In Solidarity With the Forces of Good
(Part 23 of 24)
By Yonas Araya
(First Published on Asmarino.com in August 2002)
Summary and Conclusion:
I will divide this 13-page part into two parts: summary and conclusion. In the summary part, I will comment on the plight of native Eritreans under PFDJ, then look into the future of Issayas, such as Issayas with Ethiopia, Issayas with Sudan, Issayas with America, and Issayas with Eritreans. In the concluding part, I will look into whether a peaceful transfer of power is possible with PFDJ, and in the end, I will comment on whether God hates Eritreans and how Eritreans can bring about change in Eritrea. Then at the bottom end, I will express my gratitude to Asmarino.com.
Native Eritreans Caught Between Rock and a Hard Place.
In 1998 – 2000, the world witnessed from the side as the Tigrean-dominated government of Ethiopia revoked the Ethiopian citizenship of those Eritreans who considered themselves Eritrean-Ethiopians, then deported them from Ethiopia back to their ancestral homeland, Eritrea. It was apparent to everyone that many of the expelled Eritreans were born and raised in Ethiopia; some of whom thought of themselves as Ethiopians and not as Eritreans, and some of whom also could trace their settlement in Ethiopia to their grandparents who first migrated to Ethiopia from Eritrea in the first or second quarter of 1900.
But what could be puzzling to historians is that during that same time, a clique made up of Tigrean-Eritreans, whose grandparents migrated from Ethiopia to Eritrea during or after the period during which the ancestors of the deported Eritreans from Ethiopia had migrated to Ethiopia from Eritrea was also revoking native Eritreans their Eritrean citizenship. Indeed, native Eritreans are caught between a rock and a hard place.
Yes, native Eritreans have been at the mercy of the Tigrean Clique since it kidnapped their country and started ruling them with an iron fist. Eritrean citizenship is now the sole property of the Tigrean Clique. As a result, many genuine Eritreans, including those who spent all their lives working for the country and who never wanted to be called anything else other than Eritreans, have been declared stateless by the Clique.
What is still puzzling is even those native Eritreans who surrendered their soul to the Clique know very well now that Eritrean citizenship cannot be inherited. According to the PFDJ, Eritrean citizenship can only be rented. To that end, those Eritreans who want to keep their citizenship, including the agents of the PFDJ, know very well that if they fail to renew their leased citizenship annually by paying heavy ransom to the Clique, they, too, will be declared outcasts.
And to add insult to injury, Issayas has robbed all native Eritreans of their lands, culture, religions, peace, freedom, children, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, and husbands and wives. Issayas’s disdain for Eritreans has reached its climax.
Even two years after the war ended, he decreed the entire Eritrean Army to remain his indentured servant. Also, he refused to inform Eritrean families of their deceased children in the Army.
The Future of Issayas
Issayas can see the handwriting on the wall now; thus, he knows from this day forth he can only survive by the sword: by sending tens of thousands of Eritreans into prisons and prison camps, by causing tens of thousands of Eritreans to flee the country, by keeping tight control over the Army, by squandering tens of thousands of Eritreans in his wars against Eritrea’s neighbors and other Eritreans.
One thing should be clear to all Eritreans, Eritrea’s neighbors, and the world: for as long Issayas is in power, there will never be peace in the region, and Eritrea will not have peace with itself. Period. If there is one thing that Eritreans will reap under the Issayas regime, it will be deaths, extreme suppression, and persecution.
Furthermore, because of his tyrannical nature thus his strong will to exclude everyone else but himself from Eritrean politics, he will continue to engage himself in harassing, blackmailing, and picking on the neighboring countries unless the neighbors can obey him not only to deliver to him any former Government official or opposition groups, or even some civilians he wished to arrest but who fled his system, but also unless Eritrea’s neighbors can let him to roam inside their countries freely, and to hunt down his opponents himself. If there is one thing that Eritrea will have with its neighbors under the Issayas regime, it will be confrontation, and lots of it.
Issayas with Ethiopia
- He knows he cannot keep the 200,000 or more Eritreans on the front line for too long.
- He also knows he cannot bring the 200,000 or more Eritreans home and live peacefully.
- He knows he cannot go to war against Ethiopia and win. He knows he will most certainly lose any war to Ethiopia unless Ethiopia makes a big strategic mistake.
- He will continue to be paranoid of Eritrean opposition fronts stationed in Ethiopia.
For now his only wishes and options are:
- To wait and see for the government of Ethiopia to fall.
- To wait and see for the government of Ethiopia to become vulnerable so that he can attack it and win and thereby justify the Badme War.
- To make the Melles government agree with him to find a scapegoat for the War. Melles’s scapegoat would be the Sye group, and Issayas’s would be the Reformers.
- To wreak havoc upon Ethiopia by arming the Oromos and Somalis by sending Eritrean children deep into Ethiopia to train, fight, and die for the Ethiopian and Somali fronts. (Needless to say, this strategy of Issayas will backfire against Eritrea)
- For Ethiopia to start obeying him in the same way it had been obeying him until 1997, that is, to let him roam inside Ethiopia and hunt down all his opponents himself.
