18 Sep 2001: Advent of Overt Tyranny and Demise of Democracy in Eritrea

18 September 2017

Strictly speaking, come the month of September, the people of Eritrea have mixed feelings for very good reasons. 18th of September is the day in the infamous year 2001(September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on New York City) when Democracy was officially killed and buried then and there and the reign of overt tyranny officially befell the people and country of Eritrea. The undisputed culprit: No other than the one and only, the self-styled-president-for-life tyrant Isas Afareki.

On the other hand, come the 1st of September, the people of Eritrea are filled with pride, joy, for what started on 1st September 1961 materialized in what we all today call home, a political independent and self-governing Eritrea, and gratitude to those who selflessly took it upon themselves and were the first to sacrifice their precious lives for the cause of all of us, an independent and sovereign nation of Eritrea that we proudly enjoy today.

Tyrant Afewarki's action on this day 16 years ago came to no surprise to Eritreans for Afareki has made his long term intentions of tyrannical reign clear already in 1994 and put the nation on notice about it in a Q&A session with the public. At the time, speaking in Tigrigna, Afewarki forcefully proclaimed to the nation that he "neither shies away from subjecting the nation to tyranny nor is there any force that would prevent him from doing so, whatsoever " Listen to audio below in Tigrigna

In the year 2001, we were all getting ready and preparing to bring about democratic governance by the end of the year. Toward that effect, the grounds needed for our first national elections ever were laid down: Election Board was assembled, Election laws and laws pertaining to political parties were drafted and the election date set. But then, our hope for democracy was brutally dashed. Planned elections were canceled and democracy was declared dead on arrival!

Now, how do you kill and bury democracy but by using force? That is exactly what tyrant Afareki did on this day, 16 years ago and persisting. Tyrant Afarqi forcibly silenced the voices and forces of democracy, human rights, justice, and rule of law by, inter alia, banning Free Media in the form of jailing journalists en masse and destroying high-caliber notable political forces of democracy and ordinary citizens by disappearing them. Political parties, independent Newspapers, independent broadcast media, and the national constitution remain outlawed and the rule of law has been replaced by the rule of the barrel of the gun since.
So, on this day, 16 years ago, Eritrea tyrant Isas Afarqi denied the people of Eritrea what they fought and died for, democracy, with the stroke of a pen just like that! Yes, barrel of the gun does it! But there are not enough bullets in the world that would defeat the expressed will, wishes, and aspirations of the people of Eritrea. It is only a matter of time.
On this day, while we unequivocally sympathize with and share the pains of the victims of Afareki's tyranny, join the many others in their calls for habeas corpus and unconditional release of whoever is still alive, our focus remains on the root cause and mother of all the evils in our country: Destruction of Tyranny.
This is a day when we vow to renew our struggle for democracy, human rights, justice, and rule of law and call for the annihilation of tyranny by any means with yet more vigor and determination.

Errata: Yemabe Ghebremeskel was Government Spokesperson Not Info Minister at the time.