Skip to main content

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.

Credits Text: Haile Bizen April 08 2015

My country
My Eritrea

One day light will shower
and its hand stirs the wombs

The birth of
the untamed artist talent
crafty horn maker

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
of us melted at the Sahara’s
of us thawed at Sinai`s cruel

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

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

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

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

Like what you read?

Take action for freedom of expression and donate to PEN/Opp. Our work depends upon funding and donors. Every contribution, big or small, is valuable for us.

Donate on Patreon
More ways to get involved