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Putting Eritrea’s 2019 independence Day Celebration in its Unique Context

Come May, Eritrea will be in high gear to celebrate its 28th year of Independence. A lot has been written by many people, some in defense of and some to destroy Eritrea.

To put it mildly, it has been an arduous and costly journey for the people of this decently proud nation. The burden has been beyond words. But the victory is also that much immense which, as always, this great people take with magnanimity. Thanks to its peoples’ stoic mind set and able leadership, the country has prevailed and secured its permanence.

This note is being written when almost a seismic shift in the geopolitics of the Horn of Africa is emerging. The dramatic development has caught almost everybody by surprise and, above all, the self-anointed experts of the region. It happened to the detriment of those who had made bashing Eritrea a means of their sustenance.

It is, therefore, appropriate to reflect in a modest way what Eritrea’s lot had been and how much we should cherish and appreciate the celebration of Independence Day. Let me briefly walk you, the reader, through my narrative on this momentous event.

Many countries celebrate independence days. A number of these eventful days have come into reality in the wake of decolonization while some have been achieved through armed struggle. Invariably each of these armed struggle movements had its own trajectory and inherent essence. Many depended on external assistance for the realization of their objectives. Yet, others had the misfortune to go it alone and endure extraordinary helplessness and isolation and travelled an arduous long journey upto fruition. In some instances the enemy was of moderate measure while in others it was overwhelming and was bolstered by one or the other most powerful nation on earth.

Needless to say, Eritrea’s Independence Day Celebration must be seen against the backdrop of all the scenarios with the minuses stated above, never mind the innumerable ones too many to mention here. The rationality of Eritrea’s Independence Day Celebration does not require sophisticated analysis for it is simple and we may have been used to taking it for granted. But often times it is putting the simple in its proper context that, I must confess, I find even more demanding. Below I shall briefly try to highlight the unique considerations that ought to be held in the highest possible regard when defining Eritrea’s Independence Day Celebration.

First and foremost, I consider it an extreme privilege to have lived long enough to not only witness but also enjoy the essence of being a citizen of a sovereign country which, like all Eritreans, I have been yearning for since our early age of life. In my view, this privilege is bestowed to each and every Eritrean regardless of position, ethnic, creed and social background. This day marks the birth of our nationhood and has been given to us by the most precious souls that the country of Eritrea has given birth to. Those souls passed away with the full knowledge that they will neither live to see nor feel as we do in a liberated Eritrea. We hear stunning and incredible stories of selflessness where Tegadelti would put themselves on the firing line in place of their comrades so that they can live to carry on the torch of liberation to fruition. If one assents to the idea of Eritrean citizenship and sovereignty, then this is it! All the rest is inconsequential.

This day is nothing and is void without dedicating and acknowledging the valuable price paid by our martyrs. All that we do in respect of this unique day is for us and for the generations of the future. For me without the recognition of the absolute precedence and significance of this day, all the talk of fads counts for nothing. What use is in those fads without an independent and sovereign country? . . .

. . . The exceptionality of Eritrean Independence Day is the fact that, unlike other conventional wars of liberation, the role of the females of our population was most probably an unprecedented contributor to its realization. This proved that the forward looking vision of the EPLF leadership to confer upon them equal responsibility as their male compatriots was second to none. With can-do and inspirational leadership, heroic achievements are possible.

Independence Day is the base upon which all subsequent pinnacles could be seeded and flourish. The highest gratitude to our heroines.

Thirdly, Independence celebration was achieved on the basis of self-reliance and ownership. Thanks to its visionary leadership, Eritrea was able to achieve its independence against all odds. It had neither powerful military allies nor one with a heavy weight with diplomatic clout to promote its just cause. On the contrary, Eritrea had to face an enemy hundreds of folds bigger than her and supported by limitless material assets, diplomatic and other resources. It was left to its own means and devices. Nevertheless it proved that justice can win when it is managed with just hands!

Lastly, we celebrate this year’s Independence Day at a time when new geopolitical conditions are evolving in the Horn of Africa in general and the rapprochement between Eritrea and Ethiopia in particular.

Subsequent to Ethiopia’s unequivocal acceptance of the Algiers Peace Agreement in letter and spirit, a fresh wind of hope and peace has engulfed the Horn region. An era of peace, cooperation and inclusive détente anchored on the recognition and respect of each and every country’s sacrosanct sovereignty and territorial integrity is budding.

Eritrea’s constructive role on this non-conventional and independent, indigenous strategic vision in pursuit of owned cooperative development roadmap for the countries of the Horn region, free from external interference, is there to see in the making.

On the other hand, despite this encouraging and positive development, what this writer finds extremely astounding is the crocodile tears of some souls that have gone astray, proclaiming that Eritrea’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is being compromised. . .

What a travesty! Mind you, many of these folks have been actively advocating for the continuation and strengthening of the illegal and concocted sanctions and supplied falsified information as a tool kit to isolate and denigrate Eritrea and its people. Some of these folks may have done this out of vindictiveness and the desire to revenge for their past failures and some in pursuit of self-interest in the form of pecuniary remunerations.. . .

…. Lastly, as I conclude my story, I want to state that we should be aware of the potential, but not inevitable, existential threats from all sorts of sources. Eritrea has frustrated all past futile attempts, not because these forces were weak, but because the Eritrean people have seen what subjugation entails. They had faced and will continue to face threats which they will meet with resolute determination and unflinching self-reliance united for their collective destiny. The enemies know this Eritrean phenomenon and Eritreans also recognize the price they are ready to pay for their independence and freedom.

Neither superficial fads nor fatalistic narration will deter the Eritrean people from pursuing their own road-map and celebrate their Independence Day as they know how.

Long Live Eritrea Libre!

Haile H.Gaber


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