By Firdu Yitayew
The Ethiopian and Eritrean Diaspora and home public are aware of the current heated debates on yet to be resolved burning national issues. At his capacity as the current AU Chairman, Colonel Gadafi promised recently to do his utmost regarding the Ethio-Eritrea stalemates, but in vain. At last, with effortful agitation and awareness creation, it is encouraging that more and more Ethiopian and Eritrean public are moving towards the pathways leading to informally unveil erroneous fictions, frictions and factions; and stand firm to fight against and resolve injustices incurred thus far by the two dictatorial renegades based in Addis Ababa and Asmara. For as long as the Ethiopian and Eritrean public consistently remain alert and know the fundamental problems manufactured and spread by the 2-hydra, we can ultimately create solidarity to block or eject these two devilish-hydra dictatorial tyrants from our nations; and solve the mountain high or the ocean-deep of conflicts and wars concocted by them. Tyrant Afeworki and Dictator Meles should vanish along with their axis of devils. Particularly, for Ethiopians, the ongoing resistance inspirations must pave the way for the downfall of Dictator Meles Zenawis Agazi regime; a regime that is filled with untold injustice, contempt, humiliation and deceit.
When Meles vigorously supported the succession theory of Issayas while in the bushes, he had no choice as his only means to come to power was to initially cling on to EPLF and make all the EPLF-demanded concessions that came from his Godfather Issayas Afeworki fulfilled. And when we look at what Dictator Meles did to the Tigre speaking people both within Tigray and to those from Eritrea, it could be said that: Zenawis generous give-away of Assab and part of the Afar population to his mothers homeland Eritrea; a country populated by nearly 4-million inhabitants; was part of such deal concluded in the 1980s. To us this malicious and nepotistic deal and actions taken there of by Zenawi is nothing but a matter of benefiting his affinity in the extreme North. But, what are the reasons behind such coercive political stand taken by Zenawi? The following are 3-key political cards Zenawi plays best with:
Obviously as promised to his Godfather earlier, breaking the socio-economic and political spinal cords (which Zenawi once boastingly spoke of as: Akerkariachewun Sebrenal) of the Amhara and the Oromo that are considered as potential threats and competitors for power was one mission accomplished. Likewise evicting that Eritrean Tigre population who are potential threats and competitors against those from Tigray is another mission accomplished.
Maintaining Assab outside the bounds of Ethiopia until the divisive policy dust settles well is mission possible that is still ongoing.
Until Issayas Afeworki is eventually replaced by a pro-TPLF leadership within Eritrea Zenawi will continue to support Eritrean opposition to simply soft-land and stand against Afeworkis way; while Zenawi prepares for a major blow if and when Afeworki tries to flex his muscles against Zenawis army. Much so, the border demarcation and Assab utilization arrangements will remain pending as these are among the last resorts on which Zenawi can cling on to and use them for spreading further fear waves against anyone and all his opponents. Regardless of attempts by Colonel Gadafi, the current stalemate conditions between Afeworki and Zenawi depend on who holds tight the fulcrum to his advantage. So if anyone has the illusion that Zenawis stand on Eritrea is because of his principled belief for freedom that is not the case. In actual fact both Zenawi and Afeworki are 2 hydra nihilists who know who is who between the two of them.
Indeed, lack of knowledge is darker than night. An ignorant person is always a slave; and he works without knowledge; and he works uselessly. Hence, it is up to us the Ethiopian and Eritrean public to exploit the chances of forging long-run peaceful coexistence, economic-co-operation and mutual prosperity. After-all, Ethiopians and Eritrean kin and kits are fraternal brothers and sisters; and as the saying goes: Blood is thicker than water, so also the fate of these twp kin population tied with diachronically thick blood bondage.
Given that there is injustice, one such injustice concocted jointly by Tyrant Afeworki and Dictator Zenawi is that of land-locking 80 million Ethiopians and keeping us imprisoned in Zenawis-amputated and restructured Ethiopia. In Eritrea, due to fear for Tyrant Afeworki continuous wave of exodus and dispersal of able-bodied Eritrean youth in all directions of the world is happening in recently. There is also heavy embodiment among Ethiopians and Eritreans by widely exposing the inner make-up of Tyrant Issayas Afeworki of Eritrea and that of Dictator Meles Zenawi. The opposition at home is left to be what Dictator Meles once called as Kin Tekawami; literally meaning Loyal Opposition groups allowed only to soft land on political concerns. But all these situations are for a reason. As the Chinese saying goes: Every bad situation has its own good and as the equivalent expression in Amharic goes: Saydegis Aytalam the current moment is becoming a golden opportunity for a new start afresh; for working out fresh, non-contaminated and strategically visionary and long lasting solutions by determined citizens both at home and in Diaspora.
