First and foremost, I would like to thank all of you who are present today attending this congress and festival.  Many of you flew from different parts of the world and it is very inspiring to too see the sacrifices we all made to be here. It gives me hope to see such unity between Dehenet-Hidri and EPDP. When the idea was explained to me initially, I was a bit taken aback, trying to understand how this will be possible; because some of our political ideologies differ from one another. However, when assessing the whole idea of HADENET I realized that it will only be through a United effort that we can achieve democratic change in Eritrea. We are fighting against an organized political regime that has been able to stay in existence for so long due to our lack of doing what we have begun to do at this Congress together. Which includes building a roadmap that will consist of working with all opposition groups, focusing on a strategy that revolves around building bridges and alliances. If we all pledge to have an open mind, with open communication and the best word to use in Tigrinya is (kinena) kinena ke helew alewo nenehedna…which I believe is the determining factor in achieving success. United we will be a force to be reckoned with and EPDP can play a leading role in our MDC.

Change in ERITREA; has been a consistent slogan within our movement. How do we define CHANGE? In our movement the word CHANGE is repeated constantly, degagimna ena neblow.  However, how do we as agents of CHANGE reflect the CHANGE that we are seeking to implement in a democratic ERITREA? This is a question I asked myself 8 years ago; and 8 years later I have been enlightened with a few answers from my experience within our MDC.

As a movement and political party we must be cognitive of the political warfare and attacks orchestrated by PFDJ; although I normally do not like to mention them or make them a topic of discussion it is necessary to do so in order to identify certain destructive obstacles within our movement. To be fair all blame cannot be laid on the regime, we must own our faults as well. However, right now, especially during the current Yikal social media rage, that created a calling for a mass movement there has been a systematic effort to eliminate abeyti (abotatna and adetena) from our MDC.  Through technology, social media and as many of you are aware of, infiltration through individuals to disperse political division amongst the younger and older generations. These divisive tactics have been waged throughout our movement time and time again, and has caused chaos, mistrust and fractured organizations. However, as the time is coming near for democratic change we must not allow ourselves to be fooled into this divisive political propaganda. Instead we should recognize that it’s a means to keep us further from HADENET and in turn attaining our dream of a free Eritrea.

When I first joined the MDC, I faced a lot of criticism for joining a wudeb that had a lot of abeyte. Many of these delay fithi, who were new arrivals from back home used to try to convince me that “nezeom abeyte newbelom.” I recall thinking why I wouldn’t work with individuals who have been through the struggle and understand Eritrean politics like no other; and I also have an opportunity to work with both former ELF and EPLF tegadaelti. My reply to these delay fithi, who called themselves “youth” (although they were over 40 years old at the time) was and still is “temocoro" (experience) and wisdom “alewom” and “nehena ka kabom kenmher nekelena”…and quite honestly we are not in a position to lead at this point.” My general belief is through time, experience and hard work we can begin to learn what it takes to lead and do so successfully.

Were mistakes made by our elders? Yes, absolutely, all sides, politically in Eritrea made mistakes, which is why we are in the position that we are in today. It is important at this stage to re-instill our rich Eritrean cultural values that has been destroyed by the current regime/be te serat. As the new generation we can learn from these past mistakes and make corrections continuing to improve the broken political systems that represent Eritrean politics today. The most effective manner to do this is hand in hand/eid ne eid/mesahum/mis abotatna and adetetna. United, neshatay and abie all things are possible; and this is a principal we should maintain in order to reflect who we truly are as a people…Together with our mothers and fathers guiding us in our struggle, we will continue to learn from our elders and they too can learn from us, and time will then come when they will pass the torch. However, for this to occur we must not and cannot allow divisive tactics to infiltrate our movement for democratic change. As the new generation of activists we must be mindful of this and be cautious on all fronts and maintain respect, inclusivity and tolerance, integral pieces to our democratic movement.

Along with maintaining these principles in regards towards tolerance of our seasoned delay-fithi, we must also be cautious  of the negative sentiments and campaign attacks aimed against the wudubats. Wudeb when translated from Tigrinya to English is defined as political party and since we are here in Germany, in German wudeb is translated to politische partei.  A political party is an organized group of people who have the same ideology, or who otherwise have the same political positions (Wikipedia). In Germany, for example,  there is a federal, multi-party, parliamentary political system in place (https://handbookgermany.de). In the United States of America where I am from and reside, we have a two-party system dominated by the Democratic Party and the Republican party. In Eritrea, technically, the framework is a single-party system, PFDJ; led by a totalitarian dictator, Isaias Afwerki who is head of state and head of government (https://en.wikipedia.org).

This authoritarian rule currently in Eritrea is what we as delay fithi are fighting against; and in order to replace this rogue political system we must have an organized party, and that is why having a wudeb in place is necessary. Wudubats aydelenen eyu is rhetoric that has been running rampant throughout our movement for democratic change. And it is an unhealthy and destructive perspective to have as democratic change seekers, because it is only if we are organized, we then can achieve our goal to implement democracy in Eritrea. And this organization is done through a wudeb. We should not allow this type of ignorance to infiltrate our movement for democratic change; instead as delay-fithi we must teach our people the significance of organizing ourselves and that doing so will quicken our path towards achieving democratic change in Eritrea.

