Eritrean Merih newsletter from America 28. May 2010

What is natsinet?

PDF-Dokument: Merih newsletter 3

We all claim Eritrea with pride, but is that enough? Do we truly understand what was given up for us to be able to say that we are Eritrean? Do we understand the depths of the sacrifices made for Eritrea to have its independence? Imagine living under constant fear, oppression and violence; wistfully hoping for emancipation. Imagine being forced to identify with a culture that was not your own, being stripped of your identity, waking up only to feel like a prisoner in your own home- your own country. Then imagine at the age of 18 leaving your friends and family to take on a most heroic task, one that demanded sacrifice and a perfect purity of conscience. Imagine leaving home at that young age, equipped with the mind of a soldier and the heart of an optimist, to regain the identity of your people. Imagine transitioning from the comfort of your home to the cold trenches, from learning in schools to learning in the battlefield. With one goal in mind- “Awet n’Hafash”- you become a vital part of what would become a 30yr long struggle. Every day you watch your comrades suffer injuries- some dying in front of your eyes- having to bury them- each time saying, “Zel’almawi Zekri n’Suwatna”- not knowing if you will be next. There is not a social, political, or religious privilege that we enjoy today, that was not bought for us by the blood, tears, and suffering of our heros. In spite of the insurmountable odds, these selfless souls persevered to liberate our beloved Eritrea. It is because of those individuals that we all can say “I am Eritrean” with pride. It is because of those individuals that we have a country to call our own. And it is because of those individuals that we all gather faithfully to celebrate our freedom on May 24th. As we celebrate, remember that we are honoring the lives of those who made the ultimate sacrifice and gifted us with our independence, our NATSINET!

Protest for Justice

Voices heard around the world on February 22, 2010 as Eritreans demonstrated against the unfair and unjust Resolution 1907

Segen Aklilu YPFDJ Atlanta / USA

Over 600 miles and through four states, I traveled by bus with over seventy energized and emotional Eritreans from Atlanta. This was no ordinary trip to DC as I have gone in the past: to visit family, attend the annual Festival, or even attend the YPFDJ conference; however this was a trip from the heart. We brought more with us on this trip than luggage and food alone; we brought our dissatisfaction for lack of fairness, our frustration against constant attacks, but most of all our anger towards unjust treatment. Our presence radiated our pride, patriotism, and solidarity…our camaraderie! The naive UN must not have known that we are united through the heavy price of the blood and tears that was paid to claim Eritrea. We are one country, one people, and one heart. They must not have realized that when you attack one Eritrean, you are attacking us all … so we will all fight back! When I learned of these sanctions back in December I was outraged. The international community has once again not only turned their backs on preserving and protecting established agreements against violations, i.e. Ethiopian occupation on Eritrean land, but have also imposed these baseless sanctions. How many times do we as a people have to be subjected to this unfair, unjust treatment? Did we not just fight a few years ago so Eritrea would not be falsely titled a terrorist country? When will these bigger countries realize that we will never give up the fight to remain a strong and sovereign country and protect the integrity of our people? These are the reasons why I came to the demonstration to make my voice heard. Telling the truth about the strength, perseverance, and innocence of Eritrea is what I will continue to do for any ear that will listen whether fellow students, professors, or everyday people who are clueless to our existence, our struggles, and our victories. We have been victorious in the past, in the present, and will continue to be through the future.

Protest for Justice

Voices heard around the world on February 22, 2010 as Eritreans demonstrated against the unfair and unjust Resolution 1907

Simon Afeworki YPFDJ Gothenburg Sweden

We look forward to when we one day tell our children stories about February 22, 2010. We will tell them that although we were saddened by the reasons bringing us to the UN’s Headquarters in Geneva on a sunny February day, the sight of thousands of Eritrean flags waving and tens of thousands of Eritreans- young and old, men and women, Christians and Muslims- was reassuring and comforting amid the unfair UN Sanctions against Eritrea. We will explain to them that it was reassuring to witness young Eritreans from every block of Europe- London, Paris, Stockholm, Frankfurt, and Milan- standing ready, shoulder to shoulder, in their roles as ambassadors of Eritrea. We will tell stories of youth and young adults who had, in some cases, traveled 20 hours by bus so their parents wouldn’t have to and that we found the effort so important that school and work were put on hold to clarify to UN that we do not accept injustices against Eritrea. Not again, not this time, not on our watch. It was comforting because it sent a strong message to Eritrea and the people of Eritrea that the sun has risen on yet another generation of Eritreans ready to lead and live up to the nations expectations. I was a clear message saying that Eritrea still stands firmly without yielding, come challenges or injustices, old or new. Once again, Eritrea will not kneel down. No, Eritrea did not kneel down in 1950 when the unjust stroke of a pen federated Eritrea with Ethiopia, and future Eritrean doctors’, teachers’, artists’, and parents’ blood was shed to reverse the consequences. No, Eritrea did not kneel down in 1978 as the slight dim of hope seemed to have faded by the Soviet-Ethiopian air-bridge and as a superpower’s tanks headed towards Sahel. No, Eritrea did not kneel down in 1982 when a ‘Red Star’ and a 6th Offensive was proclaimed to annihilate several generations’ justified march towards a liberated Eritrea awaiting at the horizon. No, Eritrea did not kneel down in 2002 as a world order, crippled with apathy, observed an international border agreement shredded inside Addis Ababa’s government building. We will tell them how, just like so many times before, contrary to the world’s belief and against all odds, on that sunny February day in Geneva, at that moment, a young generation of Eritreans, once again, was called to duty and reminded a world, so foolish to have forgotten, of the irreplaceable resilience, patriotism, and unity of the Eritrean people. Most importantly, one day, our children will tell their own children, that it was the same resilience, patriotism, and unity that led our people through the darkest of nights into the shiny light of freedom, and our freedom fighters from the sheltering mountains of Sahel to the salty shores of Massawa, and finally, to a free avenue lined with palm trees in Asmara.

