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September - October 2005
Effe naar Eritrea

 

 

Asmara Eritrea - October 5th 2005

 

A few weeks ago the UN published its 15th annual report, ranking the worlds countries by social and economic indicators, measuring the well being of the countries citizens (Human Development Index). But a higher ranking, social and economic advancement, is not just dependent upon the governance of the nation, but also upon the regional cooperation between nations.

Walking through Asmara, the results of the stagnating peace process are becoming more obvious every time I visit Eritrea. The 'no war, no peace situation' is devastating both the Eritrean and the Ethiopian economy. Rising crude oil prices are further accelerating the deterioration of the standards of living of the Eritrean and Ethiopian people. Transport is essential, one of the backbones of every nations economy, but is becoming increasingly expensive.

Although the Eritrean government is doing its best to invest in good public transport, infrastructure projects, education, health services and other projects to meet the basic needs of its citizens, the western world is still frustrating these attempts by their apathy regarding still tense situation in the Horn of Africa. UNMEE spent 1 billion US dollars in the last five years. What is there to show for the magnitude of this expenditure? Nothing, but a stalemate. No war, no peace. 

Development aid should not be regarded as a noncommittal charity, but should be dependent upon commitment to sustained peace and security. Aid, no matter how much, will be more productive in a context of peace and cooperation. Investments in peace and cooperation between Eritrea and Ethiopia are more likely to improve their HDI ranking then the traditional goals of development aid, fare trade and human rights watch.

Today is two years, two weeks and two days since the peace process formally entered its stalemate phase (On September 19th 2003 Prime Minister Meles Zenawi sent a letter in which he rejected the EEBC's rulings). The Ethiopian Prime Minister is now calling for a 'dialogue'.

The 'rich' history of Ethiopia includes many hundred thousands victims of famine, while another hundred thousand of its people were victims of a senseless war. The Ethiopian regime turned Ethiopia's heritage into a bloody history, and if peace holds off, a bloody future. Ethiopia should cooperate to stop this war.

Ethiopia should be encouraged to accept the Boundary Commission's decision AND to take the necessary steps to allow border demarcation, and start feeding its people, instead of its guns. The Western World should stimulate this process by making development aid to Ethiopia dependent upon the progress of the process towards a lasting peace and normalization of the relations.

Today nothing special happened. I visited families and friends. It is the last day of my two weeks visit to Eritrea. I saw their 'situation' and a made them a promise: to expose their 'situation' to the web, because they can't.

They all face the same problem: boundaries are still approximates and thousands of 'brothers and sisters' - on both sides of the border - are involved in the military, as Ethiopia is still refusing to demarcate the border in defiance of an international boundary commission ruling,  where they might have spent their time and energy to lift their country to a higher HDI ranking.

 

I didn't do it for you - Michela Wrong - How the World Used and Abused a Small African Nation.

"I Didn't Do It For You"

by Michela Wrong

  • UK subtitle: How the World Used and Abused a Small African Nation
  • US subtitle: How the world betrayed a small African nation
  • 400 pages with several maps and fifteen photographs
  • Book review
  • Harper Perennial - July 2005 - ISBN 0007150954

 

Eritrean Defense Forces 04818 - Asmara Eritrea.

License plate - Eritrean Defense Forces 04818 - Asmara Eritrea.

Cathedral Snack bar - Asmara Eritrea.

Cathedral Snack bar - Asmara Eritrea.

Banner announcing a movie - Cinema Impero Asmara Eritrea.

Banner announcing a movie - Cinema Impero Asmara Eritrea.

French embassy & Alliance Francaise - Asmara Eritrea.

French embassy & Alliance Francaise - Asmara Eritrea.

Residential villa - Asmara Eritrea.

Residential villa - Asmara Eritrea.

Taxi at the Massawa bus terminal - Asmara Eritrea.

Taxi at the Massawa bus terminal - Asmara Eritrea.

Sembel Housing Complex (Enda Korea) - Asmara Eritrea.

Sembel Housing Complex (Enda Korea) - Asmara Eritrea.

Dembe Sembel School - Sembel Housing Complex Asmara  Eritrea.

Dembe Sembel School - Sembel Housing Complex Asmara  Eritrea.

Sembel Housing Complex - Asmara Eritrea.

Sembel Housing Complex - Asmara Eritrea.

Sembel Housing Complex - Asmara Eritrea.

Sembel Housing Complex - Asmara Eritrea.

 

 
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