Tolerance of women’s active involvement in our movement for democratic change, is  important when analyzing the "change" factor. Superficial purposes such as using women’s faces for pictures and use of propaganda (simply to say "alewana") are not enough.  Strategic genuine actions must be taken such as, ensuring gender equality by including women’s thoughts and ideas in our programs at every juncture, assessing at all times the attendance of women throughout our political movements, assuring women’s roles within our movement is equal to our male counter-parts and recognizing the achievements made by female delay-fithi within our movement for democratic change.  And most importantly ample consideration of allocating leadership positions, for women, within our political movement. It goes without saying, that women have paid huge sacrifices throughout our history; and it will be up to us, to ensure that the future Eritrea will genuinely include women at all levels; and leave behind the superficial past of “alewana.”

Another very crucial factor when discussing “change,” we must also address tolerance in regards to religion/hymont and awraja. When I joined the MDC, I came in as Adiam from San Diego. When other delay fithi used to ask me where I am from, my answer was San Diego. Where my parents came from was never a factor to me, all I knew was they were both born in Asmara and they instilled the passion and love I have for Eritrea and that was it. This innocence at times became corrupted due to what I mentioned earlier as divisive tactics applied by entities within our movement. When I began to learn about the religion and awraja issues, I along with other fellow delay fithi made it our mission to have workshops dedicated to open discussion about tolerating all Eritreans no matter what their religion or awraja may be. When we look at the history of both ELF and EPLF both organizations included all of Eritrea which is why we were able to gain our independence. This same formula must be used now in our MDC and as an organization we must lead by example and continue to fight back on the divisiveness of religion and awraja.

The last “change” factor I would like to address is the “face of our movement.” In the U.S. we had Martin Luther King Jr. who was the face of the civil rights movement. MLK was the leader both J.F.K. and
Robert Kennedy turned to during the heated era of racism and the black struggle for civil rights in America. Through MLK’s leadership and other efforts, African Americans were able to gain their civil rights. It is time for our movement to have a “face.” Many people I speak to who are interested in joining us, ask me “does the opposition have a leader,” then I am forced to explain all the number of political groups and honestly many people become discouraged. I believe now is the time we begin to think about who our leader can be, globally, especially in our current momentum of YIKAL. I know many of you may be thinking there are a number of wudubats and they all have leaders; however this is why we are unable to attract the masses. As we have now come together I would like to suggest that as a political organization we focus on this important and crucial political factor; and create a highly strong and pragmatic political propaganda campaign to propel our leadership to the world.

I would like to thank you all for taking the time out to listen to my thoughts and ideas; and I am grateful to have been given a platform to speak. When I was first called about coming to Germany to attend this
Unity Congress I just gave birth to my baby girl Zion Mariam, and a year prior to my baby-boy Gabriel. Zion was about 7 months old when I discussed with my family about coming to Germany; and made the
decision to participate in our Unity Congress in which my family highly encouraged. Also members of Gembar Hagrawi  Dehenet who I met back in 2010 have been my heroes and inspiration abzi kalsena, also played a  huge role in my decision to attend the Unity Congress. Although members of Dehenet-Hidri are former ELF and EPLF tigadelti they do not allow those facts to dictate who they are as activists today. The men and women of Dehenet exemplify Eritreans genuinely working together always respecting one another on our journey. I am surrounded by men and women who put their past political affiliations aside with the determination to work together towards a common goal which is removal of the authoritarian regime led by Isaias Afewrki. In the United States, no matter where there is a demonstration or a seminar that I am involved in organizing, all members of Dehenet-Hidri do their best to assist and be supportive in any way possible. We all live in different states, from Seattle to California, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Atlanta, Ohio, Florida and New York…yet we always work as a team utilizing our networks to make sure all events are successful.

In the same regards I have had the pleasure of working with EPDP members like Tesfay Digiga and his wife Asgedet in the Bay Area for the Hawaka Abeylo Demo and the Boston Demo on behalf of our brothers and sisters that died in Lampedusa back in 2013. Even our brother Tiku from Canada was very active when I was involved in the leadership in organizing our COIE New York Demo in 2013. So, my point is, all of us, both members of EPDP and Dehenet-Hidri have been working on the ground together on grassroots projects/ab nye hizbi guday; and the fact that we have now come together officially was a move that felt natural. Being here with you all this week has been a very fruitful, enlightening and democratic experience. Having Feven Gideon (Fevena Wenchar) here someone who I admire through social media and the cherry on top a female Chairwoman Adiam Tefera was a wonderful introduction for me when arriving here to Germany; and even more of a motivation that as an activist I am in the right place. Thank you all, I look forward to our journey together…Awetna nye geden eyu!


Haftukum, Bezotkum, Gualkum; Adiam Haile-Rufael...yekenelay

Mr. Tesfai Woldemichael (Degiga), the newly elected chairman of the Eritrean People’s Democratic Party (EPDP), on 19 August sent a congratulatory message to the people of fraternal Sudan expressing “boundless joy and hope” of many Eritreans for Sudan’s success in reaching “a promising deal for a smooth transition to democratic governance.”

EPDP Chairman Congratulates Sudan in reaching a promising deal for democratic transion

Addressed to General Abdel-Fattah A. Burhan, head of the military council, and Mr. Ahmed al-Rabie, the representative and signatory of the agreement on behalf of the civilian coalition for democracy and change, the message emphatically stated that the agreement reached between the two sides in the Sudan is “both historic and  exemplary pact that many friends of the Sudan, including Eritreans, aspire to have for their own peoples.”

The EPDP Chairman did not hide the fact that Sudanese authorities in the past were mostly on the side of the unrepresentative regime in Asmara but that he now hopes that the New Sudan  “will open its doors for us in the opposition - “the other Eritrean- and discuss how the Sudanese people can help change the situation also in neighboring Eritrea.”

Reprinted below is the full message of the EPDP Chair to the Sudanese people and government.

======

Tesfai WM 2To:

H.E. General Abdel -Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan,  Head of Military Council,

Khartoum, the Sudan;

To:

Mr. Ahmed al-Rabie, Representative of the Alliance of Civilian Forces for Freedom and Change, Khartoum Sudan

                                                                                                                 

Dear Sirs,

On behalf of the Eritrean People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) in exile and all its friends and sympathizers at home and in diaspora, I am deeply pleased to convey to you and through you to the people of fraternal Sudan the heartfelt congratulations for your joint success to reach a promising deal for a smooth transition to democratic governance in your country.

 Believe me, Sirs, we in the EPDP, a mainstream Eritrean party struggling for a similar democratic transition in our country, and other pro-democracy Eritreans everywhere, are today sharing the boundless joy and hope being expressed by our brothers and sisters in the Sudan. We have been keenly and anxiously following the developments in the Sudan since the very start of the People Power movement which is now being crowned with success.

Your Excellency General Burhan and Brother Ahmed al Rabie,

The document for the transition agreement that you signed on 17 August 2019 is both historic and an exemplary pact that many friends of the Sudan, including Eritreans, aspire to have for their own peoples.

Yet, we also wish to call on all friends in the Sudan to work hard in the years to come in order to guarantee a long lasting success of this hard-won victory, because, as they say, the devil could always be in the detail.  In the meantime, we remain trustful that, after so many ups and downs, democracy and the rule of law in the Sudan will finally be a reality.

Dear Sirs,

We in the EPDP have been trying to reach the former authorities in the Sudan through a chain of memoranda addressed to the Foreign Ministry, the Head of State and through Sudan’s Permanent Mission in the UN, but to avail. As you can consult their archives, no responses were made to our earnest appeals to understand the sad situation inside Eritrea and the endless suffering of Eritreans in forced exile. Although this is not the occasion to dwell on this issue, Sirs, we sincerely hope that the new Sudan will open its doors for us in the opposition - “the other Eritreans” - and discuss how the Sudanese people can help change the situation also in neighboring Eritrea.

Respectfully yours, 

Tesfai Woldemichael (Degiga), Chairman

The Eritrean People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) in exile - August 19, 2019

Please sign this petition at change.org here is the link http://chng.it/K4WqDKNw

Below attached is the flyer and the tigrinya version of the petition. 

Adiam Haile-Rufael

Solidarity with Eritrean Bishops, Nuns, Clergy & People of Eritrea

In the month of June, 2019 the Eritrean PFDJ regime, led by Isaias Afwerki, confiscated all Hospitals, medical centers and clinics run by the Catholic Church. According to the Eritrean Catholic Secretariat communique, this year alone 21 healthcare centers were confiscated and in previous years 8 were nationalized; resulting in 29 healthcare centers forcibly seized by the Eritrean government. These healthcare centers were almost exclusively in rural areas and small towns, where government healthcare is virtually nonexistent. It is important to note that “approximately 200,000 patients a year seek medical treatments at Catholic medical centers in Eritrea (Fr. Mussie Zerai, Global Sisters Report)." The Catholic Church in Eritrea provided healthcare services to all citizens regardless of their religious background and it ran 20% of the country’s healthcare system. In the last two years, the government closed the Holy Savior Secondary School, a seminary preparatory high school jointly administered by the four Eparchies, and religious congregations in the capital city of Asmara. The Catholic Bishops, nuns, and clergy serve the most vulnerable members of the society: the sick, poor, the elderly, women and children, and run orphanages, also maternity wards all over Eritrea. The recent forcible seizure and closure of Catholic Church run hospitals and medical facilities has left patients stranded without medical treatments, many of them in need of dire medical attention. Simultaneously, the medical staff and administrators, which include the religious (nuns) and clergy were evicted and forcibly evacuated from the healthcare premises, where they resided. The steps taken by the Eritrean regime is counter institutive and insensitive to the needs of the citizens, especially the vulnerable. 

Through its social services arm, the Eritrean Catholic Secretariat (ERCS), the Catholic Church, in Eritrea has a long tradition of commitment to the human development; serving the people’s economic, social and health needs without discrimination or religious preference. However, the Eritrean regime has been running a low intensity persecution of the Catholic Church for more than 25 years; and the recent actions committed by the regime is not new to the Eritrean Catholic Church. Though the Eritrean regime claims to be secular; respecting religious freedom, and its stance towards religious liberty has been antagonistic. For example, the first targets of religious persecution were, the Jehovah’s Witness, Pentecostals, Evangelicals, 7th Day Adventists, etc. These denominations have had established Churches in Eritrea for decades. The Eritrean regime has also deposed the duly elected Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Church, Abune Antonios (90 years old) and placed him under house arrest. Another notable figure, the honorable Sheikh Haji Musa Mohammednur, who was 93 years old, was also arrested, jailed by the Eritrean regime, and subsequently died in a prison, in Asmara, on March 1, 2018, for his resistance and strong stand against the regime´s oppressive policies. Yet the regime still denies interfering in religious affairs or committing religious persecution. When the regime has persecuted individual believers, Church institutions or other religious establishments; local resistance and international reaction has been very limited emboldening the PFDJ regime, led by Isaias Afwerki to make the next brazen move.   

