Asmara Eritrea - June 2nd 2007
Last day in Asmara. I decide
to make a firm walk from Biet Georghis to the center of Asmara and then to
the Martyrs Cemetery on the other side of town. I take the number one
bus and get out at the zoo, on the road to Massawa. From there I start my
walk, leaving the main road every once and a while, to enjoy the beautiful
nature just outside Asmara.
Part of the route to the
center is the railroad track that runs from Biet Georghis to the railway
station. From here I walk back to the center of Asmara, and then to the other side
of the city to visit the graves of those who gave their lives to defend
their country in the recent attempts to restore Ethiopian colonialism.
I came to witness and to
participate in the celebration of Eritrea's 16th Independence Day, which
is - as always - a unique feast, based on unique historical events.
Because independence was not given to the Eritrean people, but won in a 30 years war with
a lot of sacrifices, just because the arrangement of federating them to
Ethiopia (in 1952) suited US interests better.
And still the US is
continuing to impose its immorral will onto the Eritrean people, siding
with Woyane, and thereby neglecting the EEBC's final and binding ruling
*), leaving the border issue still unsolved. I hope the US government will
once be corrected for its selfish international policy, that resulted in so much unnecessary
bloodshed all over the world (In God we trust).
The afternoon is for the goodbyes
to the family, to make some last pictures, before I will pack my bags,
check the exit documents (apart from your ticket and your passport, you
will need the currency and electronics declaration form), and
leave to the airport. Cabin luggage will have to ready the security check
of the European airports (so I store all liquids in my suitcase to
prevent that they will be confiscated in Frankfurt)
A quick goodbye to Mebrat and
Brikti at the fence around the terminals. Passport & ticket check at
the entrance. I pass the usual set of counters, to check in for my flight,
to fill a (second) currency declaration form, an exit form, pay my 20
dollar airport tax, and to pass the customs counter. The exit form is
checked with my passport The cabin luggage and the passengers are
thoroughly checked for arms and explosives.
Up one stairs to end up in a
waiting room decorated with white marble, surrounded by souvenir shops and
a small bar where drinks and snacks are sold. Just before the boarding
starts, an airport official returns me to the customs counter. They cannot
match the passengers list with the exit forms. Mine is missing. At least
they think so. Together we check the exit forms. After some time I
identify one as mine, and I return to the gate, where boarding has
I finished my mission, which was having a
good time, shaking off stress, getting some color on my white skin, and confirming my awareness that we have no
reason to complain as (relatively) wealthy citizens of the 'developed'
A mission that also involves
this illustrated testimony, that should answer a question asked so often
to me by e-mail "can you say something about the attitude of the
Eritrean people towards foreign visitors?" The answer is that Eritrea
is a country with a kind and hospitable population, free of crime, with
interesting traditions, a combination of virtues that will not by found in any other
country in Africa or probably in the rest of the world.
The adventure is completed by
Eritrea's nature (mountains and rugged plateau's, Filfil, the Red Sea
coast and islands, Denkalia), a favorable climate, architecture,
archeological and historical places, a railway, and a modern tourist infrastructure
(airport, roads & transport, hotels & restaurants).
We walk the last 200 meters on
the platform of Asmara International Airport, to
the Lufthansa Airbus A330. Goodbye Eritrea, we will meet again in November
2007, when it will be winter, a good time for hiking and exploring Eritrea
Lagetto Night Club - Fenkil
Street Asmara Eritrea.
Water reservoir - Road to
Massawa Asmara Eritrea.
Martyr's graveyard - Asmara
Monument for those who gave
their lives for a free Eritrea.
Sembel Housing Complex & Hospital - Asmara Eritrea.
Today's Investment (Warsay Yekealo Campaign), Tomorrow's Prosperity!
Illuminated and decorated
facade - Asmara Eritrea.
Asmara Restaurant (near
central post office) - Asmara Eritrea.
Mebrat's nieces and nephews
- Asmara Eritrea.
Miriam and Selam - Asmara
Mebrak and Selam - Cathedral
Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.
Alana - 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
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