Speech by EMDHR GC Speaker: Mr. Tesfagaber Ghebre-Egziabiher at the EMDHR General Congress.
Good Afternoon Members
I feel honored and privileged to sit in front of you and welcome you to the extremely important congress of the extra-ordinary important organization that fights against all injustices and gross Human right violations in Eritrea, Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human rights(EMDHR).
I feel honored to be with you because I know the kind of sacrifices that you are making and the kind of challenges you face in your daily life. You could have chosen to stand aside and concentrate on your private life but you did not, you could have clapped for the monster regime and benefited but you did not, you could have chosen to remain selfish and ignore the suffering of our poor people but you did not. Instead you chose to neglect your private life to fight the world’s most oppressive regime. I feel honored because you are the voice of the voiceless. The regime and its supporters might call you names such as traitors, FBI agent, recruits of Ethiopia and so on. To me you are not just brave human right activists but blessed human beings for injustices have no place in the eyes and heart of our creator God.
Remember this is not about us who are breathing democratic air of South Africa nor is it about the Eritrean Diaspora who are benefitting from the democracy in Europe or elsewhere, this is about the victims who are still under the polluted regime and who are suffering tremendously in our home land, this is about people who have disappeared in prison cells, people whose children, siblings, parents have been arrested with no crime whatsoever. Yes this is about the innocent youth who are spending their precious teenage period suffering and perishing on deserts and the sea trying to escape the world’s worst dictatorship in their homeland.
This is very sad reality and no generation deserves this. I believe we are all here to stop this catastrophe so our future generation do not have to pass through what we have been through.
Honorable members, this Congress is extremely important because it is held in a time where the world is witnessing the Mass killing and the suffering of Eritreans everywhere in the world. We, Eritreans are suffering at our home, a place that was supposed to be our shelter and a place to breathe a peaceful air, a source of our bread and pride. We are dying and suffering in Refugee camps and refugee centers all over the world, more specially in Refugee camps of Sudan, Ethiopia, prison centers of Israel and Streets of Italy. Even in those countries that have got good governance and sympathy to us as refugees, life is never easy. We have become people with no hope and future.
This is extremely important for it is held after terrible years in the calendar that have seen the worst human disasters in the Mediterranean Sea. In the last couple of years tens and thousands of Africans and Asians have drowned fleeing unbearable political situations at home. We all know majority of these are Eritreans and Syrians. Syrians fleeing Civil war and Eritreans fleeing a situation that is often described as worse than death.
Honorable members in the last couple of years we have witnessed our innocent brothers and sisters loose their precious life in a sea helplessly. Innocent youth who should have designed and lived a great future but they could not. Men and Women who were supposed to work as professional fishermen in their own Red Sea, they were consumed by fish in the foreign sea. What a shame to be part of this history. I often ask myself as to what our response will be for our next generation when they ask us why we let this happen? We have failed our current young generation and I hope we do not fail our next.
This Congress is extremely important as it is held with two weeks after the anniversary of Eritrea’s independence. A day that we paid dearly so we can breath air of freedom, have a leader of our choice, craft our own our own home and life in our own homeland. A day of promise that has been broken and tarnished by our own dictator. It is very sad we are meeting in at the time when people in the Diaspora have proven to be as cruel and cold hearted as the regime in Asmara and its leader Isaias Afeworki. Amid the loss of thousands of lives in the sea and ruthless beheading of Eritreans and Ethiopians by a terrorist group ISIL, Eritreans in Diaspora danced and celebrated in parties organized by inhumane regime and its supporters.
Honorable members, the last 60 days have proved how disintegrated and dysfunctional society we have turned to be. It may take 30, 60 perhaps 100 years to fix a destroyed economy but it takes forever to fix a destroyed society. And that is what the regime has created by breaking united families, clans, villages, communities and the whole society. This should touch and sadden each and every living citizen of the country comrades.
As EMDHR, I feel we should commend every help and sympathy granted by the international community in general and European countries in particular in trying to rescue our innocent brothers and sisters in the Mediterranean Sea. We know more could have been done to prevent the loss but still they deserve appreciation for carrying our burden. This is a catastrophe created by our own regime. Furthermore, we would like to remind the world that we are not economic immigrants we are fleeing a the most repressive regime, persecution, lifelong slavery, torture, disappearance, confinement, and endless militarization.
We condemn individuals and parties who are trying to paint the look of the worst regime in the Asmara of whom the South African ambassador in Eritrea is one. As South African Ambassador we expect him to spread the message of Ubuntu and the exemplary matured democracy in South Africa, not to support the dictatorial regime and its policies. We feel trying to express the regime in Asmara positively is like supporting Apartheid. What is happening in Eritrea is even worse than apartheid.
The list of factors and reasons as to why we should meet and have congress like this to seek a solution is endless. Therefore, from the bottom of my heart I salute you for all your efforts so far and for making it to this extra ordinary congress. I hope and pray this congress will produce more productive strategies to deal with the most difficult and complicated situation our country and our poor people found themselves in.
May God Bless Eritrea, Africa, the World and let Justice Prevail.
Tesfagaber G. (Sogdo)
EMDHR GC Speaker
06 June 2015
Pretoria, South Africa