Category Archives: Opinion and Discussion

My Opinion on Regionalism

In political philosophy, regionalism is not a state of where you belong; it is how far you think outside your own house. It becomes complex when an attitude of self-delineated mind exist and fail to think beyond and reject the existence of the whole.

It starts from minority complex and integrating onself to phenomenon that revolve around the periphery. One feels that he is much safer when remained stucked in his own cave while still the wind is blowing outside.

If this is the mind complex that generate such thinking, then, there it develops Romanizing the cave and live within it. Romanizing creates to appreciate the past and resists the on-going activities outside the cave. And anyone who touches the periphery of this Romanization is against it, be it right or wrong.

Having this initiation, a regionalist creates an image of either superiority or inferiority and fight for that. And is always like a strong bee colony in approaching and defending the state where he belongs.

And at the same time, regionalism can be imposed by external agents also. Those who impose such characters are themselves not free and like a virus, they invade the other territory and contaminate it by the same way. From this then, the state of “WHO YOU ARE” develops and the two indulge in the same and create chaos for nothing.

And Eritreans are not free, but we didn’t posses it before, we got contaminated by a virus injected to us; first by the divide and rule policy of great Britain and after from two sides, the Ethiopian rulers and the political developments within the revolutionary commands that existed in the 1970’s.

This can be clearly traced by referring “Nihnan Elamanan’ of EPLF, a self-centered rationalistic approach of dealing the political issues that complicated the whole course of our struggle and post independence.

I said, “Regionalism is Romanizing your own self and never think beyond.” It is state of the mind extent, not areal extent. Area has nothing to do with a mind obsessed on his own ego? Let’s not attach it with geographical area. It is a physiological geography.

For me, regionalism; nationalism, Leninism, sexism, feminism, Maoism, secularism, Africanism…. all words having suffix “…ISM” are the same. I am saying words, words that express set of ideas or way of thinking and acting as such for they are the driving forces.

If you try to refer all this type of words, they are problem creatures. Because they create a boundary. It could have been good if they stop there and never reach the others. But the truth is the opposite. They hide themselves on such mind state and go beyond to contaminate the others. The innocent mind state.

I don’t want to go down and interpret the word raised as many ordinary thinking people do. This is for me putting in a slam.

As human being, I want to live without boundary. I don’t mean without a house, a village, a region, a nation, a continent, the planet. I was born in a place which I am always attached. But, this is not my limit. I need to go beyond my cave and look around and reach far beyond.

And I don’t reject who I am. Because I am the result of where I came from. But I will not organize others to appreciate the way I appreciate and neglect or oppose the others.

We need to come-out from superiority-Inferiority complex. We are human being and we are born to live with civility. To live with civility means to do things that can harmonize us with all. Living, non-living. And live in integrity. Not by localizing. We are supposed to live like birds, just like the white cloud.

But just to manage and administer the way we live, we need a civilized way of ruling the surrounding.

Therefore, forget, Aditekelezan, forget hamasien. Come-out from the romantized physcological geography. Live beyond. Just let’s think on how we can manage our life.

Countries were created just after 18thC. Before the system was different. And organizing people at national level was in its time a high level of thinking and managing people and resources in a more efficient way. And now at continetal level came.

Rememeber how Abraham Clinton faught against division of America in the 1770th. 200 years, he said UNIION is the only means. He declared “Unity” by all costs and he succeeded and as we can see now we have the power ful America.

And see now European Union. Europeans were almost 150 years remained behind to understand the true meaning of UNITY.

A lot of things need to be done to come out of “REGIONALIS” or in general “…ISM’s sickness.

I don’t mean that all true values of oneself should be forgotten. I got a chance to study FOOD IDENITY and through this I am learning how Europeans are trying to keep their culture. Please read some on “TERROIR” “Geographic Indication Products.”

 

(Origionally posted in Hanti-Alem discussion group on 09/12/2013 – I am not sure if this page is still active though.)

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Language Issue: An outdated and old fashioned Political Debate

In this modern day, language is NO MORE an issue. It is an outdated debate. What you need is interpreters(even a computer program is doing this service). Then, anyone can speak in a language that he masters. And listeners can switch the language they want.

We are living in the IT era.

Personally, I have excluded the language issue from my political argument. It is old politics.

As a human right advocator, I believe everybody’s choice of using a language that he/she can master.

And any official publication, state publication, must be produced in all languages at the time of release.

For this, what we need is establishing strong institutions who specialize in languages.

Even if there is a langage that is spoken by a single person or small number of people, they have a right to be educated and read official publications using their own language. And this is one of human rights aspect.

I can not excuses on experts. The state has an obligation to respect and protect the rights of every citizen citizen.

