Oakland, California: On Saturday, August 30, 2015, the Eritrean Youth Solidarity for change’s (EYSC) Bologna Forum recognized Dr. Bereket Habteselassie for his long service to the cause of Eritrea, freedom, democracy and the rule of law. On behalf of the organization, Mr. Saleh Gadi Johar, the founder and publisher of Awate.com, presented the award. It is an award of excellence for a man who has effectively used his mighty pen and impressive resume in the service of his people and freedom.
The award was, according to Mr. Yonas Hagos, president of EYSC, to thank Dr. Bereket “as a Freedom fighter, Chairman of the Constitutional Commission of Eritrea and, now, as a father and advisor to the democratic struggle at hand.” As a matter of principle and an effective strategy, Mr. Yonas Hagos emphasized that “those elderly veterans who gave everything they can to their people and nation should be admired and appreciated. It is one means of struggle to defeat the disrespectful one man led regime in Eritrea.”
For Mr. Solomon Assefaw, the architect of the idea and one of the principal organizers of the event, “this was a small piece of a grand strategy of reclaiming Eritrea’s proud of heritage of respecting elders and leaders and staying true to Eritrea’s cherished values and traditions. Dr. Bereket is a father to all of us, Eritreans, and as our father, it is only right that we honor the sacrifices he had made on our behalf and the proud example he is setting for generations to come. He has not stopped to fight on behalf of his people, freedom and justice.” Dr. Bereket’s contributions were aptly highlighted by Ms. Tekea Tseggai, a former member of Eritrea’s National Assembly.
The “extraordinaire poet” Kiros Yohannes captured the sentiments of the event in a poem he composed, for the event, in honor of Dr. Bereket.
Here is the poem in its entirety with my English translation of it.
Dr. Bereket Habteselassie
By Kiros Yohannes, Trans. By Semere T. Habtemariam
Read him! Read him!
He is a trove of heritage and a parchment of a nation;
A trail blazer in his area of study and expertise,
Knowledge and learning are the contours of his strength.
And steadfast and resolute,
He has been carrying the national burden on his shoulders.
He gave up his lucrative profession;
To join the field of armed struggle and fight for liberation;
But more importantly,
To guide the sword with the word and nudge the national struggle in the right direction.
Refusing to relax and rest,
Not even for sleeping a wink;
Propelled by the urgency of the situation,
And the moral imperative
Of ending the civil war where no one was willing to blink.
Dr. Bereket, the diplomat, scholar, soldier
To increase public awareness and garner support in Eritrea’s favor.
He knocked on all doors and walked the corridors of power;
Cogently articulating that the idea of national self-determination,
Was the force that inspires and animates Eritrea’s cause.
He is the Father of Eritrea’s Constitution,
The premier expert of jurisprudence.
His name is engraved in the continent
For the desire and vision of this pan-Africanist,
Has been to see a united Africa.
To be this influential,
Bereket (Blessing) must have been blessed by his forefathers.
Armed by a genuine humility, hardly breathing an air of superiority;
He converses with the youth as if one of them,
And treats everybody with care and dignity;
The heart of this born fighter does not tolerate injustice and inequity,
And may the Lord, for the sake of Eritrea, grant him longevity.
ዶ. በረኸት ሃብተስላሴ
ኣንብብዎ ቅርሲ’ዩ ብራና ሃገር…
ሊቕ ደረት ፍልጠት ማእገር
ኣብ እንግድዑ ዝተሰከመ…
ጾር ሸኸም ሃገር….
ብዓንተቡኡ ሞዩኡ ራሕሪሑ
ምእንቲ ናጽነት በረኻ ዝወፈረ…
ብብርዑ ቃታ መሪሑ ማእዝን ዘትሓዘ
ውግእ ሕድሕድ ደው ከብል
ሰውራ ኤርትራ ክረክብ ጉቡእ ተቐባልነት…
ኣይነበረን ዘይኳሕኩሖ ልዳት…
ቃልሲ ሕዝቢ ኤርትራ
ሙዃኑ ሕቶ መሰል ርእሰ-ውሳኔ…
ስነ-መጎት ኣልዒሉ ንቡዙሓት ዘእምነ….
ኣቦ ቅዋም ኤርትራ ኢዩ ናይ ስነ-ሕጊ ሊቕ…
ግዲ ነይርዎ ናይ ኣቦታቱ ምርቓ
ባህጉ’ዩ ክርእይ ጥምርቲ ኣፍሪቓ…
ትሕትና’ዩ ዕጣቁ ኣይብልን ልዕል ልዕል…
ምስ መንእሰያት ከም መንእሰይ’ዩ ዘዕልል…
ልቡ ኣይትጻውሮን’ያ ንዓመጽ ንበደል…
ኣቦይ እዝጊ ዕድመ ይወስኮ
ኤርትራ ሃገርና ትግበር ዕድል..