Eritrean Regime’s Endless Recoiling
Let me start by saying while we should hope Ethiopia will never be threat to Eritrea, we should not bet on Ethiopia’s tension or its disintegration for Eritrea’s solidification, which must solely depend on Eritrean’s will alone. Having said that, I understand some reservations regarding Ethiopia, as in the saying, “old habit dies hard.”
As far as history tells us, while district territories were well defined in Ethiopia, the notion of the country’s peripheral territory was vague and even in-existant. For the conscious Ethiopian, Ethiopia extended as far as the eye can see, and the finger can point. Haven’t we learned from some gullible historians that Ethiopia extended to Mozambique? The only territorial limit was the sea, and Ethiopians’ claim their country reached the sea. It was the only limit that had a limit, even though the sea and the Eritrean seaside was controlled by Turks and Arabs for centuries.
For foreigners who visited the country, the Ethiopian (or Abyssinian) territory was much smaller, essentially limited to the central highlands. Let’s also remember that succession to power in Ethiopia, with few exceptions, was always by war. Whoever had a superior gun-power ruled a territory limited by his ability to invade. Medieval thinking persisted in our region till modern times, even until now, in the digital age. Whoever was vanquished in war and obliged to pay tribute and taxes (ዝገ’በረ), even for one time, was considered as part of the domain. At one time, Suakin, in Sudan, was invaded and it was claimed to be part of Abyssinia by those who knew of the event.
I hope Ethiopians with expansionist and sea-water thirsty attitude will come to terms with the reality that prevailed since ~150 years that formed the Ethiopia we know enlarged, south, southeast, and southwest, much more than it practically had. We also hope they will be able to de-personalize Mother-Ethiopia (https://artway.eu/content.p…, and just consider her like Marianne, the symbols of the French Republic.
Eritrea can only defend itself against others’ dreams by forming a strong cohesive administration that transcends the Liberation time and other divides. That is the only fortification that can deter others from nefast thought and resort to friendly relationships.
The Eritrea we have now is divided in many aspects. The Liberation generation seems to be stuck in the old intestinal vengeful fights, paralyzed, and scared to open to new ideas. The young flee the country at every opportunity. The younger generation who has the opportunity to express itself mimics the older generation, entering into the vengeful fights, within itself, and against the old generation. Every national issue, or problem, is used as an instrument of fighting and scoring points. For example, looking at the recent events in our region, the Tigrayphilic accuses the other of Tigrayphobic. A complex war that started decades back is reduced to being inhumane and humane, a pure cutthroat instrument of war for silencing!
At the center of this is the Eritrean administration, where all fingers point to. This administration is part of the stuck generation that refuses to renew, to bring together the next generation to lead the country. A short-sighted group in its outreach, believing only in the experience it garnered during the struggle era. It wants to pass its experience through gauging into the stomach instead of into the brain. And the young are throwing it out without digestion. It forgets that its time-tested experience was for a purpose that was already attained. It doesn’t know giving a lesson or taking a lesson. It created a comfort zone in Eritrea for itself that doesn’t accommodate Eritreans of different ideas to its own.
First, your defense on the diplomatic weakness is understandable. However, we turn situations and try to justify the lack of it; Eritrea’s foreign or internal diplomacy is quasi non-existent.
Second, the opportune nature of this time is to start a development program in Eritrea. When? ወርሒ ምስ ወጸት? (when the new moon is out?). Where, and with whom? When is the ጽባሕ ግዓት ክንበልዕ ኢና (the selling of a promised meal) going to end? The Eritrean regime is not only reclusive from the outside, but also from the inside.
Tomorrow, it will be very hard to cover back the distance it is recoiling away from. It went too far in distancing itself from everyone, including from the very population it is administering. Undiplomatic inside and outside, that is certainly the reason it is promising us procrastination.
NB: This post is HaileS reply to several comments that appeared on Awate Forum.