When Acquiescence Allows Evil to Thrive
By: Abeba Isahac
December 22, 2004

Like in the anecdotal incident, where, while a mother, upon hearing the judgment of "death by hanging" brought down against her only son for crimes he had committed, openly demonstrates a painfully uncontrollable and inconsolable grief before the court, her shackled son, as he was being led away by guards, turns to his devastated mother, and says, "Stop crying Mother! If you had only said or done something, the first time that I came home with a stolen object, all this would never have happened."

Well, similarly, all the charade and shenanigans we have had to deal with, for the past two years, as regards to the woyane and the EEBC verdict, could have been avoided, if in the beginning, immediately after the signing of the Algiers Agreement, and before the arrival of the peacekeepers, UNMEE had faithfully followed the rules under which they were to exercise their mandate according to the agreement signed between both countries, wherein it was agreed to, and signed by both parties, that, in order to pave way for the Peacekeepers, both parties would have to move to territories they had been at, before the war erupted in 1998. That was UNMEE's first mandate before anything else; and so that no disagreement, misunderstandings or mistakes could take place, a precise map, to be followed by, had been drawn for that purpose. It could not have been any clearer.

While both parties were announcing their troops' smooth piecemeal withdrawals, and while UNMEE was checking and endorsing their claims, there came a point where, the woyane claimed that their withdrawals had been completed. But when UNMEE went to verify their claim, they identified a sovereign Eritrean territory where woyane troops were still present and occupying. Upon pointing it out to them, astonishingly, although not claiming ownership, and without giving a valid reason, the woyane were adamant about remaining in place and refused to move their troops.

Mr. Legwaila and his team, after alleging to have failed to convince the woyane any further, easily give up, and, upon the approval of their superiors in New York, quickly decided to acquiesce, and even go the extra mile to improvise by changing the original map, to make it look like the map that the woyane had in mind. Yes indeed, they changed the main legitimate map, to a fake substitute, just to suite the woyane's intransigent behavior!

Since they had been doing it ever since their existence as Ethiopia's rulers, of course changing maps was nothing new or extraordinary to the woyane, as it had become their second nature. Once, they even had the face of the whole region changed, with the stroke of a pen, just to suit one of their whims. Talk about Emperor Nero who had to have Rome burning in order to inspire his non-existent musical talents!

Then, after having tampered with an internationally approved legal document, UNMEE came back to report and to tell Eritrea that they could do nothing more, and that Eritrea had just got to live with it - like it, or not. This was the manner with which UNMEE had first introduced itself to Eritrea.

Eritrea did protest, of course. But what more could she do while in the middle of an aftermath of a punishing war which had devastated her and her people; and also while in the middle of what seemed to be the beginning of a passage toward peace through the so-called UN peacekeepers? It was a very inopportune, awkward, catch- 22 situation for Eritrea to go to war, yet again, although her defence forces were still strong, ready and willing to secure her integrity. Besides, Eritrea, always painfully conscious of every Eritrean life that could be endangered, does not frivolously send her children to war, unless it is for self-defence. Therefore, believing that ultimately truth would prevail, Eritrea decided to show patience and not give way to her belligerent neighbor and her handlers. The woyane, together with their advisors and handlers, knew that Eritrea was yearning for peace and that she would not jeopardize anything that indicated to bring about peace.

So, on that backdrop, they took advantage of the situation and started their first act of intransigence after the signing of the Algiers Agreement. But who were those advisors and handlers? Was UNMEE not supposed to have been a neutral body? Will we ever know, and why?

Nevertheless, had all this injustice not taken place, and had instead, the international community as well as the United Nations, acted more responsibly and shown serious and genuine respect for the agreement that they had crafted and stood by during its signing ceremony, which too was arranged by them, as its witnesses and as its guarantors, promising to help uphold every letter of its contents, and in the case of either party breaching it, to take the necessary punitive measures accorded, then we would not have had to go through all the ploys and dances being acted up by the woyane.

That fateful day, when UNMEE, with the consent of their headquarters in New York, had to change the map, which was a part of the Algiers Agreement, is what gave the woyane the idea and the green light, to believe that, by throwing a little tantrum here, and by showing some defiance there, it was possible to change legal agreements, even immediately after they had been signed and sealed. This convoluted idea could have come from them, or it could have come from their corrupt and evil foreign advisors and handlers, some of whom, it has recently been reported, have come to Washington to lobby with the woyane for the Bush administration to continue acquiescing, and improvising for their infantile demands, as they continue to break international laws, and behave as stumbling blocks toward what might bring peace to the horn of Africa, in general, and with their immediate northern neighbor, in particular.

Here we are all, once again, looking forward toward yet another new year, five years into the turn of the millennium, and almost fourteen years into Eritrea's independence. Who would have thought that, after the big relief and jubilation that Eritreans enjoyed fourteen years ago, at the end of the struggle and blood shed for independence, and the beginning of freedom, hope and prosperity, that we would still be fighting for our rights from Ethiopia and their foreign friends? Who would ever have imagined this, except those who had been plotting it all along, and those who are now hypocritically displaying the names of those they caused to die in defense of Eritrea's sovereignty? These plotters did not succeed, and their failure was caused by the brave men and woman whose names they are now, out of great guilt or fear, displaying on their websites, for whatever their purpose.

As we usher in yet another brand New Year,

May our beloved martyred heroes and heroines forever rest in peace, as their memory is still freshly and painfully implanted in our hearts today, to be remembered with great honor and pride by future generations to come.

May our living heroes and heroines be blessed and may they live to witness the full fruits of their efforts and sacrifices toward freedom, peace, prosperity and good will to all, for which they too will always be honored and remembered with gratitude and love.

May the Eritrean People have the courage to keep their dream alive, with the belief that it is always darkest before the dawn. May they be blessed with the resilience, perseverance, determination, honesty and integrity which is inherent in every Eritrean, having been inherited from the forefathers, and which characteristics have always served us well and proven to be the main source from where our continual determination to maintain our culture, existence and survival emanates, to the puzzlement and detriment of our mortal, past and present, enemies.

May our leaders be blessed with wisdom and may they be enlightened and guided to lead efficiently, compassionately, truthfully and justly, and as always, with decency and dignity backed and driven by the people.
May Almighty God Bless our Beloved Nation Eritrea, and May He Protect her from her Known and Unknown Enemies.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!
December 22, 2004