The Resilience that silences world dominances


Giving a deaf ear to the Eritrean voice, on December, 2, 1950, the UN General Assembly unjustly federated Eritrea with Ethiopia, proposed by America, according to the then American Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, who said: “from the point of view of justice, the opinions of the Eritrean people must receive consideration. Nevertheless, the strategic interest of the United States in the Red Sea basin and considerations of security and world peace make it necessary that the country [Eritrea] has to be linked with our ally, Ethiopia.”

The federation wasn’t realistic in the first place, as Eritrea federated unwillingly to serve foreign interests. The federation was a gradual process of annexation. The Eritrean people strongly protested against the dismantlement of the federation (Alemseged: 2005). The UN didn’t react to the violation of the federal acts, and this left Eritreans with no option other than an armed struggle.

Thus, Eritrean armed struggle started on September 1, 1961, equipped with one British type weapon, four Italian made rifles and four swords (Alamin Mohammed Said: 1994: 12), in the opposite, the US built African largest army “having total troop strength of 55,000 at its maximum…. $139 million Ethiopia spent on military services from 1964 to 1973..From 1950 to 1968 the United States trained 2,523 Ethiopians about half of all Africans trained by Americans. Aid to the Ethiopian police was almost $3 million from 1960 to 1969 with more than 110 police officers actually trained in the United States. In 1966 U.S. “military advisors” reached a high of 260” (Richard Lobban: 1967:339). Such assets didn’t break the Eritrean resilience, instead it empowered it.


Haile Slasie’s regime declared a scorched-earth campaign to shock the Eritrean resilience, torching hundreds of villages and murdering thousands of innocent civilians. “In the upper Barka region alone, 62 villages were burned and around 300 people were killed. Several villages were burned in the Hazemo plain and over 253 civilians were killed. On top of these, 30 villages were burned in Sahel and Senhit areas, and many people were also killed. In a similar destructive campaign, the Ethiopian army murdered over 115 people in Semhar” (Eritrean history: 2012: 127).

Indeed, Eritrean resistance’s military supply was captured from the enemy and couldn’t possibly be compared to the foreign enemy supplies; however, the resilience swiftly became victorious and caused the downfall of the Haile Slasie’s regime by the Military coup of the Derge in 1974.


In 1975 the Derge ordered mass murders in Woki-Diba, Umhajer, Hirgigo, Adi Nifas and other places, to wipe out the Eritrean resilience. The Derge shifted its alliance from the US to the Soviets. The Soviets to ensure their interest in the Horn of Africa they “equipped the Dergue with weapons worth 1 to 2 billion US dollars from 1977 – 1978. There were also 12,000 Cuban troops and 1,500 senior Russian Military advisors” (History of Eritrea: 2012: 170) Libya and South Yemen were members of the alliance. In response the Eritrean resistance withdrew to the strategic revolutionary base in Sahel and engaged in a protracted people’s war, adhering the core principle of self-reliance, a principle that helped Eritrean people develop their self-confidence.


The Derge, despite all the foreign supports, they encountered with rapid and heavy loses, especially after the demise of the Nadew Command in 1988. This military operation shifted the balance of power in favor of the Eritrean resistance. By the end of the 1980’s the Eritrean resistance became “the most effective military force in the Horn of Africa and the most resilient and democratic set of political and social institutions, as well as the ablest leadership” (Roy Pateman: 2009:45).

Eventually, on May, 24, 1993 the Eritrean resilience silenced centuries of dominance with the voice volume of 99.8% “yes” for independence. Astounded by the Eritrean resilience, writers like George W. Shepherd concluded Eritrean significance not only as a security base, but also as an example to the region, “of the way in which diversity can coexist and prove to be an asset” (George W. Shepherd: 1993: 88).

In the post-independence, foreign enemies made another historical miscalculation and to vanish the Eritrean resilience they triggered the Hanish Island dispute of 1996, opened Ethiopian border excused war of 1998-2000, drafted baseless accusations and sanctions, encouraged human trafficking and others. As usual, all those schemes remained futile by the strong Eritrean resilience, a national treasure that cultivated by the sacrifice of generations.

In conclusion, the Eritrean people resiliently won against all odds and able to stand firm amid crises. Here, the efforts of foreign dominating forces are still on the clouds of the region, while Eritrean resilience is recommending those forces to accept Eritrea “as a force for reconstruction and stability on the Horn and the Red Sea region” (George W. Shepherd: 1993: 88), otherwise, the resilience will silence the bark of dominance.





By:  Kidane Shimendi

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *