This is an open letter written by some Eritreans that want to be undisclosed.
They are afraid of the dictatorial repression of the regime.
Our correspondent Saba Makeda was able to obtain it in order to publish on Africa ExPress.
Our Special Correspondent
Somewhere in Eritrea, November 3th 2021
Your Excellency President Isaias Afwerki,
In the 2014 Pastoral Letter, the Eritrean Catholic Church asked you, our civic leaders and Eritrean elders – “Where is your brother?”. The Bishops asked the question while offering condolences and prayers for the families of 360 Eritreans who drowned at Lampedusa (Italy9. They were fleeing Eritrea.
In that letter that touched the heart and soul of Eritreans, the Bishops pointed out that: “…This loss and devastation has been going on for years now….”. And, they once again remind you and all Eritreans that: “….no-one leaves a country of milk and honey to seek another country offering the same opportunities. If one’s homeland is a place of peace, jobs and freedom of expression, there is no reason to leave it to suffer hardship, loneliness and exile in an effort to look for opportunity elsewhere.”
Dear President, for years, in Eritrea, we maintained a highly militarised state. We sacrificed peace, jobs, freedom of expression, constitutionality, the rule of law, the right to choose our government and many more of our rights because you told us that Ethiopia represented an ever-present existential threat to the country.
In June 2018, you finally responded to PM Abiyi’s peace offer agreeing to fully implement the 2001 Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission decision that identified Bademe as Eritrean territory. You did so with the startling statement that with the ascension to power of PM Abiy, Eritrea had achieved – ‘regime change in Ethiopia ‘ and that it was ‘game over for the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF).
As Eritreans, we realised that the critical change for you was not that PM Abiy was offering anything different to what PM Melles eventually offered or what PM Desalegn offered; the key was that PM Abiy rose to power within the ruling coalition – Ethiopia People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) through the Oromo Democratic Party (ODM). He was not a member of your nemesis, the TPLF. Yet, despite this realisation, we dared to hope for demobilisation, implementation of the constitution, national elections, the release of all political prisoners and generally a comprehensive reconciliation process.
We watched with alarm the profane images of your virtual crowning in Ethiopia by PM Abiy, complete with hugging, kissing, gifts and even an exchange of rings. The images were so surreal that the Eritrean social media defined the process as the ‘first gay marriage in Africa’.
We could not believe our ears when we heard you announce that Eritrea and Ethiopia are one people and that anybody who thinks otherwise is wrong. Nobody would have contested a statement that the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia are brothers. But, after more than 60 years of struggle for independence, so many dead, so many losses, frankly, your arrogant and insincere statement was as if you had vandalised the graves of the martyrs and spat in the face of every young person sacrificed to your never-ending national service. A sacrifice that you demanded because Ethiopia was a threat to the very survival of Eritrea. Even so, we dared hope for a permanent peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia and peace dividends in Eritrea.
We should have known better, we should have remembered that a leopard never changes its spots, and a scorpion will always sting you because it is his nature to do so. Dear President, the difference between you and the leopard or the scorpion is that they are at least honourable; you are not. You are just a self-serving criminal who will be remembered for killing more Eritreans than any previous ruler of the country.
In addition to the 70,000 Eritrean conscripts who died during the 1998-2000 Eritrea Ethiopia border war, you are responsible for the death of our brothers and sisters at the hands of torturers and human traffickers. And, you are now accountable for the death of Eritrean soldiers in the war in Tigray and the crimes they are committing in your name.
It is now clear that from 2018 to 2020, instead of peace, you and your partner in crime PM Abiy were busy planning war. Over time, the already nebulous peace process became less transparent. It developed into a secretive affair. Nobody in Eritrea or Ethiopia had any clue about what the two you and your delegations were negotiating. In 2020, the climax of the process was your inspection of the Ethiopian military installations and PM Abiy trip to the Sawa military training facility in Eritrea, a key institution in the very national service structure that more than one hundred thousand Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia were desperately trying to escape. A phoney peace process for which PM Abiy was awarded a Nobel Peace prize in 2019.
In the meantime, in Eritrea, starting in April 2020 for approximately 18 months, your government imposed the strictest COVID 19 lockdown in the region. A lockdown that prohibited private and public transport and movement between towns and cities. At the time, Eritrea reported thirty-five COVID positive cases and no deaths. The COVID lockdown in Eritrea allowed you and PM Abiy to move Ethiopian and Eritrean troops into position for the impending and planned war in Tigray. Not satisfied in achieving ‘regime change in Ethiopia’, you intended to permanently destroy the TPLF your true ‘game over ‘ objective irrespective of the cost to Eritreans or Ethiopians.
On 4 November 2021, the Tigray war will be one year old. The devastation that you and PM Abiy have brought on Tigrayans, Ethiopians, Eritreans, and the region is beyond imagination and is indefensible.
Your Excellency, Eritrean conscripts are again involved in a war of your design for your benefit and power. Our brothers and sisters, our children abused by you and your policies of militarisation and sacrifice, are now war criminals and pariahs. These are sins that we can never forgive or forget.
The war in Ethiopia is not going well for PM Abiy. But, rest assured, it will not go well for you either. Because now it is not just the Eritrean people who will prosecute you. There will be many Ethiopians too.
Dear Mr President, it is time to account for your actions and crimes against the Eritrean people. Hence, Mr President – Where are our brothers? Where are our sisters? Where are our children? There is no place for you to hide; this is your last war. It is enough!
© RIPRODUZIONE RISERVATA