Aug 012012
 

A few days ago I read an article written by one Niamh Scallan on The Star.ca website entitled “Baird eyes shutting down Eritrean consulate in Toronto” and would like take this opportunity to set some records straight in regards to this article.

 

 First and foremost, I believe that it is prudent to explain a few facts about this 2% tax that Eritreans living outside of Eritrea are required to pay. This tax called “The Recovery Tax” was brought into effect by a Proclamation of the Transitional Government of Eritrea (TGE) soon after the liberation of Eritrea from Ethiopian occupation in 1991. When, after a brutal thirty-year liberation struggle, Eritrea became free in May 1991, its infrastructure had been totally destroyed; it had no working factories, no exports and more than half of its almost 4 million population was living in exile the majority of whom in refugee camps in neighbouring Sudan.Against this backdrop of destruction and lack of infrastructure and basic services, the TGE through its Community Offices in different parts of the world where the Eritrean Diaspora lived, conducted a series of meetings constantly informing its citizens of its plans to rebuild the country. One of the issues raised was how those living outside Eritrea could contribute to this process. The TGE proposed a “Recovery Tax” of 1% of the net income of Eritreans living abroad. The Eritrean Diaspora present at those meetings felt that 1% was indeed a very small amount and even though they were living in exile, they should and could do more to help their brothers and sisters living back home and support those who had sacrificed their lives to give them this freedom. So higher figures were proposed and finally it was decided to make it 2%. Based on this feedback, the TGE went and issued the proclamation making the 2% Recovery Tax law in Eritrea. (It is worthwhile noting here that after the unification of Germany in 1990, West Germans have been paying a “sondersteuer” special tax for the recovery of East Germany and this tax is still collected from every “Wessie” West German – and although it started at around 12% it is now much higher than that.)

 

 

 

As can be seen from the above, The Recovery Tax was not imposed recently but came into effect in 1992. Since the Liberation War was fought and won on the principle of “Self-reliance” it made no sense for the TGE to then fall into the debt of foreign aid (Canadian included) after independence. As such, it called upon its own citizens to contribute whatever they could to rebuild the shattered economy and social fabric of the country. As Eritreans living abroad will testify, it was an honour and a privilege to play in a small way, a role in the building of their country. Some went back and provided free and voluntary services, others contributed by paying their 2% tax on time and without grudge.

 

 

 

When relations soured with Ethiopia and war broke out yet again in 1998, most western countries, spearheaded by the US and its allies including Canada, sided with Ethiopia. We can only surmise that the principle of “self-reliance” doesn’t go down too well with the West. That being the case, as far back as 1998 when Eritrea was fighting once again for its survival, calls were made by the then US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (current US Ambassador to the UN), Susan Rice, to try and stop Eritreans from paying their 2% tax in an effort to make Eritrea kneel down and fall back under Ethiopian occupation. It didn’t work back then because Eritreans all over the world, not only paid their 2% recovery tax, but also dug deep into their pockets and sent donations to their government to help it not only fight the enemy at the gate but also make sure that basic services i.e. schools, hospitals, food supplies, etc. were not disrupted. In what can only be described as a miracle, Eritrea’s economy, although badly bruised by sanctions, war and unfair treatment by so- called donor-countries and agencies, managed to survive with no little thanks to the solidarity and support of its citizens living abroad.

 

 

 

At times, it has been estimated that over 75% of the Eritrean government’s budget was covered by remittances from its citizens abroad. When it came to the survival of our beloved nation, we gave and we felt honoured and privileged to be part of this historical event! We were never coerced or forced to give.

 

 

 

Once the guns were silent, the Recovery tax as its name implies – was used to build schools, hospitals, bring water, sanitation and electricity to villages, and at the same time keep the economy going. Unlike other African countries in the region who are burdened with so called “Development Aid”, our roads and schools and dams and irrigation projects were built by ourselves and by our own contributions. For example, it is common knowledge that when a couple of years ago, a famine of huge proportions was declared all over The Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Somalia and parts of Kenya), Eritrea was enjoying bumper crops due to the irrigation projects that were implemented in the preceding years. All self-financed by Eritreans, it should be noted.

 

 

 

All these facts are not hidden and can be corroborated independently. Which is what Foreign Minister Baird should have done before jumping on to the “Susan Rice bandwagon” and claiming that the “Recovery Tax” was being used to fund terrorist activities. Since when is nation-building classified as a “Terrorist Activity”?

