Tedros Abraham (Babu), Khartoum, Sudan, July 12, 2009
On average from 50 up to 70 Eritreans are arriving to the Shegerab refugee camp on a daily bases, according to a Senior Sudanese government official in Eastern Sudan, http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article25615. Hence, with this high influx, the number of Eritrean refugees registered as of July 2004 alone exceeded 50,000. This figure does not include those who evade registration in the refugee camp, according to some estimates their number could be in thousands.
On top of that, there are 148,000 Eritrean refugees living in protracted camps of Sita wo’ishrin, Wedisherifey and Shegerab, since pre-independence period. Nevertheless, with all the short comings, the government and people of Sudan deserve acknowledgement for their generosity and hospitality in embracing these refugees for several decades.
Most of the contemporary asylum seekers are youth from the age of 18-40, many of them University or College graduates, students of Warsay Ykealo School Sawa and national service conscripts. It is also worth mentioning that these days the number of women and children coming to the Sudan is increasing by the day.
However, the nightmare and hardship of these refugees never end once they cross the border to the Sudan. They are faced with a new chain of challenges in their attempt to survive in a foreign land. There are a number of factors that make the life of these refugees hard and their future bleak, of course, one of which is the government of Sudan’s policy of systematic discrimination: I will go into details later.
This article will focus on the general situation of contemporary Eritrean refugees in the Sudan and the major challenges they are facing. And I will try to sort out some of the coping mechanisms by which these vulnerable refugees are resorting to settle or make their temporary shelter a safe haven. Lets us see how the refugees are coping with the economic, social and political challenges one by one.
Economic challenge of the refugees
When we are talking about economic challenge it means the inability of these refugees’ to support themselves for their daily basic needs, like food, shelter and clothing. When they first arrive in the refugee camp, they have to call their closest or farthest relative in the Diaspora in the hope of an urgent economic assistance. Let’s not forget most of these refugees have already paid from $2500 up to $3000 for the smugglers just to cross the border to the Sudan. Once they reach in the refugee camp, the UNHCR provides them with some kilos of grain, oil and a blanket, which is hardly enough though to sustain them. They sell the grain in the local market with twenty Sudanese Pounds, (ten dollars only). Hence, they mainly depend on the economic assistance of their relatives in the Diaspora to meet for their daily basic needs. Hence, thousands of dollars is remitted through the Western Union or Dehabishil (Somali money transfer) to these refugees on a daily bases. And through this money they try to adjust themselves in the unlikely shelter, until their refugee status is determined. In most cases it takes them from three to four months. Consequently, they are issued with a refugee ID card. This refugee ID card enables them to live within the refugee camp only; if they are found in other places of the country, they could be legally detained and subject to harassment. The corrupt military or police officers usually exploit this statuesque and ask them to pay from $100 up $200 just to secure their release from prison. Again this money has to come from abroad urgently.
Those who could not bear the hardship of staying in the refugee camp, most due to economic reasons, dare to go to Khartoum without having any proper refugee documents, through illegal means. These groups, if detained by the authorities, in many cases faces deportation, for they are not registered refugees, who are not even allowed to live legally within the confines of the refugee camp itself. In their attempt to reach Khartoum illegally, they pay the smugglers from $150 up to $200. This treacherous and painful journey in overcrowded pickups or lorries could last for two days. In the meantime, these refugees are once more exposed to the shootings, this time not by the Eritrean army, but by the Sudanese counterpart, which at times result in fatal incidents. However, if they safely reach Khartoum, they could buy a forged refugee ID card with $50 only. By doing so, at least they make sure they would not be deported back to the place where they have escaped from. If they were to be caught by the police, after staying for some months in prison they would be returned back to the refugee camp only; however, this is not guaranteed.
