A Glimpse into a Mysterious African Dictatorship: Is Eritrea on the Verge?

Once hailed as beacon of hope, Eritrea quickly devolved into a secretive dictatorship. Now there may be signs that the regime may be wobbling.

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Correction appended: Jan. 27, 2013

Eritrea made a rare foray into international headlines on Monday, Jan. 21, as news agencies and social-media sites disseminated speculation of a coup attempt. Reliable information on events in Asmara is hard to come by, however, with the tiny East African nation being one of the world’s least open societies and allowing no independent journalists to operate. One signal that all was not well in the Eritrean capital, however, was the fact that the state television service, which is broadcast from inside the headquarters of the Ministry of Information, went off the air for the first time since its creation in 1993.

Although reports of what took place vary wildly, accounts by opposition figures and dissidents claim that the channel’s leading news presenter appeared on air and read out a brief statement calling for the implementation of the 1997 constitution and release of political prisoners — estimated by Human Rights Watch to number between 5,000 and 10,000. The channel then went dead for the whole day before returning to normal service as if nothing had happened, with a report on how snow was disrupting daily life in Paris. That brief disruption was taken by many as a sign that a power struggle may be under way within Eritrean’s regime.

(MORE: The Ogaden Problem: Will an Old Insurgency Tip the Balance in East Africa?)

Eritrea, which became a nation state in 1993 after two decades of separatist insurgency, has been ruled since its inception by President Isaias Afewerki, who had led the rebellion. For a time, Eritrea was viewed in Western capitals as a beacon of hope, a small but resource-rich nation on track to become an African success story. But optimism quickly soured as Afewerki’s regime, seized by fears of an Ethiopian invasion, cracked down on dissent and created a security state — a dynamic exacerbated by a border war with Ethiopia from 1998 to 2000. No elections have been held since Eritrea’s birth, and opposition has been suppressed. Large numbers of young people have fled to avoid military conscription or forced labor. Afewerki has also been accused by the U.N. Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea of funding Somalia’s Islamist al-Shabab militants — a charge he vigorously denies, although the U.N. group later reported that international pressure had prompted Eritrea to reduce such support.

While the details of what transpired on Monday remain unclear, the very fact of a glitch in the regime’s information output was hailed by many in the Eritrean diaspora as a welcome sign of ferment. “Whatever has happened, it gives us some kind of hope we might see change at a time when many of us had given up,” says Abel Berhane, 32, an Eritrean refugee living in London. Since Monday, dissidents, journalists and experts have spent hours trying to assemble a picture of what transpired. The story spread by progovernment organizations and Afewerki supporters is that a handful of soldiers — labeled terrorists — had stormed the Ministry of Information and tried to seize hostages, but the army had surrounded the building and negotiated a peaceful end to the standoff. Some Eritrean officials and ambassadors, in conversations with international media, hinted that something had happened, but insisted that everything was back to normal. The Eritrean government failed to respond to several requests from TIME for comment.

Exiled dissidents and opposition groups have not ruled out more dramatic scenarios to explain last Monday’s events. Some suggest Afewerki had staged the event himself in order to create a pretext for a new purge of military officers deemed a threat to his rule. A competing explanation holds that up to 100 soldiers, fed up with lack of pay and poor treatment, had marched to the Ministry of Information to put pressure on the regime to heed their demands. According to this version, the soldiers had entered the ministry, ordered the newsreader to read out their statement and then left without a shot being fired left. If so, they could pay a heavy price. “The regime will let them be for two weeks, and [then], like before, execute the leaders and arrest the juniors,” speculates Norwegian Eritrea expert Kjetil Tronvoll of the Oslo-based International Law and Policy Institute. “It still puts into question, though, how so many soldiers were able to march through the city without any interference.”

(MORE: Out of Africa: Israel Confronts a New Generation of ‘Infiltrators’)

A third and most widely believed theory claims that a well-organized and sophisticated mutiny is underway to push for reforms. “We have to see this recent event as part of a long story,” says Leonard Vincent co-founder of Paris-based Radio Erena. He and other opposition elements abroad claim to have received reports suggesting that what they say is long-standing tension between Afewerki and some of his most senior generals reached boiling point recently when Afewerki ordered weapons to be distributed to citizen militias without informing the Minister of Defense. Since then, that minister, as well as several of Afewerki’s most senior officials, has been sidelined, according to these reports.

