By Bruh Tesfa,
LAST Saturday May 16th, 2015 as I pull into the parking lot of the venue to join my compatriots in celebrating Eritrean Independence I was astounded with dismay to encounter a handful people on the corner of the street with dim lights holding what appeared to be the old Eritrean flag and chanting something I couldn’t make a sense out of. On the ground not far from where these “protesters” stood lay two burial boxes , presumably to symbolize the migrants who drowned off of Mediterranean Sea in recent months.
And here I’m insensitive to those who met death tragically, fully devoid of any compassion passing by the box to party without a pause. Shame on me! But my inner feeling was in no mood to entertain any sense of guilt the people in the street were trying to instill in a futile hope of disrupting the event. So I chose to keep going with even greater determination to be part of the joyous occasion. And, I’m glad that I did. After all, this was not the kind of party one participates for a mere self-gratification. It was a very important holiday reserved once a year to commemorate Eritrea’s Independence day.
Let me put things in perspective before I go on to make my point. Everyone knows that May 24 is Eritrea’s official Independence Day, a holiday which has been celebrated with great zeal for 24 years. Politics aside, May 24th denotes the day in which the enemies of Eritrea, those who subjected the Eritrean people to horrendous sufferings for over three decades were defeated, surrendered and sent home packing never to return. It’s also the day that made it possible for Eritrean families that were scattered every where as a result of foreign occupation and oppression for decades to rejoin and rejoice. This holier than Holy day May 24th is also the day that reminds us all that the huge sacrifice of our brothers and sisters, cousins and uncles, nephews and niece, mothers and fathers in the liberation of Eritrea from shackles of colonialism did not go in vain.
Sometimes I lose words as I try to make some sense out of the silly acts our “opposition” groupies engage in to discredit Eritrean government. And interestingly, the more they engage in such silly behaviors the more their inner motives are exposed. And this one where they go around celebration sites, shedding “crocodile tears” and intimidating people and preventing them from celebrating their hard-earned independence, takes the cake.
It’s quite natural for inhabitants of a given country to have differences in opinion and express whatever grievances they may have over a given issue. What’s unnatural and immoral is to see people to stoop so low and degrade and downplay the very essence that has given them a distinct identity, one with a remarkable history they should be proud of instead of mocking it . And the sad part is that those victims of ship wreckage for whom we all mourned and paid respect in due time, are being used as tools to drive certain political agenda. One should recall that these shameless and faceless elements also pulled similar political ploy as Eritreans in Europe were gearing up to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Bologna festival.
The hypocrisy in all of these dramas is that the people who are crying “wolf” over the tragic accident off of Mediterranean Sea which, as sad as it is, has no any correlation or link to Eritrea’s independence day celebration, are the same people who are and have been campaigning openly for the continuation of the illegal UN sanction and petitioning to disrupt the EU-Eritrea development plans underway. What kind of opposition that’s completely devoid of any sense of nationalism/patriotism can engage in such reckless activities and expect to win people’s hearts. Do they not realize that the continuation of the sanction is prolonging the suffering of the people and pushing some to take this dangerous journey? On the same token, isn’t calling European governments to stop economic cooperation with Eritrea tantamount to denying food and medicine to the very same people they claim to care? Who in the right mind can support let alone trust organizations who, on one hand, work with smugglers hand and glove in enticing young people to leave the country promising them the sky just to turn around and cry wolf and point fingers at others when tragedies strike?
In life things change for good or for worse and we, as humans, react to them accordingly. The tragedies that occurred on Mediterranean Sea that consumed the lives of our precious people on numerous occasions have touched everyone’s life. Not just did we grief over such tragic loss of lives, we also demanded for an independent investigation to apprehend those who are directly and indirectly engaging in human trafficking, a multi-billion dollar lucrative business, that is the cause if not the primary cause for the tragedies in the seas and Sahara and Sinai deserts.
Therefore, if the safety of the people is truly of our main concern, it is a must that those in the opposition stop playing political games and work for the betterment of the country and the people without jeopardizing its sovereignty. To start with, whatever campaigns and programs in place that would slow down youth migration should be encouraged and not condemned. And most importantly they need to cease working with the enemies who are hell bent in destroying Eritrea’s economy and reversing the very essence for which thousands fought for and paid the ultimate price.
Happy Independence Day Everyone!