Date: Thursday, 10 August 2023
With a couple of clicks on Google, you can find the office address of the Associated Press in Nairobi, where their correspondent Cara Anna is based. I mention that in case anyone wants to drop by their entrance and peacefully protest — note I typed peacefully. If you read Anna’s article posted today on Eritrean festivals, the strong implication is that it’s perfectly okay to go down to an event which has obtained all the right civic permits — where people have gathered to drink and eat and enjoy themselves — and attack them with weapons. Vandalize their belongings and displays. Cause all-out mayhem and panic.
The article is a disgusting gift to her favorite cause in north Africa, the TPLF, and she knows it. It’s a love letter to terrorists. But it’s also a reminder that the mainstream media, whether out of ignorance or cynicism, will reward the asshole-thug who beats you up. Just stick a mike in front of him and ask, Why did you do it? Gosh, you’re just doing your job as a reporter, aren’t you? Got to get both sides!
And I have to concede Anna has come far from her days of a moronic claim that somehow leaving the Tigrayan ethnicity off the universally loathed Ethiopian ID cards was “erasing their ethnicity” (never mind the fact that the TPLF used such cards to find and then slaughter their Amhara victims in Mai Kadra).
No, this latest gem of hers really shows a clear intent to warp reality. Consider: This is her lead: “Flaming cars, violent clashes, dozens of people detained. As one of the world’s most repressive countries marks 30 years of independence, festivals held by Eritrea’s diaspora in Europe and North America have been attacked by exiles that the regime dismisses as ‘asylum scum.’”
Let’s run over that again: The story admits that the “exiles” attacked the festivals. Yes, it does mention details from the episode in Giessen, Germany last month in which thugs “were throwing smoke bombs and bottles” and “tried to force their way into a festival.”
And yes, Anna goes on to write: “In Stockholm this month, Swedish media reported that about 1,000 anti-Eritrea protesters stormed the festival, setting booths and cars on fire and using rocks and sticks as weapons, leaving at least 52 people injured.”
Now pay attention, because we’re getting to the point where Cara Anna rigs the game and would like to treat you like an idiot. It’s all in how the story is constructed and what she deliberately leaves out. And she’s betting that you won’t notice certain things.
Oh, she gives us plenty of background to paint the Eritrean regime as sinister — “There have been no elections. There’s no free press. Exit visas are required.” And look! Here’s an Eritrean activist in Europe named Beyene Gerezgiher who admits in an email that his group was already involved in anti-festival protests and planned on still “disturbing the situation.”
So why didn’t she ask him point blank about the use of violence? Why no comment from him on that?
A denial or a condemnation? Or if he had a justification for it?
Anna then goes on to address the issue of ethnic Tigrayans being involved, and it’s time to get cute again. “Northern Ethiopia,” she informs us, is “where Eritrean forces joined Ethiopia’s military in fighting a two-year war against Tigray forces until a peace deal was made in November. Eritrean forces were accused of some of the worst atrocities, including gang rapes.”
Bravo! Get in another shot at Eritrea and pretend it’s an explanation. Don’t mention at all that the enmity between Tigrayans and Eritreans goes back decades to an earlier war, or that the recent war included the TPLF firing rockets on Asmara, or that the TPLF is also guilty — since we’re going by just accusations here — of “some of the worst atrocities,” such as the Mai Kadra massacre mentioned earlier and yes, gang rapes.
And hey, instead of going to an Eritrean community leader or festival organizer to get their version of the actual accusation over TPLF involvement, let’s just cut to a quick denial. Gee, her chosen mouthpiece calls it “ridiculous” — that’s good enough for everyone, right?
It’ll have to be. Because Anna only quotes a social media post by Eritrea’s Information Minister to balance things out…while packing her article with eight paragraphs to let us know how evil the Eritrean regime is.
There is no Eritrean community leader interviewed by the AP for the article.