Among other indicators of discord, two pilots last October defected to Saudi Arabia with the presidential jet. And Afewerki’s Minister of Information, Ali Abdu, has not appeared in public for nearly six weeks, say dissidents, who believe the regime is slowly crumbling. They say reports that beginning to emerge indicate the incident at the Ministry of Information was initiated by recently sidelined generals as a show of strength. “They wanted to show Afewerki they still had power and could shut down the Ministry of Information and other places if they wanted to,” Vincent tells TIME. Military sources in Asmara have told TIME that senior generals are currently locked in negotiations with Afewerki to push for reforms and that the statement of their grievances delivered on television was designed to pressure the President. Many observers, though, doubt that the generals are actually seeking to better the country and speculate they are more concerned with keeping power and preserving their business interests. In the mean time, human-rights groups say that the government has been arresting dozens of people, many of whom— according to experts in Eritrean affairs — are not believed to be involved in the incident.

Explanations of the events at the Information Ministry differ wildly, but “whatever you believed happened, this has been a significant development,” says Tronvoll. “This is huge defiance of Isaias’ power, a message that went around the world instantly, a great boost for the diaspora, and a clear signal that divisions are emerging in the military, the power of Afewerki is withering and it is one step closer to his downfall.” At least, that’s what the exiles, dissidents and victims of the regime are hoping.

Correction: The original version of this story said Eritrea’s state television service was off the air for a few minutes; the channel was dead for the whole day.

MORE: Top 10 International News Stories of 2012

46 comments
dgebru6
dgebru6

Martin and his ethiopian allies on this comments speaking gibberish about what they hope would happen. Its very funny and interesting to see these lowlives.

samuel.negusse
samuel.negusse

Just reading the weird comments from supporters of the Eritrean dictatorship gives one an insight into how delusional and intolerant the Eritrean government and the people that support it are. "Any comment or news not praising the Eritrean dictatorship is a conspiracy by 'Snowball' and allies." they have been brainwashed to believe.

jeganuna
jeganuna

I would like to briefly say that there are people who can say any thing as they have paid the ultimate any one can imagine,  and its these people who should utter these things, I see that's the contrary here, you can't deny that, how deep do you try to analyse the situation


we have served our nation and left our comrades back, and Eritrea is them, lets realize what might have been their wildest dreams of this land, definitely they didn't fight for barren land, there were principles that fed them and cooled them in the harshest tempting moments, I wonder how many of these people who have the privilege to post would have hold on

And we were forced to leave our land, no one would consent to, any ways the question much more than what most would envisage

We, the patriots, have acquired the resources to answer to our comrades, not any one else, and we will not need any ones involvement to initiate an independent and sovereign measures before long in due course, we will enlighten our people, and its peoples' power that we will instill for once and forever, with the most transparent and accountable system -by the people for the people


and we will do the transition with no blood shed and due respect to the disgruntled junta, we will not waste any input and would strive to reconciliation not retaliation  

Our people lacks the awareness and that's what we should target at the moment and doing other wise would have detrimental consequences

Our people should be tamed to tolerate opinion, opinion within the realms of what would be good to the country, with least patience to division from awraja/region and tribes


Regards

We are always with out martyrs and have sworn to constitute their wishes


ErtraNatna
ErtraNatna

The Eritrean “Coup” That Never Wasby Thomas C. MountainJanuary 30, 2013

The New York Times and its cult followers in the American media, amongst others, manufactured an attempted “coup” that never happened in the small East African country of Eritrea.

The story of this “attempted coup” began last Monday morning, January 21 in a small garrison base south of here when three disgruntled officers told their command that they were being transferred to the capital Asmara to guard the Ministry of Information. Excited to be leaving their remote location for life in the capital the citizen soldiers in the command packed their bags, loaded their two tanks on to their trailers, saddled up and headed for the big city.

