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Fetsum: A Moment on Conceptual or Physical Unity of Eritreans!

The GI group has posted the Open Letter to Eritrean Political Party Leaders for support only to those within reach of its knowledge, still trying to get contact information of the remaining parties to complete

The GI group has posted the Open Letter to Eritrean Political Party Leaders for support only to those within reach of its knowledge, still trying to get contact information of the remaining parties to complete the effort but missed to put the name of Chairman Kornoleous Osman of DMLEK in the list. We humbly apologize for this honest mistake that took place without the editor’s awareness till after it was released.

As you know, quiet a few concerned Eritreans from different places of the world have been supporting the Global Initiative’s sacred vision of unifying our scattered resources. The GI group feels it is now time to implement the first phase of the vision (forming committees everywhere). The signatories must then take the initiative of contacting each other in their respective cities to discuss how to recruit new supporters and start the process before or after the ACTION PLAN is publicized in the near future. Please stay alert to this effect and God bless you!!

I confess that brother Yosief Gebrehiwot comes to my mind whenever I come across an individual called Rezen in my forum. Either way, I am writing this input taking Rezen’s appearance in my last article as an opportunity to clarify my understanding of the badly needed unity proposed by the hard working members of Global Initiative (GI) currently in motion under the wisdom of Professor Araya Debessay et al.

I wish all Eritreans rally behind the GI for swift resolution of our problems but western mentality cannot define the socio-political fiber of the South East Asians based on the brief, shallow and limited lessons I picked in my recent tourism. They see freedom in a different way. Democracy to them seems to be living it in practice despite the dictatorship in leadership. They hardly discuss politics; only their survival which the regimes reasonably provide them with open opportunities to meet their basic needs and prosper from the varieties of internal and external material goods, food and beverage products abundantly circulating in the peaceful small-business oriented socio-economic motion at insignificant federal tax. This does not mean everybody lives equally; sure there are unfortunate ones who suffer homelessness more than their share in any society of this world. But the majority enjoys enough freedom from personal to business and entertainment, tourism to art and physical fitness, to hardly consider refugee life as a better alternative like what the Eritreans do. Partially excluding Cambodia here because the corrupt government could do a lot better helping the society in my opinion, the people still live in harmony like the Thai and Vietnamese in terms of peacefulness and basic survival opportunities excuse the highly technological Chinese that are today living better than the Europeans as the second economic power of the planet.

I found the freedom in South East Asia in certain situations beyond what western democracies deliver as long as the people stay away from the tendency to violently challenge authority needless to say that all the touristic, entertainment, legalized prostitution (unfortunately), street hustle, night life and business activities take place without any sort of limitation, violence and police involvement. The societies thus tend to live accepting the Top-Bottom political philosophy that does not destructively interfere with their lives because it allows them to live in relatively free and satisfactory conditions. In other words, their inner spirituality and indigenous cultural contents dominated their mind to conform to reasonable home based dictatorship ignoring western democracy regardless their equal colonial exposure to the rest of the third world societies.

Africans are, however, differently influenced by European colonialism to develop a western-polarized political outlook more than the Southern Asians exposed to similar external influence. The different outputs of colonialism on the political outlooks, ego, relationships and emotional temperaments of Africans and Asians must then have originated from their authentic cultural, spiritual and traditional differences considering the effect of colonialism and the concept of democracy constants in the equation; of course I am talking about the ordinary Asian people that lived for ages as Atheists or believers of their original beliefs (Buddhism, Taoism, etc.) in comparison to Africans confronting western democracy from Paganist and Theistic socio-spiritual setup.

You have a firm opinion on the work of the Group [Global Initiative]. Good, may we also follow your sentiment on the success of the Group. In that direction, for convenience, let us enumerate “the progress being made by the group”, as you put it:

  1. a) “restructuring the movement,
  2. b) meetings with other activist groups,
  3. c) communicating with individual activists,
  4. d) discussing important issues on weekly basis,
  5. e) drafting the final ACTION PLAN through intense involvement of its hardworking members; and
  6. f) writing invitation letters to all political parties in the resistance.


“It is miraculous (*), especially para e) and f), the epitome of the struggle for true Independence, Liberty, Freedom of Expression and justice. We hope. I say this with honesty, admiration and good wishes for the Group. መፈጸምትኡ የርእየና። (*) I use the word deliberately in view of the multitude of the so-called “opposition” parties mushrooming (seemingly by the day) only to disappear after a little gust of wind, the next ‘morning’. Isn’t that a NATURAL right [to go home and leave peacefully] as opposed to magnanimity of any self-appointed individual? >> YES! Do WE need to have eighty-eight (88) parties to enunciate and declare that right? >>!!!”

