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Fetsum: The GI Momentum Part II

 “It’s not at war, but up to 3% of its people have fled. What is going on in Eritrea?” The Guardian, September 29. The answer is because Eritrean activists have been scratching the regime in

 “It’s not at war, but up to 3% of its people have fled. What is going on in Eritrea?” The Guardian, September 29. The answer is because Eritrean activists have been scratching the regime in segmentation instead of removing it with unified punch.

As you know, “the Global Initiative to Empower Eritrean Grassroots Movement was started in February 2016, by a group that have been independently advocating the need for global leadership.” The question is what has been achieved so far and what may take place in the near future!

News in Brief:

On September 17, 2016, GI conducted a successful set of Paltalk discussions with Semer 1, 4, and at Room Jeganuna from 11 AM – 2 PM New York time and continued discussing internal matters till about 9 PM in the evening. The immediate result was the following feedbacks from the people.

Bereket: “Pro. Araya, Tewolde Siele, Tekea Yohannes, Mesfin Tsegay, and Akberet Sium. I enjoyed your discussion and will love to learn more about your initiative. Thanks”

“Ane AAA yibhal tekematay Seattle, Washington eye emo join kigebir tidelie aleku Thanks”

T.H: “Dear Gentlemen, [ I] support your imitative. Forward to hear from you.”

“My Name is BBB and have lived in Norway since 1990. Would like to study your program if there is one.”

DDD: “Dear GI, thanks for the effort, I heard your presentation at room Jeganuna. My name is MZ and I would like to get more info of your program and contacts. I believe we all Eritreans should come together and look solution for our problems. Our own problems do not lie on anyone else but on us. Thanks sop much”

GI responds: “Dear all, we really appreciate your support and for reaching us in response to our request at today’s paltalk sessions. We look forward to work together in doing our part in overthrowing the dictatorial regime. Attached please find the documents that we have published so far. We are sending you the Tigrigna versions for now, if you prefer to receive an Arabic or English version of the same documents, please let us know and we will be more than happy to send them to you immediately. Please complete the following form and email it back to us. We would like to assure you that all your contact information will remain confidential.”

Comment: Hard work, dedication, sacrifice, down- to-earth relationship and keen interest to change the situation are producing results as you can see from the exemplary achievement herewith. Any interested Eritrean is individually receiving written information about the most fundamental GI messages immediately upon request.

In GI’s GMTF (ground mobilization task force) words; “our assessment shows that on each room the interest made significant impact as a result we have received around ten more members. Agreement has been reached on compiling and circulating the frequently asked question so that we can better prepare for refined future communication with the people. It was also suggested that GI’s basic principle needs to be consistently told to the public.”

This subject is being discussed within although the people are also a problem here for failing to constantly follow our messages. Enough information had been dispatched through ASSENNA and other Sites for people to read and follow the developments; and missing a written message certainly has a toll to charge in terms of discontinuity of knowledge about current affairs. Therefore; we strongly remind our people to consistently follow the GI messages and activities to avoid confusion and misunderstanding and we will do our part to synchronize our understanding of the movement to uniformly transmit its strategy.

Araya Debessay in the West Coast: The selfless Professor presented a paper on the GI agenda at the Eritrean Forum, University of San Francisco September 24, 2016 conducted by Vibrant activists Meron Semedar et al.

The professor said about the need for us to work under global leadership that “will have the legitimacy to speak, to act and to represent Eritreans in the Diaspora in any forum: at the United Nations, African Union, European Union and the countries that are being flooded by Eritrean refugees.  Through an effective and intensive diplomacy and lobbying, this leadership group should be able to persuade the International Community to apply intensive pressure that will cripple the dictatorial regime and give moral and logistical support to elements inside the country to bring fundamental changes. Many nations and the International Community as a whole could not support our cause up to now and the main reason for their reluctance is the fact that we are too fragmented and they do not know whom to deal with and whom to trust and support. And that is the reason why recently the European Union and others countries are unfortunately trying to make a deal with Isaias to stem the flow of refugees.”

Comment: Thank you Meron for the outstanding contribution to the cause but have no words to express my thoughts of the Professor who covered all associated expenses from his pocket to deliver the GI agenda with maximum modesty, psychic control and confidence. What a promising young man to create the opportunity and what a genuine Professor of conviction! The Professor transmitted his message assertively and eloquently; even more, confidently than the trying times in the past because of the satisfactory GI momentum on the ground.

The GI task force discussed the following issues on September 26 – 2016 through its dedicated paltal media.