Several hours later the unit arrived at the unguarded gates of the Eritrean Ministry of Information, unloaded their tanks and, according to neighbors, proceeded to engage in boisterous horseplay on and around their equipment.

In the meantime the three miscreant officers barged their way into the television studios of Eritrean TV and waving a pistol around demanded a political screed be read over the air.

A quick thinking technician in the broadcast system quickly cut of the signal and their plan was suddenly still born.

In the meantime the youngsters in their command outside began to get wind that something was wrong, and when they found out what was going on inside the EriTV studios they “mutinied”, as in stopped obeying their commanding officers orders which eventually included a command for them to open fire on their fellow Eritreans.

Seeing that the jig was up the three “mutineers” absconded on foot from the Ministry escaping down the cliffs behind the old “Forto”, once the headquarters for the Italian Colonial Army in Eritrea.

All’s well that ends well and the three “mutinous” officers were duly found and arrested. The “mutinous” national service citizen soldiers were taken out to a very tasty dinner at the Malobar restaurant (quite a treat for troops used to a diet of sorghum, chick peas and lentils), spent the night in the daKorea apartments were they enjoyed hot showers, clean sheets and comfortable beds for a change. The next day they and their tanks returned to their base with a well-deserved thanks from the country’s leaders.

The moral of the story is that the reality on the ground here in Eritrea is that the military is composed of citizen soldiers, not the “professional”, i.e., mercenary armies found in most of the rest of Africa. Our youth are all required to participate in the National Service program and are paid a very small salary for their services.

In other words, they see their national service, no matter the difficult conditions or seemingly endless term of service as their patriotic duty.

Being that the Ethiopian army launched division scale attacks (a division is made up of some 5,000 soldiers) at least three times in

2012 alone their families here in Eritrea really need them to keep us safe from invasion by the notoriously brutal Ethiopian military camped out 500,000 strong on our borders.

The whole description of this incident, what I have described as “a tempest in a teapot”, as an attempted “coup” by some of the truth challenged western media is made moot when anyone familiar with the streets of Asmara will tell you that to get to the hill top Ministry of Information one first has to drive past the Office of the President.

To most Eritreans, 90% or more, and especially so amongst the youth doing their national service, Eritrean President Issias Aferworki is Eritrea’s George Washington, as in “first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen”.

You don’t have to take my word for this, all you have to do is visit Eritrea during the carnival week leading up to Independence Day celebrations in May (like award winning producer Afshin Rattansi and his film crew did in 2012) and see for yourself the 100,000 and more young people partying in the streets, almost all of who are doing their national service duty. Not a firearm in sight, not a fight to be seen, and the President himself walking down the middle of the street at the height of the party surrounded by tens of thousands of his country’s youth.

I don’t think any Eritrean familiar with the reality here, especially amongst the youth, would ever imagine a coup being possible. Even if a group of officers were to try such they would quickly find that the citizen soldiers in the Eritrean military would quickly “mutiny” as was the case in the “tempest in a teapot” on Jan. 21, the coup that never happened.

TesfamichealErmias
TesfamichealErmias

This  news anylissis has posted from the lawless city of Addis Ababa. there is no any realeable sources from Ethiopea that reader could depend on regarding Eritrea . Just as the past 21 years enjoy the show and expect how many fabricated news and wrong speculation are on the way against Eritrea.

asmarana
asmarana

TWO OF ISAYAS AFORKI'S BRILLIANT IDEAS:


1. ALL EVILS START WHEN THERE IS A LARGE INCOME GAP IN THE POPULATION. 

    SOLUTION: KEEP EVERYBODY POOR.

   HOW: 

   A. STOP ISSUING NEW BUSINESS LICENSE

   B. BE PARTNERS IN BOOMING COMPANIES,  SLOWLY TAKE OVER THE COMPANY AND TURN IT INTO THE USUAL 

        CORRUPT AND INEFFICIENT GOVERNMENT-OWNED COMPANY.  

