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Fetsum: A society under detrimental human and economic arrest

As I completed my South-East Asia tourism getting ready to get back home in the beginning of August, I discovered the similarity between the Cambodian experience under Pel Pot and Eritrea’s under the brutal Isais

As I completed my South-East Asia tourism getting ready to get back home in the beginning of August, I discovered the similarity between the Cambodian experience under Pel Pot and Eritrea’s under the brutal Isais Afwerki. Pel Pot moved the educated class of the society and the urban oriented people out of the cities and killed them all with over 2 million dead Cambodians (25% of the population) minus any criminal charge and due trial. And the dictator replaced the cream of the society by unlicensed Asian teachers and moved the urban oriented Eritreans to SAWA Military Camp systematically conditioning them to leave the country through the massive exodus that so far accounts close to a million of them (20-25% of the population). Was the Eritrean experience a derivative of Pel Pot’s political outlook or sheer coincidence with slight modification that has nothing to do with it?

This article will discuss the total destruction of the Eritrean society through ownership of the people via endless SAWA slavery and their hard earned wealth via illegal laws associated with the new Naqfa.

The talented Rock Musician JJ Cale expresses the value of money in society in his “Money Talks” single saying;

Money talks, it’ll tell you a story, Money talks, says strange things

You’d be surprised the friends, You can buy with small change

True is that it voices louder than anything else in view of business and economic development. Everyone works for it; some acquire and accumulate it beyond necessary, some slave for it for basic survival, quiet a few cross the boundaries of fairness and spirituality for small change, while the blessed few use it to transform the condition of human beings wherever it applies. Although it is hard to compare Power with Money in manipulating the human mind specially that of the dictators, the concepts of Capitalism, Socialism, Communism and any other mode of production would never have existed without Money to safely conclude that it determines the essence of Power as well. At the bottom line, political leaders in corrupt societies immediately become Millionaires by default circumstance and money dictates quality of life and class distinction in society.

In light of this reality every nation may approach the issue of money differently depending on the associated political philosophy of a given leadership but they all seem to somehow accommodate it in a way society functions in relative balance except the weird Eritrean regime that has once again discovered a sadistic way of economically crashing the society through convoluted concept of money after literally destroying its family structure through the endless SAWA slavery and pre-meditated exodus; one wonders at what point the dictator’s evil spirit exhausts its burden on the Eritrean society.

I solemnly regret the existence of the regime all together but I must admit that I admire the dictator’s mind of destruction that keeps on generating exceptional and unheard methods of hurting society beyond the capacity of ordinary intelligence like mine. He keeps on surprising me with new devilish impulses at the time I think his conviction has to stop at a point in the go because of too many of them already experimented on the Eritrean society in the last 25 years of debacle under his dictatorship. Simply, Isais Afwerki is too stupid to apply extreme pressure on the obedient society that he does not need for his POWER but may be a genius in creating endless caustic ideas at the expense of his legacy and the Eritrean dignity.

His latest creativity on the concept of money, however, overly surprised me to consider him as one that totally lost control of his life to be possessed with unusual urge of controlling other lives as never seen in the history of humankind let alone that of dictatorship. One cannot destroy a society beyond damaging its human and economic resources as we witness the dictator’s highly sophisticated poison of nullifying the Eritrean society in both dimensions of the social fabric.

Please allow me to substantiate my claim by comparing the current situation of Eritreans with other societies in view of MONEY.

If one would take a chance studying excessively controlled societies on planet earth, he/she would not hesitate pointing the finger at South East Asians as the best examples of the narrative. The reason is simple. The Chinese people have been under Mao’s Agrarian Communism for ages to still remain under the political control of his Communist Party more than 40 years after his death. To this effect, “The legal power of the Chinese Communist Party is guaranteed by the PRC constitution and its position as the supreme political authority is realized through its comprehensive control of the state, military, and media. According to a prominent government spokesman: “We will never simply copy the system of Western countries or introduce a system of multiple parties holding office in rotation””

The Vietnamese have been under the Communist Party ever since they freed their society from US Imperialism in 1975.  To this end; “Thepolitics of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is defined by a framework, where the President is the head of state and the Prime Minister is thehead of government, in a one-party system led by the Communist Party of Vietnam. Executive power is exercised by the government and the President of Vietnam.”

