Land of the Red Sea

Eritrea is located in eastern Africa.  The country shares borders with the Red Sea on the NE , Djibouti on the SE , Ethiopia on the , and Sudan on the W.  It has  a huge coastline with the Red Sea of 2,234 km (1,388 mi).

Eritrea’s  population is say 5 million within the Country,  but with a diaspora of perhaps 2  million, mainly in nearby countries, but in large numbers in USA, Canada and Europe. Emigration from Eritrea has been continuous since the 1950s as a result of constant turmoil.  Following  WW2’s  liberation of the Italian occupied Africa, a 1950 United Nations’  declaration federated  Eritrea unwillingly  with Ethiopia.  In 1961 Eritrea  was  fully annexed by Ethiopia’s last emperor,  Haile Selassie [see elsewhere on this blog here].   A war of independence followed, resulting 30 years later in 1991, with Eritrea’s victory. But from then to now,  Eritrea has been  ruled by President  Isaias Afwerki  without the promised elections, and with curtailed personal freedoms.  Conscription to the Armed Forces is compulsory and for undetermined (often  long ) periods. These circumstances have led to a continuous exodus.

Eritreans in exile around the world remain proud of their country.  The Eritrean Diaspora are known for retaining their identity, their culture, and known for socialising in Eritrean communities in diaspora and keeping connection with home.  The victorious War of  Independence remains a unifying event.   Around the world in each country where Eritreans have settled,   an annual  event is held, to celebrate their culture.  The diaspora in  UK could be 20,000.  On 20th and 21st July 2019 Eritreans from many UK cities met in Harrow, London, to share each others company, and to enjoy dance and song,  food and drink.

Interestingly, Eritrean nationals in diaspora pay a tax of  2% of income to Eritrea.  

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Notable “military” presence, with red beret and camouflage jacket. Uniforms from the 30 year War of Independence 1961 to 1991, in which all Eritreans have great pride.

 

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Also good Festival pictures here.

Quite a party.  Beautiful clothes.  Habesha style dresses. 

 

 

SAWA Defence Training Center is attended by all at age 16 years (male and female)  for a minimum of 18 months.  The aim  of the  training is stated to be to ensure a “sustainable future” for Eritrea.

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Soldiers. men and women, wear their own twisted shroud across their body like a rope.

 

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Injera bread. Sourdough.   Slightly spongy, with lots of holes formed by the yeast.  A consistency like a pancake.  Made with TEFF grain.     Make your own Injera here.   

 

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Phew, spicy hot !!

 

 

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Coffee ceremony. The third cup is for the most honoured guest. Important.

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eritrea map

 

A great intro to Eritrea.   Thanks.

 

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Much Italian Modernist  architecture remains. Capital Asmara is called “Little Rome”.  

 

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Let’s fly !!

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