Monthly Archives: October 2016

Sanity

When the heart is open
there is neither nemesis
Nor the allies
but the truth

The mind betrays us
it deceives us
it pretends as an application of super knowledge
the ultimate path

Yet, when the heart is closed
dual communication stops
wave stops
and we call it, disagreement.

The truth is,
we are born to agree
as social and humane
bounded by Rule of Law

If one sees the wave
between Sanity and Safety
even the last “S” is common
that is why the destiny is common

Beyond that,
their difference
their thinking
is not eternal and one day it will be discharged

For the simple reason of humanity
bestowed by their beauty
filling us with ecstasy
while pouring their sanity!

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A voice

I heard Biteweded
a voice
with purity
from sanity
right after meditation
an enlightening
an inspiring
awakening
calling
for rights
from within the beloved
the people
from the people
to the people
yes a pure democracy
full of trust
not out of fear
never
but out of courage
out of reconciliation
peace
and development
his motto
a heart
and mind
all in one
and for one
just for one
and the one is
a product of 65,000 +
a nation of nations
a pride of pride
a diamond
of priceless
simply for the dreams
dreams of justice and reconciliation
yes, the voices echoed
almost 20 years old
yet, alive and inspiring
a sound of purity
I heard
yes I heard
a voice of purity

Originally at awate comment section in 2015 http://awate.com/like-an-addict-eritrea-needs-family-intervention/

I dreamt pulling grasses from my mouth: What does it mean?

It was on 05/10/2016, approaximately around 5:00 AM. I slept late and soon after I started dreaming some terrifying dream. The dream I had was:

“Pulling a never ending grasses from my mouth. The grass was dry and I was pulling it using my fingers. I was  not able to finish it. I was feeling some dryness in my mouth when I was taking out the grass and some how thirsty.”

This kind of dream was recurring several times in my dreams. I wanted to know what it means. I searched on google and here is what I found on the internet.

  1. Stuffed / full mouth in dreams – what does that mean (dream interpretation stuffed mouth) – someone asked Stuffed / full mouth in dreamsResponse Given: Dream interpretation of a stuffed/full mouth. A lot of people dream about having a mouth full of food, chewing gum or something else that makes it absolutely impossible to talk, and maybe they even experience the feeling of suffocating. The following is a walkthrough of what dreaming about a stuffed or full mouth can mean.The mouth is a very important organ. It is the place where we consume food (and dispose of food if it is not good for us – i.e. vomit). Dreaming about food is often an image of psychological /mental energy (see this blog post about food in dreams), and the mouth can therefore be a symbol of how we consume and “digest” external experiences, for example an emotional one.To keep pulling something out of the mouth (gum, food or something else) as an image of something that is somewhat uncomfortable which we should dispose/get rid of, or that we currently try to get rid of. You might dream that your mouth is full of a gum-like substance, and that you are constantly trying to pull all the gum out of your mouth, but there keep being something left, and it is like there is no point in trying to pull it out.

    This could symbolize that you have “swallowed”/experienced something unpleasant in your life that you are unconsciously trying to dispose of in your dream. However, because you are not actively doing something about it in your actual life, your subconscious will be filled up by “gum” – that is, the experience or the thoughts that you are ignoring. You might even find that the thoughts or experiences you have “swallowed” have turned into something that is suffocating you because you are not getting rid of it (i.e. talking to someone about it).

    The elements that suffocate you could also be potential lies you have been “fed” as a child, and these can be difficult to get rid of. Maybe the dream thus invites you to look at the “truths” you have in life (your beliefs, and where they come from). Again, the dream might say; you need to deal with this –perhaps you need to talk to somebody about it. See also dreams of strangulation/suffocation.

    Full or blocked mouth as a symbol of not being heard. You can also dream that your mouth is in some way blocked, and that you therefore are prevented from speaking (for example with duct tape, or something else that prevents you from being able to talk). It may simply be a symbol of a general feeling of not being heard or seen, or maybe you have a hard time saying no in certain situations? What kind of a mental duct tape have you put on your mouth? Is it you or someone else who has put it there? You are the only one who can remove it.

