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July and August 2006
Festival Eritrea 2006
 

 

Festival Eritrea - August 2nd 2006

 

Returning every day to the Festival Eritrea results in an increasing number of handshakes. The old man from the Tigre cultural group is one of them. His eyes express pride, his handshake a warm "thanks" for my devotion to his (and other Eritrean) culture.

A few hundred meters from the regional sections, in the exhibition halls, some paintings and sculptures express mistrust against foreign powers, especially the USA. Coming from Holland is a virtue. With the Canadians we were the first peacekeepers after Algiers peace agreements. Today my Dutch nationality is good for a nice and friendly meeting and coffee ceremony with the ERI-TV team.

With the journalists, I discuss the lack of success of the UNMEE mission in Eritrea and Ethiopia. The mission, with an annual budget of 200 million US$, still plays a very minor, if any, role to implement the decisions of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission. Instead, the UNMEE mission is covering up the illegal occupation of Eritrean territories by Ethiopia, still unwilling to accept the EEBC's rulings *).

The Ethiopian TPLF regime is clearly not willing to work towards a negotiated settlement, because they know their indelicate demands will never be honored by fair negotiations. Negotiating has traditionally been seen as a sign of weakness by the various Ethiopian regimes in the last five decades, and is still refusing to behave like a normal and responsible state.

The ignorance of the international community for this situation in the Horn of Africa has recently encouraged the Ethiopian regime to launch an invasion into Somalia, probably supported by the government of the United States, that is fighting its war against terrorism.

I exchange telephone numbers with the ERI-TV team members. "If you need any help, do not hesitate to call us". The team continues with their work, which is making documentaries of the festival and interviewing visitors in front of the camera.

When it rains I shelter in the exhibition halls and between the rain showers I visit the performances of the cultural groups. Wherever I go, the people direct me to the first row, proud of their culture, glad I show so much interest, hospitable to a foreign guest.

I share my joy with people without any financial budget, offering drinks and snacks. A few days from now it will be my birthday. It will be the first time to celebrate it in Eritrea. So let's party!

  

Old man of the Tigre ethnic group - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Old man of the Tigre ethnic group - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Contemporary Eritrean history of US, UK, and Soviet backed Ethiopian  aggression. Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Contemporary Eritrean history of US, UK, and Soviet backed
 Ethiopian  aggression. Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Eritrean art and handicraft - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Eritrean art and handicraft - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Dwelling of the Bilen Ethnic group - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Dwelling of the Bilen Ethnic group - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Drinking coffee with the ERI-TV team - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Drinking coffee with the ERI-TV team - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Stalls selling books, CDs and video - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Stalls selling books, CD's and video - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Children's activities - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Children's activities - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Tigre woman - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Tigre woman - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Saho woman - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Saho woman - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Gash Barka cultural group - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Gash Barka cultural group - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Hedareb woman - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Hedareb woman - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Music stage - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

Music stage - Festival Eritrea 2006 - Asmara Eritrea.

 


*) 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.

 

 
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