Open Letter to All Eritrean Youth Associations working for Democratic Change in Eritrea:
It has been some weeks since we released a communique criticizing the rushed and premature decision by the head of the executive to go ahead and hold an EYSNS Congress without due diligence to all
It has been some weeks since we released a communique criticizing the rushed and premature decision by the head of the executive to go ahead and hold an EYSNS Congress without due diligence to all the attendant and all-important pre-conditions that are crucial for a successful congress.
Since then we have been closely following the reactions and responses to our collective and open statement. Most of the responses we have received were positive and constructive in a critical way. A few were negative, reactive, and not helpful. There was and still is a dogged and persistent attempt by some to personalize matters by deliberately sidestepping and neglecting the substantial legal, structural, and procedural issues and concerns raised in our letter. We were also dismayed to see some counter-declarations to our statement originating from obscure sources in the Middle-East, Sudan, and Australia. We have thought it better not to issue another counter-counter-statement as we believe that everybody concerned and privy to the ongoing issue in these areas and others is well aware of the facts on the ground.
A skype meeting was also held on November 9, 2013 with six members of the executive branch of the National Council for Democratic Change (NCDC) in which each signatory association was given ample time to present its standpoint. We believe it was a belated and long overdue effort; but, nonetheless, we want to express our deep appreciation and gratitude to the Bayto members for taking this admirable initiative and wish them success in their worthy endeavour.
We would also like to take this opportunity to recollect and reflect on the words of the leaders of the NCDC and the different national political opposition leaders who- during the Eritrean Youth Forum which was held at Debre-Zeit, Ethiopia, from July 7-17, 2012- were formally invited to address and update the youth gathering on the current situation within the opposition movement. In those few hours given to them, they were very candid, critical, and humble when they were addressing us. The gridlock with in the NCDC and the added chaos of the multitudes of political parties in the Eritrean political scene were mentioned by Dr Yosuf Ibrahim (Executive Chairperson of NCDC), and he cautioned the gathering against duplicating the same blunders and mistakes of their elders.
All of them had shared their high hopes that the gathering should be the jumping point that will bring unity of purpose and action for the different youth associations all over the world. The Forum was expected to raise the bar of such political meetings and set an example. It was anticipated to lead the way by bringing and channeling the diverse youth voices into a collaborative, united, and effective front for an all wide and urgent change, and thus also nudging the NCDC and other forces within the traditional opposition movement from their stagnation and inertia.
Regrettably, our journey of almost a year and half since Debre Zeit has been anything but exemplary and a game-changer. It is unfortunate for Eritrea and its suppressed and fleeing population that even its young children-its youth- have not learned from the politics of the recent past. While a whole country is imploding, we are spending precious time accusing, plotting, and throwing mud and venom at each other.
In our short and common history as a nation the issue of a United Eritrean Youth Voice has never been more crucially important than NOW. Now, more than ever before, is the time to work strenuously towards achieving the so-far elusive organizational structure that can promote, facilitate, and channel effectively the participation of all the diverse youth groupings and associations towards a common goal of achieving a democratic change in our country. Now, more than ever before, we need and must look beyond our negligible differences (religion, ethnicity, region, class, gender, etc.) towards an all-embracing organizational structure that will bring a sense of urgency and unity of purpose in achieving the respectable and sacred mission of deliverance of our country and people from an impending disaster.
Current developments inside and outside our country make it very clear and imperative that the Eritrean Youth must shoulder her/his generational responsibility and role to bring about an over-due change for our people and country before calamity strikes. It is now or never. We cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today. The Lampadusa tragedy may pale in comparison with what awaits us tomorrow if we don’t act today. For our action to have any meaningful impact, the onus is upon us to look beyond what ails and separates us by focusing on the great objective of regime change in our country.
It is meaningless and counter-productive to talk of congress at this time. Trust and confidence building measures must take precedence. We need first to pragmatically re-assess our journey of the last one year and half. What we see is lack of reasonable discourse, accountability, transparency, and a glaring disregard or disrespect for democratic norms and procedures compounded by lack of structural or institutionalized procedures to handle conflict when and if it arises.
In order to re-build confidence and trust, and remedy the mistakes already done, re-engage with those who have left us, and bring on board yet more Eritrean youth associations who believe in the democratic struggle for change, and also exploit the latest developments within the different opposition movements, we are putting forth the following proposal:
v Holding of a seminar or workshop that brings together a balanced group of concerned, learned and competent actors from the diverse interest groups with in Eritrean political landscape
v The seminar to critically assess the performance of the EYSNS leadership (which has already passed its one-year legal mandate given it at the Debre-Zeit Forum) since its formation at Debre Zeit
v The seminar to come out with a road-map that will chart the way and bring coherence and unity for the diverse youth associations
1. Eritrean Youth Solidarity for National Salvation (EYSNS) – Australia
2. Eritrean Youth Solidarity for National Salvation (EYSNS) – New Zealand
3. Eritrean Youth Solidarity for National Salvation (EYSNS) – Sudan Central
4. Eritrean Youth Solidarity for National Salvation (EYSNS) – Middle East (Qatar – Kwait – Bahrain and United Arab Emirates )
5. Eritrean Youth Movement for Change Switzerland
6. Eritrean Youth & Inttelectuals Movement
7. The Red Sea Afar Youth Union
8. Eritrean Movement for Change (EMC)
9. Eritrean Australian Youth (EAYOUTH)
10. Eritrean Forume for National Dialogue