Eritrea: Story of Resiliency and Triumph in the Face of Fire

TegadalitEritrea: Story of Resiliency and Triumph in the Face of Fire

In life, those who fail to understand their blessing are bound to lose everything. Religious experts say that the devil will always try to point out what you are missing instead of the blessings. And it is clearly hard to think about blessings when faced with tremendous challenges and particularly when the challenges are existential in nature as is the case of Eritrea. Those who understand these blessings can deal better with the circumstances they are dealt with. And those that fail to appreciate what Eritrea is blessed with will suffer needlessly to the point of losing their lives unnecessarily.

Eritrea was tried like no other and managed to withstand tremendous challenges. These are challenges that led many countries, once considered invincible, to become failed states ala Libya, Syria and Iraq.

The marriage between the minority regime in Ethiopia and US administration was a perfect one because they both intended to oust the leadership of Eritrea, do away with the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) or Peoples Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), retake Eritrea or mold it in ways that suited their needs. In short, reverse Eritrea’s independence.

To that end, from 1998-2000, with the support of US Ethiopia waged intense wars that took the lives of over 20,000 Eritreans. When that failed, they brazenly declared “No war no peace” asymmetric-warfare designed to slowly render Eritrea a failed state. No stone was left unturned. However, Eritrea managed to uncover their plots, meticulously expose it and eliminated these threats every step of the way. After the war ended in 2000, based on the Algiers peace accord, the UN placed “peacekeeping troops” assigned to monitor the demilitarized zone. Eritreans remember how that turned out. The UN troops tried to act as colonizers and involved themselves on illicit activities including smuggling, human trafficking, spying and pedophilia. Instead of peacekeeping they were provocateurs intent on poking holes at the sovereignty of Eritrea.

The UN learnt the hard-way how independent, adamant and determined Eritreans are in safeguarding their sovereignty and protecting hard won independence. But the machinations continued unabated. An all-out assault on Eritrea’s economy was unleashed; many attempts were made to nullify The Hague international court’s Final-and-Binding border ruling; US administration brazenly attempted to impose a new mechanism to nullify The Hague ruling and failed. Eritrea’s firm and unwavering stand managed to expose their duplicity and ill attempts that aimed to destabilize the nation.
When all these attempts failed to nudge Eritrea, they upped the ante. First attempt, place Eritrea on a list of states that sponsor terror. When US congress rejected it as lie, the Obama administration used the UN to pass punitive measures based on fabrication. To tie Eritrea’s hand and render her defenseless the US pushed hard to sanction Eritrea and placed arms embargo and essentially denied the people of Eritrea the right to self-defense. When that failed to achieve its objective the US then pushed for additional sanctions to decapitate Eritrea’s economy by trying to deny income from mining.
The assault by the west aided by Ethiopia was unrelenting. Assassination attempts, inciting civil unrest, attempted coup, pressing youth to revolt, incentivizing-youth flight, sabotage, encouraging dissent, corruption, currency manipulation and the list goes on, and failed.

Minds and Hearts of Steel
During a 2000 Interview with Voice of Eritrea DC, the-then General, now Mining Minister Sebhat Efrem made some remarkable statements that resonated. He said,

“It is natural for nations to go through various internal and external challenges. Nations that fail to overcome these challenges however, will fail. Eritrea will face these challenges in various forms and that we must overcome as there is no other option. If there is a crack in the boat it will sink. Eritrea is like a boat and the enemies’ main goal is to create a crack and we must ensure that the Eritrean boat will not rack. Or, if there is a small droplet of blood from a splinter of a finger, all the fish in the sea will clamor to nibble at you and kill you. Hence we must ensure that we do not bleed and invite the sharks.”

The quoted statements above reveal a mindset. It reveals a heart-of-steel and expresses what it takes to survive. And once out of the survival stage-what it takes to persevere onto the next stage to live life to the fullest as a nation. This is a mindset that the struggle for independence bestowed upon the people and leaders of Eritrea. As a result, independent thinking, self-reliance and a-can-do attitude is serving Eritrea well. And the independent path Eritrea follows today is investment for future generations to enjoy.
Eritrea is an enigma to the foreign eye. Many are confused by Eritrea. They don’t understand what is taking place in Eritrea. It is new, complicated and sophisticated. Those who follow Africa have witnessed country after country going through cycles of unrest and downward trajectory that degraded the security and stability of these countries substantially. Many are failing.

To the contrary, despite of all the ill attempts on the very sovereignty of Eritrea the people and government are managing to withstand and reverse the trajectory. Eritrea showed unprecedented resilience and how to stand and triumph against active and passive forces. They have thrown everything including the kitchen-and-bathroom sinks and failed. They waged wars and when that failed they embarked on asymmetric warfare with highest levels of sophistication. They amassed the European Union and directed them to direct hostilities against Eritrea. They targeted youth and  failed

Wefri

From Struggle To Struggle

Many wagered Eritrea to fail six months after minority TPLF regime in Ethiopia unleashed reckless wars on the people of Eritrea. After Eighteen years it is obvious their calculations were false.

If one is to look at the prevailing peace and the development activities taking place in Eritrea vis-à-vis the region namely Yemen, Djibouti, South Sudan, Egypt and particularly Ethiopia, countries the West babied with utmost care, are barely hanging for dear life. This shows that Western agendas have failed failing the countries that they propped.
On the other hand, Eritrea, a nation they sanctioned, shunned, sentenced to death, denied her rights to self-defense etc. managed to rebuff their machinations with unprecedented resoluteness. Eritrea is at a unique stage on a path towards major success. On a recent Eritrean gathering in Washington DC Ambassador Girma Asmerom said,

“There are three key points that those who know Eritrea know very well. A) Eritrea is rich with unlimited resources. Fish alone can sustain our economy. B) Eritrea is in one of the most strategic waterways of the world on the Red Sea. C) The most important resource of Eritrea is her people.”

