Despite bad press, Eritrea continues to lead mainland sub-Sahara Africa in
most of the important socioeconomic indicators.
Eritrea: a nation in isolation is a documentary that probes into the country's numerous achievements made in the health, economic and infrastructure sectors. Hosted by award-winning journalist Afshin Rattansi, Press TV was given an exclusive interview with President Isaias Afwerki and an unsupervised tour of the country to base their own conclusions.
At 1:59 into the video, it shows footage of the Eritrean revolution (1961-1991), while a small caption wrongly describes it as being from the border war between 1998-2000.
At 2:20, Rattansi inaccurately states the border war claimed the lives of 70,000 Eritreans out of a population of 4 million. According to official figures, 19,000 Eritrean soldiers died during Ethiopia's invasion from 1998-2000.
At 8:34, the host misquotes the World Health Organization (WHO) when he says Ethiopia's life expectancy is at 59. According to the WHO, Ethiopia's life expectancy is at 54.
Memorable quotes in the documentary:
At 4:17, Rattansi asks students why does Eritrea receive such bad press in the media, to which one student replied, "Most countries hate Eritrea." Rattansi asks why, the smiling student responds with, "maybe because they are jealous."
At 7:20, PIA says: "Waiting for handouts for years cripples a community.Once communities are crippled, they are so dependent it becomes an addiction. Governments are subsidized because of these food aid and so-called humanitarian aid. They are not engaged in real productive activities. They don't mobilize their own population. It's slavery, it's poverty, it's famine. You're sometimes being used for their PR exercises."
At 10:20, PIA says: "Do we need aid? We can't live with aid. We don't need aid. So we have to have an alternative. We need to develop our own capabilities. We need to go through a phase where we have to invest in a sustainable economy. We have made our choice from day one."
Overall thoughts on the documentary:
Aside from the host's incorrect description of Eritrea as being in isolation, which was likely intended to grab the viewers attention more than anything, the documentary does give an insightful, balanced and entertaining perspective of a country that has been unfairly targeted for over a decade by successive U.S. administrations.