In recent years, I have attended many Eritrea-bashing events that are presented by Martin Plaut and his friends. Two days ago I made my way to the House of Lords to attend an event that was advertised as
“to explore: Why Africans continue to seek routes into EuropeWhy the EU has failed to agree a common policy on migration. The impact of detention centres of migrants, particularly women and children What alternatives EU strategy for dealing with migration flows from North African would look like.”
But when you read the speakers names written as Martin Plaut and Selam Kidane, “the researcher”, you know that they have no topic to explore, and that the sole agenda is tarnishing the image of Eritrea and emotional blackmailing of those who seek to establish better relations with Eritrea.
I am not going to bore you with the details of their presentation, as it is the same old stuff that is manufactured and repeated over and over.
It was interesting to see their reaction when they were faced with views that challenged their presentation.
Martin Plaut is a very smart and experienced person in particular in the art of propaganda and deception. He knows well that he is fighting a lost battle as he recently noted that every one is queuing up to form a better relations with Eritrea.
However, smart Martin may be, he has simply lost it. When challenged, instead of dealing with the issues, he was making personal attacks.
I informed his target audience that they should not expect anything objective from a man who has made his mind up writing a book, in which he decided and crowned Eritrea as “Africa’s most repressive state” in its title. One of the audience asked him if this was true. He confirmed it was true by showing the book to every one.
Instead of addressing eloquently put points, by Yohanna, a young Eritrean lady, he chose to attack her pointing out she works for the Eritrean government.
The audacity of Martin Plaut was questioning my motive to attend his events. He said that I had attended several of his events and that I must be getting paid by the Eritrean government.
I can understand from his perspective and culture, they do not do anything for free. He has made a living out of Eritrea, as advisor to foreign officials of UK and the USA, and as a strategists for regime change agenda in Eritrea.
But his attitude that he can arrange so many events to talk about my own country as he likes, and yet question my attendance, shows his level of arrogance and partly the extreme level of frustration he feels.
Selam Kidane was happy enough to repeat her usual stuff, but when I asked her to give the audience information about her background history, the host tried to defend her that her history was irrelevant.
I expressed my agreement on points she made about how we achieved our independence, but her father was a top military official who was part of the regime that cost us many lives. He also voted No in the Eritrean referendum in 1993.
I pointed it out to her that when the breasts of our mothers were being knifed, she was being fed with silver spoon of the Ethiopian regime.
She defended herself saying her father goes back home and that the government of Eritrea does nothing to him, which I pointed out, was a great contradiction to her other claims.
Selam was shaken as she realised the audience were surprised this innocent looking woman, who portrayed herself as Mother Theresa, was not so innocent after all.
Lady Kinnock, the wife of former leader of labour party, Neil Kinnock, facilitated the event. This was the same person, who was heavily involved in preventing Professor Asmerom Legesse from presenting the other narrative of Eritrea that challenged the report of human rights enquiry on Eritrea. They preach so much about democracy, yet they ensure different ideas and views are silenced in places and moments that matter.
Martin and his friends failed in their objective to mislead their target audience. The audience were able to see that this event was not organised to explore the topics outlined, but it was a one-sided campaign to advance a particular agenda. The audience also got the opportunity to hear different views and challenging questions by Eritrean patriots.
Martin Plaut also let himself down by giving the game away. He could not control his frustration and anger, when he was challenged.