Visit the new AsenaTv Website

In a Pyrrhic Victory, PFDJ Group Elected to Community Board in Boston

Part I  By Dr. Russom Mesfun The story of Boston's Eritrean-American Civic Center is a sordid tale of a rogue government and its cohorts arrayed in a scorched-earth war by proxy against a peaceful yet determined local

Part I 

By Dr. Russom Mesfun

The story of Boston’s Eritrean-American Civic Center is a sordid tale of a rogue government and its cohorts arrayed in a scorched-earth war by proxy against a peaceful yet determined local members in the City.

For the longest time, the PFDJ leadership attempted to maintain a firm grim in diaspora communities, such as Boston, a prized local branch with sterling credentials in supporting the struggle. During the liberation war, Bostonians maintained a strong relationship with their peers in the field. They took pride in the fact that many of the current and previous leaders hailed from the City.

It is that attachment and identification with the same cause that had them contribute more than $1.9 million during the border crisis with Ethiopia in 1998. The nation’s safety was on the line and Boston’s Eritreans were not about to stand idly by. It was as simple as that.

This was one tightknit community of Eritreans who also wanted to purchase a place to call their own, where PFDJ members and non-members could attend to local needs. Everyone was asked to cough up $1000 per family, $500 for singles. They were easily able to collect almost half the funds needed for down payment to acquire a building at a cost of $375,000. Tragically enough, and much to their sorrow, however, whatever had going for them soon degenerated into rancor and division from which the community has yet to recover.

Amid much good will and commitment to community, deep cracks had appeared in the new government they supported back home, cracks that were perhaps more obvious in Boston than elsewhere in the diaspora.

The PFDJ local office was alarmed over the tensions between the Eritrean leader, Isias Afwerki, and senior government members. In unprecedented move, Bostonians sent a letter to party headquarters expressing grave concerns and urging both sides to resolve the crisis peacefully. It was the only PFDJ group to do so.

Neither the DC Embassy nor Asmara replied. Within a few months, what was a clear case of political and procedural disagreement took an ominous turn. As the nation watched in bewilderment, the so-called members of the G15 were placed under arrest, never to be heard from again.

For several PFDJ members in Boston, the arrest of some of the highest members of government was beyond the pale. Having received nothing by way of reply from the regime, and unable to accept the sudden imprisonment of its iconic leaders, several members resigned from the party, prompting an urgent call from Girma Asmerom, Eritrea’s envoy to the US.

“You’re asking me to call these heroes traitors,” the recipient of the call, a local leader, confronted the ambassador. “I am just not going to do that.”

The leader, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that Mr. Girma attempted to convince him during a heated hour-long conversation not to quit his membership with the PFDJ, indicating that the arrested will receive trial. “That was fourteen years ago,” the local leader angrily pointed out in a recent interview.

In what has since become reminiscent of diaspora communities, there appeared a new divide within the Center whose members included supporters and non-supporters of the regime.

With the resignation of several PFDJ members from the branch office and their visible presence in the Community Center, the government’s supporters decided to recruit new members to help elect a user-friendly board to do the regime’s bidding. In so doing, they embarked in an invigorated campaign across town, asking any real or potential supporters to join in.

When new candidates hedged, reluctant to pay $10 enrollment fees, PFDJ supporters were on hand to foot the bill. At least one paid for as many as six new members. The relentless drive paid off, as the PFDJ side won handily, inviting in its first order of business the architect of the campaign, Ambassador Girma Asmerom.

Part II

After a Humiliating Loss for Board Leadership in Boston, PFDJ Group Bails Out

















Review overview
  • AHMED SALEH !!! May 10, 2015

    After we went through all negatives in Eritreans life inside the country then to
    witness our young generation lost hope and forced to face dangerous fate ,
    It blow my mind to observe people who refuse to recognize our present world
    prefer to leap without hesitation in irrational thought that fills the vacuum of
    arrogance . They are not true for themselves and also not true for life . They
    don’t know where they came from , they don’t know where they are heading
    and they will not learn to exercise the given right to fight for justice .
    ” change will not come if we wait for others or if we wait for other time . We
    are the one’s we have been waiting for and we are the change we seek ” .
    Barack Obama

  • Mike May 11, 2015

    Guys, when you post an article know your audience place. Most people can read and understand simple English. The wording is very complicated. You could have used simple English to convey your message instead of filling the title and the paragraph with hard to understand English. Pyrrhic, rogue, cohorts, scorched-earth, grim, sterling, hailed , rancor ,,,,,, I am sure an average English speaker will not understand these words.

    • rezen May 16, 2015

      I think you brought the most essential point in writing — for that matter in any “COMMUNICATION”. The success of communication between individuals rests upon the words we use. Unfortunately many writers prefer (for psychological reasons!!!) to use big words, resulting in misunderstanding and even animosity!!! Even the most educated persons are victims of this trait. The extreme consequence of “misunderstanding” can be devastating in the extreme case.

      Having said the above, we should also accept the latitude of the writer to select words that would express what she/he would like to convey. The cardinal point is ALWAYS to be aware that we are “COMMUNICATING” with the next person (or people) — NOT to impress the person. If the person fails to understand what was conveyed to her/him then the writer has FAILED (NOT the receiving person)to establish communication. Oh! no doubt, volumes are/can be written on this essential subject — and still humanity would not understand each other perfectly — alas! resulting in …………………….

      Have a nice week-end.

      P.S. The word “pyrrhic” : The Dictionary came-in handy to me on this one. Would I use it? I don’t think so. By the way, a Dictionary is ALWAYS next to me to get the depth of a word that I already know!

  • Abnet May 11, 2015

    Mike, That’s what dictionaries are for to learn new words. I understood just fine. No need to know the meaning of each word. Sometimes I may like a word and find the meaning to use it myself. Don’t insult asena visitors by saying use easy English. That is patronizing. My bad, big word. We are not stupid or uneducated. Think before you assume.