Asmara’s rare weather phenomena of freezing rains and flooded streets attracted unprecedented media attention from international media outlets.
After all, we haven’t had a non-political issue causing a small media frenzy for a long time.
The BBC, Daily Express and the New York Daily News covered the story, after state-owned Shabait and Hadash Eritrea reported that Asmara experienced extensive ice rain, flooding and ice clusters of one meter height on Wednesday. Like many of the Eritrean Diaspora news sites have done over the last decade, the three publications also had to do their editing work in a “We take what we can get” style. They relied on screenshot images from Eri-TV videos and picture taken on the street of Asmara by government-owned media.
The BBC’s headline is “Hail storm dumps metre of ice on capital” and the article quotes a BBC Monitoring journalist in Nairobi as saying, “While hail is not unknown in Asmara at this time of year, this week’s storm has surprised residents with its intensity.”
The Daily Express covered the story with a more imaginative title, “Freak of nature: Hailstorm dumps 3ft of ice on East African nation of Eritrea.” like it was dumped by a big alien spaceship hovering over Eritrea.
U.S. based New York Daily News writes, “The storm caught the city of Asmara by surprise with its heavy flooding and large clusters of ice, some nearly three feet thick, that blocked many of the streets and stranded vehicles, according to video shared by government-run television station ERI-TV.”
Eritreans must be thrilled to see their country on the map for non-political reasons for once. We got noticed for “freak weather” and “monster ice rain”. After year-long hibernation and self-entertainment Eri-TV was put on the global media map and some world citizens got to hear Tigrinya for the first time in their lives.
There is an old maxim in Eritrea “There’s nothing that can’t be accomplished” and as our motto goes we even made it rain and snow in Africa.
Not only did we make it snow, but we also rescued the world from an increase in global warming.
Eritrea was tied to a Reuters report about small volcanoes and their impact on blocking sunlight and therefore hampering global warming in early February. Eruptions of about 17 small volcanoes since 2000, including Nabro in Eritrea, Kasatochi in Alaska and Merapi in Indonesia, ejected sulfur whose sun-blocking effect had been largely ignored until now by climate scientists, the report read.
There are many things the world has to find out about our super nation and recent headlines suggest exactly that. How else should we interpret stories about the new super grain Teff. For instance The Irish Independent writes, “There is a new super-grain on the block and his name is teff. He’s new to our Western neighbourhood but he’s already making big waves in the world of nutrition and food.” it continues, “Teff is a highly resilient, high-yield grain, which is ideally suited to semi-nomadic life in areas of Ethiopia and Eritrea where it has long thrived.”
This kind of news leaves most of us baffled as it reads like “another dinosaur species found” for something we know as part of our diet since birth.
Whatever our concerns might be, autonomy or freedom from outside domination, we matter to the outside world and the outside world matters to us, suggesting that we need to be interconnected and exchange with it by stepping out of the shadow.