1. The hypocrisy of the Government of Eritrea (GOE).
A. The GOE does not let its own citizens in Eritrea demonstrate in any way. In fact the basic freedom to assemble, to express one-self, to worship etc… are denied in Eritrea. If there is no democratic process within the country, why is the GOE pushing people in Diaspora to demonstrate by taking advantage of foreign country’s democracy? This is pure hypocrisy and an oxymoron.
B. How come we don’t hear a demonstration inside Eritrea? Shouldn’t Asmara be the mother of all demonstrations at this time for this cause? Is the GOE afraid that this demonstration may take a life of its own?
2. The basis for demonstration. The GOE is telling us that the sanction is illegal. They can say, “unfair”, “unjust”, and a “lie”, but they can’t say it was illegal. Fifteen countries that were formed by all the UN members (that included Eritrea), were legally told to watch and judge based on majority votes. The four out of the five that have veto power were for the sanction, and one (China) who could have stopped it from passing decided to be neutral. And majority of the ten remaining also voted for the sanction. Therefore, it is legal and the only way out is to fight it in the World court. Eritrea must appeal and fight back in legal terms, not by telling its citizens to demonstrate. The Eritrean leadership must show some diplomatic ability to convince the world to reverse the ruling. They can’t do it by simply showing some tantrums and unhappy facial expressions.
3. The rule of inclusiveness. When the GOE declared wars, or when they decided how to govern Eritreans, or when decisions were made to the daily livelihood of Eritreans, they did not ask the opinion of its citizens. Eritreans do not count when it comes to their democratic rights, and they are excluded from deciding on what is best for them. Why are they now asking for the participation of all Eritreans in this regard? Respect and Obedience are the two sides of the same coin, and in the same token Disrespect and Disobedience are likewise.
4. The issue of a balanced view. Why is almost the whole world against the Eritrean government? Let’s assume all this sanction is a lie and unfair, but what did the GOE miss to be labeled as such? If it was an accusation from Ethiopia, we can all say, it is an accusation from the enemy. But practically the whole world is against the GOE leadership. Don’t we have the intelligence to ask what the GOE leadership is doing? Shouldn’t we take this to be a time to make them accountable and give us the answer, why the whole world is against them? It is like the whole class scoring a grade of “F”, and blaming the students for the bad grades. Shouldn’t you stop to see what the teacher is doing? It seems to me there are two sides to this same “coin” too, and if we are intelligent and real, we should deal with both of the sides.
5. The victim mentality. If we are not willing to take self-responsibility and don’t have the courage to try to fix our own problems by looking inside, then the only option left is to beg for mercy. The only option left is to go to the UN and plead for kindness. But the world is more structured and there are certain laws that govern its actions (unlike inside Eritrea). Therefore, I choose not to be a victim rather, I would like to be more informed on the issue so that I can appeal and fight back within the rule of law. Demonstrating at this time is a sign of weakness and showing yourself as a victim. Instead our energy should be spent demanding answers for the tough questions like, why is Eritrea singled out as a nation? Did the leaders fail to present Eritrea right on the world platforms? Are our leaders naïve and arrogant? Do our leaders use insults, tantrums and defensive attitudes instead of diplomacy, patience and respectful attitudes as they deal with world leaders?
6. The politics inside Eritrea should influence Eritreans in Diaspora. If Eritreans inside have a right and are being treated with respect and dignity, then our foreign affairs could be said it is for the best interest of the people and for the protection of Eritreans inside. But Eritreans are vulnerable at this time. Eritreans are oppressed and enslaved inside their own country. Because of the unbearable conditions inside, thousands of people are fleeing the country each year. Therefore, accountability should be the first order of the day, and Eritreans in Diaspora should use the democratic rights to demonstrate on behalf of the victims of the GOE; and not to protect and to ease the lives of the very people who are inflicting sufferings on Eritreans.
7. If GOE won’t hear the cry of their people, maybe sanctions will discipline them. Eritreans have been told by the leader of the GOE that democracy and votes may happen in 30 to 40 years. They have been told that GOE knows better and will decide matters of their daily lives. Eritreans are doomed to be ruled by military dictatorship, and there is no hope for change in sight, at least by the current GOE leadership. If the fate of Eritreans is as such, then outside pressure maybe necessary to the leadership to rethink their ways. If the people are cornered, they become desperate, and will do desperate things.
8. I believe sanctions will hurt more to the leadership in Eritrea, than to the people at large. The reason for the movements of the GOE leadership to and fro, and the reason for announcing world-wide call to condemn the sanctions is because they know these sanctions are coming to haunt them and can see the potential of hurting them personally. They don’t care about all the religious men and women who are suffering in jail within Eritrea; they don’t count the freedom of worship they have taken away from the people. They have not given a day in court to those who are in jail, expressed themselves freely in their own country. The merchants at large who want to trade and earn their livelihood don’t count in the country, they are restricted so much they can’t even conduct normal businesses. In general the GOE leadership does not care about the people, otherwise it would have installed the constitution and let the rule of law govern the country. Therefore, sanctions came as a direct hit to the GOE and will do everything to convince us it is all for the country. I don’t believe it.
If as Eritreans we continue to ignore the real enemy, and if we continue to bypass those who are responsible for bringing misery in the country, and if we continue to justify the evil doers and refuse to make them accountable, then change will never come. In fact we will strengthen the evil doers and prolong the suffering of Eritreans. For those and other reasons above, I have elected not to show-up in the demonstration, and not to sign the petition.