How a couple of young Eritreans decided to celebrate a national holiday

Posted: June 2, 2014 in Active youth citizenship, Participatory development, Youth Issues
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Eritrea commemorated her 23rd anniversary of independence on 24 May 2014; celebrations in Eritrea literally start a couple of weeks before the date with exhibitions, competitions, carnivals, school festivals and cultural shows. Among Eritrean Diaspora communities, Independence Day is celebrated with much fervor as well, through parties and manifestations. Either way, this blog post isn’t about those celebrations. You can easily get information about how Eritreans celebrated this year’s Independence Day by visiting the Eritrean Ministry of Information’s website, or websites of Eritrean Diaspora communities including Raimoq (Germany) , Alenalki (Sweden), Meadna (UK), Dehai (USA), etc.

Today I want to bring your attention to the way two young Eritreans who live in the Diaspora decided to celebrate a national holiday.

Russome Semere

Russom Semere currently lives in Germany, but wasn’t born and raised there. Matter of fact, he only went to Germany after receiving a scholarship to pursue his masters there. A member of 13th round national service, his objectives were clear: to learn and gain maximum exposure to technology and skill so as to become a useful and capable person for his society. With this objective in mind, he carefully selected his career and master thesis project on rural electrification in Eritrea.

So where is the proof that Russom is putting his education to good use? Russom spend May 24 helping pack a 1.3 million Euro solar project to Eritrea. That solar module support structure you see him packing in the picture will end up somewhere in Gash Barka, one of the six administrative zones of Eritrea, most noted for its agricultural potential.



Nikodimose Gebreab

I’m not bringing up what Nikodimose did on Eritrea’s Independence Day; rather, I’m writing about what he did during the USA’s Memorial Day (26 May). Note that Eritrea has her own day to commemorate fallen heroes on the 20th of June. On America’s Memorial Day however, Nikodimose who is an Eritrean American decided to remember those who fought bravely and sacrificed for Eritrea, highlighting the immense role that women played in the struggle for independence. With his Facebook update, he included the picture I’ve posted below, a picture of the 9 ethnic-linguo groups of Eritrea who represent 1 nation, the Eritrean nation.

Now like most similar circumstances where an Eritrean young person expresses his Eritrean pride on Facebook, Nikodimose did receive a criticism from one of those ‘so-called opposition’ types, and it was his response that really got me:

“No matter how great this country has been to me personally, it’s been terrible towards Eritrea and her people. US led lies, propaganda and sanctions AGAINST my people, and as far as the nation that gave us all refuge when we needed it, in my eyes, that was Sudan. It was Sudan that took all my people in when we needed it, Sudan is the country that made sure all of us made it safely to Europe, Canada and the US. Me and my family would have been good in any of those places. Long story short, America is not that special to me… Eritrea is.”



Note: The title is incorrect. It should read 9 ethnic groups and not 9 tribes.

Note: The title is incorrect. It should read  ethnic groups, not  tribes.


How these young Eritreans decided to celebrate national holidays recently is only a very small sample of how many young Eritreans inside and outside commemorate not only their country’s independence, but also how they remember the great sacrifices made in order to bring about that independence.

Mainstream media loves to paint a picture that all is lost in Eritrea, that her youth are fleeing to never return back, that there is no hope for the ‘tiny’ nation. Yet everyday there are MANY examples of how not only do they choose to remember and celebrate their country and nation, but also how they prepare and work towards giving back to their people. You may not hear or read about these examples on mainstream media, but trust me… they are there. 🙂



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