One thing should be clear to the world: As long as Issayas is in power, there will never be a lasting peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Even if Melles were to make some deal with him, for instance, due to his internal problems, which is probable and possible, it would only be until Issayas finds an opportune time to destroy his old enemy, Melles. Issayas does not rest before he wipes out his old enemies.
As long as Issayas is in power, Eritrea will not have any real peace with Ethiopia, Ethiopia will not have peace with itself, and Eritreans will not be spared from deaths.
(At this point, Melles would be ill-advised to make any deal with Issayas. He won’t gain a bit but will lose a lot; he will lose the backing of many Ethiopians.)
Issayas with Sudan:
Until the Bashir government is overthrown and replaced by one that will allow Issayas to roam inside Sudan and hunt down all his opponents or any Eritrean citizen that he considers a fugitive, he will never make any real peace with Sudan. He will send Eritrean children deep into Sudan to fight and die for his ego.
Issayas does not rest before he wipes out his old enemies. Any dealing that Issayas will make with the Sudanese government will be until he finds an opportune time to topple the Bashir government.
Meanwhile, Issayas will continue to use the Sudanese opposition (National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ) as a bargaining chip with the government of Sudan. He will make them create all kinds of hurdles so that peace will not prevail between the Alliance and the Sudanese government until he gets what he wants from Sudan, that is, until he can install a proxy government in Sudan.
As long as Issayas is in power, Eritrea will not have any real peace with Sudan, Sudan will not have peace with itself, and Eritreans will not be spared from deaths.
Issayas with Eritrean Opposition Forces
For now, Issayas is pressing and even beseeching Eritrean opposition fronts to initiate an armed struggle to fight against his government. According to Issayas, the leaders of all opposition fronts should surrender to him or be wiped out at any human and material cost to Eritrea. He believes he can benefit more from a civil war than will the opposition fronts. He believes if they initiate war, he can put all his ills, failures, and blames on them. But yet, he also knows he cannot wipe out all opposition fronts unless all the neighbors can agree with him to deny them grounds.
And since the opposition fronts will find a means to wage war if they want to (I am against waging an armed struggle), if Issayas remains in power, Eritrea will not have peace with itself.
Issayas with the Eritrean public
For over 40 years now, the dictator of Cuba, Castro, felt more secure every time those Cubans who refused to surrender to his system left Cuba. In much the same way, Issayas will feel safer every time those Eritreans who refuse to submit to his system leave the country. He recently bragged about importing labor forces, including manual laborers, from foreign countries. But unlike Castro, Issayas cannot live without waging wars, and indeed he cannot expect the laborers he is bragging about importing to replace the Eritrean workforce, the Sri Lankans, the Philippines, and Indians to fight and die for his ego, as Eritreans have done for him in the past. Even if he distributes the lands he has been appropriating from native Eritreans to foreigners, the foreigners will not die for him. (Neither will they toil for free, as Eritreans have been doing that for him.)
Eritrean Oppositions Fronts with Eritrea
All the accusations against Eritreans who did not support Issayas financially during his war with Ethiopia will become irrelevant in post-Issayas Eritrea. History will criticize the opposition fronts not for entering Ethiopia during the war but for not entering early enough to help avert the expulsion of Eritreans by the Woyane. Once Eritreans get the chance to review the cause of the Badme War, they will discover that Issayas deceived them and that the war was his, and his alone, a war that Eritreans should not have pursued.
(Maybe Issayas had not anticipated that the war would be this costly, but there is much proof that he had long prepared to start the war if only to intimidate and undermine Ethiopia into surrendering to his whim.)
Issayas with America:
Throughout his political life, Issayas has never made any long-term commitment to anyone except himself. He has made a long-term commitment to himself: to come to power and stay in power forever at any cost to Eritrean lives, but he can never make any long-term commitment to anyone, not now, not in the future.
Now, it is not whether the US should have a military base in Eritrea (I have no problem with that, nor do I believe that the government that will replace Issayas should have a problem with that, nor do I believe all Eritrean individuals and organized groups who are opposed to the Dictator should show any inclination against that), but whether Issayas can ever make any long-term commitment to the US and its allies.
The US should be watchful of Issayas. Issayas is preparing to make a very long list of arbitrary wish lists to the US; hence, if the US does not accommodate him, or if the US criticizes him on his economic policies, human rights, or other records, which it certainly will, and if Saddam Hussein makes him a better offer at the 11th hour, at the D-day, Issayas will backstab the US and switch alliance. Issayas is like a beast. He reacts to circumstances angrily if he does not get his way without, in advance, weighing the consequences of his actions, nor does he know how to reason. He had no exit plan when he declared war on Ethiopia in 1988. When he decided to arrest the Reformers, he had no exit plan. In much the same way, he will underestimate the Bush Administration and think he can blackmail and double-cross the US and get away with it. He will think he can use and discard the US as well.
And what does this mean to Eritrea: he will side Eritrea with the loser warring party because, in all likelihood, in the foreseeable future, the US and its allies will continue to win wars against their enemies.