Comment: Brother, thank you for the good wishes but “መፈጸምትኡ የርእየና” by direct involvement or by remote observation? Isn’t it better saying we will do it together as active catalysts of the transformation than looking others doing it from distance? The success of the group depends on our inputs let alone talking about the effect at this infant stage of its actuality. The fact remains that there is an attractive initiative that can succeed in the long run through combined effort but not a crystallized activity capable of changing our situation for the better yet.

Yes, I do have firm opinion on the group with a slight reservation soon to be discussed and developed within because its objective is crystal clear as exposed to the public in different occasions. Nothing is complete but slowly moving forward. People are joining it day by day and we are learning in the process of the rugged road to freedom with failure and success like any struggle in human experience.

The GIs do their work together with any interested Eritrean willing to participate. They are restructuring the movement and at least contacting other activists like they recently did with European based Eritrean groups (England and Germany) and US based groups such as those in Boston and Hizbawi Milieal needless saying repeatedly with individuals like Ambassador Andeberhan despite the quality of the result. The process will continue till every Eritrean in the lime light of the struggle is respectfully approached for moral support and direct involvement to change our situation.

They are closely discussing important issues on weekly basis through Paltalk technology, finishing the ACTION PLAN for public disclosure, and certainly sending invitation letters individually to all political party leaders with known contact address to support their concept of achieving Global Leadership to democracy. I remind my readers to tell us the address of any activist or politician that should be contacted through

Simply, it is open for everyone willing to help out at the same level of importance because none of them is aiming at personal gain beyond facilitating legitimate global leadership towards democracy via grassroots based unity as part and parcel of the people. They busily interact individually suggesting what to do next producing collective results after discussing issues intensely. They are not in competition with the political and civic groups nor are they a replacement of the rest but only facilitators of conceptual unity under global leadership as a portion of the Eritrean society. The group respects and acknowledges the existing groups and political parties for competition to have no room in this situation. Our responsibility should then be supporting the vibe and directly refining the vision’s collective conceptual quality in view of our people and the international community.

Yes, we have been infested with opposition parties “mushrooming by the day only to disappear the next morning” but also to stick around with no tangible progress because of the inherited cultural and traditional characteristics that impaired their capacity to apply genuine democracy in the Eritrean political dynamics. This problem is GI’s motivation to unify the resistance under global leadership. We are neither a civic group or a political party with personal stake after the dictatorship nor are we a new group looking for a spot in the random political jam. We are ordinary Eritreans driven to conceptually unite the diversified civic and political groups under democratically processed Global Leadership so never to suffer again from their injurious personal and political divisions.

Yet, new political parties and civic groups may still arrive further congesting the traffic pack but this should not worry us a bit as long as we don’t fully depend on their performance and jurisdiction for the future of our society except on the people that should control power to modulate the out of control situation about their destiny. The political parties and groups cannot do it alone without the people, a lesson we learned from concrete experience like the proven reality that the civic groups cannot make it conceptually divided as such.

To me, the number of political parties is not a problem as long as the people can use their exclusive right to set conditions by which they can legitimately and legally survive in the political life of the society. This has been done in few countries in the past. We can for instance partially adopt a modified version of Somalia’s model of shrinking or filtering the political parties based on our unique social fabric through people’s legal and popular guideline composed of multiple democratic stages only reachable by fulfilling the associated requirements through so said Global Leadership. The people in return must accept and support qualified political parties that respect the people’s supremacy and aim at political power via democratic election.

What we want from the humanitarians, political groups and parties and civic groups at this stage of the resistance as part of the people is thus, not to unite into a single Party and Civic entity which is impossible and unnecessary to do but only to support the GI grassroots strategy for global leadership. We can only request their conceptual unity not physical unity given their different programs and visions in place.

The problem to my understanding is therefore the society’s failure to produce said guideline with genuine democratic values that legitimize the political parties and the civic groups and enforces them to accommodate it in respect of the people’s supremacy in our society. We need to develop it for the people to manage their legitimacy and encourage their productive elements to well organize themselves for political leadership as the decisive people’s power towards the first democratic experience of the society after the dictatorship. We have to learn from the failure of BAYTO that could not play a neutral role in view of the political parties because of infiltration and try our best to make sure the GI succeeds depending on equal opportunity strategic relationship with all Eritrean activist individuals and groups. We have to overcome our problem accepting genuine democracy to dictate the conditions by which everyone plays a political game. That is all we have to do but there is a capacity to develop a unique guideline for our society using our collective creativity and honest relationship minus competition, just a matter of accepting each other and working together my brother!

I believe Global Initiative represents the people by virtue of its members having no political interest in future Eritrea. It has taken the drive that must be developed to a potent force by direct participation of all of us the activists. The group is at experimental stage learning from experience and enhancing its scope without claiming control on the common political environment. I believe it will have to clearly analyze its concept with significant room for any Eritrean to directly influence it based on tangible challenges down the road. I encourage the GI group as a part of the people to continue the modest approach of communicating with Eritreans of all levels with clear understanding that there are still more things to do to make the strategy a compelling global force by all inclusive Deleyti-Fithi, who have nothing to lose in this opportunity.

