By Alem Fisshatzion,
It is with deep remorse and regret that the Eritrean community in Sweden learnt of the shocking and unjustified announcement that the Swedish government declared Tekle Menghistu, first secretary at the Eritrean diplomatic mission in Stockholm persona non grata and subsequently deported him.
The Swedish Foreign Office admits the authenticity of the event but refrains from either commenting or justifying the decision, as has been government policy to never publicize specifics about diplomatic deportations.
Eritrea, a sovereign state in the so-called Horn of Africa became independent from neighboring Ethiopia in 1993. The country has a population of around 6 million. The Eritrean diaspora is estimated to reach a million of which close to 30,000 are believed to be currently living in Sweden.
Eritrean community in Sweden is a closely knit cultural organization. Many diaspora Eritreans in Sweden are card-carrying members. The deported Tekle Menghistu was a very good friend of the Eritrean community. He was regarded more as a very polite, sympathetic, helpful, gentle, intelligent and learned friend of Eritrean community than a diplomat. He never tired of putting his very welcome services at the disposal of the Eritrean community whenever they planned fundraising activities like festivals or other social and cultural events. Eritrean community regards the circumstances about Tekle’s deportation as very sad, unfortunate and unjust. Eritrean community as a group, and the many of its members as individuals fondly remember him as a true friend and lament his loss greatly.
What is widely known about Eritrea is that it gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993, but what some people do not know or have forgotten altogether is that the Eritrean road to independence stretched over a span of over thirty years of bitter war between the two states, with Ethiopia clinging to Eritrean territory by tooth and nail. The bloody war left Eritrea with countless numbers of dead, maimed and displaced sons and daughters. On paper, the war ended two decades ago but Eritrea is still subjected to ruthless “cold war” activities by Ethiopia. In fact, such activities are committed worldwide by Ethiopia and her allies. They never hesitate to tarnish the image, stability, security and intentions of the Eritrean state and government.
Eritrean community, like several other Eritrean diaspora organizations worldwide are committed to voluntarily helping back Eritrea to its feet by encouraging development in health, infrastructure, agriculture, education and industry to name a few.
Tekle Menghistu is a man of the people and was well liked by Eritrean community and individual Eritrean Swedes. He openly helped Eritrean community in many of its activities rather as a private person than a diplomat.
The Ethiopian machinery and its friends never cease to seize opportunities like this to sow seeds of discord, insinuations and lies about Eritrea and its government. The enemies of Eritrea are tarnishing Tekle’s image as a spy and organizer of fundraising activities for alleged financing of the Eritrean government. This is a baseless lie!
Eritrean community and other organizations of its kind have been engaged in activities to help government in its activities to make life better for the people of Eritrea decades before Tekle Menghistu even presented his credentials to the Swedish authorities as a diplomat. The most vociferous enemy of Eritrea in Sweden is the Eritrea-born Swedish parliamentary politician Arhe Hamednaca (S) who seems to have a personal grudge or hidden agenda against Eritrea.
Well, as far as Eritrean community are concerned, they would rather have Tekle as their true friend and a friend of the Eritrean people. Arhe, as of late, has made several baseless accusations about the community as well as Tekle and our community has always been ready to challenge any Swedish authority or organisation to inquire about Tekle and his relationship to Eritrean community in Sweden. That way, they will get straight hard facts.
The following was an interesting interview President Isaias conducted with a Swedish Journalists Donald Boström from TV4 back in 2009. It is very interesting to listen what he has to say about the deteriorating Sweden-Eritrea relation and the case of Eritrean citizen Dawit Isaak. Please FF to minute 30:00 and listen all the way to 38:00. As the president clearly said, Dawit Isaak is a victim of greedy individuals (like that of Arhe Hamednaca) and political sharks in Sweden that abused and compromised his chances of freedom by promoting their self interest and political ambition on his expense. Dawit Isaak made a mistake and he will serve his time for the mistake but now, it is not about what crime he committed that led for his arrest but what damage this individuals and groups afflicted to the national interest of Eritrea …