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Fetsum: GR Momentum: GI’s journey, outlook of Strategic Alternative, Efficiency and Time

Why do I like GI? For the record, I had never been a member of any group since the struggle for independence except briefly as a sympathizer of the mass organization of Eritreans for independence in

Why do I like GI? For the record, I had never been a member of any group since the struggle for independence except briefly as a sympathizer of the mass organization of Eritreans for independence in Germany, in 1977. I came to the US in 1978 and stayed independent ever since. Not even my participation in MAETOT in the liberated areas of Eritrea in 1990 till INDEPENDENCE agitated me to be a member of the then EPLF. I can thus say that this is the first time I have been a member of an entity (GI) because I was convinced of its down-to-earth conviction that only focuses on freedom from the bottom-up stratum of the society with no personal issues in mind.

I recall saying in one of my articles that “the GI community could have elected its leaders to represent its members but does not represent the people that did not elect it” to make a point on the fact that none of the civic or political groups was elected by the people so what we all have to do was working for global leadership that represents us all with one voice. To be honest though, the GI community has no leadership that I know of. We meet in the dedicated Paltalks, discuss issues and separate with a sense of obligation as to what we individually have to do about whatever found important to the Eritrean people. We sure have departments (media, mobilization, etc.) but we have no President, Chairman or Secretory General that imposes instruction on the community for something that has to be done. Simply, we depend on groupthink in this pleasant ambiance without formal managers where duties are performed by willing individuals offering their resources in the Paltalk events. This gives me a sense of trust and freedom that I need for expressing my opinions without any authority from above.

The Hiccup: GI has no agenda beyond empowering the people, the reason we are working hard to achieve a mass based global leadership to represent all Eritreans around the world. We know that we have become a threat to the regime but unfortunately, also to the few unidentified reactive groups that hate to see us succeed. Our experience tells that few sneakers (in paltalks) have been trying to put doubt on the mind of deleytifithi by classifying GI as a dangerous group that came to presence to confuse people in indirect favor of the dictatorship. They associate our past experience as supporters of the EPLF to pollute the vulnerable mind into believing that we were still supporters of the dictatorship. There is nothing we can do about this problem besides warning the people to challenge them on the merit but we will continue with our mission without gravitating to the desperate obstacles in the way.

News in brief: From Toronto to Frankfurt

GI conducted its weekly meeting on Saturday June 24 and discussed many things concerning the movement. On Sunday, June 25, the GI’s Media team conducted exclusive meeting from 12-1 PM and discussed internal issues in detail. Among other things, we discussed about integrating the branches within the team (writers, video, etc.) in order to more effectively communicate with the people. GI as a whole then conducted a meeting with the Germany Conference organizers from 1PM-4PM discussing important matters as to how we can together make their July event in Frankfurt as focused and successful as possible. In this second meeting within a month, GI discovered that it will have an opportunity to communicate its agenda with the people as one of the elements of the forum. GI then continued its general meeting until about 7PM in the evening and among others, agreed on sending our US representatives to the Toronto Fest and Frankfurt Conference of Eritreans.

GI participated in the Toronto Conference in agreement with the organizers and achieved remarkable success effectively transmitting its agenda in the event. We shall of course wait for the event organizers to disclose their experience with GI but we believe concrete understanding on grassroots based unity to global leadership has been achieved with extra work to follow up between us in the future.

GI one more time conducted a meeting (third) with the Germany Conference organizers on July 4th to further consolidate common understanding as to how to manage the event together. The relationship is getting tighter each time and so is our mutual understanding on mass based global leadership that we all want to achieve as soon as possible. Once again, we will be part of the event and do the best we can to produce something out of it.

In the last few meetings, GI had to discuss important matters pertaining our progress report and the overall Eritrean resistance to freedom and democracy.

Strategic Alternative: The short experience since GI was formed in February, 2016 has taught us a lot. We have really been working hard on our global agenda and we feel satisfied with the progress we made, although more could have been achieved had the people been a little more involved in this encounter. We analyzed our movement inside out and concluded that the workload is rapidly increasing as much as the cost of our performance and plans.

