Eritrea, poverty and prostitution as the only choice among our youth in despair

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17/01/2020 03:15 AM


Poverty and prostitution as the only choice among our youth in despair

by Kiki Tzeggai

Eritrea, poverty and prostitution photo courtesy by Gideon Musa

Eritrea, poverty and prostitution as the only choice among our youth in despair

What becomes more surprising to me is how we – the future apparatus of a fair Eritrea – have put blinkers around our eyes and turned our back to one of the most crucial problems in Eritrea. That is poverty and where the road of poverty has led many of our young people. Be it female or male: prostitution!

If Eritreans in the diaspora fail to look at the problem from now on and be ready for all that is expecting us back home, we will never overcome the reality, let alone overcome the deepest deprivation of even making needed programs to keep many afloat. That includes our own sanity! We – in the diaspora- are becoming fussier about which “cause” to use as our own flag to suppress our conscience.

The distribution of our skills and our will needs to dramatically change. For, there are causes more deserving than the others. We need to be ready for each of them and starting with discussing the most shocking of them, will prevent to push the poorer Eritreans to the wrong side.

For our highly educated politicians, medical doctors, psychologists and more and more, the distribution of support needs to change already! Let us be ready by talking about the elephant siting in the living room. There are no “deserving” and “not so deserving Eritreans”. Programs need to be drafted, support for poor families need to be discussed, assistance to the poor need to be prepared from now, and not once we are in the labyrinth of “creating” political parties for future presidential elections.

There is no above or below the poverty line in Eritrea. Our families back home are poor ! Those flashing new construction of mini-palaces are the supporters of this regime and they will be facing the rule of real laws once the regime falls. Let us go back to poverty in Eritrea and all the roads poverty has created.

A future system will/should create jobs for families residing in Eritrea and thus, make them less dependent of aid received from family members living abroad. To create jobs there should be a working and well-established system in place. We do not have that and to create such system will take the good will of Eritreans coming back home to re-build the country literally from the ashes. Until then, families need to survive. How? Is the question. How to understand - or at least to have a blinkered understanding of what is perpetuating poverty in our land – we need to look at the numbers of refugees dying in the Mediterranean or in any given desert, or choosing to live a life of selling their bodies or accepting tortures (No need to go on, all Eritreans and non-Eritreans understand the hell of refugees’ life ). If we dare to think that our people living in Eritrea under such regime are not exerting enough efforts to find jobs, is allowing ourselves to bury our heads in the sand. We will have no choices to help the “good or “bad” Eritreans, once we go back home. Doing so is shaping further our ignorance of living under dictatorship. It would mean exposing our inadequacy of how we view poverty and to avoid such personal failure we need to be prepared and have already drafted programs that will be established once we go back home!

Deep poverty has become the reason making the poor poorer and rich richer. That is digging a deeper divide where many of our young people fall and turn to prostitution; to drugs, to depression and to suicide if they ever make it to reach shore of any country along the Mediterranean. For now, we in the diaspora, are living with the rule of “out of my sight out of my mind” such motto might make us land at Asmara airport soon, only to take the first flight out again and forget for good this land so much in need of each of us. Many of us know distressingly little about life at the smelly bottom level of society. If we do not get ready from now, poverty in Eritrea will only retrocede into the contextual abysses of the bottom line.

Social structure needs to be prepared, or at least discussed closely by our sociologists and our media! How to work on a macro-level, avoiding racisms of class, of faith, of education, of income and avoid marginalizing our people further is something our so called “opposition groups” need to include in their agendas and make it a main line of their top page! Poverty and miseries in Eritrea are the outcome of Ethiopian occupation for four decades, and the lack of assistance from our very first government.

Poverty is not a state of minds. Prostitution is the child of poverty and lack of a land one can call “my own”! There is no simplistic way to analyze poverty; poverty is a social and complex phenomenon. Let us not minimize or despise our youth dying from AIDS; from drug overdose or simply opt for suicide. They belong to us and without them in a state of a healthy life, we will never exists!

Victim blaming should not exist among Eritreans; we all have been victims at one time. If we agree that poverty and prostitution are born from inequality and wars, perhaps accepting that immediately, would be the beginning of a solution we all agree upon!

In closing, I would like to quote my late husband, Berhane Tesfamariam, all while keeping his dreams alive.
“Our hardest battle - once independence is achieved - is to eliminate poverty from Eritrea “Martyr Berhane Tesfamariam

Kiki Tzeggai January 16,2020

"Of all the forces that make for a better world, none is so powerful as hope. With hope, one can think, one can work, one can dream. If you have hope, you have everything."

"Peace is a wall we will all create by building it brick-by-brick together". (Trade mark)

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New eritrean music 2015 by Tirhas Mehari me'sey (መንእሰይ)

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