Archive for the ‘Youth Issues’ Category

[From the description given with the YouTube video]

Coverage of Eritrean migration has been highly politicized leading to
much confusion on the issue. Journalists usually quote suspected
traffickers and/or activists with declared “regime change” agenda for
their perspectives on conditions inside Eritrea and these accounts are
then used to present a “human rights” case against the country.

The explanation then for “harsh” conditions inside Eritrea misses the
point by a mile. No reference is made to the no-war-no-peace situation
inside the country caused by Ethiopia’s calculated hostility, its
maneuvering inside regional bodies, and its refusal to abide by a
final and binding decision. Furthermore, preferential treatment of
Eritrean asylum seekers designed to drain Eritrea of its most
important resource, along with sanctions based on cooked evidence of
support for terrorism, and an intrusive and biased UNHCR stand
against the country’s government and people has greatly tainted the
debate on migration.

This documentary by African Strategies, in collaboration with the Red
Sea Institute, raises key questions that mainstream media deliberately
ignores and is a continuation of a series of documentaries that try to
present THE OTHER NARRATIVE on Eritrea.

 

“…The dynamism and determination of African youth, those who make up 70% of the continent’s population. Their political maturity has been striking to me. They have this Pan-African vision that make it indispensable for African countries and peoples to work together in order to turn the tables on those who are trying to carve the continent into pieces.”

Viva African youth!

Viva Mama Africa!

Down with Imperialism and Neo-colonialism!

The New Scramble For Africa – Empire – The New Scramble for Africa – Al Jazeera English.

Beijing-PosterLAsked to take note of two or three commitments in the Beijing Declaration, a document that emerged from the 4th United Nations Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995, and to comment on which commitments interest me, this is what I wrote up. I encourage all of those who are interested in gender equality to familiarize themselves with the Beijing Declaration and the Beijing Platform for Action.

 

Being quite familiar with the Beijing Declaration, nothing in it really surprises me when I read the 1995 declaration in 2014. However, I find some of the commitments inspirational in the sense that they confirm the areas to which I advocate for gender equality today.

The issue of women’s human rights, just like the different waves of feminism, has evolved across time, changing the way people recognize those rights and the ways they struggle to ensure them. My grandmother’s struggle was different than that of my mother’s, which is also different from my own, and yet our struggles for gender equality are part and parcel of the same movement. Moreover, I cannot shake the fact that I simply wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the past struggles of women. It is both a source of anxiety for me (how can I ever live up to their legacy, and yet embrace my different approach to gender equality) and a source of great pride (yes folks, I come from a long line of very strong women!).

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Eritrea commemorated her 23rd anniversary of independence on 24 May 2014; celebrations in Eritrea literally start a couple of weeks before the date with exhibitions, competitions, carnivals, school festivals and cultural shows. Among Eritrean Diaspora communities, Independence Day is celebrated with much fervor as well, through parties and manifestations. Either way, this blog post isn’t about those celebrations. You can easily get information about how Eritreans celebrated this year’s Independence Day by visiting the Eritrean Ministry of Information’s website, or websites of Eritrean Diaspora communities including Raimoq (Germany) , Alenalki (Sweden), Meadna (UK), Dehai (USA), etc.

Today I want to bring your attention to the way two young Eritreans who live in the Diaspora decided to celebrate a national holiday.

Russome Semere

Russom Semere currently lives in Germany, but wasn’t born and raised there. Matter of fact, he only went to Germany after receiving a scholarship to pursue his masters there. A member of 13th round national service, his objectives were clear: to learn and gain maximum exposure to technology and skill so as to become a useful and capable person for his society. With this objective in mind, he carefully selected his career and master thesis project on rural electrification in Eritrea.

So where is the proof that Russom is putting his education to good use? Russom spend May 24 helping pack a 1.3 million Euro solar project to Eritrea. That solar module support structure you see him packing in the picture will end up somewhere in Gash Barka, one of the six administrative zones of Eritrea, most noted for its agricultural potential.

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Nikodimose Gebreab

I’m not bringing up what Nikodimose did on Eritrea’s Independence Day; rather, I’m writing about what he did during the USA’s Memorial Day (26 May). Note that Eritrea has her own day to commemorate fallen heroes on the 20th of June. On America’s Memorial Day however, Nikodimose who is an Eritrean American decided to remember those who fought bravely and sacrificed for Eritrea, highlighting the immense role that women played in the struggle for independence. With his Facebook update, he included the picture I’ve posted below, a picture of the 9 ethnic-linguo groups of Eritrea who represent 1 nation, the Eritrean nation.

Now like most similar circumstances where an Eritrean young person expresses his Eritrean pride on Facebook, Nikodimose did receive a criticism from one of those ‘so-called opposition’ types, and it was his response that really got me:

“No matter how great this country has been to me personally, it’s been terrible towards Eritrea and her people. US led lies, propaganda and sanctions AGAINST my people, and as far as the nation that gave us all refuge when we needed it, in my eyes, that was Sudan. It was Sudan that took all my people in when we needed it, Sudan is the country that made sure all of us made it safely to Europe, Canada and the US. Me and my family would have been good in any of those places. Long story short, America is not that special to me… Eritrea is.”

 

 

Note: The title is incorrect. It should read 9 ethnic groups and not 9 tribes.

Note: The title is incorrect. It should read  ethnic groups, not  tribes.

 

How these young Eritreans decided to celebrate national holidays recently is only a very small sample of how many young Eritreans inside and outside commemorate not only their country’s independence, but also how they remember the great sacrifices made in order to bring about that independence.

Mainstream media loves to paint a picture that all is lost in Eritrea, that her youth are fleeing to never return back, that there is no hope for the ‘tiny’ nation. Yet everyday there are MANY examples of how not only do they choose to remember and celebrate their country and nation, but also how they prepare and work towards giving back to their people. You may not hear or read about these examples on mainstream media, but trust me… they are there. 🙂

 

AU EU partnership faceMany-a-time, the discussion about white privilege revolves around the topic of race relations between white and black people in the United States of America, and many mistakenly think that it is literally an issue of white verses black. I was thrilled to come across this article “18 Things White People Seem to not Understand (Because, White Privilege)” after a Korean friend of mine posted it on Facebook. The author of the article is of Filipino origin and she was inspired by Peggy McIntosh, a white woman, known for authoring the essay “White Privilege: Unpacking the the Invisible Knapsack,” which is considered a classic among anti-racism educators. I find it interesting that today the idea to write about white privilege came to me from neither a black person, an African nor a white European, and yet understanding the concept of white privilege is essential if youth from Africa and Europe want to transform their fate to one of cooperation rather than that of the same old, boring neo-colonial processes. It is not an issue of skin color, but the sentiments of a past relationship between whites and ‘the others.’

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image-home_3AEYLSI had the honor of participating in the 3rd Africa Europe Youth Leadership Summit, which took place in Brussels, Belgium from 31 March to 1 April 2014. I met some really awesome youth leaders from both continents to discuss how best to empower the youth within the Africa-EU Partnership. The immediate vision: to get African and European leaders to include a youth facility in the next phase of the Joint Africa EU Partnership, taking the following elements into consideration:

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