Martyrs Day; Eritrea’s Sacrifice

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Our Martyrs gave us the republic that we all so proudly call home today; Eritrea. It is now up to all of us and we are all indebted to our Martyrs to keep it the only way they wished it to be: An Eritrea of all, by all, and for all.

Op-Ed: Africa

June 20 is Martyrs Day in Eritrea. Ever since Eritrea re-claimed its
rightful national independence in 1991, June 20 has been set and
declared national holiday for one and the sole purpose of respecting
and paying tribute to all those who paid the ultimate price, life, in
the great 30-year war to re-claim national independence and liberation
of the country and people of Eritrea.

I am also including those who lost their lives in yet another heroic
war against Abyssinia’s (Ethiopia) renewed attempt to re-invade,
re-conquer, and reverse the so attained national independence under the
lame pretext of “border dispute� between 1998-2000.

Just by way of refreshing the record, Eritrea is not a country that
suddenly and out of the blue assumed national and territorial
sovereignty in 1991 as those who are in schizophrenic perpetual denial
of the irreversible geo-political realities precipitated by the 19th
Century Colonial Scramble for Africa would like to pretend; or in1993
as the international media would like to portray it.

The latter is, on the one hand, all but a sorry attempt to camouflage,
obscure, even justify and legitimize Ethiopia’s forcible 30-year
occupation of Eritrea and to insinuate secession.

It is a design to provide political cover for and to blur the
mortifying military defeat their mighty protégé Abyssinia suffered in
the hands of the heroic combatants of a tiny nation by imputing
Eritrea’s national independence to a political charitable act of
Ethiopia in the form of the right of nations to self-determination
rather than the result of the blood, sweat, and tears of the people of
Eritrea and the life sacrificed by those that we on this day solemnly

Like all other African countries as we see them today, Eritrea was
first established in the geopolitical form and shape that we see it
today during the 19th Century colonial Scramble for Africa, or
Colonialism, in 1890 as Italy’s colonial territory in the form of a
Nation State with distinct territorial sovereignty secured by distinct
colonial treaties.


At the end of Colonialism, all colonial territories except East Timor,
Spanish West Sahara, and Eritrea, were granted what they were entitled
to by virtue and as a consequence of the nature they were first
established—national independence. But at the end of Italian
Colonialism in 1941, Eritrea was forcibly denied of its rightful claim
for national independence first by British military occupation
(1941-1951), then UN imposed “federation� with Abyssinia (1952-1962),
and finally by Abyssinia’s willful dissolution of even the forced
“federation� and subsequent military occupation for 30 years

In 1991, Eritrea finally re-claimed its rightful national independence
that was forcibly denied to it for a total of 50 years. After all and
every peaceful venues had failed, Eritreans delivered a final military
and political blow to Ethiopia’s occupation and ended all international
dreams and machinations to link Eritrea to Abyssinia. On June 20, 
we commemorate the sacrifice of Eritrean war veterans, including those
disabled during the struggle.

Our Martyrs gave us the republic that we all so proudly call home
today; Eritrea. It is now up to all of us and we are all indebted to
our Martyrs to keep it the only way they wished it to be: An Eritrea of
all, by all, and for all.

Today Our Martyrs would be moving in their tombs if they knew that
Eritrea has become a private estate of one-party and the people of
Eritrea have been subjected to one-man, one-party dictatorial rule by
the barrel of the gun in betrayal of the precious sacrifice they paid
by their life to the contrary.

Eternal glory and fame to all Eritrea Martyrs,

Long live all Eritrea war veterans,

Long live and viva Eritrea, vive l'Érythrée.


The author can be contacted at

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