From: Bereket Kidane (email@example.com)
Date: Wed May 27 2009 - 00:44:33 EDT
The international media nowadays seems to hang on every word that President Issayas utters. A friend of mine who subscribes to Eri-TV at his home here in the U.S. tells me that Issayas has given no less than 20 interviews to Arab, African and Asian TV and newspaper journalists leading up to Independence Day last week.
One can even sense a begrudging respect for Issayas nowadays from European media establishments who once belittled and ridiculed him.
They all want to know his thoughts on geo-political events in the Horn. His credibility, in part, results from his prescient warning that Weyane's Western-backed invasion of Somalia was doomed to end up in failure (at a time when everyone was impressed with Weyane's quick victory over the Somalis) and the fact that Eritrea is now seen as a major player in the Sudanese Peace Process because of its close relationship with both the Sudanese government and the various rebel groups.
Even the once staunchly anti-Eritrea magazine, Ethiopian Review, who used to ridicule Issayas in the past managed to make the trek to Asmara this past week. Ethiopians opposed to Weyane-rule seem to put their hopes in Issayas these days. The logic of their thinking goes, it was Issayas who brought Weyanes to power and he is probably the only one who can bring them down. Their logic is reminiscent of what the comedian Bill Cosby used to tell one of his teenage sons, Theo, whenever he got mad at him on the show: "I brought you into this world and I can take you out." Issayas is certainly well-qualified to size-up Weyane's capabilities (military or otherwise) but they may be hoping for too much. Even he has his limits. It is interesting to note though that some Ethiopians have started referring to him as "Nebey Issayas" or "Prophet Isaiah" for his past predictions that came true.
And with the recent global economic crisis that has seen aid-dependent African economies lose substantial amounts of money in aid from developed countries, Issayas's well-known habit of shunning aid and advocating self-reliance has never looked better. Eritrea's economy never got overheated by unscrupulous investors who were looking to make a quick buck overnight so it is unlikely to suffer devastating blows from the global economic crisis. As usual, steady as she goes.