Dear brother Osman,
Iʼll never get to describe you the endless joy in this so hot afternoon of October.
Iʼve found a little of intimacy behind a caravan of camels at rest, but Iʼm pretty
sure that your little Ghirmay will find me within ten minutes,
and will drag me to the waterʼs edge to make castles. Heʼs so much grown, you know.
He never shuts up and when he asks about you, I show him that old picture of you in uniform,
explaining that since you are the best soldier in the country, the president
Afewerki chose to reward you with a long journey around the world.
He laughs and stand at attention. Thereʼs still hope for him
I canʼt get used to the immense beauty of this place.
The dunes seem to be carved in the purest salt and the water is so clear to
merge with the sky.
Just now, dipped in thought, Iʼve walked over to the skyline so long to hear the
noises fading and when I turned around I believed I find me inside a framework.
My throat closed by the emotion and for not to be seen crying, I came to lay
down here. In front of me, our people on parade write proudly an other page of
our difficult hystory.
Thereʼs no place for pain today.
Mom has cooked all the night what will be recalled as the best tsebhi ever, with
so much berberè to make you tearing and such a big cake that we will offer to
all the beach.
Poor mother. So proud of me. So pure and surrendered.
She prepared with concern my luggage for the camp of Sawa and eighteen
blank letters, “one each month”, she has so recommended,
she sewed trousers of strong fabric, she took me to the shop to let my hair
fixed and organized this party day with all the family.
She still doesnʼt know that I will never start the compulsory lever. She still
doesnʼt know that we could never see us again.
We managed, Osman, with the last delivery to the guerillas across borders, I
achieved the agreed amount and three nights ago
I handed it over to a unit of General Manjus that was rounding up clandestines.
They have agreed the date of departure and we just have to hope to find them
They will take us with the Jeeps to the camp of Wadi and there they will sell us
to the traffickers Rashaida.
I know what you are thinking, but there was no other solution. Word travels.
They are always more ruthless and coward.
They will take us to Libia in the tow of a lorry stuffed with rifles on which we will
lay all the night, to protect the load from the inquisitive eye of satellites.
Thatʼs the agreement. Upon reaching the coast, we will be free.
Iʼm often paralyzed by fear Osman, but not to die. How many times we’re
already dead? You can not kill a man more than once.
I’m afraid of being afraid. I’m afraid there is no more hope for my mind.
Harassed, humiliated, mutilated more than the body, will it be able to really get
rid of this terror?
Will I ever free our people if I allowed myself that my tormentor would make arid
my soul all this time?
But then I just look at them. They run, laugh, eat the dish of the party. You
should be here. The whole world should be here.
All television broadcasts suddenly interrupted by this awkward curtain that
opens on our pulsating energy.
From the comfortable sofas, the skyscrapers of the richest cities would see us
laugh challenging this immense misfortune.
We are Tigrayans. We are the hope that breathes.
We are still here. On this beautiful beach where light exploded.
Osman, write to mom in a few days.
Tell her that Ermias will pay the tax on diaspora for the first months.
Then, she must hold on and forgive me this and all other discomforts that I will
cause to her.
Write to her that I will come back to stay.
Write her that on my return, our country will be free and there will be a
thousand afternoons like this to live without having to hide the chains under the
I have to go now, theyʼre calling me.
Mom prepared the coffee. I can smell it from here.
Peace on you,.
Your brother, Tesfai.