Monthly Archives: December 2011

New Sanctions Against Eritrea Have Passed, Now What?

For anyone who is Eritrean I am sure we all heard of the saying “Eritreans’ only kneel for two reasons, to pray and to aim.” Lately the Horn of Africa has been all over the news mostly relating to famine and conflict. According to the DailyMaverick:

“The United Nations Security Council passed new sanctions against Eritrea on Monday, punishing the tiny country in the Horn of Africa for its continued political, financil, training and logistical support to Al Shabaab, the radical Islamist militant group in Somalia an allegation which Eritrea denies. But with sanctions as weak as these, there’s not much incentive for Ertirea to change its ways.”

I came across this interesting interview a few weeks ago with President Isaias Afwerki on the topic of Somalia, Al Shabaab, and Eritrea’s role in the current crisis. Click hereto watch and let me know what you think.

“The peoples of Eritrea, Ethiopia and the region will undoubtedly pay the price for this continued misguided policy, but the Eritrean people will prevail, as they prevailed in the past” a statement from Eritrean Foreign Ministry stated.

Even though Eritrea was sanctioned before in 2009, the new sanctions wouldn’t be any different and will continue putting a freeze on weapon sales to Eritrea and travel bans and asset freezes on selected officials. However, Eritreans both for and against government including the diaspora are frustrated.

The Young People’s Front for Democracy and Justice  (YPFD), a pro-government Eritrean Diaspora Youth organization striving to create a strong, conscious, and patriotic youth movement and others groups have been petitioning against the sanction.  But do you have to be pro-government to be patriotic? And if you don’t agree to the UN sanctioning Eritrea, what other solutions can we come up with together regardless of government views? According to the petition:

“The Eritrean population, which suffered seven decades of repeated UN injustices, shouldn’t be made to suffer more injustice by this world body. Besides, putting more sanctions against Eritrea and the innocent people of Eritrea will not bring peace to the war ravaged Horn of Africa; in fact, this is a reckless act designed to reignite existing simmering conflicts and to create new ones…Finally, the solution is not in scapegoating or isolating Eritrea. The solution is on constructive engagement.”

Can someone please explain to me how we can have constructive engagement with the UN and supporting nations? Seems like people are so passionate and have opinions, but it’s rare when I hear a solution without it sounding so vague. At the end of the day it should be the innocent people of Eritrea and the state of the economy that we should look out for.  One of the many reasons I created this blog is to establish a platform for people to speak what is on their mind so that we can collectively come together and think of different ways to better Eritrea and the people.


Hopes for an AIDS-Free Generation

When the first AIDS case hit in the summer of 1981, doctors were stunned and weren’t able to asset their patients as much. Fast forward to today, due to global collaboration and investments more then 6 million HIV-infected people in developing nations are receiving lifesaving treatment. Although AIDS has been one of the greatest global fights in history, the international community have been making huge improvements towards enhancing the lives of individuals living with HIV/AIDS in developing nations.

Today, artist Alicia Keys and Bono join forces to come to Washington, DC to give thanks to the United States on World AIDS Day. Since 2002, Bono along with the ONE advocacy group are determined to have an AIDS-free generation by 2015. According to VERTEXNews/Newsroom Solutions,

“Bono writes an op-ed piece in ‘The New York Times’ that millions of people owe their lives to U.S. aid that has made life-saving medicine available to people with HIV.”

During an interview with ABC News this morning Bono stated “the United States has performed the greatest act of heroism since it jumped into World War Two, and in 2002, only about 50-thousand people in sub-Saharan Africa had access to HIV or AIDS treatment when over three million people in those countries were newly infected with HIV.”

This is were I start asking the questions, how can we have an AIDS-free generation when funds are being cut? According to  HIV and AIDS Programme, Dr Vicci Tallis

“The recent announcement from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria that it does not have enough money to finalise Round 10 grants or to open Round 11 is simply devastating and has immense implications for southern Africa, In short, it demonstrates ZERO commitment from developed nations to HIV and AIDS, to Africa, to women,to marginalised communities, to people living in poverty.”

Tallis also points out the epidemic of AIDS is one that everyone needs to take responsibility for including government, civil society, and the Global Fund. I don’t think it’s the Global Fund or the United States ‘responsibility’ to help fund the fight against AIDS. However, it should be a ‘willingness’ to help mankind, especially those who can’t help themselves.