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Eritrea - a star in the night of Africa

Eritrean youth taking selfies with the iconic Asmara Cathedral behind them (credit:

This interview was translated from German using online software

The background to global poverty and flight. Interview with documentary filmmaker Fulvio Grimaldi.

Asylum policy is an integral part of the overall policy of the Federal Government. It is not determined by humanitarian considerations but depends on the aims pursued by the Federal Government against the respective countries of origin. The most important criterion for the authorities on how quickly a refugee's application for asylum is to be processed and how to decide whether and how quickly the refugee will gain access to necessary qualification measures and the labor market is, therefore, his country of origin.

Preliminary note

The federal government knows that the loss of many well-educated workers can contribute to the destabilization of a country and can prevent its development. She has always been guided by this realization in her policy against the former GDR hated by her. It has therefore ensured that GDR citizens did not suffer material disadvantages from their flight to the Federal Republic, for example, because of contributions to their old-age pension which they had paid in the GDR and had not paid into the West German pension funds.

When, at the end of 2014, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees decided to deal with asylum procedures by Syrian applicants "as of immediate priority in a simplified procedure" without an oral hearing, on the basis of a questionnaire in an "11-day trial period" (1) Federal Chancellor decided in August 2015 to suspend the Dublin procedure temporarily and exclusively for Syrians, there were similar motives.

With the pledge to give Syrian refugees the right to be recognized as asylum seekers with the right to family reunion, the necessary qualification and access to the labor market in Germany in a very short time, the Syrian state should be deprived of tens of thousands of well-trained specialists and urgently needed recruits and its collapse will be accelerated (2).

According to the Italian journalist and documentary filmmaker Fulvio Grimaldi, the EU and the federal government are following Eritrea. The secular government of the country, in which nine different ethnic groups, Christians and Muslims live together peacefully, has for years been faced with economic struggles and aggression by the neighboring Ethiopia supported by the USA.

According to Fulvio Grimaldi, the particularly generous asylum grant for Eritreans is intended to deprive the country of its young generation and hinder its development. In the following, the interview with the Italian journalist Cesare Germoglio in July 2017, entitled "Eritrea - where Italy is missing the courage" (3), was given by Grimaldi. Grimaldi has known the country since 1971. At that time, he accompanied fighters of the Eritrean liberation front during the time of the Ethiopian occupation power for months. In late autumn he would like to come to Germany with his new film "Eritrea, a star in the night of Africa".


Mr Grimaldi, what is the special position of Eritrea within Africa and, in particular, its relations with the West?

If one is concerned with the situation in Eritrea, one should always have in mind the overall development on the African continent. Africa is currently experiencing massive attacks by many powers, who have recognized that there is great economic potential and opportunities for invaluable enrichment in the future. Africa has a whole series of corrupt governments that have opened doors to a new colonialism. For this reason, political and social considerations also have the prerequisites to influence and to profit from it. This new colonialism is, with renewed force, essentially advanced by the old, former colonial powers. In addition, the USA is still on the front line in the front row.

Of this general development, Eritrea settles down a little. It takes a special role, differs from the majority of the African states by not submitting to the dictates of the international political and financial institutions. This, of course, has brought the country's hostility to the Western powers, accompanied by a massive hostile media campaign. The reason: this country does not correspond to the desired idea that the governments of the southern world have to subordinate themselves. As the only African country next to Zimbabwe, it does not accept any US military presence on its own territory. The climate that has developed against Eritrea has had various consequences, including the sanctions adopted by the UN in 2009.

How critical is the current political and economic situation of Eritrea?

The sanctions of 2009 have certainly worsened the situation. In assessing the situation, however, one must not forget that Eritrea has a war of liberation lasting more than 30 years. The sanctions make it more difficult for Eritrea to become an economic partner for other countries, without their being sanctioned and isolated.

Nevertheless, the reality is different than the media with their propaganda they want to sell us: A country that is hostage to a dictatorship. This would be the cause of extreme poverty, which the population in any way try to escape. The social policy of the country is geared towards an even distribution of wealth, so that hunger and misery are eliminated. It is a model of social and ecological justice (4). Because of its charisma, this model can only produce hatred from the point of view of the predatory interests of the new colonialism.

