Eritrea: The Story of Resiliency and Triumph In the Face of Persistent Fire

Understanding Eritrea’s Blessings – Peaceful, stable, and beautiful. Those who understand these blessings can deal better, while those that fail to appreciate what Eritrea is blessed with will suffer needlessly.

By Amanuel Biedemariam,

In life, those who fail to understand their blessing are bound to lose everything. Religious experts say that the devil will always try to point out what you are missing instead of your blessings.

And it is hard to think about blessings when faced with tremendous challenges, mainly when the challenges are existential, as is the case of Eritrea.

Those who understand their blessings can naturally deal better with challenging circumstances, no matter how tough. And those that fail to appreciate Eritrea’s blessing will suffer needlessly to the point of losing their lives unnecessarily.

Eritrea was tried like no other and managed to withstand tremendous challenges. In the past, these challenges rendered many countries once considered invincible to succumb and ultimately became failed states ala Libya, Syria, and Iraq.

The plan of the minority TPLF regime and the US was to oust the leadership of Eritrea, do away with the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) or Peoples Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), retake Eritrea, or mold it in ways that suited their needs. In short, reverse Eritrea’s independence.

In 1998-2000, with the support of the US, the TPLF waged intense wars that took the lives of over 20,000 Eritreans. They failed and brazenly declared “No war, no peace,” asymmetric warfare designed to slowly render Eritrea a failed state. No stone was left unturned. However, Eritrea managed to uncover their plots, meticulously expose and eliminate these threats every step of the way.

After the war ended in 2000, the UN placed “peacekeeping troops” assigned to monitor the demilitarized zone based on the Algiers peace accord.

Eritreans remember how that turned out. The UN troops tried to act as colonizers and involved themselves in illicit activities, including smuggling, human trafficking, spying, and pedophilia. Instead of peacekeeping, they were provocateurs intent on poking holes at the sovereignty of Eritrea.

Eritrea gave the process ample time to work. However, after multiple serious violations, the UN learned the hard way how independent and determined Eritrea is in safeguarding the sovereignty and protecting hard-won independence; Eritrea ended the peacekeeping mission because it operated outside its mandate.

The machinations continued unabated. The US and the TPLF unleashed attacks against the Eritrean economy and made serious attempts to nullify The Hague’s Final-and-Binding border ruling. Eritrea’s firm and unwavering stand managed to expose their duplicity and ill attempts that aimed to destabilize the nation.

After that failed, they upped the ante. First, the Bush administration attempted to place Eritrea on a list of states that sponsor terror. The US Congress rejected it as a lie.

Then, the Obama administration used the UN to pass punitive sanctions measures based on fabrications. The US pushed hard and placed an arms embargo to tie Eritrea’s hand and render her defenseless, and denied the people of Eritrea their inalienable right to self-defense.

When that failed to achieve its objectives, the US pushed for additional sanctions to decapitate Eritrea’s economy and attempted to deny Eritrea income from mining.

The US, Ethiopia harassment was unrelenting. Assassination attempts, inciting civil unrest, attempted coup, pressing youth to revolt, incentivizing-youth flight, sabotage, encouraging dissent, corruption, currency manipulation, and the list went on but failed.

Minds and Hearts of Steel
During a 2000 Interview with Voice of Eritrea DC, the then General, now Mining Minister Sebhat Efrem, made some remarkable statements that resonated. He said,

“It is natural for nations to go through various internal and external challenges. Nations that fail to overcome these challenges, however, will fail. Eritrea will face these challenges in various forms, and that we must overcome them as there is no other option. If there is a crack in the boat, it will sink. Eritrea is like a boat, and the enemies’ main goal is to create a crack. And we must ensure that the Eritrean boat has no rack. The fish will clamor to nibble at you and eat you if there is a droplet of blood from a splinter of a finger. Hence we must ensure that we do not bleed and invite the sharks.”

The quoted statements above reveal a mindset. It shows a heart of steel and expresses what it takes to survive. Once we succeed in getting out of the survival stage, we can move on to live life to the fullest as a nation.

It is a mindset that the struggle for independence bestowed upon the people and leaders of Eritrea. As a result, independent thinking, self-reliance, and a can-do attitude is serving Eritrea well. And the independent path Eritrea follows today is an investment for future generations to enjoy.

Eritrea is an enigma to the foreign eye. Many are confused by Eritrea. They don’t understand what is taking place in Eritrea. It is a new, complicated, and sophisticated country. Those who follow Africa have witnessed country after government going through cycles of unrest and downward trajectory that degraded their security and stability over time. They also underestimate it.

On the contrary, despite all the ill attempts, Eritrea manages to withstand and reverse the trajectory. Eritrea showed unprecedented resilience and how to stand and triumph against all forces. They have thrown everything, including the kitchen-and-bathroom sinks, and failed. They waged wars, and when that failed, they embarked on asymmetric warfare with the highest levels of sophistication. They conspired with the European Union and directed hostilities and targeted Eritrea youth, and failed.


