u> Interview with Mrs. Tadelesh Hailu
Friday, 22 June 2012 10:39 | Written by Shabait Admin |
Her name is Mrs. Tadelesh Hailu. She is 68 years old and lives in Adiquala
subzone and is the mother of two martyrs. Mrs. Tadelesh did not spend her
life lamenting of the martyrdom of her children. She is currently engaged in
agricultural activities and she has assumed the responsibility of raising
her grandchildren. And she is an exemplary farmer. Our colleague from the
News Room has conducted an interview with her. An excerpt of the interview
Q: Could you please acquaint us with yourself?
My entire expectation was, like any parent, that my children would take the
responsibility of taking care of me during my old age. This is the
expectation of any parent in Eritrea. We raise our children in a way that
they in return take the responsibility of assisting their parents as well as
establishing their own families and raise their children. This is all about
the extended family system. But the question of freedom and sovereignty came
in between. And there is no match to the question of existence as a country
and as a people. My first son was martyred during Operation Nadew.
Q: How many children did you have and where are they currently?
I had five. Two were martyred during the struggle for independence and
safeguarding the nation, one is serving in the national service, the two
others are with me. I have also eight grandchildren and their mothers with
Q: Tell us on how your two children joined the armed struggle for
My elder son was 16 years old when he joined the armed struggle. After I
gave birth to three of my children I was divorced and I had to go through
very difficult times to raise my children.. It was during this time that my
elder son left me to join the armed struggle.
Q: As you said he was very small, 16 years of age, what motivated him to
join the struggle?
I think he had the knowledge of the revolution. I used sometimes to hear him
singing revolutionary songs with his younger brother.
Q: Were you not afraid upon hearing your sons singing revolutionary song
that enemy would do harm to them and you?
Who would hear them? We were under the enemy occupation and still they sing
revolutionary songs. Many of the youth during those trying times were not,
for a moment, afraid of the re-imprecation from singing revolutionary songs
sitting on the enemy doorsteps.
When I hear my sons singing revolutionary songs, to tell you frankly, I used
to get afraid of the consequence if the enemy finds out. And I used to tell
them my concern. And they say "how could they hear us singing".
Before he joined the armed struggle he had also observed the atrocities and
lawlessness of the enemy. Once he went to Mendefera in search of a job. He
was young and had no identification card. Because of that he was arrested
and experienced the hardship in the hands of the enemy. He was rescued by
some people form the surrounding who know his background, his parents and
relatives. Otherwise they had taken him from Mendefera to a far place to
kill him along with other innocent Eritrean convicted only of their being
Q: How did your children happen to hear the revolutionary songs and memorize
them for later use?
I had a combatant brother and I used to tell them about him. And through him
I was very much sensitive of the political situation that was going in our
country. I was participating in the revolution to my capacity like taking
messages from the field to villages and vise-versa. We were also hearing the
radio Voice of the Masses. That was how my sons knew about the revolution
and for my elder son to join the revolution at his young age.
Q: When your sons joined the armed struggle, were you expecting they will
come back alive? What was your knowledge about martyrdom?
You know, I know about war and its end result. Hence, I was least expecting
that I will see my sons alive. But as a mother you don't easily give up. As
I told you my second son joined the armed struggle in 1990. And my elder son
was martyred and the other one came alive. I was happy to have my share. But
later the unfortunate TPLF aggression occurred and as any Eritrean my son
had to go to defend his homeland. He was martyred at Dembe Doran. That was
the price we had to pay for our sovereignty and I accepted his martyrdom
Q: Adei Tadelesh, we have paid a big price in order to gain our
independence. Have you ever thought that the TPLF aggression would happen
and we pay price again?
Never! No body expected that the TPLF would pay us back that way. We were
expecting that we live in peace and do our business of developing our
country. Any way it was unfortunate that happened and we had to pay another
price, our dear sons and daughters. I individually was also affected by the
TPLF aggression. I was displaced, of course with the other people from the
area, leaving behind all my property. And when I went back I found out most
of my property destroyed because there was no body to attend it.
Q: We know that you are raising your children as well as your grand
children. The wives of your sons also depend from you for living. How are
you managing that?
Besides my two children I have eight grandchildren under me including their
mothers. As I told you two of my sons are martyred leaving behind two
children. There is also another one in the national service who has also
children. So the responsibility of all these is on my shoulder.
I have 72 hectares of land that I am cultivating. Currently I am engaged in
cultivating vegetables, different kinds of fruits including banana, lemon,
oranges, mango and others. I have also some sheep, cattle and hens that I
manage to raise parallel to the horticulture and vegetables cultivation.
What motivated you to engage in such activity at this age?
I am determined not to see my sons and sons of my martyred children and the
others depending from others for living. I have to support them by myself.
And we are doing well. We are leading a decent life.
Q: Any thing you want to say?
I am thankful to those who are on my side. The administrations, people from
the Ministry of Agriculture and the people from my village and others. They
always encourage me and assist me in every possible way in their disposal.
Received on Sat Jun 23 2012 - 11:33:23 EDT