International Social Justice Day, 2018 Feb. 20: Justice Through
Awareness for the Victims of the Tyrant
This day is a day on which many participate in advancing and promoting social justice within a country in order for the people of the country to live in peace and harmony with their neighboring countries and the other world. The torch of peace and harmony in each United Nation’s member-country symbolize respect for human rights and the fundamental freedom.
In a country where human rights and fundamental freedom are respected, the people are encouraged to shape their life by dreaming and achieving what they dream about. The achievements inspire the people of the neighboring countries and those beyond. Only internal peace and harmony stimulate and promote the people’s give-and-take relationship with their government. Yes, only fair treatment of the working people stirs the hearts of the whole population to take pride in belt-tightening and offering more to achieve miracles during the country’s nation-building process. But that is not the case in the Eritrea of Isayas.
The economic disaster caused by the tyrant’s “no peace, no war” adopted stance has failed Eritreans to promote sustainable economic growth. As the result, the country failed to create proper working conditions and jobs that provide fair compensation. The forced labors with no fair income and the failure to improve the social economic conditions have become root causes of families instability and poverty in the country. It is pathetically sad to see the implementation and promotion of social justice that ensure fair and just relationship between the authorities and the people have no existence in Eritrea under the rule of the tyrant. The Eritrean regime was singled out last year for not supporting the UN’s 2017 theme for the Day of Social Justice, which read: Let all prevent conflicts and sustain peace through creating decent work.
Leaders and people of countries learn from their mistakes for otherwise they will continue to be prisoners of their past blunders. It is not surprising to see people feeling discouraged by their leaders’ failure to benefit from the past lessons learned. History of wars is good reminder with supporting facts that the people’s hopes are dashed and their dreams are shattered when long ended war/conflict makes their leader more arrogant, failing to take corrective action in the right direction avoiding similar problems.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC)’s recommendations, directives and sometimes forces to fulfil its mandates are used to prevent hostilities, wars and conflicts. The UNSC assesses its effectiveness by the outcome of its actions measured by social justice and economic conditions. From its lessons learned, the UNSC is avoiding measures that result in disastrous outcomes.
The UNSC’s decision on Iraq and Libya resulted in unintended consequences. The UNSC learned its lessons from the challenges and humanitarian disasters in Iraq that resulted from its imposition of comprehensive sanctions. The UNSC decided to never repeat its mistakes of imposing comprehensive sanction on any other country. Similarly, the members of the UNSC learned from their involvement in Libya, where their action and interference without the knowledge of the targeted country’s politics have caused devastating consequences of flooding the wealthy countries with refugees. Thus, every time the UNSC learns from its mistakes and challenges, it reviews its decision-making processes and re-writes its rules and regulations to deliver better outcomes.
Only those who have the desire to understand humanity can avoid humiliation and embarrassments. What makes a decision different in its effectiveness from the one ineffective is the dependence on past lessons learned to avoid repetition of similar mistakes. Unlike the Eritrean tyrant, nations that have learned their lessons do their best to avoid giving power to UNSC over them by implementing policies that ensure social justice and human rights under which all citizens are well treated, making sure not even one person is suffering from mistreatment in breach of her/his human dignity.
How the Tyrant Impaired the Promised Social Justice in Eritrea?
From the get-go of liberating the Eritrean Lands from the foreign occupation, the Eritrean tyrant realized there were two types of comrades: those principled or loyal to the promises of the revolution and those who were ready to participate in corruption, misusing power for their personal gains by submission of their patriotism to his tyrannical rule. Those loyal to the promises of the revolution were considered to be antagonists that pose threat to tyrannical rule and insist on surrendering power to the people.
Ever since the tyrant got rid of those principled revolutionists, he is seen and heard to be promising each year hardship and he is good at keeping his words of the promised hardship. And each year, the people are forced to live bounded by the promised hardship making life for everyone unbearable.
To Eritreans, bribes and corruption used to be alien to their culture. However, the forced labor and the absence of fair compensation are compelling those in public offices to receive bribes. Such unacceptable practices are corrupting the incorruptible clean ex-fighters, not due to greed but due to fear of dying of starvation.
