News Brief
Photo by Milena Bereket.

People Rejoice as Phone Lines Between Eritrea and Ethiopia Open for the First Time Since 1998

People are placing random phone calls to the other country in celebration, just because they can.

The two-decade long border conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia came to an official end yesterday, with the signing of a peace agreement between leaders of the neighboring nations.

The long-awaited peace declaration was met with jubilation by citizens of both countries, and will lead to the normalization of diplomatic relations: trade is to be established, direct flights to be resumed, embassies in both capitals will open up, and international phone lines will be opened between the two nations.

The reopening of direct phone communication alone has been cause for celebration, it's one of the immediate changes that has occurred since the peace deal. Citizens of both countries who haven't been in touch with family members on the other side of the border, have finally been given the chance to reconnect.


A report from Reuters, tells the story of an Ethiopian mechanic, Mohammed Osman, who was able to hear his mother's voice on Tuesday morning for the first time since he was 13. His mother had been expelled from Ethiopia to Eritrea in 1998, along with over 70,000 Ethiopians of Eritrean decent, the publication reports.

"I couldn't recognize her at first but for her laughter. It was surreal," Osman told Reuters. "It was bittersweet."

Folks are elated by the news. Some are celebrating the moment by placing calls to the other country, just because they can.

Even members living in the diaspora are feeling the joy of the moment. One Ethiopian Twitter user living in Finland by the name of Henok, said he also took part in calling strangers in Eritrea as well in celebration, and recalled how the conflict had impacted his childhood. "I was ecstatic to talk to a random person from Eritrea! I lived most of my childhood with Eritrean neighbors," he told OkayAfrica. "Growing up I had friends born in Asmara who were deported during the war. The war has broken families apart, but we are basically the same people—I was thinking about those stories when I made the call. It was just joyful moment."

The reopening of phone lines is a simple, yet symbolic change marking the end of a period of discord. Many have expressed joy at the move on social media, noting how significant of a step in fostering a new relationship between the two East African countries.







News Brief
Podcast cover art.

Bobi Wine's Release Detailed in Latest Episode of 'The Messenger'

Trauma is the topic on the podcast's latest episode: "The Ballot or The Bullet."

The latest episode of The Messenger is something to behold.

Created by Sudanese-American rapper Bas, The Messenger throws the spotlight on the thunderous circumstances many African countries face, with a close focus on Ugandan politician Bobi Wine.

In his most recent traumatic experience, Wine and his wife Barbara Itungo Kyagulanyi were released from a nearly two-week military house arrest following the ruling of a Ugandan court. Keeping up with current events and circumstances that Wine finds himself in, the latest episode of the podcast recounts the traumatic events that led to Wine's very public abuse and eventual house arrest.

Upon his release, Wine spoke with The Messenger and had this to say, "I want to remind the world that we went in this election knowing how corrupt the staff of the electoral commission is. We saw this through the campaign and the world saw how much was oppressed, how biased and one sided the electoral commission was, and how much it was in the full grip of General Museveni. And therefore we are going to test every legal test, we shall take every legal test. We shall take every legal step. And indeed we shall take every moral and morally proactive, nonviolent, but legal and peaceful step to see that we liberate ourselves. The struggle has not ended. It is just beginning."

Listen to Episode 7 of The Messenger here.

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