Translated from Tigrinya
While the issue of asylum from our country is going from bad to worse and has reached the alarming lever, it is logical to ask “is there any person left behind in Eritrea?”
Instead of enjoying family love, community support and care and the beautiful climate of the country and establish families almost every Eritrean adult has left the country or is on the process of leaving or planning to leave and subsequently is subjected to the difficult and challenging life of exile. The parents who are left behind in the country are suffering because of the separation of and have been unfortunate to see the fruits of good parenting as most of the families are affected by this tragic situation. And it is very sad when you see the old parents are no longer with their young children and there is none of them at least to support them at their advanced ages. Parents are left desperately in desolation with broken spirits and depressed mind.
Those who leave the country and seek asylum in exile may have an idea of what they would face and be prepared for, but the worst thing happens to the elderly who remain behind alone in their country after their children leave them. Yet they try to find justification for the actions of their children by saying, “What can they do? They were born in a difficult time.” The parents lament. The only things parents can do is to pray for their children to be safe in their journey and for God to shorten the period of separation and see the return of their in their life time with the hope of the reunification of the family.
Parents are suffering pain and grief as they see helplessly their children being subjected to the acts of crimes and violations committed against them with no one coming to their aid to protect them.
I was able to confirm stories that I was hearing 10 years ago. When I was transferred to work in the Tserona area, along the border with Ethiopia, I realized every night groups of young men and boys cross the border to Ethiopia. What stunned me is not the great influence of the current situation in the country, but its greater impact on the border areas. More people flee from the border areas compared to the centre of the countries (due to the short distances and relatively less risk journey). Particularly minors are fleeing the country as the result of the combination of the unbearable and bleak situation in the country and peer influence.
There is no doubt that minors who have no idea of the life in exile leave their country as influenced by family members/relatives and colleagues who preceded them. Minors from the border areas more affected by such phenomenon as compared to the centre of the country. Families, especially parents, whose heart is almost broken because of the separation of their children, are trying and struggling to preserve the safety of their children. It has been a long time and has become familiar since unaccompanied children and minors began to take risk journeys to cross borders into exile as they imagine their journeys are normal routine journey to nearby areas in the neighbourhood.
Samson is a boy who faced the same fate. Samsom is a boy who did not complete his 13th year at the time of his flight. He and some of his friends were influenced by the sad situation of the country and chaos of emigration and the rumors of border crossing prevailing at this time. Motivated by the enthusiasm and the naivety and the sense of self-assertion “We can do what others can do?” and given the proximity of his village, “Mai Agam” to the Ethiopian border he crossed the border along with his peers without any problems. Because Samsom was the youngest among his peers, the fear and anxiety his family went through was enormous and unimaginable. The family was left in Limbo. All efforts to find their ended in failure. The only opition the family has was to look for Samson in the refugee camps in Ethiopia.
Hence Samom’s mother crossed the border to Ethiopia to look for her son. After a long and arduous search, her son was confirmed to be in the minors’ protection at Endabaguna refugee camp and subsequently transferred to the refugee camp. The presence of her son on the minors’ list at the refugee camp caused her great hardship, but she was able to convince camp officials that he was his mother. When she tried to take him with her to their village, she faced many obstacles. She went many times to the refugee office to plead to let her go back with her son. The concerned authorities declined her requests but after repeated pleading and long patience she was allowed to take her son and leave for her country. Not long after she got her son, she went directly to her hometown and accepting what happened an unavoidable phenomenon.
The boy was persuaded and convinced to pursue his school. But the suffering of Samsom’s family did not ended here. Three days later, his mother was arrested by security personnel in the area for crossing the border without permission. Although she tried to convince the security authorities of the reasons for crossing the border. However, no one heeded to her and she was held in detention for three weeks. After being threatened and warned, they released her. Though she suffered detention she had accepted it because she was satisfied for bringing her son back safely.
Samsom continued his schooling for two years after returning to his hometown. The difficulties and problems that had beset his family because of him were forgotten, but he longed to return to the refuge journey he went two-years ago. Once again, when he was about to turn fifteen years, Samsom crossed the border for the second time with five of the villagers and his peers at school. He was received by the Endabaguna refugee’s reception camp, which he had left before two years. However, he found out the situation there was worse than before. After about three months of hardships, he was put under the unaccompanied minors’ protection in the refugee camp. Later he moved to Addis Ababa. Samsom, who felt indifference to the sacrifices his mother had paid for him, faced bitter difficulties in Addis Ababa as his sister told me. Now the question is “Why people take such actions that cause suffering.” The suffering and hardships faced by Samsom’s mother and many other mothers because of their children provoke call them, “What poor parents “.