ኣውሊዐይ ናበይ ከይዳ? — ስግረዶብ ይጥርጠር።

eri_flag2

ኣውሊዐይ ናበይ ከይዳ?

እታ እንኮ ሓላፍነታ ኣብ ማእከል ባንዴራና ምህላው ዝኾነ ቆጽሊ ኣውሊዐይ፡ ቅንያቱ ንስራሕ ከም ዘይተቐልቀለት ተፈሊጡ። ሃገራዊ ግቡኣ ጠንጢና ብስግረዶብ ተሸሪባ ከይትኸውን ይጥርጠር።

ኣውሊዐይ ንኹላቶም ባእታታት ባንዴራ ኤርትራ ትቕድሞም እያ፣ ብግድምና ። እቶም ካብ ፈለማ 1950ታት ጀሚሮም ዝፈልጥዋ ከምዚ ናይ ሎሚ ብጫ ካይኮነት’ዮም ዝዝክርዋ።

ወግዓዊ መዝገባት መንግስቲ ኤርትራ ንጉዳይ ምቅይያር ሕብሪ ኣውሊዐይ ኣመልኪቶም ዝህብዎ መብርሂ የልቦን፡ ይኹን ምበር ገለገለ ሰባት ሕብራ ዝቐየረት ኣንጻር ውልቀመላኽነት ተቓውሞ’ዩ ዝብሉ ኣለው (ኣነ)። ብምረት’ያ ቐምሲላ እምበር ሕብራ ኣይቀየረትን ዝብሉ ውን ኣለዉ። እዚ ኾይኑ እቲ፡ ኣውሊዐይ ነዚ ሎሚ ዝቐምሰለ ተስፋ ኤርትራውያን ብግቡእ ትለብሶ።

proportions

ሓደ ርብዒ መርየት ሓደ ርብዒ ባሕሪ፡ ክንዲ ክልቲኡ ዝከውን ዝፈሰሰ ደም።

ሓንሳብ ሓንሳብ ባንዴራና ትንቢታዊ መልእኽቲ ዝሓዘለት ኮይኑ ይስመዓኒ። ከምቲ ኣብ እዋን ስትራተጂካዊ ምዝላቕ፡ ኣብ 70ታት ኮይኖም ንናጽነት ዝተነበይዎ፡ ከምኡ ደኣ ኣብ 90ታት ኮይኖም ንሎሚ ተነብዮምልና ከይኮኑ? ሓደ ርብዒ ቆጽለዋይ (ሕርሻዊ መርየት)፡ ሓደ ርብዒ ሰመያዊ (ባሕሪና)፡ ክንዲ ክልቲኡ ዝኸውን ድማ ቀይሕ ፍሳስ ደም ኤርትራውያን።

ወረ እቲ ቆጽለዋይ ሕብራሲ፡ እቲ ኩሉ ኤርትራዊ ዝምነዮ ልሙዕ መርየት ኤውሮጳ ደኣ ኸይከውን? እቲ ሰመያዊ  ከኣ ነቲ ናብ ልሙዕ መርየት ክንበጽሕ ክንሰግሮ ዘሎና ባሕሪ መመልከተ። ኣብ ፈተነ ስግረዶብ ዝፈሰሰ ደም ውን ኣይወሓደን። ተነብዮምልና ብሓቂ።

Eritrean Official flag

ወግዓዊ ባንዴራ ኤርትራ (ካብ ፋይል)

 

“Where is your brother?” -God

Cain answered,  “I don’t know…Am I my brother’s keeper? (Genesis 4:9).

A translation of the full Pastoral Letter of the Catholic Bishops of Eritrea is found here.
መልእኽቲ ካቶሊካውያን ጳጳሳት ኤርትራ ንምንባብ ኣብዚ ጠውቕ
ንባብ መልእኽቲ ንምስማዕ ድማ ኣብዚ ጠውቕ

Message-Tig

Click to access high quality image.

Click to access high quality image.

Click to access high quality image.

The dialogue with Elsa Chyrum

“Has God deliberately blinded us, or is it that we are callous because we have seen too much suffering.” Elsa Chyrum  challenged the Eritrean community, “We can’t continue living our daily lives as if nothing is happening.” She said our first objective should be “to remove this regime and to institute a system that respects human rights.”