We, Eritrean Americans residing in your district strongly condemn the shameless actions, committed by the Eritrean regime, against the Catholic Church; confiscating healthcare centers, which are used to provide vital services to the most vulnerable members of the Eritrean society.  We ask for strong measures to be taken against religious persecution of any and all religious faiths committed by the PFDJ regime, led by Isaias Afwerki. A year ago, Eritrea and Ethiopia signed a peace accord; however, the people of Eritrea have not seen any fruit following the agreement. In fact, the situation worsens and the youth continue to flee the country, due to the regime’s oppressive policies. This direction is dangerous and against centuries old religious freedom and tolerance in Eritrea. Unless there is international pressure to change its behavior, the regime, will continue its oppressive policies even more aggressively than ever; with unimaginable long-term consequences, paling the tragedy of Somalia, Yemen and Libya. We must not allow such illegal and immoral actions by the regime against the Catholic Church and any or all religious faiths practiced in Eritrea. Therefore, we urge you to take strong and unequivocal action against the PFDJ regime, led by Isaias Afwerki in Eritrea; and stand with those who are suffering and being terrorized. Religious freedoms, liberty and human rights of any accord should not be violated no matter where it takes place. Let us stand on the right side of history. We ask your respective offices to work on the following plan of actions:

  1. Request the Eritrean regime to reverse its unlawful, inhumane, immoral action of closing and confiscating, Healthcare centers, clinics and hospitals run by the Catholic Church in Eritrea;

    2. Free all individuals or groups incarcerated or placed under house-arrest due to their religious faith in Eritrea;

    3. Respect and follow international human rights laws, religious freedoms & liberty, and implement the democratic rule of law in Eritrea.  

Sincerely, Eritrean American Ge'ez Rite Catholics

Published in The Star

ሓድሽ መሪሕነት ሰልፊ ዲሞክራሲ ህዝቢ ኤርትራ (ሰዲህኤ)፡ ድሕሪ 3ይን ሓድነታውን ጉባአኡ፡  ኣብ ቀጻሊ ስራሕ ብምእታው፡ መስርሕ ምርኽኻብ ሓላፍነት የቀላጥፍ ኣሎ። ናይ ሰልፊ ቅዋም መሰረት፡ መስርሕ ምርኻኻብ ሓላፍነት ኣብ መንጉ’ቲ ዝነበረን ሓድሽ ዝተመርጸን መሪሕነት ኣብ ውሽጢ ሓደ ወርሒ  እዩ ዝትግበር። በዚ መሰረት እቲ ብ2 ነሃሰ 2019 ዝተመርጸ ፈጻሚ ሽማገል ሰዲህኤ መስርሕ ምርኽኻብ ኣብ ከመይ ደረጃ ከም ዘሎ ንምምዛንን ቀጻሊ ስረሓት ንምትላምን ብኣቦመንበሩ ብጻይ ተስፋይ ወልደሚካኤል ተመሪሑ፡ ብ18 ነሃሰ 2019 ናይ መጀመርያ ኣኼባኡ ኣካይዱ።

ፈጻሚ ሽማግለ ኣብ ኣኼባኡ፡ ናይ ነፍሲ-ወከፍ ቤት ጽሕፈት ፈጻሚ ሽማግለ ምምሕዳር ኣቚሙ፡ ብዛዕባ ምድላው ዓመታዊ ትልሚ ነፍሲ-ወከፍ ቤት ጽሕፈት፡  ምጽፋፍን ምዝርጋሕን ኣብ ጉባአ ዝጸደቐ ፖለቲካዊ መደብ ዕዮን ቅዋምን፡ ዝኣመሰሉን ዛዕባታትን ተመያይጡ ውሳነታት ወሲኑ። በቲ ዝገምገሞ መሰረት መስርሕ ምርኽኻብ ሓላፍነት ኣብቲ ግቡእ ግዜኡ ከም ዝፍጻም  ኣረጋጊጹ። ፈጻሚ ሽማግለ ኣብዚ ኣኼባኡ ዝያዳ ቆላሕታ ዝሃቦ፡ ብመሰረት ውሳነ ጉባአ፡ ኣብ ሓጺር ግዜ ነቲ ኣቐዲሙ ተጀሚሩ ኣብ መስርሕ ዘሎ ብምቕጻልን ካልእ ተበግሶ ብምውሳድን፡ ምስ ውድባት ኤርትራ ብሓባር ዘስርሕ  ጽላል ምፍጣር ዝምልከት ኣብ ሓጺር ግዜ ዝትግበር ኣቕጣጫ ቀይሱ ኣሎ።

