BY MULUGETA KASSAHUN
One of the oldest Ethiopian proverbs said that wushet sidegagem ewunet yehonal. The literal meaning of this is that when a lie repeated for a while it becomes a truth. I do not know if this proverb makes sense to English speakers, but it has a deep root in Ethiopian culture. That is why I begin my comment in this well known Ethiopian proverb. However, before I go too far, contrary to this Ethiopian myth, I would like to admit that repeated lie only breeds more lies than a minute truth.
Nevertheless, the person who I am presenting to you seems closely familiar to the above proverb, and used it very well to explain her case. Her name is Saba Mistlal Desta Webb. At one time, this woman was a member and fighter of TPLF (Tigray People Liberation Front). However, in her own reasons, she left the organization in Sudan and had lived as refugee there for a while and then resettled in Toronto, Canada. After settling in Canada, she lost her eyes sights completely due to unsuccessful surgical correction. Even though, loosing her sight cost her, more than other things, her independence and the husband who accompany her from Sudan, those mishaps did not discourage her from finding a job to support her self. On the contrary, she, too, was able to lead a successful life by maintaining her job, marrying one of her Canadian colleagues, and then writing her memoir named Tigress in the crossfire.
Although, I admired this Ethiopian woman for her courage and success in Canada to lead an independent life, I have a great disappointment in the contents, lies and confusions that filled her book. Like any other grand propaganda machines of TPLF, this book was also twisting the naked truth and blamed everyone except TPLF and its members. In addition of blaming EPRP for all the problems that happened in Tigray, this brainwashed writer attempted to rewrite Ethiopian history and Geography. That is why I am attempting to present all the out right lies and distortions from the book word by word.
Page11. According to our religion, women were given to men as presents. In Ethiopian Moslem women the edges of the vagina and labia shut by sewing the edges, leaving only a little space for urination and menstruation. When they marry, the husband must penetrate the sown vagina and the hymen, no matter how much pain he causes.
According to her memoir, neither she knew other part of Ethiopia outside of Tigray nor completed her high school education before she joined or left TPLF and came to Canada. Hence, I assumed she was talking about Tigray women since she knew only part of Tigray before she left Ethiopia. That means, then, according to the writer the Tigrian Christians has provided their young women as present to men, and the Tigrian Moslems also closed the young girls vagina until the wedding day that would be opened by forceful penetration of a mans phallus. I leave this statement to the judgment of the Tigrian and the rest of Ethiopian people. But one thing is true, any man, even a super human, can not penetrate a sutured vagina with his God created phallus unless he has steel-made one.
Page 14: In 1973 the country ( Ethiopia) relies on the people of Northern provinces of Shewa, Wello, and Tigray for food. Underlined word is mine.
Does this writer know Ethiopia very well? Which parts of Ethiopia were stricken by the drought in 1973? I thought Tigray and Wello were the main ones. At that time most of the crops actually were coming from Gojam, Gondar, Shewa and the Southern part of Ethiopia. One of the main reasons TPLF annexed the fertile land of northern Gondar and Wello was to protect the Tigray people from repeated droughts.
Page 17: . I was 14 and knew very little about the emperor and his terrible misrule, but I knew enough not to expect much from a military government. I hoped to myself that the new government would understand that we wanted a free and democratic country.
This woman must be unique to understood Ethiopian monarchy system, military government, free and democratic rules, and knew what she wanted for the future of Ethiopia at age 14.
In addition to the distortions she made about how Ethiopian political organizations created, the writer mentioned .. The few who managed to escape death fled to Asimba in Tigrays Agame district. They (EPRP) planned to make Tigray a war zone and to use the people of Tigray as cannon fodder against the Derg.
