When the month of May comes Eritreans inside the country and in the Diaspora gear up to celebrate Independence Day.
Independence Day means so many different things to so many people. For some it means remembering all that was sacrificed by a loved one or themselves. For some it’s just a day with family celebrating what this day means. But for all of us together this day means celebrating, remembering, and being grateful for the freedom we all enjoy today.
This year’s Independence Day comes at an important juncture in Eritrea’s history. Peace with Ethiopia, lifting of the unjust sanctions, and securing our rightful place in the region-that of a preserver of peace & an important fabric in the regions existence restored-are just a few of the many things that make this Independence Day even sweeter. W h e n we talk about b e i n g Eritrean, w e always hold our head up and I consider us the best example of human endurance in the face of obstacle; obstacles we have faced for almost a century, obstacles we have overcome against all odds. Our history is like no other. We fought colonialism, annexation, aggression and the international community’s betrayal and came out stronger on the other side. It is an identity we carry with us wherever we go and say I’m Eritrean ever so proudly. It is with that same fervor we celebrate Independence each year in the month of May.
This month we have already had the pleasure of witnessing different programs held in honour of Independence Day throughout the city and country.
Last Friday I had the chance to attend a show organized by Zinar Art Center. The Center held its fourth show in as many months. This particular show was held to celebrate Independence Day. Mr Endrias Asmerom, Chairman of Holidays Coordinating Committee on his opening speech noted that the show which was being held to commemorate Independence Day had programs that clearly depict the Eritrean Struggle for Independence through the arts.
Poems written during the Struggle for Independence were recited during the show. Poems such as Awate, Eritrea ab Serawir Demey and X’mi Aloni resonated with the audience. The show included several traditional as well as modern dance performances by the renowned Mieras cultural troupe while various Eritrean patriotic songs were performed throughout the afternoon. Zinar Tibebat, which aims at bringing back Eritrean traditional songs to the fore while giving a chance to new and upcoming artists in a time when the younger generations have a taste for modern music, is definitely doing a great job. The center will hold its 5th show next month.
Across town, Independence week celebrations were officially opened by a show held at Bahti Meskerem square. The event saw the participation of the famous traditional music group Boba, while Walta music group featuring, Admas dance group, performed to the adulation of the audience.
The weekend was filled with events across the city — in Cinema Roma, Nanjing acrobatic Troupe from China performed their unique display of acrobatic routines. The event which was organized by the Commission of Culture and Sports, in collaboration with the Chinese Embassy in Eritrea, was attended by government officials and the Chinese Ambassador. A show by a cultural group from Egypt was held in the cinema the previous day.
Walking down Harnet Avenue, one is spoiled for choice,
“Hi, where are you coming from?”
“I am just coming from Bahti Meskerem?”
“Watching some performances?”
“Don’t you know that Independence Day festival has already started?”
“Have you seen the cultural show in Cinema Roma?”
“I went it, but I couldn’t come out?”
“A human avalanche was waiting outside to crash in.”
The celebrations are going to continue throughout the week. Make sure to check out the highly anticipated Carnival this afternoon. On the eve of Independence Day there are numerous neighborhood-organized events to be held across the city, a sort of event-walk to see how each neighborhood celebrates the day is a must for everyone. In the evening there will be concerts held in different locations in mid downtown, and firework (my recommended favorite of all) will be displayed at exactly midnight to herald in our Independence Day. Watching the firework is a site to be hold, and it is an ordained tradition in itself, so wherever you are on Independence eve, be outside when the clock strikes Midnight.
Finally, the official Independence Day celebration will be held on Friday 24th May at Asmara Stadium.
Happy 28th Independence