    A final alternative interpretation is that your subconscious is trying to tell you that you’ve said enough, and that you need to be quiet.

    2. Dream interpretation / analysis is not always an easy sport, and the best way to know whether you have come up with a meaningful interpretation is that you really feel – deep in your stomach – that this is right for you in your life right now.Source: What could this dream mean about stuff stuck in your mouth?

    Given Response: 

    Let’s take a look at these symbols, you have grass, seeds, and dirt, you need to get them out, and put them somewhere they can grow. You have dirt, a medium for growth, seeds, a potential of growth, and grass, an end result / grown. Sounds like ideas and potentials to me, ideas and potentials that need verbal expression, so you are trying to get them out of your mouth, but it’s a struggle for you. Some form of creative expression, perhaps… It seems like you have a good idea of some kind, and need to communicate it, but you can’t, it’s a struggle, you know what the idea is, but can’t seem to convey it properly, or don’t know how to convey it to the right people so it can take root and grow into something good….Good luck….

    This seems to fully interprate my dreams. I hope I will work for the best of it by working on what I am thinking.

Tes REDIE

Angers, France

Voices of Justice and Democracy Challenging Modern Ethiopia

The use of “democracy” in system of governance is becoming highly volatile in today’s political market. Despite its theoretical connotation and rationale, its notion has been devalued as a simple commodity that wishy-washy politicians sell to ordinary citizens. Instead of a justifiable system of governance, it became a marketing tenet of false promises for grabbing boundless power. All false convictions aired become just instrumentation tools to scoring high number of voters.  Consequently ordinary societies lost its true essence in practice.

Ethiopia’s case is not an exception.The country is supposed to be democratic as the1st Article of the Federal Government Constitution indicates. Although Article 30(1) states it is a given right for every person to assemble and to demonstrate together with others, peaceably and unarmed, the way the federal government responds is against that.As a consequence, legitimate grievances carry the potential of becoming public disobediences, chaos, and lawlessnessacross different federal states.Grievances are being expressed through the hardest way possible that demands sacrifice by many innocent citizens.

The cause of today’s social and political unrest in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) seems to be intricate. It demands intermingled political strategies to produce at least an easing solution for the hyper tensioned and alarmingly vague situation. Though a distant observation, it is safe to say that confidence on the existing political system is gloomy. If it can be exploited for a better end, delving into the principles of democracy and loyalty, to the rule of law that respects democratic rights, is the best action.

The way the federal government behaves against anyone who raises a voice of justice is increasingly becoming worrisome. In every protest, innocent people are dying through direct gun shots. There is no justifiable reason to act in such barbaric way to control down the riots and disobedience. The pretext of national security and conspiracy of external involvements should not justify these actions. In fact they are considered as crimes against humanity.

When democratic rights fall at risk, evolution of this once monarchic and totalitarian country into democratic governance system is hard to be attained. What makes it worse is that the second largest populous country in Africa (more than 90 million) and one of the poorest countries in the world, economic and social prosperity will be hard to imagine without respect of rule of law. In fact it is becoming a major concern among thosewho believe on Ethiopian revitalization and democratization process.

Challenges of Article 39 and Democratization

Since the chaotic social and political unrest of 2015in the Oromia region, and now (2016) the wake-up of Amhara, the echo of justice is vibrating throughout the country. These people are showing their valiant stance of demand for fair equity of power distribution at the federal level and a guarantee of acceptable margin of self-rule on state level administration. Moreover, some people, like Wolkait, are demanding relocation of their state administration by claiming their identity traits, Amhara. The rejection of the Addis Abba masterplan expansion by the Oromo nationals, Wolkait identity issue, the Amhara claim of power monopoly by one ethnic group (the Tigres), the Afar and Tigray people’s democratic movement are, some of the prominent examples that dominate uncertain and sensitive political landscape.

Generally speaking, these political developments do not contradict with Article 39 of the federal government which grants nations and nationalities the rights to secede. Although looking back to the early 1990s Article 39 had justifiable reason to be included, it was a shortsighted article that conceived a huge potential of Ethiopian fragmentation. The then successful coalition force of EPRDF was composed of five revolutionary fronts that had a primary objective of forming an independent country of their respective nationalities. If Article 39 was not included, it could have been difficult to form a united country called Ethiopia, and it had its own merits for a short term relief. But this didn’t serve longer as a unifying tool any longer. With increasing popular feeling of political marginalization and public pressure for economic and social prosperity, the only soft target is to hit back on the pillars of Article 39 and force the federal government to loosen the grip that glue the states. The Oromo liberation front and the Somalis regional issue comes as spot cases.

In fact, when one delves into Article 39 thoroughly, it basically gives an opportunity of fragmentation under a pretext of democratic choice of the people, whatever the motive. Literally speaking, social groups of Ethiopia have an equal chance of claiming territorial state that can produce more than 80 ethno-centric states. Although secession is hard to achieve in modern Ethiopia in a short-termpolitical process, in a country that has ample experience of revolutionary turmoil, the issue of nations and nationalities can explode leading to civil war. The expanding political freedom among ordinary societies is pushing for a radical change in the system of governance and more political accommodation. The missing link here is appropriate federal and state democratic institutions that provide timely responses of public concern. The question is therefore, “is the government in a stage of building timely and conduciveenvironment for political rights or will it continue to act in such a horrific terror of brutal killing and squeezing political freedom?”

Ethiopian voices are engaged in a discourse of democratization and that doesn’t arrant panic because these voices were oppressed for too long. The seismic jolt created along these waves cannot be concealed neither through guns nor through blocking of social media outlets. What is needed is accommodation, listening, being responsible, tolerant and transparent, respectingrule of law, justice, and choices.

Relatively speaking, Ethiopia has come a long way in the democratization process compared to what it was before.In spite of the very few power-mongering individuals and diminishing partisan elementswiththe defunct monarchist mentality, Ethiopians today care more for economic prosperity, democratic rights and inclusiveness within the existing diversity. The late Prime Minister Melles Zenawi plans for ending poverty through education is a prime strategy of modern thinking through which the Ethiopian nation canstrive and prevail against all challenges.

Positivism within Optimism

A thorough observation on the Ethiopian economic, political and social developments indicate that their registered outcome is optimistic. I believe that EPRDF is an emancipator and its political path succeeded in eradicating fear from its own people. Unlike before, when the Derg ruled through RED TERROR, Ethiopians have reached a degree of fearlessness that they are openly opposing government policies and system of governance.

The change in the Ethiopian political landscape is immense. Nations like Oromos, whowere treated as mere servants in the past with no sayeven on basic human rights, arenow loudly campaigningfor justice and equality. The Amharas who took it for granted that their powerhouse wasthe source of rulers of greater Abyssinia, have now come to terms withpolitical representativeness,and fairness of justice. The Tigrayans, though they still control the center of the government, are equally demanding more democratic freedoms. The same can be narrated about Afar, Somalis, and Southern Nationalities, Benshangul, and Harari nationalities.

These deep rooted cumulativegrievances date back to the era of former leaders. They arenow loud and widespread because of therelatively expanding democratic freedom, changing economic status and global openness; every raised voice is becoming stronger and louder producing waves for the highly needed change.

The existing political turmoil might seem destructive in a short term view. It could be dangerous if the federal government tries to silence it by using aggressive force.  Nevertheless, if minimum and basic standards of democratic rights of societies and individuals are observed, today’s voices will transform the old mentality of governance and consolidate Ethiopia further.

The federal government needs to be wise on resolving the current trend. It is the harvest of a ripening struggle of the oppressed people. If challenges seem tougher, it is because they are passing through the last bottleneck of obstacle towards greater freedoms and transparency.

Paradox of Ethiopian refusal forHuman Rights Observers:

When Eritreans called on the United Nation Commission for human Rights group to investigate crimes committed against them, the Ethiopian government immediately endorsed the mission. Since the commission of inquiry (COiE) was refused permission to visit Eritrea, itswork became more challengingand itwas forced to collect testimonies outside the country. Ethiopia was on the forefront insistingthat the UN to pressure Eritrea.

On the contrary, when Human Rights groups wanted to see what is currently happening in Ethiopia, it is difficult to comprehend why it is refusing them permission to do so.Comparing that to its position in regards to Eritrea, it is a paradoxand a double standard. If the country is committed to International treaties, Human Rights observers should be allowed to conduct their work and see if individual rights are being observed or not.