On a critical note, Eritrea during its 1st 7-years of the so called independence remained economically tied to Ethiopia. The only thing that changed since the 1998-2000 war is the aftermath during which time Meles decided to suddenly cut-off Eritrea from accessing beneficiary resources it enjoyed from and within Ethiopia. One may dare to ask: If tension with Ethiopia is Afeworkis main reason for confining the Eritrean youth in plenty in his SAWA military garrisons, why is the conflict with Ethiopia more painful to him than those where he waged war against Sudan, Yemen or Djibouti? In the region, there are nearly a number of border disputes between several developing countries; yet none of them use dispute as a pretext to indefinitely lock their young and able bodied citizens in military camps like that of Afeworkis SAWA.
The case between Tyrant Afeworki and Dictator Meles is synonymous to a situation between 2-furiously angry and jealous lovers who subconsciously fight; but to return to one another eventually as each one can’t dissociate and live without the other. That is why peace, stability and economical prosperity will shrine in Eritrea only and only when Afeworki and Zenawi are ejected from power; and Assab seaport is left as Ethiopias legitimate corridor to the sea. No matter what comes may, Tyrant Afeworki will never stop broadcasting what he indoctrinated in the minds of Dictator Meles Zenawi and other TPLF cohorts; in fact, Afeworki will continue intervening in Ethiopias political and economical affairs even if we assume that Colonel Gadafis current attempt to forge border demarcation to be accepted by both Shaabia and Woyane regimes. The main reason for this is such that you cant teach new tricks to an old dog; much so, Afeworkis only professional expediency lies in hatching and concocting wars and conflicts. Ever since 1966 when he was in the Eritrean bushes, Afeworki continues stead-fistedly waging banditry and bloody wars against Ethiopia, Yemen, Sudan, and Djibouti; and lastly interfered in Somalian politics and war. Actually for Tyrant Afeworki Eritrea is too small to play with and quench his highly inflated ego. In order to cover-up his envious and inferior complexity egos created by the mounting pressure from his own disciple and junior comrade of earlier days, Dictator Zenawi (whom he trained and supported to come to power seizure in Addis Ababa), Afeworki is stubbornly refusing to settle pending matters. On the other side, knowing in advance that Tyrant Afeworki is not going to pardon him, contemptuous Zenawi decided to take advantage of the situation and inflicted grave injury on his Godfather Tyrant Afeworki by quickly transporting Tigrinya speaking people of Eritrea in the pretext of security back to Eritrea. This action included ejecting Shaabias extended arms whose mission was to spy and report on Zenawi and his Woyane regime movements. Since then, Tyrant Afeworki remains boiling with anger that has eventually aggravated ulcer in him; and he is nothing but a failure figure; isolated from major global leadership events by his own political choice and stubborn stands. For nearly two decades now, what the Eritrean public benefited from his leadership and the independence dance and temporary euphoria we know of is nothing but serfdom, wanton and war. Afeworki who fabricated a war condition after the other will not be ready to give up his war-mongering habit, which is his only profession at best; and as the notorious evil doer of the region, he is ever anxious in his divisive missions to see havoc and conflicts taking place in ethnically weakened Ethiopia.
In order to block Afeworkis pathetic attitude and endless mission against Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Diaspora must carefully watch and avoid those who somehow associated themselves with Tyrant Afeworki and Dictator Zenawi. When all is said and done, and when the Ethiopian public at large was angered by the conspired and brokered take-over of power by Zenawi and Afeworki in 1990, OLF and todays Ginbot-7 founders were euphorically dancing along the two hydra-despots that ultimately shattered the hope for democracy in the region. This reminds us the Ethiopian saying: Ye Kotun Aword Bila Ye Bibitwan Talech. To add insult into injury and by turning their faces like a sunflower to where the sun-shines Ginbot-7s Andargachew Tsige and Birhanu Nega have this time changed their previous Woyane platform positions of the 1990s for a Shaabia one. Tirelessly these two crisscross European and American cities to plant a revisionist attitude and stand in the minds of Diaspora Ethiopians by preaching to the latter that Tyrant Afeworki is Ethiopias ultimate savior and salvager not only to oust Dictator Meles from power but also to enable all allied opposition LFs to wage their succession from the rest of Ethiopia. We should guard ourselves not to join those who rally behind Tyrant Afeworki-tailored ethnically divisive self-determination up to succession motto; we should dissociate from these wolves hiding under innocent sheep-skin.
Instead we should be emboldened to workout and devise other alternatives that pave the way for toppling the Eritrean Tyrant and the Ethiopian Dictator from power as these two are cancerous to our fraternal, egalitarian democratic fate. The next step should be to outweigh the long run political consequences of keeping vast sea costal area under Eritrea while at the same time keeping 80 million people land-locked unlawfully. Indeed, keeping Assab within the bounds of Ethiopia is not a win or a lose option; but a critical necessity for Ethiopias security and a survival means for its economic interests. As the saying goes:Anger does nobody good; but patience is the father of kindness. Much so, there is still good chance for eventual reconciliation and negotiated settlement on Ethiopias access to Assab; create peace, prosperity and unity among the two kin-peoples of Eritrea and Ethiopia at will once the evil doer Tyrant Afeworki and his misguided EPLF policy crumble altogether. It is said that: There are three friends in this worldcourage, sense, and insight. So also the courage that we Ethiopians are bearing in mind these days is great. Ethiopia without Assab is a joke similarly Eritrea without Assab is nothing. So a win-win deal is ultimately possible for both the Ethiopian and Eritrean populace.
