Interview with President Isaias Afwerki (Part 1 – 6)


The following are Part 1 to 6 of the Ethiopian Review and eppfOnline.org interview with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki. The translation of the interview to Amharic will be posted as soon as it is ready.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6


317 comments on “Interview with President Isaias Afwerki (Part 1 – 6)

  1. Ahmed on

    Response to YAY,

    YAY responds to my criticisms of his understanding of the rule of law. This is well and good. Yet, he has not proved it that there is a rule of law in Eritrea, for that matter not in Ethiopia too. I will respond with a detailed response, once he is finished with his postings. I hope he includes the following observations which are in brackets. The following post is a portion of a copy I got from the Internet. It defines the rule of law as it relates to: (1) equality and the law and (2) due process. My concentration is on the absence of the due process of law in Eritrea, and thus the absence of the rule of law. For example, the laws of mathematics are the same for Americans and Eritreans. Likewise the principles of the rule of law are the same for Eritreans and Americans, though there may be variations in their applications. One cannot with a straight face assume that we can have two different laws one for America and one for Eritrea. YAY, I thank you very much for responding and also for sticking to the issues.

    “THE RULE OF LAW
    Equality and the Law
    The right to equality before the law, or equal protection of the law as it is often phrased, is fundamental to any just and democratic society. Whether rich or poor, ethnic majority or religious minority, political ally of the state or opponent–all are entitled to equal protection before the law. …[ There is no law of any kind for loyal oppositions only the dungeon. For that matter for all Eritreans.

    Due Process
    In every society throughout history,…those who administer the criminal justice system hold power with the potential for abuse and tyranny. In the name of the state, individuals have been imprisoned, had their property seized, and been tortured, exiled and executed without legal justification–and often without any formal charges ever being brought. No democratic society can tolerate such abuses. [This is the fate of all Eritreans be inside or outside Eritrea.]

    Every state must have the power to maintain order and punish criminal acts, but the rules and procedures by which the state enforces its laws must be public and explicit, not secret, arbitrary, or subject to political manipulation by the state.

    What are the essential requirements of due process of law in a democracy?
    No one’s home can be broken into and searched by the police without a court order showing that there is good cause for such a search. The midnight knock of the secret police has no place in a democracy. [There is a blanket non stop search in Eritrea looking for the young. It is immaterial whether one is innocent or guilty.]
    No person shall be held under arrest without explicit, written charges that specify the alleged violation. Not only are persons entitled to know the exact nature of the charge against them, they also must be released immediately, under the doctrine known as habeas corpus, if the court finds that the charge is without justification or the arrest is invalid. [The G-15 are rotting in prison.]
    Persons charged with crimes should not be held for protracted periods in prison. They are entitled to a speedy and public trial, and to confront and question their accusers. [The G-15 have been in prison since 2001 without any trial in a court]
    The authorities are required to grant bail, or conditional release, to the accused pending trial if there is little likelihood that the suspect will flee or commit other crimes. “Cruel and unusual” punishment, as determined by the traditions and laws of the society, is prohibited. [No such thing exists in Eritrea]
    Persons cannot be compelled to be witnesses against themselves. This prohibition against involuntary self- incrimination must be absolute. As a corollary, the police may not use torture or physical or psychological abuse against suspects under any circumstances. A legal system that bans forced confessions immediately reduces the incentives of the police to use torture, threats, or other forms of abuse to obtain information, since the court will not allow such information to be placed into evidence at the time of trial. [ See Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch about tortures in Eritrean prisons ]
    Persons shall not be subject to double jeopardy; that is, they cannot be charged with the same crime twice. Any person tried by a court and found not guilty can never be charged with that same crime again… [ This has happened to many Eritreans including a famous member of the central committee of the PFDJ]

    A common tactic of tyranny is to charge opponents of the government with treason. For this reason, the crime of treason must be carefully limited in definition so that it cannot be used as a weapon to stifle criticism of the government. [This is a common ploy of the PFDJ. Even the G-15 have been tried in the public arena and through the Eritrean government publications as traitors for speaking their minds.]

