Pinocchio’s Kingdom in Ethiopia
We have Pinocchio fighting Tigreans today. Pinocchio is a wooden puppet from Disney’s pictures whose nose grows longer whenever he lies. Derg 2.0’s (2018-2020) leader, has, once again, proved himself to be a sell-out and a liar: hence, the name Pinocchio-the Ethiopian puppet. This Ethiopian Pinocchio lied saying he has disabled Tigrai’s (we know what) and owns a UAV- which he lent from the UAE. It has invited Eritrean forces and is courting South Sudanese to join the fray. Meanwhile, we see pictures of his newly minted diplomat roaming about East Africa talking dialogue. The lie of this puppet is growing as fast as a Pinocchio’s nose by the day for the world to see- that even the Nobel Prize Committee has expressed “concern” in an unprecedented move.
Never in history have Tigreans relied on external actors to secure their survival. This tradition has been alive since ጉራእ and continues to live to this day. Its foundation rests on the Dameat and Axumite Civilizations that Tigreans erected over three millennia ago. The Derg 1.0 (1974-1991) relied on the $11 billion Soviet military aid- a superpower at that time. This tradition rests on the Menilik and Haile Selassie. These individuals invited King Umberto and Queen Elizabeth to defeat domestic rivals. Derg 2.0 (2018-2020) is following in the footsteps of its ancestors.
Today, Derg 2.0 (2018-2020) is relying on Isaias’s military and United Arab Emirates’ drones to stay in power. Some 4,000 South Sudanese mercenaries on UAE’s payroll are also rumored to be cajoled to march to Tigrai. No matter how soon Derg 2.0 crumbles, historians, i.e., future generations, will commemorate Derg 2.0 as the most treasonous regime that ever appeared in Ethiopia. By contrast, Tigrai remains steadfast in its just cause. The Weyane spirit lives in the current generation-making Tigrean martyrs proud. Now, as always, it remains:
ባህርና ቲ ሃፋሽ ህዝብና፤
ስንቅና ወያነ ሃቦና፤
ዕርድና ጎቦታት አድና፤
እምነትና ቲ ቅኑእ መስመርና!
Tigrai’s enemies continue to cheer whenever foreign powers support them. Clausewitz tells us the war is the continuation of politics by other means. Pinocchio’s cheerleaders lack a clear political objective. Some of them want to avenge the TPLF for the Badme and Derg 1.0 defeat; others want to occupy the Western portion of Tigrai’s land. Some want to install a puppet government that will sell them Ethiopia’s assets while others wish to replace Ethiopia’s federal system with a unified empire. Meanwhile, Pinocchio is telling the world that he is fighting to restore law and order per the Federal Constitution. It is this cocktail of contradicting forces devoid of clear political objective that is waging war against Tigrai.
There is also another big lie that Pinocchio’s cheerleaders have been propagating for some time now. This is the “false narrative of the minority”. They deliberately frame the people of Tigrai as “minorities constituting just 6 percent of the Ethiopian population”. Now, being a minority is not a curse. But Tigreans are not a minority by any standard. The census card is a big hoax. Now, there are 85 ethnic groups in Ethiopia. Out of this huge amalgam, Tigreans are, to put it modestly, the 3rd or the 4th largest ethnic group in that fragile country. Where in the world is the third-largest population deemed unfit to play an active role in political affairs? This is not a rhetorical question! Let us look at the latest global census
Now, let us focus on the “world share” index highlighted in the table above. The global supreme power, the United States, constitutes only 4.25 percent of the global population. The major regional powers like Brazil, Nigeria, and Russia respectively constitute only 2.75, 2.64, and 1.87 percent of the global population. Major European countries like Germany, Britain, and France, constitute 1.07, 0.87, and 0.84 percent of the total global population respectively.
Is the United States the third most populous country out of 195 nations or just “a minority”? Are the three permanent members of the UN Security Council, i.e., Russia, Britain and France” because they constitute only 3.58 percent of the global population. Are Brazil and Nigeria, Latin America’s and Africa’s powerhouses just “minorities” because they constitute 2.73 and 2.64 percent of the global population? No one in their right mind would label these great powers “minorities” and bar them from playing an active role in global affairs by cooking false numbers. But Pinocchio’s cheerleaders pull out the “minority card” on Tigreans because they are devoid of conscience.
Even if we forget a comparative method and look at Tigrai’s population as such we discover these people are as many as most sovereign states in the world. The most modest observers estimate there are somewhere between 6 to 8 million Tigreans residing in Tigrai. How many countries are there in this world that claim this number? Again, not a rhetorical question! Well, if Tigrai was a country, it would rank as the 100th (like Israel and Switzerland), 104 (like Hong Kong), or, at least 114th (just above Singapore) most populous country in the world. In other words, Tigreans would be more populous than Denmark (5.9 million), Finland (5.5 million), and Norway (5.4 million). Now, can one scoop off a people that are more populous than the Norwegians from the face of the earth without, at least, forfeiting his Nobel Prize? I do not think so! His wife, who already moved to America, may keep the prize money but he will never keep the honor that goes with it. Emperor Pinocchio is on a due course to become worthy of the International Criminal Court’s attention as a promising war criminal.