The whole country is submerged in corruption. With the guns of corruption, the officials of the regime are shooting at each other, where the big fish (the tyrant and his generals) are ultimately eating all the small fish’s stashed wealth through corruption. Unfortunately, the victims of the corruption are not protected by law to complain or report on those corrupted because the country has not justice system or anti-corruption enforcement mechanisms. The ultimate sufferer from the corruption being the common person, the bribe giving is creating untold strains on the ability of the parents sending each family to the brink of broken home. It seems like the people chose to living on little or no food rather taking a stand against the corrupt officials and be thrown into the jails of the tyrant.
The tyrant is utilizing the word “Tegadelai” to impose passivity or neutralize the ex-fighters embitterment for not getting paid enough to enable them support their own families. All the under paid, be it the employees or officials, have no choice but to be involved in bribery practices in order for them to solve their financial problems. There is no easy explanation as to why those officials have to be involved in corruption. But the truth is they are underpaid and cannot resign.
To some people, getting into the practice of corruption is found to be justified by going on the attack in order to defend their wealth and money. That is, they believe that rather than losing up to corruption and be a victim that pays bribes in order to live a peaceful life, it is better for them to throw away their dignity and be a complacent of the tyrannical rule, collecting wrong monies from bribery and human trafficking. However, once one starts to get involved in corruption, s/he is blackmailed into committing more atrocities in protection of the regime’s interest.
Unless the COIE’s lightning-flash makes clear for all those perpetrators involved in corruptions and warns them of the awaiting punishment for violations and the social crimes they are committing, they will not stop sucking in the poor’s money, worsening the living conditions in Eritrea. The increasing plight of the Eritrean person inside Eritrea is associated with the vanishing social justice. The failure of the regime to provide the people with opportunities for decent jobs and fair incomes is forcing each Eritrean family to become more vulnerable to poverty, unable to make ends meet.
How Eritreans Lost their Found Path to Social Justice?
On May 24, 1991, when the Eritrean lands were wholly liberated, all Eritreans danced and sang believing it was a day they found all the social justice that they lost to the Ethiopian colonization. Indeed, Eritreans were the first in Africa to have political parties, freedom of information, workers’ unions, and labor bureau (Ufficio del Lavoro) that ensured decent work.
All those components of social justice were promised by the Eritrean Revolution. The Eritrean revolutionary slogans embodied many social justice that called and promised all rights including respect for human dignity, equal rights of men and women, workers and peasants unions as backbones of the revolution, and above all the Eritrean struggle was never fulfilled until the Eritrean lands and people were fully liberated.
Deliberately broken promises are always hard to be kept. Isayas who always thought of and treated his comrades like sheep that herded them as he wanted, was good at creating wars and chaos to break promises and defer dreams until he amassed and consolidated power.
The tyrant violated the letter of the Eritrean promise when he first trampled over the rights of his comrades and unilaterally declared no-flirtation with opposing political views in the newly independent Eritrea. As head of the transitional government that promised multiparty system to be enshrined in the country’s constitution, he was not expected to express or show such non-accommodating attitude to other political opinions, which were framed under differ political parties in Eritrea. Thus, he shocked his comrades and the world when he distorted the content of the supposedly EPLA-EPLF message in his first speech.
The revolutionary spirit of the pro-democracy elements within the EPLF leadership was not demolished by the Isayas’s ambush and misspeaking against the promises of the constitution to be drafted and implemented in the newly liberated Eritrea. The pro-democracy elements started working hard to bring Isayas under control through implementing the constitution and its constitutionalism.
Isayas, however, appeared to believe that the transitional leadership of the transitional government was not an obligation that committed him to establishing a constitutional democracy in Eritrea. He also knew that the promise to implement the adopted constitution was not enforceable until it was delivered. Accordingly, the tyrant started to focus on surrounding his side with power-hungry generals and innocent ex-fighters who to-date are obsessed with the tittle “Tegadelai” and ready to be exploited in his plan of not surrendering power to non-Tegadelai people.
To those innocents that are obsessed with the title “Tegadelai”, the liberated Eritrean-land is everything in that they put it ahead of the Eritrean people, including their families and children. So, in preparation of the show-down with the pro-democracy group, the tyrant started to use those innocent ex-fighters like land-cruiser sending them to inaccessible Eritrean villages and overseas as his diplomates to ensure support for his planned consolidation of power. As Isayas’s diplomates, those obsessed with the title “Tegadelai” representing the tyrant as ambassadors or consulates, they are still obsessed with the title “tegadelai” depriving themselves of all social justice. When they travel, they don’t check in hotels. They still enjoy Tegadelai life, even ready to spend their nights under the bridge in cities where there is no any supporter of the tyrant to accommodate them with a place to stay. Even when the tyrant puts all their children and spouses in jail, they still remain loyal to him in honor of retaining the title of “Tegadelai.”