Not every refugee gets economic assistance from abroad. There are many refugees in a desperate situation, who have no source of economic assistance from whomever. These are the most vulnerable, helpless and hopeless victims, to say the least. Their mental and physical suffering is unimaginable and unbearable; some even develop mental problems. There are a number of unreported cases about some who committed or attempted suicide. But it is worth mentioning, the very nature of Eritreans, the caring and supporting of each other in times of difficulties is the main reason that is keeping the Eritrean refugees unchallenged by the magnitude of their problems. They share their meagre resource in solving their big challenges. To my astonishment and to the surprise of many Sudanese as well, in my two years stay in Khartoum, I have rarely seen Eritrean begging or sleeping in the streets. However, this should not mislead us, as the refugees are far from having a stable life, in the land they hardly call home sweet home.
To make things worse, the economic difficulties of the refugees is aggravated by the state of economy of Sudan in large or Khartoum in particular. These days, by African cities standard, Khartoum is one of the most expensive cities to live in. Housing, food and transportation are very expensive not only for the refugees, but even for the Sudanese themselves. I have even heard one expatriate, who works with the UN agencies, complaining about the very expensive nature of the city.
The government of Sudan has changed its currency from Ginne’a to Sudanese Pounds in mid 2007, as part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which the government signed with the South in 2005; however, living condition continues to deteriorate despite the government’s massive revenue from the sale of oil. Even though Sudanese markets are always full of supplies, price hardly goes down.
The metropolitan city of Khartoum is divided by the Nile River in to three big inner cities namely Khartoum, Omdurman and Bahri. In these cities alone the government estimates around nine million people live. Most of the Eritrean and Ethiopian community live in the city of Khartoum in districts such as Giref, Sehafa, Gabra and Diem. In those particular areas you feel as if you are in an Eritrean town; Eritreans outnumber the Sudanese community there. And I guess this overcrowded nature of the city could be one of the main reasons for sky rocketing rent in the area. One room which is four by four meters, on average, costs around 150 dollars a month. When we convert this into Nacfa (Eritrean currency), at present black market exchange rate, you pay around 5000 Nacfa for a month per one room. In addition to this there are electricity, water and food expenses.
Food is very expensive, at least for the refugees. If you go into one of the Habesha restaurants you pay for Zigni or Tibsi seven Sudanese pounds, which is equal to 100 Nacfa. In average one can spend for food 20 Sudanese pounds, which is more than or equal to 300 Nacfa for a day only. When we convert this for a month one person at least needs 300 US dollars for food, which is more or less equal to 10,000 Nacfa. These are facts, not mere exaggerations. Unfortunately, God is not feeding these refugees with Mana from heaven like he did to the Israelis when they were in the Sinai desert. If so, you can ask how on earth this refugees are surviving in the midst of such an expensive living environment. The refugees, in using efficiently their meagre financial resource, tend to live in groups of five or six person in one room. They share their housing rent and they also prepare their food themselves at home. This reduces a substantial economic burden. If one is living in groups he can only spent from 150 up to 200 US dollars for food and housing expenses only.
Where does the money then come to cover all these expenses? It is definitely through remittance (we call it Tahwil). Some of the new arrivals try their best to find a job so as to support themselves to escape from being dependent on outside support, but they find it extremely hard to get any. If they do find, they could only work in the menial and underpaid jobs like cleaning shops, Cafeteria’s; some of course work as waiters if they are lucky enough. They get paid from 250 up to 350 Sudanese Pounds (roughly equal to $100-$150), which is hardly enough to cover all their monthly expenses.
Most of the women work in the Sudanese Families as housekeepers or baby sitters, and they are paid more or less the same as the men. But many complain sexual exploitation and harassment from their bosses. In general, when it comes to availability of jobs, it is easier for a woman to find a job than a man in the Sudan.
Even though many of the refugees are well educated and trained in a number of skills, they could not get any job in their profession. It is not because they cannot compete with their Sudanese colleagues, but it is the Sudanese government that has made it almost impossible for them (refugees) to work in any governmental or nongovernmental organizations. Some people believe this harsh policy is politically motivated in an effort to appease the government in Asmara but others argue that it is only a result of domestic pressure, where the government doesn’t want to see its own citizens being unemployed.
