Eritrea: A Family Nation that Persevered

The heroic participation of all Eritreans in the struggle was by far the greatest achievement of the Eritrean family. Testament to victory for the masses by the masses. In their honor. For their honor.

By Amanuel Biedemariam,

At times, it is hard to describe the nation and people of Eritrea to the outside world. That is in large because Eritrea is a unique nation with unique people that have defied the impossible odds time and again to emerge victoriously.

Eritrea’s challenges are almost always existential. Innately understanding this reality, the people have established an impenetrable mindset to overcome ever-mounting challenges and managed to sail above it as if telling the world bring-it-on. For, nothing that the enemies throw to divert or stop Eritrea from the march to success that the people have embarked on earnestly can alter the trajectory.

Eritrea has long found ways to describe this march-forward with a unique language from the days of the armed struggle for liberation. It goes,

The Camel will march ahead as the Dogs bark.

That means there is not enough noise in the world that can change the ways of Eritrea.

Hence, and in light of the fact Eritrea is celebrating 25 years of Independence this month, on May 24, 2016, it is high time to visit the essence, the core of the nature of the people, to remind all how we got here. Remember the cost Eritrea paid and rewind experiences that molded Eritrea and shaped her collective identity for those who forget.

One must remember the pre-independence Eritrea when Eritreans were fearful for their lives and livelihood and unsure of the future. Remember when Eritreans escaped the brutality of Ethiopian forces that pushed them out. Remember Eritreans were killed, imprisoned, and tortured by Emperor Haile Sellasie’s and Mengistu Hailemariam’s assassination squads.  

We must remember the superpowers, first the US and later the Soviet Union when they assisted Ethiopian regimes in destroying and systematically emptying Eritrea. They calculated an approach designed to annihilate Eritrea from existence, to weaken nationalism, to intimidate, harass and stop the struggle for Independence. It was a deliberate strategy that aimed to disburse the youth that they saw as a threat. They pushed Eritreans out to deny Eritrea the youth to stop them from joining the struggle. Then as in now, the US and European allies gave Eritrean youth asylum to leave Eritrea.

However, what they failed to add into their calculation is the spirit and willpower of the people. They could not understand the heart, courage, bravery, and willingness of Eritreans to sacrifice whatever it took to gain Independence. They failed to calculate the will and determination to defeat the enemies that imposed their will on the people illegally and brutally.

What is the secret?

The secret has always rested on the people. Eritreans dream, eat, breath, and drink Eritrea. Eritrea’s resilience and can do victorious spirit can only be described as one indestructible ship in the middle of a turbulent ocean. Facing mountains of waves in turbulent waters, yet Eritreans steadily go about their business unfazed knowing what is ahead, victory.

That is the hallmark that expresses and sustains Eritrea.

Eritrea chose the most appropriate expression to start the 25 Years’ quest for Independence Jubilee Celebrations. Eritrea will kick off the celebrations in Nakfa with a lighting of the Torch ceremony to signify the importance of Nakfa to the Eritrean struggle for liberation. That torch will then travel throughout Eritrea and finally end in Asmara. 

Because Eritrea is the torch that burns in the heart of all Eritreans no matter where they reside and irrespective of the circumstances they live. Eritrea endures no matter what because Eritreans worldwide carried carry the torch for freedom and Independence.

The truth is, Eritreans are devoted believers; however, they are not bound by religion. They understand ethnicity and regional diversities are the blessings that work as the web that binds us all. They know that the nine ethnic groups are the most beautiful and colorful expression of their identity. It doesn’t mean they do not believe.

For over 50 years, Eritreans have championed each other en-route to the most critical struggle to freedom as one and succeeded. Above all, they are unfazed by the challenges of the world.

The Independence of Eritrea is, therefore, the expression and direct outcome of the united struggle.

The struggle for Independence of Eritrea was waged in the belly of the beast in Asmara, in the suburbs, main cities, villages, and remote Areas within Eritrea. It was fought in the Middle East, Africa, Ethiopia, Sudan, Europe, and North America diplomatically, raising awareness while raising funds and providing a morale boost to those in the field.

The people of Eritrea fought as one; they truly fought as one family because the blood spilled to gain the precious gift of Independence and in defense of the nation is a gift that Eritreans paid dearly. Hence, the Eritrean family bond is etched in blood. That is what makes Eritrea a family nation, a nation born out of the shared family blood.

That is why the bond will endure, serve as an inspiration and an anchor. It is the shield from the divisiveness that the enemies work day and night to create. It gives Eritrea freedom from mental slavery.

That is what the visionary front preached and fought to accomplish. They fought to attain Self Reliance; they exemplified a can-do attitude, a drive that brought Independence


Eritrea became free and attained Independence because the people of Eritrea believed that Eritrea was a free nation independent from the rules western powers imposed on her. Eritrea was an independent and free nation in the hearts and minds of every Eritrean before 1991. There existed no doubt in Eritrean minds that Eritrea would become free.

That was the torch that burned in the hearts of all Eritreans everywhere and led them to work with each other and manage to win freedom. Hence, the heroic participation of all Eritreans in the struggle was by far the most outstanding achievement of the Eritrean Family. Testament of the drive to victory for the masses by the masses. In their honor. For their honor.

Awet N-Hafash
Eternal Glory to the Martyrs

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