BY AMANUEL BIEDEMARIAM
What does VIVA Eritrea mean to you? Viva is a show of support, expression of love. Simply put, Viva Eritrea stands for long live Eritrea. The question that every Eritrean and friends of Eritrea need to ask, what role to play in the future of Eritrea?
Every Eritrean wants to see a happy, prosperous, united, vibrant, conscientious, advanced and most importantly a peaceful Eritrea. That means we all have a role to play in the happiness, prosperity, unity, vibrancy, conscience, advancement and peaceful life of Eritrea.
These takes a conscientious approach to life. Everything is intertwined. You cannot have one without the other. You cannot have peace without unity. You cannot be happy without peace. You can’t advance and prosper without conscientious advanced people that want to create a vibrant society. This is the reality.
The trajectory for Eritrea has always been upright. It has always been forward looking, bright, and grounded on solid foundation that is based on experience, conscious-practical approach to life. These are foundational core beliefs that started during the struggle for liberation of Eritrea.
What makes it more precious is the fact that Eritrea paid with golden lives and suffered incredible suffering to attain freedom. This freedom is not to be bargained-with, sold or compromised. This freedom is too precious to be tampered-with because that would mean reversing the sacrifices and trashing their legacy.
The daughters and sons of Eritrea died for freedom and better future of the people. They died-certain that Eritrea is ensured opportunity to chart her own future. They died certain, knowing every Eritrean will lift the mantras they died for. They died certain that the masses will not relent. They died knowing the sacrifices they made will be the seed to the future they wanted to see for the people of Eritrea. It was clear minded life direction.
They died knowing the people of Eritrea will espouse their ideals and run away with in quest to build Eritrea that is the envy of the world. A country they can be proud of for generations to come.
For the people of Eritrea, embracing these ideals and living by them has been relatively seamless Thirty years of struggle have turned the people of Eritrea into hardened steel. Moreover, two decades of persistent, determined and aggressive challenges has strengthened the resolve, sharpened the focus and above all it is has made it clear; wavering and losing focus is not an option. As a result, Eritrea, a country that was targeted to be the first victim of the regime change agenda-plague, has been able to withstand the onslaught while countries once believed invincible fell like powder-cake.
It is impossible to understate the grueling challenges the people of Eritrea endured for two decades nonstop. Eritrea faced military, political, economic and diplomatic challenges. Most importantly, the social and human-resources attacks on Eritrea were meant to destroy the future from its foundation. They failed.
Today, those who once schemed to undermine Eritrea’s independence have realized Eritrea is immovable mountain and have decided that partnering with Eritrea is best for their own survival. Once avowed enemies have long changed their tune. Yesterday, it was isolation. Today, engagement is the operative world.
In other words, Eritrea has turned the table. Presumably once cornered, she is now free to roam as there is no unipolar world order. There are other options.
That did not happen by accident. It is the result of the unwavering resolve of the people of Eritrea. It is the result of focused and determined resilience. The people of Eritrea have shown the world what it means to be conscious, organized and to fight as one.
When the illegal sanction measure was announced on Christmas eve, one of its goals was to create wedge between the people and the government. However, the people rejected their trick, decried foul at the criminals behind the ill-conceived-illegal sanction and exposed the abuse of power that harken back to the days of Jim Crow Laws.
And to show solidarity with their government, thousands of Eritreans demonstrated in Washington DC and shut down major parts of the city from the White House to the front of the State Department in the middle of the winter.
That experience proved one thing. Playing by the book, adhering to international law framed by the powers to be, working for common understanding and mutual benefits is just a dream. It proved, only Eritreans could be the answer to the challenges imposed on them by the same powers that dealt them injustices repeatedly.
They realized, only Eritreans can stand, fight and ensure the very survival of Eritrea by doing all that they can, no matter what it takes.
When the world claimed that Eritrea is isolated, Eritreans flocked to their country by the thousands year after year and became the number one visitors providing support and moral boost to their people. Eritreans showed unseen resolve that enabled the nation to withstand unparalleled hostile pressure.
Today, on the 26th anniversary of Eritrean independence, Eritrea has a lot to be proud about. The people of Eritrea have achieved unprecedented achievement. Considering the amount of concerted, well-orchestrated, organized and determined effort by the US led Western coalition. Considering the relentless efforts by western media, the so called human rights advocates that aimed to cement opinion designed to demonize; considering the continuous barrage of mischief by the minority apartheid criminal regime in Ethiopia and surrogates; considering the amount of money and resources spent on various lobbying efforts worldwide to undermine Eritrean independence; and while on the flip side, considering all Eritrea has is her people, it is miraculous Eritrea prevailed.