Hence, there is no protection; no work permit and freedom of movement is also very limited. Therefore, these refugees try their best to leave the Sudan as soon as they can, but, to where and at what price? Well, majority of them go to Libya through smuggling, dreaming to get to Europe; and they had to pay from $2000 up to $3000. Others who could not afford these expenses or who lack the stamina to take the risk of this hazardous journey look to the South Sudan or Israel (now it is terminated after the Gaza attack), where there is relative job opportunity compared to Khartoum. Indeed, others with a good economic backup from abroad, flew through Khartoum International Airport to a number of European, African, Middle Eastern and Latin American countries. They usually pay from $15,000 up to $20,000 US dollars to European countries. Others try to reach the United States through Mexico and they could pay as much as 20,000 US dollars to the smugglers.
Unfortunately, from now on the gate way to Europe through Libya seems permanently closed. Those who already left for Libya are planning to return back to the Sudan, after the Italian parliament passed a new tougher policy in curbing illegal migration. In June 2009, a group of Asylum seekers who reached on the shores of Italy have been returned back to Libya by the Italian coast guards. Now the mood in Tripoli and Khartoum is sombre, with the refugees facing unprecedented challenges from all corners. They are undergoing a very tormenting experience in their life, yet incapable of easing their suffering either.
Indeed, I can’t go without mentioning the role the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is playing in such state of affairs, if at all there is any worth mentioning. The UNHCR is the only organization with legitimate authority to give protection to the vulnerable urban refugees, but this organization is almost paralysed by the severe restrictions placed on it, by the government of Sudan. Even if the UNHCR gives a rare convention refugee status, the government of Sudan never issues any refugee ID card and this seriously undermines their work in protecting refugees.
Hence, the UNHCR plays very little role in addressing the real problems of these urban refugees. Therefore, the remedy has to come from the refugees themselves. However, this failure is the main reason for the influx of refugees in the doorsteps of European and other Latin American countries. Had the UNHCR been properly working in protecting these refugees, at least economically and legally, they could have not resorted to an illegal migration networks to seek asylum elsewhere at a huge financial and at times personal cost. But for the moment, neither the government of Sudan nor the UNHCR seem prepared to address the suffering and plight of these refugees any time soon. Hence, the pain of these refugees is deemed to continue unabated, unless a concrete measure is taken to avert this scenario by the concerned citizens. Until that happens, Eritrea will remain in the process of silent extermination.
The social challenge of Eritrean urban refugees
The social challenge facing Eritrean refugees in the Sudan is not different from that of economic and political. Unlike refugees from other countries contemporary Eritrean refugees, most often leave their parents, brothers and sisters or in many cases their wife and children behind them, in the hope of meeting them soon. However, it may not be as soon as they have hoped, as it could last for several painful years. Hence, they began to learn to live in the memory of their past childhood period.
Of course, the first major challenge for every refugee is in getting used to a new reality in the new environment. And they try their best to be accepted by the host community that at times views them as inferiors. Therefore, in getting assimilated they have to learn a new language, a new culture and tradition. Some succeed in quickly integrating with the host community, yet for others it proves to be very difficult. Some in a desperate attempt of total assimilation would even feel shy in speaking with their own native language in front of other Sudanese. These individuals, develop a sense of inferiority complex in pretending to be others; most of them rarely succeed of course.
The society in the Sudan is a very close and conservative, they hardly welcome outsiders in integrating with their family structure. However, as a group of people most Sudanese are very hospitable and easy to associate with. They love Eritreans as much as Eritreans love them. Many Sudanese men eagerly marry Habesha women, but for a male Habesha to marry a Sudanese girl is a different story, something extraordinary. Most Sudanese indentify the refugees by calling them as ‘Habesh’ a common noun they use to refer for those who come from Eritrea and Ethiopia alike.
The social interaction between Eritrean and Ethiopian community in the Sudan is very good if not very special. For Eritrean refugees it is so easy to quickly integrate with their Ethiopian counterpart, as they have similar language and culture, at least for those who come from the highlands. A friend of mine once said, ‘’ We learn Amharic before we learn Arabic’’. Eritrean Muslim refugees those from the lowland of Eritrea, unlike their Christian and Moslem counterpart who come from the highlands, perfectly integrate within the Sudanese society. Many of them are believed to be holders of Sudanese Identity Card and passport.
