Written by Mamino
Eritrea, as a country, is facing problems of forced depopulation internally and forced disconnection externally. Isaias’s policy of militarizing the country compelled the youth to live in ditches and their parents to carry guns and guard empty streets. The policy rendered living a peaceful and dignified life impossible. Externally, Eritreans are on forced disconnection because of Isaias’s imposed 2% tax on their income and imposed support for his policy of shackled freedom of expression inside and outside Eritrea. These policies of disconnection are forcing Diaspora Eritreans to drop plans of visiting Eritrea to get their children connected with their heritage in their ancestral homeland. Deferring plans of visiting the country of origin until the despotic rule ends has become necessary and the endless disconnection could lead to a total disconnection as and when all of the living links to the country of origin die.
Isaias was not wrong when he said, “We are number one in the world.” Yes, he is right in that any sinking ship has Eritreans on board, as in any flying plane in trouble has Americans on board. Additionally, Isaias imposed on most Diaspora Eritreans to only claim Eritrean roots and not to have connection with their ancestral homeland, just like most Americans through time only have claims of Irish roots and not direct connections.
The plans of depopulation as well as disconnection of the Diaspora Eritreans are working for Isaias. With the power of the gun supporting his dictatorship internally and by sowing dissent as well as by multiplying infiltration within the opposition camp, Isaias is able to paralyze or neutralize all the opposition forces enabling him to become unassailable despot.
The Eritrean silent majority is united with the organized opposition in their bitter hatred against those who support the despot. Although the Diaspora silent majority is by choice, the main cause has been the opposition’s inability to overcome its divisions. Moreover, due to the opposition’s fractured stand against the regime more and more members and grass roots are leaving the opposition to join the silent majority. Thus, it can be said that the grass roots are experiencing struggle fatigue as a result of the opposition being stuck in managing its difference only and not taking it to the level of resolving the differences effectively.
Similarly, Isaias’s policy of starvation, as a tool to control the nation and its people, compelled the Eritrean people to only focus on the politics of how to feed themselves. Although the public resentment against the regime is much stronger than ever internally, they cannot afford any or the slightest direct confrontation on their empty stomach.
It is, therefore, to believe that every anti-the-despotic-rule recognizes the urgency of finding a way to ending the anti-people rule. The opposition on its part has gone through many hurdles that robbed it a long period of time to overcome them. As a result, the opposition is better off now with its political culture of tolerating difference and respecting others’ rights.
The process of trust building has also been going on for years and, as a result, members of the opposition perfected in tolerating differences. But tolerating differences is only limited to respecting differences and does not help to resolve the differences. Some obstacles need more than trust building. Indeed, an obstacle caused by political difference requires all members to reach an agreement on how to overcome its related obstacles. Thus, through tolerating their differences the members of the opposition are only managing their difference and so long the difference remains the members should keep accommodating the difference even by avoidance of interactions.
Can Managing Difference be reinforced by Problem Resolution?
Despite the burning desire of the opposition, leaders and members alike, to work together some obstacles were found to be difficult to vanish due to political differences and inability to find ways to resolve them. However, the opposition has stayed together despite all the obstacles and barriers they encountered, which they could not resolve effectively. Their staying together has been possible through accommodating and tolerating their differences, which process can better be described as internal differences managing tool.
Many analyses were conducted to describe the opposition’s differences. Previous analyses endeavored to define the opposition’s obstacles. However, overcoming the obstacles needs deeper analysis. All of the conducted analyses were descriptive ones. The descriptive analysis helped the opposition to define or describe the obstacles only. However, in order for the opposition to prevail over all its obstacles and reach decisions on removing the regime, the members have to resolve their differences. And, this is possible only by conducting causal analyses to identify the causes of their differences and to find solutions.
For effective resolutions the opposition should focus on the sub-systems of their management system, which incorporate religion, region, ethnicity, tribes and more. Indeed, the opposition should identify, define and monitor the sub-systems of their major systems in order to fix the internal defects within the opposition’s conflict management system. To contain the differences caused by the sub-systems, it requires courageous actions and head-on confrontation with the negatives of the process that is designed to help resolve problems and internal conflicts. Otherwise, the choice is to have another dictator, like Isaias, to suppress the differences caused by the sub-systems. The regime uses these sub-systems to infiltrate the opposition. The opposition should also focus on sealing off the sub-systems denying the regime’s infiltrators to gain access and capitalize on the weaknesses of the sub-systems.
