The Eritrean People liberated Eritrea from the oppressive ruthless Ethiopian regime Nineteen years ago. In the process we lost tens of thousands of our beloved brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers. Unfortunately, our freedom and our Independence Day celebration has been hijacked by a small self centered People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) junta and their blind supporters. However, this does not mean that the freedom loving people who disagree with or even oppose the current regime in Asmara should not celebrate this day. In fact we have more reasons to celebrate this day than those who betrayed us.  We can utilize the occasion to do some soul searching and rethinking of how we can achieve a sustainable democratic change in our beloved country.

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For many years the Independence Day celebration has been hijacked from its true owners (the freedom loving Eritrean People), and used as a propaganda machine to achieve the dictatorial desires of PFDJ and their scheming supporters. In the Diaspora, the celebration has been dominated by a handful of individuals who are self-nominated patriots; while in reality many of them have not shed a single drop of blood or even sweat for Eritrea’s cause. The regime in Asmara does organize big parties, while most of the people in Eritrea are systematically excluded from celebrating the day and are suffering from the absences of rule of law and justice. Under the pretext of National Security, the regime ensures that all the residents of the Eritrean towns and villages, especially the youth, are terrorized. It erects hundreds of check points in between towns, deploys many brigades of military personal to harass its own people, abuse the basic human rights of its own citizens, and force the youth in to indefinite compulsory military service and underage conscription. It saddens us to learn that our youth do not have a chance to celebrate peacefully or have a positive outlook on this Day. 

Even though, we Eritreans in the Diaspora would have wished to celebrate the day with our people in the land we all love most the PFDJ regime has created a barrier to systematically exclude most of us. Nonetheless, we have to remember that this is not exclusively PFDJ’s day. Instead, we should join hands and remember the high price the Eritrean people paid to achieve and secure this Day. We should consciously evaluate our promise to our martyrs.  We should pledge to keep our promise to build a prosperous and democratic Eritrea where every citizen’s rights are protected. 

Therefore, every freedom loving Eritrean in the Diaspora should celebrate this Day under a common theme. We should renew our promise to build a democratic country where every citizen is equal and free under the law. We should struggle to ensure that every citizen’s basic human rights are protected. We should strive to ensure that Eritrea is ruled by the supreme law of the land and not by the will of few self-appointed ruthless individuals. We should be the owners of our liberty and our destiny as justice loving people.  No matter where we live in the city, small town or rural areas let’s all join hands in spirit and celebrate the Day. For some it could be in their homes with their families and loved ones, and for others it could be in small groups at restaurants and coffee shops.
Here in the Bay Area, California, EYC is hosting its second Independence Day Celebration Party on May 29, 2010. And we are pleased to inform you that this will be a bigger and more organized party than last year’s. 

The freedom loving Eritreans who live in the Las Vegas Area, Eritrean Civic Society of Las Vegas, are also planning to celebrate our Independence Day for the first time on May 26, 2010.

What makes this year’s Independence Day special is that, all the youth in different parts of the world are joining their efforts to struggle for a democratic Eritrea. The non-violent democratic movement that started few years ago by the Eritrean Youth in South Africa has spread  in an alarming speed first to the United States and then to Europe.  Therefore, let’s all celebrate the 19th year Independence Day under the theme:

“ይኣክል ንውልቀ ምልኪ ንበገስ ንልዕልና ሕጊ”
أ للدكتاتورية – نعم لسيادة القانون

“No to Dictatorship Yes to Rule of Law”

And we respectfully urge every peace loving Eritreans (individuals, opposition parties and civic organizations) to use the above theme to celebrate this year’s Independence Day.

Eritrean Youth for Change (EYC-Bay Area)
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