Selected Term Paper No. 7 / September 2004
Nationalismus in Eritrea.
Von der treibenden Kraft der Dekolonisation zum Entwicklungshemmnis
This paper analyses the role of nationalism in Eritrea. This country at the horn of
Africa developed a national identity over the period spanning the Italian colonial age,
the time as a British protectorate, and especially during the 30 year struggle for
independence from Ethiopa which led to the creation of a nation state in 1993. This
nationalism exerts a strong cohesive force integrating the country, and even
transcending ethnicity and religion. In view of the problems other decolonization
movements in Africa had with creating national identity, two central questions are the
focus of this research:
It will be demonstrated, that in Eritrea - in contrast to the remainder of Africa - a
`nation without state´ has grown. Here, nationalism played an exceptional role during
the acquisition of independence and establishment of the sovereignty of the State of
Eritrea. Furthermore, it will be shown that nowadays this kind of nationalism is the
main obstacle in the consolidation of a constituional state. The Eritrean government
runs the risk of destroying the foundations by which Eritrea gained its independence.
- Does Eritrean nationalism represent a special case in Africa due to its late
decolonisation, which facilitates the establishment of a national state?
- How does this particular Eritrean nationalism affect the policy of the present