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Fetsum: My experience in Denver Festival (IX)

Fetsum: My experience in Denver Festival (IX) People may ask why I have been intensely involved in this subject and the answer is as simple as I was an active part of it until things changed

Fetsum: My experience in Denver Festival (IX)

People may ask why I have been intensely involved in this subject and the answer is as simple as I was an active part of it until things changed unexpectedly. Yet, people do not know the changes because they were not told and I am still in the background of the Denver Committee without being an active member of it. I had to clarify the issues for transparency and close this chapter of my life once and for all.

There are many things I don’t know but I am 100% certain about the importance of my freedom that neither Jesus the Christ nor Allah the Creator can stop me from expressing my mind in this life. The significance of my being is directly proportional to my freedom of speech. I took it to the fullest when I said in one of my books that I was afraid of the United States Government more than a cold blooded terrorist and I got away with it. Yet, you can play around with commonsense in the first few shots of the feel but no intelligence can sustain compulsive deception and inconsistency for a long time because they collapse on their weight sooner than later. The shortest path between two points is a straight line and life is not about competition but pleasant coexistence. It is as simple as accepting what we know and we don’t know and humbly harmonizing them with willingness to learn through any form of enlightenment.

As I discussed in my last article, I had a fundamental difference with the committee that I politely kept on addressing to the chairman as much as I could. But as the days got closer, I knew I had to give up most of the inquiries and focus on achieving the most important of them: it was a matter of survival and that happened to be the need to study the concept of TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT from universal points of view as part of the manifesto’s “Guarantee the required “consciousness & organization” for change “ምምርግጋጽ: ለውጢ ዝጠልቦ “ንቅሓትን ውዳበን:”. I had to get something in this regard to be in terms with my trip to Denver. It was with this situation in the background that I wrote the next activity report as follows:

“Report #5: Date: 6/17/2018: Time: 7 PM-10:00 PM: Place: Tele-conferencing: Note: The report is subject for edition by the participants of the meeting.The following individuals attended the meeting that started at 7:15 PM in the evening: Dr. Gebre, Dr. Salih, Ato Abdella, Ato Sengal and Ato Fetsum. According to an agreement in the previous engagement, all committee members had individually or in group formally submitted their views or proposals on the festival organizers’ “Terms of Reference” ahead of schedule for comprehensive discussion in this meeting. The formal proposals were as follows: [avoided here since I already disclosed them in the previous articles].

On June 17, 2018, 11:57 AM, the committee members received the following message from Ato Sengal. [avoided here since I disclosed it in the last article].

Action points:
1)         The Chairman opened the meeting with his view on the point of reference based on his communication in “Draft Proposal for Output II” sent on June 17, 2018; 11:57 AM that states; “our discussion of today will base on this draft proposal. Please read it carefully before coming to the meeting, as much as possible.”. The discussion should have been on the draft proposals of all participants based on their agreement but all other formal proposals were eliminated from the discussion.

2)         The Chairman did not read, at least Fetsum Abraham’s formal proposal by admission in telephone communication. It seems the situation may be the same with the others as well for none of the inputs of Dr. Mohammed and Dr. Tsegai were fully discussed in the meeting (although both were absent at the time). This procedure contradicts the agreement that all have equal chance for discussion. The Chairman cannot selectively impose his ideas by exclusively addressing his proposal as the main topics of the meeting. As a result, timely and very important political issues of the people have so far been eliminated in favor of important moralistic goals; only weakly touched for formality matters as witnessed in the way the meeting was conducted.

3)         The participants substantially discussed OUTPUT II’s Phase I (Goals to be accomplished at this point of the struggle) and only the following three points were presented by the Chairman (with “Dr. Gebre’s assistance”) to that effect: “Generate National Harmony, Guarantee the required “consciousnessand organization” for change and Defeat the dictatorial system”. There was no political goal to be achieved in Phase I because of the exclusion of other views from the forum.

The participants, however, shared their opinions on finding common grounds and strongly entertained the following points to that end.

