Bologna 40: A Response to Keleta Kidane’s “ኣብ ቦለኛ ወይ ንሶም ወይ ንሕና” Rant

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ቲም ናይ ከበሮ፡ ጨርባሕባሕ ናይ ክራር ኣብ ሃገረ ጥልያን የለን ድዩ? ኣብ ሃገረ ጥልያን፡ ዋላውን ኣብ ኣውሮጳ፡ ብተቓወምቲ ይኹን ብሃገራውያን፡ እንተ ብፖለቲካዊ መደብ፡ እንተ ብመርዓ፡ እንተ ብጥምቀት ጓይላታት ከምዘይተገብረሲ፡ ሕጂ ንሬሳታት ላምፓዱሳ ኣመኽኒኻ፡ ኣብ ሀገረ ጥልያን ውራይ፡ ጓይላ፡ ፌስቲቫል ኣይትግበሩ ኢኹም ዝብል ነጋሪ ንሰምዕ ኣለና። ጓይላ እንተጌርኩም ብበትሪ ክንትርትረኩም፡ ብካራሩ ክንዝልዝለኩም ኢና ዝብል’ውን ፈኸራን ምፍርራህ’ውን ተወሲኹዎ።  እስኪ ንርዒ በለት ዕውርቲ

ንስለ ሓቅን ርትዕን፡ ዓገብሲ፡ ንግዳያት ላምፓዱዛ ማዕረና ዝሓዘኑን ብጉዳይ ሬሳታት ዜጋታትና ማዕሬና ዝጉሓዩ፡ ንታሪኽ ህዝቢ ኤርትራ ዝምልከት ታሪካዊ ፌስቲቫል ብሰላም ከካይዱ ንዝነጥፉ ዘለዉ ዜጋታት ዘይኮነ፡ ነቶም ንሬሳታት ላምፓዱዛ ከም ፖለቲካዊ መሳርሒ ተጠቒሞም፡ ብበትሪ ክንትርትረኩም ኢና፡ ብካራ ክንዝልዝለኩም ንዝብሉ ዘልዉ ሕልና ዓልቦ ኮራኹር ወያነ እዮም ዓገብ ኣይፋልኩምን ክበሃሉ ዝግባእ
ንስለ ሓቅን ርትዕን፡ ዓገብሲ፡ ንግዳያት ላምፓዱዛ ማዕረና ዝሓዘኑን ብጉዳይ ሬሳታት ዜጋታትና ማዕሬና ዝጉሓዩ፡ ንታሪኽ ህዝቢ ኤርትራ ዝምልከት ታሪካዊ ፌስቲቫል ብሰላም ከካይዱ ንዝነጥፉ ዘለዉ ዜጋታት ዘይኮነ፡ ነቶም ንሬሳታት ላምፓዱዛ ከም ፖለቲካዊ መሳርሒ ተጠቒሞም፡ ዝፍክሩን ዘፈራርሑን ሰብ ሕልና ዓልቦ፡ ዓገብ ኣይፋልኩምን ክበሃሉ ዝግባእ

By Amanuel Tseggai,

AS EVERYONE is entitled to his opinion on this or any subject matter I find Mr. Keleta’s view on the upcoming 40th anniversary of Festival Bologna a bit misconstrued and his attack on the organizers and the Eritrean government somehow misguided and out of line.

Here’s why…

1./  Bologna and the Organizers:

As we all know Bologna is a historical place where Eritreans from across European countries used to gather annually to show their solidarity to Eritrean liberation movement and to lend both moral and financial support in the fight against Ethiopian occupation. 

In 1984, forty years ago, the first Eritrean festival was held in this Italian city. It’s within such context that the Eritrean community in Italy in collaboration with the government is commemorating this important day.

That’s been the case, how is this linked to the unfortunate tragedy that happened off of Italian shore about a year ago?  It’s disingenuous on the part of Mr. Keleta trying to politicize the situation and act as if he (and what ever organization he represents) is more genuinely concerned about the victims of Lampedusa than others.

To observe such event on the same date the boat tragedy occurred is one thing and his views may “hold water”. However, to criticize something simply because you can and, in a process, for gaining some political score, is not only wrong but will defeat the political objective(s) one sets to achieve long term. In a simple term: it turns people off.

The people who are organizing such anniversary, while as much are traumatized by the deadly tragedy as the next Eritrean, would have no knowledge before hand about the accident. But, it’s highly likely that they have been making all the preparations for the success of the event way before the occurrence of the tragic accident.

2./ The Tragedy at Lampedusa:

People of all walks of life, irrespective of their religion, political affiliation, have been struck with sadness when they first heard about the boat accident that consumed the lives of hundreds of Eritreans off the coast of Italy. People across the world gathered at churches and community centers to pay respect for the victims and extend their condolences to the families. These are facts that any one can testify and one can check on YouTube for verification.

Here is another fact that Mr. Keleta Kidane attempted to sway aside:

The government of Eritrea repeatedly called on the government of Italy to send the remains of the victims for proper burials, as requested by the families. So as not to seem another government propaganda, one may also refer to the report by a group of Italians who visited Asmara shortly after and spoke with the victims families, who painfully begged for the return of their children’s, wive’s and husband’s remains. The response by the Italian government to such humane request was a mixture of arrogance and duplicity.

The situation, for reasons Mr. Keleta could better explain, was highly politicized. And what was so irony and have difficulty contemplating to this day was when the Italian government decided to grant citizenship to the dead while denying entry visa for those who survived the deadly boat accident. What we have learnt later on was that the Italian government, despite protest by the families of the victims, took it upon itself to carry out a burrial service somewhere in its soil. These been the facts, one is curious to learn as to how Mr. Keleta thinks the government of Eritrea should have handled the situation differently?

To summarize, regardless of how it was misrepresented, the 40th Anniversary of Bologna Mr. Keleta seems to strongly object, is a noble one whose sole objective is to commemorate and to acknowledge the positive roles and contribution Eritreans in diaspora played during the struggle for independence. There’s no politics in it.

As for the case of the boat victims, Mr. Keleta, as an Eritrean national, could play a critical role in convincing the Italian government to expedite the release of all the remains of the victims and send them home to their families for proper burial. That’s the right thing to do.