The Politics Of Betrayal

Human rights lawyer vs. trained healer


  1. The risk of colluding with Ethiopia to oust the Eritrean Government
  2. An illustration of Ethiopian deception
  3. Follies of many Eritrean opposition groups
  4. Tesfay Temnewo’s lack of credibility

Many of us have speculated as to what kind of contributions the ‘Ethiopian intervention’ is bringing to the struggle Eritreans are pursuing against the present dictatorship in Asmara. It is true that the Ethiopian Government and the Eritrean opposition groups share a common view of President Isaias Afeworki, and that is his PFDJ Government is the most unsuitable one for the people. However, we need to pay attention to the current trend which is manifesting itself – reference is being made to the intrusive nature of Ethiopia’s daring role in our affairs.  We cannot afford to make the same mistake our fathers committed in the late 50s and early 60s – that is to be lulled into handing over Eritrea to Ethiopia on a silver platter.

In 1940s, prior to the ‘Ethiopia or Death’ campaign, the most defining element which led to defeatism of the intelligentsia was the sheer terror that was unleashed by members of Andinet, the Youth League which was literally a terrorist wing under the Unionist Party. Undoubtedly, the fearlessness and ruthlessness of the Andinet members were felt and registered by those who could have made a difference in determining Eritrea’s future had they had the opportunity to function under different circumstances.  To make a long story short, the Andinet movement paved the way for federation which was quickly followed by annexation – a lesson to our home-bred youth who graduated from the pfdj-sponsored ‘Dankiera’ schools (schools of dizzying, endless escapades).

Having said the above – the insinuation regarding what awaits us once we allow Ethiopia to cajole us with kickbacks and then bully us for our lapses, I proclaim that it is about time that we fought back to save what is left of our dignity.   Many leaders and members of the opposition do not hide the fact that they are colluding with Ethiopia to oust the Eritrean Government; what they are not seeing is the paralysis that is slowly setting in. Is history repeating itself?

They say the next big thing is here,
that the revolution’s near,
but to me it seems quite clear
that it’s all about Ethiopian duplicity repeating
.. and I’ve seen it before
.. and I’ll see it again
.. yes I’ve seen it before
.. just little bits history of Andinet  repeating

Taken from History Repeating by Propellerheads / Miss Shirley Bassey

A couple of months ago an interesting Tigrinya document was posted on under the title of ‘shrHi Addis Ababa / snksar maHleKatatun’, which depicted a credible account – how Ethiopia continues to entice, entrap and then discredit members of the Eritrean opposition groups in order to keep stirring up trouble within the opposition camp, to highlight its ‘indispensability’, to assert its hegemony and of course, to keep Ethiopian interests alive. In other words, to make us go down on our knees.   Many of the opposition groups, with their empty pockets, cannot hold the Ethiopians back, but give in to their pressure.  That is how they lost the plot! Are we being reminded of the fact that Ethiopia, in this ‘swinging’ of allegiances, has the upper hand in our region?  Thanks to Isaias’ irrationality we have been dwarfed in the scheme of things. That is not going to last forever though.  It is sad that the political bankruptcy in our regions is playing against us, prompting many of our opposition groups to roam around blind-folded. Are we that poor to allow Ethiopia to dictate our internal affairs? I do not think so.  We are rich enough in passion, patriotism, devotion and perseverance; it is just our disorganized nature which is taking up all our time for now.  But things will certainly change – to do things our way.

On the other hand presented an analysis on the Evaluation of the work of Eritrean National Democratic Council (ENCDC), which I found interesting but incomplete.  I would have liked to have read the Team’s take on Ethiopia’s role in this jigsaw puzzle.  Anyway, the analysis squarely put the blame on some shortcomings – primarily on the power struggle that arose among various factions of the opposition. Actually the analysis accused the opposition groups for behaving autocratically.  It stated ‘… what cannot be understood or accepted is to have our behavior as an Opposition Camp, resemble in any way to that of the regime that we are fighting against and to primarily change and uproot the mentality of domination, exclusion and assimilation that characterizes it’!  The Awate Team, who continues to keep us abreast with the Eritrean times, knows very well who is doing what and how things are done within the opposition camp.  I am hoping the Team remains put in its bold reasoning, vigilant and tell things as they are.  As far as observers like me are concerned one of the main causes of disharmony in the opposition camp is to do with Ethiopia’s interference – the contest among some of opposition groups regarding ‘who pleases Ethiopian officials the most’ is at its peak.  opposition

Let’s skip various important episodes that took place during the last decades and land on 2009 to show one of Ethiopian trickeries.  After the 1998-2000 war between Eritrea and Ethiopia, the Ethiopian exploits started with the advent of certain ‘charitable’ actions – the right of deported Eritreans citizens to reclaim lost property and to invest in Ethiopia (based on Ethiopian proclamation 280-94 of May 2009).  We all remember how Ethiopia auctioned Eritreans’ property during the 1998-2000 war as it deported innocent Eritreans under the guise of the ‘necessity to take security precautions’.  In 2009 Ethiopia allowed deported Eritreans to reclaim their properties and invest in Ethiopia.  However, the charitable move did not deliver the desired outcome for Eritrean deportees but it turned out to be a good piece of news for public consumption.   The bureaucracy Ethiopia instated totally frustrated the majority of those who applied for the return of their properties – basically, it was a ploy designed to hoodwink Eritreans into accepting Ethiopia as a benevolent and as a do-gooder nation. And to this date Ethiopia’s ‘charitable action’ is yet to bear fruits. One should feel sorry for those who moved back to Ethiopia prematurely to salvage their properties.  With their dignity eroded, they are still navigating through offices to reclaim what was once theirs; and some are having difficulty in making ends meet after they plunged into further debt while going through the begging process.