1)             Narrowing down or reconciling the conceptual difference of Eritreans through open discussions and dialogue. This was the only goal set for Phase I of the struggle to democracy. (Please mail me if I miss something so that I can add it to the report).
2)             Because the other opinions were [materially] eliminated, the participants could only address their issues verbally. This was totally unexpected and in fact a surprise that had negative effect on the outcome of the forum in view of the Eritrean people as a component. Fetsum shared his idea of prioritizing focus on a neutral transitional government of Eritrea and working hard to produce the Charter that would serve as the guideline of said government in Phase II of OUTPUT II as one of the crucial goals to be accomplished in this phase (through research on, at least the four relevant countries suggested in his formal proposal on the matter). Yet, the status of this proposal is unknown, although on record. The Reporter once again modestly reminds the committee to seriously consider it for it is the prerequisite for successful completion of Phase II which is the next challenge of the Eritrean people. The goals of Phase I cannot, thus only be limited to harmonizing the people’s relationships for there is a major political goal to be accomplished for successfully transiting the society to democracy. Once again, I modestly remind the Chairman to indiscriminately consider all inputs so that we can have something done for our people at this very important stage of the struggle; the Denver Manifesto will, in my opinion be below the expectation of its organizers, otherwise (without a political goal to work on).
3)             The participants then discussed the document’s Goals (4 and 5) to be accomplished at the transition stage of the society without any specified political goal in Phase I. Ignoring other inputs on what to be achieved in Phase I and jumping to Phase II was a serious mistake that should be immediately corrected before it gets late. Because, the success of Phase II depends on how much work we do in Phase I. The Goals set by the Chairman for discussion were “Ratify an Interim-Constitution- for the transitional period” and “Establish All-inclusive “Transitional Government””, and opinions and arguments were exchanged.
4)             Agreement was reached on the significance of all members of society in collectively producing the Transitional Charter ahead but a serious difference on the mandatory purity of its leadership from groups that have vested interest in political power. This proposal was based on the democratic experience of Liberia, East Tumor, Somalia and Ghana that we should consider to consolidate our understanding of the matter. Because other formal proposals were ignored in exclusive favor of the Chairman’s, the issue could not be fully addressed in the forum. Yet, there were positive and negative reactions to the idea, though no assertive agreement was reached beyond having it on the record upon request. In my opinion, this topic is important and universal that the Eritrean people cannot ignore without risking another dictatorship after the Isaias regime.
The forum closed its session without political goal in Phase I by agreeing to meet on 22nd of June. Thank You; Fetsum Abraham//6/19/2018

To expedite the urgency, I also sent another productive grievance to the festival organizers Asmerom Asfha and Tewelde Kidane, and Sengal on 6/20/2018. Then Sengal responded:

Sengal: “Dear brother Fizum; Good afternoon. I acknowledge the receipt of your e-mail message. Thank you so much for expressing your opinions. Will you allow me to share your opinion with the team members? Your prompt response is highly appreciated. Yours, Sengal”

Fetsum: “Dear brother Sengal; thank you for your response and please share it with everyone as you proposed. Thank you”

In the mean time, I missed a meeting on 6/22/2018 because of illness. That was actually the only one I did out of the ten or eleven meetings we had in about two months of engagement. I could not write a Report for that meeting so I sent Sengal this message:

Fetsum: “Hello Sengal; I just could not make it last evening (6/22/2018) and I am sorry. I suppose we have concluded the project and may have to write the last report in my assumption. In any case please help me on how to present the remaining report and what the next move may be. God bless you and thank you.”

Sengal: “will do”

I then attended the next meeting held on 7/1/2018 to learn from him that Dr. Mohammed would serve as our Reporter in the festival. The brother did not even attend most of the meetings because of busy schedule, although was spiritually intact with us throughout the deal. I thought Dr. Salih should have been a better choice because of his consistent attendance ever since he joined the committee later on in time. This was just a matter of opinion and either would be okay. I shared this opinion in the meeting and left it there but I also shared my opinion on the undemocratic nature of the procedure. They justified the action in view of “diversity”; and I took it and moved on.

Report#6: 7/1/2018   

“Dear Chairman Sengal; As you know, the committee started its work in May and conducted its first meeting on May 5, 2018 where it elected Ato Sengal and Ato Fetsum to serve as Chairman and Reporter until, at least the end of the festival.

Clearly, the committee was meeting on Sundays since the time it started working with additional meetings on Fridays towards the end of its mission, with the Chairman and the Reporter carrying their responsibilities accordingly. In 6/22/2018, however, the responsibility of reporting the final product of the Terms of Reference has been given to Dr. Mohammed Besher as told in the meeting conducted on 6/27/2018 without formal dismissal of Reporter Fetsum Abraham. Fetsum was absent on 6/27/2018 for the first time because of illness. Exchange of ideas to this effect have been taped on 6/29/2018 when the Chairman announced the change towards the end of the meeting. Based on the situation, this will be the last report from Fetsum pertaining the committee’s activities ahead. Thank you”

At that point, I had been working hard getting ready to graphically (power point) discuss the democratic processes in Ghana, Somalia, Liberia and East Tumor with the crowd in Denver and the festival organizers were looking forward to it. Sengal was supportive as well and that is what I have been doing in July apart from our meetings. The festival was now few days away and we were about to meet there in person.

