It makes things simpler to grab an academic piece that is literarily simply written, easy to read, captivating with deep in depth of research. Making this academic work into a book is a very wonderful initiative. I am soon to start another book by the same author titled " It's Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistle-Blower". The question I will like to ask before I proceed on talking about this book is, how many of us have ever heard of ERITREA, how many of us is aware of the existence of this country of five million people? How many of us know the sordid history of what Eritrea and its people have gone through and what they are currently going through in the hands of their own very leader? The Eritrean phenomenon is a touching one indeed.
Eritrea is bordered by Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti with an extensive coastline on the REDSEA, the fact that made Eritrea desirable by the Italy who captured it in 1890. The British eventually took control of Eritrea in 1941. With Ethiopian under the rule of their powerful, larger than life emperor Haile Selassie on the side waiting to have Eritrea as part of its country, again because of the strategic importance of Eritrea to the redsea coastline. Going through the gruesome details of what Eritreans suffered from being tossed around or even being captured will mean re-writing Michela Worng's book which I will ask everyone to get and read.
The United States federated Eritrea and Ethiopia via resolution (390)A of the UN. A step that sealed the faith of Eritrea in the hands of Ethiopia with a federation agreement that was largely ignored by Ethiopia. Ethiopia changed the official language of Eritrea to Amharic and made it diffcult for Eritrea to have a say on how things so be run in Eritrea. Lack of regard for this federation agreement led Ethiopia and Eritrea into a 30 years war that ended in 1991 and led to Eritrea independence in 1993. During the period of the "mutliple colonialism" as I will call it from the hand of Italy, Britain and Ethiopia, Eritrea suffered, countless lives were lost but they were all hopeful that freedome would be theirs!
Freedom indeed they got, depsite a century of waiting, hoping and fighting. Freedom yes they got but freedom had somewhat turned into captivity in the hands of their freedom fighter and leader Isaias Afewerki who has refused to conduct election since 1993 that he got to power, who had turned the whole country into a militarised state, who has gone to war with all its neighbours, who has shuned the international community ( a fact that was justifiable in the beginning), who has jailed all his ministers for criticising him for going to war with Ethiopia in 1998. Many of these issues were clearly researched and discussed in Michela Wrong book. After reading this book and researching further about Eritrea on the internet, I felt like turning into a superwoman that will go and rescue the people of Eritrea!
When I now met an Eritrean in Nairobi, someone who has become a good friend of mine and he related briefly amidst supression of tears of how he escpaded from Eritrea to Nairobi, how he trekked for 2 days in the forest with some other people who escaped from the military with him to go and find a life, I now understood Michela's book better. I now saw her passion in discussing in details what went wrong in Eritrea and how instead of having solutions, there seem to be more to tackle... Many Eritreans have fled their own very country, just like Sudan and Somalia. many of them settled illegally in Nairobi and many of them never wanted to go back home. Even though some of their parents were arrested for coniving with them to escape. The government of Eritrea is in full control of everything including the media and in every sense have no understanding of what human rights is all about.
Despite the heroic effort of Eritrea to be liberated, depite the zeal to conquer all, depite the promise never to let their experience go to waste, depsite the enthusiasm felt by all the Eritreans to now have a country that will be theirs to have, to contribute and develop, they have all their apsirations taking away by their own very leader... Eritrea is indeed on my mind.