My Opinion on Regionalism

In political philosophy, regionalism is not a state of where you belong; it is how far you think outside your own house. It becomes complex when an attitude of self-delineated mind exist and fail to think beyond and reject the existence of the whole.

It starts from minority complex and integrating onself to phenomenon that revolve around the periphery. One feels that he is much safer when remained stucked in his own cave while still the wind is blowing outside.

If this is the mind complex that generate such thinking, then, there it develops Romanizing the cave and live within it. Romanizing creates to appreciate the past and resists the on-going activities outside the cave. And anyone who touches the periphery of this Romanization is against it, be it right or wrong.

Having this initiation, a regionalist creates an image of either superiority or inferiority and fight for that. And is always like a strong bee colony in approaching and defending the state where he belongs.

And at the same time, regionalism can be imposed by external agents also. Those who impose such characters are themselves not free and like a virus, they invade the other territory and contaminate it by the same way. From this then, the state of “WHO YOU ARE” develops and the two indulge in the same and create chaos for nothing.

And Eritreans are not free, but we didn’t posses it before, we got contaminated by a virus injected to us; first by the divide and rule policy of great Britain and after from two sides, the Ethiopian rulers and the political developments within the revolutionary commands that existed in the 1970’s.

This can be clearly traced by referring “Nihnan Elamanan’ of EPLF, a self-centered rationalistic approach of dealing the political issues that complicated the whole course of our struggle and post independence.

I said, “Regionalism is Romanizing your own self and never think beyond.” It is state of the mind extent, not areal extent. Area has nothing to do with a mind obsessed on his own ego? Let’s not attach it with geographical area. It is a physiological geography.

For me, regionalism; nationalism, Leninism, sexism, feminism, Maoism, secularism, Africanism…. all words having suffix “…ISM” are the same. I am saying words, words that express set of ideas or way of thinking and acting as such for they are the driving forces.

If you try to refer all this type of words, they are problem creatures. Because they create a boundary. It could have been good if they stop there and never reach the others. But the truth is the opposite. They hide themselves on such mind state and go beyond to contaminate the others. The innocent mind state.

I don’t want to go down and interpret the word raised as many ordinary thinking people do. This is for me putting in a slam.

As human being, I want to live without boundary. I don’t mean without a house, a village, a region, a nation, a continent, the planet. I was born in a place which I am always attached. But, this is not my limit. I need to go beyond my cave and look around and reach far beyond.

And I don’t reject who I am. Because I am the result of where I came from. But I will not organize others to appreciate the way I appreciate and neglect or oppose the others.

We need to come-out from superiority-Inferiority complex. We are human being and we are born to live with civility. To live with civility means to do things that can harmonize us with all. Living, non-living. And live in integrity. Not by localizing. We are supposed to live like birds, just like the white cloud.

But just to manage and administer the way we live, we need a civilized way of ruling the surrounding.

Therefore, forget, Aditekelezan, forget hamasien. Come-out from the romantized physcological geography. Live beyond. Just let’s think on how we can manage our life.

Countries were created just after 18thC. Before the system was different. And organizing people at national level was in its time a high level of thinking and managing people and resources in a more efficient way. And now at continetal level came.

Rememeber how Abraham Clinton faught against division of America in the 1770th. 200 years, he said UNIION is the only means. He declared “Unity” by all costs and he succeeded and as we can see now we have the power ful America.

And see now European Union. Europeans were almost 150 years remained behind to understand the true meaning of UNITY.

A lot of things need to be done to come out of “REGIONALIS” or in general “…ISM’s sickness.

I don’t mean that all true values of oneself should be forgotten. I got a chance to study FOOD IDENITY and through this I am learning how Europeans are trying to keep their culture. Please read some on “TERROIR” “Geographic Indication Products.”

 

(Origionally posted in Hanti-Alem discussion group on 09/12/2013 – I am not sure if this page is still active though.)

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The End of PFDJ Lobbying Activity in USA

PFDJ Lobbying activity in #USA is finally exposed when the main lobbying agent, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) , is found to have link with Putin

NY Times Just Revealed Russian Government Groomed A Republican Congressman As An “Asset”

Sophia Tessfamarian enjoying coffee with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)

Some background about Dana Rohrabacher

Dana Rohrabacher in his active lobbying session

Voice of Liberal Democrats: Why Liberal Democracy is the best option for Eritrea and Eritreans? (Part III)

Human Rights and Liberal Democracy

In so many occasions, Eritreans who are living in the Diaspora have now become familiar with the word “Human Rights”. Every mass media is mentioning human rights issue. Particularly, 2015 and 2016 are special years for Eritreans in the struggle of exposing human rights tragedy that was going on since 1991 by the ruling regime in Eritrea. More than 15,000 Eritreans gathered in Geneva to support an investigation report conducted by United Nations Human Rights Council.

