My Eritrea

Poet and journalist Haile Bizen is known in his native Eritrea by the epithet “the man who broke the silence”. He was forced to flee the country after repeated persecution and systematic interrogation in connection with the publication of his poetry collection “Behind the doors” and found asylum in Norway. Most of his poems deal with everyday life in Eritrea and with the increasingly widespread self-censorship amongst its citizens. Here we publish one of them.

April 8 2015 Text: Haile Bizen

My country
My Eritrea

One day light will shower
and its hand stirs the wombs

The birth of
the untamed artist talent
composer
also
crafty horn maker

She
Collects all those gasps
all those strewed throats

of us erased in every inches
of us deleted in dungeons
of us toasted in containers

of us evaporated at Nubian’s
sands
of us melted at the Sahara’s
deserts
of us thawed at Sinai`s cruel
hands

of us drowned in sea depth
of us gnawed by traffickers
jaws
of us still grinding by those
agonies

She
Harvesting all those throats
our breaths
gluing them all together
crafts one huge horn

She
For that horn
composes a single tone
and
that single tone
packs all the lists
the lists of our names

And
with a single toot
it utters all our names
that we were existed
that we were also on earth