21 years ago this time, the port city of Massawa was on the verge of liberation from colonial oppression. It was at this time of the month that the port city was once and for all liberated through the famed Operation Fenkil. This operation, one of the major successful military maneuvers launched by the EPLF delivered the port city from its colonial yoke. Commemorating the steadfastness of Eritrean people and the heroic feats of freedom-fighters demonstrated at that point in the country’s history has thus a strong message to convey. Preparations are in full swung to colorfully celebrate the 21st anniversary of Operation Fenkil from February 11 to 13 under the theme: “Fenkil: Apiary of Eritrean independence”. Regarding the on-going activities, Shabait conducted an interview with Mr. Hamed Haji, the secretary of PFDJ and chairperson of the holidays coordinating committee in the Northern Red Sea region. Here are the excerpts:
What preparations have been made thus far?
Fourteen committees were formed under the regional administration and the holidays coordinating committee in November. Each committee is mandated to encourage both private and government bodies to take part in the event, as well as supervise the provision of services on the part of hotels, bars and restaurants and business enterprises along the coast. Stages have been set up to display art, traditional lifestyles, organizations in the region, in addition to expansion of electricity supply. Public organizations have been encouraged to enhance their participation; and popular sanitation campaign is also underway to add charm to the port city.
Are there any programs aimed at reflecting the historic legacy?
Seminars, artistic exhibitions, and shows in commemoration of the Salina operation for youth have been arranged. Another program, “Fenkil Operation through the eyes of writers”, has also been arranged, which is expected to play a crucial role in documenting and bequeathing the heroic feats of that period.
Can you give us a general picture of the programs outlined for three-day celebrations?
Various sport activities including camel racing, half marathon competition, marine and traditional sports, as well as artistic shows include some of the programs for the commemorative event. Different institutions located in the region would also familiarize their products with visitors. Furthermore, residents from each administrative area and institutions of the Northern Red Sea region would lead a parade along the streets of Massawa.
What can you tell us about the preparations made by the service-rendering enterprises to host visitors?
We know from experience that Fenkil pilgrims will swarm the town and more supplies need to be made ready in order to properly accommodate the visiting masses. Therefore, these enterprises are striving to provide efficient services ahead of the days of ceremony.