Diaspora Festivals are common all over the world. The objectives of diaspora festivals are to keep the connection diaspora communities have with their culture and history alive. For instance, Nordic festivals in North America showrooms, music, food, Woodcarvers, silversmiths, weavers at work and so much more. Also, the Mexican festival called Cinco de Mayo marks the anniversary of the 1862 victory by Mexican troops over invading French forces at the Battle of Puebla. During Cinco de Mayo Celebration, the French do not get infuriated and attack the Mexican spectators. The Chinese Diaspora’s Dragon Boat Festival is another spectacular event that is celebrated, not once but twice, all over the world. Then what makes the Eritrean Diaspora Festival different? Why is it targeted by Terrorist groups that do not have any clue about the rule of law and the rights of Eritrean Diaspora communities to celebrate their culture and history? The issue is more complex. To understand it, let’s start looking at the players:
The Tigray Liberation Front (TPLF).
TPLF is a de facto governing party in the Tigray region of Ethiopia bordering Eritrea. It is the funder and organizer of the Terrorist activities against the Eritrean Diaspora Communities in Europe and North America. The TPLF has two major objectives to achieve. First, it believes, to emerge as a major player in East Africa, communities in the region need to be divided and fight each other. It implemented such a strategy in Ethiopia for 27 years and pushed the country to the brink of disintegration. Similarly, when it was in power in Ethiopia, it created an armed group for each of the nine Eritrean ethnic groups. TPLF invests whatever a meager resource it has, to further terrorist activities against the Diaspora Eritrean Communities. The second objective is to obscure defeat. When the TPLF attacked the Ethiopian Northern Command on November 4th, 2020, Eritrea, in cooperation with the Ethiopian Federal Army, crashed it in two rounds of war. It was forced to sign a humiliating surrender agreement in Pretoria. Such humiliating defeat created disbelief, shame, and frustration in its supporters and TPLF was scared that, like in Cinco de Mayo, such defeat would be a basis for music, dance, and other theatrical acts during the Eritrean diaspora community festival. To hide defeat TPLF needed to work on mechanisms that disrupt such festivals under the pretext they preach hate. For those who are not aware, TPLF is often scared of Eritrean propaganda to death. When a journalist asked the former TPLF kingpin and late prime minister of Ethiopia, Melese Zenawi, why he was not returning Badme to Eritrea, he replied by saying if he did Eritrean President Isaias Afeworki would make a lot of Propaganda out of it. Although Meles Zenawi’s response did not reflect the whole story of why TPLF wanted to continue occupying Badme, the fear of Eritrean propaganda is real. Remember the current terrorist activity against the Eritrean Diaspora Community Festivals started after the TPLF was annihilated in the Battlefield.
Tigreans Who Stole the Identity of Eritreans and Received Refugee Status in Europe and North America.
After the 1998-2000 Eritrea and Ethiopia Border War ended, TPLF and its western handlers devised a plan to deplete Eritrean human resources and weaken its defense capabilities. As part of the strategy, they established refugee camps a few miles away from the Eritrean border, in Tigray, Ethiopia, and disseminated a wide angled propaganda to lure young Eritreans to the refugee camps. Concurrently the United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) put a guideline that gives Eritreans automatic acceptance as refugees in any country in the world. After securing such privileges the TPLF confiscated the identification cards of the Eritreans who arrived at the refugee camps and passed them to Tigrayans who impersonated the Eritreans. The Tigrayans ended up settling as Eritrean refugees in Europe, Australia, and North America, and the Eritreans were left to languish in the refugee camps in Tigray for more than a decade. When the 2020 war between the Ethiopian Federal government and the TPLF combatants started, to revenge the government of Eritrea’s support to the Ethiopian Federal government the TPLF combatants killed and raped the Eritrean refugees who were in the Tigray refugee camps. Currently, the Tigrayan, Eritrean impersonators, are the ones who are extending the revenge act in Europe and North America and storming Eritrean festivals and attacking unsuspecting diaspora Eritrean communities who have no interest other than celebrating their culture and history.
Youtubers and Power Hungry So-Called Activists.
