There are instances when a right denied by force has to be restored only by similar means. The reason that compelled Eritreans to wage their armed struggle is also because their legitimate and political demand for their right to self-determination was met with mockery and insensitivity. The people of Eritrea went to get its freedom when it was denied to dwell in its own land; when towns and villages were burned to the ground; when mothers were gunned down while nursing their infants; when youngsters were strangled by wires; when pregnant women were stabbed to death; when tens of thousands of citizens were, solely accused of being Eritreans, subjected to torture and incarceration in prisons like Alem Bekagn and Mariam Ginbi; when terror and panic reigned; when infants were killed slaughtered with knives; when citizens started vanishing; when the faithful were mass murdered in their places of worship; when people were strangled because they supposedly leaked information to bandits (fighters).
And to bring its freedom, the Eritrean people paid a hefty price: it gave up its own life, mentally and physically, living in the wilderness and enduring shocking famine and thirstiness, dying several times before the actual last breath.
Eritreans are a people who waged the longest struggle in the world for their independence and paid a heavy price to preserve it. But the Eritrean struggle is unique not only because of its length and the heavy sacrifices it incurred; but also because it faced heavy challenges and international ploys. Hence, the hardships it suffered while overcoming those challenges has earned it an unparalleled place in world history.
Even after liberation, seeing the independent and economically developed Eritrea on the fast track, longtime foes worked hard to disrupt its progress: an unjustified conflict was incited; their stooges were sent to occupy Eritrean sovereign territory and cause once again sacrifice of precious lives; innocent civilians perished while guiltless children were displaced; graves of Eritrea’s beloved martyrs were dug up and skeletons dispersed… Not only this, they bent justice and stalled a legal verdict denying Eritreans their rightfully awarded territory, sentencing it to remain under occupation, as well as taking hostage of Eritrean chances and opportunities.
However, seeing the Eritrean people didn’t budge but instead remained firm in its path, safeguarding its land while at the same time developing it, the ill-meaning quarters imposed holidays-eve sanctions, where the accuser, judge or legal justification if any were not identified. But Eritreans, even at a time of war, never deviated from its path of development and scored great success. But still paying a huge price!
Independence takes different perceptions by different peoples. The value of Eritrean independence and freedom, and therefore the value of the people of Eritrea, is assessed not only by the lives of 90,000 fallen heroes but also by the efforts exerted and still being exerted to uphold and nurture it. And because it demands an ever-rising price, it also entails a corresponding value.
The Eritrean people values it independence as an evolving process. And upon owning it, Eritreans have made of their realm a strong and indomitable fortress, incorporating socioeconomic and cultural progress.
The price paid for attaining independence and preserving it is high, the sacrifices many and the endeavors difficult. And that’s why Eritrean independence is of greater value and significance more than anything else.
The Eritrean people, in its endeavor to make this hard won independence genuine and to protect it with all its might, and reinforce its value, has toiled relentlessly and succeeded in owning a nation of victory and real independence.
The key to the success of the Eritrean people is therefore this hefty price – because a value is measured by the price it is paid for.