By Mebrak Ghebreweldi,
As a woman, the most shocking part of the report made by the Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Human Rights on Eritrea was the false claim of ‘rape’. By saying this, COI have undermined every woman in Eritrea. The COI have undermined our values, our daughters, our mothers, our sisters and all the Eritrean former female fighters who fought for our equality side by side with men.
COI undermined the power and the resilience of Eritrean women all over the world including those in Sawa. The Commission have made a historical mistake against the Eritrean women and this needs a legitimate investigation.
Our young men, our brothers and our fathers are not rapists. They have never been, they are not now and they will never be. Whilst I cannot say that Eritrea is without a few sick and evil people, it goes against our culture to suggest that this type of crime is widespread.
We Eritrean women are empowered to respect ourselves and earn our equality through participation. We have made a tremendous historical contribution to the world’s women. We have achieved an equality to die for and it will develop further to full economic, social and political equality for generations to come.
Just three weeks ago, I spoke to the Dean of Halahale College of Business and Economic Development. He said “the highest grade for the under graduates in the economics department was achieved by a young female student who comes from the local village”. I saw the pride in his face and heard it in his voice.
However, we the Eritrean women are not complacent. We know that equality is earned and not given. We are working hard to make sure the Eritrean government support women in all aspects of development.
We work hard to pass our history to our younger generations so they can achieve full equality socially, politically and economically for women. The government’s responsibility is to put a policy in place to empower women, which they have, the rest is the responsibility of each and every Eritrean woman to use their rights, to develop personally and professionally first for our ourselves, then for our nation.
I hope one day, the Eritrean women legally challenge the legitimacy of this report to find justice for Eritrean men and women. There will be a time when Eritreans will stand together to clean our names and to request the COI to give evidence of the “Raped” and the “Rapists”.
Who are these Eritrean men who are raping all these women? Where is the “rape” taking place? Walking in the towns and villages of Eritrea is simply a peaceful experience. Eritreans are civilized people who have very admirable cultures and traditions based on equality, tolerance, respect, self-reliance, social justice, human decency and above all fear of God and Rebi.
Eritrea is a country where the able supports the poor and the disabled, not with arrogance but with humility to become self-reliant. Where the strong helps the weak not with pity but with compassion, and where disputes between individuals and villages are settled peacefully in a community setting not in a deceitful manner.
Our ancestors have passed this wisdom and justice and we are holding on to this culture. A country where single women get plots of land to build their house and grow their food so they can look after their family with self-reliance.
A country where the youth inside the country are building roads and dams and the Eritreans in diaspora are helping families and the nation to get though this challenging time. Development and social justice for all and not for the few and reach. It is a country where violence, greed, deceit and selfishness are condemned by the vast majority.
Many Eritreans who are visiting the country for work or to visit families and friends, including myself are rejecting COI research findings because we believe that it is a predesigned outcome to legitimate a political attack on Eritrea. Accusations against Eritrea must be fabricated especially in the absence of hard evidence.
Historically the UN has let down Eritrea time and again. However, everything has an end, including history of injustice, neglect, slavery, colony, oppression, etc.
In May 2016 Eritrea will celebrate its 25 years of independence. On the occasion, I request the UN and the US to review their history, if they can, to engage with Eritrea in a positive manner. If not, just give Eritrea a gift of justice and peace. Simply leave our new and small country to get on with all the economic, social, academic and political development needs of our nation.