    … Judges may be either appointed or elected to office, and hold office for specified terms or for life. However they are chosen, it is vital that they be independent of the nation’s political authority to ensure their impartiality. Judges cannot be removed for trivial or merely political reasons, but only for serious crimes or misdeeds–and then only through a formal procedure, such as impeachment (the bringing of charges) and trial in the legislature.” [The chairman of the superior court of Eritrea was removed from office in 2001, because he was critical of the presidency.]

    Source: http://www.4uth.gov.ua/usa/english/politics/whatsdem/whatdm4.htm

  2. negash on

    ahmed
    i seem to get an idea of who u really r, u mention G-15 quite a lot. anyway ill get back to that later. firstly u seem to be talking about western democracy a lot specifically the U.S. and so u added a website which is about the rule of law viewed by the U.S. Now the U.S. has been trying to control this world in the name of democracy and have been imposing there view of democracy in different countries, but especially africa. Let’s compare other african nations with eritrea. Most african nations claim to have democracy, which was borrowed from the U.S., and all u see in these african nations is chaos and fighting between tribes and there is division along ethnic and religious lines. but in eritrea who does not use the so called western “democracy”, is the safest and stable country in africa, it has nine ethnic groups and half muslim, half christians and all live in peace and harmony. and my next point is u say that or to be precise the U.S. say that “The right to equality before the law.” The U.S. or the west claim that every citizen is equal, but that is not the case, its said to have democracy for over 200 years while they were kidnapping africans and using them as slaves, women’s rights were not even respected until the 20 century. That is in the past, now lets talk about the present day, i can give a lot of examples, that there isn’t equality in the west but here is just one simple one. for example, there are two kids and in your neighbor, the other is from a rich family and the other is from a poor family, now the rich kid will go to a private school and get a better education, but the poor kid want go to a private school because he cant afford it, meaning there is no equal opportunity for this kid u live in the same country and claim to be equal, this is what happens in the western world now eritrea treats all its citizens equally,meaning now1 is treated differently weather they r a different ethnicity or rich or poor they all get the same education and the same equal opportunities. now eritrea has refused to implement the “democracy” viewed by the western world especially the U.S., and thats why it had been under attack by the u.s., and are very scared that if a small african country managed to stand on its own two feet other africans might do the same. now the U.S. (cia) who have a history of overthrowing governments that don’t co-operate with them or who doesn’t put there interest first b4 its own people, hav been working so hard to do the same to eritrea, but really chose the wrong country to do that to, eritreans r not fools, they fought 30 long hard years to get there freedom and become “independent” not “dependent”, so now1 can take that away. but there r a few selfintrested people who can be bribed and be used as puppets,and thats were the so called “g-15″(who were formed by the cia) com in, who were propagating lies and were quite supportive of the invasion by the weyane, these people r completely different to the prisoners in ethiopia, now the politicians or any other prisoners in ethiopia r real people who speak the truth, and wasn’t formed by nobody and had enough of the injustice going on there country, but that is not the case with the so called”g-15” in eritrea, they were out to destroy eritrea and become a country like rest of africa who are politically dependent on the western world and that is how there government survives,but the government and leader in eritrea survives by its people. the eritrean people are patriotic people, don’t u think that if the people of eritrea didn’t support there government, the government would not even be there, because wat keeps them alive its there people, there not politically dependent on any1. now let me just remind u ahmed and people like u, eritreans hate ur guts, and in the coming near future u people will released what a big mistake u have been doing, wen eritrea becomes food sufficient and raises above all african nations.

  3. negash on

    Thank you!My Dear brothers Elias and Sileshi.This is a history
    believe me. one day for the future will be mentioned in the history of book.The most amazing thing what I saw from interview was President Isaias Afwerki was polite and he is looking for both countries prosperity and he is such wonderful man.We have to crush the TPLF by organizing Oromia front and Gambela front, of Course,Arbegoch(Amara)front for sure President Isaias has resentment on TPLF and he doesn’t like them.Therefore,we have to organized start guerrilla fight that is the only solution for Ethiopia.