A 500 pages report which was released by United Nations Commission of Inquiry indicated that systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations were committed  creating a climate of fear. According to the report, it is not law that rules Eritrea – but fear. According to UNHCR Reports, there were around 375,000 Eritreans living outside Eritrea as registered refugees. Some crimes reported may amount to crimes to humanity. These statistical data are nothing but indication of gross violation of human rights.

But what is Human Right? Why nations are responsible for any crimes committed within their territories? And why Eritreans are considered as refugees?

These questions may not be simple to be answered as they seem to be. Many people in the world are either less knowledgeable about human rights or are unable to fully benefit from the Rights given to them through International treaties in their daily life. More than this, there is confusion between “Natural Rights” and “Human Rights”. Plus, almost everyone on this earth considers human rights as something given from above, as “God given”. Consequently, it is not possible how to use human rights in our daily life apart from being benefitting unconsciousnesly. However, solid knowledge about “Our Rights” is important to live peacefully and with full consciousness.

The history of Human Rights has long history. Before the world came to declare a universal declaration of human rights, countries were using different types of rights. And its use dates back to Babylonian period. In 539 BC, the armies of Cyrus the Great of ancient Persia who conquered Babylon freed all slaves and declared that all people have a right to choose their own religion and established racial equality. Gradually, these rights are spread to the world. Today, this ancient declaration is known as the first world charter of human rights. And it was used as a base for the Universal declaration of Human Rights.

With time, different documents started to be declared in different parts of the world that asserts individual rights. For example, in 1628, the United Kingdom had its first known ‘Natural Rights”. The US constitution (1787) is basically about human rights though it is used as a state constitution.

In 1789, France came with a unique document. Before this year, France was ruled by kings. And religion had strong influence on daily life of its citizens. There were strong class differences. The ruling family or the king family, religious leaders and leaders in the clerk circle had absolute control over ordinary citizens. Citizens had to pay extremely high taxes. Those who work in the government were not paying taxes. French farmers had to sell all their farm products to pay their taxes. Poverty was extremely high. And any person who speaks against the government was facing inhumane treatment and torture. The French people had no freedom and at times they were unable to pay for a single bread to eat at home. Prices for bread was very expensive making life extremely hard to live.

After such long suffering, the French people started to revolt against the monarchies. As a result, from 1789 to 1799, a bloody revolution happened resulting to the overthrowing of the king. And a new government was formed from ordinary people. This gave to the birth of “The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizens.” Followed by US Bill of Rights (1791), these declarations have become the base of all modern human rights declaration.

Modern Human Rights was declared in December 10, 1948 in Paris, France. Out of the then 58 members, 48 members voted “YES”.  Though no country voted against, 8 countries abstained and 2 didn’t vote for different motives. For example, South Africa abstained as it was under apartheid period. The declaration is composed of 30 Articles divided into 5 general structures.

Human Rights can be defined simply as, “the rights you have simply because you are human.” This right gives human being a dignity to live equally with others. For example, Article 1 says, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” This indicates, every human being on this earth is equal no matter what color, race, sex, status, religion he/she has. This is very important to be marked.

The significance of Article 1 is becoming critical as humans are continuously getting divided over so many things due to different motives. Politics and religion are playing negative role to divide people. Our awareness should increase so that can use our rights against serious discriminations.

For example, today, Eritreans are facing systematic discrimination. The class-type promoted by former freedom fighters, ‘Warsay – Yikealo” is a classification system imposed by PFDJ and Eritrean Defense Force. At the beginning it seemed to be good intentioned as it was aimed to express the transfer of knowledge and experience to new generation. Today, this classification has become like a class-system which has become part of strategy layout and National development programs. Yikealo has state priorities and privileges in almost every sector of activity. And Eritreans identify them as privileged citizens. While Yikealo has absolute power over Eritrean’s daily life, Warsay is living as a “slave”, working in forcing labout without any freedom. Before 1994, there was no such classification among Eritreans.

