Dear Selam:                                                

When I asked who you were – very courageous overtly confronting the PFDJ supporters – few years ago, I found out who your parents are and was stunned!  It was one of the moments that I try to bury my feelings and experiences deep in my heart - forced to leave our homeland, disbursed, and losing connection with old precious friends!   When I read your story posted at Asmarino, I was mesmerized!  It is one thing to know and different when you read it with even pictures!

Yes, you are an activist with indomitable faith in what you are doing, but so were your parents in different ways. Your father Colonel Kidane Ghebreigziabiher - who was a revolutionary - and I were class mates at Prince Mekonnen Secondary School in the late 1950s. 

After high school we lost contact for Kidane went to Addis. Long after they were married and transferred to Asmara, your mother Woizero Alem Bisrat and I met at the Asmara YWCA in the 1970s. She was working for the Commercial Bank and a YWCA board member at one time.  It was then that we built our relationship as two families.  Again, in The Relief and Rehabilitation Association of Eritrea, founded in 1974, Kidane, Alem and I were active in different capacities! So, you are the daughter of two fighters, following the footsteps of your parents! Amazing!

Woizero Alem Bisrat and Colonel Kidane Ghebreigziabiher

Selam gualei, yes, giving your life to a noble cause is not easy, it takes your all, yet that is what one could call real life.  You have a noble purpose!  You were brought up in a comfortable home, you would have kept silent but you opted to travel the right road - be the voice of the voiceless and fight injustice to the core!  Life is well lived, life has true meaning only if you share what you have – your time, your love, your money, your knowledge!  As you are given, give back, as others want to help you when you need it, help others, as you want to be heard and respected, listen to others intently and respect them too.  Standing the whole population together and selflessness is what made us win the liberation war.

Selam gualei, it is really joyful and it gives me hope to see many diaspora young Eritreans dedicated to alleviate the long suffering of our people.  I see many diaspora women from different backgrounds more so young ones who came with their refugee parents as children, or born abroad who know Eritrea only from their parents taking part in the “YiAkel” movement - out of PFDJ’s satanic grip!  

Selam gualei, let me tell you that people can be called successful activists only when they encourage others to be better activists than themselves.   Humility, kindness, compassion, sympathy, listening and respecting each other is the culture we kind of lost in these terrible times, and there cannot be true freedom and peace without these traits!

It aches my heart to note in social media precious time being wasted responding - far from beneficial constructive criticism - with disrespect using foul words and broken language that sounds neither Tigrigna nor English. In the middle of all these, the main critical issues being forgotten, reduced to bickering! It pains my heart to see costly conferences discussing our constitution that took three years in making it and ratified by a Constituent Assembly in 1997.  The cart before the horse is the case.  Once Isaias is gone, once we own our country in a true sense, once we have our own government elected by its people, then we can make all sorts of amendment to our constitution or even change it completely, if need be.  Ego, nothing else but ego which is destructive!  

Selamei, it aches my heart in meetings and pal talk attendants delving in their agenda instead of starting by a quiet time, followed by briefly sharing burning issues like the recent tragedy in Libya that could lead to action. In the very meeting, putting ourselves in the shoes of the ones who are suffering and dying in no man’s land could make us forget our ego, be humbled and do what has to be done with all our might.

Selamei, having shared my heart aches, specially these days inner peace and hope are coursing in my veins.   I met Menal Younus, the poetess in Washington, DC a couple of months ago through Yodit Araya, another young woman who is pro-active and really on fire! In the evening that Yodit invited Ambassador Hebret Berhe, Manal and I, Manal recited one of her famous poems.  Very moving!

Selam gualei, the future is yours, yes, yours the young ones, but let me remind you two things:   One, although now more people seem to be aware of the horrible situation we are in, engulfed by dis-integration of families, ignorance, poverty, destruction of all kinds including death in the high seas, human trafficking and sale of organs, do not expect everyone to rise at the same time. Two amidst all your responsibilities as a daughter, mother, wife and relentless activist, together with others, take some time to reflect on our history, so that you all can learn from it, retaining and magnifying the good and deciding never to repeat the same mistake.

Selamai, having said all these, respecting you for your relentless fight against injustice and disrespect for human lives, I want to finish my letter by recommending that you read President Abraham Lincoln’s renowned second inaugural address that ends with the following:  “…….let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

I love you, Selam gualei and lots of blessings to you and your family.

Abeba

 


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