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Writing Eritrea: History and Representation in a Bad Neighborhood

  • Richard Reid

Abstract

This paper reflects on the ways in which Eritrea has been written about since circa 2001, the point at which the country entered a new phase of heightened authoritarianism and increased international isolation. It considers the ways in which Eritrea has been seen largely in “presentist” terms, due in no small way to the Eritrean government’s own intrinsic hostility to independent historical research, with an overwhelming fixation on its dire human rights and governance record, and on the nature of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF), which governs in all but name. The paper urges a more historical approach, beginning with the critical three decades that preceded the emergence of the EPLF in the early 1970s.

Cet article porte sur les manières par lesquelles l’on a écrit sur l’Erythrée depuis 2001, au moment où le pays est entré dans une nouvelle phase d’autoritarisme et isolement international accrus. Il prend en considération les modalités par lesquelles l’Erythrée a été largement vue dans des termes “présentistes,” en raison de l’hostilité intrinsèque non négligeable du gouvernement vers la recherche historique indépendente, avec une propagande débordante sur les points marqués sur les droits de l’homme et la gouvernance ainsi que la nature du Front de Libération du Peuple Érythréen (EPLF), qui gouverne dans tout sauf que dans le nom qu’il porte. L’article prone pour une approche historique plus poussée, en ouvrant avec les trois décennies critiques qui ont précédé l’émergence de l’EPLF au début des années 70.

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Writing Eritrea: History and Representation in a Bad Neighborhood

  • Richard Reid

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