DISCLAIMER: I do not consider my self as PFDJ sympathizer or blind supporter of the government. This is not about being a blind supporter — I hope that this article tries to distill bare fact from opinion in a very short and concise manner. Lets compare fact with opinion or perception about the Eritrean president Issayas Afeworki.
OPINION: he is responsible for starting the war with Ethiopia.
Fact: What happened a year and a half leading up to the war
The bare events that transpired between 1996 – 1998 just before the start of the war clearly shows the war was a culmination of the tension created by hostilities and abuses of the TPLF government on border towns. Widespread abuses by TPLF on Eritreans living near the border with Tigray. And this clearly shows that it could not have been because of President Issayas Afeworki or his power struggle with TPLF. Please, let’s face this fact — war was started by TPLF weyane. They wanted more land from Eritrea and the war that was ignited was a logical consequence of that. There was no gray area here.
Press the link below and read the facts:
Herman Cohen – a top US diplomat also admits that Meles started the war! Hear it from the horse’s mouth.
” … in my opinion the 1998-2000 war was started by Meles”
OPINION: President Issayas was an Ethiopian agent sent by Ethiopian government to destroy Eritreans struggle for independence.
FACT: he left his relatively good life in his early 20’s, to spend the rest of his life fighting in the treacherous parts of Eritrea to reverse the unjust annexation of Eritrea by Ethiopia.
I know for some sane people it may sound really far fetched, but recently a lot of Eritreans actually believe in this non-sense. In an interview with VOA Amharic program, a former Ethiopian official said this about Issayas Afeworki.
Major Dawit : “… in that case, if you do not have trust in this person [ Meles Zenawi] and if our movement does not succeed; when TPLF enter Addis Ababa, wouldn’t Ethiopia be put in a dangerous situation? Instead, why don’t you become the leader of EPLF and Ethiopia — and if this is the case my self and our comrade’s movement would take a stand to declare you as the president of Ethiopia. And by this it would mean that it would not be necessary to separate Ethiopia and Eritrea and it would be possible to make the two one…”
President Issayas: ” No, this is really too late, we have established our movement based on a principle to make Eritrea independent. If we change our policy now to also include Ethiopia, it would be against our principle, so it can never work.
If Issays was an Ethiopian agent sent to unite Eritrea with Ethiopia or destroy it as some of them claim, why wouldn’t he do it when a very opportune moment arose just before Mengistu was about to be over-thrown and the military leaders in Ethiopia offered him to be president of Ethiopia and Eritrea?
Therefore, at least from this interview, couldn’t we say that his principle is to first make Eritrea independent ? Then, as he always would say “why not” for economic and later political integration with Ethiopia — in 5-10-20 … years? “why not?!!” Europe is doing it, the human civilization is generally going in that direction in any case whether we like it or not.
Take a listen to the interview:
OPINION: he would never sign a peace agreement with Ethiopian government because that would mean the end of his stay in power.
FACT: Eritrea accepted the peace initiative offered by Ethiopian prime minister Dr. Abiy and signed the peace deal 8–9 July 2018 in Asmara, Eritrea.
The two leaders signed a joint declaration on 9 July, formally ending the border conflict between both countries, restoring full diplomatic relations, and agreeing to open their borders to each other for persons, goods and services. The joint statement was also considered to close all chapters regarding the Eritrean–Ethiopian War (1998–2000) and of the following Eritrean–Ethiopian border conflict (2000–2018) with sporadic clashes.
- The state of war between Ethiopia and Eritrea has come to an end
- To forge intimate political, economic, social, cultural and security cooperation
- Diplomatic ties, transport, trade & communication links resume
- The decision on the boundary will be implemented
- Jointly ensuring regional peace, cooperation and development
OPINION: The peace deal signed will not work unless land borders are opened
FACT: Ethiopia, Eritrea reopen border points for first time in 20 years
OPINION: he is responsible for all the suffering of Eritreans for the past 20 or more years
FACT: the suffering is a direct consequence of the state of war with Ethiopia coupled with a decade of economic sanction
Most of us Eritreans, as fellow Africans, do not sincerely believe that we can actually survive on our own without the patronage or aid of the West. Especially, the elite or the so called “intellectuals” who subconsciously believe in this narrative. The idea of being free and completely independent scares us to death. Our thinking is God help us if our masters abandon us and stop giving us our daily aid/welfare.
President Issayas Afeworki, in my opinion, has committed the cardinal sin — I think he wants to make Eritrea free of aid/welfare and thinks he can expect equal partnership with the West– how dare he?!
Currently, I believe, he is the sole sitting African leader who dares to implement a policy that is trying to make Eritrea economically and politically independent. For rejecting welfare aid, expecting equal partnership, for this “sin” — Eritreans have and are paying a heavy price. The country ostracized, labelled the North Korea of Africa by every western media, its youth encouraged to leave the country with automatic political asylum promise; its economy strangulated with sanctions. This to make an example of a “bad apple”.
Number of NGO’s in Eritrea is almost non-existent.
Finally, these Eritrean detractors of the president, the more it looks like he is being vindicated and finally things are turning his way, the more venomous and wild their hatred filled campaign has become.
Is it not better to try to work together with the government? Help or encourage it usher in needed reforms to take advantage of the changing geopolitics in our region and make our Eritrea better?