Eritreans celebrate, this year, their Revolution Day filled with pro-justice calls and demands. The UN’s moral questions in Eritrea still remain unanswered.
The UN, by its principles of justice for all mankind, is duty-bound to ensure the supremacy of human rights in all of its member countries. However, the UN has failed to oversee standards for good governance and to reaffirm its stand against human rights violations, when it comes to Eritrea, despite the Eritreans pro-justice repeated calls and reminders.
Many Eritreans during late 1950’s accused the UN of being part of the conspiracies against Eritrea and the Eritreans. The UN’s silence and inaction against the Ethiopian government’s violations were considered as its weakness to fulfill its responsibility in shielding and protecting Eritreans against the Ethiopian despotism.
In an effort to stop the violations of the imperialist Ethiopian government, the Eritrean people sent a delegation in October of 1957 to submit their memorandum of protest to the UN General Assembly regarding the Ethiopian violations. The UN did not take a stand. The Ethiopian government was emboldened by the UN’s silence and in contempt of the UN General Assembly; it arrested some delegation members upon their return to Asmara. In response, the pro-justice Eritreans, in 1958, declared their underground movement, the Eritrean Liberation Movement.
The movement, soon, went into organizing its cells inside the country. The underground units were organized in 6 (six) members per cell. The movement quickly spread all over Eritrea helping to reinforce and strengthen the rallies and demonstrations against the Ethiopian despotism and its violations of the Federal Act.
The Ethiopian systematic violations finally came to the open when it unabatedly threatened to lower the Eritrean flag and to scrape the constitution. Because the UN General Assembly was the guardian of the Eritrean constitution, flag and the government, the Eritrean pro-justice were under the impression that Eritrea was under the co-administration of the UN and the Ethiopian government.
No doubt the Federal Act, that was drafted under the UN resolution 390 A(V), was not free of ambiguous terms that gave administrative and legal loopholes to the Ethiopian government. As such, it was very hard for the UN, as a guardian, to follow all the technical violation of the Federal Act that Ethiopia was intentionally erring against Eritrea and the Eritreans.
However, in clash with the impression of the pro-justice Eritreans, the Ethiopian government was sure that the US government was on its side empowering it to take decision that served their mutual interest. Such empowerments encouraged the Ethiopian government to give effect to what it was threatening Eritreans with regarding their constitution, flag and government.
The weakness of the UN became evident when the Ethiopian king order the Eritrean flag lowered in 1958 thereby replacing the Eritrean government with Eritrean administration. The UN failed to step in and stop the Ethiopian action. Soon, the Ethiopians started to use force to enforce their decision. And, in immediate response, Eritreans decided to return fire with fire, declaring what was being taken by force to be retaken by force.
The continued Ethiopian violations of the Federal Act and the silence of the UN compelled Eritreans to take their pro-justice stand to the level of taking action transferring their pro-justice to Anti-injustice (the armed struggle) on Sept. 1, 1961. The declaration was followed by Eritrean students and workers taking their demands to the streets of all Eritrean cities. The UN was called upon to rush its action by exercising its guardianship’s powers and duties as to impose on the Ethiopian government reversal of its decision, allowing Eritreans to reassert their government and flag.
Still taking Eritreans by surprise, the Ethiopian government, in furtherance of its feudal and colonial expansion policies declared, on November 14 of 1962, the Eritrean constitution scraped and the country of Eritrea forcefully annexed to the Empire of Ethiopia. Thus, by virtue of the Ethiopian imperial decree, Eritrea was declared part of a country (Ethiopia) instead of a federated country with Ethiopia.
It was unseemly for the UN to claim that Eritreans appeared not to respond differently to the illegal actions and threats of the Ethiopian government. Even though, the UN was well positioned to provide feasible solution to the Ethiopian government’s unlawful takeover of the Eritrean government, it chose silence. That UN’s silence was considered as a quiet approval by the Ethiopian government enabling it to further go ahead with scrapping the Eritrean constitution and annexing Eritrea.
The UN, thus, joined the Ethiopian Imperial government in imposing on Eritreans a war of liberation for their freedom and dignity that lasted for 30 years. There was no reason for the UN to believe that the Eritreans would not stand up and fight against the Ethiopian occupation.
The UN’s inaction played a central role in the Ethiopian government’s violations of the Federal Act. Yes, when the UN failed to exercise it guardianship’s power and duties to protect Eritreans, the anti-injustice Eritreans had no choice but to take their shielding and protecting matters into their own hands.
