This extract clearly reminds to me the famous cries of Pastor Martin Niemöller uttered during Nazi rule in Germany. Niemoller was a German theologian and Lutheran pastor. He is best known for his opposition to the Nazi regime during the 1930s.
Summing up the German tragedy during Nazi rule, he stated:
“First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me”.
Drs Tsegezab Gebregergis
An Extract Taken From: “JOINING THE YOUTH IN SUPPORT OF ‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH’ MOVEMENT by Dr. Tesfa G. Gebremedhin”!
Once upon a time there was an interesting conversation that took place between an eighty-year old man, Aboy Fekadu and a five-year old boy, Arkebe in a certain village in Eritrea. Aboy Fekadu was a distant relative and neighbor of Arkebe’s family. Aboy Fekadu kindly asked Arkebe, “What would you like to be or do at this young age?’ Arkebe answered without any hesitation, “I would like to go abroad.”
Aboy Fekadu was surprised of his spontaneous and immediate reply and asked him again, “Why do you want to leave your family and village and go abroad?” Arkebe replied with great respect, “Well, I do not really want to go away from my village. But, I see everybody is going away and nobody is coming back to the village. If I stay behind, the hyena will eat me.”
It is obvious that the whole situation in Eritrea is too big a political and socio-economic issue for Arkebe to understand and know the dynamics of his surroundings. It was even too complicated and confusing to understand and know what was happening in his own respective village. Arkebe would not be able to know what and who caused the unsettled situation for his village people to go away and never come back to the village. However, the young boy was very keen to observe and understand that many people were disappearing from the village, particularly the younger generations and no one was returning to the village.
Arkebe seemed to be psychologically and mentally disturbed and in his own little mind he knew that if he stayed behind in his village, he would be the good lunch or dinner for a hungry hyena. The honest and innocent response of Arkebe reflected the kind of anxiety, apprehension, and mental disturbances that exist among many Eritrean youth, even the very young ones.
The story illustrates the real-life situation in Eritrea and the emotional and mental disturbances that make our younger generation agitated and restless. The situation in Eritrea forcefully pushed the youth to go away and migrate to other countries.
We, the older generation, directly or indirectly are all responsible for all the ugly situations and miserable conditions that have been happening in our own country because we have failed to defend and advocate for the welfare of our own people.
We did not question the government in Eritrea when the G-15 were taken away and stashed them in the ditches and trenches of the so-called Era Ero; when the Eritrean journalists and private newspaper editors and writers were put in the same horrible prison; when Minister Berhane Abrehe was dragged from his house to his prison cell; and when Bitwoded Abraha was put back to prison after he was out for a few days.
We did not react against the cruel and inhumane act of the government in Eritrea when Aboy Haji Mussa Mohamed Nur and Aboy Haji Abdu AhmedYounis died in prison; when Wodi Ali and some of his gallant fighters were gunned and some of them were put in prison.
We did not show any humane sympathy when some innocent disabled Eritrean warriors were killed in Mai Habar and when the body of the 50-year veteran fighter, Naizgy Kiflu could not even be buried in the land of his own country. We did not raise our collective voices and shouted to say ‘stop ዓገብ’, with the exception of some churches, against the government in Eritrea when His Holiness Abune Antonios, Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Christian church, was unlawfully demoted and confined on house arrest for the last 13 years and when some prominent spiritual leaders and members of other religious institutions were incarcerated and suffer in prison cells for many years.
We did not question the government in Eritrea when hundreds of Eritreans, including very small children and mothers, were drowned in the Mediterranean Sea, particularly the Lampedusa tragedy and when many Eritrean young men and women were perished in the Sahara and Sinai Deserts.
We did not react against the evil government when we witnessed gross human rights violation manifested by hateful and despicable human trafficking and smuggling of our younger generations who were molested, raped and brutally killed after their vital organs were ripped off.
Who questioned the government in Eritrea when our only University was completely closed and when the government has been preparing numerous prison camps, prison containers, prison ditches and trenches, and prison underground cells instead of building schools and clinics in the country? Nobody boldly challenged the government in Eritrea when all these and other horrific crimes have been taking place in front of our eyes for many years. For this reason, we all deserve to be called cowards and spineless people. It is time now to come to our senses and be brave enough to make our collective voices heard far and near.