Respecting humanity and equality in a civilized manner are deeply rooted within the Eritrean society. Starting from ancient times, the Eritrean communities had their own civilized laws and well-devel¬oped traditional ways of managing public affairs. During the colonial period, one researcher who deeply studied and observed the laws and the way of doing things in Eritrea described the Eritrean people as: “civilized people who live peaceful without the police.” Many, many years back, the Eritrean communities had well-devel¬oped ways of managing land, and proper means of resource allocation within the society. In the past, the Eritrean people managed its affairs for centuries through the help of not a representative democracy, which prevails in the present day world, but through a direct democracy the people has cumulatively developed a civilized and suitably applicable culture that is aligned with the unique realities of the country.
Because of this civilized culture, the Eritrean people are charac¬terized by harmony, coexistence, respecting others property, rule of law, compliance with regard to treaties and contracts and upholding international conventions. This civilized culture also prevailed and was further developed during the bitter struggle for independence that resulted when the Eritrean people were denied the right to self-deter-mination. After independence was achieved on 24 May 1991 by pay¬ing considerable sacrifices there were many Ethiopian soldiers who were stationed in Eritrea. While those soldiers were the enemies of the Eritrean people, the EPLF respected the rights of those disarmed soldiers and treated them humanly. As a result, some 100,000 soldiers were sent peacefully to their place of origin right after the EPLF real¬ized the independence of Eritrea. It is its civilized culture that enabled the Eritrean people to respect and humanly treat those soldiers who were engaged in looting and killing innocent people in Eritrea –they used to loot and kill innocent people until the eve of independence. This manner of treating war prisoners is hardly observed elsewhere.
The fact that the Eritrean independence, which was achieved through an armed struggle characterized by steadfastness, was made official by way of a referendum is also a reflection of the civilized culture of the Eritrean people. Stated differently, the Eritrean independence was realized both through blood and a vote.
When the Ethiopian regime invaded Eritrea between 1998 and 2000 with the excuse of a border problem, the patience shown by the Eritrean government and its emphasis on set¬tling the dispute through legal procedures is also the result of the law-abiding and civilized culture of the Eritrean society. In this case the patience and decisions of the Eritrean government were not disrupted by the war drums of the Ethiopian regime. Instead the Eritrean gov¬ernment called:
1 For avoiding the use of force
2 For the contested borders to be demarcated according to historical records and treaties
3 For the two people to live in harmony and for not deepening hos¬tility between the peoples of Eritrea and Ethiopia.
The civilized national culture in Eritrea has ensured the survival of the country as an independent state, a developed economic system, and a participatory political system. This culture was cumulatively shaped by further developing the positive aspects of the cultural heri¬tage in the country and by avoiding the harmful aspects of the cultural heritage.
Actually, this is a continuous process. Unlike many third world so¬cieties, the Eritrean people have not spoiled its cultural heritages by adopting imported western culture. In other words, the cultural heri¬tage and identity of Eritrea has not been negatively affected by adopt¬ing imported way of doing things.
Therefore, such a civilized tradition, enormous love of the moth¬erland, deeply-rooted ways of respecting human kind, being devoted for equality, love of justice and truth, rule of law, hard work, self-confidence, and open-mindedness are just some of the major qualities and pillars of the way of doing things in Eritrea and these qualities are based on the civilized national culture of Eritrea.