Eritreans were always under the impression that the UN, as a guardian, had the obligation to shield and protect them from the Ethiopian government’s violations as well as illegal actions. The UN, as a body involved for years in political mechanisms helping countries to avoid wars and conflicts, its past engagements denied ground for its claim that it never knew about the impending human catastrophes and destructions once the Eritreans transferred their pro-justice into anti-injustice returning fire with fire until every inch of their land was liberated.
The Eritrean armed struggle achieved all the tangible results in 1991 with the exception of restoring their dignity inclusive of implemented constitution and constitutionally elected government with the power to receive/distribute compensations from the UN and the Ethiopian government. By reason of negligence and inaction to the Ethiopian government’s violations, the UN is equally responsible with the Ethiopian government for all Eritrean lost lives and destructions including the economic and the infrastructure aspects.
However, the dignity aspect was left for the Eritrean transitional government entrusted with restoring the Eritrean dignity that included drafting and implementing the constitution as well as an elected government. Yes, a constitutionally elected government that is responsive, transparent and accountable as well as empowered to receive/distribute compensations and to approve/sign border agreements.
The Eritrean Transitional Govt. and the Role of Pro-justice
The day Isayas made it clear, on June 20 of 1991, that he was not going to accommodate different political views or there would be no other than his organization (the EPLF), national reconciliation and multiparty-ism in Eritrea were killed. Besides, Isayas who was known to the Waynes as a person who abused his trust and betrayed his comrades, the Waynes never insisted on collective leadership of the EPLF to be the transitioning power. Yes, the man (Isayas) who was known to some EPLFers and ELFers for his wickedness, they never expected smooth transition under Isayas from the colonial rule to the constitutional rule. Thus, the transitional government was put at the mercy of Isayas’s “I and my objectives.”
The UN and the Ethiopian government cannot say that Eritreans were/are responsible for what is happening to them. Unless by design, both the UN and the Ethiopian government should have oversaw the Eritrean Transitional Government through every phase until the implementation of the constitution and an elected government was in place. Indeed, they should have stayed overseeing until the demise of the transitional government and ensuring all groups considered a threat to the constitutionally elected government had been disbanded.
Isayas’s ‘We and our objective’ works to serve ‘he and his objectives.’ On June 20 of 1991, upon Isayas’s announcement that Eritrea is not for all Eritreans, the first victims were the people of Bark and Akeleguzai simply for their ELF backgrounds.
Under ‘We and our objectives’ Eritreans are forced to play the assumption game of ‘me too, I belong.’ To assume belonging to ‘We and our objectives,’ one has to pledge total allegiance to serving and protecting Isayas and only Isayas for he is above the state.
Under ‘We and our objectives’ Eritrea has three economic groups involved in promoting and protecting the interest and the wealth of Isayas. Those three groups include (1) the corrupted top officials, (2) the army of sycophants, and (3) the subdued and silenced majority. The corrupted top officials refer to Isayas as their god on earth and above the earth because they ultimately face mysterious disappearance or death. The army of sycophants refers to Isayas as their god on earth because he controls the mother button of all buttons that turn on/off their favored life at any time. And, the subdued and silent majority refers to Isayas as the devil for he is the one who stop the clock of their life causing them to get stuck in their horrible life.
The subdued and silenced group, as the abused group, is disinterested in fighting back by fatigue of running after the daily needs including food and water. When the sycophants are showered with hopes and encouragements, the subdued group is fed with more fears into silence.
To a victim of injustice, condemning injustice does not need awareness but mobilization. In Eritrea, everywhere there are motivators for protests. Fear is broken when showing resistance to price hiking and is every-day occurrence. When that resistance is transferred from individual to a group resistance, it becomes a protest. In 2000-2001, there were motives for protests. When the people failed to take their demands to the streets of Eritrea those days, they self-undermined their dignity.
Those who disapprove of injustice, they can have their way of condemning it in all of its forms. The regime’s starvation policy is an abuse and assault on the dignity of the Eritrean families. Such abusive policy is for sure individually condemned. But the lack of preparedness on the part of the parents, as a group, not to protest the regime’s food deprivation policy, that failure played a role in weakening the parents as the protectors of their children.
When the parents failed to come face to face with the enforcers of the food deprivation policy for the sake of their children, the word ‘family’ lost its meaning in Eritrea. If one hates his/her family cannot love his/her country. That is why, love of own country should not be used to promote hatred of own family.
Nevertheless, the Eritrean people inside Eritrea attempted several times to find a breakthrough to the threats of starvation. As a result, many became statistics of ‘his/her turn came up’ (Kem Se’boo) and were thrown into prisons of the regime.
The people inside the country know that they are in desperate time but they are not looking for desperate measures, like protests. Yes, the people know that the abuses they are subjected to need to be actioned on to make them go away by refusing to comply but that would result in more orphaned children.
