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Asmara - Image, Identity and Memory

published in: Peter Volgger and Stefan Graf: Asmara- Colonial City and Postcolonial Experiences, DOM publishers, Berlin 2017, p. 410-421.

Eritrea is a challenging place to think about the cultural geographies of memo-ry in which to consider the relationships between public memory and cultural self-definition. Public memory in Eritrea is a volatile object, both the legacies of colonialism and the inequitable social and political outcomes of the present contribute to this volatility. This essay deals with the question of representa-tion through images – the production of meaning through architecture. According to this view, meaning is constructed: it is a matter of invention or creation. Representation here is not a ‘true’ reflection of reality, the discourse on ‘imaging of the city’ goes far beyond simply trying to mirror accurately what exists.1 Thus Asmara is viewed as a ‘system of representation’; it consists of different ways of organising, clustering, arranging and classifying concepts, and of establishing a triangular confrontation between culture, power and identity. In order to understand Asmara, we will need to explore reflection, images, imitation and the work of the imagination.

Consequently, our narrative of Asmara distances itself from reductionism. In-stead, it considers a different type of colonial future, inherent in an uncon-cluded colonial past. It explores the relationship between modernism and the modernisation project expressed in architecture, intertwining these parts within the context of colonialism and decolonisation and looking beyond a simple history of buildings. Few colonial practices, despite the demise of that obsolete model of formal domination, have been effectively abandoned since decolonisation. Thus, an impressive pattern of continuity can be observed and today a nostalgic colonial rhetoric of modernisation is re-emerging. Mia Fuller wrote: ‘Asmara’s physical continuities are the vehicle of complex local appropriations and rejections of the past, against a larger backdrop of aspirations for the future – a future that, appearances notwithstanding, is not linked to Italian colonialism.’2 Both local and international actors have been using the power of images and symbols to bequeath their stories about Asmara to the coming generations. Asmara’s architecture has remained uncannily close to the Italian image. Image and identity often seem to be identical. How should we interpret this?

The romantic image of the city

Everywhere, colonial urban politics were mostly founded on a simulacrum: they focused on the valorisation and preservation of an image that was as-sumed to constitute the mythical origin of the town form, probably without any real historical precedent, creating an iconography where suggestion and imagination overlapped. A very good example of this is the construction of the ‘medina’ during French colonialism. With the tourism industry, the colo-nial partition of the urban layout and demography lives on in former French colonies, resulting in the creation of a medina that is still marketed through an orientalising lens and is little more than an exotic spectacle.3

Indeed most former colonial cities retain obvious markers of their colonial past, mostly in combination with highly visible changes to what is left. ‘By contrast, Asmara’s colonial architecture and urban layout are so unchanged today that they remain uncannily close to the Italian image in which they were designed’.4 Thanks to this Asmara offers a paradigmatic example of one of the key processes involved in the practices of representation. What stands before the traveller’s eyes is a mirage. This is perhaps the most common topos used to express the illusion of waiting that, far from vanishing, brings us back the image of an unaltered city where time almost seems to have stopped in a dimension suspended between the evocation of a disappeared reality and the projection of a renewed imagery.

Asmara emerges out of the current debate as a prime example of modern colonial architecture that can still be investigated since most of the structures are well preserved. Many visitors are surprised by the illusion of a parallel universe offered by Asmara, one that can only be described in terms of ‘time stands still’. The mere act of walking in the city of Asmara recalls a moment in Marcel Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu, in which the protagonist liter-ally trips over uneven paving stones, leading to an obscure but powerful flash of remembrance of a past experience.

In Present Pasts, Andreas Huyssen describes how people require memory dis-courses in order to comprehend the core structure of the world that surrounds them.5 Imaging the city as a crossroads of memory, nostalgia and moderni-ty recalls Andreas Huyssen’s conception of present day Asmara as an urban palimpsest, where the city’s spaces hold memories of what was there before. Huyssen also highlights our current obsession with colonising the past, drily mocking the insincerity of this trend: memory in the city has often been writ-ten over or erased, and he outlines how this effacement has created a strong desire for narratives of the past. Indeed, he claims that the ‘seduction of the archive’ and its trove of stories of human achievement and suffering has never been greater. In much conventional urban conservation he finds potted histo-ries nailing us to a censored version of the past, or to a past that is narcotic, careful to avoid any engagement with present furies. The romantic image of the city as a representation of a world that has already been imagined and actually preexisted the tourist’s own discovery.6

