Reporters Without Borders

“The Eritreans,” a moving account by Léonard Vincent

“The Eritreans,” a moving account by Léonard Vincent

Published on Friday 27 January 2012.
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“No one or almost no one knows Eritrea.” So begins Les Erythréens (The Eritreans), a French-language book by writer and journalist Léonard Vincent that has just been published by the Paris-based publishing house Rivages.

In the course of this book’s 245 carefully-researched pages, the author teaches us a lot about this small country in the Horn of Africa, one of the planet’s last totalitarian dictatorships, which President Issaias Afeworki “runs like a barracks.”

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Léonard Vincent

This in-depth and moving study by Vincent, who headed the Reporters Without Borders Africa Desk from 2004 to 2008, includes interviews with Eritreans talking about their ordeals, hopes and disappointments.

It shows us Eritrea through the eyes of those who are there and those who fled, those inside the country, the regime’s prisoners, and the diaspora, the exiles in Addis Ababa, Nairobi and Khartoum, and closer to us, in Lampedusa, London and Paris.

After an overview of the country’s history and a portrait of its ruthless president, Vincent examines the week that changed the course of Eritrea’s modern history, the seven days in September 2001 in which all the privately-owned media outlets were shut down and their owners and editors were jailed, along with many influential government ministers and army generals.

This is a journey to the heart of a country where every kind of freedom is flouted, a country that has been ranked last in the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index for the past five years.

Read it now!

Read the Reporters Without Borders country file on Eritrea.

Read the latest press release about Eritrea.

See the latest Eritrea campaign ads in French and English.

Watch the presentation video about Radio Erena, an independent Eritrean radio station based in Paris.

  • Léonard Vincent






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