(EritreaAt24 Series: May 21st) Our Beloved Eritrea
As I sit here and reflect on what this month and this upcoming Sunday in particular mean to me, all I can think of is the joy and love my heart feels for my beloved Eritrea. The joy I feel is indescribable because I think of what it means to be an independent nation. And the love I feel is immeasurable because it is something I have never felt before.
You see, the reason we Eritreans love our nation the way we do is because there is none like her. Outside of her love for peace & justice, her determination, her pure beauty, and her drive to make life better for every one of her children, Eritrea is unique because of how she was conceived. As all nations that were under colonial rule were given their independence, Eritrea was not. After the Italians were defeated in WWII, they passed along their torch of colonialism to the British, who then passed it on to the Ethiopians. So after all of the African nations were provided the freedom to exist as however so they chose, Eritrea was subjected to continued brutal colonial rule.
Up until 1991, to say Eritrea and Eritreans suffered immensely is an understatement. To recount the incalculable atrocities committed against Eritrea and Eritreans would take more than a few volumes of books but suffice it to say that every single individual during the colonial periods was personally affected by it. But in spite of it all and against ALL odds, Eritrea and Eritreans were able to overcome.
Now, Eritrea wasn’t able to overcome due to sheer luck or because someone said “hey, let me give you a hand there”. Eritrea and Eritreans only overcame due to their pure determination, unwavering dedication and most of all their sacrificial spirit. During our 30-years Armed Struggle for Independence, it is safe to say that every Eritrean family experienced the martyrdom of at least one of their family members. With such a small population, it is inevitable that every single individual would be affected by the horrendous nature of colonialism and that of wars. However, the Eritrean people’s strive for independence never faltered. This is why we Eritreans love our Eritrea the way we do. You see, our independence was not one that was given to us, nor was it one that came at a small price. No, Eritrea came about due to the ultimate sacrifice that was made by our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and children. Every square inch of Eritrea is covered by the precious blood that was shed to set her free and this is why we so dearly love our Eritrea. We Eritreans have the privilege to say we have a home and that home is called Eritrea.
No matter where we live in the world, Eritrea will always be home to us because Eritrea is in our hearts. We have a saying “Hade Hizbi, Hade Libi” which means “One People in One Accord”. Till this day, Eritrea and Eritreans have been tested and continue to be tested by those who wish to see her demise. However, it is this unity, mindset and one heartbeat that we share for our beloved Eritrea that has led to our 24th year Independence Anniversary. So the joy and love that fills my heart and the hearts of my fellow Eritreans is because we know what we had to overcome & again against all odds, we will continue to overcome!
Eternal Glory to our Martyrs!