(Eritrea was the victim of Mussolini’s siding with the losing warring party in WWII. Had Italy sided with the winners, its colonies (including Ethiopia) would not have been taken away from her. Like most colonists, in all likelihood, Italy might have granted Eritreans their freedom. If it did not, Eritreans would have fought against Italy, as did the Angolan or Mozambican people against Portugal, an internationally recognized and supported struggle for independence, which could also be less costly to Eritreans. (Eritreans did not have to fight against Ethiopia) However, if Italy decided to grant Eritreans their independence, that independence would be arranged by her. It would have been acceptable to Eritreans, as the arrangements by other colonists have been acceptable to all African countries.There is some price to be paid by a country and sometimes by its subordinates when a country sides with a loser warring party.)
(In these situations, it is preferred to stay neutral. But if you must take a stake, stay with the probable winners. But also, in Iraq’s case, Saddam Hussein is to the Iraqi people as Issayas is to the Eritrean people; therefore, for those Eritreans opposed to Issayas, the Iraqi democratic opposition forces and the Iraqi people should be their natural allies.)
(In countries such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, the US has been allying with dictators knowingly because the alternatives to the dictators in those countries are opposition groups hostile to the interests of the US and its allies. Furthermore, the oppositions in those countries are hard at work in their attempts to install more repressive systems than the ones they are trying to replace. However, in Eritrea’s case, the individuals and organized forces opposed to Issayas, by and large, are not hostile to the interests of the US and its allies, and by and large, are struggling to establish a genuinely participatory democracy in Eritrea.)
Siad Barre of Somalia vis-à-vis Issayas
The late Somalian dictator Mohammed Siad Barre came to power as a promising leader until his passion for power changed that all. He pushed his luck and declared war against Ethiopia and lost, which marked the beginning of his end. Barre soon resorted to terror. Similarly, in the beginning, Issayas of Eritrea appeared to many as a promising leader. Still, he, too, pushed his luck and started picking on all Eritrea’s neighbors until he finally invaded Ethiopia and lost. That defeat then marked the beginning of his end.
(Issayas’s miscalculation of the last war could also be compared to Napoleon’s battle of Waterloo, which marked the end of his war-mongering reign, or Hitler’s extension of WWII to Russia.)
There are many similarities between Barre and Issayas. One noticeable thing is how Barre was so paranoid and kept shooting himself in the foot, especially after he lost the war to Ethiopia. Issayas will continue to shoot himself in the foot.
(At one time, one of Barre’s ministers listened to the news on his car radio as everyone else, while driving to work, about losing his job in Barre’s usual reshuffling of ministers.)
The difference between the two dictators is that after Ethiopia defeated Barre, he retreated to his clan, which gave him a safe haven until 1991. But unlike Barre, Issayas has no clan to which to retreat. The elite of Tigrean-Eritreans cannot serve him as a robust social base because once all Eritreans recognize its existence, it will be in disarray.
The Legacy of Dictators
We heard for many years, including from those who are standing against him now, that Issayas was the most intelligent and courageous person that Eritrea ever brought to life; however, for those who read between the lines, all these years, Issayas’ real legacy had otherwise been speaking louder.
It does not take the bravest or brightest leader to rule a nation with an iron fist. Thousands of coward monarchs, dictators, military juntas, and warlords have done so throughout history. Hitler wasn’t the brightest or the bravest person among the Germans; Stalin wasn’t the most brilliant or bravest man among the Russians; Castro is not the brightest or most courageous person among the Cubans; Hafiz al Assad was not the brightest or bravest person among the Syrians; Issayas’s buddy, Gaddafi of Libya might be among the dumbest in Libya; And so do Saddam Hussain of Iraq, Mobutu of Zimbabwe and Mengistu of Ethiopia are not or were not the bravest or the brightest in their countries. But all these dictators have, or they had, one thing in common. They ruled their nations for many years, all with an iron fist. Therefore, ruling a country by bad-mouthing, incarcerating, executing, sidetracking, and alienating everyone who dares to challenge you is a no-brainer. In fact, it is the easiest job in the world. The brightest leader rules with a consensus and knows when to lead and when to step down. The most brilliant leader is obsessively concerned about how history will remember him once he’s gone and not obsessively concerned about the 15-minute fame.
It does not take a genius to declare war and cause thousands of people to perish. Anyone can destroy, but only a wise and conscientious person can create and sustain what had been founded before him. A wise leader is someone who gauges before he leaps, one who values the life of every one of his citizens and even that of his foes. One who treats the life of every one of his citizens as though they were one of his own.
“You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.” Abraham Lincoln
Peace is Around the Corner.
There could still be very few Eritreans, either because their interest or investment is at stake; because they are slow learners, or are fools; or because Issayas has incorrigibly indoctrinated them; or because they are fearful of change, who might still stand with Issayas until his last minute, or until after he expires, but overall, Issayas will lose Eritreans at a much faster rate and pace than he had gained them – it will almost look to the world as though Eritreans had been under some evil spell.
