Monthly Archives: July 2017

Cancer is killing Eritreans and Eritrean Regime is Simply Watching (Part 1/2)

Preamble:

A study conducted in 2016 under a title ” Trends in the Incidence of Cancer in Eritrean Hospitals and Eritrean National Health Laboratory 2000-2010″ and published at UK Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biosciences based on data report obtained from the Ministry of Health – Eritrea of the year that ranges from 2000 to 2010 indicated that the number of cancer cases confirmed was 19,636 out of these 9,482 cases were positive for cancer. The research conducted found that cancer registered among female is the highest (60.82%) compared to male (39.18%).

The study also found that the number of cancer cases was increasing since 2000. Despite the increased cancer cases, Eritrea has not yet introduced means to treat cancer for its own citizens. In consequence, few among the thousand victims are leaving the country in masses to seek medical treatment. 

Once I looked deeper into this subject matter, I can not keep my silence. I organized by dispersed energy to write a lengthy article so that political awareness can be enhanced for taking necessary action to fight against the suffering of Eritreans by all activists, civic and political organizations. 

At this time, Eritreans are not only suffering from political oppression but also health related problems caused by mismanagement, carelessness, and corrupted political decisions. Health related subject needs extensive coverage. Hoping many activists to join me, my objective is to call the international community so that necessary actions can be taken to pressure Eritrea to do something. I am presenting you this article titled by “Cancer is Killing Eritreans and the Eritrean Regime is simply watching”

To simplify for readers, this article is divided into two parts. The first one tries to give highlights on the current situation of Cancer patients in Sudan. The second part will explore Cancer situation in Eritrea, possible causes, the silence of the dictatorial regime for the case of cancer and a call to Eritreans and International community, especially WHO to give a focus on the increasing trend of cancer in Eritrea and take necessary measures to intervene on the prevention methods and introduce necessary technology so that Eritreans can be treated at home.

PART 1/2

Painfull and Horrifying Images 

These days, every time I open my facebook page I am encountered with shocking images that put me disturbed the whole day. These images (see below – I apologize for any inconvenience) are not good news at all but sad. It is what I see from shared Facebook feeds through hundreds of my friends showing Eritreans who are victims of cancer. They are accompanied by “call for help or fund raising campaign”  messages for financial help. They are all horrifying. 

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Figure 1: Nardos Goitom, Student at Eritrean Institut of technology, Brain Tumor

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Figure 2: Feven Habteab, 3rd year Eritrean Institut of Technology Student, Blood Cancer

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Figure 3: Daniel Yakob, age 30, victim from Pelvic Cancer

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Figure 4: Senait Ahferom, age 30, mother of 6 children, brain cancer

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Figure 5: Asmelash Gebeya, father of 3, victim of Blood Cancer

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Figure 6: Victim of Ovary cancer. She became aware of her cancer when she was in her honeymoon days after she got married in September 2014

A mother patient with Stage 4 Malignant Brain Tumor

Figure 7: Ikram, A mother, and victim of Stage 4 Malignant Brain Tumor 

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Figure 8: Cancer patients in the newly established reception center in Khartoum (Four Eritrean victims of Cancer, starting from the second man at the left, two men and two women and three volunteers who are are working to help those cancer patients) 

 

Figure 9: Yodit, victim of Breast Cancer

 

Figure 10: Actress Beke Weynihareg, Age 41 and mother, died in Khartoum on Jan. 19, 2016 from Breast Cancer while receiving cancer treatment

One may wonder why these Cancer patients are in Khartoum. It is true that these victims were supposed to get treatment in their home country. It is unfortunate to see in 2017 Eritrea has not yet introduced medical technology that can treat cancer. Despite Eritrea’s claim and publicity of achieving 6 out of 8 Millenium Development Goals, the country still lacks basic health services that could have saved thousands of its own people from endangering diseases. As a result, cancer victims are forced to search their own means of treatment. Anyone who seeks medical treatment the only choice is to go abroad or die at home.

Of course, no one can simply watch his/her death while death is approaching. In addition to financial burdens, to obtain permission for a medical leave from PFDJ government is not easy.  Above all, there is no free movement of people. Anyone who wants to travel abraod permission must be secured from government officials. To do this, one needs to prove his illness through medical checks and screening of government officials of respecitve duties to certify the disease is incurable inside Eritrea. To do this, the first step is to fulfilm all requirements by the state, such as compeltion of national service, aka ‘slavery’.  To get the final confirmation and then permission from the immigration department, it is time demanding, too bureaucratic and needs huge money and exhaustive. By the time the paper becomes ready, the patient is already weak and cancer has become fully developed.

At this stage, the nearby immergency  place to get first cancer treatment is Sudan. Henceforth, almost all victims go to Sudan. For this reason, Sudan is the primary hosting country for almost all cancer victims who can afford initial travel expenses. Though Sudan hospitals are welcoming Eritreans for treatment, based on the capacity of patients, it is expensive.

Though is is hard ro figure our first Sudanese health care system is not well developed. Sudan natioanls go abroad,  like to India. In addition, patients need to wait doctors for so long as there are no enough experts.  This is another big challenge

As noted above, the time they reach Sudan, they are already weak. Any additional days are hard to wait in patience. Patients can afford neither hospitals nor hotels. Living cost is expensive. In short, it is hard to imagine the suffering they pass through. The psychological problem and physical pain are more than one can think about.

The only hope they could imagine in this challenging time is, therefore, to get a place to stay and proceed their treatment.  I had no prior information what was going on in Sudan with these patients. However, an Association established in 2015 that works with the cancer victims helped to figure out about their suffering.