PFDJ Eritrea and National Security

It is wise to differentiate between how the Eritrean and the PFDJ think. Without forgetting pre 21thCenturyhistorical legacies, Eritreans have limited information about today’s Ethiopian internal political cartography. To the majority, Ethiopia isperceived as the motherland of Haile Selassie,Derg (Amhara), and Woyane(Tigray). These leaders are remembered as archenemies of Eritrea. It is hard to figure out what is within Ethiopia’s politics and social composition. Even the term, “every Ethiopian” is narrowly demarcated to include the above mentioned nationalities, and such political blindness is imposed and perpetuated for a reason.

To combat external security threats, Eritrean conducts proxy war via rebel groups of the antagonizing country. This kind of strategy helps from involving itself in a direct war. Since independence, Eritrea has involvement has involved in Sudan internal problems to halt threats from Sudan, supported Al-Shabab in Somalia, and is continuing to arm and train a number of Ethiopian opposition forces. For example, there are more than ten rebel groups who are stationed in Eritrea. The engagement is symbiotic. Eritrea provides necessary support for rebels in return the rebels attack Ethiopian government. These rebels conduct occasional military operations inside Ethiopia that put security and stability in danger.

Conclusion

It is wise to recap this article by citing Article 10 from the constitution of Ethiopian Federal Government. It says, “Human rights and freedoms are inviolable and inalienable. They are inherent in the dignity of human beings. Human and democratic rights of Ethiopian citizens shall be respected.” This line calls the government to respect rule of law. It must be recognized that voice of justice and democracy always come in one package-you need to have a voice in order to enjoy justice. It cannot be concluded that today’s Ethiopian problems are solely related with Article 39. However the article provides an open environment of manipulation. In its current context, opportunists can use it as means of power struggle or dividing the country into smaller states.  This being one, Article 39 has serious short-comings that need to be reformed. Nevertheless, the people of Ethiopia should not be fooled again. Opposition groups who are working with neighboring countries should be refrained from being mercenaries of destabilization for their own country.

A united Ethiopia is a blessing, first for Ethiopians, and then to the region at large.

Betrayal of Eritreans

Memories of Lampedusa 

How Eritreans were betrayed by their own supposed responsible government at that time though PFDJ regime can not be considered as a government

No one can forget the crimes committed by the ruling regime, PFDJ on his reaction about the Lampedusa Tragedy, specially when the Eritrean citizens are named by their supposed own national TV channel to be labelled as “Illegal African Immigrants”

Awate recorded the reaction by the totalitarian regime as follows:

The Reaction of the Eritrean Regime

1. On October 4th, while Diaspora Eritreans were in a state of shock and grief, Eri-TV (State TV) referred to the incident as a case of “illegal African immigrants” who are said to be of “Horn of Africa nationality.”

2. While some may have given the regime the benefit of doubt for being uncertain about the nationality of the victims, on October 4th, Yemane Gebremeskel, the director of the President’s office, tweeted (posted on Twitter) “Condolences to the families who have lost their dearest ones in the Lampadusa disaster. Time 4 urgent action 2 ensure this never happens.” This line was featured prominently on tesfanews.com without disclosing that it was a re-write of the tweet.

3. Yemane Gebremeskel then went on to have twitter flame wars with Leonard Vincent (AFP) because the latter had asked “Has anyone thought of asking Eritrean top official if he still thought the Lampedusa tragedy is “not a big issue”? Vincent was referencing Yemane Gebremeskel’s interview with Fox News/AFP a month earlier when, asked about the exodus of Eritreans, he had replied “It’s not a big issue.”

More details can be read by visiting:Lampedusa Tragedy: A chronicle

Recognition of Individual Contribution: A Step to Transparency and Responsibility

Let’s pause and look into ourselves and identify “who is who” among those who are making history by being in the foremost list of activist leaders in the quest of justice for Eritrea. In today’s political mindset of Eritreans, many may feel discomfort when individual dissidents are picked from the crowds of justice seekers pool. Though these negative feelings have deep historical roots to exist, it is a must for justice loving Eritrean to know who is who among themselves.