  4. Kebede on

    Thank you! My Dear brothers Elias and Sileshi. This is a history believe me. One day for the future will be mentioned in the history of book. The most amazing thing what I saw from interview was President Isaias Afwerki was polite and he is looking for both countries prosperity and he is such wonderful man.We have to crush the TPLF by organizing Oromia front and Gambela front, of Course, Arbegoch (Amara) front for sure President Isaias has resentment on TPLF and he doesn’t like them. Therefore, we have to organized start guerrilla fight that is the only solution for Ethiopia.

  5. YAY on

    Ahmed vs. Issaias on Democracy

    What is “rule by law”?
    What can we make of the phrase “rule by law” if we see it separately or in comparison to the “rule of law”? The rule of law implies that the law is supreme, the law rules equally over every citizen, and that restrains rulers and the ruled.But can any law have life without the involvement of human beings? No. No national law would exist without persons or groups of persons. Any law is made by some people (e.g. legislators), interpreted by other group of people(e.g. judges), and enforced by still another group of people(e.g. police).All these people use their minds, judgements, discretions, contexts, cultural biases,etc. to deal with the law “independently” and “honestly”. The main point is that, unless you want to put emphasis on superemacy of the law to guide persons rather than the persons apply their judgements without standard guidance, ultimately the law is applied by humans. There is no escape from it. That is point number one.

    The word rule in both phrases has many meanings, but the closest definition I found closer to State power is ” the exercise of authority, or to govern, or to command.” If we substitute the word, rule, by a phrase equivalent to its meaning, then we form another phrase: “the exercise of authority by law,” or “to govern by law”, or “to command by law” instead of “rule by law”. These three phrases do not suggest their exercise is of liberal, illiberal, democratic or authoritarian order. There is nothing in their meanings that implies that the judges and police would act machanically to do their duties, or would not follow “adherence to the due process of law” in their nations. As is the case with the “rule of law”, those who make, interpret, and enforce the law are also human beings. The crucial difference to me is how those in authority seized power–i.e. public support, formal elections, coups, etc. Those in Eritrea had great public support and Issaias was elected by the transitional Baiyto. And in 2002 the same body suspended national elections and approved the continued leadership of Issaias.

    In my tentative assessment, “rule by law” seems to be the dissident’s view of the law that exists in a nation, particularly those ruled by “authoritarians”.As is explained in Brian Z. Tamanha.(2004).ON THE RULE OF LAW: History, Politics,Theory. Cambridge Univ. Press, p.3:
    Dissidents point out that authoritarian governments
    that claim to abide by the rule of law routinely
    understand this phrase in oppressive terms. As
    Chinese law professor Li Shuguang put it: “Chinese
    leaders want rule by law, not rule of law…The
    difference…is that under the rule of law, the law is
    preeminent and can serve as a mere tool for a
    government that suppresses in a legalistic fashion.”
    First of all, dissidents are the exception and not the rule, so they can be judged only when they seize power. And second, which ruling group does not use the law to its own advantage and the disadvantage of its enemies and adversaries? None. That is the norm. How severe may vary, but the use of the law to suppress adversaries is done by all ruling elites. Even God is jealous.[see Exodus 20:5].
    A ruling group could be lax in its actions with its adversaries NOLY IF it believes its fundamental interests would not be affected that much. That is all. So it seems to me that the two phrases do not have qualitative difference but are names used for academic discussions.So, Ahmed, your claim that there is no constitution is not true. Ahmed and I may not have preferred the current one, but the nation is ruled by the Eritrean Transitional Constitution and there is law of the land and there are courts. Ahmed inadvertently admitted that that is the case in his June 15 discourse, unless he wants to change it:

    “Persons shall not be subject to double jeopardy; that is, they cannot be charged with the same crime twice. Any person tried by a court and found not guilty can never be charged with that same crime again… [ This has happened to many Eritreans including a famous member of the central committee of the PFDJ]”

