THE YPFDJ CULT- part one – Insider’s Account
My Eritrean friends generally do not take me sincerely when I embark on cautioning them about the danger of YPFDJ. As an ardent former YPFDJ member and one of the chosen minority who were in
My Eritrean friends generally do not take me sincerely when I embark on cautioning them about the danger of YPFDJ. As an ardent former YPFDJ member and one of the chosen minority who were in Eritrea to obtain six months of secretive political cadre training, I might not be the right individual to school any Eritrean, since some may argue that I am blemishing YPFDJ as a result of personal grudge or because I have been excommunicated by the YPFDJ. When I converse with common Eritreans regarding the danger of the YPFDJ movement, my friends claim I am just another opportunist who tried to gain political power of some sort within the PFDJ/YPFDJ without success and now, I am taking revenge by uttering spiteful rumors against YPFDJ. I have no emotional and personal motives at all. In fact, the truth is on the contrary. I left the YPFDJ while I was at the peak of my career in YPFDJ and nobody chased me away. I was one of the main leaders of YPFDJ.
I left for no other raison d’être than the fact that it became clear to me that it was an unhealthy organization for young Eritreans. In reality, it is not a movement or organization in the conventional sense; it is more of a religious cult than a social, political, communal or civic organization. My conscious mind and inner spirit told me to leave this organization one year ago after several years of doubting the sincerity of the YPFDJ. I prefer to live a life of morality and ethics; I couldn’t force myself to go against my private convictions for little worthless power and notoriety. Unlike many in the YPFDJ, people like Teklia Mekonen from Frankfurt, Tedros Goitom, Sirak Bahlibi, Yodit from UK, Biniam Tareke, Simret Kidane from Norway, Eden Kebede, Senai Solomon from Denmark, Tedros Yared from Norway, Semhar Ghebreab from Germany, Mehari from UK, etc., my inner beliefs wouldn’t let me go against justice and law, mainly, against my democratic and spiritual principles. I am not selfish man. So I chose to deny myself personal career in PFDJ politics by capitalizing on the suffering of the majority of Eritreans.
As a one of the trusted YPFDJ VIPs, I was introduced into the evil thinking manners of the real PFDJ’s inner circle in Eritrea as part of my political cadre education when a certain man by the name of “Desbele” (he did not provide his surname) entered our small classroom under the steamy Sawa heat and began lecturing us on the first course called Social Psychology. It certainly didn’t take much for us to realize the course was not about how to help or serve people in a community the best way possible; no, it was teachings about the modern methods of mind control, meaning what techniques to employ to control the behaviors, feelings and thoughts of human beings. He was lecturing us in behavior modification techniques utilized by long-gone totalitarian states as the Soviet Union, Maoist China, Nazi Germany, Cuba, North Korea, Iraq, Libya, Chile, Iran, and former Yugoslavia and from few other similar regimes.
Personally, I was shocked and little ashamed that all this political teacher in Sawa could teach was techniques from failed states on how to brainwash people’s minds; It was not expected, it totally surprised many of us who were honored to be chosen and happily looked forward to come from western countries to take some “national political training” in Sawa for about 6 months before returning to our homes in the West. These six months were by the way not all spent in Sawa. Most of the time was spent in Asmara drinking, partying, fornicating and talking about the “great and victorious” Shaebia, particularly about how great the “visionary” leader was. And all our education included only political training, no military training at all.
“Desbele” was instructing us how to use sophisticated and perverted behavior modification techniques; and he was proudly boasting that these techniques can destroy the mental and emotional health of individuals. Basically, he was teaching that any Eritrean, no matter how intelligent, can be controlled, subdued, isolated and eventually forced to become a member or supporter of PFDJ willingly or unwillingly. His main points were what techniques to utilize in order to control the behavior, thoughts and feelings of human beings. He told us that if you can change a person’s behavior, you can change his thoughts and feelings and vice versa. Each component has a powerful effect on the other two: change one and the others will tend to follow. When all three change the individual undergoes a complete change. When there is a conflict between thoughts, feelings or behavior, then those in conflict will change to minimize the contradiction. This is because a person can only tolerate a certain amount of discrepancy between these components which make up his identity. But according to the lecture of Desbele this kind of dissonance is frequently manufactured by states to exploit and control the masses.
Behavior control is all about the control of an individual’s physical reality.
This can include control of where he lives, what he eats, his clothing, sleep, job, rituals etc. This is why most totalitarian regimes, police states, radical organizations have a stringent schedule for members. There is always something to do in destructive religious, political or other associations of radical and fascist agenda. Each organization or state has its own distinctive set of behaviors that bind it together. This control needs to be so powerful that the organization member will actually participate in his own punishment and come to believe he actually deserves it. No one can command a person’s thoughts but -according to the PFDJ mind-control guru Desbele – if you can control an individual’s behavior then his heart and mind will follow.
Furthermore, Desbele lectured us about controlling of an individual’s thought processes this way, now I am just putting it down in summary.
The indoctrination of members and common Eritreans so thoroughly is of great importance, they must be so indoctrinated that they can be able to manipulate their own thought processes. The ideologies of PFDJ have to be internalized as “the truth”, Desbele told us. The Eritrean people in Diaspora must be so indoctrinated day and night by the propaganda of PFDJ via EriTV, radio, internet and PFDJ/YPFDJ members in meetings, cultural and private gatherings and in everyday conversations so much so that any other incoming information is filtered through their ingrained “PFDJ” belief mind which also regulates how this information is thought about.