  C.  JAIL RICH PEOPLE, KEEP THEM IN JAIL UNTIL WE FIND SOMETHING DODGY ABOUT WHAT THEY DO


2. ALL EVILS START WHEN ERITREANS GET A UNIVERSITY EDUCATION

    SOLUTION: CLOSE THE ONLY UNIVERSITY AND REPLACE IT WITH A FEW LESS THREATENING COLLEGES

    HOW:

         OPEN NEW USELESS COLLEGES, WHERE BRAIN-WASHED CHILDREN OF SAWA LEARN OUTSIDE ASMARA

         JUST IN CASE SOMETHING COMES UP, IT IS EASY TO ROUND THEM UP AND DO WHAT WE HAVE TO DO BEFORE

         THEY GET NEAR ASMARA



asmarana
asmarana

TIME WORLD AND MR. GEORGE, I thank you in the name of the thousands of innocent Eritreans that are in Jail and have also tragically died in brutal and inhumane treatment. The Government of Eritrea has turned Eritrea into one huge dungeon, where citizens work indefinitely in slavery-like conditions under the name of "national service". People are put to jail for merely voicing opposition or praying in groups in their home. Many people have died in jail, some of whom are close friends of mine, journalists of independent newspapers arrested in 2001: Dawit Habtemichael, Mathewos, Medhanie, Joshua to name a few.

I would call on the west to pressure on the mining companies that are working in Eritrea to stop their project, because the money is not helping Eritreans at all. In Eritrea, we barely have water and electricity; food is rationed. Instead of easing the burden in our lives, the proceeds of the mining companies has become a life line to the government and will enable it to keep on with its campaign of silencing opposition. This will deter any positive change that might lead Eritrea towards democracy. 

asmarana
asmarana

I WOULD REALLY LOVE TO MEET YOU 2 YEARS AFTER YOUR STAY IN ERITREA, . IT IS ALL ROSEY WHEN YOU "PLANT TREES" FOR A FEW DAYS AND GO TO AMERICA. YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED! YOU SHOULD HAVE COME TO HELP WHEN WE WERE DYING IN THE WERARAT, PLANT TREES MY A**! 

I HOPE YOU ARE NOT GOING TO PLANT SOME MORE TRESS NOW WITH THE LITTLE HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS. THE LITTLE GIRLS ARE DOING THE VERY BEST THEY CAN, AND IT SEEMS LIKE YOU ARE TOO. DUMB.

DO ME A FAVOR IF YOU ARE THE MAN YOU SAY YOU ARE GO TO "ENDA HINTSA" AND WORK WITH THE GOVERNMENT OWNED CONSTRUCTION COMPANIES, GET A TASTE OF WHAT THE AVERAGE ERITREAN GOES THROUGH IN WARSAY YIKEALO. STILL BETTER MAY BE TRY A FEW RISKS LIKE ABANDONING YOUR FOREIGN PASSPORT, JUST SO THAT YOU DON'T RUN AWAY WHEN IT GETS ROUGH. GOD HOW I HATE PEOPLE LIKE YOU. WE HAVE ROTTEN MOST OF OUR LIVES FROM ONE MILITARY POST TO ANOTHER AND PEOPLE LIKE YOU SHOUT FROM A DISTANCE SUPPORT THE ERITREAN GOVERNMENT. IT IS LIKE "SUPPORT TO THE SLAVERY". I THINK WE SHOULD KILL PEOPLE LIKE YOU FIRST.

asmarana
asmarana

ERITREANFORLIFE

HOW DO YOU KNOW THE MAJORITY LIKE HIM? ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO CLAPPED AFTER HIS STUPID TALK? THEY WANT TO HAVE LAND IN ERITREA, REMEMBER? IF HE HAS THE GUTS AND HE IS SURE PEOPLE LIKE HIM, LET HIM HOLD AN ELECTION AND SEE HOW IT TURNS OUT! 

