Saturday, 28 December 2019

Animal Diseases and Veterinary Services in Eritrea 2001

Animal Diseases and Veterinary Services in Eritrea: The Past, Present and Future Challenges

Mohamed Kheir Omer, Gebrehiwet Taeme and Andom Gebremeskel

A paper presented at the Eritrean Studies Association Conference held at Asmara, Eritrea

June 2001

Can be downloaded at the link below:

Thursday, 26 December 2019

Refugees and citizens: Understanding Eritrean refugees’ ambivalence towards homeland politics

Refugees and citizens: Understanding Eritrean refugees’ ambivalence towards homeland politics, a 2019 article by Milena Belloni, University of Antwerp, Belgium

This article revisits ambivalence as a protracted state which does not simply develop as a result of the migration experience but stems from overlapping levels of normative inconsistency. Drawing from my ethnography of Eritreans’ everyday life in the homeland and abroad, I analyse their attitudes of patriotism and disenchantment through an ambivalence lens. Their ambiguous attitudes are arising from national and transnational Eritrean state policies and are further complicated by their role as “political refugees” in host countries. My informants’ ambivalence stems from them embodying more than one role (i.e. patriots, family breadwinners, refugees from and citizens of their homeland), from contradictory expectations pertaining to the same role (i.e. young citizens in Eritrea) and from clashing implications of being members of two different social systems (i.e. the destination country and the country of origin). Thus, Eritreans’ political loyalties and actions are characterized by a state of ambivalence throughout their migration process. Despite its peculiar characteristics, this case study sheds light on the complexity of ambivalence, as more than a temporary condition, for migrants and refugees in particular. In the current scenario of emigrant states’ transnational governance, protracted ambivalence is likely to mark the attitudes of an increasing number of people on the move as both refugees from and citizens of their country of origin.

You can access the full text at the link:

Monday, 23 December 2019

Introducing Haji Jaber's award winning Arabic novels

Introducing Haji Jabir's award winning Arabic novels

Haji Jaber is an Eritrean novelist, born in the coastal city of Massawa in 1976. He escaped with his family to Jeddah while he was breast feeding, to escape Ethiopian atrocities. He grew up and studied in Jeddah. As an immigrant in Saudi Arabia it was difficult for his family to find him a school but at last, he was able to get private education. He has published so far four novels: Samrawit (2012), winner of the Sharjah Award for Arab Creativity in 2012, Fatma's Harbour (2013), The Game of the Spindle (2015), which was longlisted for the 2016 Sheikh Zayed Book Award, and Black Foam (2018) which won the prestigious ‘Katara Prize’ In the category of the published Arabic novel. Eritrea is vividly present in his novels.

Samrawit (2012) is about discovering Eritrea after a long immigrant life in Jeddah, it is about the author’s or at times the main character’s first his interaction with the Eritrean Embassy there. It was about ‘home coming’. His first emotion-laden travel to Asmara and Massawa. Though the author had no personal memories about Eritrea, his collective memories are rich taken from his family who talked about the country daily. His mother’s longing to Zewditu, her close friend in Massawa. The main character falls in love with an Eritrean girl, Samrawit who lives abroad but was visiting Eritrea the same time he was there, he is being a Muslim and she being a Christian had its challenges. Samrawit is about this journey.

His second novel, Fatma's Harbour (2013) is about the main character from Ghinda who lives in Asmara and falls in love with a secondary school student who fails her exams deliberately to avoid Sawa and who lives at the old street of ‘Mersa Fatma’ meaning Fatma’s harbour. The street is close to Enda Mariam. Through the main character, the author takes us to youth life in Asmara, the Asmara University refusal to go to Kemtawi Maatot in 2001, the measures taken by Eritrean government, life in the national service in Sawa, the kidnapping by the Rashaida (what the author calls the Shifta), life in Shegerb refugee camp in Sudan with its old refugees of the 1960s and the new one. All those events are beautifully narrated in the journey of the main character in search for his lover. The novel was translated to Italian under the title’ L‏a fuga della picola Roma’.

His third novel, The Game of the Spindle, centers around the main character, who is a charming girl who had lost her both parents in the struggle and who lives with her grandmother who excels in spinning yarn and telling stories. The story centers in the newly formed Archives Department, where the charming girl is employed. The archives department aim is to digitalize documents written by fighters during the liberation. The folders are marked by three colors, BROWN which are considered public, YELLOW which are regarded semi-confidential and RED which are strictly confidential. People are recruited to this department after a lot of scrutiny. The beginners are given only the BROWN files and as their loyalty is tested their gradually deal with the confidential files. The main character starts with the BROWN ones, but quickly finds them boring and uses her beauty to get to the RED files.  The Red files get edited by the president of the state. She starts manipulating the stories in the files, re-writing them as she would tell the story. It is in those RED files she discovers a stunning history about her parents and about the President.

Black Foam follows a group of Ethiopian Jews, the “Falash Mura”, who are driven by poverty and desperation, emigrate to Israel in search of a better life. Amongest them is Dawoud, who changed his name to “Dawit” so that western NGOs can take him to Europe but fails. Upon learning that Falasha Jews are being transported to Israel, he invents a new identity, changing his name and history, so that he can travel to Israel alongside the Falasha Jews. However, on arrival, he faces the trials and suffering experienced by dark-skinned immigrants in the country.