By Desale Okubamichael
dessu81 (AT) gmail (DOT) com
During our long and tortuous history, our attitude made us win, and it made us lose. We feel both the successes and the losses deep in our hearts.
The achievement of independence in 1991 was a miracle. All the heroism and determination that went into winning caused an awesome feeling. The joy and the celebration are printed in my memory. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Most Eritreans had great hope for the future at that time. We trusted the EPLF fighters as our gods. I thought they would turn Eritrea into a peaceful and prosperous country. I thought Eritreans would be equally rich.
But I had no understanding of democracy, diplomatic relationships, or economic policies — I had no clue about the external world. I thought everybody was an enemy of Eritrea and everyone was either a past or a potential coloniser. The one thing I was sure of was that Eritrea’s time had come and Eritreans would be free forever and own their future.
The fighters were so exciting to watch: wearing simple shorts and shirts, strapping on their web belts, cleaning their guns with skill, and dutifully following instructions from their commanders. Members from all of Eritrea’s nine ethnic groups looked the same in those uniforms and seemed to be in harmony with each other: men, women, Muslims, Christians, the educated and the uneducated ready to give their best and die for their people if needed. The freedom feeling and the song “Wesede Ayay B’al Sere” are still fresh in my memory.
What could go wrong under these fighters and their leadership? Continue reading