On June 15, 2015, I agreed to appear on The Stream and with no agreement of being labeled “pro government advocate blogger” and that designation was intentionally meant to discredit my views. In the video, I had criticisms of Ms. Sheila B. Keetharuth, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea. She had ties to the Amnesty organization before joining the UN which has a bias in her reporting of Eritrea given her previous employer’s track record of targeting socialist or independent states. For more on Amnesty background read here and here.
Ms. Sheila B. Keetharuth was appointed in October 2012 as the first Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea. She was member of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea from June 2014 to June 2016. After obtaining an LL.M. in International Human Rights Law and Civil Liberties at the University of Leicester (UK), she was called to the Bar in Mauritius in January 1997. In July 2002, she joined Amnesty International as a Researcher at the Africa Regional Office in Kampala, Uganda, and acted as the Interim Head of Office until December 2005. From November 2006 to June 2012, Sheila B. Keetharuth was the Executive Director of the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA), a pan-African NGO based in Banjul, The Gambia.
This video or my appearance is often used as a “gotcha” moment by reactionary critics to discredit my views currently as being in the service of PFDJ or Isaias Afwerki. To defend the Eritrean state is falsely equated with the defense of Isaias Afwerki and that routinely is used to renounce arguments against imperialism targeting third world states. For example, below Zecharias a known pro-Menelik/Selassie/Zenawi blogger who deliberately used “Regime Trolls” angle to discredit my criticism of his coverage and his sly narrative making against historically oppressed nationalities in Ethiopia.
I’m all about taking criticism and don’t hide my previous views, and I’m always about individual evolution.
My politics since then has evolved that I no longer support PFDJ and been vocal about my criticisms of Isaias Afwerki ever since 2019. Below is my self-criticism from the past appearance.
- I should have been calmer in my views and also communicated my position better on the program.
- I should have been more sensitive to present the internal issue and the serious grievances of the Eritrean people while equally spotlighting how Eritrea is unfairly targeted.
- I like to apologize to all Eritreans who feel my views were too hyper-nationalist or were defending PFDJ when my intention was defending the state of Eritrea against external aggressions and schemes.
- I have made criticism of AJ+ for being an outlet that propagates State Department views, but I can understand how that is hypocritical for me to have previously appeared on AJ. It is to be cleared that I have appeared on media outlets where I don’t fully agree with everything that was broadcasted.My appearance on AJ was not an endorsement of their politics or editorial line. I believe appealing to the broader audience to push the conversation to the left in every space and medium.
Lastly, one can defend the state of Eritrea while being independent of PFDJ or not supporting it, and that nuanced persuasion should not be dismissed as “regime” or “pro-government blogger”. We have seen how leftists who defend states under assault of Washington aggression be ridiculed as “Assadist” ,”Tankies” “Pro-CCP” etc for rightfully pushing non-interventionist line in the global south.