David vs. Goliath: The Tigrean Chronicle!
Tigrai’s self-defense against the Derg 2.0 (2018-2020) and Isaias’s dictatorships is akin to the fight of David against Goliath whose culmination we all know quite well. Here’s how Malcolm Gladwell (2013) described the scene:
Goliath looks at the boy coming toward him and is insulted. He was expecting to do battle with a seasoned warrior. Instead, he sees a shepherd—a boy from one of the lowliest of all professions—who seems to want to use his shepherd’s staff as a cudgel against Goliath’s sword. “Am I a dog,” Goliath says, gesturing at the staff, “that you should come to me with sticks?” What happens next is a matter of legend. David puts one of his stones into the leather pouch of a sling, and he fires at Goliath’s exposed forehead. Goliath falls, stunned. David runs toward him, seizes the giant’s sword, and cuts off his head. “The Philistines saw that their warrior was dead,” the biblical account reads, “and they fled.” The battle is won miraculously by an underdog who, by all expectations, should not have won at all. This is the way we have told one another the story over the many centuries since. It is how the phrase “David and Goliath” has come to be embedded in our language—as a metaphor for improbable victory…
What the Israelites saw, from high on the ridge, was an intimidating giant. In reality, the very thing that gave the giant his size was also the source of his greatest weakness. There is an important lesson in that for battles with all kinds of giants. The powerful and the strong are not always what they seem. David came running toward Goliath, powered by courage and faith. Goliath was blind to his approach—and then he was down, too big and slow and blurry-eyed to comprehend the way the tables had been turned (2013, p. 8-16).
We are at a stage that many call the darkest night before the dawn of victory! Tigrai’s enemies have gathered against it. Alas! Nothing is ambiguous at this point. Anyone that hates Tigreans has raised arms against it. The forces against minorities, diversity, multiculturalism, and multinationalism in Ethiopia have openly raised their arms against Tigrai-that OVERSTANDING DEFENDER of self-determination, minorities, multiculturalism, and federalism in Ethiopia, in the Horn of Africa, and the continent.
Anthropologists tell us the diversity in Africa is greater than the diversity in the rest of the world. Tigrai is fighting to defend this REALITY against dictators of Addis Ababa and Asmara determined to quash MULTICULTURALISM. The pundits focus on Tigrai because it stood out as the ONE ENTITY that is willing and able to pay whatever it COST to preserve its right for SELF DETERMINATION in Ethiopia, in the Horn of Africa, in the continent, and WORLDWIDE. Now, the world is starting to recognize who TIGRAI is! It is starting to realize that the Tigreans are a force to be reckoned with. This happened because Tigraeans organized themselves and stood firmly against the assimilationist forces plotting to quash them under a centralized dictatorship since 2018.
All concerned parties, including “human rights defenders” or “humanitarian organizations”, have reported that people of Gedeo, Kimant, Agew, Afar, and Amhara minorities (living in Somalia and Oromia) have been massacred by chauvinists. Tigreans are not the only minorities being persecuted in Ethiopia. Even the majority of ethnic groups, the Oromos, are subjected to arbitrary murder and incarceration today. The less obvious aspect of these human rights and humanitarian organizations overlook is the interventionist tendency of the assimilationist Eritrean dictator dubbed the leader of Africa’s North Korea.
The Eritrean despot openly said the ethnic federalism in Ethiopia poses a grave threat to his domestic order. This dictator does not want the nine ethnic groups under his tutelage to seek self-determination. He wants to assimilate them under a unified banner. This despot does not want Eritrea’s ethnic groups to elect their leaders, exercise their languages, develop their cultures, practice their religion, and administer their vicinities as the nations and nationalities in Ethiopia did from 1994 to 2018.
The Kim Jong Un of Africa (a.k.a Isaias Afeworki) did everything he could to suppress Eritrea’s minority ethnic groups for three decades. This individual also robbed the majority ethnic group of their hard-earned democratic rights. He subjugated them in indefinite military service to protect him by fabricating phantom enemies across the neighborhood, forcing the youth to migrate out of desperation. This person abandoned the Eritrean constitution and banned elections for almost three decades. He boldly told a foreign journalist that it might take Eritrea decades before it stages a democratic election. Human rights organizations continue to report that this guy persecutes his people owing to their religion, their political opinions, or any other factor he deems unpalatable.
The current regime in Ethiopia has forged a close friendship with the Eritrean dictator. There is an old Ethiopian saying that goes like: “tell me your friend and I will tell you who you are!” The Ethiopian dictator has stolen a Nobel Prize for striking a peace deal with one of the worst dictators this world has ever seen. It won’t be long before the international community regrets giving a Nobel Prize to an aspiring Ethiopian dictator who befriended a person dubbed the leader of Africa’s North Korea.
