By Fesseha Nair
Many of today’s most pressing issues are human rights, self determination, nationalism international security and cooperation are all connected with identity and ethnicity. Blin is one of the 9 Nationalities/ Ethnic in Eritrea. All the nationalities in Eritrea are equal components of the nation Eritrea. Some Eritrean political elites call the rights of these nationalities as sub-nationals and ignore their issues and rights. All these nationalities have had equally fought to liberate Eritrea from foreign occupants but after independence have been denied their rights by the self –appointed EPLF/PFDJ party of one man rule working in the name of the Eritrean Kebsites. It is the elites of this nationality who belittle the issues of the other nationalities as non-national and will never deal with such issues.
The post independence resistant movements of Afar, Kunama and Saho and later the Nara and Blin are all because the apartheid policies of the current regime dominated by the Tigrinya speaking Christian highlanders. The conflict between those who consider themselves as Eritreans and want to dominate the other nationals in the name of majority is the hot issue of today and to the coming generation. Many internet writers were intimidating that they will cleanse these small nationalities and make Eritrea homogenous or nation state engineered by Essayas and his yes men.
At this time of globalization and democracy the rights of the minority have been promoted at the level of United Nations. Communities within a state have the right to claim and emphasize their differences from others in order to establish their claim as a separate people. Crude claims of majoritarianism have led to the oppression of minorities, example the current situation in Eritrea is an obvious example. Today, if we look the at the state of Eritrea all the nationalities are alienated and seen as second class citizens or like the Indian panchayats in India.
Last time the president of Eritrea told journalists that to introduce democracy in Eritrea is to create conflicts between the various ethnic groups in Eritrea.The majoritarian philosophy is that the only way to keep Eritrea united is by suppression and oppression of the minorities.
Ignoring the issues of the nationalities of Eritrea is time bomb. The majoritarian politics of the Eritrean elites define democracy not in terms of principles of fairness, social justice and good practice but they consider it as if you are minor you have no right to influence the policies made on your life.
We have today armed and non armed movements from the Eritrean nationalities and they claim their rights, suppressing these rights will have strong backlash. In democracy , there is a framework addressing ethnic and other conflicts. The principle of self –determination recognized in the UN charter extends to “all peoples” Eritrea is not a country of one people but peoples. According the covenants in 1966- the International Covenant and Civil and political Rights/ ICCPR and the International Covenant on Economic, social and Cultural Rights, the Blin people have the right to organize themselves if they are oppressed by the state holders. Many can interpret this resistance and call it, “ Weganawi” but , if asked , what was Self Nasnet”, they say that it was a struggle of an oppressed Eritrean section by the ELF:What a ridiculous! ELF has never attacked a special section of the Eritrean people but was a liberation front for the whole Eritrean people.
When the other Eritrean ethnic asks their rights it is crime but when those who call themselves liberators oppress it is legitimate.
Such defamations and intimidations cannot stop the oppressed from resisting because it is their natural rights to defend themselves from the oppression either it comes form the state holders or others who want to dominate.
What we are experiencing in Eritrea today is domination by one racial group over the others and systematically oppressing them, denial to members of the other nationalities including murder under or other forms( Kunama, Afar, Saho at this time). Deliberate imposition on other racial groups living conditions/ by depriving their lands and territories.. Denying them rights to participate in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country. Restricting them on the work, trade and other fundamental rights.
It is these offences that make the Eritrean nationalities to resist and organize themselves to defend their rights. What would the so called dominant become minority and these offences were imposed on it?
The reluctance and rejection of these claims by some Eritrean elites either from the majoritarian or persons from the oppressed who cannot dare to support the claims of these nationalities is not helping but creating obstructions.
I myself welcome the Mekele Conference of Eritrean nationalities in Mekele -Ethiopia and see it as a political awakening of the Eritrean indigenous peoples and their demand for a more inclusive democracy and justice challenging the supremacist in Eritrea.
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