A New Life on the Ethiopian-Eritrean Border



Without war; a new life on the Ethiopian-Eritrean border



Software Translation from Italian



By Richard Ruíz Julién | www.prensa-latina.cu | Oct 7, 2018



Addis Ababa,  (Prensa Latina) Fiyori Bizen, an Ethiopian mother of three children, used to live a challenging life; her home, located on the border with the former Eritrea, suffered continuous damage due to occasional armed clashes.



All that changed almost a month ago, with the opening of the border areas, closed for more than two decades since both nations fought a war from May 1998 to December 2000.



That contest, based among other issues on disputes of a territorial nature , left an estimated 70 thousand people dead on both sides.



With the border demilitarization after the rapid diplomatic rapprochement, Zalambessa and other points of entry became zones of commercial and cultural interaction.



This exchange there seemed unthinkable several months ago, as thousands of soldiers were housed in a state of tension, a legacy of bitter conflict.



Despite an agreement signed in Algiers aimed at putting an end to the armed confrontation, Addis Ababa and Asmara did not find a way to reestablish relations and were locked in a climate of ‘no war, no peace’, which intensified at the along its 1,100 kilometers of border.



The hostility ended two decades later, a promise made by the Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, when he took office in April and that could be finalized three months later.



In addition to signing the Declaration of Peace, air services resumed, telephone lines reopened and diplomatic missions re-established.



Meanwhile, Bizen, who lives in the outskirts of Zalambessa, part of the northern regional state of Tigray, saw her home transform from a refuge to a business, where she now sells coffee drinks to travelers.



“I have a growing client list of drivers, regular passengers and soldiers since I started the sale a week ago,” she told Prensa Latina.



Due to the insecurity, many of their neighbors in previous years moved their homes to cities such as Adi-Grat and Mekelle, far from the border areas, but the economic weakness had prevented him from carrying out a similar relocation.



However, my misfortune became an advantage overnight; traffic increased exponentially since September, which made the site an ideal place to rest, she said.



Bizen also stressed that the transformation of a housewife to a small business owner on the rise helped her supplement her husband’s meager income by allowing them to pay school fees and the daily needs of their children.



“The good business opportunities allowed me to open other portfolios, including the sale of plastic products and hand-woven baskets, while trying to satisfy the requirements of my clients.”



The dividend for her reopening has not only been monetary and security.



“With the measure, I was able to reconnect with my relatives lost a long time ago in the city of Sahr, in Eritrea, who gave me mental relief and happiness,” he said.



Others, like Kibreab Baraki, a part-time teacher and translator, literally expect to capitalize on their language skills.



Baraki speaks fluently the Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia, Tigrinya, Eritrean, and English, which is increasingly used by civilians and government officials.



“With the increase in ties, I think I can use my skills to help reconnect citizens,” he told Prensa Latina.



But he is not limiting his ambitions to mere works of translation; He also made contacts with tour operators in the neighboring state to facilitate opportunities among the ‘sister nations’.



However, he cautioned that the peace process must be actively promoted at the field level to ensure that the newly found stability is durable and has a mutually beneficial approach.



Source: https://www.prensa-latina.cu/index.php?o=rn&id=217085&SEO=sin-guerra-una-nueva-vida-en-la-frontera-etiope-eritrea