Abraham G. Ghiorgis
What happened on Monday, January 21, 2013, at the Forto in Asmara, Eritrea is not completely clear. We still are not sure who was behind the demonstration that exposed the absence of the rule of law in Eritrea - arbitrary arrest and incarceration in the dungeons of Eritreans without due process of law and the lawless nature of the regime in Eritrea, which is ruling Eritrea without the ratified constitution through arbitrary edicts and decrees as if Eritrea were still conducting an armed struggle against an"imagined enemy." In practice to the Eritrean regime the "imagined enemy" happen to be the Eritrean people both inside and outside of Eritrea.
In my opinion for now we should not concern ourselves with who was behind the demonstration - a courageous one at that I might add. Our concerns should be the messages that were relayed by that demonstration to the whole world.
Do we support the messages? What we know for sure is that at least two fundamental issues that haven been center stage to many of us who are concerned with the violations of civil liberties and human rights in Eritrea at least since 2000, took a center stage. Our simple messages have now penetrated all the way into the upper echelons of the PFDJ. This is a victory of a sort though it has taken a long time.
What are the two issues again? The implementation of the 1997 ratified constitution, and the release of all prisoners of conscience. These two message easily get the support of the international community. These two messages have the overwhelming support of the majority of the Eritrean people. These are winning strategies. If the majority of Eritreans inside and outside Eritrea unite on these simple but powerful messages, winning will be easy - the international community will be behind us. Moreover, theses two messages will effectively isolate the devil incarnate, Isaias Afwerki. These two message will unite all Eritreans and that include even those who are members of the PFDJ. Again our enemy is Isaias, and not members of the PFDJ irrespective of how high they maybe in the food chain of the power structure.
I strongly believe that we should welcome all who support these two messages. We should forgive and forget for past sins. We should not be judgmental. We should not be vindictive.
At the same time we should be cognizant of the fact some in the opposition in particular those who are domiciled in Ethiopia do not support these two powerful messages. They want to reinvent the wheel and write dictatorially a new constitution for Eritrea; they are ignorant of the fact that Eritreans inside Eritrea who are the prime force for a democratic change see that change through the implementation of the ratified constitution. Also, the Awate Team has to understand that it is not in the same wavelength with the Eritrean people when it comes to what matters; it is about time that it supports the ratified constitution instead of derailing the democratic change by raising issues that are secondary and issues that are not in conformity with the sociological factors that make up the Eritrean people.
Abraham G. Ghiorgis