For the Infamous Awate Team the Answer Could be Even More Years
By Teweldeberhan Gebre
In a reaction to a seminar organized and moderated by Ms. Bronwyn Bruton, a scholar, an author and deputy director of the Atlantic Council for African Center, the awate.com Team has posted an article titled “Undercover Lobbyist Rethinking Eritrea” on 8 December 2016. The article by the team completely lacks ethics and professionalism, and above all disrespectful not only to Ms. Bruton but to its followers too. The team expressed its anger openly but unethically for not being invited to the seminar hosted by the African Center of the Atlantic Council. Surely, the team wouldn’t be as rude as they were provided they were invited into the seminar. Here is why. First, the team out cried that “[t]here is no Eritrean in the list of panelists, unless Dan Connell, a longtime friend of Eritrea is considered one” as if attending in such a seminar is the Team’s universal and undivided right. Secondly, the team’s impolite protest was posted before the seminar was conducted which was also a gesture for seeking attention by the organizers, essentially Ms. Bruton.
Thirdly, we all remember that at the time when the US Congress Foreign Affairs Committee conducted a hearing on Eritrea under “Eritrea: A Neglected Regional Threat” on 14 September 2016, the awate team was quick to remind its visitors to attend on its live stream because the Awate Foundation was represented by one of its Board Member, Dr. Khaled Bashir who was one of the testimonies in the hearing. In that hearing Ms. Bruton undeniably triumphed over all the other testimonies but most importantly over the two Eritreans invited to testify including Dr. Khaled Bashir from Awate Foundation. Now, the Awate Team is crying for not being invited to the seminar organized and moderated by Ms. Bruton herself and for this reason Ms. Bruton was vilified and disparaged in every aspects of the words by the disrespectful team.
Awate Team’s unfounded allegations towards Ms. Bronwyn Bruton
From the Team’s title “Uncovering Lobbyist Rethinking Eritrea”, it means Awate Team uncovers that Ms. Bruton is an undercover lobbyist of the government of Eritrea. However, the team has failed to substantiate its gross allegations against Ms. Bruton unless the team wants to refer us to the infamous ‘Gedeb News’, a lie inbox of the awate.com website. The Team continues maligning Ms. Bruton, a respected scholar and deputy director of the Atlantic Council for African Center, when it says “[i]t also seems to be a campaign by Nevsun to prevent the USA from sanctioning its operations, as called for in the September 2016 congressional sub-committee hearing.” In other words, Ms. Bruton is a campaigner for Nevsun Resources, operating in Eritrea. Interestingly, the team is waiting for the US to sanction Nevsun Resources/Bisha Mine pretending the hearing was pro-sanction towards Nevsun’s operations in Eritrea and as if the testimonies by its sitting dog, Dr. Khaled Bashir, went well to the extent of convincing the Subcommittee members to sanction Nevsun during the September hearing.
I don’t understand why the team brought Mr. Yemane Ghebreab into its letter of protest but I think the disrespectful team’s interest was to convince us that the invitation of Mr. Ghebreab by Ms. Bruton to speak at the Council, which was canceled by the State Department because of the White House’s executive order that bans Eritrean visiting officials traveling beyond the New York areas. What if the event was to be held in New York? Could the State Department stopped the official from speaking to the audiences of the Council? For the team it doesn’t matter. What the team wanted to tell us is that there is close association between Ms. Bruton and the Eritrean regime. The team didn’t want to acknowledge the scholarly well-articulated and well written brief reports by Ms. Bruton and her colleague Dr. Seth Kaplan. The team’s main purpose is to denigrate the respected woman and her expertise just because she didn’t invite them to the seminar. The team couldn’t find any false information in both scholarly reports by Ms. Bruton and Mr. Kaplan. If the team and their foundation have the bravery they should have told their followers where Ms. Bruton and Mr. Kaplan went wrong instead of blindly accusing and vilifying the distinguished researchers.
Despite the team’s accusation that Ms. Bruton is an “undercover lobbyist” for the Eritrean regime, the team accidentally admits that its charges are actually not true when the team said “[w]hy Ms. Bruton chose to turn into a hyper lobbyist for the Eritrean regime is not known in detail. However, she has been a reliable defender of the Eritrean regime’s strong relation with Nesvun, the Canadian mining company that has dug a huge pit in Bisha, Eritrea, and is extracting gold and copper.” Isn’t it common knowledge that the government of Eritrea has strong relations not only with Nevsun Resources but also with all the mining companies operating in the country? If the team thinks its audience doesn’t know the strong relationships that exist between the Eritrean government and the mining companies at home it is ill-mannerism for its viewers.
