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Cheers for Independence!

  • The Eritrean people and friends are busy celebrating a momentous event. The Independence weeks is celebrated enthusiastically. In this week long period of merriments we spoke to some people taking part in the celebration. Cheers for Independence and here follow some of them.
  • -Niat Alazaar. She was taking photos in a photo booth.

Hello my name is Niat and I am 12 years old. I am a junior school student. I am in seventh grade and I am getting ready for next year’s general examinations so that I can advance to high school and be able to attend science stream. I am always studying and I have no time to spend in playing. I come from a village called Adi Merawi near Asmara so I have to study more to be able to compete with students of my age from Asmara. They are especially good at English. But this time I am out and just relaxing because it is the Independence Week, and we have to celebrate our Independence.

My mother is a Warsai, she went to Sawa with the 2nd round, and even fought in the war with Weyane, Ethiopia. She tells me the Ethiopian soldiers came to villages in the border and killed children. She tells me also that they still are living there; they have their guns with them too, but the people have left their place. I don’t know why they are still there, but things will slowly get better. My mother is 41 years, but she was only 21 years old when she was fighting the Ethiopians.

The meaning of independence to me is being able to go to school and study and because people like my mother had already been soldiers there is no need for me to be a soldier again, so I will study and work hard to be a doctor and help the children in the borders.

  • -The Seisa Group is a nonprofit creative Japanese Drum team. They play the Dako-on. And apparently the Eritrean public too does like the Dako-on.
  • -Yoshita Ohta. Director of Seisa Group: Our group was formed in 1993. We work to improve the quality of education and good conduct in the youth worldwide. The Japanese culture has for many years adopted in its tradition the notion of physical and spiritual good conduct, so we try to portray this aspect of Japan, which I think is very similar to what you have here in Eritrea. We do cultural shows but we also have several schools. We are delighted to be part of such an important day of yours. I want to take this opportunity to thank the founder of SEISA, Mr. Yasuo Miyazawa. Thank you for having us!
  • -Akinonu Watanabe. Member and Teacher: Although it is my first time in Eritrea I feel very welcome and greatful for the fact that people like our performances. We have been preforming every single day during the Independence Week in different venues. Thank you so much. I wish the Eritrean people peace and stability.
  • -Hiroshi Koizumi. Senior Manager: We are excited to be in Eritrea sharing the warmth of your culture. We were excited from the very beginning, in fact at home we prepared and printed Tigrigna brochures explaining who we are and what we do, so that language wouldn’t be a barrier of communication. SEISA has more programs for further cooperation. The cultural group is delighted to be sharing Japanese cultural customs. We love it that we are here to continue SEISA ambitions.


  • -Mamma Roma Zerom was dancing zealously to an independence song in Cinema Roma. The song was in Bilen and had themes attached to Keren.

I left Eritrea when I was very young. I was born and raised in Keren but the situation there was so bad that families had to flee the city of Keren and spread wherever we thought was better, although everything was worse than the other. For long we stayed in Shieb until when on the 12th of May 1988 I witnessed a brutal massacre. So many cadavers… I will never for once, ever, stopped thinking of it. We counted 400 corpses. Mostly women and children. Those few of us who remained we collected the cadavers and shrouded them. We did not know who was who. I then went to Sudan and from there to Saudi and I have lived and worked in the Emirates since then. When I first heard of the Independence I was going to let go of everything and come home. I couldn’t really believe of a free Eritrea. I have never seen a day go without somebody being murdered or a thought of it. So to have that at almost 40 years was overwhelming. I was reborn again, and I mean it.

I buried many Eritreans and now that I am old and not a kid anymore my out most desire is to rest next to them. I want to be buried by my own people. I know I will be happy telling those I sent off previously that our country, our home is doing great. That nobody is being killed and no child is being forced to run away from home. This is why exactly why I have been and still am visiting all the historical places in which Eritreans were massacred in masses. I have been almost everywhere but I have some places left. My thanks foes out to the Lord, to Allah, to my people and my government. Lastly I want to leave a message to the youngsters; my children don’t be afraid nothing can be worse than yesterday. I have faith in you.

  • -We met Hanibal in the Abashawul communal tent. Communal tents are a way of neighbors coming together to celebrate the Indipendence. Every neighborhood celebrates joyfully. Mothers cook together, fathers set up the tent together and the youngsters help run the errands. At the end they have a feast together.


  • Hanibal Amanuel: Hello, I am Hanibal and I am 24 years old and we are all joyfully gathered here at the communal tent. Coming together for better or worst is nothing new to the Eritrean people. And as far as I know this is especially particular to our neighborhood, Abashawul. I am extremely happy for the fact that this type of gathering is bringing everyone from the neighborhood to celebrate together. So Independence for me would mean to be together and rejoice in it. And hence, glory to our martyrs, and my heartfelt gratitude to our brothers and sisters safeguarding and building Eritrea. Cheers for Independence!


  • -Benhur and his family were excited over the carnival, and especially Behur.
    Benhur Okbazgi

Benhur Okbazgi: Hi, I am a student in Model and I am 10 years old. My parents are freedom fighters and I always hear about their struggle for Independence. I know what it means and we talk about it with my friends at school and in my neighborhood. All of my friends are coming out to celebrate, there are so many fun things during the Independence Week. We are happy to celebrate Eritrea’s birthday. She is now 26. Happy birthday Eritrea!

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