The years 1980-1 were a very sad chapter in Eritrean history where the simmering tensions between the two Eritrean Liberation fronts, the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) and the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF), had culminated into armed conflict between the ELF and EPLF which is considered to be the third and last Eritrean civil war. By the end of 1981, the ELF had lost ground and forced to withdraw into neighbouring Sudan, never to re-establish a military presence in Eritrea again.
Though the vast majority of the ELF fighters had drifted into the Sudan, there were a significant section within the leadership and the rank and file of the ELF which had decided to set their differences with the EPLF aside and join forces with the EPLF to continue with the Eritrean armed liberation struggle.
There can be no doubt that the fighting capability of the EPLF had been greatly enhanced by those ELF fighters that had decided to join the EPLF. It was this combining of forces that had greatly worried the Americans and the Europeans who by their very nature were intrinsically against the independence of Eritrea.
The westerns from quite early on saw that if the EPLF was to somehow tap into the vast resources of the 1000s of ELF freedom fighters who had retreated into Sudan during the civil war and who found themselevs languishing in Sudanese refugee camps, then the EPLF would greatly being strengthened.
It was to stifle the EPLF’s empowerment that both Germany and USA had quickly established a resettlement programs which targeted the young ELF fighters in the Sudan, allowing them to migrate to Germany and USA, — taking them as far away from Eritrea and their dream to liberate their country as possible.
This deliberate and well orchestrated act to deny the Eritrean revolution the human resources that it needed if it was to achieve the ultimate dream — independence of Eritrea. However, the ulterior plan failed, as those who had left for the shores of USA and Germany were able to help the EPLF’s struggle with much needed financial and other material assistance.
Fast forward some 20 years and we see the west getting up to its old tricks. After the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) instigated ‘border war’ in 1998-2000 with Eritrea had failed to deliver the change in government in Eritrea that the USA craved for, the US established a resettlement program of Eritrean refugees from camps in the Ethiopian region of Tigray which bordered Eritrea. The programme’s target was the Eritrean youth — both in the camps and Eritrea. Together with the resettlement programmes, a well coordinated and orchestrated human trafficking operation which targeted Eritreans was established. The operation in order to facilitate the youth to migrate to Europe, established trafficking routes to Europe from the Sudan, through the Sahara to Libya and then across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. Tragically 1000s of Eritrean youth and other African youths lost their lives trying to make the perilous journey to Europe.
There can be no doubt that migration had been used as a tool to drain Eritrea of its youth in a vain attempt to jeopardize its future by weakening Eritrea’s ability to defend its sovereignty and carry out its development programmes.
To the dismay of the West and their human trafficking agencies masquerading as ‘Humanitarian’ organisations, the vast majority Eritreans who had ended up in the West were able to mobilise and stand united to support Eritrea in anyway they could — financially, politically and diplomatically.
It was the assistance of the Eritreans in the west that played a huge role in counteracting the adverse effects of the politically motivated US initiated and implemented economic sanctions against Eritrea.
Eritreans are all too aware of the extremely heavy price paid for Eritrean independence and the defence of Eritrean sovereignty in the past, and wish nothing more than to see a prosperous Eritrea take its place in a peaceful and harmonious Horn of Africa.
With Eritrea and Ethiopia now partners in peace and the TPLF which was considered to be an obstacle to peace by many, dead and buried, the people of the Horn and the wider region can now genuinely look forward to a time in their history where they can realise their true potential, something that has eluded them for far too long.
With the region at peace, the youth of Eritrea are shouldered with the responsibility of ensuring that Eritrea continues steadfastly on its own path of development.
Happy Eritrea’s 30th Year Independence Day
Glory to our Martyrs
Victory to the masses