Wounded Nation: How a Once Promising Eritrea Was Betrayed and Its Future Compromised by H. Selassie Bereket

Page Updated: Jun 09, 2017
Book Views: 38

Author
H. Selassie Bereket
Publisher
Red Sea Press(NJ)
Date of release
Pages
311
ISBN
9781569023402
Binding
Hardcover
Illustrations
Format
PDF, EPUB, MOBI, TXT, DOC
Rating
4
48

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Wounded Nation: How a Once Promising Eritrea Was Betrayed and Its Future Compromised

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Book review

This volume takes up the life story of the author from where the first volume culminated. Through historical and political analyses the author lays bare the hidden (and not so hidden) elements that have contributed to Eritrea s descent from a stellar model of democracy and progress to a tragic abyss of dictatorship and isolation. The narrative is at once a historical and biographical testament of a man who had been part of the freedom fight as well as of a process of constitution making that had earned the admiration of a wide variety of observers and commentators. Combined together with the first volume, the book is a must read for students of the history and politics of Eritrea and the Horn of Africa region. The title itself is an indication of the central theme of the book providing a clue of the basis for Eritrea s current predicament. Trust is a fundamental ingredient in human relations. People place trust in the government they elect expecting it to perform its duties according to the promises it makes and pursuant to the law. But promises and laws are frequently broken, which raises the issue of responsibility. That is why there are legal and constitutional requirements for accountability and transparency. The book s title and subtitle are indicative of the bitter disappointment of the Eritrean public whose government of former freedom fighters broke its promises. A ratified constitution has been shelved and frozen for over thirteen years and the country has been governed by one-man dictatorship contrary to all expectations, both domestic and international. In 1998, the country went through a devastating war with Ethiopia that took the lives of some one hundred thousand people. The two countries have yet to restore normal relations over a decade later. In Eritrea s case, the situation of no-peace-no-war has subjected hundreds of thousands of youth to an endless forced military service. This has led to a mass exodus of scores of thousands of them defecting to neighboring countries. This condition, together with the general dissatisfaction of the public has raised serious questions about the country s future. This is one of the various salient issues discussed in this volume. The second volume of Bereket Selassie s unforgettable memoirs, The Crown and the Pen, is an outstanding analysis of the descent of Eritrea into personal rule and dictatorship. This beautiful land along the Red Sea is aptly described as a wounded nation, for its once promising quest for freedom, lasting peace and material prosperity has been betrayed by the denial of democratic rights and liberties, the destruction of constitutional government, and the lack of an aggressive pursuit of regional integration and development in the Horn of Africa through pan-African solidarity. Those who have read the first volume of this book will continue to enjoy this rich narrative and the superb manner in which the author conveys it in writing. New readers have much to learn about Eritrea and postcolonial Africa. Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja Professor of African Studies University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Wounded Nation by Bereket Habte Selassie is a gripping and troubling account of post-liberation politics in Eritrea. The book is both a personal memoir and an analysis of how a country s fate and future can be put into serious jeopardy by actions of a single individual or a group of a few people. Volume 1 of Bereket s memoirs traced his life up to the time of Eritrea s liberation in 1991 and the euphoria of independence after thirty years of independence. Bereket who himself had been part of the liberation movement became Chair of the Constitutional Commission charged with the responsibility of writing a constitution for the newly liberated nation. Less than a decade after liberation, and only a few years after the adoption of the


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