Haile Weldetinsae (DuruE), for­mer Eritrean fighter for inde­pen­dence & lib­erty, for­mer min­is­ter (among oth­ers For­eign Min­is­ter) and … Jailed on Sep­tem­ber 18, 2001 and held incom­mu­ni­cado since that day…like count­less known and unknown Eritrean pris­on­ers of conscience…


The Book of Laugh­ter and For­get­ting by Mil­lan Kun­dera (one of my favorites)

LEST WE FOR­GET THEM, our pris­on­ers of con­cience, our broth­ers, sis­ters, our fathers, our moth­ers, our daugh­ters, our sons, our reli­gious lead­ers.
Lest we for­get them! This sea­son is the sea­son of new year and cel­e­bra­tions; but not for the count­less pris­on­ers of con­science in Eritrea. Not for their fam­ily mem­bers. Day and night, now for 10, 13, 15 or more years, they have been sur­viv­ing like half-​dead. They can’t sleep nor­mally, they can’t eat nor­mally, they can’t live nor­mally. Where is my daugh­ter? Where is my son? Where is my father? Where is my mother? Where is my sis­ter? Where is my brother? In what con­di­tions are they in? Are they still alive?

The regime has deleted the pris­on­ers of con­science from his­tor­i­cal audio-​visual archives. The regime tells us: “we don’t know them!” “They have never existed”, “How can the Eritrean regime of PFDJ tell you where they are, if the regime doesn’t know who these peo­ple are”. These have been the reac­tions of the regime. What is ours? If we don’t dare to ask about these Eritre­ans, if we don’t act and stand up for them, then we are worse than the dead. No excuses… Imag­ine if you were one of them, if your father was one of them, if your mother was one of them, if your brother was one of them, if your sis­ter was one of them, if your son was one of them, if your daugh­ter was one of them; would you keep quiet and for­get them?

These peo­ple who served Eritrea and the Eritrean peo­ple their whole life are never charged offi­cially with a crime, never tried before an inde­pen­dent court of law, they have never got the chance to admit to any accu­sa­tions or defend them­selves openly.

How can we con­demn them by sid­ing with an ille­gal regime that is bleed­ing Eritrea? Silence is con­spir­acy and this means implicit sup­port to the dic­ta­to­r­ial regime.

Haile Wold­ense (impris­oned): Haile was a mil­i­tant stu­dent in the begin­ning of 1960s, before he joined the Eritrean strug­gle in 1966. In 1973 he was cap­tured by Ethiopian sol­diers and jailed in Asmara, only to be res­cued by his fel­low ELF-​fighters in 1975. Two years later he became a mem­ber of EPLF’s Polit­buro. After Inde­pen­dence he became the Min­is­ter of Finance and Devel­op­ment and served in that capac­ity until the begin­ning of Eritrean-​Ethiopian War of 1998. He was then shuf­fled in the Cab­i­net to the Min­is­ter of For­eign Affairs posi­tion. Haile was a school mate of Isa­ias Afew­erki in, among oth­ers, the for­mer Luul Meko­nen High Sec­ondary School in Asmara. He has tatoed the let­ter E on his right shoul­der. Like many oth­ers he spent his whole life for Eritrea and the Eritrean peo­ple. His diplo­matic strength and the way he defended the Eritrean cause dur­ing the Algers Agree­ment and beyond was highly appre­ci­ated by var­i­ous renowned inter­na­tional diplomats