(A reply to the self-defeatist camp of Neamin Zeleqe)

By Tsegaye Kassa

Self-defeatist groups are mushrooming in the movement for democracy and liberation of Ethiopia, a country which has been under the throes of an ethno-fascist junta for the last 18 years. There are many Neamin Zeleqes  in our ranks be it by design or by persuasion as the result of the frustrating political situation in Ethiopia. Whoever Neamin Zeleke is and whatever motivation he has, we should judge him only by what he objectively is trying to add to Ethiopia’s problems or possibly contribute to the liberation of Ethiopia from the dictatorship of TPLF-EPRDF.

It seems there is no clear line of thought among some of the “democratic” opposition in Ethiopia as how to deliver the liberation of Ethiopia. As many of us think and do, Ethiopia’s transition to democracy will be realized by only practically engaging ourselves in the struggle. However as long as the movement for liberation of Ethiopia lacks the minimal moral and patriotic restraint to choose the means of struggle, there would be no liberation of a single inch of Ethiopian land from the ethno-fascist TPLF-EPRDF mafia. This being the case let us take some of the points of Mr. Neamin Zeleqe’s absurd scribble that we had to see in some of the Ethiopian websites under the title : “The Imperative for Ethiopians Dealing with Eritrea”. The title of the article mirrors how hopeless and self-defeatist the writer himself is. By extension we cannot see the liberation of Ethiopia if we join hands with such defeatists. At least one would expect some self-respect and love of one’s country.

To the majority of Ethiopians, anything that comes with the help of the Eritrean bandas is counterproductive and directed against the strategic interest of Ethiopia. One wonders why some groups in our community at home and in the wider world fail to see this very basic fact, which in fact should be a primitive physiological reflex to majority of Ethiopians. When any Ethiopian thinks of Eritrea, the only jerk reaction we get is the perception that we have to deal with a region that has seceded itself from it’s motherland and has committed heinous crimes on the Ethiopian population, who had to leave Eritrea after the secessionist rebels took control. The Eritrean secessionist movements deny their African roots and have created a fiction which stands against the true history of the Ethiopia of today. They see the history of Axum as a myth. And the thousands of years Ethiopia contributed to world heritage like Christianity, Islam,  legal norms and customs, music and literature, coins and crowns etc seam for the Eritrean secessionist simply a fugitive of the Ethiopian mind. The secessionist movements in Eritrea were supported by Ethiopians because as we all know we thought the Eritreans were our own people, who were being oppressed by the Ethiopian governments. We were right in protecting and sheltering Eritreans coming to Ethiopia. But the fact is the Eritreans never saw this in a positive perspective. They declared war against Ethiopia in 1998-2000 which was dubbed as a border war. The Eritreans thought the few million dollars of weaponry they had from Egypt and Libya could destroy Ethiopia once and for all from the face of the world. But the world laughed at the fool Eritreans and was surprised by the gallant Ethiopian army, which defeated and literally uprooted the spineless Eritrean army. Such is the bloody relationship between Ethiopia and secessionist movements in Eritrea which have dubbed themselves as a government on the territory that historically belongs to Ethiopia. Such forces of anti-Ethiopia cannot liberate or help the liberation of Ethiopia. Eritrea has backstabbed Ethiopia 1000 and more times. The Alger’s Agreement which give Eritrea a new boundary in contrast to the treaty between Ethiopia and Italy in 1896, the time around which northern part of Ethiopia was declared  a colony of Italy by Italy  and was called “Eritrea”, a crime which Italy committed with the support of England & France. Italy after the Battle of Adwa was given the region called Eritrea as a symbol of reconciliation for the defeated Italian army to use it until they could leave for their home to Italy It was leased to Italy by Emperor Menelik II, whose army defeated Italy at the Battle of Adwa in 1896. Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia and Italy agreed the Mereb River to be the boundary. All the regions south of the Mereb River belong to Ethiopia. It is superfluous to mention the United Nations and the International Community should not recognize such a region, which has been created by blackmailing and sabotage of Ethiopia. Further the UN should recognize the Treaty between Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia and Italy regarding the boundary between Eritrea and Ethiopia.


