The Curse of Perpetual Civil Wars
The ghost of the ongoing civil war in our region will be a curse that will haunt us for generations to come. Historical figures are invoked bereft of their historical contexts by those who think they are the only heirs to these historical figures; little do they realize be it the region’s historical figures or historical markers and landscapes belong to all the people who lived for centuries; needless to say, decontextualized narratives and a historically invoked figures are intended to inspire the warring factions. each choosing one that suits its war agenda. The backdrop to it seems to run as an undercurrent is an emphatic political power, each vouching and vying for one upmanship in the brinkman show and tell that TPLF proudly considers a game of its heritage.
A Nigerian author, Chimamanda Adichie quotes a Palestinian poet – writer- Mourid Barghoti having said that “power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story of that person.” What TPLF successfully did to Isaias Afewerki on the world stage is exactly that. It put a lethal bait in Badme in 1998 and he took it. The more TPLF was becoming successful in making him look like a monster of North Korean proportions, the worse he had gotten at the domestic front. Progressively thus IA of Eritrea enhanced the TPLF narrative, ostensibly becoming this recluse leader standing against the world. The idealism he spoke of in the nineties seemed to wax and wane and the indiscriminate dictatorial broom began to sweep any person who hinted of rule of law, the constitution, institution, what have you. The sq meritsna (we chose silence) instead of fighting back the propaganda machine of TPLF with his own counter spinning machine, Isaias chose dungeons. Twenty years of this approach, Isaias was made to be the North Korean leader of Africa. He seemed to say, not so fast!
TPLF and its disciples not only tried to destroy Isaias as a leader, for 27 years they tried to destroy the idea of Eritrea, Eritrea the nation was being questioned, much as they made Isaias become the monster in the figment of their imagination. This won’t be completed if TPLF didn’t weaken the opposition. Therefore, they destroyed various Eritrean opposition groups as it rendered them incapable of fighting as a unified unit. Dividing the opposition along ethnic lines much as it tried to do to Ethiopia appeared to work for a while. The opposition was in tatters, in an impasse, seldom did one see the opposition group to have unity in purpose. In fact, it became a habitual outcome to multiply after any conferences it held. With the political frying pan leading to a complete emasculation of the opposition groups. they made Eritrea look like Isaias made it when in actual fact it was the TPLF’s evil genius that was wreaking havoc.
Similar sinister motives were at work among Ethiopians as well. The Amhara and the Oromo were becoming mortal enemies. Oromo among Oromo to divide and multiply, a replica of what transpired among and within Eritrean opposition groups. From there, it became so easy for Eritreans who were TPLF sympathizers to bash Eritrea, as one that was made in the image of Isaias’s whims, forgetting all along what it took to bring Eritrea back to the world community was the toiling of all Eritreans for thirty years. The civil war in Ethiopia unraveled the true nature of TPLF.
The truth became abundantly clear when TPLF’s power struggle led to a civil war as it systematically tried to dismantle Ethiopia along ethnic lines. Some in the Eritrean opposition who bought the idea of ethnic enclave got on board the. The division among Eritreans in diaspora has become crystal clear: A new era began to dawn where positions became clearly delineated among various Eritrean stakeholders. Of particular interest for this piece will be those who chose the Train with the TPLF at the helm and those who opted for the EDF Train with Isaias Afewerki at its helm. Extending the train metaphor, let’s continue the story; the two tracks of the TPLF Train operates in the following ways:
TPLF’s Foreign Track
The main target on this front is geared strictly towards Eritrean Highlanders who share the same heritage with the people of Tigray. TPLF promises, these gullible and many more not so gullible entities, the removal of Isaias from the helm of leadership, Eritrea and Tigray will reign supreme in tandem. It should be remembered here that TPLF has had 27 years of complete control over material resources of Ethiopia that helped it to be armed to the teeth. TPLF began to put its armaments on display on the Boulevards of Mekelle, on various occasions to show off its military prowess, be it over Eritrea or that of the newly minted Prime Minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia’s federal government leader. This is what prompted Eritrea’s pro-TPLF crowd to promptly hop on that train track to the promised land. These were disgruntled opposition groups who were toying with the idea of Greater Tigray. The speed by which they were willing to lay the blame on the lowland Eritreans being more brutal than the highland Eritreans is part and parcel of the r scheme of Greater Tigray.
We’ve heard stunned at the blatant lies, conceits, propaganda machinations churning it, cooking it, alas, it did not stick; it could not stick because the voices of truth, voices of reason began to speak up. The ill-conceived attempt to lay the blame of the war atrocities on the Muslim Eritreans did not work. The grand scheme of recapturing power in Ethiopia didn’t stick either for several reasons. The key components had to do with Diaspora Eritreans and Ethiopians overwhelmingly rising to the occasion showing their quick stand against the TPLF political scheme. Inside Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed and the people of Ethiopia stood their grounds to defend Ethiopia from falling into the TPLF’s concocted ethnic based organizing principles.
This narrative fits as part of the bigger scheme of annihilating Eritrean identity, if it were to work, they could easily see themselves marching into the promised land of the Capital of Eritrea. Seemingly overnight, the social media outlets were saturated by their bluster, rambunctious noises that drowned out any other voices. Of course, there must be a domestic track that TPLF must concoct for the grand plan to work.
On the Domestic Track:
Here TPLF had to come up with outlandish promises for the people of Tigray. So, it promised the moon by way of invading Eritrea and Asmara was the destination. No need to go to the lowland. For the Greater Tigray grand idea to work all they need is the highland Eritrea with its Capital of the ultimate goal to be annexed including access to the Sea via Assab and Massawa. Period. This is just a reflection of an ongoing civil war the ending of which appearing to be insight with plenty of puzzling developments worth mentioning:
TPLF leadership continues the assertion of NO Isaias Afewerki in negotiation with Abiy. TPLF’s other conditions like returning the TPLF generals to their old posts. Gen. Bacha Debele plus General Hassen Ibrahim have been nominated for Ambassadorship posts, some 27 of them who reportedly nominated to various posts outside the country. Is Abiy making a space for the TPLF generals to bring them back? As we speak, TPLF is pushing into the Afar area without any hint by way of a response from Ethiopia. Although some media outlets are reporting that the drones of Ethiopia are reigning in on TPLF. Hard to verify. Why is Abiy tacitly allowing TPLF to position itself near the red sea? Will Ethiopia force its way to Red Sea shores? Is Abiy Ahmed’s meeting with Americans a sign that AA might put IA under the political bus? The latter is not someone who should be underestimated either. The remote controlled TPLF couldn’t push its way to Eritrea as EDF that was touted to have been armed by toothless old men appeared to have saved Ethiopia from the brink of a collapse. These are going to be some of the issues that will be figured out moving forward.