Those whose personal interests and investments are at stake have made a tremendous financial investment in PFDJ and its leader for too long. But also some of them are the beneficiaries of PFDJ’s land and economic policies. The slow learners and the fools usually consider the PFDJ as their own religion or ethnic group’s party. The slow learners and fools sometimes have relatives with high-ranking posts in PFDJ, but in most cases, their own families and relatives, their clans and villages, and their religions are among the prime victims of Issayas’s policies; only these fools don’t get it yet.
(ዓሻ ደሓን ኣሎ ፡ ዘመድ ዓሻ ከፊእዎ ኣሎ) The indoctrinated and slow learners have made tremendous financial and spiritual investments in Issayas throughout most of their adult lives. For these individuals, Eritrea means, Issayas. They will be the last to know of the changes taking place, and in many ways, they may never get it. They should be forgiven and prayed for their ignorance, but they should not be waited upon. They should be left in the dust.
Some of the noisiest defenders of Issayas were never in the country or raised in Eritrea. Some of them became Eritreans in 1991, and some in 1998. They know Eritrea only through the eyes and minds of Issayas. If Eritrea were to go to ruins, these individuals would be the last to feel sorry for the country.
(Perhaps, it would not be unusual to see a token of Eritreans worshiping the ghost of Issayas. Well, for these individuals, until God puts his mercy on them, post-Issayas Eritrea should deal with them in the same way Germany has dealt with the neo-Nazis and Skinheads in the post-Hitler era of Germany, so if they want to form a non-official party in post-Issayas Eritrea and name it neo-Shaebia or neo-Awet nHafash, then so be it. They should be free to do that. It will be part of history.)
There are also some genuine patriotic Eritreans who honestly believe if given enough time, Issayas will change. Hence my message of today will be mainly geared toward those individuals, and the message is: You can’t teach an old dog a new trick. Besides, there are many things that Issayas knows about himself which can never allow him to ask for forgiveness and mercy. So the short answer is he will never change.
Nevertheless, it is not whether Issayas and the conglomerate of an organized crime, PFDJ, will expire, and it is not even about when. Still, it is whether Eritreans are ready to embrace the change sooner than later and whether or not Eritreans collectively have told their God to rid them of Issayas and his Mob.
But why is Issayas still in power? Because right now, as much as almost all Eritreans know now how much deluded they have been by him, and as much as they know how much of a devil-incarnate he is, deep in their hearts, Eritreans collectively do not want him to leave them, and they have not asked their God for that yet. Eritreans are keeping him with their thoughts and wishes. The reason for that is that Issayas has told them that once his reign ends, the nation will cease to exist.
Furthermore, since their earlier prayer resulted in replacing the old devil, Mengistu, with a more powerful devil, Issayas, Eritreans are afraid of his successor, fearful of change, afraid of the unknown, afraid of fear itself.
(By the way, how did Issayas succeed in fooling so many people for so long? Well, long ago, he surrounded himself with only submissive people who portrayed him as a fair, dedicated, hardworking, honest, and brave person; then, with the help of those surrounding him, he fooled many intellectuals, then, with the help of the intellectuals, he deceived the Eritrean public and the world media. Primarily, it was a chain of honest trust, where one trusted the other without questioning, doubting, or verifying the motive of the other. But when you really come down to it, Issayas took advantage of the trusting nature of native Eritreans.)
Peaceful Transfer of Power
No good-hearted Eritrean would want to witness a violent transfer of power in Eritrea because no matter how much down-to-earth the successors could be, if they grabbed power through non-peaceful means, indeed, as amateur leaders, they would have to go through some leadership-molding boot camp, and, God forbid, they could also repeat the crimes of their predecessors. More than that, when the transfer of power is not peaceful, many, including innocent citizens, could be accused wrongly, and professionals who supported the predecessors could flee the country scot-free. In short, the nation will have to go back to square one. The successors will have to overhaul the whole system and start from scratch. But that said, do Eritreans have other choices with Issayas now or in the future? Yes, they have to do it right, and as I will explain in detail at the bottom of this article, they will have to know where to draw the line, but still, do they have other choices with Issayas and his Mob now or in the future?
Eritreans are indeed fearful of the unknown. But is the probable cost of the fear of the unknown much costlier than what the status quo is costing Eritrean families? Fear of the unknown can be much more expensive than grabbing the bull by the horns. Fear of the unknown has already cost Eritreans in the Badme War about 30,000 lives. Worse, Issayas will never abandon his warmongering nature. He can and will anytime summon Eritreans to pay tens of thousands more lives now and in the future.
So what is next for Eritreans? Well, Eritreans are at crossroads now. They have to decide between getting rid of Issayas and praying to God earnestly to reveal to them a wiser leader, and maybe even pay a little price during the transition, or keep Issayas, thus keep circling around their promised land – keep themselves denying entry into their promised land. They can get rid of Issayas, hence get their children, their husbands, their wives, their fathers and mothers, their hills and meadows, their religion, their culture, and their liberty back, or they can let him consolidate his power, rule the nation with an iron fist, (ጉስጢ ሓጺን), and continue to inflict horrific sufferings upon all Eritreans. They can get rid of Issayas and undo all his evil doings now or wait until it becomes too late and impossible to undo. (ዓሻ ዝተኸሎ ፡ ለባም ነይነቅሎ) They can put their complete trust in their God to deliver them from sufferings, or they can indefinitely defer from receiving what God has in store for them by misplacing their loyalty to a devil-incarnate. The choices are all up to them.
