In October 2020, Eritreans are commemorating the seventh anniversary of the sinking of the dinghy carrying more than 360 young Eritrean refugees who perished off the Italian island of Lampedusa on October 3, 2013.
The suffering and human tragedy involving the death of young Eritreans, including pregnant women and children, at the gates of Lampedusa, while in full view of European rescue ships at a stone’s-throw distance, was a criminal and racist act which brought great shame to the European Union’s leaders and to the entire so-called civilised world.
Nevertheless, after all is said and done, Eritreans should also understand that they are responsible for their own actions. As far as I am concerned, there is no doubt that young Eritreans – although forced to flee by unbearable living and political conditions in Eritrea under the fascist dictatorship of Issayas Afeworki – have committed and are still committing inexcusable blunders by undertaking perilous and suicidal journeys in unseaworthy dinghies in their attempts to reach the shores of Europe.
As a result of the irresponsible actions of their fellow countrymen, thousands of young Eritreans have already perished and are still perishing in the Mediterranean Sea and in the Libyan and Egyptian deserts.
It is therefore clear that Eritreans have learned nothing from their own mistakes and from the horrifying experience of Lampedusa and other similar events. And the worst thing in life is not to make mistakes as such, but failing to learn not to repeat those mistakes.
Therefore, as we commemorate the anniversary of the death of more than 360 young Eritreans, I say enough is enough. Eritreans must stop these perilous and suicidal journeys from Libya to the shores of Europe and elsewhere. They must stop fleeing from home, organise themselves in small groups and confront the fascist enemy of Eritrea and its people, using whatever means at their disposal.
Besides, history teaches us that oppressed people have always secured their own liberation not through fleeing their home, but by staying and fighting.
Likewise, no regime that rules by fire and sword has ever surrendered power to oppressed people unless those oppressed use bayonets and swords against that regime.
Drs. Tsegezab Gebregergis