Above, it is indicated that about 375,000 Eritreans are living as registered refuges throughout the world. The primary reason for being a ‘refugee” under UN guidance is that a person is considered as a refugee when he/she is displaced from original place due to different reasons and needs protection. This protection is guaranteed under international responsibility of “human rights to life” which is given under Article 3, which reads, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”. When someone is displaced from original place for a reason that risks life, such as politics, war and social discrimination, the world gives full protection by securing its basic needs and liberty to life.

In this article, it is not enough to discuss about what are human rights violations that are going on in Eritrea and what are the motives that are forcing Eritreans to leave their country. But there is one important case to be  brought here. Eritreans have lost their rights to leave the country freely whenever they want as indicated under Article 13 sub-article B, which reads, “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country”. If there was freedom of movement, many Eritreans might not have forced to leave the country illegally. If there was any problems which risked their life, they could have left freely. This could have reduced the death of thousands of Eritreans and the expensive cost paid to human smugglers.

Today, Eritreans who live in the Diaspora have have relatively sound freedom of expressing their political opinions without fear. Many mass medias and independent social network channels are broadcasting different programs. This was impossible to imagine being in Eritrea as everything is state owned and there is no freedom to speak what you want. Therefore, Eritreans are benefitting from the Rights that is guaranteed to them by the states they live in.

Such freedoms to express political opinions are indicated in Article 18, which states,” Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”. By being inside Eritrea, because of lack of freedom, Eritreans were unable to develop their language, culture and tradition freely.

It is important to conclude by mentioning Article 30 of the Universal declaration of Human Rights. It states, “Nobody should attempt in any way to destroy the rights set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”. This is very important Article. Countries, governments, group of people or individuals may interpret it according to their own advantage that can risk the rights of others.  It is important therefore to know that no other body has an authority to interpret it aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms indicated in the Universal declaration.

States have no obligation to follow Human Rights declarations but are responsible for the well-being of their citizens. And any violation can make them accountable by other states or international bodies. It is important therefore for states to have laws that respect the rights of every individual.

Role of Liberal Democrats

Human Rights is basically the concept of liberal values. No other political philosophy guarantees the rights of people which is provided in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights(1948). And this principled political view of Liberal Democrats gives strong assurance on how people’s freedom can be protected, respected and whenever demanded appropriate remedy is guaranteed through the structure built to safeguard the Rule of Law.

Liberal Democrats believe on Individual rights. And these rights are not comprmised. Sometimes societies tend to violate rights of individuals simply because they consider it is out of the values of societies. But this is not acceptable reason to do so. Though societies could have an opportunity to protect their rights, individuals within the society have an absolute right to be protected. Typical example is the LGBTI community. Like all human being, LGBTI have a right to be who they are and to live freeely. No other community or society has a power to dictate any other other community.

Liberal Democrats role is crucial in this regard. Eritrea is a country of conservative societies. Tradition, culture, religion and way of living makes it difficult to protect individual rights to an extent declared in the human rights. Nevertheless, it is an absolute mandate for liberal democrats to protect every single Eritrean’s rights.

 

Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Tigrigna Version

Eritreans who live in different corners of the world came together to produce Tigrigna version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is a noble work. It is an honor to say, ‘thank you” for those who participated in this project.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights has 30 Articles which was declared in 1948. These Rights are for all human beings.

Special thanks goes to Asmarino Independent Media.

I expect this material to be produced in other languages.

Asmara: UNESCO must take its Responsibility

Link between Eritrean Embassy in France and #UNESCO should not be business oriented but for empowering human Rights
Here, in France, we are calling UNESCO to take its repsonsibility for its recognized world heriateg city Asmara to safeguard human rights according to UN “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework and Guiding Principles as it is outlined in “Business and Human Rights”.
Giving Asmara a world recognition has a potential to boost tourism sector by giving the world a publicised image. People may visit thinking that Asmara is safe and a city where a normal life is going.
The reality is not what it could potentially be portrayed by UNESCO.
Asmara is becoming a night mare for its habitants. Human-Rights, even the basics to live freely, have education, health care and freedom to beliefs/religion is grossely violated.
It is for this reason that we are calling UNESCO not to mislead the world by giving a non-existing image of Asmara.