Protest for Justice

Voices heard around the world on February 22, 2010 as Eritreans demonstrated against the unfair and unjust Resolution 1907

Phenan Kidane Hidri Washington DC.

When I first heard about the sanctions, I really didn’t understand what exactly was going on. I figured it was just another threat to the Eritrean government to scare us, but it really wasn’t a big deal. When I started hearing more about what they actually were and how they could affect the people of Eritrea, I began to understand that this was not a simple threat and that the sanctions being imposed had to be stopped. I wanted to understand more of why they would want to sanction us and who exactly was doing it, so I Googled it. This was probably the most enraging part of this experience because of their falsely accusing the government- our government, my government- of giving arms to terrorists. I couldn’t believe that all this negative attention was being put on my country, and for a moment I felt personally attacked, and I hated that feeling of being “a victim” of all these lies. This is when I made the decision that I was going to do whatever it took to make sure everyone I came across knew the truth about my country. When I went to the Youth Mekete, they talked more about what exactly we were being sanctioned for and said why they would want to sanction us to begin with. This really helped me understand that this had nothing to do with our supposed giving of arms, but the fact that we are a strong, independent nation that believes in our people and ourselves and won’t bend to the will of any other nation. I went to the demonstration keeping in mind that this was our time to show them that this is not a way to knock us down, and that my presence and the presence of my peers would prove that we don’t back down and that this would only make us stronger. Going to the demonstration made me think of all the people who had lost their lives fighting for Eritrea’s independence, I felt that because I couldn’t help Eritrea at that time, that this was my chance in my life to really take a stand and fight back. It was the best way I felt that I could show that I, a 16 year old girl in the US cares and is watching out for her country in East Africa. I will continue to talk about the demonstration as I did when I came back to my school to my teachers and friends because that’s my responsibility to them and myself that they know who I am and what I believe in. Also, to make sure to write to President Obama and Susan Rice and show them that Hidri care too. The best things I think I can do are read and track the sanctions and keep myself informed. And of course, not forgetting to mention, wearing the E-SMART t-shirt to school.

Mekhete 2010 and The New Generation

Ruth Zerezghi YPFDJ Denver

On December 23, 2009 the United Nations Security Council imposed sanctions on our beloved nation and in true Eritrean fashion, our people refused sit back while our country and government were demonized for being self-reliant, self-determined, and working to build the nation. While that date marks a significant piece of history, it also marks a pivotal moment in our social movement. While the true intentions of the sanctions were to weaken the country’s morale, political development, and economic progress; it has had the opposite affect and has actually ignited a new generation of young activists and revived others. In the six months since the sanctions were imposed, youth around the globe organized under the Eritrean Sanctions Must be Annulled and Repealed Today (E-SMART) campaign, have organized the masses, led worldwide demonstrations, lobbied international diplomats, held meetings with local and national government representatives, reached out to the media to share our story and seek media justice, built collaborations and relationships with like-minded organizations, and conducted educational sessions to teach others about the issues. This generation is savvy, resourceful, fast, innovative, and fierce! While grassroots organizing, social justice, activism and steadfastness are not new characteristics of our people’s movement, this generation is building upon the revolutionary foundation of our martyrs and taking it to the next level. On Tuesday, March 23, Eritreans across the United States came together just one month after the historic worldwide demonstrations to call, email, fax, and write letters and postcards to President Obama, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Ambassador Susan Rice and a number of other US congressional representatives. With YPFDJ chapters taking the lead, 6 different forms of action were taken to communicate Eritrean-Americans’ stance against the sanctions, raise awareness, and insist upon annulment. Using nationally prepared documents and guides, thousands of emails and faxes were sent, phone calls made, postcards and petitions signed, and letters written. Various congressional and diplomatic offices were bombarded with communications from Eritrean-Americans to the point where some offices turned off their fax machines and sent our calls to voicemail. Throughout the day, youth emailed, called, and text messaged each other with updates of what types of responses they were receiving from various congressional and diplomatic offices. Through fast communications, cities were quickly made aware that the US State Department was trying to get the calls to stop by telling callers that the State Department didn’t have anything to do with the sanctions and that we should be bothering the UN Security Council instead. Nevertheless, without even slowing down, from morning until night, Eritreans and friends of Eritrea took action. In addition to carrying out the E-SMART national action day, chapters like YPFDJ Los Angeles/Orange County were able to reach out to the public radio stations and get time on the air to educate the public about the sanctions. Since the E-SMART day of action, individuals have been receiving correspondence from President Obama, Secretary Clinton, the State Department and various congressional representatives saying that they appreciate the communications, that they would like more information and that they are looking into the issue. Through these efforts, Eritreans in various cities have started to build relationships with their representatives, where relationships haven’t existed before. Through these relationships and using our political power as constituents, we can serve as ambassadors of our country and organize our power to leverage policy that serves our interest.

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