The Other war

There is no war like cultural war that could extinct generations. Norms and values as they constitute peoples’ culture and identity, they have been targeted by colonizers as a strategy to safeguard a long lasting exploitation. Even in the post-independence period, the exploitation resumed in the form of neo-colonialism, a trap that nominalized and corrupted the independence of the third world countries.

When most of the third world countries were suppressed by neo-colonialism, states like Eritrea stood firm to flourish in their own will, paying heavy sacrifices. This independent principle marked Eritrea as the “decisive force” in the horn of Africa. This power is established from the long history of Eritrean people’s resilient struggle against all odds. These challenges gave birth to the most precious Eritrean norms and values, that made up the Eritrean identity.

Historically, Eritrea as a strategically significant country, hosted many expansionist forces [Turkey, Egypt, Italy, British and Ethiopia]. Expansionist/colonizers worked to wipe out Eritrean people’s valuable norms and values to maintain their domination. For instance, during the Haile-Selassie’s regime, historical and cultural books were burned; Eritrean graduates were assigned to the Ethiopian provinces, Eritrean medium of instruction was replaced by Amharic, religion was politicalized and so on. Despite all these attempts, the Eritrean people sacrificed themselves to protect the national norms and values. During the Eritrean revolution, negative aspects were rejected and new ones were adopted through constructive, positive and creative approach. This process enriched our national culture that is “characterized by self-reliance, self-confidence, determination, love of country and people, ingenuity and inventiveness, heroism and sacrifice” (Eritrean National Charter).

Post-independence, Eritrea’s great hope and leap for nation building was challenged by the enemies and its allies, as we refuse to serve for their “new world order” agendas. Consequently, the enemy, anchored the TPLF [Ethiopian former ruling party], to contain Eritrea with military aggressions, diplomatic isolations and sanctions. On such condition, the TPLF attempted to create “Great Tigray” with new futile identity named the “Agazyan”, an identity that undermines our national identity and violates our national sovereignty. After the 27 years of resilient struggle against all the hostilities, the Eritrean people and its leadership swept the enemies in to a dust bin.

The West in general and the US in particular are imposing their political, economic and cultural will (LGBTQ+ as the dominant phenomena) over weak states, in the name of development and human rights, to ensure their eternal domination and exploitation. We Eritreans are part of the struggle against this cultural war. In this war, youth are the most vulnerable and main targets of this agenda, since “Youth is easily deceived because it is quick to hope” (James clear: 2018: 264). Therefore, societies must invest on socializing their youth with their national culture to combat the war. Here, Eritrean citizens in the diaspora are much exposed to this toxic culture that they are recommended to invest much in bringing up their children with such process (socialization). “A state cannot stand without the confidence of the people. (Yang Tianwen: 2012: 12), and the confidence of the people can’t develop without the love of its national culture. In addition, people are the foundation of the state; if the foundation is firm the state will be tranquil. (Classic of history: 2012: 11)

Eritrean artists, teachers and parents have to hold their distinctive role in the preservation, socialization and enrichment of our national culture. Especially today in the period where social media carries the day, the responsibility and accountability of those agents become essential.  Artists have to produce films, music and other artistic works referring to the national culture, while teachers and parents complementarily work to socialize coming generations. Mother as the first prominent teacher, carries much of the parental role.

In conclusion, Eritrea is a country with rich national culture. Eritrea’s geo-strategic importance as it is drawing various aggressive forces; our norms and values are so often under attack. Social media even though it is not rampant in our country, we can still notice its negative impacts. This trend is a declared cultural war that flows like a giant river to erode peoples’ identity that states need a strategy to combat it. To adopt the good elements of others’ culture is not a crime, all it prerequisites is a positive and constructive way of contextualization, in a way that could preserve and enrich our norms and values. “To dance in our own national rhythm is to thrive”, that lets struggle against this cultural war and build our prosperous nation.

Written by Kidane Shimendi

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