Sheik Mohamed Al Amoudi Arrest in Saudia and its Implications to Ethiopia
Over the years, particularly from 1991 until now, one of the key players that helped shape the political dynamics of the region is Mohammad al-Amoudi. Sheik Al-Amoudi appeared on the seen in 1991 when Eritrea achieved independence and when Eritrea handed Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) the key to Minelik Palace.
Al Amoudi’s First choice was Asmara Eritrea. He came with millions, if not billions of dollars and offered to invest in many areas. Eritrea rejected his offers instantly. The leaders of Eritrea astutely picked up on what his investments meant long term and kicked him out of Eritrea. Because they knew these investments are ploy with the aim of taking control of the nation.
He then went to Ethiopia and became the 2nd most important figure after Meles Zenawi. The TPLF did not hesitate to embrace Al Amoudi. They did not care how much he invested if he invested. They did not care what his motives were and its long-term implications. They did not set boundaries and regulations that govern his activities. They simply handed him key to the nation. They gave him key to all of Ethiopia’s resources including mining, allowed him to build and establish businesses everywhere. They gave him free reign to hire and create alliances in the nation.
Al Amoudi, in short, was the destination (Sheraton Hotel Addis), and the man with connections to the international system. He became the top employer in vast array of fields. After the government, Al Amoudi was the second biggest employer. He had established effective system in all areas. If one is to look at the variety of businesses Midroc Ethiopia conducts, it is limitless.
In the west, none of these activities can be allowed because they run to anti-trust and monopoly rules violations. Al Amoudi however, was running a country with-in a country. He owned communication facilities, established educational programs with curriculums that reflect his needs and values. He run farms, animal husbandry, he run construction companies, consulting firms and banking infrastructures. He run medical institutions and the list is endless.
In short, Al Amoudi controlled communication, employment, banking and vast resources with money and influence. But why did TPLF allow him to have this much access and control? and that is because, a) they did not have much of a choice because they were clueless to the international seen and, b) they were confident, he had nowhere to go. So, they gave him free reign so to exploit him. It was marriage made in heaven.
During the Eritrea Ethiopia war 1998-2000, Al Amoudi was key player. During the war, the TPLF had no idea how to do PR, how to Lobby, how to exert influence in Washington DC. Al Amoudi understood the legal, political, PR needs of the regime and assisted them significantly. He funded, directed and pressed all the Anti Eritrea campaigns and bullied Ethiopians that opposed the regime and his ways, with frivolous lawsuits.
Al Amoudi knew and controlled all personalities that shape Ethiopia, culturally, musically, politically, socially, legally and economically. He controlled the people financially. He controlled musicians, soccer players, members of the royal family and actors. He controlled business people and opinion makers all over the world. There are people that get payed to sit loyal without doing any work, to be cheerleaders.
His influence is remarkable. His people are loyal and will not do anything to antagonize him or the regime. If one has close relation to his circles they are guaranteed success. There are many Ethiopians that oppose the regime but will not dare utter a word for fear of alienation.
Therefore, the news of his arrest is a huge deal. It is significant event in the history of the region and Ethiopia. This is an event that will quicken the demise of the TPLF as he was a significant player and ardent supporter. Al Amoudi has openly bragged that he is Weyane. But, what is the impact, repercussions?
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 to 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. Agriculture, and Agro-processing group, educating and training group, plastic/ product group, building, construction, metal work, mining, transportation, retail, management, health system groups to mention some. These are institutions with extensive spin-off effect in the economies of the regions they operate. These are institution 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 conglomerate in Ethiopia will disintegrate. In other words, the people that work for him will soon find themselves unemployed.
Al Amoudi was devoted Weyane. He made it clear with his actions, money and verbally for years that he is number one supporter of the regime. Therefore, indirectly, the people that worked for him supported Weyane.
At the current climate in Ethiopia working with Weyane is not a good idea. What can the employees of Al Amoudi do? I think the first thing is to side with the people. It is time for redemption.