Eritrean refugees in the Sudan came from a secular country and they have to adjust themselves to live in accordance with the Sharia law. According the Sharia law their style of wearing cloths change, alcoholic drink is not allowed, public kissing with a woman is prohibited, a woman should always cover her hair in a public place and she is not allowed to wear trousers. Even though some ladies find this way of life hard, however, they get used to it in the course of time. Of course, there are some who violate this law and consequently get forty lashes of stick on their back.
Most Sudanese blame the Habesha for corrupting their culture and for the increasing rate of prostitution in their country, though the blame seems to hold some water, but they should also equally blame their government’s policy as well. I was deeply shocked and troubled to see many Sudanese still never believe the existence of HIV Aids; neither do they have any idea of practicing safe sex. Condoms are only available in pharmacies, but as there is no awareness campaign against the spread of the virus in the media, it is believed to be very rare for people use condoms. The issue of HIV/Aids is a political dilemma for the government of Sudan, which is still guided by the Sharia law. For this reason the government denounce prostitution in the strongest terms. Consequently, there has been total denial by the government in the spread of HIV. However, as of recently, the country’s health experts, who are receiving HIV Aids patients at an alarming rate confirmed that the reality speaks otherwise. They are now pressuring the government to break its silence; if not the country would be in far more serious trouble to prevent the pandemic that is mushrooming very rapidly.
One thing in particular has kept me astonished: the level of religious freedom and tolerance by the Government of Sudan towards minority Christian denominations. This is in contrary to what the government in Eritrea is doing. Sometimes it is hard to digest the fact that, while a secular state like Eritrea utterly denies religious freedom for its own citizens, yet a profoundly Muslim community embraced those who have escaped from religious persecution in Eritrea. This is something many admit to have never expected. The youth who have fled from religious persecution in Eritrea, have a place where they could freely practice their faith right in the heart of Khartoum. They are denied the most basic universal right at home; however, they are grateful to the government and people of Sudan, who gave them their blessing to freely exercise their faith.
The church plays a significant role in supporting the youth psychologically by giving them spiritual empowerment. Many youth who are depressed by their past and present state of affairs find the church a place of relief from their past traumatic experiences. In some instances the church looks for their well being by giving them personal assistance. The pastors say many successfully recovered and began to lead a normal life. If you pay a visit in the Friday prayer service, you got amazed by the number of youth men and women, in which sometimes exceed well over a thousand.
The church is not only a place of religious ritual; it is also a place of social interaction for the refugees. There they meet new people and spend some time with their old friends as well. The church at least for the Christian refugees plays a central role as a means of social cohesion. Many get marry here after they get to know each other right in the church for the first time.
But, how durable is this state of affairs? The long standing North South conflict in the Sudan was mainly motivated by religion and ethnicity, which both parties seem now committed to find a lasting solution through National Unity Government accords. And, after the signing of the Comprehensive peace agreement, Sudan looks now moving towards democratisation, where presidential election is planned to be held in April 2010. Moreover, this will be followed by a referendum for the self-determination of South Sudan in 2011. Hence, the upcoming two years will be very crucial in the history of the country, and the whole world is eagerly anticipating, if the ruling National congress Party (NCP) leadership has the courage and determination in peaceful power transformation, if they happen to be defeated in the election. Hence, the peace process is very fragile as there are a number of issues at stake at the moment. Not only for the people of Sudan: the destabilisation of this huge country could have immediate repercussions in triggering conflicts in as far as Sudan’s ten neighbouring countries as well, needless to say the distressed Eritrean refugees that remain extremely vulnerable.
Eritrea is a nation facing a grave danger of a generation gap, where majority of the youth are migrating all over the world, with no foreseeable prospect of returning back. As they are not stable they are not tempted to think of marriage. As any sane person would do, they would like to marry and have a happy family, but their entire dream is shuttered by an insane leadership at home.