ምስዚ ብዝተሓሓዘ ዝተፈላለዩ ኣባላት መሪሕነት ሰዲህኤ፡ ውጽኢት 3ይን ሓድነታውን ጉባአ ንምግላጽን ካልእ ህልዊ ኤርትራዊ  ዛዕባታት ንምድህሳስን ምስ መደበር ተለቪዥን ኣሰና ዝተኻየዱ ቃለ መጠይቓት ኣገደስቲ ምንባሮም መዚኑ። ጌና ክሳብ ሕጂ ዘይተዘርግሑ ተመሳሰልቲ መደባት ከም ዘለዉ’ውን ተገንዚቡ። ካብቶም ነቲ ቃለ-መሓትት ዘካየዱ፡ ብጾት ኣባላት መሪሕነት፡ ተስፋይ ወልደሚካኤል (ደጊጋ)፡ መንግስተኣብ ኣስመሮም፡ ክፍለዝጊ ገ/መድህን፡ ብርሃነ ደበሱ፡ ኣድያም ተፈራን ወልደየሱስ ዓማርን ይርከብዎም።  ምስ ካለኦት ኤርትራዊ ማዕከናት ዜና ሰፋሕቲ ቃለ-መሓትታት ናይ ምክያድ መደባት ከም ዘሎን፡ ከም ኣካል ናይዚ፡ ብጻይ  ተስፋይ ወልደሚካኤል ኣቦመንበር ሰዲህኤ ብ19 ነሃሰ 2019 ምስ ኣብ መልበርን ኣወስትራልያ ዝመደበራ “ኣገልግሎት ድምጺ ኤርትራ” ብዛዕባ መስርሕን ውጽኢትን ጉባአ ሰዲህኤን ከባብያውን ዓለም ለኻውን ምዕባለታት ዘተኮረ ቀጥታዊ ቃለ-ምሓትት ኣካይዱ።

ምስዚ ብዝተተሓሓዘ፡ ኣባል ማእከላይ ባይቶ፡  ብጸይቲ ፈቨን ጊደዎውን ምስ ብጾት፡ ሃይለ ወልደሚካኤል፡ ዶር ኣክሊሉ ግርማይ፡ ገረዝጊሄር ተወልደን  ኣድያም ተፈራን  ቃለ መጠይቕ ኣካይዳ፡ ኣብ ፈይስቡክ ዝዘርገሓቶ ውጽኢት ጉባአ ኣብ ምቅላሕ ኣገዳሲ ግደ ነይርዎ።

ፈጻሚ ሽማግለ ኣብ መወዳእታ ኣኼባኡ፡ በቲ ኣብ ሱዳን ቀጻሊ ሰላም ንምምጻእ ተበጺሑ ዘሎ ስምምዕ ዝተስመዖ ሓጎስ ንምግላጽ ናብ ህዝብን መንግስትን ሱዳን ናይ ዮሃና መልእኽቱ ኣመሓላሊፉ።

እዚ ከምዚሉ እንከሎ ብኣመንበር ሰዲህኤ ተስፋይ ወልደሚካኤል (ደጊጋ) ዝተመርሐን ሓያሎ ኣባላት ባይቶን መሪሕነት ዞባ ኤውሮጳን ብኣባልነት ዝነበርዎ ልኡኽ ሰልፊ፡ ብ17 ነሃሰ 2019 ኣብ ፈስቲቫል ኤርትራዊ ሃገራዊ ባይቶ ንዲሞክራስያዊ ለውጢ ተሳቲፉ ናይ ምሕዝነት ቃል ኣስሚዑ።

ኤርትራውያን ሓደን ብዙሓትን ኢና። ኤርትራውነትና ናይ ሓደነትና መርኣያ እዩ። እዚ ዝበረኸ ናይ ሓባር መርኣያናን መለለይናን እዩ። እዚ ብ”ንሕና” ዝግለጽ ኤርትራዊ መንነትና መሰረታዊ ናይ ሓባር ብደሆ ከጋጥመና እንከሎ መኪትና እንስዕረሉ ፍቱን መሳሪሕናን ምንጪ ብርታዐናን እዩ። ናይዚ  ሓደነታዊ መለለይና ፍቱን ተዓዋትነት ኣብ ዝተፈላለዩ ወሰንቲ ኣጋጣምታት ዝተመስከረ እዩ። ኣብቲ ነዊሕን መሪርን ቃልስና ምእንቲ ናጽነት ከኣ ብዙሓት ብዘደነቕዎ ኣብነታዊ ጽንዓት ተረጋጊጹ እዩ። እዚ ዝና ብጥራዩ ዝተወፈየ ህያብ ዘይኮነ፡ ሳላ ብሓባር ጸኒዕና መኪትና፡ ኣብ ሓደ መኣዲ ተመጊብና ኣብ ናይ ሓባር ጉድጓድ ዝተቐበርና ዝተረኽበ ናብ ቀጻሊ ትውልዲ ዝመሓላለፍ ውርሻ እዩ። እዚ ብ”ንሕና” ዝግለጽ ኤርትራዊ ውሁድ ዓቕምና ሓንሳብ ኣዕዊቱና ዝበንን ዘይኮነ፡ ኣብ ዝኾነ ወሳኒ ናይ ሓባር ወፍሪ ዝሓትት መድረኽ እንጥቀመሉ ምስጢር ተዓዋትነትና እዩ። እነሆ ሎሚ ሃገርናን ህዝባን ብሰንኪ ጥልመት ኢሳይያስን ኰራኩሩን ኣብ ቀረና መንገዲ ተጠው ኣብ ዝበልናሉ ወሳኒ ኣጋጣሚ’ውን፡ ከምቲ ጀሚርናዮ ዘለና፡  ኤርትራዊ ሓድነትና ኣጽኒዕና፡ ኣብ ክንዲ “ንሕናን ንሳቶም”፡ ዓው ኢልና፡ “ንሕና” ዝብል ድምጽና ከነበርኽን ናይ ሓባር ቅልጽምና ከነተርንዕን ኣብ እንግደደሉ ደረጃ ንርከብ ኣለና።