The tyrant, who always takes his enemy’s tactical movements seriously, prepares well and strengthens his position to deny his enemy planting seeds and gaining any advantage. As a crook tyrant, he is also good at sowing discord and putting wedges among people to deny his enemies getting the needed support from the people and accomplishing the desired goals.
As the tyrant secured the entire needed arsenal to knock down any force that could stand in the path of his amassing and consolidating powers, the pro-democracy group was working hard to bring the tyrant under control through the decisions of the Eritrean National Assembly. When the Eritrean National Assembly adopted the constitution and was working on its implementation, the tyrant surprised the people by going into war with Ethiopia over the ownership of Baduma/Badme.
As facts played out after the war ended, people came to understand that the war not discussed and approved neither by the Eritrean National Assembly nor by the cabinet of the ministers, and as such the war came to be referred to as the war of Isayas. Even worse, Isayas’s failure to do what ought to be done procedurally and legally in order to get Badme back ascertained that the objective of the war was not to regain Badme. By inference drawn from the above facts, people were led to believe that the chief objective of the war was to deny implementation of the constitution, which was already adopted by the assembly before the war.
The tyrant used his power to shame the country and its revolution when he falsely accused the pro-democracy elements of treason, and even worse when he was seen prolonging their unproven guilt by denying them to defend their innocence in a court of his law. Regardless of the reasons behind his going into war unilaterally, the continuation of the claim that the country is in a state of war is sprouting abusive individuals making the country a land of perpetrators and their victims.
The tormenting fear or the injustice that is occurring to the Eritreans inside Eritrea stems from their silence or passivity and failure to speak out against the crimes committed by the cruel and oppressive rule of the tyrant. Although some ex-fighters could be blackmailed into passivity, the silence of some politically conscious Eritreans can be considered to be a sign of fear while the support for the tyrant by some Eritrean Diasporas is considered to be an admission of political ignorance to recognize the abuses of power in Eritrea.
Thanks to the social media nowadays for raising the political awareness of Eritreans. Easily one can follow up on how the absence of social and economic justice as well the violations of human rights is depriving the Eritrean people of dignified and peaceful life. It is also easy to follow up how the tyrant’s monetary policies are worsening the living condition for every family, including the rich and the poor.
On this Social Justice Day, Eritreans should discuss and condemn all forms of abuses including forced labor and the endless conscription. Only by discussing and promoting social justice one can enhance his/her knowledge of social protection and human dignity and be able to contribute towards alleviating the sufferings of the people under the tyrannical rule by writing and posting materials on social media and on the opposition’s websites that evidence the true face of the tyranny in Eritrea and giving instructions that can help speaking up against injustice.
Good knowledge of social justice is believed to help the Eritrean Diasporas to acknowledge and take responsibility for all conflicts that have become reasons and causes for splitting the community. Upon bringing the Eritrean Diasporas closer for better cooperation and action, the community will be effective in condemning and stopping the rising crimes, injustice and violations of human rights in Eritrea. Those enlightened by the awareness of the social justice will be able to inspire and empower others by sharing with them about how to fight for justice and how to speak up on behalf of the voiceless fearlessly.
Years of follow up revealed that those who are close to the tyrant, such as the embassy staff and the Eritrean Diaspora-investors in Eritrea are more potential to victimization by the tyrant. The more one is close to the tyrant, the more his/her blackmailability and hostageabiliity by the tyrant increases. This can be explained by the principle of the carpenter’s vertical saw, which advises safety is ensured by keeping the fingers away from the front of the blade (the tyrant). Only through awareness those vulnerable to the traps of the perpetrators (the tyrant and his generals) can be helped to open their eyes, empowering them to speak up against injustice and to mimic the social justice spoken up by the pro-democracy elements and the justice seekers.
Let’s all join hands to raise awareness and make it hard for all Eritreans not to look away when injustice committed. Only then social justice can be imposed to prevent violations of human rights and human dignity.