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My 2014 visit to Eritrea
 18/10/2014 - 01/11/2014
 

 

Asmara - Eritrea October 30 2014

 

Except for some minor tasks (updating our Eritrean information pages and buying more souvenirs for the return trip this weekend) my 2014 program is finished. So I am free to do whatever I want. As long as I do not preach in public, curse in public, walk nude in public, perform French kissing in public, picture the Eritrean military, or the US embassy.

Every once and a while I receive e-mails from Christian minority groups, asking us to bring their "message" to Eritrea. Please be aware of the fact that the Holy Bible is widely available in Eritrea in Arabic, Tigrinya, Italian, and English covering at least 95% of the Eritrean population, and Christianity has been adopted as one of the state religions since the 4th century. And we do not represent the Eritrean authorities, nor TNT or UPS. Our travel blog is just a hobby, to testify about the behaviour of the Eritrean population and authorities towards the tourists / visitors. The travel blog is biased in favor of Eritrea. My visits to Debre Bizen, Mai Habar, Keren, Massawa, and many other personal experiences will explain why. And a lot of lies are told on the web in an attempt to break the Eritrean spirit of independence, and justify UN sanctions to force this nation to kneel down.

I will not deny that Eritrea is a less favorable environment for the Jehovah's Witnesses movement as they will face two obstacles in Eritrea: They cannot perform their standard modus operandi going from door to door to spread their faith, handing out brochures, books, and magazines. And second: The Holy Bilble will forbid them to engage in war when Chifta Woyane visits Eritrea. The Holy Bible will not allow them to join their Muslim, Orthodox or Catholic nationals in their struggle against US backed Ethiopia. Objecting to military service in Eritrea is the same as desertion, and the offense will result in emprisonment or worse. This jurisdiction does apply to all Eritreans by the way, and not to Jehovah’s Witnesses and some other religious minorities only.

Romans 13:1-4 "1 Let every person be in subjection to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except by God; the existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God. 2 Therefore, whoever opposes the authority has taken a stand against the arrangement of God; those who have taken a stand against it will bring judgment against themselves. 3 For those rulers are an object of fear, not to the good deed, but to the bad. Do you want to be free of fear of the authority? Keep doing good, and you will have praise from it; 4 for it is God’s minister to you for your good. But if you are doing what is bad, be in fear, for it is not without purpose that it bears the sword. It is God’s minister, an avenger to express wrath against the one practicing what is bad."

Shouting out the first sentence too loud in public might easily be interpreted by the Asmara police as an attempt to disqualify Isayas Afewerki, the president of the State of Eritrea. So don't shout on the streets of Asmara and watch out what you are saying. It is very different from the EU and US where we (at least) have to hit the police with stones or molotov cocktails to be arrested. The relatively strict behaviour of the Asmara police also safeguards a calm and peaceful environment, both for the Asmarino's and the tourists.

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 "3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage warfare according to what we are in the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but powerful by God for overturning strongly entrenched things. 5 For we are overturning reasonings and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are bringing every thought into captivity to make it obedient to the Christ; 6 and we are prepared to inflict punishment for every disobedience, as soon as your own obedience is complete."

This quote implies the Jehovah's Witnesses will have two options when their country is engaged in a military conflict: Flee the country or risk and accept his/her arrest because he/she avoids his/her military service. The Jehovah's Witnesses will rely on Jehovah to solve all conflicts on earth. The result will be heaven on earth:

Isaiah 2:2-4 "2 In the final part of the days, The mountain of the house of Jehovah will become firmly established above the top of the mountains, And it will be raised up above the hills, And to it all the nations will stream. 3 And many peoples will go and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths. For law will go out of Zion, and the word of Jehovah out of Jerusalem. 4 He will render judgment among the nations and set matters straight respecting many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, nor will they learn war anymore."

Isaiah 11:6-9 "6 The wolf will reside for a while with the lamb,  and with the young goat the leopard will lie down,  and the calf and the lion and the fattened animal will all be together; and a little boy will lead them. 7 The cow and the bear will feed together, and their young will lie down together. The lion will eat straw like the bull. 8 The nursing child will play over the lair of a cobra, and a weaned child will put his hand over the den of a poisonous snake. 9 They will not cause any harm, or any ruin in all my holy mountain, because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea."

The equivalent of a lion eating straw is Ethiopia accepting the EEBC rulings on the Eritrea Ethiopia border. I received the links to the bible quotes from a representative of the Jehovah's Witnesses in Rotterdam when I was invited to one of their meetings (the quotes are copied from www.jw.org). More specific I asked him if we should regard the quotes metaphorically or literally. The answer was that it will all actually happen. We should take all bible content literally. Guess the animals will have to agree to the lifestyle and the diet as well. My close encounter with the Jehovah's Witnesses has confirmed my opinion that their beliefs do not breathe realism and are at odds with the Eritrean law.

I also asked the Jehovah's Witnesses representative if the Jehovah's Witnesses are willing to influence the Eritrea Ethiopia peace process. The answer was a simple no, because the Jehovah's Witnesses do not deal with international politics, as borders are artificially drawn by mankind. Asking who will bring peace to Eritrea then, the answer is something like "peace will prevail when Jehovah's Witnesses rule the world." So we will have to wait for the world to be converted to the Jehovah's Witness faith to end all current conflicts.