Does God Hate Eritreans?
Does God hate Eritreans? No, God does not hate Eritreans, nor does He hate Ethiopians, nor does He hate any of the quadrillions of His creatures in the universe. Well, if God does not hate Eritreans, then why have Eritreans, after praying to God for many years to rid Ethiopia of themselves, ended up in a much worse situation? Why has God treated Eritreans this way?
God said, ask, and you shall receive, which means if you don’t ask, you shan’t receive. But also, if you ask for the wrong things, you shan’t receive either. When you ask God for something, God merely gives you paper and a pen so that you can prescribe your wishes precisely the way you want them to be. If you don’t know how to prescribe your medicine or how to list your needs, then ask God for wisdom; you shall receive guidance for that too. And after you draw up your needs and hand them over to God, if what you write out is good, if your requests are in harmony with the natural order which governs the cosmos, which are peace, harmony, health, riches, morality, liberty, freedom, prosperity, love, and generosity, God delivers them to you; But if they are not good, based on greed, hate, cruelty, indifference, and jealousy, God acts indifferently. This means you are on your own, meaning you can either rewrite your prescription or experience random or anomalistic circumstances. Yes, human beings have the power to create their circumstances.
According to the Book of Genesis, God created the universe – and all the heavenly bodies, the sun, the moon, and the stars – in six days and only with His words. But when God created human beings, he created them in His image; therefore, God has given them the power to create circumstances, good or evil, with their words, thoughts, and wishes.
(You see, God has given human beings the power that He has not given to His angels, for His angels are allowed to choose only good. On the other hand, God has also given human beings the option and the freedom to create, though at a smaller scale, and to choose good or evil. Of course, God would want human beings to put their power and knowledge to good use only. The only problem is that human beings may not always know what is good or bad, what is right or wrong, and for that, God has left a communication line between Him and humans open so that when humans are in doubt, they can contact God for guidance if they choose so. The key phrase here is “if they choose so.” God has also given human beings the freedom to come to Him or not come to Him.)
So, who brought Issayas and his ego into Eritreans? Not God. God does not create dire circumstances. God does not create evil forces. Therefore, Issayas and his ego are either the creation of Eritreans, something Eritreans unwittingly created with their words, thoughts, and wishes, the result of Eritreans’ product, or they (Issayas and his ego) are the result of a random or anomalous circumstance. The result of a wrong prayer that God rejected, an incomplete prayer that received a partial response from God, or the result of God’s answer with indifference.
But why anomalous? Or why a wrong or incomplete prayer? To answer this question, one needs to trace back to the prayers of Eritreans and examine what exactly they did or did not pray for when Eritreans prayed to God before the PFDJ came into their lives.
When their country was under Ethiopia, Eritreans prayed to God to rid them of Ethiopia so they could be ruled by one of their own, and that was all. So, what was wrong with that prayer? It was incomplete; it did not verbalize all their needs to God. It simply assumed if God granted them independence and an “Eritrean leader rules them,” and if they fully trusted that “Eritrean” leader, then that leader would undoubtedly understand their needs. Eritreans assumed the answer to all their problems lay in being independent of Ethiopia and governed by one of their own. In other words, Eritreans asked God for only one thing: independence. They did not pray to God in detail about their post-independence lives because they did not believe an Eritrean leader would wish them ill.
Even recently, during the Badme War, especially during the first year of the war, Eritreans did not believe, even for a second, that Issayas could wish them ill, nor did they think that Issayas would need wisdom. They prayed to God so that God would grant Issayas anything that he asked for. And their prayers to God were about killing thousands of Ethiopians, who also happened to be God’s children, and humiliating Ethiopia, prayers that could never reach God.
In other words, Eritreans believed that Issayas was always right, but God was hard on Eritreans for not granting Issayas anything he asked for. Therefore, Eritreans said to God through their prayers, ” We know Issayas is a good and intelligent leader. He is always right, and everyone else is always wrong. The world is wrong. The O.A.U. is wrong. Ethiopia is wrong. The U.N. is wrong. The E.U. is wrong. The Pope is wrong. The U.S. is wrong. Those Eritreans who are opposed to the war are wrong. Don’t listen to anyone else. Trust us on this, God. We know Issayas. He is here with us. Why don’t you simply grant Issayas all his wishes, for we know we can live with his wishes.” So the answer from God might have been either “Access denied,” “Rewrite your requests,” ” I am indifferent to your wrong request,” or “You are on your own,” responses which were never clearly heard or understood by Eritreans.
(But during the last months of the war, Eritreans collectively prayed to God for peace, and God has responded to that because God always responds to reasonable requests with good. Ethiopians have been in the same boat as Eritreans regarding the quality of prayers.)
