Asmera . nl  
 
Eritrea May 2004
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
          01 02
03 04 05 06 07 08 09
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31            
next page >>   << previous
May 2004 - Celebrating the
13th anniversary of Eritrea
 
 

Asmara - May 23rd 2004

 

While I have been traveling and feasting, Terhas has identified the content of my second suitcase, containing various gifts of Mebrat to friends and relatives. So I spend the morning visiting them, enjoying coffee ceremonies.

When I tell them about the many checkpoints, they explain: The war lasts to long for many youngsters. Some of them are leaving the army and try to hide with their family. The checkpoints are set up to find them. As long as the Ethiopians, the "Shifta Woyane", are unwilling to cooperate to the international peace plans, the Eritreans are unable to demobilize their defense forces*).

That many millions of (both Ethiopian and Eritrean) people on the edge of starvation are paying the price of the Ethiopian political game should worry those western politicians responsible for millions of development aid (read: military aid) spent on Ethiopia. What's the use trying to develop a nation, if it does not have the word "peace" in its vocabulary?

Solomon has invited me to a small party organized for the families living in an eight story housing complex called "Asmara Palace". The women prepared a lunch of injera and other traditional food. Solomon is also celebrating the fact that he has been elected to be the area's representative in the local government with an enormous tart.

By now, I know my way around Asmara, and traveling from A to B, I change buses as if I lived here all my life. And if I have any doubts, there is always someone willing to to help. I decide to walk from the center of the city to Sembel. And I am lucky again, walking into the first try-outs of the street parade, that is building up just outside the center.

Decorated trucks, music, school children and students, either in traditional clothes, or grease-painted, form one long row of celebrating groups, watched by thousands of people. And I am so happy to be there on this moment. To share the joy of celebrating liberation. These images will be carved into my memory and make my eyes wet.

We do not have to develop this nation. Eritrea is very well capable to develop itself, its people being its richest resource. The main precondition for this development is peace. So if there is any "Woyanes" reading these words, I hope your country will spend its budgets on feeding your people, and will respect and implement the decisions of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission.

Walking to the Corea Housing Complex, I find myself a stall to have my shoes polished. This evening there will be a performance of Dehab Faytinga and Hellen Meles at the compound of the Asmara Intercontinental Hotel, one of the other highlights of my visit to Eritrea.

I visit Berhe Aiba's Night Club, next to the Asmara Intercontinental, to have some beers to get into the mood, and at 21:00 I join the crowd waiting for the performance of their favorite singers. There is a 30 minutes try-out / warming up by one of the local beauties, trying to draw the public to the stage, and then the stage is for Dehab Faytinga. 

Dehab Faytinga is not only one of best (maybe the best) Eritrean singers, she is also a real ambassador for her country, promoting environmental projects that could change the lives of millions of Africans, The Seawater Forests' Initiative. SFI promotes a natural system of mangroves forests that grow on sea water and can generate sustained income, providing both timber and fodder for camels and goats, enrich the soil, create a rich habitat for birds and animals and absorb carbon dioxide produced by industrial countries, helping to prevent global warming.

When I ask to climb a few of the stairs to the stage, to make a close up picture, the guards are very pertinent. No audience is allowed near the stage. I realize that a lot of the visitors must be true fans of Faytinga. So I have to use my zoom lens and some luck to make some nice shots.

After midnight the stage is for Hellen Meles, another famous Eritrean singer. She is dressed in a beautiful white dress, decorated with black leather and white Red Sea shells, emphasizing her Eritrean roots. I remember speaking to her a few minutes at the Eritrean Festival in Utrecht Holland in 2003, when I told her that one time I would meet her in Asmara. I guess she does not remember me, but I kept my promise, although from a distance. Helen, I enjoyed your concert!

 

Children decorating the street with little stones - Asmara Eritrea.

Children decorating the street with little stones - Asmara Eritrea.

Decorated Ministry of Education - Asmara Eritrea.

Decorated Ministry of Education - Asmara Eritrea.

Children on their way to the parades - Asmara Eritrea.

Children on their way to the parades - Asmara Eritrea.

Street parade (Rashaida children) - Asmara Eritrea.

Street parade (Rashaida children) - Asmara Eritrea.

Street parade, celebrating 13 years independence - Asmara Eritrea.

Street parade, celebrating 13 years independence - Asmara Eritrea.

Street parade (Nara women) - Asmara Eritrea.

Street parade (Nara women) - Asmara Eritrea.

Street parade (children in traditional dress) - Asmara Eritrea.

Street parade (children in traditional dress) - Asmara Eritrea.

Street parade (praying for peace) - Asmara Eritrea.

Street parade (praying for peace) - Asmara Eritrea.

The girls of the Berhe Aiba Night Club - Asmara Eritrea.

The girls of the Berhe Aibai hotel and nightclub Asmara Eritrea.

Dehab Faytinga and her band singing at the Asmara Intercontinental Hotel.

Dehab Faytinga and her band singing at the Asmara Intercontinental Hotel.

Hellen Meles and her band singing at the Asmara Intercontinental Hotel.

Hellen Meles and her band singing at the Asmara Intercontinental Hotel.

 


*) December 12, 2000 Eritrea and Ethiopia signed a peace agreement in Algiers, after a 2 1/2-year border war.

Article 4, sub article 15 reads as follows: “The parties agree that the delimitation and demarcation of the Commission shall be final and binding. Each party shall respect the border so determined as well as territorial integrity and sovereignty of the other party”.

On April 13th 2002 the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague published the conclusions of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission.

In September 2003 Ethiopia's Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, formally informed the Security Council that Ethiopia rejected the decisions of the International Boundary Commission (arbitration of the International Court in the Hague). He declared the proposed 1 000 km international border drafted by the commission as "null and void".

This disrespect of Ethiopia for the decisions of the Court of Justice in The Hague has practically halted the peace process.

 

 

 
| Home & index | Top | Contact | Next | Previous | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2011