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 bravery of people that marched forward burying the martyrs on the spot and en-route to 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 ensured international recognition.
Along the way Eritrea paid dearly with lives of over 60,000 martyrs that perished, thousands more wounded and countless were forced to flee while the world gave blind eye and ignored the plight.
The successful struggle for independence is remarkable achievements that demonstrate the trajectory of Eritrea that is unstoppable and straight-upward. It is a trajectory of a successful nation that lives in honor and to honor the martyrs while holding the veterans in reverence.
To understand Eritrea’s determinant, 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 to look inward to find ways; ingenious, indigenous and independent ways to free a nation from the grips of imperial power that imposed archaic feudal system. The system that the UN led by the US imposed upon the people of Eritrea was primitive and incompetent to the point that if left alone had no chance of survival. However, American and European minds with long term strategic views and agendas propped the system to life, empowered it and promoted Emperor Haile Selassie as a mythical figure to be revered by the third world.
Led by the US, the West created the mechanisms and methodology necessary and enacted a process that lead to the subjugation of the people of Eritrea systematically and by force when needed. Various ploys were employed to divide the people leading to the creation of the federation which was 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 when they campaigned for the independence of Eritrea.
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. Eritrea was denied diplomatic, political support and stripped bare of its resources, institutional structures and leadership. Eritrea was left to die. That is what the people of Eritrea had to overcome to become independent. Ethiopia in the process was lifted as a global player by design. Then-as- in-now the US pushed US agendas under in the guise of the UN.
However, the brave people of Eritrea immediately bounced back and were able to reorganize; and created 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 US and Soviet funded Ethiopian army.
While the battles with Ethiopia were raging, at the time the greatest challenge the people of Eritrea had to overcome was the civil war between Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) and Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF). After the EPLF won decisively, with leadership of EPLF at the helm, the people of Eritrea refocused on the mission-ahead and moved forward.
Eritrea then was empty, dry as drought raged everywhere, farmers were unable to farm as farm lands became battlefields, trade was halted as roads in-and-out of cities were blockaded creating suffocating living conditions, and villages were burned to the ground as people were slaughtered by Ethiopian soldiers.
Then as in now, the US, Europe, UN and the Organization of African Union gave blind eyes 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 to come up with ways to conduct the struggle. They knew then that there is no other help that can save them. That is where the principles of SELF RELIANCE, the recognition that the “Struggle is Long and Victory CERTAIN” come from, as there were no other option. That, of course, was based on a core value “Victory for the Masses.”
In 2015, the people of Eritrea are facing the same enmity and danger to their existence as they did after the end of World War II. Under the guise of the UN Human Rights Commission continuous schemes are hatched on a daily basis to defame the gallant history, to sally the progress the people of Eritrea are making, to bully Eritreans in the Diaspora and scare them from supporting their government, to destroy the image of a nation that works for social justice by portraying it as one that enslaves its people and to portray the national service as slavery in order to destabilize Eritrea and save the dying regime in Ethiopia.
The question is where were they when the youth was forced to struggle for thirty years? Where were they when the people were bombed with napalm bombs? Where were they when villages were torched, mother’s breasts mutilated and children shot openly…? The atrocities were endless but, where were they then?
After the cloud of misery on the hands of successive colonizers was lifted and as Eritrea is readying to embark onto a new chapter overcoming all their schemes, they are hatching yet more schemes 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 few disgruntled and by manufacturing none-existent human rights violations. They failed and failed miserably.
Regardless of the cover used, the primary objective remains regime change. Successive attempts to change the government Eritrea using different means has failed. The first attempt was conducted by the minority TPLF regime of Ethiopia that waged an illegal war under the guise of border dispute. Eritrea was forced to pay with lives of over 20,000 youth.
That was followed by successive attempts to incite revolt within Eritrea. When that failed they focused on the youth, the national service and started campaigning against the service as part of the campaign; enticed the youth with quick asylums in Europe, Israel, US and Canada. This was an attempt to deny Eritrea the youth that defends and builds the nation, and ultimately, to ensure forced entry without resistance, when opportune.
The youth flight is then painted as crisis and egregious violations of human rights perpetrated by Eritrean government to be taken to the international criminal court. The entire campaign is designed to accomplish what they long failed to do through other means and that is regime change through the powers of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
This was clearly evident at the press conference on 24 June 2015, that the United Nations Commission of Inquiry (COI) held in Geneva. The COI, outside its mandate, tried to connect the leaders of Eritrea with unsubstantiated, fabricated claims of Human Rights violations to send to the ICC unsuccessfully. When the chair of the COI Mike Smith admitted that his investigation failed to connect Eritrean authorities to the alleged Human Rights violations, the eagerness on the part of the special rapporteur Sheila Ketaruth was expressed as she tried to link the “G15’s” arrest with President Isaias Afewerki.
As the saying goes, “That which does not kill you only makes you stronger.” The ill-will of the west has always 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 express their 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 that Eritreans are across the globe when, in less than 10 days, they managed to gather from all around Europe, US and other countries to protest against the COI report. The demonstrators frustrated the commissioners that displayed open hostility towards the people that came to fight for their right. They were frustrated because they failed to shake the unity of the people since they know that is the back bone to the strength of the nation.
In the process, the UN Human rights Commission and its western handlers were exposed for what they are, fraudsters and criminals guised as agents for global human-rights. These are individuals with intelligence background like Mike Smith of the COI that are assigned to create mechanisms to destabilize vulnerable countries and, their work has nothing to do with human rights or humanity. This was transparent by how they conducted the investigation, how they unjustly undermined the concerns of the people and government of Eritrea and, by the setting they created to demonize, belittle, criminalize and dehumanize the people of Eritrea.
This is a huge miscalculation because contrary to how they wanted to portray Eritrea and their sinister intentions i.e. to destabilize, exploit the riches and control one of the most important strategic locations of the world; 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.”
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 these unwelcome attention is not because their nation is bad or that these countries are genuinely trying to help better the standard of life for their kids. They know all these attentions are because Eritrea’s values are immeasurable. They have also learned that all that they can depend-on is each-other to fight-off the enmity. That is based on the history and, the trajectory of victories that the histories represent.
The valiant history started in the fields of Eritrea without support from the world and, managed to purge enemies and replaced it with euphoric sense of independence. That independent path is now being challenged by the very enemies responsible for the thirty year struggle that Eritrea had to endure. However, and to their dismay, that independent path is now the torch that is guiding the fight against these poorly conceived failed webs of conspiracies that aims to bring down a nation erected with blood of dear.
Eritrea is a blessed nation and the blessing that the people of Eritrea need to embrace now is that yesterday, Eritrea was on the trenches trying to fight for independence; yesterday, Eritrea was forced to fight unruly TPLF soldiers and today, Eritrea is fighting the fight from the streets of Geneva and by trail blazing in Tour de France with Daniel Teklehaimanot leading the way. That is the highest form of blessing for a nation that should have long ceased from the map, a testament to the resilience and commitment of the people. And now all that is left is to ensure that the battles remain-confined inside the corrupt doors of the UN and its handlers, and ensure that these battles are executed with the fierceness and decisiveness that the martyrs fought and died for to bring independence.
That is the fight that will keep the torch lit forever, in honor and for honor.