The Flock drinks with its Slaughterer
‘Aha Mis Haradi’en May Yisetya’
On the 25th of September 2011 a folly of follies will happen in the centre of New York. I am not prejudging the mood or outcome of the meeting that a cross-section of Eritreans residing in North America will have with their dictator, a man who may still have hailers among his countrymen when dictators across the world are experiencing their darkest hour.
This event evokes similarities with the last visit of the Eritrean tyrant to the US in April 2000, exactly a month before the devastating and humiliating war with Ethiopia (a war which was later dubbed by the PFDJ ‘the third offensive of the Woyanes’). At the time the Eritrean president conducted a seminar in Washington DC and was clearly in the mood of sarcastically but angrily performing before his approving audience. He had tirades to rain on the Woyanes in which he spoke of them in the feminine gender (mind you he comes from a liberation movement which claims to staunchly promote equality of men and women). The audience then was transfixed to hear his bravados and hand gestures as he belittled in a dramatic fashion the kind of weaponry such as the Russian SU fighter planes the Woyanes had recently purchased. At that time many in the audience were impressed with their president’s talent to defeat his enemies by just performing a stage act and not least his assurances that his government had military equipment sufficient for two national armies. But the whole act was to prove disastrous few weeks later. The SU aircraft that were ridiculed by our ‘actor’ president rained on our youth their horrendous bombs and thousands of our young men and women perished never to return. What lesson have those Eritreans in the audience of April 8, 2000 learnt?
Eleven years to that day a similar gathering is to take place on American soil. This time the ‘actor’ may be staging a more benign and diplomatic performance. But his inner nature is far from changed. He is determined to use every opportunity to get sacrificial lambs for his altar of personal ego and entrenchment in power. The serpent inside him will wiggle, maneuver, turn and twist and put on every deceptive mask. But it will always spew the ever-present venom into its listeners. That venom will send the audience into hysteria. It will be the sight of an idol being worshiped by its faithful. There will be dancing, clapping until the palms turn hot and red, ululations and obeisance. There will be figurative priests serving the potion of public deception, beating the drums of ignorance and burning the incense into the auditorium air. But if there is any lesson to be drawn from April 2000, a national doom is in the offing, a price to be paid in some form. How can those who will be in attendance in two days time avert a national madness?
- If they are at all seriously empathetic with their families, relatives and compatriots in Eritrea, the least these Eritreans who have planned to take part in the meeting can do is to make a personal decision of cancelling their attendance all together.
- If they go into the meeting auditorium, they have to use the opportunity to confront the evil in the man that is about to wreck havoc in the nation. They have to hold him on the hook for the death of thousands of our young men and women in the trenches and on the borders, the exodus of a generation, the imprisonment and disappearance of innocent citizens, the rampant corruption, the starvation of a population, the deferred constitution, and many, many other crimes of his and the regime built in his image. If they do this, they will have achieved a feat no less than that of those planning to demonstrate in the president’s opposition.
- If they do not muster the courage to confront him for fear of reprisals on their families or interests back home, they have to deny him their applause and ululations and instead jeer at him from their seats, tell him to step down.
- If they really have control over their pairs of hands or their mouth, they have to give him a muted reaction.
- If their answer is none of the above, they will regret sooner or later to have missed one golden opportunity to stop madness, be reckoned as his henchmen and self-humiliated when the records open following his departure.