On 20 November 2015, a post was published entitled “Let’s look at Eritrea“.
In the post, I try to understand why Eritrea, more than twenty years after it gained its independence from Ethiopia, is one of the largest exporters of refugees. I examine the history of the country and show how Eritrea was a combination of various lands, conquered by Italy at the end of the 19th Centry. I describe how independence was achieved after the end of the Cold War.
In the post, I point to three factors that may explain in part the miserable state the country is in today:
- the distrust between the current leaders of Eritrea and Ethiopia, who know each other only too well;
- the bitter history of war and cruelty in the area;
- the experience of discipline, acquired in the war, but which has now become overly onerous and oppressive;
I conclude by pointing out that this is one more country whose borders were formed not through any involvement of the people living in the country, but purely through colonial machinations. The national identity, insofar as it exists, was formed not because of any positive experience, but through a shared experience of brutal oppression.
Something radically different and better will be needed, if this cycle of despair is ever going to be broken…