BY ERITREAN MEDIA GROUP (HOLLAND)
The 13th YPFDJ conference, which was started on Thursday 13 April 2017 in the city of Veldhoven, in the Netherlands was ordered to discontinue and displace the venue. The decision made by the mayor and Dutch government was a violation of basic democratic rights of European citizens.
The whole scenario was well “pre-planned“. First create an illusion of “disorder of public safety” then make a decision to kill the target. The dramatic act of the decision was just like as journalist once said to the commander of soldiers in the war zone, “shoot shoot I have a bird to catch“.
When the war broke out between Eritrea and Ethiopia in May 1998, more than eighty thousand of Eritreans have been deported from Ethiopia, and the Ethiopian Government’s main reason was: “because we don’t like the colour of your eyes“.
But I never thought such similar version of action would happen in the Netherlands. The Eritrean Dutch and the Eritrean European citizens were deprived from their basic rights of holding their annual assembly. Where is the so-called liberal of Dutch democracy?
Every year Eritreans living in Europe as well as in the Netherlands have been holding annual conference for last decade. The annual Eritrean conference or assembly offers wonderful and unique opportunity to introduce Eritrean cultures and traditions, and meet and share with Eritreans from all over the European countries. The participants would be provided with a fun and creative environment for networking and discovery. The conference goers also got a glimpse into Eritrean culture through colourful cultural performances, music and dance, arts and crafts, exhibitions, educational seminars, discussion forums.
But, unfortunately, this year’s conference, which was planned for 13th until the 17th of April 2017, half way cancelled due to distorted information. It is a shame to see such a move by some Dutch officials, who were misguided by couple of Eritrean “Traitors” and by wrongly perceived media outlets.
I used to believe that the western democracy in general, the Dutch democracy in particular stands for the majority rather than minority. The voice of the majority is always the winner. For reasons still is not known, they forbidden the European Eritreans from holding a conference in Veldhoven and forced to displace the conference goers.
The members of Eritrean communities across the Netherlands were outraged by the false accusations the decision and violation of basic rights last week. I believe people would be surprised and dumbfounded to see that Eritrean-Dutch citizens including Eritreans living throughout Europe deprived from their basic democratic rights.
Every precious human being deserves a chance to gather, to meet or have a festival as far as the public’s peace is not disturbed. There is a saying that goes like this: “innocent until proven guilty“. This is a principle that requires the government to prove the guilt of a person and relieves the defendant of any burden to prove his or her innocence. Therefore, the Dutch officials should have studied their case before jumping to a quick decision.
The leading Dutch media, NOS TV, has reported that Eritreans in Diaspora are forced to pay 2% tax for the Eritrean government. If they don’t pay, they face a consequence. The story, which was reported on the Dutch Media was biased, one sided and an outright lie. This is preposterous even to think of that.
The 2% income tax paid by Eritreans in the Diaspora in general and Eritreans in the Netherlands in particular, is not mandatory but voluntary and it is also legal as every citizen of the world does.
It is important the Dutch journalists to have a first-hand knowledge about Eritreans and verify the false accusations, which was reported on the Media, but they need to visit the Eritrean communities’ centers that located throughout the Netherlands.
When you fulfill the request of a few treasons against the majority Eritreans, who support the Eritrean government overwhelmingly, by denying their basic rights, or as what is happened here in the Netherlands last week … that is what makes it so double standard for Dutch officials to rejoice in their decisions.
For many years, we had the pleasure of believing that our basic rights was respected and protected, but as far as last week’s action is concerned, our basic democratic rights marked by question.
17 April 2017 Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Eritrean Media Group Holland