Mentors of my Fearless Passion

For a long time, I was a victim of my own political thinking; a thinking that I had deep inside but unable to put them in shape. I was not able to communicate to the outisde world clearly. And often, many people whom I had a chance to interact with were unable to figure out what I was coveying through my political writings. They were able to figure out my energy and potential the same as I do. Unfortunately, I continued to live in a limbo of unfiltered political thinking.

Since my childhood, I was lucky enough to be exposed to a diversified world. At the same time, the diversified world I joined in had a its own meris and demerits. I had a mixed feelings. I had no clear path to make use of that diverse and beautiful world  experiences so that my life and the life of others could be better. 

The time I started to engage in politics, I had no clear political thinking to start with except my hate to PFDJ regime and exposing it’s ideology. Even my first publicly published article under a title, “Rule of the Jungle and a Quest of PFDJ Mindset” is all about PFDJ Ideology. I continued to write about PFDJ political ideology without hiding my hate towards it. My call to weed-out PFDJ is so loud. Members from Awate Forum consider my approach as extreme as it sounded. And it was.

With time, things started to change. After three years of engagement in political writings, debates and discussions, I started to realize that I filtered my political thinking and what I am passionate to advocate for. By now, my I am a liberal democrat who is serious on human rights issue and democracy.

My constant readings, following prominent politicians, human rights and political activists, and known world politicians helped to shape my political thinking.

At this time, it is a noble thing to mention some of the very few Eritreans  and world figures that I am closely following. Without doubt, they are helping me to shape my politics and what I care most.

  1. Elizabeth Chyrum 

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, indoor and outdoorCommonly called by her nickname, Elsa, is without doubt one who is helping me to be enlightened what Human Rights Activism is. I am learning what a fearless human Rights activist is day in day out from her works. My admiration to her works is so public. She is a model one ordinary citizen who is willing to learn from.

Elsa is a typical Human Rights Activist and Defender. I hope many Eritreans who want to engage in Human Rights Activism to learn from her wisdom.

2. Saleh Ghadi Johar

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, closeupSaleh is a patriot political activist. His selfless, fearless, encyclopedic knowledge about Eritrea and Eritreans is simply wonderful. He is like an open book. What you need is just to approach him. He is available, caring, willing, and a mentor.

Though his conservative political approach may put a free a young, innocent and open minded person in a puzzle, his willingness and readiness to communicate in almost everything about politics is a blessing one to share with. More than his political life, he is a geniune justice loving man.

Saleh Johar values friendly relationship more than politics. He never misses to ask about family. This shows how good hearted person he is.

 3. Saleh Younis

Image may contain: 1 personThis guy is a typical minded person. Though I don’t agree with his politics, my admiration for his analytical mind is beyond what I can say in words. Since 2013, I am learning a lot from his sharp mind. What I admire most about him is his communication skills.

His advocacy for Human Rights and knowledge on international issues is what I want to learn from.

He is a man who combined passion and profession.

If you ask me who can save Eritrea from today’s chaos – I have no doubt to mention Saleh Younis. If he gets an opportunity, I have no doubt he will transform Eritrea into one of the best democratic state in Africa.

4. Yosief Gebrehiwet

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "yosief ghebrehiwet asmarino"Of course I don’t agree with his politics. I describe him as one who has a “Dead Soul Mind”. I once wrote an argumentative article against what he wrote for (you can find them in Part I and Part II of my articles)

Nevertheless, he is one of those great minded Eritreans any open minded person can learn from. His critical thinking has helped me to learn how to analyse and step your pen closer on controversial issues. He is a person whom you should learn from if you are planning  to build serious political arguments. There is no doubt that he will continue to be one of those controversial political thinkers that will be referenced, discussed, debated and possibly a source of political conflict in the future Eritrea.

5. Abba Mussie Zeray

Image may contain: 1 person, beardAbba Mussie is a perfect example of determination, persistence, relentlessness, availability and compassion. His fearless stand for humanity is a typical model if one wants to be inspired. What I am learning most from him is how a singe man is capable of doing a miraculous job of saving thousands of lives.

6. Pope Francis

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "pope francis"Without doubt he is a great spiritual leader. Pope Francis is a unique human being. His message and care for humanity is what it is making me passionate about his teachings. He is a man of peace and love.

His fearless advocacy for world peace, humanity, protecting our planet, welcoming and hosting refugees without discrimination, his call to build more bridges than walls, his spiritual leadership, readiness to work with all religious groups, etc, are among those I admire most. I am learning how a single good minded person can make a change no matter how strongly established institutions exist.

7. Barak Obama

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "barack Obama"I consider Obama as a person of clear and noble minded politician. In 2008, I remember repeating his motto, “Change” when I started to involve in my former college development programs. Since then, I am learning from wisdom, speech skills and leadership quality. I am finding him a man of measured wisdom.