 

 

 

The conclusion made and the accusation levied against Eritrea by the Foreign Minister, is based on the “findings” of the UN Somali Monitoring Group which is headed by a Canadian who as we speak is in danger of being stripped off his position as leader of this group by the UN Security Council because of his bias, ineptitude and unprofessional conduct during the production of the report. Since when have such dubious UN reports been the basis of Canadian Foreign Policy? Is it because this particular “monitoring” group was led by a Canadian? Perhaps a close friend of powers that be in Ottawa?

 

 

 

Coming back to the report, one should also note that this report, which in complete contravention to normal protocol, was leaked to the press even before the Government of Eritrea got a chance to see it, has been found to be full of inconsistencies and outright lies. Despite that, it did conclude that “Eritrea’s influence in the Somali conflict was insignificant”. Interestingly revealing about the so- called report, is the fact that it was published on the UN Secretary General’s web site as an official UN document and the following day was taken down, apparently because it was not too damning of Eritrea! The US and Ethiopia (Eritrea’s arch-enemy in the region) had apparently complained about it. A different version was subsequently reposted on the UN official website. All this shows how inconsistent and at times childishly unprofessional the authors of the report have been.

 

 

 

With this background then, why is Canada’s Foreign Minister falling into the trap of trying to stop Eritreans from helping their own country? Should we rely entirely on the food-handouts that Canada and other countries dump on Africa? If the Eritrean Consulate in Toronto has been accused of coercing this “Recovery Tax” from its citizens, shouldn’t proper diplomatic channels be followed to investigate the issue? Shouldn’t we Eritreans be asked if we have been coerced into paying this tax? Why is the Consulate assumed guilty until proven innocent based on a report whose very veracity and accuracy is being questioned by the UN itself?

 

 

 

As an Eritrean-Canadian I have been paying my contribution on time and happily because I have seen what my money has been used for back home. I have seen the infant mortality rate falling dramatically; I have read UN reports that Eritrea is one of the few African countries that has a chance of meeting the Millennium Development Goals; I have seen the road infrastructures that have been built and I have never heard of a delay of Civil Servants pay unlike in other African countries who are huge recipients of foreign “aid”. In short, to use a quotation from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, “I have been to the mountain top and seen the promised land… I may not get there but I know that as a nation we will get there someday.” That is why I pay my taxes knowing that it is going for a good cause. Even when I was unemployed, I gladly paid. Not because I was coerced or forced. On the contrary, the staff at the Consulate knowing I was unemployed told me that I did not need to pay until I got a job!

 

 

 

As a legislated tax in Eritrea, citizens of the country are required to adhere to this law. If I don’t pay my taxes in Canada I will be prosecuted and sent to jail. Is that coercion by the Canadian government? Can I refuse to pay taxes to the Canadian government if I oppose the war in Afghanistan and do not wish my money to be used to support that war? Of course not! Then why, Mr. Foreign Minister, do you have double standards and why are you meddling in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation trying to build up itself? If you have proof that families of those who “refused” to pay were being singled out back home, then please bring it forward because even the Americans haven’t been able to come up with that one.

 

 

 

The law states that those citizens who fail to pay their “Recovery Tax” will not be provided with consular services until such time as they pay all arrears they owe. The Consulate in Toronto does not tell anyone to pay their 2% tax. In the thirteen years I have lived in Canada, I have never seen a notice to that effect. Those who want to pay, do so. Those who don’t are not asked to let alone forced to. However, if they require consular services, a pre-requirement is payment of all tax dues. When they want to travel to Eritrea and there are those that do so regularly on their Canadian passports then they are free to do so and we have not heard of a single case where someone was arrested for not paying their 2% tax. Not receiving consular services for not paying a legislated tax, I believe, is far more lenient than the prison sentences one would face if one failed to comply with a Canadian tax legislature.

 

 

 

Lastly, I would like to reiterate that I and countless other compatriots will continue to pay our national dues whether the Canadian government bows down to US pressure and closes our consulate or not. If we have to transfer it or send it home directly to our government then so be it. It is our right! We hope that sanity will reign in Ottawa and the more-than twenty thousand Eritreans living peacefully in Canada will not be denied their right to consular services by bullying tactics.

 

 

 

God bless Eritrea and her People!