During the Eritrean secessionist movement, all armed groups were against the Ethiopian Nation. The unsuspecting Ethiopian authorities were treating Eritreans who were living south of the Mereb River equal with other Ethiopians. Both ELF and EPLF and their supporters disseminated anti-Ethiopia propaganda and were in conspiracy with Arab League countries against Ethiopia. Egypt was directly organizing Eritreans who were against unity with Ethiopia. Egypt and other Arab countries provided the secessionist movements with training and logistics. In return the Eritrean secessionist movements were in service of the Arab League’s plan to control the Red Sea – a day dream, which has become impossible because of Israel. The Eritrean secessionist movements exploited the kindness and brotherhood of the Ethiopian population south of the Mereb River. By extending their influence to the Tigrigna language speaking communities of Northern Ethiopia, the Eritrean secessionist movements, spread their venom of regional nationalism. The formation of TPLF was induced or intiatiated by the secessionist movements in Eritrea. ELF was organising and supporting TLF (Tigray Liberation Front) and EPLF supported TPLF. The Eritrean secessionist movements were also spying and sabotaging nation-wide Ethiopian opposition forces like EPRP. EPRP was forced to leave it’s base in Tigray by TPLF and EPLF.
During the armed struggle of TPLF against Mengistu’s regime, the Eritrean secessionist movements, particularly EPLF committed many acts of sabotage such that the armed struggle in Tigray against Mengistu was in jeopardy. EPLF forbade TPLF to pass through Eritrean regions to Sudan. TPLF succeeded to liberate and control north western Ethiopia and had it’s own passage to Sudan. During the armed struggle, EPLF succeded to infiltrate the unsuspecting tigreans. Tigreans of Eritrean origin controlled the leadership of TPLF with the direct and indirect assistance of the Eritrean secessionist movements. Meles Zenawi was made the leader of TPLF by Eritreans who were members of TPLF. Meles Zenawi purged the pro-Ethiopia wing of TPLF. Meles Zenawi and co killed some Ethiopian patriots of Tigray origin, who were members of the leadership of TPLF.

After the down fall of Mengistu’s regime, some units of EPLF marched to Addis Abeba with TPLF-EPRDF.The Eritrean guerrilla fighters that marched to Addis Abeba with TPLF-EPRDF were plundering Ethiopian factories and were transporting them to  Eritrea. They were burning some production depots and factories in the hope of devastating and destroying the Ethiopian economy. Above all the Eritreans were killing and kidnapping Ethiopians of Eritrean origin, who had Ethiopian citizenship and did not want to take the new Eritrean citizenship. Eritreans were being used and still are being used by Egypt, Libya, Europe and other countries to spy over Ethiopia and Ethiopians. The self-appointed government in Asmara was conspiring with the enemies of Ethiopia. Such hatred and animosity of Eritreans was timely recognized and Ethiopians started to take care of their country. Some Ethiopians exposed those Eritreans sabotaging Ethiopia and called the government to take action. For example, the people of Agame in Tigray region stopped all traffic passing to Eritrea and asked the government to stop the plundering of Ethiopian resources by Eritreans.

The regime in Addis Abeba is controlled by Eritreans ( eri-tigreans). Meles Zenawi, Bereket Simon, Sebhat Nega etc are Eritreans. The Shaebya mafia group seems to want to control more of Ethiopia. Issayas Afewarki is waging war by proxy against Ethiopia. Meles Zenawi and co. have made enormous concessions to Issayas Afewarki at the cost of the Tigrean population of Ethiopia in particular and Ethiopia in general. Contrary to popular view, Meles Zenawi and his henchmen are anti-Tigray and specially anti-Ethiopia. Meles Zenawi is destroying Ethiopia in the name of Tigray people. Ethiopians of other regions should be careful in wrongly assessing the situation in Tigray region of Ethiopia. Meles Zenawi and his henchmen have been promoting an anti-Ethiopia and anti-Tigray policy. Zenawi and his Eritrean buddies have sidelined the Tigrean people effectively. Meles Zenawi ordered the murder of General Haylom. Many Ethiopian patriots of Tigray region in TPLF, specially those in the military were killed by Meles Zenawi and his gang. Many generals like General Tsadikan were practically made to resign with threats to their lives and to the lives of their family members. Ethiopians of Tigray region like Seye Abraha, Gebru Asrat and others were expelled from the EPRDF. Seye Abraha spent years in prison for faked up corruption charges. These and other facts show that Meles Zenawi is an Eritrean and is ruling Ethiopia in the name of Tigray.  These statements should not be seen or interpreted to apologize for the people of Tigray. The writer is aware of the historical mistake the political leaders of Tigray had committed. The political leaders in Tigray of Ethiopia should have not accepted the secession of Eritrea from Ethiopia  as democratic and legitimate. This is unpardonable and has to be corrected by standing for the reverse of the secession of Eritrea or at least to stand for the boundary of Eritrea to be Mereb Melash (North of the Mereb River). The Tigrean elites of Ethiopia should shoulder their historical responsibility for the current situation in Ethiopia. The region now called Eritrea should be part of Tigray as it has been prior to the arrival and occupation of the region by Italy’s worthless army, an army which was bent to destroy but not to win a single battle. The people of Tigray should voice their opposition to the secession of Eritrea, which has no legal basis for it was decided without due consideration of historical facts. Massawa belongs to Tigray of Ethiopia and tigreans of Ethiopia should demand from and confront the powers that be to get control of their port.