Ground mobilization: The task force acknowledges the following developments towards this specification.

  • Indiana USA: “reported engagement with HIZBAWI MEILALA presented briefly and indicated formal letter to be sent to chairwoman on behalf of Indiana to work with GI”.
  • Washington: “Five different meetings have been conducted with six signatories who discussed on the action plan; and more follow up meetings and discussions will be conducted ahead on regular basis.”
  • Israel: Discussions are going on all over the country within Eritreans

that have been contacted and it looks agreement is established on the basic GI principle but the majority wants to gather more information to learn. Besides, engagement is going on with organized groups such as Smiret Eritrean.

Finance and Logistics: The task force agreed that effective membership to have been started as of Sept 1-2016 and monthly membership fee to be $20 with exemption for those unable to do for whatever reason. Any more contributions and donations are most welcome.

In the mean time, this communication between members of task force can give you an idea as to how much sacrifice is going on within the GI community to execute tasks at their own material, resources and emotional expense.

GI representative in the upcoming DEVER SEMINAR to the GI community: “I have received the checks mailed by XX and YY and a direct deposit from JJJ. All three amounted for $BBB each and this plus my annual membership will cover my trip to Denver to attend and present in the seminar. I will send all receipts to JJJ and XX. Thank you”.

Comment: The GI team will cover the expense of our representative in the up coming DENVER SEMINAR like the Professor covered his entire expense in his recent Sanfransisco Seminar. We are moving forward as such with no other means of covering the expenses associated with this popular movement and the content of our effort in the event may be similar to the material Professor Araya shared with the attendants of the Sanfrasisco Seminar. Clearly the people must finance the expenses for better results because we are all working individuals who have responsibilities like the rest of the people. We know we must do this for now but the time has come to think about the financial aspect of the extraordinary project that the people must show up for. I will have something to say to this effect in the go.

Functional Teams (Logistics, Financial, Mobilization, Writing, Media and IT, etc.): To this effect, the task force agreed that each team should have its own meeting to discuss, agree and submit (not to authority but to the task force as a unit) its respective action-plan in the next meetings.

Operational Finance control:  The task force has appointed a member to serve as temporary “Operational Finance Controller”. Prof Araya is conducting feasibility study and assessment on opening an account and on matters concerning the initial treasurers of the GI community (Canada, Europe, Middle East and USA) with respective financial controllers that will work under democratically elected Operational Finance Controller. We are also studying issues associated with transparency and accountability in this regard.

In reflection, the Writing Team will soon conduct its own meeting to discuss matters of concern and submit its collective opinion to the GI community.

Our Media and IT group has also succeeded producing GI’s first Video Clip that will be shared with the public soon.

Interaction with the people: We saw many remarks regarding Professor Araya’s speech in Sanfransisco event and I found the following few important to discuss.

Wedi Hagher: “Dear Dr. ArayaI understand a leadership that represents all Eritreans in Diaspora is a very important and necessary step to move to a truly representative and democratic system in our country. Despite that it’s better to avoid talking about ‘the [only] legal leadership’. No matter how much efforts you make to unite people in Diaspora there is a possibility that many are not included in this process, hence the need to avoid “legal” disputes. A ‘Global’ leadership that works with all other concerned Eritreans will do equally better job.

Response: The idea makes sense and may be true but our understanding of legal leadership does not necessarily depend on how many Eritreans participate in the process but also on how democratically the leadership is achieved within those willing to participate.

“Another issue is that of some former EPLF/Higdef leadership members. You mentioned Dr. Assefaw, with all due respect to him and to your, I think people at Medrek are not trusted, mainly because they are seen as reformists, an idea that is not popular anymore. Eritreans are looking for a fundamental change, which many Medrekites, because of their background do not seem comfortable with. The idea that “Iseyas alone is responsible of the mess” or implementation of EPLF sponsored constitution (which reaffirms its control) is a solution, are unacceptable. They need to be more open and look beyond EPLF era, because reinstating the latter is not possible now.”

Comment: They actually have refused talking to GI assuming they were the only entity that deserve absolute control of managing the Eritrean political business if not leadership. The group has ignored our repeated appeal for engagement without explanation but the Professor still appreciated Doctor Asefaw’s contribution to the resistance. He did not promote the Doctor’s top-down philosophy of rectifying the problem but his effort to help the resistance in his own way, which was civilized, modest and democratic in substance.