The struggle for independence has left a strong footprint of burring purposefully individual talent, creativeness and leadership. Promoting individual talent is considered as nurturing individualism. From the very beginning, the revolutionary concept was designed to be a collective work. Every achievement registered is collective work, even when it is done by an identified individual. It is almost a taboo to give credit to someone who did a typical work. With the exception of the supreme leader, in rare cases, when an individual’s heroism, intelligence, talent, leadership quality etc., trespass collective recognition, political suspicion increases. Soon enough, directly or indirectly, the individual becomes victim of political silencing, often accompanied by complicated accusations of treason and fabricated labeling. The fate becomes either going to prison or get killed systematically. Hundreds of brilliant freedom fighters were passed unrecognized day in day out for this simple reason.

Such acts create organizations that burry individual contribution. Anyone who happens to be pragmatic and competent enough to bring a change within the existing system is systematically suppressed. When many talented individuals are silenced, the hosting institution falls under the mercy of one-man.  Not only this, homogenous thinking develops that later becomes impossible to accept diversified ideas. The end result of this endeavor produces one-man rule, authoritative or totalitarian system. As time passes, all powers are concentrated in one that could resemble as a monarchic rule as Saleh Younis elaborated in his recent article titled by Eritrean “System” is a Monarchy (1).

Looking deep into the mindset of Eritreans, the society seems unable to reconcile with talented individuals. The doctrine of ‘the masses’ is still alive; both within those who support or oppose the current system. Individuals who surfaced at the top because of their unique works are continuously becoming the target of harsh criticism and defamation. Though such silencing campaigns are usually initiated by PFDJ security agents, folks within the justice seeking camp apply the same style to disown individuals with outstanding performance. As a result the camp of justice seekers is in constant scrutinaizaton.

Besides its psychological side effect on individuals, failure of giving timely and due recognition has an impact on identifying “who is who” within the pool of justice seekers camp. Parallel to this, it can hamper establishment of transparent and responsible leadership. To avoid such failures, first, it is wise to appreciate someone for the work s/he is doing so that it can boast her/his motive. Second when the struggle succeeds these known figures are good candidates to hold public positions. The society can put trust on them. In Tigrigna there is a proverb that reads, ካብ ዘይትፈልቶጦ መልአኽ ትፈልጦ ሰይጣን ይሓይሽ” (From an unknown god, a known monster is better). The case of PFDJ Eritrea under EPLF and now PFDJ is typical example.

However, with increasing political consciousness and openness to democratic values, Eritrean opposition camp is experiencing a different path. Unlike before, individuals are in the course of being recognized and credited for their works. The contribution of some individuals is so big that it cannot be simply ignored. For example, in 2015, Bologna Forum recognized Professor Bereket Habteselassie for his long service to the case of Eritrea freedom, democracy and rule of law (2). Elyzabeth Chyrum, a human rights activist and advocate for Eritrean refugees all over the world, was recognized for her commendable work in 2009 (3) and 2012 (4).

The Fate of My Family under the Dictatorial Regime of Asmara

My story is a drop in an ocean. I am just lucky enough to write about my family. There are families with no one to tell their stories. Compared to the number of victims and suffering of the entire Eritrean families, the stories that are made public are, indeed few. Depressingly, individuals who boldly decided to be the voice of the voiceless so far are extremely few and not enough to expose even a penny from the unprecedented suffering of Eritreans.

Due to extreme isolation and prohibition of independent mass media and access of international body to see what is happening inside Eritrea, the world lacks specific information on what Eritreans are facing. The United Nation Human Rights Council established a commission of Inquiry (COiE) to investigate the crimes that are being committed by the regime. Though the investigating body was not allowed access to Eritrea, it managed to collect horrifying testimonies from hundreds of Eritreans living now outside the country as refugees. The testimonies were compiled and reported to UN Human Rights group in its 484 pages report of 2015 (COiE Report). A year after, in June 2016, the Commission of Inquiry Eritrea concluded that “systematic and widespread crimes against humanity are committed by the regime” and recommended the UN Human Rights Council to look after the case.

