BY SAMUEL MAHAFFY (PHD)
HELLO my name is Dr. Samuel Mahaffy. In recent year I become a passionate advocate for publicly confronting misrepresentations and inaccuracies about Eritrea and the Eritrean people.
I have been asked many times, why are you always been speaking of Eritrea? I am here today to answer that question for you.
Well I am a U.S. citizen but by my birth I am Eritrean in my heart. I was born in the city of Asmara and grow up in Senafe Eritrea. Like many, I left Eritrea many years ago but my heart is always remained with the Eritrean people. The Eritrean people are my people. They are my people by my birth as ወዲ ሰንዓፈ, a son of Senafe, Eritrea and by the kind acceptance of me as one of the ‘other Eritreans‘.
The country of Eritrea and its people have much maligned and misrepresented in western media. Since earning my PhD from Tilburg University in the Netherlands, I become relentless in seeking to share accurate information about the country of Eritrea.
“What does it matter to you if Eritrea is misrepresented?,” people asked me. The image portrayed of Eritrea in much of western media just not match with the people of Eritrea I know and care about.
I spent a great deal of effort in both research and Eritrea, and connecting with Eritrean communities around the world and in Eritrea. I am compelled to speak the Eritrea I know and love as a matter of truth and justice.
I am deeply convicted, there will be peace in this world only as we engage and a mutually respectfully dialogue among nations. I accept the analysis of scholars such as Noam Chomsky who suggested, the effort to invisibilise countries like Eritrea grows from an international strategy to main power and control over others. It perpetuates hegemonic discourse, which is of course is not really discourse at all. The United States that I care about is bigger than that. We can and must engage respectfully with other nations even when their dreams and aspirations may not align with our own strategic, economic, military and development interests.
Make no mistake, I know that Eritrea is not with out its faults, and you do too. There have been mistake made as Eritrea has re-built as a new nation after a costly war for independence. But I believe in the future of Eritrea. Eritrea is here to stay and it will find its own way. It will persist in charting its own course.
Eritrea is prioritizing the needs of its people. It is developing an innovative model that encourages self-reliance rather than dependency. The world is beginning to recognize the Eritrea has the potential to be a great agent for peace and stability in the Horn of Africa and so the model for self-determination.
I have deep faith and hope the Eritrea will unfold a new post-liberation chapter that is one of peace and tolerance; and acknowledges and finds room to nurture the dreams and aspirations of the youth and young people of Eritrea.
For those who wonder what the real story is about Eritrea, I invite you to visit the country in the Horn of Africa and you find out for yourself. Engage with me on twitter and social media and in the conversation about Eritrea.
There is no place on Earth as beautiful and amazing as Eritrea and so, I wish the country and people of Eritrea well.
I’ll stand with you and for you as long as I have voice.
Thank you የቀንየለይ and God Bless You.