A Converse: One Nation and its Complications

These conversations are teken from a facebook page after a person named, Bahlibi (full name is not given) has posted the topic below. Three people involved in the discussion in addition to me. I will not include their names except mine. Rather I will replace their names with Bahlibi, Zaki and Daniel. The discussion was held on 17/02 – 18/02/2017.

Topic:

ሓንቲ ኤርትራ ዝብል ሓቓፍን ቁዱስን ቃል ዝሕምሞም ሰባት እንተሃልዮም፣ ወይ ክታብ ሸኽ ዛይድ ወይ ድማ ክልተ ሸውዓት ጋብር ደርዓንቶ ምሕጻብ ከድሊ እዩ።

Converse 

Trend 1:

Tesfabirhan Redie: 

Bahlibi I think we are familiar with the way you are describing things. Isn’t it the same what dictator Issaias told when he was asked about why the youth are fleeing the country?

No one will feel bad when the notion of one Eritrea is mentioned. But history has taught us not to accept such candy words without questioning critically.

Unfortunately, those who are trying to sell the current One Nation concept seems not to be different from existing dictatorial notion of “Hade Libi -Hade Hizbi”.

Lets accept constructive criticism before blocking anyone who tries to get clarifications.

Bahlibi: 

Tesfabirhan Redie you have a valid point, brother. A constructive criticism should always be welcomed with open arms.I don’t intend to advocate for a blind worship. But here, we are neither talking about policy nor political reconstruction. It is a simple and plain rally for unity. Regardless of our political philosophy, ethnic or religious affiliations, we all have Eritrea at heart. There is absolutely nothing wrong with “We love one Eritrea” rallying point.

Tesfabirhan Redie:

Bahlibi, thanks. But what history teaches us, there is something wrong with “We love one Eritrea”. We can’t be blind adherents of this notion again. We need to clarify again and again untill everyone feels safe with it.

Bahlibi: 

Tesfabirhan know where you are trying to get with this. But as rule of thump, you can never start a political dialogue or national reconciliation processes by focusing on things that differentiate us. But you focus on the things that bring us together-Eritrea.And then, we all sit down to discuss our grievance, our ambitions, differences and potential solutions.

Tesfabirhan Redie:

People are always there and everyone loves for the country. Our father Wedi Vacaro’s call is a strong indicator on hwo strong we are to come together. What we lack is a clear mission, objectives and strategy.

Especially, when people come together, what they are not getting is an inclussive idea.

In fact, the call for unity is becoming boring.

Forget now all the past and decades old experiences, what happend to EYS is enough to get a hint on what can be if it is empty call.

Therefore, everyone is not far from the notion but is skeptical on its discourse.

Bahlibi: 

Tesfabirhan Yes, we should have clear mission, objective and strategy. But in this simple picture/paint/slogan, the aforementioned factors are engraved. Mision? To free Eritrea together and live in a constitutional government where people enjoy the rule of law, rights, and responsibilities. Objective?To debunk the divisive and chaotic situation in the social media and fight the political arsonists who are trying to compromise our social and political solidarity. Strategy? Bringing all Eritrean nationals together to achieve a common goal-getting ride of the monster in Eritrea. Is this too much to ask? One more thing. Whether it is about the people in EYSC or EYFF, we have to learn to respect all the people who have dedicated their life, time, energy and money to be a voice for the voiceless. To me, every person in the opposition is a strategic ally. Everything they do is to help Eritrea and Eritreans. Do they get it wrong? of course. But they are ordinary human beings who are trying to do something right about the wrongs in their homeland.

Zaki:

[Tesfabirhan] So, are you telling us not to love Eritrea? What is your argument that asking people to love the country would derail the opposition?

Tesfabirhan Redie:

[Zaki] What you are saying is your own imagination. And this is mine: My belief is very simple: As much as I love my country, every Eritrean loves it. Very simple. I don’t believe on politics that tells people to love their country.

Any politics that asks people to love its country is simply to clasify people. Of course nationalists will always ask people to love their country. This is what PFDJ does.

Zaki, please lets not repeat mistakes again and again.

All what I am asking is to have a very broad definition of One Nation.

 

Zaki:

Yes, it is important for people to ask for a strategy but to oppose without even knowing the details makes one obstructionist.

Tesfabirhan Redie:

I believe that the details are outlined on the website of One Nation Eritrea. In case there is any other secret behind, I am sorry I am not aware about it. But what I depend my concern is all based on the information given on this page: http://www.eritrea1nation.com/

Zaki:

So?, it says ” no sectarianism “. Are you a sectarian?

Zaki:

Where are you getting this “telling people to love their country” from? I don’t support forcing people, either.

