I am in Addis, a bit feeling tired and cold.
Yesterday was the grand opening of the hagerawi waa'la (the National Conference), and without exaggeration it was great and inspiring. The conference, without a doubt, reflected Eritrea’s diverse culture, ethnic, language, etc. Briefly, the events of the first day went as follows:
First, we had a lively demonstration that focused on refugees which brought up all waa'la participants of diverse background together in a highly emotion charged union.
The waa’la was opened with a moment of silence for our martyrs “Bezikri ne Kulom Suwate”, followed by a very interesting song of 70's in honor our martyrs was sang too. We also remembered hawina Tesfawenie Mesfin Redda who died in car accident recently while he was travelling from Sudan to Ethiopia to attend the Waa’la.
After that, hawena Beshir Ishaq and Amha Domenico made speech in Arabic and Tigrinya respectively. They talked about the committee and its ups and downs, about the hurdles they met and the support they garnered among the diverse Diaspora population.
Then, hawuna Tewelde Ghebreselassie made speech in Tigrinya, stressing that all of us should avoid unproductive partisan bickering to meet the call of our people and rise up to the occasion at this pivotal moment in our history.
Next, Mr. Mekutare Adere, a member of the executive branch of the EPRDF party of Ethiopia, made a speech in Amharic highlighting its party commitment and the willingness to help out Eritrean democratic forces that are engaged in bringing democracy in Eritrea. Mr. Mekutare was the honorary guest for the opening day.
And the following individuals also made speech on the behalf of their respective organizations:
1. Joseph Magnette, a Canadian who gave a presentation on how to build a democratic nation that has diverse population, language and culture.
2. Religious leaders from both Muslim and Christian sides made speeches, and both passed on their plea for the need of unity of the people and gave the conference their blessing. Sheik Mahmud Ibrahim and Abba Habtemariam (on behalf of Abba Tewelde Berhane) gave the speeches.
3. Representatives of women organizations haftena Asgedet Gebreyohannes from Holland and haftena Asia Gasse from Australia also made a speech stressing women rights, the need for unity and human rights.
4. Representative Association of Eritrean Journalists in Exile (AEJE) Mr. Tedros Abraham, also made a speech highlighting the need for unity and reconciliation.
5. Mr. Hamude Edris from Sudan also made an interesting speech on behalf of 430,000 Eritrean refugees who live in 24 refugee camp.
6. A young Eritrean hawenna Monhusse Muntsarre Abdella from Australia New Zealand also made a speech.
7. Hawenna Kibrom Debru representative from Canada also made Speech in English stressing EDA to work for accountability, transparency...
Finally Abona Yabtmaryam Abraha from London also made an intresting speech full of wisdom and plea that made the attendees smile. His speech was the highlight of the day... becuase as elderly he demanded that the leadership of EDA to come together to shake hands and embrace each other and they did and it was the best moment for that day... Of course, Abona Yabtmaryam Abraha pointed out that our major problem is us and our behavior of *(Helqkie) "stubborness"..and he suggested that the poletical opposition leaders to overcome their Halqkie.
The opening days were extremely organized more than I expected and went smooth, and I hope and I pray that the rest of days go the same.
Provided I have connection and feeling ok I will be reporting at paltalk room, at 4:00PM Ethiopian time...for me it is easy to do the talk than the writing, as you can easily see, and I hope you will join me there..(look out for my name in any room that is open and willing to listen to my brief report.)
Wherever we are, whether we are in refuge camps Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt, Libya or fancy city of London or Los Angeles , it is expected that we have different of views. However, I hope and I pray we Eritreans manage to go beyond (Heliqkie) and get the the wisdom and the courage to put it in the past and the historical waa'la successful.
Hopefully, EDA and the media will release the pictures, audio and video of the grand opening. As far as equitable representation of Christian and Muslim at the the waa'la, it is not even moderately skewed, well within the margin of error 5%, it is not something that we need to be concerned with.
Please note this is my personal report and please forgive me for any spelling and grammar errors.
Thank you in advance for sharing and spreading this information. Together we will fight and together we will win!
I will keep in touch.