Martyrs’ Day is the time when all Eritreans come together to commemorate their fallen heroes — those who gave their lives in the 30-year war to liberate their motherland and later to preserve the hard-gained independence. The determination, resilience, love and selflessness of our freedom fighters led the independence struggle against all odds to victory. Indeed, Eritrea has proven to the world that unity and love can make miracles.
Sometimes we may get so caught up in our daily lives that we take what we have for granted. Martyrs’ Day helps us remember that the ground we stand on without any fear of a bomb striking us, the air we breathe, the coffee shops and restaurants we visit in the late hours without any concern of getting arrested or killed, the comforts of our homes or neighbourhoods we go back to after a long day at work or school, knowing our loved ones will be safe and alive, are all gifts that our martyrs selflessly bestowed upon us without dreaming of enjoying such amenities themselves.
Martyrs’ Day is the time when parents tell their children or grand-children their experiences as freedom fighters. Martyrs’ heroic deeds are told by veteran fighters at various events and disseminated through media outlets. Songs and poems are broadcast on radio and television and candles are lit at home and on the streets throughout the country in memory of lost sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, friends or relatives. Parents bring their children to the streets with lit candles in their hands to pass on to them the history of our dauntless heroes.
Martyrs’ Day is the time when we remember the price paid for our freedom and sovereignty and renew our pledges of assuming responsibility and safeguarding what we have been blessed with. The pledge we make this year comes even with a greater sense of responsibility as it is happening a year after Eritrea’s and Ethiopia’s rapprochement. A year has passed since every Eritrean witnessed this “history in the making” moment that ushered in a new era of peace and stability, adding a special meaning to the sacred day. The rapprochement has led to jubilation and lofty aspirations. But as President Isaias Afwerki said in his speech on the 28th anniversary of our Independence: “… we cannot make hasty and emotional conclusions before we collect adequate information, analyse these data comprehensively with patience so as to have a clear picture. Hence, our focus should be geared towards patient appraisal of the unfolding reality.” Thus, we must engage in a patient and determined way and build on our resilience like our Martyrs before us to build an unshakable nation.
For years Eritrea has been a victim of fake news and unwarranted demonization aimed at obliterating the people’s deeply held values of love and unity. There are people in different corners of the world who stay up all night concocting plans to create havoc in the country for personal gains. Nevertheless, our government and our people are far greater than those who make futile attempts to cause chaos. We will never spare our blood and sweat until we reach where we deserve to be. True Eritreans will always be united and will never cause indignity to their Martyrs. They will protect their brothers and sisters and will work tirelessly to foster a better place for every Eritrean and African. True Eritreans take pride in who they are and in their courageous history. So, rest in peace our Martyrs as we will work harder despite all challenges to complete the work you have started.
Eternal glory to our Martyrs!
Victory to the masses!