In the Sudan, their mind is preoccupied with their immediate priority of how to settle down in a safe place. The issue of insuring economic security for them and for their immediate family members back home is something that leaves them in a constant state of limbo. I really wonder then, if all these youth who are migrating to the west or east, to the north or south, would ever think of returning back to their mother land, of course not as tourists but as permanent settlers. At least for the Jews it took them more than half a century to repatriate to the place; they claim the land of their ancestors with a motivation unique in its kind. But will all these Eritrean refugees do the same at one point of time in the future? And if they do so, what will be the motivation of their children and grand children to consider coming back in their ancestral homeland (Eritrea)? I am afraid Eritrea could be losing its vibrant citizens probably forever. Somehow we could be more optimistic about those Eritreans living in the Middle East and other African countries, in one way or another they are the ones who could most likely consider returning back, as long as they are viewed as second class citizens in their countries of refuge. However, this is not the case in the western countries.
People from all walks of life are leaving Eritrea at an alarming rate, but, for how long this tragic scenario will continue? Isn’t this a big sign of worry that is putting our very existence as a people under a question mark? I will leave the answer for the reader and hopefully for further debate.
Let me conclude this part with one of my favourite jokes that has a serious message in it, written by author and journalist Michele Wrong quoting as Asmara joke on her book entitled ‘ I didn’t do it for you’, depicts well the current situation in Eritrea. ‘All presidents of the world died and went to hell. President Jack Shirak of France, George W. Bush of USA and Isaias Afewerki of Eritrea were chatting. In the middle of the chat, President George W. Bush told them he missed his people and wants to call them. Then he asked the devil for permission. And the devil allowed him after charging him 200 US dollars. Bush talked with his people and returned back. President Jack Shirack also wanted to do the same, and the devil charged him 100 Euros. Finally Isaias approached the devil, and charged him only five Nakfas. Finally Bush and Shirak learnt that the devil charged Isaias an insignificant amount of money compared to them. They nervously asked him, why he has done so. And the devil answered them ‘it was only a local call’.
The Political Challenge Of The Refugees
Refugees, all over the world are by products of civil war, dictatorship or lack of democratic governance. Eritrean refugees are not exceptions; they are victims of dictatorship, who treat his own citizens as modern day slaves. In Eritrea today there is no freedom of religion, no freedom of speech, no private media, no freedom of movement, no political party, no constitution, no election, no social justice, no University, no general assembly, no national budget, no freedom of trade, no sufficient oil and bread (it is rationed), no selling of grain in the markets, no private sector, no investors, no NGO’s, no limited national service, no peace with neighbouring countries, no job opportunity for citizens, no free market economy, no hard currency, no critics, no dissent, no clear vision, etc; the result: rational minded youth that could no longer tolerate to staying in the nation ruled by bandits.
The absence of all these basic freedoms is a genuine and noble cause for a revolution to take place, to topple the predator through all possible means. And the masses by enlarge, who happen to be paying the ultimate price of this misguided policy, could have easily sympathised and rallied behind the opposition. As the government lacks wisdom and vision to guide the nation in the right direction, so does the opposition groups have not presented their clear alternative vision, who seem more interested in party politics, than on the national tragedy. The opposition should not waste their time in telling us the brutality of the PFDJ junta. I do believe majority of sensible Eritreans have now been able to conclude, not by what they have heard, but, by what they have seen in the past 18 years, the clear nature and sadist intent of this leadership. But, what we have so far failed to understand is the wisdom and vision of the opposition camp. Many youth who are disillusioned with the opposition worry about the possibility of another power monger in the making again. Are the opposition fighting dedicatedly on the spirit of genuine principles of justice for all Eritreans or simply for their own cause? Many youth distance themselves from the opposition camp because they do not want to be used as tools for the making of another dictator. At least they have a good reason to be suspicious, as they know what Essayas has done to his fellow comrades. He betrayed the noble principle which drove thousands of Eritrean youth to the battle field to pay their ultimate life. Isaias who spent most of his time in hiding behind the scene, he was just waiting for the right time to come with a totally different agenda on his mind. Who would convince the youth then, this is never going to happen again in the post-Isaias Eritrea? Who would speak to them with the language they understand? They need a charismatic and pragmatic leader, a leader who leads them by example, a leader whose lust is for justice rather than power, a leader whom they would love to refer as an icon of their neo-revolution. They need people like Mahatma Ghandi of India, Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Martin Luther King of Civil rights movement in USA, or John Garang of Southern Sudan or like Mr Hussien Mousavi of Irani. The lack of such a strong public figure is what is making the future of Eritrea bleaker and the path to liberation longer.