HE IS RUTHLESS BECAUSE:

1. HE THROWS JOURNALISTS IN JAIL JUST BECAUSE THEY WERE DOING THEIR JOB. ALMOST ALL HAVE SADLY DIED IN JAIL

2. CLOSES AN ONLY UNIVERSITY BECAUSE HE BELIEVES IT IS THE CENTER OF OPPOSITION TO HIS DICTATORSHIP

3. HE HAS LOTS OF BLOOD IN HIS HANDS, YOU MIGHT BE TOO STUPID TO KNOW BUT THOSE OF US WHO LIVE INSIDE KNOW THAT VERY WELL

asmarana
asmarana

ERITREAN FOR LIFE: LISTEN

LONG LIVE ISIAS DID YOU SAY? WELL SOMEONE SAID "BECAREFUL WHEN YOU PRAY, BECAUSE THEY MIGHT BE ANSWERED" I WISH ISAIAS LIVES LONG ENOUGH FOR YOU TO COME BACK TO ERITREA AND FEEL THE HEAT BRO. I TELL YOU, THEN YOU WILL KILL HIM YOURSELF IF YOU HAVE THE GUTS OR RUN AWAY LIKE MOST ERITREAN FOOLS WHO LIVE ABROAD DO, COME BACK BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE WHAT HE TELLS THEM IN THE MEETINGS AND BOY DO THEY GET BAD. JUST FOR YOUR OWN GOOD, DON'T GET RID OF THAT FOREIGN PASSPORT YOU HAVE .... YOU WILL NEED IT SOON, VERY VERY SOON.

I DON'T THINK YOU GET IT.... YOU THINK ALL ERITREANS FLEEING ERITREA ARE ECONOMIC MIGRANTS? ERITREANS ARE HARDWORKING AND THEY DO ALL THEIR BEST TO WORK IN ERITREA BUT WHEN THIS CORRUPT GOVERNMENT CREATES ALL THIS BUREAUCRACY THEY FLEE. IT IS NOT JUST THE POOR PEOPLE THAT ARE LEAVING >>>>>>> THE RICH ERITREANS HAVE ALL LEFT, BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT CAN'T LET YOU WORK. THEY ARE IN JUBA, UGANDA, ANGOLA!!!! BUT YOU DON'T KNOW DO YOU?

JUST SO YOU KNOW, THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS IN ERITREA. SUPPOSE YOU SET UP A COMPANY, YOU BRIBE ALL THESE PEOPLE ON THE LINE YOU MAKE IT. BUSINESS IS GOING WELL AND SOON GOVERNMENT OPERATIVES VISIT YOU AND TELL YOU "WE WILL BE PARTNERS", WELL YOU SAY NO, YOUR LIFE IS GOING TO BE HELL. YOU WILL BE IN AND OUT OF JAIL FOR NO REASON. YOUR TAX WILL INCREASE. YOU SAY YES BE MY PARTNER. WELL YOU START WORKING AND AFTER A FEW YEARS, THEY TELL YOU, HERE IS YOUR MONEY, GET THE HELL OUT OF THE BUSINESS. THEN YOU START "BUT THAT IS NOT HOW MUCH MY COMPANY IS WORTH" WELL YOU KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF YOU REFUSE. WELCOME TO ERITREA, THE LAND OF DREAMS AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE FOOL.

I HAVE BEEN READING YOUR TEXT LATELY, I THINK YOUR EXTREME HATE FOR THE WEST IS WHAT IS DRIVING YOU TO LOVE ISAIAS, I GATHER SOMEHOW YOU ARE NOT SUCCESSFUL LIKE MANY ERITREANS ABROAD AND TAKE THE BLAME ON THE AMERICANS, JUST LIKE THE PALESTINIAN STUDENT WHO FAILS HIS EXAM BLAMES ISRAEL SHAME SHAME

samuel.negusse
samuel.negusse

Funny how a government that partners with Somali's Al-Shebab claims to being challenged by Islamic  "terrorists".  President Isaias sees US behind every "major conspiracy" that surfaces about once every month in the country.  It seems then that the CIA and Al-Qaeda have the same agenda for Eritrea.

