Eritreans have celebrated the 28th birth day of Eritrea under the theme ‘resilience for higher progress’ in a show of unity and solidarity.
The celebration was made colorful by community gathering, public dance, carnival, official celebration at Asmara where President Isaias Afwerki delivered a televised speech and other public activities nationwide and overseas.
Eritrea’s independence was achieved and maintained by enormous sacrifice. Every Eritrean has paid for the independence and defense of the country. The tree of freedom that was planted in Eritrea in 1991 was watered by the sweat and blood of every Eritrean. The united service, resistance and sacrifice of men and women of the nine ethnic groups had thrown forever the chains of colonization. This proud history of the revolutionary generation was repeated by the new generation of Sawa. Facing a double task of building and defending the nation, the new generation, guided by its predecessors, has fought with great perseverance for the last twenty years against military adventure and multiple covert and overt subversions and has achieved a second victory that gave assurance to its previous victory.
The year 2018 has a lot in common with 1991. In 1991, after thirty years of struggle, we achieved our independence by defeating our internal and external enemies that stood against us. Similarly, in 2018, after twenty years of perseverance and resistance that demanded great sacrifice, we achieved victory by getting Ethiopia to accept the Algiers agreement and EEBC decision. That same year Eritrea’s diplomatic efforts achieved victory by persuading the international community to lift the decade-long unjust sanction. The collective resistance and sacrifice of Eritreans rose above the subversion, domination and fabrication of global powers and their regional servants. The growing frustration we see today on the part of the enemy quarters is the result of Eritrea’s determination.
Eritrea has been an independent country for 28 years, which is not that long. From the perspective of nation building, such a span of time is very short. Even then, Eritrea has still made great strides in education, healthcare, transport, agricultural infrastructure, security and defense, diplomacy and democratic practices at grass root level. Above all, Eritrea has been able to secure its sovereignty and territorial integrity and maintain the unity of its people. For the last twenty years, on top of the illegal occupation of our sovereign territories by the TPLF, economic and political conspiracies, media and diplomatic smear campaigns have been waged against the people and government of Eritrea. But the trinity and unity of the People, Army and Government of Eritrea foiled all the challenges and emerged triumphant. So the 2019 Independence Day is special by all accounts.
In 1991, after thirty years of struggle, Eritrea attained freedom from colonialism. Now, in 2018, after twenty years of resistance, Eritrea has achieved freedom to do anything at will for development. The restrictions imposed by colonizers to limit the actions and undermine the confidence and dignity of Eritreans were thrown by the sacrifice of thousands of martyrs. Eritrea is now free to do many things it could not do before. Freedom gives it the possibility of acting according to its own decisions and plans. In the past twenty years the illegal occupation of Eritrean territory and continuous threat alongside the unjust sanctions compelled the country to be reactive.
The independence of Eritrea has resulted in the individual and communal liberty. The government has worked hard to benefit every citizen from the fruits of independence. Coordinated efforts are underway to liberate the society economically, psychologically, culturally, physically and intellectually. Eritrea’s understanding of liberation gives a specific concern to self-reliance and confidence, both at individual and national level. Our hard-won and maintained independence becomes true and meaningful independence only after the Eritrean society becomes self-reliant and free from economic, political and cultural dependence. We have to use our independence to deal with challenges facing our society. For instance, in the past twenty eight years commendable accomplishments have been made to reinforce the political independence of the nation, and a lot has been done to rid the Eritrean society of ignorance, poverty and disease.
Political independence without economic independence and self-reliance could not create competent and confident citizens that are essential for nation building. Independence should enable citizens to be free and fully developed. Eritrea has made a lot of progress since its independence. Political independence could only translate into economic independence and development after the attainment of freedom from social and cultural vices. Thanks to the social and cultural policy of the government, the Eritrean society is free from backward social and cultural practices that contradict with development. Without independence there is no social and cultural development and without socio-cultural development the existence and continuity of independence would be in jeopardy.
In Eritrea, independence liberated the physical and mental aspects of the country. Political independence brings nothing in a place where mental dependence and lack of self-confidence exist. Mental liberation of citizens is critical for the progress and defense of the nation. Mental liberation enables an individual to be creative and competent in making use of their resources for development. Eritrea has many natural and human resources that can help to build a sovereign state and a strong economy. More importantly, however, a liberated mind is a decisive element of national power. Mental liberation is a prerequisite for self-confidence and self-reliance which are central for national development. The government has been working to implement a series of people-centered policies. In Eritrea, development is planned to be accomplished by the people and for the people. In materializing this proposed plan, mentally-liberated people that can take initiatives to mitigate the existing challenges are critical. In Eritrea, the socio-psychological factors constitute the foundation of the national power and enable the country to perform miracles at different times.
Eritrea’s Independence is the fruit of resistance and sacrifice. In return, Eritrea’s Independence gave sustenance and assurance for these highly appreciated values. The culture of resistance against domination and injustice and the readiness to sacrifice for higher values are distinctive characteristics of our independence. The collective resistance and sacrifice of Eritreans drove the external enemies of Eritrea to the abyss of embarrassment. And now through collective resistance and sacrifice Eritreans are reorganized to march towards eradicating poverty.