Text and Photographs by Norbert Schiller
On July 18, 2018 the first commercial flight in 20 years made the trip from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Asmara, Eritrea. Families separated since the 1998 – 2000 border war accompanied with dignitaries sang, danced in the aisles and celebrated with champagne as the 300-seat passenger plane made the 80 minute flight between the two capitals. The demand to get on the first plane was so high that Ethiopian Airlines put on a second one 15 minutes later. Both planes were greeted with fanfare on arrival in Asmara. The two-year border war that killed an estimated 75,000 people had been resolved 9 days earlier when both countries agreed to implement the terms of the U.N.-brokered ceasefire agreement that was signed in 2000 in Algeria.
I covered the war twice from the Eritrean side. Following is an article that I wrote after my first trip to the battlefront along with an exhibition of photographs that I took. Although the article features an Eritrean victory, in reality Ethiopia had a manpower advantage over its much smaller neighbor which, in spite of its steadfast spirit, could not sustain the human waves that Ethiopia was deploying to the front.