The GI community as part and parcel of the mass assertively agreed on the fact that the movement should not be considered the only remedy to the Eritrean crisis. Convinced that the GI alternative is the most potent and democratic means of empowering the grassroots class of the society, we, yet agreed on staying ready to accept, follow and fully assist any better alternative that can resolve the outstanding issues of the country as long as it is focused on empowering the people to have the final say on their political future as the supreme power in the society. We are ready to fully accommodate any other alternative up to giving up ours through dialogue and public debate or to amalgamate our strategy with others to the end of a refined common strategy that we may agree upon. Simply, the GI agenda is open for improvement, replacement or integration with other alternatives that we all have to take advantage of. Therefore, we recommend  for any Eritrean element of the resistance to engage us for unconditional dialogue to this effect so that we can rapidly empower the people, transfer the struggle to the youth and move on.

Strategic Alternative Research Group: As you know, we Eritreans have been working attached to our respective groups whether effective or not. Some of us have simply been as silent majority of the resistance. But our involvement must intensify should we want to succeed overthrowing the regime and installing democracy in Eritrea. We believe our people should involve in research for the best alternative method of resistance out of all the choices on the ground and go for it instead of waiting for magic to do the job. This is not time to compete or hesitate on picking up a form of struggle that has the potential to produce everlasting solution in our society. Let the silence and waiting be over and practical implementation of the best means of struggle begin! The GI community strongly appeals to the people to carry their responsibility of organizing a research group that concentrates on studying all available strategies in the resistance so the people can select the most potent strategy to adapt and assist or even to pick more than one strategy for all of us to amalgamate and produce a workable hybrid solution at equal level of significance.

To this end, the GI community amicably communicated with the Germany Conference organizers to entertain this idea as one of their activities in the upcoming Frankfurt event in July, 2017. We clearly addressed this issue having Global Leadership in mind as the final outcome of the drive ahead. In so suggesting, we support and encourage any neutral interest group to evaluate the resistance overall (political parties, civic and humanitarian groups and non-affiliated neutral individuals or groups, etc.) so that we can efficiently march forward without competition and domination picking the best available method of resistance in the opposition camp. We strongly feel that we specially need such a group to evaluate the Civic Society’s different forms of resistance and publicly communicate the outcome with the people for them to take action on. We believe such a group can help the people to learn on what is what and who is who in this struggle for freedom and to further give them the chance to adapt a form of struggle that they think is the best solution to the outstanding problem in the concert. It would further give them the chance to directly control the show and move forward with a little more speed and efficiency. We thus, encourage any interested Eritrean individual, media or group to invite Eritrean activists to present their objectives for evaluation and to involve us in public debate so that we can acquire good knowhow as to what needs to be done next. This is, of course an exclusive business of interested neutral Eritreans from the grassroots stratum of the society in any community around the globe

Time and efficiency:  As we all know, one of the questions in the resistance seems to be “how long will it take to make it?”. Quiet a few Eritreans while accepting the GI movement as progressive, have been reluctant to fully go for it on the grounds of TIME. They think it will take a long time for GI outlook to resolve the problem at hand. The question is, compared to what form of struggle? I think we should consider the following realities in this regard:

1) Nothing has changed since EDA came to existence in 1999. Assuming the first few years could have been invested on shaping it up, most of the years after that could not produce tangible result to the democratic upshot of the society. Chances are EDA will continue wasting time as usual with no solution in sight. Therefore, time does not matter for GI and the people here vis-à-vis EDA.

2) Bayto has not produced anything useful until this point in time. Chances are it won’t do better in the future with all the mistakes it did breaching the virtual mandate of the people. Therefore, time does not matter for GI and the people here vis-à-vis bayto.

3) Nothing changed with our Civic Society’s collective form of struggle. More than ten years have been invested without remarkable result, yet with no sign of forward movement as is. There is no way the civic societies can challenge the regime in its current form without fundamental change from within. Therefore, time should not matter for GI and the people here vis-à-vis the civic groups’ performance report.

4) A lasting solution requires time but even if we assume that the resistance in its current form would brings a solution in the long run, which is unlikely based on experience, the solution can not be everlasting without empowering the people to possess their supreme status in society. The maximum result that can be achieved by the situation, still giving the civic groups the benefit of the doubt, would only be getting rid of the dictatorship but not democracy. Unfortunately, even this does not seem to be possible based on experience as of today. I don’t think the civic groups can bring a short cut solution (removing the regime) let alone lasting solution to the society without sincere self-analysis and openness to unconditionally change the situation with all of us.

