Friday, October 05, 2007

"It's become fashionable to pretend to be democratic"

The normally taciturn and reclusive Isaias Afewerki appears to have transformed himself into something of an extrovert lately. I've already posted an article about Al-Jazeera's video interview with the Stalinist Eritrean dictator, and now I've found a delightful interview Afewerki granted to the Los Angeles Times. So how does Afewerki defend his rotten record? As might be expected, Afewerki blames all of his country's ills on neighboring Ethiopia and its superpower ally, the United States. Of course, Afewerki can't quite explain how Eritrea's rotten relations with Addis Ababa and Washington accounts somehow forces his government to torture political prisoners or indefinitely conscript his citizens as indentured servants, but I don't suppose anyone was really expecting him to connect the dots there, anyway.

I was especially interested to read Afewerki's defense of Eritrea's press freedoms (which are currently the third worst in the world):

There is no independent press anywhere. Who guides the so-called independent media? Who finances these organizations? Unfortunately, the independent media are being manipulated by those who can afford to buy them.

If his career as a dictator doesn't pan out, he still might have a bright future as a guest columnist for Media Matters. Even better, Afewerki provides a straightforward defense of tyranny itself. When asked if Eritrea's so called "democracy" might ever get around to letting people vote once in a while, Afewerki was blunt:

You can see today how this concept of democracy is abused. It's very sad. Democracy in its real essence should provide people with equal opportunity.
You see, it is precisely because Eritrea cannot guarantee equal opportunity to everyone that it has denied it anyone. Except, of course, to Isaias Afewerki himself. Speaking of which, has he ever thought of stepping down so that Eritrea could, perhaps, rejoin the rest of the world?

It's become a habit for me not to discuss this issue. I believe in a political process that will take this country from one level to a higher level. I see myself in this process. I think I'm moving in the right direction.
We'll take that as a no, Isaias. You can read the interview in its jaw dropping entirety here.


Anonymous said...


As the saying goes "When you point a finger, four more point at you"

I suggest you read on what role we played so far and still are playing for him to behave the way he is.

I recommend you listen to the interview with an author of a book about Eritrea.

Some comments and links in what is currently going on in that part of the world.


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