Solomon Seyoum: “I do agree with much of what you presented or said; it is logical afterall, and i do consider grass root movement as second to none since 2003-4. ..But there are issues which you raise, which I find them to be damaging to the project. As i said it in my earlier e-mails, it is rather damaging to be planning to cooperate with wudbetaat during and after the formation of the project. (the best strategy is keep the; wudbetaat at arms length; they are unhelpful groups, or are also political liability to post-dictator Eritrea; look at their history, and at the mess they have created in Baito since its begin, in case proofs are needed;.the lessons must be learned.)”

Comment: All Wudebat are trying to serve the people but of course with a lot of confusion and unclear strategy. Their unhelpfulness was only because of lack of common strategy and the problem in Bayto was because of failure to distinguish the difference between exclusive people’s rights and that of the political parties. Bayto mixed both exclusives by composing the political parties in the strict business of the people. It directly suffered infiltration by its own constitution and became the tool of the few dominant political parties instead of neutrally serving the people respecting its mandate as the supreme power of the Eritrean society. Lessons have been learned, the reason the GI came to existence; to form a legal universal Bayto clean of the political parties that would enjoy the exclusive benefit of running the country in exchange. The Wudebat are therefore important in GI strategy as long as they acknowledge the people’s supremacy in the society.

Desalegne: “You seem to consider wudbetaat as political parties, with rights to struggle for a political power in post-dictator Eritrea. But these wudbetaat are not political parties with legal basis; parties are to be formed in post-dictator Eritrea, following an endorsement of drafts on election, parties, etc.- which all or most of us will be told to discuss, and approve. (I wish you refer them as political groups, and nothing more- which the leaders of must fully agree to without any disappointment.)”

Comment: Political parties can be formed ahead of post-Afwerki Eritrea and is in fact the best time to form them so that they can be ready to lead upon election in democratic Eritrea. We want to see the simultaneous development of the GI strategy and the quality of the political groups or parties around. We cannot afford to wait forming political parties until the downfall of the regime although they can be formed then as well. Either way is ok in terms of timing and you should feel comfortable about the issue at hand. Political parties are indeed political groups for us to alternately use the expressions implying the same thing in my opinion.

Simon G: “Dr. Araya Debessay, My hats off to you, Sir! However, my little brain tells me we are missing the root cause of our sickness, worse than the famous cancer. The priority is to identify the cruel people who are are residing in the west but under the criminal HGDF pay roll. There are active cells among us who are working 24 hrs/day to make sure that we are not united; by religion or region. so, the priority should be identifying them and educating people about them. Then, we can concentrate on the grassroots. If not, these same people will be part of the grassroots and plant their one and only one seed and dismantle the movement. So, let’s first concentrate on that.

Comment: The Higdefites will always be part of the challenge like in any struggle elsewhere. We cannot prioritize identifying them when we can do that in the process of building global leadership for the people. The GI knows that infiltration was one of the biggest problems in this resistance, the reason it proposed the exclusion of important political party members from becoming members of the committees under “CONFLICT OF INTEREST” clause in the Action Plan. We specified this clause as one of the criteria for being a member of the committees learning from the mistake of Bayto that compromised the people’s power for that of the political parties. Therefore, your concern is well handled by the GI group so that we would not experience Bayto’s experience in this regard.

In conclusion, I apologize for breaking my promise to discuss the positive effects of GI on the civic groups and the importance of solid relationship between the GI and Semur Democrasawi Ginbar and how we can maximize advantage of to change our situation. I will try my best to present my opinion on the issues soon. But we feel things are going slowly but surely at this critical stage of the GI survival considering how fast the strategy has gained popularity from our diaspora community in such a short time. Hard work and keen interest to help the people pull public attention and that attention induces the confidence of History Makers in any society there is. After lots of problems in the struggle for freedom in Eritrea, the vibe feels as though there is now something tangible to stick with, and that appears to be the GI strategy of the people. We should thank God for this bliss and see you soon!

Review overview
  • Solomon Seyoum October 4, 2016

    Dear Fetsum.
    You did write comments on my comments, which I made with regard to the presentation of the distinguished Prof Araya- which was posted in this fine website a week or two ago. ( I was expecting your comments for one reaon or another.).

    I do not agree with your comments; your comments are not convincing; the reverse is the case…..But .I have no desire to go into details; it won’t make any difference as well..
    Solomon in Belgium

    • Memhir October 4, 2016


      The way I see it, the goal of the GI and I am sure yours too is to achieve an Eritrea which will be governed by a constitution and rule of law. Once that is achieved, no one is above the law. When I descended the plane at the Asmara Airport in 1992 after 22 years, my happiness had no bound, only to turn to sadness after few years. Now, I am out again for another 22 years.

