University of Asmara: A Threat to PIA

Recently there has been news coming from Asmara indicating that the Eritrean government official, subservient and parrot minister Osman Saleh, told the university officials that University of Asmara will be closed as of September 2006. Actually, the minister himself does not know why that decision was taken by his boss. Basically, PFDJ leaders decided to close University of Asmara right after the university students oppose the 2001 summer work in an organized way, which the government responded harshly and punished them by taking to the hottest part of the country: Wia and Gel’alo. It is remembered very sadly that two students lost their life as a result of heat stroke.

What is the reason behind the harsh measure taken on the university students? PIA by his nature is very scary to see any organized movements. As history teaches us, basic human right violations and the oppressive nature of any government, be it local or foreign, sensitized more by the intellectual people, which usually happened to be the citizens from the higher academic institutions. For example, it is witnessed that many of the EPLF fighters were students or graduates from various higher institutions in and out of Eritrea before they joined the struggle for independence. These citizens have relatively rational thinking. They don’t accept any thing as it is. Rather they start to analyze critically by viewing each and every part of the components intertwined in what has been done or said. These critical thinking helps them to see easily what is the pros and cons of anything happened and very crucial in making a wise decision.

No one doubts that PFDJ leaders have made huge mistakes in all sectors every day. It is the aggregations of these huge mistakes they committed on a daily basis that Eritrea today becomes the worse and miserable place to live in. One of their mistakes is their policies on Eritrean educational system. It is suffice to focus only on the higher institutions – university of Asmara. One of the problems with the PFDJ leaders is that they want to see university of Asmara to produce graduates who are loyal and obedient to their evil governance, which they name it as a graduate should have good national spirit and pride. The PFDJ leaders seem unaware of the intention of higher academic institutions. University of Asmara is an academic institution not a political institution and should focus on strengthening the social reforming processes of our country by producing researchers and scholars who are capable of making changes in all social sectors. As a matter of fact, the university also produces graduates who are trained with the modern political ideologies, which happened to be inconsistent to the PFDJ’s dictatorial political ideology. It is remembered that PIA one time shamelessly said that the last ten years were a wastage of time referring to his won educational policies and accused the university of Asmara in producing citizens who are selfish and don’t have national spirit. It is bizarre to see someone who practically works against the will of Eritrea and its citizens and mention national pride. However, Mr President, you are super super-selfish and evil who care only in preserving your presidency by force and without constitution and will of Eritrean citizens.

Right after the university student opposed the summer work in 2001 in an organized way, PIA spent sleepless days and nights to dissolve University of Asmara. Then he outlined many malevolent plans just for the sake of disintegrating the university. One of the decisions he took was to change the educational system back to where it was from 5-2-4 to 6-2-4 (years in elementary – middle – high school levels). Then send the last batch of high school leavers (11th graders) to Sawa, in a pretext to continue their 12th grade in Warsay Yikalo School, which they spent more of their time on forced labor than school. Then PFDJ leaders declared to open colleges at least one in every Zoba. To convince the Eritrean people there was much propagandas coming out from the Ministry of Education saying that they have a new curriculum (to the funniest they told us they adopt “ Texas curriculum”) enable all our high school graduates to be admitted in the hypothetical colleges. The ministry of education also told us that they no longer rely on the result of the national exam given to the high school leavers (Matriculation exam). It is planned to make everybody to acquire post-high school career. Their propaganda seems wonderful if it seen on the surface. For that matter, many Eritreans who were not familiar to higher institutions consumed their propagandas as genuine. The PFDJ leaders went on to open a college in Mai Nefhi in a vague name, one time they called it science and technology, and teachers Education College. Another time they called it Science and Technology College. The sad of it is that many professors were recruited from India and were paid in hard currency for at least six months before the college starts its first academic year. I am sorry to mention the word academic year because the college did not have known academic calendar. Some time it started on November and other time it started on March just like what they did in Sawa military training camp. Actually it is not a surprise to them going on like that as the intention is not to open an academic institution. One of the good example for naming Mai Nefhi College as poor political institution is that it is led by Col. Ezra with Dr. Gebrebrhan as his deputy. It is shame and sad for our famous Prof. Gebrebrahan to be slavish to the whim of PFDJ. Col. Ezra is a known figure in Sawa military training camp. How dare then such military person with no high school certificate become a leader in a college named as science and technology college? PIA is doing all these mess intentionally as he is known as anti-intellectuals, which his comrades know him better for what he had done in 70’s in the name of “leftist” (menkae). The word “ nus bourgeo” meaning sub-bourgeois was also the famous word in PIA’s dictionary and he used it in the entire independence struggle time to alienate the intellectuals among the fighters.

But why is PIA against intellectuals? The short answer is because they are a threat to his leadership. How come? As I tried to mention above, any one who is educated has the capacity to see things critically. These merits of educated persons enable to see vividly the ill-governance and the cause to all the miserable life and atrocities PIA inflicted on our citizens. The more people able to see these causes, the more they become organized and start to mobilize for their right and change, which PIA is very scary of it. Thus, PIA is expected to make whatever sinful measure that convinced and helped him to avoid all the threats to his power. And we Eritrean should face it collectively and stand for our right.

Peace and democracy to Eritrea

Samuel Tsegai