Elsa Chyrum

Elsa Chyrum delivering her talk after a brief introduction by Almaz Negash (not in photo)

In addition to the talk by the respected Eritrean human rights activist Ms. Elsa Chyrum, the Conference titled “A Dialogue with Elsa Chyrum on the Global Crisis of Eritrean Refugees and Asylum Seekers.” had three main speakers: Almaz Negash, Saleh Gadi Johar and Saleh Younis. The event was predominantly conducted in Tigrinya language and ‘live’ English translation was projected for non-native attendees.

Elsa was modest in her talk and hardly talked about her work and achievements. Saleh Younis pointed this out and asked that she explain the recent hunger strike she did in protest of the detentions of Eritrean refugees in Djibouti. She explained that she took the action out of desperation having exhausted all hope that the Djibouti authorities would ever take the matter seriously. She pleaded and begged Djibouti authorities, at some point even met with the current Prime Minister.  “I even pleaded that they at-least release the Eritreans to neighboring countries under police escort if need be,” she said. Elsa said after the hunger strike, the UNHCR now recognizes the Eritreans in Djibouti as refugees and she believes that the international community has now put pressure on Djibouti authorities to resolve the matter.

Throughout her talk, Elsa was very soft-spoken person. One can feel genuine concern for the pain of Eritreans in her speech. During a visit to Eritrean refugee camps in Ethiopia, Elsa said she was touched to see hundreds and hundreds of young children who left Eritrea without their parents. “Seeing these little children living alone in refugee camp, seeing the future generation of Eritrea in such sad state I felt ill immediately. I had stomach pain that lasted for almost six months after wards.” Elsa said.

When asked a question on what we the diaspora need to do, Elsa replied that  it is important we start with helping those in our surrounding, “Our actions have to start with helping Eritrea refugees locally. We can achieve most there.”

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Saleh Gadi Johar centered his talk on human trafficking, “Human trafficking is not unique to Eritrea, its a global phenomena. So what makes human trafficking in Eritrea different?” After briefly highlighting global human trafficking challenges, he said that we should try to tackle it at the organization level and we should focus less on the ‘foot soldiers’ committing the crimes.

In one instance he likened human trafficking to drug smuggling and how difficult it is even for the greatest nations to tackle, “we have become like fire fighters running around trying to put out fire here and there, let us ask bigger questions ‘Who benefits from human trafficking of Eritreans?’… lets research and try to catch the bigger fish.” He also expressed his disappointment that many don’t actively involve in fighting human trafficking, “In four years [of research] I only have two phone numbers that belong to kidnappers. So why are we not open about it. I can understand it is difficult to inform on kidnappers when your loved ones are in the hands of traffickers but we should actively try to expose the criminals once we get our loved ones freed.”

"Either you are an activist or you are not." -Saleh Gadi Johar

“Either you are an activist or you are not.” -Saleh Gadi Johar

Saleh Younis talked on issues of Eritrea refugees, “Both the pull factor and the push factors that drive Eritreans to flee have increased in the past years.” He said, “and those responsible for either side blame each other as the main cause. Those responsible for the ‘push’ factor blame that the West is making it too easy for Eritreans to be granted Asylum, those on the ‘pull’ side complain that the tyrant needn’t press his boot so hard on his population.”

SalehY

“Decades of abuse have made the Eritrean pride dissolve away from Eritreans” -Saleh Younis

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An Eritrean Refugee, Stephanos Semere, who was a conscript of the Eritrean regime for nine years gave a testimony of his flight from Eritrea and the challenges he faced on his way to the USA.

The talks session was followed by a panel discussion with question and answer session.

Worried that I might miss my train, I had to leave early. According to the program flyer the conference ended with Closing Remarks  followed by Award of Appreciation presented to Elsa Chyrum on behalf of the Bay Area Eritrean Community.

flyer

Sponsors of the event from the flyer

Globalization, Imitation, and Eritrean Refugees

The Africa Today journal devoted its recent volume to research papers on Post-liberation Eritrea. The first of the research papers in this special issue investigates “an important variable in explaining current and recent refugee movement from Eritrea and other countries in Africa.”