Recent developments pertaining to the Saudi led coalition against terror that Eritrea is a part of is the best example of Eritrea’s resilience-based success. Eritrea is the pillar of the coalition. As ambassador Girma said, Eritrea is one of the most important strategic locations of the world and as such one of the most coveted diplomatic and strategic partner in the region.

The absent-minded minority clique in Ethiopia aided by its ill-informed misguided handlers thought that they can lever Eritrea as a bargaining chip indefinitely while offering nothing else in return. They called it “No war and No Peace”. They believed occupying Eritrean territories, applying pressure and using continuous threat of force can ward-off investors and strategic-partners indefinitely. However, the path they designed to control the fate Eritrea turned out to be futile miscalculation. Look at the state of Ethiopia today, it is on the verge of total collapse.

Understanding Eritrea’s Blessings
When everything around Eritrea is shaking Eritrea is standing firm. Eritrea is surrounded by nations that are on shaky grounds. Yet, Eritrea showed that the foundation is anchored deep and that it is unshakeable.

Just yesterday, Yemen, Ethiopia and Sudan made a pact to encircle Eritrea and suffocate her from existence. How are they doing now? Sudan was split in to two. Yemen is leaderless and in chaos. Ethiopia is on the verge of collapse.

Hence the prevailing peace that many take for granted is what people in many countries pray for. The people of Eritrea enjoy tremendous peace. Peace is the key ingredient to success. Of course, the hardship imposed on the people by outside pressure is not easy. However, the people have chosen to persevere, understanding that the future is bright. They have been through this under much worse conditions.

Preserving Valuable Freedom
Freedom is not free. To ensure freedom Eritrea paid and is paying dearly. Because the mental freedom, freedom from dependency and freedom to choose their destiny is empowering the people to build a future of their own making. The greatest gift of the struggle for independence of Eritrea is that it freed Eritrea from mental slavery.
Eritreans are truly free.

How can Eritreans ensure the preservation of this valuable freedom? How to enjoy freedom born from sacrifices? How can Eritrea take it to a level that all her children can enjoy long term in peace and harmony as one? The first thing is to recognize what you have. Secondly, be grateful of what you have. Based on that one can work on adding onto the blessings.

As Eritrea embarks on the 25 years of independence, recognizing that Eritrea stood as one under extremely difficult circumstances is empowering. Eritrea has defeated her enemies and fought a war of attrition against the lords of war and emasculated their venom. Hence, Eritreans must learn from the past 25 years and use it as inspiration to look forward for the next 25 years. If Eritrea can achieve this much under duress; what will Eritrea achieve in the next 25 after defeating a mortal enemy, laying solid foundation and platform. Only sky is the limit.

Conclusion
Eritrea is a tried and proven country without a doubt. The enemies and their minions that pretend to be Eritrean have exhausted all means and resources and they are dropping like flies. The question that every Eritrean needs to ask is what role I can play to ensure a bright future.

What Eritrea needs is simple. Eritrea needs her people to safeguard her sovereignty, build the social and physical infrastructure. Eritrea needs her people to understand that they need to remain united always and grow within their communities no matter where. They need to build their communities for the benefit of future generation. Eritrea needs her people to sell and promote Eritrea. Eritrea needs her people to buy Eritrea, promote their culture, music, clothing, food, products and services. Eritrea needs her people to maintain the image of gallantry and fight those that that try to sally the name. Eritrea needs her people to fight for her existence and prosperity with all their might, all the time.
For their honor
Awet N-Hafash Hizbi Eritrea

Photos Courtesy Ghideon Musa Aron  

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Eritrea Foiling Wars by Other Means

Eritrea Foiling Wars by Other Means
Amanuel Biedemariam

The Tigrayan Minority apartheid regime is crumbling, falling- apart and is at the precipice of total annihilation. That is welcome news for the people of Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Eritrea.

Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) betrayed Eritrea. Betting on the fall of government of Eritrea and with the support of their western handlers, the late master-traitor in-chief Meles Zenawi was on a quest to destroy Eritrea once and for all.

In 1999, while waging senseless war and mass deportation, the ruthless genocidal Meles Zenawi, when asked about the deportation of Eritreans bragged,

“When we say go because we don’t like the color of your eyes, you must go.” And proceeded with heinous acts throughout his reign.

The Tigrayan minority regime is responsible for the lives of over 20,000 youth. The TPLF waged successive wars that lasted three years and internally displaced nearly one million Eritreans. The TPLF robbed Eritrean businesses and forcefully deported 80,000 Eritreans from their homes in Ethiopia in a manner designed to humiliate and demean them. And so on…

Eritrea foiled successive military campaigns and frustrated the regime and its sponsors. And as time went on, Tigrayan minority clan realized conventional war alone was not going to defeat Eritrea. Thence, Meles recycled methods his predecessors used. Divide, weaken and rule. Meles pulled all stops to accomplish regime change and to control Eritrea. His favorite move, try to elevate Eritrean quisling league, make them feel relevant and give them marching orders. He invited them to Menelik Palace to give orders that they follow to this day. One by one these traitors took pictures with genocidal war-criminal that brutalized mothers, kids and families.

Meles’s approach was a saving grace to the treasonous lost-souls like Tesfaldet Meharena, Amaniel Iyasu, and the Awate fundamentalist extremist-klan Salih G-hadi who like to pursue TPLF’s agenda. Eritrea divided by region, ethnicity, politics and religion.

One message Meles wanted to send Eritreans is that they are welcome back to Ethiopia to regain properties he took. And he exploited these traitors to pass-on this message. And slowly, some greedy, immoral, irresponsible, traitors started to go to Addis Ababa to reclaim their property.

Meles’s next move was Eritrean youth. He expanded his message to encourage youth flight from inside Eritrea. This is another assault on Eritrea. Countless Eritrean youth were displaced with false promises. Kids were wooed by speedy asylum promise in Europe and North America. They enticed thousands of kids to flee their homes and fell prey to TPLF’s human trafficking rings.

The Tigrayan clan did all they can to destroy Eritrea. The amount of resources wasted, time spent hatching ill strategies, time spent lobbying/bullying African leaders, time lost colluding with western powers and money spent could have changed Ethiopia and the region for better. The crowning achievement of the TPLF is the sanction they colluded with Susan Rice to pass.

Every Eritrean must ask what were the purposes of the sanction? What did they want to achieve?

Sanctions are designed to be the worst forms of death sentence. It is slow painful death. It is designed to tear apart nations piece by piece. It is designed to frustrate people and encourage them to rise against their leaders and governments. It is designed to decimate institutions. It is hostile act designed to weaken and render nations defenseless. That is what arms embargo mean. It is a declaration of war. It is continuation of the war. It is not designed to help or bring better future for any nation. It is war by other means.
Think about the size of army Eritrea is forced to deploy on the border with Ethiopia and Djibouti. Think about length of time the youth are forced to spend in Asab, in the heat. Think about the money that Eritrea is forced to spend on the military. Think about the economic hardship, the banking restrictions the sanctions brought on the system. Think about lost-opportunities to develop tourism; industrial development opportunities curtailed as result, shortages of electricity and water people are forced to endure. Think about medicine, education etc.

In short Eritrea was blocked from conducting trade. The arms embargo denies Eritrea the right to self-defense. The sanction denied Eritrea from conducting regular international business and banking related activities. And since the arms embargo uses broad language and parameters, it is impossible to determine what constitutes ARMS. Worse yet, countries have no recourse or ways to get justice or fight the sanctions. Lynching by other means.

The government and people of Eritrea knew this. On a recent seminar in Washington DC, His Excellency Foreign Minister Osman Saleh told Eritreans, “We bought machinery for developmental projects and we are not able to get delivery because many countries are afraid to violate the sanction.” Hence, machinery designed to better lives are not available for the people.

However, Eritrea weathered these challenges with balance. In one hand defending, and on the other building future under extreme duress. If there is one word that describe Eritrea over the last 19 years, it is RESILIENCE. The people of Eritrea showed unprecedented level of patience, determination, doggedness and resilience.
The brilliance of Eritrea was demonstrated slowly but surely. Eritrea managed to weaken all enemies and the tools they used against her. The minority clique is in its death bed on respirator as a result. Suddenly, countries that used the Tigrayan Minority clique as a tool/stick, namely Washington and western partners found, their hands to be ineffective and agendas they used against Eritrea backfired.

Shifting Trajectories                                                                                                                         The minority Tigrayan regime in Ethiopia is no longer what Western powers intended it to be. Washington worked hard to make Ethiopia anchor state to direct its agendas in the region and beyond. Washington wanted to use Ethiopian army as extension to of US army. However, today, it is clear to US representatives, State Department and the Pentagon; working its agenda through the minority regime will not bear fruit. Washington is clear about this now.

The TPLF is mired in internal power struggle. Aa result, some are leaving the party, some got demoted and accusations of corruption against high ranking officials such as Bereket Simon persist. The regime is faced with internal crisis creating fear about the future.
For example, on October 6, Brigadier General Melaku Shiferaw who came to the US for global security coalition against ISIS absconded and asked for asylum in the US. This is high ranking army officer US military depended-on to fight ISIS and the war on terror. This could-not give American military leaders confidence because it is an indicator of much larger rift within the regime’s military.

As the uprising gain-momentum and strength, the minority apartheid regime is losing grip. Money is running out faster than they can count. Hard currency in Ethiopia is none existent. The country is forced to sell sugar at a loss to Kenya to acquire hard currency. Foreign investors are forced to flee because their investments are burning. Turkey, China, India and others are losing investments in areas of protests. TPLF is losing control of the nation as it is unable to protect international investments. This demonstrate government’s inability to control the nation.

Worse yet, the biggest investor in Ethiopia, Mohammed Al Amoudi is in Saudi jail for corruption. On a recent piece, “Sheik Mohamed Al Amoudi Arrest in Saudia and its Implications to Ethiopia,” Nov 5, 2017, this author penned,

“It is the biggest disruption that the TPLF has ever seen. It is disruption that will destroy the banking system. The vast sums of money he controlled worked as engine for many sectors of the country’s economy and way of life. It is certain all his money was controlled by him and the TPLF cannot and will not have access to it. As a result, shortage of hard currency will worsen. Secondly, Al Amoudi has vast array of services and hundreds of thousands of employees that work for him in agriculture, Agro-processing, educating and training, plastic/ product, building, construction, metal work, mining, transportation, retail, management, health system to mention some. These are institutions with extensive spin-off effect in the economies of the regions they operate. These are institutions that directly affect the way the country operates. The arrest of Al Amoudi is therefore certain to disrupt the flow of these institutions immediately because the controller of the money is Al Amoudi. Disruption of money-flow will undoubtedly be immediate, and it will impact payroll and operations. That means Midroc-Ethiopia, Al Amoudi’s conglomerate in Ethiopia will disintegrate. In other words, the people that work for him will soon find themselves unemployed.”

Money is also running out because Europe is facing internal political and economic hardship. And the policies they pursued became a major reason for the influx of refugees that created instability in many parts of Europe. As a result, and due to continuous human rights violations by the Ethiopia regime, Europe is not as generous as they once were.

Tigrayan Minority Clique’s Moves Debunked
In 1998-2000, when the TPLF waged wars against Eritrea, it managed to turn Ethiopian people against Eritrea. Today, the minority clique is being hunted by the people of Ethiopia who want to cooperate with Eritrea. The army is divided. High-level government officials and military officers are defying the regime publicly and defecting. These are the realities in Ethiopia today.

