Are Eritreans Working for or against their Nations future?
Kalayu Abrha 01-15-21
Never was there a year in the history of Eritrea in which Eritreans lost the right track and carelessly roamed in the dangerous political wilderness as they are doing now. Eritreans did not fight against Italy not because they couldn't but because Italian rule for them turned out to be a better evil than the much greater evil of betrayal by the regime in Ethiopia. Such rationality of their decision making was repeated in the launching of the war of liberation triggered by the dissolution of the Federation by the same political forces that handed them in to colonialism. This time they were deemed "useful" than they were before. Who? Their ports, not the Eritreans! Eritreans of the time precisely got the point and they decided to fight. The liberation war was for an independent state of Eritrea not to reunite it with Ethiopia. Re-uniting with Ethiopia means endorsing the dissolution of the federation. Was there any valid reason to fight for 30 years and suffer martyrdom in tens of thousands of dead and injured just to "attain" what was already offered by the Ethiopian regime: complete unification?
Tigray was unequivocal about its support for Eritrean independence. It had a feeling that that was what Eritreans really wanted. Tigrayan leaders, notably Meles and Sebhat, were no less Eritreans than the Eritreans themselves in upholding the just cause of Eritrean Independence. In the years of liberation war it did not occur to Tigray that the leader and his clique inside the EPLF were harboring hidden motives of turning the 30 year bitter struggle into a bargaining chip for power over a united Eritrea and Ethiopia. There were symptoms that the Eritrean struggle was off the track. The leadership considered Tigray as an enemy because it had an uncompromising stand for Eritrean liberation. It was perplexing that both Ethiopia, fighting against liberation and Eritreans fighting for liberation hated TPLF/Tigray. It is not hard to understand the hate on Tigray emanating from Ethiopia for supporting Eritrean independence. What is hard to comprehend is why Eritreans hate their supporters! This hatred got a brutal expression when EPLF closed its borders for the drought victims of Tigray in 1984-85.
After the EPLF controlled Asmara Tigrayans were selectively expelled with a lot of brutality. They were branded as agents and supporters of the Derg! Let us see the logic here: If the Tigrayans expelled from Eritrea were Derg agents and supporters; if Derg was fighting for unifying Eritrea with Ethiopia; and if some of the key EPLF leaders were working for the same goal; then Eritreans are driving their own "comrades" out. They penalize Tigrayans for standing firm for Eritrean independence and at the same time they penalize those Tigrayans that opposed the independence of Eritrea and allied with the Derg. There is something that Eritreans are miscalculating, while they feel they are calculating. Eritreans are unwisely convinced that Eritrea cannot be an economically viable state if it does not "counter colonize" Ethiopia showing the attractive card of unification. It is a clear clash of wits where Ethiopians want reunification with Eritrea not with an Eritrean upper hand. Ethiopian nationalists never tried to conceal what they want from Eritrea in the unification: Eritrean rule in Addis Ababa? Never!; Eritrean "brothers and sisters"? No!; Eritrean land? No!; Eritrean coastline? YES! Eritreans are so naive to think that Ethiopians love them for what they are. That is why the leader of EPLF and his clique were self-assured that they will be tolerated to sit on Menilik's throne for life. Their only obstacle to this, they were convinced, was TPLF/Tigray. They never doubted that Eritrea will remain under the full control of Eritreans after full unification: "Ethiopia for us all Eritrea for Eritreans alone". This is wishful thinking. Eritreans felt their military supremacy over Ethiopia will remain forever.
Eritreans counted their chickens before hatching. Ethiopia's military supremacy over Eritrea was built by the TPLF and the dreams of Eritrean leaders over Ethiopia was turned into a nightmare. While the Ethiopians liked the restoration of Ethiopia's military strength, they hated Tigray for preventing the unification of Eritrea with Ethiopia. Ethiopia and Eritrea hate TPLF/Tigay for diametrically opposite reasons: Eritrea wants unification to grab Ethiopia as booty for its own "singaporization", Ethiopia wants a complete control of the ports in Eritrea and the incorporation of Eritrea as its province. For both ambitions TPLF/ Tigray is an obstacle. What Eritreans fail to realize is that if TPLF is done with and Tigray weakened Ethiopia and Eritrea will be locked in bitter struggle to realize their opposing ambitions on each other. It is not only that Tigray is determined about Eritrean independent existence as a matter of principle, but its geographical position between Eritrea and Ethiopia is being considered by both as something to be done away with. Eritreans don't seem to be aware of the fact that unification with Ethiopia is going to kill the independence they fought for 30 years. By trying to destroy Tigray they would be losing their only hope of protection from the re-invasion of Eritrea by Ethiopia. The Amhara are dating and courting Eritreans into unhappy marriage for the Eritreans.
