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Wey gud at the anti-Eritrea propaganda

Eritreans demonstrating in London against media bias, the politically motivated Commission of Inquiry report and the illegal sanctions on Eritrea

Wey gud

By Sophia Tesfamariam

“Wey gud” is an expression used by Eritreans to express their bewilderment and it is one that is being heard more and more often these days as the deluge on Eritrea increases in cyberspace. Considering the gag order on Eritrea during the liberation struggle, the interest on Eritrea is welcome. In his 1997 book, “The United States and the Horn of Africa: An Analytical Study of Pattern and Process”, Ogbazghi Yohannes wrote about the US-led “international community” and its attitude on Eritrea and how Eritrea’s voice was muzzled. Yohannes wrote:

“…Nowhere has the adverse impact of American foreign policy on the fate of a nation been more apparent than in Eritrea. First by blocking the emergence of Eritrea as a distinct political entity and later by furnishing massive quantities of lethal weapons to Ethiopia, the United States contributed heavily to the tragic situation in which Eritrea had found itself for nearly half a century. The unqualified American support for Ethiopia had also received the ideological backing of Western scholarship; academic Ethiophiles had invoked the presumed political nonviability, ethnic diversity, and “artificiality” of Eritrea-- as if nations have preordained destinies--as sufficient reasons to justify its incorporation into Ethiopia… By controlling the fields both of diplomacy and of analysis, American policy makers and other Western scholars had transformed Eritrea into the “untouchable” of world politics and the backwater of international scholarship…”

Today, academics, journalists and western analysts are falling all over each other, with their Eritrean surrogates in tow, to perpetuate the narrative on Eritrea, which seems, with time, to be alluding them. The anti-Eritrea crescendo has reached its climax, and so has the chase.

Speaking of chase, there is yet another outfit on the web that is trying to present itself as a credible source of information. Ethiopians believe it is another creation of the minority regime in Ethiopia. The tell-tale signs were there. Eritreans and Ethiopians have learned to identify the fake sites produced by the regime in Ethiopia, littering the cyberspace,with distorted reports produced by “academics”. This particular site has a bombastic name-a telltale sign that it was that of the regime in Ethiopia. The site recently posted the following information on its page:

“…readers are calling for more information on the Eritrean President’s health ….We are doing our best to keep our readers up-to-date…” 

Wey gud…

A quick call to the nearest Eritrean Embassy would have resolved that issue, if that was really something its “readers” wanted to know. The minority regime’s obsession with the President of Eritrea is nothing new and the regime’s contempt for the Eritrean people, while feigning concern, is also not new. Unlike the regime in Ethiopia which relies on the “international community” to subsidize 60% of its national budget, feed its hungry population and produce its policies, Eritreans have never relied on the “international community” to, least of all for sovereign decisions of national importance. Unlike the walking dead whoare seeking saviors in the West, the astute and conscious Eritrean people are confident in their own ability, and are perfectly capable of charting their nation’s future.

The announcement on the site said the following:

“….One organization, the Felsberger Institute located in Germany, is responding to a request from members of the Eritrean diaspora to arrange a meeting of opposition groups and representatives from civil society. The meeting will begin on November 13-15 in Frankfurt and the topics will include: 1) State structure, relationship between ethnic groups, dealing with the PFDJ, the role of religion in government and society; 2) land issues; 3) education and language policies; 4) economy; and 5)regional security, the army and relationship to neighboring states….The goal of the association is “to stimulate and support academic research, to start educational initiatives and to create opportunities for people to meet…” 

The minority regime in Ethiopia with its begging hands stretched out all over Europe and the United States, begging for alms to feed its starving population, is so concerned about Eritrea that it organizes yet another meeting to chart Eritrea’s future.

Wey gud…

First of all, we Eritreans have our own voice and are intellectually capable of presenting our case in any forum and in any country, at any time and at any place. They do not need mercenary surrogates, “professional dissidents” or self-serving western NGOs to speak on our behalf, nor will we allow them to use our names, in illicit political campaigns against the State of Eritrea and its people. Secondly, a quick look at the guest list shows groups and individuals harbored and financed by the regime in Ethiopia. These are groups that have conducted terrorist acts in Eritrea and have no constituents in the vast Eritrean Diaspora, or in Eritrea. So who are they representing?

Wey gud…

Eritreans in the Diaspora have seen the mushrooming of nondescript NGOs in cyberspace since 2001. It has become a fad of sorts. I suppose it has to do with the misconception on what western NGOs can and cannot. Misconstruing their roles as “academics and professionals”, some Eritreans have used acquaintances with academics, at work and at religious institutions, halls of government etc. to disseminate distorted reports about Eritrea and the leadership. As they say, a little education is dangerous!

Alex De Waal, who has worked closely with such Eritreans in the last 20 years, says:

“…There are problems of transferring the Human Rights Watch, Amnesty, or Lawyers’ Committee type of institutions to Africa. This type of institution is very amenable in the African context to being hijacked for careerist or partisan political ends. There is nothing wrong with someone with a political agenda or wanting to make a career from raising these human rights issues; that certainly doesn’t make the human rights any less legitimate. However it does create practical political problems of credibility in these countries when you see opposition politicians trying to be both player and referee in the political struggle by taking on the human rights mantle…” 

The campaigns become even more illegitimate when they are sponsored by the minority regime in Ethiopia and its handlers. Some Eritreans insist on deferring to western human rights organizations and media, wrongly believe they can advance their narrow political agendas through them. Western human rights organizations appear to be powerful and almost unchallengeable. While they can influence western policies to some extent, the Eritrean voice is stronger-it is the one that matters the most. So if some “professional dissidents” want to spend their time appealing to western regimes, rather than their own people, there is nothing that can be done than to allow them to learn through experience the futility of their efforts.

Yes, write about Eritrea, her leaders and her people but do so with balance and fairness. Academics and others should organize conferences and meetings to discuss Eritrea, but they should never overestimate their influence. The credibility and integrity, and the reputation of those gathered will determine its outcome. The position they hold in the society they purport to represent is important. So if a bunch of wayward individuals and groups find cover in such western institutions, such as the one being sponsored by the German Institute, and believe they can influence policy on Eritrea, they are in for a rude awakening.

When Eritreans in the Diaspora see individuals who have participated in Eritrea’s long and arduous struggle for independence struggle reduced to errand boys for the minority regime in Ethiopia, and serving as tools to advance its political agendas against their own people and comrades in arms, the aghast Eritrean Diaspora has only one thing to say.

Wey gud…

It is only befitting to end with this 1996 quote from President Isaias Afwerki:

“…It is troublesome to observe clever storytellers and writers without any moral scruples distorting real history and attempting to create new versions of history with attractive presentation; in the process some people may believe that these lies are truth, and with the passage of time such lies may become established and entrenched. Sometimes when you observe bullies and bankrupt elements, who do not know the limits of their capacity, delivering grandiose speeches and hectoring others, you are tempted to answer back; but, instead, you prefer to take the high ground and remain silent…” 

Eritrea’s accomplishments speak louder than words…
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Wey gud at the anti-Eritrea propaganda Reviewed by Admin on 11:48 AM Rating: 5

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