An Eritrean Play
This is a Drama based on contemporary political realities in some African countries, which arrived at liberation through armed struggle. Eritrea (God’s land, according to the ancient Egyptians) is an example of a country and society in convulsion because of the abandonment by its leadership, particularly among the ex-combatants, of the lofty principles of democracy, serving the people, equality and solidarity: aspirations that characterized the rhetoric of the revolution. The incidences and personalities in it are, however, purely fictitious although similarities are bound to exist since the principles during the wars of liberation and the abuses thereafter tend to be the same in all undemocratic countries. Poetic license has been used to draw characters from the army, students, political dissidents and political opportunists, the Catholic Church and a nun who escapes rape but is martyred in the process of resistance.
This is a drama with elements of suspense, farce, comedy and tragedy, woven in a way that will not fail to move the reader in and outside Eritrea by the in depth understanding of the inside workings and “intelligence” of a contemporary African dictatorship.
Bereket Habte Selassie is an award-winning distinguished academic who teaches African Studies and Law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has written over ten books and scores of articles on law, history and politics, including two memoirs. His first major work of fiction is a novel, Riding the Whirlwind (1993). He is gathering material for another novel, which he plans to finish by 2013. A committed Pan-Africanist, he was invited to deliver the Nyerere Distinguished Lecture for 2011 at the University of Dar es-Salaam.