The Seventh Extraordinary

Keren High School Reunion - July 3, 2021

By Bahlibi Tekle

Toronto, Canada

 

When you are alive for so long, you can see many different things you can never imagine seeing during your lifetime. Who would think to have a high school meeting virtually? Who would think about the creation of Zoom technology?

 

Despite the existence of Covid-19 through out the world, there was no problem to have a Keren high school reunion using zoom technology. It was so different and exciting to see many friends virtually on the screen. Thanks to Mukhtar Saleh Baramberas who mastered this technology and led us to good conclusion.

 

On Saturday July 3,2021, People started to join the zoom meeting at 3:00 p.m. Everyone was shouting the names they see on the screen with happiness and nostalgic manner. After a lot of interference with each other, the program started. The meeting was opened with dedication of one minute silence to all students, teachers, and Eritrean Martyrs for independence and liberty. Bahlibi also remembered the deceased people who participated in person to our unions or encouraged with letters. They were Director Mahmoud Mohammed Ali Kanoni, Mohammed Hashi, Letebrhan Michael Gobay, Ramadan Ferej, Zeray woldetinsae, memhir Berih alishek, and memhir Osman Omer Omran. The introduction by Bahlibi also included the significance of a reunion and explained that a reunion is not an association or an organization but just a meeting between friends you met at school when you were young.

 

The official introduction was given by Abraha Zeray, the chairman of KHS board. Abraha emphasized the importance of Keren high school reunion and its mission. He said that the Keren high school reunion will serve to aid in learning of the past and looking forward to the future. Abraha also highlighted about the first reunion and the way the reunion concept started.

 

It is very important to distinguish between talking politics against each other and explaining the political situation at one time. We wanted to bring speakers who can tell us all about the schools in Keren during the different years. One speaker we invited for the first time was Mr. Woldesus Ammar who has been actively involved in the students’ movements for independence  at the end of 1950s and 1960s and actively involved in the Eritrean politics since joining ELF in the 1976. The history of Keren we heard from Mr. Woldesus was beyond every one’s expectation. Everyone was thankful to hear all the historic

aspects of Keren and the students’ activities during his time. In the early 60s, students were going to

Asmara to attend secondary school. Some of the classmate of Woldesus in Asmara were Michael Gabir, President Isayas Afeworki,Haile Diru,Sium Uqbamichael,Mussie Tesfamichael, Weldedawit temesghen, and Abderhman Hassen Mihri.At the conclusion of his speech Mr. Woldesus gave us the following recommendations to think about seriously:

 

  • Those who studied in Keren should be promoters of the Eritrean unity as the history of the city of Keren is reflection of that. Eritrean Unity was witnessed by Ibrahim Sultan and Woldeab Woldemariam and let us be many Ibrahim sultans to preserve unity.

  • Let the Keren High school reunion establish a study group for unity and reconciliation.

  • We must have a list of all who learned at Keren Middle and high schools and specially those who sacrificed themselves and served at national level.

  • Specially those who witnessed and participated in the burial of ONA massacre should start

  • putting their influence so that the ONA massacre day be recognized as Martyrs Day.

 

Our next speaker was Dr. Salah Gimie from Australia who has been writing articles about Keren high school. Dr. salah explained in detail what was happening in Keren and the schools in 1970s and

1980s.He explained Keren as a city and its rich culture which welcomes everyone. He explained in

detail the make up of the students and staff at that time. He also explained how Keren high school was excelling in competitions of sports done through out Eritrea. Dr. Salah suggested several recommendations for the reunion. To mention some:

 

  • Strengthen our vision and plan for the city we love.

  • Document the vibrant history of Keren and its schools.

  • Plan today and contribute towards the establishment of Keren University and Keren public library.

  • Establish Sweet Keren development fund dedicated to micro finance projects.

 

As a small addendum to the 1970s, Tesfaldet Gebreselassie added an explanation to the circumstances of students’ strike which closed the school for the whole academic year.

 

To complete the student situation of Keren high school for all the decades, Awet Aregai gave a brief account of the high school in 1990s. He explained the progress and the obstacles they had. These are the students who joined after independence of Eritrea.

 

After finishing the historical background, we came to the present situation which made us do the zoom meeting instead of in person reunion. Dr. Woldemariam Ghebresilassie explained the medical aspects of Covid 19 and its negative consequences. He emphasized the importance of protecting yourself with masks and hand washing. He also stressed taking both doses of vaccine. After Dr. Woldemariam explained the medical aspects of Covid 19, Yohannes Ferdinando continued with the mental aspects of Covid 19. He emphasized the importance of making peace with yourself and others. He stressed the importance of taking care of yourself by avoiding alcoholic drinks, drinking water, and walking. He said that We must think positively with honesty to avoid all the suicidal thoughts and other negative

thinking.

 

After all the speakers were done, it was about time to start the second part of our union which the agenda included presenting the different people joining us from the different countries of the world and some jokes and memories. There were participants from many countries of Europe, Saudi Arabia, USA, and Canada. Some people gave short accounts of themselves and their memories of Keren high school. There were some valuable discussions about convincing the young generation to join the board and the reunion. The board members explained that they are always ready to accept new blood which have

been tried for several years. It was very clear from many participants that the objective of the reunion would always stay the same. Helping the schools in Keren is an obvious part of the reunion whenever it is possible to do.

 

We could see how people need each other and wanted to talk to each other even after announcing ending the day’s program. The zoom reunion was very successful as we can tell from the number of participants. At any time there were 107 members and according to Mukhtar’s zoom count there were

697 people who were getting in and out.

Abraha Zeray officially closed the meeting after seven consecutive hours thanking everybody who participated and wished everyone to be  safe and healthy  until we meet next year in person wherever city it is decided to be. Please stay tuned for further announcements.