By Alem Fisshatzion,
The mainstream Swedish media has yet once again excelled themselves in disseminating fresh vicious attacks on the state of Eritrea. This time it was the state-owned Swedish Radio P1 which in a program called “Good Morning World” featured an eight-minute audio documentary about an alleged Eritrean refugee in Kenya on 4th October 2015.
Renowned for its bias and open hatred for the Eritrean establishment, the program lived up to its expectation of fabrications, distortion of facts and discrediting the Eritrean Government. The program can still be listened to at the website of that infamous institution.
The cheap audio soap opera is orchestrated and presented by one Richard Myrenberg. The setting is a restaurant in one of the sleazier districts of Nairobi where the stench of rotting meat is constantly wafting in from a nearby slaughterhouse.
The star actress is a supposedly 20 year old Eritrean Refugee who has been subjected to serious violations by the Eritrean establishment but manages to flee into Kenya after having been imprisoned underground in a hole with lid serving as cell.
That “cell” was her alleged home for six months but she had inmate-neighbours who had lived under such conditions for several years. The lady speaks English with a distinct and unmistakable Kenyan dialect. Her “crime”: running away from conscription.
The lady has also allegedly been punished harshly for trying to escape detention; She has been trussed up like a pig on a pole and hung from a tree. The website boasts of two artistic drawings; one of a figure tied up and hung from a tree and another one with a figure trussed up and sitting down. Both illustrations are framed and photographed with a high resolution camera and Myrenberg says that they were retrieved from the lady’s mobile phone.
Yes, the poor refugee, living under meagre conditions in a refugee camp in Kenya owns a sophisticated mobile phone! Yet owning such a complex piece of equipment does not deter her six-year old son from marveling and behaving like one seeing a space rocket for the first time when he saw the reporter’s tape recorder.
Back to the drawings illustrating, some of the punishment techniques the lady was allegedly subjected to: although one of them clearly features the victim as tied up and hung from a tree, the victim vehemently denied that a tree was used to hang her from at the prompting of the reporter. She just mumbled that she was hung by the neck; a clear conflict of prior “story” agreement between reporter and victim. The art collection itself is what can be found any day on the streets of any African town or city being sold by street artists.
These sorts of programs by Swedish Radio and other Swedish media are exactly what the general Swedish audience has been nurtured to expect coming out of Eritrea. Media has indoctrinated the public to believe that the Eritrean establishment is only occupied with one single objective, and that is to oppress the citizens of Eritrea in all sorts of horrendous ways and also as a major aggressive neighbour and general threat to peace and stability in the Horn of Africa.
No self-respecting journalist would dare write or say anything positive about Eritrea or even highlight any of the many laudable achievements of the Eritrean people and their government. Even private Swedes are discouraged from disseminating any form of news or debate about positive development in Eritrea.
I have over the years tried several times to post articles challenging the truthfulness or lack of factual substance in all of the major Swedish media but most of the papers turn me down with cold silence or just tell me in very blatant and unceremonious terms that they refuse to publish my articles. I have lamented this very difficult and trying situation here on TesfaNews earlier.
In this regard, Swedish Media has failed terribly in their highly self-acclaimed distinction as a free media, respectful of the freedom of speech. Yet even the radio program I am writing about made it a point of Swedish Journalistic duty to compare Eritrea with North Korea on the issue of censorship. Even Jesus taught us two thousand years ago to refrain from talking about the speck in our neighbour’s eye while ignoring the log in our own eye.
Such is the hypocrisy of the Swedish Media and it is rather unfortunate because there are a lot of Swedish citizens of Eritrean background trying to live in happy and mutually respectful co-existence with the rest of the Swedish society. Swedish media is very guilty of sowing seeds of discord between the Eritrean people and rest of the International Community.