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Which is the real enemy of Tigray: Individual Leaders or the Established System in Ethiopia?

Which is the real enemy of Tigray: Individual Leaders or the Established System in Ethiopia?

Kalayu Abrha 01-25-21

I would like to thank TMH's Stalin Gebreselassie for proposing a debate on what is indicated in the title of this article. I don't know how different it is this time; whether Tigray will forgive and forget as it repeatedly did in the past. Of course, given the global mobilization of Tegaru against the widespread mass killings, destruction, looting of property, and beastly rapes of women and young girls at unprecedented scale; the elevated feeling of sadness, anger, and disillusionment among Tegaru provoked by the senseless and callous acts of impunity in almost every town and village of Tigray, any such thing as forgiving and forgetting is less likely to happen. However, this is only a conjecture based on the prevailing expression of disappointment, among Tegaru scholars and lay people alike, that does not seem to fade away anytime soon. Unless we dive into the core of why such man-made disasters are taking place in Tigray, with an ever-increasing magnitude on the "Richter scale", time may more likely heal the wound however gangrenous it may have been.

At the core of such disasters lies the question whether it is the individual leader's bad attitude, or a widely inculcated public attitude backed and nurtured by an established system? Tigray has experienced at least four invasions and destruction from the central governments located at Arat Kilo. This is much more than the share of any community of people can endure. The leaders of the four invasions are Menilik, Haileselassie, Mengistu, and Abiy. Are all these consecutive leaders of Ethiopia psychopaths who are led by their own hate on particular people which does not have any foundation in the Ethiopian polity? If the answer is "Yes", as it has always been in the past, there is a great likelihood that, once Abiy is gone, we will forgive and forget. We celebrate the end of his rule and curse Abiy for a few years as we have done on Mengistu, Haileselassie, and Menilik. We sit back, stretch our legs, and continue to live our "normal" lives. Even TPLF, which led the people of Tigray against the Derg, must have believed that it is all over! Once Mengistu is gone there will never be any more trouble against Tigray. True, there was no trouble against Tigray for 30 years, but because TPLF was in the command center at Arat Kilo!! The invasion of Tigray happened, in less than two years after TPLF left Arat Kilo, not by a returned Mengistu but by Abiy who was cheered by Ethiopians for every word he uttered and every action he took as long as it was unti-Tigray. TPLF was busy building an economy, a military, security, and foreign relations that is now used against it. By not working as much in Tigray TPLF was not aware of the fact that it was tilting the power balance in favour of the enemy which did not sleep for 30 years waiting for an opportunity! This is what a lack of foresight and systemic thinking means.

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Menilik plundered and misruled Tigray. People in Tigray wished him dead unaware that he was simply a representative of a system that is determined to end the historical, cultural, and political supremacy of Tigray in Ethiopia and replace it by an Amhara-Ethiopian one forever. When Menilik died Tigray loosened its belt because it felt that the source of all evil on Tigray was this one individual called Menilik. Tigray got it all wrong because the deep rooted and widespread anti-Tigray polity got another more potent leader in Haileselassie. Tigray was surprised at the post-Weyane invasion by the same political force under a different but more vicious leader. Still ignorant of the systemic underlying intentions Tigray cursed Haileselassie until his death and beyond but surprised again by the long and more brutal aggression by Mengistu on Tigray. If Abiy is gone sooner or later, and Tigray, as it has become addicted to forgives and forgets the most devastating invasion in its history, it has to be prepared for another leader of Ethiopia that would realize its doom once and for all! Fellows, it is human nature to forget something even the like of what is now happening in Tigray. It is more comfortable and less costly for the surviving people of Tigray to conform to new but unfamiliar realities. This is ill advised because every time past brutalities are forgotten the people will be weaker and less prepared for the inevitable next aggression. With every conformity to loss the evil system which drives the invasions will have the chance to economically, politically, and socially degrade Tigray in order to effectively subjugate it perpetually. Let us face our problems as a system countering an unfavorable system instead of considering it as the will and whim of an individual leader. It has become worrisome to hear the name of Abiy thousand times a day. Watch out so that things will not happen again and again. Abiy is not the enemy, he is just a leader the established anti-Tigray polity found to attain its long endured and never changing goal of destroying Tigray. Are we going to celebrate if Abiy is gone and live happily ever after while that anti-Tigray system in Ethiopia goes into hiding as it did before and spring up with any first opportunity to finish off Tigray for good?


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