The internet battleground is now won. The distance between the people and the government of Eritrea is, the distance between the sky and the ground. Those who are not yet convinced could come and visit the refugee camps of Sudan and Ethiopia to see firsthand, as seeing is believing. And verify whether you will find any CIA member as the dictator shamelessly claims in a desperate attempt to save his own blurred image. The dictator could say anything, but he can’t distort the facts on the ground.
These refugee camps are over flooded with the ever increasing number of new arrivals, and every newcomer has his own horror story to tell. What is written and said by a handful of irresponsible and irrational individuals in the west is irrelevant these days, as long as the people in the heart of the land are manifesting their disaffection to the statuesque ante in a broad day light by risking their own lives on the shoot to kill policy of the PFDJ. If you happen to live in Khartoum, you must get familiar with the consistent stories of people getting killed while they were attempting to cross the border. But these stories of brutalities hardly get covered in the news. Cheap Eritrean blood is good for nothing for Isaias, if it doesn’t serve his lust to stay in power. His brainwashed opportunistic followers have lost their heart in just serving this man’s sadistic adventure, by killing their own brothers and sisters. History is repeating itself, ‘’One thing we have learnt from history is that we never learn from history.’’
Unfortunately, the general attitude of most Eritrean youths in the Sudan is just to seek an individual solution to a common problem. This is a sad reality, which we all are paying its price at the moment and in the future. That is choosing to live somewhere else as a refugee leaving painfully your own brothers and sisters to face a similar fate behind you. Lets us not forget of course, most of these refugees spent substantial number of their productive years in the never ending cycle of military service. If not their words their body language tells the grim reality of their murky life, most of them are weak and emaciated, and at least for those in the Diaspora you have your ‘serving the truth’ Eri-Tv screen. (Eri-Tv with an ultimate objective of distorting the truth stands in its entirety to anti-professional journalism. It is running by a staff, which only came to know the definition of Journalism from their bosses. At present day Eritrea, journalism is measured by how well you serve your de facto one man leader and the prize for that is not a medal, but you are free from imprisonment (the home of most other journalists).)
Many of the refugees come to the Sudan exhausted not only psychologically but physically as well. They need time and space where they could recover. So it is not surprising when they opt to take a break to look after their own life and the life of their family members, whom they left behind in a very bad economic and psychological shape. Unfortunately, their dream of economic and political security can’t be realised by being in the Sudan; (as I explained in details in the first part,) hence, their immediate concern is finding a way out of Sudan only. At least for the time being they leave Eritrean politics behind them but they continue to live with their memory of past traumatic experiences.
Moreover, even if they wish to be involved in political activities and at least demonstrations, yet Sudan is not an ideal place for them to do so. Especially, after the Khartoum government signed a peace agreement with the Eastern rebel groups in Asmara, which was facilitated with the mediation of the Eritrean government in April 2007. It is widely believed that the government of Sudan had at that time also agreed to close the offices of all Eritrean opposition parties and to take a tough measures in preventing any movement that targets against the Eritrean government.
There is no sense of security anywhere in the Sudan, as it is not secret for many of the refugees that the Asmara regime, frequently kidnap important persons. Hence, even though they are out of their country, most of the refugees never feel safe enough. And there are accusations levelled against the Sudanese security agents, which claim to assist their Eritrean counterpart in this dirty work. But, is it done in full knowledge of the government, or is it carried out only by the corrupt security officials – it is not yet clear. If it is proved that the government is taking part, clearly it is breaching the Geneva Convention 1951, of which it is a signatory menber. However, this issue requires further investigation in order for the international community to be aware of the full extent of the situation.
