“Eritrea at a Crossroads: A Narrative of Triumph, Betrayal and Hope”
Ch 8. Scourge of Indefinite National Service
When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.
ናይ ውሽጢ ጸላኢ እንተዘይብልካ፡ ናይ ግዳም ጸላኢ ኪጐድኣካ ኣይክእልን ኢዩ።
– ኣፍሪቃዊ ምስላ
The Scourge of Indefinite National Service affirms the importance of rules-based, duration-specific and well-applied programme of national service to build a reliable reserve force as an element of national defence strategy. It lauds the role of a reserve force, as an alternative to a large standing army, to supplement a small professional army in the event of need and to participate at times in meaningful development projects implemented in accordance with planned national priorities. It notes the practice of voluntary service that evolved as a tradition among Eritrean youth during the war of national liberation and the complementary role played by forced recruitment as an instrument of wartime mobilisation.
Further, the chapter reviews the Proclamation of National Service in terms of the waste, the opportunity cost, the loss of legitimacy, the crisis of mass exodus and the devastation caused by abuses in implementing the programme. It exposes the illegal practice of endless active national service, carried out without due remuneration, as a scourge afflicting Eritrean youth, destroying the nuclear family and draining Eritrean society. In particular, it deplores the colossal misuse of the nation’s most productive manpower resources that cast a pall over its future.
(PDF: Tigrinya ምዕራፍ 8)