How brave you were! To my friend, Veteran Tekie Beyene

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22/04/2019 13:15 PM

How brave you were!
To my friend,
Veteran Tekie Beyene

by Kiki Tzeggai

Veteran Tekie Beyene
(photo: by Pamela DeLargy)

How brave you were! To my friend, Veteran Tekie Beyene
by Kiki Tzeggai

Tekie Beyene, yours’ was never a short-term contract with Eritrea. Your loyalty to your people was unwavering through the war for freedom from Ethiopian slavery. All you were going over personally and health wise, was camouflaged by a smile that was your eternal signature.

We met – after decades - at Meda. You were so surprised to see me there. I asked you the reason for such deep surprise. You shook your head and said “later, we will discuss it later.” That later never came, because time passed by and you filled me with knowledge of our history. Your voice calm, your eyes piercing. Everyone around respected you - Tekie Beyene - but we loved you beyond words. The latter makes it harder to move on.

You are the soldiers who survived the war physically, and came home to face the shock-waves of misery surrounding your people. You were fast to gather your courage and walk a new active trail, anxious to serve Eritrea and fix a dead economy; all this while we were still dancing in the streets of each Eritrean city. The flag standing tall in a free Eritrean wind increased your courage and patriotism. It was evident that one like you not showing emotions thorough the after-war times, was giving us an understandable message of struggles waiting for us, foreshadowing the unbelievable. Flattery was never your style and applause to powerful astonished you.

The last time I saw you in Asmara, we walked from Bar Impero towards the San Francesco church. A long walk by any standard, I was holding your hand to be strong. In a rush, I informed you that I was leaving the day after and I already was missing Asmara. I told you the reason I had left a promise in Keren and why my thoughts were in M’Batcalla. You were silent. You listened and then said, “You must come back, Kiki. This is your land. This is the land your Berhane gave Eritreans as a gift and we need to take care of it, no matter the slander, no matter the unbearable pain!” You went on reminding me this:” Never forget that while you were with us at Meda, a priest passing by gave you a copper bell and asked you to build a church in his village. You already forgot that? ” You asked. With so many bits of advises, I was pulling tissues from my handbag and blustering words whilst my tears welled in my eyes.

Why was I crying and you were the strong one Tekie dear? Because you were you! The one that gave advises. You made all of us feel that in a sea of friends, we found you and you were the right one! You never allowed me to create a space between my disappointments and my love for Eritrea. Your voice resonates to this day and is a guide I will keep dear to my heart. Our permanent rendezvous place was at Bar Impero; we would have a coffee and then walk to our friend “Wedi Tesfai” at the Commercial Bank; another coffee and so many more laughter. I miss you both, and I miss our routine. I realized that such routine became my little nuclear family and my base back home. You left your heart in our land. Your tears fortify our beaches and ask us to own them! You fought to the end for true peace and true freedom.

Goodbye never fits a Veteran, because our love for our Martyrs never ends. It only means "I will miss you". Give a hug to my Berhane waiting for you – with all the band of sisters and brothers - at the Gates of Heaven.

Farewel Jigna (ብሰላም ዕረፍ፡ ጅግና!)

Kiki Tzeggai
April 17, 2019

"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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