 Posted by at 2:04 am

  31 Responses to “An Open Letter to Canadian Foreign Minister, Baird. By Zarou Toronto, Canada”

  1. It is sad and very disturbing where the Western Democracy is heading these days , very soon, there will be a restriction and permission what and where to spend your own hard earned money .

  2. Zarou, how much are you getting paid to speak on behalf of Eritrean government. Please stay out of Eritrean case, we don’t need any of your help cause we belive Eritrean problem should be solved by Eritrean.
    thank you very much

    • Zerou is true Eritrean, your identity is in question, u look like unhuppy for the 2% that real Eritrean are paying, and well spent in ERITREA, u shoul leave as alone, we never interfere in others affair, and will not, Eritrean are noble.

      • Amanuel, If you are real Eritrean yourselve you should listen to the rest of Eritrean people who are saying our Eritreansim is no by 2%. we paid our life to our country we shoud own it. Eritrea should be to ERitreans no to few people in power. please read about justice and freedom so that you can understand how government and people work togther not like you just cheering for dia and don’t care about the people.

    • Don’t you get it?he pays 2% and defends his beloved country.thats what to be an Eritrean means::

      • If u guys really care of ur country and support fully Iseias Afewerki instead of supporting Eritreans to choose their leader them selves than being under dictatorship….then, u are opposing those who are serving the country, and had served for 30 years(G15) and are held in prison with no OFFICIAL Explaination on what wrong they did..but only by the decision of iseias!
        u are opposing those who defended &served Eritrea from 1997 until 2012 for over 13years with a minimum salary that can’t cover their families expences even for a week. they are paid 400 nakfa. House rent for a room is in Asmera over 700Nakfas,Sugar50/kg,Coffe 320 for a kilo, allowd to buy only 1piece of bread for a person, &eat shiro everyday &not hav even the money to buy shiro,,,,,
        They are escaping from this life, to help their families…as exactly YOU are doing. and u shouldn’t think that paying 2% of ur salary which is around 500-1000 nakfa, makes u more Eritrean than those who are opposing the government and escaping.
        The government should give alot of answers redarding:
        1. why the G15 are held in prison, whats their trial, their sentence..death or life sentence, and by which charges. Remember; 6 of those G15 were the head commite of EPLF (hgdef) since 1977,and those who created Eplf and took Freedom to Eritreans. so ASK WHY??
        2. if u hav been in Eritrea; u could see&understand that every family’s member is in national service, which makes that their family has no body to help them by working in the farms or other kind of work in order to feed them selves or pay house rents. –
        3. those who are snatched and sloughted and their organs sold as animals are mostly Eritreans who defended their country during the war and had served by free to build it for an entire decade, but the iseias finger dictated government of Eritrea, which reacts as Iseias wants to and feels to do, couldn’t help them or save them or talk about them to the Egyptian authorities. He said that to talk about them was meaningless..they are ‘hatela’ or garbage said he…during his interview about his life history and his letter.

        DON’T DARE TO JUDGE AND OPPOSE THOSE ERITREANS…COZ THEY AND THEIR FAMILIES AND CHILDREN…AREN’T LIVING WITH THE FREEDOM U HAVE ..EATING AS U EATING, WORKING WITH SALARY, EXPRESS THEM SELVES FREELY AS U DO TOWARDS OTHER AUTHORITIES, HELPING THEIR FAMILIES AS U ARE HELPING URS AND LET THEM LIVE IN WEALTH…

  3. The Eritrean government never present how much 2% had collect in the last 21 years. Not only that we donot know where and how it is spent. No accountability at all. If some one paid they should know where the money ended up. In the last 21 years what the Issais build how much it costs. In Eritrea there is not proper electrisity, water and cooking gas supply at all. But this regime never stopped collect money from innocent Eritrean who never asked where the money goes!!

    The regime is collecting money by the name of tax and different means from the citizens in Eritrea and never present its budget for the public lets leave alone for Eritreans.

    Their is shortage of food in Eritrea and that is now clear for every body including for the confused supporters. The world knows our problems rather than many Eritreans who are paying the price.

    Today Eritreans are sold in dozens in sinai by the regime and greedy Eritreans too.

    Monitoring group clearly presented the evidence. That is 100% the truth in Eritrea, I admire them how they got the information in detail. we were in Eritrea and many of those truth where presented in Semerr room by former eritrean intellgiency officers. There is no more secret in Eritrea. Now the youth is playing the major role. Lets see more facts will come forward.

