JUNE 15, 2014
Eritrea survives and thrives by the united will and strength of its people
By Amanuel Biedemariam,
A YOUNG Eritrean born in the US once said, “When I hear people call Eritrea a new nation, it startles me because I grew up knowing Eritrea to be a nation.”
Most Eritrean children who grew up in the US before independence has encountered people who told them Eritrea does not exist on the map. Their answers were always that Eritrea existed in their heart, and they knew that she would be free.
The Allied forces defeated the surrendering Italian army led by British troops and controlled Asmara Palace in a flash. Soon after that, the West’s subtle way achieved Eritrea’s federation and left Eritreans empty-handed without a country under the primitive tyranny of Ethiopia’s pseudo monarchy. And in no time after that, the British soldiers and the US escorted Emperor Haile Selassie into Asmara with his wife and handed him a nation without lifting a finger. Great Britain’s recently declassified World War II videos show this transaction clearly.
They forced Eritreans who dreamt of independent Eritrea to flee. They killed and imprisoned many Eritreans. That, in effect, marked the start of the liberation struggle. Eritrea ceased to exist as a nation then. However, Eritrea was alive in the hearts and minds of Eritreans. The heart is the foundation of the Eritrean psyche, where Eritrea lives no matter where and where it all starts and continues to date.
With nothing but determination, Eritreans embarked on a long and arduous journey to freedom. Without resources and military expertise, Eritreans flocked to the field to fight against US-funded Ethiopian troops. In no time, Eritrea managed to establish a full-fledged army that included tanks captured from enemy soldiers.
Moreover, while the fighting took place, Eritreans were focused on reestablishing Eritrea after victory hence embarked on a nation-building campaign while fighting to win independence.
First, the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) and after the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) controlled Eritrea, the people of Eritrea accomplished the unthinkable, unimaginable, and seemingly impossible fit.
With a principled approach to struggle, clear-aim stemming from the iron-willed Eritrean heart empowers Eritreans with education, organizing, and arming them with everything they need to succeed as a unit and by Self-Reliance, Eritrea won.
How Eritrea came to life is a history that the Soviet Union, the United States, and their allies shun to talk or write because it highlights their defeat and defeat of their agendas. That also means being given a choice; these enemies would not have liked to see independent Eritrea.
In 1991, the US tried to block Eritrea’s independence but failed because Eritrea knew what to do and where to go. Eritrea took out the Military regime in Ethiopia and replaced it with the current government. In a sense, it conducted a regime change, the first seamless transition conducted by an African nation. It also ensured the signature that sealed independence. No African country would admit that the current regime of Ethiopia is in power because of the struggle of Eritrea.
Eritrea’s independence was a significant historical event that reshaped the Horn of Africa’s geostrategic map. It came at a time when the Soviet Union fell, and the US became the sole superpower. The breakup of the USSR accorded the US opportunity to control the region. Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Kenya, and Ethiopia became US client-states with Ethiopia as a hub. Eritrea was also a part of that equation.
After the Cold War, the US-controlled the region by proxies. At the time the
Clinton administration lauded these “new generation African leaders,” including His Excellency President Isaias Afwerki, as the hope for the future. That was short-lived because while the others kowtowed to US interests, Eritrea forged an independent path to the dismay of the US, marking a new Era of US Eritrea relations. Eritrea was the only nation, thus a spoiler of US hegemony. After they realized Eritrea was charting an independent path, the Clinton administration, rather than working for mutual interests-based bilateral ties with Eritrea, ignited a war to change the government of Eritrea.
The machinations to ensnare Eritrea under the pretext of the border war were initiated, leading to countless death, loss of limbs, and population displacement. Had they succeeded, Eritrea would have been soaked-in-blood for generations. Eritrea managed to foil all their sinister attempts.
However, these machinations continued. The US, EU, and the TPLF manipulated the UN to pass punitive measures that denied Eritrea her inalienable rights for self-defense. They fabricated lies to make a case against Eritrea. They used the UN to impose illegal sanctions under the guise of “African nation’s initiative” when the actual violators were Ethiopia and the US that brazenly and violently invaded Somalia, a sovereign nation.
The levels of covert and overt activities against Eritrea remained relentless. All the defamatory campaigns and destabilizing activities against Eritrea trace their roots to Ethiopia and US. The US continues the assault the youth as one of its key targets.
Recent State Department regarding Eritrean refugees from the Afar region indicates a hostile policy is encouraging youth flight. The regime change policy is still in play. US authorities are still trying to divide the people of Eritrea from the government.
In 2009, on Christmas Eve, when Ambassador Susan Rice boasted the sanction she placed upon the people of Eritrea, she said the US supports the people of Eritrea. Similarly, when Secretary John Kerry extended his warped independence letter in May of 2014, he also said the US stands with the people of Eritrea.
Although it is an open secret, why deny congratulations to the government that brought the independence of Eritrea? That is duplicity and a sign of continuation of the policy. Nothing in the history of the US demonstrates US support for the people of Eritrea.
Secretary Kerry deliberately misrepresented Boston Marathon-winner Meb Kiflezgi’s identity by calling him Kenyan when he knows Meb is Eritrean-American is evidence that they do not want to acknowledge Eritrea.
Cold War Part II
During the Cold War, due to the global-geopolitical juxtaposition, Eritrea was caught on a seesaw that affected her negatively. That ended at the time when Eritrea won independence and the fall of the USSR.
Over the last two decades, the world witnessed the destruction of Iraq, Libya, Syria and unforeseen changes in many places such as Egypt. However, after 23 years of US adventurism, the world is experiencing another transition that will influence nations. The situation in Ukraine seems to be the game-changer having a monumental impact on world politics.