Hundreds of Eritrean asylum seekers have been deported back to Eritrea, I personally met with an eye witnesses at least on two occasions: one is in November 2007 and another in mid 2008. These deportations were carried out in broad day light and in the full knowledge of the highest level of Eastern Sudan authorities. But, the government in Khartoum denounced the action and washed their hands by stating it was taken without their knowledge and consent.
This problem mainly originated when the former eastern rebel leaders, who were sponsored and funded by Isaias regime during their fighting against the Khartoum government, after the signing of the peace agreement, they were rewarded with senior government position in the Eastern Province of Kessela. As a gesture of good will to their master in Asmara, they presented the hundreds of Eritrean asylum seekers to the perpetrators of the worst crime against humanity in the 21st century.
Indeed, Sudan played a very crucial role in the 30 years armed struggle for the independence of Eritrea, but in many aspects, today’s Sudan geo-politics is by far different from that of the 1970’s and 1980’s. The challenge of this generation is different in its kind and magnitude to the challenge of the previous generations.
The political consciousness and eagerness of the youth to take part in politics is sadly at its lowest level and this is mainly attributed to the regimes policy of producing submissive and amenable citizens. In Eritrea today talking about politics is considered as a taboo subject. Without doubt, a big challenge is awaiting us all to mobilise and agitate the youth in rallying in solidarity behind this noble cause of emancipation from oppression.
Amazingly the regime in Asmara is expediting its downfall by its own nasty political game. the leader has publicly demonstrated his anti-people behaviour by his own actions and words: in many occasions he has insulted the beloved people of Eritrea. He is only surviving with the support of the few corrupt military generals. These individuals will accompany him all the way to his grave, as he has intentionally contaminated their hands with the blood of innocent individuals. They know the crimes they have committed. Who on his right mind then think, once the dictator is deposed this individuals would be able to lead a normal life. Indeed, for them change is suicide, as it is the case for their master. Isaias knows this very well, (Hikekuni kihakekum) he told them ‘’if I am here you are here, but if I am gone you too will be gone.’’ Hence, Isaias and these handful individuals could use the Eritrean people as a human shield for as long as it takes, in order for them to escape from facing justice, just like what the Tamil Tigers leader did very recently in Sri Lanka.
Therefore, we should exploit this fertile ground to bring change, but, our history tells us change never comes as a gift in a silver platter, it has a price, but are we prepared to pay for it? And have we set our vision for the post-Isaias Eritrea? It should not be change for the sake of change, it must be purpose driven.
For now at least what we know for sure that those at the top of the PFDJ leadership, in futile attempt to stay in power, would do anything and everything at their disposal. Had they possessed weapons of mass distraction they could have even threatened to destroy the whole world. Fortunately, they don’t have that bargaining chip to capture the attention of western leaders. However, if any change is to take place, Isaias already knew his deservedly right place. His mentality is usually preoccupied with preventing that scenario, not administering the very people under his helm. If there are some who think that Isaias would be willing to give up power peacefully, they could be coming from a different planet, probably from Mercury.
Finally, I would like to conclude my article by stating that, Isaias is a curse not only for the Eritrean people; to the people of the horn of Africa as well. His brutality has reached as far as south Sudan, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia. His demise is also to the good of peaceful co-existence between the people in the Horn of Africa. Can you imagine what could have been prevented in the horn of Africa, with his absence, at least the recent border war with Ethiopia could have been averted and Democratic Eritrea could have been realized without much bloodshed.
The writer worked as a journalist in Eritrea with Newspapers, Hareg, Setit, Haddas Ertra, Eritrea Profile, Radio Dmsi Hafash, Website: shaebia.org. In the Sudan worked with Khartoum Monitor Newspaper, and as editor in chief of his newly founded local language newspaper Shewit.