እዚ ክበሃል እንከሎ ነቲ ብግቡእ ከነመሓድሮ እንከለና፡ መልክዕናን ናይ ብቕዓትናን ዓቕምናን መንጭን ዝኸውን፡ “ንሕናን ንሳቶምን” እንተተበሃሃልናሉ’ውን ዘየኽፈኣልና፡ ናይ እምነት፥ ዕድመ፡ ጾታ፡ ኣውራጃ፡ ውደባ፡ ብሄር፡ ሞያ፡ ደረጃ መነባብሮን ፖለቲካዊ ኣተሓሳስባን ብዙሕነትና ብምዝንጋዕን ቦታ ብዘይምሃብን ኣይኮነን። ኤርትራውያን ሓደን ብዙሓት ኢና ክንበል እንከለና፡ ሓደነትናን ብዙሓነትናን፡ ነናቶም ዘይራኸብ ህልውና ኣለዎም ማለት  ዘይኮነ፡ ኣብ ሕድሕዶም ተጸላለውትን ተመላላእትን ምዃኖም ከቶ ክዝለል ዘየብሉ መሰረታዊ ተረድኦ እዩ። ሓዲኦም ብዘይካቲ ካልእ ህውልና የብሎም። ሓደነታ ዝሓለወት ግና ድማ ናይ ህዝባ ብዙሕነት ዘየውሓሰት ኤርትራ ሰላም ኣይትኸውንን። ብዙሑነቱ ዘውሓሰ ህዝባ፡ እውን ብዘይ ብሓድነት ዝዋሰኣላ ውህድቲ ሃገር ኣይቀስንን። ስለዚ ከከም ኩነታቱን ኣድላይነቱን መዓስ “ንሕናን ንስኻትኩምን” ንበሃሃልን ንመላላእን፡ መዓስከ “ንሕና” ኢልና ሃገርን ህዝብን ከነድሕን ሰሚርና ንነቅል ክንግንዘብ ይግበኣና። ሃገር ብዘይህዝቢ፡ ህዝቢ ብዘይሃገር፡  ምሉእነት የብሉን ኢልካ ምጥቕላል’ውን ዘጸገም ኣይኮነን።

ኣድላይነት “ንሕና” ዝብል ድምጽና ብምራኽ፡ ኣብ ከምዚ ሎሚ ኤርትራን ህዝባን ንርከበሉ ዘለና ናይ ፈተና ግዜ ብሩህ እዩ። ፋሕ ዝበለ ኩለመዳያዊ ዓቕምናን ናይ ቃልሲ ንዋትናን ኣኪብና ኣድማዒ ዓቕሚ እንፈጥረሉ መሳርሒና እዩ። ኣብ ውሽጥና ኣትዩ ዓቕምና ኣዳኺሙ ዕድመ ስልጣኑ ከናውሕ ንዝብህግ ህግዲፍን ላሕኩታቱን ኣፍደገ እንዓጽወሉ ፍቱን መድሃኒት እውን ንሱ እዩ። ከምቲ ብሓባር “ንሕና” ኢልና እንተተንሲእና ምዕዋትና ውሁብ ምዃኑ ዘይንስሕቶ፡ ጸላኢ ህዝብና ብወገኑ እዚ ናይ “ንሕና” ንቕሎ ዕድሚኡ ዘሕጽር ማዕበል ምዃኑ ኣዳዕዲዑ ዝርድኦ እዩ። እዚ ናይ ክልቴና ወገናት ተረድኦ፡ ሎሚ ኣብዚ ኣንጻር ህግዲፍ ንጠማጠመሉ ዘለና ግዜ ዝጀመረ ዘይኮነ፡ ካብ ነዊሕ ግዜ ጀሚሩ፡ “ንሕና” ዝዕጥቁ ህዝቢ እንዳተዓወተ፡ ኣንጻርዚ ማዕበልዚ ዝተሰለፉ ገዛእትን ጨቆንትን ወገናት ከኣ እንዳተሳዕሩ ዝመጽሉ ናይ ተመኩሮና ሰንሰለት እዩ።