Hope Never Ceased: A Solidarity Association for Cancer Victims in Khartoum

According to information available on their Facebook page, an idea was initiated by a cancer survivor named Ms. Yordanos Tesfu. Having experienced cancer and passing through all the aforementioned challenges, Ms. Tesfu shared her noble idea to establish a center so that others could get relief from the bitter experience she had gone through. Her idea got the attention of friends and in October 2015, a humanitarian non-governmental and independent association was established in Khartoum legally.

Ms. Yordanos Tesfu giving briefings about history, Cancer victims in Sudan and her activity to help 

Dedicated and good hearted Eritreans took a step to establish the center Mrs. Yordanos Tesfay envisioned. Because of their relentless effort and dedication, a housing center was officially inaugurated on May 08, 2017 in Khartoum to host patients during their treatment period. The housing reception center is a compound composed of 9 rooms equipped fully to host and give full services for cancer patients who come from Eritrea.

The group named by itself, “Eritrean Group to Assist Cancer Case – ጉጅለ ምትሕግጋዝ ሕሙማት መንሽሮ ኤርትራውያን ኣብ ካርቱም ”  has six major objectives.

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  1. To provide information to cancer patients about treatment and consultation centers.
  2. To provide professional consular services.
  3.   to create a center where patients can exchange information and share their ideas.
  4. To promote public awareness about cancer diseases and prevention mechanisms
  5. To provide financial support depending on available resources
  6. To provide psychological and financial support by visiting for those who are unable to leave their residence place

Inauguration of reception and housing center for Cancer patients in Khartoum

Eritreans residing all over the world responded positively to help the patients by organizing fund raising events. Hope never ceased. Such kind of solidarity, not only gives hope to the patients but it is a means of psychological relief to the patients as people are sending their solidarity messages, both financially and morally.

Some of the fund raising events:

  1. Norway

Fund raising event in Norway

2. Pretoria, South Africa

Students from Pretoria, South Africa organized fund raising events

3. Israel

Eritreans from Israel

Testimonies

Eritreans from Israel

Some of the victims while giving a testimony, Khartoum

End of Part 1/2

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Communist Party of China(CPC) is Guilty of​ its​ Symbiotic Relationship​ with PFDJ of Eritrea

News published at www.shabait.com on 19/07/2017 has put me in a puzzle to ask a diplomatic relationship between China and Eritrea. The news report has strange photo footage of showing seven(7) officials of Chinese Communist Party attending a meeting with only two PFDJ officials – Isaias Afewerki and Hagos Ghebrehiwet. Though it is not unusual to see such kind of meetings with foreign diplomats, this report forced me to make CPC accountable for its collaboration with PFDJ officials which are accused of crimes against humanity.

According to the report published at shabait, the meeting was aimed at strengthening the existing relationship between CPC and PFDJ. Indeed PFDJ desperately needs to maintain with its parental party. If CPC has any striving ideological heritage in Africa, it is only in Eritrea. cpc_pfdj

PFDJ Officials and CPC Delegates meetings, Asmara 19/07/2017

The history of Chinese Communist Party and Isaias Afewerki dates back to 1997.  This makes it 1967 to be an important year for China and Eritrea. It is the year where the current leader of Eritrea and Chairman of PFDJ, Isaias Afewerki, went to China to be trained as a political cadre. At the same year, China was in its Cultural Revolution era(1966 – 1976) led under the leadership of Mao Zedong. Isaias got political training by Communist Party of China(CPC) trainers within the principle of Marx-Lenin-Maoism Ideology. It was not only the teachings he got from but also what he witnessed during his six months stay in China has a tremendous impact in Isaias’s thinking and daily practices. The teachings he received combined with his psychopathic behavior, Isaias has turned into a monster and barbaric leader. Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki in China - 1967

Isaias Afewerki, other Eritreans and Chinese Cadre trainers, 1967, China

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Isaias Afewerki and Chinese President, China, 2005

If the years of Cultural Revolution of China are remembered as the worst days in Chinese modern history, so is the era of Isaias (1967 – present). China under communist Mao (1949 – 1976) has witnessed massive genocide and crimes against humanity. So is now in Eritrea by his student Isaias Afewerki.

UN Human Rights Council has accused Eritrea of its crimes against humanity. According to Commission of Inquiry – Eritrea investigation report, since 1991, Eritreans are exposed to systematic crimes against humanity. During 2015, 2016 and 2017, hearings at UN hearings, if there is any country that did not fully approve COI – Report, it is China. Instead, China made an excuse over Eritrea’s crimes as if it was incapability of management skills.

If Cultural revolution era was miserable for China, I hope they are not making excuses those crimes committed against Chinese as if it was a lack of skilled managers during the Mao leadership. Otherwise, the source of all those misers was the political ideology followed by Communist Party. And what PFDJ is committing at this time is in line with the ideology thought by Chinese officers.

It is a historical mistake to observe CPC continuing its parental role and strengthen PFDJ. Though I am not naive to expect respect of human rights from CPC, at least it is a universal obligation for a government or political parties to distance themselves from anyone accused of crimes against humanity.

Today, China is the 2nd most powerful country. It was expected to protect human rights by pressuring leaders who abuse their power to commit crimes. There is no logic to observe this powerful country to be blind and deaf when innocent people are crying for help. China has an international obligation. This obligation is not only limited to economic prosperity but also peace and freedom. When people lack freedom, everything is else is nothing but a nightmare.

