Eritrea’s Independence Day anniversary is not celebrated for the sake of enjoyment, but the celebrations conducted each year have a deeper meaning of nationalism, of unity, of commitment and steadfastness and of course of standing for one’s dignity. The celebrations are just ways of reflecting the relief achieved as a result of great martyrdom which ultimately shat-tered the plights and tolls caused by colonial powers. Dignity comes from conducting a dignified act and that act in turn gives one the exact degree of dignity one deserves to have. Eritrea’s Independence Day celebrations are meant to honor the hard won victories to the extent of befitting degree.
The 22nd independence day anniversary celebrations has continued for about a week featuring different entertainment programs that cover open music shows, carnivals, communal gatherings, drama and other artistic performances staged at Bahti-Meskerem Square, Cinema Roma, Cinema Asmara and in the main streets of Asmara. As a continuation of the celebrations that has been underway for about a week, the official celebration of 22nd Independence Day anniversary just started at 4:30 pm of May 24th 2013. Starting from the very beginning of the afternoon hours of that dignified day a number of eager nationals started to flock to Asmara stadium. The stadium’s podium was occupied with a number of participants who took their seats holding flags and banners.
As the National marching band started to beat dreams and play other musical instruments, the cheerful crowd accompanied them with ululation and with worm claps. The drum beats of the marching band was a signal that the official celebration is about to start. Ms. Luul Ghebrab, chairperson of the National Holidays Coordinating Committee approached to give an opening speech. “This year’s Independence Day anniversary is being momentously celebrated under the theme ‘Eritrea-shield of resilience and nobility of work’ this theme signifies the people and government of Eritrea’s sturdy values.” Ms, Luul said “It is well evident that the people of Eritrea have held fast to their shield of fortitude, traversed ordeals and rested its full trust on its internal resources to the reconstruction of the country, while resolutely rebuffing external conspiracies.”
Accompanied with ululation and ceaseless claps of the participants, President Isaias Afwerki takes the venue to deliver a speech. He started his speech by expressing appreciation to students, army members, and artists who made due contribution to excitingly celebrate the 22nd Independence Day anniversary. “Eritrea as a nation deserved to achieve its sovereign right during the World War II, but was forced to be yoked into proxy colonization of super powers just to satisfy their vested end. Despite all these, the people of Eritrea stands victorious resisting against all odds,” said the president.
“The intensity of Independence Day anniversary of 2013 is measured with the unyielding challenge of the Eritrean people against all plays. Not derailed from the primary goal of safeguarding the na-tion, we have been engaged in the realization of all-rounded nation building program,” the president added.
Colorful military parade shows accompanied with somersaulting of airplanes added color to the already magnificent event. Following this show, a song was presented by Yohannes Tikabo and Dawit Teklesenbet aka Shilan that tries to describe the true manning of identity and the very essence of having a national flag. The message it tries to convey could roughly translated as “Our flag is not just a banner or a piece of cloth and thus it cannot be ruined, bleached or tattered even if exposed to water and scorching sun.”
Other songs in different local languages were also staged. A vivid calisthenics movements presented by a large number of students was also another delighting and instructing program which grabbed the attention of the participants of the celebratory event. All the colorfully dressed students were busy to convey messages of significant value through mimes. Despite ups and downs one could harvest the ultimate fruits of hard work through adhering to the setout plans is the overall idea presented in the mime.
Following the mime activities, renowned Eritrean singer, Bereket Mengestab approached with his song which tries to highlight that utmost priority should be given to nation’s sovereignty for anything apart from it is just a secondary issue. A musical drama staged in Hidareb language titled, “Egurha” just next to Bereket’s song is all about challenges could not hinder or weaken us but are rather tools that could strengthen our endurance to combat any eventuality.
A group of Sudanese singers were also participated in the occasion and presented a song in unison. While the song was being staged the audience gave them whistling appreciation.
Above 2,000 students and around 40 mothers filled the football field to present impressive calisthenics movements with the accompaniment of a song by Saied Brahanu and Senait Amine. Comedian Yonas Mihretab with a child of about eight years of age acted as conductors to a marching band that comprises musician mothers as its members. “Our hut” a song by a group of four singers is what followed next to the comic acts of Yonas and his group. A song in Tigree language by Helen Meles was also staged setting the vivid calisthenics movements of multitude students as its background.
The colorful movements of the students still continued. “Whether I live or die, I am always in its embrace and in its soil” is the general theme of the song presented by Henok Teklay (Nago). This song was the cover to the basket of presentations staged in Asmara stadium from 4:30 Pm to 7:20 Pm. The official celebration of Independence Day anniversary of 2013 in which President Isaias Afwerki, ministers, senior PFDJ Officials, regional administrators, religious leaders, foreign dignitaries, Eritreans from the Diaspora and other invited guests took part was then concluded with the national anthem.