Mohamed Al Amoudi is not a businessman. His arrest shows he was much bigger than that. He was a major player at a national and international level. He was agent of gulf states that wanted to assert control by other means. He was a perfect agent at that. He spoke Ethiopian language, he claimed to share the heritage by birth and he had access to unlimited money tied to the monarchy. He was the extension of their reign and did a great job until the recent events. The GCC conflict between Saudi Arabia and Qatar placed him at odds with the Saudi’s because at this juncture Qatar is heavily invested in Ethiopia.
This is also an indication that the reign of terror by the minority Tigrayan regime can come to abrupt halt and send the country on downward uncontrollable spiral. Hence it is incumbent on all stake holders to understand the magnitude and reach-out to his supporters.
Eritrea’s existence as a sovereign nation, and a full member of the United Nations, is a product of the hard-working, independent, resilient, and self-reliant people that overcame all odds and came out victorious.
Martin Plaut, is a western agent of death, propagandist that claims to be a journalist. He has been on the quest to undo hard won independence and to see the endless suffering of the Eritrean people.
Martin Plaut is accustomed to get in-and-out of African countries in pursuit of western agendas with specific missions. In other words, he is an agent of the US and UK foreign services. Per his biography, he “has advised the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the US State Department.” Globalinitiative.net
No more proof is required to show that he is an agent of destruction who operates as a journalist. In most cases his primary focus is the regime change agenda in countries which the powers to be have deemed them as being non-compliant.
Eritrea is his full-time obsession. His writing is always a campaign that aims to achieve regime change. It is impossible to find an individual with the kind of persistence and determination as he has shown for so long. It has been 18 years since he targeted Eritrea. His biased, vitriolic venomous blubbers, writing, organizing, tweets and related social media campaign is unprecedented.
In short, he has destroyed all norms and standards of journalism. It is irresponsible activism the like of which we have never seen. It is a targeted attack that aims to demean Eritrea and her achievements. It is harassment of Eritrean Diaspora population. It is incitement that aims to pin Eritreans against one another.
Martin Plaut is an agent who lies about Eritrea consistently. He makes outlandish statements that have no foundation on truth. 1:16 PM – 29 Nov 2012, he twitted,
Martin Plaut @martinplaut: “Eritrea votes against a Palestinian state at the UN. What does this tell us about Eritrea’s foreign support from Israel?”
Martin Plaut @martinplaut: “Eritrea votes against a Palestinian state at the UN. What does this tell us about Eritrea’s foreign support from Israel?”
In disbelief, The Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Eritrea to the United Nations in New York Mr. Nebil Seid was compelled to respond:
“@martinplaut as a distinguished journalist you have 2 check facts before tweeting how could Eritrea voted against before the voting take place” — Nebil Said (@nebilsaid) November 29, 2012
This is the rubbish that the self-anointed anti Eritrea propagandist spreads regularly without reservation or fear of repercussion. That is because journalism has lost its ways. There is no accountability for what he writes and it is impossible to determine whether it is opinion piece or well researched verifiable news.
“@nebilsaid Good point. Let’s see how the votes go.
— Martin Plaut (@martinplaut)” November 29, 2012
The Guardian, Washington Post, New York Times and the like are in the forefront. They embrace the agendas and methodology that the likes of Plaut exercise and use to further greater agendas of the west. If one follows New York Times and Washington Post regularly, it is easy to see that they mirror each other.
Number of #Eritrea refugees pumped up: #frontex 2616 report #eu https://t.co/4LU7aTaBsg pic.twitter.com/YuJ8t1MNsv
— Negari Haqi (@NegariHaqi) December 13, 2016
It is agenda driven campaign under the banner of journalism. It is vicious, and relentless. A few days before the Eritrean Minister of Information, Yemane Gebremeskel, addressed the European Union, the propagandist Plaut started a petition drive to stop the Minister from attending the EU. He wrote,
“We strongly urge the EP to not allow itself becoming a forum for a campaign of misinformation waged by a high-ranking official of a tyrannical regime, accused of committing crimes against humanity. We are calling for this meeting to be cancelled based on the following major concerns.” And went on with his lies.