When the US pressured Russia with sanctions for Crimea, Russia and China lashed back in ways that changed the world. With a stroke of a pen, China and Russia brought down-to-earth the notion of the US as sole-super-power.
They invalidated the sanction threat by signing a massive energy trade agreement. That placed all the EU-nations in an awkward position. That forced countries such as Germany to retract, creating a wedge between the EU and the US. Germany is a significant trade partner of China and Russia. The sanctions pushed it away from its interests.
The agreement is diminishing the role of the petro-dollar and reestablishing a new economic order that could counter US’s. The bilateral agreements will affect relations between nations, the UN working-pecking-order, the global economy, the previously US-engineered-UN and other sanctions, and international politics. A shift on global-alliances independent from the US is in place. Hence, for the first time in years, it appears the world is poised for a multi-polar world order.
The most significant impact, however, is on the US dollar. When countries start to trade with other currencies, the dollar’s value falls precipitously, damaging the reserve currency that enabled the US to print money with impunity. Countries that depend on US finances to sustain their economies will crash. It includes countries like Ethiopia that receive billions of US dollars as food and security aid. Absent new funding sources, these countries will crush.
These new geopolitical developments will influence the political dynamics of various regions in Africa. With the penetration of China by using/dumping the dollar to gain influence, Russia’s assertive stance at the UN Security Council is dissolving US-dominated roles previously, thus diminishing US influences profoundly. For example, China builds rail infrastructure that connects Kenya to South Sudan, Uganda, and Rwanda.
These global developments will lead to changes in outdated US Africa policy. However, these changes will not come willfully due to the US’s inability to manage situations spiraling out of control, changing global realities, and lack of funding will come to play. In the end, a cost-benefit analysis will force US policy changes.
For example, Ethiopia will, in a short time, be too expensive to manage. To divide and rule, the TPLF junta divided Ethiopia along ethnic and religious lines. Many Ethiopians have been crying foul because religious clashes could lead to genocide in Oromia and other places. Dr. Gregory Stanton of Genocide Watch has been warning about genocide in Ethiopia. Moreover, Ethiopia’s interventions in various parts of the region will undoubtedly have repercussions.
Ethiopian authorities are also concerned that instability in Southern Sudan (SS) will lead to instability in Ethiopia. Refugees from SS are flooding Western Ethiopia. The TPLF’s role in the SS civil war negotiations is damaging. The TPLF, doing the bidding for the Obama administration, forced the various factions of Sudan to sign agreements.
With threats of arrest, Ethiopian authorities forced signatures that forced President Salva Kiir to share power with the rebels. The signature was an effort to legitimize the SS rebel leader Riek Machar in pursuit of US interests.
President Slava Kiir knows the geopolitics ofthe region and TPLF’s roles in it. He is also a key player. Before the TPLF forced him to sign in Ethiopia, President Kiir signed a key security agreement with Egypt, essentially giving Egypt backdoor access to Ethiopia. It is where Ethiopia’s concern emanates because the agreement accords Egypt a platform to access Ethiopia.
These are entanglements that show Ethiopia’s fragility. In addition to its internal problems, Ethiopia’s involvement in SS, Somalia, and the hostilities against Eritrea will have repercussions. By no means can the US manage and afford to maintain funding a failing government. These types of events are running ahead of US foreign policy objectives.
The Effect on Eritrea
The difference between 1991 and now is Eritrea was stripped-bare then. Today, the reality in Eritrea is different. The mere fact that Eritrea ensured food security is a game-changer. Eritrea is in a much better place and able to stand independently. Eritrea is the only country able to withstand aggressive US adventurism.
Ironically, Eritrea, a country that ascended at the fall of the USSR, is managing to witness yet another cold war-like event on the offing. Except for this time, the table appears to be turning with US superpower status on the decline while China and Russia rise.
Eritrea faced the wrath of US adventures alone. Even when nations knew Eritrea was standing truthfully by the law, no one stood for justice on the side of Eritrea for fear of retaliation by the US.
Regardless, the people of Eritrea knew, as President Isaias Afewerki said, “That this adventurism will not last.” The people of Eritrea stood together and fought to understand that the fight was for the very existence of Eritrea and paid the price, demonstrating that Eritrea could stand without having to depend on any power. As a result, today, countries are looking for allies, and Eritrea is a perfect choice. Eritrea’s ability to defend herself and the neutral stances are bearing fruit.
Eritrea was able to withstand the wrath because of the UNITY of the people and the successful national-service program. Every Eritrean, no matter where they live or who they are, has to participate. As a result, Eritrea has the most disciplined military population in the world. The people of Eritrea know how to respect guns and live with them while protecting the nation. The mature nature and the discipline make Eritrea the most peaceful country in Africa.
Eritrea’s most significant resources are the people, not the rich natural resources that it has. It is also national service and the unity of the people.
And not surprisingly, the enemies’ main targets are Eritrea’s human resources. The US and Ethiopia are doing everything to deny Eritrea her youth, attack the national service program and create divisions. Their main aim is to find or create a crack.
Eritrea stood firm by the incorruptible leadership that bought Eritrea the time and space necessary to roll with the punches. They secured the room required to allow Eritrea to see global developments and learn from them with patience.
Eritrea focused on the bigger picture avoiding traps of temporary PR gains. They showed sacrifice and selflessness that is synonymous with the people of Eritrea. They showed resilience under pressure and told the world we would do it our way, the Eritrean way. Most importantly, Eritrea is the result of the united will and strength of the people. Hence, it is time to strengthen our unity and stand for what the martyrs gave their lives. Above all, be wise; lift each other and our communities no matter where we are. That is what time it is.
Wetru Awet N-Hafash
Zel-Alemawi Zikri N-Sema-e-tatna