Eritrea: PFDJ’s pick and mix response to Forto 2013

By IndepthAfrica
In Djibouti
Jan 30th, 2013

by Selam Kidane
When I was a primary school my teacher from grade one was my favourite teacher… one day during lunch hour, we all saw her being led away across our play ground wailing whilst being held by some of the other teachers (including one of my least favourite teachers)…so I assumed that the nasty teacher was harming her and shared my version of events to my friends, a more astute friend had noticed that she was holding her arm in a rather awkward position and so the assumption included a hurt arm and the plot was thicker… we then heard some of the play ground assistants talking about our teachers husband who was an airline pilot who came to pick her up and we assumed that she was being flown for medical treatment by her husband… we were worried sick and angry at the teacher who was holding her and leading her away. At the after-lunch prayers before classes we all prayed for Ms Zewditu and her bad arm and also prayed that her husband will fly the aeroplane safely and return her to us as quickly as possible hopefully before home time please God!… the perplexed supply teacher who took us for the afternoon lessons didn’t know where to begin…and so she either didn’t bother to tell us what happened or told us and we didn’t buy it…. I can’t remember… what I do remember is for the rest of primary school we were very protective of Ms Zewditu and that arm…

…pfdj seem to be reacting to the events of last Monday in a rather similar manner … fusing one imagined scenario to another and then sealing that through their wishes and prayers… no one seems to bother fine details of plausibility and the even finer details for believability…

…when something momentous happens in Eritrea pfdj goes silent… so silent that you could hear a pin drop in…. they hold their collective gasp and look to TV Eri to tell them what to tell each other and the rest of the world… unfortunately for them last Monday Forto was telling them… Unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience, Implementation of the constitution and that power be passed to the people… the poor goons couldn’t believe what they were seeing so went to Dimtsi hafash and willed the static noise  to tell them that they only imagined what they heard and saw!

It took quiet a while for them but by Sunday night pfdj were on Forto 2013 version five or six.

ER Tv popping back up and trying to carry on as normal probably works well for fooling those who have already deluded themselves and are too willing to dance the niHna Nisu tune… unfortunately for pfdj… it wasn’t just diaspora goons who wanted to know what on earth was going on…. It was the world! So they we back to the drawing board and came back with another array of a multiple choice of what happened at Forto on Mondy 21st of Jan…

Fist off the mark was probably a certain Ambassador Estifanos on twitter… and barking mad wouldn’t describe what that man churns out by way of tweets… at one point I thought his twitter account was hacked, by someone who is intent on making pfdj look bad! Basically the good Ambassador (in between warning Martin Plaut not to breath… Leonard Vincent not to utter a single word and Dan Connel not to even look at the word Eritrea in the dictionary), told us that there was nothing going on in Eritrea and that there were no soldiers on the site at Forto… the tanks were a product of Asmarinos’ imagination…

Then Ambassador Araya Desta of the UN mission sprang to action… ok it wasn’t nothing it was a tiny incy wincey… action by few people and it disrupted broadcast momentarily… but all is well and we are all back in business and I am still the Ambassador (you could almost hear the ‘phew!’ in his statement!)… that was Monday evening…

And that is all the confirmation that was needed that SOMETHING MASSIVE had indeed taken place… the thing is the government of Eritrea categorically denies the existence of any opposition and here was Araya Desta telling the world that there was enough opposition and organisation that could effect the disruption to any dictator’s choice instrument of disinformation …there were people not just ordinary people!… soldiers… who had enough presence to overpower an entire ministry… so vital that it was placed in a forte! A relevant context here is that a meeting of over 7 people is illegal in Eritrea and unless Ambassador Araya was telling us that they were communicating telepathically… he was admitting that tens of soldiers were meeting and planning this momentous operation and had the courage to actually mount it… what a glorious accolade he was paying the gallant heroes of Forto!

… it is perhaps the resounding support for the EDF that perhaps triggered Yemane Monkey, in his capacity as a special advisor to the president, decided to start a twitter campaign… of: ‘look how ordinarily ordinary things are in Asmara…people are even getting married’ (January is the wedding season in Eritrea!)… and then for good measure and in an inadvertent indication of pfdj’s strategy for forthcoming implementation…. Good old Monkey told us that the few shots and that momentary blinking of TV ERi was caused by Islamists! We were meant to jump up and down and retort … ‘look the leaders of Forto  and all those that have been arrested since then are all Moslems’ and add two and two and make hamshay mesrriE!! 1994 style!!… across the globe Eritrean youth responded… this is Forto 2013 and that is all of us!!

ArbiHarnet made 10,000 calls telling people inside the country what took place and then followed it up with a stern warning to Monkey and his colleagues… London youth raided the pfdj embassy and showed the world exactly whose side people are on… Stockholm, Frankfurt and Houston followed suit… DC, Telaviv and Milan are promising much more…

Sensing that the monkey magic had lost its shine on us, of all the people in the universe… Ambassador Gashie Girma Asmerom jumped in, in the act and he as always was perplexed as to why people didn’t quiet see things from his perspectives… it wasn’t a coup silly!… it was just a bunch of hooligan terrorists! Now please go and change them headlines and let’s get back to me pretending I have a very important job here in Addis…look it is important that you take my word for it !… I am even talking about this myself and have not sent Lij Biniam with a scribbled note in hand, as I usually do!

I am sure that statement persuaded no one… but pfdj had saved the best for second last! The last will be when IA appears and tells us… something like: I have no idea what you were talking about I was watching Ethiopia loose 4-0 at the African cup of nations… I am sure that was being broadcasted live! Wasn’t it?

… if something ridiculous (too ridiculous even by pfdj standard) needs saying pfdj look to the Mountain… and true to nature Thomas Mountain the last white man standing in Eritrea, the only, Issias t-shirt wearing, ‘independent journalist’ in the world came on board telling us, what I will have to quote him because you will definitely not believe me!

Mountain started by telling us that three disgruntled officers led an entire Division under false pretences and without the knowledge of anyone and were able to move them across the country (complete with their tanks and other equipment) and then when the incident was foiled (by a quick thinking technician).. the officers fled on foot and were caught later…

If you believe the above then you will have no problems believing the bit that I have to quote because it really does beggar belief…

“…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 countries leaders.”

Probably sensing that no one believes a word he says Mountain concludes by seeking alibis…

“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.”

I could almost hear the gallant EDF heroes sniggering ‘alla wedi gobo!’…

Viva Forto 2013

This is a week to pay tributes….

Obviously the Forto 2013 lions have changed my life and my activism forever I thank them…

My colleagues at ArbiHarnet who sprung into action like never before (their insomnia rising rose to new heights)… who managed to make 10,000 phone calls on Monday and over 200 serious messages to PFDJ on Tuesday and an amazing online concert with over ten artists and a following of thousands by Sunday…Viva Forto 2013!

my colleagues from EYSC UK, EYSNS, West London activists,… and every one who dared to do the unthinkable in London recorded it and unleashed it on the world… (I still get the jitters thinking about it all!)
members of our amazing youth movement whose are showing solidarity with their counterparts at the EDF showing pfdj what our Resistance is really made of!,,, Radio Erena, Radio Wegahta,,… long live the Eritrean independent media!!

And finally our friends in the internation media… all those who followed and echoed the calls of Forto 3013…(too many to mention) but exceptionally Aljezeera…

Last but not least… Leonard Vincent, Martin Plaut and Tegadalay Dan Connel for being the best friends that the current day Resistance Movement, could ever wish for!

….We have started and we will finish! Come find us at the all happening place AKA EYSC Facebook page!

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