Eritreans tend to take comfort in their support for the brutal invasion of Tigray by Eritrea. They say, without caring to think more thoroughly, that "Woyane must be punished for expelling Eritreans from Ethiopia and for wedging war on Eritrea in 1998" among many other reasons. These reasons cannot justify what the Eritrean troops are doing in Tigray. When in 1998-2000 Ethiopian troops led by Tigrayan generals crossed the border into Eritrea and marched deep into Eritrea no crimes were committed against Eritreans. The Tigrayan commanders did not allow the troops, who came from outside Tigray and wanted revenge on Eritrea, to do what they intended to do: kill and loot Eritrean civilians. The war was started by Eritrea and TPLF as leader of the Ethiopian army had to respond and defend the Country. Meles acted responsibly by pulling Ethiopian troops out of Eritrea as per international law. What Eritreans are doing evades explanation. Tigray did not invade Eritrea. The firing of missiles on Asmara, which angered Eritreans into invading Tigray, was a lame excuse. Every Eritrean knew that Eritrean troops, almost all of them, were already inside Tigray before the missiles were fired at Asmara. The missiles were meant not to do harm but to awaken the world to the invasion of Ethiopia by Eritrea in collaboration with Ethiopia itself. This is the best candidate for the Guinness Book of Records where a nation coordinates its own invasion!
Eritreans are also entertaining the grudge they bore motivated by the 1998 mass expulsion of Eritreans from Ethiopia. Knowingly or unknowingly, they prefer to accuse TPLF/ Tigray for this. Meles is singled out as the chief engineer of the expulsion. Eritreans are using this as a reason for supporting Eritrean invasion of Tigray. The Amhara invaders are also fanning this through the media in order to aggravate the anger of Eritreans over Tigray. Sadly, the Amhara are playing Eritreans as pawns; but the latter could not wake up to the reality. The truth is Meles did not want to expel Eritreans when Badme was invaded by Eritrean troops and war was declared. Eritrea had already started expelling more Tigrayans from Eritrea which must have provoked Meles to do the same. I want to draw readers' attention to a press conference that was held with Meles soon after the invasion of Badme. The tape must be in the archives of ETV. The journalists were daringly crucifying Meles for not retaliating against Eritrean expulsion of Ethiopians. This was what Meles answered "When Shabia goes to the left, we don't go to the left; when Shabia goes to the right we don't go to the right". I recall how badly Birtukan Haregewein (News Women) reacted to his answer. When the pressure mounted from the Amhara to pit TPLF against EPLF by retaliating, Meles prefered to conform to the enormous pressure to expel. He was already considered as Eritrean collaborator and did not want any more of that. That was why he said later "We can expel anyone whose eye colour we don't like". He said this to the same journalists who grilled him for not expelling. After provoking him into action they put the responsibility on him. This is how the Amhara destroy you. Eritreans don't realize this. They have become like sheep grazing alongside a tiger. This fact is revealed very recently by the commander of the northern army of Ethiopia. The general exposed his Eritrean allies as "invaders". He said in public: "Eritrean troops forced their way into Ethiopia without permission and violated our sovereignty". This is what Eritreans get for their lack of wisdom. Ones the Amhara used them to destroy TPLF they openly branded them as invaders. In fact, Eritreans are weakening their own force by fighting in Tigray to make Amhara's next campaign on Eritrea much easier. Weakened Eritrea and Tigray by killing each other is a blessing for the Amhara ambition of one Ethiopia with Eritrea as a province and Tigray as a non-entity.
Eritreans must leave Tigray as soon as possible; apologize and compensate Tigray for the damage they have done; return all the looted property and reconstruct what they have destroyed; and bring to justice those who have killed, looted and raped. The consequence of incompliance will be living with a bitter enemy (Tigray) as a neighbour. I think this will not be to the best interest of Eritrea.
Not all Eritreans are that bad to Tigray. There are Eritreans who have become more Tigrayan than some Tigrayan traitors. History will treat them very kindly. It is tragic that there are two kinds of Eritreans: Those that weep with us and those that make us weep. Eritreans wake up. Don't shed anymore Tigrayan blood. Our future is inseparable. Don't destroy that future and lose everything.
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