The Need to Form Worldwide Provisional Coordinating Committee for Eritrean and Other Refugees in Libya and Egypt

Thursday, 03 March 2011 01:45 Dr. Yebio Woldemariam
E-mail Print

News coming out of Libya and Egypt about Eritrean and other refugees from Africa is not encouraging. For quite a long time, innocent young Eritreans were held hostage in Sinai where perpetrates demand an exorbitant price for their release. The inhuman measures taken by the smugglers has progressed from mere threat to imprisonment to killing and harvesting body parts. The cold blood murder of Daniel two days ago as horrific as it may seem what comes next is by far dreadful. The smugglers who pride themselves as ‘slave drivers’ accompanied Daniel’s murder with an ultimatum that unless  money is paid in days a young lady is next in line for execution. It is a very frightful scenario to contemplate.

What is happening in Sinai is slightly different from what has been perpetually going on in Libya. From my reading, Libya with or without Gadafi will remain a hostile place to be used as a bridge for exile.  I have only to compare it with Sudan and Ethiopia who has been the second home for refugees from Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and the Sudan for the past half century, albeit, those refugees lived miserably but at least contentedly. The Libyan society is still Bedewi ruled by totalitarian regime allergic to any independent initiative. The regime has turned its people to be narrow in their outlook and xenophobic in their attitude. Their country is as dark as Eritrea if it comes to existing civic societies, free press and so on. To an ordinary Libyan, a Negro and a Christian as such is disposable, hence, for his unwelcoming gesture to anybody non Arab or Moslem. In such gloomy environment and charged atmosphere, (a claim that ‘African mercenaries’ are fighting on the side of Gadafi) one speculates that the fate of blacks in Libya is tenuous at best. The victors themselves, coming from the same base are not going to be merciful but vindictive. Spare me from mob action where subjective reason rules supreme.

This as a background therefore, I beg for an individual or organization to take over the task of laying ground work to bring together all concerned under one roof. In this regard those with considerable stakes are civic organizations, political groups, prominent and ordinary individuals.  The ad hoc committee that is expected to emerge from this proposal will be in charge of coordinating efforts to muster resources to this end. At the same time the committee will maneuver and convince the international organizations to help repatriate the poor souls to Ethiopia and the Sudan. Our role in this case should be by far larger than anything one expects from outside. So far writing letters and appeals to Egypt and Libya to rein over their criminal subjects have bore no fruit. It is time to take charge to change the situation through our direct involvement. It is crucial that an entity is established to deal with governments and opposition groups in both countries directly and in person. Luckily, we already have resources to draw from the works of likes Aba Mussie Zerai, Yonas Mehari, Meron Estifanos and Elsa Chirum.  I ask you to take the challenge and reclaim your humanity.