The Eritrean Adventure is about to start
tomorrow I will start my work in Asmara (Eritrea). The German Embassy there takes me in as an intern for 2 month. I am not sure what exactly my work includes but I plan to update my friends via this blog in a more or less regular manner. The blog is mainly used for my thoughts on climate policy and action but since a lot of readers are my friends it will be of a general interest I suppose if I update here from time to time.
Eritrea, the country and its 5 mio inhabitants regularly ranks on the very bottom of the HDI-list and consists of a rocky strip of land on the southern border of the Red Sea and a more fertile part on a plateau in the South. On this one, the capital ASMARA is build in an Italian style. This is due to Eritrea being a colony of Italy („Il Duce“, the fascist Mussolini wanted to build an Italian Empire when he conquered the Region from Eritrea land-inwards) when Eritrea strived an was the most advanced region in economic terms (some say in cultural as well…) in the whole of Africa. This „Golden Time“ is still remembered. After the defeat of Italy, Eritrea became part of a Federation with Ethiopia, its „brother“, „foe“, „neighbour“ or „arch-rival“ (depends on who is speaking). Eritreas pleas to the United Nations where not heard (the doors where not even being opened to the poor Eritreas, as they were no country by juducial terms). But this was only one step in the long history of a small country being not helped by the World. While the US was supporting Ethiopia, which soon took over Eritrea completely, and pushing the UN and its allies to not recognize Eritrea, the UdSSR was supportive to Ethiopia after its revolution in the 1970s, thus being marxist. (This was also the end of a kingship that lastet thousands of years and was going back to the Queen of Sheba giving birth to the Son of King Salomon of the Jews, later, teh Axumite Empire in this region was the first Christian State in the world and by being not colonialized it is in fact the oldest still-existing State in the world as well.)
The Eritreas, having fought the West and the East succeeded in their heroic struggle (I was told it was a heroic struggle!) in 1991 and the State of Eritrea was founded in 1993. Knowing, that neither can without the other, Ethiopia and Eritrea formed an alliance that held until a border dispute in 1998 started a 2-year war. Today, Eritrea is a country surrounded by hostile or at least very unsympathetic neighbours and history has told the people to better try alone.
I will go into this country and try to meet people and find out how it looks on the inside of a war-torn region. As it will be my first time to a LDC-country there is a lot to discover but also a lot to be careful about. I try to post some insights later…