Of course, the colonial period constitutes a key stage in the emergence of Eri-trean modernism, and the colonial heritage demonstrates a broad range of responses to complex ideological and cultural conditions. Since the country gained independence in 1993, Asmara has generated a set of descriptive tropes, such as ‘The Forgotten City’ (Street 1997), ‘The City of Dreams’ (Ofori, Scott and Gebremedhin 2005), ‘The Frozen City’ (Boness and Fischer 2006), ‘The Secret City’ (Denison, Yu Ren and Gebremedhin 2007) or ‘Asmara Dream’ (Barbon 2009). In most cases all these images are a combination of a romantic spirit of discovery and an exploration of the exotic, combined with political disillusionment with the present and the mechanisms of colonial nostalgia. Mia Fuller claims: ‘Dubbing the city’s ‘secret‘, which the book Asmara: Af-rica‘s Secret Modernist City did in 2003, suggests that it was forgotten and has now been rediscovered, as an earlier magazine article ‘The Forgotten City‘ had already implied […]. Other portrayals, like the photography book entitled Asmara, the Frozen City, add to this aestheticizing intimation of frozen time […]. Asmara Dream, a book of hazy, ‘timeless‘ images, further likens visiting the city to experiencing a dream-state […]’.7 Hence, it is easy to create a set of clichés that reach into the micro texture of Asmara: espresso machines, cappuccino, cinquecento taxis and the daily ‘passeggiata’ melt into a specific atmosphere.

Recognising Asmara’s potential after the independence of Eritrea in 1993, Gebremedhin’s first decision was to hire Edward Denison, a British photographer who had already travelled in Eritrea: ‘A big part of our work (…) was about getting (the modern heritage of Asmara) into the international domain: we gonna get the support of UNESCO, we gonna get the support of the World Monuments Fund. (…) So we sent out masses of e-mails to these organisa-tions.’8 The book Asmara, Africa’s Secret Modernist City literally reads like a call for support; it was meant to celebrate Asmara and prepare it for capitalisa-tion as a tourist destination. Its rhetoric, combined with the aesthetic appeal of the highly visual content, created the romantic image of ‘Bella Asmara’. Denison described the city as follows: ‘Asmara is, by any standard, not simply a most convivial city, well planned and executed; its physical character - its ar-chitecture and urban spaces - also reflects strongly a range of international in-fluences.’9 He attributed the development potential of the modern architecture of Asmara to two features of the city that he perceived: a ‘convivial city’ and a safe place to live. In this way, he emphasised the European character of the city.

Mia Fuller has described postliberation Asmara as a vehicle for complex local appropriations and rejections of the past – against the larger backdrop of the future – that is not linked only to Italian colonialism: ‘The photogenic repre-sentation [the icon of the Italian city] is the perfect snapshot of the past’.10 It is also the result of involvement by many local and foreign actors who have developed their own strategies for the appropriation of Asmara. However, Asmara has totally changed in the past thirty years. Asmara has become ‘Greater Asmara‘, one of the fastest growing cities in Africa. What is the relationship between the historic centre and the rest? The invention of a memory providing an alternative to the real stratification of historical events often involves the return to a fictitious figure through an authentic image. On the basis of this mystification (where the authentic overlaps with the real), a memory can be created that recognises the ‘Asmara Style’ as a code for a universally decipherable and transmissible communication; the World Herit-age Site thus becomes a paradigmatic event of aspiration.11 Up against the necessity of protecting a traditional centre that results from the superposing of European imagery on an African city, and is a typically western legacy subject to preservation and valorisation, the site retains a glimmer of that inclina-tion to change and balance that has always been typical of towns that have arisen on the edge of the desert. The neglect of a traditional (European) centre constitutes a natural reaction to the distortion imposed by European thought. This reaction has materialized in new spaces and relations that are able to reinterpret the alternation between the original conditions and the new ones. More importantly, we have tried to move beyond a perspective of Asmara authored solely by external viewpoints to start understanding Asmara’s in-ternal struggle to create its own identity. This is also where the metaphor of the mirror is pushed to its limits.. Asmara is not merely represented in the mirrors held up to it by colonial modernities or national myths. Asmara does not merely reflect, it sometimes moves beyond thisrepresentation in an unex-pected, surprising way.

