(CounterPunch) — I spent Monday, June 22 in Geneva, Switzerland protesting alongside over 5,000 fellow Eritreans in front of the UN “Commission of Inquiry” offices.
We were there because a UN “Commission of Inquiry” had just issued as nasty a lot of lies about Eritrea as one could imagine. But then none of the 3 Commission members had ever been to Eritrea and two had even called for “regime change” in the country?
When I spoke at the demonstration I made the point first of all that the UN was nothing more than a puppet for the Obama White House, the Obama mafia is what I called it (one of the most crowd pleasing remarks of the day).
I singled out two criminals amongst the Capos in President BHO’s inner circle. One we know all to much about, Susan Rice. Once Ambassador to the UN she oversaw the destruction of Libya and was the sanctions enforcer against Eritrea.
The other almost unknown criminal, Obama’s quiet consigliere, Gayle Smith, is much more dangerous as “Special Advisor to the President” and “Senior Director of the National Security Council” in an office next door to President BHO.
Gayle Smith, whom Obama is presently trying to install as head of the USAID, the main source of cover for US Intel agents in the third world, has a long history of first hand involvement with Eritrea going back to her rookie days as an undercover CIA agent posing as a journalist during some of the most challenging days of the Eritrean 30 year war for national independence.
Ms. Smith got married to her first husband in the late 1970’s in the town of Nakfa, then the headquarters of the guerrilla army called the Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front (EPLF) in the Sahel Desert in what is today Eritrea.
Gayle Smith literally “spent time in the trenches” in the Horn of Africa, moving on from the Eritrean guerillas next door to the “marxist-leninist-Enver Hoxha-ite” guerrilla army called the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front, from the ranks of which Ms. Smith mentored one Meles Zenawi, late Supremo of Ethiopia.
From being a “journalist” in 1991, Gayle Smith turned up as Chief of Staff at USAID in 1994. Journalist to Chief of Staff in 3 years? One could say she caught then Secretary of State Madeline Albrights eye, for 4 years later Ms. Smith was African department head at the National Security Council (under Tony Lake, later failed nominee for CIA Director, now head of UNICEF).
As head of African operations at the NSC Gayle Smith helped launch the Ethiopian invasion of Eritrea which culminated in a May-June 2000 war that left almost 150,000 dead Africans (123,000 Ethiopians and 19,000 Eritrean).
I went on to speak of the hard times Eritrea, where I have lived since 2006, has been going through this past decade. Climate disaster in the form of historic droughts, with 5 years in the past 11 seeing crop failures country wide.
I tried to appeal to the handful of mainstream media in the audience by asking them what would life be like in Europe if all the agriculture had failed in 5 of the last 11 years? Wouldn’t the society be facing a major crisis?
Our young people are leaving in their thousands because Eritrea’s economy is bad. As Salam, a young Eritrean woman told Hoda Abdel Hamid on Al Jazeera “our country is nice, but no jobs” to explain why she had risked her life leaving from anarchic Libya for Europe.
Thanks to Wikileaks we know that the UN inSecurity Council Sanctions imposed on Eritrea on Christmas Eve, 2009 was a cold blooded attempt to sabotage the Eritrean economy by preventing the start of the Eritrean mining industry, which brings badly needed hard currency into the country. And this is just one of many such examples of the Obama Mafia’s economic sabotage against us.
Bad economy means no jobs, and jobs is why our young people, like so many other African youth, are risking their lives to reach “the promised land”, trying to make a buck to send back home to help their families.
The same can be said of the hundreds of thousands of Cubans in the under 50’s generation who left their homeland not because they hated their government but to make some money to help their family back in their motherland.
I knew I was preaching to the choir, but maybe, just maybe, the large contingent of Diaspora Eritrean youth, with the flags of Norway,Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, France, UK, Germany, Switzerland and Italy waving side by side with the Red, Gold, Green and Blue of Eritrea, would be better armed to take on the near relentless onslaught against Eritrea led by the likes of the New York Crimes newspaper.
When the demo started to wind down in the early evening, famished, I drifted off looking for something to eat (all our food had gotten locked in the bus that we had come from Germany in) and was shocked to find out how expensive Switzerland is. 20 euros for a small pizza that cost 5 euros in germany?
But then Geneva is the home of almost all the UN and various NGO (no good outfits?) headquarters and the UN and the NGO’s pay their minions well. With wages being frozen in Germany these past ten years, no wonder so many Germans come to Switzerland for relatively well paying seasonal jobs in the service industry.
Riding the bus back to Stuttgart, Germany I was suprised to see how shabby the farm houses looked in Switzerland compared to the very tidy, sparkling clean German farm manors. The Swiss may be richer but the Germans certainly seem to be harder working.
The one thing I left the demo realizing is just how nationalist the Eritrean diaspora is, and that by attacking our country in such a one sided slanderous way it only made the Eritreans in Europe more united. Which explained how that with less then a week’s notice over 5,000 of my fellow Eritreans managed to drop their day to day struggle to survive and spend long hours on busses making sure that their voices would be heard, if not listened to, in the heart of the UN, Geneva, Switzerland.
Thomas C. Mountain has been living and reporting from Eritrea since 2006. He can be reached at thomascmountain at gmail[dot]com.