PFDJ may pretend for its diplomatic relationship with China as it is historical. The fact is, PFDJ never acknowledged history. Its relationship is purely symbiotic. It is to open a gateway for greedy Chinese economy so that it can stay in power. Ideologically and in practice, China is more close to PFDJ. China does not respect basic human rights so is CPC. China is looking aggressively sources of raw materials. Eritrea is relatively ideal place as it has unexploited mineral resources and strategic maritime line.  China can not afford pressuring countries like Eritrea simply to lose its interest. If there are governments which need protection at the cost of everything they possess, China will be ideal country. The symbiotic relationship between PFDJ and CPC is therefore based on “I will protect you but allow me to exploit you” symbiotic relationship. The existing historical background is used to broker between the countries. And their self-interest is the leverage for their evil relationship.

Communist Party of China is guilty at two levels: (1) – as an ideological parent to PFDJ regime and (2) as a party that has ignored what PFDJ is accused of by UN Human Rights body for its crimes against humanity and continue its business. Eritreans will not forget what Chinese are doing with PFDJ. If there is any powerful country that is purposefully keeping silent over Eritrean situation it is China. History is recording.

On this occasion, if China has any humanity, I call it to use its power to pressure PFDJ end its crimes. If this is not possible, China should refrain from exploiting Eritrean natural resources and halt its business practices with PFDJ. At the same time, I call international community pressure China to stop its actvitiy with Eritrea.

 

 

Eritrean Orthodox Church and the case of Patriarch Abune Antonios

Smokes of Propaganda?

It was the day before yesterday, to be exact, on Sunday 16/07/2017, that some fresh and seemingly good news but highly orchestrated event came from Asmara Saint Mary Orthodox Church. The news which is published at an official Eritrean Orthodox Church website reported that Patriarch Abune Antonios was released from his eleven (11) years imprisonment and as a good will attended for a ‘Prayer for Reconciliation’.  According to the news, the reconciliation process and public meeting (please click here to see the event )  are aimed to reconcile Abune Antonios and the Church leadership so that his eleven years imprisonment under PFDJ to have an end peacefully with a forgiveness.

Nevertheless, this sophisticated public trial by politically painted religious leaders is the first of its kind in the church history throughout its entire 1600 years life span. colonizers/Politicians might have exploited the church but never did such an open and public persecution. The church might have suffered from invaders, religious wars, and colonizers. It could have sidelined to an extent that it has once diluted its religious mission. However, what the Church has faced under PFDJ rule is unparalleled.

PFDJ and his Suppression of Human Rights Freedom of Thoughts and Religion

As a continuation of freedom suppression in all Eritrean life, PFDJ representative for religious affairs openly started to give directives to all religious institutions. Orthodox Church was one of the then officially recognized religions in Eritrea. As a state controlled institution, directives started to come from Mr. Yeftehe Dimetros, the then government’s official responsible for church matters. Patriarch Abune Antonios resisted such kind of interferences. As a result, Abune Antonios was prohibited from conveying 2005 new year message via the only existing TV channel. And on the synod meeting held from 6 to 7 August 2005, the Patriarch is removed from his position and on January 13, 2006, secret agents came to his residence place and took him to an unknown location. Since then he was put under the prison. Little was known about where he was about until recent time.

Patriarch Abune Antonios was accused of two things:

  1. His reluctance to excommunicate 3,000 members of the Medhane Alem, an Orthodox Sunday School movement,
  2. His demands that the government should release imprisoned Christians accused of treason.

These were just a fake accusations. The real motive was suppression of religious freedom. According to Universal Declaration of Human Freedom, as stated under Article 18 everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. This is what PFDJ actually was violating as he did to Freedom of press and thoughts. Now that PFDj is trying to camouflage his crimes on religious freedom whatever propaganda is used has no value in front of the truth.

What the Eritrean Orthodox Church is facing is not different from that of Jehova witness, Pentecostalism, and other banned religious sects.

If CPSU was in USSR, so is now PFDJ in Eritrea: 

There is a strong parallelism for what the Communist Party of Soviet Union (CPSU) was doing and today’s acts of PFDJ for the Orthodox Church.  Both political parties controlled the church for their own political agenda. What might be different with the Eritrean Orthodox Church is that PFDJ is using the church to liquidate other religions while Russia was using the church to brainwash the people.  The world has a similar experience. For example, former the Sovietveit Union had manipulated Russian Orthodox Church for its own political agenda by hiring KGB officials in the ranks of religious freedom.

After the fall of USSR, archives of KGB, the Committee for State Security, which is equivalent to National Security of Eritrea (ሃገራዊ ድሕነት)revealed that there was a clear connection of the Orthodox hierarchy to the Soviet government. According to the revelation, a number of bishops were part of the KGB apparatus. CPSU had complete control over the Church through directives that run from the Politburo via the Council of Religious affairs and finally to the KGB. Some documents showed that 9 out of 10within the top church hierarchy were KGB members. Today, this same hierarchy seem to exist within PFDJ system of controlling religious institutions, both within and outside Eritrea.

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What PFDJ tried over Patriarch Abune Antonios is a similar attempt to control the church via the political affairs of PFDJ. The resistance encountered from the Abune Antonios was a blockage from what was assumed to be attained. As a consequence, PFDJ fabricated false accusations and deposed the Patriarch from his position. After banning him from delivering new year message, he was replaced by another bishop under a strictly controlled synod meetings.

The Patriarch condemned the action taken by the synod through an official letter written in Tigrigna (its translated version is available at www.tewahdo.org as given in the captured pictures below). In his letter, he warned the grave mistake they had taken against the Constitution of the Church.

 

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Captured screen pictures of the letter written by Patriarch Abune Antonios

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Dictator Issaias Afewerki pretending religious and kissing the Holy Cross of the 3rd Patriarch Abune Antonios.