The PFDJ has its own language techniques and behavior techniques which further regulates how a person thinks. This puts a great barrier between PFDJ members and the common Eritrean.
Another form of control is “thought stopping” techniques. This can take many forms: national and religious parties, festivals, concerts, singing, seminars, conferences, mekhete, zekre sematat, media propaganda, interviews and lectures by PFDJ sponsored intellectuals, Bidho Tour, the YPFDJ conferences, Sawa Festivals, etc. The goal is to deny a person the information needed to make a sound judgment and he will be incapable of doing so. People are trapped in fascist organizations because they are denied the access to the critical information they need to assess a situation. The psychological chains on their minds are just as powerful as if they were locked away physically from society. So strong is this psychological process, that they also lack the properly functioning internal mechanism to process any critical information placed in front of them.
The use of these techniques short-circuits the persons’ ability to test any other reality than the PFDJ artificially created one. The person can only think positive thoughts about the PFDJ. If there is a problem the member assumes responsibility and works harder.
Desbele continued to lecture us on how to control the emotions of YPFJ members and other Eritreans in general by manipulating a person’s range of feelings. Guilt and fear are used to keep control. YPFDJ/PFDJ members cannot see the control by guilt and like other abuse victims are conditioned to blame themselves when things are wrong, even grateful when a leader points out their transgressions.
Fear is used to manipulate in two ways, according to Desbele. The first is to create an outside enemy (we vs. them) who is persecuting you. The second is the fear of punishment by the leaders if you are not acting in accordance with “wudubawi senegebri.” Behaving in accordance with “wudubawi senegebri” is following the ideology perfectly. The most powerful emotional control is phobia indoctrination. This can give the person a panic reaction at the very thought of leaving the YPFDJ/PFDJ. It is almost impossible to conceive that there is any life outside the YPFDJ movement. There is no physical gun held to the member thinking of leaving, but the psychological gun is just as powerful, if not more powerful.
I was totally baffled at what I was listening to and I felt I was being victimized receiving mind control education to apply on my fellow YPFDJ members and other Eritreans. Personally, it never dawned on me to treat my fellow countrymen as tools or instruments, herds to be used and controlled and manipulated at the order of PFDJ highest elites. I actually was gullible and naïve to think that the PFDJ leaders were fully and wholeheartedly committed to serve the Eritrean people with no ulterior motives. To my disappointment, I found out it was all power game, especially when you go higher and higher in the PFDJ and YPFDJ echelon. YPFDJ stinks of opportunists, Tewlijee, half-casts, mixed Eritreans, who mentally and culturally are not Eritreans and the majority who participate in conferences never been to Eritrea a single time.
The few who were born in Eritrea and raised there and who speak fluent Tigrigna are marginalized and considered as out-casts in the YPFDJ. It is really funny, but it is the truth. The real Eritreans are considered pariah in YPFDJ, diaspora-born or/and raised “Eritreans”, (especially if they are mixed, mulattos), who cannot speak good Tigrigna and who have little knowledge about Eritrea are more preferred, since they are eager to prove their “Eritreaness” by obeying orders and working harder than the real Eritreans, who are well-versed in Tigrigna and knowledgeable about the ominous state of affairs in the homeland and who frequently are openly inquisitive of sensitive political issues and social agendas with political nature.
They do not come to Yemane Monkey’s conferences for parties, drinking like many of the diaspora-born and raised Eritreans and mixed children, but to engage in hard talk on national issues; And most of them are never allowed to return again because they get banned from the YPFDJ indefinitely.
In this twisted period of Eritrean history, Eritreans -who never lifted a single weight during the independence struggle, the border conflict of 1998-2000 and the 22 years of national service and national building- and their children born and raised in Europe and USA are taking pleasure in and benefiting from the current Eritrea predicament, while the real Eritreans who struggled and suffered for Eritrea during the revolution and after the struggle, during the nation building era, are treated as outsiders and traitors. It is indeed comical and poignant turn of events. Zemene Girinbit. The only logical explanation or a near logical explanation about why this is happening is provided by Desbele in a remarkable sentence he uttered on that hot sunny day in Sawa, that Sewra deka endabel´et eya metsya. That the Eritrean revolution developed by consuming its children. He further elaborated by saying some of the children were consumed in the noble trench or field warfare against the enemy, while other “Falulawyan” and political speculators were consumed and crushed by the “Wudub” itself. He said it was a natural process and people who question the great organization are not needed and will be immediately discarded, only individuals who execute orders and do what is told to them will be uplifted. He told us that the YPFDJ and the PFDJ members need bravery to execute even the most difficult orders, people with obsessive allegiance to the PFDJ are more greatly needed than people with brains, ideas or university degrees. Desbele told us this without any hesitation or shame.
Therefore, it is clear that YPFDJ is just another propaganda machine and financial institution for the PFDJ. In my next article, I will expose more of what Desbele taught regarding how to combat anti-PFDJ elements, especially those Desbele belittled by naming “Debrezeyti” youths, who in Desbele’s eyes are the most dangerous anti-PFDJ elements and it is this very important job of YPFDJ to counterattack them via propaganda including using violent means, if necessary, in everyplace and at all times.
To be continued…