As we all know YouTube business flourishes when there is conflict, war, and unrest. Previously obscure youtubers made a lot of money out of the recent (2020-2022) Ethiopian civil war. When TPLF was defeated and signed a surrender agreement in Pretoria, South Africa, they were scared that their business would dry up. Under the direction of the TPLF, they started propping up terrorist gangs, who have financial and personal problems and prepped them to throw stones and storm Eritrean diaspora community festivals. Accordingly, YouTubers such as Tefetawi Talk show, Assena, Erisat, J. Studio, and Finan App infotech are deeply emersed in creating such a bridge that would transition them from broadcasting breaking news from Tigray to broadcasting breaking news from Europe and North America. To be clear these group of YouTubers have had relationship with the TPLF for a considerable period and served as a channel for the TPLF to distribute money to the Terrorist gangs. In fact, at a certain point, these YouTubers were also funded by TPLF. Eritrean diaspora communities in Europe and North America may need to reach out to YouTube and explain the violence those youtubers are perpetuating against them. Also, in this camp there are power-hungry failed activists who serve as TPLF interlocutors whose main interest is to guide the terrorist activities and share money with the YouTubers and other external parties that have a vested interest in the terrorist activity against the Eritrean Diaspora communities.
Eritrea Born Tigrayans and Eritreans who Married Tigrayans.
Due to the decades-long war between Eritrea and Ethiopia. cross border marriage between Tigrayans and Eritreans is often discouraged. Accordingly, this group has an identity crisis and dreams beyond its means. For this group to be valued in both Eritrea and Tigray It wants to create a new country in East Africa that incorporates Tigray and Eritrea. It often uses its proximity to the Eritrean and Tigrayan culture and tries to create hate and confusion against the Eritrean Muslim community. This group often hails from the highlands of Eritrea and the Tigray region and considers the Eritrean Moslems as an obstacle to its agenda. Except for working hard to be validated in both Eritrea and Tigray, it does not have any political program. It wants to erase Eritrean history, does not believe in Eritrean independence, and desecrates everything that advances Eritreanism. It openly advocates Eritreanism as its enemy because it does not include Tigray. This group would attack anyone who carries the official Eritrean flag and expresses his/her proud Eritrean heritage. It is against everything that Eritrea is meant to Eritreans. It has a deep inferiority complex and is very violent.
Money Hungry Foot Soldiers and Disgruntled Eritreans.
Previously I mentioned that TPLF invests a huge amount of money to advance these Terrorist activities. A few years ago, a TPLF financing agent, by the Nickname of “Pilot”, used to distribute money to anyone who was vocal in criticizing the Eritrean government. He was exposed because he put money into someone’s bank account who did not know the scheme and asked why anyone would put $5000 into his bank account. As we all know, being a refugee in Europe is tough. By taking such hardship as an opportunity TPLF buys the voice of unsuspecting young refugees in Europe. In addition to the lack of job opportunities, some disgruntled Eritreans who deserted the army could not return home. This group of individuals does not have the means to cover their transportation costs or sleep in a basic hotel. The combination of economic hardship, alcoholism, drug addiction, and loneliness create a ticking bomb that can explode any time. Unfortunately, such frustration leads to crossing the rule of law and ending up in legal jeopardy very difficult to recover from. Also, many of them get hurt by the police and even end up dead.
Whatever injustice may exist in Eritrea, you cannot solve it by throwing stones against women and children in Europe and North America. The “if I cannot convince you I will destroy you” logic is the highest level of hopelessness in life. Whatever hatred the European and North American governments have against the Eritrean government, they have a constitutional obligation to protect the Eritrean Diaspora Community from violence perpetrated by the above-mentioned delusional groups. Violence negates constitutional order and governments end up reigning on terrorists. In the end, the violence will be between the police and the terrorists. Terrorism might make short-term news but never wins. The terrorist gangs might force the Eritrean diaspora communities to look for secure places where they could celebrate their culture and history peacefully, but this will never stop them from doing so.
Awet N’Hafash and Eternal Glory to Our Myrters.