The author of this article had considered responding to the petition-drive. However, knowing how impotent his campaigns have become, decided to ignore the petition. And sure-enough the petition failed to raise significant signatures. The petition speaks loud to the fact that Plaut is not acting as an independent, unbiased journalist.
Similarly, on Jan 11, 2016 in a piece that headlined, “The World’s Next Crisis: Drought and Famine in the Horn of Africa,” he wrote,
“These warnings cover only Ethiopia. There is every indication that the situation in neighboring Eritrea (as well as tiny Djibouti) is just as severe. The difference is this: the Ethiopian authorities have had the courage to call for help. The Eritrean government has not.”
The government and people of Eritrea have been building dams everywhere in the country for decades to ensure food and water security. In Eritrea, food security is a national security issue and as such it is the number one priority. The quoted statement highlights Plaut’s intention to demonize Eritrea without proof, facts and by insinuation.
The reality is the situation in Eritrea cannot and should never be compared to Ethiopia for the simple fact, despite all defamation and vilification, the people of Eritrea are educated and capable to manage their needs without resorting to foreign aid. If left alone to be, Eritrea will be by far the greatest nation in Africa. After World War II, Eritrea and South Africa were the most advanced countries in Africa. However, US and UK’s ambitions dashed the hopes and aspirations of the people to ensure their larger strategic interest in the region and Africa and to that end they placed Ethiopia in the center.
Everything the biased, agent-of-death, fraud Martin Plaut does is part of a greater agenda that aims to vilify, demonize Eritrea, and justify their punitive measures as dictated by his paymasters. However, regardless of what he and his ilk try, they were met by a feisty Eritrean resistance that is exposing them daily.
This raises the greater question on what journalism is and what is the criteria that distinguishes a journalist? How is it possible to call someone who advises government entities, organizes and campaigns in collaboration with known regime change advocates, to be referred to as a ‘journalist’? He is playing the accuser, prosecutor, and the judge all at the same time.
For now, I will leave-out the bizarre fact where various government departments and authorities consult with someone they refer to as an “expert on Eritrea”, when he has not set foot in the country for more than a decade. It can be a subject for another day.
Furthermore, where can the public and the victims of rogue journalism find justice particularly in an international arena where there exist no uniform standard or laws to protect the aggrieved? As it stands now, Martin Plaut is free to harass Eritrean communities with impunity under the banner of journalism sponsored by globally known media conglomerates such as the Guardian.
The people of Eritrea have faced and keep facing the most organized vilification and demonizing campaign in the history of Africa. Amazingly, buttressed by decades of experiences, in ways the world has never seen, Eritrea managed to challenge and defeat their destabilization agendas.
Eritrea managed to survive the wars they ignited, international legal hurdles they erected, illegal sanctions, unfounded rights allegations, and incessant lies. Diaspora Eritrea has played incredible role by challenging the falsehoods and their organized campaigns. The world could learn from Eritrean Diaspora communities on how to challenge organized western campaigns that are used to destabilize countries in the name of human rights.
Journalism is dying because it is being murdered by irresponsible and agenda-driven clowns such as Martin Plaut.
One thing that ought to be clear to the blood thirsty masked white supremacist Martin Plaut is that paper tigers will never bring down Eritrea!
On a cold snowy day in February 22 of 2010, Eritreans from around the world and the US gathered in front of the Whitehouse and State Department to denounce the unjust sanction hatched by Washington. They stood astride in defiance to make a point to the Obama administration Eritrea is one, united. They demonstrated to demand the repeal of the illegal and UNjust sanction Washington/Susan Rice authored, passed against Eritrea.
Thousands showed up. Most took a day-off from work, college students missed classes and parents allowed their kids to skip class for a day to demonstrate. Eritreans from all walks of life young and old gathered to voice their objection against illegal, Unjust sanctions based on lies.
Amongst them, a charismatic eight years old boy named Dawit Daniel who stood out in a historic way. Dawit was literally hoisted to the stage by his dad. But once on stage, he held on to the microphone like he wanted to say something.
