Eritrean Bishops issue pastoral letter decrying emigration


Newscast Media ROME—The Catholic Bishops in Eritrea have issued a pastoral letter
marking the 23rd anniversary of the country’s independence, which was celebrated
on May 25, 2014.

The letter is entitled “Where is your brother?” and addresses the crisis of emigration
in the country. Thousands of Eritreans have fled the country, seeking a better life in
Europe. Many of them die trying to cross the Mediterranean, as happened off the
Italian island of Lampedusa on October 3, 2013.

The bishops explore the causes of emigration, stating “there is no reason to search
for a country of honey if you are in one… Instead of Eritreans aiming to leave their
country, those who are in the Diaspora should have returned….it is not rational to
simply ask why our youth are leaving to foreign countries.”

It said the young people of Eritrea leaving in search of “peaceful countries.. countries
of justice, of work, where one expresses himself loudly, a country where one works
and earns.”

“On top of the crisis of people leaving their country,” the letter continues, “the family
unit is fragmented because members are scattered in national service, army,
rehabilitation centers, prisons, whereas the aged parents are left with no one to care
for them and have been spiritually damaged. And all that combined is making the
country desolate.”

The four bishops are Mengsteab Tesfamariam, Eparch of the capital Asmara; Tomas
Osman, Eparch of Barentu; Kidane Yeabio, Eparch of Keren; and Feqremariam Hagos,
Eparch of Segeneti.