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Useful Notes / Eritrea

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Eritrea is a very little-known country in East Africa that holds the notable distinction of having the single lowest quality of news media on the planet, worse even than North Korea. This is because there’s only one party (The People's Front for Democracy and Justice, if you were wondering) that hasn’t held elections, closed all the private media and has done all the typical stuff of an authoritarian government.

Eritrea was occupied (i.e. invaded) by a lot of countries and kingdoms, the most prominent of all being Italy, ruling the country from 1870s until they were kicked out in the aftermath of World War II, being replaced by the British. This insane interest in the country can be explained with its location (right in the middle of the Red Sea).

It was annexed by Ethiopia in 1962 in a gradual process, so gradual that apparently nobody noticed until they were a part of Ethiopia. This devolved into a war that only ended in 1991. Eritrea finally became independent in 1993. Not that it has much, besides access to the sea. Its infrastructure is not well developed, with its railway (yes, just the one) being a literal case of Break Out the Museum Piece, as 1930s-era Italian steam engines still chug up and down the mountains from Asmara to Massawa.


The relations of the country with its neighbors are not very good, with wars and frontier disputes ongoing (including with Yemen… at the other side of the sea). With Ethiopia in particular, they're especially poor, particularly with their polarizing positions in the Somali conflict and the fact that both governments try to destabilize each other.

The population is also neatly divided between Christian and Sunni Muslim. And that would be all, thank you very much.

Some Western media is allowed in, however. Eritreans are known to be fond of Prison Break. One wonders why...

The Eritrean flag

The flag is dominated by a red triangle running from hoist to fly, symbolizing the blood of the fallen throughout Eritrea's turbulent history; in its center is a golden wreath with an upright olive branch, symbolizing both mineral resources and presumably the United Nations' role in helping Eritrea gain independence; the green upper half symbolizes fertility; and the blue lower half symbolizes the Red Sea.


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