Dawit came all the way from New York to stand up and protest illegal sanction measure. These sanction measure had no chance of passing. Hence, and to apply pressure on China and Russia and to give them cover to vote, the sanction was promoted and passed as African Initiative.
The whole idea was hatched by the US State Department Africa desk which at the time was under the control of the Dr. Jendayi Frazer. Her initial goal was to put Eritrea in the List of Countries that sponsor terrorism. However, that met a stiff opposition in the US congress that saw it as absurd because the information provided was full of lies and did not reflect the reality on the ground
Hence, she pursued the next best thing, sanctions on Eritrea however possible. This was taking place on the wee-hours of the Bush Administration and during the 2008 US election.
On October 23rd, the UNSC staged a hearing about a border dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea. The hearing was conducted because on June 12, 2008, Djibouti alleged Eritrean forces seized her territories militarily. On June 13, 2008, a day later a call to urge Eritrea to withdraw immediately; and without examination or investigation, voices of condemnation reigned on Eritrea from the US and friends.
On Nov 11, 2008, in an article, High Tech Lynching of Eritrea written on response to a hearing Dr. Frazer staged under the auspices of the UN, the author wrote,
“Their statements were suspicious, well-coordinated, unjustified, fabricated and misleading. For the seasoned observer of the region however, it is clear this was fabricated and part of a much bigger agenda. There were no motives for Eritrea, no evidence was provided, and no genuine effort was made to understand the problem and present a resolution. Furthermore, there was not an established mechanism and ability to validate the claims made by Djiboutian authorities.”
The statement above is the starting point for the lies the UNSC based its sanction decision on Eritrea. In fact, these lies were eerily like the farce claim the Bush Administration spewed leading up-to the disastrous Iraq war that turned world opinion against the US.
The US, under George Bush, pursued aggressive unilateral policy that bullied nations into following US lead by any means necessary. Unfortunately, the hubris with which the failed Bush Administration pursued its strategic goals in the Horn of Africa has resulted in genocides. Thousands were killed, millions displaced, and decimated social infrastructures for decades to come.
Hence, when the Obama campaign preached change, engagement and the audacity of hope; Eritreans and the region were hoping for a new attitude and a change of direction by the US.
The region was hungry for peace and stability. But unfortunately for the region, the then new Obama Administration appointed an over-zealot hawkish Susan Rice as US Ambassador to the UN. Ambassador Rice embraced President Bush’s aggressive policies and more. More importantly, President Obama elevated the UN Ambassador position to a cabinet level position which ensured freedom from congressional scrutiny, free to make and implement decisions. That meant the Obama Administration pursued a more aggressive policy than his predecessor. And a year after Ambassador Rice came to power; she succeeded to slapping UN-just sanction on Eritrea based on fabrications and trumped up unfounded accusations.
Worse yet, it was sad to see Washington taking such a step on Christmas Eve and delivered the news to Eritreans and the world in a most dismissive tone. Ambassador Rice told Eritreans and the world on Christmas Eve:
“I want to talk about the resolution we just adopted imposing sanctions on Eritrea. This was an African initiative. It was the consequence of a decision taken by the African Union.”
This statement is a revealing-testimonial how Ambassador Rice tried to deceive the world and Eritreans. Here is why:
Firstly, and according to the UNSC charter; the UNSC is the principal organ that can carry out decisions on matters of international security. No other organization has authority or mandate to carry out such decisions.
Secondly, it was disappointing to see the Obama Administration use a disgraceful excuse to pretend justice was being served on, according to Rice, “demand of the majority.” In this case, Africans represented-by the African Union.
Fact: If it were up to the majority, Ambassador Rice and President Obama will still be slaves. And the sad part is President Obama is a constitutional scholar well-versed and aware on why safeguarding minority rights is of national importance. Yet, that is how Obama and Rice decided to bestow their version of justice on the people of Africa in this case Eritreans. That’s because justice was not the motive, the aim was systematic decapitation of Eritrea and lead-it to serfdom.
