ERITREA: A Nation Turned into Grand Prison – Abraham Berhe

June 1st, 2009 Print Print Email Email

Customarily come the month of May, Eritrean Independence Day is what comes into the picture for any Eritrean first. (more…)

Customarily come the month of May, Eritrean Independence Day is what comes into the picture for any Eritrean first. Rightfully it was so. Indeed, with the ardent sacrifice and unflinching support of TPLF, on May 24, 1991 Eritrea happens to claim its national independence from Ethiopia. Now that Eritrea is free in political, legal, or in legislative terms from Ethiopia still remain a riddle until further unresolved key national issues are completely solved and its inhabitants are freed from endless military captivity.

No matter how this might sound and, is odd or even bizarre, the cruel and undeniable realities on the ground inside Eritrea even as we speak dictate the very question whether Eritrea is really a nation of serfdom or freedom; whether Eritrea is certainly independent in the true sense of the word or not; or is she yet to reclaim that independence stance in its solid terms either by asking the international community for the border demarcation or by making a deal with the opposition forces being supported inside Eritrea. The answer is quite far from, and not even close to, what we may call freedom; indeed Eritrea is an absolute and unequivocal state of collective serfdom; a nation of military garrisons and guerrilla warfare camps openly observable everywhere. The overwhelming majorities of the nearly 4-million Eritrean people remain incarcerated in military garrisons; and are no where near claiming to be free people! Nor is the boundary demarcating Eritrea as a free nation is clearly settled by any international or national means. In the last nearly two decades Eritrea has declared war plainly with all its neighboring states indiscriminative all around.

To one’s dismay, the Eritrean tyrant Issayas Afewarki has already turned Eritrea exactly into his private Estate; and Eritrean inhabitants into his serfs bound to remain loyal who unquestionably obey his leadership or commanderships. They are inculcated with absolute caution to fulfill only his will in every aspect of societal life; including asking his permission to move from point A to point B! No national constitution, no parliament, no basic human rights, or no elected officials exist in today’s Eritrea. Tyrant Issayas Afewarki single-handedly picks, hires, and fires folk at will. He appoints public officials, “diplomats”, “Ministers”, “zonal administrators”, “zonal generals” and makes sure that they in turn acknowledge him as the strongest Eritrean man who must be feared and obeyed by any and all means for leading them to “freedom”. Like every landlord, tyrant Issayas Afewarki has the last words over every thing that pertains to his private Eritrea Estate! The Eritrean people are only told; not consulted about Afewarki’s decisions or actions. Yes, it is customary for serf-masters not to consult the untouchable serfs. As loyal serfs, the Eritrean people have accepted the hardship conditions exerted by their landlord as they have no other options; but left obviously to concur with the landlord’s daily decisions; or whatever he (Tyrant Issayas Afewarki) who must be obeyed by all means has to say or to offer for rendered labor or military services! How different is this contemporary Eritrean livelihood than the feudal era of Ethiopia? Or the collective communistic military garrison state of Northern Korea today?

First of all, Tyrant Issayas Afewarki openly declares democracy as ‘non-existent’ in the world. That means, for their own survival or for their own good, the Eritrean serfs must know how to concur! Secondly, Afewarki dismisses elections as western conspiracy to divide the people of Eritrea along vertical differences. Consequently, the Eritrean serfs are propagated day in day out through the Eritrean mass media and through community cadres to zealously continue to concur for their own survival! And if Afewarki were to say 10+1=14, serfs would concur that too! Especially after September 2001 when his most prominent opponents were summarily arrested or fled the country, Issayas Afewarki’s predominance is boosted by his handpicked persons holding key positions for fear of political reprisals.

In short whatever the tyrant has to mumble on the national TV or Radio or in his public speeches the serfs simply concur that without any questioning at all! Thirdly, as serfs, the people of Eritrea are there only to render their labor services however they are compensated for it by the landlord, if any! Fourthly, it is clear that social, economic, and political emancipation indeed constitute the major props of freedom. But these are non-existent in Eritrea as such ideas are said to be western liberal talks that happen far from the preaching of the Western World in the Western arena itself. So in Eritrea, it is all about serfdom under the guise of freedom all the way through! It is befitting to communism or state capitalism to keep Eritrean people in serfdom. Eritrean people are told by the landlord Tyrant Issayas Afewarki that they shouldn’t get all what they want; but they may feel free to want what they get! As per tyrant Afewarki, the Eritrean people don’t want what the Western World terms as: “democracy, justice, rule of law, elections, human rights, free press, etc”. To Afewarki, these are empty terms in ideal context. The Western liberals talk all about freedom that never exists in reality. As far as Afewarki is concerned, “indeed the Eritrean people want what they can get. And the state expects from each according to his ability and provides to each according to his needs”.

