1) What is Eritrean Youth Solidarity for Change (EYSC)?
EYSC is a non-partisan independent organization founded by young Eritreans to help bring about democratic change in Eritrea. It strives to accomplish this mission by motivating young Eritreans and those who are young at heart to be part of the grassroots movement based on the core principle of Eritrean Solutions for Eritrean Problems.
2) What does it mean to believe in of “Eritrean Solutions for Eritrean Problems”?
It starts with the clear understanding of the issues in our country and for its citizens to take a primary role in solving them without the interference of outside forces. It also means taking a firm grip on the “stirring wheel” of change and to be in fully engaged in the decisions that affect the future Eritrea and its people. Furthermore, it means to believe that the strategies to remove the dictatorship of Isaias Afeworki and the type of democratic system that will subsequently be erected can only be accomplished by the collective desire and popular participation of the Eritrean people.
3) What does it mean to reject the interference of outside forces?
This simply means that we will unequivocally not allow outsiders to plan and decide the current and future affairs of Eritrea, which should be left for its people to decide.
4) Doesn’t this sound like we are rejecting help from the international community?
Absolutely not. As part of the international community we will always need diplomatic and political support. Our cause deserves such support which should be based on mutual respect. The international community will benefit from a stable, peaceful and democratic Eritrea that will be able to play a significant role in influencing regional stability and prosperity. However, any support can not go beyond that and delve into planning and executing the democratization of our country.
5) In that case, why do we need to call for the international community to sanction the PFDJ and lobby to pressure the Isaias regime?
In 2009, the United Nations (UN) passed a resolution to sanction the PFDJ regime. As such, member countries have the duty to implement the resolution in their respective countries. Therefore, to call for the implementation of the sanctions is not to delegate our duties and responsibilities to others but to remind the world community to take actions based on their obligations to international law.
6) As long as the dictatorship of Isaias Afeworki is removed from power, why does it matter if any country plays a primary role in doing so?
The fact is that any country can not be expected to place the interest of the Eritrean people ahead of that of its own. If we allow another country to take the leading role to resolve our issues, our national interest will always be placed secondary which will not be bring us a solution but inevitability prolong the suffering of our people.
7) EYSC sounds like it is unduly worried about Ethiopia and may even come off as Ethiophobic. The PFDJ regime has also become cancerous to the Ethiopian government. Why wouldn’t the Ethiopians not want to see the removal of the dictatorship of Isaias?
At this time, Ethiopia is not worried about any threat that can come from the PFDJ regime. It considers Isaias Afeworki as a toothless, old lion who does not have any capacity left. The regime actual war is now with the Eritrean people and not with Ethiopia. That is why it is hard to assume that Ethiopia has the right incentive or desire to shorten the life of the dictatorship.
8) Ethiopia is providing refuge to Eritreans; it arms and provides a base for the opposition. What exactly would we want it to do?
What Ethiopia has done to take care of Eritrean refugees is indeed commendable. It is true that, relatively speaking Eritreans are safer in Ethiopia than they are in neighboring counties. However, this does not automatically mean it wants to shorten the life span of the dictatorship in Eritrea. For instance, it could have accepted the implementation of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission and deny Isaias his ultimate excuse. As a result, Isaias has effectively used Ethiopia’s refusal to prolong his despotic power and the Eritrean people continue to view Ethiopia suspiciously.
Furthermore, we only have witnessed the birth of yet newer Ethiopia-based opposition fronts and groups and none of them have thrived over the years. Even though, some of that can be attributed to the weakness of the opposition, it also has something to do with the direct interference by Ethiopia, a fact many opposition leaders know too well.
Therefore, what is expected of Ethiopia is to implement the Boundary Commission’s decision, demarcate the border and stop meddling in the affairs of the Eritrean opposition forces.
9) What is EYSC’s opinion of opposition groups who have offices in Ethiopia?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having an office in Ethiopia. A neighboring county can actually be the best place to be in order to ensure the interest Eritrea and its people, if there is a atmosphere that allows it. However, if there is conflicting agenda of the host country and that of the opposition forces, we can always assume the host country will ensure its interest will take precedence. Directly or indirectly, interference will be inevitable.
10) Does this mean EYSC views Ethiopia as an enemy state?
Not at all. Ethiopia is not our enemy. It is a county that is putting its interest first and that is respected. Similarly, we as citizens of Eritrea will work to advance Eritrea’s interest first. We should be proud of this. As we respect Ethiopia for putting its interest first, we expect Ethiopia to respect Eritreans who do the same. Mutual respect can only go both ways; and respect is earned when is based on an independently built infrastructure.
11) Some say EYSC is not interested in working with any organization or group based in Ethiopia. Is this correct?
Not at all. EYSC is an independent movement whose sole goal and priority is to advance the interest of the Eritrean people. Therefore, it is always open and ready to work with any group, political or civic organization – regardless where they are based – whose agenda does not conflict with EYSC’s priority.
12) What is EYSC principle of resistance to remove the PFDJ from power?
EYSC firmly believes that Isaias Afeworki’s dictatorship can be deposed by the power of and pressure from the Eritrean people, inside and outside the country. In order to enable this, EYSC will play its role in increasing the public’s political consciousness, revitalizing the fi ghting spirit of the youth, and aiming its struggle at the core of the problem, the dictator Isaias Afeworki and his destructive systems.
The power base of the regime is complex, but it stands upon four key pillars of tyranny: political, economic, intelligence/security and military. The military pillar largely comprises of forcibly recruited young soldiers who generally view the system as repressive; therefore, this pillar should not be viewed as genuinely belonging to the tyrant. This force can, in fact, join the democratic movement and become part of the solution at any time. However, the other three pillars, its intelligence/security, political, and economic backbone, are the very source of the regime’s power and misguided support. All need to be addressed, but it is sufficient and resource efficient to take out just one, and the dictatorship would be dismantled. EYSC will focus on “political defiance”. It will deliberately challenge PFDJ in the Diaspora and inside Eritrea by disobedience, protest, and the relentless attacking of their power sources allowing no room for continuous support and submission. This way the dictatorship loses the most important base of its power system and virtual legitimacy: its own dependency on the Eritrean people.
Therefore, EYSC continues to focus on dismantling the supporting pillars of the regime by conducting political campaigns, exposing the despicable nature of the regime to the world community, organizing public demonstrations and lobbying influential world leaders and politicians. In order to support this vast endeavor EYSC is currently running a short wave radio program (EYSC Radio) that broadcasts into Eritrea twice a week, a television program (EYSC TV) that airs twice a month and is effectively using social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube to organize actions aimed at weakening the dictatorship’s powerbase.
13) What are the requirements for becoming a member of EYSC?
First, you need to read EYSC’s Vision document which can be found at www.eysc.net. It will help you a clear picture of what EYSC is about. Then go to the section that says “Join Us”, fill the form and submit your application. In the form you will be able to indicate in what capacity you would like to participate.
14) How much is the membership fee and how do I make a payment?
Membership fee is $120 per year and you can make your payment using EYSC PayPal account here.
15) There are press releases and announcements that are posted on social media and other sites. How can one tell if it is an authentic press release from EYSC?
All official press releases from EYSC will be posted on www.eysc.net. You can always verify the authenticity of any post by comparing it to what is posted on EYSC’s website.
16) I would like to learn more about your actions and follow you via social media. Where can I find you?
On Facebook, look for EYSC’s Facebook Group. Follow us on Twitter @EYSC_Eritrea. Or you can send us an email via firstname.lastname@example.org
Eritrean Youth Solidarity for Change (EYSC)