    • PLS WAKE UP AND DONOT DARE TO TELL THAT MONITORING GROOP ARE WRIGHT YOU MUST BE DUM ,YOU NEED TO GO TO SCHOOL OR READ A LOT FROM HISTORY INORDER TO WIRTE AND PARTICIPATE IN POLETICAL DIALOG ERITREA DOES NOT LIKE YOU MUST BE ONE OF THE LAY BACK WHO RUN AWAY FROM THE FACT LEAVE ALONE ERITREA PLS PLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Sara you seem to m a half cooked gulible. NO government tells you how much mone they have collected from their people, through Incometax, penalities, cstoms and excise, dontions, and property rentals. How much monethespend is not also explained to you and on what heyspent it is even dscreet. Eveif you were given the figure you wll not understad what s what. so you btte take time to learn about that. you have little brain to understand it anyay.

  4. Dear Mr Zerou, it is sad person of your calibar would try to defend the indefensable, if you realy want to stand on the side of the truth stand on the side of the Eritrean people who are suffering under the dictatorial Issias regime.,,please try to have full understanding why people oppose the 2% instead of repeating the dictatorial regime`s propoganda.

    • Holla Zerou, is true poeple are suffering, caz most of the poeple are not paying the 2%… Lol is for now and population are 4000000, half of us out. and we dreams big dreams. we cant just popped out with no times. Give us time. I suggest u do ur duty and watch what it wll happens u wll b sorry for what u said.. if u look around u we are better than everybody in africa.. or u cant take the peace life.. LOOOOOOOLlllll

  5. If you want pay your hard earned money to a rigim that enslaved its people with no freedom to speak or movement who am I stop you? One day in the near future things will change and you be left with your long and embarising writing

  6. Well Said, It is really sad to hear such biases targetting a nation that vowed to be self reliant. I wonder, why the west and especially US always want to criple Africa and the damn headed African leaders are enslaved with a huge foreign aid which indeed swells thier individual pockets but not enough to even improve infrustructure of one city. Sorry, yet Canada was not supposed to be in this mess, the act is not first in its Kind, Eritrea was squized into a small building office in Toronto from an actual Embassy in Ottowa and as if that is not enough now closing the counslate. Waw………waht a shame to Ottawa.

    The question of the 2% remitance tax isnot even supposed to be raised and talked about as it is not mandotary but responsibility to wards our right. I guess the minute we landed in Canada we are all told to know our rights and responsibilities. Therefore, the Eritrean Government has clearly put it in place ” if you want to know your rights, so do you need to know your responsibilities” . This is not Eritrea only but all nations require that.

    Let me give a personal Experience. Sorry to say, I am one of the Eritreans who never paid my 2% remitance tax and went to Asmara in April of this year, after 10 years. I went to the Immigration ofcourse for my papers. The first question was if I did pay my duties. of course I said no, the officer never even asked me why. He just suggested that, it is good that I pay my duties and Issued me the paper that I wanted from him at an amount of only 25.00 Nakfa. What a nation, I said, what a government. They could have easily refused to issue me the document I was looking for as I was using my Eritrean ID and not fullfilled my Eritrean duties, or ealse could charge me huge Dollars on my Canadian passport as a foreigner. I felt guilty, yet I witnessed the the lies of the coffee shop Politicians in our Canadian cities.

    In conclusion, I want to stress to Ottawa, that the shattering of our rights and closing our gates from uniting with our Government and people is not going to stop us from doing what our heart tells as to do and I will be the first to to channel not just 2% but more to oppose the American bias and it puppets.

    • Hager
      Canada and USA , unlike Eritrea they charge mandatory tax to their foreign resideded citizens , any one who does not pay taxes will go to jail , so if the puppet prime minister decides to close his dingy building he can throw a party in it , Eritreans are more than that , they know how to reach their beloved birth place any were in the World. Long live Ere .