Limited Problem-resolutions may double the Opposition’s Trouble
The opposition shook hands on tolerating differences. There were times when they struggled to overcome their differences or to wholly resolve their problems. And in many cases their obstacles gave grounds for new opportunities, like forming ENCDC and other political projects. There were also times when the opposition faced setbacks and some members had to experience disappointments and fears of withdrawal from its alliances or coalitions. Many demonstrated courage to cross the line of differences and such drives were encouraged in order to accomplish limited success that enabled to wrap up some existing differences.
So, can the opposition continue fully depending on the processes of working together through practicing tolerance of differences only? The opposition, as forces in alliance/coalition and not in absolute unity, the process may work well if all believe in the theme of “our diversity is our strength,” which can lead to giving all members the needed space to function and grow without limitation. Otherwise, it would be like endorsing Isaias’s dictatorship, a rule by suppressing all opposing views and voices. Indeed, the opposition can benefit and invest on the wealth of its differences that include federalism, decentralism, canton-ism (Swiss like), vertical or horizontal power-sharing, coalition-ism of multiparty system, etc. The whole worldview there comes under one roof and are good resources to depend on and to devise the right mix from.
Between Regime’s no-peace no-war and Opposition Inaction, the People Suffer
As despair grows faster in every Eritrean youth, the wish of everyone becomes to end life by committing suicide. Similarly, the whole Eritrea people inside Eritrea is facing countless problems resulting in making them struggle fatigue, bored and, as a result, every one of them is goaded into either committing suicide or fleeing the country. Thus, either way death is unavoidable to those living under Isaias’s rule in that one experiences slow death if he/she does not leave the country or faces quick death on crossing the border. Upon crossing the border and jumping into a lifeboat, the fleeing person feels like saving his/her life before the sinking ship sinks faster.
Once landed, the fleeing Eritreans try to investigate and find out how the regime made them purposeless and wanderers. And as refugees, they would expect good care and glimpses of hope but yet they do not feel safe because the regime’s agents keep watching their steps. The refugees are followed up by the regime’s agents, wherever they go and whoever they talk to. The agents of Isaias even whisper into their ears not to betray their country and to remain loyal to the very cruel dictator (Isaias) who made them haunted by purposelessness of empty lives in their country of origin. Although the refugees know that can be asylum seekers only if they stay away from the regime, they are instead coerced into staying away from the justice seekers or those who can only help them get refugee status. How could the regime do that, turning victims to his accomplices becoming innocent criminals? It sounds like Isaias upgraded his capabilities from killing “two birds with one stone” to “whole Eritrean population with one stone.” The regime should have perfected in synchronizing its agents operations and cover ups, which the opposition should match to in order to at least save the Eritrean refugees from the regime’s trap.
The scary part is that the refugees fail to believe seeing the regime’s agents rushing to re-hire them outside Eritrea. Imagine the regime, which is engaged in systematically emptying the country, is once again trying to make contacts with those who were forced to leave the country. The purpose of their re-hiring is to use them in its further emptying the country by focusing on those who are a threat to the regime. Double action is taken in order to force the anti-regime youth or any politically conscious person to leave the county. To do so, the double action would include daily harassment of the targeted person by the regime’s security and then facilitate transfers of money and information from their Diaspora friends. The plan, ultimately, is that with the departure of the politically conscious people, Eritrea will become Isaias’s land or the land of one heart and one tongue. Again, here, the opposition has to match the regime’s actions and stratagems in order to prevent the regime from hatching conspiracies of turning a victim against another victim.
Therefore, if the life of the Eritrean youth matters, the opposition should rush to resolve all its differences and act immediately to save Eritrea from sinking faster. Yes, Eritrea is calling on all the opposition to prioritize unity of the Eritrean people and salvation of the nation.