5) Efficiency = Output/Input. As you know, TIME is the most important element of life. The more time one works on, the better should the result be. Unfortunately, so much time has been wasted in the resistance at the expense of the society. We should then evaluate our resistance in terms of Time and Efficiency. Efficiency is measured on what is produced from a given input and the longevity of an active civic group is justified by its efficiency or by what it produces in time. And so far, the amount of time invested on the resistance by our civic groups and the result achieved tells us that we cannot confidently talk about efficiency specially in relation to how much work requires to change the situation given the very relaxed survival of the well organized regime and the dire situation of the society at hand. The civic society has been around with minimal success and poor efficiency given its very long existence. We cannot afford to waste time anymore and every civic group claiming of fighting for freedom has to justify its essence through progress report for us all to follow and support. In light of this challenge, it is time for the people to shift the gear to a more effective style of resistance.

6) The only factor that can stretch GI’s method of solution is the people’s reluctance to participate and implement the ACTION PLAN that we believe can solve the problem in a short time. Therefore, the people are also responsible for delaying solution in this regard but they have no more excuse to indefinitely wait for a miracle to change the situation.

7)   Although we have not seen any strategy that can even satisfy the people’s short-term plan of removing the regime, another dictatorship is likely to take charge after the regime without grassroots based solution offered by the GI community or otherwise. The people will then have to work for many years to come getting rid of the new dictatorship that would replace the regime. The current dictatorship is approaching its 30 years of existence and imagine how much time is involved getting rid of regimes as such. We cannot jeopardize our society to another disaster when we have the chance to better organize right now no matter how long it takes.

8) It is always better to try something new than waiting with something that was proven ineffective for years.

In conclusion, we didn’t have any form of struggle that can bring everlasting solution in Eritrea. The enemy is living with no threat from the close to a hundred political parties, civic and humanitarian groups that have been around for many years. In view of this reality the time it would take for the grassroots movement to succeed does not matter and should not be entertained by any rational Eritrean. We should continue organizing the mass and prepare the society for democratic future beginning from now rather than endlessly flirting with our individual groups proven to have no capacity even achieving the short-term objective of the people (changing the regime). Once again, this article is my exclusive opinion. See you soon and God bless you!

Review overview
  • adhanom July 6, 2017

    There is no effective party that can lead partly b/s we do not and can not trust any ax shaebia figure to lead us (they better join the masses or continue as parallel in the fight) and partly due to their gross incompetence, arrogance and ignorance. I feel it is waste of time to even talk about them. Lets do what we (the civillians) can do. Cheers to u, dr araya and others who are promoting GI.

  • k.tewolde July 6, 2017

    By far,the GI approach is the most objective,honest,transparent,and prudent to a lasting solution for the catastrophic Eritrean socio-political phenomena today.However,because it calls upon the people to initiate the action and empowers them to take matters into their own hands to become engines of the change,they are reluctant and think it is to good to be true,it is like winning the lotto.The reason,years of victim-hood,protracted repression,a deeply rooted culture of idolization of shady characters like the tyrant……In this type of atmosphere,truth lacks relevance.In order to harvest a good crop you need to prepare the soil,till it adequately and add rich nutrients,that requires time,skill,toil….because the tyrant has left the Eritrean mind vastly barren and parched,no matter how much seed you saw you ain’t gonna get the desired return.That is the reason why we witnessing this anemic attendance when GI summons for a meeting. Announce that the tyrant will convene a public forum in New York city this weekend or a famous Eritrean Artist will throw a party in town,can you imagine the turnout? Fitsum,truth is boring,it is mundane,it is bitter,dull, but it is the truth.Thanks for your unrelenting care and love for our people.

  • Araya Debessay July 7, 2017

    Dear Brother Fizum,
    Let me reiterate the excellent point you have made.
    1. The Toronto Festival was a success. It is unofficially reported that Eritreans in Canada have resolved to form an entity that coordinates their activities by creating Baitos in localities with critical mass of Eritreans. We hope our Eritrean brothers and sisters in Canada will soon follow the footsteps of our Eritrean brothers and sisters in the United Kingdom and be a good example for Eritreans in the US and other countries.
    2. The goal of Global Initiative to Empower Eritrean Grassroots Movement (GI) is to form grassroots-based Global Leaders as the most expedient, most inclusive and democratic approach to end the suffering of the Eritrean people. But as you said, if there is anyone who can come up with a better alternative, we are all for it.
    3. Again, as you have correctly pointed out, if all Eritreans world-wide could get organized and form baitos in their respective localities soon and then create country-wide leaders, then electing Global Leaders will not and should not take time. Hence, those who say the GI approach will take long time, are dead wrong.