In a recent interview Afewarki gave to Asharq Al-Awsat he stated saying: “We do not have a misguided press in this country and we do not think there is an absolute press freedom in the world. The world newspapers are now operating in the so-called age of globalization. It is a process of monopoly by specific groups that are known by name and known by their capabilities, financing, and management. Press freedom is non-existent and we are opposed to this situation in the world on which certain quarters impose their control. These quarters are using the media to serve their private interests. The true voices of the media are the voices that oppose the monopolization of the media that are distorting the facts and serving monopolist interests. The media is now monopolized by a specific quarter that has interests, ambitions, and policies of hegemony and monopoly. They are exploiting the media and this is part of their policies. Should we be part of this process or should we make our voices heard and not allow these quarters to muzzle us? We do not allow these world organs to be active on our land to distort the facts and create discord in our country or our region and in our environment. This country and this region need a free media, a free media that convey the information as it is so that the people would build on facts and correct information and then analyze viewpoints in the interest of these peoples. This region needs to create and unify harmony among its peoples not to use the media to cause division and create sedition among nations and countries. This is not true media but media of distortion and fabrication of discord. We do not welcome and we have no interest in adopting such a process. That is the false media say that there is no free press in Eritrea. We are reassured and at peace with this process because the accusations against us are being made by oppressors, counterfeiters, and monopolists that think they alone have media and no one else. We have a clear stand on this issue and the people are following up on what is happening in the world and in the region. They differentiate between facts in this country.”

But let me say it clearly and loudly: It is long overdue time for FREEDOM from tyranny and serfdom in Eritrea.

The Author can be reached @

  1. fantanesh
    | #1

    Dear Abraham Berhe

    i did read your article and its a nice one. But Eritreans were so happy to have their independency from “Amhara Colony” as they called it. Yewoga Biresa Yetwoga Ayresa. I am Ethiopian i have no time to worry about Eritrea or Isays Korki. I worry about my country Ethiopia and I am doing my dersha to destroy Woyane mafia.

    Let Elias the shabia slave worry about Eritrea

    I am Ginbot7

  2. Woch Good!
    | #2

    It is shocking to read how Wodi Afom degenrated to such a low level of vision. Poor Eritrea turned to serfdom at last!

  3. zeleke
    | #3

    Post your article on Eretrian websites, if you don’t mind. Take care of your own problems, at least for now. For Ethiopians, as the previous person said, they need to deal with one thing at a time in this challenging time- that is, removeing TPLF deadly parasite.

  4. michael
    | #4

    “The pot calling the kettle black” isn’t it ironic how one could claim an achievement of democracy. When you barely scrached the surface. true democracy will come when the rules of law doesn’t favour one or the other. you can not lecture democracy. people have to feel it(all citizens). the beacon of democracy is USA but not all citizens share the claim. People have to be awake and share the same information to achieve democracy.

  5. musa
    | #5

    I do not you personally but Mr. Abraham and i red some of your articles and i can say that your heat is not like father’s name it needs light. Be optimist whether you support this or that party just light your heat .

  6. Shiferaw
    | #6

    Denkoro,,,Eritrea was part of ethiopia not becuase of being under amharas
    rule to ginbot 7 people stop becoming slaves to shabia.

  7. Sewasow
    | #7

    Well, to Abreha, the Ertrean people have a long history of straggle. They have well educated citizens around the world and they are not short of people to take care of their business. If they choose to change the present government, they have the entire arsenal to do so. They don’t need a PR work or a Che Guevara from an Ethiopian. Now, we have a very series problem of our own and, I think we should focus on our problems and possible exits from this disgrace. With Isayass or with out him, Eritreans are more than neighbors and we want to be as close as we can now and for generations to come.

  8. nuna
    | #8

    Why talk about an Eritrean dictator or how Eritreans are suffering under the dictator Isayas Afeworki. You have 80 million Ethiopians suffering under a one man’s rule. Woyanes these days are talking about how Eritrean people are suffering because of lack of democracy. Sebhat Nega was on Hagir Fikir radio telling us the same thing last Sunday. Abraham, what do yoo think we have in Ethiopia? a democraticaly elected government? what good is a constitution, an election, courts, etc… if it’s not respected by the governing party? Eritrea is an 18 years old nation created by two wonbedes, at least Isayas fought for an independent Eritrea, what did Meles Zenawi fight for? to create an independent Eritrea and dismantle Ethiopia as we know it? Is he really an Ethiopian?

  9. Mehari Berhe
    | #9

    There ia a colossal difference between Isaias Afewerki and Meles Zenawi. The former is an ordinary dictator defending and protecting the interests of his country while the latter is an ethno-fascist practising discrimination and racism. The ethno-fascist does not like the country called Ethiopia and identify himself as an Ethiopian. He is in Ethiopia to pillage and enrich his thugs.The ethno-fascist has bantustanized Ethiopia transforming it into a a giant prison of mini-ethnic states and peoples.

  10. Woch Good!
    | #10

    Eritrea has given us a problem called TPLF. So we cannot strech our hands to help them. Rather we have to solve the TPLF problem that Issayas Afeworki has given us. We have to solve the Assab issue. We have to solve the border demarcation with Eritrea. After that we can talk about helping Eritrea>

  11. Hailu
    | #11

    After all those bloodshed Aforke said sky is the limit to see Eritrea federated or confederated on ER.Those two egocenteric, enemy of Ethiopia will pay the price before they go from this world.All those innocent blood are still fresh in their relatives mind.Betu yekuterew.

