By Sesin Seyoum
In the Eritrean holidays calendar, Independence Day (May 24) is one of the few with more significance. Eritreans celebrate the end of colonialism & the beginning of owning their country, future, voices and destiny. May 24 proclaims to the world that Eritrean strength, unity, steadfastness as well as the emergence as a sovereign and respected African nation. While celebrating their freedom, Eritreans unequivocally promise to light the sacred torch that was lit by the sacred Eritrean martyrs and turning their vision to a reality-for Eritrea to become a country where peace, justice, realistic democracy and prosperity prevail. To eliminate hunger, poverty and illiteracy, to preserve its identity and uniqueness, to develop commitment to family and community care by advancing economically, educationally and technologically.
The Eritrean people is unfailingly and diligently working on securing the hard-earned inalienable independence while the leadership that’s faced with many challenges is working tirelessly in building a self-reliant nation without incurring a back-breaking debt of billions of dollars for coming generations. Without being dependent to the so called donors that are crippling the third world nations and without giving in to the bullies who continuously try to create chaos, Eritreans are rebuilding their nation independently.
As it’s clearly stated in the PFDJ national charter, the Eritrean vision is for
Eritrean society to be known as harmonious among its different sectors, gender equality, love of country, humanity, discipline, hard work and love for knowledge, respect for law and order, independence and inventiveness. The vision is to perform miracles in peaceful nation-building as it was done in the 30 years war of liberation.
It’s fair to say that nothing quite so miraculous had been achieved anywhere by any people in this world. The beliefs of steadfastness, courage and the Can-Do Eritrean attitude were affirmed by a long and bloody struggle that was dismissed by almost the whole world as unachievable but was finally achieved and won to the amazement of those who dismissed it. The result has been this bright light on the hills of Nakfa, Asmara and the mountains of Metera. Eritrea has become the hope and breath of fresh air in Africa.
When Ethiopian colonizers were completely chased out of Eritrea in May 24, 1991, 85 percent of Eritreans did not have access to clean water, basic healthcare & educational facilities. Social & economical progress in education, technology and the standard of living became a priority. For Eritrea to prosper, people must regain their economic independence. The aim is to create the same opportunity for the “children in Arag and Children in Asmara”. The leadership then began to write it’s own programs which caters for Eritrean goals. Although outside expertise and experts are needed, relying on Eritrean abilities, experts and giving priority to developing internal capabilities is the only beneficial move. Avoiding the tendency of worshiping and imitating everything foreign is strengthening internal capabilities. For a just political system to exist, developed and just economic system should exist. A political democracy cannot work without stable social and economic democracy. Unbalanced and unjust economic system cannot be the basis for a democratic and just political system.
Let us look at Africa as a continent. Many of it’s countries have suffered from the curse of natural resources. Nigeria spends millions of US dollars through major borrowing to finance some of it’s projects. Today, Nigeria remains to be one of the poor, corrupt and unstable nations of Africa and this is after 60 years of independence form colonialism. Africa’s rich natural resources have been more of a source of conflict than prosperity. The reason for this is that, almost all African countries have tendencies of worshiping and imitating everything foreign and never wrote their own development programs. IMF and World Bank structural adjustment programs is crippling third world nations. Almost all African nations are lacking good governance that ensures peace, security, economic growth and poverty reduction. Relying on western aid have done nothing but weakening the capability of many African nations. If Africans are asked what they would want from their leaders; their answer would surely be enough food to eat, clean water to drink, a roof over their heads, accessible and affordable medical care and education for their children. When all these are equally provided, then a stable nation is built. PFDJ charter eloquently puts it as the following,
Notwithstanding wishful politics and promises and even the best of intentions, unless there is a strong economy which benefits all, with an equitable distribution of the national wealth, i.e. economic democracy, all the good intentions and promises are an illusion.”
When a leadership prioritizes food, water, shelter and medical care then is practicing democracy. But unfortunately, those who are caught in the western infiltrated elections trap while their people are dying of hunger are blinded by the short-lived praises that are heaped on them by their neo-colonial masters in the west.
Recently I bumped into a neighbor of mine, a veteran combatant of the 30 year Eritrean independence struggle. As Eritreans usually do, we started conversing about the current unfortunate situations in East Africa and the Middle East. He said to me, all these horrible results were just waiting to happen and never surprised him as bad governance lead to disastrous situations. He continued to say that, well before independence, the people’s front had a good plan and knew all the obstacles. That’s why it was able to fend off all the bullying and conspiracies in the last 24 years. The easiest thing for the Eritrean leadership would have been to hold pretentious western imposed elections without prioritizing the needs of the people. But that was not why Eritreans went through a long & bitter struggle. Their goal was not only to gain independence, but also to ensure economic development based on social justice as the people of Eritrea paid dearly for this.
God/ Allah bless Eritrea and those who gave their lives for their people