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Canada: Stop Defaming Canadian-Eritreans

Canadian-Eritrean youths named Eden and Siham dancing on stage during the Eritrean festival in Toronto - August 4, 2013 (Credit: Zantana Imaging)

Canada: Stop Defaming Canadian-Eritreans

By Habtezion Ghermai,

I am writing in response to articles that have been written about the Canadian-Eritrean communities in Canada, and some of the actions that have been taken against members of our Community.

Since January of 2012, The National Post has been writing articles that state ridiculous claims against the Canadian-Eritrean community in Canada. Some of the claims in these articles including the notion that Canadian-Eritrean were being forced to pay a 2% tax to the Eritrean consulate in Toronto,and that this money was going to support terrorism against Canada.This outlandish claims have created a negative image of Canadian-Eritreans and have had negative impacts on the community. Members of our Communities are being discriminated against based on the claim that they are supporting terrorism,in one example,when the Canadian-Eritrean community wanted to rent a hall in Calgary for their annual festival, they were denied and the reason they were given was because they "support terrorism".

The RCMP subsequently investigated some members of our Community and to date, no charges have been laid against anyone.

As a Canadian Citizen, I call, my elected representative in parliament, to ensure that my voice and the collective voices of the Canadian-Eritrean community is heard on these allegations.

I must firmly state that neither I nor my family has ever been forced to pay any 2% tax to the Eritrean consulate or government. As enshrined in Canadian law, I have the right to have dual citizenship and exercise my dual citizenship rights. As a dual citizen of Canada and Eritrea, I willingly pay 2% rehabilitation contribution as part of my obligation to help rebuild my country of origin, I must emphasize that nobody forces me to make this contribution.

Furthermore, Canadian-Eritreans are proud Canadian Citizens and have made Canada their home. I, like many other Canadian-Eritreans, are part of Canadian society and we contribute to its economy, growth and cultural mosaic. Neither I nor anyone else in my community would ever do anything that would harm Canada. The allegations that we support terrorism is false, malicious and dangerous. Members of my community have already experienced discrimination as a result of these allegations, and we want that to stop. Third, as you may be aware, many Eritreans are languishing in refugee camps and have become targets of international criminal smugglers. In October 1, over 200 people perished on the shores of Italy as their boat tried to land in Italy.We ask Canada to call for independent and international investigations into these smugglers and bring them to to justice. As the Canadian-Eritreans have been victims of these smuggling rings, our community is ready to assist in these investigations.

Habtezion Ghermai.

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Canada: Stop Defaming Canadian-Eritreans Reviewed by Admin on 2:01 PM Rating: 5


  1. Very cool! I love seeing young diaspora Eritreans dancing to the tunes or singing Eritrea's national anthem. I am so proud of them. And proud of the parents also that are teaching them about their heritage and making sure that Eritrea stays relevant to them.
    Canadian-Eritreans need to fight back harder though. They need to lawyer-up. They can't let their rights as citizens get trampled on by misguided and disillusioned Weyane agents like Ghezae Hagos.
    Fight back Eritrean-Canadians. Fight back. You are within your rights to support Eritrea in whatever way you can.

  2. Thank you Habtezion for a well put letter to the criminals in Canada who are abusing our people. If those people had any moral ground to stand on, they should have consulted with you, the Canadian Eritrean community before they made a fool of themselves.
    Viva Eritrea and we do support our government of Eritrea!

  3. Tigray people are doing their best to weaken our country so they can take it over. As long as Eritreans fight back as individuals or as a group, Eritrea will keep on getting stronger. Awet nhafash!

  4. Mr. Ghermai,

    Do you dispute the fact that to get any Eritrean documents/services from the Government of Eritrea you are required to show proof of payment of 2%?

    This by default leads to members of the community being forced to pay the 2% tax to the Eritrean consulate or government.

    Also why is it the Government of Canada issue to solve "the smuggling rings"?

    Why don't you ask the Government of Eritrea for evidence of who they have convict in regard to this issue?

  5. As an Eritrean Canadian, I am very disappointed, and disgusted
    by the decision of some the politician who solely relied on some of Weyane agent.
    For example, Aron Brehane is one traitors who is operating against Eritrea. Eritrean Canadian, we need to open Canadian
    front just like the Eritrean Swedish to fight this illegal, and biased decision
    that was made by Canadian politician. We
    must actively individually or collectively engage with the politicians of
    Canadian and MPs with regard to the misconception they have about 2% tax.