From Struggle To Struggle

Many wagered Eritrea to fail six months after the minority TPLF regime unleashed reckless wars on the people of Eritrea. After Eighteen years, it is obvious their calculations were false.

Suppose one is to look at the prevailing peace and the development activities in Eritrea vis-à-vis the region, namely Yemen, Djibouti, South Sudan, Egypt, and particularly Ethiopia; these are countries the West babied with the utmost care, are barely hanging for dear life. It shows that Western agendas have failed.

On the other hand, Eritrea, a nation they sanctioned, shunned, sentenced to death, denied her rights to self-defense, etc., managed to rebuff their machinations with unprecedented resoluteness. Eritrea is at a unique stage on a path towards significant success. On a recent Eritrean gathering in Washington DC, Ambassador Girma Asmerom said,

“There are three key points that those who know Eritrea know very well. A) Eritrea is rich with unlimited resources. Fish alone can sustain our economy. B) Eritrea is one of the world’s most strategic locations and waterways on the Red Sea. C) The most important resource of Eritrea, however, is her people.”

Recent developments about the Saudi-led coalition against terror that Eritrea is a part of is the best example of Eritrea’s resilience-based success. Eritrea is the pillar of the alliance. As ambassador Girma said, Eritrea is one of the most important strategic locations in the world. Because of it and its brilliant leadership, it is one of the region’s most coveted diplomatic and strategic partners.

The absent-minded minority clique in Ethiopia, aided by its ill-informed misguided handlers, thought they could leverage Eritrea as a bargaining chip indefinitely while offering nothing else in return. They called it “No war and No Peace.”

They believed occupying Eritrean territories, applying pressure, and using the continuous threat of force could indefinitely ward off investors and strategic partners. However, the path they designed to control the fate of Eritrea turned out to be a futile miscalculation. Look at the state of Ethiopia today; it is on the verge of total collapse.

Understanding Eritrea’s Blessings
When everything around Eritrea is shaking, Eritrea is standing firm. Eritrea is surrounded by nations that are on shaky grounds. Yet, Eritrea showed that its foundation is deep and that it is unshakeable. Yesterday, Yemen, Ethiopia, and Sudan made a pact to encircle Eritrea and suffocate her from existence. How are they doing now?

Sudan has split into two. Yemen is leaderless and in chaos. Ethiopia is on the verge of collapse. These are nations in a constant state of unrest. Hence the prevailing peace that many take for granted is what people in many countries pray for. The people of Eritrea enjoy tremendous stability.  Peace is the key ingredient to success.

The hardship imposed on the people by outside pressure is not easy. However, the people have chosen to persevere, understanding that the future is bright. They have been through this under much worse conditions.

Preserving Valuable Freedom
Freedom is not free. To ensure independence, Eritrea paid and is paying dearly. Eritrea sacrificed freedom from dependency and freedom to choose its destiny by empowering the people to build a future of their own. The greatest gift of the struggle for independence of Eritrea is that it freed Eritrea from mental slavery. Eritrea is genuinely a free nation.

How can Eritreans ensure the preservation of this valuable freedom? How to enjoy freedom born from sacrifices? How can Eritrea take it to a level that all her children can enjoy long-term peace and harmony as one?

The first thing is to recognize what you have. Secondly, to be grateful. With this as a basis, Eritrea can work to add more blessings.

As Eritrea embarks on the 25 years of independence, recognizing that Eritrea stood as one under harrowing circumstances is empowering. Eritrea defeated her enemies, fought a war of attrition against the warlords, and emasculated their venom.

Hence, Eritreans must learn from the past 25 years and use it as inspiration to look forward to the next 25 years. If Eritrea can achieve this much under duress, what will Eritrea achieve in the next 25 after defeating a mortal enemy, the TPLF?  After laying a solid foundation and platform? Only the sky is the limit.

Eritrea is a tried and proven country without a doubt. The enemies and their minions have exhausted all means and resources, and they are dropping like flies. Now, every Eritrean needs to ask what role I can play to ensure a bright future.

What Eritrea needs is simple. Eritrea needs her people to safeguard her sovereignty, build the social and physical infrastructure. Eritrea needs her people to understand that they need to remain united always and grow within their communities no matter where. They need to build their communities for the benefit of the future generation. Eritrea needs her people to sell and promote Eritrea. Eritrea needs her people to buy Eritrea, promote their culture, music, clothing, food, products, and services it grows. Eritrea needs her people to maintain the image of gallantry and fight those trying to sally their image. Eritrea needs her people to fight for her existence and prosperity with all their might, all the time.

For their honor

Awet N-Hafash Hizbi Eritrea

Photos Courtesy Ghideon Musa Aron

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