100,000 people sacrificed to prove TPLF’s “Ethiopianness”
(By Abbaa Jaarsoo)
before the signing of the ceasefire agreement between Ethiopia and
Eritrea, the Ethiopian Ambassador to the USA, Mr. Berhane Gebre-Christors
flew to Huston, Texas to address a meeting of the Tigrean community
there about TPLF military tactics and their “successes” in the war
with Eritrea. The Ambassador is a Tigrean and a veteran ideologue
of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) that has been ruling
Ethiopia since 1991. The meeting was carefully organized and not
many dissenting voices were heard.
about the meeting were the Ambassador’s boisterous reflection of
the TPLF’s “success in crushing Shabia” and his irrational narration
of his party’s explanation of the attributes of the “invincibility”
of its army. The talk was replete with a constant theme of self-adulation
reminiscent of the Mengistu Haile-Mariam era. The ambassador described
the horrific war as one that was so clean that only few lives of
Ethiopian soldiers were lost.
requires courage and a deep sense of responsibility for leaders
to acknowledge lives lost in a war from their side, but courage
and responsibility have always been lacking in the TPLF camp. This
should come as no surprise to those who have been following the
activities of this organization since its formation in the early
1970s. Its record reveals that the organization was created from,
and nurtured by, death and destruction and as a result killing people
and destroying property have become engrained in the collective
psyche of its leaders.
scholars and “experts” have long speculated that the drive to this
war was the worsening internal politics of Ethiopia at the time
when the border skirmish between Eritrea and the TPLF government
started. It was a time when the TPLF was confronted with a mix of
potentially threatening forces from disenchanted ethnic groups who
resent the authoritarian rule under a minority government and an
extremist right wing group bent on reversing Eritrea’s independence.
TPLF leaders had to look for a soft external scapegoat and garner
some support internally by proving their “Ethiopianess” which had
always been in question. It turned out that the proof required
sending tens of thousands of actual and potential dissenting voices
for a brief encounter with Eritrean landmines from the front and
TPLF guns from the back. The proof demanded the sacrifice of over
100,000 lives, and these lives belonged to the dissenting Oromos
and other ethnic groups in southern Ethiopia.
else can any rational mind explain the carnage that was inflicted
upon our people for a minor border conflict that could have been
settled by international arbitration and saved the lives of tens
of thousands of people? The current peace deal could have been advanced
two years ago without the loss of life. But the TPLF had another
mission. It had to prove its “Ethiopianess” by “teaching Eritrea
a lesson”, no matter how many lives may be lost in the process,
and gain support from those who could not come to terms with Eritrea’s
separation from Ethiopia.
TPLF has indeed achieved some success in this regard but how long
will it last? Will the TPLF promise to the extreme right wing be
kept? Can it be kept? A glance at TPLF’s history suggests that
Meles Zenawi’s new friends would soon be disappointed because the
TPLF is notorious for breaking promises.
as the TPLF cadres go around preaching their successes and as the
families of those 100,000 lives slaughtered in the war mourn, famine,
AIDS and abject poverty are taking their toll on the peoples of
Ethiopia. But because most of the victims are not from the privileged
Tigrean ethnic group, the TPLF leaders need not bother about it.
Now that they have proven their “Ethiopianness,” they may continue
celebrating their brilliant success. But how long will the party
last? Nous verrons.
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