Appointment of New Patriarch and the Vacuum Created after

A fourth patriarch, His holiness Abune Dioskoros was appointed as new head of the church. Though there was no information about the newly elected patriarch, considering his age, deteriorating health and strict control, he had the church became under the total control of PFDJ.

Like the Orthodox Church of the Soviet era, where the Church was controlled by the state under a strict surveillance of KGB, after the outpost of Patriarch Abune Antoniosm PFDJ controlled the Church by appointing leaders affiliated with the party. In every meeting and international visits, an agent from PFDJ has to accompany them.

Patriarch Abune Dioskoros died on December 21, 2015. His death has created a vacuum of leadership and the increasing international pressure and disagreement among bishops left the church vulnerable to further division. The church failed to nominate new patriarch. As the anathema put by Patriarch Abune Antonios was not uplifted, some bishops called for his release and return to his position.

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Funeral Service of the 4th Patriarch His Holiness Abune Dioskoros in the presence of Issaias Afewerki (26/12/2015)

PFDJ responded by pressuring His Holiness Abune Antonios to sign a regret paper by acknowledging his mistakes. PFDJ promised the time he signed the paper, he will be released. The Patriarch stood on his principle and rejected to sign a regret paper.

After that, the Church could not nominate one. Instead, General Secretary of Synod started to head the church since then. From December 2015, the Church has no patriarch and is lead by a General Secretary. This is the worst development of modern Christian history in Eritrea. A church without a leader is like a sheep without a shepherd.

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General Secretary of the Synod Abune Lukas as head of Eritrean Orthodox Church

A Divided Church and its Struggle for Restoring Rule of Law

After the incidence of 2015, the church has seen unprecedented division. Those who called for an immediate release of Patriarch Abune Antonios were considered as anti-church and accused as “Reformists”. Some were detained and others flee from the country. There was no chance to voice for justice by being in Eritrea. Many church leaders, monks, deacons, priests, and elders became targets of PFDJ and National security agents. Churches who rejected the new patriarch were pressured to obey an order.

The worst effect of such government interference was observed outside Eritrea. Churches in North America and Canada denounced the newly appointed Patriarch and formally declared their recognition for the out posted patriarch. They became ardent dissidents and are continuously calling for his immediate release since then. The North American Church lead by H.G. Abune Macarius is the main resistance force and keeper of Patriarch Abune Antonios position.

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H.G. Abune Makarius (Second from left front row), photo taken on the occasion of Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches 2013

Priests like Rev. Fr. Athanasius Ghebre-Ab, Keshi Merkos Debas, Keshi Mussie are among the prominent advocators for the release and liberation of Orthodox Church from PFDJ interference.

 

Not only among religious leaders, many human rights activists voiced for his immediate release. Human Rights Council for Eritrea(HRCE) is among the prominent civic organization that brought the case of ABune Antonios to UNHRC.

The Church of Coptic Church of Egypt and all other Oriental churches denounced the nomination and did not recognize this new appointment. Eritrean Coptic Church broke its historical relationship with those churches. UN Human Rights and other Religious Rights advocators called for his immediate release without any precondition.

PFDJ Interference in the Churches

PFDJ assumed his power over the church but not everything was under its control. To silence those who stood against PFDJ interference, trained cadres were ordained as deacons and priests. These deacons and priests infiltrated every church and became main actors of church activity. Churches which were relatively free from PFDJ control could not tolerate such interference. As a result, the Orthodox church in the diaspora was divided as those who were controlled by the regime and those who declared their freedom from the regime.

Followers of the Church found themselves between two aisles. At this time, the division is so clear and it will be hard to create a conducive environment for reconciliation and union. PFDJ used defamation campaign against those religious dissidents. The people have developed a wrong perception. This perception will not be easy to be removed.

16/07/2017: Public Appearance of Patriarch Abune Antonios and its Tactics

On 11/07/2017, an official website of the Eritrean Orthodox Church has released a letter signed by 10 top leaders of the church indicates about his release and reconciliation within the church. The letter has mentioned that the achievement was a long time effort which has finally closed with success. The dispute was then closed its chapter by formally conducting mass praying on 16/07/2017.

letter-official

Nevertheless, information diffused by mass media from reliable sources are indicating the move was a drama of deception. Patriarch Abune Antonios was attended the mass without formally getting a trial for his 11 years release. He did not speak and there is no indication for the placement of his formal position. 20228622_1619119434788603_6263346637117473451_n

A picture that shows Abune Antonios during 16/07/2017 attendance in the Church

The Patriarch did not dress as supposed to be. Even during the mass, according to an audio record released by Arbi Harnet(given below), there was high tension.

My Assessment 

PFDJ has no intention to release the Patriarch but it is doing for only and only one main reason. And that is International Pressure. The government of Eritrea is under pressure from the international community for its systematic and widespread of crimes against humanity. UN Human Rights Council has officially accused the government of its crimes and is now under further investigation to bring criminals to justice. For the last five or more years, PFDJ officials had continuously tried to rationalize their crimes. At this time there are more excuses. Almost all countries within the UN have called for change human Rights situation in Eritrea. Except for few countries, there are no countries that have diplomatic relations with the government. In every UN meetings, it is getting huge pressure.

To get some relief, the government must pretend to have registered developments. For the next UN meetings, which is going to be held in October 2017, at least Eritrea is expected to present some tangible presents. Therefore, there is nothing more worthy. And to achieve its goal, PFDj has exposed him to the public without giving a due trial. This is injustice at most.

