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Interview with Dr. Yosuf Berhanu, Executive Chairman of the Eritrean Democratic Assembly – Part 2

On Diplomacy and Foreign Relations Michael Abraha:      The UN Security Council has levied enhanced second round of sanctions on the defiant Erirean regime.  What impact will this have as a deterrent? Dr. Yosuf Berhanu:            This is an important step

On Diplomacy and Foreign Relations

Michael Abraha:      The UN Security Council has levied enhanced second round of sanctions on the defiant Erirean regime.  What impact will this have as a deterrent?

Dr. Yosuf Berhanu:            This is an important step not only for the Eritrean people but also for the neighboring countries. The regime in Eritrea is creating havoc throughout the Horn of Africa Region. It is interfering in the internal affairs of Somalia, Djibouti, Sudan, Ethiopia and Yemen.  Its war with Ethiopia over a decade ago resulted in the loss of life of tens of thousands of youngsters.  It is indeed a disaster.  And this is a reflection of one thing: you cannot be a dictator and a despot inside Eritrea and be democratic and peace-loving externally. This is not possible. That is the ugly nature of the regime in Eritrea. Isaias is treating the neighboring countries the same way he is treating his own people.

Q:        So you are saying the UN action was fitting and timely?

A:        Yes, I hail it although it came a little bit late.  The sanctions are very important from one point of view: The Eritrean government is now completely isolated from the rest of the world. And in my opinion the UN action is vital as a deterrent and is supportive of the plans and objectives of the Eritrean democratic movement. It is essential for us to take this opportunity to further isolate the regime and intensify the struggle until it is removed and replaced by a democratic system.

Q:        Apart from these UN sanctions what kind of support are you looking for from the international community – the European Union, IGAD, US and others?

A:        Well, we have to first gain political recognition before speaking of assistance. It has been disappointing so far because political organizations have been acting separately. There was utter lack of coordination among them. But this time after the successful conclusion of the National Congress in Hawassa, Ethiopia, we have created a new outlook. We can now approach the United States, the European Union, European, and African and Arab countries to of course first ask for recognition and eventually urge them for their economic support for our struggle and for our people. I may say we are now on the right track.

Q:        How do you characterize Ethiopia’s role and support for your plans?

A:        The support we are getting from the Ethiopian government is a genuine support. And this is due to one major factor: We as Eritreans want to get rid of the current system in our country; the Ethiopian government and the Ethiopian people also have the same interest and want to get rid of the dictatorship as well because they are also suffering from the negative attitude and hostile and violent actions of the Isaias regime. It is working to destabilize the internal situation in Ethiopia, Djibouti and other countries in the Horn. That is why I salute the Ethiopian support. And thanks to that support 600 of us Eritreans convened in Hawassa last month coming from all corners of the world and representing all Eritrean society to discuss our internal and national problems without any interference from the Ethiopian government.

Q:        What lessons can be learned from the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East?

A:        Nothing can be more inspiring and more encouraging for the Eritrean people and the youngsters in particular than the experiences unfolding in Libya, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen. After twenty, thirty, forty years of suffering, the people there at last decided to shed their fears paying all the sacrifices needed to topple tyrant after tyrant until they became masters of their own destinies. Eritreans can and should act in a similar way, and speak out and come out and hasten the end of the dictatorship in our country.

Review overview
  • gasha December 28, 2011

    Dr yesuf Berhanu
    Would you like to see your doughter if you have one to be dragged like the female in Egypt is that inspiring those who you wish to help you EU, US are they helping the Egyptioans.

    • Tesfaldet December 28, 2011

      @Gasha !
      We showed patience and gave the regime enough time since 1991. But we got only negative outcomes from DIA. Now every change is better than the regime in Asmara who now serves only the interests of some individuals or entities.

      I believe Dr. Yosuf will lead us 1000 times better than DIA. This shows how bad the DIA-regime is. The north african countries are for us no ideals/exemplars. We Eritreans are used to go our own way and we will definitely achieve our goals soon !

      Yes, Dr. Yosuf is right , we are on the right way!