The international community has, once again, ignored the bitter lesson which Romeo Dallaire derived from Rwanda (read Shake Hands With the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, 2003). This Canadian general, who served UN peacekeepers, reported to the world community what the Interahamwe was plotting against minority Tutsi’s in Rwanda! Nobody listened to Dallaire despite his repeated calls for intervention. Only after some million people perished did they cry: “Never Again!”
Today, the dictator in Addis Ababa is persecuting Tigreans residing in big cities and regions. He is picking up Tigreans in the federal government, the private sector, and security and sending them to concentration camps, in prisons, and in house-arrests like Hitler during the Second World War. The international community is, once again, permitting another Mussolini, another Hitler, and another Interahamwe gangsters to do whatever they want. This is a mockery of R2P- “Responsibility to Protect!”
The dictatorial regimes in Ethiopia and in Eritrea selected an opportune moment to destroy the minority voice in the Horn of Africa- vis-à-vis: the current U.S election. They sparked this war thinking the world will be preoccupied with the U.S election and not pay attention to poor people living in the Horn of Africa. Is the world going to act like Mr. Chamberlain who appeased Hitler? Are Africans (the AU) going to let the Interahamwe raise a machete against ethnic minorities? How long should minorities like the Jewish people, the Tutsis, and the Tigreans endure genocide before they prevail? Are minorities still expected to secure their rights to live using force before they earn respect in this world? Is THIS WORLD STILL DEAF?! Kofi Anan wrote a memoir regretting his failure to prevent the Rwandan genocide; should we expect Antonio Guterres to scribe the same ballad?!
In any event, all the bad eggs in the Horn of Africa have congregated in one basket. The cumulation of all spoiled eggs in one basket makes it easy for Tigrai to focus on its detractors. Tigrai meets the just cause and conduct of war. It even meets the just termination of war threshold. We all know the dictators in Addis and Asmara continue to defy self-determination and federalism in the Horn of Africa. They, the Eritrean and Ethiopian dictators are also waging war against Tigrai in tandem. They have thrown the sacred principles of proportionality and sovereignty out the window. The despot in Addis has categorically rejected international mediators proposing for an inclusive dialogue in Ethiopia. All this, however, does not spare the chauvinists from seating in one basket like the lame ducks that they are.
The engagement of the dictatorial regime in Eritrea in Ethiopian affairs is an opportune moment for all to call foul. It proves this Tigrigna speaking assimilationist despot shares the same ideology with the dictatorial junta in Addis Ababa. This dictator has already deployed his troops to assist a fellow dictator in Addis Ababa just like he supported the Islamic Courts Union in Somalia.
The international community awarded a Nobel Prize to the Ethiopian regime because he allied with one of the world’s renowned despots. The Nobel Prize commission already made a mistake giving Myanmar’s leader- who is now accused of staging genocide against the Rohingya. Now, it has awarded the same Prize to a dictator who did not hesitate to BOMB civilians in Tigrai. This “Nobel Prize Winner” openly warned the Tigrean people not to gather in public places lest they get bombed on national TV.
The Nobel Prize Committee might not think that a bunch of black and poor people lack the wherewithal to delegitimize its nominations as time goes by. Well, certain leaders in the most powerful countries worldwide thought the same way and we all know where it got them! The global downtrodden, especially black people worldwide and other minorities, will make sure the so-called “Nobel Peace Prize Committee” loses its reputation so long as it undermines minorities like Blacks, Jewish, Rohingya, and others all over the world.
Now, enemies of Tigrai are assembled on one basket. They are no longer plotting against them from different directions. This is an opportune moment for Tigreans to assert their rights to defend themselves and put an end to this chauvinist basket once and for all! These chauvinists have treated Tigrai’s plea for peace and all-inclusive dialogue as Athenians did to Melians ages ago. They are telling the world that: “the ‘strong’ do what they want and the ‘weak’ suffer what they must!” This formula did not work for the British Empire confronting Gandhi. Might did not work against Ben Gurion’s Israel. The African anti-colonial success also proved that ‘might’ gives in. Might did not beat fundamental rights when tested against the civil rights movement in America. The Tigrean fight for self-determination in Ethiopia has a similar trajectory- it is a fight between, to use Biblical metaphor, one waged between David against Goliath.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
Gladwell, Malcolm (2013). David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. Little, Brown, and Company.