    Ahmed thinks the difference between the two is respect for human rights is embodied in the rule of law, and believes the best example for that is the U.S.A. The U.N. Human Rights declaration was declared IN 1948, while the U.S. Constitution dates way back to the 1780s. Does that mean the U.S. law was not the rule of law? America as a nation that has slavery, decimation of native Americans, disregard for equal rights of women, torturing prisoners as recently as 2000s, killing thousands of fleeing Somalis in an effort to target suspected “terrorists”, sending prisoners to other countries to torture them while being interrogated, assisting rulers in other countries suppress their own people, assisting Ethiopia to kill and torture Eritreans, Oromos,Somalis,etc., to mention a few, are in the background of its national consciousness and behavior. With this understanding, would you say These actions were in line with respecting human rights or the U.S. Constitution was not based on the rule of law, and, hence, not liberal democratic, or “illiberal order”? Therefore, I can safely say that Ahmed’s theory has a hole in it.

    Ahmed also asked me to prove to him if there is a “rule of law” in Eritrea. Ahmed has been belaboring this question. The answer is so obvious: There is a transitional constitution, which serves only when the nation is changing from one stage of general development to another. One cannot talk about a crystalized national law, or whether it is a “rule by law” or “rule of law”. But Ahmed, Issaias, and I, among others, are in agreement that the ratified 1997 Constitution eventually needs to be implemented, and enhanced. ….to be continued….

  6. Tmk on

    What you both have done for your country and for your people, is very imperative, it’s a greate achievement, you deserve a good appretiation, for many years to come this will remembered. God bless both of you. For many years Ethiopia has been laking visionary leaders, at the result, for many centuries Ethiopia has been suffering. of course, the present fashist regime is the worst.
    Let me tell you the Ethiopian people and Eritrean people can work together, but for many Decades the propaganda has been imposed on them,but now it looks the people are becoming aware. If there is anything the Weyane clic afraid of is the working relationship of Ethiopian and Eritrean people, because they know the repercution.
    Long live the Eritrean and Ethiopian relationship.
    We are waiting that you take this to a next level and please do not wary about the negative massage of weyane tags.

    TMK

  7. Observer on

    Hi YAY,

    Please stop responding to Ahmed. Ahmed is looking for attention, and you are making him feel important by answering to his simple and naive understanding of Democracy. Obviousoly, he is not going to change his mind and you are wasting your time unless you are Ahmed yourself pretending to be someone else.

    Ahmed,
    Please don’t waste your time replying to me. I will not respond to it.

    Thanks

  8. Akaki on

    Respond to Ahmed,

    Ahmed please do not be a child, we know and we heard about Democracy and rule of low for many years, and we are witnessed what is going on in this crazy world.
    Please open your own class to preach your democracy as own rule of law.
    We are trying to create a good solidarity b/n two sisterly country to destroy the evil who preach in Democracy and rule of low , but it killed our people and waste our time.
    Please go some where else post ur comment, unless u are Weyane operatives, trying to divert the good attention of both Ethiopian and Eritrean people.
    .

  9. Anonymous on

    I love and respect Eritrean peopls, i was so surprise by president Esayas comment and gives me a positve insight.well done; GOD BLESS ETHIOPIA AND ERITREA…just don’t stop praying.CHANGE IS COMING…YES IT WILL.

  10. Ahmed on

    Final Response to YAY

    Subject: The tyranny of the majority and the rule of law

    I still insist that the rule of law is more linked with individual civil liberties, and that there is no rule of law in Eritrea, nor is there a rule of law in Ethiopia. Without the rule of law there can never be economic prosperity, peace and stability.

    I will clarify two important points that YAY is confused about, before I say goodbye to this site. I thank ER for allowing me to post my views.

    YAY belives that the majority can lord over the minority, and that such a tyranny is okay with democracy . This is not true. The tyranny of the majority is not allowed in a society that abides by the rule of law. There is majority rule but there is also minority rights. These two go together. How?

    The experts explain this concept as follows: “Majority rule is a means for organizing government and deciding public issues; it is not another road to oppression. Just as no self-appointed group has the right to oppress others, so no majority, even in a democracy, should take away the basic rights and freedoms of a minority group or individual.

    Minorities — whether as a result of ethnic background, religious belief, geographic location, income level, or simply as the losers in elections or political debate — enjoy guaranteed basic human rights that no government, and no majority, elected or not, should remove.

