Article from ROAPE Volume 36 Number 120
Politics of Silence: Interpreting Stasis in Contemporary Eritrea

The Politics of Silence: Interpreting Stasis in Contemporary Eritrea
Vol.36 No.120 (June 2009), pp209-221
This paper examines the current stand-off between the Eritrean government and the broader population, with an appreciation of the historical dynamics which have influenced the contemporary situation. It is argued here that although little appears to be changing in Eritrea on the surface, subtle but important shifts in attitude are taking place, both within government and among the broader populace. The paper explores contemporary political culture in Eritrea, including the system which has developed around the position of the President Isaias Afwerki, and in particular focuses on the marked degree of militarisation which now characterises Eritrean society. Specifically, education has now become highly militarised, while the issue of the ‘demarcation’ of the border with Ethiopia – a key issue since the ceasefire in 2000 – has wider implications for future relations between government and people.