Communiqué No. 2, Eritreans for Facilitating National Dialogue (EFND)

Statement of Clarification Regarding Our Mission.

We acknowledge with great appreciation the various encouraging messages of solidarity we have received since we released our first communiqué several months ago. As many of you have expressed in your communications, we agree that further clarification of our mission is warranted to avoid confusion. Our sole aim is to facilitate civilized and constructive dialog among Eritreans to help build a better foundation for Eritrea’s future.

This requires forging a common strategy for a common purpose. So, our mission is to help to narrow the differences in outlook or means of opposition to the repressive regime among various groups in the Eritrean Diaspora community, which share the same or similar objectives. As Sigmund Freud cautioned well over a century ago, the narcissism of minor differences can often become a stumbling block on the road to building mutual trust, confidence, and consensus.  So, overcoming the narcissism of minor differences in politics is the first—and yet crucial-step to building national unity of means and ends.

In our opinion, we have too many civic and political groups who can be more productive if they had a collaborative mind set. Make no mistake. Diversity of ideas is good, but, as recent events and developments in quite a few countries clearly demonstrate, diversity of means, not of objectives, can be distractive and harmful to the cause. In most cases, there are no essential differences of ideas between the various Eritrean groups. Driven by “not invented here” malaise, individuals and groups are often unaware about the similarity of each others’ goals and often engage in acrimonious exchanges that lack civility. In the meantime, the repressive regime in our country continues to take advantage of this political malaise to prolong its stay in power.  As a result, the regime continues to impoverish Eritrea materially, politically, intellectually and spiritually.

Today, the risk is for Eritrea becoming a failed state. The damage the regime has caused is huge, leaving a monumental task for Eritreans inside and outside the country to reverse the situation before it becomes a tittering catastrophe. So, EFND’s mission is to play a role in helping all groups to close their ranks and work together towards a common purpose. EFND strongly believes that reversing the prevailing negative tone in our discourse is a necessary step we need to take to accelerate the change we want to see.

A national conference is one of many ways to get the conversation started. As a facilitator, EFND’s mission is to prepare the platform and set the tone for the conference. While acknowledging the fact that the past has extremely valuable lessons to learn from, EFND calls upon all Eritreans to focus their attention on the present and on the future. Therefore, the primary purpose of the conference is to hammer out a common strategy to help in freeing Eritrea from the grips of a brutal dictatorship, and to shed light on how to fix the monumental mess the regime is leaving behind so that the anticipated transition would be smooth, peaceful, and democratic to solidify the foundation for sustained economic development. We believe that no single political party or organized group is equal to the full task of bringing about change before or after the departure of the dictatorship. Therefore EFND’s mission is to reach out to all political parties, civic associations, groups, individuals, and expatriate friends of Eritrea to help us frame the tremendous task ahead of us.

EFND’s action plan entails the following five tasks.

·         First, in consultation with a wide range of Eritreans from different walks of life, we will prepare a document with provisional proposals, which are intended to help the conference attendees in their dialogue on developing a roadmap showing the direction where we are going and the things we must do to get there.  The document will also outline the steps that must be taken to close ranks among Eritreans, engaged in political or civic organizations, in ways that enable us to establish our organic link with the forces inside Eritrea who bear the brunt of repression and deprivation while battling the dictatorship day and night.

·         The second part of the document will outline the essentials of the transition once the regime is gone. This will include defining the character of the transition phase, and the proposed institutional mechanism to insure success. The document is not for adoption by the conference, but rather to provide a platform for discussion. Also, expatriate friends of Eritrea will be invited to make presentations on what ought to be done before and after the deposition of the dictatorship. We believe that their expert advice, insights, and proposals will offer an unbiased angle to the deliberation.

·         Third, taking into full consideration the importance of diversity in terms of gender, religion and region, we will invite knowledgeable Eritreans to make presentations on the present reality and the nature of the transition.

·         Fourth, representatives of invited political parties and civic organizations will share their views on the two burning questions, namely, the present political environment, and their vision for Eritrea.

·         Finally, taking into account the collective insights emanating from the conference deliberations, a declaration of principles and action plan will be issued. The sequence and details of these events will be further clarified as we approach the date of the national conference. In the meantime, EFND will continue to approach political parties, civic associations, groups, and individuals to collaborate with us in this endeavor. We are at the moment shopping for a venue of the conference, as well as for sponsoring organizations. The cooperation and suggestions of all Eritreans in this endeavor is needed and will be highly appreciated.


To reiterate what was already expressed in our previous communiqué, the aim of our group is NOT to form a new political or civic organization. We are rather an ad hoc group that is solely motivated by a burning desire to facilitate dialogue among all Eritreans in general and among existing political and civic organizations in particular about the daunting challenges that our country is facing. Our overarching aim is to establish a conducive platform for democratic dialogue by organizing meetings, seminars, workshops, and conferences. Our aspirational objective is to work in good faith and in cooperation with all concerned Eritrean political parties, civic associations, and concerned individuals to come up with a working roadmap that can be adopted by all.

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December 9, 2013