  • zemen beraki December 28, 2011

    Reply to gasha, the Egyptians replaced a repressive regime but still have to arrive at the final phase of democracy and justice. An isolated example of a lady brutally treated by the army does not represent the whole picture. Again, You are telling me that you do not trusst the eritrean police or military. So, if you do not trust them you are telling me that they are the stooges of Isayas. Friend! know what u r writing before u lift ur finger.

    • gasha December 28, 2011

      zemen beraki
      i dont trust the oppostion supported by weyane.

  • sara December 28, 2011

    the good old doctor, has his family living somewhere in Europe , with free education, health housing, and he also gets a hefty salary from ….plus other benefits… and after a long vacation
    cum education from national duty, he would like to make a come back with his arrogant thinking. how could some one who thinks he is educated enough endorse sanction against his compatriots ,,,by extension the nation. to be honest i don’t understand how some of our so called opposition groupings think.

    • Freeprisoners December 28, 2011

      whatever the doctors families whether they live in Eritrea or elsewhere, the Doctor is doing the right thing for Eritrean. We salute him, he is a hopeful man. he is doing better. We freedom seekers are pleased whatever he receives as long as he is doing the right thing.
      sara at least you need to grew up.

  • DemMelash December 28, 2011

    All Eritreans who care for our country and people need to support the sanction that is killing the head of terrorism, Isaias A. Abraha.

    The sanction will get better and stronger by the day. Let’s work for it.

  • jj December 28, 2011

    zemen beraki
    I dont trust The eritrean oppostion supported by weyane. your body assenna deleted part of my message and now he put sanction on me but it is me gasha.zereba aytihawawse nebsi
    You never answer the q i ask you about describing the person you said you know remember?

  • aster December 28, 2011

    Is this guy expecting us to believe he could potentially be one of the leaders of the Eritrean people? A guy who is sleeping with a country who has been bombing the Eritrean people for over thirty years and a guy who supports the UN sanctions who are designed to strangle the Eritrea people. He is either delusional or desperate; I think he is desperate, very desperate like all the rest of the so called Eritrean opposition.

  • j December 28, 2011

    Right now in Eritrea a woman will walk at anytime any where free no one bother her 2am 3am it doesnt matter.
    No matter what you guys say an eritrean woman doesnt deserve to be dragged if dr yosuf care let him burn himself like teacher yenesaw in Ethiopia.

  • Almaz December 28, 2011

    I thank Dr Yosuf Berhanu and Michael Abraha, one of the best journalists. I am one of the people who support any collective resistance to the self-appointed wild beast-HIGI-GIDEF. I expect a lot and different role from Dr Yosuf.
    One bitter true that Dr Yosuf and all other traditional opposition organizations need to understand is that so far they have not able to convinced the people. If people don’t see a better alternative, they prefer their known devil. HIGI-GIDEF is Arch-DEVIL but they are lucky they have never challenged enough by oppositions groups.
    Dr. Yosuf’s first assignment should be not to ask for recognition from US, EU, IGAD, but to prepare more inclusive congress that opens a new door to those groups pushed by plan to be out of the game.
    The good doctor needs to be wise. Congress is something, reality is another. What is needed now is building credibility in the eyes of the whole Eritrean people (forget the ethnic, religious, provincial lines…these words are meaningless on the dictionary of the new generations. Now is time of the new generation).
    The fact of the matter is change will be coming from inside, those of us living outside will have a part before- during- and- after the change, however, not because of the past or coming congresses or names of political organizations it will be based on credibility in the eyes of the whole Eritrean people.


  • gasha December 28, 2011


  • LONGDREAMER December 28, 2011

    Dear doctor.
    Eventhought i agree for what you are saying but we need to see a compact and modern thinking. not only opposing and insulting. As we have seen mistakes from the commission in preparing the waela… we dont have time to see and correct this kind of errors ( like trying to violate the democracy.) no excuse in democracy. you the group leaders you are expected to be almost perfect, otherwise you will lose and you will make us loss all. For example we are not ready to hear the story of 30/40 years violence. what we want is to see democracy to be fucntioning with your words and your actions. That is the way to make us belive you and trust you. not by insulting HIGDEF. YOU HAVE TO TO BETTER THAN HIGDEF so that we can follow you. avoid personal issues.. aviod religios issues…aviod parties issue…. If you think of only the united Eritrea and salvation of eritrean people. WE CAN WIN.