What went wrong in Eritrea?
By Tigrai Online
August 15 2011
I recently read an extensive report prepared by the UN Monitoring group on Somalia and Eritrea (pdf), which said Eritrea was behind a terrorist plot in January against an African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
I was impressed by the level of detail in the report. For Eritrean activists abroad, it contained no new revelations, but I presume many members of the international community were shocked by it. The 417 pages accused Eritrea's government and military leaders of many wrongdoings, including human trafficking, contraband, money laundering and extortion.
The question many are asking is: what went wrong in Eritrea?
The first thing to look at is its history. The sacrifice that was made to liberate Eritrea from the Ethiopian occupation, which lasted three decades, cannot be described in simple terms. The tug of war that was played out between the attacks of the liberation forces and the Ethiopian counteroffensives still draws raw emotions. Eritreans, young and old, inside and outside the country, supported the revolution.
Now power is totally in the hands of the president, and the unwise wielding of that power has led to Eritrea being excluded from the regional and the international community. Of course in the process, exclusion has become synonymous with self-reliance.