ንጉጅለ ህግዲፍ ወሲኽካ፡ ጨቆንቲ ንስዕረት ተገዲዶም እምበር፡ ኣሜን ኢሎም ክቕበሉ ባህሪኦም ኣይኮነን። ስለዚ ኣብ ማእከል እቲ ሰሚሩ ንመሰሉ ዝቃልስ ህዝቢ ኣትዮም ናይ “ገረብ ብሓኽላ” እኩይ ጥበብ ተጠቒሞም ናይ ህዝብና “ንሕና” በሃልነት ከፋፊሎምን ኣፍሪሶምን፡ ኣብቲ ናይ ሓባር መኸተ ዝድለየሉ ህሞት፡ ብ”ንሕናን ንስኻትኩምን” ኣጠማሚቶም ክበታትንዎን ብዘይመሰረታዊ ረብሓን መብጸዓን ጠቢሮም፡ ከፋጥጥዎን ብዝዙሕ ፈቲም እዮም። እንተኾነ ህዝብና፡ መዓስን ብኸመይን ኣበይ ንምብጻሕ፡ ብሓባር “ንሕና” ወይን “ንሕናን ንሳቶምን” ይባሃሃል ስለ ዝፈልጥ፡ በቲ ዝደልይዎ ደረጃ ግዳዮም ኣይኮነን። ሎሚ እውን ካብ ዝሓለፈ ተመኩሮ ዘይምሃር ህግደፍ፡ ህዝብና ኣንጻሩ ሆ ኢሉ “ንሕና ብሓባር ኣንጻር ወጽዓ” ኢሉ ምእንቲ ከይለዓሎ፡ ተንኮላት ካብ ምፍሓስን ከፋፋሊ መርዚ ካብ ምንጻግን ዓዲ ኣይወዓለን። ውጽኢቱ ከመይ ይኸውን ኣሎ ግና ንዕዘቦ ዘለና እዩ። ኣብቲ ንኹልና ኤርትራውያን ብዘይኣፈላላይ ዝምልከት ጉዳይ “ንሕናን ንሳቶም” ተበሃሂልካ ምጥምማት እንዳተረፈ፥ ብኣንጻሩ “ንሕና” ዝብል ንቕሎ እንዳበረኸ ይመጽኣ ኣሎ። እዚ እዩ ከኣ እቲ ህግዲፍ ዝሰዓረሉ ፍቱን መሳርሒ።

ጸላኢና ረብሓኡ ኣብ ምርሓሓቕና ምዃኑ ተረዲእና ኣለና። ካብዚ ተረድኦዚ ነቒሎም፡ “ህግዲፍ ብሓያልነቱ ዘይኮነ ብድኽመት ናይቶም ኣንጻሩ ዝቃለሱ ዘለዉ ናይ ለውጢ ኣካላት ዝዕንገል ስርዓትዩ” ዝብልዎ ተዓዘብቲ ብዙሓት እዮም። ነዚ ካብ ተረዳእና እቲ መፍትሒኡ ቀሊልን ኣብ ኢድና ዘሎን እዩ። ነቲ ንሱ ንብዙሕነትና ብግጉይ መልክዕ እናመዝመዘ ከናቑተና ዝፍትነሉ ኣፍደገታት ብድምጺ “ንሕና”  ክንልኩቶ ይግበኣና። ህግዲፍ  ከከም ኩነታቱ ካብቲ ብዙሕነትና ንሓንሳብ ሃይማኖት፡ ንሓንሳብ ድማ ኣውራጃን ጀኦግራፍያዊ ኣሰፋፍራናን (ከበሳን መታሕትን) መመሺቱ ፍልልያት እንዳባልሐ እዩ ዝነብር። እቲ ሓደ ተንኮል ምስራሕ ምስ ኣበዮ እቲ ካልእ ይመዝዝ። ንሓንሳብ ነቲ ሓደ ወይለኻ ይብሎ ነቲ ካልእ ከኣ ኣጆኻ። ጽንሕ ኢሉ ከኣ ነቲ ኣጆኻ ክብሎ ዝጸንሐ ወይለኻ ምባል ኣየጸግሞን። ኣብዚ ኩልና ክንፈልጦ ዝግበና እዚ ጨቋኒ ስርዓት ብዘይካ ናይቶም ንጨቋንን ጸረ ህዝብን ኣተሓሳስባኡን ዝረዓሙ መጣፍእቱ፡ ናይ ዝኾነ ኤርትራዊ ኣካል ፈታዊ ዘይምዃኑ እዩ። ህግዲፍ ክፈቱ እንከሎ ኮነ ክጸልእ፡ መለክዒኡ ጨቋኒ ኣተሓሳስባ እምበር፡ ሃይማኖት ኮነ ብሄር ወይ ኣውራጃ ኣይመርጽን እዩ። ነዚ መድሃኒቱ ከኣ፡ ንመቓልሕ “ንሕና” ዓው ምባል’ዩ።

Sunday, 18 August 2019 10:15

Radio Demtsi Harnnet Sweden 17.08.2019

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Saturday, 17 August 2019 06:19

Africa’s most authoritarian school

Written by

August 16, 2019 News

“It’s just slavery. You toil day and night and you get nothing,”

Source: Mail & Guardian

Systemic abuse: The Sawa graduation ceremony. Every Eritrean student attends the school in their final year. ‘You don’t understand if it’s a school, or a military camp,’ says one former student. (Yemeni G Meskel)
Systemic abuse: The Sawa graduation ceremony. Every Eritrean student attends the school in their final year. ‘You don’t understand if it’s a school, or a military camp,’ says one former student. (Yemeni G Meskel)

By law, every single student in Eritrea must spend their final year of high school at the Warsai Yikealo Secondary School and Vocational Training Centre — no matter where they are from or where they attended classes before. The school is inside a military camp, however, and students have no guarantee that they will ever be allowed to return to civilian life.

According to the Eritrean government — led by President Isaias Afwerki since independence from Ethiopia in 1991 — the policy is a kind of radical egalitarianism designed to level the educational playing field, ultimately ensuring that all students have equal access to university, and consolidating the “harmony and social cohesion” of each new generation.

But students themselves tell a very different story, describing a system of systematic abuse, torture and repression that has forced hundreds of thousands of young Eritreans to flee their country.

