President Issias Aferwerki Vs. Al Jazeera; February 2010

Read Time:19 Minute, 11 Second

….Why, why, why….Why would you ask? Why would you ask without
evidences? It is a surprise to me. It is even a joke to me. I don’t
even see any logic of bringing Israel and Iran together working in
Eritrea. How can one person sensible understand that logic?

But that has raised questions…Many political analysts believe that the
next proxy war between Iran and Israel is going to take place on your
soil. Are you prepared to be the next Vietnam?

Pres. Issias;
This is a joke. This is giving Eritrea a name beyond its means. These
are fabrications. These are allegations without facts to prove them on
the ground. It is sometimes a surprise why people want to sell these
lies to any sensible person in the region. It does not make sense.

It is also well documented that you are helping Iran through your
Assab Port, sending arms to Yemen to support the Houti fighters who
are fighting against the government as well as Saudi Arabia. Can you
explain your actions?

Pres. Issias;
It is senseless. It is senseless. Who would want to destabilize Yemen?
We have all along, for the last twenty years, supported the government
of Ali Abdellah Saleh genuinely…

So do you deny that you are supporting the Houti’s in Yemen?

Pres. Issias;

This is a fantasy in the minds of those who want to sell the idea and
create a sense of threat and fear in this region so that they can
manipulate it for their own agendas.

There is no refinery in Assab in the first place. There is no
presense…you want to go there tomorrow and see who is there and who is
not there?

And to assume that your allegations are facts and try to find an
explanation for that assumption. I say it is crazy.

It is all a fabrication. We sometimes wonder and bother why all these
fabrications are made about things that do not exist on the ground.

Is this also a fabrication? The United Nations says that you spend
200,000 to 500,000 dollars supporting fighters?

Pres. Issias;

In Somalia and around the region. Is that also a fabrication?

Pres. Issias;
This is another joke, this is another joke.

How can your country….that is from the United Nations…..

Pres. Issias;
It is boring, it is boring. When jokes are repeated again and again
they become so boring.

How can you as a country afford to be on this war footing. It’s not
twenty years….

Pres. Issias;
This is a fantasy on the part of those who think that we are on a war footing.

It is crazy. It is the imagination of people who can only be
categorized as insane, who fantasize on things that do not exist in
real terms.

If your country is not on war footings then how come there is so much
repression? There is no freedom of the press, there is no freedom of

Pres. Issias;
I can understand where you come from, and this is another boring joke
based on fabrications.

Can people leave this country when they want to?

Pres. Issias;
Did you enjoy the show yesterday?

Can anybody leave the country when they want to?

Pres. Issias;
Did you enjoy the show yesterday?

Can anybody leave the country when they want to?

Pres. Issias;
Did you see the people on the streets? Anybody can leave this country anytime.

Can they get a passport?

Pres. Issias;
What is it to get a passport from a country that you deserve to be a citizen of?

What about freedom of the press? Eritrea jails more journalists than
any other country in the world. Why do you have to resort to that?

Pres. Issias;
These are lies.

You don’t jail journalists?

These are lies. These are lies of Al Jazeera international
deliberately distorting facts to give the impression that this country
is in a war footing and so many things such as Iran is here, Israel is
here, we are supporting Houtis, we are supporting terrorists you name

You are using these lies to serve an agenda to destabilize this region.

I would never do anything to destabilize the region….

….Lies and lies and lies and lies.

…..I am trying to get to the bottom of the truth

Lies and lies without providing any evidence, trying to blame it on
the United Nations sometimes when the United Nations has not said
anything, trying to blame it on the government of Sudan when Sudan has
not said anything.

Let us talk about the people who live in this country. If I could just
mention the United Nations statistics, 63,000 Eritreans applied for
asylum last year alone, and that 1,800 cross over every month into
Sudan and Ethiopia…

Pres. Issias;
These are lies. These are your lies.

So people are not leaving the country?

Pres. Issias;
Where….where… give me the evidences, give me the evidences. Give us
the evidences, we would like to see the evidences. According to those
reports the population of this country is out of town by yesterday.
According to those statistics…

But the most high profile you have had is your football team in Kenya,
they are seeking asylum, the athletes in Scotland, they are seeking

This is news to me. It is news to me…


Pres. Issias;
Really. I have never heard anything like that and I am not bothered if
people go there and ask for asylum. I am not bothered if people are
looking for jobs in the United States or Europe. Why would I bother
about that?

One of the reasons that many of the people leave is because of the
indefinite military service, for both men and women. And the fact that
you can never leave. Why is there this indefinite….

Pres. Issias;
Again another lie.

It is compromising your credibility as a media outlet. And coming up
with a pack of lies and trying to convince anyone by putting them as
facts on the ground and trying to give the impression that these are
things that exist in the real world.
Israel is here, who is not here….

But Israel is here, they have got a military base….

Pres. Issias;
Everyone is here, Iran is here….I mean how can you possibly imagine
that people will trust and believe what you tell them. You are talking
about lies and …..