    Minorities need to trust that the government will protect their rights and self-identity. Once this is accomplished, such groups can participate in, and contribute to their country’s democratic institutions.

    Among the basic human rights that any democratic government must protect are freedom of speech and expression; freedom of religion and belief; due process and equal protection under the law; and freedom to organize, speak out, dissent, and participate fully in the public life of their society.”

    Source: http://www.4uth.gov.ua/usa/english/politics/principl/majority.htm

    The core confusion of all this is that YAY accepts a society that may have some rules or a constitution like Ethiopia but violates human rights left and right as having a rule of law, or a nation that has no rules of any kind or may have a “transitional constitution” as YAY calls it like Eritrea to abide by the rule of law despite the fact that it also violates human rights.

    YAY is preaching a patently false concept. YAY wrongly takes the qualitative difference between the rule by law (like the tyranny that exist in Ethiopia despite the fact that it has a constitution, as for Eritrea I believe it has no rules of any kind.) and the rule of law that exist in most liberal democratic nations, as simply academic. It is not so. Again let me quote from the experts:

    “For much of human history, rulers and law were synonymous — law was simply the will of the ruler. [The case in Eritrea.]

    A first step away from such tyranny was the notion of rule by law, including the notion that even a ruler is under the law and should rule by virtue of legal means. [The case in Ethiopia.]

    Democracies went further by establishing the rule of law. Although no society or government system is problem-free, rule of law protects fundamental political, social, and economic rights and reminds us that tyranny and lawlessness are not the only alternatives.” [The case in USA, South Africa and all western nations.]

    Source: http://www.4uth.gov.ua/usa/english/politics/principl/law.htm

  11. YAY on

    Ahmed vs. Issaias on Democracy

    Observer: YAY is not Ahmed.I wrote about this issue because Ahmed and others have tried to use it as a wedge between Eritrea and Eritreans as well as between Eritreans and Ethiopians. There are many reports and comments that mis-characterize Eritrea as a dictatorship, and that needs to be addressed and the facts presented. Ethiopians also need to know what to expect in or from Eritrea. In contrast,TPLF-Ethiopia has been presented as an “emerging democracy” by its backers, who also like to denigrate Eritrea, and present it as an “isolated” and uncooperative nation governed by a “dictator”. Ethiopians have seen what kind of democracy TPLF-Ethiopian democracy is. I don’t have to say a word. They know it first hand. And there are others who just want to believe whatever negative things they read about Eritrea. What I wrote is not just useful only to Ahmed but to all readers, especially Eritreans and Ethiopians.

    Ahmed repeatedly describes Issaias as a dictator and the Government of Eritrea(GOE) as a dictatorship, in more than one word. This is one of Ahmed’s weaknesses–i.e. he does not differentiate between the nature of a State, or government, in peace times and in war times. Ahmed also fails to see the nature of a transitional State and a State that completed its establishment. These two hugely important factors influence the behaviors of GOE and lead Ahmed into erroneous conclusions. First, I will present five general facts describing the circumstances GOE is operating under; and let readers compare them to experiences (in war times) of the U.S.A., Canada, Britain, Germany, France, and Russia, as assessed by Charles G. Fenwick.(1920).POLITICAL SYSTEMS IN TRANSITION: War-Time and After,NY,The Century Co. as well as Ronald C. White.(2009). A. LINCOLN: A Biography.NY. Random House.

    1. The State of Eritrea(the whole people of Eritrea organized in various communities and associations and led by a centralizing authority or government–now the GOE–to form one nation on a territory with defined international borders) is new.Its institutions are incomplete or fragile and have yet to be established or strengthened. The border war and its effects have hindered this endeavor.

    2. The Government of Eritrea(GOE) is still a transitional government. This is a government that has not crystalized into its intended final form as expressed in the 1997 ratified Constitution. But it is a government established after the people, in an internationally observed referendum, expressed their desire freely in 1993 that an independent nation of Eritrea be established. It was universally understood that the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front(EPLF),an armed political organization that mobilized the Eritrean people to liberate their country of Derg-Ethiopian forces, would temporarily form that independent State/government. It is a government, which through constant consultations with the general public and foreign experts, was authorized to facilitate the Eritrean society to transform itself into a self-governing, self-preserving, and self-sustaining community with diversity-respecting but integrating Constitution based on which political power would be seized/transferred through periodic elections, and a number of cross-cultural political parties would compete for power peacefully.[refer the 1997 Constitution of Eritrea and EPLF/PFDJ’s 1994 National Charter].