Of course this writer not only lacks the knowledge of Ethiopian history or the revolution, she also did not do her home work to grasp deep understanding about the Ethiopian student movement or the creation and leadership of EPRP before she started her scrupling. Contrary to TPLF and her thinking, EPRP as a political organization has struggled against tyranny, oppression and suppression in all over Ethiopia. The dream was and has been to bring freedom and democracy in every corner of the country. The first simple reason of choosing Asimba as site of starting the Armed struggle was due to a strategic reason (closer to Eritrea), second and the most important one was that most of the leaders of the organization at that time were Tigrians ( Tesfaye, Beniyam, Berhane, Tselote.. etc) who took the embryo of the army to the place where they knew the best. The EPRP army already was in Asimba before the mass killing of the military junta was initiated on EPRP members.
Page 24 &25 . EPRP refused to accept past failures. When it could not recruit men for its militia, it would torture and slaughter them and leave their bodies on the street as an example to others .. TPLF vowed that it would free Tigray and all of Ethiopia from military rule, feudalism, bureaucracy, and superstition Every other political organization, including the Derg, wanted to wage war from Tigray and to use Tigrayans as a cannon fodder.
This is a kind of lie we call in our country as a white lie. Where and when did EPRP torture the Tigrian people let alone to throw dead bodies on the streets? Which street? Asimba Street? Were you talking about Derg or EPRP? Is this a calculated or an honest mistake? Do you think the Tigrian people are completely wiped out from the face of Tigray? In the opposite of your senseless assertions, TPLF cadres, infiltrating in Dergs and its surrogate political organizations, were the one who tortured and killed a lot of EPRP members in Tigray. TPLF never had a dream to free the entire Ethiopia from Dergs oppression. It was and still is a narrow- ethnic based political organization with a grand plan of seceding Tigray from Ethiopia. The 1968 TPLF manifesto is the living witness. Your repeated accusation of EPRP to use the Tigrian people as cannon fodder proves your narrow-mindedness and backwardness like your parent organization TPLF. You forgot that the Gondares, wolleyes, Sidamas and other Ethiopians also paid the same or more price as their fellow Tigrian brothers and sisters to bring new future in the country. Unlike you, I feel sad on their death but proud of their actions for all those Ethiopians who sacrificed their life for the betterment of Ethiopia.
Page 35 ..On June 25, 1977, the militia (Dergs) now 80,000 strong and armed with Soviet weapons marched into Addis Ababa. Over the next ten months, he had another 240,000 trained and deployed them against the democratic revolution that was gaining strength in Tigray.
What a distortion you can make? Among other things, one thing I learn from this book and the rest of TPLFs propaganda machines is that how they can confuse the audience, particularly non-Ethiopians, by talking half truth. Of course every one knows that Derg trained a total of 300,000 militias to defend the country from Somalias invaders, not to fight the TPLF fighters in Tigray. The TPLF fighters were not more than a thousand at that time. In what military rule is 300,000 soldiers sent to fight 1000 fighters? I will leave the answer for the readers.
More in the same page The only organization making progress, the only organization with a clear platform for the nation and with a strong belief that Ethiopians deserved better leadership was the TPLF.
Do this woman and the rest of the people know the same TPLF? As its name explained it, TPLFs platform, if it has one, has been to fight for the freedom of Tigray. TPLF has not mentioned the name of Ethiopia until it created EPRDF and then capturing power in Addis Ababa was a possibility. This is the whole truth. The history, already engraved with the blood of Ethiopians, has kept the file about who fought for Ethiopia and against. The face of ugly child can not be compensated with a wonderful name. Weather we like it or not, TPLF is the ugly child of Ethiopia that created a black dotes in Tigrian history.
In the mean time, the political dispute between the TPLF and the EPRP has been growing more heated, and the EPRP officially declared war on the TPLF and invaded our base in Agame.
This one could be laughable if not a lot of people did die on both sides. The writer contradicted herself. At the beginning of the book she mentioned that the reason the EPRP came to Tigray was to use the people as a cannon fodder. This was not only her but the whole TPLFs belief. The organization, at that time, even now, has not allowed other organizations to move freely in Tigray. That basic principle of TPLF created problem to EPRP members to teach their political agendas to Tigrays people. The TPLF members used to call EPRP members abaye Ethiopia. TPLF instigated the war in every opportunity and then increased it to full scale of battle and pushed out EPRP not only from Tigray but also from Gondar. The war was started with the war monger and narrow minded TPLF leaders.
Lets see the writers reasoning about forbidden sexual relationship incident in TPLF at page 54 and 55: The sexual relationship was occurring between an experienced fighter and a woman fighter.
…..the woman had seduced the man ..She was brought in by two guards and told to stand in front of us (meeting participants) and give her side of the story. She admitted that they had had sex, then said that she was an EPRP agent and that she had intended to cause disruption within TPLF. She said that she wasnt sorry. On the contrary, she was very happy with what she had accomplished.
The aforementioned statement reminded me one joke. One upon a time the Queen of Englands little dog was lost. M16/ M15, CIA, KGB and MOSAD have attempted to find the dog. But all of them miserably failed. At this time one of the respected lords of the common wealth came up with the best idea of replacing those internationally known and sophisticated spies with their main partners in fighting terrorism, the Ethiopian intelligence service. All the participants admired the astuteness of the suggestion and agreed to bring those service members. The Ethiopians took the job in heart and uncovered the entire of London unsuccessfully to find the dog. At the end of the day they found a small rabbit instead of the small dog. They tortured the rabbit the entire night and convinced her to be the queens little dog. Early the morning, they took the little rabbit to the meeting and told the audience they found the little dog. The queen was astonished by the fabulous work of the Ethiopians and eager to see her dog. However, when she recognized what was found, she screamed with disappointment, this is not my dog, it is a bloody rabbit. The head of the Ethiopian intelligence service then responded with respect: Maam, instead of screaming lets find out the answer from her. Then he turned to the rabbit and asked her who she is? The rabbit answered in shivering, I am the little dog of the Queen of England.
That was how that woman might have given her word to those the so called TPLF members too. These kind of forceful admissions have not been new in TPLF and EPRDF members. Tam rat is a living example.
Page 66: ..in late 1979 re-armed (ELF) the EPRP, helped it regroup, and transferred it to Welkayet and Teselemti in Tigray, where it waged war on the TPLF and terrorized civilians.
Here the writer attempted to sale full of lies with a small truth. Lets explore which ones are true and which ones are false. The truth is that the Tigray zone (Asima) was dismantled after the war and the EPRA retreated to ELF base in Eritrea. After several negotiations some of the army members went to Begemder (Gondar) zone and join the EPRA army there. What are the lies then: 1- The EPRA was in Welkayet and Teselemti, Gondar for more than five years before TPLF crossed Tekeze and opened war against EPRP/A. 2: EPRP has never terrorized anyone in Teselemti or Welkayet. Those region people will testify one day who terrorized who.3- Welkayet and Teselemti has never been the region of Tigray until they were annexed by the big hand of TPLF from Gondar. Let me add one story here. After the TPLF captured Welkayet by force, they gathered the people and told them that before Amhara took you away by force you were part of Tigray and now we liberate you to regain your identity. Before the end of the meeting one elderly person stood up and gave this unforgettable speech. Egna Tigriayoch aydelenem, Egna tigray endanhon igzabhere bnentena be enga mehakel tekezen sera. We are not Tigrayans; since God doesnt want us to be Tigraian, he was building Tekeze between us. After that incidence those peoples who opposed the annexation were jailed, killed or fled their region/country.
In conclusion, I would like to remind my readers that I only commented about some parts of the book. This book has 257 pages that filled with more lies than a grain of truth. I invited you to read the entire story in order to grasp the distortions of the truth that filled this book and to understand how the TPLF propagandists attempted to confuse the international community and to create a new myth in Ethiopia history.
You can reach me at Urosurgerymd@yahoo.com