    • Dear Hager and Awget,
      To begin with,I hate the name ”Awget” for it reminds me the mysterious assasination of many selfless patriots by the hand of the blood sucker dictator you are supporting.Honestly speaking,I just wonder if you the supporters of the regime have a stable mind or not.
      The short history of Eritrea has been a record of a long list of political blunders,costly military adventures and disastrous diplomatic gambles but the worst of all is the crimes and atrocities commited against our innocent and defenceless people for the last 21 years and still counting on.These all are initiated and designed by one crazy man you seem to be infatuated with.The crimes are too long and too many to list but let me highlight some of them.
      -He ordered the mascre of about 3000 Eritreans who were suspected of working with Dergue regime without a day in the court of law.
      -He ordered the masscre of disabled vets who paid their limps to the independence of Eritrea for demanding kitchen table issues.No army or government has ever done that before in the world.
      -He ordered the abduction of 150 moslems in 1995 and never to be heard from again.
      He ordered the areest of hundreds of Johova witness members in 1995 and their whereabouts remained mysterious to this date.
      -He jailed parmenterians,senior commanders,ministers and journalists in 2001 and no one knows if they are still alive or not.
      The worst of all though,he denied the youth who are supposed to be leaders of tommorrow the right to education and instead made them to squander their productive years hauling roacks from somewhere to nowhere in an attempt to break their spirit.He even didn’t blink his eyes to shut down the only university we had (it was built by the people you hate,the Ethiopians.You see how delusional you are.you see,you hate the people that built a university for us) for good replacing it with few paramilitary colleges.Today colonel Ezra with grade 4 education runs them together with SSC (Sawa slavery college).
      Speaking of paying 2% to the shifta regime that has no accountability and transparency and not even having a budget is equally atrocious and its also worth noting that this is a regime that doesn’t bother to inform its people of how much it earned from the cursed gold resources that have been auctioned at a throw away price to the greedy mining companies.
      Now,tell me if I should support the regime that did all these to a once ambitious nation?

  7. ብግዜ ግዚያዊ መንግስቲ ኣኤርትራ ተሓጊጉ።ልክዕ ከም ሓገዝ መሰረት።ግን እቲ ዚሓገጎ ኣካል ድሕሪ ክልተ ዓመት ካንስል ገይሩዎ ኢዩ።ኣዚ ብ ኣዋጅ ኣብ ጋዜጣ ሓዳስ ኤርትራ ወጺዩ ኢዩ።ምስ ኡ ኣልጊቡ እቲ ሕጊ ነቶም ኣብ ውሽጢ’ቲ ክልተ ኦኣመት ዘይከፈለ ከኽፍል ግዴታ ኣለዎ ይብል።ድሕሪዚ ንግለ ዓመታት እቲ ሕቶ ምኽፋል ኣቋሪጹ፡ኣብቲ ግጭት ኢትዮ-ኤርትራ ዚነበረሉ ከኣ ካልእ ድራር ዋርሳይ፡መቐበሊ ኣጋይሽ፡መከላከሊ ሃገር እናተባህለ ይኽፈል ኔሩ።እዚ ኩሉ ዘይከፈለ ብፍላይ ኣብ ኢታሊያ ንዘሎ ሰብ ፖስፖርት ኣይሃድስሉን፡ዚኾነ ይኹን ካብ ኣኤምባሲ ዝሕተቶ ኣይምለሾን።ስለዚ ክቡር ጸሃፊ ናይዚ ኣርቲክል’ዚ ዚተጋገኻዮ ብዙሕ ኣሎ።መንግስቲ ኤርትራ ኣብ ወጻኢ ንዝርከቡ ዜጋታቱ ብኸመይ ውክልና ይገብር፡እቲ መልሱ 0 ኢዩ።እዚ ክፍሊት’ዚ ቀረጽ ውሽጢ ሃገር ኣይኮነን፡ናይ ጀርመን ናይ ውሽጢ ሃገር ቀረጽ ኢዩ።መንግስቲ ኣኤርትራ ዘኽፍሎ ቀረጽ ግን ካብ ሃገር ወጻኢ፡ዓለም ለኻዊ ሕጊ ዚጠሓሰ ኢዩ።እቲ ዚኸፍ ኣ ስራሕ መንግስቲ ኣኤርትራ ከኣ፡እቲ ገንዘብ ንውሽጢ ሃገር ኣይውዕልን ኢዩ።ኣብነት ኪኸውን ኣብ መንጎ መንግስቲ ኣኤርትራን ኣብ ኢታሊ ንቕሩብ ግዜ ከም ኤምባሲ ዚነበረ ተኪኤ በየነ ዝተፈጥረ ምስሕሃብ ብወግዒ ብገለ ግዱሳት ተገሊጹ ኔሩ።ተኪኤ በየነ እቲ ገንዘብ ካብ 2% ዚተወሃለለ ናብ ባንኪ ኤርትራ ይእቶ፡ኣዚ ግን ናበይ ይኸይድ ከምዘሎ ኣይፍለጥን’ዩ በሃላይ ኢዩ ኔሩ።ብሰንኪዚ ካብ ስራሕ ደስኪሉ ።
    ስለዚ እቲ ምኽፋል ቀዳማይ ሕጋዊ ኣይኮነን
    ካል ኣይ ኣብ ውሽጡ ንሰረቕቲ ምቹእ፡ንውጹዓት ብፍላይ ንዘይፈልጣ ኣደታት ሰባት ክብለጹለን መንገዲ ዚከፈተ ኮራፕሽን

