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 the blessings. And it is clearly hard to think about blessings when faced with tremendous challenges and particularly when the challenges are existential in nature as is the case of Eritrea. Those who understand these blessings can deal better with the circumstances they are dealt with. And those that fail to appreciate what Eritrea is blessed with will suffer needlessly to the point of losing their lives unnecessarily.
Eritrea was tried like no other and managed to withstand tremendous challenges. These are challenges that rendered many countries once considered invincible to succumb and ultimately became failed states ala Libya, Syria and Iraq.
The marriage between the minority regime in Ethiopia and U.S. administration was a perfect one because they both intended 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.
To that end, from 1998-2000, with the support of U.S., Ethiopia waged intense wars that took the lives of over 20,000 Eritreans. When that failed to materialize, they 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 it and eliminated these threats every step of the way.
After the war ended in 2000, based on the Algiers peace accord, the UN placed “peacekeeping troops” assigned to monitor the demilitarized zone. Eritreans remember how that turned out. The UN troops tried to act as colonizers and involved themselves on illicit activities including smuggling, human trafficking, spying and pedophilia. Instead of peacekeeping they were provocateurs intent on poking holes at the sovereignty of Eritrea.
The UN learnt the hard-way how independent, adamant and determined Eritreans are in safeguarding their sovereignty and protecting hard won independence.
The machinations continued unabated. An all-out assault on Eritrea’s economy was unleashed; many attempts were made to nullify The Hague international court’s Final-and-Binding border ruling; US administration brazenly attempted to impose a new mechanism to nullify The Hague ruling and failed. Eritrea’s firm and unwavering stand managed to expose their duplicity and ill attempts that aimed to destabilize the nation.
When all these attempts failed to nudge Eritrea, they upped the ante. First attempt, place Eritrea on a list of states that sponsor terror. When U.S. congress rejected it as lie, the Obama administration used the UN to pass punitive measures based on fabrication. In order to tie Eritrea’s hand and render her defenseless, the U.S. pushed hard to sanction Eritrea and placed arms embargo and essentially denied the people of Eritrea the right to self-defense. When that failed to achieve its objective again, the U.S. then pushed for additional sanctions to decapitate Eritrea’s economy by trying to deny income from mining.
The assault by the west aided by Ethiopia 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 goes on, and failed.
Minds and Hearts of Steel
During the Interview in 2000 with Voice of Eritrea DC, the-then army General, now Energy and Mine 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 will fail. Eritrea will face these challenges in various forms and that we must overcome 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 will not rack.”
“If there is a small droplet of blood from a splinter of a finger, all the fish in the sea will clamor to nibble at you and kill you. Hence we must ensure that we do not bleed and invite the sharks.”
The quoted statements above reveal a mindset. It reveals a heart-of-steel and expresses what it takes to survive. And once out of the survival stage-what it takes to persevere onto the next stage to live life to the fullest as a nation. This 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 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 new, complicated and sophisticated. Those who follow Africa have witnessed country after country going through cycles of unrest and downward trajectory that degraded the security and stability of these countries substantially. Many are failing.
To the contrary, despite of all the ill attempts on the very sovereignty of Eritrea the people and government are managing to withstand and reverse the trajectory. Eritrea showed unprecedented resilience and how to stand and triumph against active and passive 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 highest levels of sophistication. They amassed the European Union and directed them to direct hostilities against Eritrea. They targeted our youth and did some serious damage that led thousands to their untimely death, and failed.
From struggle to Struggle
Many betted that Eritrea will fail six month after minority TPLF regime in Ethiopia unleashed reckless wars on the people of Eritrea. Eighteen years later, however, their calculations proved to be false.
If one is to look at the prevailing peace and the development activities taking place in Eritrea vis-à-vis the region namely Yemen, Djibouti, South Sudan, Egypt and particularly Ethiopia; countries the West babied, breast-fed, nurtured with utmost care are barely hanging for dear life. This shows that Western agendas have failed, failing the countries that they propped.
On the other hand, Eritrea, a nation they sanctioned, shunned, sentenced to death, denied her rights to self-defense and etc… managed to rebuff with unprecedented resoluteness. Eritrea is at a unique stage on a path towards major 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 located in one of the most strategic waterways of the world on the Red Sea.
C) The most important resource of Eritrea is the people.”
Recent developments pertaining to the Saudi Arabia 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 coalition. As ambassador Girma said, Eritrea is one of the most important strategic locations of the world and as such one of the most coveted diplomatic and strategic partner in the region.
The absent minded minority clique in Ethiopia aided by its ill-informed misguided handlers thought that they can actually lever Eritrea as a bargaining chip indefinitely while offering nothing else in return. They called it “No war and No Peace” and believed; by occupying Eritrean territories and using a threat of force that they can ward-off investors, business and strategic-partners indefinitely. These are the path that they designed to control the fate of the people of Eritrea. It, however, turned out to be futile miscalculation. Look at the state of Ethiopia in 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 the foundation is anchored deep and that it is unshakeable. Just yesterday, Yemen, Ethiopia and Sudan made a pact to encircle Eritrea and suffocate her from existence. How are they doing now? Sudan was split in to two. Yemen is leaderless and in chaos. Ethiopia is on the verge of collapse.
Hence the prevailing peace that many take for granted is what people in many countries pray for. The people of Eritrea enjoy tremendous peace. Of course, the hardship imposed on the people by outside pressure is not easy and it has made life difficult. However, the people have chosen to persevere, understanding that the future is bright and, because they have been through it before and under much worse conditions. Peace is the key ingredient to success.
Preserving Valuable Freedom
Freedom is not free. Eritrea paid and is paying dearly to ensure freedom; mental freedom, freedom from dependency and freedom that empower people to do anything they want. The greatest gift of the struggle for independence is the freeing Eritrea from mental slavery. Eritreans are truly free.
How can Eritreans ensure the preservation of this valuable freedom? How is it possible to enjoy the freedom born from dear sacrifices and, take it to a level of life that all can enjoy long term in peace and harmony while united as one?
The first thing is to recognize what you have. Secondly to be grateful of what we have. From that basis one can work on adding additional blessings to the Eritrean life.
As Eritrea embarks on the 25 years of independence, recognizing that Eritrea stood as one under extremely difficult circumstances is empowering. Eritrea has defeated her enemies and fought a war of attrition against the lords of war and emasculated their venom. Hence, Eritreans must learn from the past 25 years and use it as inspiration to look forward for 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, laying solid foundation and platform. Only sky is the limit.
Eritrea is a tried and proven country without a doubt. The enemies and their minions that pretend to be Eritrean have exhausted all means and resources and they are dropping like flies. The question that every Eritrean needs to ask is 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 as one at all times and grow within their communities no matter where they may be. They need to build their communities for the benefit of 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. Eritrea needs her people to maintain the image of gallantry and fight those that try to sally the name. 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