    3. Eritrea was involved in a border war with TPLF-Ethiopia from May 1998 to December 2000.(I believe TPLF-Ethiopia planned and started this war, but I want Ethiopians to do their own research on this matter independently). The war has stopped but it has not ended yet. The border is legally delineated and demarcated, but TPLF-Ethiopia would not remove its troops, as required by treaty and international law, from territories legally determined to be Eritrean.

    4. TPLF-Ethiopia is a real threat to the nation of Eritrea. Prime Minister Melless Zenawi has openly declared that he would go to an all-out war, and he wouldn’t know “where that war will end”, if Eritrea tries to step foot on some legally determined Eritrean territories. TPLF-Ethiopia wrongly believed that Eritrea has designs to dominate Ethiopia’s economy, that GOE is hegemonic, sponsor of terrorists, a destabilizing force, militarized Eritrea, and must be resisted, its economy strangulated, diplomatically isolated, its conscripts encouraged to secape, etc. in cooperation with Bush-U.S.A. and its allies. For this reason, Eritrea stands alert and ready to defend itself and to do so also uses its conscripts (with all the problems related to conscripts throughout history that may appear in Eritrea too) to revive the economy and defend the nation.

    5. The 1997 Conistitution of Eritrea defines the future government’s structure and lists individual liberties that must be respected and its intention to uphold the universal human rights. The GOE has openly declared its desires and intentions to build a republic based on “participatory democracy” in place of the transitional government if and when circumstances allow. In the meantime, it has encouraged that local governments under each Zoba (or Awraja) be formed based on elections. The GOE admits that it has detained some individuals that it suspected have become obstructions to defending the existence of the State, GOE, and independence of the nation. It also has limited certain individual liberties when it believes doing so was necessary for security reasons. Some Eritreans and foreigners have accused GOE of torture, detention without charge, and denial of basic individual liberties, such as freedoms of expression, movement, association, religion, and basic human rights.

    The GOE was very liberal in everything it is accused of between 1991 and 2001, so it is not a regime that is tyrannical, despotic, or dictatorial by nature or design.
    ‘How does what GOE is accused of doing to individuals in Eritrea and what Issaias is preaching about democracy and elections square off?’ asks Ahmed. Now, let us consult history and try to find answers to Ahmed’s question.

    1. War and crisis changes the nature of a state:

    ‘The state is a machine that works for the common good; and some of its actions may restrain individual liberties sometimes. Some citizens may not like government’s restrictions on idividual liberties when the existence of the State is in danger, but they understand and tolerate the subordination of domestic liberties to the safety of the nation could become necessary. What is more serious was that even the “rule of law” was obliged to yield in part to the emergency of war or crisis, and one could witness manifestations of isolated “lawlessness” in government actions.

    In peace times a government becomes ocuupied primarily with the task of maintaining law and order in the nation, leaving to the free play of individual activity the satisfaction of the economic needs of the people.

    In war times the government must assume control of practically the entire life of the society. Production must be regulated to meet the demands of war, industries must stop producing non-essential articles or raw materials must be denied to one and given to another factory based on the basis of their contribution to the war. Distribution of goods must no longer be a matter of satisfying individual wants but of meeting national demands. Prices are no longer to be regulated by the law of supply and demand but by arbitrary standard of cost of production. There are thus cast upon the government a wide variety of tasks to which its organization in times of peace is inadequate.

    At the same time complete unity of command becomes as essential to the nation as to its fighting army, and the protection of individual rights ceases for the time to be the object of government in favor of the protection of the community as well as a whole nation against external aggression.’ [Fenwick,p.46].