The tensions between the formal and informal city, between architecture de-signed by architects and architecture built without any architects, have existed ever since modern urbanism began as the profession of town creation. But in the romantic representation of ‘Bella Asmara’, tension is absent. Svetlana Boym summarised the mechanisms of the romantic image: ‘The twentieth cen-tury began with utopia and ended with [colonial] nostalgia. Optimistic belief in the future became outmoded, while nostalgia, for better or worse, never went out of fashion, remaining uncannily contemporary […]. Nostalgia is a sentiment of loss and displacement, but it is also a romance with one’s own fantasy.’12 But simply put, it is the desire to come back to an idealized past.

Asmara as a national symbol

In his paper of 2007, Gebremedhin argued why the colonial city should be preserved although it had deliberately been created as the abode of a Fascist regime that wanted a place under the African sky for Italians and excluded Eri-treans: ‘Eritreans, however, they have no quarrel with the buildings. They have instead, successfully adopted the modernist architecture of Asmara and rein-vented its life space in their own manner. They cannot understand those who argue against such a bold and mature stance.’13 After the independence war, Eritrean people saw their city as an expression of ‘national sacrifice’ and thus an integral part of Eritrean nationalism. One Eritrean commentator voiced this clearly: ‘Asmara is our Jerusalem, the goal of our pilgrimage! Bella Asmara has become a symbol of Eritrea’s newly won national sovereignty.’14

After a brief period of opening up, Eritrea’s government turned the cultural capital of Asmara into a static symbol of Eritrean nationalism. In turn, Eri-trea’s policy of self-reliance at all costs (including serious human rights viola-tions) disappointed the World Bank’s interest in ‘post-conflict reconstruction’ and the concept of the ‘shared heritage’. The Eritrean government has been sustaining a conflict over its border with Ethiopia. In Eritrea, the capital city is-sue has always been inextricably connected to geopolitics and caught up in the border conflict with Ethiopia.

The notion of ‘new discovery‘ should not obscure the fact that we are not sim-ply dealing with a return to Italian architecture originating from the interwar period. Created in a laboratory of European modernist fantasies, the colonial architectural heritage stands both for a timeless example of modernity and for modernity as a programme. Rabinow has argued that the colonies ‘constituted a laboratory of experimentation for new arts of government capable of bring-ing a modern and healthy society into being.’15

Based on ideologies of progress and development through the organisation of urban space, the state developed the norms and forms of modernity. In her study (2007) Mia Fuller applied Rabinow’s theories on Italian colonialism in Asmara and indicated how the Italian colonial government had relied on modern architectural practices: ‘The colonies served the colonisers as a “labo-ratory” for testing modern techniques, which they regarded as being easier to realise in reference to the legal “state of exception”. The laboratory paradigm had to be expanded, however.’16

Asmara illuminates the urban transfiguration of the postcolonial dilemma — with Eritrean independence in 1993 raising fundamental questions regarding the country’s past and its architecture. The protracted war had attracted the interest of numerous researchers, not only because of its implications for the redefinition of the geopolitical landscape of the Horn of Africa, but also be-cause of the ways in which it had reorganised Eritrean society. The neither-peace-nor-war-situation in contemporary Eritrea has led to a less hopeful situ-ation. Of course, national identity as perceived by a government is inherently tied to the image of a splendid cultural past. According to Wallerstein, a state can create a national culture through its monopoly of policies: ‘A national identity based on shorter-term political interest and the ideology of struggle emerged as the driving force behind most nationalist movements. Once inde-pendence was achieved, the glue that bound together the various groups no longer held.’17 The question of Eritrean national identity is intimately con-nected to its colonial architecture: ‘The Italian colonial period between 1890 and 1941 was a crucial moment in the definition of those social and political transformations which contributed to the formation of Eritrea as a nation.’18 Identities and aesthetics in today’s Asmara still refer to ‘colonial modernity’. This is the way in which Asmara takes part in colonial nostalgia – a longing for a mythical golden age of (colonial) modernity. The constant propaganda invocing an image of Eritrea as a small country surrounded by mighty enemies (‚border conflicts’) shows that for Eritrea’s ruling clique the liberation struggle has not ended with independence. Indeed, the Eritrean nation stands above all.