The world knows about the Eritrean people’s desperate measures, like taking the risk of crossing the militarized border, the horrible camp life, their crossing of the deserts at great risk of their lives, and the crossing of the seas in old/leaky boats. What the Eritrean people inside Eritrea need the world to know is about their desperate time.
Since the Eritrean people inside Eritrea could not transfer their pro-justice into anti-injustice, the Eritrean pro-justice Diaspora can take the task of devising a means. Just photographers and videographers pictures that can interest the international media will help in conveying the details of the Eritreans inside Eritrea and their desperate time (predicaments) to the outside world.
Yes, the media will be then able to help convey the messages of the parents and their crying children. Their pains and sufferings will be magnified to be seen by the world. The pro-justice Eritreans can also promote those message/reports/images from the photographers, videographers and the journalists in their fight against the tyrannical rule in Eritrea.
The reports from inside Eritrea, supported by trolling the horrible pictures, will pressurize the regime to make deeper economic changes, at least unrestricting the withdrawal of money from bank accounts. Unrestricting money withdrawal from bank accounts is the number one enemy of the tyrant’s starvation policy because when the people are well-fed, they get energy to walk and to protest.
Although the silencing and deprivation of liberty in Eritrea paralyzed the country, deprived the country of foreign/Eritrean Diasporas investments, and forced all local factories to close down due to lack of spare parts, Dr. Abiy of Ethiopia liked it and praised the regime. What Dr. Abiy does not know is that the weapons of silencing the people that his Isu is using are already condemned by the UN as gross/massive abuses/crimes against humanity.
What about if the Elephant (Ethiopia) Falls?
Dr. Abiy of Ethiopia, on his first visit to Eritrea came as agreement builder and harmony builder. Soon, his stand and moves were internationally recognized. As a pro-change/democracy and inspirational leader, Dr. Abiy was assigned by the world to help Eritrea emerge from its darkness. The change was believed to save Eritrea from the inevitable popular uprisings toppling its self-imposed government, as the case was with all of his likes.
Prior to their entering into Isu-Abiy alliance at their pleasure of weakening the Wayne, the two countries (Eritrea and Ethiopia) were travelling on a two-way road way. Eritrea has been travelling on bumpy direction with many potholes, heading towards unknown destination. The Ethiopian direction was full of quality stops and was heading towards their promised quality destination.
From the moment Dr. Abiy of Ethiopia set his eyes on the power of Isayas, his love for power surfaced. That love of power has changed Dr. Abiy from an architect of peace and love to a man of power, who does not believe in sharing glory and in sharing decision with his cabinet of ministers. Thus, the Ethio-Eritrean border crossing agreement became the first Dr. Abiy’s autocratic decision not questionable for explanation by his cabinet ministers.
Even though Dr. Abiy was made aware of the risks of replicating Isayasism in Ethiopia, he was misled by the hope that his coming together with Isu would help vanish his Wayne headache. Dr. Abiy’s dancing to the tune of Isayasism was supposed to help him acquire a one-man rule. Without knowing what was going his country look like under his ‘divide and rule’ and the power griping advice from Isu that ‘if you cannot control them, destroy them,’ Dr. Abiy decided to go ahead with his replicating of Isayasism in Ethiopia.
Dr. Abiy’s transition to a one-man rule was hampered by his decision to delay election and the ignited protests following the killing of the activist-singer Hachalu Hundessa. The unrest put Dr. Abiy’s leadership on test. Things got messy and out of control.
Between confession and confusion of who killed the late Hachalu Hundessa, the one-man rule plan made its way into Ethiopia. Like Isayasism did in Eritrea, Abiyism started to seed and manure its one-man rule by declaring Ethiopia free of rival political parties and by instituting full censorship, it ended free press and commitment to truthful reporting journalism.
Instead of solving the pressing problems the country is facing, Dr. Abiy has kept focusing on wielding and concentrating power. In the process, enemy politicians were arrested, perceived enemies were put under house arrest, and potential enemies were brought under control.
Dr. Abiy’s action has made the country more susceptible to more fear and corruptions. The country if in mess and the people are raging against one another. Futurists perspective warns the problems if not resolved through negotiation and at a round table, the country may fall. If the country falls, it will not pick itself up in one piece. The heavy body fall may crack the region promoting ethnic regrouping of those presently separated by national boundaries. As a result, the region (Horn of Africa) will be facing a threat of redrawing it map.
On this Great Day, Eritreans remind that Dr. Abiy should know that if it is hard for him to give peace to Eritrea, it is going be harder to get peace in Ethiopia.