I started my journey to Denver firmly believing of securing an opportunity to address the crowd on the importance of studying the concept of transitional government at this stage of the fight from the last meeting around the end of June, though we closed it without crystallizing the topic because of other issues on the table. This is actually documented in item (4) of Repport#5 and we all knew from the beginning that we would discuss the issues at the festival without restriction.

It was now July the 3rd when I called Sengal from BWI Airport in Baltimore to discuss few things, one of them being the unfinished issues in the last meeting. I was trying to see what he had in mind concerning the distribution of time between us in the festival.

Little did I know the brother operates like the Shabias. He was not only unresponsive but repulsive and reactive as well. I think he stayed too long in Eritrea working for the regime to adapt few dictatorial tendencies. He is a very good actor and orator with no democratic culture; he likes to ignore grievances and kill ideas and does not understand the importance of officially responding to inquiries as a Chairman. The dude loves to complicate issues just for devil’s advocacy in typical WEDI SHUK flip flopping style and he makes sure he does it “off the record”. It was disgusting! I am sure my brothers in the committee would find my revelation very surprising and I don’t blame them a bit. They did not know what was going on between us, and I did not make it an issue until that moment in time.

But without detailing the situation he said he would not allow me to speak or present my project to the public at the festival. I think he slept on it and woke up with the nightmare to finally do what he had wanted to do without any reservation. He also said “Salih Ghadi will instead address the people as part of the committee” just to touch a nerve and, of course he did because I believed him. I had no problem with this arrangement but certainly with its implication to fairness and democracy. Brother Ghadi was not a member of the committee and never attended even a meeting with us except for about 5 minutes of the first one in May 5, 2018 to tell us that he was not interested to be part of the committee. Sengal created the story to frustrate me; to demoralize me out of the picture through reactive response such as anger, etc. and there is no doubt that I travelled to Denver with it. They call it Psychological Warfare and it “involves the planned use of propaganda and other psychological operations to influence the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of opposition groups”. It takes place in different circumstances to confuse and nullify a political challenge but I did not understand its advantage in this situation till I saw the result many months after the festival.

I could not understand why he went as far as he went with me. I knew he does not like GI but this engagement was not about it at all. How on the planet did he expect me to travel that far a distance, staying in a hotel and moving around with a rental car on my own expense for about a week to quietly listen him rapping his rap at the total expense of my hard earned preparation in spite of all the money, emotions, energies and time I invested on the deal? He expected me to obey his absolute authority and shut my mouth in my most important country, the United States of America where I lived since teenage years with full freedom of expression. To make it more exciting, the restriction was only against me. I don’t know how it chases you but it grabbed me by the tail as if I were a cat.

I did not take the Denver event as a means to an end but as something interesting for all of us to produce anything through hard work ahead. I had to maintain a Kool composure despite the unnecessary abuse I was facing from Sengal that the other brothers most likely did not know. I despise being in this situation and have tried my best not to be. I should have been writing about the committee’s progress report at this point in the journey because we could have academically completed the first conceptual chapter of the mission by January the 6th.  as we publicly promised to the people in the festival. But there was no project to do and nothing to write about except promises as far as my knowledge is concerned. That is how the outcome of all that effort was designed to be and I think the result expresses the situation with silence for itself.

The problem was obvious! He just did not want the people to learn about their supreme status in the society in relation to the Transitional Government we expect ahead. He did not want me to discuss the importance of its neutrality in our democratic journey. He was literally scared of PEOPLE’s WEDABE and the term NEUTRAL in front of the Transitional Government in question. I was not even requesting the committee to accept it but to be willing studying it for a conclusive result based on academic dialogue before something happens in the country. He, thus personalized my independent view on our political situation to the point he felt threatened enough to go as far as it took to stop me from any involvement with the people. I had never experienced something like this and could not help thinking about what FEAR can do to some superficial human beings.

In any case, I told him to rethink his dictatorial fantasy and reconcile with the reality for the sake of honesty and peace. What he was trying to do does not reconcile with his own words in the Manifesto’s Goals 1 and 2 (tolerance, engagement, dialogue, respect, consciousness, creativity, accommodating ideas, acceptance and academically narrowing differences, etc.). I made it clear to him that I would address my issues (our difference) to the people one way or another and that I did not need his permission for that. I withdrew from the negative energy wishing him a good night sleep with his “we will see” rhetoric and I travelled there that evening with strange and unsettled state of mind.