    Awet N Hafash!!!

  6. Selam all, brhane if you dont want to be identified as Eritrean why bother getting Eritrean documents? The problem is that you want to get everything including the right Eritreans are ejoying with out breaking a sweat. Enjoy your canada and forget everthing and anything Eritrean, so you will not waste your precious time and energy on something you dont believe on; Eritrea. RIP brhane!

  7. Berhane, pleas let's not mix hatred with reality. How about in Canada? do you believe if you don't pay your taxes that you will have a stable life in Canada? do you belief that if you don't comply with Canadian laws that you can own assets in Canada? This is a question of rights and responsibilities. The Eritrean government never imposed the 2% rehabilitation tax but Eritreans in Diaspora did and the government kept it to help in building the nation. What followed later is neither the wish of the people nor the government but it happened as it does happen all over the world. Yet, the reality can't not be camouflaged with hatred. If you are a Canadian Citizen and living out of country by law you are required to file taxes and proof your citizenship duties and so you can ask for your citizenship rights; therefore, tell me if in your right mind Eritrea is doing anything different from what Canada is doing?

    My response may make you think that I am supporting the way Eritrea is governed this time around; in fact not but I am simply trying to say that whatever, we say or do must not negatively affect our already under privileged nationals.

    Last but not least Mr. Ghirmai, thanks for the great point and you should have added in it " Those who have propagated the unfounded news and especially \the National post and some Eritrean and Canadian groups who inflamed the lies must come before justice and proof their fabricated claims"

    Thank you.

  8. Zemenay grnbiT may nAqeb diu zBehal? The country that fought terrorists before people in the west even knew these people existed, is now called a terror sponsor? I don´t know whether to cry or laugh.

  9. Thank You Habtezion

    We ( Eritrean- Canadians ) should Reach out to all MPs and other Gov officials in our area and Expose the likes of Aron Berhane and the other Kedemti..... Enough is enough .

  10. Many Eritreans including myself wouldn't mind to pay even more than 2% for building up our home country. The issue here is how can you continue to pay to government who refuse to be transparent in the way of handling the 2% and the rest of the economy?. The president lately refused even to tell the people of Eritrea the annual income from the mining industry, why all this secrecy if he doesn't have anything to hide? Our only option is to check the report from the mining companies and take 40% of it to find our what the regime is earning. Why should i pay 2% of my hard earned money to a government who behave like a maffia group than a legitimate government?. It is like they ask you to pay but doesn't allow you to speak up your mind or respect your rights.

    Finally i found the last part of the article very ironic: "We ask Canada to call for independent and international investigations into these smugglers and bring them to to justice". Why don't you start with asking your own government to investigate how people could be smuggled out from Asmara with EDF jeeps?. Or what about all the refugee ransom money paid in Eritrea, with all spies in the country it is impossible that the security services are not aware about this activity. If the will were there the government could have stopped the refugee issue for long time ago, but why should they?. Didn't Issays himself told us that he doesn't care if people are leaving the country?. Unfortunately our only hope seems to be FORTO 2.

  11. Bravo Habtezion Girmay, Asanmte Bwana kuba!

    You did it the right way possible how to explain what double citzenship is.
    Therefore you have shown the Eritrean-Canadians how to fight for their right. You people have to organize and ask collectively inorder to get your right to pay the 2% tax which our Country needs for development. As for those who are refusing they don't need to pay as well they don't have to ask for papers or property from a Country which they do not recognize.

  12. To z unconcerned, why do you care about Eritrea's money when you cant even accept the rehablitation tax; a nominal volentary remittance of what you claim as a yearend net income. Of yoi believe Eritrea and Eritreans can use your help, why not start by doing the least? Scapegoatting the adminstration, the government, the people of Eritrea as a whole will only make you sound harbouring ulterior motives. For a fact Eritrea or EDF does not own a jeep as the derg regime nor woyane owned none. All our armants and rquipments were not bought but forcefully snatched from the enemy. As far as asking an international inquiry to the criminal rings of human traffickers is concerned, yes we have a legitimate case to request the said world body and the accusors be investigated. We speak with evidences at hand and when allowed to open the case, we shall present it. Advocate for your right and your country, be it Eritrea or canada, for the truth to reign over hypocracy. Finally, do not and please do not mention president Isaias again! For he is way out of your league and for his part has made history and is making one as you rant and puff in a foreign land.


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