Over the years I have collected a series of photographs, illustrating Eritrean history. They are not comprehensive since they depended on what I could find. Here are a selection that illustrate Eritrea’s extraordinary fight for independence from Ethiopia that lasted 30 years.
The British dilemma
At the end of the Second World War Britain was faced with the question of what to do with Eritrea, which it had captured from Italy in 1941.
London turned to the United Nations, which established a Commission to decide the issue.
The Commission went to Eritrea in February in 1950 and canvassed opinion.
On October 7th 1951 Dr. Eduardo Anze Matienzo of Bolivia, UN commissioner for Eritrea, announced that Eritreans had accepted a UN plan for federation with Ethiopia, despite many calling for independence.
He is shown here in December 1951, talking to people in Asmara.
The US Ambassador to the UN, John Foster Dulles, famously declared: “From the point of view of justice, the opinions of the Eritrean people must receive consideration.
Nevertheless the strategic interest of the United States in the Red Sea basin and the considerations of security and world peace make it necessary that the country has to be linked with our ally Ethiopia.”
Federation to annexation
Britain held elections in Eritrea on March 16, 1952, for a representative Assembly of 68 members, evenly divided between Christians and Muslims.
This body in turn accepted the draft constitution put forward by the UN commissioner.
On 11 September 1952 the constitution was ratified by Emperor Haile Selassie.
He is seen on the left cutting the tape on the boundary between Eritrea and Ethiopia on 3rd October 1952, to establish the federation, but it was not to last.
The Emperor was determined that Eritrea would be fully incorporated into Ethiopia.
He made Amharic the official language in place of Arabic and Tigrinya, ended the use of the Eritrean flag, imposed censorship, and moved businesses out of Eritrea.
Finally, in 1962 Haile Selassie put enough pressure on the Eritrean Assembly for them to vote for an end of the federation.
In 1957 students demonstrated against the incorporation of Eritrea into Ethiopia.
This was followed in 1958 by trade union demonstrations. A four day strike was repressed with troops firing on the crowd, killing some and injuring hundreds.
An underground group, the Eritrea Liberation Movement was formed and, in July 1960, the Eritrean Liberation Front was founded in Cairo, led by Mohammed Aden.
The first shots of the liberation struggle were fired by Hamid Idris Awate when he attacked a police unit on Mount Adal on 1st September 1961.
This photograph, taken in December 1970, shows ELF guerrillas attacking the railway near Asciadira, by tearing up the line.
The rebellion continued, but unity did not. In 1968-9 the ELF fractured and the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front was founded in September 1973, led by Isaias Afeworki.
ELF and EPLF fighters managed to penetrate Asmara in early 1975, leading to heavy fighting in the city.
On 13 September 1975 ELF fighters raided theAmerican listening stationat Kagnew, seizing Thomas Bowidowicz, from New Jersey and David Strickland, from Florida.
A $5 million ransom was asked for and, after negotiations, both men were freed in January 1976.
Clashes between the rival Eritrean movements led to bitter civil war and the ELF are finally forced out of Eritrea, to seek refuge in Sudan.
Victory and independence
The Eritrean liberation struggle was to suffer many setbacks and its fighters and civilians to experience terrible suffering.
On several occasions defeat seemed almost inevitable, but finally, by the late 1980′s, the tide turned.
In March 1988 the EPLF destroyed the Ethiopian northern army at the battle of Afabet. Addis Ababa lost control of large portions of Eritrea.
By 1990 EPLF forces had driven the Ethiopians out of the coastal plan and Massawa.
In February Eritrean forces, using fast speedboats, surprised the Ethiopian forces in the port of Massawa, and the city was captured.
The photograph above is captioned: “A EPLF rebel stands in front of a captured Soviet-made cannon used in the taking of the port of Massawa.
The Ethiopians retaliated by bombing the port.
This photographs shows civilians in Massawa cowering beneath a culvert to escape the bombs.
The fate of Ethiopian forces was sealed. Eritrean crack units helped Ethiopian rebels of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front in their drive for Addis Ababa.
In May 1991 the Ethiopian dictator, Mengistu Haile Mariam fled to Zimbabwe and both Eritrea and Ethiopia were free.
So to get to 51% of the electorate the Republicans are going to have to pull some votes from previously offended demographics.
Intelligent, sarcastic, and hilarious. YES.
She is the best thing to happen to the Daily Show in a long time.