From the undocumented testimonies of Eritrean sufferings under the brutal regime which is ruling Eritrea today, let me share with you what my family are going through for the last two decades.  What I am sharing here is not compiled within the COiE report. It is a refreshing testimony coming from an ordinary Eritrean citizen.

The Unforgettable Memory

My older brother is the one who made me to be who I am today. When I was a university student in Eritrea, he decided to take care of our family. We were ten at that time, three sisters, five brothers, mother and father excluding our grandchildren. At that time five out of the eight were students: two were serving in the military and a married sister whose husband was a soldier. Since none of us was able to generate income someone had to take family responsibility and make a sacrifice for all of us. In 2003 my brother decided to abscond the army, hide, and work to care for the family after serving for four years.

After working for three years while hiding in a small family garden, until January 2006, life became so difficult for him and he couldn’t continue working under the circumstances anymore. While he was working, the military security force took my mother and kept her in prison so that my brother will be forced to come and free her. My father was working as a local administrator and they wanted him to serve them while keeping my mother in prison. That impacted my brother who had no option left but to give up him-self. After one month in prison, my brother gave-up and went by himself to let my mother free and imprisoned instead. After spending a year and half he was released from the harsh military prison and joined his brigade.

In September 2007, my brother was able to attend my university graduation ceremony. That evening he told me that he cannot live in Eritrea anymore. Together with his childhood and close friend, who is now living in Israel, decided to flee from Eritrea. Their escape was an eight days journey. They crossed the border to Sudan and went to the Shegerab refugee camp where Eritrean refugees are camped for decades. My brother stayed there for three months. He had no one to help and provide any support for him and struggled to survive there for three months. Eventually he was able to leave the camp and reach to Khartoum after we sent him around 20,000 Nakfa from home.

Life was hard in Sudan. Since our family was still in shortage of basic needs he continued to shoulder responsibility of our family. He had to work hard. He was fortunate enough to have multi-skills that helped him to work in all sorts of activities. In a short time he managed to take care of himself and somehow started to get stabilized.

While living in such challenging environment two sisters faced trouble while fleeing Eritrea when human smugglers held them as a hostage and asked for a ransom in 2008 and 2009 consecutively. My brother was the only one who was supposed to help. After paying thousands to the smugglers my sisters joined him to live with.

I was in the national service, aka national slavery as many use to call it, right after my graduation, I had no income at all and our family continued to be dependent on my brother. He continued to bear the burden of supporting our family responsibility till his last day.

In December 27, 2012 I received a “missed­call” from my brother. I called him back just to hear him saying “I am severely sick”. We were thousands of kilometers apart. I was unable to do anything except contacting people around him. They took him to hospital. Within three days he died in the hospital after severe internal bleeding. May he Rest in Peace!

This tragedy was one of the darkest experiences in my life. The sorrow I faced is still impacting deep inside my soul.

Through his support, we are who we [our family] are today.

My Family Today

Families Living Inside Eritrea

In 2011 or 2012, [I am not sure exactly on which year it is], my older brother, a second round national service, was inflicted with Tuberculosis, and he was elated when they gave him a leave: he thought it is a good opportunity to work (which is better than being a slave). My brother started to work while taking his medicine.

Because of misery, malnutrition and hard work he was not able to take his medicine properly. His TB became complicated enough that let him change the subscription and dosage amount. He somehow felt good though not fully cured. He had no option but to continue working in the small family garden in order to support his family. By then his TB went deep into entire body organs. He went to a hospital and ordered him for an immediate hospitalization. He spent six months in a military hospital. Because of repeated infection he is almost paralyzed, but we are lucky he is still alive – this brother is a husband and a father of five.

My oldest sister is a mother of four beautiful children. Her husband is in the military for almost 20 years by now. Their oldest daughter went to Sawa in 2012 at the age of 17 to complete her secondary education. After she failed to pass the national exam, they let her join the military force. Since then she is in active service. Whenever I met her on telephone I hear her cry.  My sister has also another son who went to Sawa in this summer (2016). Seeing what happened to his elder sister, soon after he went to the military camp he and other dozen of friends left the camp and fled to Sudan. He is currently living in Khartoum as a refugee.