The minority Tigrayan clique tried to manage the army and Ethiopian affairs by applying divide and rule tactic. They tried to destroy nationalism by employing federal system designed to divide. TPLF created satellite political parties based on ethnic identities. TPLF established loyal satellite businesses and administrative personnel that serve its needs.

These corrupt personalities have acted as thermostat to control situations throughout the nation. They are there to inform, advise, bribe, appease, threaten, kill or an anything they deemed necessary to maintain the status quo.
After 26 years of abuse, Ethiopians have said enough and have learned to fight it. They are burning businesses, factories and trucks and have placed the agents on notice further diminishing the reach TPLF enjoyed for a while.

TPLF’s agenda in Somalia failed. TPLF invaded Somalia for temporary gain at the expense of the future of the region. It helped mess up Somalia. The crimes against humanity the genocidal regime committed is biblical in proportion with lasting sting.
In South Sudan the regime made a mess of US-agenda and helped it descend to chaos and civil war.

The only saving grace the regime has is Sudan. Omar Hassan al-Bashir is the only strategic partner that it can rely on.

The TPLF once used the UN, UNSC and EU, it exploited African Union (AU) headquarters to do its bidding. With help of Susan Rice and others the TPLF managed to embed its agendas and did damage.

However, today, shifting alliances in the Middle East, war in Yemen, the election of Donald Trump and other developments have changed the geopolitical dynamics and made the Tigrayan minority regime irrelevant.

This historic momentum is pushing Washington to reassess its policies and change course not only in Ethiopia but the region. It is a moment in history when policies of EU and other countries are shifting drastically.

Thus, Tigray Peoples Liberation Front, EPRDF’s rule in Ethiopia can-no longer assert its authority, be effective diplomatically, maintain trade relations, keep its fiscal house in order, contain and sustain institutions of the country.

The TPLF did not cultivate nationalism. It cultivated ethnic nationalism. And naturally, the military reflects the makeup of the nation. The apartheid TPLF regime is from Tigray, a region that represent 6% of Ethiopia’s 100,000, 000 population. Yet, 95% of the command post is controlled by individuals from Tigray. No one Ethiopian considers the army to be the representative of the nation. It is not Ethiopian army. Hence, TPLF cannot wage wars with army it cannot manage confidently. It is mercenary military that works for global powers in the name of Ethiopia. Exiled Ethiopian air force pilot was quoted as saying,

“If I die while serving TPLF, I died as mercenary not as Ethiopian soldier!”

The TPLF waged sustained military campaigns against Eritrea and failed. It has done all it can to topple the leadership and failed. The TPLF has long acknowledged No War No Peace strategy failed. Sanctions and all the subversive activities have failed and backfired. It is desperate for a way out. And to find solutions it has been meeting in Tigray for over a month.

Eritrea remains their focal point. The Tigrayan clique still believes, if they can somehow inflict damage and topple Eritrea, all their woes disappear. But the only option left, is trying to create division between Eritreans by any means necessary. To that end, and as a last-ditch effort, multi-pronged strategy to attack the unity and harmony of Eritrea is currently at play.

On one hand, TPLF is campaigning for the hearts and minds of Eritreans. While on the other, TPLF is actively funding, arming extremist religious groups, exploiting few regionalists and pressing for more sanctions to push its agendas.
They have targeted Eritrean culture and music to disarm Eritreans in the diaspora. To that end, TPLF is recruiting Eritrean musicians to play alongside Ethiopians. Social media is abuzz with Eritrea Ethiopia peace messages. They are actively courting Eritrean students in universities all around US and Canada to create “Habasha” Abyssinia grouping.

But can these approaches succeed? How can they expect Eritreans to forget what the Tigrayan minority apartheid clique has done? How can they expect Eritreans to forget, 20,000 dead? How can they expect to win friendship while they are actively trying to extend sanctions designed to hurt Eritreans?

Concluding Remarks                                                                                                                      War by other means is psychological-warfare, economic-warfare, it is war against culture and nationalism. The TPLF employed all its resources and played zero-sum game that it has no chance of winning. In the process, inflicted unnecessary suffering in the region. Today, biggest problem Ethiopia and the region face is the TPLF and its stubborn desire to continue this path.

Tigrayan minority apartheid clique is desperate because they are staring at the open gates of hell. Their grip is long-gone. They have lost control, no money, no geopolitical leverage except the mercenary military that brutalizes people. Even the TPLF agents in the diaspora are in hiding because people are exposing those who received asylum with false statements as Eritreans.

Eritrea is on the other hand, is on a much better path. The hardest and most difficult sting of all their attempts are behind her. Electrification, water resources, agriculture, education, medicine and all the campaigns designed to place Eritrea on a path of development are in place. The foundation for growth and the platform for the future are laid with Eritrean ingenuity and might.

Peace is the only viable option. Hence, all affected must work together to rid of this vermin.
Awetnayu@hotmail.com
Continue reading “Eritrea Foiling Wars by Other Means”

Eritreans in New York

Eritreans gather to welcome their president, Eritreans in New York

 

 

October 3, 2011,

By Amanuel Biedemariam,
There are not enough words to describe what transpired on September 25, 2011 in New York City before, during and after the gathering with His Excellency President Isaias Afwerki.

The festive-charged environment was indescribable and the event was a smashing success. The number of Eritreans who came in droves covered the gamete. Florida   drove eighteen, Minnesota over 21 hours, Chicago 14 and Grand Rapids Michigan drove over ten hours. From Edmonton Canada people drove for two days and Toronto drove for over ten hours. People drove from everywhere. Those that flew in from the West-Coast and Europe came to Washington DC and boarded onto buses to New York with those that gathered in DC from everywhere.

It will be disingenuous to discount logistical problems people encountered on the way to New York but once they were loaded-and-ready, everyone was happy and enjoyed the ride. People partied all the way to New York. They laughed, danced to patriotic songs that played inside the busses.