Every single question I have asked is backed up with a lot of research
and facts so…with all respect, Mr. President, I am just trying to find
out how your country operates. I find your country very fascinating…

Pres. Issias;
It is a good exercise for a journalist to ask questions about a number
of things but to come up with a pack of lies and a pack of
fabrications and trying to prove those by posing them as very innocent
questions in order to give credibility to or to discredit your
sources…. You are discrediting your sources, you are discrediting the
United Nations when you come and tell in the name of the United
Nations when the United Nations has not said anything like that.

How can a media outlet with credibility come up with such lies?

Let us talk about the drought in the Horn of Africa. Eritrea, as
others, is suffering from it and yet you are reluctant to let aid
workers into your country. What is the justification for that?

Pres. Issias;
When we have enough food, why do we need someone to feed us?

Because two-thirds of your population is suffering….

Pres. Issias;
Why do you want to spoonfeed us when we have enough food?

How come two-thirds of your population is not getting that food?
Pres. Issias.
Then again how can you possible say and imagine that I am hungry when
I am not hungry? Why do you want to believe that? Why do you want to
believe that people are hungry and in need of your support? Why do you
want to believe that?

That is a very, very sad state of mind for people to believe that they
can go and feed people when people are not even in need of feeding.

Go and feed the victims of Katerina, go and feed the people of Haiti,
if you really want to…..

So there is no need for food aid….

Pres. Issias;
We don’t need any food aid. We can feed ourselves. I am only bothered
by why you want to feed us.

How much support do you have in this country? You have been leading
this country for the past 18 years and you have been liberated for
twenty years. Last year there was an assassination attempt on your
life. Where did that come from and who was behind it?

Pres. Issias;
This again is another fabrication, another lie. I mean how can you
possibly believe that there was an assassination attempt? Why, why
would you believe that such a thing occurred? It came as a surprise
when I heard that. I said these people are crazy, they are out of
their mind.

Imagining things that do not exist and fantasizing on what they wish to see,
why do you do that?

You promised Eritreans political reforms, but there are no political parties…

Pres. Issias;
We do not make promises. I don’t make promises to anyone. It is like a
wealthy person who controls everything and promises these people that
he is going to tip them today, tip them tomorrow, tip them the next
day….We do not make promises and the people here don’t need promises.
No one here promises anything to anybody.

There is no such commodity called democracy. There is no such
commodity promised by one person to the people of a country.

Will you allow other political parties to operate? Will you allow the
constitution to be released? Will you allow an open political system
that is governed by the people?

Pres. Issias;
By the people like in China?

People who will call on the government to justify….

Pres. Issias;
Again you are assuming that you are talking on behalf of the people of
this country. Let the people talk.

I am asking you…how you define…..

Pres. Issias;
….Let the people talk, let the people talk. The people will have to define it.

Human Rights Watch says that you are turning this country into a giant
prison and creating a human rights crisis….

Pres. Issias;
You can walk around and see if that is true again. It is a lie.

Why then do people come under the orders ‘shoot to kill’, if they want
to leave this country?

Pres. Issias;
No, no, not at all. If you are telling thousands are leaving this
country then how do you think that can happen? If you are telling me
that hundreds of thousands have left this country and asked for asylum
how can you imagine that happened?

Who do you consider your friends?

Pres. Issias;
Where do you mean?

In the world…

Pres. Issias;
A few, a bunch of liars may not be my friends but the whole world is
behind Eritrea. Everybody is asking why all these lies? Why all these
sanctions? Why this and that?
It is an expression of the support of people. The minimum you can
imagine sensible people asking simple questions about all the
fabrications they hear everyday. That is by way of questioning the
credibility of those telling the lies.

This means, it is a support for the one which is being victimized
without any evidence. That is very important to remember.
And those people who are asking the simple questions are behind Eritrea.

Can you just tell us a little about your aspirations?

Pres. Issias;
We don’t need war. We have fought for so many decades and we know what
it means to go into war. It is very senseless to imagine that you can
waste your time and resources doing things that do not deserve any

We are focused on doing ‘the right things in this country. And we
don’t need to do it by forcing people to believe this or that. People
are seriously engaged in what they are doing to change their quality
of life.

Those who have never tried it may fantasize about going to war. We
have been there for so many decades, almost two generations.

At least we will not be like Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan.
We are better off.

We are number one in this continent.”

This transcript is by an unknown author though it sticks pretty much
to the interview. Identifications of speakers before questions and
answers are by this writer. Again, every single one of Jane Dutton’s
charges was based on fabrications and fantasy, fake news planted in
the international media by the very same type of “journalists” as Ms.
Dutton et. al at Al Jazeera, never mind BBC, CNN, France24 ad nauseum.

Thomas C. Mounfain is an independent journalist in Eritrea, living and
reporting from here since 2006. See thomascmountain on Facebook,
thomascmountain on Twitter or best reach him at thomascmountain at g
mail dot com

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A warsame

Published by A Warsame is senior Editor and managing Director of Mareeg Media Whatup :+447737886245
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