Zaki:

I am a nationalist, and I don’t call a forced love for a country nationalism. We don’t have the same understanding of nationalism brother.

Tesfabirhan Redie:

[Zaki] First: I am not a nationalist. But I know what nationalism is and what nationalists promote. It is exactly what you are doing.

On sectarianism – I am not sure from where you are bringing it. But I believe on a complete separation of state and religion and in a complete autonomy of religious practices that respects rights of the other each religious or non religious group.

Trend 2:

Zaki:

[Tesfabirhan] I have been waiting for the opposition groups to come out and address the toxic and divisive politics of the last two years or so. Except a couple of known political activists who showed some concern, all kept quiet. Now, those who have been in hibernation for a long time are coming out to oppose nationalism. I am confused. Are these people benefitting from division?
My slogan is:
Yes to + and ×
No to ÷ and –

Tesfabirhan Redie:

[zaki]I think you thought this One Nation to be the final and blowing movement. No one benefits from division but everyone is concerned from issues that will continue to divided us.

Daniel:

Tesfabirhan, The division is already here: Look no further, just examine the following:

Political Organizations (19 +/-)
Ethnic Based Political Organizations (5 +/-)
Religion Based Political Organizations (4 +/-)
Regional Based Political Organizations (2 +/-)
Civic Organizations (30 +/-)
Youth Oriented Organizations (7 +/-)
Women Based Organizations (3 +/-)
Refugee and Human Rights Organizations (10 +/-)
Umbrella Organizations ( 3+/-)
Radio (10 +/-)
Websites (35 +/-)
Paltalk/Facebook Pages (15 +/-)

Tesfabirhan Redie:

Daniel, thank you Daniel for this information. It is very helpful in this discussion.

Let me ask you: Have you reached all these lists and clearly identified their grievances and concerns?

I think they can not be simply called for unity irrespective of their differences. They exist because they have a reason.

No one likes to be divided but there are unavoidable circumstances that leads you into.

Just suppose the youth organizations. EYSC and ENMNS – can these two groups ignore their differences and become united?

EYSC doesn’t seem to have problem with the believes of One Nation but ESMNS will have a real serious problem.

In one of the list of One Nation belief, what One Nation beliefs is on change that comes from inside only and rejects any outside interferences. Though I can not say that EYMNS has interference of Ethiopia, their movement is so clear that change of the oppression regime includes from outside too.

Do you think then EYSC and EYMNS be united in this movement for a common goal?

Another question:

onenation-loveIn the photo that shows 9 ethnic groups – do you think Jeberti will welcome and be part of the One Nation Movement?

Thousands of questions are lining in my head to be written. For now, these are enough I think.

Zaki: 

So, are you questioning the motive behind a nationalistic movement or you are simply saying it is a bad idea? If it is the latter you just have to realize that you don’t have the monopoly of good ideas and all you need to do is accept the difference as you have accepted all the 50+ groups. It is only one more group to take

Tesfabirhan Redie:

What you said is exactly what I am addressing. There are differences that we need to address before starting any movement.

For example, you and I have different political views though we both love our country.

My point is not to make nationalist to be a bad idea, though on some specifici points I believe so, but to show that One Nation has ignored concerns of the people. Say for example, by displaying 9 ethnic groups phot and indicating that is what they are calling one Nation.

If we agree then, there is difference in our views, do not preach us “One Nation”. For me, what I am understanding is this One Nation concept is a continuation of PFDJ “Hade Hizbi – Hade Libi” mantra that is originated from Socialism or Communism definition of Nationalists.

This is my understanding.

And if One Nation Movement wants to join the 50+ list, you are very welcomed. Hopefully meskerem will include it in the over crowding list.

But my wish is to see a movement that reduces these 50+ into fewer but united and strong clusters of opposition camp.

Wish is wish!

Zaki: 

Tes, I don’t expect 100% of Eritreans to be nationalists but we do need nationalists if we want to have a nation

Tesfabirhan Redie:

Zaki, I think the Eritrean political landscape is over saturated by nationalists. What we don’t have is something higher or different than that.

And this is a view that puts democracy and justice first by incorporating human rights and rule of law within it. This is the area that we really are in shortage.

Thanks to our 30 years struggle and now 26 years constant brainwashing and chaos in accordance to PFDJ nationalistic ideology, almost all Eritreans are Nationalists by default.

And if you notice our failures, it is basically because we are using or repeating mistakes done by our previous nationalists.

No matter how often we come with new names, our mindset is still there. Look, EYSC manifestation is clearly visible in this One Nation beliefs. and we are all witnessing on what has happened and is happening to its memebers no matter how good missions they outline.

Therefore, what we need is a new paradigm, or a total shift from the principles that we are constantly utilizing.

 

 

 

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