By Amanuel Biedemariam,
WHAT are the measuring sticks of Eritrean identity?
The answers should and must always be engrained deep into the minds and hearts of every Eritrean. Because that is the reason Eritrea exists as a nation today; the reason Eritrean Flag stands amidst the flags of nations at the United Nations and everywhere Eritrea chooses to be; the reason why Eritreans can proudly carry identity cards and passports recognized globally; it is the reason why Eritrea celebrates Independence Day, for a nation that millions call home. It is the reason why Eritreans are Eritreans affirmatively!
Eritrea owes her existence to those that sacrificed their lives, limbs and livelihood, her martyrs. Hence Eritrean identity is measure by the highest sacrifice. It is measured by the commitment, selflessness dedication, hard work, can-do attitude, heroism and sacrifices. It is measured by the bravery and will-to sacrifice before brethren for one cause, as Victory for The Masses was true during the liberation struggle as it is true today in the nation building era of Eritrea’s existence. It is measured by the sweat and blood of mothers that toiled for decades to support their nation with all that they had. It is measured by the countless life that passed to bring a nation and safeguard sovereignty. That is the basis for foundation of a nation.
Therefore, when one carries Eritrean identity he/she carries all that weight with them. They carry that responsibility and honor. Eritrean identity card is a badge of honor and a certificate earned with blood and sweat. Those who carry the identification card must then keep this in mind, heart and-accord it the highest respect, love and care. They must realize to carry the Eritrean ID is to safeguard and honor the martyrs’ legacy. Those that fail to understand or minimize the significance need not claim it and apply for the renewal of the ID.
The key question here is why did they have to sacrifice in the first place? Herein lays the answer to all Eritrea’s woes. Eritreans sacrificed to ensure their identity from the hands of enemies that wanted to see-erased the very notion of Eritrean identity; powerful forces that believed can muzzle the voices and take away the rights of Eritreans. Eritreans sacrificed to defeat the enemies and took by sheer force, brilliance, dedication, determination and doggedness the independence thus Eritrean identity. And to the dismay of enemies Eritrea came alive.
Since, the enemies have been hard at work to dilute and minimize Eritrean identity by other means. Their key target became the youth. They targeted the youth to deprive Eritrea from the workforce necessary to build a nation and, to degrade the military’s capacities in order to launch one major assault and decapitate the nation when opportune.
After the war of 2000 failed to do the job, they developed schemes to yank the youth-out of their country, homes and livelihood. With incentives of access into the US, West and other friendly nations they lured the youth. As long as Eritreans are able to get out to other countries, no questions are asked; they are granted asylums. As a time that human trafficking is lucrative business, by default, they made Eritrean nationality the most valuable and coveted citizenships in Africa and beyond. Today, there are countless political asylums granted to none Eritreans as Eritreans with minimum scrutiny.
Ethiopians from Tigray, TPLF members and officials are the key benefactors. In Washington DC and other major US cities, there are reports that former TPLF officials have been granted asylum as Eritreans. This is common knowledge and more Ethiopians are coming into the US using falsified Eritrean documents. But why are Ethiopian authorities allowing this blunt illegal-act to take place? Because it is all win-win and serves many purposes:
Sinister ploy to demonize Eritrea: Exaggerated numbers of Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia are used in reports by international NGO’s and UN agencies to bolster their claims in manufacturing punitive actions against Eritrea through the UN.
To lure Eritreans: Playing humanitarian by claiming to be assisting exaggerated numbers of Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia. This however is ploy to justify sending thousands of Tigrigna-speaking Tigaryans as Eritreans into the US. After entering the US with lies and falsified documents, these Tigrayans try to damage the unity of Eritreans and advocate against Eritrea as Eritrean refugees all over the US. To appear that it softened its approach the TPLF also claims to be giving-back properties to those 80,000 Eritreans that it looted and deported after the resumption of war in 1998.
Remittances: Since most of those going to US from Ethiopia as Eritreans are from Tigray the remittances they send benefits their families in Tigray.
Diaspora Lobbying: The Ethiopian community in the diaspora presents the regime with the greatest challenge because wherever TPLF officials go they are met with stiff resistance. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn was prevented from moving freely during the recent Africa US leaders Summit. Meles Zenawi was humiliated in front of world leaders by a journalist that hackled him. In addition the vocal Diaspora’s lobbying activities are placing TPLF at odds with leaders in congress and humiliating the TPLF in every turn. To counter what it calls “Extremist Diaspora,” the TPLF is trying to bolster its presence in the US and, one way to accomplish is to enter as Eritreans.
To lesson attention on Ethiopian refugees: Hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian refugees are suffering in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and many places around the globe. It serves the regime-well to deflect attention onto Eritreans.
Real freedom can only result from struggle. The Eritrean struggle ascertained, in order for Eritrea to stand as a nation, no matter how tough the trials and tribulations may get, she must overcome and come-out victorious every time. There is no other choice. The recent human trafficking, youth flight and related trials are continuation of the struggle. And as always Eritrea paid dearly with blood of youth that needlessly lost their life in deserts and sea. Yet, Eritrea endures because Eritrea cannot afford to wallow in paralysis.
But what these struggles demonstrate is steadfastness, resilience of the people of Eritrea in and out of the country. It showed the determination and willingness to fight Western ploys and beat them at their own games. Especially Eritreans in the Diaspora are faced with well-financed organized governmental and nongovernmental actors that aimed to destroy their identity by various means. Undeterred Eritreans went head to head, and the results are showing. It also demonstrates that their sinister ploys to destroy Eritrea are making Eritrea stronger. The negative propaganda they hatched to demonize and penalize Eritrea is backfiring. Contrary to their designs Eritrea is shining brighter and gaining worldwide attention for charting independent path. In short, they propelled Eritrea to front-stage as a key actor. Eritrea’s ability to withstand these pressures is commanding attention and many are trying to go and see why. And, they are learning nation building in ways they never anticipated.
This is only possible because the Government and the people of Eritrea are heavily indebted to their martyrs. Their sacrifices are what keep propelling Eritrea to new heights. Eritrean citizenship is inked with blood of martyrs that are the manifestation of the Power of Eritrean Identity.
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NOTE: The above article is the abridged format of the original article. To read the full article click here.
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