Why do authentic justice seekers choose to participate in ‘HGDF’ festivals? The answer to this question unfolds through a straightforward yet impactful formula. Let’s break it down.
TPLF-Free Environment: These festivals provide a TPLF-free atmosphere, allowing justice seekers to focus solely on their Eritrean-centered agenda. By eliminating distractions, attendees can effectively advocate for change within their community.
Eritrean Unity: HGDF festivals naturally draw Eritreans together, creating a space for dialogue, connection, and collaboration. This unity becomes a catalyst for driving meaningful change.
Influence on HGDF: Participation in these festivals is also a strategic choice. Engaging directly with HGDF demonstrates a commitment to influencing positive transformations within the organization itself.
Absence of ‘Opposition’ Festivals: The absence of ‘opposition’ festivals further reinforces the significance of HGDF gatherings as a platform for genuine change seekers.
Embracing this formula is pivotal for Eritrean justice seekers. Effecting change requires active engagement, not avoidance. Just as Black Americans championed civil rights by confronting challenges head-on, real change advocates must immerse themselves in the heart of their cause, even in spaces where their ideas might face resistance.
Fortunately, a significant portion of attendees at HGDF festivals share the consensus that change, and reform are imperative. They welcome the presence of fellow Eritreans, including justice seekers, within these gatherings. While some may hold a more extended timeline for change or offer justifications for certain aspects of PFDJ misrule, it remains rare to find staunch support for PFDJ policies among them. Acknowledging this political landscape underscores the potential for meaningful change to take root primarily within settings where large congregations of Eritreans convene—namely, festivals.
The significance of maintaining a TPLF-free environment becomes evident. The TPLF and its supporters harbor agendas that extend beyond Eritrea’s interests, often viewing matters through the lens of Tigray, Ethiopia, and beyond. However, the average Eritrean’s focal point doesn’t encompass Ethiopia or Tigray. Convincing a majority of Eritreans to adopt a multi-regional strategy stands as a challenging endeavor, one that time has shown to be impractical. Any connection to Ethiopian or Tigray affiliations muddles the Eritrean narrative and yields minimal returns. In fact, such affiliations serve as distractions that inadvertently empower the PFDJ. By participating in TPLF-free environments, justice seekers neutralize the PFDJ’s manipulation, allowing them to directly engage with the populace without obfuscation.
Final point, why do opposition festivals struggle to match the scale of PFDJ gatherings? The answer is straightforward: the opposition lacks the essential traits of organization, unity, and commitment. This presents a vast untapped potential for opposition festivals to establish an alternative sphere. A consistent and well-structured approach has the potential to draw in youth, professionals, and like-minded individuals. Curiously, over the past two decades, opposition festivals have been notably scarce. During this time, the opposition camp has grappled with challenges, including infiltration by TPLF-affiliated elements, divisive and trivial strategy disputes, and an escalating atmosphere of mutual distrust.
In sharp contrast, HGDF festivals have exhibited remarkable consistency in holding their events despite internal disparities. While PFDJ gatherings attract individuals who have endured the adverse impact of PFDJ policies, attending such events does not shield participants from the experiences shared by most ordinary Eritreans.
Definitely, PFDJ events are far from flawless. They offer meager provisions, often limited to music, alcohol, and occasional food offerings. Opportunities for children and youth engagement remain minimal, and services aimed at community improvement are absent. It’s a case of offering the bare minimum. Yet, in a landscape where the competition is absent, dominance within the field is an inevitable outcome.
Why are certain factions of the opposition targeting PFDJ festivals? Desperation. These same opposition figures and parties, entangled in decades of internal division and strife, now find themselves grappling with irrelevance. Their history of adopting dictatorial tendencies has fractured the unity within the opposition camp. Their intention had been to sow discord within the PFDJ ranks, enticing a section of PFDJ supporters or even rallying the Silent Majority to their side. Yet, the outcome defied their expectations. Instead of embracing setbacks as opportunities for strategic recalibration, they have chosen a path of violence, marking a political disaster.
While confronting a PFDJ figure within Eritrea may garner some sympathy and support, targeting ordinary Eritrean individuals attending festivals offers little value. There is no substantiated proof of wrongdoing on their part. Regrettably, these actions provide PFDJ with ammunition to portray them as disruptors and troublemakers, inadvertently playing into PFDJ’s narrative of upholding law and order. Unsurprisingly, their alliance with TPLF affiliates serves as a desperate attempt to fragment Eritrean society—a last-ditch effort fueled by hopelessness, mirroring the dire predicament of the TPLF.
True change, inevitably, emanates from within a nation. Sooner or later, that transformation will arise from within Eritrea. At that juncture, those committed to justice will find themselves reengaging with fellow Eritreans (not aligned with the PFDJ), empowered to advocate for democratization. For those “justice seekers” who resort to attacking festivals and forging alliances with antagonistic foreign elements, it is paramount to recognize that it’s never too late to regain relevance. Organizing alternative festivals that surpass PFDJ’s offerings can pave the way forward, attracting attendees through superior content and experiences. Fostering an environment of choice empowers individuals to align with the festival that resonates most with their aspirations.