Asmarino Fundraising: Because There Is So Much More to Be Done!

The Breathtaking Hypocrisy of Isaias Afwerki (DIA) and his Supporters!

By now, many Eritreans around the world are familiar with dictator Isaias Afwerki's (DIA) bizarre and embarrassing interview ( with Al Jezeera in February 2010. In the interview, DIA insistently asks the Al Jezeera journalist, "Did you enjoy the show, Did you enjoy the show?" (referring, apparently, to the celebrations of the anniversary of Operation Fenkil that liberated Massawa in 1990) while the journalist completely ignored his attempt at small talk and, instead, continued with her own questions. See impressions about the interview in her article here


Throughout the interview, the hypocrite asked "where are the evidences", accused the journalist of lying and being crazy and insane for believing a "pack of lies", and when confronted with the evidence, he denied everything. Every allegation is a lie. He said obtaining a passport for Eritreans is no problem. That's news to any Eritrean who tried to leave the country legally. Even the defection of seven or eight members of Eritrea's national football team in Kenya and those long distance runners who requested asylum in Scotland, etc., reported by the international media last year was "news" to him! But he also clearly showed that he doesn't care if Eritreans seek asylum here and there. He said, "Why should I be bothered by that?" He declared, several times, "this is a mockery of justice" (as if he cared about justice), referring to 'what the international community is doing to Eritrea', essentially to him, accusing him of supporting the Al Shabab group in Somalia and eventually imposing sanctions. He finally declared that "we are number one on this continent". The fantasy that he accused the journalist in engaging was actually his own.

His supporters raise the issue of the "Rule of Law" as if it applies only to others and not to DIA, not to Eritrea. At the same time, they fail to demand the "rule of law" from DIA. Did they ask him, for instance, for the rule of law when he unlawfully imprisoned his own former comrades? Did they ever insist on the rule of law when he banned and shut the private newspapers? No, they did not. In fact, just like they are cheering him now to defy the sanctions, they cheered him on blaming the Eritrean journalists, the victims of his outrageous behavior.

Secondly, his supporters assume that they are the only ones trying to protect Eritrea, the country, and its people. That is like being "more Catholic than the Pope!" While the truth is the opposite. They assume they are the only ones concerned about Eritrea's future ... that they are the only patriots thinking about their country; that the opposition -- organized or not -- does not care about Eritrea. It is actually they who must be accused of not caring for the country. Because it is not enough that you say you care, it is important what you are doing about it. By encouraging Isaias, by telling him he is doing fine, by going out and supporting him in defying the international community, by demonstrating in world capitals against the UN sanctions, helping to perpetuate his rule and keeping Isaias in power, they are in fact the ones endangering Eritrea. By encouraging Isaias and his regime to do as they wish, they are the ones who are endangering Eritrea. May be their intention is not so, but by giving Isaias carte blanche to do as he pleases in the name of national security, they are endangering the people of Eritrea. Encouraged by their support, Isaias Afwerki continues to do as he pleases: sentencing Eritreans to life imprisonment without the due process of law, killing Eritrean youth at the border and forcing others to risk their lives crossing the desert or the high Seas to reach Israel, Europe or America. His loyalists tell us that if they don't support the regime, there will be no Eritrea to speak of in the future. They say this in a straight face! It would be laughable if it wasn't tragic. I want to shout to them "Eritrea will remain independent, whether Isaias is there or not." Essentially, they are telling us, in order for Eritrea to survive as an independent nation, he needs to continue with all the destructive things he is doing! That's shameful!

The PFDJ and its supporters ask for the rule of law from the International Community (IC). They wanted the IC to force Ethiopia to accept the Border ruling. Hypocritically, they refuse to apply the same logic and the same rule to the PFDJ and demand the PFDJ abide by the rule of law. However, we cannot allow them to have it both ways -- either they believe in the rule of law as it applies to all or they don't believe in the rule of law at all.

They need to understand that the opposition equally loves their country. The difference is the opposition does not worship one man. We understand that a collective mind of many is a thousand times better than the wisdom of one man. The opposition is demanding the rule of law and justice from everyone. Because we equally love Eritrea, we, in the opposition, are also spending our time, energy and resources demanding justice and exposing DIA and his loyalists. We, who live in the West, also know and understand that the West is not entirely blameless when it comes to the Ethio-Eritrea relationship. But, ultimately the responsibility rests on the shoulders of the two governments, not the International community.

In the final analysis, good intentions are not always enough. The consequences of supporting Isaias Afwerki is making him more arrogant by the day. The issues of the G-15 prisoner to him is "history". Where is the justice there? Why aren't his supporters demanding justice and the rule of law for their own brothers and sisters languishing and dying in prison? That is the true mockery of justice! This should outrage his supporters if they truly care about the Rule of Law. But either they are clueless and they don't know what rule of law means or they are hypocrites. There is no middle ground here.

The embarrassing behavior of DIA on the world stage we saw last month is a direct result of his arrogance; it's also a direct result of people helping him, telling him in effect that he is doing fine. Arrest, imprison, kill anyone you want, as long as Eritrea is still independent at the end of the day! We will support you for it. That's exactly what Isaias's supporters are saying to him, and that's exactly what he sees, hears, and reads from his supporters' actions.

As President Barrack Obama recently said quoting the late Democratic U.S. Senator Moynihan: "You're entitled to your own opinion, but you are NOT entitled to your own facts!" The PFDJ loyalists must understand that they are certainly entitled to their own opinion, their own wrong opinion, but they are not entitled to their own separate facts. Facts are facts; they don't change for different people or at a different setting or time. The facts in Eritrea today are clear: there is no elected government, no Bayto or parliament; there is no freedom of the press, of travel, of assembly, etc. Isaias Afwerki is the absolute dictator. These are facts.

If they want to be taken seriously, the PFDJ supporters must demand that the rule of law is applied to everyone equally; you cannot apply it selectively. If you do, not only are you unfair, but you are a hypocrite.