Magnus Treiber documented ‘young urbanites’ in Asmara, who have devel-oped their own aesthetic ideas concerning a clean life, leading to quite dif-ferent, even rivalling urban lifestyle milieus. Engaged in a ‘high modernist mission’ the government makes no distinction between physical and moral pollution. Plastic bags are forbidden, beggars and prostitutes are transferred to the countryside or to the military camp of Sawa. Features of architecture become features of the nation. The insistence on cleanliness, order and security in Asmara have led to a restrictive definition of urbanity and public space.19 As Roland Barthes pointed out, ‘The obsession with cleanliness is certainly a practice of immobilizing time’.20

Christoph Rausch mentioned an example of a direct reference to the colonial order. During the Ethiopian occupation, many owners heightened the walls around their properties for safety reasons; this was a major, visible altera-tion of Asmara’s street view. However, the global call for the preservation of Asmara’s heritage has effectively provided the Eritrean government with the means to discretely exercise disciplinary power. An orchestrated press cam-paign was launched to reduce the height of walls around privately-owned houses: ‘Asmara is an open city, so walls should only be one meter and twenty high. The 1938 master plan dictates this. (…) The government is now urging to abolish the walls.’21

Mimicry and urban lifestyles

The concept of ‚mimicry’ as discussed by Homi Bhabha is not as simple as it seems at first instance, but a complex one. My focus here is on the various ways in which mimicry operated not only during the colonial era - to mimic the whites became the ultimate destiny of all the racially distinguished people – but also how it has crept in the postcolonial times. The older Asmarino – an urban dandy and flaneur – deals with the colonial past, this repressed past reemerges in the recoding of urban and neobourgeois space. Their stories are innocent or cunning but unique and entertaining with a lot of charm, their memories are very selective, including the ‚Regina Margherita’ and many an-ecdotes about the Italian past. The Asmarino belongs to an imagined class in a non-hegemonic state, the subordinate subject’s transgressive imitation of the dominant identity is very much evident in the his self-production as a 1930s Italian coloniser. The urban dandy, functioning as a subject of transition, the past as well as the future, has historically also been a mode of expression of metropolitan subjectivity. He embodies a simultaneous identification and counteridentification with the dominant social imaginary. This kind of subver-sive dandyism Bhabha has termed ‚mimicry’. At the same time the Asmarino embodies the desire to introduce urban lifestyle in the city of Asmara. 22

Thus the Asmarini imitate Italian bourgeois lifestyles and their rhetoric. Strong elements within the revolutionary forces are promoting the rationalisation of society in the name of progress. It is rationalisation – usually also conceived as the solution to problems of poverty and ‘backwardness’ in the periphery

– that provides the impetus for revolution. In this way, Eritrea exemplifies features of modernity that have already disappeared from the Western world; for example, political and economic modernisation in the city of Asmara are expressed within the spheres of culture and architecture. This results from an interest in the symbolic value that was attributed to architecture as a means of urban planning during the colonial period; this concept not only stood for the aesthetic aspect of modernism, but also for the plannability of social progress and the dawn of a new society.

Furthermore, a naturalised belief in progress is being used against the influence of globalisation. Both the Eritrean government and transnational organisa-tions (such as the European Union, the UNESCO and the World Bank) have founded their problematic national sovereignty politics on colonial nostalgia. There is a belief in the capacity of cultural heritage to transform Asmara into ‘a most modern city’ again. Boym would understand Asmara’s architectural heritage as ‘institutionalised nostalgia’, which is not opposed to modernity, but coeval with it: ‘Nostalgia and progress are like Jekyll and Hyde – doubles and mirror images of one another’.23

World Heritage Site: looking for heritage, looking for modernity

The period of ‘opening up to the world’ after independence also corresponded to a phase of internationalisation of Eritrea’s territorial identity, in which the national imaginary was transplanted. During this period Eritrea was a field of experimentation both for national and transnational organisations; they tested new approaches to nation-building through cultural heritage and its representation. More generally, in the economy of nations preserving architec-tural heritage has become important in terms of global competitiveness and prestige; nations find themselves in need of exploiting their heritage to attract international investment.

However, globalisation has made the idea of culture as a way of life located within definite boundaries increasingly problematic. Culture can no longer be understood solely in terms of locations and roots, but more as hybrid, creolised cultural routes in a globalised space. In particular, that which is considered to be local is produced within and by globalising discourses. These include global corporate marketing strategies that orient themselves to differentiated ‘local’ markets.