We started boarding about 3 a.m. and arrived in New York about 9 a.m. which is considered good time for a trip from DC to New York. When we arrived, we were greeted by long-lines of Eritrean crowd trying to get-in to see the president. The crowd covered many blocks of New York city creating a traffic nightmare.

It was serene to be received by crowds of Eritreans adorned with colorful Eritrean flags and dressed in traditional outfits that beautified the glorious New York city. They accorded New York grace and dignity unmatched by any. These Eritreans were smart and conducted themselves with unmatched civility because they understood the magnitude of the event and it mean a lot to ensure a safe and successful event.

The weather was calm and cloudy as we arrived. We hurried to get out of the busses to join the crowd. The people I came with all joined the long lines and I found my station in the media section.

From that point-on, I was oblivious to what was taking place outside as cell phones and computers were-not allowed for security reasons so we did not have a way to communicate with the outside. My focus was inside and the assigned job.

The event had so many moving parts readily visible. The stage was graceful and fitting. The stage was designed  by volunteers who did a great job setting stage worthy of the moment. The mood was festive. The security was tight making it difficult to move once you are inside because movements were restricted.

When the president arrived, the hall was raucous with greetings that lasted a while. And after a brief exchange of greetings, the President and his delegates got seated on the front and program details were read by the organizers.

As is customary, the program started with a moment of silence to remember Martyrs accompanied by graceful saxophonist Eritrean veteran musician Tesfamariam. Soon thereafter, the EriAm Sisters sung Eritrean national anthem adding flavor to a memorable event.

Amidst cheers of welcome that emanated from deep feelings of happiness, after the crowd cheered and showed much they missed him and expressed deep love, the president and the delegates were lead to the stage and sat for the seminar.

President Isaias’s presence was grand. He occupied the seat with grace and comfort. It was incredible moment for Eritreans to witness their beloved hero seated in front of them. The President was beaming with a glow of happiness that filled the hall. There are thousands of pictures that showed the grandiosity and beauty of the moment and the presence. However, there exist no picture that can describe the feelings and the happy expressions in the hall.

I sat close enough where I can see the action closer than many. However, the whole event appeared like a dream and passed way-quicker especially relative to the time that passed to prepare and travel for the event

This event was by far the most significant even more than the February 22,  2010 demonstration against sanctions Eritreans held around the world. Because in this occasion Eritreans wanted to send clear message to the world. The messages were loud and clear for all to see and bare witness to. It was saying loudly that Eritrea is in the house in New York City, hitting New York like lightning. It said Eritrea is one, dedicated, unwavering, unperturbed and will persevere to victory. It said, Eritrea is one with President Isaias Afwerki. It said we love Eritrea.

The event showed Eritreans are patient, disciplined and resilient. It showed that Eritreans speak with one voice, the same tone everywhere and all the time.

When I first approached the crowd greeting people and finding my way, I bumped into a Caucasian approximately six feet two in height. I said, “excuse me” and I realized the man had communication equipments in his hand. Not sure what he was doing, I asked, “what are you doing? he replied, “I am a reporter from Expressen.” Expressen…? I asked. He said it is a Swedish Newspaper. I asked what he was doing and he replied I came to film this event. And I asked him what his impression was? He said, I am surprised…I thought I was going to see more on this side not the other. He was saying it in a surprised and, disappointed tone.

Evidently, he came with a predetermined idea to film President Isaias embarrassed by thousands of demonstrators. Instead, he learned the truth about Eritrea and learned first hand that Eritreans are one with the President.

That is one message that reverberated sending shockwaves to detractors and enemies. That is the message Eritreans wanted to send loud and clear to the world, the State Department and, the stooge-agents of the criminal junta in Ethiopia that were parading as Eritreans. It is a message of solidarity. It is an answer to those who wanted to weaken Eritrea systematically by targeting one specific strength, unity . They delivered the message in New York City where Ambassador Rice can see clearly that President Isaias Afwerki and Yemane Ghebreab are the people. There is no way to extricate any Eritrean from another for whatever reason. Eritreans are one with one-voice and, that is the message those who traveled millions of miles-collectively wanted to send and sent it loudly and clearly.

There was not a whole lot of new information that His Excellency divulged. One of the first things that he said was that; ten years may have elapsed since I last saw you but you were never far away from me. That is expression of affection. And the feeling was mutual. Because nearly every question that people asked was accompanied by expressions of support and praises for his bravery. However, there were a lot of memorable statements that he made.

He referred to those who went to Addis as ‘nefseher‘ meaning they are none but dead souls walking. He acknowledged that there is exploration for oil. He said that there is not much any one can do to us if we are united. He said that all the lies the Weyane clique spewed over the years are exposed. He said it is opportune moment for Eritreans to engage at the UN. He said that the highlight of his trip was his meeting with his people.

The audience asked many penetrating questions and the answers were satisfying. One young woman said, all issues in Eritrea are being addressed adequately. How about human rights?

He answered, “I have been fighting  for human rights for over forty years.” The primary focus in Eritrea is and remains, to ensure that the basic needs of Eritreans are met. That is the number one focus. He emphasized that Eritrea does not tolerate human right abuse at the government level and we have mechanisms in place to prevent abuse by the private sector as well.

He also said that a great deal of effort is exerted and, steps are in place to get the Diaspora involved in development efforts of the nation. Eritrea is shifting to a higher gear  toward development. And if we are going to succeed in achieving the outlined objectives for 2012-2013, we need to make sure the concerns of Diaspora Eritreans are addressed. Regarding the border, he said, it will, in due time. Moreover, he stressed that we need to focus on what we are doing to develop Eritrea.

It was incredible to witness the harmony, affection and support the public showed President Isaias. The people did not come there to find out any thing new. They did not travel to demand anything from the President. They just showed up to show support.

After the President left the Manhattan Center, I briefly spoke to Dr. Berhe Habtegiorgis and asked him what his observations revealed. His reply captured the moment precisely. I still remember his focus, enthusiasm and the exuberant tinkle in his eyes as he said, “The world can not understand or believe what just transpired because it is in complete contradiction to what is taking place all around the globe!”

