Please Come and Invade Us!
A fringe racist, bigoted, and servile group has been trying hard to undo Eritrea and what its people stand for. They have been mocking the struggle for self-determination and freedom including its veterans. They were in the verge of losing steam when the Ethiopian civil war erupted and the fringe Tigrayan groups became vocal. Their wish is to establish a “Greater Tigray” based on language segregation and they openly threaten others who do not speak their language, or do not profess similar faith as theirs, of life in a Nazi style internment or extermination.
Two possible outcomes for the Ethiopian civil war
If Eritreans did nothing and just watched from the sideline, completely neutral, there are two outcomes to the current Ethiopian civil war:
1st scenario: Abiy defeats TDF and together with Isaias, the two will make Eritreans forget who they are and why they suffered for decades. Then Eritreans will go back to where they started in 1961, due to the Ethiopian occupation.
2nd Scenario: TDF defeats Abiy and Isaias’ whose threatening chest beating gestures will slow down. Also, Abiy’s plans to reoccupy Eritrea and covet the Red Sea will be stopped, but as exhibited by several senior Tigrayans and Ethiopians, the risk to Eritrea will still stand.
Both outcomes have a risk:
If Tigrayans defeat Isais and Abiy, both will be overthrown, their replacements might not (will most likely not) be anything better, or worse. However, installing a puppet regime that will not think or plan beyond one-month ahead is unlikely. These groups adore mayhem and are violent. Their views are crude and injected with a lot of chauvinism that would surely spark internecine conflicts.
The signals coming from their Tigrayan allies and political leaders are not assuring; the noise of the vocal Eritrean fringe group is more depressing than threatening. The only consoling words in the issue were uttered by Dr. Debretsion, the president of the Tigray government, but the militant statements and subliminal threats by other senior leaders are not assuring at all.
The Eritrean forces have participated in the aggression against Tigray, and some seem hellbent on a revenge drive against Eritrea. Tigrayans have all the right to be enraged. However, it’s preferable that they seek legal revenge through legitimate courts. On top of being a civilized approach, that will lay an excellent precedent for the savagely ruled Horn of Africa. Sadly, the Tigrayan media is agitating for a revenge aggression on Eritrea, while Eritrean collaborators are foolishly inviting a foreign army to invade Eritrea. They are not making it any better.
Not surprisingly, they are joined by the same people who always cheer for wars from a safe distance, as they did during the Baddme war in 1998-2000. Ironically, they turn a blind eye on the mistreatment of Eritreans by the rogue regime and its injustices befalling Eritreans. Like always, the fires they ignite, or fan from safe places, will not burn them. They always come out unscathed while tens of thousands of youths perish in senseless wars.
Any foreign army invading another territory is a dangerous act and I wish the hotheaded would cool down and lower their rhetoric volume. No one needs a bloody confrontation between Eritreans and Tigrayans… and ironically, that is only possible if the TDF defeats Abiy (likely?). If the TPLF acts arrogantly and ventures to invade Eritrea, it will diminish its victory. Worse, extinguishing the fires will certainly prove more difficult than it appears.
A good victory is one that humbles, not one that makes the victor arrogant. I hope the Tigrayan leadership will be humbled by any victory (if they come out victorious) and learn from their painful experience.
As for the cruelty that befell Tigrayans, I think legally speaking, they should not forget Abiy’s government has invited Isaias’ army to the Ethiopian territories. That is enough reason for Ethiopians to direct their rage on the prime minister of the country. But still, suing to address the crimes committed against them, is a legitimate.
Debts must be settled
Eritreans should do their job and bring the accused to be accountable: detaining suspects, investigating cases, and presenting their findings to a court, not a foreign power. Change in Eritrea must be made by Eritreans, no one else. Also, the rejection of Tigrayan involvement in Eritrea should not be a camouflage, or an excuse, to protect the corrupt PFDJ regime which should be uprooted. Both those who are doing the theatrics to keep the PFDJ alive, and those who want to undo the independence of Eritrea, are wrong and destructive. I wish they realize their destructive roles.
The Eritrean political scene is confused: some consider the TPLF a release pump; they never had a voice to talk about the decades long sufferings of Eritreans. Now they want to appear patriotic and concerned by screaming empty slogans. Others seem to be exploiting the situation to mend fences with the PFDJ by turning a blind eye on the internal Eritrean issues, and focusing solely towards the south.
Dr. Assefaw and his colleagues
It seems many took Dr. Assefaw Tekheste, Brig General Tekheste Haile, Amb Andeberhan and Dr. Amanuel Mihreteab as their political mules to offload all Eritrean trepidations and failures on. They tried to make sacrificial lambs of them and a good tool to atone themselves of inaction for many years, by attacking them.