What are the causes of the large influx of refugees from Eritrea to Europe?

Economic and non-political problems are crucial. The international sanctions have significantly impaired the development. In the years after the 1991 liberation to the Ethiopian aggression 1998-2000 (5), which was commissioned by the USA, the growth rates of Eritrea were among the highest in Africa.

I have repeatedly visited Eritrea. I have not encountered extreme misery and hunger, which is found in many other countries on the continent. This is the merit of the government. For them, self-sufficiency and independence from international organizations have absolute priority. This is the result of a policy which places the basic supply of the population at the top of the population, and consequently, there are only a few inequalities.

Although the country is confronted with difficult problems, with aggression, economic and diplomatic isolation, the lack of trade exchanges, except for some Arab countries that do not care for international sanctions (6), there is no extreme poverty in all parts of Eritrea see. This isolation of the country, however, prevents the labor market of the young generation from providing sufficient jobs and has created a considerable stream of emigrants.

In the statistics, emigration is also boosted by an additional factor. Because the colonial powers want to deprive the country of its best powers, refugees from Eritrea - and only them - are automatically granted asylum in Europe (7). This is why many refugees from the neighboring countries of Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Somalia also claim to have the great ethnic, linguistic and cultural proximity to the Eritrean nationality. They wish to obtain rights which would otherwise not be granted to them.

Another factor is the natural desire for family reunion with the first generation of Eritrean refugees who are in our country [meaning Italy; Red] have come especially in the seventies. They had fled before the bombings and the repression by the regime in Ethiopia.

The Eritrean Foreign Minister has recently shown great interest in the intensification of political and economic relations and relations with companies of the former Italian colonial power. He has not, however, found an attentive ear in our country. Should it really be so: what opportunities do we miss?

It is certainly so. This is a great historical disgrace for Italy, which has a huge debt to Eritrea. We were a strong predatory colonial power, quite ruthless and with a policy reminiscent of apartheid in South Africa. Certainly, we have also contributed to a certain development of the country in urban development, agriculture and the light industry, but always and primarily for the benefit of the bourgeois Italian classes which have been engaged in colonialization. The indigenous population had no access to higher education, they were not allowed to go higher than the fourth grade of elementary school, they had to stay within their own ghettoes and only access to the lowest jobs.

All the governments of the post-war period are responsible for denying Eritrea the relations of friendship and co-operation which are owed to him and also useful. In view of the great geostrategic and geo-economic opportunities offered by Eritrea with its central strategic position on the Red Sea and the sea coast of Bab el-Mandeb, such a policy is directed against our own interests. Bab-el-Mandeb opens the way to the east, is a kind of bridge between the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and Africa. Apart from this, Eritrea is rich in natural resources.

Because we are submitting to the multinational corporations and the Western power centers, we have not had the courage and the strength to take advantage of our opportunities for a privileged partnership with a country that plays a key role in the Horn of Africa. These are the same forces that have caused the fall of Ghaddafi in Libya, another country with which Italy had privileged economic relations, especially in the energy sector. By joining the war of destruction, France, USA, and NATO, we have not only put the peace in our region and the further existence of this great country at risk but has also inflicted a damage on our own interests perhaps never to be done well.

An improvement in the relations between Italy and Eritrea would fit well with the well-known demand of "helping you at home". We could make a strong contribution to curbing migratory flows?

Already the abolition of the economic activities would reduce the migration of young Eritreans to Europe to a negligible size. Therefore, we should stop trying to impose our models of political and institutional order in other countries. History shows that, on the pretext of defending human rights, the West has repeatedly instigated a disaster rather than solving problems.

Essentially, to help them at home, to prevent Eritrea and Africa from depriving their young generations, their best powers, their future, and that the African countries do not need to make themselves available for colonial plunder, stop dictating to them what they have to do. Their independence and decision-making must be respected. Cooperation while respecting their independence and freedom of decision-making.

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Eritrea - a star in the night of Africa Reviewed by Admin on 12:27 AM Rating: 5

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