Monday, February 18, 2008


By T Stephanos, Feb 17, 2008

As reported by on February 16th "The family of Taha Mohammed Nur were summoned by government authorities to collect his body and no explanation was given to them—not even about the circumstances of his death."

I can imagine the anguish Taha's family must be going through. Typical of this regime's sadistic practices, Taha was most likely denied visitation rights from his family during his years of incarceration. It is no doubt heart-breaking for the family to find out about his death this way. I am saddened by this unfortunate news and offer the family my deepest condolences.
I had the pleasure of knowing Taha as a warm and friendly human being. We were members of the Asmara Rotary club, and not surprisingly, Taha was one of the most prominent. He was always enthusiastic, especially when we were working on community projects, such as the one to eliminate polio from Eritrea. Taha had a contagious jovial manner and I distinctly remember how much he was liked by everyone at the club. It was certainly a positive experience and a source of pleasure for me that our paths crossed.

The regime has done the country yet another injustice by wasting Taha's life. How long will this be allowed to go on where human life is treated with such contempt? For me, with Taha's incarceration and subsequent death, a piece of Eritrea's hope to become a country of justice and opportunity also died. As one who played a key role in architecting Eritrea's constitution, Taha, at the very minimum, should have been the beneficiary of the protection the constitution intended to afford its citizens. But the constitution was not to be either. It too died in the bloodied hands of the self-declared president-for-life. It has been too long now since Eritrea became a land where human life is given no meaning. And a nation that does not value and protect the lives of its citizens will eventually be empty and meaningless itself. Somalia is a sad reminder of such a reality.

For hope to return to Eritrea, the regime's culture of death and contempt must be rejected by the general public with the urgency it deserves. Taha is gone now. Others continue to suffer and die because Eritreans who ought to know better are too busy inventing excuses for the regime's crimes instead of condemning them. Even when the "president" says there is no border issue, those who choose to be forever deaf and blind still say justice can be postponed until the border issue is resolved. There are even those who shamelessly claim the incarcerated are put in prison by a benevolent regime for their own protection. To make matters worse, the so-called opposition camp is scattered and incoherent. I sincerely hope Taha's death will be a reminder that "freedom is not free" and that silence against such injustice and paralyzing inaction are a criminal's best friends.

One way for positive action is to join The Network of Eritrean Civic Societies in Europe (NECS - Europe) to actualize its five point action plan suggested in ( The main characters most responsible for Eritrea's reign of terror are probably less than 10 individuals. Although nothing compared to the pain they are inflicting on Eritrean families, having these 10 or so declared as terrorists and striving to impose a travel ban on them so they too will be "imprisoned" within the confines of the country they have converted to a miserable jailhouse would give them a very small taste of their own medicine. Then Taha's death and that of Ogbe Abraha and countless others before them would not be in vain.

Taha, my friend, may you rest in peace. Your uplifting spirit and pleasant demeanor will be sorely missed.