AbiySimon
AbiySimon

People are confused this time, they don't know what they are doing. Specially the power elites or western. Please buck off we don't want you to involve in our free country.

wediere
wediere

Isaias is a like killer cobra. Anyone who has plans to confront him should go all the way: either get Isaias under itsr control or eliminate him for good. What the protestors did was poorly planned, executed and all it will  do is those poor soldiers who protested last week will be picked like a sticking needle by one by one from their respective homes under the cover of the night. He did it time and again and he will if he has not done it  already. But that does not mean that the brazen disobedience of the soldiers to his regime does not  shows that the emperor has no clothes and is not contributing to the final demise of the unelected dictator. . He is rotten from inside all it needs is a little catalyst like last week stunt by  the dozens of soldiers. He may not last this year as too many issues are exposing Isaias  as nothing but a ruthless dictator only concerned on  holding  power at any cost.

Eritreanforlife
Eritreanforlife

 Here you people go again barking the same bark that has been

dissiminated across the media matrix by west controled media networks.
Keep in mind that over 70% of the information we receive is
monitored,controled, created, and distributed by the FIVE MEDIA
CONGLOMERATES (west controlled medias). So all of these numbers of
people fleeing the nation most likely is exagerated. What are your
SOURCES? let me guess Al jazeera, CNN, BBC? Lets stop vomating these
lies. Yes people are leaving, yes the economy is young and very
promising, yes the constitution has not "fully" been implemented. The
question you should be asking is WHY? The answer to that NO ONE REALLY
KNOWS. We have an idea or believe based off the information we have
received from media networks, books, history, people, family, and what
we have personally witnessed on the ground. But ultimatily we dont
know.
If you study Wests(specifically the united states) foreign policy,
history, behavior, etc. You should know very well, more likely than
not, they do not want any independent African nation especially one
like Eritrea.Most Eritreans that I know are more concerned about the economic state of
their nation not elections. Speaking of election name ONE nation that
is a democratic nation. I live in the US and i know very well that it
is a REPULIC. It is really corporate dictatorship.

The United States is, indeed, a republic, not a democracy. Accurately
defined, a democracy is a form of government in which the people
decide policy matters directly--through town hall meetings or by
voting on ballot initiatives and referendums. A republic, on the other
hand, is a system in which the people choose representatives who, in
turn, make policy decisions on their behalf. The Framers of the
Constitution were altogether fearful of pure democracy. Everything
they read and studied taught them that pure democracies "have ever
been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found
incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and
have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent
in their deaths" (Federalist No. 10).

 The people of the world(especially africans) have been fooled into
believing in this so called democracy. Eritrea has been practicing its
indigenous democracy for thousands of years just like many other
african nations. look what European style democracy has done to
Africa, it is destorying it. I know you agree.

  Why do people of any nation flee their nation? It is mostly of
economic reasons.
All of the people I know left the country financial opportunities not
because they hate the government. My aunt came to US a year ago and
she told me a story of how Europeans(whites) came to the refuge camp
in sudan with cameras and videos and asked them, if they would take
arms and fight the government. If they did they would support them in
every way possible. The people stood up with anger and some said, "we
did not leave our country because we hate our government or our
country, we came because of financial reasons. If  a war is wage on
our country, we will go back and fight to the death with our brothers and
sisters''. I swear to you, I put this on my mother, and god/allah that
was what she said. I dont expect you to believe me, but we Eritreans know what the enemy intention is. Nothing is new under the sun, this sort of misinformation abouteritrea has been around for over 50years.
 Lets really be honest brother. lets remove emotion and partiality
based reasoning and analysis. I really do believe that some of the so
called opposition want whats best for Eritrea. But our reasoning,
analysis, understanding of whats really going on in the Eritrea,
Africa, and world is poor. Eritrea is in far more better position than
any african nation if you ask me. After visiting the place many times
I have realized it is nothing like what you people paint it to be. it
is a very peaceful and beautiful nation.
Eritrea is Africas success story. Successes  include increasing access to primary education, reducing the child mortality  rate, improving maternal health, reducing the HIV & Aids infection rate as  well as reducing the spread of other infectious diseases and ensuring  environmental sustainability. Access to safe drinking water and adequate  sanitation has also increased and the country’s agricultural sector is booming. Since 2010, Eritrea has become  one of only a handful of African countries that do not require food aid. Education and health care is free. GO TO:http://inewp.com/?p=11290
http://www.tesfanews.net/archives/4764


RESEARCH;
1) Noam Chomisky
2) read "economic hitman" by John Perkin
3) committee of 300
4) Five media conglomerates.
5) origins and purpose of world organizations such as:
       a) united nations, international criminal courts, amnesty
international, world health organizations, human rights watch, world
bank, IMF etc. They are a tool created by the west for the west.
6) william cooper
7)Minister louis farrakhan
8)Rothschild family.