    2. ‘The prime object of government is the preservation of national existence with all that it connotes indirectly for the good of the individual citizen. For the sake of this higher purpose it may be necessary to subordinate democracy to efficiency and to suspend temporarily those very principles of liberty in the individual which the war is fought to maintain for the nation as a whole.’ [Fenwick, p.8].

    3. ‘Freedom is a relative term, and must be judged in the light of aspirations of a particular people. Law is an artificial restraint which has developed into a highly complex system adjusted to the needs of each country by the traditions of centuries. Individual rights and general justice must be viewed in light of changing circumstances (economic conditions and political status), but it is also true that the experience of other country in meeting its own peculiar problems may be of great service to another.’ [Fenwick,pp. 12-13].

    4. Individual rights are not absolute or guaranteed:

    As Fenwick teaches, the protection of individual rights is normally fulfilled through what is called the “due process of law”. But that does not prevent “the passage of laws by which both liberty and property are subjected to restrictions for the common good. The guarantees are, therefore, not absolute but qualified, and the extent of their enjoyment must be determined in the individual case by balancing the presumptive right of the individual against possible injury to others. In times of peace this issue is frequently raised in connection with the exercise by the State of its “police power” to protect the public welfare. In times of war the issue becomes one of denying individual rights where the exercise might endanger the safety of the State.” [Fenwick, p.23].

    5. Abraham Lincoln, President of the U.S. in the 1860s, was also accused of “unlawfull arrests” of individuals and that his government was an “arbitrary government”. His wisdom of defending the united nation was as of no value to the people, but “Defeat, debt, taxation, spulchers”. Lincoln, faced by a strong rebellion in the South, had to recruit an army to defend the nation: he emancipated African-American slaves and initiated the conscription of White males between the ages of 20 and 45, who were obligated to serve for 3 years or “until the end of the war.”

    Protesters denounced the draft as unconstitutional, murdered some of the recruiting officers, incited violence when government soldiers rounded up deserters, and encouraged conscripted recruits to desert. Lincoln took action against such protesters, individually or in mass, who always claimed they were in defense of the Constitution, state rights and individual liberties. His logic was:

    a) ‘The courts worked well in peace times for cases involving individuals, but in a clear case of rebellion or mass movement, the ordinary courts were often incompetent to deal with whole classes of groups of individuals.’

    b) “Must I shoot a simple-minded soldier boy who deserts, while I must not touch a hair of a wiley agitator who induces him to desert? I think that in such a case, to silence the agitator, and save the boy, is not only constutitional, but withal, a great mercy”.

    c) When one Commander issued a military edict aimed at persons who “uttered one word against the United States” or anyone guilty of “acts for the benefit of the enemies of our country” could be liable to execution, Lincoln could not disagree with him. That Commander sent troops to a protester Ohio Congressman’s house, broke the door, arrested him, and a military court sentenced him into prison until the war ends. Lincoln modified the punishment into banishing the Congressman from his Midwest of the country until the end of the war. Lincoln’s reasoning was that expressing your views as an individual was protected by the Constitution, but he found it unreasonable for letting individuals or groups use their rights provided by the Constitution unrestricted and work towards the non-existence of the nation.
    He considered the protesters were ‘damaging the army, upon the existence and vigor of which, the life of the nation depends.’ And since the conditions of war was going on,’there must be detentions to thwart the actions of “a most efficient corps of spies, informers, suppliers and aiders and abettors.” Lincoln said that everyone understands that in times of war the writ of habeas corpus [the right of not being detained without charges] would be suspended. [White, pp. 554-567].

    The word dictator is believed to have originated from the Latin word dictum, which means word uttered, a saying, an authoritative pronouncement, or command. In ancient Rome, they found out from experience that, in times of war or crisis, it was best and most efficient to conduct themselves under one commander who can lead them to the best of his judgement. At such times regular consultations in meetings in the senate would be suspended, and the whole empire obeyed the command of the dictator. Later on the Constitution of the U.S. adopted this idea and made the President be, in times of war or emergency, be the dictator, but called it in another name–i.e. Commander in Chief. After that it became common in the world to make the head of state or head of government the Commander in Chief. So is Eritrea’s president. Hence, President Issaias is now running the nation, which is alert for any consequences of the re-ignition of war and to defend the nation.

