Trying to Understand the Eritrea/Ethiopia Conflict

     The conflict between the Ethiopian government and the Eritrean government has lead to war and separation of many people from family and friends.
     My country has a sad story which took away the people I really care about. Eritrean and Ethiopian troops fought together for 17 years to remove the communist party from power. After the communist government was removed, Eritrean leaders asked for separation from Ethiopia. The current government of Ethiopia agreed to the separation calling it freedom for Eritrean people.
     After they declared the freedom of Eritrea, they asked the people who had been living together for a long time to choose either Ethiopia or Eritrea. My aunt is Ethiopian and her husband is Eritrean. My aunt’s husband didn’t choose Eritrea, but his sisters and brother who were born in Ethiopia chose Eritrea.
     Then Ethiopia started to have a conflict with Eritrea and all the Eritrean people who chose Eritrea were told to immediately leave Ethiopia, the country they were born in. When I heard this I didn’t believe my ears because my friends and my neighbors who grew up with me had to leave.
     Then we started hearing rumors that all young Eritrean boys and girls would be drafted since Eritrea, a small country, was starting to lose the war. They needed more solders. This worried many people because the children were too young to be soldiers. So as soon as possible the people who had money sent their children out of the country. Many came to the U.S.
Blair students have different opinions about what the Eritrean government is doing. One girl, who is a freshman in Blair High School, arrived here this past summer from Eritrea. After her family came to the U.S. 5 years ago, they tried very hard for 5 years to get her to be with them but the government in Eritrea didn’t want to let her leave. Even though the U.S. Embassy gave her a visa to join her family, she could not leave. “I hated the Eritrean government because they kept me a way from my family for 5 years,” she said.
     Another student is a senior in Blair. He was born in Ethiopia and was sent to Eritrea but he didn’t end up being a soldier.      Unlike the girl who was kept from joining her family, he is not angry with the government of Eritrea. “I like the government because that government brought freedom for our people,” he said.

© Copyright Silver International Newspaper, Montgomery Blair H.S. 2007 (This page was created by Gerson Villegas )