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Sense and Sensibility on a Slipery Slope


The sudden and dramatic surge of Eritrean refugees in the Netherlands has put the Dutch spotlight on the dire situation in Eritrea. In response to this, staunch supporters of the Eritrean regime living in the Netherlands seem to have been instructed to portray a rosier picture of Eritrea, and to fiercely attack local critics of the Eritrean regime. Their malicious attacks are permeating social media, and include defamation disguised in poetic or patriotic words, circular logic and several other twisted constructs. Consciously or unconsciously these staunch supporters are intensifying what has been going on in the Eritrean diaspora community in the Netherlands for decades: softly killing sense and sensibility, progressively hindering self-reflection and self-development.

Do these staunch supporters, who claim to be the ticking heart of the community, ever contemplate about the consequences of their activities here in the Netherlands? Do they ever ask themselves what they have achieved so far? Little to nothing if one considers all the opportunities at hand in education, business and other disciplines. There are probably more young Eritrean men and women in criminal and mental institutions than graduates of higher education or successful young businessmen. The far future does not look bright either: many Eritrean children, especially those whose parents support an inward-thinking community, are detached from reality, and have difficulty coping with every day life.

If the staunch supporters cannot grasp this, it may be due the fact that they too are a victim of the slow death that sense and sensibility have died within the community. A very sad situation to be in, after all, if they cannot advance themselves, their children and their local community in an environment that has so much to offer, they will not be of true value here or in Eritrea.


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Sennay Ghebreab, room C3.2545

Informatics Institute, University of Amsterdam

Science Park 904, 1098 XH Amsterdam

Email: s.ghebreab@uva.nl  Tel: +31-20-5252270