“Globalization, Imitation Behavior, and Refugees from Eritrea”

Considering the significance of the matter, this paper has chosen an excellent research topic. Every month up to 3,000 Eritreans flee their country across the heavily guarded, dangerous borders. Continue reading

Investigating Post-liberation Eritrea

The Africa Today journal  devoted it’s recent volume (vol. 60 no 2) to research papers on Post-liberation Eritrea. Of the five papers in this special issue, four dealt with Eritrean immigrants and refugees. This demonstrates how much emigration and refugees define Post-liberation Eritrea–or simply ‘Eritrea’.

An introduction to the volume was written by the editor Dr. Tekle M. Woldemikael. The introduction titled “Postliberation Eritrea” gives a background on Eritrea and briefly describes the five papers in the volume:

(1) Globalization, Imitation Behavior, and Refugees from Eritrea.
by Assefaw Bariagaber (Professor, Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University, USA)
(2) Civil Society and Cyberspace: Reflections on Dehai, Asmarino, and Awate.
by Victoria Bernal (Professor, School of Social Sciences,  University of California at Irvine, USA)
(3) The Catch-22 of Resistance: Jokes and the Political Imagination of Eritrean Conscripts.
by David M. Bozzini (Postdoctoral Research Associate, Anthropology Institute, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland)
(4) Ransoms, Remittances, and Refugees: The Gatekeeper State in Eritrea
by Amanda Poole (Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA)
(5) Imagining Emigration: Debating National Duty in Eritrean Classrooms.
by Jennifer Riggan (Assistant Professor, Department of Historical and Political Studies, Arcadia University, USA)

In the coming posts, I’ll share my thoughts on each of these papers. First on the agenda is Dr. Assefaw Bariagaber’s “Globalization, Imitation Behavior, and Refugees from Eritrea” which I will post next weekend.

"You'll thank me later." ( Monk, the greatest detective in the universe)

“You’ll thank me later.” ( Mr. Monk, the greatest detective in the universe)

“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

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{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

original

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.

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Meaza

Meaza Petros Solomon is 16 year-old. Both her parents have been detained incommunicado for over ten years.

She hasn’t heard from them ever since: never saw them or heard their voice. She doesn’t know where they are being held or the conditions they are being held. She doesn’t even know if her father is aware of his wife’s arrest. Like everyone else, she also doesn’t know any thing.

In an event attended by the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Eritrean human rights, and representatives of various human rights and UN organizations, Meaza Petros gave a moving testimony.

Her father, Petros Solomon, was a top government official, formerly a senior commander of the insurgency that won Eritrean independence from Ethiopia in 1991, he was the Minister of Maritime Resources the time of his arrest in 2001.

He was arrested because he and 14 other officials called for democratic reform in government. Of course, since he was never charged with anything or his arrest officially confirmed by government, we can only speculate.

Her mother, Aster Yohannes was studying abroad when her husband was arrested. She decided to come back to Eritrea to her family, much like her husband she was disappeared as soon as her plane landed Eritrea in 2003.

Twenty-two intellectuals call Eritrean government to care

issu“I’m not bothered if people go there. If they ask for asylum here or there, if they are looking for jobs in the United States, in Europe. Why, why would I bother about that?”

These are the words of Eritrea’s President Isaias Afewerki responding to the question “Why are people leaving the country?” A question put to him in an interview with al Jazeera’s Jane Dutton.

His response pretty much sums up the government policy accurately.

The Lampedusa disaster of October 3rd, where a migrant boat carrying about 500 Eritreans sunk just off the island of Lampedusa (Italy) drowned about 360 of the Eritrean asylum seekers would-be. This event helped highlight the plight of Eritreans and the risks they are willing to take to leave their country.

The Eritrean government still refuses to acknowledge they were refugees fleeing Eritrea being smuggled to Italy, and instead continues to call them “victims of Human Trafficking” The government has continued to emphasize that they are not genuine asylum seekers or refugees in every press release it has made to so far.

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Now, a group of twenty-two Eritrean intellectuals living abroad and former students of Eritrea’s University of Asmara, have voiced their concern and called the government to care.

They have made the letter they sent to Eritrean officials public (in Tigrinya language) and have asked people to also sign the petition at this website below:

http://www.change.org/petitions/we-the-undersigned-eritrean-citizens-appeal-for-urgent-attention-of-the-government-of-the-state-of-eritrea-to-the-question-of-youth-flight-from-the-country?share_id=jurzXQNKXC&utm_campaign=mailto_link&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition

The PDF version of the latter is located here. I have taken the liberty of converting it to text and I have pasted it below: Continue reading