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Victory, Death, and the Tigrean Mindset!


Victory, Death, and the Tigrean Mindset!

By Aesop 12/01/2020

For over two years, Tigrai has called for a peaceful resolution of political differences in Ethiopia. But its relentless cry for peace has fallen on deaf ears. Many ridiculed and continue to mock Tigrai’s tireless calls for a peaceful dialogue as a sign of weakness. This motivated them to wage an occupation campaign against these indomitable people and declare a premature victory. Ever since they recklessly sparked a fire, Tigrai continues to pay them in kind. The more they transgress into Tigrai’s land, the dearer the price they are paying. The pain they incurred will start to strike once their adrenaline induced dancing stops.

Derg 2.0 has invited 4 (maybe 5) other countries to conquer Tigrai. The Ethiopian Defense Forces knew it could not defeat Tigrai. It had the resources but it lacked the gal. Regardless, Derg 2.0’s mission to defeat Tigrai’s fighters on the battlefield was aborted. There were no battlefronts to claim victory. So, Derg 2.0 and its allies decided to focus on bombing Tigrai’s cities. Tigrai’s fighters stopped the butchers from spilling innocent blood by temporarily permitting them to enter the cities they so craved to occupy.

Tigrai’s fighters never fight to defend hotels and factories, they fight to protect the rights and dignity of the Tigrean masses. This difficult choice enabled the invaders to decimate Tigrai’s cities until they were forced to evacuate again. The unlimited deployment manpower, economic resources, and military ammunition by four countries against Tigrai failed to subdue it on the battlefield. So, the only option left for the invaders was to declare a premature victory by announcing they have controlled Mekelle. If they wanted to visit Mekelle, all they had to do was buy an airplane ticket, reserve a hotel, get a COVID-19 test, quarantine for two weeks, and spend a great time there with the people rather than start a war.

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It is also worth recalling that Tigrean fighters fought Derg 1.0 (1974-1991) in rural Tigrai, not in Mekelle. They controlled Mekelle after liberating the downtrodden peasants in rural Tigrai. In any event, Derg 2.0 could not back its victory over Tigrai with evidence because the fact on the ground is different. Tigrean fighters reoccupied some of the cities, destroyed some of the strongest divisions, rocketed enemy targets, and, to put ice on the caking, downed a fighter jet the very day after Derg 2.0 declared victory. That is why Derg 2.0 resorted to psychological warfare: that boring “confuse and convince strategy”. It blocked communication access and propagated the lies it mastered for over two years- howling that Tigrean fighters are forever hiding and fleeing from Derg 2.0. Its predecessor, Derg 1.0 (1974-1991) convinced and confused non-Tigreans that its invincible army is hunting Tigrai’s fighters. Almost all non-Tigreans believed in this lie until reality dawned on them in 1991. When one notices children of Derg 1.0 repeating the same slogan, one cannot help but endorse the old saying “like father, like son!”

The question for Tigreans, in my opinion, is not whether they will give in to the “convince and confuse” strategy of Derg 2.0. There is no doubt in my mind (not in my heart) that Tigreans will defeat the evil invaders no matter how hard they fight. This is not because Tigreans hold a magic victory wand or have a champions’ history. I think (not believe) Tigreans are going to win because they are fighting for survival. Their enemies are fighting to expand territory, avenge past grudge or repeated defeats, and enjoy the futile prestige that comes with winning. For me, the ultimate question is not who is going to win this war. My question is whether Tigreans are ready to live in a polity that praises genocide, bloodshed, and destruction after this war ends. In the future, I do not think Tigreans want to be part of a polity that worships a personality cult. I also do not think Tigreans will opt to reside in a polity that hates, displaces, impoverishes, and celebrates genocide. This is idolatry akin to worshipping a devil! So, it is not Tigrai but Ethiopia whose fate hangs in the balance.

Tigrai’s fighters have the heart of Spartans and the intellect of Athenians. Tigreans have the courage are ready to confront their enemies no matter how many, how tough, or how backed they are. This proves they are as brave as the 300 Spartans who faced the million Persians. But Tigrai’s fighters are not about to write a history of Spartan valor whose end was a tragedy. Rather, these brave fighters are determined to write a history of not just bravery but also that of glory. This requires wisdom. Tigrai’s fighters have already taken account of the strength and weakness of their enemies like ancient Athenians. This experience has informed them to craft an effective military strategy that enables them to decisively defeat their enemies.

Sun Tsu, that preeminent military strategist tells us that an army that knows its enemies and itself will not lose in a hundred battle. He also tells us that war is about deception. An army that can convince its enemy that it is weak while it is strong gets the upper hand. The enemy must believe the one is far when one is nearby and vice versa. The enemy, per Sun Tsu, must also feel he is winning even when he is facing imminent defeat. The singing and dancing of Tigrai’s enemies prove the fact that they are drunk with imaginary glory- which is a good thing for Tigrai. The greatest advantage Tigrai has over its historical and contemporary enemies is their tendency to undermine its strength. They think undermining Tigrai tarnishes its self-esteem. Tigreans, by contrast, think pomp exposes the insecurity of their enemies. That is why Tigreans calls them ትምክህተኞች!

The steadfast assurance of Tigreans that they will defeat their enemies in any war does not esteem from vanity. Nor does it spring from tallying the outcome of every battle. The certainty, in my view, rests on the cause of the war. Before raising arms, Tigreans care to ensure they have a just cause to fight because no warrior fights for a cause whose end state is ambiguous or unjust until the end. He may try out a few battles, but he cannot sustain endless skirmishes. By contrast, a fighter who fights for survival, freedom, and equal rights never suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder that afflicts an invader. A soldier who fights to occupy, murder, rape, loot, and destroy ends up with a split personality whereby his conscience turns against his body. That is why occupiers could never endure the ongoing bloodshed, death, maiming, burning, and constant fatigue even when they commanded boundless resources. An army devoid of a just cause lacks resilience.

Tigrai’s warriors have a just cause to fight this war. They are successfully repealing invaders bent on exterminating them as a people. Otherwise, they would have surrendered at the first instance when Derg 2.0 occupied the first village in Tigrai. The world is witnessing Tigrai’s warriors fighting in tandem with their people until death tears them apart in order to preserve their right to exist in their God-given land! In this struggle for survival, a defeated Tigrean is a dead Tigrean who is martyred resisting the invaders. Invaders could never subdue living Tigreans using force. This makes every living Tigrean, excepting those handful traitors, the true victors, standing tall against all odds. If there is one lesson the ongoing struggle thought us, it is this: that Tigreans opt for life once they “earn and secure” their right to self-determination by any means necessary! Tigreans have two options today: victory or extermination. From the looks of it, I think Tigreans have decided to win!

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