There is no Eritrean festival organizer or even an Eritrean festival-goer interviewed for the article.
There is no police officer in any of the cities interviewed for the article.
Cara Anna mentions Toronto. Let me share some details from Toronto’s debacle which I suspect she went out of her way to ignore, and I have to commend CTV News and Katherine DeClerq for doing legitimate journalism and putting the focus where it belonged: the appalling violence.
According to DeClerq’s story, women were cooking and making food when the hooligans came up to them, began dumping their food, shoving people to the ground, “threatening to burn their clothes.”
Danait Mehreteab was there with her 60-year-old father who was helping to set things up. She told CTV News that as the intruders “hit him over the head with a metal rod and continued to beat him while he was down.”
“Mehreteab said her father lost consciousness and was “left for dead.” He had to get 12 staples on the top of his skull and suffered a fracture to the spine.”
“We’re all still so shocked and hurt by it,” she told the CTV reporter. “It’s just devastating. It’s devastating to see the police didn’t do anything to like, arrest them or stop them. We now have no festival. What’s going to happen to my dad’s long-term health impact?”
And what’s worse is that in the “days leading up to the Festival Eritrea Toronto, the organizing group pleaded with Toronto police for protection” to keep things peaceful.
But the thugs got what they wanted. In one of the stupider examples of bad judgment, Canada’s Global News headlined a section in its coverage with What did the two sides say?
With the same lack of awareness, The Guardian informed its readers that the Toronto violence was “the latest in a string of global skirmishes that have drawn fresh attention to human rights abuses in Eritrea and tensions between diaspora populations.”
No. The attention wasn’t “drawn” — it was lured, manufactured. That was the point: to make you lemmings all rush to write and to hope in your ghoulish way that you’ll get video coverage of spilled blood. In most cases, the attackers have counted on the ignorance of local news outlets whose staff reporters predictably don’t keep up on African affairs. Like the fixers in Mekelle in 2021, they see you rubes coming.
At this point, there would normally be a cue for me to make a standard disclaimer that I don’t endorse the Eritrean regime, and that Isaias Afewerki is the new Saddam Hussein, what a horrible guy, blah, blah, and he must be guilty of everything from biting the heads off small, cute budgies to never tipping his drycleaner, blah, blah, blah. But I won’t.
Because it shouldn’t be the fucking issue.
China has one of the most repressive regimes on the planet which conducts massive surveillance on its citizens and even folks simply of Chinese descent abroad, and last I checked, I don’t recall anyone losing their mind and inciting a mob to go attack the touring acrobat shows that fly in from Shanghai. Funny how these things work.
What puts Cara Anna’s article below the usual sewer level of Offensive is that it wasn’t just written to celebrate a collection of riots — it was written to help provoke yet another war in the Horn. It was tapped out on a keyboard for an audience of white officials in Washington and in spots of Europe where the “garden” is preferable to the “jungle.”
The mission is to keep Africans scary to Westerners. “See these brown people? They’re getting out of hand! Now if you can send troops out of your base in Djibouti to go over there where the real problem is and intervene, we won’t have them stirring up trouble on our streets at home. Better still, the rest of their kind won’t try to sail over on leaky boats to live here! Trust us on this.”
Whatever the merits or sins of the Isaias government, there are those determined to bring it down. Which, as things stand now, would be very bad news for the Amhara people in Ethiopia’s Welkait and the rest of the country. But you can expect more Isaias-bashing in the days and weeks ahead to rev up the war engine, and even if no Eritrean festival is being held on a weekend, don’t be surprised if there are suddenly more convenient “skirmishes” that somehow “draw fresh attention to human rights abuses.”
I recently came out as warmonger. That’s my way of saying yes, a war of self-defense is perfectly justified by Fano as the Abiy regime and its collaborators try to complete a genocide of the Amhara people. But at least I’ve openly declared my biases.
Cara Anna’s warmongering is a more subtle but dangerous kind… and it slithers.