  12. Tiblets
    | #12

    yembelaw sata lije ters awota

  13. hi dear Abraham
    | #13

    I am inside Eritrea,I 100% I supportyou,we are in realy prison,dear Abraham i was in differnt plcaces in Eritrea army in wia,in sawa,……you know i saw many inoccent Eritrean killed infront my eyein wia military tranning campin2007,they are from etenic groub of Kunam,the killers were kifleserawit 38.youknow when i write to you this comment i want to cry,but you know the reveng is from day we hope Issays Afwerki to be hange in Asmara stadum like sadam Hussen wehave no helper except God.Ertrean living living in abroad most of them ARE sellfish,

  14. Dawit Koricho
    | #14

    The person using the false name Abreha is the beneficiary and cadre of the ethno-fascist Meles Zenawi. The reality on the ground in Ethiopia is that his ethno-fascist paymaster Meles Zenawi, is alienating, discriminating and marginalizing Ethiopians who do not belong to his golden ethnic group. The ethno-fascist is implementing the defunct apartheid system which legalizes racism, excludes the majority and only benefits and empowers the minority. Ethiopia is in danger of dissolution because the ethno-fascists controlling and pillaging the country are creating conflicts and tensions among the communities living in the country. The ethno-fascists and their ethnic group are abusing their monopoly of political power to pillage and amass wealth at the expense of the country. Favoritism and nepotism are the order of the day in the country. It is easy to know the gravity of the situation in the country just by looking at the faces of the ordinary citizens. The ethno-fascists are totally preoccupied with looting and amassing wealth and do not want to see that they are sitting on a volcano which is about to erupt. The ethno-fascist or racist ideology of Meles Zenawi is excluding and oppressing Ethiopians in their own country. Membership of what the ethno-fascist Meles Zenawi calls the golden ethnic group, is becoming the only key to power and wealth in the country. I had been able to see and experience the exclusive ethnic wealthy clubs and their lavish life styles during my recent visit to the country. The new rich from the golden ethnic group are arrogant and inconsiderate to others. It appears that the ethno-fascists and their followers are decided not to live in equality, harmony and peace with Ethiopians. Ethiopians who have realized the grave danger we are facing as a consequence of the destructive politics and rule of Ethno-fascism, should support the herione Birtukan. We should strive for the release of Birtukan and all other prisoners of conscience.

  15. Puppets
    | #15

    Hi Abraham, I am Eritrean who live in Italy, I am here since 1985, which I forced to leave my country because of mengistu’s National Service. After libration of Eritrea, I been there minimum 10 times, so it is a little hard life in Eritrea part of it because of the legally finished but still occupied land of eritrea(Border). The second reason the are trying not to spoon-feed anymore and they are tackling the situation, to do all this it doesn’t come without sacrifices. It is the first time of its kind in Africa, which is worth to try it,
    than follow th path of other corrupted African countries. SO ERITREA IS DOING GOOD….

  16. Curious
    | #16

    Dear Abraham, what would you do if you become a president? What kind of democracy would you bring ? It seems like you guys are in love with Isayas what else can i say. You know one thing though all of you the so called oppostions, you can’t even get a long each other forget about giving us a lecture about Isayas. you don’t know how tired I am to hear all this garbage everyday.

  17. adimogos
    | #17

    Hi abraham you are the woyane you dont like pease between eritreans and ethiopians becouse you got money from woyane they will wine pease lovers eritreans and ethiopians you all hodamoch you will be going hell yegidi new selam yimetal LONG LIVE ERITREA AND ETHIOPIA//mot lewoyane kurkur

  18. Anonymous
    | #18

    Its Amazing how this TPLF Stooges underestimate the Ethiopian people –and how Short Sighted they are ??? First and formost Zenawi and his TPLF Co’s With Their iron fist rule in Ethiopia are denying Ethiopians of their basic and born with Human rights . In a nation of multi Ethnics Ethiopia ,All Military ,Civil service,Judicial System , Media, Police, The Air force, finance and Security is Controlled by One Ethnic groups,Tigreans or their trust worthy,very few non Tigreans – yet they boasted how democratic ststem they are building in EThiopia ???or be an Example to other horn of Africa ,nations and abraham berhe Writtings is Confirming us nothing but that,I sure hope They will wake up and start to see things beyond their BOXED IN-ETHNICIST MENTALITY

  19. D-Solomon
    | #19

    you might not see it but for us Ethiopians its crystal Clear that AFORQI and ZENAWI are THE DUO-CRIMINALS WHO SHARED THE SAME BRUTAL AND DICTATORIAL VALUES. —-IF YOU BELIVE ZENAWI DIFFERS FROM AFORQI brother you have to Convince millions of Ethiopians who thinks otherwise
    if you replace the name Aforqi and Eritrea by the name Zenawi and Ethiopia All What you Wrotes fits it right home to Ethiopia ,Please try to see things out of your Ethnic Box and in logical means and Explanations

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