Eritreans have shown the world that they are their own lobbyist. They have demonstrated what it means to be united and stand as one in purpose. They have shown, no matter what, Eritreans will not waiver and leave their country astray for fear of personal harm. They showed how to sacrifice for a nation and greater good. They showed the world how to fight in Geneva, Washington DC, New York and all over. They showed the world that Eritreans will fight for their rights no matter what it takes and no matter the duration. There isn’t a diaspora example that resemble that of Eritreans. It stands on its own as unique and special achievement. No money can buy that. It is a gift.
The future of Eritrea is bright as bright can be. And it is all because the people of Eritrea believe. The people of Eritrea trust and know what awaits them is bright future ahead. They have sacrificed and paid for it in every imaginable way.
If one is to make note of the collective achievements of the people, it is simply mind blowing. To mention some:
Started revolution with nothing and turned it into one of the most formidable institutions. Created impenetrable national organization, Eritrean People’s Liberation Front. Educated public while under occupation and under duress. Charted the future of a nation while fighting for independence. Embarked on a self-reliance journey to overcome hardship independently and succeeded. Defeated successive Ethiopian regimes supported by major powers. Freed key strategic cities and locations in the most ingenious of ways in quest for independence. Defeated the military regime of Ethiopia and gained independence. Above all, they ensured Eritrea’s place in the world at the UN after a successful referendum.
After independence, for a-brief-moment there was a sigh of relief. However, that was short lived and the struggle continued because Eritrea was forced to fight unwarranted aggression designed to reverse hard won independence. Yet, Eritreans managed to achieve incredible achievements.
Eritrea repelled massive invasion, stopped attempts to take Assab by force and won international border ruling in her favor. Managed to rid Eritrea of international meddling. Reorganized the army and managed to create impenetrable military institution. The story goes on and it is endless.
The most important victory has been the ability of the people to withstand everything thrown their way and focused on what is important, building the nation. Regardless of what the enemies tried to do, Eritrea looked the other way and focused on building dams and infrastructures necessary for the future. Eritrea focused on human resources capacity building in the face of sustained effort designed to deny Eritrea her youth by incentivizing them to leave the country.
The reason it is important to look back is because it is a critical gauge for the future. It is a predictor of what is to come. Just imagine, if Eritrea can withstand all the pressures and achieve all these achievements; what is going to happen when Eritrea is finally able to roam free of all the mischief directed at her?
It is a good reminder for the diaspora Eritrean community that has been walking alongside the people for decades to re-focus one more time. Take a deep breath, enjoy the victories thus far and focus ahead. Focus ahead knowing what is important.
The example the people of Eritrea provide is a life lesson. Regardless of the noise and regardless of the ill attempts, Eritrea focused on moving forward because Eritrea realized all the noise and their ill attempts were meant to derail the nation building. It was meant to stop Eritrea from marching forward.
Similarly, all the noise in the diaspora orchestrated by few depraved souls with enslaved mentality and servants of the genocidal regime in Ethiopia are intent on derailing the future of the people of Eritrea. They know Eritrea generates tremendous energy and support from her diaspora community. And they are determined to change it.
They have devised ways to divide the community by region, religion and political belief. They are trying to exploit people’s vulnerabilities and have resorted to threats and intimidation to stop people from participating in public events. They failed.
Therefore, Eritreans in the diaspora need to focus on building their communities to become successful. And use that success to propel them to new heights. To make sure not to get side tracked by the detractors.
They need to find ways to support and empower each other. They need to establish access to resources and money. They need resources to establish funds for education of youth. They need resources to help establish communication means to promote their cultures and exchange information. The needs are endless. And it is extremely important that they focus on these needs because Eritrea needs a vibrant community that could help the nation.
The path forward is straight. Eritrea has seen the worst of mankind for decades. Villages have been torched. Women’s breast cut in most barbaric ways. Napalm cluster bombs dropped in markets. All that is behind because of the resilience, dedication, hard work and sacrifice of the people. What is ahead is up to all. Focusing on what is important is the way to go.
Eritrea knows what it took to get here. Thence, the job is to ensure that no life is affected negatively, needlessly. To honor the fallen and to ensure Eritrea they envisioned, it is imperative to focus on the future successes.
Happy 26th Independence Anniversary!