Likewise; “The politics of Cambodia takes place in a framework of a constitutional monarchy, where the Prime Minister is the head of government and a Monarch is head of state. Executive power is exercised by Prime Minister, Hun Sen. Legislative power is vested in the two chambers of parliament, the National Assembly.”

As per the next in the line; “ The Government of Thailand, or formally the Royal Thai Government (RTG) is the unitary government of theKingdom of Thailand. The country emerged as a modern nation state after the foundation of the Chakri Dynasty and the city of Bangkok in 1782. The Revolution of 1932 brought an end to absolute monarchy and replaced it with a constitutional monarchy. From then on the country was ruled by a succession of military leaders installed after military coups d’etat, the most recent in May 2014 which annulled the 2007 Constitution of the previous government.”

I can keep on talking about other societies as well but I feel concentrating on those I recently visited will adequately serve my goal of this article. In analyzing the brief histories of the nations under examination, one cannot help sensing that the Cambodian people have had a minute experience of democracy after the down fall of Pel Pot. They at least have once elected their leader although the process was vandalized by the existing regime one way or another. The Thai people being victims of consecutive dictatorships, the Chinese and the Vietnamese remain without any democratic experience, whether feck or real. The question is how the four societies experience the concept of Money despite their controlling governments in place.

From my experience, one can enter China with any amount of money and easily exchange it to the local currency anywhere including the airports and the banks. So does this approach apply in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. ATM machines and currency exchange offices exist in their streets with exceptional emphasis on Cambodia where one can even break big amount of US dollars to smaller bills in all exchange offices of the country ($100 to $20s, $10s, etc.). The governments may disallow political freedom in their countries but do not in any way involve in the transactions and have no limit and restriction as to how much money one can have and withdraw from personal accounts in what seems like Capitalism within Socialist political structure. They make material goods available in abundance for the people to work with minimum taxation well feeding their families with relative ease minus criminal tendencies. As a result, tourists invade the streets in thousands and spend money on the local businesses without any interference from the authorities and people deposit their money in the banks and withdraw any amount they want at any time of their choice.

In contrast, Eritrea works in different fashion specially after the regime issued the new Naqfa for the purpose of controlling the people without limitation. The regime’s policy in the past was so suffocating for people to keep money in their homes to the point Naqfa became scares in the country. The regime then dislodged the old currency and gave a short time limit for the people to change their money to the new Naqfa where the authorities involved to monitor the amount held by individuals and punished those found with a lot of it in possession. As such millions of Naqfa remained unchanged and the owners lost it in fear of punishment. It is now restricting Eritreans to only withdraw 5000 Naqfa per month probably for the first time in the history of mankind.

In so doing, the regime had to simulate a positive-sounding excuse to survive people’s negative reaction on the situation likewe did this to punish corrupt officials that made millions of Naqfa from illegal activitiesand get away inflicting a paralyzing economic damage on the society. In other words, it created the problem by allowing few powerful individuals to accumulate wealth via criminal activities and then target them “in favor of the people” to safely accomplish its goal of economically destroying the entire society through new regulations as such. 

How can a businessman with millions of Naqfa in the bank survive with only 5000 of it per month or what happens to a large family if it uses it before the time limit for the next withdrawal? I was told that a person in this scenario uses checks to manage business and personal life without the currency at hand.

How does a family finance an occasion like wedding in this situation? I was told that it must itemize everything it needs (food, drinks, gifts, transportation, etc.) and apply to the banks for withdrawal from personal accounts where they either approve the request or decline it depending on the situation whatever it may be. 5000 Naqfa, about $111 at international market value may not be enough for a person or a family to manage basic life, business and entertainment costs for a month but that is what it is in strange Eritrea under the strange dictatorship.

The next question is if there is any possibility for Eritreans to beat the system into possessing more than 5000 Naqfa in the pocket. I was told that the only way of doing this is to save some amount every month from the limit they are allowed to withdraw from the banks. But this is highly unlikely needless saying that it can cause a problem with the authorities if somehow is exposed by any means of exposure. How much of Naqfa can one incrementally save and how long would it take hitting the anticipated mark to even talk about this any way?

