I feel your pain; I feel your pain.
Oh, Sunset’s Children!
Remember the 80s, waiting for the ‘To’Qae’! Remember when we hoped for the coming of our older brothers and sisters. Remember when we prayed. We saw tomorrow.
Remember when we fought our own little battles, in our own way. ‘ELPA’, the soccer team symbolizing Eritrea; Walya, the Dergue domination. Remember when Asmara, from Akrya to Godayf from Bietgergish to Villagio Genio heard the burst of applause as Bereket Zemichael of ‘ELPA’ scored! We morphed it into harbinger of good tidings.
Remember, 1990. Half of the youth fled to Addis or to Mieda, after the liberation of Massawa. We heard the guns, ‘tewenchafi’, falling in the vicinities of Sembel and Godayf, hurled from the Gindae and Dekemhare fronts. We said,‘deHay’ka AyteHaba’e!’
Remember when Dergue threatened, there was going to be a bloodbath if EPLF walked into Asmara. We dreaded the worst. We were ready to…die!
Remember May 24, 1991. We believed we were the chosen ones because we saw dream of generations of Eritreans come true. We were the apparitioners of Our Lady Eritrea. We thought we were the most fortunate ones because we witnessed the Greatest Sunset Ever. Late Friday, May 24, 1991, what a beauty! We children of Sunset! We, the golden children of History!
What happened? No really, what happened? What??? What?
What did we possibly do to deserve this treatment you wouldn’t even wish on your own sworn enemy? Why are we treated like the scum of the earth? Why should we not get any respect as human beings, as Eritreans? What did we do except obey? We were called ‘Mada Hibreteseb’ by the leader himself; we were called thieves, spoiled brats, undeserving ingrates, unpatriotic, undisciplined, fools, irresponsible, good-for-nothings, deserters, TRAITORS!
We never get the chance to grow up as normal humans get. In the tender age of our teens, we were snatched and bussed to Sawa. Bye, bye family. We were forced to learn to shoot a gun before we were finished with our childhood games. We were consigned as slaves to generals and colonels. We never complained. We obeyed.
Didn’t we go to Sawa on our volition to serve the nation? Who forgets June 1994, when the first Sawa recruits left with unbridled enthusiasm? We obeyed.
Didn’t we die in the thousands in wars we never consented to? Weren’t we there at Adi Murug, Bore, Zelanbesa, Aiga, Alitena, Gemhalo, Shambuko, Badme, Adi Hakin, the Dieda-s, Adi Begio, Tsorena, Egri Mekel, Tesseney, Dassie, Assab? Didn’t we bleed? Didn’t we cry? Didn’t we obey?
Instead, we were executed by the guns of our brothers, by the same AK47 we carried because we took a few weeks off. We were gunned down in Adi-Abieto, in Aderser, Wia, Dahlak, Sawa, in hundreds of Tehadso detention centers because we were slightly suspected of desertion.
We were pushed out of our dear nation, through hell quarters called Sahara, Libya, Mediterranean, Sinai. Why were we ridiculed and castigated by those who lived in comfort of the west for decades? Did they know what we have been through? Would they like to go through the same? Or more pertinently, would they send their sons and daughters through the rigors of Sawa, the life of servitude? Would they?
Whatever happened to giving the due respect for citizens who freely gave everything they have, even their lives with its singleness, who hold nothing malice in their hearts but unspeakable love for their nation and their people?
Don’t we feel pain? Don’t we need love? Don’t we have dreams? Aren’t we humans? AREN’T WE ERITREANS? Yes, isn’t it enough? Shouldn’t we feel enraged?
Yes, my dear Eritrean Youth,
Please, please, after you have seen what you have seen, after what you have been through, please, please, please, ‘Do not go gentle into that good night..”Yes, don’t quiver; don’t recoil; don’t give up; don’t give in, my fellow Eritrean Youth. Don’t succumb to lies, to temptations, to doubts, to prevarications, to mental slavery, to desperation, to darkness. Don’t go gentle into that good night…
Yes, you had it the worst. You thought you were the fortunate one because you saw the Greatest Sunset Ever. Late Friday May 24, 1991, what a beauty it was! You were the golden children of history. Now, twenty years later, you live in the Greatest Darkness Ever…Oh Children of Friday’s Sunset!
Yes, you were promised peace. You are thrown into war after war. You were promised education. You are in bondage of slavery. You were promised jobs. You are given indefinite servitude. You were promised freedom. You are in chains. Now they even deny that they promised. “I didn’t promise anybody anything.”
Yes, you are ‘burdened with the nearly impossible task of reconstituting an Eritrea from completely muddied waters, given little respect everywhere you turn, handicapped with your own lack of adequate political maturity, living in an era of globalized, individualized values, looking desperately for Che Gueveras and Yemane Barias, bedeviled with the sheer burden of history (and its poverty), hurled into very crowded political sphere where locating your niche proved quite a daunting task, provided with possibly the only option of saving Eritrea is through a barrel of a gun (this time against its own older brothers), our generation more than anything needs respect, guideposts, models, inspiration, Barias!’
Yes, ‘people have put us down because we don’t try to cause big sensation’ when they talk ‘bout this generation. Yes, our attempts may be rendered futile; our rage, hollow. The odds may be too great; our resources, negligible. We know that. Oh, we know that very well and more. We may never make it. Yet, that doesn’t stop us from doing the right thing ‘cause ‘Enough is enough.’
Remember it is your time, Eritrean Youth. Your turn. Your turf. Your destiny.
Remember, we are Eritreans too. We bled and died for our Beloved EreNA. We deserve better. We demand better.
Please, please, after you have seen what you have seen, my dearest Eritrean Youth, after what you have been through, please, please, please, ‘Do not go gentle into that good night..”
This light of us shouldn’t be extinguished. It is our sunset, for now. Not while we are alive. Not while we are in rage.
RAGE! RAGE! RAGE!
‘Rage, rage against the dying of the light…’ Dylan Thomas
P.S.:- From Daniel G. Mikael’s plea: ‘Several Eritrean youth groups are uniting themselves under the name “Eritrean Youth Solidarity for Change” using a recently founded Facebook group. Please take the first step to show your support and join the group. Drop them a line of encouragement and say: selamat menesey Eritra, we believe in you.’