Does Ms. Bronwyn Bruton need 25 years stay in Asmara to be qualified expert in Eritrean affairs?
I would rather question the team’s mental stability. According to the team Ms. Bruton is “a valuable asset for the Eritrean regime”. The team also added that Ms. Bruton “instantly became a self-proclaimed expert on Eritrea after spending a few days there in the spring of 2015.” The disrespectful team went too far when they said “as an expert [Ms. Bruton] on Eritrean affairs to the extent that she earned a spot to testify at a congressional hearing, about Eritrea.” In case they forgot I want to remind the infamous team that Ms. Bruton has outperformed all those invited to testify including the team’s ‘sitting dog’, Khaled Bashir who even couldn’t control his temper during such a high level hearing called by the US House Subcommittee on Eritrea. Checkout my posting under “Human Rights or Change in Policy Course? US House Subcommittee’s Hearing on Eritrea” right after the hearing. Also, go and carefully listen by clicking “Eritrea: A Neglected Regional Threat” and learn how your types of expert and Ms. Bruton have performed during the hearing.
Please accept my deepest condolences for you and your families for the loss of your master and principal, PM Meles Zienawi. I apologize for the late condolences and thank you for reminding me the genocides committed by your master. You said “the would-be Eritrean expert was busy shooting a considerable number of tweets against the TPLF, a member of the ruling coalition party of Ethiopia.” I cannot comprehend how evil you and your foundation are. Ms. Bruton was exposing the late genocidal TPLF leader for his crimes in Somalia, the Ogadeni, Gambella, the Amhara, and many more parts of Ethiopia while you were befriending with the late genocidal leader of the TPLF, your favorite late master. Do you see the difference between you, as a collaborator of a genocidal regime, and the brave woman who always stands for truth and humanity? In any of her articles, presentations and testimonies Ms. Bruton has never missed to raise her concerns on the human rights abuses by the Eritrean regime. Go to her postings and you will realize how objective, honesty, and balanced the woman is in her approach unlike you and your collaborators. You also said, “Ms. Bruton’s anti-TPLF Tweets caught the attention of the PFDJ, and earned her an invitation to visit Eritrea, and to interview Isaias Afwerki, never mind she is not a journalist by profession”, is your source the disgraceful gedeb news? Who told you she must be a journalist in order to conduct an interview with President Isaias? Shame on you and your followers.
“TPLF is the archenemy of the PFDJ, the only legitimate party that rules Eritrea.” You mean TPLF was not and is not an enemy of the Eritrean people but the PFDJ? Excuse me for being rude to you once again, but you and your foundation are namby-pamby like your masters in the TPLF regime. How come we unable to remember the over 80,000 Eritreans whose properties and lifelong savings were confiscated and deported along the heavily mine-infested trenches by your master and his associates in 1998-1999? If I am not you I can’t forget it.
The team lacks imagination and understanding
When you say “[f]acing a UN sanctions regime, and a sanctions committee that diligently followed the money trail, the danger was too close for comfort; the PFDJ and its partner, Nevsun, panicked. However, being foxy and panicky can be very compatible. Thus, the smart Nevsun-PFDJ partnership immediately decided to enlist the favors and services of Ms. Bruton and AC”, do you mean the US will sanction Nevsun or any other mining company in Eritrea? My friends, mark my words, it will not happen. Although I am a concerned citizen about the lack of transparency and accountability by the PFDJ regime in handling the extractive industries I tell you the PFDJ regime is much smarter than you and your likes might think. I believe you don’t have any idea about foreign investments. My tip to you is to go and google and come with the lists of mining companies operating in Eritrea and you will learn how diversified they are from east-to-west. That is why I said the PFDJ is a million times smarter than you are and your masters in Mekele. Any threat of sanction by any western governments over western companies operating in Eritrea is in the interest of Eritrea and its partners in the East. For this and other reasons sanctioning western mining companies by any western government will not and cannot happen unless you are foolish to imagine that. Also remember that western governments are not as stupid as you are.
