By Amanuel Biedemariam
The “Disinformation” campaign that the enemies waged against Eritrea would simply have given the world a wrong impression of what Eritrea is or is not. In September of 2011, the US led by Ambassador Susan Rice, Johnny Carson of The State Department and other US officials echoed lies that there is famine in Eritrea. These falsities were-then propagated by the mouthpiece media outlets and distributed globally. The question is why Ambassador Rice would wage a disinformation campaign against Eritrea to the world while at the same time trying to sanction Eritrea’s mining and other sectors and deny the people the fruits of their labor.
The idea behind the disinformation campaign is to undermine any Eritrean achievement in order to hide their failures in countries like Ethiopia that have made famine a way of life, to protect the tyrants on their payroll from criticism for failing their people and to justify illegally conceived punitive measures against the people of Eritrea.
The reality remains however, regardless of their attempts Eritrea keeps shining. The negative campaigns are overwhelmed by Eritrean achievements in every field. Eritrea is progressing in agriculture, mining, education, medicine and in all areas faster than any other country in the region. In athletics, Eritrea resuscitated once killed sports programs to life and into world-class athletics that is turning heads around the globe.
In cycling, Eritrea’s achievements prompted Biciciclismo a cycling magazine to do a piece about Daniel Teklehaimanot, calling it, “The great Black Hope” after he won the 7th African Cycling championship in Eritrea. Eritrean cyclists on individual and team competitions dominated the African Cycling Tournament. The story takes the reader back to 1936 when Eritrean cycling started and how it died during the Ethiopian colonial period and concludes, “But Daniel Teklehaimanot is just the tip of the iceberg Eritrean cyclist behind him comes a generation of riders born in 1990 and 1991, led by the newly proclaimed ‘Champion Berhane Nantnael’, which aims to place the Eritrean in cycling map the coming years.” This did not happen by accident and raises an interesting question; how is it possible for a nation under so much duress to rise in a continent that fails in every category to be considered the “Great Black Hope”?
The answer is Eritrea is the outlier! Eritreans are dogged in all fields. Since independence in 1991, in the agricultural sector Eritreans in every corner of the country from the time they are old enough to do the national service onwards they work the land. They clear shrubs, level the lands, terrace mountainous areas, assist farmers etc… Hard work is a way of life in Eritrea. There is no place in Africa, other than Eritrea, where an entire nation is required, encouraged, motivated and incentivized to participate in all the nation building endeavors like in Eritrea. And it worked. As a result, dams are up with more on the way, people are producing agricultural products to put to shame those that lie and shamelessly state, “There is famine in Eritrean.” A wide variety of agricultural products exists everywhere in Eritrea to the point of export. Above all, there is a mentality in Eritrea that defies the norm; Eritreans know they do not have to beg for food, they know how to feed their kids and families!
In the field of medicine, Eritrea has developed ingenious ways to overcome brain drain and is developing capacities that ensure future generations capable to treat each other at the highest levels. This came to life by nurturing sustainable medical educational programs that is bearing fruit by graduating new batches of doctors capable to expand future programs. The government is doing its part by collaborating with friends and allies to infuse expertise in various areas of medicine. Eritreans in the Diaspora are doing their part to promote it. As a result, Eritreans are able to provide medical services throughout the country. These are templates for success to emulate. In fact, in the near future Eritrea will be a medical destination. Favorable climate, prevailing security and hospitable people make Eritrea an attractive destination.
This is true in every sector. Eritrea will hand the world many surprises for decades to come. Not many have inkling that shortly after independence Eritrea developed the capacity to manufacture high-grade boats of all sizes for export and local consumption. Coupled by expansive coastal area of the Red Sea, Marine Science and Technology College and strategic location will ensure a diverse array of industries including ecotourism.
To ensure mobility, quietly, Eritrea built impressive roads and feeders in one of the world’s most difficult terrains connecting Eritrea from coast to coast, east to west and south to north including roads that link Eritrea to Sudan to facilitate trade and tourism. This is accomplished with indigenous engineering and muscle. Eritrea at this stage is capable to build its own transportation infrastructures and if opportunity arises to export the expertise. After independence, when foreigners were asked to rebuild the rail system of Eritrea, they asked for astronomical sums of money forcing Eritrea to summon retired rail workers to revive the rail system. That is bearing major fruit now by playing a role in the revival of tourism. These monumental achievements are true in every sector of the country. Again, why did Eritrea succeed in many areas in such a short time relative to others?
In addition to the dogged nature, “Can do” attitude, determination to succeed, Eritrea is blessed with a cohesive government that works together with the people regardless of the ministry. This was demonstrated during the 7th African Cycling championship in Eritrea. The manager of Team South Africa Mr. Barry Austin was ecstatic when describing Eritrea. He said, “When we arrived in Asmara, Eritrea, we were pleasantly surprised by the hospitality and friendliness of the people.” And further expressed satisfaction, “Here in Eritrea the entire government was supporting the championship from the Ministry of Tourism to the police and the Defense Forces making sure that we were safeguarded and looked after every step of the way collectively. And you have people in the government at all levels working that way nothing can go wrong.” His love and adoration for Eritrea and his satisfaction with the experience was evident. Cyclist Cherise Taylor said coming to Eritrea, she was concerned about her safety because Eritrea is in an unstable violent region. And elaborated by saying, “Perfect Harmony …for National Dignity is definitely a motto the Eritreans live by.” The stories they heard about Asmara being the safest capital in Africa, and after what they witnessed, they believe it. Most of the cyclist attested about the safety of the country, the prevailing peace and public participation to be better that what they experienced around the world including Europe.
Hence, regardless of the lies told about the nation, the people, the government or life in Eritrea the reality is Eritrea has a good grip into the foundation of life. And it is unshakable because at the core, the fabric of the foundation is the people. In his recent visit to New York City, His Excellency President Isaias Afwerki said, “When I was in China in military school I was taught three people to one. And I use to say why not one for three. I wonder alone sometimes and think about Eritreans and Eritrean population numbers provided by the UN and others and, wonder whatever number they give what number I can multiply it by considering the achievements of Eritreans. Three times…ten times… During our struggle for liberation, we were fighting one to ten. This is not exaggeration it is a historic fact. However, today, Eritreans have expanded the capacity and are making incredible achievements.”
This reality is governing Eritreans and nothing can change that.