Eritrean Independence and Confidence: What the West Fears Most
Independence and Confidence: What the West Fears Most
Eritrea, a small country struggling to develop through her own sweat and blood has been inundated by a regular flood of lies and accusations to destroy the foundation of her confidence. Winning its extraordinary struggle for independence in 1991, the country refused to kneel down despite an array of obstacles and repeated foreign aggression. From its small population, the country paid the heavy cost of 85000 martyrs, and attaining independence with few parallels, it sought to open and maintain a new and glorious chapter in its history.
However, the western world has always been in suspicion and waited in threat. They continually engaged in tiresome labor of espionage to look on the activities of the weak and poor countries striving to improve their lives. Western civilization and domination was founded upon fear. Some of the intolerable threats to world order (i.e. to American self interest, for there is no distinction between them) are meaningful democracy, social justice, pursuing an independent line, self-reliance, responsiveness to lower sections of the society, and forward looking policies.
Eritrea, during its short period of independence, has faced overt and covert manipulations intended to shackle and subdue it. Accusations flooded, war was waged, unjust sanctions approved, defamation and intimidation continued and surprisingly the country persisted upon its own path. The fertile soil of the country denied the seeds of destruction to grow. “If war with Eritrea was difficult yesterday, it is impossible today” was reverberated on the sky of the country.
The only legal permission given to any country in the Global South is to sell its natural and human resources to western corporations or interests. Diversion from this model elicits opprobrium and hatred, and is ultimately characterized as a crime that deserves severe punishment.
The west’s strategy to hold small countries captives to poverty involves the utilization of foreign aid and loans. Aid has been among the most effective tools, and it has thoroughly impaired the national sprit of the peoples of the Global South. President Isaias Afewerki described aid as, “like a pill that numbs the pain, if you take it too often you get addicted.” Eritrea’s choice of refraining foreign aid emanates from its abhorrence to being psychologically dependent on a potentially harmful practice of dependency. Parasitism was what the west dreamed to see and sustain in developing countries. Self-reliance through the western lens is conceived as a threat to vital national interest and security. However, self reliance should not be misunderstood. It is simply having faith in one’s internal capabilities, following an independent path, giving primacy to internal conditions, and working to advance your goals. Importantly, it requires having self-confidence. At the same time, it is vital to understand that that self reliance does not mean to isolate oneself from the international community. It only means being as independent and self-confident a player as possible in the international community. President Isaias Afewerki once defined Eritrea’s policy of self reliance as, “We would like integration more than anybody else ... Self-reliance is interpreted as an isolationist trend, which it is not at all ... Self-reliance is preparing yourself for partnership, equal partnership.”
It is this ideology that is so dangerous to much of the western world. In 1984, the Kissinger Commission reported insincerely that, “The international purpose of the United States in late 20th century are cooperation, not hegemony or domination; partnership not confrontation; a decent life for all, not exploitation.” Yet, the historical and contemporary record reveals a quite diametrically opposite reality to that untruthful statement. The western world has held itself up as a unique and distinct group with the privilege to dominate and rule over the rest. Paradoxically, however, they are the ones who mistreat, plunder, kill, and unabashedly declare themselves to be the prophets of development, modernization, and civilization. Acting more Catholic than the Pope, they came nearer to say that,
“You shall not bow down to them or serve them, [to your choice] for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20: 5-6).
The west has long been jealous of the raw materials of the Global South. They worked hard to maintain a level of poverty and backwardness to diminish the threat of constructive development. Reminiscent of “the elimination of opportunity” done in the 1950s, western blind judgment again has been very hostile and aggressive toward Eritrea because the Horn of Africa country follows an independent line. Eritrea has been considered an enemy because it maintains an independent position and refuses to become a servant of foreign interests. The west waged one of the most unjust wars ever conducted, supporting the strong against the weak.
Speaking authentically, Eritrea has nothing at hand that could project against western national security and interest. The imagined threat was based on the country’s “confidence” and its focus on self reliant development. With forward-looking perspective being branded as a high security threat, more than terrorism or a nuclear strike, it has also elicited calls for it to be eliminated. Chomsky describes how,
“… a wiser strategy is first to kill the dream by a campaign of terror, intimidation, sabotage, blocking of aid, and other means available to a superpower that is immune to retaliation, until the errant society cracks under the strain and its people recognize that in the shadow of the enforcer, there can be no hope of escaping from the miseries of traditional life.”
According to the western doctrinal system, approval and appreciation of independent effort of weaker countries towards development is akin to letting the rotten apple spoil the barrel, “the rot will spread” namely the rot of successful social and economic development.” After having known the guiding principles of western world, one can easily understand and summarize the motive behind the hatred directed towards Eritrea. Simply, it is to block the Eritrean success story from sending the wrong message to the obedient continent. The fact Eritrea is small is critical as well, since,
“Under the rotten apple theory, it follows that the tinier and weaker the country, the less endowed it is with resources, the more dangerous it is. If the … country can begin to utilize its own limited human and material resources and can undertake programmes of development geared to the needs of the domestic population, then others may ask; why not us?”
It’s now clear that Eritrea is being assaulted in order to extinguish its self reliance and eliminate its potential to help raise the question, “why not us?” amongst other.
The historical adversaries of Eritrea have little regret for their near century of hostility toward Eritrea. They have woven one conspiracy after another to undue Eritrea’s independence. When successive episodes of aggressive military invasion against neighboring countries, support and sympathy of terrorist group, disrupting regional stability failed to attract sufficient audience and fruition they have now turned to the COIE’s farcical drama to attack the country. However, the people and government of Eritrea will neither stop their forward march nor waver from their mission. I conclude with an apt quote by a fourth-year CASS student made in response to the COIE report, “it would be better to save our spare time by watching the band of gangsters.”
1 National Charter
2 Chomsky 1985: 48
3 Chomsky 1985: 146
4. Chomsky 1985: 72
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