Conversation with resistance movement from Asmara

14 mins read

Asmara-Eritrea  5October 25, Paris –
This Saturday morning, two Eritrean journalists in exile and two European journalists – British Martin Plaut and I – had a telephone conversation over an hour with movement activists Arbi Harnet Asmara. The appointment had been made ??and coordinated by officials in Europe this network of internal resistance , and the interview took place via a secure connection with a thousand precautions, and of course after a preliminary agreement on the security of the anonymity of our partners and the interference of their voice if we chose to broadcast the recording of our discussion. Their name was changed. We were able to ask the questions we wanted. I hang at the moment. As I am currently unemployed so without writing, the content here.

Passive resistance
These are the voices of men determined, thoughtful and well articulated in Tigrinya. They pass the word to each other, depending on the issues. Sami gives a first response, full Temesghen. The conversation starts with an update on the tense situation in the capital for 48 hours, several reports indicate deployment in the suburbs of Asmara sixty trucks and hundreds of foot soldiers of the Ethiopian Tigray rebellion called ”  Demhit  “( Tigrea People’s Democratic Movement, LDCT ), who regularly plays the role of auxiliary militia of the ruling junta. Having no confidence in his own army, Afeworki regularly uses this force of tens of thousands of men, according to the UN , to maintain order or do the dirty work. Sami and Temesghen confirm.
However, in recent weeks, many called less than 50 years of national service formidable no longer going to put up notices on the walls of the city. Improvised police ”  People’s Army “, people over 50 years that the scheme has provided a Kalashnikov and a military training base, no longer go out at night, as it should be their role. Civil disobedience is gaining ground and the landing of Demhit concerned: each city is preparing for a ”  giffa  “massive conscript these raids that terrorize passers for years.
Sami but remains cautious: ”  There is something happening in Asmara that I had never seen before. The streets are quiet but the tension is important, especially as shortages of water, electricity and fuel have become unbearable. As trucks and soldiers were seen outside Asmara, it is possible that they were positioned to conduct raids in the city. But it is also possible that they were together in a safe place because of the gasoline shortage. “
One thing is clear: the government is in a state of extreme tension, especially since this summer conscripts on leave or are no longer going to the barracks. For him, this silent rebellion is motivated by the fact that many people, married with children and working in black to earn a little money, refuse to lose their meager livelihoods and leave their families destitute by taking uniform. In the countryside, after years of a disastrous drought, rain has been abundant this year and the crops are looking good. Return to the army, with insufficient rations and the omnipresent violence would mean destroying small farms that sustain entire families. Cases of illegal crossings life or flight abroad of these Eritreans cornered absurdly misery multiply. ”  Another reason for the growing disobedience , continues Sami, is the fact that  everyone is wondering why, at bottom, we are forced to return to military life.People defend themselves refuse to obey orders for political reasons.Yet this disobedience seems to me as eminently political. “
Ethiopian police are
This irony has it that foreign soldiers who police the name of a nationalist regime also – and maintains terror because of a supposed Ethiopian threat – Temesghen reacted bitterly. ”  We are told that they are there to conduct operations to destabilize Ethiopia, but we see nothing of the sort, we Asmara , is he surprised. I’m sure they have another agenda . ”  For men of Demhit are privileged compared to Eritrean soldiers. ”  They get a good salary , he said, they drive nice cars do not even have the Eritrean army officers or government officials. “He suspects the military to be Demhit spare Afeworki, only now is likely to obey his orders.
But Sami remembers the aftermath of the terrible shipwreck of Lampedusa, in October 2013 . Soldiers of Demhit , recognizable by their accent Ethiopian Tigray had then conducted identity checks in Asmara , which had sometimes gone wrong: protests, fighting, riots , residents of the capital had not let him. ”  It’s a sign.  For a long time, Eritreans remained silent. But today, people dare to disobey openly.Even some government officials speak loudly criticizing the regime in cafes. The fear is broken, “ said for his part Temesghen.
Pay the price of freedom
The risk taken by the two men speaking with foreign journalists do not scare. ”  After completing my military service, I should go to college and build my life , says Sami, categorically. But it did not happen. So when you want something, when we want freedom, we must be prepared to pay the price. And if I die, I’d rather it be remembered as a man who fought for his freedom, rather than a chap who was content to complain about the situation in conversations with its neighbors. “
So life activist inner resistance is exhausting. Sami tells her daily. Little sleep, since most of the illegal activities are conducted at night, after a day to scramble to find some money to survive. The constant risk of arrest, possession of propaganda. The dangerous game with the police patrols.