I was dead-tired barely able to open my eyes but,  as soon as the President arrived the energy and excitement took over and managed to communicate on Facebook with Eritreans all over the world that were eager to be part of it any way they can.

Afterward, I was excited to reconnect, to talk about what transpired  with my wife and friends that traveled with me. I asked with excitment, “did you have fun…?”

I saw dazed gaze of disappointment. I saw teary-eyes. And heard, we didn’t get in.

I melted. You didn’t see the President? I shouted? No.

They said,  “We did not see him. We didn’t even see him leave as we were expecting him to come on that side and he came out on the back.”

Very few people saw him. Who else did not get in? I found out nearly all the people that came with me didn’t get-in along with over 2,000 people. Apparently, President Isaias knew large size crowd was unable to get in. As a result, he expressed his disappointment by saying “I thought the City of New York was a big city with bigger venues.”

We were all tired beyond expression. We wer hungry and sleepy from travelling all night but captured by the moment and surprised by the fact that thousands could not get in. We knew there were people that were not able to get in but we did not know the size. I was disappointed but, as I spoke with those that did not get-in, my feelings started to change dramatically.

The sadness that I felt turned into pride. I begun to understand the resolve and satisfaction that they felt. My friend Haile said,

“Don’t get me wrong, I would have loved to have been inside and enjoy the moment but, the purpose of my journey was to give support, show solidarity with my President and I have accomplished that regardless where I was. And, I am satisfied.”

Every story that I heard was more uplifting than the other. A father with his four grown children came from California, paying thousands and said that he was proud to have been there even if he was not able to get in. A group from Grand Rapids Michigan were very popular because they kept the mood very uplifted by singing  “Masse” (a form of traditional rap) entertaining the crowd. A family that came from Edmonton Canada after driving two days, a family that drove from Florida and unable to get in expressed the same feeling of satisfaction. Those that did not get in were there without rest, food and water for over six hours. They stood with disciplined. NYPD were wowed by patience and cooperation.

The organizers were faced with logistical nightmares considering the short notice, the security considerations, the uncertainties and the distance they had to deal with. The list of details that they needed to sift through, the coordinating efforts were nightmarish. But it turned-out beautifully and there were many reasons why it succeeded.

Firstly, it is because Eritreans are very organized, can mobilize fast and in greater numbers. They travel distances for their nation any time and anywhere. That is due to years of experience and organizational structures that were formed during days of the struggle for liberation. For example, in February of 2010 Eritreans successfully organized large demonstrations to oppose the illegal sanction levied by the US against Eritrea.

Secondly, it is because Eritrea takes center stage in the life of every Eritrean in ways unseen anywhere. Eritreans sing, dance, laugh, cry, wed and talk Eritrea every single second. Eritreans think and talk Eritrea all the time. Eritreans live for Eritrea. Eritreans are aware and educated about their country. They are cognizant of all the threats, the challenges and opportunities. And they know how to fight and make use of the opportunities presented to them. This is one occasion that Eritreans seized like there is no tomorrow.

Conclusion
There are moments that change lives and take place once in a while. This occasion was one of those moments. There were many heads of states that gathered in New York for the same UN conference President Isaias attended. But, none were received with the passion and enthusiasm. No one received the kind of welcome President Isaias received from his people. None of them came to demand or complain; they came to support and show solidarity.

It has been a while, since there has been a concerted effort made to demonize President Isaias and give inaccurate picture about Eritrea. There has been many hysterical noises made by handful opportunists.

It was exposed on Sunday 25 September that they truly are the walking dead (nefseher) as the President called them.

Eritreans came with a purpose united in a vision in a surreal environment making indescribable spiritual connection with each other and their president.

President Isaias embraced the moment and gracefully delivered unscripted speech from the heart in a presidential setting confidently. The journey was tough and long but joyous and historic. The sacrifices made were all worth it because, in the process and in the moment, we affirmed to each other that we are all Eritreans in a mission to express that we are one, “Eritrean in New York” in support of our nation and President!
Indeed “Hade hzbi, Hade libi”!

Ethiopia: A Defining Moment for the People of Tigray

Amanuel Biedemariam

05 December 2010,

For a while, many Tigrayans, some openly and some behind the curtains, have been ripping some benefits from the tyrannical Meles regime unashamedly, boldly and with impunity. They are benefiting at the expense of all Ethiopian ethnic groups in many ways in the name of Tigray. Why this issue warrants an attention is the fact that they are benefiting more than any ethnic group; while claiming to be Ethiopians. But most importantly, they are doing it at the expense of the people in the region be it Ethiopians, Somalis, Eritreans or The Sudanese and in many ways.

It is ironic that the genocidal tyrant Meles Zenawi repeatedly cried Interhamwe when the Voice of America broadcasted reports that he didn’t like. While that rant was an effort to rebuff pressures from his Western masters; in reality, the resentment, which is building up on Tigrayans continues. It is, therefore, possible for the majority of Ethiopians to lash out in ways that are unpredictable and downright genocidal. That is the brutal truth. It is recent history that unexpected events led to the most horrific genocide of our time in Rwanda when the Hutus’ killed 800,000 to 1,000,000 Tutsis’ in a short period of time. While there is no history of enmity amongst the various ethnic nationalities of Ethiopia at the level of Hutus’ and Tutsis; they have not lived a harmonious coexistence either. It is also worth noting that what caused the genocide in Rwanda could not have been expected to create such a historic holocaust in Africa. The genocide was sparked by the death of the Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, when his plane was shot down.

The question, are Ethiopians resenting Tigrayans? And, what can Tigrayans do to change that resentment?

