“Concentration camps of Israel” – Eritrean President

Explaining the undesirable nature of becoming an immigrant, President Isaias Afewerki mentioned Israel to emphasize the objectionable life Eritrean refugees experience.

He said Eritreans are languishing in Israel’s refugee camps, which he quickly paraphrased “Concentration camps”, to quote the President’s exact words: “When you consider the life of those in camps, concentration camps, of Israel you can’t even say there is anything worst or more horrific than that.”

Regarding other Eritrean refugee destinations he said. “even in other cities, European cities, you can’t say [Eritreans] are having any life that has much meaning”

The President said that the country has suffered absolutely no set backs due to citizens leaving the country. The only damage, he explained, is to these individuals themselves. He repeatedly pleaded Eritreans to return, “for your own sake, please return to your country.”

In an effort to discourage those planning to flee the country, the President challenged youth not to be shortsighted and instead to, “think in-terms of where you’ll be in five or six years time”. “The things you are loosing today” he remarked, “you can’t gain back tomorrow.”

He advised the youth not to succumb to trivial thinking such as, “I don’t have enough salary, or I don’t have any salary; I don’t have this and that; my family are going through this or that; my mother is suffering because of this or that, … and I’ll go abroad and send her money.”

The interview was conducted by the State media (the only media in the country) on the occasion of “Fenkil” military victory commemoration (February 10, 1990).

“When you consider the life of those in camps, concentration camps, of Israel you can’t even say there is anything worst or more horrific than that.” ~Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki, February 2014

{This post quoted at The Jerusalem Post and Haaretz Newspapers}

Are Eritrean refugees legit?

This is a legitimate question given the polar opposite answers out there. “There are two sides to a story” the saying goes, but in the case of Eritrea it is more appropriate to say “There are two stories,” period.

On one side, the Eritrean government and the Iranian State television (Press TV) tell us that Eritreans choose to leave their country for economic reasons. For better jobs, bigger salaries, etc. On the other side, many nations, many more humanitarian agencies, and the immigrants themselves tell us that Eritreans are forced to flee their country because of extreme government oppression. Continue reading

Solidarity with African asylum-seekers in Israel


The Eritrea cyberspace is flooding with a black-and-white equal sign.

In show of support to the protest of “African” asylum-seekers in Israel (“infiltrators” in Israeli government’s official vocabulary), many Eritreans and friends of Eritrea are changing their social media profile picture to this sign.

For example, this Saturday, the respected human rights activist, Meron Estifanos posted the solidarity symbol on her Facebook page with this message: “One way you can express your solidarity with the African asylum-seekers in Israel is by changing your profile picture to this black & white avatar.”

On Sunday morning (January 5) about 30, 000 people marched to Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square. “The protesters, mostly Eritreans and Sudanese, are angry about a law that allows illegal immigrants to be detained for a year without trial.” a BBC report reads.

Haaretz, a daily newspaper in Israel,  notes a sentence from a flyer announcing the strike: “Our only sin is that we ran away from political persecution, forcible military service, dictatorship, civil war and genocide.