Swedish Dimtsi Menesei Media Interviews Btseyti Sophia Tesfamariam

[Eritrean Radio Yottebory and surroundings presented by Alem Zemo; Amanuel Tesfaldet Umer Zebir And Bereket Tsegay (technician)]

Many thanks to you Sophia for the tireless dedication; for all the moral you give us, the education at many stages and specifically today for waking up at 5am to share with us the current campaign; and greetings to you.

Q: we are all ready [Inside and outside] and the campaign is in full gear the world wide Action/demonstration [20 November- 20 December], but before we get into that: what are the results of the first leg [22nd February 2010] worldwide demo. How do you sum up and / assess/review that event?

A- What I would say as its first big outcome is the unity of the Eritrean people inside and outside the country, which has been questioned in the past 10 years by many who were shocked to see.

B- As if Eritrea was not being mentioned day and night to be sanctioned; since 23rd of December, there is nothing on the news.

Q- Why is that so?

How could they explain it? The sanction itself is in violation of UN articles, it violated the people of Eritrea’s rights, it damage the credibility of the UN, the integrity and reputation of USA, the credibility of peace keeper in the horn of Africa, because it was fundamentally wrong, there was no truth in it. The sanction violated so many articles of the UN. For example; Article 39 [self determination] says two sides have the right to resolve their dispute [ways they both chose two and that suits them]. That article refers to all UN participators including Eritrea, but Eritrea was not given that option. They wanted to enforce and say to Eritrea “you have to do this and that with regards to Djibouti”.

And similarly Article 95: If the two countries want to go to arbitration or agree on how to do things. Every nation has the right. Security Council releasing a statement and forcing and ordering Eritrea to have a dialogue with Djibouti, this does not work is not accepted by Eritrea.

Articles 2 and 55 [Arms Embargo sanction] takes the self defence right. Can never and should never be in UNs mandate of powers and breaking it trying to force it on Eritrea. The UN mandate is limited: respecting the charter and in good spirit and respects national law of the country and respect the rights of countries; not the way it allowed Uganda and USA do what they did in IGAD, to collaborate and cook up such disgraceful resolution. One or two countries released a statement saying they will implement it: Swiss [the first ever statement which made them to a neutral nation until then] and Canada was arm twisted to release statements back then December 23rd 2009. And in Africa with the exception of weyane no one accepted it. Africa has been informed by our country, revealing the true operation of AU.

It has created the most education on how the working of AU [it was not good to start with, but now has been used as a tool for a foreign country’s interest] and UN has opened

Resolution 1907 has taught all concerned: those who deal with legal operation of UN, those who study international law and even for us Eritreans gave many understanding on the way the world works.

In conclusion: Number one for the unity of the people of Eritrea and off course number two to see the way the IGAD and AU work and third is the aspects of Eritrean people reaction is more of what needs recording after the sanction is to rebuff the campaign against Eritrea. And the above three reasons summarises the good outcome of the 22nd of February 2010 demo.

The other aspect of their intention is to terrorise Eritrean people and to give hope to Weyane, within a day or two of the sanction the so called opposition released a statement “launching military attack on Eritrea to please Weyane”, and that was shameful. This is show that weyane is a force in the east: But since the sanction there was no peace on Somalia, there was no power of weyane to be seen, but in contrary the people in the horn of Africa has stepped up their work against weyane, a worldwide demonstration and opposition against weyane are taking place.

Q: some of the terms and effect of the sanction was to limit the movement of Eritrea’s leadership and ministers; but we still can see them move around the world. What light can you shed on this issue?

The UN sanction that wanted to restrict movement of people had a list of people and UNSC [Security Council] never accepted the name list. The name list was well publicised by weyane and included all of Eritrean government including the defense with exception of president Issayas, but in particular the name of comrade Yemane.

Weyane gave a name list of officials and UNSC never take any of this without any iota of evidence, the weyane and their allies could not even find evidence that we supply arms in the first place, hence it was rejected outright.

USA, unnaturally [they would normally be restless about the action and release statement] did succeed in putting Yemane’s name to be on a list under the cover of darkness. Just like how they did the sanction.

USA said also to include asset freeze of leadership, we don't have a money laundering government, hence fruitless activity of US lead unilateral push for this. We don’t have a government like other African countries, whose leaders deposit money in Swiss and US banks. Dedicated leadership...It was never a UN idea.

And Eritrea in her own capacity retaliated by sanctioning two employees of the state department. Comrade Yemane had a meeting in New York with the UNSC general assembly, and came to Washington Dc and met with Eritrean youth and community members.

