The Eritrean government has been accused of multiple human rights abuses by the United Nations Human Rights Council and human rights groups, including requiring indefinite military service, torture, arbitrary detention, and targeting the family members of those who flee Eritrea.
Most Eritreans who have fled to Israel, like Mengistu, made the arduous journey from the East African country through neighboring African states such as Ethiopia, Sudan, or even Libya before crossing Egypt's Sinai Peninsula and sneaking over its border with Israel in search of a better life in the Jewish state.
"I want to provide my people with a place where they can tell their stories about the hardships of this journey and the challenges of their new lives here," explains the former accountant, who has left behind a wife and two children in Eritrea.
The eight-page paper, which he prepares as a PDF so that his Israeli printer does not have to deal with the Tigrinyan script, aims to highlight some of the social problems encountered by his community.
While for the past five years the arrival in Israel of thousands of African migrants – not only from Eritrea but also Ethiopia, Sudan, and numerous other countries – has been kept somewhat under the public radar, a recent spate of violent robberies and rapes has roused fear and anger among native Israelis, many of whom are calling for the immigrants to be deported en masse back to their countries of origin.