Eritreans Calling on America for Justice and for America
By: Haileab Luul Tesfai
February 13, 2006

Peace Demonstration mainly organized by Eritrean youth who are either born in America or came to America at a tender age along with their parents, is only few days away. How different would it be from the eventful and historic Strasbourg demonstration staged last year in the EU capital by the law abiding Eritreans living in Europe?


Eritrean-American youth from their cyber base have been agitating the Eritrean communities across North-America organizing petition drives directed to members of the Congress and the House. Their extensive lobbing activities carried out with a professional touch have definitely shown the emergence of a new generation of Eritreans carrying on with the struggle to realize our national aspirations--with zeal and knowledge. What is substantially new is not the lobbying activities, but a generation that has an unequivocal interest in the welfare of both Eritrea, where they claim their heritage and America, to most a place of their birth or their formative years.


For this generation that grew up observing parents participating in the Liberation struggle in one form or the other has obviously a better understanding of the American society than what they can make of the Eritrean culture and history. When viewed through the eyes of their parents their knowledge of American history and its role in this era acquired through the school system and the media had more often than not put them into contradicting conclusions. How come America a nation religiously upholding its claim to freedom and the pursuit of happiness gets on the way of the Eritrean people in their legitimate rights to live as a sovereign nation?


The direct involvement of America took its fateful shape way back after the Second World War with the frank but wrong and unjust policy clearly stated by the then Secretary of State Foster Dulles:


"From the point of view of justice, the opinion of the Eritrean people must receive consideration. Nonetheless, the strategic interest of the United States in the Red Sea basin and considerations of security and world peace make it necessary that the country has to be linked with our ally, Ethiopia.


Basically for the younger generation this can be taken as the past history of Eritrea of their parents and grandparents who in 1991 not only claimed a miraculous victory, but also had a sense of hope that a new era of peace and prosperity had finally emerged in our region. That sense of hope didn't emanate only from the optimist nature of Eritreans, but also for the fact that the Cold War was declared to be over. The Liberation era generation with its revolutionary experience and outlook was ready and full of hope to take its constructive and active role to another level in partnership with small or big nations, strong or weak entities. But that was not to be mainly because of the regressive role "America" continued to play. The non coherent policy approach played by different actors resulted in another break-out of war and its ensuing consequences. "America" posing as a partner in development acted as an enemy.


For the younger generation what had been considered as the history of Eritrea of their parents and grandparents also became the current events of present day Eritrea. At this interesting juncture which is dubbed as the Second Liberation Struggle three or more generations in Eritrea are experiencing the same "America" which gets in the way of their legitimate national inspiration. It is in this context that the young Eritrean-Americans as a bridge between Eritrean aspirations and American role more than any segment of the Eritrean society have unequivocal concerns to the well being of the relationships of both nations and also the respective roles they play for the advancement of justice and peace in our region and beyond.


There are reasons, at least in our case, why America is being driven to act irresponsibly for which Eritreans are suffering the consequences. For lack of better understanding or for political expediencies, many outside observers have been presenting "American" policy towards Eritrea and Ethiopia as fairly impartial. However, its unconditional support for the vote rigging and repressive regime of the Woyanes clearly demonstrated without ifs and buts that America is still driven by irrational policy making processes that contradict and defeat the very nature of the rule of law and democratic forms of governance.


Consequently, America instead of being respected gets feared, instead of being admired is increasingly hated by many peoples. From the global perspective, His Excellency President Issayas Afeworki in his recent state of the nation address said:


" It actually comes within the framework of the bigger error in the American political strategy not only in our region, but also what we witness in other parts of the world for establishing hegemony and domination through their agents for administering these regions. Therefore it has to be corrected. For comparison purposes the Ethiopian crisis reveals the extent of the danger and negative impacts of these foreign interventions."


America as a sole superpower, more than any time in its history needs a renewed conscience that helps to redirect its huge power to tackling global challenges for the benefit of mankind as defined by humane values.


Eritrean -Americans and their fellow Eritrean-Canadians and friends will be marching on Feb. 13 along the main streets and boulevards of the Capital and San Francisco. This historic march is not only to call on America to live by its responsibilities, but also as a token of the ongoing contribution from "tiny" Eritrea to the conscience of America. That is not hope or hype but an Eritrean value more cultivated by the revolutionary experience of extending itself to share its goodwill and prospects with others.



Wetru Awet Nhafash