  8. The PFDJsts pay the 2% tax to build their dream vila & to vacation once or twice a year to Eritrea. Not that they care what the government does with the money as long as they are happy who care about others. I once went to to toronto office and was asked to pay the 2%, I said hell no and never to return to the office again.

    • Well Said Helen in a short and perfect way. Those hypochratic eritreans that you are mentioning are the most stupid people on earth. They would live in western countries, in democracy, working like cleaners for ages and collecting money and constructing their villas. If you try to discuss with them like civilized person about the situation in Eritrea, they would try to describe you as anti Eritrea and Eritrea is belonging to them and you are a traitor.

      If you ask them, for instance, to provide you evidence to you why Dawit Issak is jailed they would tell you repeatedly “he must has committed some crime!”. There is no point in explaining and trying to have a sensible conversation. They are hard-headed, and we have way too many eritreans of them that are backing Issayas unconditionally.

  9. They are trying to isolate the eritreans from their own nation so as to kneel down under their knees but the eritreans have known by their bravery .

    No one can force them to mow under that puppets whatever happens , eritreans are the sturdy rocks which not moved .

    Anyhow , the struggle is on as yet eritrea and eritreans become gold and diamond even on it’s streets .

    Long live for the eritrean people and their government .

    The victory to the masses .

  10. Well Said Awget,

    It is true and I am 100% sure this is going to enlighten the hearts of the confused about the diabolic acts of the west against Eritrea and so remitance will even go higher than normal, including my own which was not actually chanelled for years now.

  11. You sound like Ali Abdu who is the minister of disinformation of the regime you seem to advocate for white boy.You implicated yourself in Eritrean politics that you had no knowledge about.You got to be paid a heft amount of money by a disgusting regime that wouldn’t hesitate to spend millions of dollars to cover up its failures,terrorist connections,crimes that the world knows about perfectly.But if you are doing this out of good intention or being deluded,then you should know that you are advocating for a regime that has been slapped with two sanctions and one is underway by the international community for abating,training and arming the Al-shebab in Somalia that pledged its allegence too Al-qaida.

  12. Correction,
    I thought the whiteman in the picture was the author of the article and his name didn’t sound an Eritrean so my earlier comment should be directed to the author.
    I know you are bigots that don’t tolerate different ideas but incase if you post it.Thank you.

  13. Dear All: The UN 2012 Somalia-Eritrea Monitoring Group’s report’s glaring defects are there for all objective people to see

    Asgede Hagos, Ph.D., a Professor of Communications criticized the report as follows:

    “… to say that the methodology it [the SEMG] has been utilizing is seriously flawed is to be charitable. Its selective use of potential sources itself renders the outcome of its investigation virtually useless for the members of the Council who have the right to expect verifiable and politically neutral information from the Group to make informed decisions about the cases that come before them with regards to this troubled region. Here are some of the deficiencies one notices at first glance:

    Using unrepresentative convenient or volunteer samples of respondents whose opinions are publicly known to substantiate the Monitoring Group’s bias.

    Using single-sourced charges as long as they serve as camouflage for the real intention of the Monitoring Group—not in search of the truth, but any thinly-veiled link to anything Eritrean.

    Throwing sweeping allegations without a scintilla of evidence to support them in an attempt to link Eritrea with one extreme group or another across the Arc of Crisis region, stretching from the Horn of Africa to the Middle East, touching such nations as Somalia, Sudan, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and of course Iran, and adding such names as Al Shaabbab, Hamas and Palestine for good measure.

    Stretching “evidence” beyond recognition to tar and charge Eritrea, no matter how flimsy or unsubstantiated or even fabricated the “evidence” might be.

