Wedi Vacaro in Stockholm
Stockholm 14 December, 2013 Wedi Vacaro in Stockholm Saturday the 14th of December, 2013 was a day where Eritreans in Stockholm in particular and Sweden in general showed their contempt to tyranny and dictatorship in Eritrea. This
Stockholm 14 December, 2013
Wedi Vacaro in Stockholm
Saturday the 14th of December, 2013 was a day where Eritreans in Stockholm in particular and Sweden in general showed their contempt to tyranny and dictatorship in Eritrea. This was prompted by the incredible energetic inspiration of Wedi Vacaro, Dr. Tewelde Tesfamariam who has been crisscrossing around the world starting in the Americas and coming to Europe with his first stop in Stockholm where ordinary people these days are busy preparing and shopping for the Christmas holydays and the shops are fully decorated attracting people from all walks of life. This important event I believe will be disseminated from appropriate channels but here follows my take of the event.
The meeting was scheduled to start at noon and the two halls (*Palme and Katals hall at ABF Stocholm, at Sveavägen 41, down town Stockholm kindly offered by the Social Democratic Party of Sweden) were almost full of Eritreans yearning for change at home, Eritrea i.e. Many of the attendees were people tiered of HIGDEF’s deception and who had written of the possibility of democratic changes in Eritrea due to the weakness, inability and squabbles of the opposition. It was obvious from the outset that people needed to see a fresh blood, an apostle if you like who would tell them the cruelties perpetuated by higdef as they are i.e. in plain and simple language. I believe Wedi Vacaro appealed to the people’s emotions and a conservative estimate of ca: 400 attendees testify to that.
The message from Wedi Vacaro started after a minute of silence for remembering Eritrea’s martyrs and an introductory short presentation of the program from the organizers. He started by apologizing for his involvement or being part of EPLF and PFDJ (which I believe was unnecessary). He urged others to follow sue i.e. His main message was:
- The group holding power in Eritrea now is not governing but just temporarily and illegally administrating. An administration they acquired by brute force. And due to their brutality, we have lost our precious tradition and culture. In fact, many of these pfdj gangsters are not Eritreans (Eritrea does not belong to them; Eartra aytmilketomn eya). We should be proud to acknowledge our origin of birth villages and Awragas, there is no reason for us to be shy. Only the Nazis used to numerate their Jews victims. “We are not from zoba hade or zoba klete, we are proud deki Senhit, Seraye, Semhar or Akeleguzay” and so on. Thus we need to educate our youngsters and children, our proud tradition before it is too late.
- Sweden has turned out to be the main source of propaganda and finance for pfdj and that’s why I decided to start my European tour here in Stockholm. We need to stop the pfdj annual festivals starting from the coming year. We can achieve this goal only and only if we organize ourselves in community organizations irrespective of our political and party affiliations. He said, “My sources inform me that in the near future, the pfdj has plans to issue new passports and identification papers”. We should in no uncertain terms reject these and tell the pfdj gangs to relinquish power in favor of the Eritrean people. Wedi Vacaro shared his experience concerning the meetings he conducted with the international community like the United Nations, US State Department and many others. Apparently, the world community is well aware not only of the brutality of the regime but also of the weak support the Eritrean opposition parties enjoy from their own people. Thus their recommendation was for all Eritreans who aspire for positive change and democracy in Eritrea, first to acquire not only the popular support but also a united front of all Eritreans who are planning to topple the dictator in Eritrea (a prerequisite for democratic change).
- This part of his speech was concluded by the necessity of establishing strong and united community in Sweden and communicating with all Eritrean communities in Europe and around the world who would have been organized in the same manner. Out of this organized community, a couple of knowledgeable preferentially lawyers or other able individuals should be elected to represent Sweden and they in turn would form a committee who would represent all Eritreans around the world to communicate with the world communities like the European Union, USA, African Union and the United Nations. He informed that this kind of community organizations has started in North America and would like to see similar activities here in Europe. Only and only, when and if we are united and organized can we defeat the brutal regime in Asmera.
- On the legal issues, Wedi Vacaro noted that the precious tradition and respect that the Eritrean people prides itself on its churches and mosques as well as in its elderly people should be safeguarded and preserved before the pfdj gangs totally dismantle it. This is not achieved by killing the dictator even if it could be done easily. The issue is that of dismantling and eradicating the pfdj system. The question of compensation from the Italian colonial era has been totally neglected and as a consequence not a single Eritrean (soldier servant of Italy) has been offered any retirement or other form of financial support, while Libya has got its rightful compensation. We therefore need to include lawyers in the would be committee to represent us and speak for our rights. Concerning the Eritrean flag, Wedi Vacaro had to say the following: the green blue red with a yellow olive leaves belongs to Isayas, and not the Eritrean people (by the way, I have never seen a yellow olive in my life). The legal Eritrean flag is the blue with green olive leaves issued by the united nations and until the Eritrean people decides by democratically conducted elections, the old flag should be the country’s symbol. On the issue of the G15, Wedi Vacaro had to say this. The G15 demanded that the constitution be implemented and the country governed by the rule of law. Unfortunately for them and for Eritrea, they did not get the support from the people and the army (tegadelti) which they desperately needed. Actually; they were betrayed not only by the traitor Sebhat Ephrem (currently Eritrean defence minister) but also by the Eritrean people and the army. The army mutiny led by Wedi Ali had similar demand as that of the G15 but they also were betrayed and thus could not succeed in what they set out to accomplish.
