The Sha’ibia confidence
Adi Keih College of Arts and Social Sciences
Sha’ibia is not an ordinary word where the People’s Front (PF) is known for. For some it’s like an organization of saints that can do every thing that is good and justice. For others it’s a kind of chimera with stick in its hand to punish and attack at will. Although the explanations are lacking sagacity, they all attest the Sha’ibia confidence. One can summarize from the wild accounts that Sha’ibia can do; be it good or bad.
The history of People’s Front is filled with marvelous records of victory, strange courage and curious confidence. From its formation as a revolutionary movement until the present as a government and mass political organization it didn’t change its tune. The nature of PF can be evaluated on the basis of pragmatism, patriotism, nationalism, confidence and consistency. During the struggle for independence it mobilized the people effectively in its effort to realize freedom from Ethiopian subjugation. After independence it quickly transformed and reorganized itself to a government to govern an independent country and to translate the task of nation building. I would not delve myself in repeating history, instead I will concentrate to outline bold events happened after independence that attest the continuance and existence of the Sha’ibia’s revolutionary confidence.
The true measure of an individual or organization is not how they behave in moments of comfort and convenience, but how they stand and act at challenging times. In the darkest hours of our history PF believe in its capacity to exercise power and the people. As has been said that “smooth sea do not make skillful sailors”, the bitter experience of our struggle make Sha’ibia a confident player in national and international political arena. PF once an authentic liberation movement becomes an authentic and assertive government with real power. In Africa and in other places where governments are becoming increasingly more affright and faint hearted and even lowered to the level of dummies and servants of foreign powers, Sha’ibia governs Eritrea courageously and enthusiastically. There are in fact international and regional powers that they get shocked and traumatized by the courage and confidence of Sha’ibia. As a manifestation of their psychological distress they often heard giving contradictory statement about the government of Eritrea; one time they say the government is dead and after some time they claim the presence of the government of Eritrea after every incident happened elsewhere in the globe.
History could confirm to the fact that no newly independent nation in the world faced as much hostility and hurdles as Eritrea has. Nevertheless, since the government has no tradition of crying and complaining after every abuse inflicted on him, the many faceted hostilities and conspiracies may not be known by the international community. These who cry the loudest are not always the ones who are hurt the most. The people and government of Eritrea are suffering but they have none to share except with themselves. Contrary to the expectation of the conspirators, the country emerged as economically capable, socially harmonious and politically stable entity. The source of these hostilities emanates mainly from the sprit of initiative, courage and sense of purpose of the government and the perseverance of the people. Today being comfortable with who you are and doing what you believe is a threat equivalent to terrorism and a crime that calls punishment.
To have confidence is great, but to maintain confidence is even greater. The revolutionary courage and confidence of Sha’ibia is further consolidated and deepened after independence to become a supporting pillar of our political culture. Eritrea is the only proud country in Africa that didn’t hesitate to refuse various sugar coated venomous prescriptions, abandon aid, expel useless UN peace keeping force from its territory, express freely its reservation and criticism and enjoy real sovereignty. As a people and government we are comfortable and content with each other. As such the voices of others echoed from outside, that try to define, control or direct our stance bears no fruit except a pain to the throat of the roaring.
Sha’ibia never practiced or involved in skin bleaching using political cosmetics. From day one of independence up to now since the government trust on its own capacity and popularity he knows how to live. Through out history the government never ever cares about what other people think of him. The government of Eritrea is the only government in Africa that have the courage to refuse to change its revolutionary nature and the only government proudly declared that “I am who I am.” president Issaias Afewerki has described ones about the delusional and hypocritical exercise of TPLF regime as follows “it is nothing but like going to the beauty salon trying to beautify yourself in the hope of making your real image” (interview 2007). These who are psychologically enslaved they hate their nature and engaged in futile attempt to change. Confidence is accepting who you are and not changing it because of someone’s version of reality is not your reality. Many African governments are now engaged in bleaching their skin to appear white and train their tongues to utter words which their masters wanted to hear. For example the government of Ethiopia falsely and unashamedly claimed they have registered double digit economic growth while it is a common phenomenon to hear 10_15 million people are starved every year and millions metric tones of food aid infused to the country. The government also appears in the stage drama to acquaint itself as democrat while thousands are arrested and killed indiscriminately in day light. Ethiopian and many other African governments are like false prophets, which come to stage in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. They are political chameleons, changed their colors to pretend and appear as European, Americans and now as Asians. The confident government of Eritrea is proud of their accomplishments, but prefers to remain humble without bragging. In peace and silence it determined to move forward in the direction of our vision. Silence is confidence.
