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Eritrea: Showing Mercy Makes Us Whole and Stronger.

Photo: Eritreans Demonstrating against the politically motivated COIE report

Eritrea: Showing Mercy Makes Us Whole and Stronger.

By Abel Kebedom

Recently, when Eritrea was unfairly accused of Violating Human Rights of its Citizens, Eritreans from all over the world flocked to Geneva to voice their steadfast opposition to the conspiracy against their country woven by the historical enemies. The fact that the accusers used countries that have the worst human rights record in the world to give their accusation an African cover has become an insult to injury and even made Eritreans angrier than ever. What is true is that the human right agenda is part of a greater conspiracy against Eritrea and our enemies will not stop from using it to see us fragmented, divided and finally get us down. Hence, it is important that we remain alert and determined to make sure that their conspiracies will not see even the shadow of the day light in future.

But when we flock to Geneva, is our support to our government a blank check? When we flock to Geneva shouldn’t we also make sure that our objective is not only to fight the injustice against Eritrea perpetuated by our historical enemies but also to see our Eritrea that sacrificed almost 50 years for its liberation, territorial integrity, human dignity and social justice should never be accused of human rights violation of its citizens again? Putting the details of the accusation aside, the mere fact that Eritrea was accused of human rights violation of its citizens is a black hole in our wonderful and unmatched history of resistance and sacrifice for human dignity and social justice. Hence in addition to opposing multiple foreign conspiracies against Eritrea, we need to make sure that the government is doing its part to support the cause using all means available.

I am not sure what the recent news release by the Eritrean orthodox church with regard to the former patriarch of the Eritrean orthodox church means to his future role in the orthodox church. But I fully support the conflict resolution mechanism adopted to address the problem as a first step in the effort to further Eritrean Unity and cohesiveness inside and outside of the country. Hence in exchange for our support we should ask the government to continue solving pending issues that divide us in the same manner.

Accepting an apology is the best way to solve problems because Mercifulness makes the government stronger and helps the Eritrean society remain united.

Mercifulness is a pillar of almost all religious teachings. While the Holly Bible calls God “A God of Mercy” the Holly Quran calls God “All Merciful and Omnipotent”. In law Mercifulness is defined as “The total or partial remission of a punishment”. Because of the major role the Christian and Islamic religions play in the Eritrean society, mercifulness has been instrumental in resolving conflicts among citizens. Based on the concept of mercifulness, wise men and women in the villages of Eritrea have long developed and perfected the art of resolving conflicts and disagreements peacefully. Consequently, they have been able to keep the peace, stability and harmony of their community for generations. Hence the use of such wisdom by the government of Eritrea to solve the problem in the Eritrean Orthodox church should be praised and applauded.

In fact, there are many examples that qualify us to claim that the current government of Eritrea is Merciful. The release of hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian prisoners of war during and after the liberation of Eritrea, the light punishment given to the former members of the Ethiopian ruling party in Eritrea and not seeking revenge on the mostly Tigrean agents of the former Ethiopian military junta who committed despicable acts against the people of Eritrea. Hence asking a front that set those who murdered Eritreans in several occasions free should not hesitate to give mercy to those who struggled all their life to see a free and independent country but may have been persuaded by foreign forces to show a bad judgement and commit mistakes is not only reasonable but also patriotic and moral.

I am not qualified to comment on why people were arrested and what their punishment should be because I am not a lawyer by profession. I also know that to get citizens adhere to its laws and rules strictly, the government of Eritrea may be forced to take some harsh punishments on those who violate its laws and rules. However, I strongly believe that at the end of the day the more the government shows mercifulness towards its prisoners, regardless of their crime, the more its laws and rules reflect the values and traditions of the Eritrean society.

An act of Mercifulness by the government of Eritrea minimizes hatred, division and fragmentation within the Eritrean society. Mercifulness by the Eritrean government, regardless of the crime of the prisoner, strengthens Eritrean nationalism and harmony among citizens inside and outside of the country. Thus in the long run it helps us to build a united, healthy, moral and loving community that is a vanguard to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Eritrea.

Hence, for the sake of the national unity and harmony of all Eritrean citizens inside and outside of the country, the government of Eritrea needs to show mercifulness toward its prisoners regardless of their crime. When that happens we, all citizens of the country of Eritrea, could reap the dividend of our merciful culture for generations to come.

Awet Nehafash and Zelalemawi Zikri Ni Sewaatna.

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