Date: Sunday, 07 June 2020
Unlike the previous twenty-eight celebrations, in light of the prevailing circumstances, this year it was not possible to have the usual colourful celebrations. However, whereas in past years the week long festivities would have been done out on the Nation’s streets, this year the festivities were held in keeping with the social distancing requirements, over social media and the traditional media.
The Eritrean Embassy Media in the UK, played its part in ensuring that this august of days in Eritrean history was celebrated in spite of the Corona Pandemic, by putting together a series of entertaining and informative programmes.
These programmes included;
- Hitherto un-recounted stories of operations carried out during the liberation struggle.
- Live music which underlined the occasion
- Interviews with the stalwarts of the liberation struggle
- Performance artists and their work
- Interviews with a number of current ambassadors of the State of Eritrea, serving in different countries across the World.
- Interviews with invited guests
- Congratulatory messages to the people of Eritrea and the Eritrean defence forces
- The twenty-years of ensuring the development and sovereignty of the nation in the face of unprecedented threats and challenges.
- The role women played in the liberation struggle
- The role of Eritrean community organisations in the fight against the Corona virus.
- Reflections on the pride of achieving independence
- The new era of peace and friendship between Eritrea and Ethiopia
The following ambassadors of the State of Eritrea participated in the Ambassador’s section;
- Ambassador to Italy, H.E Dr. Fessehatsion Petros
- Ambassador to Kenya, H.E Beyene Russom
- Ambassador to UK & Ireland, H.E Estifanos Habtemariam
- Ambassador to EU, H.E Negasi Kassa
- Ambassador to South Africa & Southern Region, H.E Saleh Omer
- Charge de Affairs Embassy of Eritrea & representative at the UN in Geneva Swiss, Mr. Adem Osman
- Charge de Affairs Embassy of Eritrea in the United States, Mr. Berhane Gebrehiwot
- Representative of the State of Eritrea to the United Nations at Vienna, Mr. Abdelkadir Hamdan
In this section the Ambassadors discussed the arduous journey taken over the past 29 years to safeguard the sovereignty of Eritrea. Especially the challenges that the nation faced over the past twenty years because of the wars launched against it, economic sanctions imposed on it and repeated military attacks, all these were intended to overturn the independence of Eritrea, an independence achieved through great sacrifices.
The Ambassadors highlighted the co-ordinated efforts of the people of Eritrea in fighting against the challenges that it faced. They also explained the efforts that are currently being made in fighting the Corona pandemic and pointed out the experiences of the people of Eritrea gained in fighting for its independence and preserving its independence, will come in good steed in the fight against the current pandemic.
In the ‘Eritrea Today’ segment Mr. Yohannes Fasil, and Dr. Tekeste Geberay discussed at great length, the efforts, the ingenuity, the self-reliance, needed and exhibited by both the freedom fighters at the battle fields and members of the underground resistance in occupied territories.
The well known Hollywood actress, Ella Thomas, also gave an interview and recounted her experiences of Eritrea, in the ‘Experiences of well known artists and friends of Eritrea’, section of the programme.
Films were shown that documented the experiences of three generations of Eritreans, which highlighted the huge price paid in the fight to gain independence. The film also showed how the challenges to safeguard independence while trying, to pursue development paths to be self-reliant were overcome.
In the section entitled, ‘the role of the arts and Independence’, the role of the arts in preserving the culture and values of the Eritrean society, in teaching history during the armed struggle and after independence
Professor Gideon Abay Asmerom from the United States, Miss Ruth Negash from Malawi and Mr. Yacob Gebretensay from the UK, discussed issues around development and reconstruction.
There was also a section for children, where they were given an opportunity to express their love for their country.
The programmes were live streamed from the temporary studios at the Media Centre in London, by Embassy Media on the occasion of the 29th Eritrean independence day.
A large number of Eritreans residing in different parts of the world—Africa, Middle East, Europe, North America—were able to come together as one, to celebrate under one ‘roof’.