That is what motivated little Dawit Daniel, an eight-year-old boy, to skip class, join the demonstration and to express his views. He got up on the stage picked-up the microphone and tapped on it to make sure the sound is ok and asked,
“Can you hear me?”
This young boy was covered with Eritrean flag from head to toe as he stood on a stage facing the State Department and said,
“First, I just want to say a couple of reasons why I thank God; first, I thank God that I am part of Eritrea, people that care about their country more than anything else…and I thank God… we are all here…, because at the end of the day…we are going to make difference.”
Dawit was fully aware that his presence can, and will make a difference. Pumping as if readying for a fight, Dawit continued…
“Why you people are wondering why an eight-year-old is here in a school day because school is a priority…? I am here so people can hear my voice about what I think about the UNJUST sanction.”
Making it clear to all why he was standing there. After few comments and, after questioning the reasons why the US and the British pushed for sanctions he said,
“This sanction has no legal basis. If, UN is using border dispute to justify the sanction, why didn’t the UN sanction Ethiopia when it is violating a legal and binding decision?
Please note: this is eight-year-old kid asking loaded questions that penetrate deep into the sensibilities of world-leaders that he feels have wronged his people unjustly. And continued,
“Also…I want to give a message to Barack Obama. Ok…, you know…, when you were running for president…I loved you! You were my leader. I followed you on every stump. You were my role model. But then…, the happiness you gave me, turned to sadness…During the inauguration… you said, you will give hand to those countries who want to make peace…Eritreans are making peace in the best way they could…how come…, you don’t give hand to Eritrea?”
This is a kid who felt betrayed by his hero. And continued.
“I want to give a message to Susan Rice. First, you give us a present that is the sanction and then you said; you…care for us…!? Stop trying to fool us because Eritreans have gone through a thirty-year war. You can’t fool us. We learned a lot of experiences…so.”
Dawit’s statements were reaction to calloused and disingenuous statements made by Susan Rice when she announced the sanction decision on Christmas Eve. Quote:
“The United States stands with the people of Eritrea who have fought long and hard for their independence and to build a country in which we have great hope for the future. Thank you.”
Dawit is right to call-out Ambassador Rice. The US has never sided with the good people of Eritrea. To the contrary, it is the US that led the people of Eritrea to decades of colonialism by an African country while consciously denying Eritreans a right to self-determination.
The US handed Eritrea to Ethiopia for its own strategic considerations. That is a historic fact that Ambassador Rice knows well. Furthermore, Ambassador Rice was disingenuous to claim the US stands with the people of Eritrea after slapping sanctions that attempt to tie Eritrea’s hands with arms embargo while at conflict with a very hostile neighbor, Ethiopia.
Imagine being convicted without a due process; imagine being sentenced to death without legal representation and imagine once convicted, there is no process or mechanism for appeal. That is what the Obama Administration and the UNSC did to Eritrea. They sanctioned Eritrea based on trumped-up, fabricated and unsubstantiated accusations.
Washington is deeply involved on the affairs of the region and Somalia. Washington, in partnership with rogue ally Meles Zenawi, invaded Somalia and created mayhem that took countless lives and displaced millions unnecessarily. Somalia is awash with armaments in large part with arms supplied by the criminal regime in Ethiopia. Hence, Washington and Ethiopia aught to bare all responsibilities.
Instead, Washington used border dispute with Djibouti, (fabricated dispute) and Eritrea’s support for extremist group, which is a proven-lie, as justification for sanction against Eritrea while deliberately ignoring Ethiopia’s occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories in violation of international law, the final-and-binding Hague decision.
The sanction against Eritrea exposed how unjust, broken and corrupt the UNSC is. It exposed the overreach and irresponsible abuse of power. Because, the sanction on Eritrea had nothing to do with global security, regional security, the stability of Somalia or a border dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea. It is a punitive measure designed to chip-away at the strength, stability and sovereignty of Eritrea.
