Does the world care about Eritrea? how about you?

The lack of action on the part of the humanitarian agencies regarding Eritrean situation is partly understandable. The Eritrean government claims there is absolutely no persecution or even discrimination based on political views, religion, ethnicity or gender. It requires hard and motivated work to get any information from inside Eritrea. And an even harder work to get attention of the international community on a country such as Eritrea, where the West has only little interest in.

lack of information is not the cause for the silence

But that does not mean the world doubts human rights abuse going on in the country. They don’t doubt the lack of freedom. The amount of people fleeing the country every month and the risks they are willing to take in doing so is a confirmation by itself. Add to that the horror stories those refugees tell.

It is safe to conclude that lack of information is not the cause for the silence of international community – the world.

If such a human rights abuse is not enough to create a serious response from the international community, I doubt if any humanitarian crisis in Eritrea will ever get any meaningful attention ever.

But is it fair to expect foreign countries to go out of their way just to help when many Eritreans are not willing to go out of their way to help. ‘Everybody for him/her self’ is the motto Eritrean diaspora seems to follow.

Reflecting on June 20 – Eritrean Martyrs Day

In those days, the youth  bravely risk their life for Eritrea. Now, Eritrean youth happily risk their life to leave Eritrea,  even pay a couple thousand dollars on top. Some thing is not right.

Then and Now

Then and Now

I feel sad and when I hear people speaking highly of Eritrean “martyrs”, talking about honoring them and respect and…. when the same people are not that concerned about the dignity of those that made it back alive. Those martyrs-would-be (Eritreans who were spared and made it back alive) are being abused. They are lied to, degraded, imprisoned on a whim, locked up in shipping containers and underground dungeons. They are shot at, chased, mercilessly beaten, their family abused and punished, fined thousands. Hey, there is a government in Eritrea that shoots and kills its own people! Even fresh war disabled veterans are not spared. Talk about respecting martyrs, no one could do a better job at dis-respecting martyrs than the dictatorship in Eritrea.

We greatly respect our martyrs, we honor their decision to fight to their death for the good of their people. Spending 60 seconds of silence before meetings and lighting a candle once a year does only little to honor martyrs. The martyrs legacy lives today in those Eritreans that still believe it is up to them to fight evil for the good of their people. The martyrs legacy does not live in those of Eritreans that sit on their hands while their society suffers, reciting “I hate politics. And It’s all politics.”

As we honor our martyrs this year, let us honor what they died for – freedom, justice, peace…

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Minor edits: June 27 2013

Be outraged with PFDJ – God’s will.

“Love your enemies”  – They are enemies then, not friends.

“Love your enemies” – They are enemies then, not friends.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” (John 10:27)

You may ask, “Is it God’s will for me to involve in the fight for change in Eritrea?” But I am not going to talk about that. I  want to talk about how you should view the government. What opinions, as a christian,  should you have of the government. What you should do is not the topic.

“So, as a christian, how should I view the Eritrean government?” I say you should be disgusted and outraged with the Eritrean government.

Lawlessness, injustice,  lies, extra-judicial killing, torture. I am not even talking about what the government does to the church and to believers directly. If you are not outraged at these, you definitely are not in line with God’s view in this regard. You can choose to hide your opinions about PFDJ, you can choose not to talk about PFDJ. That is not my point here. My point is, what is your opinion? Is it any thing other than outrage and disgust?

We often delay from decision saying that we  are waiting to see if it’s God’s will. Let me ask; How long did you pray and ‘wait for God’s will’ before asking people to pray for a friend kidnapped in Sinai to be set free? Have you ever asked your church to pray for a brother/sister waiting for visa in Sudan? I don’t see reluctance in the Church to pray, contribute money, or write a support letter for asylum application in the USA?

I don’t see reluctance in people signing a petition to ask the governments of Malta and Egypt to stop deporting Eritreans back. You find it easy to share posts that say “Israel stop violence against Eritrean refugees”. Shame you should have different standards when the post says “PFDJ, stop violence against Eritrean civilians!”.

But is it God’s will? you ask. Let me give it to you straight, “Is it God’s will for you to not be outraged at Eritrean government?”

“I hate the opposition!” he said.

Someone mentioned the the Eritrean freedom movements abroad (aka the ‘opposition’). My friend at the table had one thing to say about them, “I hate the opposition!”. He said these words with more passion than when he was talking about the oppression of the government.

May 2012. Eritreans arrested during a protest in front of Eritrean Embassy compound at Washington DC.

This is hardly a surprise, right. In fact I have more friends that hate the opposition organizations than those that don’t. Hate and anger towards those poor opposition often gets more agreement among Eritreans than hate and outrage against the dictatorship itself! To be honest, there are times that I pretend not to like the opposition. Just to look normal among people. I am not proud of those moments, but it is true.

But why do those fine Eritreans hate the opposition? Following are some reasons that I think lead people to unjustly hate the opposition, I have them in two categories:

1. Lack of experience of social freedom and democracy
– Unfairly expecting all opposition organization to agree on all and everything. That is, to expect all of them to have the same opinion on every political, social, economic or moral issue.

– Unrealistic expectation to agree with all and every point of an opposition organization’s view. Otherwise aggressively denouncing such organization based on few or minor points of disagreement.

– Expecting the organizations to have success without failures at first.

2. Successful negative propaganda by the government,
– The opposition have hidden intentions of financial gain (even though most people have absolutely no proof or reason to suspect that),

– Exaggerating failures of the opposition when they happen. Labeling them ‘losers’ effectively confuses the opposition’s just cause with the organization’s current state of failure.

– Blaming the opposition for things they did not do. For example, blaming the opposition for starting the false rumor that the President died (when in fact there is no proof that they started it)

– False information about the ‘kind of people’ that join the opposition. False propaganda that people of the opposition are old, ideological fools that do not make honest living.

What other reasons can you think of that made people hate the opposition? (please do not mention those that still support the dictatorship).