Again, if God loves Eritreans and knows Issayas was a terrible person, why did He not tell Eritreans that they were following a terrible leader, and why did He not make his responses so loud and clear so that Eritreans could understand him? Again the answer to this question is simple. God always responds in one way or another, but His responses can be heard unmistakably only by those willing to listen to His responses. God has given humans the freedom to hear or not to hear His answers. Humans can listen to the responses from God only if they choose to tune in to God and tap into that little voice within themselves, hard-wired to God.
Furthermore, Eritreans did not ask God to reveal the actual image of Issayas. God gave human beings the power to choose good or evil. And if they are in doubt, when it appears that they cannot differentiate good from evil, wrong from right, if they arrive at a forked road and don’t know which way to take, God tells them to come to Him for guidance. Eritreans did not ask God for guidance. They did not think they needed one. They did not believe that there was more to Issayas than met the eye. They did not contemplate even a bit that Issayas had multiple personalities. Eritreans were confident that Issayas was a good leader and that there was nothing wrong with him but with God for not listening to their prayers for Issayas.
Sorry to Trouble You, God!
The other weaknesses of human beings are when they pray to God, they do not want to “trouble” Him with “minor” concerns, so they leave out many details in their prayers. For example, in Eritrea’s case, before 1991, when Eritreans prayed to God, they did not want to “trouble” Him with “minor details” of post-independence; hence they merely prayed to God for independence, and for that, God granted them independence from Ethiopia. That was what they asked for, just independence.
God says, ask, and you shall receive. Which means, if you ask, you shall receive. But it also means if you ask for one thing, you shall receive just one. If you ask for ten needs, and if all of them are good, you shall receive all ten of them. Period.
So, what will happen now if Eritreans pray to God to rid them of Issayas? Well, God will do just that. Period. But the successor could be a much more powerful devil than Issayas. Hence Eritreans need to be very careful of what they wish for.
How about if Eritreans ask God to rid them of Issayas but also, after that, to reveal to them a better leader, a humane leader, one who has respect for human lives, one who will rule the nation with the rule of law, to reveal to them a wiser leader, one who knows the difference between right and wrong, a leader who would come to Him for guidance when in doubt? Well, then, God shall do just that. Period.
(The good news is that God has given humans the freedom to change their words, wishes, and thoughts anytime.)
How about in addition to that, if Eritreans pray to God to bring them peace, liberty, democracy, to bring them good rainy season, good harvest, wealth, wisdom, harmony between religions, peace with one another, peace with the world, peace with their neighbors, and everything that is good? Well, God shall grant them all those too.
So, can Eritreans pray to God so that God will make Issayas a humane person? No. Every able adult is responsible for their sins. They can pray for Issayas so that he might ask God for forgiveness himself. God always forgives. If Issayas bows his knees to God and asks for forgiveness from God, then God shall forgive him. But Eritreans cannot, with their prayers, make Issayas the choice of God for a leader. If they tried, they could interfere in God’s work, doubting God and His plan for Eritrea and Eritreans, questioning God’s choice, good judgment, and God’s power to find them a leader of his choice from the four million Eritreans. Remember, God knows the heart of every Eritrean and has the power to mold individuals of his choice, including those whose names people never heard of before, to become able and good leaders.
A nation results from all its citizens’ collective prayers or lack of prayers. Also, a nation results from all its citizens’ collective good or wrong prayers. Prayers are powerful, but there is a good prayer that merits a good response from God, a bad prayer that does not reach God, and a prayer that interferes with God’s work. If Eritreans insist on being too specific about their choice of a person for a leader, if they are too picky, then the answer from God will once again be: “I am indifferent to your requests.” “You are on your own.” This means Eritreans have once again the chance to create their circumstances and their leader as they did with Issayas.
Hence, when Eritreans pray to God to reveal a humane leader to them, they should not go into details about who that leader should be. They only need to describe to God their ideal leaders and how they want them to lead them. They should not give God the details of their ideal leader, such as gender, ethnicity, religion, educational background, etc. They can ask their God to reveal who will make a good leader, but they cannot recommend someone to God for a leader. First, they must admit that they can’t know who will make a good leader by reading their writings and listening to their speeches because the person they view as good now can tomorrow turn out to be another Issayas. But God has good plans for Eritrea and Eritreans, and He knows where their ideal leader is, but only if Eritreans could limit their power only to describing their perfect leader, and if only they could let their God do His work and His miracle.
So, how will Eritreans know the God-chosen leader? The answer to this one is simple. They will know. Their conscience will tell them if they know how to understand their conscience correctly. What are you talking about? Do you mean to tell us we do not need a democratic election? No.
On the contrary, God has given humans the autonomy to rule their world however they want. They can destroy it, or they can build it. Thus, so far, the only advanced and fair method of government they’ve come up with is a participatory democracy. They’ve come a long way since they invented democracy and have made tremendous progress, but they still have a long way to go. Nonetheless, God is happy when humans put their knowledge to good use. However, even in a democracy, individuals can ask God or their conscience to help them elect the right person. Every time they do that, they make themselves freer of bigotry. Bigotry is evil.
