Resistance Posters on the Streets of Asmara
(Asmara 31-07-2012) In a daring move coordinated by the ArbiHarnet (Freedom Friday) movement, resistance posters were posted on popular streets and venues in Asmara. The posters that had oblique messages about the death of Eritrean freedom and a bereft revolution for liberty, were couched in the style and language of obituary announcements, complete with an image of a young woman, that are customarily placed on walls and lamp posts in Asmara the capital of Eritrea.
Coordinating the project were diaspora based young activists, who utilised their connections among their peer back in Eritrea.
Reports indicate that within an hour of posting the posters were a focal point of discussions as many people flocked to read the message. Although designed to be an oblique depiction of the fate of Eritrean youth the message was easily deciphered by Asmara residents.
Coordinators of Arbiharnet and their counterparts inside Eritrea say that this action was aimed at strengthening the link between the resistance inside and outside the country and particularly the youth movement that has been gaining momentum and is fast becoming a beacon of hope for Eritreans.
According to the diaspora based coordinators, this is a continuation of their efforts to work in tandem with people inside Eritrea who are suffering the brunt of the brutal dictatorship, under the rule of Isaias Afewerki.
21 years after independence Eritrea is said to be one of the most repressive countries in the world with appalling records for human and democratic rights. Eritrean young people fleeing an indefinite national service carried out under slave like conditions take incalculable risks and often end up becoming victims of trafficking and fatal accidents whilst attempting dangerous crossings away from Eritrea.
It is to be remembered that ArbiHarnet carried out other initiatives aimed at enhancing the resistance inside the country, including some 22,000 random and targeted phone calls highlighting the atrocities and calling the Eritrean public to express its collective indignation against injustice. Similar to the posters the phone calls were well received by the public and there is said to be a growing confidence within the resistance movement inside Eritrea.
Contrary to initial expectations the posters were still on many walls and lamp posts four days after they were posted.
1. ArbiHarnet (Feedom Friday) is an initiative coordinated by Eritrean youth in the diaspora with the aim of narrowing the gulf between the resistance to the government of Eritrea in the diaspora and inside the country.
2. One of the objectives of the initiative is to encourage Eritreans inside the country to indentify communal responses to the dictatorship that has caused thousands of Eritreans to become refugees and prisoners.
3. ArbiHanet is an independent initiative inspired by the Arab Spring Revolutions.
4. Below is a list of some of the venues and streets that many contacts confirmed seeing the poster so far:
• Around Medeber (trade and innovation hub of the city)
• In the central Asmara (piazza), near Bar Shishay (where a number of business people congregate)
• On the walls of the 2nd police station
• In an area known as Babilon (a pole near to the housing authorities building)
• On walls near bar Jos (popular ba)
• In front of Bar Royal where a number of obituary and other announcements are posted
• Across the road from Bar Alba (another popular bar)
• Across the road from the Catholic Cathedral (the most famous landmark in Asmara)
• On Bahti Meskerem Square ( and several nearby spots)
• At the City’s taxi station in Akriya
• Bar Angelo in Maytemenay (on the outskirts of Asmara)
• Asmara Expo (famous exhibition and events venue where the annual Asmara Festival is due to be held in August)
• And several others on the streets of Godayif (i the outskirts of the city)