    Manipulating language to meet the Group’s political agenda by deliberately misrepresenting the facts. For example, in its latest report, it describes the process of “human smuggling,” but labels it “human trafficking.” Though both are acts of crime that should be punished severely, human trafficking is a crime against humanity; while human trafficking is done under coercion or false pretense, human smuggling is derived out of the consent of the one being smuggled. The Group’s report doesn’t make the distinction and who is responsible for what. The way the report reads, you can see smuggling morphing into trafficking, and Eritrea is blamed for all of it.

    Using sensational data to hype or support certain charges against Eritrea, knowing fully well it was false. For example, in 2011, it used unverified charges of Eritrea using three planes to ship arms to extremist Somali groups to hype another clamor for more sanctions against this young nation; the charges originated in Addis Ababa but came via Nairobi. However, as soon as the sanctions were imposed, the Group, in its monthly report issued in January 2012 said the information was incorrect. This is part of another pattern of information manipulation

    Utilizing unverified “cut and paste” statements gathered from Ethiopian operatives and other dubious sources who have an ax to grind to indict Eritrea.”

  14. I am one of the eritreans who supported the 2% back in 1992. But nowadays, unfortunately, I have lost all the motivation I had then. I will tell you the reason….

    We have fought a 30-years war with a lot of suffering to get our independence and freedom. The power to impelment that was on the hands of the EPLF, and it is still in their hands. For a couple of years after the independence, Eritrea and its future looked really bright and promising, but gradually, the situation deterioriated so bad that people are sacrificing their lives to flee from that country. What I want to say is that the PFDJ administration has failed badly to deliver that freedom to the thursting people. The PFDJ tries always to blame that failure on the Weyane. But that is too cheap and the poor Weyane has become a escapegoat for all failures. That excuse is used to hide all their incompetency and admit failure.

    The real problem lies on the PFDJ administration. A question that must be risen now is if EPLF was a democratic institution. That question is really not easy to answer. Because, the military and the civic socities has two different oraganization and they both face two different challenges. In the military you have to follow the order, you are a soldier and a firm disciplin is followed. How that is going to be combined with democracy and justice, is a huge challenge. We don’t know how EPLF was handling that task. But we do know that there was much more freedom on the EPLF era comparing to the PFDJ time. So what happened during the transition?

    EPLF was painting an Eritrea that was close to heaven during the struggle period. EPLF promised the Eritrean people freedom and justice, where no-one would get convicted on the dark, a multi-party system, a parliament, a wealthy nation where no one would get hungry and so on. Lets get realist now that all of that isn’t possible to accomplish, but the core elements would be preserved and prevailed. Writing and promissing is one thing, but implementing in reality is a very difficult and huge task. Perhaps the EPLF didn’t know what real democracy is. How do you know what democracy is if you never have experienced it in your life. Would they really share the power or let eritrean people run the country? or at least let the people participate on the process. Would they let anybody have a say except a Yikiallo? Would they have their Special court, where doubtelessly Issayas is the judge, or follow and the constitution and let have all eritreans have a fair trial? I would continue for ever with all those failures of the PFDJ.

    My understanding is that, the EPLF didn’t know what real democracy and freedom is, and how to run a civic nation without intimidating at gun-point. If you ask Issayas or any Yikallo if there is freedom and democracy in Eritrea, I would not be surpriced if they tell you that is the case. And believe me they could mean serious! What that mean is that they are a victims of themselves. How do I know? Because I heard Issayas pinpoint shamelessly that there is no democracy in the western countries, including USA and all Europian countries! while explaining democracy and freedom is flourishing in Eritrea!!! But if you request for more accountability and freedom, you wouldn’t even finish your sentence. You would be thrown into jail indefinitly without any fair trial, and without disclosing your abouts. No visit, no rights, no life in short, you would experience HELL ON EARTH!

    So do you expect me to have any motivation left and support that system? be fair now. I am principally not against the 2% tax. Actually, I am one of the people who started paying and payed for more than a decade since 1992. It felt good when I did it. But I am sad now that I am not supporting my country because of the current situation. I will give you some more real life examples to back my despair…

    1. I have invited my family to visit me outside Eritrea, but they aren’t allowed since I haven’t paid 2%.
    2. If you live outside Eritrea and you want get married with an eritrean, your spouse is NOT allowed to
    leave. The reason is I haven’t paid 2%.
    3. I have lost my Eritrean id, but not allowed to renew it, guess the reason.
    4. In turn if I don’t eritrean id I am not able to travel to Eritrea. The reason is…. not paid 2%.

