One of the frustrations with which Africa’s friends have had to repeatedly cope over the years has been the seemingly utter incapacity of the African leaders to deal with their more problematic peers: witness the annual African Union (AU) summit’s literal embrace of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe last year on the very morrow of a farcical “re-election” criticised the pan-African organisation’s own monitors or, with a few honourable exceptions, its circling of the wagons around Sudanese despot Umar Hassan al-Bashir earlier this year after the International Criminal Court indicted him for crimes against humanity and war crimes for his role in the humanitarian disaster in Darfur.

One of the frustrations with which Africa’s friends have had to repeatedly cope over the years has been the seemingly utter incapacity of the African leaders to deal with their more problematic peers: witness the annual African Union (AU) summit’s literal embrace of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe last year on the very morrow of a farcical “re-election” criticised the pan-African organisation’s own monitors or, with a few honourable exceptions, its circling of the wagons around Sudanese despot Umar Hassan al-Bashir earlier this year after the International Criminal Court indicted him for crimes against humanity and war crimes for his role in the humanitarian disaster in Darfur.

  ….According to the front-line soldiers, the dead Shabab fighter was from Eritrea, a tiny but nettlesome African country widely suspected of funneling arms to Somalia’s insurgents.The warfare here is shifting too, from fluid, wild street battles to a more settled fight. Sandbags, mortars, even heavy artillery – all that’s part of the mix now, along with suicide bombs and other tricks of Al Qaeda’s trade.

  ….According to the front-line soldiers, the dead Shabab fighter was from Eritrea, a tiny but nettlesome African country widely suspected of funneling arms to Somalia’s insurgents.The warfare here is shifting too, from fluid, wild street battles to a more settled fight. Sandbags, mortars, even heavy artillery – all that’s part of the mix now, along with suicide bombs and other tricks of Al Qaeda’s trade.

Det blir åtta år. Det blir åtta år utan rättegång. Det blir åtta år i fängelse i under marken. Det blir åtta år utan att träffa deras barn och släktingar. Det blir åtta år utan att andas frihetens luft. Det blir åtta år under tortyr. Det blir åtta år utan kommunikation med andra människor. Det blir åtta år. Det är fängelse i Eritrea. De oskyldiga journalister och politiker fängslade i Eritrea utan rättegång för åtta år sedan.

Det blir åtta år. Det blir åtta år utan rättegång. Det blir åtta år i fängelse i under marken. Det blir åtta år utan att träffa deras barn och släktingar. Det blir åtta år utan att andas frihetens luft. Det blir åtta år under tortyr. Det blir åtta år utan kommunikation med andra människor. Det blir åtta år. Det är fängelse i Eritrea. De oskyldiga journalister och politiker fängslade i Eritrea utan rättegång för åtta år sedan.

Finding yourself in a survival situation can be a terrifying experience at the best of times, but survival at sea is probably the most difficult one you can face. You’ll be restricted in movement – whether that would be because your boat has been damaged or you’re floating in the water and food sources are likely to be even more difficult to obtain. You’ll also have to cope with waves and wind and you’re likely to have to battle with extreme levels of heat and cold.

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Finding yourself in a survival situation can be a terrifying experience at the best of times, but survival at sea is probably the most difficult one you can face. You’ll be restricted in movement – whether that would be because your boat has been damaged or you’re floating in the water and food sources are likely to be even more difficult to obtain. You’ll also have to cope with waves and wind and you’re likely to have to battle with extreme levels of heat and cold.

POST TAGS:

It is not often Eritrea gets a mention in the news. Thank you for your excellent article on the Eritrean refugee squat in Calais (The house of despair, G2, 30 July) explaining the appalling human rights situation that is forcing so many young people to flee Eritrea – with so many dying on the way in the Libyan deserts or the Mediterranean.

It is not often Eritrea gets a mention in the news. Thank you for your excellent article on the Eritrean refugee squat in Calais (The house of despair, G2, 30 July) explaining the appalling human rights situation that is forcing so many young people to flee Eritrea – with so many dying on the way in the Libyan deserts or the Mediterranean.

The first thing you notice is the smell. Sour and rancid, it cuts at the back of your throat; a powerful combination of rotting food, urine and sweat. Next it’s the flies, lots of them, circling in a frenzy. Then, out of the gloom, a pair of eyes emerges, and another – and then the shape of a young man, sleeping deeply on one of the grubby mattresses that line the floor of this derelict place. A few minutes from the centre of Calais, this is “Africa house”, so called because of the 40 or 50 Eritrean asylum seekers who now squat here, waiting and hoping.

The first thing you notice is the smell. Sour and rancid, it cuts at the back of your throat; a powerful combination of rotting food, urine and sweat. Next it’s the flies, lots of them, circling in a frenzy. Then, out of the gloom, a pair of eyes emerges, and another – and then the shape of a young man, sleeping deeply on one of the grubby mattresses that line the floor of this derelict place. A few minutes from the centre of Calais, this is “Africa house”, so called because of the 40 or 50 Eritrean asylum seekers who now squat here, waiting and hoping.

Eritrea’s famine has devastated nearly half its population and is steadily worsening due to the government’s refusal to cooperate with NGOs. According to an Amnesty International report, about half of Eritrea’s population is undernourished as a result of the widespread drought affecting the country.  Famine has plagued the country for nearly seven years, when the first major drought in 2002 bled the country’s food resources dry.

Eritrea’s famine has devastated nearly half its population and is steadily worsening due to the government’s refusal to cooperate with NGOs. According to an Amnesty International report, about half of Eritrea’s population is undernourished as a result of the widespread drought affecting the country.  Famine has plagued the country for nearly seven years, when the first major drought in 2002 bled the country’s food resources dry.