Reportage: 2nd Annual Washington, D.C. Seminar: Mekete Is The Only Way

Mekete is The Only Way On the 20th of November, over a thousand Eritreans gathered in Washington DC to learn about the current sanction related developments, to be educated, to exchange ideas and to find ways on how to challenge the continuous attempts to strangulate Eritrea. They gathered to express their support and to affirm their commitment for the people and government of Eritrea.

Mr. Berhane Ghebrehiwot, head of Community Affairs of Eritrea in the US, briefed Eritreans about the current developments in the UN regarding the draft resolution tabled by Gabon and sponsored by Nigeria. Mr. Berhane explained Eritrea’s diplomatic efforts geared at getting into the roots of the issues that are propelling the animosities against Eritrea by the US and that Eritrea is sparing no effort. The briefing included developments about the current economic activities in Eritrea; the upcoming YPFDJ conference in Nakfa and what the Eritreans in the Diaspora need to do to play an active role in the national endeavors.

The briefing also gave Eritreans details that they seek. Mr. Berhane explained, the draft resolution crafted by Ethiopia in July and pushed by the US in the Security Council is an effort to deny Eritreans the fruits of their hard work. After a great deal of time and effort, Eritrea is at a stage where it will shift gears into a new era of economic developments and that momentum is their aim. While the tabled sanction measure failed to gain traction with the members of the UNSC, Eritreans cannot relax until the first sanction 1907 is removed completely because the current attempt is designed to be used as a bargaining tool to keep the first sanction in place and, we must also keep in mind that Gabon’s and Nigeria’s tenure at the security council will end in December.

Mr. Berhane explained the essence of Eritrea’s strength is our mind and determination. Eritreans are experienced, aware and ahead of all the schemes weaved to distract them from the core issues. And if our enemies are able to weaken our resolve, then they have won. He urged Eritreans not to be sacked into some of the PR propaganda ploys designed to scare Eritreans and give the sanction issue unwarranted attention that they seek. He reiterated, Eritreans must organize and encourage their youth to play active roles. There are various Eritrean organizations and Eritreans must join the organizations to contribute their due part without excuses. He also urged Eritreans to write in order to counter the lies and negative propaganda campaigns.

Mr. Dawit Habte also gave a detailed eyewitness account and a power point presentation based on a paper he wrote called “The Ghosts of Famine and Drought I could not find in Eritrea.” Mr. Dawit said, one of his best sources were the people. He visited many places in Eritrea and everywhere he went he was surprised with the greenery, the harvest, and the falling prices of various grains and animals. He even witnessed nontraditional fruits like papaya grown in Zoba Debub. Mr. Dawit said the entire country is transformed and once deserted have become forests that attract wild animals. Mr. Dawit stressed the famine propaganda was a concerted “Disinformation” campaign designed to undermine Eritrea’s achievements.

Dr. Ghidewon Abbay Asmerom gave impassioned educational presentation detailing the genesis of sanction measure imposed on Eritrea and the role of the various actors in it and the disinformation campaigns against Eritrea and why. As example, Dr. Ghdewon provided annexes of evidences provided by Ethiopia as evidence to the UNSC. The evidence showed an Oromian Colonel, Amharic alphabet lesson notes and a single Nakfa note as evidence. Regarding Kenya, Dr. Ghidewon showed the improbability of the claim by providing a map that shows that there is no way Eritrean plane could get into Baidowa without flying through hostile airspace. Dr. Ghdewon said this is done to undermine Eritrea because they have never wanted to see Eritrea as a nation and it would be foolish to think that they will change their mind now. Dr. Ghdewon referred to Wikileaks documents to expose the schemes when he spoke about how they changed visa rules in order to entice Eritrean youth to flee with false promises while there are many languishing in the US to get residence status. Hence, we need to stress Mekete and in effect, Eritreans must make Mekete a way of life. He said most people see Mekete in relation to the current challenges. However, Mekete should be the way until we see that “We reach to the Moon and Mars” prompting a long-standing ovation.

Eritreans in the Metro Washington DC area then affirmed their commitment through a resolution. The resolution states:
- We call on the UNSC to annul the illegal Sanction 1907 the US pushed based on fabrication.
- We condemn US and Ethiopian pushed draft resolution and presented by Gabon sponsored by Nigeria with aim of stopping Eritreans from supporting their families and nation.
- We call on Ethiopia to withdraw from Eritrean land it is illegally occupying by breaking international laws after a final and binding decision was rendered in The Hague.
- We affirm our commitments to our martyrs stating that the 2% allotted for reparation is not enough. Hence, we condemn any attempt to stop this noble cause.
- Appreciating all diplomatic and developmental efforts exerted by the people and government of Eritrea, we affirm our commitment and support.
- Appreciating those who are working hard to defend the nation, we express our unyielding commitment and support to our defense forces.
- Condemning those who use different methods to infiltrate the youth and try to create division amongst us, we affirm our commitment and readiness to challenge any attempts.

After a brief comment and question exchange a brave Eritrean mother Liya gave a moving speech and poem. The event required that perfect closing. After which the head of Shimagle Mekete Freweini Tekeste closed the event by thanking the participants and remembering martyrs.

Awet N-Hafash
Shmagle Mekete DC