A Good Opportunity for Understanding Each Other

Eritrean news: The economic and military intervention of the world has not brought peace to our region but conflicts here and there. We can look the situation in some countries in our region – all manifestations of the evil intervention of alien forces and the blood shed among brothers. We can not call order or peace the fictitious situations prevailing in some countries in our region including in Somalia and in other parts. This week Asmara is hosting regional sports competition, CECAFA football tournament under the theme “Development and Friendship Cup. It is organized and sponsored by the government of Eritrea in which national teams under 20 from Eritrea, Sudan, Rwanda, Somalia, Uganda, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Kenya and Yemen (invited team) are participating. The tournament would be a good opportunity for the young players of the region to promote the principle of eternal peace as the basis of our morality and fraternalism. Moreover they will deeply grasp that this region is not, as some would like to portray it, area of conflict but rather it has a good potential of creating peace and love among each other. Upon their return to their respective countries they will tell their county men by any means at their disposal to draw back the rifles, draw back the machine guns, draw back the cannons—trust in conciliation, in arbitration and in peace. Their concerns will be the same. The future of our region must be that of love, and understanding between everyone. They will reckon that we will not learn how to live together in peace by listening to those who aspire to see the region in conflict with each other so that they will continue ram sacking the resources of the region. They also will understand and comprehend that the struggle for peace and the struggle for human dignity are inseparable. Peace, development and friendship does not come by compromising with the evil; but through resistance to evil. Peace is one and indivisible turmoil and misunderstanding among ourselves is not the way for unity and development. Peace, unlike war, is built in a long process. Peace does not brake out, only war does. Unity in its true essence, is not an end by it self, it is a means devised to serve free movement of goods and people. But in the case of many Africa countries, free movement of goods and people at a village and state level are very difficult to acquire let alone at regional level. People of some countries in our region are obsessed with their safe return to their homes from work or markets. And some are more concerned about the safe arrival of their children from the attacks of some elements. Some African leaders have been serving the interests of the wealthy and powerful states. Of course there are also some who instill hatred among the peoples of this region. There are elements in this region who collaborate with external forces to conquer free peoples. There are also who jeopardize the fraternity of the peoples of this region for minor interests, without giving due consideration of the peace of the coming generation. Some also have been fueling tribal and regional conflicts for the last 17 years in our region. However, this kind of opportunity, the coming together of the young players of the region for they could act as ambassadors of peace in their own right, could be the reinforcement for the long awaited peace in our region. These good tidings can climb the mountains of Emaba Soira, Kilimanjaro, Ras Deshan and trek the planes of Darfur, Juba and Mogadishu. This good news of peace can flow into conflict areas of the region. The winds of Indian Ocean and Red Sea can blow their own freshness to the peace initiatives and can hover over the clouds of the whole region. Then peace will come slowly, dropping from the curtain of the morning to where the innocent children are slept. They can be instruments to finish the work we are in: to bind up the region’s wounds; to care for the innocent war-victims and achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among the region’s peoples. The peoples of this region have been living together, and there was no major social conflict at least in the last century. Most of the region’s problems were/are political – and political problems are relatively easy to amend. The CECAFA football tournament is taking place in the right time where our volatile region is continuously suffering by violence, war, tribal conflict, religious conflict. The region is experiencing very serious challenges due to wide-spread conflicts and drought. In some parts of the region crisis has been recently worsened – by the desire to oil – by big western powers and the conspiracies of the western media that are busy trying to portray the region as conflict area and that should be avoided from traveling there. Whenever one listens and reads about our region from some media outlets it is likely and definitely the information one gets will be millions of people in the region are being seriously affected by famine. People are experiencing severe drought after the rains failed. They will not tell the true story behind for it is their creation to permanently put the people of the region dependent from their handouts. They tell us that in some countries there is a sever conflict among different faction due to some disputes and so many died as the result while in reality it was their creation that they manipulate the society to kill each other. They create elements they call antigovernment and they will be the first ones to come and offer hand to create peace. And in the open they make some ‘diplomatic’ shuttles reaching the different factions and in the end they shake hands claiming they have brought peace. The next day or so, the conflict re-erupts. No body knows the talk-talk they made during their ‘diplomatic’ shuttle and it remains only media consumption. On the contrary, however, there are success stories in our region that some elements would not like to talk about for it is against their vested interest. The peace and tranquility in Eritrea; the Eritrean Government’s effort to make peace in the region, the East Sudan crisis and the crisis are cases in point that should reckoned with. The world knows Eritrea’s efforts and matured diplomacy in the region and they do not want it to become a “bad example”. This tournament is taking place in a country where many people call it ‘a beacon of peace.’ In this case Eritrea could contribute other countries of this region solve their problems by their own- as the case of the Eastern Sudan where the Eritrean Government played its due role in facilitating to solve the differences between the government of Sudan and the Eastern Front. And above all Eritrea is an exemplary for its stability, tolerance and peace. As far as regional peace is concerned, Eritrea, right from the start of its independence day, has been recommending and working for this end. Greater African unity and peace has long been a cherished, but elusive goal. There is now a renewed impetus to establish closer economic and political ties among the continent’s numerous countries, based on a heightened appreciation of the need for regional peace and a clear understanding of the reasons for past failures. Eritrea believes, with out having sustainable peace among and within countries of the region, there is no development and prosperity. From economy’s point of view, our region must hasten integration to build and consolidate supply capacity before opening to European and American goods. Regional integration is an important condition for improving Africa’s prospects. Africans should strengthen their domestic markets before they rash to the giant global markets. For Eritrea, economic and political integration, in their authentic meaning are helpful for Africans. Especially, in the era of globalization, states can not stand by closing their doors. Zero sum game, trade principle which states one part will win and the other will loss should be replaced by mutual advantage. To do all these things, peace is a crucial factor which can never be bypassed. This small but vital CECAFA football game in Asmara can play a great role in revitalizing African identity among the youth and it can create the spirit of African identity and Social Integration. It can also play a great role in cultivating the sense of brotherhood among Africans. It can create the necessary platform that will enable young Africans to fulfill their role. It can promote and strengthen intra regional networking and understanding in youth issues. Political integration is a natural process that starts with social and economic integration. This is the lesson that we can learn from successful unions including European Union. Economic integration leads governments to draw common policies, laws, decisions and strategies. But thinking about political integration before economic and social integration is like putting the last first. European Union is the result of many ups and downs. Europe as an entity, has been suffering from many problems including wars, diseases, famine. For example the Black Death in the 14 century, a plaque which claimed one fourth of the European people, the first and second world wars which took more than 70 million people (including civilians) have become good lessons for Europeans. And now, they are in a position, at least in theory, where they could not go to war. Therefore, European Union is the result of educated and enlightened peoples, who can think beyond the borders of their countries. What about Africa? I think there is a long way to go, a great effort to exert. In our case, while we are going through such hardships, it should be noted that the remedy is from ‘with in’. Hence, youth of this region should play a significant and meaningful role in solving the problems of this region. Our region’s youth, being the majority of the total population and being either the beneficiaries or the victims of all positive as well as negative phenomena in our region – takes them to the most rational ground whereby they give a reasonable concern for issues of our region. The new initiative taken by the Eritrean people and government to give the CECAFA tournament due and high regard is a good way forward in creating social interaction among the young players of the region. The Eritrean people should be praised for creating this conducive environment to the region’s youth. Every body knows that all endeavors are under the pressure of various phenomena in the region, political instability and lack of political will by some circles. The tournament is also a good opportunity for the young players from different countries to know and understand each other. The understanding of each other will create awareness on the existing situation of each one country and eventually no body will instill negative influence on them regarding the countries they have acquainted with. As the President of the Eritrean Football Federation President, Mr. Tesfay Gebreyesus rightly said “As Eritrea, we are very jubilant at hosting this regional football event and although it is the first time for us, we are hopeful that every thing will go smoothly”.

Source: Eritrean Profile Newspaper.

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