Here is a wise statement in one a forum that brother Sengal needs to carefully read and shuffle his reality. “In politics, one attempts to discredit the messenger. Double standards may be found in those who advocate for the principle of engagement but fail to practice it themselves. No one can preach anyone else, but to lead by example.” I will complete this project in my next article and thank you for your patience. To be continued!

Review overview
  • COW FACE February 19, 2019

    Abrehet K.
    እቶም ደቂሓወቦኣ ነታ ሰይቲ ሓወቦይ ድማ ህዝቢ ኤርትራ እዩ,ካብ ካልእ ከልቢ ምግዛእ ምስ እንዳ ሓወቦኦም (ኣቢይ) ተደሚሮም.
    very brilliant eh ?

    • Eyobel February 19, 2019

      COW FACE,
      History is not a narration of the past. History is about why things happened the way they did.
      As Thomas Meany tells us we should learn that the choice is never between an ideal future and a bad one, but between a better future and a worse one.
      Eritreans have never been asked what they want freely without fear of repression. Members of the elite class has already determined what we want because we all assume no one will reject democracy, the rule of law, inclusiveness and human and civil rights.
      But that isn’t enough. The future isn’t something that just happened because we wish it to happen. The future is something we create. Hence we need to know of how we came to be where we are, who we are and what we want to do and where we want to go, keep it up.

      • COW FACE February 19, 2019

        Dear Eyobel
        Point well understood.

  • COW FACE February 19, 2019

    Dearest Abrehet K.
    Assenna moderators have already rewarded me by not deleting it.
    thankyou sis.

    • Danilo February 19, 2019

      Cow face, why you choose this nick name Is up to you but since a cow knows where and how to get delicious grass why don’t you ,at least bother your tigray issue? . Here is not your post! To create double face. TPLF needs you at this crucial time. Ref. 44th event mommerial. You guys can not or afford to cover two fronts.

      • Haregot February 20, 2019

        I know you are so thick and ignorant but you can’t be that thick and ignorant, can you? You are deliberately twisting things to satisfy your (tiny mosquito) twisted old zombie brain. You are only here to create confusion, chaos and spread your evil Islamic Sharia and the corrupted old evil ELF agendas. For deki ArbaA and the second generation of Tigrayans the rootless Muslims of Wolkayit/Shire should NOT dictate or tell genuine dekebat like beautiful Additekelezan, ZibereQe Tsehayey & Cow Face how to behave or what to write or not to write. Bezom deki arbaA rootless saHsaHat lementi do tewaredina!

  • COW FACE February 20, 2019

    ትግራዋይ/ትግርኛ ኤርትራዊ እምበር ወዲ ትግራይ ኣይኮንኩን; እንተዝኸውን ግን እቲ ናይ ሓሶት ነጻነት (conspiratorial /fake independence ፈሪመ ክህበካ ከለኹ ድኣ ኣየእትወካንዩ ዘይትብለኒ ? ነጻነትካ ካብ ለገስኩልካ ኣካይድኡ ኽኣ ክርኢ ናይ ግድን ዩ Take IMF or eu development bank , once they give charity/loan they have to make sure you spend it accordingly.
    Enjoy your charity independence.
    ናይ ምጽወታ “ናጽነትካ” ተፈስሃሉ ,ግን ኣብዚ ቐረባ ስለ ትድመር ብዙሕ ኣይትፈስሃዮ.. ha..ha..ha

    • Haregot February 20, 2019

      Brillian/beautiful Cow Face the great,
      People without their own language, history and culture are garbage people/zombies who suffer severe inferiority complex and identity crisis for life. The main problem here is the evil Islam’s and the rootless Muslims thirst for territory and their political ambition to take over the civilized and peaceful world and impose their evil 7th century barbaric desert ideology on others.

