Why the organization, self-described as, “Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization,” (RSADO) seems to be anything but. When Eritreans voted in the referendum (by a margin of 99.98%), they voted to make independent the “nation” of Eritrea. Further, this “nation” was legally defined as a unitary state, not a confederate state as the RSADO declaration implies.1
Of course such a course of action for an organization such as RSADO, which is narrowly defined according to a traditional ethnic definition, is predictable. Such a narrow definition of course is incongruent with the definition of groups in the Eritrean State, wherein they are defined not in the traditional strictly ethnic groups, but ethno-linguistic groups.
This principle was laid out to facilitate Eritrea’s education (language) policies wherein it is describes that primary education should take place in ones native tongue. This policy was implemented to preserve Eritrea’s constituent linguistic ideas, “Without diversity, unity is pointless.” The purpose of RSADO is to counter this argument with a confederate arrangement popular minorities facing extinction at the hands of the majority. Although this may be the case in Ethiopia where all the reigns of power are held by a narrow clique, in Eritrea it is not the case.
In fact, as inter-regional (read: inter-zoba) development and commerce has increased, the diversity seen by the average visitor is heartening. RSADO’s goal is reactionary and counter-productive, and though its base is in neighboring Ethiopia, its goals are alien to the Eritrean model.