Eritreans in Ethiopia are systematically made to remain idle, turned into third class citizens and are commercially dis-occupied. Basically, there is no Eritrean businessperson who has succeeded in rebuilding his/her life upon return to Ethiopia – of course with some anecdotal occurrences.  The few who are there and are confusedly struggling to fulfill that elusive ‘Ethiopian dream’ will, sooner or later, go into hiding.  Those who were made to burst onto the ‘Ethiopia scene’ will leave the spotlight in humiliation. Let it be known that the former hard-working Eritreans who used to own major businesses – hotels, garages … etc. are literally non-existent; and the Ethiopian proclamation was simply a form of deception.

More on the follies of many opposition groups

On another front we can consider how Ethiopia is duping many of the opposition groups into delusional feats. Yes, there are those who are still trying to make the Ethiopian lie make sense.  I have a feeling those who have betrayed our nationalist agenda are finding it hard to pull out now after realizing their pro-Ethiopia campaign stalled and is somewhat backfiring now (no following). Many of us are beginning to realize that they have turned into nothing more than stooges of the regime in Addis Ababa.

Most pro-Ethiopia groups will do almost anything to avoid having to face the above mentioned truths. Once the dust settles, most of those who are fulfilling Ethiopian wishes will opt for the comforting territory of rationalization – they will claim they are struggling against Isaias’ rule.  In my thinking, perhaps a bit simplistic, pro-Ethiopia stance correlates to anti-Eritrea stance.  What they do not realize is the fact they are neglecting the people and sovereignty components of the struggle all together.  In fact, I will be harsh here, what is best for those who have been duped by Ethiopia is to rewire their senses, short-circuit their instincts and intelligence, and reject the seductive comfort of self-delusion. May be it will be very difficult for them to leave their guilt behind them but they still have time to come back to their senses.  At the moment, one can see the politics of betrayal is tracking them as they walk, an ugly shadow made by themselves.

Betrayal is common for men with no conscience. In our opposition politics, as Ethiopia’s whispers get louder, an either-or situation is created – either to betray one’s country, one’s heroic history (by allowing Ethiopia to dictate its terms) or abandon the PFDJ government.  I prefer to abandon the PFDJ, not my country, not my history!  I have lost respect for those who bank on Ethiopian support, and value their small hand-outs above our nationalist principles.  I am sorry to say they have become the weeds of our struggle.  They may not know it but they are certainly making Isaias look good.

The turncoats had their chance to give a performance designed to make a public impression. But their performance did not materialize; actually it has started to backfire now.  The Tesfay Temnewo lies are a case in point.  He disgraced himself by lying while he remained in tow of the Ethiopian agenda. His attempt to explain matters surrounding him was nothing more than absolving his running away from the armed struggle when he was needed the most.  I guess with him it is like herding cats. Moreover, it is the sign of the times – when the cat is away the mice will play.

Adhanom Gebremariam referred to Tesfay Temnewo’s accounts as pure fabrications fit for a disinformation campaign. Eritreans have come to realize that Radio WegaHta, the Ethiopia-sponsored radio station, which was instrumental in giving a stage to launch Tesfay’s disinformation campaign, is untrustworthy and a propaganda-outlet of the Ethiopian government.

On the contrary, there are those who believe in time-honored ‘tegadalai’ codes of honor, loyalty, and respect.  Above all, no matter how opposed they are to the system back home, they do not allow Ethiopia to dictate the terms of our struggle.  They seem to be men and women of their word, who are constantly and painfully aware of their people’s legacy of struggle and suffering.  For instance, so impressed am I by the sentiments Mesfin Hagos expressed and analysis he presented in his recent interviews, I would like him to stay on course and rebuff any attempt by the Ethiopians to corrupt him.  The Ethiopians tried the vilification technique (a hatchet job on Mesfin Hagos), to have him totally discredited by their mediators, but that, call it a twist of fate, ended up becoming his blessing.  I respect him for that ‘vilification’ – that shows me he is doing the right thing and the Ethiopians are vexed.

Allow me to fly off on a tangent here.  It would be more interesting, actually more important, to witness that former information minister Ali Abdu left the Isaias government rather than being bombarded by endless contentions by the likes of those who adhere to a Unionist agenda – the incessant depictions the evils of the order back home, the ‘illicit’ nature of the Eritrean struggle for liberation, and the ‘importance of having the Ethiopians on-board’.   Ali Abdu has left the PFDJ Government which should be celebrated, but the modern-day Andinetists who are defecting to the Ethiopian camp are bringing shame to us all. Their ill-motivated, pro-Ethiopia sentiments and stances are at odds with the Eritrean moral fiber – revisionist in character and irredentist in perspective.

If this trend continues and we fail to nip this in the bud, then we Eritreans might as well forget the birthday of Eritrea which falls on ‘24 May’ – one that cost us so much to attain!

In memory of our martyred Tegadelti … Happy Independence Day!


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