Eritrea: a Petition to the Ghouls

Common sense has refused to emerge from the minds of the elite, who hail from none other but the “emergent” Eritrea. The sages, having supported the “revolutionary justice” of the communist-types of the Eritrean fronts in the past, responsible for the ruthless extirpation of any form of public recourse, including the old and tried method of abetuta, (a tradition during the feudal society of Haile Selassie), and the modern principles of human rights, are now observed reverting to the old method. Surprisingly, this is happening twelve years after the failure of the petition of the G-15, their relatives’ after the regime threw them into its dungeons, and the one by  G-13, not excluding the case of the mutineers of the Forto, which appearance not withstanding was in its essence also a form of petition. The affliction is everywhere. The latest of the genre recently made by the twenty-two intellectuals from the diaspora is the most scandalous.1

The elites have identified the National Service as the main policy that is wreaking havoc in the society, shy of asking for its complete revocation. They have asked for the separation of the boot camps masquerading as colleges from independent and autonomous educational institutions, short of asking for their disbandment. The absence of rule of law, freedom of press etc. were also pointed out in the letter as impediments to the normal functioning of the society in Eritrea, refusing to see the evident collapse of the society.  The addressee in the letter is none other than the totalitarian state!

The whole notion of human rights, the call for democracy, and the implementation of the constitution is a farce in present day Eritrea, when observing it from the prism of the famous humble letter2 of the relatives of the scores of Muslim scholars made to disappear in Eritrea, in the mid-nineties. Simple, hand-written, and lacking any allegation of complicity in the crime by the government, the letter has not evinced any reply from the regime. Not even, when they stated that, they will “accept” their death, in the event it happened. The victims were, according to a guard, who later defected, summarily shot and buried in a mass grave.3 The fate of the letter is certainly the same.

The reaction of the close kin is understandable for they behaved in the customs and manners they grew up; what is incomprehensible however is the behavior of our learned folks, who seem to have lost the sense of urgency, indignation and outrage. Unlike out pathetic lot, Emile Zola, a celebrated novelist and intellectual behaved with honor to defend the alleged treason of Captain Alfred Dreyfuss after the Franco-Prussian of the 1870s. In defense of a single citizen, he wrote the famous and damning letter called J’accuse.  Rightly, France has lately proudly celebrated this centennial event.

In comparison, the late Eritrean manifesto and the like will remain a fleeting moment for their political cowardice, knee-jerking, unimaginativeness and for lacking the courage to accuse the authorities, and more importantly for their utter failure to admit their own complicity in the whole tragedy of the Eritrean saga. Under this circumstance, will the public care for any petitions?! It would rather look for the proverbial mad person in a village, famous for predicting a coming calamity. The pity about petitions in Eritrea has probably no comparisons in the world; the late pre-occupations of the many in the diaspora opposition to send the hundreds of bodies from the shipwreck close to Lampedusa, Italy into the land they escaped from may de described as stupendously silly and macabre.

[1] Awate Team,  “The ‘Executed’: No Smoking Gun, but plenty of circumstantial evidence”, March 13, 2003.
[2] The letter in the archives of is not accessible.
[3] Samuel N, “Eritrea: Twenty-two Intellectuals call Eritrean government to care”.

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