June 20 Series No. 9 Unparalleled Heroism

Unparalleled Heroism

Words cannot do justice to the magnitude of the sacrifice that we commemorate on June 20. Our martyrs committed themselves to the highest act of devotion, for a cause greater than themselves: a free and independent Eritrea. Their storied heroism will forever hold an unparalleled place in our history.

It is natural for us to stand in awe of their sacrifice, but let us focus for a moment on who our martyrs were. Before they took up the righteous burden of the struggle, they were young Eritreans living ordinary lives. They were students, urban laborers, and farmers. They were devoted sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers. They were young people with many obligations to themselves and the people they loved. They were ordinary Eritrean youth, but they realized their circumstances were so extraordinary in their oppression, that they could not allow themselves or their children to suffer through it any longer. Ordinary Eritrean youth, taking on the burden of overcoming extraordinary obstacles to the freedom they wanted for us.

Their success and the price they paid for it is their legacy. But what will be ours? What will be the impact of ordinary Eritrean youth today? Ultimately, the beauty of Eritrea’s original heroes is not that they had unique talents that enabled their victory; it is that they were able to reach down and find the strength to, against all odds, realize their vision for Eritrea. Today, all of us here have the same vision for Eritrea, especially youth. Do we have the same strength; can we realize our potential for our nation, as they did? Our country may not demand that we put our lives on the line, but we can show the same lifetime dedication to Eritrea. The only way our country, this marvelous example for the world, can continue its unique journey is if youth take charge of its destiny. To be able to do that, we need to start working now. In YPFDJ, we work to build a conscious core of young Eritreans that are active in supporting the larger community. We have worked very hard, but we have only begun to scratch the surface of our potential. To all Eritrean youth, let me be clear: our ability to call ourselves Eritrean 50 years from now depends on us. If we value our identity, then we must figure out how in our education, and in our career goals we can contribute to building our country. An American president once said “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” Its continuation for future generations of Eritreans demands the full devotion of our labor, intellect, skills, creativity and passions. That is how we will honor our martyrs’ legacy. And that is how we will secure the future of our beloved nation.

Zelalemawi kibren ziqren mogesn n’sema’tatna, wetru awet n’hafash!