Congratulations Message to Abune Antonios and Conclusion

Should I write a congratulation message to Patriarch Abune Antonios? This question is too delicate. When I wrote a congratulation message on my facebook page, my friends were confused on what I wrote. They did not expect me to write as such. They were right if I was writing it in its literal form. I assure you my congratulation message transcends normal thinking. It is a message directed to a physically dead but alive Saint.

My message was never meant to the Church directly. I think it is better to say it when a person is alive. Otherwise, once the Patriarch is dead, the message I have for him is Rest in Peace and to his family and the Church “My Condolence”. Now, I want to convey a different but strong congratulation message.

Patriarch Abune Antonios deserves a condolence message while he is alive as he is physically dead. And his physical death is his Martyrdom, a Holy and Blessed Death. He is alive in Spirit and the Church is lucky to be visited by Abune Antonios. He is living Saint. Though he is again manipulated for propaganda and political purpose, his courage has again proved how strong religious person he is.

The reconciliation call was not innocent but his presence within the church was. It was a sign of his love to the Church and the people. 

May I say ” Condolence”? Hell ‘NO’. He is a living Saint. And the Church will be liberated from this grand sacrifice. The Church is blessed to have such a Martyrs. 11 years of his imprisonment is nothing but his meditation and praying period.

I congratulate again for his ultimate sacrifice and his courage to visit his Church. The Church has a fresh blood donated by a living Saint. The Orthodox Church is blessed with many Saints and now here is one among his people walking with mind fullness.

PFDJ is in his routine political agenda. Nothing has changed. Those security agents, agents that are manipulating the church will get their punishment. God is full of mercy but their satanic acts are letting God express his anger.

The Church has once again proved the teachings of Jesus Christ. What happened on 16/07/2017 is more like the incident of Jesus in front of king Pilatos.

For this, I need to send CONGRATULATIONS message to Abune Antonios.

Crimes of PFDJ are countless and it will not stop here. here is one proof of their crimes against religious leaders. 11 years in prison and finally released without any trial.

 

How People Reacted to his Release?

  1. A prominent Activist and Vocal prominent against  PFDJ, Keshi Shishay Mussie wrote on his Facebook page as follows:

“ቀደማዊ እንጦንዮስ ናብ መንበሮም ኣይተመለሱን፡ውግዘት ኣየልዓሉን፡ኣብቲ ቅዳሴ ድማ ኣይባረኹን ኣይተዛረቡን ሓቅን ሓሶትን ፊት ንፊት ተጠንቀቅ ህዝቢ ክርስቲያን ኮምንስታዊ ተንኮል ንዓኻ ንምብታን ንቤተ ክርስቲያንካ ኽኣ ካብ ሱራ ንምውሓው ይሰርሕ ኣሎ ንቅሓሉ። ንሕና ኦርቶዶክሳውያን ዋላ ህጂ ንስሕሓብ ኣሕዋት ኢና፡እቲ መንግስቲ ግን ሓላፊ ኢዩ፡ስለዚ ንዝሓልፍ መንግስቲ ክንብል እምነትናን ሓድነትናን ኣብ ዋጋ ዕዳጋ ኣይነእቱ።” 

Translated as: “Patriarch Antonios has not returned to his position. He did not uplift the anathema imposed on the Church. During the praying session, he neither did a blessing nor a preach/speech. Face the facts and the fake news. People of the Church, beware. The Communist ideology is working against the Church by dividing and demolishing its root foundation. Be conscious. No matter how high tension exists between us, we, the Orthodox people are brothers. The government will be gone. Therefore, let us not put our church in danger for the sake of passing government. 

2. A friend of mine wrote this:

As a person, I think he died a long time when he decided to be a monk. Thus living a life of this kind would be uncounted in the eyes of the God. If the issue was a power struggle, he should not spend a day in jail. I think he pays an ultimate price to lead the church it should and that is why he spent his 11 years fighting against the barbaric regime. I prefer to die for him rather than come up and simply ignore what he was accused of.

Rome is no more safe for PFDJ Officials

These days there is news coming from the heart of Rome, Italy, that is sending a clear signal for PFDJ officials. According to news resources, an Eritrean Ambassador in Italy and unidentified officials were confronted by outraged individuals in the street of Rome. This violent confrontation happened on July 05, 2017 around 10:00 PM. In this incident, the unidentified official is reported to have a serious injury and the Ambassador with a lighter one. It is reported that the identified official will stay longer in the hospital.

According to various credible sources and testimonies, the identified official is now revealed to be Yemane Gebreab. According to Italians news outlets,  Italian police has arrested one suspect and is searching other collaborators.

 

Source: First Picture (left) and second picture (right)

According to various sources, Eritrean presidential advisor Yamani Gabreab “was severely beaten in Italy and taken to hospital with another man who was injured”. For example, Radio Assenna has reported on its July 07, 2017 news broadcast, an Eritrean named Simon, confirmed the incident and who was the victim. According to the testimony, a friend of his(Simon) is under police arrest. The police have not yet confirmed who attacked these PFDJ officials. However, Simon told Radio Assenna they are trying to appoint a lawyer to defend the person who is under arrest. 

Switzerland Eritrea Human Rights

Presidential adviser Yemane Gebreab of Eritrea presents his response to the conclusions by the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea, during a press conference, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, June 8, 2016. Gebreab accused the panel of being “entirely one-sided.” (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)

An official Facebook account under the name of “Hagerawi Dihnet – ሃገራዊ ድሕነት” has confirmed the incidence though they didn’t mention the name of Yemane gebreab.

