Dutch Authorities Banned YPFDJ Conference: A Zero-Sum Game for Eritreans

By Teweldeberhan Gebre In the last couple of days, Dutch news agencies were busy reporting on the intended and controversial YPFDJ annual conference planned to be held in the Dutch city of Veldhoven. The meeting was banned by Veldhoven’s mayor for fear of public disorder after police reportedly arrested 128 protesters. Veldhoven’s mayor decision was upheld by the court in Den Bosch following an appeal by the YPFDJ conference organizers. The ban of the YPFDJ conference by Dutch authorities might have created a euphoria among the organizers of the protest against the conference. However, whether we like it or not, the result is a zero-sum game. In economic and game theories, a zerosum game is a mathematical representation of a situation in which each participant’s gain or loss of value is precisely balanced by the losses or gains of the value of the other participants. In my humble view, no one wins from the ban of the YPFDJ annual conference and no one losses of not conducting it, but Eritrea. Below is why?

Despite the rubber stamp name (Young PFDJ), these are young nationalist Eritreans who filled the organizational gap created in the diaspora communities in post-independence Eritrea. Dehumanizing and marginalizing our youth based on their political affiliations is not the way forward for a genuine democratic change. If we keep marginalizing the YPFDJ based on their political affiliations, it will not stop there. We have so many youth camps and organizations outside Eritrea and one way or the other these youth groups are affiliated with one or more political organizations in exile. They should not deserve marginalization because of their political or ideological persuasions. In the first place, dehumanizing and marginalizing the youth based on their political or ideological convictions is not civil and democratic. Hence, accommodation not marginalization should be the preferred norm.

Secondly, it vertically contradicts with the idea that change can emanate from inside an authoritarian system because we trust there are democratic forces within the undemocratic system of government in our country. Thus, the youth under the umbrella of the YPFDJ can be one force for democratic change in Eritrea. There is no doubt that these young people are more critical than anybody else in challenging the government during the annual conferences. As for anyone else, the regime in Eritrea keeps ignoring the demand of the YPFDJ for democratic change and the rule of law under different excuses and pretexts. Nevertheless, these manipulations will not last long, and we should be careful in treating our youth. After all, these are bright young people who can potentially lead us to change and prosperity.

In conclusion, the organizers of the protest didn’t get it right. Anyone has the right to voice and protest. However, it is judicious to take others rights to organize, convene and maintain their views into accounts. The protesters could have done it differently. Instead of dehumanizing the youth participants they could have prepared their messages and handover to the participants of the conference by staying on the conference hall entrance. Also, organizers of the protest could have respectfully brought forward their messages across the participants of the conference way before the due date of the intended conference. By doing that, the youth can be empowered and potentially contribute to the ongoing change process.

  • Teweldeberhan

    Senayt, no way to retreat. I was on tactical retreat (lol)

    • Solomon Rufael

      ከምኡ እንተ ኮይኑ መጥፊእካስ ድሃን

  • Tewelde Gebremariam

    Kab Tseba Zeyterkbes Kab Macheba ——- if PFDJ could not live up to it’s promise, to expect manna from foreign born YPFDJ is sheer ignorance of the underlying problem, which is treachery by isaias afewerk to destroy the country and it’s people.
    The promises of PFDJ was to build Democracy and justice in Eritrea. Instead over the twenty six years of it’s existence, put under the complete control of the villain isaias afewerk and his cabals, it has become his efficient tool of evasion in his systematic destruction of the country and it’s people, of which the abolition of the ratified Constitution ,the parliament; the complete wipe out of the economic infrastructure left behind by Ethiopian colonialism ,the complete disintegration of social fabric of Eritreans etc. are few among the many .

    Many of us were duped by isaias afewerk to think of him as Eritrean Liberation War Hero. When leaders of Abai Jebha, wedi Jorjo etc. told us of his link to the CIA and Ethiopian Security, we scoffed at them. When he told us in 1998 woyane invaded our country, we took his words for granted and rallied to the cause. Now we know we were completely fooled.

    The 1998 war was the result of conspiracy he had schemed with woyane long before, for which Badme was handed 1985 to woyane to serve as a flash point of the war. The border instigations woyane initiated in 1995 was,therefore, in accordance with thier plot to plunge Eritrea back into a war with Ethiopian as a means of enabling him to seize complete political and military control of the country by declaring State Of Emergency. The woyane refusal to abide by the EEBC decision was also mutually agreed upon scheme to kill Eritrea and it’s people in a drawn out state of No War No Peace. And by his constant rancour with the Peace Keepers, with General Secretary of the UN, UNSC,USA, he was covertly preventing them from putting pressure on woyane to abide by the final binding decision of the EEBC.
    The so called Eritrean oppositions in Ethiopia are also the invention of woyane and isaias afewerk in order creat among naive and gullible Eritreans the illusion that isaias afewerk and woyane are mortal enemies. The truth is they are two faces of one coin. Besides, look at the cabals isaias afewerk has surrounded himself . None of them are genuine Eritreans but like him,all of tigray descent.


    • Zereom

      I respect your opinion but I completely disagree with the comments you made about PIA and some of the people who related to him or work with him. Let’s assume that you are right, for me I don’t care whether these people have Tigrayan or Ethiopian ancestry. If you are going to talk about who is pure Eritrean, you will end up finding yourself to be not pure Eritrean. This kind of argument is very cheap politics. So, I suggest you don’t make yourself fool. These people have accepted Eritrea as their nation and they paid a heavy sacrifices by putting their lives on the line in search of justice for the Eritrean people because the question of Eritrean people was and is about justice not about conquest. Thus, anyone who has believe in justice including aliens are welcome to stand with Eritreans. Also, you should now that there were and are many people who claim “pure Eritreans” who caused unforgivable crime and damage on the interest of the Eritrean people. In short, you I would like to say your assertion in pointing your fingers to PIA is false and illogical.

  • Hailu

    If i may say to you with respect.

    the protest is not against the young diadpora Eritreabs but to the body trying to exploit them.
    so please look carefully no one is protesting against other side who is politically different but this protest is against the ruling parties long arm ,crooked and evil strategies.

    • Alemseged Hagos Abraham


      • Teweldeberhan

        Thank you guys.

        • Hope

          Hello All:
          But the Youth have the right to follow or even adore who ever they want.
          Our Job as an Opposition camp is to develop and organize a more formidable and better organized and more coherent Opposition Youth so as to counter-challenge the YPFDJ.
          What is being done is a proof of weakness and desperation..