In all organizations, not least a liberation front, there are four groups which one can categorize their participation in this way. The first group is those who talk much but do little (the bombastics). The second group is those who talk little and do little (the passives). The third group is those who do nothing or little but are always ready to hinder others (the impeders). The last and fourth group, by virtue of their outstanding dedication and determination are those who shoulder much of the organizations workload and I will call them the conquerors.
Dr. Nerayo Teklemichael belongs to the fourth group of participants. I know him long before he joined the front in 1975. And during the struggle for independence I had very close contact with him. His enthusiasm, honesty and selflessness have always been my source of inspiration. Very many of the projects I had were in partnership with him. He always appreciated my ideas and once a project is initiated, he followed it up in the field and gave me a feedback. Dr. Nerayo had also trust in me and was unhesitant to ask me carry out a work be it performing a study, making an enquiry or carrying out purchase orders of equipments. Without his positive attitude and extraordinary vision, it would not have been possible to achieve much of the projects in the list.
The Eritrean struggle, just as it was, had attracted the engagement of many good-hearted Norwegian individuals and organizations in giving a helping hand. On top of the list, I will put my good friend and partner Dr. Frank Bakke. His help was crucial for establishing a telephone link to the field, first via short wave radio, later expanded to include satellite communications. We are proud to note that this deployment of a land based mobile satellite system may very well be the first such deployment of a nonmilitary mobile satellite system anywhere. As a founding member of MEA, and as a member of a health team to Eritrea in 1984 Dr Bakke was also deeply involved, for many years, in the transfer of medical expertise and medical equipment to the hospitals in the field. He has shown endless dedication to the cause of Eritrea.
I am always fascinated by the dedication of many Norwegian individuals who supported the Eritrean struggle for independence in no less term than the Eritrean diasporas themselves. To mention only some of them like Tore Sivertsen, Arild Jacobsen, Christopher Brodersen, Eric Anders Aurbakken, Alf Lejon, Ellen Borchgrevink, Per Gunnar Skotåm, Knut Thonstad who helped our struggle and our people at the time they needed a helper. They saw Eritrea as their second country. There are also many others that have helped in a significant way be it in the media or lobbying for Eritrea in the Norwegian corridors of power. The late foreign minister of Norway Mr. Knut Frydenlund was instrumental in establishing contact and supporting among others ERA, MEA and VEA through the aid organizations. Some of the political parties in Norway were quick to recognize Eritreas struggle as just and legitimate while others gradually developed interest in the struggle for independence. I believe the article I wrote in 1976 under the title “The Norwegian Connection” had an impact on making many parties and individuals to feel responsible for the events in Eritrea. My all time wish is chartering a flight to Asmara with all the Norwegians who loved Eritrea as its passengers.
My beloved wife Elizabeth has helped so much with the sorting and scanning of the stored documents in 17 cartons. It required mental and physical strength to empty the cartons, remove duplicates, sort out the documents and finally scan and save the files. Without her contribution and encouragement, it would have been unthinkable to organize and build a website.
Last but not least, it is important for me to mention that I found essential support from many of my colleagues in ELF Aquitaine Norge A/S, a French Offshore Oil Company, where I worked almost all my time in Stavanger. I had oriented most of them about developments in the Eritrean field and almost everyone in the company knew well about Eritrea. In performing my projects, when I needed information related to one specific profession (discipline), I always found someone ready to give me advice and information. Has it not been for the enormous access I had to communication and information in the company I would not have achieved the projects as I did.
I will close this page by quoting a popular tigrinja proverb which says “Good deeds done to you should either be repaid or at least be acknowledged”. Translated roughly to Norwegian “ For de som har gjort en tjeneste, du må gjengjelde hvis du kan, hvis du ikke kan, fortell til alle din takknemlighet”.