At the same time, the paradox of heritage preservation in a global context is that investment in heritage may further encourage nationalist sentiment, often reinforcing a sense of superiority and therefore isolationist tendencies. Fol-lowing the success of their independence struggles, nations have invoked na-tionalism and resorted to heritage preservation as a form of resistance against the homogenising forces of globalisation. For example, the policy of CARP (Eritrean Cultural Assets Rehabilitation Project), namely creating a global sense of shared heritage, led to the following governmental reaction: a radical policy of self-reliance in which the government crushed CARP’s rallying call for global assistance. The Eritrean authorities have become increasingly ap-prehensive about foreign influence. Indeed globalisation is the third phase in the relationship between dominant countries and dominated ones; the search for, and the reconstruction of, identity have become paramount. Now that na-tional independence has been achieved in Eritrea and the dust from thestruggle against Ethiopia has settled, problems of national and community harmony have begun to surface.

Paradoxically, the Eritrean case leads us to two-fold bond between the univer-salism of World Heritage and the national imaginary. In the specific case of As-mara, these two phases in attitudes towards heritage and tradition coincided, as Eritrea is one of the youngest nations in the world. However, the complexity of the international scenario and the multiplicity of possible narratives make divisions within Eritrean society and between government and civil society even deeper.24

The ambition to forge Eritrea’s national identity through the revaluation of Asmara’s colonial heritage coincided with an interest in colonial architec-ture in Africa among global heritage organisations. These argued that culture should be regarded as a direct source of inspiration for development; and in return, development should assign to culture a central role as social regulator. In the late 1980s the World Bank in Washington adopted a ‘holistic approach’ to development and turned its attention to cultural heritage as a tool for what was called post-conflict reconstruction, poverty reduction or nation-building.25 After the World Bank had terminated its loan to CARP in 2007, the European Union launched a follow-up national heritage programme. Five million euro were invested exclusively in the restoration of modern architecture in Asmara. The World Bank considered Eritrea a ‘natural experiment’ (ironically, the same rhetoric had actually been used by the Italian colonisers) where this new ap-proach could be tested. The entry on the ‘historic perimeter’ of Asmara in the UNESCO World Heritage list even refers to an era when ‘Italian architects could [...] realize modern ideals.’26 The ‘untouched’ historic heritage can re-constitute the ‘blank canvas’ allegedly available to colonial architects in the past. According to Boym, ‘restorative nostalgia’ manifests itself in the complete reconstruction of monuments of the past.27

What happens when a young, African nation-state is forced to operate in the same global space as emergent transnational players? Generally speaking, As-mara’s modern architectural heritage has been used instrumentally both by transnational organisations and the national Eritrean government. More spe-cifically, the Eritrean government very strongly depends on the appropriation of Asmara’s modern architecture as national heritage for the re-territorialisa-tion of national sovereignty. This is also the case for international organisa-tions, given their approaches to nation-building in Africa.

‘World Heritage’ works as a meta-cultural ‘code’ which regulates relationships between the parts and the whole, between individual communities and the world. Through their nomination – achieved thanks to their cultural heritage – Eritreans have gained a place on the world stage; globalisation is the extent to which the above-mentioned relationships and systems have converged. At the same time, continued protection of the inherited image becomes the means through which the West periodically renews the original discovery. Somewhat paradoxically, for transnational organisations the appeal of Asmara’s modern architecture appears to be flavoured with nostalgia, too.


1 Stuart Hall, The Work of Representation, in: Stuart Hall (ed.), Representation: Cultural Representation and Signifying Practices, Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1994, pp. 13-74.

2 Mia Fuller, Italy’s Colonial Futures: Colonial Inertia and Postcolonial Capital in Asmara, California Italian Studies, 2 (1), 2011, p. 5.

3 The capital of Rabat f.e. is a clear case in point, as the century-old town became literally surrounded by new French developments in less than a decade after the French take-over. The city centre was shifted away from the indigenous old town, which was literally bypassed by the new boulevards. In addition, the obvious contrast between the latter and the dark alleys of the medina, as well as that between the indigenous architecture and the straight lines of the ville novelle reinforced the colonialist representation of the indigenous Maroc-cans as backward. See: Demerdash, Nancy Nabeel Aly, Mapping myths of the medina: French colonial urbanism, Oriental brandscapes and the politics of tourism in Marrakesh, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture, 2009. In: /handle/1721.1/49723 (12.04.2015)

4 Ibd. Mia Fuller, Italy’s Colonial Futures, op. cit. (note 2).

5 Andreas Huyssen, Present Pasts: Urban Palimpsests and the Politics of Memory, Stanford: Stanford University Press 2003), p. 5 and 7.

