By Makeda Saba
NoMore! Awel Said (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoNwPZyUgzc)
1.0 The title of the video is No More! by Awel Said. By using the term, No More Awel is connecting with the #NoMore campaign launched by Harmela Aregawi. #NoMore is a movement that supports PM Abiy’s and President Isaias’s narrative about the war in Tigray. This portrays the launching of their ‘Law and Order’ operation as a justified response to the TPLF attack on the Ethiopian Defence Force Northern Command.
2.0 The video is produced in Stockholm (Sweden) – The introductory frame also states, ‘They want to make us talk’
– this is an idiom used in situations where the speaker feels aggrieved and is about to evidence long-standing grievances. (0.43/9:38).
3.0 Awel addresses Åsa Nilsson Söderström a Swedish Liberal politician. He informs her that he has come to Europe to speak to and be with his people. He tells her that not one Kroner from Sweden has been used to purchase weapons for Eritrea’s tanks. Het tells the Minister that the Eritreans took the tanks from those that Sweden ( Eu etc.) gave the tanks. In this way, they perpetrate the narrative of Eritrean self-sufficiency and capture weapons from their enemies.
4.0 I have not come to eat your bread (i.e. injera); he states explicitly that no Kroner was used to buy tanks for Eritrea. He then refers to the conspiracy against Eritrea by the USA, the TPLF Junta, EEPA, International Crisis Group, WFP, Journalists, Prof Kjetil Tronvoll, Prof Mirjam van Reisen, Martin Plaut, Rashid Abdi etc.. and very few (i.e. 7 ) Eritreans (1:05; 9:38) I note that he does not mention UNHCR. Instead, he pleads with her to come closer to the truth and to think about what he is saying when she applies for a visa to visit Eritrea. Awel adds that God willing, one day, he will meet the Minister in Eritrea – an Eritrea that is not in your hands (i.e. an Eritrea free of all colonial and imperial influences. A play on the narrative of Eritrea resisting all colonial and imperial powers); he affirms that the people (i.e. Eritreans) that she has stained and painted black will receive her with love (2:54; 9:38).
5.0 Finally, before pointing out to the Ministers that the people she sees dancing ( image of Eritreans with flags dancing) are his people, he tells her that the Eritrean history she has been told is upside down ( i.e gelbitoma).
- Awel then draws attention to the fact that in her country (i.e. Åsa Nilsson Söderström), there are festivals of men who sleep with men and who marry men; however, an Eritrean cultural festival is not allowed (2:23/9:38) . He accuses the Minister of perpetuating politics of hate towards Africa and then proceeds to outline 8 points namely:
- The people of Eritrea eat the fruits of their labour and do not wait around for hand-outs;
- He honours Sawa and the youth who are part of Sawa – they are the salt of the earth the quintessential Eritrean ( not a literal translation but the sense of it ). The elements of discipline, unity, and education through Sawa are highlighted by the images used. Soldiers on parade, graduation images. According to Awel, Sawa is not only about war. While we see this, we should remember that President Isaias has attended all Sawa graduations; he has attended University graduations in Ethiopia but has not attended one Asmara University or Colleges graduation.
- He again refers to the USA and its 50 years of policies. He explains that Eritrea has not been bought by the USA ( continuing the narrative of Eritrea being oppressed by USA policies).
- He makes an indirect reference to European/Western discriminatory policies. He tells the Minister that while chasing out black people, they are welcoming the Ukrainians
- He says that Eritrea only wants what is rightfully theirs – A reference to Bademe (shows the map of Bademe).
- Awel talks about the missile attacks on Eritrea and then explains that Eritrea is not like the USA in Afghanistan. He states that the USA in Afghanistan promised peace; instead, it brought more conflict and left the country in disarray ( the images here are rocket launchers and Afghanis climbing on the wheels of planes taking off). He points out that Eritreans are not like the USA ( completely overlooking the disruption caused by PFDJ in neighbouring countries, including Ethiopia).
- According to Awel, the Government of Eritrea liberated the country despite the efforts to tear the country apart through the Federation. Furthermore, he explains that the Government of Eritrea fought tooth and nail to liberate the country (a confluence between the EPLF/PFDJ and the regime) and is now advocating for the liberation of Africa. Finally, he points out that though the leader of the Government is a black man, he is not a dictator. Presumably, the intention here is to distinguish President Isaias from other African leaders.
7.0 He concludes by calling for people such as Åsa Nilsson Söderström to get out of the way of Eritreans.