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May 24 Independence Celebrations to Exclude Dances

By Dr. Russom Mesfun Eritrean communities in the diaspora are taking steps to commemorate Independence Day on May 24 without the usual musical celebrations due to the loss of hundreds of Eritreans in a shipwreck and

By Dr. Russom Mesfun

Eritrean communities in the diaspora are taking steps to commemorate Independence Day on May 24 without the usual musical celebrations due to the loss of hundreds of Eritreans in a shipwreck and the shocking slayings by ISIS terrorists.

Concerns that some of the next of keen of the victims might not even be aware, and that Eritreans at home and in the diaspora are still in mourning, have prompted communities to cancel dances at the May festivals while exploring ways to use the event to conduct seminars and memoriams for the victims.

The cancellations are limited to diaspora communities in the US, though it’s hoped that those in Europe, Africa and Australia would follow suit.

It is customary in Eritrean tradition to refrain from music and dances during a period of mourning. “The senseless death of so many people is too fresh in our minds to celebrate by dancing even on Independence Day,” Yukuno Bahta of Las Vegas said.

On Tuesday, activists declared a National Week of Mourning from April 29 to May 3.

Moreover, the public is alarmed at the increasing numbers of people perishing in search of asylum, with many calling for action to address the root cause of the crisis.

The failure of the PFDJ to mourn the loss of its citizens only served to reconfirm the growing gap between the people and the government. Recently, the regime’s supporters were roundly condemned for sponsoring a musical performance during a Washington, DC gathering in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Pictures of its followers dancing in droves during the weekend touched a raw nerve in Eritreans commenting on social media. Many particularly blamed the veteran singer Haile Gebru for performing in front of a PFDJ crowd.


However, in a positive development, the tragedy brought Eritreans and Ethiopians together to grieve the brutal massacre of their members by knife-wielding ISIS fanatics. In moving testimonials, both sides appreciated coming together at a difficult period for their communities.

Review overview
  • Awet April 30, 2015

    No Music and dancing att this moment during a period of mourning.We have to respect our children, brothers and sisters who lost their life in the sea and the desert.Slayings by ISIS terrorists to Eritreans and Ethiopians must be condemn.
    At this moment to dance or celebrate only shows our dark side and
    shameful reputation of selfishness. Haile Gebru SHAME of YOU.

  • Awet April 30, 2015

    We all know too well that in 1991 we danced on the streets for months….and thanked and worshipped Wedi Medhin berad who probably never killed one Ethiopian cousin during the thirty years bloody war towards not independence, not human rights, not freedom of speech, or the basic right of having a constitutional government. Instead we got repression, slavery, North Kotean style brutality. Did we ever thanked God or Allah for our independence? ????? Folks !!!!! Let’s come back to our senses! !!!! And now Eritreans are preparing to dance over their brothers and sisters graves? ?????? Think for one minute: what will the female Eritreans who are being raped and being a sexual toys for isis in Sahara desert? ??????? Our we lost as a people? ???? Our we real Eritreans who used to proud at one point? ????? I run out of words.

  • Michael Tesfamariam April 30, 2015

    Well, it is not bad to desist from activities that do no reflect the current atmosphere. But, is that all we can do to in response to this catastrophic incidence? There is no other way of expression our frustration to the tragedies? In my view, this is appropriate time to organize a big scale of demonstration throughout Europe and US. There might be some who are willing to act and help us to address the root cause of the problem our country is facing today.

    I think we are all aware that the EU has recently pledged about 300 million euro aid package to the genocidal regime in Eritrea. Yet, we have failed to show any reaction to EU’s disgraceful decision to finance a regime which is primarily responsible for the mass migration from Eritrea. So, what is next?

  • Teclay April 30, 2015


    Thank you it is a good idea.Some thing is better than nothing.

    Dr. you said that “…. commemorate Independence Day on May 24 without the usual musical celebrations due to the loss of hundreds of…”

    Dr.,you forwarded this idea.It is my conviction that you would expect different feed backs.Believing on this ,my feed back is:
    -Why do we need to commemorate at all ? We have had only negative experience with the so called independence.
    -All countries celebrate their independence day only inside the countries.Why do we want to be exceptional? If there is any thing to celebrate let them do it inside the country .
    -In my opinion our intellectuals have been passive for the past 50 years ,that is why the uneducated,young revolutionaries decided our destiny and the result as we see become our extinction..In short the intelligentsia reserved them selves long and too much.

    The above statement is only mine,some of you may not agree with it,but i respect your opinion .

    • AHMED SALEH May 1, 2015

      Leave Eritrea to Eritreans for Gid sake .

      • Suleiman Salim May 9, 2015

        Teclay is acting stupid. I do not know why he thinks he can hide his identity while his own words are betraying him.

  • yonas April 30, 2015

    ሕልና ዘለዎ እግዚአብሄር ዝፈርሕ ሰብ አብ ግዜ ሐዘን አብ ሳዕስዒትን አብ ጓይላን አይከይድን ኢዩ።

  • Abisho April 30, 2015

    First of all I would like to Appreciated you sharing your especial idea,then after that you were posted very Important idea, and I really support.You said, “with out usual Musical celebration”.Really this word is make me cry, B/c this sign is how much we disappointed about our people easy to understand. There fore we don’t needed Dancing, and clamp our hands this is my opinion.
    Peace,and prosperity for the nation Eritrea, and Eritrean people.
    Thank you!!

    • Suleiman Salim May 9, 2015

      Do you want to spend the whole of your life crying? You should realise that life is a mix of happiness and sorrow. It is not bad to celebrate when the time comes to do so.

  • tekle May 1, 2015

    It is acceptable, as it is said in Eritra`s culture if there is mourning in the neibourhood, it woudn`t be accebtable to open a radio or make any music, and it will be said “newri”

  • Suleiman Salim May 9, 2015

    You should realise that we are talking about the Eritrean Independece Day. Do you want to turn the celebration into an event of depression and sadness?