In an often forgotten corner of the Horn of Africa, Eritrea’s capital boasts one of the world’s finest collections of early 20th century architecture and the authorities want it declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
When Italy’s colonial experiment in Eritrea ended in 1941, it left behind an array of Rationalist, Futurist, Art Deco and other Modernist styles in Asmara, a city whose historic art has changed little since the Italians lived and worked there.
Located at over 2,000 m above sea level, the capital of Eritrea developed from the 1890s onwards as a military outpost for the Italian colonial power. After 1935, Asmara underwent a large scale programme of construction applying the Italian rationalist idiom of the time to governmental edifices, residential and commercial buildings, churches, mosques, synagogues, cinemas, hotels, etc. The property encompasses the area of the city that resulted from various phases of planning between 1893 and 1941, as well as the indigenous unplanned neighbourhoods of Arbate Asmera and Abbashawel. It is an exceptional example of early modernist urbanism at the beginning of the 20th century and its application in an African context.
The United States is encouraged by recent progress Ethiopia and Eritrea have made toward resolving their longstanding differences, the White House has said.
The two African countries waged a border war from 1998-2000 that killed tens of thousands of people. Disputes over the still-militarized frontier, in particular the town of Badme, have kept the two sides at loggerheads.
On Wednesday, Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki raised hopes of a breakthrough in the conflict by describing recent peace overtures from Ethiopia as “positive signals.”
‘The United States looks forward to a full normalization of relations and the realization of our shared aspirations for both countries to enjoy enduring peace and development’.
He was responding to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s pledge earlier this month to honor all the terms of a 2000 peace deal, which would include ceding Badme to Eritrea.
Isaias said he was sending a delegation to Addis Ababa to understand Abiy’s position and “chart out a plan.” Isaias and Abiy “have demonstrated courageous leadership by taking these steps toward peace,” the White House said in a statement.
African New, REUTERS: Reported 06/23/2018
Unselfishly, you left your fathers and mothers,
You left behind your sisters and your brothers.
you left your beloved children and wives,
You put on hold, your dreams-your lives.
On the mountains of Sahil yourself planted
To fight for those whose freedom you granted.
Without your sacrifice, their cause would be lost
But you carried onward, no matter what the cost.
Many horrors you had endured and seen.
Many faces had haunted your dreams.
You cheered as your enemies littered the ground;
You cried as your brothers sisters fell all around.
When it was over, some of you came back home,
Some were left with memories to face all alone;
Some found themselves in the company of friend
As their crosses cast shadows across the land.
Those who survived were forever scarred
Emotionally, physically, permanently marred.
Those who do now sleep eternally
‘Neath the ground they had given their lives to keep us free.
With my right hand upon my heart, I feel The pride with your grace
In the tears that now stream down on my face
As our flag waves above you, in her glory and grace.
Freedom was the gift that you unselfishly gave
Pain and death was the price that you ultimately paid.
To our brothers and sisters in the arms force
I want you to know, you are never alone
For we are, along side you in diaspora or at home
But, the hardest thing for a person to be
Is you, Fighting to keep us free
I also see you, YPFDJ, standing among them all
Standing so strong , proud and tall
The world looks at you, but does not see
No warry, keep marching to keep our homeland free
If I am still on earth and breathing
Wherever I may be on May 24 living
You will find me your legacy defending
Shouting Awet n’ Hafash ostensibly celebrating
I’m here to night to say, to let you know
That you are loved, even if it doesn’t show
You fought for our hopes, dreams, and liberty
You fought for our freedom…… A hero to be
Every day, I give my utmost admiration
To those who had fought and still fighting to defend our nation.
By Dr. Fesshaye Embaye