I am learning how one can achieve great achievements even when there is a closed chamber working environment. I am learning whatever bottlenecks one may face, still there can be great changes to be achieved. His major strength, “HOPE” is one that I learned to keep it as a motivatioanl tool of doing things.

8. Bernie Sanders

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "bernie sanders"Sanders is a fighter. I love this guy for his energy, passion and simplified but strong messages. From Sanders, I am learning that politics exists in words. The way we interprate and analyse words so that we can use them for our own advantage.

His campaign for what he believes on, closeness to people, passion to address issues, etc, are a remarkable lessons to learn as great political lessons.

9. Guy Verhofstadt 

Image may contain: one or more people and eyeglassesI consider him as Bernie of Europe. His advocacy for a strong and reformed European Union is a typical example. I am taking lessons from his Liberal democratic political approach. His passion and strong communication skills are typical examples of a need to have a strong message. I am learning lessons of passion and communication skills effeciency.

10. Trevor Noah 

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "trevor noah"I came to be familiar with Trevor when I was in China. He was in the comedy business by that time. I found him while searching some videos that could make me laugh and relax. And since he became the main host for TV daily Show, I started to follow his him daily.

Without doubt, he is among those sharp minded people I came to know. His entertaining skills and relaxed approach on serious political issues, his critical and indeepth analysis, his articulation skills, openness, and charming approach is helping me to make politics part of my life without being drowned into the abyss of non solvable political problems.

11. Tariq Ramadan

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "tariq ramadan"If there is anyone who wants to learn public and political engagement, Tariq Ramadan is one whom you can learn from.

I came to know Tariq Ramadan in 2013 while I was searching for speeches in French. My primary objective was to learn French. But sooner, I felt in love with his teachings. His fluency in French, English and Arabic is simply a free gift for one to learn from.

Beside his noble teachings about Islam, his engagement with politicians is simply amazing. From Tariq ramadan I am learning how to engage states, politicians and ordinary people for the cause whoom one is interested for.

12. Nelson Mandela

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "Nelson Mandela"Of course, this great man is a source of political and human wisdom.  When ever I watch his speeches, I started to cry out of joy and ecstacy.

What amazes me most about Mandela is that his clear and strong stand for freedom without any compromise and his forgiveness power to heal the wounds of past grievances.

Above all, he never forgot those who were with him throught his entire struggle years.

 

 

 

 

Marine Le Pen: Sanity of Liberty or Controversy of Policy

On 21/02/2017, I came to learn that Marine Le Pen, the far right Predidential candidate of Frence 2017 has refused to wear headcraft during her scheduled meeting with Lebabon Mufti during her tour in Lebanose. Here is my reflection.

Sanity of Liberty

I don’t agree with most policies that the far right presidential candidate of France 2017 wants to implement but I REALLY ADMIRE HERE DECISION TO REFUSE HEADCRAFT during a scheduled meeting with Lebanon’s Mufti. She ddoesn’t wear in her daily life why then she has to just to meet the mufti.

By doing this, I think Le Pen has shown her role as an emancipated and free woman of 21thC. Freedom is freedom and should not be taken away at any time and place.

I am confident also the Mufti will admire her decision and arrange another meeting that respects her full freedom.

Relatively Lebanon is a liberal country by comparing to other Islamic States. Respecting Marine Le Pen’s freedom not to wear headcraft will therefore make Lebanon more liberal, not other wise.

Marine Le Pen refusal to wear veil

Still Lebanon has some liberal views regarding to religious communities. And its society are open minded and respect diversity. As a Francophonic country, its link with European culture is strong despite challenges facing the area zone.

Now that it is an important moment for the world in the political discourse to follow for the 21cC, what leaders do matters. Marine Le Pen, a conservative leader of France, iShe is trying to preserve the historical legacies of French civilization throughout the 19thC and 20thC.

This being the fact, France has strong world heritage in terms of liberty and secular views. Obeying what religious leaders order is therefore unacceptable.

Marine Le Pen, as crazy as she is, she didn’t let the French Revolution down in her trip to Lebanon. She has shown her strong side, an emanicipated woman of all oppressions. I believe therefore, her womanhood in the French eyes will give an honour of legacy that will be remembered for generations to come.

I salut her courage and modeling role of all women to fight against religious oppressions.

Controversy of Policy: Paradox

In september 2016, Nice court has moved on banning women not to wear headcraves in public areas. This rule affected Moslem women directly. Though The highest French Court ruled against the banning lawsuite, it has questioned the controverial issue of human body liberty. Especially, women were affected directly.

For more follow this link and this one and this one

Marine Le Pen, like all other of her conservative beliefs, it has supported the banning. This has uproared liberal thinkers and strong supporters of feminist movements.

