2016- the year of a grass root movement – Part three

Part three 2016- the year of a grass root movement. A movement I called for some 12 years ago. A week or two before the new year some 12 years ago, I had called on the chiefs of

Part three

2016- the year of a grass root movement.

A movement I called for some 12 years ago.

A week or two before the new year some 12 years ago, I had called on the chiefs of the wudbetaat to a) dissolve their respective “political” organizations, and b) to assist in the formation of branches of a movement in the different cities in the West- including in the tiny Belgium. I added somewhere in my article that the dissolve, etc will be the best X-mass present to the opposition and Eritrea. ( The article of 12 years ago was posted in Asmarino.com, which was then the popular platform among the Eritrean opposition. Assenna- which some months ago was declared as the most visited website- didn’t exist then.)

My call for the dissolve and the creation of branches of a movement in different cities was largely attributed to two factors.  The first was my belief that so many wudbetaat will be unmanageable, unworkable. I thought then that the so many wudbetaat will be a source of perpetual mistrust and ineffectiveness. The second was the first signs of a serious infightings among the wudbetaat- which people like me were seriously disturbed about; to mention just one, there was a fierce disagreement with regard to the chairmanship of the Alliance; one chief of an wudbe- which many then considered as a petite- claimed the position on the ground that he has the blessing of Sanna Forum. ( The then ELF-RC and few others were against the claim. The former lost its battle, and the case left a bad taste. ELF-RC lost its dominance and strength a year or three later.)

I didn’t expect any positive response to my call from the wudbetaat’s chiefs or their subordinates. Deep down I knew that the call will not be entertained, or perceived as unrealistic; I thought then that the wudbetaat do need more time, and I hoped then that they will eventually decide to form a movement. (But none of it happened over the years. They were preoccupied with the bad and the worst, which led to extreme bewilderment and frustration among the opposition. Outsmarting each other, creating arrangements or factions- like 4 plus 1-,encouraging splits, and recruiting new members have been their concentration. Defections and splits were very many; the Alliance and later Kidan held meetings to discuss on issues outside their term of reference- which in principal was and is to create one and only one movement and to concentrate on one and only one aim until the days of the transitional government in post-dictator Eritrea. They are rightly called pseudo opposition groups by Tesfamicheal Kidane- his article posted on Dec 30, 2015-, and very many others. The political immaturity and incompetence of the players, left trails of destruction; they will not disappear soon; the grass root movement will regrettably not escape the effect of in the short term.)

A call for a grass root movement (GRM) became a bit louder a decade later, reflecting largely the mess and the frustration with the wudbetaat, and the failure of the last experiment; it was partly attributed to Dr Tewelde, who toured many USA and European cities. During his tour I felt that an earnest begin is finally undertaken to start a GRM. It was indeed a source of an immense satisfaction for many, who waited too long in the cold. I was then almost sure that the begin will end successfully, leading to the mushrooming of the one movement in different cities. The huge audience in every city Wedi Vacario visited- never witnessed in the history of the opposition-, and the pledge to work together for a collective good were seen as the good omen. ( The late Dr Tewelde- whom many of us will remember for a long time, and who deserves a monument in post-dictator Eritrea- had almost done the trick singlehandedly. It must have been successful, had people like Prof Bereket, Saleh, and Dr Asefaw had hurried to join or escort Wedi Vacaro in the noble mission; their failure was terrible. ..To my dismay, Dr Asefaw and his lieutenant held another meeting with almost the same audience in Stockholm some months after Dr Tewelde’s visit; what an act of high irresponsibility it was; as we now know, he was then preoccupied with Medrek agenda instead of a collective good with high significant impact to the opposition and Eritrea.)

The call for a GRM  resurfaced before and after the successful demonstration in Geneva in June of 2015. It was the dominant topic in the opposition Paltalk rooms- which I visit some days per week-, and the call was even supported by some members of wudbetaat, which is a source of an immense satisfaction. ( Days before the demonstration, I posted a message to Deleyti fithi in Belgium hoping that the participants of the demonstration will formally decide to start a grass root movement in their respective cities- similar to one we have in Belgium. But my hope was dashed, after I heard that the idea was not entertained on ground that it was “beyond the term of reference of the coordinating committee of the demonstration”- to quote the words of one of the committee’s member.)

