Eritrea: A Rare Vision and Reality
Eritrea: A Rare vision and Reality
By Habtezion Ghermai,
The overarching objectives of Eritrea are to safeguard its hard-won independence and to ensure the well being and prosperity of its people through a balanced social, political and economic development. Eritrea's national vision is anchored around the principles of national harmony, social justice,economic and political democracy,cultural revival and good neighborliness. Undeterred by difficulties and problems, Eritrea strides forward with confidence to achieve its vision.This is the vision many of its gallant fighters gave their lives for. Throughout Eritrea, there is ample evidence of positive progress being made. However poorly understand Eritrea's past and vision and there are those who deliberately want to see Eritrea fail for myopic personal reasons and perhaps to satisfy their own hidden agendas. They do this by magnifying or simply fabricating weaknesses and or challenges that this young nation is experiencing.It's detractors and moral enemies may continue to wish otherwise, but they will be disappointed again.
Eritrea is a country that is tackling day-to-day problems while at the same time laying down the foundations for its future. Immense time and financial resources are being devoted for the endeavor. Note the changes and progress made so far in all aspects of life; they are clearly visible. Eritrea is also one of three African countries that have met almost all of its goals (7 out of 8) under the U.N.Millennium Development Goals for 2015. This is indeed amazing taking into account that Eritrea started forty years after other nations and has been living under the shadow of a war.
Long before Eritrea's independence, Tanzanian Journalist A.M.Babu in his African Events,October 1985 article "Eritrea: It's Present is the Remote Future of others" had said this of Eritrea:
"I am not ashamed to admit that I have been overwhelmed by what I saw [in Eritrea]. Living,working and eating with these staunch revolutionaries.I am tempted to echo the famous quote: I have seen the future of Africa and it works.
Before Ethiopia declared war on Eritrea, there were similar accolades being heaped on Eritrea from different quarters. Here is a sample:
"Eritrea is Africa newest nation:a Mississippi-sized slice rugged Red Sea coast that has become an unlikely oasis of peace and civility wedged between the clan-fighting of Somalia and religious war in Sudan.Secretary of state Warren Christopher calls Eritrea,independent since May 1993,a beacon of hope astride the Horn of Africa ....Eritrea is the one where you feel comfortable that every nickel you put into the place is going to be used properly...They're on a takeoff here,he says All they need is a little wind' Perhaps even more astonishing,Eritrea is beginning to develop without the corruption so common else where on the continent.Nobody to Bribe you can't find anyone to Bribe here."
"Proud principled and impoverished,Eritrea is virtually without peer in Africa as it pursues its own model of development and vision of democracy....Given Eritrea's grime legacy,its challenges are formidable. However, thirty years ago most observers doubted that Eritrea would even win its war for independence.Who is to say that Eritrea will not again surprise the world as it seeks to liberate itself from poverty?"
Eritrea is being seen as model for the regeneration of a whole continent...This country could be one of the biggest success stories.The nationals sense of purpose, the discipline of its people,the hard work,which is evident in the countryside,gives us cause for hope. The government has also been financially responsible in the use of resources.
With the end of the cold war and several little hot conflicts, oversized, big-budget armies are being downsized or demobilized. Moreover, governments from Maputo to Moscow are scrambling to figure out what to do with the soldiers. Eritrea...has proved to be a model...Eritrea success is even more striking because the new government fended for itself for the most part and succeeded.The Eritreans bring a lot of positive things to the nation-building experience,including a strong sense of self-reliance, said Gregory Craig, a senior U.S. State Department official. The odds were against success on many fronts.Ethnically, Eritrea has nine groups roughly split between Christian and Muslim a formula for disaster from Africa to Eastern Europe, the Middle East to south Asia politically, Eritrea the biblical land of Punt, later the Aksum kingdom and, over the past century, an Italian colony and an Ethiopian province had to start from scratch.
"Eritrea, Africa's youngest country,is embarking on a campaign to abolish food aid and stand on its own feet four years after its independence from Ethiopia. From the ruins of war, which cost more than 250,000 lives (on the Eritrean side alone ), the Eritreans are transforming their new nation into a country that works."
"They don't want to be slaves to any foreign donor country. They want economic self-insufficiency and they want to do it their way and with their own blood and sweat."
"In Africa, a continent racked with wars,revolutions and repression and increasingly regarded as an economic and social basket case,there is one country that is reversing the trend and today is the democratic hope of the continent. Since it won independence at a cost of some 250,000 lives Eritrea has confounded experts and reversed a trend in Africa that has been depressingly and persistently gloomy since the first country, (Ghana) achieved independence from British colonial rule in 1956."
NOW, we will turn to the international context and the domestic co-text of the reality in Eritrea today.
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