Eritrean Antimilitary Initiative to Abraham Mehreteab
"We are remembering with deep sadness"
(12.12.2015) Today, it is with deep sadness that we are remembering our beloved brother, friend and companion, Abraham Gebreyesus Mehreteab. Abraham passed away last Monday December 7, in Offenbach after he has been receiving intensive medical attention.
Abraham was born on February 9, 1971 in a village located near Asmara, Emba Derho, from his father Gebreyesus Mehreteab and his mother Ametemariam Keshi Woldemichael. He grew up in Emba Derho until the age of 10 under the loving care and supervision of his parents.
Abraham was only ten years old when he suffered the bitter consequences of Eritrean independence war. Then one day, as it was the fate of many Eritrean children of that time, he and his friends were playing with a grenade which was left by the Ethiopian soldiers around his village thinking that it was a toy. The grenade blew up and diseased and disabled his friends, and took Abraham’s right hand and his eye sight. The incidence devastated his entire family but most of all his mother.
Soon after the incidence in order to help him overcome the sever disability his mom and friends decided to admit him to the Abraha bahta boarding school for the blind in Asmara. Once at the boarding school, it does not take long for Abraham to adapt to his new challenge, severe disability. Never defeated by the challenges, Abraham not only started schooling, but soon became best at it. Abraham finished his elementary and junior secondary school successfully while at the boarding school. Motivated by his success Abraham determined to continue higher education.
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Together with some of his friends Abraham moved out of the boarding school and rented a house with a support of their families and some missionaries as their boarding school was not able to provide accommodation past junior secondary school. Then he started to work on his big dream of becoming a lawyer. He finished high school in 1990 and successfully passed the Ethiopian High School Leaving Certificate Exam (ESLCE) with very distinction. He was assigned by the Ethiopian Ministry of education to join the University of Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. While he was a fresh man at University of Addis, Eritrea was liberated in May 1991. Then he moved back to Eritrea and joined University of Asmara, faculty of law.
While a student at the University of Asmara, he started to actively engaged in the campaign against landmines in Eritrea and in the world in general. This engagement opened opportunities for Abraham to make friends and he started to building up his international relationships.
One of his international friends, Kathrin whom he named his first daughter after, nominated him for Reebok Human Rights Award, fundraised and connected him with South Africa Military hospital for a possible Cornea transplant. It all worked out well and in 1997 he regained his eye sight partially after a successful cornea transplant in Pretoria. After many years Abraham was able to see again. The feeling of that time in his word “was like rebirth!” In 1998 he graduated with a Bachelor of Art degree in law. Soon after his graduation became one of 1998 Reebok Human Rights Award winning young activists of the year for his work on landmines.
After his graduation he was employed by the Eritrean Ministry of Justice. There he was serving his people with due diligence and dedication at the head quarter of the Ministry under the Department of Research and Development. At the same time he officially established the Landmine Survivor Network (LSN) in Eritrea.
He got married to his beloved and compassionate wife Nebiat Kifle in 1999. Together they are blessed with their three daughters Katherina, Milen and Rosa.
Not too long after its foundation his active engagement with the Landmine Survivor Network (LSN) and his international connection got him into the attention of the bashful PFDJ regime. Fearing for his life he left Eritrea mid-2000 in the name of attending conference in Germany. He then decided not to go back to Eritrea and joined the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. In 2002 he graduated in Master of Art in Human Right Law. After his graduation he moved back to Germany and applied for political asylum. He was granted a status in Germany immediately.
Abraham continued his advocacy in the areas of landmine, war resistance, human rights and civic rights, rule of law and supporting refugee from Eritrea. While in Germany Abraham cofounded the Eritrean Antimilitary Initiative (EAI), was active member and one of the founders of Senit-Selam Eritrean Civic Movement in Frankfurt, and he was one of the founder and coordinator of TV-Mestiyat Eritrea in Frankfurt and surrounding.
Abraham has been relentlessly working to be a voice for the voiceless: "As Eritreans we see the hard reality in our country. We are the only people who could make change there. There is still a great chance to challenge the government's policies and curb the inhuman treatment on our fellow Eritreans."
For the last ten years he had been engaged in the Eritrean Antimilitarist Initiative and recently translated the Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns as well as the book From Dictatorship to Democracy into Tigrigna and distributed to the Eritrean community.
In the last years he was active in the framework of War Resisters' International, struggling for the human right of conscientious objection, for nonviolent strategies and the democratization of a country, which is formed by dictatorship and military rules, always with the hope of "achieving the great goal."
Even though Abraham passed away from the consequences of a brain tumor at the age of 44 years, his legacy of unremitting struggle for peace and human rights will leave for ever. He will be always remembered for the determination, dedication, hard work and virtuousness.
Victory to the Mass!! Justice will prevail in Eritrea!
Yohannes Kidane, Eritrean Antimilitary Initiative (EAI)
It is with deep sadness that I announce the death of our dear friend, brother and companion Abraham Gebreyesus Mehreteab who pass away on Monday December 07, 2015. Abraham has left his beloved family, friends and all justice seeking Eritreans too soon before the realization of constitutional and democratic Eritrea which he struggled for. He was amazingly dedicated, hardworking, visionary, brave and courageous young man who overcame a number of life obstacles. I am writing this message to share my grief and inform all his friends and class mates at the University of Asmara specially those of 1991 batch.
His funerary will be held in his home village Embaderho Eritrea. For those of you who want to pay tribute in person please come and visit the family this Saturday (12/12/2015 and Sunday 13/12/2015 in a whole located in Langen, near Frankfurt Germay. Or please contact his wife Nebiyat on (mobile) 0044+7951675242 and landline 0044 + 121 572 4252.
Fairwell event: Saturday 12/12/2015 and Sunday 13/12/2015
Time: starting at 9፡00 am to 10:00 pm
Adress፡ Nordendstr. 45, 63225 Langen
Also, for any financial contributions use:
Mrs. Nebiat Kefali
Account Number: 64073827
Sort Code: 40-11-18
International Bank Account Number: GB72MIDL40111864073827
Branch Identifier Code: MIDLGB2102K
May God rest in peace!
Eritrean Antimilitary Initiative, 12.12.2015