Ready to go out. Can you guess my favorite color? #red #50s #channeling50s #ilovelucy #everynightisfridaynight
When Stagecoach Mary wasn’t cracking rabid wolves in the face with the stock of her ten-gauge or single-handedly building schoolhouses for poor Native American girls, you could find her in the saloons of Cascade drinking men under the table like the chick from Raiders of the Lost Ark and chomping on homemade cigars so potent that hardly any gunslinger in town had the stomach to handle them. You’d think maybe some folks would have tried to mess with her, considering that she was, you know, a black woman in a society that at the time wasn’t particularly well-known for its attitudes towards racial and gender equality, but Stagecoach Mary wasn’t the sort of badass chick that was going to let people tell her what she was going to do or how she was going to do it. At a time when non-prostitute women weren’t allowed to drink at saloons, she received special permission from the Mayor to be served at any bar in the city any time she wanted, for life. Any time some asshole messed with her, she messed him up. Like, one time a guy called her a rude name outside a saloon, so she looked at him for a second, said nothing, then grabbed a big rock out of the street and clubbed him in the skull with it repeatedly until other cowboys finally restrained her. She gained such a reputation for being the a badass out of uppity gunslingers that didn’t show her the proper respect that the Great Falls Examiner newspaper once cited this hard-drinking, quick-tempered asskicker as having “broken more noses than any other person in Montana,” and nobody ever debated the claim.
People, this woman was so incredible that the fact that she had a pet eagle rolling around the Old West with her wasn’t even the coolest thing about her.
The African Renaissance Monument (French: Le Monument de la Renaissance africaine) is a 49m tall bronze statue located on top of one of the twin hills known as Collines des Mamelles, outside of Dakar, Senegal. Built overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in the Ouakam suburb, the statue was designed by the Senegalese architect Pierre Goudiaby after an idea presented by president Abdoulaye Wade and built by a company from North Korea. It is the tallest statue in Africa.
oh I guess they just left this one out the history books. Smh
Of course you’d never hear about this
Eritrean Media: the Lay out pt. 1
For people who are starting to find out there is more under the surface. Here is a short lay out of the media organization of the government and the pro-government movement. The next time we’ll bring a lay out of the opposition movement.
The current ruling party, PFDJ (People’s Front for Democracy and Justice) has an extensive network of media outlet. The government has official channels like TV, radio and their main website (shabait.org). There are are several government affiliated websites. The governement has also (beside government officials) some spokespersons. Sophia Tesfamariam, resides in the US, and is known for her ferocious posts and articles. Thomas C. Mountain is an American citizen, living in Hawaii, who somehow got involved and is extremely pro-government. The opposition claims that both spokespersons are paid lobbyists.
The interesting part is the facebook network of individuals spreading continious positive messages. It doesn’t mean that the information is not correct. It is merely biased and it never asks questions. The communication of the pro-goverment base can be devidid into 3 types.
1. Nostalgia: pictures, video’s about the armed independence struggle. The pro-government movement tends to romanticize the independence struggle and still claims the victory as their greatest achievement, thus legitimation of their power (we brought independence, so we’re the rightfully rulers)
2. Positive news: about roads, schools, graduations and succes that can be accredited to the government. Normally supported with credo’s like “nikit teray”,”awet n’hafash”, “ane ne’hagery”, “hade libi, hade hizbi”
3. Bashing: primarily bashing of western “mainstream media” as the supporters call it. Plus vigorously reacting on anti-government posts. mainly calling the posters, woyane, ethiopia supporting or western-sponsored.
So now you know. Keep it in mind, that real fact finding is all about using several sources and weighting interests and political ties. Make up your own mind.
Asmara Beraki’s Anywhere Else, relates the disparate cultural experiences of a divorced Eritrean father who drives a taxi, his two U.S.-born teenagers and the newly-arrived European student who resides with the latter. Alternatively, the title invokes the multiple spaces of the filmmaker, American-Eritrean, studying and living in Prague.Anywhere Else, set in Washington D.C., where you grew up, is autobiographical, about your Eritrean father, who played himself in the film. You wrote and directed the film, why this theme and why did you choose to tell the story in this way?Even if the basis of a story is autobiographical the process of making a script and a film destroys, re-conceptualizes, and re-temporalizes the experiences that I only see those characters as themselves. I wanted to tell my father’s story, how I saw it in a particular moment, and I wanted to explore characters who feel displaced. It is a feeling that I will probably return to in future films. I am interested in floating people, and in uprootment: a sense of feeling acutely the accident of birth and place.
ERITREA – FROM ANNEXATION TO INDEPENDENCE