We should not forget how these 2-despots were actively operating during the late 1980s and early 1990s due to favorable circumstances they had around them; and due to the promises Zenawi made to Afeworki having no choice at that time. Particularly, between 1991 and 1993, Meles was more involved in Eritrean succession affairs than Isayas was until he realized the power sharing or power holding situation in which there cant be two leaders with equal power within the Federal Ethiopian State that Meles was suggesting during his early days getting accustomed to holding government power. So instead of keeping himself in a junior position as deputy; and leave the drivers seat as the Federal Presidential level to Isayas, he opted to cut-off Eritrea, give away Assab as a bonus and take full control of power in his amputated Ethiopia by ones own choice; completely ignoring the Ethiopian populace whose socio-economic and political spinal cord he claimed to have broken once and for all.
Figurative or federative wise, Eritrea remains too small to the evil doer Tyrant Afeworki who is ever anxious; and not satisfied with the power he has thus far consolidated within Eritrea; and he keeps on flexing his Shaabia muscles confined at SAWA-military garrisons and momentarily breeding geo-political problems with neighboring countries. Suffice to mention the troubles he ignited with neighboring Sudan, Yemen, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and even his courage and deep involvement in the recent political war inside Somalia. Otherwise he leads people who seldom protest against him by exposing his malicious deeds to the outer world. If Afeworki wants his Tigrinya speaking people not to oppress the minority ethnic groups within Eritrea including the Kunama, the Afar, the Saho, the Bilen, Bejawi, Bin-Amir, and etc, he could have let these people to opt for self-determination up to secession. Instead, simply to keep weakened Ethiopia in check, he chose opposition groups coming from within Ethiopia to fight for their freedom from their Tigray oppressor, Meles Zenawi.
Regardless of the odd teachings coming from Afeworkis camp, in actual fact, there is no political conflict between the Ethiopian Afar and Eritrean Afar population; rather the Afar unilaterally always wanted to remain as part of Ethiopia. The same holds true for the
Ethiopian Irob (Saho) and the Eritrean Saho population; the Ethiopian Agew and Eritrean Billen (Agew) population; the Ethiopian Kunama and the Eritrean Kunama that unilaterally always wanted to remain as part of Ethiopia. On top of these, the Ethiopian Tigre population and the Eritrean Tigre population have lots in common with the Amhara who were originally the same people by their roots until the coming and spread of Islam along the Red Sea Coastal areas. Ethiopians also have no problem with the Eritrean Naras, Bejas, and Rashidas.
In later years for a long while there developed deep sentiment of resentment and hostility between the Ethiopian Tigrei (from Tigry) and the Eritrean Tigrinyi population although both speak the same language and practice the same Coptic Orthodox Church in the majority. That is one reason why Meles found it easy to deport inhumanly an estimated 80.000 Eritreans in mid 1990s; most were Tigrinya speaking persons. This deportation action was done simply for security reasons in case Afeworki would opt to attack Zenawis regime; and at the same time to eliminate likely competitions between the two Tigre population for economic and political power. Likewise, on the other side of the isle, all Tigrian persons from Tigray who once lived and worked in Eritrea for generations were expelled in thousands from Eritrea by Afeworki in extremely inhuman and barbaric manner; by physically attacking and confiscating their personal belongings.
The reason why the Eritrean Tigrinya speaking population confined in the three districts of Hamasien, Serae, and Akle-Guzai remain hostile towards the population of Tigray is mainly for fear of being taken-over (dominated) by the latter. In Eritrea the Tigrinya speaking people of these 3 districts are about 1 million (35%) of the entire 4-million Eritrean population. The Tigrinya speaking population in Tigray is estimated at about 5 million of which an estimated 4 % are said to be other ethnic groups like the Kunama, Saho/Erop, Afar and Agew. Hence, if Eritrea and Tigray were to become united as a Tigray-Tigrini ethnic region, then the Tigrinya speaking population of Eritrea will obviously be swallowed by those from Tigray and lose its hegemonic dominance that it has been enjoying thus far within the confines of Eritrea. And if the Tigrinya speaking population of Eritrea attempts to become hurdle on the way of the power holders of Tigray, then the likely scenario is for the latter to allow other ethnic groups within Eritrea to opt for waging their mini self administration for own statehood. So Eritrea under Issayas Afeworki has turned into a military garrison where disgruntled amateur political opposition groups like Ginbot-7, Al-Shabab and other terrorists are given a safe heaven.
When all is said done, Ethiopia will be at disadvantage to be represented by Dictator Meles Zenawi as his heart is neither with Ethiopia nor with Tigray; but with Eritrea. Ethiopian voters should thus depose Meles Zenawi and his TPLF party once and for all during the 2010 election. Likewise, Eritrean Diaspora must dissociated from Tyrant Issayas Afeworkis EPLF ties and replace this notorious regime by an amicable and democratic minded leadership within Eritrea.