“You don’t understand if it’s a school, or a military camp,” said one former student. “Sawa is hell: they do everything to make you want to leave,” said another.

Sawa is the name of the military camp, and is how most students refer to the school that is based there.


Satellite Imagery of the Sawa military camp, including the Warsai Yikealo Secondary School, recorded in January 2015.
Imagery © DigitalGlobe – Maxar Technologies 2019; Source: Google Earth

Last week, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released an 84-page report detailing the experiences of students at Sawa. The report is an unprecedented glimpse into what daily life is like at the school, and an insight into what the harsh environment is designed to achieve. “Eritrea’s secondary schools are at the heart of its repressive system of control over its population,” said Laetitia Baeder, who, as the lead researcher on the report, conducted interviews with dozens of former students.

‘Punishments were so hard’

Sawa is located in inhospitable, isolated terrain near Eritrea’s western border with Sudan, where temperatures in summer can reach up to 40°C. It is divided into educational and military areas and, in total, can accommodate up to 30 000 people, according to the ministry of information (Eritrea’s current minister of information did not respond to a request for comment for this piece; nor did Eritrean authorities respond to repeated attempts by HRW to obtain comment).

At the beginning of each school year, grade 12 students are bused in from all over the country. Most, but not all, are over the age of 18; according to HRW, some are as young as 16. On arrival they are divided into groups that mirror army formations, and each given a plastic plate, cup and utensils. The food — mostly lentils and bread — is notoriously poor.

Military training begins immediately. “From the first month, the alarm rings at 5am. They make you run to the toilet, you had five minutes to wash — if we had water, which wasn’t always the case — five minutes to put your uniform on. You get punished if you don’t manage,” one former student said. “We would have military training until 8am … The military trainer is always with you; he stays in the dorm. The [physical] punishments were so hard; I was desperate to escape them and so I would try to stick to the rules.”

According to HRW, the year at Sawa is divided into one or two months of physical fitness training and military discipline; four months of military training, which includes weapons handling and a three-week “war-like simulation exercise”; and six months of academic teaching.

In addition to these responsibilities, however, students are expected to perform manual labour such as cleaning and carrying supplies, and also to assist with farming at the state-owned Molober farm, 7km from Sawa. This leaves very little time for actual studying.

Students are punished for even minor infractions, such as oversleeping, or for complaining about their conditions. Punishments include — but are not limited to — being beaten with sticks, being left in the sun for long periods of time, and being made to roll around on the ground while being beaten.

 

For female students, the dangers are even greater. Referring to Sawa and other military training camps, the United Nations commission of inquiry on human rights in Eritrea found in its 2015 report that “Women and girls are at a high risk of rape and other forms of sexual violence … They are often forced into concubinage by superiors in the camp.”

‘It’s just slavery’

The end of the school year brings no respite. Students with high marks may be allowed to go to one of the country’s seven tertiary colleges, while the rest are forced into Eritrea’s involuntary and indefinite conscription program, which has been described by both former conscripts and rights groups as a form of modern-day slavery. A university degree merely delays the inevitable, with graduates still required to participate in national service once they have obtained their degree.

Although conscription is officially capped at 18 months — six months of military training and six months of national service — in practice it can last for several years or even decades. Conscripts are given no say in the work they are required to do, which can include everything from accounting to farming to construction. College students are often assigned to be secondary school teachers, even if they have no teaching experience or subject expertise. The pay is paltry, the food is still bad and there is no legal entitlement to any leave.

“It’s just slavery. You toil day and night and you get nothing,” said Dawit, a former school teacher, speaking to the Guardian in 2018.

Young Eritreans have come up with creative solutions to avoid national service, such as deliberately flunking Grade 11 to avoid being sent to Sawa; or, for women, by marrying young and becoming pregnant. But these are far from foolproof: periodic police and military raids — known as giffas in Tigrinya — round up people who are perceived as trying to avoid conscription.

There is no provision for conscientious objection in Eritrean law, so “draft dodgers” are often jailed. One student, who tried to escape national service in 2014, described his experience to HRW. He was 14 at the time.

“I spent six months in Gergera [prison]. The cell was about 4mand there were 180 people in it. We would put up our sheets and sleep on them. No windows, no light. Never allowed out. Only to go to the toilet and to eat.

“I was held with detainees of all ages. Some detainees were there for escaping, some for trying to evade national service. [Because] I was young and injured, they just held me for six months and then released me. But most are held for six months and then sent to military service,” he said.

Against this backdrop, it is no surprise that thousands of young Eritreans are fleeing the country every month. Half a million Eritreans now live in exile, mostly in neighbouring Ethiopia and Sudan, from a population of just five million — that is, 10% of the country’s citizens.

Many make the perilous journey to Europe, braving the civil war and human traffickers in Libya and the treacherous crossing of the Mediterranean: they have calculated that the risks are worth it for the chance of a better life somewhere else.

So much for the “harmony and social cohesion” that the Warsai Yikealo Secondary School and Vocational Training Centre was supposed to deliver.

“Ending abusive and open-ended national service, reining in military officials responsible for abuse, and allowing students to determine their futures will be key to Eritrea’s prospects,” said Bader. “People who see that they have a bright future in Eritrea are less likely to need to flee.”

Source=https://eritreahub.org/africas-most-authoritarian-school

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