So, does God consistently deliver when your requests are reasonable? Yes. But there is a Catch-22: before you can submit your wishes to God, you have to unlock the gate that leads to God, and the key to unlocking the entrance is through love and repentance.
You need to repent. Now, repenting is a simple concept. It means you have to admit all your wrongdoings. You have to take responsibility for all your actions or lack thereof. Or, in Eritreans’ case, they need to quit blaming the Woyane, the UN, the OAU, the EU, the US, and everyone else for the condition in which they are finding themselves.
When you blame everyone except yourself, in reality, you will surrender your God-given power to create your circumstances, good or bad, to someone else, including those you believed were standing in your way. And in Eritreans’ case, they would surrender their God-given power to those they believed were wishing them ill, which is ironic. When you really think about it, why would you believe those you believed wished you ill could do you a favor? In Eritreans’ case, they want everyone else, including those they are accusing as their enemies, to change for them, but they are unwilling to repent or change themselves.
(The worshipers of Issayas have been saying that Eritrea would have peace and prosperity if the world submits to Issayas as they have submitted to him. They have wished the world to give in to Issayas and his whims. My answer to them is, get real; it will never happen. Every reasonable human being feels sorry for cult worshipers, but no rational human being follows deluded cult worshipers. By the way, throughout history, all religious fanatics and cult worshipers had the same wishes as the worshipers of Issayas. They all wished the world followed their particular religions and cult leaders.)
Again, Eritreans need to stop blaming others. No one hates Eritrea and Eritreans. The U.S., the Africans, and the whole world love Eritreans. Eritreans need to believe the causes for their problems are themselves and that the solution is within themselves. Only when they admit their mistakes or ignorance and look inside themselves for a solution will God reveal the answer to all their problems.
The old myth of the 1970s among the members of the Liberation Fronts was saying that the only way to create harmony between Eritrean Muslims and Christians was by renouncing religions altogether. But by now, Eritreans must have learned that no one can take God’s place and that without God’s grace, human beings can only sow and reap deaths. Christianity and Islam have more in common than what separates them; hence the surest way to create harmony among Eritreans is for all Eritreans who would want to go to their religions to do so because, by now, the majority of Eritreans should realize bashing religions and God are not fashionable anymore. Love, forgiveness, and repentance are inherent in all religions.
Once the Issayas regime is removed, the surest way to bring harmony in Eritrea is by forgiving one another; the most certain way to destroy the country is by engaging in revenge killings or by looking for scapegoats. Revenge begets revenge, hate begets hate. Countries engaged in revenge killings, such as Liberia, Somalia, Rwanda, Afghanistan, and Congo, still pay costly prices. On the other hand, countries that did not engage in revenge killings, such as Eritrea under the leadership of EPLF in 1991 and Ethiopia under EPDRF in 1991, reaped reasonable peace. Yes, I applauded it then, and I still applaud how the EPLF treated the Ethiopian POWs and civilians after it liberated Eritrea.
One of the lessons of the ex-communist countries was that after the demise of communism, while the more civilized Germans tried the accused under the law, in the less civilized countries like Romania, it was violent; thus, Romania had to pay a costly price before it returned to normalcy. In post-Issayas Eritrea, Eritreans will have to act in a civilized way. They must show the world they are different from Issayas and his gangs.
After they get rid of the Abomination (ፈናፍንቲ), unless Eritreans collectively shoulder the responsibility for what went wrong in their country, if they are going to look for scapegoats, I am afraid not only will they not know where to draw the line, but will also repeat the mistakes Issayas made. Yes, Eritreans have to admit that their country is finding itself in this gruesome state only due to their collective fault as a people.
Blaming others is one of the weakest roads to any success. If you refuse to accept your responsibility for making past history, you are doomed to repeat what you blamed on others. Eritrea is finding itself in this state due to what each Eritrean has done or has left undone, due to each Eritrean’s vision or lack of imagination, or due to each Eritrean’s action or lack thereof.
Issayas used almost every Eritrean individual and many communities of Eritrea at one time or another. The only differences are: between those who came to their senses earlier, those that waited until it was too late to come to their senses, and those who may never come to their senses; between those who did not speak up at all and those who did not speak up enough, and those who did not speak up until it was too late, and those who spoke for Issayas.
All Eritreans need to forgive one another from their heart, for prayers cannot be answered if one continues to hold grudges. For this, let it be known that on this day, I forgive every Eritrean regardless of their past history.
Again, even the members of the Clique cannot be held responsible for the situation that the country is finding itself in. Their support for Issayas is not any different from that of their predecessors, former Issayas favorites, or former followers of Issayas. The only reason they are now the focus of attention is that they happened to be Issayas’s last favorites in the long list of Issayas’s disposable favorites.
I am not saying that everyone should go scot-free unpunished. Responsibility should lie with very few individuals, and even then, the individuals should be protected by and tried under the country’s law. If some of them are in foreign countries, they should be extradited and tried in Eritrea.