On this occasion, I call Marine Le Pen to support other people’s choice of wearing whatever they want. In the paradoxical move of banning headcraft in public areas of France, she [Marine Le Pen] supported the ban. And this shows her double standard on her own liberty according to what she beliefs and her controverial policy of limiting people’s freedom. 

marine-le-pen3

In my conclusion, I refuse any kind of impossed rule on human being, be it on men or women. People should be guided by liberal life rules and respecting a choice of someone should be the ultimum sanity.

Voices of Justice and Democracy Challenging Modern Ethiopia

Democraty in today’s Ethiopia

[Originally published  and edited at http://www.awate.com]

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.

Historical discourses of my family

Originally posted at awate.com

Can be accessed at: <a href="http://awate.com/a-sample-of-the-eritrean-grief">A Sample of Eritrean Grief</a>

Let me share my story with you. Some people don’t know what every Eritreans are facing, yet they comment just for the sake of commenting. Let me share with you what my family has been going through for many years.

My 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 entire family and took the full responsibility of caring for the ten members of our family. At that time six out of the ten were students: one was serving in the military, he was married and a father; a married sister was a mother of three, and her husband was serving in the military. My brother was also served in the military for four years before he decided to abscond, hide, and work to care for the family. After working for two years while hiding in a small family garden, until 2006, life became so difficult for him and he couldn’t continue working under the circumstances anymore.

The government took my mother away and kept her in prison. 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 himself up and he went into prison where he stayed for one year before he was freed. That was in September 2007.

My brother was able to attend my university graduation ceremony, which was held in 2007. That evening he told me that he can’t live in Eritrea anymore. Together with a close of his, who was in an almost similar situation, they decided to flee outside Eritrea. Their escape was an eight days journey to the Sudanese border. 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 he knew living overseas to provide any support for him and he struggled and survived there for three months. Eventually he was able to leave the camp and reach to Khartoum after he received some money from home.

Life was hard in Sudan and he worked equally hard because he wanted to help his family who were still in Eritrea. Fortunately, he had many skills in construction and agriculture. While he lived in the Sudan, he managed to survive and even to help our two sisters who faced trouble after they decided to flee Eritrea–human smugglers holding them hostage asked for a ransom and my brother was the only one who was supposed to help. He also managed to help and finally my sisters joined him.

Until 2009, I had no income at all and our family continued to be dependent on my brother. At that time, I was just beginning to be able to support myself, but yet, I was unable to support my family at home.

My brother continued to bear the burden of supporting our family responsibility until December 27, 2012 when he dialed a “missed-call” to me. I returned his call and he told me he was severely ill. Three days later he passed away. May he Rest in Peace.

Through his support, I am who I am now.

One of my sisters now she is living in Canada. Another is living in Italy (she has a shocking experience but she didn’t want to tell me the details). My youngest brother also had similar unfortunate experience; he finally crossed the Mediterranean Sea this summer. He is now living in Norway.

My father, who was shocked over the death of his son to the extent that now he unable even to control himself. My mother, who carried and gave birth to eight children, is now alone, with no one around even to help her fetch firewood.

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 (the national service member who was happy because he was wounded reminded me of my brother). My brother started to work. But since he was not able to take his medicine properly, he was infected for a second time. But after some time, started to work again. But he was infected for a third time, though luckily he didn’t die. He spent six-months in a military hospital. Sadly, now he is almost paralyzed, but we are lucky he is still alive—this brother is a husband and a father of five.

I still have another brother who is under thirty years of age and he is still living in Eritrea; a father of three children, he is tied up in the national service.

My sister, a mother of four children, already has her oldest daughter doing the national service.

And myself? I am a student who just finished my MA degree program and who depends on scholarships for his daily life. I am also a husband and a father too, though separated by a sea of injustice from my family whom I miss so much.

Imagine now: if what you read in just a sample, a tragedy of a single Eritrean family, what is the cumulative, national pain that Eritreans are going through!

A mother of eight children, yet no one around to fetch her firewood and water; a father of eight children has no one of them around to assure him, “here I am, father”.

The above story is my personal story, the story of what my family went through and what they real situation they are facing. 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 age, we are forced not to be around. Incidentally, these are the type of helpless people that the Nobel prize nominee, Abba Mussie Zerai, has been helping.

And 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.”

And I am living in France, helpless, unable to help my three year old child still stranded in the middle of the way to join me but couldn’t because of a piece of paper, a passport problem! 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? But let me conclude by telling you about the suffering of my aunt:  she is a mother who lost four of her sons during the liberation struggle. Now she is living alone, always crying, in a small house in a village—in a house 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.

Tesfabirhan W; REDIE

12.10.2015

Rennes, France