Sha’ibia never feels under the mercy of donors. Through out its history it didn’t beg dishonorably for help. Self reliance as a guiding principle is one of the source of pride and it is an important feature that makes Sha’ibia different from the many other dependent governments. The revolutionary and post independence experience enabled to skillfully mobilize the available internal resource and manage effectively. In planning and implementation of national programs the government first opts to look inward and then look for partners. During armed struggle self reliance was the foundation of the victory for liberation and we are still fiercely defending this character. The national charter elaborated what self reliance is meant to Eritrea as follows “Self reliance does not mean to isolate oneself from the international community. It only means being as independent and self confident a player as possible in the international community.” Eritrea’s economic strategy is based on self reliance and the full participation of all Eritreans. In this world if you truly want to be respected by others, you must prove to them that you can survive without them. The confidence of Sha’ibia rests upon strong foundation of core values such as self reliance. In the arduous struggle to bring and maintain independence we never ask favors from others.
Sha’ibia didn’t be a runner and servant of any other foreign power. Many African governments opted to rely on foreign support by being maids of external powers in the hope to prolong their stay in power. The TPLF regime in Ethiopia and others in order to get external support they offer themselves for sale. They look for someone else to validate and approval. In Africa it is hard to find states that secured real sovereignty. The government of Eritrea doesn’t permit anyone to tell our business. The national interest of Eritrea is always first. Through out of its history Sha’ibia never worked for the interest of external powers. The Sha’ibia confidence is seen in its commitment at safeguarding sovereignty. Eritrea’s sovereignty is unique in African context for it does not limit at independence and waving flag. Despite the various attempts made to undermine our sovereignty, Eritrea is able to achieve real sovereignty. A confident government rest trust on its own people, believe in the power of the people and work for it. Governments that have no confidence rest trust in out side forces; perceive its own people as enemies and the power of the people is observed as a threat. In order to stay in power they divided the people along the sub national lines such as region, religion and ethnicity. They institutionalize the political formation based on ethnicity and other sub national elements. As a result of the inability of governments many African countries failed to become a unified nation after sixty and more years of independence. The worst fact is the reality of the so called never colonized and “the 3000 year country” Ethiopia, found far from becoming a nation. Unlike other chicken-hearted governments, the confident government of Eritrea adopts a policy aimed at empowering and consolidating the national unity of Eritreans. Through education and administrative restructuring all previous divisive elements were eradicated from the face of Eritrea.
Another manifestation of the Sha’ibia confidence is that it didn’t intervene in other affairs. Intervention on internal affairs of others is a characteristic feature of coward governments. They usually look for external victims to divert the attention of the people and to cover up their mistakes. In this case TPLF’s mistake in choosing Eritrea first and then Somalia as victims for diversion is a lively example. A government that doesn’t have confidence can’t live in peace and they deliberately create chaos and conflict with their neighbors. The motive of TPLF’s clique of instigating a so called border conflict and refusal to abide by the ruling and continued subjugation of Eritrea’s sovereign territory is to extend its lifespan. The government of Eritrea which knows how to live in peace has worked for peace and has a firm belief that peace and stability not only benefited Eritrea but the whole region.
To conclude, our enemies have done everything they can to stop our forward march and if possible to terminate our existence. Military adventure, economic sabotage, political and diplomatic campaigns, provocations and many other maneuvers were tried. The collective resistance and confidence of the people and government of Eritrea foiled all these hurdles. Although they were defeated in all fronts, they will continue their ingenious efforts to demonize Eritrea’s lionize posture. Independent Eritrea is resulted entirely from the tenacity, resilience, confidence and keen organizational skills of Sha’ibia, which continues to run the country today. Long live the courage and confidence of Sha’ibia that draws from the strength and invincibility of Eritreans.