The turning point that triggered much anger from me and the Eritrean people all over the world was the tragedy that occurred on the Mediterranean sea shores of Lampedusa last October where ca: 360 Eritrean youth and children lost their lives fleeing from their homeland. A homeland, which would no longer accommodate their safety and their day to day life. TV ERI would refer them as African illegal immigrants who had the bad luck of having their boat capsizing just a few miles out of Lampedusa, Italy. A president worth the name would not only come out to the media but fly to Italy which by the way is only four hours from Asmera, and be part of the common Eritrean grief. We all know that this never happened and it shows the contempt the dictator has on the Eritrean people.
Next, sometime was offered to the brilliant Jytte Guteland of Swedish Social Democratic party (previous chairwoman of the Social Democratic Youth association, SSU) who is aspiring for the position of European parliament elections taking place in May 25, 2014. She urged us all to exercise our democratic rights and vote on that day in order to influence the composition of the European parliament and make sure that this democratic body be directed by democratic forces. In a similar message, the Eritrean born member of parliament Arhe Ahmednaca (Social Democratic Party) revealed that he is up for the coming Swedish election (September 2014) as number five in Stockholm county which to my understanding implies that we are almost certain he will be elected and represent us for the coming four years. Mind you he never asked for our votes but he was anxious that we all vote whichever party we would like except for the racist party of “Sverige Democraterna”. A quality which should be appreciated, and hopefully appeal for all Eritreans and other nationalities in Sweden to use their rights to vote. Here in Sweden, and I believe in all other democratic countries in the west, “foreigners” have the tendency of staying on the couches instead of moving their “asses” (my emphasis) and go for voting. Isn’t that we want to happen in our bereaved country anyways? Then we should exercise our rights and vote, at least we can teach our children the traditions of democracy. Arhe reminded that the Social Democratic Party had been overwhelmed by the pfdj supporters, now the tide seems to shift to our favor and the SDP leaders will not dance on the pfdj festivals anymore. He finished his brief and concise talk by reminding us that if we exercise our rights and vote on the EU parliament, we will make sure that the parliament is NOT dominated by the extreme rightists and racists. This would benefit us Eritreans living in Europe and also Eritrea, because it would be persons like Jytte whom our elected representatives would be appealing once Wedi Vacor’s popular upraise succeeds and a professional committee if established.
Finally, I would like to summarize the main points of Wedi Vacaros’s massages as follows:
- A united and strong Eritrean community in all countries where Eritreans reside is a necessity and prerequisite for democratic changes.
- Peaceful and democratic movement is a prerequisite for change. No need for arms against our own brothers, sisters and children.
- No intervention from our neighbors should be tolerated.
- We need professional individuals who would represent us Eritreans to communicate with the international community.
- We would have chosen a temporary committee who would organize another meeting if time had been on our side. This problem was solved by shouldering the responsibility of organizing another meeting (where Wedi Vacaro promised to attend) unanimously to the original initiative takers of this meeting.
- The event was broadcast live on Smerrr TV and there was little time for questions. Wedi Vacaro answered all and without going into details, I believe the answers were covered in what is told above.
My opinion on the Wedi Vacaro initiative is the following : It was a very inspiring initiative which opened the eyes of many Eritreans who had totally given up on changes. Hope to see the momentum continue as some wise and experienced Eritrean hero expressed it to me whom I met after the meeting. How are we supposed to organize when we are not organized and have different political addresses would be tough issue to resolve, since organizing is a prerequisite for success and since we fully well understand the futility of non-organized activities? Deep in my heart I believe that every Eritrean is distressed by the bandit PFDJ and change is around the corner if we stand together and say enough is enough.
Apologies and reconciliation should be the first on the to do lists in the coming democratic Eritrea once the dictator is gone. There is space for all in the opposition where ever they come from. Is it possible to defeat pfdj without organizing ourselves?
Time will tell.
Finally, I would like to add that the meeting was accompanied by the great singer and guitarist Tekle Abraha (Zerai Deres) our Bob Dylan if you will to the tunes of Bob Dylan; “Song of Freedom” and “The times They are Changing”.
Thank you Dr Tewolde Tesfamariam, Wedi Vacaro!
Thank you to the organizers of this important event!
Glory to the Eritrean People!
H.Michael T.berhan, Stockholm