Reflection E-Smart Action Day

Phone conversations with UNSG and White House office

By Niyat Asfaha London 16-12-20101

Many Eriteans around the globe should be fully aware of the ‘World-Wide Esmart Action Month’ that is currently taking place (November 20th - December 20th). This month was designed in order for Eritreans, in a variety of Western communities, to get together in an organised fashion with the primary aim to unconditionally lift the unjust sanctions placed upon our peaceful country of Eritrea. As expected, our tight community guaranteed that each individual that could help the cause would do so in an exceptional manner. This was exemplified on December 15th, a date that will now and forever form an impressive historical imprint in the lives of those Eritreans that were involved in the official ‘Action Day’. In London, four main sites were formed. A base in North, South, East and West welcomed every Eritrean to sign two different petitions; one directed to President Barack Obama and the other to Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon.

The base in South London displayed an amazingly uplifting and passionate ambience. The Eritean owned and run Laryn Café in Clapham, was transformed from a humble café into a peaceful demonstrative base. Many flocked to and from the café in order to sign the petitions, help transfer data, support the movement and ring government officials in order to formally complain about the unjustified sanctions on Eritrea. The commitment exhibited by each Eritrean, young and old, was extremely overwhelming. As soon as you entered the café, to the left you were warmly greeted by the Eritrean elders, who sat comfortably, nobly supporting the cause by ushering the young in. To the right was a vibrant array of eager young Eritreans, whose fingers were continuously tapping away on the keyboards of several desktop computers. Finally, nearer to the counter of the café, sat the makeshift office where professionals and Zoba coordinators were stationed. The unity shown here instilled pride into those involved, for the fusion of; passion, dedication and devotion was truly unprecedented and exerted such positive energy, that everyone’s vigour was constantly replenished. This ensured that we all relentlessly kept our eyes on the ball.

As the day progressed, the loyalty towards the cause did not diminish, yet in fact it reached levels of great magnitude! The dedication and passion validated the unity of our people and was very reminiscent of the efforts portrayed by our elder counterparts during the thirty year struggle. The overpowering number of formal complaints was so immense, that the professionals and Zoba coordinators themselves were swamped with tasks. Nonetheless, they completed their duties with joy in their hearts and gleeful smiles plastered on their faces. Later in the evening of the historical ‘Action Day’, several representatives across London volunteered to formally make complaints on the confounded sanctions via the phone. The bombardment of calls to the Secretary General for the United Nations and President Barack Obama’s office, seemed to evidently frustrate their receptionist and operators. In the South London base, both Eritean British citizens Almaz Berhe and Simret Ghebrehweit, volunteered to ring President Barack Obama’s and Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon’s offices. On several occasions, these volunteers rang on behalf of the south London community. Both operators or receptionists representing the two office’s stressed that they were not permitted to inform Almaz or Simret of their names, as too were they not allowed to ask for any of our volunteers personal details. Almaz and Simret both experienced similar conversations and concluded that President Obama’s operative system was a lot more professional and understanding as they showed empathy towards the young Eritreans’ complaints. Additionally, President Obama’s operators were very helpful and informed the ladies that the most effective way to enable a formal complaint to be seen by the President himself, would be in the form of an e-mail. On the other hand, the receptionist who handled the telephone at the Secretary General of the United Nation’s had a highly ill-mannered attitude towards the volunteers and gave Ms. Berhe and Mrs. Ghebrehweit the impression that he was extremely frustrated with the random bombardment of calls by the Eritean community. On several occasions, he clearly acted upon his frustration by abruptly ceasing their phone conversations, as he hung up on both ladies. Eventually, the volunteers were able to obtain both a fax number and postal address for the Secretary General which will later be used to make a formal official complaint about these unjust sanctions.

The overall day was an international success! London Eritreans successfully unified to productively stand up for our motherland and demonstrated in a peaceful manner how uniting in a positive form can benefit Eritrea. The outcome of the dedication and effort put in by the South London community was outstanding. The staggering amount of formal complaints that were collated from this region of London ALONE was immense. A rightfully jaw-dropping figure of 3,136 formal forms of complaints via; fax, e-mail and telephone was recorded. As we danced and sang in praise over our joyous achievements as a community, we reflectively thanked God for instilling patience in our minds and hope in our hearts that a positive change will be the final outcome of ALL our efforts.

Nkid Tray…Awet N’hafash!