  • COW FACE February 20, 2019

    ዝኸበርካ Haregot
    ነታ ትግርኛ ኣልሓምድሊላህ ስለ ዝሓወሱላ ኣዕራብ ኢና ዝብሉ ደቂ ውቕሮን ሽረን ንዓይ ኣየጃጅዉንን. ነቶም መንነቶም ዘይክሕዱ ደቂ ትግራይ እኮ ክብረተይ ደረት የብሉን. ትግራዋይ ስለ ዝበለንስ በቲ መንነተይ ክሓንኽ? ማንም ኣብ ትሕቲ ዓርኮብኮባይ ቦጅቦጅ እናበልዔ ገሊኡ ድማ ድሙ ድሙ እናሰተየ ዝምሃዞ ታሪኽ ዝኣምን ድኹም ሕልና የብለይን. ዝገርምስ wheel chair ዝጥቀም መጻጉዕ ,እግርኻ ቁሩብ ስሕብ ስለተብላ ሓንካስ ክብለካ ኸሎ እዩ. ብመሸበኽን ሳምቡሳን ናይ ውቕሮ ዝዓሰወ ሰፋይ ክዳን ወዲ ትግራይ ክብለኒ ኸሎ እዩ. እታ ትግራዋይ ግን ይኣምነላን ይኾርዓላን. ወዲ ዘርኣይ ደረስ ኣውዓሎም ኣብርሃ ደቦጭን ሞጎስ ኣስገዶምን,ወዲ ኣሉላ ኣባ ነጋ ወዲ ሃፀይ ዮውሃንስ ወዲ ጀነራል ኣማን ዓንዶም ዓደይን ዓውደይን ፍሉጥ ወዲ ድምበዛን ጻዕዳ ወዲ ጓል ሰራይት ወዲ ማይ ቂነጣል ዓድዋ 27 ዓመት ገዛእቲ….ኣብዚሐያ ይመስለኒ sorry I got carried away but all TRUE.

  • Kidane February 20, 2019

    Hi Fetsum, from my experience as a layman, I called non-life threatening but incurable disease. The comedian Steve Harvey put it in his little book, if an adult.does not know who he is, he is a lost case. So many brothers and sisters in midlife have this crisis who desperatley try to validate their life by impressing the public by how much they know. They always try to show off including by writing endless stories or use the microphone for hours till the attendees get bored to death. What these low selfesteemed, I know people with the highest education achievemnts too, do not comprehend is that the path they are travelling through have been travelled by billions of people so far. As smart as they think they are, none of them understands “you can’t teach an old dog a new trick” it is been used over and over. A classic example is one of the participants on this furum uses incomprehensible runaway sentences and out of place terminologies. Fetsum as philosophy practitioner or a Buddust I want you to l Chech you inbox for a factual example.

  • Fetsum February 20, 2019

    Dear brozer kidane, can u please tell me what u mean by z last sentence in z message?didn’t understand what u want me to do as a buddhist. Always wiz pleasure and thank u for being active in z forum

  • Kidane February 22, 2019

    Hi Fetsum, to me Buddhism, I stand to be corrected, a practice/concept of achieving a higher consciousness. I believe, practicing this has helped you to liberate your mind from the cultural chains for you to openly discuss freely unlike many of us. Whenever I read your articles I tend to see them philosophycally and believe it has something to do with Buddhism. Hence, inlight of this, I tried to connect the behavior of the subject on the topic we were discussing. In short, many of us would be free of our egos and trully understand democracy and work together for a common good istead of the usual infighting. Case in point, your article.

  • fetsum February 22, 2019

    Dear Kidane;
    thank you for sharing but as you said practicing Buddhism has liberated me from everything so to say and to see the world neutrally without identification. I cannot of course do what i am doing without identifying with Eritrea and that itself is an obstacle to my spiritual development in that direction. I believe I would have been lost into it had our society’s situation been different and I am sure I will disappear from the scene when good change takes place in the country (if I outlive the dictator). But Buddhism has given the power to see our problem neutrally. my life is directed against my ego and I watch my mind carefully not steal; my moments as much as I can. And I hope i will see you here again go is the disease that causes human suffering in this life and I hate it with passion. thank you brother . and see u soon in this forum.

  • fetsum February 22, 2019

    I meant EGO is the disease…..

  • Mulugeta February 22, 2019

    As I try to correlate the punches and counter punches flowing out of this series to that of the events engulfing the horn, I get bewildered at the gap of our reading and understanding events as they fold.

    You see, Abyssinian Junior is on the march North. It could be argued that he is following Senior’s footsteps in grabbing lands and ports dismissive of the wishes of the inhabitants. 45+ years after Sr’s demise, not certain what the wish of the inhabitants is; or as amply displayed in that last 28 years if there are inhabitants in/out of the country that really matter. Akin to that of Gabon, Togo etc… political power transfer experiences seem to unfold in Eritrea, and no one is paying more attention than the Arabs.

    It is an unfortunate Eritrean culture at every walk of life to outright dismiss not only the ideas but also the opponent without the benefit of debate unless one walks with the prevailing wind irrespective of its direction, and it has made the baboon out of us. I believe it is in this cultural spirit that Asena, at times, finds censorship necessary.

    As for the Arabs, they are playing to win and so is Abyssinia. The sheiks want to continue the client-supplier relationship with the Shifta – the 70s and 80s style! Abyssinia also senses the opportunity that comes from the potential fenj-regach Eritreans. Jr is walking on the footsteps of Sr, this time, only sharper and more experienced than the latter.