This should be good enough. I would not be surprise if they remove
this comment. it is too much for them.
LONG LIVE President Isias Afwerki......Awet ne Hafash (Victory to the masses)

GhezaeHagos
GhezaeHagos

Dear Time,

Thank you for bringing attention to what is going on in Eritrea. As the other revolts around the Middle East and North Africa are grabbing media scrutiny, the untold horror inside Eritrea should also be revisited, if we are going to be able save innocent lives from certain death under one of the worst regimes in the world today. Eritreans have been living under a brutal tyranny for decades. There is no semblance of civic life in Eritrea. There is no constitution, no free media, no parliament. One-brutal totalitarian leader has terrorized the nation and the region. Isaias Afewerki, has ranked consistently one of the worst and cruellest leaders Africa has seen. Compared to him, Mubarak and Gaddafi look quite harmless. It is under such forbidding backdrop that the attempted coup of Jan. 21. 2013 came to materialize. Eritreans are calling upon international media and community to continue deal with what is going in Eritrea. Already many people suspected or imagined to be suspects have been disappeared. A massive crack-down is underway. There are already 5,000-10,000 political prisoners from a nation of barely 5 million.

The Obama government should put punitive sanctions of the Issais regime. All the red lines have been crossed Obama government should save the lives of Eritreans before the Eritrea become the next Rwanda or Somalia. Please save Eritreans!

DanielRezeneMekonnen
DanielRezeneMekonnen

Dear Mr. George,

Thank you for raising awareness about what you refer to be a country which makes a rare “foray into international headlines.” Job well done and please continue writing more.

I hope Time magazine will continue to allocate coverage which is commensurate with the deep political and human rights in the country. Although a landmark event, what you have analysed today is a tip of an iceberg when seen against the overall human rights crisis in the country, especially against the backdrop of 10s of thousands of political, religious and other prisoners who are languishing in the dungeons of the ruling and sole political party in Eritrea.    

That said let me now share a comment which is slightly different from the above. I spotted a number of editorial and factual errors in your piece. The errors are numerous that I cannot simply pass. To be exact, I see five editorial errors and three factual errors. Coming from Time, one of the most reputed magazines in the world, this is too much. The correct version of the error is indicated after the arrow sign in the following seven instances.

1) The channel then went dead for a few minutes ==> actually it went off for the whole day not just few minutes.

2)… Afewerki ==> Afwerki (this could have been rectified by simply double-checking the government official website)

3) … read out a brief statement calling for a change of the 1997 constitution ==> for implementation of the 1997 constitution (this could have been rectified by questioning knowledgeable people about the deep constitutional crisis in Eritrea)

4) … two decades of separatist insurgency ==> not two decades but three decades (and also not separatist insurgency but liberation struggle or war of liberation)

5) … the regime’s in the regime’s information output ==> the regime’s information output (repetition of "the regime's")

6) … what they same is longstanding tension between Afewerki and ==> what they seem

7) … defected to Saudi Arabia with the Presidential ==> Presidential plane

8) … says Tronvokil ==> Tronvoll

I hope you will find my comments helpful.

Daniel R. Mekonnen

danielrezene@gmail.com



Read more: http://world.time.com/2013/01/27/a-glimpse-into-a-mysterious-african-dictatorship-is-eritrea-on-the-verge/#ixzz2JBCUovxc

EritreaninExile
EritreaninExile

The TV was off air the whole day from noon up to 9:30 pm. Dictator in Eritrea is the most repressive and brutal dictator in Africa at this time. .  Time for downfall of the dictatorial regime is close than ever.