Dear Veterans of my beloved country,
Dear Veterans of my beloved country,
on my way in wishing you a nice week-end, I ask you to- please- read the below remembrance. All that happened in my little house, is a resemblance of what was going on in each of your houses. For, ALL Eritrean Veterans share humbleness and a sense of giving we are missing in today’s Eritrea. I will never get tired of asking each of you to work for unity to prevail among Veterans. All has been tried by so called “opposition groups” and nothing has been achieved. Your unity, will make the entire population gravitate towards you, our own Army!
I thank you for your time and I dream and hope to see a reunion that will gather ALL Eritrean Veterans.
NEVER losing the war!
We – Eritreans – comfort each other and say that we will build a memorial for our Martyrs that sacrificed their lives for our well-being.
Very often, I think about words my Berhane told me over 4 decades ago. Like the day I told him – following the massacre in the city of Asmara by the Ethiopian occupier to avenge the death of their Colonel Bishou – that I hoped soon we could build memorials for each victim murdered that day.
This is what the most peaceful person on earth told me after taking away from my hand the vegetables I was getting ready to steam for dinner. The following is an extract of our long conversation.
Birhin said ” Why do we build memorials ? Do we build them to remember or to forget? To honor or to appease our guilt because we did not do enough to prevent these deaths. To comfort the living or to reflect on how to eliminate war by creating strong international laws? Do we build them because at present we are closing our eyes to this reality? There will be documentaries done about the Eriteran war for freedom, but all along us – Eritreans – need to “build” rules and regulation where each Eritrean will have a right to be, to say, to defend and to prosecute, before rushing in building memorials! Cemeteries with lined graves all looking alike will be built, but we need to kneel down not only to the grave, but still hear the gunshots that Eritrean took to defend you and me and our little ones. Our war for freedom will be remembered for centuries, but we need to focus on the violent occupation that created this war in the first place. Otherwise, we will build war memorial in a large number and we will less likely notice them. Our national war cemetery need not to become ubiquitous, so to never let our heroes fall into oblivion. The omnipresence of statues and too many memorials might make our young generations to walk by and our history go unnoticed particularly in the everyday life.”
I asked him: “What do we need to do in order to reach what memorials should be about?” “Simple- he said – we need to observe and honor the selfless sacrifice of ALL our Tegadeltys/Freedom Fighters; that sense of gratitude needs to become the FIRST monument we build in the minds of our children; the sacrosanct ideals of Eritreans, need to be engraved in the hearts of our young generation. No matter what ugly decision our leaders might take! It needs to become the first “monument” and the very first “memorial” that no beat of time can erase! History books telling the true meaning of our war for freedom are the memorials our Martyrs need!
There has to be primarily a sense of discomfort among all of us – Eritrean nationals- so once we are free we can bring attention to the sacrifices and not polish war memorials that remind us only about war and not about every single life we lost. Each memorial we build in our hearts, should compare to a gunshot and to a history chapter written in truth and based on principles. Our impending memorials are to prevent future wars and never threaten democracy.
With his hands squeezing my hands smelling of celery and carrots, I could only stare at Berhane and tell him that one of the reason I kept falling in love with him was his humility. And before he asked me and analyzed, I told him that I loved his humility of knowing that in this war no one was holding a corner of truth. So many humble Eritreans like him knew that education, money, enlightenment begins not with clarity but with questions and sometimes with confusions. I told him that for a lifetime I needed him by my side to let perseverance be my walking companion. Birhin said that being humble is accepting imperfections, and give room to learn from others.
My humble and gorgeous hero! So many years after you left us, I still learn and share with others, the lessons you left me with. That is what makes you eternal! Those murderers only broke your bones, but they could never kill you.
Will our future monuments accurately reflect the trauma of the experience of war ALL our Tegadeltys/Veterans lived by? The people of Eritrea are making sure that our war for freedom will not fade in movies, narratives, monuments and archives no one will care about!
“Of all the forces that make for a better world, none is so powerful as hope. With hope, one can think, one can work, one can dream. If you have hope, you have everything.”
” Peace is a wall we will all create by building it brick-by-brick together”. (Trade mark)
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