Date: Sunday, 15 July 2018
The coming of Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed to Asmara upon the invitation of President Isaias Afwerki was a historic event that marked the begging of a new era for sisterly countries Eritrea and Ethiopia. The Eritrea people have indeed shown prodigious respect to the message of peace Ethiopians sent through the Prime Minister and his delegation. The 9th of July Asmara, other major cities and towns of Eritrea were hailing peace. Q&A brings you the messages of congratulations of Eritrean people to the Ethiopian people, as well as, the thoughts of two journalists: Gheremeskel Gherezghiher, program manager in MOI’s radio department and Abdi Kamil ETV reporter.
The hymn of peace is what the Eritrean people have been chanting for the past two decades. Twenty years later, the newly elected Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed has come with a response which the People and Government of Eritrea have accepted with respect. His decision was remarkable and was a bearer of the long awaited good news for the peoples of both nations. If you ask me why; it is because throughout the years, the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia have missed each other and have suffered deeply because of the war.
As a journalist I covered many events, communal gatherings and popular demonstrations. But I don’t think I have ever seen such gathering with heightened spirit as the one we are witnessing now. The residents of Asmara and its environs alongside Eritreans who have come to greet the Prime Minster from all over the country are in hundreds of thousands. I haven’t seen such expression of joy, ever, in my career. Today is different. The emotions of the people are sincere and heartfelt. Therefore, congratulations to the people of Eritrea, the people of Ethiopia, President Isaias Afwerki and Prime Minster Dr. Abiy Ahmed. Above all, may eternal glory be to Eritrea’s martyrs. It is their altruistic martyrdom that has made this day a reality.
This will mean that things will be normal. We don’t have to live in the longing of our friends and relatives in Ethiopia. And neither do they, because to me, starting from this day, peace means reunion of families and never having to be apart ever again. Our president and the Ethiopian Prime Minister have been courageous in their own respective ways, being relentlessly true to the principles they believe in. Honestly, as time passed, I kept thinking that this day would never come. But it did. And here we are all, young and old, present to greet the message of love. This past sad history that kept Eritreans and Ethiopians apart should never, ever be repeated again. My heart felt congratulation to the Eritrean and Ethiopian people!
I came today to put my companions who sacrificed their precious lives in the war. War is horrible. What good has it brought but damage to the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia? This is day is an emotional day to my friends and I who came not only to greet the message of peace but to remember our heroes who couldn’t make out alive from the war. Yes, it is true, we are happy, but as you can see, my companions and I cannot even stop crying because we are here to give glory to the friends we left in the battle fields, our dear friends, brothers and sisters, who sacrificed their lives for sovereignty. And it makes me sad and guilty to see just few of our comrades here today. I wish all of our unit could be here. I cannot say much, but may their souls finally rest in peace. After all this is what they died for. God bless Eritrea and Ethiopia with eternal fraternity!
The past couple of decades have been devastating. Witnessing this day makes us finally get over the atrocities inflicted upon the Eritrean people and move on to build eternal amity with our Ethiopian brothers and sisters. We have found a good friend, who Eritreans will dearly cherish, in Abiy. Look at how he fearlessly came to answer the call of peace… No one has ever done it before. And for that all of us Eritreans respect him greatly. We have been missing peace. We have been longing for this day. And so today is a dream come true for all of us. I have many of my childhood friends in Ethiopia therefore I’d like to pass my greetings. I cannot wait to see them again. Also, many warm greetings, from all of us here, to all Ethiopians!
What can I possibly say? I am afraid that I might not be good enough in expressing the atmosphere that is dominating Asmara right now. First of all congratulations to us all and welcome Dr. Abiy. Eritreans have long been waiting for this day because this day will mean not having to prepare for a possible war ever again. The no war no peace situation has kept us from being fully happy. Mothers, fathers and the youth have been living in the anxiety. We don’t want war. We never wanted it. But knowing there is no peace means being always ready for warfare. But now, Glory be to God and our Martyrs, it is over. Our prayers have been answered and that is why the Eritrean people cannot stop crying, cheering, hugging each other and dancing. The way the people is greeting our Ethiopian brothers and sisters is literally of joy. And not just the ordinary joy but a wild one. We all are in euphoria. Tons of love and lots of good wishes from Eritrea to Ethiopia!
When you see such emotions, even words don’t have strength to describe them. Similarly, I don’t have enough words to explain what I have witnessed in Asmara. I don’t know how I am going to adopt the feeling I am feeling. I have waited for this day for so long, and glory to the Lord we are able to see this day. Even though our people have been separated for more than two decades, those two brotherly people are connected in blood. And you can imagine what the people have felt, how much they have missed and loved each other. I have never experienced such a welcome, over ten kilometers wave of people. This shows that how both people longed for living in Harmony. I have seen athletes carrying Ethiopian flags, I am happy to be part of this historic day.