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May 2005 - Celebrating the
14th anniversary of Eritrea
Congratulations Eritrea - 14 years independence.

Congratulations Eritrea
14 years independence

 

 

Asmara Eritrea - May 24th 2005

 

Today is Eritrea's major public holiday. Shops, offices, everything is closed. So the morning is a bit boring. I try to read my e-mail from an internet cafe, but connections are so slow that I give up after half an hour.

The only excitement is a helicopter dropping leaflets over the streets of Asmara. Children make it a sport to catch as many as possible. Curious about the text and to bring back some original souvenirs,  I buy a few from the children. 

I decide to walk through the stadiums surroundings, to visit some places still on my agenda. I ask for the directions, giving a description of the places I am looking for. Men kindly assist me to find the house I am looking for.

My invitation is checked at least five times, the first time hundreds of meters from the stadium, and there is a check of the content of my bag. No chance for those who came without an invitation, and relied on their foreigners status. Only a small herd of cows is allowed to pass the secondary checkpoints without an invitation.

Thick clouds cover the sky above Asmara, but mother nature shows mercy to the Independence Day program. It is cold, but there is no rain.

The program always opens with a tune in minor and one minute silence, for those who gave their lives for the freedom of Eritrea, the commemoration of the martyrs. Than there is short speech of the organizing committee, followed by a speech of President Isaias Afwerki.

Although I cannot understand his speech in Tigrinya, it is clear that the Chifta Woyane, the Ethiopian gangsters, with their disregard for international principles and the rule of law, are still one of the main concerns of the Eritrean government.

In April it was three years ago that the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission announced its decisions, but Ethiopia is still diluting and derailing the peace proces, even though millions of its citizens are on the edge of starvation, because of TPLF "priorities".

The speech is followed by a show of a marching band and parades of delegations of the Eritrean Army, the Eritrean Navy, the Eritrean Air Force, the EPLF veterans, and the Asmara Police, while the Eritrean Air Force is showing its MIG fighter planes, setting an ambiance of patriotic spirit and determination to strike back, if necessary.

The major part of the program is reserved for drama, a musical featuring songs in several different Eritrean languages and a show by 1500 elementary, junior and high school students. The show is concluded singing the national anthem by all performing artists.

Later that evening we celebrate Luwam's birthday, starting around midnight.

 

Decorated Dolphin Snack Bar - Asmara Eritrea.

Decorated Dolphin Snack Bar - Asmara Eritrea.

Decorations of the Blue Nile Restaurant - Asmara Eritrea.

Decorations of the Blue Nile Restaurant - Asmara Eritrea.

Leaflets dropped over Asmara on the occasion of 14th Independence Day.Leaflets dropped over Asmara on the occasion of 14th Independence Day.

Leaflets dropped over Asmara on the occasion of 14th Independence Day.

Leaflets dropped over Asmara on the occasion of 14th Independence Day.Leaflets dropped over Asmara on the occasion of 14th Independence Day.

Leaflets dropped over Asmara on the occasion of 14th Independence Day.

Leaflets dropped over Asmara on the occasion of 14th Independence Day.Leaflets dropped over Asmara on the occasion of 14th Independence Day.

Leaflets dropped over Asmara on the occasion of 14th Independence Day.

Military parades in Asmara Stadium - Asmara Eritrea.

Military parades in Asmara Stadium - Asmara Eritrea.

"Ear of Corn", a musical in Asmara Stadium on 24/05/2005.

"Ear of Corn", a musical in Asmara Stadium on 24/05/2005.

"Truth and lies", a show presented by 1500 elementary, junior and high school students in Asmara Stadium on 24/05/2005.

"Truth and lies", a show presented by 1500 elementary, junior
and high school students in Asmara Stadium on 24/05/2005.

Show by students - 14th Independence Day 24/05/2005 - Asmara Stadium.

Show by students - 14th Independence Day 24/05/2005 - Asmara Stadium.

Show by students - 14th Independence Day 24/05/2005 - Asmara Stadium.

Show by students - 14th Independence Day 24/05/2005 - Asmara Stadium.

National anthem - 14th Independence Day in Asmara Stadium.

National anthem - 14th Independence Day in Asmara Stadium.

Three of the 1500 show girls - Asmara Eritrea.

Three of the 1500 show girls - Asmara Eritrea.

Luwam (r) and some of her girl friends celebrating Luwam's birthday.

Luwam (r) and some of her girl friends celebrating Luwam's birthday.

 

 
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