How should IA’s ‘success’ of recent days be measured? Well if you are an airline you would measure it in air miles and conclude that IA has probably clocked up enough air-miles to guarantee him two jumps at the check-in queue if he was a regular human being, but he aint…. If you were an environmentalist you would measure it on his carbon footprints and conclude that his recent frequent flights would be satisfactorily offset by his years of ‘reclusive diplomacy’…(Including the time he decided to hike it to Djibouti and happened to bump into a farmer who spoke perfect Tigrigna!) but I am not much of an environmentalist (please don’t tell my re-use, reduce, recycle indoctrinated planate saving children I said this in public…. They simply won’t forgive me and no amount of pencils that used to be a plastic cup once upon a time will absolve me of this one!)…
If you are a PFDJ activist you would measure it by the brightness of the red carpet laid for him, by the loudness of the gun salutes and the sharpness of his suit… Diplomatic success will be measured by the decorum afforded by the host. This is because when you have been as wilfully rude and unreceptive of diplomatic reciprocity as IA has been, when you have specialised in embarrassing yourself in your attempts to humiliate others and when you in the long end find that you have become the shortest of the universe’s dwarf dictators… and have sunk so low any move above that point is indeed ‘success’; infact if I had an iota of the graciousness of PFDJ supporters to their dwarf king (appearance is deceptive) I would dab IA the most improved dictator that Eritrea had ever seen!... but I am not a PFDJ supporter and hence measuring IA’s success on the fact that he turned up at an airport and had enough decorum to have pictures taken next to other human beings who were not wearing T-shirts depicting an old picture of him would be an insult to my intelligence!
I am a human being, I have a God given capacity to call a spade a spade when I see one… therefore I will see IA’s achievements for what they really are. Eritrea’s biggest problem (even according to the ministry on no information) is the bad publicity it has suffered in recent years (let me keep it that simple for now)… the country has been accused of supporting terrorism, promoting regional instability, perpetrating appalling human rights abuse, causing a refugee crisis that is devastating the prospect of its youth and mismanaging its economy to the detriment of its people. I would therefore measure IA’s success in the impact his visits have on any of these… post Uganda his supporters should have asked what the impact of his visit was on the looming sanctions and even on Eritrea’s ability to influence IGAD and at the very least how he assessed Uganda’s solidarity in that respect, that is how diplomacy is measured not in the fact that Mr Mussevini was compelled to lie through his teeth to be polite in front of the media and certainly not in the fact that he was able to meet with the ‘Eritrean business people and professionals’ he drove out of the country.
When that handsome young boy (he really looked ever so slightly older than my son and his friends in the local youth parliament) was chucked out of that IGAD meeting few days later and when IGAD’s official statement was read out and when the Ugandan ambassador stated his country’s stand on the Eritrea sanctions, the net impact IA’s diplomacy was clearly laid out as a big fat ZERO!
I suppose the visit to Equatorial Guinea is to do with the fact that Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is the current chair of the Africa Union, the way I look at it even the fact that IA felt he had to go and talk to him dictator to dictator is a big failure in the year long diplomatic effort in Addis. I wonder what Amb Girma Asmerom does for a living these days… I mean he can no longer lie to EU officials and BBC journalists like he used to from Brussels or grace dance floors amidst diaspora goons like he used to in DC… he must be really really bored… ok ok I admit he may have taken reading teret ena missle as a pass time (you can tell…I am kind of mad at him for subjecting the poor boy to the IGAD humilation! Call it my motherly instinct!). Under normal circumstances he should have issued statements to state Eritrea’s position (especially after what IA told the aforementioned professionals and business people about the fact that ‘we’ can waltz in and out of IGAD at will)… what do I know? Maybe bad old ambassador Girma has been thrown into IA’s deep-freezer along with many others who were too comfortable to jump before they were pushed there… the proof of the pudding test for IA’s diplomacy in Equatorial Guinea will be Girma Asmerom’s forth coming speech at the AU…thanking fellow African leaders for their resolute stand with Eritrea anything less would score IA another fat big ZERO for diplomatic maneuvering even with fellow dictators.
My PFDJ friends think IA’s diplomatic success in NY will be measured by how rude he will be in his speech on Friday and how much crowd he will pull into the ‘closed door’ meeting of Eritreans on Sunday and perhaps how crazed the crowd will be to see him there… bless their bandenra clad souls! This is the tragedy of all tragedies as far as I am concerned…. This is a man that once belonged to a group of people who commanded the admiration of acclaimed journalists and politicians… this was once the man that the likes of Alistair Campbell and Baroness Kinnock went all the way to the trenches to visit… this was once the man that President Bill Clinton placed hope on for a better Africa and today this is the man whose achievements this week in New York will only be measured by how many Eritreans who chose to remain away from Eritrea fill an auditorium… what a dismal failure…
The irony (a real sad irony at that!) is in the very week that IA’s infamy hit the fan, the people he thought he put away, out of sight, out of mind and certainly out of the living memory of many are making headlines across the globe…. All the way from the dungeons he had thrown them into ten years ago, he must be haunted by Haile DeruE’s video clip on the BBC he must have nightmares when he see’s Aster Fissehatsion’s youthful face staring him from across the years; he must be livid to be confronted by the FREE DAWIT movement wherever he goes, he must be scared stiff of the images of Abune Antonios staring back at him. Their principles, their voices still reverberating… their images and messages still holding just as powerful as back then must be the diplomatic success of people who have the power of justice on their side. He may draw crowds, but unless he is contemplating a future as a pop star that crowd will not contribute anything for his colossal task of improving Eritrea’s image, the image he so wilfully tarnished over the last 20 years… infact the incoherent crowd trampling all over themselves to crown him will show the world once and for all the exact amount of support he enjoys…so they were expecting 4,000 people at the venue in Washington DC?… there you go that is the maximum number of people who support him…and the diplomatic prowess of the 4,000 strong support? Well in the end this too will be one big fat ZERO…I am afraid this week IA looked more like a worm in the big apple than the roaring lion that his supporter would like to see.