    I could go on and on…… but I don’t have that much time.
    If Eritrean refused me to buy a house, because of not paying 2%, I would’t have that much problem to accept that, but behind the logic of stopping my father to leave the country, it is beyond my understanding. The real problem is, there are no clear rules to follow and it is chaotic how they apply it. So what they need to do is investigating the whole matter and improve it.

    The ultimate solution would be if Issayas and his gangs leave the power and let somebody else who is more competent to run the country. But that is too much to ask, or what do you thaink? Some people would probably want that Issayas would stay on power for another 42 years. But I feel sorry of those ones. They don’t know better. Otherwise, if PFDJ puts its shattered ego aside takes its common sense and sanity, they would understand that they have to implement dramatic changes and that is really soon. Very very soon before it is too late. The Eritrean peoples deserves, because the people has paid a very very high price and you are already responcible for spoiling that.

    STOPP blame Weyane for everything.

  15. I would like to thank the Canadian Foreign affairs for understanding the issue of Eritreans and take courageous action. On the other hand I would like also to say to Zarou to with draw his comment on the open letter as he does not know the full extent of abuse by Eritrean government. No one knows them more than us (the people) who suffered and are still suffering under their brutal hands. Therefore thank you for your genuine interest but you are on the wrong side good wisher of the majority of Eritrean people.

  16. Hey Mr. Selaawi and Habtom, first of all I just want to say thank you for your comments regardless of its kind. It seems to me that we are lucking maturity in putting down our Ideas and rather rushing to slash down others. This is not how we can reform our nation and remove irrisponsible leadership if indeed there is one worse than the premature politicians. The point was a 2% remitance tax and I just posted my views about it, Habtom said, I should seek a medical treatment, thank you Habtom what a caring brother. I will for sure if I see myself in a worse situation than you are. Besides, Mr. Selamawi, just a point of correction to your destorted fingers or mind that the University of Asmara was not built by Ethiopians but by the Comboni Sisters but unfortunately confusicated by your GP Hailesilassie. Therefore, although, its closure saddens me way more that you think it does to you. The truth is that Ethiopians have forcibly confusicated it from the honesty and sincere Missionaries who built it with the intention of Educating the underprivillaged and downtrodden Eritreans who suffered a heavy abuse by your Master late Hailesilassie. Selamawi, you seem to be well versed on a number of things, yet it seems that the hatred you have for PIA is getting to the point of heating your own nation if you are an Eritrean indeed.

    Last but not least, Please let us all separate Nationalism from individualism. isaias is an Indivisual by no means better than any Eritrean, yet weather we like him or hate him we don’t have to yield from the love we have for our mother land.

    Long Live Eritrea and Long live the people who spent thier pennies to raise me from childhood to the man i am today. I promise not to forsake you under any given circumstances.

    Timal Hager, Lomi Hager Tsibah win Hager,

  17. Nikindey Telamatn Kedaatn imo zeyreenan zeysemainan. Adi Guanot dejen gherka hizbikan hagherkan mugtay abmintimntay?
    Zeyweghihh zimeslom kiweghihh iyu . Ab mewedaita dima hizbi ERITRA teawatay kikewn iyu. IDMEN TIINAN NI MERAHTINA : HAGHERNA NIZELALEM TINBER , AWET NIHAFASH

  18. zikeberka MelakeSelam,
    Kullu seb abzi riiytu zihib, ab addis abeba kof ilu aykonen. Kullu seb kia keddain tellamin aykonen. Ita hager nikulatna hanti iya tibisahanna. Sillezi nikullu seb misraf tekotebellu. NiErtra izi hasayia ibmer zitekma aykonen.

    Maleya zeybillu meswati zitekefelo hager(lili 100 000 shih keyahti), kindey jegannu zisenkelulan, nihna ertrawyan keyferahna, keyteshokrerna kab zikone yikun akal riitona kinihib iyu. Kemzi hijji zellato gin Ertra sibbuk yellan. Silezi sibbuk zibbihal neger yellen, kullom merahti bilshuwat iyom malet aykonen. Gin higi kikiber, demokracy kisefin, mesel dekisebat kihillo nihatit allena. wireddu intetebahillom kia merahti keywalu keyhaderu kiwerdu nihatit. Ertra nay hafash hizbi ertra imber nay Issayas wey nay HIGDEF silezeykonet.

    Silezi anen nisikan hizbi ina, hadinat gerna nimerhati kenewatirom iyu zellena. Awet nihafash. widket nidiktator.