In this extraordinary darkness of monopolizing public resources, the Eritrean regime owns the people through the endless SAWA slavery and their economic lives through unheard of regulations on their money in its bank systems. Neither can one have enough of it to save at home nor can he/she have the freedom to use it from personal accounts according to one’s needs. One is declared criminal if found with more than 5000 Naqfa in possession and cannot withdraw more than that from the banks per month. Further, the government harasses business people on how much they have been depositing in the banks that would no more be theirs beyond face value under their names; meaning one may have money in personal accounts but it belongs to the regime by default incapacity to use it under the law.

The well known Afwerkist principle of SAWA slavery allows the regime to permanently own the people and destroy the society’s family structure and its latest economic determinism stops business people from using their money to prosper, create employment and manage their lives according to their choices and needs. Mathematically, a person with millions in the bank is only allowed to use 60000 Naqfa (5000 x 12) or $1333 per year at real value of the currency (45 Naqfa for a dollar). There is no chance to cultivate middle-class in the country, the most important portion of society for socio-economic development. My informer says that stroke induced death was unknown in Eritrea but that people are today dying of it in thousands as a result of stress associated with the impossible to survive life conditions created by the evil dictator that will be remembered as the worst case of vanity in this respect.

In relevance, “a woman was walking with food items in Asmara where people asked what she was about to do and she replied “Naqfa teasiru semie kibetsho misah hizellu yikeid aleku””. Many societies exist under dictatorship but they survive managing their lives normally and peacefully under the law. It is not the regime that is troublesome and it would have been tolerated had it been a normal tyranny such as Uganda’s, Sudan’s, Cuba’s, South East Asians’, etc. Unfortunately, it is unique and unprecedented in every sense of its policies; one shaped by extraordinary control of the people and extreme urge of inflicting suffering in all dimensions of life from endless slavery to exodus; ignorance to poverty; from maximum crimes against humanity to owning people’s lives and resources; cadging thousands of citizens without due trial to totally paralyzing the economy and business opportunities.

To wrap it up, no one can stop us from snatching our freedom from the enemies except us. Our victory is inevitable and we have the confidence to earn it through tight relationship and intense involvement in the resistance. The Global Initiative may be a little slow efficiently managing its vision and communicating its latest efforts with the people through the media till this experimental point in time, and people may rationally be a little impatient with its brief silence. But I assure you that lots of progress are being made by the group (restructuring the movement, meetings with other activist groups, communicating with individual activists, discussing important issues on weekly basis, drafting the final ACTION PLAN through intense involvement of its hardworking members and writing invitation letters to all political parties in the resistance). There are positive developments in terms of unifying our resources through genuine engagement with each other and we will never sleep until we accomplish Global Leadership through which we shall neutralize our vicious enemy as soon as possible with your help. Relax, stay alert and make sure to play your role upon the completion of the Initiative’s preliminary preparation for action that will be shortly disclosed to the people.

See you soon!!

Review overview
  • k.tewolde July 30, 2016

    The demise of the country cannot be described any better,Fitsum. The closing argument is uplifting.Hope you had a great vacation.Thanks.

  • two-cent July 31, 2016

    Please try to offer solutions when you criticize the higdefawian. Hate breeds only hate. Try to help your adopted country of Eritrea away from hatred rhetoric to wards a proposed solution.

    • Eritrea4Ever July 31, 2016

      Dearest 2 cent ,

      Our problem is we do not want to see the huge pink elephant in the living room. We do not look for true solution, even if the conclusion leads us to the painful question “was the Gedli really worth it ?”… It (gedli) not only did not bring us solution (to start with we had no gennuine grevience)..but also did the opposite ,In my humble few the gedli was compared to DONALD TRUMP THE BILLIONAIRE STRUGGLING TO BECOME HOMELESS ,BECAUSE HE VIEWED HIS RICHES AS AN OPPRESSION BY THE SYSTEM…That is why until we are able to use the real mirror ,we shall not find the solution.A drug addict does not have to justify his life style as noble , so that he can have fake peace of mind to thinking his life was not wasted.He/She needs to admit the painful reality ,I was an addict and wasted my life,destroyed my and my childrens’ life ,…etc…We are not willing to do that ,We are selfish ,we would rather value our gedli life ,no matter how destructive it was ,and we do not accept until the truth bends to our agenda.

