The rebel tourists

In the street cafés of Asmara, which serve some of the best macchiatos and cappuccinos outside Italy, opposition politicians and rebel leaders gather to discuss how they are going to overthrow the government.

Eritrea is one of Africa’s most repressive countries, a place where dissent is stifled and those who speak out are swiftly arrested. But these rebels are free to plot because they are planning to oust the rulers in Eritrea’s neighbours.

The start of my latest Monocle column from my recent trip to Eritrea. The rest is here.

I have wanted to go to Eritrea ever since I moved to East Africa in 2006 but a combination of factors – partly the reluctance of the Eritrean authorities to grant me a visa – meant I had to wait three and a half years. It was well worth it. In a week-long trip I saw some of the most amazing architecture Africa has to offer, heard numerous harrowing tales of young people trapped in never-ending national service, and was accused of being a spy for MI5 during a two and a half hour-long interview with the president. An interview which, like all interviews with foreign journalists, was broadcast on Eri-TV.

I will blog more about Eritrea when the main article for Monocle appears in the magazine early next year.

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2 responses to “The rebel tourists

  1. Can’t wait to hear more about this…

  2. Pingback: Sunday Africa Blog Roundup: Niger Delta, Eritrea, Darfur « Sahel Blog

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