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Civic Center Thrives in Boston after PFDJ Group Bails Out in Humiliating Loss – Part II

Civic Center Thrives in Boston after PFDJ Group Bails Out in Humiliating Loss - Part II By Dr. Russom Mesfun The board leadership win was a huge triumph for the PFDJ team. Now comfortably ensconced in power,

Civic Center Thrives in Boston after PFDJ Group Bails Out in Humiliating Loss – Part II

By Dr. Russom Mesfun

The board leadership win was a huge triumph for the PFDJ team. Now comfortably ensconced in power, it run the Center the way the regime runs organizations, through tight control.

“One battle does not a war make,” the democratic activists thought as they went about figuring out what went wrong. During marathon meetings, they engaged in serious soul-searching, desperately attempting to reclaim what was rightfully theirs. The sole purpose of the Center must be to serve the needs of the local membership, independent of the government in Eritrea. But what could they possibly do?

They found the solution to their plight within reach. Going through a fine toothcomb of the bylaws, they came across areas that could use some tweaking. Hosting various political and human rights activists necessitated a change of title from Community to Civic. Though seemingly benign, the new name gave them the necessary leeway to broaden horizons.

More importantly, they came up with a potent weapon to remove the Center from the toothy jaws of the PFDJ. The secret ballot became the new rule instead of a mere show of hands, the antiquated system greatly favored by the PFDJ to differentiate friend from foe.

Sensing a major threat to their political fortunes, they fought assiduously to prevent any such rules from making it to the books. They knew that members would now be able to vote without fear of retaliation. Not surprisingly, the secret ballot resulted in the election of a 13-person board, only four whom were supporters of the regime. It was the beginning of the end for the group.

What was so interesting about the whole episode was revelations that there were many silent members who disapproved of the domineering ways of their own party. Only through the secret ballot were they able to express their real wish, for raising their hands would have exposed them to grave danger.

Though removed from power, the PFDJ gang was not about to give in just yet. Regime followers now proposed that the Center work under the auspices of the PFDJ and that all raised funds be sent to Asmara. They dictated the purchase of EriTV cable services and demanded that Mr. Isaias’ speeches be featured during important gatherings. What’s more, they asked that the center sponsor only PFDJ-friendly guests.

The local control group could not fathom why the Center could not draft its own messages but, ever willing to work with the other side, agreed to let the speeches of the Supreme Leader be availed on occasions. The PFDJ group declined to accept a counteroffer when their request for EriTV package was juxtaposed against a proposal for opposition media.

If the notion of the Center as an organ of the PFDJ was abhorrent to the local control group, the demands to send all monies to Eritrea was beyond abominable. Why send funds to Eritrea when they have a sizable mortgage to pay and a community serve? On inviting only PFDJ-friendly guests, the answer was  simply “No.” Speakers of all political persuasions were to be invited.

Unable to have their way and unwilling to adhere to the new reforms, the regime’s followers abandoned the Civic Center in a huff. “If a married couple can’t agree to live together, they should file for divorce,” one of them said during the departure.

Although the leaders of the Civic Center reached out to their former partners afterwards, the separatists declined all such overtures. They had that soothing comfort that the Center would go bankrupt anyway. When — contrary to their dreams — the venue started humming with action, they started pointing fingers. They felt duped by the leaders who had wrongly predicted the demise of the Civic Center in short order.

It was time to ratchet up the fight. That time they went for the jugular by suing the Civic Center in a Boston court, claiming that it was “selling liquor without a license.” When all else failed the regime’s followers had pulled out a new card from the drawer to shut down the building and expose its members to legal jeopardy.

Say what you wish about the Eritrean regime but shame is not in its lexicon. A lawless dictatorship with a track record of killing a constitution had the audacity to seek “justice” in, of all places, the US. The defendants in the case were citizens of Eritrean origin whose only aspirations were to run their local affairs without the smothering control of a tyrannical system 6500 miles away. Fortunately for the defendants, it was not to pass. The court ruled that all the Center needed to do to remain open was to install a fire alarm system.

Except there was one problem. The Center did not have the necessary $10,000 to do the repairs. They need not worry. Here again, fate smiled upon them one more time. This time the relief came from a totally unlikely source: City of Boston authorities offered to pay eighty percent of their expenses, a whopping $8,000.

As luck would have it, the officials had taken a shine to the group when they found out that they were trying to create a safe place to connect with community, a place to maintain culture and help adapt to their new home. So overjoyed were the members that it took them no time to raise the balance.

Even after losing the perverse lawsuit, the PFDJ and its followers resorted to their signature practice. All weapons in arsenal now exhausted, the regime reverted to a game it had mastered in the dark alleys of Sahel.

For months on end, Hgdefites attempted to create a climate of fear and terror across town, sending word to the wise that they had dispatched to Asmara a list of all the “trouble makers.” They drove around the Center during various hours to let everyone know that the laser-beam eyes of the PFDJ were watching.

“Visit the center at your own peril,” they told locals within earshot. “If you ever cross Hgdef, you will never ever set foot in Eritrea.” Most ignored the posturing and went about their business.

As this issue went to press, a much shrunken PFDJ group continued to look for a stable place to rent, while the Eritrean-American Civic Center has a home of its own and is alive and kicking.

Review overview
  • Anti-Higdef May 16, 2015

    Congratulations brothers and sisters for regaining your freedom.
    Higdef is fascist organization and as such it cannot live in peace with anybody.
    It is against basic freedom and lofty human values. It feeds on war and terror.
    Their world outlook is diabolic: you either dominate them, or destroy them, but allow to co-exist.
    In a free and fair atmosphere they lose.

  • mm May 16, 2015

    A job Well Done. Congrats! taking our centers and our country one step at a time.

  • Isaac May 16, 2015

    Great news. It should be an example to Eritreans all over the world.

  • AHMED SALEH !!! May 16, 2015

    To violate a person’s right because of his race , religion or his political point of view
    is a crime according the constitution of America . If for sure they used threats to
    create an environment of fear among community members in democratic country ,
    let the authority get informed about their activity through civil right advocacy .

  • Simon G. May 16, 2015

    Boston’s HGDF down! Next will be Oakland.

  • national pain May 16, 2015

    I think we should demonstrated against oakland’s independence guayla…they should not be feasting when our people are dying.
    long live our people.