MEGAREGIA YEKENTET”

            IS RWANDA’S 94 STYLE POEM

    • Genet March 19, 2013

      HELLO EMBAASORYA,

      “THERE IS NO TYRANNY IN ERITREA” CAN YOU TELL US WHAT IT IS? OR MAY BE YOU CAN’T BECAUSE YOU ARE IN YOUR SLEEPING BEAUTY TIME AND YOU CAN’T WAKE UP. YOU ARE TALKING LIKE A ZOMBIE.
      Genet

    • Grass March 20, 2013

      Embasoyra, can you then define a tyranny for us please?

      • belay nega March 20, 2013

        GRASS

        REFER TO E.P.L.F DICTIONARY

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