You said that Ms. Bruton “is wired to ignore reality, the Eritrean regime’s fate is being discussed by the UN and other world bodies who are debating whether to refer the regime to the International Criminal Court (ICC).” Again this is your wishful thinking and shows your ignorance and incompetence. I am a close follower of Ms. Bruton’s works and what I see in her scholarly works is ethics and professionalism. Tell me and your followers from her written works and presentations where she lost balance and objectivity. You keep accusing her as close supporter of the Eritrean regime and many times you mention that her works involves private interest. But, in my modest view, the woman, unlike you and your company, is much concerned about the impacts of the unjust sanctions imposed on the Eritrean people. The work of her colleague, Seth Kaplan, underscores economic change for the benefits of the Eritrean people based on the experience of other countries. Together they are working hard to push economic structural changes in Eritrea and for the US to lift the unjust sanctions while you and your likes are busy in regime change.
You crown yourselves as objective and honesty while you disparage Ms. Bruton lacks “so far…has not cared to demonstrate a little objectivity and honesty.” I cannot imagine how ill-mannered and faceless you are. I think by now every mindful Eritrean knows how bankrupted, dishonest, and out of touch you are from the reality.
On the ‘Slave Labor’, an insult in my face
I can only say please stop stop and stop insulting me and my heroes and heroines. We did our service for our country and our people regardless of all the hardships we have had. We were not and are not slaves. We did and do serve our beloved people and country. You can be critique to the regime as I do but stop crossing the red line. We know that a slave is someone like you who do serve foreign interests including those of your masters in Addis and Mekele. Yes, a slave is someone who serves a master for nothing. As a former national service member I was defending my country and serving my people. I know for you this is hard pill to swallow but that is the truth I learned from my parents and communities.
You must be an evil team when you said, “[l]ast September when Ms. Bruton appeared in the congressional hearing of the House Committee on foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa, she was not truthful when filling out the Congress’s Truth in Testimony form and failed to disclose that her work is funded by Nevsun.” As you always do your references are anonymous when you said, “staffers were disappointed she didn’t disclose the funding and told the Atlantic Council it will be banned from testifying in any proceedings in the future.” As far as I know and in my common sense she doesn’t have disclose any financial transaction or contracts for which she is not directly involved. But never forget, at the start of her testimony to the hearing she had clearly stated that the financial agreement was between the Atlantic Council and Nevsun, and not between herself and Nevsun. But, your objective is to vilify the woman and I don’t expect you to tell your readers the truth because for you truth is foreign and far to reach.
I am deeply embarrassed by your last paragraph which reads as:
“As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and while Ms. Bruton continues to deny her financial relations with Nevsun, and her lobbying role serving the Eritrean regime, a picture of her together with a Nesvun PR officer in a PFDJ propaganda festival, tells a different story. The picture will remain a solid evidence of her involvement and interference in Eritrean affairs, as a propagandist. The picture also tells a lot about the propaganda scheme that Ms. Bruton is involved in; certainly, her involvement is neither research nor journalism. Unfortunately, she is siding with the oppressors of Eritreans and only advancing the corporate interests of her sponsors-– Nevsun. She has effectively aided and is abetting the party that forced the tens of thousands of youth to escape from their country and brave the Mediterranean Sea in pursuit of freedom and a dignified life. Along with Nevsun, she is collaborating with the entity that has been exploiting the tens of thousands of victims of slave labor.”
I don’t expect any genuine answer from you but I have to ask the following questions for the sake of health minded people
Awate Team is a bunch of men who are good for nothing. The team is characterized by falsehood, insincerity, dishonesty and hypocrisy via displaying emotions such as crying fake tears of grief in the name of human rights and democracy. The team wishes the sanction on Eritrea to continue so that they can stay in the payrolls of their masters in Mekele and elsewhere. For this reason, the team has lost credibility and trustworthiness long time ago among the Eritrean communities. So much falsehoods and accusations on a woman who is doing her jobs rightly only exposes the nature of the team not Ms. Bruton. As I pointed out above, the team cannot challenge the woman based on the contents of her balanced articles and presentations. It is clear that awate team is telling us its disgraceful experience with the TPLF. “ከምኡ ዝገብር ከምኡ ይነግር።”