George Orwell, the author of “The Animal Farm” wrote a satirical book in 1943, to show the deeds of the tyrants during his life time. One day with the leadership of Napoleon, all the animals revolted. They were upset at their mistreatment by humans. Many said, it is cruel and unjust for humans to use and abuse us for the rest of our lives, and then once we are old and weak they slaughter us and consume us. And many times, they said they love to kill us for meat, even when we are young too. They revolted with a slogan, “Four legs good! Two legs bad” and drove the Jones’s out the “Farm”.
At the beginning most things seem to go right. Napoleon, the king was a Pig. The dogs were his generals and trusted soldiers. When the comrades say or do anything outside their “seven commandments” the dogs howl or bite! The pigeons were the spies. They are even allowed to go outside the Farm. Many of them have left the Farm and never returned. The horses were the workaholic of the society and had no time to be rational. All they did was work long hours every day, and when Napoleon was pleased with them he would allow an extra ration of hays. Whereas, the sheep were not so smart and were loyal followers, who were good at singing whatever was written for them. You should hear them sing the song, all in unison, “Four legs goooood! Two legs Baaaad! . The donkeys, were the passive and uninformed part of the society. Benjamin, the donkey was told to go to school. It took him a few days to learn A, B,C, D. Then he was asked to continue and started to learn E,F,G. He did it, but by the time he Learned the letter G, he forgot A,B,C,D! The cats, were the comfort loving and knew how to live in peace and avoid work. The pigs, were the learned and the leaders of the society. They decide the food rations for the rest of their comrades.
Napoleon, the king of “Animal Farm” was very popular during that time, in fact his followers were nostalgic about him and the prospect for an independent and democratic “Farm” was very high. Napoleon came up with seven commandments, and all the animals were forced to learn and follow them. At first, the animals didn’t seem to be concerned, but later on they began to ask questions and started to get into trouble. The questions they were asking were legitimate and fair questions. For example, commandment #2 states that, “it is prohibited for comrades to sleep in bed”. Napoleon and his deputes started sleeping in beds. The cats, comfort loving as they are, began to ask questions about sleeping in beds. The pigs explained, and said the rule is, “you can’t sleep in bed with sheets”. Oh! Okay! They said, and they were satisfied with the answer, ignoring the modification. The constitution of the “Animal Farm” was changed by Napoleon so much, it was like it never existed. It was no different when the Jones’s were in charge. All of the inhabitants of the “Animal Farm” were completely sanctioned by their leadership.
During the time the Jones were driven from the Animal Farm, Ghana was drafting its democratic cofnstitutional referendum in 1991. Ghana’s leader Mr. Rawlings seemed to have a better understanding of the world around him as compared to His Highness, Napoleon, the king of “Animal Farm”. Mr. Rawlings understood that democracy and implementation of a constitution is a process. It takes time to make it work and he understood it may never be perfect. But he started the democratic process with referendum of a constitution in 1991 and was ratified in 1992. The 1992 constitution divides powers among a President, Parliament, Cabinet, Council of State, and an independent judiciary. In 2009 Ghana is one of the most democratic country with a constitution in Africa. Yes, all political processes are done by votes and is a multiparty country. Yes, Ghanaians vote for their leaders. They vote every four years, they have been successfully voting since 1992. Napoleon, however was given the country in 1991, and he turned it into “An Animal Farm”. The dogs rule! In 1991, 1993 and in 1997 (when the constitution was drafted) Eritreans were hopeful that they would have a democratic process similar to what the Ghanaians had achieved. But pluralism and independent thinking is prohibited in Eritrea.
Unlike the disrespectful and arrogant belief of the “Animal Farm” leader, it is possible to have democracy in Africa. If Ghanaians can vote and have a democratic process, we can have it in Eritrea too. Eritreans do not deserve totalitarian military dictatorial leadership, and we will not rest voicing this until a change for the better is made.
Democratic questions are all simple, fair and just. Why can’t every citizen vote for their leaders? Why can’t we have diversified, competing parties in Eritrea? Why do we have to settle with one man dictatorial rule in Eritrea? Why are people in jail for expressing themselves and exercising their basic rights as citizens in a country? The people had spoken via the draft of the constitution of 1997, how come we have not seen the beginning of the implementation of what the people at large wanted? Why does Eritrea remain one of the poorest countries in the world? The system we have in Eritrea at this time is broken, does not serve the people, is not governed by the rule of law and therefore, is not just and the leaders are not capable of leading the country to bring peace and workable diplomatic solutions.
Shame on those people in the Diaspora, who enjoy the democratic rights of many countries in the world, and yet who knowingly ignore the plight of Eritreans inside the country. It is selfish and self serving not to want your own people in Eritrea also enjoy the same democratic rights that you enjoy daily. You have sold your people for 30 vacation days a year. You have volunteered to be used by the government intentionally in order to enjoy your vacation in Eritrea “peacefully”. I urge you to side with your people who are waiting to hear from you.
I applaud those relentless activists who are fighting for their people. Thank you for freeing those refugees who were trapped in many corners of the world. And thanks to your efforts you have told the stories of those who cannot tell on their own. I appreciate those people who can clearly differentiate good from bad, constructive from destructive and are able verbalize them freely. The freedom of expression in Eritrea is turned-off, and they need people like you to compensate for the lost freedom.
The people of Eritrea are as intelligent as the rest of the world, and given the proper democratic environment they are able to govern themselves and bring peace with the neighbors and rest of the world; they are able to bring economic, intellectual and political development that can compete with the rest of the world, just like Ghanaians are in the process of doing. And the time will come.
Human rights shall flourish. The people of Eritrea will eventually rule. Dictatorship will soon be a thing of the past.