By Rundassa Asheetee Hundee*
Among the most memorable of all my trips and activities of 2017 have been the trip I made to Asmara.
A short distance walk to Piyassaa and Markato through the first rainstorm of the season that slowly dripped on my face, and the fresh earthy smell which I have not experienced for a quarter of a century, not only welcomed me home but it allowed me to interact with my childhood time where I played in the fresh and sweet fragrance of rain of Birraa season. In fact, the first time it rained, about 25 of us sat in circle somewhere in Afabet, and discussed something important, although they all had to run away from the rain, with an exception of Maramaa and myself, who felt that the smell of the fluid that raid down upon us was the same as our blood that travelled through our veins.
The day we arrived in Asmara, many of the people I talked to said that Eritrea still lives the legacy of it’s turmoil past being kept off-limits to the capitalists world fake spiritual enrichment and economic prosperity. However, for me, the men and women who fought and liberated their people and their land from Ethiopia’s colonial rule are the builders of a new proud and independent nation, Eritrea. Regardless of the falling infrastructure one can see from the unkept roads and curb and gutter, from the coming and going electricity or water, I see Eritrea heading to the right direction, albite blazing trails along the way, paving the road by many stepping-stones for the upcoming generation of Eritrea.
Obviously, building new and firm foundations requires the act of pushing on the wild frontier, forging onward with courage. When I heard that Eritrea have borrowed no money, and yet it is building several large dams using it’s own engineers and economic experts, I understood that they are successfully lifting the cultural and economic burden off the shoulders of their people, the challenges that the so called Ethiopia’s leaders have been compiling for 27 years now.
For that reason, I refused to share the opinions of those who expressed concerns that Eritrea’s aging infrastructure is a smokescreen for future economic disaster. What is true is that virtually every country that fought a war of liberation in all parts of the world were plagued by economic challenges but rebuilt themselves slowly and Eritrea is actually recovering from the political, military and economic terror launched against it by the TPLF.
Some people say that Eritrea is beyond hope economically just because they forget the long history of hostility by empire Ethiopia’s leaders against the Eritrean people. That’s why I disagree with such notion. Actually, Eritrea is rebuilding itself up as it’s people are learning how to do everything on their own being independent of the Chinese or America’s cultural and economic invasion.
On peace front, it is amazing to see president Isayas Afawarqi walking on the main street amid his people, in a city where there is no single police man can be visible unlike the TPLF ruled Ethiopia, where the number of spies and police is half the population. I also saw Isaya’s son having tea at a regular hotel where I stayed with his two friends.
Furthermore, as we drove from red sea to Asmara, I noticed the Christians and the Muslims eating and live together with mutual admiration and respect, without forsaking their religious convictions. Over whole, by physically being in Asmara, I was able to learn that the things we have in common are greater than our differences. I truly felt that the pride, the kindness and the politeness we share will remain permanent beyond the perilous of times. Even with the difficulty I have had to communicate with the Eritreans as wished, I didn’t feel that I was visiting a foreign land. In fact, Europe or America always felt foreign for me compared to a quit Asmara where there are no forest fires burning, where there are no wars, and where there are no earthquakes or major pollutions. For me, the pride and the peace which the Eritreans are enjoying today echoes an earlier Oromo historical account and of the dreams of 50 million Oromians. In other words, when I think of the plight of Eritrea, I am reminded of the Gadaa system where peace was enjoyed unlimited.
It is true that Eritrea is small but it is a proud post-liberation war nation lodged between the Western world political egoism and it’s Western Puppet, the TPLF. To decode Westerner’s strategy against Eritrea, one should examine the clues that can be found in the nuanced and multilayered Badame, the nature of Empire Ethiopia-Eritrean relations and Eritrean national priorities.
I think that can shed light on the cause of the economic slowdown in Eritrea, which is not going to last for too long. Like I said above, peace has already prevailed in Eritrea, self-determination is already in place and the pathway to economic prosperity can be visible in the Eritreans goodwill to work hard. I saw these principles in nearly every Eritrean I have met. Wherever it is found and however it is expressed, the Golden Rule encompasses the moral code of the people and the Eritreans have it all.
*Rundassa Asheetee Hunde can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org