I do not believe, even for a second, that an armed struggle and a civil war are an option for Eritreans to remove the Abomination. That said, I also believe a peaceful struggle for change like the one experienced in India under the leadership of Gandhi, and in America, under the leadership of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. cannot even be tried in Eritrea. At this time, Eritrea is not only a police state, but for all practical purposes, it is a prison state. At this time in Eritrea, individual Eritreans are not permitted to walk even a mile without being stopped and interrogated by Issayas’s guards, let alone gather and make peace marches.
But I think the forces of good have other more powerful weapons at their disposal. It will not require killings or dying. It is the power of God. The power of prayer. Issayas may have the power to cut off the communication line among Eritreans but does not and will never have the power to cut off the communication line between each Eritrean’s solemn heart and their God. Remember, the followers of Issayas can pray all they want if they ever do. Still, God responds only to good prayers, and praying for the enslaved, praying for the incarcerated, praying for peace, praying for the little children whose fathers and mothers were snatched from them by Issayas, praying for the mothers and fathers whose children have been snatched from them by Issayas, praying for Eritreans children whose adulthood is being wasted by Issayas, praying for justice, praying for the peasant whose plots usurped by Issayas, praying for Eritreans fathers and mothers who have been eating their hearts out, praying for humanity can never be evil. God listens only to good prayers. God does not listen to the forces of evil. Enough is enough. No more killing and dying for Eritrean children. No more tears. No more grief.
Help is on the way for Eritrea and Eritreans. Good change is around the corner for Eritreans. Peace and liberty are around the corner for Eritreans. God has great plans for Eritrea. Therefore, Eritreans can either trust in their Creator and, with that faith, receive what is rightly theirs, or can continue to hold grudges against their Creator, continue to doubt their Creator, and thus continue to let fear of change control their future. The choices are all up to them.
It is OK for the forces opposed to Issayas to accompany their struggle with peaceful diplomatic campaigns, but they should not underestimate the power of their Creator.
I call upon all Eritreans committed to peace and freedom to recite the following lines and add some more lines of their own:
May God bring peace to Eritrea.
May Eritrea have peace with itself and with all its children.
May Eritrea have peace with itself and with all its neighbors.
May God make Eritrea a powerful but fair nation.
May God make Eritrea a powerful but friendly nation.
May God reveal to Eritreans a peace-loving leader.
May God reveal to Eritreans a God-fearing leader.
May God reveal to Eritreans a God-seeking leader.
May God reveal to Eritreans a humble leader.
May God reveal to Eritreans a wise leader.
May God reveal to Eritreans a humane leader.
May God bless all Eritreans with knowledge and wisdom.
May its children grow to live in peace from generation to generation.
May Eritreans enjoy liberty.
May God bless Eritreans with common sense.
May God bless Eritrean children with scientific, technological, intellectual, educational, and social skills.
May God bless Eritrea with humble citizens.
May God bless all Eritrean religions with peace and harmony.
May Eritreans forgive one another.
May God grant Eritrean children happiness.
May God make Eritrea a contributor to regional peace.
May God make Eritrea a contributor to world peace.
May God bless Eritrea with material wealth.
May God bless Eritrea with spiritual wealth.
May God bless Eritrea with technological, educational, political, economic,
social, and scientific developments.
May God bless Eritrea with a good harvest.
May God bless Eritrea with a good rainy season.
May God bless Eritrea with good weather.
May God bless the nation with children who pray to God for wisdom.
May God bless the nation with children who will contribute to the well-being of all human beings.
May Eritrea have peace with the world.
May God bless the region with peace, riches, wisdom, and harmony.
May there be lasting peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia.
May there be lasting peace between Eritrea and Sudan.
May there be lasting peace between Eritrea and Yemen.
May there be lasting peace between Eritrea and Saudi Arabia.
May there be lasting peace between Eritrea and Djibouti.
May there be lasting peace between Eritrea and Somalia..
May Eritrea have peace with all its neighbors.
May there be peace in the whole region.
As I have expressed in the “topics” section of this series, I do not belong to any political organization. Being independent allowed me to express my views and the truths as I have perceived them without having to seek the approval of certain organized groups or look over my shoulder lest I disappoint some groups. I have to admit my assessment has been brutal on PFDJ and its leader, and I have done so on purpose because the PFDJ is in power, but this by no means constitutes my approval of the visions or lack of visions of some leaders of the opposition fronts and their fronts.
When I prepared the series, I attempted to envision what would be good for Eritrea and Eritreans, not just for the next 10 to 15 years but also for the next hundred years from now. If I had to do it all over again now, I would correct the syntax and clarity errors I have been discovering with my writings after I have posted the parts on Asmarino.com, but I would not change a bit from the core of my messages.
I thank Asmarino.com, a genuinely democratic and independent forum where fair and balanced discussion is the norm, without which I could not have expressed my views the way I have expressed them. I also would like to thank the producers of Asmarino.com for their intelligent vision and, most of all, for their courage. Also, I thank all its readers for their civility.
I thank everyone