The Underground Silent Torture

A Blog Post by TASSC Survivor Mebre
(Mebre is a pseudonym used to protect the survivor. He is concerned that the Eritrean government will punish his family back from if his identity is revealed.)

Human suffering is an intricate form of silent torture. There is no civil war in Eritrea, a small country located in Northeast Africa. And there is no severe hunger or drought either. But Eritrea contributes the most refugees per capita in the world. It is a nation of only five million people. But every month thousands of youth risk their lives by crossing the deadly border into Sudan until they reach Libya, then try to escape to Italy by boat. This is why the international community is confused about the inhumanity in Eritrea; the Underground Silent Torture.

How many times have we heard of a government controlling the dreams and destiny of individuals? In which part of the world have the lives of thousands of youth been programmed on a single path, a type of modern slavery. This is what the government of Eritrea is doing to its own people, my people. This is the silent electro-magnetic suffering I will unveil here.

The lives of the Eritrean people are programmed and configured like a computer. The life of every new born citizen is determined at the time they are born.  As in most countries, children in Eritrea are able to attend school, which is free. It is when you graduate from high school that you no longer can live a normal life. After they graduate from high school, boys and girls are sent to military training for a pre- college year. That is when you start to understand that you are not in control of your own life. Every high school graduate is sent to a single military camp called SAWA, located near the Sudanese border.

After completing a year of SAWA, you can extend your relative freedom for another few years while you are in college, assuming you pass a college entrance exam. If you do not pass the exam, you begin your transformation from a human being into a robot.  This is called mandatory military service. The government sends you to military posts in deserts and forests and sometimes to a government office. The question is for how long will this military service last? The shocking answer is it is indefinite, and could even last a “life time.” And, with how much salary does the person earn? About $35 dollars per month. Those who do have the opportunity to attend college are faced with the same fate after they graduate college.

Every Eritrean must go through this intense psychological torture. It is a kind of torture where you don’t have any control over your life. It is an underground silent torture where you give up your dream to a ruthless regime. It is a type of torture where you see your own potential melting in your hands. Individuals lack the basic human right of living according to their own choices. This is why Eritreans are willing to risk possible death to die for their freedom; they would rather die than continue to live under a dark, repressive regime that steals their future and controls every movement just like totalitarian regimes throughout history.