There is a good news on GRM some 6 months after the demonstration in Geneva. The good news is the confirmation of the real start of 15 to 17 GRM in as many cities in USA, according to the interviews which Assenna and Erna conducted in December, 2015 and 2 January, 2016 respectively. ( I heard that the start is begun many months ago, and that the drafts are almost complete for review by the respective members..I was happy to hear it and I was exceptionally satisfied with their splendid analysis. I do appreciate the immense determination of the speakers, who time and time again insisted that the start of GRM is attributed to the enthusiasm of many Eritreans to play their roles. The speakers provided details about the whats and whys on the issue, and I do recommend the readers of this article to spend your time to listen to the broadcasts. I appreciated the two radios for bringing this important issue of great significance to the opposition and Eritrea to the attention of Eritreans…I should add that I learned recently a lot of GRM, and its genesis from the article of Goitom Emam- posted on Jan 3 in Assenna-; it began in March 2012 as far as GRM of Indianapolis, USA is concerned, and it is worth reading for a good grasp on GRM, and other related issues.)

To add to the good news, I heard recently in one of the Pal talks that one is in the pipeline in Swiss and one in Holland (Nederland). There is one in Belgium, since 2 and half years ago- and it is doing a splendid job, and all sorts of Eritreans from different religions, different professions and academic levels, from 20’s  to 60’s age groups, both genders, and including tigadeltis, etc are members. ( Many of the members are young Eritreans, who are energetic, and who do come with fresh ideas. We respect each other, and there is free sphere during discussions. We delyti fithi in Belgium disrupted Hegdef’s festival in Brussels- and Isayas’s ambassador requested police protection, and four police wagons run to “protect” him; we demonstrated in front of the Egyptian embassy, and we organized two workshops on the Eritreans prisoners- with one concentrating on the Eritrean Muslims, who disappeared without trace soon after the independence of Eritrea, during which many of us had hoped that all the good and the best are within reach. We are paying our monthly contributions with pleasure. And we have no papers with rules to follow.)

At the end I will only add that the grass root movement is second to none; it is democratic-, inclusive from early start, and more effective. GRM provides a perfect avenue to “organize, and not agonize”, as Petros Tesfagherghis put it in his article of  Jan. 1. The GRM- or GRMM, as somebody put it- has one aim mind, and that is its beauty, and its source of effectiveness,

Solomon in Belgium


Review overview
  • k.tewolde January 8, 2016

    There is light at the end of the tunnel,it is a learning process, it is not easy to change the mind set of “AYMLKETEKANYU”,”KAB LAEELI ZMESTSE TEEZAZ IYU”,”ATSEGIOOMO”,”TEKARIJU”,”GUDAYKA GIBER”…years of debilitating culture of order and execute no questions asked,no checks and balances.It is hard to shed this self defeating legacy overnight.The GRM is planting the seeds to dismantle this destructive legacy of HGDEF one wahyo at a time.Thanks Solomon.

  • berhane January 8, 2016

    There are so many organization similar to yours,you all have the same wishful thinking but the point is you can not bring change unless there is a military wing of GRM inside Eritrea period.
    Do you thing there were not organizations for Somalia in diaspora ? all these years?
    Somalis are successful when they form a government inside somalia near Ethiopian border,then they get help from Diaspora Somalis.
    The point is who is going to hang a bell to the cat? can you from 100000000…. miles.
    Lets not fool our selves by saying because we are not united, because we don,t have this name that name
    Civic socialites (groups) organise according to their soundings.

  • k.tewolde January 9, 2016

    What is your point berhane? with all due respect.Are you blaming someone?

    • solomon seyoum January 10, 2016

      You got it wrong..pls read it again with due attention
      And I hope will be a member of GRM in your city as well…or start one
      With regards, solomon

  • I. Mohammed January 9, 2016

    Dear Solomon, GRM is a brilliant and workable idea which should have been started long ago. We have seen our political organisations spend their time in organising meetings and conferences and say our meeting was concluded successfully. Where is the success when our people are sufferings under the harsh rule of the dictatorial regime for the last 25 years.If this old and rotten political organisation failed to bring peace and democracy, we as citizens should look for workable organisation which is guided and run by the people.And that is Grass Roots Movement. It is only then that a true social change can occur.Let us all work for it and get organised in our respective cities.