I Didn't Do It for You: How the World Betrayed a Small African Nation
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Scarred by decades of conflict and occupation, the craggy African nation of Eritrea has weathered the world's longest-running guerrilla war. The dogged determination that secured victory against Ethiopia, its giant neighbor, is woven into the national psyche, the product of cynical foreign interventions. Fascist Italy wanted Eritrea as the springboard for a new, racially pure Roman empire; Britain sold off its industry for scrap; the United States needed a base for its state-of-the-art spy station; and the Soviet Union used it as a pawn in a proxy war.
In I Didn't Do It for You, Michela Wrong reveals the breathtaking abuses this tiny nation has suffered and, with a sharp eye for detail and a taste for the incongruous, tells the story of colonialism itself and how international power politics can play havoc with a country's destiny.
to make the pullout as practically difficult as possible for Ethiopia’s erstwhile friends. Amazing as it may seem in retrospect, the Derg’s decision hit US officials in Addis and Asmara like a thunderclap. ‘We’d thought things had stabilized, we didn’t expect the Ethiopians to make the break that radically,’ says Wauchope. ‘They had been adept at playing the superpowers off against each other. The Ethiopian government still had links, don’t forget, with Yale, the Ford Foundation, TWA. To suddenly
eavesdropping but now, when seconds counted, such stratagems were abandoned. ‘I’m in the midst of it, and I can tell you: there’s no need to worry,’ Mesfin reassured his colleagues. The third time he was told to order a withdrawal, he switched the radio off. Success, he sensed, was within his grasp. As the EPLF infantry reached the valley floor, where the Fighters were almost impossible to pick out amongst the boulders and trees, the position at Kamchiwa became untenable. Ethiopian commanders
note to his daughter. The screeds of elegant copperplate draw the portrait of a man both irreverent and perceptive, capable of acknowledging his own failings while deriving huge amusement from those of others. They chime with the posed portrait photographs which show the author, eyebrows raised, high-domed head tipped quizzically to one side, challenging the camera. ‘He is balding, and this bothers him,’ reads the entry in a light-hearted biographical dictionary of the day.5 It describes an
to return home: but now that that time has passed…it is neither wise nor honest to keep spreading exaggerated stories.’ One can hear a sardonic disdain in Martini’s voice as he imagines the eventual fate of Africa’s indigenous tribes. ‘We have started the job. Succeeding generations will continue to depopulate Africa of its ancient inhabitants, down to the last but one. Not quite the last–he will be trained at college to sing our praises, celebrating how, by destroying the negro race, we finally
scrupulously avoid creating any impression whatsoever that the United Nations has any interest in the political situation within the Federation,’ he warned. ‘There now exists no basis on which the United Nations can show any interest in the political problems of Eritrea and the Union. Although the United Nations played the decisive role in the drafting of the Eritrean Constitution…that job has been completed to the satisfaction of the General Assembly, and that item has been removed from the