It is surprising how suddenly, the stars that many interviewers raced to host have become the villains! Such is the inconsistency of the media cadres on whose sight the difference between the PFDJ and the nation is blurred.
I have no love lost for Andeberhan, but there is nothing new in his position against the TPLF or other issues, his position has always been a copy of the PFDJ’s position except that he has a serious difference with Isaias and the way he runs the party.
I have no problem with the position of my new friend Dr. Amanuel Mihretab, at all.
I have met Brig General Tekeste only for a few days, in Italy and I follow him through the media I believe he is an open, likable, and a fine patriot.
However, I know Dr. Assefaw since 2000, and he is a good friend of mine, though there are minor things that need an honest “Hsab mawerared (balancing the books),” as the Ethiopians say. But I have no problem at all with his declared position on the inter-Ethiopian conflict. In fact, I am apprehensive that what was presented in the much-publicized editorial is selective quote chosen for its shock value and not fair to Assefaw.
Now what are the slight problems I have with Dr. Assefaw, General Tekeste, and all those who are now condemning the alliance of the over-zealous Eritreans with the TPLF?
It’s because they belonged to an organization that was the trailblazers of cross-border alliances against its compatriots. Did they ever openly regret what they did then? Not quite.
Back in the beginning of the 1980s, many of Eritreans felt the same way they feeling today–the anti-PFDJ ex-EPLF veterans are feeling it only now. Just like today, the foreign power that was invited to get involved in inter Eritrea conflicts was the same TPLF. And that alliance has been continuing, on and off, since the 1980s to the year 1998. After which the EPLF started to defame others to prove it’s the only patriotic organization—it has been the most irresponsible organization and its self-serving alliances has damaged the cohesion of Eritreans. The EPLF turned PFDJ, never made a serious gesture to address the grievances of Eritreans. The only unity and equality it could offer is “a unity in submission to the PFDJ rule.”
The twisted, narrow politics they spread, and the bad seed they planted has sprouted and grown into a thorny tree. What happened in 1980s is still painful, the scars from the EPLF-TPLF alliance of the time condemned tens of thousands of Eritreans to exile, to this day. It has divided Eritreans for a good forty years and continuing.
So, without acknowledging the mistake they committed in collaboration with the TPLF, on what moral ground does anyone condemn the annoying groupies? Aren’t they simply following in their footsteps and proving to be good learners of unprincipled, exclusive, and diversionary politics of the past?
What’s haunting the Eritrean politics?
Forgive but do not forget is a golden rule. Paulo Coelho advises, “Forgive but do not forget, or you will be hurt again. Forgiving changes the perspectives. Forgetting loses the lesson.”
Personally, I do not hold any grudge, I have forgiven the harm, but I will never forget lessons I learned. Not forgetting helps me remember to prevent its repetition, hoping it will keep me alert, and teach those who are following on the destructive footsteps to change course. This is not a call to setup confession booths; it’s all within the self. Accepting mistakes and coming to terms with it is a must. One needs to explain the mistakes, either to atone and reconcile with one’s conscience or to help heal the national wounds.
Many Eritreans have suffered because of despicable EPLF-TPLF alliance of destruction from which Eritrea is still suffering. So, I wish those who are pursuing the same strategy will back off; it’s an unhealthy path. Eritreans must do their own job, solve their own national problems if they can. If not, at least expose and shame those who want to repeat the agonies of yesteryears with their immature actions.
Regret and apology in advance
Regrettably, here, I used my friend Dr Assefaw as a springboard to call for an atonement for the old mistakes; I know he is sporty and would not mind. He knows my intention and I am confident, he will take this from a friend, but in no way do I want to use him as a political mule to load my grievances on him by cheap jabs on his reputation. Besides, he was neither a political leader making decisions, nor a military commander leading the assaults on his compatriots—he was a dedicated medical doctor doing marvels by curing the sick and the wounded. He must be proud of that—and no one can deny him that pride, it’s earned, and etched on stone.
Finally, what do the able Eritreans think about our predicament? I believe we are beyond thinking and it’s time for action. Eritrea should not be exposed to great risks because some vested interests want to protect partisan interests. Remember, if Eritrea continues the destabilizing path, under a corrupt system, there will be little left to rescue. The call has been out for a while and is still floating. Be determined, positive, forget your personal egos and narrow interests—think about the nation, about the beleaguered Eritreans. It’s time the wronged people enjoyed a genuine freedom. It’s time they regained their pride which the PFDJ gambled on. I am sure that Eritreans will win and flourish because the other name for Eritrea is Phoenix.