      • Bereket T. October 5, 2016

        How old are you now then Memhir? My guess would be over 60 yrs!
        Never lose the hope or don’t be discouraged with the sad situation in Eritrea.
        Tomorrow and the coming days will be a lot better and a lot brighter for Eritreans.
        Our happiness and our Eritrea having a proper people’s constitution and ruled by rule of law is not too far away. God bless us all.
        Many thanks also to brother Fetsum Abraham for his continuous dedication and contribution towards positive changes in Eritrea.

        • Teclay October 5, 2016

          Bereket T
          Dear Brother,you encouraged Memhir ,who is over 60 according your guess ,by saying “Our happiness and our Eritrea having a proper people’s constitution and ruled by rule of law is not too far away.”….Are you sure ? our problem is just the written document called constitution ????ባቃ ሽዑ ሽግርና ተፈቲሑ ፣ካብ ምጽናት ድማ ዲሒና ማለት እዩ ። ክቡር መምህር ድማ ዓዱ ክኣቱ እዩ ማለት እዩ ።እዋእ እንታይ ኢና ክንብል ???ተስፋ ኣይጽላእን እዩ።

          • Bereket T. October 5, 2016

            Dear Brother Teclay
            Thank you for your comment as well as your beautiful sarcasm.
            I fully get your message of not to be over optimistic on just constitution especially a constitution that doesn’t involve the participation or contribution of the Eritrean people in full.
            So to answer your question of I am sure, no I am not sure but sooner or later there would be changes and my hope/expectation is for the better of change. You have said it yourself ‘you can’t hate or dislike HOPE’. Thank you again.

          • Memhir October 5, 2016

            My friend Teclay,

            If any exchange of thought diverts into an argument, all ends in wasted of time and energy. Therefore, I do not want to argue with you. However, I must ask you these questions: Is that all the thought you can offer? Did I or Bereket say not having the constitution is the only problem we the Eritreans are having? Please tell me, where are you going with this line of thinking?

            My respect and thanks to Bereket and Fetsum.

            By the way, I am over 60 and same age as Isaias. Farther more, Teclay’s sarcasm in Tigrigna has no effect on my hope about Eritrea’s future whatsoever.


  • Fetsum Abraham October 4, 2016

    Dear Solomon; We dont have to agree on anything but only respecting each other’s views and sticking with ours if that is how it is. Therefore I accept your opinion that my comment was not convincing with respect. the reverse is the case for you and that is welcome.

  • Teclay October 6, 2016

    Respected Memhir,by the way,once,for a short period of time ,i worked as a science teacher,which i enjoyed very much , i used to teach my students not illusion but facts and proof….Your question ” Did I or Bereket say not having the constitution is the only problem we the Eritreans are having?”…..= Well,Bereket have encouraged to his older brother not using biblical-verses but using tomorrow’s constitution and rule of low …Right ??? …In my opinion ,constitution works only and only if there is a social trust .In the absence of social trust this written document is nothing and absolutely worthless .E.g., Libya,Syrea, Iraq e.t.c……..A constitution is just like a manage contract -first you trust each other then you sign a contract….Why ?just for in case.
    With all due respect Memihr
    Bereket thanks .

    • Memhir October 6, 2016


      First, I must thank you for your reply which partially answers my question: Where are you going with this line of thinking? I agree with you about social trust and constitution, but you did not say what social trust is in relation to Eritrea. In my opinion, we Eritreans are most trusting people to a fault. The current leaders, I am sure you know, have been trying to destroy that trusting nature of our people eversince these leaders came to power. By the way Teclay, isn’t the goal of GI exactly that – building social trust among diaspora Eritreans? As your marriage example suggests, social trust and constitution are two sides of a coin and we are not searching for one and excluding the other.

      Thank you friend.

    • Bereket T. October 7, 2016

      You as a Science or of any other subject teacher, I just wonder what must have happened to your poor (mesakin) students in their later lives!!!!!
      They must be as confused and lost as you are in this tough world having you as a teacher, they must be cursing their bad lucks in their early unfortunate years.
      Nevertheless, keep up your good and civil manner all the time and take care.
      Many thanks brother Teclay.

  • Simon G. October 7, 2016

    Brother Festum,
    I admit, this this is better that anything we have so far. For any flaws, we should be able to take care of it, incrementally.
    Thanks for your relentless work.