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Where is her father?

Where is her father?

To a father growing old nothing is dearer than a daughter

Of all the things Eritrean that happened at the UN Human Rights Council last week young Abbie Seyoum’s unremitting quest for the whereabouts of her father whom she lost to the cruel dungeons in Eritrea was perhaps the most powerful.

If he had any humanity left in him, Abassador Tesfamichel Gerahtu (himself the father of young girls not much older than Abbie) would be haunted by the echoes of her voice reverberating ‘where is my father?’… but I don’t hold any hopes for that as by this point in my life I am convinced that the dangerous cocktail of evilness that he and his colleagues are dabbling in has any room for humane emotional reaction to the most natural question of a mere child … one whose only memory of a father is contained in a video footage of him playing with her toddler self… the more successful a pfdj one becomes the less of a human being they become too…

And over the years leading up to Ambassador Wedi Gerahtu representing a regime that has given us an Entirean nation of broken families, he had indeed been confronted by several young women, who similarly to Abbie, had asked him the same question: ‘Ambassador where is my father?’…and he responded with the same cruel, spineless, condescension! …God I hate pfdj!!...

A few years back a stupid article appeared on where a group of us were accused of all sorts of rubbish that pfdj raised ypfdj to spout off every time they opened their silly mouth, in amidst that stuff was some nasty stuff about Daniel Gebre-kidan, who disappeared from the streets of Addis soon after independence and neither government, to date, has assumed responsibility for his whereabouts or his fate.  The dumb a^@~ writer of the stupid article, in a website where the Ambassador’s media operatives regularly post his exploits, blabbered on  about why Daniel disappeared and his daughter Rahel Daniel, made an appointment to see the Ambassador and confronted him with the same question that Abbie did last week: ‘Ambassador, where is my father?’…he had no answer (stupidly he invited her to join ypfdj!!)

A few years on, another daughter of another prisoner Ms Semhar Habtetsion, confronted the Ambassador with exactly the same question and had quiet a bit to say on his condescending response… (is my pride in my younger sisters showing yet?)

These questions will continue to haunt pfdj officials for the rest of their lives and will never be answered by their ‘out of sight out of mind’ approach to dissent. Who would forget Awra Debessay’s appeal at the Giessen rally asking this very question: ‘where is my father?’ Last month the Petros sisters were at the DC rally with pictures of their parents and the same question too…

This is the reality that no amount of colourful t-shirt clad kids, mindlessly dancing to pfdj tunes, would ever answer… we have a nation of fatherless children, a few of them boldly hoisting their missing parent’s pictures and asking: ‘where is my father?’…with more… many many more just getting swallowed by the cruel deal that Eritrea has dealt them with and living in a world suspended between a cruel reality and a more cruel depiction of their reality by the regime…

The UN report last week drew attention to the number of separated children in refugee camps in Ethiopia… where are their parents? The reason the regime didn’t allow the Special Rapporteur to visit Eritrea is simple… the human rights violation in our country has become too massive to brush under the carpet, it is impossible to hide all the children that roam the streets begging, it is impossible to hide all the mothers making a ‘life or death appeals’ for their children held hostages in the Sinai and more abjectly it is impossible to hide pfdj’s nouveau riche who have made good from Eritrea’s missed opportunities.

This Sunday, it is Father’s Day here in the UK, and everyone lucky enough to have their father still around will have and hold them dearly.. Abbie and her sister Belula… will not be doing so… my friend Semhar will be on the quest that has blighted her entire youth and so will Rahel and her siblings…I no longer make any appeals to anyone who is willing to be seen in a pfdj t-shirt… but my appeal goes to the many that still manage to shrug off that simple question of a child: ‘where is my father?’…

… thankfully we have found a voice and a formidable voice it is…and unlike previous years this is no longer being a voice for the voiceless… this is more of an unrelenting voice for change… I am sure Abbie asked the same question of her mother when she was two, she probably asked ‘where is my father?’ at every juncture of her life… when other children were picked up from school by their fathers, when her friends showed her what their fathers bought them as a treat… when she wanted a him to kiss pain away and the regime that has the answer to her only question continues to dismiss her quest… last month she and her little sister, Belula,  were carted off the Embassy in Paris, where they live, escorted by riot police that the ambassador there called in response to her question…such a regime isn’t fit to govern anything let alone a nation of fathers that produced brave little girls like: Belula, Abbie, Rahel, Semhar, Aura, Hanna, Meaza and thousands more… isn’t it time we made their question our quest too?

I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection.
Sigmund Freud

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