The goal? ”  The victory concludes Sami smiling obviously. Soon, we will invite you to drink a cappuccino here in our capital. “  Anyway, life has become impossible in the country. The market prices are sky high. A loaf of bread costs 5 Nakfa, for an average salary of 500 to 600 Nakfa per month for those who have a job, he says. A bunch of spinach can reach 20 Nakfa. Water is delivered by tanker truck and a jerry can cost up to 200 Nakfa. ”  All these daily humiliations only increase the anger of the people against the government “ , said Temesghen.
Asmara, dangerous city
The peaceful resistance movement that is secretly putting up posters, distributing leaflets and phone calls go subversive grieve the disintegration of a long united and cohesive society. In the streets of Asmara, a new and disturbing trend is emerging, he said again: ”  The gangsters, thieves and even murderers. The cliché about Asmara, the safest city in Africa, is a myth. Our capital has become very dangerous, especially at night. “ It evokes the murder knife and stealing a photographer recently – a first in this country previously known for its calm.
Endure this suffering and frustrations for both men, are also deepen the contempt they feel for the gilded youth of the diaspora , who publicly supports the regime in festivals and concerts in the West. ” These people are dancing on the graves of their brothers and sisters , said Temesghen. When they come in Eritrea, they have the nerve to go out in nightclubs and go to Sawa singing “ , the military town near the border with Sudan where young conscripts, they still live in the country, are held and brutalized. ”  These children come from abroad or identity problems, or financial interest in supporting the regime, or to fill a void staff, but they destroy their own history. The government is collapsing and they persist in not recognizing it. So basically, the supporters of the regime in the diaspora inspire us pity. “
“This is the mafia that governs”
Even the veterans are starting to rebel, he says. Some of them, “frozen” for years into inaction by the government finally wake up. Also, in turn, are now refusing to identify dictatorship to the heroic People’s Liberation Front of Eritrea (EPLF) , which won independence struggle. ” For it is not the EPLF who governs , claims Temesghen . Now it is the mafia . “
Despite life impossible, admit the two men, the Eritrean population was not raised, as in Egypt or Tunisia. ”  Things are moving now, and soon we will know us as our own popular revolution adds Temesghen. But we must understand that, for years, the EPLF was revered religiously, his speech was both the Bible and the Koran, and it frozen by the Eritreans. Today, the religion of Tegadelti (the “fighters” independence)is collapsing. So we hope that things will change soon. ”  And despite the fact that the government has confiscated the technological tools such as the Internet or the phone, which makes the organization of a popular movement very difficult, he adds. But he said the situation can not go on the dictatorship ”  is nearing its end “ .
In their Eritrean brothers and sisters, Sami and Temesghen want to start ”  a message of unity “ . ”  You all know what happens here. So let us unite and make the government fall. “  In the outside world, the two men first want to contact a board and a thank you. ”  Please take care of our brothers and sisters who have managed to flee to your country.We must take care of them because we need them , says Sami. To you who are not Eritrean, we ask you to open your eyes to what we endure and, most importantly, open your eyes officials of your government to the dictatorship act more like years, in total impunity. “
But this is not the path taken by ours. I added about me, parenthetically, it is also about a new aid package that the European Union should unlock for Eritrea, next year it is said that the amount of previous envelope of € 122 million , could be doubled … The last time, in 2008, the Eritrean government had promised the naive European Commissioner Louis Michel, in return for the release of political prisoners. It has obviously been nothing but the check has nevertheless been signed.
One last joke
And then finally, we concluded. At the request of the Eritrean singerYonathan Habte , who recorded the interview for his weekly programRadio Erena , Sami told a joke …
One day, a famous shoemaker Asmara Issayas Afeworki has seen outside his shop. Flattered by a compliment of the president, the architect has in mind to make a pair of shoes for this one. But when the cobbler went to deliver his gift to the president, Isaias was astonished: ”  Thank you. But how do you know my exact size? – It’s been twenty years since you walk on us , the shoemaker replica. So how do you think I do not know your size? “


  1. the same old dogs training barking. did you remember last time was difficult but today is impossible happy death 4 you ganges .

  2. Esayas is the best thing ever happen to them why would any one of them complain about changing him..he is a true african leader,visionary ,who never kneel down to ethiopians and white..except he a decatator…nooooo ..may be…does he feel good about the suffering of his own ppl noooo..they deserved it..they brought the misery themselves ,they want leave there fertile land and wanted to live as a slave in ethiopia or europe or middle east or america..they are lazy ppl they don’t like to work for there own country and develop it,rather they choose to flee..rat bastard…dont blame him he is a very wonderful rumor has it he was married to gadafy..yes sir…muamer gadafy..he had some- bla blaaa blaaaaa blaaa ..buuuuuyaaa relation ship with him…tu…tuu…tuuu…exiooooooo… point he is good for his own ppl..they brought it themselves …..go esayas…we need …20 more years….

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