(Asmara 03-10-2014) Arbi Harnet (Freedom Friday) activists in Asmara report that residents of the city are still numb from the shock and pain of last year’s migrant boat disaster that claimed 368 Eritreans. Many families across the city and throughout the country still continue to mourn their loss, but without the traditional rituals and burials it has become an extremely incomprehensible loss with incongruent reaction.
Reporting to their diaspora based counter parts on the reactions to the anniversary in Asmara activists said ‘Even though we all know October 3 should remind us about the the Lamapdeusa event, we are not not saying anything about it. No one is. People are seldom thinking about it, let alone do anything about it, it is like we are all numb with pain and shock’.
The report from Asmara went further explaining that the government is still silent on the matter and there is no media coverage at all.
It is to be remembered that last year, the government owned media attempted to play down news of the disaster and this action was followed by the pulling down of many obituary notices from public notice boards. Despite various attempts to quell diaspora uproar among its supporters the regime remained silent since that point.
This week members of the Eritrean diaspora and their friends and allies from the international community are marking the first anniversary of the tragedy, including a series of events on the island Lampedusa where survivors and families of victims were reunited to remember the victims. On Wednesday the Pope Fransis met with survivors and families of victims at the Vatican, this was followed by another prayer of remembrance on the Island yesterday.