      • Yakel August 1, 2016

        Wow…. You said it

        ህመሙን የሸሸገ መድሃኒት የለውም

      • Gidewon August 1, 2016

        Very true indeed but may be very painful to some stone heads still glorifiying the terrible gedli Eritrea. You have said it all and nothing more to add except to remind the sleepers to wake up.

        • Gidewon August 1, 2016

          please add ‘very painful to some to swallow the rteality on the ground for Eritrea & Eritreans’.

    • Yakel August 1, 2016

      I agree

  • rezen July 31, 2016

    Welcome Back, The Lucky Fitsum,
    I envy you! But I am not writing to shade tears of spiritual jealousy on your voyage but to take you up on your last paragraph of your Article regarding the work of the “Global Initiative”. Needless to say, you have a firm opinion on the work of the Group. 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:
    a) “restructuring the movement,
    b) meetings with other activist groups,
    c) communicating with individual activists,
    d) discussing important issues on weekly basis,
    e) drafting the final ACTION PLAN through intense involvement of its hardworking members; and
    f) writing invitation letters to all political parties in the resistance.” End of Quote.
    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. As the Tigrigna ancient [not ‘modern’] wisdom goes: 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’!

  • petros tesfagherghis August 1, 2016

    Dear Fetsum: I always enjoy your articles.
    I like to express my views on the bid for Global leadership.
    . The Global leadership movement is a good initiative – However to carry it out on the basis of bottom up is very difficult. It must be a compliment to top down. Top down is critical to its success. The late Tewolde Tesfamariam/ Wedi Vacaro initiative was Top down. He managed to rally thousands around him because people particularly the young related to what he was saying. It shows also the Eritreans in diaspora- are looking for leadership with a clear objective – organisational structure – division of work to organise them. The most challenging part of our voice is to empower the people by raising the level of consciousness and be knowledgeable. . of the people who are looking for leadership. Knowledge will be the justice- seekers armour to protect them from ignorance and make them shine.
    Consultation with other civil society organisations and listen to their concern and work together on a specific campaign can help. For example – the fact that the open letter to Professor Asmarom Legesse is written by 3 organisation (EFND, EGS, and PMEJ is a good example. I wish you success in your radical initiative..

  • fetsum abraham August 2, 2016

    Dears Rezen and Petros;
    First thank you for your productive inputs. I am sure I can not respond in short phrasing in this forum and I believe your inputs deserve an article at minimum. Therefore, I shall hopefully do that so that we can combine our ideas towards a successful end in terms of mutual understanding. I have now safely arrived home and resting it out to recover from the whole experience and associated pleasant exhaustion. I am looking forward to having everlasting relationship with both of you after I post the article in mind and I hope you will seriously;y consider my proposal and react likewise. Peace to the cream of Eritreans like you and the people at large!!

  • rezen August 2, 2016

    Dear Fitsum, Welcome back. Go ahead and rest “to recover from the whole experience”. __ and you will find the following observation for your reading enjoyment (hopefully) i.e. if you are not disturbed by melodrama of Trump!!!

    Observation:: “…I “I have now safely arrived home…” Fetsum Abraham, August 2, 2016”

    I love the sentiment behind each word – especially the word “home”. It is so NATURAL for human species to have and to belong to a HOME and pursue Life according to each individual’s dream and capability.. Isn’t that what WE Eritreans want – in fact, demand? Isn’t that a NATURAL right 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? >> NO! Then, what is the problem?
    In my simpleton 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’!!! Dear Reader: Please be kind to my pathetic mind. It is a long story of manipulated mentality that I have by ‘modern’ education! I can’t help it! The End.

  • two-cent August 2, 2016

    You all can do better than that. Get together, brain storm ideas that can lead to the equivocal of brother Isaiah & company, organize it, prioritize it, and start expecting it. Period.

  • fetsum abraham August 2, 2016

    Dear Petros;
    Would you please mail me or tell me where I can find the said” open letter to Professor Asmarom Legesse is written by 3 organisation (EFND, EGS, and PMEJ i” .i really want to read it to understand you better, my brother. My email iS As for Rezen, I feel there is a genuine feeling between us because .I like the way you express ideas that one should dig a bit to understand. What a talent!!