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For Eritreans UCI World Championship is all about “Hade Libi Hade Hizbi”

Eritrean fans showing support to the Eritrean cycling team at the UCI Road World Championships in Richmond

For Eritreans UCI World Championship is all about “Hade Libi Hade Hizbi”

By Haile Abraham

September 28, 2015

Thousands of Eritreans from all walks of life flocked to Richmond, VA over the past weekend, specifically on Friday, September the 25th and on Sunday, September the 29th, to support and encourage their cyclist heroes at the UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, Virginia. Eritrea, now the new cycling darling in the international cycling arena, thanks to Daniel Teklehaimanot’s stunning victory at the Tour de France this past summer, had fielded four U-23 cyclists and one in the Elite division for this event.

So it was not surprising to see so many Eritreans draped in their colorful Eritrean flags, hats and themed t-shirts. One can say that Eritreans definitely made their delightful presence felt all across the venue from Libby Hill to the Start/Finish line, chanting traditional songs to the delight of the crowd, the event organizers and also the local media outlets. Even Cyclist weekly declared “Eat your heart out Holland; the biggest and loudest set of fans at the 2015 World Championships are definitely here for Eritrea.

But in a true sense, for many of us who showed up in huge numbers in Richmond, it was not about cycling championship or even about winning the championship. It was all about National Pride, a national pride that Eritreans paid dearly. Many of us are cognizant that Eritrea had been subjected to so many unfair treatments by the International Community, and particularly by US Administration. It is fair to say that many of us are still fuming that a fabricated and unfounded allegations prompted the UN to impose two sanctions against Eritrea, and a constant smear campaign against its human right record is still being disseminated. So all we did was fight back with peaceful demonstrations all over the world in a Hade Libi Hade Hizbi mentality to express our anger and dissatisfaction.

We wanted to tell the world our side of the story, but for no apparent reason, the world would not listen to our story. But we persisted to shown in Richmond the continuation of the Hade Libi Hade Hizbi mentality in order to tell our story through our cyclist heroes. Many non-Eritreans who had the wrong image about Eritrea were observing us and listening to our story through our constant singing, smiling and hugging

each other or even anyone who is in our path. For many of us these types of events, where we can show what we and our country are made of, serves us as a healing mechanism and a source of hope that the world will finally listen and understand Eritrea’s peaceful and just doctrine.

Awet nHafash

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