The resentment stems from the fact that Tigrayans are in power with full control of the economy, military, information, political and everything else in between. To deny that, is to deny reality. Ethiopia, since 1991, has been and is still being controlled by an ethnic minority clique from Tigray. The amount of monies, material wealth and the resources under the control of these Tigrayans is simply put, insane. They have gotten extremely rich simply by the sheer advantage of occupying the Menelik Palace provides. It accords them unchecked diplomatic prowess and political cover from any PR attacks around the world. In addition, control of the military gives them almost impenetrable power-base from which to control the nation and its agendas regionally and internationally.

In fact, prior to the election of 2010 that brought a nominal reshuffle of the cabinet, on June of 2009, Gunbot 7 and other major Ethiopian organizations released a list of names in Senior Command Posts in the Ethiopian army. And listed General SamoraYunus, Chief of Staff, Lt. General Tadesse Worede Training Department, Lt. General Geazi Abera Logistics Department, Brg. General Gebredela Military Intelligence Department, Lt. General GebreEgziabiher Operations Department, Lt. General Berhane Negash, Engineering Department, and Brg. General Mola Haile Mariam air force are all from Tigray. Throughout the entire army, 98% of the core-leadership groups are Tigrayans. They also exposed the systemic domination of Ethiopia in all sectors of the government including agriculture, transportation and all other government ventures.

tplf-celebration-tigray

This is the reality of Ethiopia today and many have written about it ad-nauseam and Ethiopians know that is the case. However, they are unable to do anything about it. In 2005, the election they thought could bring change, served as tragic transitional point in Ethiopian history. It defined a new Ethiopia with uncertain future and direction. It destroyed the vision Ethiopians have had for their country – at least temporarily. It generated unnecessary suspicion on each other and a period of unease. Unfortunately, that has not changed one-bit since 2005. In fact, the tension is building up with Ethiopians wondering; if the Tigrayans truly believe that they can go on like this indefinitely. It is a political and societal conundrum for Ethiopians who are vehemently incensed about the ruling clique yet, always cognizant that their words and actions could likely ignite unnecessary tension with Tigrayans. They were afraid that Tigrayans could be forced into a bunker mentality if they believed they are ganged up on. According to Human Rights Watch,

Ethiopia is a de facto one-party state masquerading as a democracy. Its ruling party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), permeates the state and goes to great lengths to ensure citizens’ political loyalty. In parliamentary elections in May 2010, the EPRDF won 99.6% of the seats. In local elections in 2008 it won more than 99% of the vote.

Moreover, there is a definite resentment because Ethiopians are-not convinced the Tigrayans, ruling the country by force, are Ethiopian nationalists. Because before they came to power in 1991, they fought for the rights of the people of Tigray -with the idea of creating Greater Tigray (Abbay Tigray) in mind. This is documented on their Tigray-manifesto of 1976. In fact, Ethiopians are convinced the idea behind article 39 is a ploy designed to give the clique and in effect the people of Tigray the possibility of seceding from Ethiopia if they choose.

Article 39 gives all Ethnic groups in Ethiopia a “Right” to be break away from the union. It states”

“The right to self-determination up to secession of nation, nationality and peoples may be exercised: where, the demand for secession is approved by a two-thirds (2/3rds) majority of the legislature of the nation; where, the Federal Government within three years upon receipt of the decision of the legislature of the nation, nationality or people demanding secession, organizes a referendum for the nation, nationality or people demanding secession; where, the demand for secession is supported by a simple majority vote in the referendum and where, the Federal Government transfers power to the parliament of the nation, nationality or people who has opted for secession.”

Under this arrangement the TPLF clique could claim, they respect the rights of all ethnic groups while giving themselves opportunities to become independent at any given time legally at a time of their choosing. To emphasize its meaning, one can look at a statement that articulates; “If the demand for secession is approved by a two thirds (2/3rds) majority of the legislature of the nation, any ethnic group can secede.” That means, Meles can order the handpicked rubber stamp parliament to vote for secession and Tigray will become independent. This is a clear example on how Ethiopia can break apart.

Furthermore, the Tigrayan minority clique stands-out for their history and propensity for merciless brutality. They have committed genocides in Gambella, Ogaden and Somalia. Countless have lost lives in Southern part of Ethiopia and everywhere in the country. Their human rights records are atrocious by all standards. The sense of instability and insecurities that permeate throughout every aspect of Ethiopian life is palpable. That is now compounded by massive land-leasing program they have embarked on displacing millions under the guise of development. They have created an environment that is full of pressure and can explode in uncontrollable ways difficult to contain once unleashed.

The Tigrayan minority clique has reached a point of hubris that is unparalleled. Leading up to the sham election of 2010, The Human Rights Watch documented some instances of the withholding of donor-funded food aid from families with malnourished, hungry children on the basis of political affiliation. On November 29 William Davison of Bloomberg reported the Ethiopian government has relocated about 150,000 people in the eastern Somali region in the past five months. The VOA and others reported; Meles Zenawi is forcibly uprooting million Ethiopians in the Gambela, Afar, Ogaden, and Benishangul regions from their land. This is consistent with the story The BBC reported accusing the TPLF of using Aid funds for arms. In simple terms the crimes of the Tigrayn clique is beyond redemption. They are getting their way by using every dirty trick under their sleeves to the detriment of the people of Ethiopia and the region. In Ogaden they quarantined the entire population and isolated Ogadenis from the rest of the world denying them access to everything. Under the guise of fighting terrorism and development they are destroying lives and a way of life of millions of people of Ethiopians everywhere.

Moreover, everything the Meles led minority clique from Tigray tried have failed. Regardless of how rosy they claim things are or will be; it is a time proven that everything they utter is a lie. After the sham elections of 2010, the regime effectively rendered itself illegitimate. Even if it falsely certified itself with a rubberstamp parliament and 96% victory; what it did is tell the world how belligerent it has gotten. It showed that Meles Zenawi is playing a different game. On the recent reshuffle of his cabinet Meles tried to defuse blame of his failures by throwing his former partners under the bus (ala Aboy Sbhat) to extend his reign. And to show diversity he brought-in individuals that have no popular support, constituencies and represent no viable party. As a result, Ethiopia will not enjoy leadership continuity when the regime falls. Ethiopia would have to start all over again in the least predictable way as it did during the last two transitions.

