Here is a bewildering report by a respected journalist about Isayas Afeworki and Eritrea. By all accounts, the phrase "petty and cruel dictator" used by Columbia University President to attack Ahmadinjead should have been reserved for Mr. Afeworki. Mr. Gettleman would have done justice to his story had he had tried to uncover the most ruthless human rights abuses in Eritrea, the rapid economic decline and the onslaught on the country's traditional institutions like the Orthodox Church.
The Ethiopian pro-democracy movement should be very careful about the man north of our border. As we crave for the respect of rights and democracy in our country, we should also remember that Eritreans are equally entitled to the same values. That doesn't mean that the business of fighting for freedom in Eritrea is ours. But we shouldn't align ourselves with a dictator who threats his people like trash for narrow strategic reasons. Aligning ourselves with Isayas is taking the concept of " Yetelate Telat Wodaje New" too far. A political struggle which is based on values uses strategies which don't tamper those values. Plus, a democratic Ethiopia - an ideal we are fighting for -can only remain democratic and stable if its cousin is also democratic and stable. With a pampered Isayas at the helm, there is no possibility of that happening.