    To accuse the GOE of dictatorship is to forget that it is a government that operates in war times and the circumstances and acute pressures it is working under. In other words, it is working under a crisis or emergency mode, and is investing all it has got towards normalizing the situation without compromizing its political independent existence. In such situations, based on the historical experiences of even the most established democratic nations cited above no nation did not and would not behave differently. Therefore, it seems to me, that Ahmed’s conclusions are unreasonable.

    Ahmed also seems much more naive than I expected him to be. He reasons out: If the law of mathematics are the same wherever you go, then the laws of democracy must be the same in every nation. I was surprized by that. He is trying to equate social/political organizational “laws” with natural laws. I guess he forgot, for instance, that if you give a group of well educated and experienced judges the same set of evidence and the codes of law, that they could reach at different conclusions, let alone different communities and nations. Doesn’t Ahmed know that a court could be split in its determinations, but the final verdict goes by what the majority says? Thanks everyone for your patience and respect. A GOOD RELATIONSHIP HAS TO BE BASED ON HONESTY FROM ALL SIDES. Good luck.

  12. Anonymous on

    PIA with his vision and confidence will unite Ethiopians and others in the horn of Africa. Sorry for ethnocentric bastards who worship,follow and idolize clan and tribal ideology preached by a midget thinker who hates Ethiopia and its people. The tribalist and their running dogs days are numbered, we all can see the light at the end of the tunnel. For those tribal supremacist your shabby dam is leaking, you fear nothing but united Ethiopians and we are right behind your butt.

  13. Ted on

    Mr. Ahmed’s theory can be translated as a pimp luring a under age girl for sex business. We will not allow our girls to be sold any more.You are consumed with predictions and theories much like the stock market. You cant force us to like Hot Dog , we like injera.. Mr.Ahmed you are not more American than the Bush and Clinton family. The blood is not dry, You know what Jendayi Frazer did in Kenya ? After the death of thousands protesters, instead of respecting the the wish of the voters, she created unstable and corrupted slave coalition party waiting its time to collapse. Somalia, the same lady created chaos by invading Somalia in the name of Democracy and Freedom. In Ethiopia election got stolen, over 200 people died, she supported TPLF in every way, she was the divider of people and the front force against Eritrea. You need to see what they are doing to your own people before referring US’s policy as example for World Hope and Democracy. We (Ethiopians and Eritreans) have different color,need, food, value,character,…… from Americans. We are different. We choose to live based on what we know and works!!!There is no time to experiment with peoples life.
    Regards!!!

  14. Gerrie on

    WOW, Ethiopians reaching out & wanting to hear from the presumed “sworn enemy of Ethiopia”???
    I’m glad I’m alive to see this day.
    Imagine, if we all had the heart, mind & soul to reach & hear from each other 50 years ago, just like Mr. Elias & Mr. Sleshi, on their own time & resources managed to do.
    I bet we could have saved a lot of lives & resources we wasted in endless costly wars.
    Thanks to Ethiopian Review, Mr. Elias & Mr. Sleshi, I’m beginning to hope, my children will never have to go through another Ethio-Eritrean war, that many of my generation has been forced to live under & perish.
    Now the gate of communication & understanding has been established, let’s cross the bridge that Ethiopian Review managed to build. Great accomplishment.

    THANK YOU & CHEERS TO MR. ELIAS & MR. SLESSHI of the Ethiopian Review.

    Please, Keep building the bridge of communication, mutual understanding, peace & trust, for our children to inherit & we all desperately need to make to another day.

    Regards,

    Gerrie

  15. Robel le petit francais! on

    Ethiopian kid>>>> ecoute pour quoi est ce qu’il parlerais ta langue?
    tu pourait au moin le remercie d’accepte de se faire intervue par des journalistes Ethiopien,
    parce que ton encule de president n’aurais pas accepte de se faire intervue par des Erytheen

  16. Anonymous on

    If PIA meant what he said, it is really a good start. He seems geniune. He has answered all questions straightforward. Let us hope that this will lead to more open discussion.

    Nobel

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