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Video: What Martyrs' Day Means to me by Natnael Zeghai

By Natnael Zeghai

When Eritreans living in Ottawa, Canada gathered for Martyrs' Day, June 20, I gave a speech on what Martyrs' Day means to me. A summary of my speech for those who have a hard time understanding my limited Tigrinya: I described my 17 km mountain hike from Ela Bered to Debre Sina last summer in Eritrea. During my hike I realized that this is how our forefathers gained the independence of our great nation. To this day I wonder how Eritrea gained its independence. We didn't have any help from the 'superpowers of the world' which includes USA, the Soviet Union, and the UN. It should also be noted that we didn't own one tank or warplane when we started our struggle for independence in 1961. The best answer to how we gained our independence that I could come up with is: "Hadinet iyu hailina/ Unity is our strength." When we finally gained our independence after 30 long years of war, Tareke wrote and performed a classic song called "Ajoki Eritrea." Even though my Tigrinya is limited I listen to a lot of songs and repeatedly rewind the lyrics that I don't understand. One of my favourite lyrics from Ajoki Eritrea is "Ajoki Ajoki Erena Ajoki, kemtiyom z halifu alina ab gonihi.. Ajoki Ajoki Eritrana ay tiratiri Alena ab gonihi.. Ajoki Ajoki Erena Ajoki kemtiyom z halifu Alina misakhi." Two months ago while in Germany for the YPFDJ Conference, Yemane Ghebreab, Head of Political Affairs, said that just because we are an independent country now, doesn’t mean our struggle is over. Our past struggle was an armed struggle, and an economic struggle now is even more challenging. Our forefathers devoted their lives to the armed struggle while saying, “if not for us, then for the next generation.” Today we have remembered our fallen heroes, but now it is up to us to honor our heroes by saying "Ajoki Ajoki Erena Ajoki, kemtiyom z halifu alina ab gonihi/ Don't worry Eritrea, just like those who have passed, we are by your side" and make sure that the next generation does not have to endure the struggle that we’re going through now. Qsenu sematatna . Zelalemawi zkhrin kbrin n’sematatna. Awet N’hafash. 
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Video: What Martyrs' Day Means to me by Natnael Zeghai Reviewed by Admin on 5:43 PM Rating: 5


  1. Zelealemaawi ZikriJuly 3, 2015 at 5:45 PM

    Eternal Glory to our Martrys!

  2. Alena Kem qedemnaJuly 3, 2015 at 5:49 PM

    Right on brother! Yes indeed! "Ajoki Ajoki Erena Ajoki, kemtiyom z halifu alina ab gonihi"
    Alena Kem qedemna.(We're still around, still committed as in the past)

  3. I am glad I grasp the message from the statement above. Though the sound is not clear but the speech is great! Nati thanks sharing yr experience would definitely boost others like y in great number..


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