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[Video] Celebration instead of fleeing: Eritrean youth see brighter future in their homeland

Article was translated from German using online software

Celebration instead of fleeing: Many young Eritreans see a future perspective despite their poverty and lack of freedom of expression in their homeland.

By Sarah Weber | SRF

"I would never leave my home country," says Winta Weldehaimonot. We meet the young English teacher at a student's party in the Eritrean capital Asmara. 1,500 graduates of various faculties celebrate their exhilaration and exhilaration. Many of them see a future perspective in their homeland Eritrea.

A country from which, according to the UNO, up to 5,000 people flee every month [debunked estimate], especially young people. "We have to keep the good and bad things apart," says Weldehaimonot. "Formerly wages were deeper, now it is better," also finds the physics student Akberet Andom. They are the young Eritreans who stay.

Everything governs the state

According to their state-financed education, the students usually receive jobs in state-owned enterprises or in a ministry. The government determines everything, including wages. "If you have no big demands, then it is enough. But if you want more, it's not enough, "says geologist Yemande Wilmichael.

But for many, it is not enough to start a family and live independently. "If it has jobs, I want to stay in my country. If not, then ... "says another, laughing and silent. But in a country where the state determines everything, hardly any criticism of the system dared. "I can not answer you," we hear again and again.

Internationally outlawed

Eritrea was an Italian colony, later part of Ethiopia. In a 30-year-old bloody war, the Eritreans finally won independence in 1993. The European left in particular sympathized with the victorious rebels, hoping for a just, democratic state in Africa.

Today the image of Eritrea is catastrophic. Because the independence fighters hold themselves in power, a long-promised constitution is not yet in force. There are no elections, no opposition, no independent justice.

The UN criticized the human rights situation in various reports, and the list of press freedom is still only North Korea behind Eritrea. The result: isolation, an outdated infrastructure, economic stagnation - and a true exodus of young people.

Internet cafés and international channels

Switzerland is especially affected by this emigration. Eritrea is one of the most important countries of origin. A large proportion of the asylum seekers have been approved until recently. Even those who receive a negative asylum decision can not be returned and are "provisionally accepted".

The main reason for the escape from Eritrea is the "National Service", a long-standing service in the state, in uniform or for a state enterprise. In Switzerland, Eritrea is a hot political iron: the rights criticize the Federal Council violently; it would finally require an in-depth exchange with the regime in Asmara - and, above all, the possibility to return Eritrean.

«Rundschau» in Eritrea

Eritrea visited the "Rundschau" in the summer. Opposition activists claim it is virtually cut off from the rest of the world. But in the bars international broadcasters like BBC World or Sky News. In the capital, there are internet cafés where young people sit for hours in front of their mobile phones. The connection is slow but open. Private internet connections, however, are scarce, because they are too expensive.

Nevertheless, not all young people want to leave. Asmara is her home, her environment and therefore her source of inspiration. "You have to start with yourself. No one can stop you, no one can stop you, "says the young artist Biniam Afwerki.

It is true that young artists lack the galleries or the material, but they are looking for their freemasons and believe in self-initiative. What is also clear is that the state controls art. There is censorship, nude pictures or political criticism is impossible. Whoever adheres to it remains unmolested. When asked about censorship and restriction, the artists asked: "Is the camera running?" The regime is quiet, but effective.

Those who do not make it into college, must go to the military

In the capital city of Asmara, SRF's team was able to move freely, but outside the city, the government needed a permit. At a checkpoint, only young people in military uniforms can be seen. The Eritrean government has promised to limit the "National Service" to all of them.

How many young Eritreers have to stay in the military despite the promises of the government and especially how long can not be researched on the ground. This affects all. The "Rundschau" meets agronomic students who go to the agricultural college thanks to good achievements. "Most of my friends are not here. I came here after the military year. But my friends did not go to college, they had to go to the military, "says student Sesen Dawit.

Only about 30 per cent make it into a state college, many end up in the military. But even the students of agronomy think about flight. For, what comes after study? "This is in the hands of the government. They will take us wherever they want, "says Dawit. If you do not stick to it, you get problems. And that may mean prison, then dismantling to another place. Before that the students are afraid.

Diaspora finances the system

"Many of our brothers and sisters lost their lives in the Mediterranean. It's very dangerous, "says the student Awet Ghebremedhin. An escape would not be worth it: "They gave out thousands of francs for the escape. But they send little back and can not repay the expenses of the families. "One loses more than one gains. Still, none of her friends had come back so far.

Today the country lives on the money of the diaspora. Many Eritreans left their homeland in the 1990s during the independence war. This older generation now has the money to travel with the children on vacation. On the Red Sea, Eritreer from Norway, the USA, and Switzerland - but contrary to various media reports - does not meet a single asylum seeker of the current generation of migrants.

Many of the Diaspora Eritreans are now dual citizens and know both sides. Agheazi Tesfamichael from Geneva says that he would never say that Switzerland should no longer accept Eritreans.

Nevertheless, he asked himself: "Why do we rather accept the Eritreans and not people from other African countries?" And think of the Congo, Somalia or South Sudan. He disturbs the fact that Eritrea is always talking about human rights. But do not worry about whether anyone has enough to eat, access to water, assistance, a roof over your head. He asks: "Is not that really a luxury in Africa? In this world where we live? "

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[Video] Celebration instead of fleeing: Eritrean youth see brighter future in their homeland Reviewed by Admin on 12:12 AM Rating: 5

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