Rezen: “NO! Then, what is the problem? In my simple tone and honest opinion, it is due to the fractured mentality, tuned to parochialism of religion, provincialism, tribalism, racism, individualism, egotism and, in the insightful Tigrigna wisdom of past generation (which I dare mangle it in foreign language) is the excuse that >>> ‘my mother’s skirt tripped me’”

Comment: Beautiful resentment on our overall condition; our failure to fix the problem together and have the freedom to just go home and peacefully enjoy life with our people obvious saying I fully agree with what you said. Now that the illusion of entertaining unity with Ethiopia, a country with intense internal problems is impossible and the Eritrean sovereignty is permanently assured, what do we want after this regime; a clean cut democracy or reasonable survival focused on democracy? What are the limits we can stretch our grasp of democracy vis-à-vis the possibility of its actuality in post Afwerki Eritrea? Why are we refusing to discuss our respective means of solutions and resolve our differences through the power of dialogue if we are really democratic minded activists? Why do we pollute the concept of democracy with our personal and cultural hang-ups and fruitlessly fight with fragmented intellectual and material resources? When will the humanitarian, civic and political branches of the resistance work together under strategic global leadership? Why do we dwell on minor conceptual and behavioral differences to continue resisting with the monotonous individualistic style that diminished our potential to change our situation? Don’t the civic groups and political parties have the responsibility of saving the nation by accepting to work under a common strategic vision of the people? What is stopping us from working under global leadership with our differences intact for the sake of the society? Is it fear, greed, ego or insecurity?

What surprised me about the Vietnamese people is the way they give enough freedom within the law to any foreigner that visits their country in the condition the person enjoys life without any problem with any one of them. They stick together and sting him otherwise simply because the “foreigner is wrong no matter the situation”, a way of life probably developed through down to earth cultural mystics amplified by their colonial experience under the Chinese, the French and the Americans. Their experience produced a unique concept of unification that defends every one in conflict with outsiders to the blessing of the people and the society at large.

In our situation, we are asking for unity and democracy predominantly from the mental orientation of Paganism, Christianity and Islam having different cultural values and languages within the society. The regional and continental flirtation with the west also influence our political outlooks blending with our colonial experience and distinct cultural, ethnical, communal and social values to produce a stereotypically obscure version of democracy. Said values complicate the fundamental concept of western democracy in the practical experience of the African people.

This factor I believe is the main cause of our failure to practically communicate with democratic values. We could not even develop the capacity of solving our problems together after the rich experience of liberating the country with unparalleled unity and sacrifice. It is our inherited ego from our cultures and traditions that distort the concept of western democracy in our relationships no matter how democratic minded we think we were. This is the cause of the on going rigidity on what we believe instead of opening up and resiliently amalgamating our ideas through dialogue oriented compromise for all inclusive hybrid socio-political destination. We grew fearful of creativity in favor of the monotonous mindset that did not get us anywhere. We became immune to new ideas despite failing time and again with our old ideas. We flatter ourselves thinking we were bigger than our capacity to deliver. We condemn the regime of rigidity, yet we practice the same disease with each other because of serious misunderstanding of democracy. It is lack of humility, confidence, addiction to tedious approaches of life and the tendency to personalize objective issues via competition that agitate us to develop the tenacity of owning a socio-political concept contrary to the basic principles of democracy and indefinite science affiliated subject matters as such.

Thank you brother Rezen for provoking this productive dialogue. I hope I am guessing you for the right person but glad to tell you that you influenced my keen interest to more passionately learn about the Cambodian tragedy under Pel Pot through one of your excellent projects in relation to our experience under the dictator. I hope you remember my impressions in my articles,” Dialogue with Rezen” at Assenna. My empathy towards and attachment with the Cambodian people increased as a result and wanted to be part of that society at least for a short time in this life. I could not have written my last article’s introduction relating the Cambodian and Eritrean experiences without exposure to that outstanding project for me to frankly tell you that you stayed in my mind during my long bus trip from Bangkok, Thailand to Siem-Riep, Cambodia relating everything I was seeing to your teaching and the Khmer Rouge brutality.

I don’t even know you personally though I saw you once in DC in Eritrean related activity and talked with you by phone once or twice in the past. I am talking about your intelligence and its potential to change the Eritrean situation. Don’t you agree that “the best way of making it is creating it”? How can a person of your caliber wish us success instead of being part of us and make the effort successful? Give us a hand by giving the GI a chance brother; of at least closely knowing it so that you can play your role as one of the intellectuals of the society for knowledge is waste otherwise unless utilized to change the condition of society while still alive!

Stay tuned for my next appearance with brother Petros Tesfagiorgis.

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