The silver jubilee of Fenkil Operation has already been commemorated in a colorful manner. The event was observed by Eritreans inside the country and from abroad. Renowned Sudanese music crew also participated in the official celebrations of Fenkil operation through staging a song titled “Fenkil”. The song is written by Eritrean Mohammed Al-Hajj Mussa. Below is an excerpt of a brief interview conducted with Dr. Abdelkadir Salim , singer and composer, and with composer Mohammed Hamid Johar who performed in Massawa. Dr. Abdelkadir studied music in Khartoum and he is now secretary general of Sudanese Union of Musicians.
-Please tell us about the Sudanese music crew and the purpose of your visit to Eritrea in connection with Fenkil Operation?
I am very happy to be in this nice town and also in this nice country. I have been in Asmara before but it is my first visit to Massawa. I feel very happy to perform in the 25th anniversary of Fenkil Operation which makes Eritrea a free country. I think, Fenkil is a big battle and the history which is being said about the Eritrean people tells that they are very brave and they fight well for their independence. Eritreans make the impossible-possible. Fighting against hugely armed enemy, the people in Massawa and those who participated in the Fenkil Operation cleared off the colonial power and secured the future of Eritrea.
The song which we are going to stage is about the Eritrean people and the freedom fighters. It is about bravery of a freedom fighter who fought with great commitment. Some lines from the song also speak about unity – we must be united in our own way. It also stresses about the unity and friendship between Sudan and Eritrea. There are common factors which make us stay united. We are neighbored with the Red Sea and we are always in search of a good situation. Our earnest dream has always been for a better future in Eritrea and Sudan. This is roughly the content of the song. And our visit to this nice country is in line with this friendship.
-What are your feelings about the city and the Fenkil Operation?
I am very happy. I am really impressed by the cheerful people. The streets are lively and the dancing we observed is highly attractive. Eritreans love their country Eritrea. I have seen some Eritreans who came from Canada, Sweden and other places to commemorate the Fenkil Operation with the people here in Massawa.
I visited the exhibition. There in the exhibition, I saw some picture of the battle to liberate Massawa. I also toured and observed cultural shows and traditional houses of people living in ruler areas. The houses are the same like the houses of our some tribes in the western part of Sudan. I am from the western Sudan and I really feel at home.
-Could you also tell us about your visits to Eritrea apart from that of Massawa’s?
I came to Asmara in 1991 three months after independence and this is my fourth time to be in Eritrea.
-If you have any message you would like to share it with us?
Thank you for the warm hospitality we are accorded with in Eritrea. There are numerous development activities in Eritrea and I wish you success endeavors to build a good nation. The economy in Eritrea, the tourism and anything would be flourished. Eritrea is in fact the future.
-Mohammed Hamid Johar
The song is about Fenkil. The writer for this song is Eritrean Mohammed Al-Hajj Mussa and I have put it in Eritrean rhythm. We are all Sudanese standing with the Eritrean people in these happy days of Massawas’s liberation. The singers have done what they could to send this message of solidarity.
For me, this is the third time to come to Eritrea. Every time we come here, we find the peoples of Eritrea and Sudan are the same. We are very happy to be part of this event. We are not strangers and we feel we are at home.
-How do find the commemoration of Fenkil Operation?
Eritreans are very hospitable. We are accorded with special treatment as always Eritreans do with the Sudanese. We always find Eritreans and Sudanese in good relationship.
-Could you tell us about the theme of the song?
The song gives us a clear picture of the Fenkil Opeartion. Everything is translated in lines of the song. I wish for Mohammed Al-Hajj a good helath. He gave us the real picture what happened Fenkil. In this poem, we know Fenkil, Idaga, Hutmlo, Tiwalet, and Amatere. He put all these in a very simple way. The song translates everything like a Film.
-Final words please?
We and Eritrea are one nation. We thank the Government and the people of Eritrea. We are always ready to do anything they want us to do.