Hagerwai dihnet

ብናይ ብኣቦታቶም ብናፓልምን ቀመማዊ ጋዛትን ሚልዮን ሰራዊትን ብኒን ናይ ነፈርትን ዘይተዳህለት ነብሲ ብኸመይ እያ ሕጂ ማርቴሎ ብዝሓዙ ደቆም ክትደሃል፡ ክንቀትለካ ኢና ኢሎም መጺዮም ጌና ኢዱ ላሕጺጾም ክሃድሙ ይገርም እዩ ከመይሲ ክትቀትሎ ዝደለኻ ብድሕሪኢ መጺኻ ኣይኮንካን ተጥቅዖ፡ ንስኹም ተቀወምትና ስለ ዝኾንኩም ኢና ከኣ ደቂስና ንሓድር ዘለና፡ መዓንጣ ኣልቦ ምውታት ፍጥረት!እቲ ሓደ ምስ ተታሕዘ ነባዕባዕ ምባሉ ሓደ መርኣያ እንታይ ዓይነት ሰባት ምዃኖም እዩ፡ ሰብኣይ በርገር እንዳበላዕካ ኣብ ጸልማት ጸኒሕካ ሽማግለ ምጥቃዕ ዘይኮነ ኣብ ማእከል ወሪድካ ምቅላስ እዩ፡ ሻዕብያ ንሓንቲ መዓልቲ ይኹን ንኣምባሳደራት ደርጊ ኣጥቂዖም ኣይፈልጡን እዮም ነቲ ዝደሊይዎ ሰብ ኣብ ማእከል ከብዲ ጸላኢ ኣዲስኣበባ ከይተረፈ ኣትዮም እዮም ዝቅንጽልዎ፡ እሱ እዪ ናይሰብኣይ ስራሕ ንጸላኢ ኣጥቂዕካ ፈንጺግካ ምውጻእ።
If bombs and napalm didn’t intimidate them at the mountains of Sahl and Nakfa, they can not be intimidated by the street thugs of Deki Tor Serawit. 
Our solidarity with our hero ambassador.

What is the message of this Incident?

So far, justice seekers Eritreans are shy to react violently though some occasional signals were happening here and there. Until this incident, no serious confrontation was reported against PFDJ officials. For example, there were about four in the past. As outlined below, none of these were violent but peaceful.

2011 Incident: Yemane Gebreab in the USA, New York City

Some outraged Eritreans about the PFDJ regime confronted Yemane Gebreab in New York City after they found him in a public bar. As it is shown in the short youtube video, those courageous individuals chased and threatened him openly. They were openly telling people Yemane is an official from the dictatorial regime. These patriots were calling him as a killer, traitor of his comrades and a lair. In addition, they raised the issue of those imprisoned PFDJ officials and where about they are. Yemane Gebreab didn’t respond. Instead, he was frustrated by the incident and left the area in anxiety.

Those outraged Eritreans didn’t  take any violent action though they gave him the warning to stop his crimes over Eritreans.

2013 Incident: Eritrean Embassy Occupation after Forto Operation

  1.  Eritrean Embassy in Rome, Italy

This incident was a direct reaction in response to the failed Operation of Forto 2013. Outraged Eritreans entered the Embassy office and conveyed their direct message about the living condition of Eritrea. They asked about the Ambassador where he is about.

They were not violent but had a strong message to the embassy. They claimed that the embassy belongs to the people. Their message was to remind the embassy to convey their message to the dictatorial regime about the suffering of Eritrean people. The Ambassador didn’t show-up.

After a serious and heated exchange, they respectfully reminded staff members why they came in and what they wanted to convey. They posted a poster that read, “ENOUGH”.

2. Eritrean Embassy in London, UK 

Eritrean Embassy in London was occupied by the Eritrean Youth for Change (EYSC) members and other individuals for a brief period of time. Their message was similar as that of Rome incident. They were not violent but were outrageous by the regime in Asmara. They were claiming that the embassy belongs to them.

2016 Incident: Voicing in front of Eritrean Embassy in London, UK

This incident was an immediate reaction to the incident of shootings of innocent Eritreans in the heart of Asmara after they tried to jump from tracks loaded with forced military conscripts. This tragedy happened when members of the national service, aka national slavery, tried to escape after the tracks slowed down their speed.

Awate website recalled this tragedy as “Black Sunday”. Martin Plaut, a journalist who writes about Eritrea, reported about the name list of those who were shot on 03/04/2016.  After this incident, few but courageous women visited the office of Eritrean Embassy in London to remind what happened in Asmara. An officer from the Embassy denied the incident.

embassy_london

Embassy Staff members who tried to intimidate those Eritreans who visited to give an awareness about the incident. They openly denied the news and threatened those who were asking to leave otherwise they could be arrested by the police. 

Conclusion

What happened in July 2017 is not a normal scenario. Eritreans are sending clear signals how serious consequences will be if the regime continues its crimes against Eritrean people. Today, Rome has become a nightmare to PFDJ officials. Tomorrow, all countries in the world will be unsafe to PFDJ tags.

After such gradual but fearless, outrageous appraisings and reactions, the signal is clearly to target officials in Eritrea. Every official will not be safe from now onwards unless they hear people’s plea for justice. It is time for PFDJ officials to give power to the people before a more serious action follows. Not only PFDJ officials but also their family will not have any safety.

I don’t support violence as violence brings another violence. But there is a limit for everything. Some are only resolved through violent means. Today, Rome is no more safe to PFDJ criminal officers. Tomorrow will be all other places.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNESCO Recognition of Eritrea’s Italian Fascist’s City as World Heritage Needs Proper Labeling

Eritrea is busy to make its capital city buildings(Asmara) get recognition worldwide as a world heritage. What makes a shame is when UNESCO is involved in this disgraceful project by cooperating with a government that is committing crimes against humanity. UNESCO could not be naïve to involve itself in this project unless history is revised to please crimes and ignore the victims.