I guess Eritrea needs a lasting peace before it will reshape its arms into agricultural machinery, and its compulsory military conscription will come to an end. And as long as Jehovah's Witnesses will not involve in international politics, the Ethiopian - Eritrean conflict will not be significantly influenced by Jehovah's Witnesses. It is unlikely they will convert both 6 million Eritreans (half Muslim and half Christian) and 96 million Ethiopians (34% Islam and 63% Christian) to live in peace and  "The Nations will learn about war no more." (Isaiah 2:4)

If you want to be a Jehovah's Witness in Eritrea, you are free to be one, but you will not disturb the public and you will perform your military service, just like any other boy or girl of your age. Reverse reasoning would be to join the Jehovah's Witnesses if you want to avoid military service. It is not an option in Eritrea. I guess I have made my point: Jehovah's Witnesses do not match with the current "no war no peace" stalemate *).

But Christians are not an endangered species in Eritrea. On the contrary: 50% of Eritrea's population is Christian and you will see more churches in Asmara than in any EU or US city of the same size. And they are crowded every Sunday or religious holiday. In Eritrea you will not be jailed because you are a Christian, but because of behavioral problems, or violation of law (including unlawful picturing the US Embassy in Asmara).

 

In God We Trust was adopted as the official motto of the United States in 1956

Proverbs 29:25 "Trembling at men is a snare, but the one trusting in Jehovah will be protected."

"In God we trust" is printed on trillions of dollars. Even it is the only image coming up using Google advanced search. In 1956, the US was at a particularly tense time in the Cold War, and the United States wanted to distinguish itself from the Soviet Union, which promoted state atheism. As a result, "In God we trust" is preached from all US dollars circulating from October 1 1957. But even the US will prefer a military backup to safeguard peace and stability. And they are prepared engage in military operations, with or without UN mandate.

The US is a nation of religious people. Their dollars prove it many billion times every day. But the same applies to Eritrea where religious buildings are my guide and landmarks to find my way in any town or village. But this does not imply that the principles of any religion may prevail over national legislation, notably when this religion is imported from the US. The Watchtowers headquarters happens to be in New York and Jehovah's Witnesses had its origins in the Bible Student movement, which developed in the United States in the 1870s. Both facts explain the suspicion of the Eritrean authorities in the Jehovah's Witness movement, being very un-Eritrean and smelling very US.

 

Khartoum Hotel - 176-13 Street Asmara Eritrea.

Khartoum Hotel - 176-13 Street Asmara Eritrea.

Government Office - Nola Street Asmara Eritrea.

Government Office - Nola Street Asmara Eritrea.

Italian villa - Berasole Street Asmara Eritrea.

Italian villa - Berasole Street Asmara Eritrea.

Embasoira Hotel - Beleza Street Asmara Eritrea.

Embasoira Hotel - Beleza Street Asmara Eritrea.

National Insurance Company of Eritrea (NICE) - BDHO Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

National Insurance Company of Eritrea (NICE) - BDHO Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Cinema Impero - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Cinema Impero - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Vegetable market - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Vegetable market - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Shops and apartments - Senafe Street Asmara Eritrea.

Shops and apartments - Senafe Street Asmara Eritrea.

Red Sea Pension - Fenkil Street Asmara Eritrea.

Red Sea Pension - Fenkil Street Asmara Eritrea.

Alem and Lielti (Damera Bar and Pastry) - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Alem and Lielti (Damera Bar and Pastry) - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Johny (Damera Bar and Pastry) - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Johny (Damera Bar and Pastry) - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Small scale trade - Harnet Avenue sidewalk Asmara Eritrea.

Small scale trade - Harnet Avenue sidewalk Asmara Eritrea.

Welcome to West End live music and DJ Awet 01-11-2014 (Expo Grounds Asmara Eritrea).

Welcome to West End live music and DJ Awet
01-11-2014 (Expo Grounds Asmara Eritrea).

Catholic Cathedral - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Catholic Cathedral - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Shops and apartments and Post Office - 176-8 Street Asmara Eritrea.

Shops and apartments and Post Office - 176-8 Street Asmara Eritrea.

Central Post Office - 175-10 Street Asmara Eritrea.

Central Post Office - 175-10 Street Asmara Eritrea.

University Training Center - 175-10 Street Asmara Eritrea.

University Training Center - 175-10 Street Asmara Eritrea.

City Snack Bar - 175-11 Street Asmara Eritrea.

City Snack Bar - 175-11 Street Asmara Eritrea.

Bini Photo - 175-11 Street Asmara Eritrea.

Bini Photo - 175-11 Street Asmara Eritrea.

Keren Hotel / Albergio Italia - Nakfa Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Keren Hotel / Albergio Italia - Nakfa Avenue 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. Still the UN needs to live up to its responsibility of ensuring the implementation of the final and binding resolution of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission's ruling on border delimitation.

 

 
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