FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Eritrean “Coup” That Never Was

The New York Times and its cult followers in the American media, amongst others, manufactured an attempted “coup” that never happened in the small East African country of Eritrea.

The story of this “attempted coup” began last Monday morning, January 21 in a small garrison base south of here when three disgruntled officers told their command that they were being transferred to the capital Asmara to guard the Ministry of Information. Excited to be leaving their remote location for life in the capital the citizen soldiers in the command packed their bags, loaded their two tanks on to their trailers, saddled up and headed for the big city.

Several hours later the unit arrived at the unguarded gates of the Eritrean Ministry of Information, unloaded their tanks and, according to neighbors, proceeded to engage in boisterous horseplay on and around their equipment.

In the meantime the three miscreant officers barged their way into the television studios of Eritrean TV and waving a pistol around demanded a political screed be read over the air.

A quick thinking technician in the broadcast system quickly cut of the signal and their plan was suddenly still born.

In the meantime the youngsters in their command outside began to get wind that something was wrong, and when they found out what was going on inside the EriTV studios they “mutinied”, as in stopped obeying their commanding officers orders which eventually included a command for them to open fire on their fellow Eritreans.

Seeing that the jig was up the three “mutineers” absconded on foot from the Ministry escaping down the cliffs behind the old “Forto”, once the headquarters for the Italian Colonial Army in Eritrea.

All’s well that ends well and the three “mutinous” officers  were duly found and arrested. The “mutinous” national service citizen soldiers were taken out to a very tasty dinner at the Malobar restaurant (quite a treat for troops used to a diet of sorghum, chick peas and lentils), spent the night in the daKorea apartments were they enjoyed hot showers, clean sheets and comfortable beds for a change. The next day they and their tanks returned to their base with a well deserved thanks from the countries leaders.

The moral of the story is that the reality on the ground here in Eritrea is that the military is composed of citizen soldiers, not the “professional” ie mercenary armies found in most of the rest of Africa. Our youth are all required to participate in the National Service program and are paid a very small salary for their services. In other words, they see their national service, no matter the difficult conditions or seemingly endless term of service as their patriotic duty.

Being that the Ethiopian army launched division scale attacks (a division is made up of some 5,000 soldiers) at least three times in 2012 alone their families here in Eritrea really need them to keep us safe from invasion by the notoriously brutal Ethiopian military camped out 500,000 strong on our borders.

The whole description of this  incident, what I have described as “a tempest in a teapot”, as an attempted “coup” by some of the truth challenged western media is made moot when anyone familiar with the streets of Asmara will tell you that to get to the hill top Ministry of Information one first has to drive past the Office of the President.

To most Eritreans, 90% or more, and especially so amongst the youth doing their national service, Eritrean President Issias Aferworki is Eritrea’s George Washington, as in “first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen”.

You don’t have to take my word for this, all you have to do is visit Eritrea during the carnival week leading up to Independence Day celebrations in May (as award-winning producer Afshin Rattansi and his film crew did in 2012) and see for yourself the 100,000 and more young people partying in the streets, almost all of who are doing their national service duty. Not a firearm in sight, not a fight to be seen, and the President himself walking down the middle of the street at the height of the party surrounded by tens of thousands of his country’s youth.

I don’t think any Eritrean familiar with the reality here, especially amongst the youth, would ever imagine a coup being possible. Even if a group of officers were to try such they would quickly find that the citizen soldiers in the Eritrean military would quickly “mutiny” as was the case in the “tempest in a teapot” on Jan. 21, the coup that never happened.

Thomas C. Mountain is the most widely distributed independent journalist in Africa, living and reporting from Eritrea since 2006. He can be reached at thomascmountain_at_yahoo_dot_com.

More articles by:

Thomas C. Mountain attended Punahou School for six years some half a dozen years before “Barry O’Bombers” time there. He has been living and writing from Eritrea since 2006. He can be reached at thomascmountain at g_ mail_ dot _com

March 19, 2019
Paul Street
Socialism Curiously Trumps Fascism in U.S. Political Threat Reporting
Jonah Raskin
Guy Standing on Anxiety, Anger and Alienation: an Interview About “The Precariat”
Patrick Cockburn
The Brutal Legacy of Bloody Sunday is a Powerful Warning to Those Hoping to Save Brexit
Robert Fisk
Turning Algeria Into a Necrocracy
John Steppling
Day of Wrath
Robin Philpot
Truth, Freedom and Peace Will Prevail in Rwanda
Victor Grossman
Women Marchers and Absentees
Binoy Kampmark
The Dangers of Values: Brenton Tarrant, Fraser Anning and the Christchurch Shootings
Jeff Sher
Let Big Pharma Build the Wall
Jimmy Centeno
Venezuela Beneath the Skin of Imperialism
Jeffrey Sommers – Christopher Fons
Scott Walker’s Failure, Progressive Wisconsin’s Win: Milwaukee’s 2020 Democratic Party Convention
Steve Early
Time for Change at NewsGuild?
March 18, 2019
Scott Poynting
Terrorism Has No Religion
Ipek S. Burnett
Black Lives on Trial
John Feffer
The World’s Most Dangerous Divide
Paul Cochrane
On the Ground in Venezuela vs. the Media Spectacle
Dean Baker
The Fed and the 3.8 Percent Unemployment Rate
Thomas Knapp
Social Media Companies “Struggle” to Help Censors Keep us in the Dark
Binoy Kampmark
Death in New Zealand: The Christchurch Shootings
Mark Weisbrot
The Reality Behind Trump’s Venezuela Regime Change Coalition
Weekend Edition
March 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
Is Ilhan Omar Wrong…About Anything?
Kenn Orphan
Grieving in the Anthropocene
Jeffrey Kaye
On the Death of Guantanamo Detainee 10028
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
In Salinas, Puerto Rico, Vulnerable Americans Are Still Trapped in the Ruins Left by Hurricane Maria
Ben Debney
Christchurch, the White Victim Complex and Savage Capitalism
Eric Draitser
Did Dallas Police and Local Media Collude to Cover Up Terrorist Threats against Journalist Barrett Brown?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Straighten Up and Fly Right
Jack Rasmus
Trump’s $34 Trillion Deficit and Debt Bomb
David Rosen
America’s Puppet: Meet Juan Guaidó
Jason Hirthler
Annexing the Stars: Walcott, Rhodes, and Venezuela
Samantha M. - Angelica Perkins
Our Green New Deal
Mel Gurtov
Trump’s Nightmare Budget
Steven Colatrella
The 18th Brumaire of Just About Everybody: the Rise of Authoritarian Strongmen and How to Prevent and Reverse It
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Riding the Wild Bull of Nuclear Power
Michael K. Smith
Thirty Years Gone: Remembering “Cactus Ed”
Dean Baker
In Praise of Budget Deficits
Howard Lisnoff
Want Your Kids to Make it Big in the World of Elite Education in the U.S.?
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Foreign Policy is Based on Confrontation and Malevolence
John W. Whitehead
Pity the Nation: War Spending is Bankrupting America
Priti Gulati Cox
“Maria! Maria! It Was Maria That Destroyed Us!” The Human Story
Missy Comley Beattie
On Our Knees
Mike Garrity – Carole King
A Landscape Lewis and Clark Would Recognize is Under Threat
Robert Fantina
The Media-Created Front Runners
Tom Clifford
Bloody Sunday and the Charging of Soldier F
Ron Jacobs
All the Livelong Day      
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail