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The boundaries of modern Eritrea and the entire region were established during the European colonial period b/n Italian, British and French colonialists.
Italians built many major infrastructural projects in Eritrea; Asmara-Massawa Cableway and the Eritrean Railway , factories, which produced buttons, cooking oil, and pasta, construction materials, packing meat, tobacco, hide and other household commodities
Italy Colonization in Eritrea ( Italian Fascist Party) )
Fascism is defined in many modern dictionaries as “A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.
Italy colony was harsh for the native peoples as Fascist policy sought to destroy native culture.
the Fascist regime endorsed racial segregation to reduce the number of mixed offspring in Italian colonies which they claimed would “pollute” the Italian race.
Marital and sexual relationships between Italians and Africans in its colonies were made a criminal offense.
British forces defeated the Italian army in Eritrea in 1941 at the Battle of Keren and placed the colony under British military administration.
The first thing the British did was to remove the Eritrean industries (of Asmara and Massawa) to Kenya, as a war compensation. They even dismantled parts of the Eritrean Railway system.
n the absence of agreement amongst the Allies concerning the status of Eritrea, British administration continued for the remainder of World War II and until 1950.
During the immediate postwar years, the British proposed that Eritrea be divided along religious lines and parceled off to Sudan and Ethiopia
The Soviet Union , anticipating a communist victory in the Italian polls, initially supported returning Eritrea to Italy under trusteeship or as a colony.
Arab states, seeing Eritrea and its large Muslim population as an extension of the Arab world, sought the establishment of an independent state.
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.
Ethiopian ambition in the Horn was apparent in the expansionist ambition of its monarch when Haile Selassie claimed Italian Somaliland and Eritrea.
He made this claim in a letter to Franklin D. Roosevelt, at the Paris Peace Conference and at the First Session of the United Nations.
In the United Nations the debate over the fate of the former Italian colonies continued.
The British and Americans preferred to cede Eritrea to the Ethiopians as a reward for their support during World War II .
"The United States and the United Kingdom have (similarly) agreed to support the cession to Ethiopia of all of Eritrea except the Western province. The United States has given assurances to Ethiopia in this regard."
The Independence Bloc of Eritrean parties consistently requested from the UN General Assembly that a referendum be held immediately to settle the Eritrean question of sovereignty.
From the start of the federation, however, Haile Selassie attempted to undercut Eritrea’s independent status, a policy that alienated many Eritreans
The Emperor pressured Eritrea’s elected chief executive to resign, made Amharic the official language in place of Arabic and Tigrinya, terminated the use of the Eritrean flag, imposed censorship, and moved many businesses out of Eritrea
Finally, in 1962 Haile Selassie pressured the Eritrean Assembly to abolish the Federation and join the Imperial Ethiopian fold, much to the dismay of those in Eritrea who favored a more liberal political order.
In 1966, Haile Selassie attempted to create a modern, progressive tax [ citation needed ] that included registration of land, which would significantly weaken the nobility.
Outside of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie continued to enjoy enormous prestige and respect
Ethiopia’s famine between 1972-74 and its image in the media undermined popular support of the government, and Haile Selassie's once unassailable personal popularity fell.
Haile Selassie was skilled in diplomacy and was know for his restless efforts of campaigns against colonisation in Africa. He became a voice for the whole African county independence, but he did little to develop his country's infrastructure and improve the life of ordinary Ethiopians.
The lack of infrastructure, the increase of poverty in the country
The lack of democracy
The famine in Wollo and Tigray regions in 1973,
The Eritreans demand for independence,
The cries for land reform by peasants and the fuel crisis led to unrest in the country.
Teachers, students, peasants and workers went on strikes and held demonstrations.
After seven months of unrest, Haile Selassie was overthrown and imprisoned by the military on September 12, 1974 and later executed by the Derg (Military Committee) including his cabinet members, monarchist, and the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
was a comminist military Junta that came to power in Ethiopia following the ousting of Haile Selassie.
Between 1975 and 1987, the Derg executed and imprisoned tens of thousands of its opponents without trial.
Ethiopia under the Derg became the Socialist bloc's closest ally in Africa, and became among the best armed nations of the region as a result of massive military aid chiefly from the Soviet Union, East Germany, Cuba, and North Korea
During the same period, the Derg fulfilled its main slogan of "Land to the Tiller" by announcing on 4 March 1975 a system of land reform that "was unequivocally radical, even in Soviet and Chinese terms; it nationalized all rural land, abolished tenancy, and put peasants in charge of enforcing the whole scheme.
The Derg obtained key concessions from the Emperor, Haile Selassie, which included the power to arrest not only military officers, but government officials at every level.
The Derg became deeply unpopular due to ill sought out policies and mass executions, which sent a shock wave across the country
Thousands of students, teachers, workers and ordinary Ethiopians who were suspected of supporting opposition groups were imprisoned without charge, tortured and executed.
This happened randomly across the country and bodies were left for up to three days on the streets, in front of public building, schools, universities in order to scare others into not to supporting opposition groups.
Even the parents and relatives of victims were not allowed to mourn or to collect the body of the victims and bury their loved ones. The government officials were only allowed to bury all the victims in unknown mass graves during the night.
In 1980‘s President Mengistu HaileMaria announced that 46% of the Ethiopian Gross National Product would be allocated to military spending, creating the largest standing army in sub-Saharan Africa.
In the mid-1980s famine struck Ethiopia, in which up to seven million may have died. Hundreds of thousands fled economic misery, conscription, and political repression, and went to live in neighboring countries and all over the Western world, creating an Ethiopian diaspora for the first time.
Eritrea is a one-party state , in which national legislative elections have been repeatedly postponed. Eritrea is run by the People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ).
Other political groups are not allowed to organize, although the non-implemented Constitution of 1997 provides for the existence of multi-party politics.
Eritrea is the only African country to have no privately-owned news media.Reporters Without Borders said of the public media, "they do nothing but relay the regime's belligerent and ultra-nationalist discourse.
Not a single [foreign correspondent] now lives in Asmara, and outspoken critics of the government have been arrested and held without trial.
In 2004 the U.S. State Department declared Eritrea a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) for its record of religious persecution .
In 1991 the provisional government of Eritrea introduced compulsory national service, including military service.
The law states that all Eritrean citizens, men and women between the ages of 18 and 57, have the obligation to perform national service.
This consists of six months military training and 12 months deployment either on military duties or some other national development project. However, article 13 (2) states that even after completing the compulsory 18 months, national service can be extended until 50 years of age.
A pattern of sexual violence against female conscripts exists within the military. There have been reports of female conscripts coerced into having sex with commanders, including through threats of heavy military duties, harsh postings, and denial of home leave.
Refusal to submit to sexual exploitation and abuse is allegedly punished by detention, torture and ill-treatment, including exposure to extreme heat and limitation of food rations.
Women, who become pregnant as a result, are decommissioned and are likely to experience social ostracism from their families and communities as unmarried mothers, and may resort to committing suicide to escape the cycle of abuse.
Recruits who have recently been in Sawa describe a dramatic increase in the number of people in the camp showing signs of severe mental illness.
Forced recruitment by raids, in areas where those who have not responded to the call-up, or who have deserted, may be hiding. These "round-ups" seize all who appear to be of military age and cannot produce documentation to show that.
Military conscripts accused of a military offence such as desertion, attempted desertion or being absent without permission were arbitrarily imprisoned or punished with torture, or possibly executed in the most serious cases, on the order of their military commander
Human Rights Watch reports that persons detained for evading national service are often “held incommunicado indefinitely without formal charge.
Prison conditions are reportedly harsh and include overcrowding, extreme temperatures, solitary confinement, the absence of sanitation, “starvation rations”, hard labour and mental abuse.
Family members and relatives of draft evaders and deserters may also be at risk of persecution due to the practice of substitute service and/or punitive fines and imprisonment
As a consequence, many young Eritrean flee abroad, also to avoid military service. People fleeing Eritrea are at risk of being shot by Eritrean troops when crossing the border.
About 10,000 refugees arrived in Sudan in 2007 alone, adding to the then about 95,000 Eritrean refugees in Sudan.
Once in Sudan, Eritrean refugees are still not save. According to Eritrean human rights groups, the Sudan has allowed Eritrean intelligence agents to kidnap some of the refugees and return them to Eritrea.
Eritrean refugees are also at risk of deportation from many other countries. Amnesty International issued alerts on Egypt, Libya, and European countries.
I was born in a small village called Dekutsnae, in the country of Eritrea, about 35 miles from the capital city Asmara. My mother married at the age of twelve, before she had even begun to menstruate. My father, a respected teacher in that small community, was twenty-four on their wedding day. My father was able to complete high school but the Italian colonial administration discouraged Eritreans from accessing university studies and his education stalled. My mother only finished fifth grade so that she could read and write, and the belief that women were only useful in the kitchen ended her formal learning there.I was circumcised (Female Genital Mutilation) when I was a child. I thank God that I do not remember anything about that day. My mother told me that I bled heavily, became sick, and that they were scared that they would lose me. The surgery was performed in the village of my birth by an elder woman. She probably had not sterilized the instrument, perhaps a razor, due to lack of education and knowledge. I have four brothers and five sisters. We grew up very poor with four people sleeping on each mattress. When my father received a teaching job in the capital city of Asmara we were forced to move into an even smaller house. Despite these difficulties my father was widely honored as an outstanding teacher. Recently I was given a yellowing picture of him receiving an award for being the best teacher in the country directly from the hand of Emperor Haile Selassie. It is a mystery to me why I only learned recently that he had received this great honor so many years before my birth.