The people of Eritrea have shouldered heavy tribulations in the past seventy years. Their ordeal has few parallels in contemporary history.
In the 1940’s, when decolonization was the order of the day in Africa and elsewhere in the world, Eritrea was singled out for a discriminatory treatment by the United Nations when this august body was entrusted to decide its fate. As it happened, Eritrea’s right to independence from vanquished Italian colonial rule was squashed - while Libya and Somalia where granted independence - in order to mollify the overriding “strategic interests of the United States” in the context of a simmering Cold War. In the infamous words of U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, at the time, "…From the point of view of justice, the opinion of the Eritrean people must receive consideration. Nevertheless, the strategic interests of the United States in the Red Sea Basin and world peace make it necessary that the country be linked with our ally Ethiopia."