Free Eri asks the EYSC community this morning: “What are the PFDJ’s strengths and how can we overcome them? Please comment.” it reminded me of Delilah’s question to Samson: “Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee” (Judges 16:6) and I suspect Free-Eri’s intention for asking isn’t that different from that of Delilah.
Well this is what they call a million dollar question. It always helps to step back and ask basic questions. As expected comments started flowing within the hour, “They are led by a genius” the first commenter started, giving the entire credit to one mans mental power. Probably true but as expected it stroke a lot of nerves, had it not been a very well known EYSC fb person (Sala M’hretu Betsue) who made the comment we would have seen much more hostile comments directed at him following. “They still hold the “independence euphoria” card. They are able to bring the people together by identifying an external existential threat” he continued. Despite the excellent analysis of PFDJ’s strengths, his proposed solutions were rather depressing–a glimpse of what we could do followed by why it won’t work, the main reason being because we are not devoted enough to the cause. About 30 comments followed throughout the day. All well written and with multiple points. I expect discussions will continue well after I am done writing this, but let me rephrase and list strengths and proposed solutions I found interesting.
Strengths of PFDJ:
- Strong and very organized very centralized leadership
- Very efficient and brutal internal security and elaborate surveillance system
- Their constituencies are the un-intellegent, for example they can’t differentiate between country and government
- They instill the feeling that PFDJ owns Eritrean independence
- They have money to spent on defamation, character assassination and intimidation
- They are excellent at exploiting the half a century old Ethio-Eritrean hate to their advantage
- The weakness of the opposition means their strength isn’t even challenged
- Lack of independent civil society in the country (atomization of society)
- Money remittance from families abroad, decreases the threshold for people in Eritrea to demand change on the streets
- Use Divide and Rule policy specifically the “Awraja issue”
How to defeat them:
- unity, unity, unity in the opposition
- building various civil society and institutions that have coherent platforms
- we should want our freedom more than PFDJ want to stay in power
- decrease financial aid to our families in Eritrea
- boycott everything that support the regime
- educate our people
- do not be afraid to openly discuss the problem of regionalism in Eritrea
Well, writing this many comments continue to be posted but I have to end here if I want to get some sleep tonight, I have an early appointment tomorrow and its already well past my bed time.