Fear and Silence Cannot Continue Forever!
Revolutions, by definition, are unpredictable. As one academic put it “no revolution has ever followed a script.” The recent event that took place in Eritrea, in Asmera to be specific, may have failed for lack of better organization and foresight. But the fear, far from being suppressed, the fear that prevailed in the country for many years, has evidently been broken. You would not of course know it from what the regime and its apologists are saying.
1) First the incident itself. Reportedly, as those in contact with the army in Eritrea tell it, the movement that culminated into the taking over, albeit briefly, of the Forto and Ministry of Information, will not be the last one. We have not seen the end of it. There is growing discontent in the army and the Tegadelti in general. Also, although it is not clear if any high ranking officials supported it or not, it’s clear by the reaction of the regime, arresting some high ranking officials, etc., the movement was not an isolated one. The regime even addressed it instead of denying the whole thing as its usual habit always was. This shows that the regime is concerned of its safety indeed. Time will tell the truth of course. However, it is clear, fear and silence will not last forever. The Forto incident shows that the fear has been broken, and silence, at least to some brave folks, is not an option any more.
2) It seems the PFDJ regime has realized this. Dictator Isaias Afwerki (DIA) in fact has sent the UN a letter urging it to conduct “an independent and transparent investigation” of the human trafficking of Eritreans, as if the phenomenon has not been going on for many years. One of his primary apologists wrote accusing “all the existing intelligence agencies operating under the cover of the UN” as doing the damage, weakening “Eritrea by filtering the youth out of the country.” Nothing is new here. DIA has been saying that for years. DIA’s letter to the UN complains that “Eritrea has remained to be a target of malicious and concerted practices of human trafficking.” The regime has long been implicated in this crime by the UN. However, the regime and its minions will continue to blame everyone but themselves. This is what they call crocodile tears: fake. The regime and DIA are only concerned about their own skin.
3) Tesfay Temnewo is exposing in great detail the crimes committed by DIA and his henchmen in the PLF/EPLF years. Listening to Tesfay, I find myself getting angrier and angrier. Angry at DIA’s deception and crimes against innocent Tegadelti. One of the historic facts Tesfay Temnewo has talked about is Geregr (Sudan), the place the people's liberation forces (PLF) were stranded. (The civil war between the two fronts was raging and the PLF was literally under siege by the ELF, completely cut off from outside. The Sudanese government forces were said to have interfered and saved the PLF from being annihilated there at Geregr. The notorious ELF military chief, Abdella Idris, was wounded in the leg there and limped ever since, thus earning the nickname ‘Hankish’).
The story of the “accused Ethiopian spies” and their fate is chilling to listen and learn about. More than fifty (50) Tegadelti, accused of being spies for the Ethiopian governement were executed at Geregr alone, according to Tesfay Temnewo. These accused spies were interrogated, he says, by illiterate peasants who did what they were told and had little knowledge of interrogation techniques except torture, beating the accused sometimes to death, before the accused reached the executioner. It’s chilling, chilling, to learn all this! And they (EPLF) called the ELF “Haradit” (butcher), when all along the Haredti, the Butchers, were Isaias Afwerki and his PLF/EPLF! (This is not to excuse any crime committed by and in the ELF. Just to show the hypocrisy and the successful disinformation campaign of DIA and his organization, PLF/EPLF against the ELF). Historically, supporters and sympathizers of the ELF knew the campaign against the ELF as such was a well thought of disinformation campaign by DIA from the beginning, but we didn’t realize the extent of their/his crimes. Isaias and his EPLF have killed or caused the death of thousands of Tegadelti: from the so-called/accused spies at Garegr; to MenkaE; to ‘Yemin’ (the rightist); to those ‘mhurat’ (the educated ones) the EPLF leadership forced to perish in the Nacka siege of 1976 (again according to Tesfay Temnewo); to the thousands of ‘Falul’ (who fled the ELF in 1977), which we knew Isaias and the EPLF sent to their deaths in the Massawa front (Dogali, Tesfay Temnewo says in this regard, corroborating what had been said/rumored for decades), is staggering indeed.
4) Isaias Afwerki continues his criminal and destructive path today still after more than forty (40) years in power. However, the fear that had prevailed in the country for many years may have been broken. No wonder DIA and his apologists are scrambling to minimize the damage. But DIA will not escape responsibility.