Written by: Niema Fkak
I am not sure where and when to begin but all that I can say is that
the last 26 years have been the most painful years for the Eritrean people.
For more than two decades Eritreans went through the most brutal acts of evil imaginable.
This time I would like to share my personal experience and testimony. I vividly remember the colourful and joyful day when we got our Independence from Ethiopia in 1991. Though I was only six years old my memory is still clear and fresh, because I remember the joy and happiness that our mothers and fathers where showing. We were literally staying on the street singing and dancing breathing new air of freedom. We were recognized as a nation by the UN in 1993.
The whole nation was united and celebrated its independence. For the first time in the history of the country, Eritrea was going to be led by its own people. People from all walk of life: farmers, professionals, religious leaders, etc…., and everyone was eagerly waiting and ready to cooperate and adhere to all the demands requested by the newly self-appointed government in Asmara. Even people from outside the country started to permanently come back to their beloved nation with big dreams and plans to work hand in hand with the government in building this nation.
The reality however was quite the opposite. For the last 26 years, this self-appointed government had done all in their power by controlling the people and killing the dream of many for Eritrea. Furthermore, relative to the available resources, potential of the country and needs of the people no substantial progress had been achieved in terms of development. Because having the longest coast in the Red sea, two ports, valuable minerals and most of all very hard working, well cultured and God-fearing people is the base of any country progress and we had it all. Instead the government built state of the art prisons and secret detention centres, conducted arbitrary (random) arrests, reinstated forced labour and overall violated its citizen’s basic human rights, Consequently Dec 2015 the UN accused the Eritrean government of violating human rights (please follow the link before for more information).
Some of the inhumane violations taken by the government against the people includes closing churches and arresting religious leaders and members of many Christian beliefs, putting the Pope under house arrest, false accusation and arrest of possible protesters to keep themselves on power. The most recent development in a series of brutal, tyrannical acts enacted by this regime is represented by an unprecedented move. On 31/10/2017, the government ordered the closure of the only Islamic school (Al Diaa) in Eritrea, which had been established in 1967 and which had survived all the brutal colonies. This, as the saying goes “the straw that finally broke the camel’s back.” Considering that both Muslim and Christian religions have suffered substantially from this regime people were still tolerating the acts and still cooperative with the government.
However, this triggered the Eritrean people to stand up and show that they were extremely unhappy with their decision by voicing their protests to the Ministry of Education. The government however responded by shooting at women, elderly people and school children. This of course is completely unacceptable, as observed by major media outlets such as Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, Al Hura etc.
Now there is still a major movement going on in Eritrea. This will hopefully be the start of the end of this brutal regime. I’m positive regarding the outcome, since the Eritrean people are all united against the dictator. At this moment the regime is busy rounding up people, distributing false information and setting more check points to avoid another up rise. The truth however is that, it has no impact in stopping what the people have started and with the advancement of technology no matter what they try, the people are up-to-date thanks to the social media.
The self-appointed government demonstrated their lack of competency, lack of governing abilities and respect of their own people by detaining 90-year-old Sheikh Mousa. Sheikh Mousa is a well-respected man who refused the government’s demands and disapproved of its brutal practices, which involved firing live bullets at young kids in Diaa School and in central Asmara- where people normally celebrate 24th of May (Independence Day).
As a next step, first and foremost I urge the international world, such as EU, USA, UN and other private organisations to put pressure and condemn the actions of the government to hold them responsible and accountable for their actions, and secondly release the prisoners and to respect and honour everyone’s freedom of religion and human rights.
The legacy of the self-appointed government has run its course. The Eritrean people have suffered enough, so it is time for the regime to go. The tyranny mask has dropped and demolished its true colour so no more tolerance. ??