Asmara:PFDJ is arresting massively Eritreans in the world Heritage City and UNESCO is silent

Source: Arbi Harinet

Students of other schools in Akria, use their mobile phones to show their solidarity for Dia school students and Haji Mussa

(Akria 05-11-2017) Since the uprisings on Tuesday agents of the national security have been detaining many people that they suspect of having links with the events that transpired in Asmara.
In accordance, almost all members of the executive committee of the school are in prison; names so far include
1. Ibrahim Shifa
2. Mahmud Abdeqadir
3. Abdelwasie Ahmed
4. Mohamed Nur
5. And one other person whose name is currently not available
The regime is treating this as it treated all previous challenges, by trying to create mistrust and division. We notice many covert actions aimed at dividing people.

Our sources in secondary schools inform us that other schools in Akria have become targets for pressure on students to not listen to and/or discuss with Moslem peers. This is often done by using scare tactics on their parents and advising them to warn their children. However the students are defying their parents and the authorities and have been exchanging images of Haji Musa on their phones. Concerned about the levels of defiance some schools are sternly warning students against bringing mobile phones to school. Students in a neighbourhood on the outskirts of Akria known as Mihram Chira are among those who have received this stern warning.

Project Arbi Harnet in Asmara call on everyone to rise against these divisive tactics of the regime and strengthen unity across both faiths and among all Eritreans.

In other news, there are about 856 arrested people by Eritrean National Security Forces.

arrest in Asmara

Voice of Eritrean Liberal Democrats: Why Liberal Democracy is the best option for Eritrea and Eritreans?(Part II)

In part one, I tried to explain the long march to search an ideology that has a potential to answer my quest of Eritrean mindset and why an ideology is a necessary tool to comeout with a vision that can be defined ideologically. In the discourse, I created a triangular shape (as shown in figure below) of drawing human activities based on a political philosophy and an ideology produced. And in all these phases, human being is the main actor in framing its own ideology and the master head of all activities based on the projects available.

Pyramid

In this second part, I will discuss what Liberal Democracy is and what values are encompassed within its basic principles. By doing so, I will try to create the link between Eritrean needs and the values that can be obtained from adopting Liberal Democracy.

Liberal Democracy: Definition

Liberal democracy is a democratic system of government in which individual rights and freedoms are officially recognized and protected, and the exercise of political power is limited by the rule of law. (Source: Oxford Living Dictionaries).

From this definition, those who embrace liberal democracy vow to protect individual rights. By protecting these individuals, it gives freedom of the over all society through mutual respect. This is crucial political stand that is highly demanded in countries where individual freedom is absent and mutual respect does not exist or is in danger.

In addition, liberal democracy encourages political, social and economic competition between political parties and pressure groups(such as civic societies and NGOs).

Basic Beliefs of Liberal Democracy

 1. Universal Suffrage

Liberal democracy  believes that the government to be formed gets its legitimacy from the people through regular elections (Universal Suffrage). All citizens who are legitimate to elect, attend regular voting in a fair, free and competitive elections to elect their good candidate in a secret ballot  regardless of race, gender or property ownership. And the candidate who gets the highest vote takes responsibility to govern the government. The elected government is accountable to the people for what it does, with Parliament holding it accountable.

2. Separation of Power

To define the system in practice, liberal democracy draws upon a constitution, either formally written or uncodified, to delineate the powers of government and enshrine the social contract. Liberal democracy stresses on the separation of powers, an independent judiciary and a system of checks and balances between branches of government.

The constitution defines the democratic character of the state. The purpose of a constitution is often seen as a limit on the authority of the government.

3. Human Rights, Civil Rights, Civil Liberties and Political Freedom

Liberal Democrats believe that equal protection of human rights, civil rights, civil liberties and political freedoms for all people must be gauranteed under the constitution and the law to be written must protect these rights.

4. Freedom of Press and Free Speech

Freedom of press and free speech is guaranteed. A central aim of liberal democracy as a system is that it tries to create more trasparent governance system and freedom of expression of thoughts that encourages citizens to engage at all levels. Freedom of press is also a vital component in the chech-and-balance mechanism of the goverment actions by bringing important issues to the public attention. It can also be used as a tool to fight against corruption by allowing different actors to play an active role in exposing the government system.

5. Freedom of Movement

Liberal democrats believes that citizens have full freedom to movement within and outside the country. There is no question that how absence of freedom of movement limits people’s freedom to live freely and work for their economic well being. 

