Eritrea’s Unshakable Gratitude and Commitment to Martyrs and Veterans
JULY 10, 2015
First they ignore us, then they malign us, then they attack us, then we win. It is in our proud Eritrean history to accomplish victory even if the challenges come in different forms and venue
By Amanuel Biedemariam,
The thirty-year struggle for the Independence of Eritrea has cemented a legacy and history of valor unseen anywhere.
The history is based on stories of a nation that marched forward regardless of the hurdles and stumbling blocks. These are stories of Eritrean braves that marched forward after burying the martyrs on the spot and en route to a certain victory.
These are stories of gallantry by those that marched nonstop while drenched with blood and carrying the wounded to safety. They forged ahead, eying the future with one thing in mind, Independence. No matter what happened along the way, Eritrea marched forward and won Independence, beating all odds and ensuring international recognition.
Along the way, Eritrea paid dearly with lives of over 60,000 martyrs that perished, thousands more wounded, and forced countless to flee while the world gave blind eye and ignored the plight.
The successful struggle for Independence is a remarkable achievement that demonstrates Eritrea’s unstoppable and straight-upward trajectory. It is a trajectory of a thriving nation that lives in honor and to honor the martyrs while holding the veterans in reverence.
To understand what determined Eritrea’s successful and unwavering path, one must go back to the beginning when the people of Eritrea were stripped bare of all their rights and handed to Ethiopia by the UN at the behest of the US.
Eritrea then had nowhere to turn but look inward to find ways ingenious, indigenous, and independent ways to free a nation from the grips of imperial power that imposed an archaic feudal system. The US-led UN-imposed feudal system upon the people of Eritrea was primitive and incompetent. However, the US and its European allies eying their long-term strategic interests and agendas, propped and promoted Emperor Haile Selassie as a figure to be revered by the third world.
The US and its EU partners created mechanisms, methodology and enacted a process that led to the subjugation of the people of Eritrea by force coercion. The US and EU employed ploys to divide Eritreans and used the UN to create the federation, a pretext to ease Ethiopia into Eritrea through the UN with minimum challenges. In short, the US handed Eritrea to Ethiopia, colonialism by proxy, and used the UN to legitimize the forced union. Scores of Eritrean patriots were killed and imprisoned because they opposed the union.
At the end of World War II, Eritrea and South Africa were the most developed nations in Africa. However, the world turned a blind eye as Halie Selassie’s regime and Great Britain stripped Eritrea bare to weaken it.
They denied Eritrea diplomatic and political support. They refused Eritrea access to its resources, dismantled the institutional structures and the leadership. Eritrea was left to die. On the other hand, they helped Ethiopia financially and militarily and hoisted it on a stage as a global player. That is what the people of Eritrea had to overcome to become independent. Then-as- in-now the US pushed US agendas under the guise of the UN.
However, Eritrea’s brave people immediately organized, created a formidable liberation force, and started fighting the feudal system and its handlers, first the US and later the Soviet Union. Eritrea then was scorched bare by the US, the Soviets, and the Ethiopian army.
While the battles raged, the most significant challenge the people of Eritrea had to overcome was the civil war between Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) and the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF). The EPLF won decisively. With the leadership of the EPLF at the helm, Eritrea refocused on the mission ahead and moved forward.
Eritrea was empty, dry because drought raged everywhere. The farmers could not farm as the farm lands became battlefields and halted trade as roads were blocked in and out of the cities.
Then as in now, the US, Europe, UN, and the Organization of African Unity gave blind eyes and deaf ears to the suffering when Ethiopian regimes committed atrocities and genocides against the people of Eritrea.
As a result, by necessity, the people of Eritrea were forced to look inward and develop ways to conduct the struggle. They knew then that no help could save them.
That is where the principles of SELF RELIANCE, the recognition that the “Struggle is Long and Victory CERTAIN” comes from as there was no other option. That, of course, was based on a core value, “Victory for the Masses” by the masses.
In 2015, the people of Eritrea were facing the same hostility and danger to their existence as they did after the end of World War II. Under the guise of the UN Human Rights Commission, they continuously hatch schemes to defame the history of bravery, sally Eritrea’s image, to undermine the progress the people of Eritrea are making, to bully Eritreans in the Diaspora, and scare them from supporting their government. They want to distort the narratives and destroy a nation that works for social justice by portraying it as enslaving its people and describing the national service as slavery—aiming to destabilize Eritrea and save the dying TPLF regime in Ethiopia.
The question is, where were they when the youth struggled for thirty years? Where were they when Ethiopia bombed the people with napalm bombs? Where were they when Ethiopian troops torched villages, mutilated mothers’ breasts, and shot the children in broad daylight? The atrocities were endless but, where were they?
