Message to the peoples of Israel, Egypt and Libya
Tesfamichael W. Tewelde
There is a saying in my mother language that reveals the seriousness of curse, “If a curse of someone doesn’t kill you, it can definitely get you troubles in your life.” If troubled people come and ask us for help, please don’t let them shrivel and die by refusing to give what they want. Because, they will be cursing us if they get what they feared most in their lives – due to our unwillingness to help them. The norms of hospitality and sharing, in times of need, have prevailed throughout the history of humans. As they, indeed, are the prime acts of humanity. I have once read a touching story in the bible - the widow of Zarephath who welcomed Prophet Elijah into her home when she had only one meal to offer; and later on God filled her pantry as fast as it was emptied and Elijah remained with her for many days. This kind of act, however, is not always what we see. There are people, who oppress and embarrass other humans like them, in their terrible exodus journeys. We must not forget that in the history of humanity, there could be a possibility that we might once be refugees, leaving our place that we may have presumed to be our life long destinations. That is why, God reminded the Israelites not to forget their bad times - as written in the following verse from the bible.
Exodus 22:21 "You must not mistreat or oppress foreigners in any way. Remember, you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.”
I have been following the news, recently, that has been emanating from Israel, and I am not convinced about the stand of Netanyahu’s government, about the case of Eritrean refugees in the country. I believe they have forgotten what they were told few thousands years back, as stated in the above verse. It will definitely have some negative result for their people, if they fail to shelter our people at this critical moment of our history. All the genuinely democratic countries have been treating Eritreans as political, and not as economic immigrants. Hence, these fellows deserve to be given their papers right away and be relieved from their long nights of nightmares - after having seen them come through the unimaginable hell on this earth.
The Bedouins have been smuggling and selling them by asking unbearable amounts of money; and some greedy residents of Libya and Egypt who have been exploiting the helpless moments of these Eritreans – by terrorizing them and seizing whatever money they have got. Those who have been suffering there, did curse them time and time again, while crying for help from God. It has been said that history, in one way or another, repeats itself, and we have been witnessing the Arab uprising – the prevailing painful revolution and political turmoil in North Africa and Middle East countries. This revolution will definitely have a longstanding effect for their future - just like what has been our fate – due to the border conflict with Ethiopia and the choice of dictatorship by Isaias, thereafter. Hence, the Libyans and Egyptians have inevitably started fleeing their countries and will continue to flee seeking asylum in other countries.
There is no question about the history of migration about the Israelites, as we have all seen them settled in every country we are in at the moment - just because of their terrible history. In everything, therefore, there is a general norm of reciprocity to treat others the same way you want them to treat you. Thus, the peoples and governments of Israel, Libya and Egypt should act soon to curb the heartless activities of these human traffickers and robbers, in the first place. And, more importantly, they should act like responsible governments, who value humanity ahead of their narrowly minded national interests. But, if they fail to do so, they will definitely be ashamed of this black history later – suffering of helpless fellow Eritreans - being manifested in their territories.
TESFAMICHAEL W. TEWELDE