They may have put his name in the list, but as I see it he is doing a lot more than before the sanction, going up and down through our Europe and Africa, as he pleases.

Q:...we don’t want to stop Chatting with Sophia, but to focus on the Action month between 20 November - 20 December, please give us information on how it is being handled, and clarify the methods of campaign which will not include writing letter through the post, instead phone and fax and email? How is it going? And what can you tell us about the action day, so that we can take your experience to work on here locally?

The latest action month by Eritreans is: to remind the world...

1- The sanction has not been lifted! Un-finished clause describing the conditions to the sanction.

2- We have never forgotten it. Just how they passed resolution 390 long time ago and ignored it for 30 years, we cannot let do the same this time.

We have done an action day on March and this was to continuously remind them of the issue.we will never give them a second chance...hence the action

The idea is to send reminders to president Obama and bank moon. In Europe wide Geneva office also receives it and if in Europe you find it easier to do so [fax, call and email]... And for USA bound messages, you can go to their websites directly and put your letter there straight on.

In the case of Obama similarly there is Comment line number and just say @ “Lift the sanction” message has an influence.

A senator in US once said if only someone called and reminded us about Rwanda and complained: if only someone called them and have them pay attention of the wrong they have done there may have been lives saved...so it has an impact. Even if 10 or 100 people called every day to do that...it is will be powerful.

Q: To make sure the popular campaign succeeds the youth has been entrusted to lead. And by great fortuitous you also have great connection with the youth. The question is what is the level of consciousness and knowledge of the youth in this aspect?

Consciousness of the youth and ability is good. And they are able to reach out to many more.

The youth of today have much more tools at their disposal besides what the elders use [letter and phone call]

They go on social networks and access state department: Obama and so on through face book, you tube tumbler etc.

so go for it as it has exponential effect of passing the message to your friends:

Every morning they wake up the can leave messages.

We also have to raise the level of knowledge of youth by various articles and like this radio show and TV the work has to keep going. We need to express and show the events that lead to the sanction.

All organizations of Eritreans [like musicians, PFDJ and minicabs and mothers] should do this and culminating on the Noisiest day ever December 15 2010.

Q: On the American Eritrean’s side, how is the preparation going for the December 15 2010 Action day going? What kind of experience can share with us in Europe to make 15 December just like 22nd of February?

Action day in DC will be at a focal point and which the community centres similarly globally Eritreans to organize themselves. Ever one to come down does their calls and faxing and letter writing from those points. And on the day you can chose to do social events of coffee ceremony or educational campaigns for the community’s unity.

Q: We are all aiming to depict the True image of Eritrea: such as the tournament of CECAFA the world stage of our Sportsmen / women and under self reliance the results of the food security strategy etc..Are amazing and from your observation around the world what is the image on the western world?

They have tried so hard to demonize Eritrea and make the world believe a different image of Eritrea, and now the image of Eritrea is bright and not like they wished it .We have become example to our region

We all remember the campaign by BBC. BBC has shut UP for a while now. BBC has picked on Eritrea’s minute issue and use to make noise globally. Now they have no news on Eritrea from CNN and BBC with the exception of the occasional statements.

For almost year now there has not been an Eritrean demonizing image message.
And U.S.A does the occasion annual report on labeling of nations. The usual game of ranking countries.

In our sport heroes like athletes Zeresenay and Daniel Teklehaimanot we have a lot more to show for and we show 20 folds more than this. Shows Eritreans are the best.

Q. We noticed many artists from dispora who came to Eritrea to Sawa as well as the Cecafa ceremony and pass their message to their peers. And Btseyti Sophia was in every event in Eritrea, and to publicize a must read information and articles: ...how do you do it? We know only 24 hours in a day: how do you organize your time: How do you do it so we learn from you?

I don’t have exceptional skill; It is the love of my people and country.

who are working are working day and night building the nation and supporting martyr’s families: and some of us who are having our tea and breaks and reading and writing, which is not a big deal for me. It is the small thing that I can contribute that I do it.

We have to give gratitude to those who dedicate their lives for the country while raising children who live in dangerous and violent countries. Compared to the way too many to mention, mothers and fathers who do double shift to manage life as well as dedicate themselves limitlessly at Eritrean national organizations, I do nothing.

We have chosen you a song by Tesfalem Korchach number 11, which reflects on what you have been explaining...

Norway conference awaits you Sophia...

We wish everyone a success on the action day and month planned.

We are also grateful for the Pal talk session [Ainifelale] like that of last Monday


Awet Nhafash!

Jonathan Okbamichael