At present Eritrea is actively busy with organizing anti-Tigray and anti-Ethiopia groups. But the sell-out Meles Zenawi and Sebhat Nega are not taking adequate measures to foil the plot coming from Asmara. As in the past Meles Zenawi will allow Eritrean forces to occupy some parts or the whole of Tigray region of Ethiopia. Besides the Eritrean mafia group under Meles Zenawi and Sebhat Nega is prohibiting non-Tigrean Ethiopians from settling and working in Tigray. Sebhat Nega, Meles Zenawi and his Eritrean henchmen are sabotaging and criminalizing the people of Tigray of Ethiopia. The Eritreans in TPLF, who are controlling TPLF-EPRDF are planning to force the secession of Tigray from Ethiopia. But the heroic people of Tigray are resisting and will have to intensify the struggle to oust the Eritreans in TPLF.

As to Eritrea as a whole, there is awareness in Tigray region of Ethiopia how anti-Ethiopia the self-appointed fascist government of Issayas Afewarki is and has been. Eritrea is arming and training Somalian forces, ONLF and OLF. Eritrea supports categorically only forces that do not accept the ancient history of Ethiopia. Eritrea works day and night to dismember Ethiopia and tries to destabilise Ethiopia by all means. Shaebya of Eritrea are arming the secessionist forces and opposition groups in Ethiopia to overthrow the dictatorial regime of Meles Zenawi. But why is Eritrea then arming and training OLF, ONLF and other opposition groups which do not stand for a united Ethiopia? Those opposition forces, which might stand for a united Ethiopia, are supported only if they are entirely subservient to Eritrea. The sad story of Ethiopians under the umbrella of EPPF is one example to cite. The EPPF leadership is entirely controlled by Eritreans and some in the leadership of EPPF are Eritreans, who are accountable to the self-appointed president of Eritrea. Ginbot 7 will have the same fate if it co-operates or collaborates with Eritrea. It is very disturbing that Ginbot 7 is in bed with Eritrea. The very fact that Ginbot 7 failed to defend the pre-1991 political boundary by collaborating with Eritrea makes Ginbot 7 unreliable. Whether Ginbot 7 is making a tactical rapproachment with Eritrea or not is to be seen. All the same Ginbot 7 has tarnished it’s name and no Ethiopian group will take Ginbot seriously. EPRP and MEISON have no co-operation with Eritrea, which makes them very reliable and patriotic organizations where to Ethiopians can go to wage the struggle for a united and democratic Ethiopia. In general Ethiopian opposition groups should not collaborate or co-operate with Eritrea. Even if Eritrea meant seriously to stand for unity and democracy in Ethiopia, we should not rash to join hands with Eritrea for as we note the history of the secessionist movement, it is against Ethiopia and would take a very fundamental change in Eritrea which has to be imposed from outside. Those opposition groups collaborating with Eritrea should know that they are weakening the struggle of the people of Ethiopia. This in contrast strengthens Meles Zenawi’s grip of power for the people of Ethiopia would distance from forces that collaborate with Eritrea. This does not mean we should not co-operate at all with Eritrea. But as long as Eritrea is anti-Ethiopia and continues to wage the falsification of Ethiopian history, we should see Eritrea as anemey to be dealt with.

If Eritreans have changed their mind and want to rejoin a united and democratic Ethiopia, then they should support forces that struggle for the unity of Ethiopia. If Eritreans have recognized the historical mistake of seceding from their motherland Ethiopia, then they have to make it clear that the secession of Eritrea is wrong and has to be reversed. Until Eritreans reject the position that Ethiopia is and was a colonial master of Eritrea and accept that they are Ethiopians, we cannot co-operate with them because they are part of the problem which Ethiopia has to fight against with all means at her disposal. We could continue discussing about the political situation in our region with Eritreans but to hope to get assistance from Shabya to erect a democratic government in Ethiopia is tantamount to being part of the international conspiracy to dismember Ethiopia.
…………………(to be continued)

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