After the cloud of misery on the hands of successive colonizers was lifted with victory and Independence. When Eritrea is readying to embark on a new chapter overcoming all their schemes, they hatch more plans to undermine Eritrea’s Independence using the UN Human Rights Commission.
With lies, a UN body is brazenly disregarding the voices of the people of Eritrea by embracing a few disgruntled and manufacturing nonexistent human rights violations. However, they failed and failed miserably.
Regardless of the cover used, the primary objective remains regime change and undermining Independence. Successive attempts to change the government of Eritrea using different means have failed. On the first attempt, the minority TPLF regime waged an illegal war under the guise of a border dispute and forced Eritrea to pay with the lives of 20,000 youth.
They continued successive attempts to incite revolt within Eritrea. When that failed, they focused on the youth and national service and started campaigning against it. They enticed the youth with visas and asylum in Europe, Israel, the US, and Canada as part of the campaign. It was an attempt to deny Eritrea the youth that defends and builds the nation, and ultimately, to ensure forced entry without resistance when opportune.
They then painted the youth flight as a crisis created due to the egregious human rights violations perpetrated by the Eritrean government. It was a problem they made in the first place as part of a campaign designed to accomplish what they long failed to do through the war and other means. They aimed to take the government and leadership to the international criminal court. Regime change through the International Criminal Court (ICC).
During the press conference on June 24, 2015, it was evident that the United Nations Commission of Inquiry (COI) in Geneva, outside its mandate, tried to connect the leaders of Eritrea with unsubstantiated, fabricated claims of Human Rights violations with the sole aim to send them to the ICC unsuccessfully. The special rapporteur Sheila Ketaruth was eager and even tried to link unrelated “G15’s” (arrest of former government officials) with illegal Human Rights Violations.
However, the chair of the COI, Mike Smith, admitted that his investigation failed to connect Eritrean authorities to the alleged Human Rights violations and exonerated the leaders of Eritrea. However, it was a bogus claim from the beginning.
As the saying goes, “That which does not kill you only makes you stronger.” The ill-will of the west has continually strengthened the hand of the people of Eritrea. What the COI invented angered Eritrean’s and spurred them into action. Over 10,000 strong showed up in Geneva to show their discontentment and anger against the continuous malicious premeditated injustices perpetrated against them by the institution that calls itself United Nations.
What stands out is the flexibility and the ability of the people of Eritrea to mobilize quickly. It showed how well-organized Eritreans were across the globe when they managed to gather from all around Europe, the US, and other countries to protest against the COI report in less than ten days. The demonstrators frustrated the commissioners, who displayed open hostility towards the people fighting for their rights. They were frustrated because they failed to shake the unity of the people since they knew that was the backbone of the nation’s strength. Eritreans exposed the UN Human Rights Commission, the US, and the EU as fraudsters and criminals.
Mike Smith of the COI has a background in intelligence. They get these positions to create mechanisms to destabilize vulnerable countries. Their work has nothing to do with human rights or humanity. They use Human Rights as a cover to create cracks. This was transparent by how they conducted the investigation. They denied Eritreans a voice and unjustly pushed through without addressing the people’s concerns and government of Eritrea. They also created a setting to demonize, belittle, criminalize and dehumanize the people of Eritrea.
It was is a huge miscalculation, and contrary to how they wanted to portray Eritrea, their actions accord Eritrea unprecedented global exposure. As the saying goes, “All publicity is good publicity” and, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” Their sinister intentions were to destabilize Eritrea, exploit the riches, and control one of the most important strategic locations of the world. They failed.
As angering as it may be, all these-ill attempts accords a unique opportunity to promote Eritrea and what it stands for. The people of Eritrea know well all this unwelcome attention is not because they are terrible. It is not because they are genuinely trying to help better the standard of life for their kids. They know these attentions are because Eritrea is special. Eritreans also know they are on their own.
Because of that, they have learned that they can depend on each other to fight off the enmity. That is the brave history that started in the fields of Eritrea without any outside support. Eritrea purged the enemies and won Independence.
The enemies responsible for the thirty-year struggle are now challenging our Independence. However, and to their dismay, that independent path is still the torch guiding the fight against these poorly conceived failed webs of conspiracies that aim to bring down a nation erected with the blood of dear.
Eritrea is a blessed nation. Because yesterday, Eritrea fought in the trenches first Independence and later the TPLF to safeguard sovereignty. Today, Eritrea is fighting the fight from the streets of Geneva while Daniel Teklehaimanot blazes in Tour de France, leading the way. That is the highest form of blessing for a nation that should have long ceased to exist. It is a testament to the resilience and commitment of the people.