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Eritrea: African Reading Challenge 2008

As part of African Reading Challenge 2008, Scarlet read a book about Eritrea by Michaela Wrong, “I didn't do it for you: How the West betrayed a small African nation.” She says: “Not that much has been written by Western journalists about Eritrea. Michaela Wrong decided to write all of it.”

14 comments

  • Yona Hagos

    There are numerous excellent books written by Eritrean authors. Mr. Ndesanjo Macha, so why not recommend those written by them?

  • Tes (An Eritrean in Exile)

    Ironically enough the present president of Eritrea is also saying “I didn’t do it for you\ because he ‘liberated’ the country in 1991 but now he is the best dictator in the history of humanity, the fact that he came to power in 1991 and he is still there can be just an example of his dictatorship and the fact that the country has never seen any election since he came to power can also highlight what the Eritrean people have destined to suffer and thus Michaela Wrong, I think you must publish another book entitled \I didn’t do it for you: How the Eritrean President betrayed his own country.

  • abeselom

    “I didn’t do it for you” is the most comprehensive and well researched book about Eritrea that I have read so far. As an Eritrean my self , I always found it almost impossible to find a non-partisan and politics free narration of the legendary Eritrean history and her sons bravery that is yet to be told. Micheala Wrong has made a significant in roads in that direction. I think you have made an excellent choice for the African Reading Challenge 2008.

    God bless

  • Genuine Eritrean

    World powers have been trying to establish hegemonic control over the strategic location of Eritrea either directly or through surrogates (i.e. Ethiopia). The annexation of Eritrea by it’s much larger neighbor, Ethiopia, sparked a 30 year guerilla war against the expansionist Abysinnia. Eritrea, lead by their heroic freedom fighters successfully drove the occupation out. Despite what anti-Eritreans posing as Eritreans on the internet try to propagate, H.E. President Isaias Afwerki and the Government of Eritrea enjoy overwhelming support of Eritreans both in the homeland and in the diaspora.

  • Tes (An Eritrean in Exile)

    Mr ‘Genuine Eritrean’,

    Eritrea has one party the so-called ‘People’s Front for Democracy and Justice’ (PFDJ), it does not allow any other party to operate in the country.

    Ten (10) Percent (%) of the Eritrean productive population (The Eritrean youth) are involved in an endless national service under the pretext of ‘border war with Ethiopia’

    The country does not have any private Press since 18 September 2001, and more than ten journalists have been detained since the specified time, without due process of law.

    There is no freedom of religion in the country – If you do not belong to the main stream religions (Orthodix, Catholic, Protestant and Moslem) you are literally not allowed to worship God (in public)

    The governmet closed the only University we used to have (The University of Asmara)

    Hundreds of Thousands of Eritreans are in exile and they do not know whether they will make it back home in their life time.

    The list goes on … and on … and on …

    Can we then argue that “H.E. President Isaias Afwerki and the Government of Eritrea enjoy overwhelming support of Eritreans both in the homeland and in the diaspora” as you are trying to.

    Come on brother I guess we are both Eritreans after all, unless your intention is to give a distorted information to non-Eritreans.

    May God Bless the authentic Genuine Eritreans.

  • Learn it from Eritrean who made the history

    It would be wise and original had the choice of the reading book was picked out of those countless Eritrean authored books that dipicted some of their own unntold true history. But I guess that is too much to ask to change the mind set of people who only see themselves through the white man eyes to define themselves, as if most of, if not all, Africa problems had not been the white man making!

  • Hade Eritrawi

    It is remembrance weekend here in the UK. As an Eritrean with a British passport I would not even pretend to wear the poppy, instead I would be carrying Michaela Wrong’s book “I did not do it for you.”

    At the beginning of the Second World War my grandfather and his younger brother, who were Eritrean rebels fighting Fascist Italy joined their Ethiopian counterparts along the common border. My grandpa told me they were soon joined by the Brits who came from the Sudan with their big guns, and they helped rout the Italians. Once they secured that front line the Brits could not care less in leaving the Eritreans under the defeated Italians rule. Much like today’s America, the Brits wanted the people in the region to act nothing more than sandbags against their own enemies.

  • TO THE FAKE authentic Genuine Eritrean you have some points but there misguided in todays world were theres no way of propsering like the west following there methods of living anyway thats a whole different subject. but please remeber your a minority group of eritreans who dont support are goverment or the current way of life for the magority support are goverment at present things may change but i doubt they will becuase eritreans are a people of sacrifice, rules, strong headed, do it the right way get goals accomplished for the long term , religious people.
    the war with ethiopea is not a lie whats there to lie about a 30 year war another war in 1998 because we change are currency which is are right.

    eritrea the yougenst nation in africa 17 years free to be ecaxt so gives us a brake with your long histroy of nation building

  • There are many reasons that the country is in the situation that it is currently in. Anti-Eritreans have an agenda to put this great nation in a divided/weak position in order to force it to be recolonized by Ethiopia because Ethiopia is easily manipulated and exploited by some forces in the West.