The Key:
Whereas the country is governed by a rogue and illegitimate despot…Whereas the country is being divvied-up torn to pieces and given away to multinationals…Whereas the country that is rich and full of promise is rendered to abject poverty with no hope for change …Whereas all hope for continuity through a consensus have disappeared and the nation is dominated by a handful rich-elite…Whereas the nation is divided ethnically creating a perfect template for disintegration….Whereas citizens of a nation are rendered helpless and hopeless… Whereas citizens have decided that change is possible only through the barrel of a gun…Whereas the illegitimate government have lost all political capital in the region…Whereas there exists no good-will or intent by the ruling clique…Whereas there exists no trust or confidence on the ruling mafia clique…Whereas the minority genocidal regime is totally convinced that peace does not serve its best interest…Whereas the clique have decided to impose its hegemonic agendas with the nations on the region wantonly…Whereas it has become clear that the mischief by the clique will only worsen…Whereas it is proven that no ethics or humanitarian logic binds the clique to the people of Africa and the region…Whereas it is established that compromise, the rule of law, fair play and do-good for goodness-sake amounts to mean crime on their dictionary.

It is high time for the average Tigrayan to be asked where they stand on these matters.
It is time to ask, are you with the people of Ethiopia and the region seeking a peaceful coexistence? Do you ac cept these war mongers as your leaders and embrace them as is? Do you believe the people of Ethiopia are happy with the minority clique from Tigray? Are you proud on how the clique is handling Ethiopia? Do you think the people of Oromo, Ogaden, Gambella or Amhara are happy with the way they are being treated? Do you believe fair election, which is inclusive has taken place to satisfy the people of Ethiopia? Do you believe Ethiopia is headed on the right direction? How long do you think the TPLF clique can hold-on to power without the support of Ethiopians? The questions are endless. TPLF Tigray Flags in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is at crossroads. More than any time in its history, Ethiopia finds itself at a delicate stage. During the commemoration of the 2005 Ethiopian election in DC, Dr. Gregory Stanton, President of Genocide Watch warned the people of Tigray; ultimately the people of Tigray will end up paying the price for the crimes the genocidal Meles regime is perpetrating.
He stated

My job is to identify trends that could cause genocides and what I am witnessing in Ethiopia is a great deal of concern for the people of Tigray because the regime is committing these crimes on their names.

That is the truth whether one chooses to accept it or not. Because, the origin of the leaders in Menelik Palace is Tigray; the people of Tigray fought alongside the ruling clique for the rights of the people of Tigray. Therefore, rightly or wrongly the perception exists the criminals in Menelik palace are representatives of the people of Tigray. That is the prevailing belief. The question is then; what can the people of Tigray do?
Concluding Remarks:

To quote Gandhi, “An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.” There is also a saying in Tigrigna “you can lace poison with honey but the taste inside will never change.”

So, the moment of truth is here. Ethiopians all over the world are coming together and the momentum is building up against the thugs in Menelik Palace. In this and other future endeavors, Eritreans have embraced Ethiopians and vice-versa to charge ahead. The failed regime is on the defensive all over Ethiopia with his morally defeated soldiers on the run in Ogaden, Gambella, South and Central Ethiopia and most significantly; TPDM is chasing his soldiers in Tigray. Moreover, all these groups are coming together and putting the criminal regime on the defensive more and more.

Moreover, all of what the regime tried to achieve was based on mischief and trickery but all that is come to an end. The alliance that he set up with Yemen, Djibouti, and Sudan in order to strangulate Eritrea failed. He is now the odd man out. What he calculated with Eritrea failed completely and now Eritrea is poised and on the right track. The no-war no-peace agenda he set up ended up isolating Ethiopians from their natural trading partners all around. Eritreans didn’t fail as he expected instead they are vibrant and flourishing. In all, what he banked-on was the misery of Eritreans but he forgot that Eritreans are resilient. It was a big mistake to bet against the people of Eritrea. He was dismissive and believed he can strangulate Eritreans economically so he shut all doors by telling Eritrea, “let them quench the thirst of their camels from the waters of the Red Sea” when he abandoned Eritrean ports. Eritrean camels are drinking water from the dams in every corner. Eritrea is not the isolated nation he was hoping it to be. To the contrary, it is flourishing in every way be it in sports, diplomacy, agriculture, mining and in all aspects Eritreans are on the move.

As a result, the warmongering and hate mongering mouthpieces at Aigaforum are not saying Eritrea is poor any more. They are saying Eritrea is becoming rich! Therefore it is going to hurt us what is Ethiopia to do? They are going crazy, completely at a loss for any sane strategy hence, they are calling Eritreans “Egyptian-army” that are coming to hurt us. These people are no-more in the realm of sanity they are delusional to the point of pity.

Therefore, the choice is clear. In this defining moment; do the people of Tigray want to be with the people of the region and coexist in peace or will they believe on the hegemonic agenda of Meles? Do they want partnership or hate? Meles like the past leaders will crumble and crumble badly. So the choice is clear: Meles or the people of the region in peace. The people of Tigray need to denounce the criminal regime and stand with the people of the region openly-soon for the sake of their own people. One more thing to ponder; it is certain at the end, the world will side with the people of Ethiopia and the region. So should the people of Tigray.

This case is not a concern for Ethiopians only; it concerns all peace loving people in the world. It is obviously a great concern for Eritrea and the region because it directly impacts our securities and that means we will do what it takes to ensure peace. Hence, let the rising momentum engulf these criminals for good. The people of Eritrea are peace loving and their interest is peace and prosperity of the people in the region