6 Ibd.

7 Ibd. Mia Fuller, Italy’s Colonial Futures, op. cit. (note 2), p. 6.

8 Interview with Edward Denison, in: Christoph Rausch, Modern Nostalgia: Asserting Politics of Sovereignty and Security in Asmara, Phd University of Maastricht 2011, p. 8.

9 Edward Denison, Yu Ren Guang and Naigzy Gebremedhin, Asmara: Africa’s Secret Modernist City, London: Merrell Publishers Ltd. 2003, p.50.

10 Mia Fuller, Italy’s Colonial Futures. p. 6.

11 Ferdinand De Jong and Michael Rowlands (eds.), Reclaiming Heritage. Alternative Imaginaries of Memory in West Africa. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press (Publications of the Institute of Archaeol-ogy) 2007.

12 Svetlana Boym, The Future of Nostalgia, New York: Basic Books 2001

13 Naigzy Gebremedhin, Asmara, Africa’s Secret Modernist City. Paper prepared for the African Perspectives: Dialogue on Urbanism and Architec-ture, The Faculty of Architecture, TU Delft 2007. In: /fileadmin/Faculteit/BK/Actueel/Symposia [5-5-2015], p. 20.

14 Ibd.

15 Paul Rabinow, French Modern. Norms and Forms of the Social Environment, Chicago: The Universi-ty of Chicago Press 1989, p. 289. See also: Nezar Alsayyad, Culture, Identity and Urbanism. A Historical Perspective from Colonialism and Glo-balisation, in: Tom Avermaete, Serhat Karakayali and Marion von Osten (eds.), Colonial Modern. Aesthetics of the Past – Rebellions for the Future, London: Black Dog Publishing 2010, p. 80.

16 Mia Fuller, Moderns Abroad: Architecture, Cities and Italian Imperialism, London:Routledge 2007, p. 144.

17 Immanuel Wallerstein, The Nation and the Universal. Can There be Such a Thing as a World Culture?, in: Anthony King (ed.), Culture, Globalization, and the World System, New York: Palgrave McMillan 1991, pp. 91- 106.

18 Francesca Locatelli, „The Archives of the Municipality and the High Court of Asmara, Eritrea: Discovering the Eritrea ‘Hidden from History‘“, History in Africa , vol 31, 2004, p. 469.

19 Magnus Treiber, The choice between clean and dirty. Discourses of Aesthetics, Morality and Progress in Post-revolutionary Asmara, Eritrea, in: Eveline Dürr and Rivke Jaffe (eds.), Urban Pollu-tion. Cultural Meanings, Social Practices, Oxford: Berghahn Books 2010, pp. 123-143.

20 Kristin Ross, Fast Cars, Clean Bodies: Decolonizattion and the Reordering of French Culture, Cambridge MA: The MIT Press 1995, p. 73.

21 Christoph Rausch: Modern Nostalgia: Asserting Politics of Sovereignty and Securita in Asmara, Washington and Brussels 2011, p. 14.

22 Homi Bhabha, Of mimicry and man: The Ambivalence of colonial discourse, in: Homi Bhabha, The Location of Culture, London and New York: Routledge 1994, pp. 85-92.

23 Ibd. Svetlana Boym, The Future of Nostalgia, op. cit. (note 12), p. 23.

24 Nezar Alsayyad, Consuming Heritage, in: Sang Lee and Ruth Bergmeister (eds.): The Domestic and the Foreign in Architecture, Rotterdam: 010 Publishers 2007, p. 180.

25 James David Wolfersohn, The Challenges of Globalization: The Role of the World Bank/ Address to the Bundestag, Berlin/ Germany: The World Bank Group 2001, in: Christoph Rausch, Modern Nostalgia: Asserting Politics of Sovereignty and Security in Asmara, p. 5.

26 Tentative UNESCO World Heritage List Entry, Eritrea: The Historic Perimeter of Asmara and Its Modernist Architecture. UNESCO World Heritage Center, in: Christoph Rausch, Modern Nostalgia: Asserting Politics of Sovereignty and Security in Asmara, op. cit. (note 8), p. 5.

27 Ibd. Svetlana Boym, The Future of Nostalgia, p.