    These Anti-Eritreans want a Somalia type of “TFG” for Eritrea so they can either covertly or overtly control the resources of the region, which rightfully belongs to the indigenous population.

    Eritrea, it’s Strong Leaders, along with their fellow citizens will never kneel down to any pressure these Anti-Eritreans use to try to subjugate the them.

    While the slaves of the West (Anti-Eritreans) want to hastily mimic the “democracy” of the West regardless of important factors such as geography, religion, population, traditions, extraordinary circumstances, etc, the GENUINE Eritreans are patiently and steadily creating an atmosphere where a True Democracy can, not only work but, thrive in.

    The “Democracy” of Kenya brought Death and Destruction. The “Democracy” of Ethiopia brought Death and Destruction. The FORCED “Democracy” of Somalia brought Death and Destruction.

    These African States, or rather their “leaders,” have chose to imitate the type of democracies that there are in the West. If you take a look at these “leaders,” whom have the support and financial backing of powerful forces in the West, you can see an eerie correlation to the amount of corruption in their respective states (i.e. Meles Zenawi and the “TFG” of Somalia.)

    So The Next book should be:

    “I WILL NEVER DO IT FOR YOU!: How the West is Continually betraying a Great African nation”

  • Sewrawit

    Tes,

    You’ve made a lot of good points in your reply to Genuine Eritrean but I’d like to continue the discussion.

    1) “Eritrea has one party the so-called ‘People’s Front for Democracy and Justice’ (PFDJ), it does not allow any other party to operate in the country”

    In the national charter the GOE states they want the structure of democracy in Eritrea to be strong and not based on any divisive elements (tribal, ethnic whatever). I commend them on that because you see a lot of divisiveness in a lot of countries, especially African countries. And so they haven’t focused on creating multiple parties. I don’t think it would be completely accurate to state that they do not allow any other party to operate in the country.

    2) “Ten (10) Percent (%) of the Eritrean productive population (The Eritrean youth) are involved in an endless national service under the pretext of ‘border war with Ethiopia’”

    This is very true and it’s the horrible situation Eritrea is stuck in due to the ‘no war, no peace’ situation with Ethiopia. I do not think there is much Eritrea can do in this situation. It is important for us to protect our country especially when there are Ethiopian troops on Eritrean land at this very moment and the international world refuses to do anything about Ethiopia’s disregard for international law. I hate that the Eritrean youth are forced to be in service for so long and do not have the opportunities that a lot of us have in the Diaspora but what else can be done? The generation before us also sacrificed their youth for a greater cause (I understand it’s a different time and situation but the final obligation we should all have is to do whatever we can for Eritrea). Besides protecting the country, the youth that are in service are also helping the country develop necessary infrastructure all over Eritrea.

    3)” The country does not have any private Press since 18 September 2001, and more than ten journalists have been detained since the specified time, without due process of law.”

    I do not agree with censoring the freedom of speech/press. And I can not say that I know everything about the situation, I’m sure you can’t say that yourself. The thing I am wary about is the fact that there is a lot of foreign interest in Eritrea, this has been the case from the beginning of time almost. And we are all aware of what these foreign interests can do to a country by manipulation. Eritrea, unfortunately, has been a victim to these manipulation tactics in the past and, thankfully, we have overcome and united. Whether these journalists were apart of any manipulation in the favor of foreign interests or not I can not say. What I do disagree with in terms of what the GOE has done whenever it senses any type of corruption is the punishment of everyone whether they have committed a crime against Eritrea or not (i.e construction industry, religion, the press).

    4) “There is no freedom of religion in the country – If you do not belong to the main stream religions (Orthodix, Catholic, Protestant and Moslem) you are literally not allowed to worship God (in public)”

    I do not agree in censoring the freedom of religion. I do not think it’s fair for a government to tell its citizens what religion/denomination they are allowed to practice. But again as I have stated in the “issue” with the freedom of press is that there are a lot of foreign interests in Eritrea and historically the manipulation of certain foreign interests have come through different channels and one being through religion (I’m not trying to imply that this has happened in Eritrean history but it has happened to other countries). Again, the collective punishment of all I also disagree with in this case. But it is important to note that all Eritreans, regardless if they’re Christian or Muslim, have long lived peacefully.

    5) “The governmet closed the only University we used to have (The University of Asmara)”

    This is true but there were several other colleges that were constructed throughout the country in its place.
    I’m pretty sure I can argue that the President and the GOE enjoy overwhelming support of Eritreans both in the homeland and in the Diaspora because a) the majority of the Diaspora do support the government (I do not have any figures but I think the fact the majority of the Diaspora are involved in PFDJ, YPFDJ, attend festivals etc. supports that argument). In the homeland, the GOE has developed the lives of its citizens (possibly excluding those living in the cities). The majority of Eritrea’s citizens dwell outside the cities and have never had access to certain basic human necessities until the GOE developed them (access to clean water, roads, hospitals/clinics, schools etc). I understand there are a lot of people that do not support the President and GOE but I do not believe they are the majority.
    In the end, I think we all love our country the same and want to see it progress and develop and that’s including the President and members of the GOE.

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