Ethiopia assassinated my husband Berhane Tesfamariam And made my children lives and mine half of one! by Kiki Tzeggai

42 years ago

Ethiopia assassinated my husband
Berhane Tesfamariam
And made my children lives and mine
half of one!

by Kiki Tzeggai

42 ዓመት ብሂወት ምፍልላይ፡ ንስለ ክቡር ዕላማ

42 years ago Ethiopia assassinated my husband, Berhane Tesfamariam, And made my children lives and mine half of one!
by Kiki Tzeggai.

Berhane, you saw horror and so much cruelty, lives lost! Moreover, to this day, you walk the indefinite line of anonymous! You never tried to grab power; because that worthlessness of power is covered with blood of your friends. You and Eritreans like you escaped 100 villages and moved from 100 houses, trying to survive and gain freedom for our land, Eritrea!

The black list holding Eritrean names was written by evil during the time evil occupied our land. The gloomy part is that evil was exempt from pain. Thousands lost homes and many – like yourself – offered your life for your people and for the sovereignty of Eritrea! Your example – Birhin dear – tells us that there are no winners or loser in this dark time and we should stand united to walk through darkness! We need each other to tend to the wounds that Ethiopia inflicted on us for decades; and most egregiously, we now inflict on one another because of a new sleek, cloaked version of a well-planned war by the same enemy to the south.

Birhin, you were a man that was rare. You were not alone, Eritrea gave birth to many great men and women like you. Common people that have become in our history anything but!

You loved a wife with a love that survived Ethiopian torture rooms. You were – and still are – there for your children and all Eritrean children without a fail! Each of your murders by Ethiopia, sharpening the pain of a loss we – Eritrean families – share!

Forty two (42) years later, I vividly re-live that Saturday morning when over 100 Ethiopian soldiers – armed to their teeth – came to take you. Our house surrounded by military trucks loaded with machine guns pointed towards our windows! I still see your open arms trying to hug our baby daughter running towards you, and the Ethiopian soldier grab her and throw her towards the wall, when a friend was able to take hold of her asking that soldier for mercy. His weapon charged behind your neck, your eyes filled with tears, you only stared at our child to make sure she was fine. The fearless Eritrean man you were did not care about the gun breathing behind your neck, at any time ready to fire a bullet! All you tried to do was hug your baby for one last time as if that hug could cover the pandemic going on in our house and get you some fresh air, away from those dirty Ethiopian boots defying our privacy! A man walking to a certain death, touching us was your last wish! One last time you and I begged! From then on, my nights are filled with those images.

I felt half when cleaning dishes took no time; when I found myself counting and two minus one was always one! When the most unlikely detail mattered! When the kids and I found ourselves alone in a bed with no Dad to read a book or make up a story before sleeping. I knew Ethiopia took away the other half of me!

On your way out of our house’s door, you saw me at the verge of crying and said: “እንተ በኺኺ ክነብዕ:እየ፣ ፍሽኽ እንተኢልኪ ፍሽኽ ክብል እየ: ጽንዓት!!” “If you smile, I will smile and if you cry, I will cry! Be strong!!” So I showed you a forced smile and we nodded at each other! Yet again, you made it to scream: “ቆልዑት ከይርስዑኒ! ካብ ሕጂ ንዓኺ እዩ ዝኸፍኣኪ” “stay strong and do not let the kids forget me; life will be hard on you from now on” Those words still resonate in my mind and trying to find a definition about the destruction Ethiopia left in Eritrea becomes a fallacy, a kind of error in reasoning.

Between our Red Sea and the golden sand, I see the footprints of soldiers like you leading us to freedom. Strong blows such as your loss, changed our lives but also made us stronger and helped us unite as one people! All your life, you made decisions based on your ethics and you were driven to make people around you to act the same way. You gave it your all to fight injustice.

Even though you never pressured me, I feared the hardship waiting for me if life deprived me of you. Facing a future on my own at such young age, I looked at your courage to perceive the world in a new light and for such legacy, I thank you Birhin. Nevertheless, I lost the person I love the most! It breaks me not to have you in our lives. Destiny left me bare of this love so rare! Every moment I lived with you is a memory some ask me to put to rest. My desire to rewind time, only matches those wonderful plans you had for our little family and for a free Eritrea! Know this – Tegadalay ! – the world will have to split in two for me to give up on you!42 years ago Ethiopia assassinated my husband, Berhane Tesfamariam.

Ethiopia left thousands of Eritrean children raised by single households, with kids never receiving pats in the back or kisses in the cheeks by their murdered parents; but a nation stands by them and you all – Eritrean Martyrs – need to rest in peace!

“I am just a number, one man that came to earth for a purpose and at his own time he will leave” you said.

We are standing silent against the wrong now! Our people still paying a heavy price for the destruction Ethiopia left behind! Surviving became a grudge transformed into immobile memories. Some painful memories move out, some others are stuck in our minds and keep hurting! Setting them in motion, drags us down at times; but know that our will to respect your sacrifices, adds courage to keep going! How many Eritrean families like ours Birhin Jigna (hero)? I wonder what kind of compensation Ethiopia could pay to erase such pain !?!

I still hold dearly to our dream of building a house in that particular village and build a school next to it and then watch our kids play in the mud. The mountain you and I described as the angel of that village, still stands tall, now free from dirty occupiers. I will make it to see that such dream becomes a reality. You and I still debating about futility of life and war. For, we never left each other.

Ethiopia murdered you, but could never kill your dreams and this stubborn, passionate love of ours! Ethiopia had no reason to assassinate you!

ፍሉይን ክቡርን ምርጫ`ዩ ብርሂነይ፡ ካብ ሓዳረይ፡ ደቀይ፡ ሃገር ከውሕስ፡ ኢልካ። እንተ ኣነ`ሞ፡ ምስ ዉሉዳተይ፡ ቁሪ ዝኣተወኒ`ኳ እንተመሰለኒ፡ ዳግማይ ንክሓስብ ግን፡ ደሪኹኒ።

ወትሩ ኣብ ልበይን ኣብ ልቢ ህዝብካን ኣለኻ፡ ኣይሞትካን። በቲ ፍሉይ ዘሐብን ታሪኽካ ንዘልኣለም ክትዝከር ክትነብር ኢኻ! ብርሂን ናተይ፡ ናይ ህዝብኻ!

ሂወት ከይሃብካ፡ ቀያሕቲ ከይከፈልካን፡ ነጻነትን ሓርነትን ሃገር ስለዘይርከብ፡ በዚ ወርቃዊ ሓሳብካ ተደቢሰ። ግፍዒ ናይቶም ገዛእቲን ጨቆንቲን፡ ክሳብ መወዳእታ ተጻዊርካ፡ “ዓወት ንሓፋሽ!” ኣድሚጽካ ተሰናቢትካ።

ሂወትካ ዘወፈኻላ፡ ኣብዛ ክብርቲ ዕለት፡ ዕድመ ንእስነትካ ኣብ ሓመድ ዝበለየላ፡ ቀዳምነት ንሃገር ስለዝሃብካ፡ እወ ንኤርትራ!

እወ ይዝክረካ ፈቃር ፍቕረይ፡ ምስቶም ምጩዋት ሕድሪ ዝገደፍካለይ፡ ይናፍቐካ`ወ ክቡር በዓል ኪዳነይ!

Birhin Jigna, guide us from the sunrise in heaven!

Your wife, Kiki Tzeggai
July 15, 2020

Peace is a wall we will all create by building it brick-by-brick together“. Martyr Berhane Tesfamariam (Trade mark)

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