The historical, political, social, and economic contribution of Tigreans to Ethiopia, Africa, and civilization, in general, remains strong. These people do punch above their weight. One cannot possibly account for Tigrai’s contributions in this brief essay. But it suffices to say that the Axumite civilization that every single monarch in Ethiopia claimed their lineage from, the Geez alphabet, Christianity and Islam, and all (not some) the victories against European colonialism-including Adwa originated and manifested in the land of Tigrai. And, in contemporary times, the idea of democratic federalism, swift economic transformation, and constructive diplomatic and security relations in Ethiopia (1991-2018) was primarily realized by the vision and sacrifice of leaders who originated from Tigrai. The minority card is intended to eclipse this hard fact.
Pinocchio’s cheerleaders realize the substantial role of Tigreans in Ethiopia’s historical, political, cultural, and economic evolution. They understand they cannot dwarf Tigreans using hard facts. So, they deliberately fabricated the false narrative called “a minority constituting only 6 percent of the Ethiopian population”. If Tigrai was as inconsequential as they preach, why would they enlist three foreign countries to wage war against it? The answer is simple: Tigreans are not as small as they want them to be.
These pathological liars (Pinocchio’s domestic supporters) also claim the Adwa victory as if they earned that privilege to be sovereign. Nobody who depends on foreign powers to wage wars has ever earned that privilege. Such actors are typically called “satellites!” Their very survival depends on how often they kowtow to external powers as they revolve around them seeking alms. A leader who relies on external forces to remain in power is a puppet. Woe to a country led by a puppet who no longer has a say on his affairs! His people are doomed to serve the actor that put their leader in power in the first place.
Today, Pinocchio owes too much to external powers. He owes them his life as they expended a substantial amount of their resources to keep him alive. It is high time for people following this puppet to ask what these powers will seek from him for prolonging his life in power. Think again! Are the puppeteers going to simply wish Pinnochio good luck and return home? I do not think so! These powers decided to accept his invitation because they believed they can profit from their investment. These powers are supporting him because they calculated the cost of supporting him is lesser than the benefits they can reap afterward. It is not bold to ask what the rest of Ethiopia is going to earn once the dust settles. Anyone who expects he or she will have a say in a country led by a puppet is in for a rude awakening.
There is more! Those people following the puppet are not unified. Some of Pinocchio’s followers are paying blood, sweat, and tears to defend Pinocchio. Others are just giving moral support to the despot. Once the dust settles, those who fought for Pinocchio will no longer accept orders from Pinocchio’s traditional supporters. In other words, Pinocchio’s Oromo supporters are no longer going to pass orders to his Amhara followers. Folks like Taye, Shimelis, and Awelu will not have the moral authority to lord it over Amhara chauvinists who fought against Tigrai.
As the conflict escalates, Emperor Pinocchio will be isolated from his traditional constituency, i.e., the Oromo PP. He will have no choice but to serve not just foreign puppeteers but also domestic loyalists. We see Oromo PP not stepping up to support Pinocchio as Amhara PP seems to be offering. Hence, it is only natural that the former (Oromo PP) will leave the scene in due course. This evolution will render Pinocchio powerless. He will not have the leverage to lord it over Amhara PP- which is actively engaged in the current conflict. Pinocchio’s personalistic dictatorship will thus diminish. We are already sensing these symptoms in the recent power reshuffling he is making at the political and military fronts. This internal weakness is something sponsors will not tolerate.
Pinocchio’s sponsors will never entertain the idea of a puppet who cannot keep his house in order. Once these sponsors realize that Pinocchio can no longer keep his followers in check, they will either abandon him or sponsor the strongest faction in his team. This means they will have to revisit their intervention strategy in Ethiopia. This pause is not going to help Pinocchio-who desperately needs a breathalyzer to stay afloat.
In any event, a politician who substitutes his constituency with external actors transforms himself from a leader to a puppet. There will always be strings attached behind his choices and actions. Such a puppet may earn personal favors so long as his followers are united. But in a country like Ethiopia, where domestic actors having conflicting interests exist, a puppet has a low life expectancy. His followers will be divided between those who talked and those who acted. Those who supported the puppet in action will demand greater say than those who simply cheered the Pinocchio. This division will alarm the sponsors who will reconsider whether they should cut off the string from the puppet or start grooming another puppet. Meanwhile, those mighty people scoffed as “minorities” will prevail in the end!