I have another brother, a computer engineer, who is living in Eritrea. After finishing his study in 2011, he was forced to work in the national service. Since then he is working unpaid. He is married and a father of three children, aged 4, 3 and 2 years respectively.

My Families Living Outside Eritrea

From the two who fled from Eritrea, One went to Canada after waiting for six years through a family sponsorship. The second sister decided to take her chance through the Sahara desert and all along crossing the Mediterranean Sea.  After three months of life in the journey, she landed safely in the Italian soil. Now she is living in Italy as a refugee. [She has a shocking experience but she didn’t want to tell me the details].

My youngest brother also had similar unfortunate experience. He joined the military at the age of sixteen, in the year of 2007. In September 2013, he left Eritrea to Sudan. He was caught by smugglers and we paid 120,000 Nakfa as a ransom.  After spending two years there he finally crossed the Mediterranean Sea in the summer 2015. He is now living in Norway as a refugee.

And I

After serving for six years as a Lecturer in the only existing agricultural college in the country, the government sent me to China to do my Masters degree in the year of 2012. I was not happy there for many reasons. I decided to look for other opportunities and got another scholarship on my own. In 2013, I joined the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship program. Luckily France was the principal hosting country among the four other partner countries.

After two years of study, I finished my Masters degree successfully.

But life was not easy all along these years. I was married in 2011. I left my wife behind while she was five months pregnant. We got our baby in 2013. Unfortunately I was not lucky to see my beautiful baby. In the summer of 2015, I decided to let my wife leave the country illegally. I paid 6000 Euros for the smugglers to Sudan.

I had an opportunity to invite my family here in France. They could not get a passport simply because I refused to pay 2% to the Eritrean embassy in Paris and sign the regret paper. We faced the same problem in Sudan. As life was not easy in Sudan, again she continued her journey to Egypt through the Sahara. She reached Cairo safely after six days journey of life and death. I spent another 1500 Euros for the smugglers.

My wife and my beautiful daughter are now living in Cairo as a registered UNHCR refugee.

My family and I are living in different continents separated by sea of injustice. I miss them so much.

My Parents

My father, who was shocked over the death of his son, is living in anguish. My mother, who carried and gave birth to eight children, is now alone; with no one around even to help her fetch firewood. A father of eight children is no one of them around to assure and say, “Here I am, father”.

I feel the pain of my mother, her sorrow, her loneliness, and her anguish. I feel the grief of my heartbroken father. None of us is around when he needs us most in his old ages; we are forced not to be around.

I miss my brother. I hear echoes of his voice coming from the grave, talking to me, “where are you, Tesfabirhan? Are you around? Are you fulfilling our dreams? How is mother doing? Don’t let our father sit alone? Be with him.”

Sadly, I am living here in France: as a refugee, helpless, even unable to help my almost four year old daughter.  Till today and I don’t know when except I hope so, I am not able to be reunited with my family. They are stranded in the middle of nowhere expecting to join me. So far I couldn’t simply because of a piece of paper that could have let them get the visa easily.

This is the pain from within, cutting my guts. Yet, I didn’t narrate the stories of my uncle, my aunt, my extended family and my friends— how shocking do you think that would be?

Let me add this in my testimonies. It is about the suffering and sorrow of my aunt. She is a mother who lost four of her sons during the liberation struggle. Now she is living in sorrow, always crying, in a small house found in a village – in a house that has no electricity. Her beloved sons fought to bring light to Eritrea, yet, their almost eighty years old mother, like many Eritreans, lives in a dark room full of grief.

Conclusion

These types of stories are what you can hear from every single refugee today throughout the world. You can pick anyone from Eritrean refugees, just pick one and hear his/her anguish. It is horrifying beyond one can imagine.

If there are thousands of Eritreans leaving the country today, it is because of lack of freedom and injustice in our home country. Unfortunately the miser is not ending there. Even here in Europe and all over the world outside Eritrea, our suffering is continuing to exist. We are continuously living as a direct victim of the regime that let us suffer. We live in FEAR because of the extended surveillance works of regime’s embassies and forced obligations to be fulfilled whenever we need help for a different reason.