Essay about the conditions, possibilities and limitations of politically-engaged art. Master Thesis 2013.
Between 1998 and 2000, Ethiopia and Eritrea – two of the world’s poorest countries – waged a bitter war that cost more than 100,000 lives. Still considered one of the most senseless conflicts in Africa’s history, it saw the two countries literally fight over nothing.
The report traces the economic and political reasons for this war, highlighting them from different points of view, none of which are favoured as this would not do justice to the complex historical situation.
First of all, the Eritrean–Ethiopian War is far from over. Despite the Algiers Agreement of 2000, the ceasefire at the Horn of Africa remains fraught and tenuous. Renewed eruption of violence is possible, as demonstrated by the recent crisis in Somalia. Secondly, the conflict remains relevant for highlighting the discrepancies and problems associated with the development of Africa. Ironically, the efforts undertaken by developed countries to bring security, democracy and humanity to countries like Eritrea and Ethiopia have enabled corrupt dictatorships to remain in power for such a long time. Last but not least this conflict is exemplary in terms of media manipulation and propaganda, revealing that the Western media are by no means immune to systematic deception.
This report was written after a ten-week research trip through both countries, during which the author sighted historic sites, archives and contemporary documents (where accessible) and held countless conversations with historians, other journalists, politicians, soldiers and so on. Most conversations were possible in English; wherever this was not the case, Iman Ibrahim served as an interpreter between interviewer and interviewee.
Approx. 4,826 words or 23,300 characters