Like the United States and Canada, Ethiopia and Eritrea have cultural and ethnic affinities and since 1991, when Eritrea won it’s independence from Ethiopia, they have been separate nations. The Organization of Eritrean Americans celebrated their independence in Washington Tuesday with a conference, “The Quest for Peace in the Horn of Africa.”
Three panelists who shared the stage generally agreed that there could be no peace in the horn of Africa until Ethiopia and Eritrea settle their border dispute which is rooted in colonialism. The dispute, says panelist Dr. Ghidewon Abay Asmeroon of Virginia Commonwealth University, is the “big elephant in the room.”
Eritrea, according to the panelists, is the only one of 53 African countries whose borders the world powers did not recognize and the colonial period ended. Instead, the world powers, including the United States, “gave” Eritrea to Ethiopia. Guided the U.S.’s focus on pleasing Ethiopia, “the U.S. blocked Eritrea’s independence,” added Dr, Asgede Hagos of Historically Black Delaware State University. “The U.S. should not put all its eggs in one basket,” he continued.
While celebrating its independence, most of the more than 75 people in attendance shied away from speaking evil of Ethiopia and her success of never being colonized by Europeans, which Black nationalists often praise. However, Dr. Berhe Habtegiogis of Rowan University, who fled his homeland 30 years ago as an Eritrean nationalist added, “Eritrea was fodder for that success.”
More on Eritrea in Port of Harlem