FAO Quotables

"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
-Anne Applebaum

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Brief Notes on Biopolitics, Militarism and Development in Eritrea

BONUS LINK:  My entire (so far) grad school notes collection can be found here. 

Definitely not the most enthralling book you'll ever read, but a good primer on Eritrea.

Colony of Italy, relatively developed.  Post WWII federated to and then annexed by Ethiopia in 1961.  EPLF wasn’t original movement but comprised of lowland muslims.  1993 they are granted independence. 

Ethiopia and Eritrea had opposite views of development.  First, economic, the political strains on the border, then all out war where at least 100K died.  Mostly over 1 town: Bahgmay but then it expanded (similar to current sudan situation except that it didn’t carry the same history of a long negotiation).  The two countries didn’t originally give much thought to the border.  What was the war really about?  A conflict between local communities on either side of the border?  It wasn’t really about the border since there were no resources but it was more borne from a stubbornness of the Eritreans that ‘had fought for this for 30 years.’

Eventually, Somalis broke through and defeated Eritreans to the point where they accepted defeat and negotiated peace settlement with the UN arbitrating the border.  Eritreans didn’t originally like the UN border but then they noticed that they had the town of Bahmay—just not the land around it.  So then the Eritreans were happy but Ethiopia wasn’t and wouldn’t accept it—they’ve since effectively occupied Bahmay—and there’s been a cold war ever since.  Both sides fund/support destabilizing groups in each other’s nations. 

Originally Eritrean government was going to use mobilized security forces to do development projects (hence their original rationale for not demobilizing).  But since the border war, they have not been used this way.

They (Turabi in Sudan and Eritrea) both want to produce national identity defined by commonality and to use the state to remake society… but ?

To Consider When Reading:
What do they say about the model of nation-building?
Authors are trying to understand what Eritrean plan is and to what extent are they driven by an over-response (or is it an appropriate response) to the war?
How are Eritrean people reacting to this complete government control of society?

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