Asmara and beauty

During the Italian colonization, Asmara was built to be the home of Italians. Segregation based on color and apartheid-like system of governance was introduced to prevent indigenous people to live and walk freely in the city center. Native people were punished like criminals if they are found in the strictly prohibited areas.

 

 

This prohibited city center was built to serve Italians in modern architectural buildings and facilities. Without a doubt, Asmara was built like no other city in Africa. It was called “Small Rome” just to show how beautiful that city was during the Italian period. It was believed around 75,000 Italians were living in this capital city. But none belongs to the native people.

Asmara as a strategic city for Italian-Abyssinian War Preparation 

Though Italians started to construct Eritrea right after their landing, modernization was accelerated with the coming of Benito Mussolini in power as head of the then powerful political party, National Fascist Party (1922) and then during the preparation for Ethio-Italian war. During his period, especially in 1936-38 war, Eritrea was the strongest Northern front used by Italians for its logistic and manpower supply. Italians used Asmara as their base.

 

During that wartime, Mussolini invested huge capital in Asmara. Modern industries were installed, stunning buildings were erected to be used as residential and commercial housing for Italians who were engaging actively in the war. Italian nationalism sentiments are manifested in every corner of the city.

Asmara and Fascism

Though Asmara was built to be a modern city, it was a product of fascist regime expansionist agenda. Mussolini did not build Asmara to be home for everyone but for his fascist soldiers that were planning to invade Ethiopia. Therefore, Asmara owes its stunning modernist architecture to a dark past of oppression and subjugation by Italian colonial powers.

Benito Mussolini and Isaias Afewerki

If there is any parallelism between Mussolini’s and Issaias Afewerki’s governance, it is their absolute dictatorship and totalitarian government. Both are warmongers. They terrorize people by the name of the country. They both strive on a personality cult.

 

They both are known to kill, torture and imprison their opponents. Once a Mussolini’s center of Prison, Nakura is now used in the same fashion by dictator Issaias. During the Italian period, around 900 Italians were believed to be eliminated. Most Of Them Were Killed. Hanged. executed or died of illness in Nakura.

Photo_Taezaz-Abraha_Nakura-Island-2010-960

Nakura Prison center during Italian colonization

Isaias Afewerki and his plea for Mussolini’s city recognition

If there is any country that works to register colonial footprints as a prestigious world heritage, it is Eritrea. After failing to modernize Eritrea, Isaias Afewerki is beginning UNESCO to give recognition a city constructed by fascists as a unique legacy. It is shame to see this failed leader popularize his failed state get recognition from the ashes. So much has been disseminated via the ministry of tourism, the ministry of information and PFDJ cultural branch so that Asmara can be a destiny of tourists.

It is like advertising the old railway service and trains introduced by Italians just for the sake of tourist attraction.

 

Rehabilitated trains in Eritrea, old and unsafe – but so much advertising

Asmara is not City of Dreams but City of Fascists

Eritrean Ambassador in France, Hana Simon, was engaged in an extensive campaign and lobbying activities in the UNESCO office found in Paris so that Asmara can be registered as a candidate for a UNESCO world heritage. As a theme, the Ambassador has chosen a theme, “Asmara, the City of Dreams”. This theme is a betrayal of Eritrean history.

How come a city built by fascists be called “City of Dreams”This city was once a symbol of racism. Native people were prohibited from visiting downtown simply because they were not white. The city was built to fulfill the expansionist dreams of Fascist Mussolini and colonize Ethiopia. Eritreans were colonized by Italians who settled in the city built by Italians themselves to fulfill their dreams. If Eritreans ever participated, it was in the labour force. They were ill-treated. Once the city was constructed, it became a forbidden city to enter.

How come then, Hana Simon, the disgraced Ambassador gives such a theme? This is shameful act and betrayal of Eritrean history.

UNESCO: Why it is involving in the recognition of Fascist City? 

UNESCO has so many good reputations. But now, when it comes to Eritrea, it is committing a historical mistake. Asmara has a dark history of fascism. It is a symbol of expansion, colonization and non-native settlements.

paris15

Staff members of Eritrean Embassy in France during dinner for their work achievement(source: madote.com)

Beautiful buildings do not mean they constitute beautiful history. Asmara was once a forbidden city, a city of racism, a city of segregation and a city of oppression. UNESCO should see beyond the architectural beauty. So much untold and horrifying history exists in each and every corner.

If UNESCO is for any good, it must recognize Asmara as a city of Fascists.  If there were any dreams about the city, they were divided into two: (1) – Italian expansion and (2) Eritrean’s wish to live peacefully without discrimination. if Hana Simon was talking about these dreams, well, she might have a valid reason. Otherwise, Asmara is nothing but a dark side of African history during the colonial period.

What makes paradox for such kind of work is that Mussolini was a brutal dictator so is the current Eritrean president, Isaias Afewerki.  If Mussolini built Asmara so that his expansionist dreams to come true, Isaias is equally destroying this once modern history so that no Eritrean can live peacefully there.

Conclusion

Asmara is a legacy of fascism. There is nothing to be proud from except remembering the past history. Unfortunately, today Asmara is ruining by PFDJ regime simply because Eritreans are not welcomed to live peacefully in this city. Therefore, UNESCO should recognize this city as a “city that never welcomes its own people”. There is nothing to be proud of fascism and totalitarianism. If UNESCO recognizes this city as a world heritage, the reason should be based on the dark side of oppression. Otherwise, having beautiful buildings does not mean beautiful. We need to see behind the walls not in front of the walls to see the reality that is buried within it.

 

 

Insane visit of PFDJ Officials to Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan as source of military equipments

On June 29, 2017, shabait.com reported that a senior Eritrean delegation comprising Foreign Minister Osman Saleh, Presidential Advisor Mr. Yemane Gebreab and Ambassador Petros Tsegai are on a working visit to Kazakhstan. It is not a surprise if the only existing mouth of the totalitarian regime reported the news as a diplomatic visit by hiding the secret deal behind it. However, one sentence between the 99 words news report has every clue we can predict on. The sentence reads:

“They also reached to understanding on the priority areas of cooperation in the sectors of trade, investment mining as well as agriculture and transportation.”

one may wonder then what type of trade agreement could have been reached. It is is not that difficult to synthesize and reach a conclusion that the sole purpose of such trade agreement is basically on “military equipment.” Eritrea has a severe sanction on importing military types of equipment.

Since the border crisis of 1998-2000, Eritrea is suffering for getting a reliable source of military equipment that goes with its poor economic status. Russia, Ukraine, Iran and China were the principal sources. However, because of Eritrea’s immature diplomacy and its exposure to world scrutiny, no country is willing to give a sustainable market for its demand.

When Russia and Ukraine went into political crisis, and Crimea decided to separate from Ukraine, a high-level Eritrean delegation headed by Foreign Minister Osman Saleh and including Mr. Yemane Gebreab visited Crimea and gave an official recognition for its separation. Ukraine condemned Eritrea’s visit. All these were done to please Russia. Russia and North Korea were by then the only source of military equipment to Eritrea. Because of Russia’s interference on extended war zones and huge market opportunity for military equipment, and Eritrea’s accusation by the USA on its military deal with North Korea, and China’s shift in its global strategy, Eritrea got itself in a limbo. Exploring new source of military equipment is a must to be looked for.

With the No-war-No-peace situation with Ethiopia, constant alert of conflicts along the Red Sea basin, The Gulf crisis, potential conflicts within Sudan and South Sudan, and now the renewed border crisis with Djibouti, all obliges Eritrea to equip itself with military equipment stocks.

Within scenario and the already existing sanction, open markets are not favored by Eritrea. Instead, least known countries like Kazakhstan is a good opportunity for Eritrea to make trade agreements that can supply its military equipment deficit.

Kazakhstan, a former USSR member, has a modest technology of producing military equipment. It is also a strategic marketplace for the Far East countries juncture of trades. Russia, China, North Korea and all other countries that are actively producing military equipment can land Kazakhstan to trade their materials.

Some facts about Kazakhstan

A. During the Soviet Era (Source: click here)

  1. Before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan was the most significant site of military-industrial activity in Central Asia. The Republic was home to roughly 3 percent of Soviet defense facilities, including more than fifty enterprises and 75,000 workers, located mostly in the predominantly Russian northern parts of the country.
  2. A plant in Öskemen fabricated beryllium and nuclear reactor fuel and another at Aqtau produced uranium ore. Plants in Oral manufactured heavy machine guns for tanks and antiship missiles. In Petropavl, one plant produced SS-21 short-range ballistic missiles, and other plants manufactured torpedoes and naval communications equipment, support equipment for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), tactical missile launcher equipment, artillery, and armored vehicles. There was a torpedo-producing facility in Almaty as well. Chemical and biological weapons were produced in Aksu, and chemical weapons were manufactured in Pavlodar.

Though Kazakstan suffers from the inadequate budget on its military expenses, it is continuing its traditional military partnership with Russia. For example, the Second International Exhibition of Weapons System and Military Equipment (KADEX-2012) held in 2012 in Kazakhstan shows its military equipment production potential and its active engagement in the provision of such products to the world market.  In the 4th international exhibition of the year 2016, an agreement reached between Jordan and Kazakhstan is the best example to see how serious is this country in this trade.

Those above trends show that 2017 Eritrea’s delegate visit to Kazakhstan is nothing but an agreement of army equipment.

Eritrea has chosen war over peace with its neighboring countries. The existing border conflict with Djibouti needs a peaceful negotiation to settle the border dispute. The building of military forces will help neither Eritrea not Djibouti. The withdrawal of Qatar should not be a reason to stop peace agreements. Rather another force, preferably African Union(AU) should replace the role of Qatar so that the conflict to end as soon as possible.

Eritrea will continue to create havoc in the horn of Africa; What other countries should learn is that Eritrea loses nothing as it is already a failed state. What those other countries should refrain from is that getting under the trap of Eritrea’s warmongering mindset is not a solution but a disaster for their own peace and security. Therefore, a careful method of containing Eritrea should be followed to avoid further conflict.

Those countries which are supplying Eritrea military equipments should also know that Eritrea is not using it’s for its own security but to disturb the peaceful existence of the horn of Africa. They should, therefore, abstain themselves from making any military equipment trade agreements. Otherwise, they are selling arms to a terrorist regime.

Kazakhstan as non-permanent member of UNSC

Eritrea is under UN sanction since 2011. So far, no hope exists on lifting this sanction. however, Eritrea never stopped from looking countries within the UNSC that can sympathize so that this sanction can be uplifted.

As Kazakhstan is a non-permanent member of UNSC, Eritrea hopes Kazakhstan to cooperate in lifting the sanction. Though it is impossible, if Eritrea continues to engage in trade activities, there could be possibilities of showing some interest in the Eritrean matters.

Additional read:

  1. US places Eritrea under fresh sanctions for military deal with North Korea
  2. Eritrean Delegation Visited Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Crimea