Unfortunately, Eritreans are familiar with these injustices. Eritreans have suffered for decades and paid dearly with the lives of hundreds of thousands for decades. Millions have been displaced and scattered everywhere around the world. Despite these hardships however, Eritreans have learned to turn this tragic imposition of injustices to positive. Eritreans have learned to challenge them-united and effectively. Regardless where they live and regardless of the impediments they face, they overcome as one. That has been the hallmark and salvation.
It is that spirit that propels Eritreans young and old to face these challenges. That is why the little Dawits of Eritrea are incensed and ready to tell the world to stop the bullying in the name of justice, democracy, stability and terrorism. They are ready to stand up to do what it takes to reverse the UN-just sanction and to campaign the US and the UN to stop their hostile unfair approach toward Eritrea.
On 20 November 2010, on the sanction’s one-year anniversary Eritreans around the world will be launching the 30 days Action for Eritrea to call on the Barack Obama’s Administration and the United Nations to annul and repeal the unfair and unjust Resolution 1907 (2009) that imposed sanctions on the people of Eritrea.
Eritreans know they cannot rest until these injustices are reversed. Thus, they have decided to reach out any way they can. Eritreans everywhere are reaching to leaders at all levels local, regional or nationwide.
“The Illegal & UN-just Sanction must be Repealed, and repealed NOW”!
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.
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”!
November 29, 2010. Ever since he burst upon the scene in 2002, Zersenay Tadese has proven that he is the embodiment and example of what Eritrea is all about; resilient, consistent and victorious. Like most Eritreans around the world, I am wowed by what Zersenay has achieved for himself and by extension, the people of Eritrea at large.
In a sport that requires tremendous amount of team support and organizational structure for any success, Zersenay has single handedly placed himself in a position of international acclaim and placed Eritrea in a map of a sport that has traditionally been dominated by a handful of nations.
My aim therefore, is to thank Zersenay Tadese for all the joyous moments that he brought into the faces of all Eritreans every time we saw him. We are happy to see him compete, see he meeting and enjoying Eritrean communities in the Diaspora and happy when he went back to Eritrea and contributed to the lives of Eritreans in many ways.
We were also happy when he was received by the biggest victory-welcome accorded him by the people of Eritrea from the President down to the youngest that revere this deserving soul. Eritrea needed Zersenay to be the best possible human being that he could be and he delivered with his heart, dignity and humble nature. He brought a sense of decency and became a true model for Eritreans and the world for those who chose to notice. He is my hero and the hero of millions of Eritreans. I am thankful that he set the bar high for all to follow, and grateful for the example he set for future generations of Eritrean athletes.
Clearly his professional accomplishments speak volumes of the type of hard working and dedicated individual that he is. He is the current record holder of world’s half Marathon. He won a bronze medal in the 10,000 meters in 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greek making him the first-ever Eritrean Olympic medalist. He has won over twenty medals ranging from bronze to gold all over the world. He is the epitome of success with a demeanor that is a true reflection of what Eritreans are; courteous and gracious to a fault. And he did it graced by an Eritrean flag that was tailor fitted for him. However; what stands out is that outfit exudes a national soul that is confident and determined to show the world what Eritrea is all about.
I want to thank Zersenay for being the true anchor of Eritrean sports based on international standards. I want to thank him for setting THE example of what it means to achieve success and yet remain grounded while firmly connecting with his country at all levels. I want to thank him for his strength and for remaining steady just like Eritrea has over the last ten years when many were ganging up to frustrate her into submission. He never gave up even when teams ganged up on him. On the contrary, he saw what he needed and recruited others into becoming a part of his team. He helped to expand the size and quality of Eritrean athletes in a world stage.
While much could be said about all the achievements of this giant; all the accolades would have meant nothing if Zersenay was selfish and irresponsible. However, Zersenay understood his historic responsibilities and his place in the history books of Eritrea and etched it by embracing his people and reveling on their support. Zersenay Tadese, I thank you for making Eritrea proud. I thank you for being the anchor and pillar of a nation. I thank you for the foundation and legacy you have established.
Thank you Warsay – a pride of Yekealo!