Absence of freedom of movement is the worst form of violating human rights. Therefore, liberal democrats have genuine political interest to gaurantee citizens their absolute feeedom for movement. By doing so, individuals have an advantage of looking opportunities that might not be available in their local areas. 

Today, there are security issues which are putting some scrunity procedures that may affect the kind of freedom of movement advocated by liberal democtats for the last two centures. 

6. Free and Competitive Market

Since the introduction of liberal democracy as a political system, the world has witnessed massive increase in wealth across nations and advancement in living standard. People were allowed to own properties and make profit on sell. Trade between countries became simplified and predictable. And industrialization expoded massively to produce commodities for profite making. Investors got new freedom to look business opportunities via opportunity costs and resource driven expansions.

In this regard, there is no doubt for a necessity to embrace liberal democracy as it is the sole political ideology that gaurantees market freedom. Though, there is critics towards it as the main cause of economic stratification among citizens, it is strong system that can provide opportunities for hard working people.

7. Transparency

Without transparency, there is no accountability. Therefore, it is crucial to build a system that allows transparency. Citizens and press have a right to get information about their country. And information sharing is vital in the life of every citizen.

According to principles of liberal democracy, the degree of transparency defines the level of government quality. The more the transparency is, the more accountable it becomes.

8. Sovereignity 

Liberal democrats believe that each state has a sovereign power to govern its internal affairs without outside intereference where the sovereignity is safeguarded and protected under international laws. Having such self governing power, it gives a relative gaurantee from alien forces by providing formal and legitimate recognition.

As liberal democrats believe on international treaties and mutual respect between sovereign states, sovereignity has insignificant incidences to be endangered by outside forces unless internal political dynamism leads to state failures leading to division. In case of disputes, the international community has a legitimate mandate to safeguard the sovereignity based on state demand and bring a peaceful resolution.

Having this kind of sovereign power, it gives the government to focus on improving the livehood of citizens without significant external threats and pressure unless.

Here, it is important to mention sovereignity does not mean isolation. The country has national and international obligations to fulfill the rights of its citizens.

9. Rule of Law

Liberal democrats strongly believe that law should govern a sovereign nation.  By doing so, they refer to the influence and authority of law within society. Individual decisions has no room in governance unles it follows proper law abiding processes.

Freedom in soceity is only subjected to laws made by a legistlative body that apply to every individual citizen on equal basis without restricting upon liberty.

Liberal democratic countries may differ on the way they apply rule of law. However, as principle, international treaties and agreemets have a central focus to incorporate with their domestic laws. And Constitution becomes the supreme legal reference in writing domestic laws and limiting government power. For example, France puts International Regulations as top reference in applying Rule of Law. As shown in Figure below, national Constitution becomes second to International conventions and laws are outsourced from this domestic constitution.

Hierarchy of norms

Liberal Democratic Countries

Today, most advanced countries are liberal democrats. According to the Freedom house countries that fall in this category are:

Europe: the European Union, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland,

Asia: Japan, South Korea, India, Taiwan, Israel

North America: the United States, Canada, Mexico,

South America: Uruguay, Costa Rica,

Africa: South Africa,

Australia and New Zealand.

It is not a surprise to have only one country as a liberal democrat in the continent of Africa. It is the prime prove to know how much liberal democracy is in creating an advanced country. Africans had

Liberal Democracy and Eritrea

It is quite known that today Eritrea is under absolute dictatorship. The notion democracy is an alien word. In recent reports of United Nations Human Rights Council, Eritrean regime is committing widespread and systematic violations that amounted to serious crimes againist humanity. It is therefore an obsolute to talk about liberal democracy.

At the same time, there are significant forces that are fighting against the dictatrial regime to remove it from power and replace it by a democratic government. Nevertheless, there is no concrete political ideology to fight with to restore human freedom and create a government that respects Rule of Law.

Many actors in the opposition camp are conservative leaning to nationalist ideology with some reminants of socialist forces. Today, due to lack of well defined ideology, the opposition camp is found in political chaos. Some extremists are also hatching based on identity and regional politics.

So far, there was no political force that openly claims itself as a Liberal Democrat. Therefore, it is a historical record to claim myself as a Liberal democrat.

Being a liberal democrat is freedom by itself. This self attained freedom will give power to inject liberal democratic values in the conservative society and thereby to change the dictatorial government we have into a liberal one.