By the Alula Aba Nega Collective
A Tigrean proverb says, “Haki tezaribka ab megedi babur dekis,” pointing out, among other things, the importance of telling the truth to overcome a crisis. And the truth we would like to expose is that the TPLF war against Ethiopia is part and parcel of the hybrid war that America is waging against African sovereignty. Knowing this truth is important for resolving the present crisis in Ethiopia.
Americans know that the TPLF lost power in 2018 but refused to accept this loss. They know that it retreated to Mekele and started plotting the overthrow of the democratically elected Ethiopian government. They know that, from 2018 to 2020, the Ethiopian government used all modern and traditional peaceful approaches to persuade the TPLF to resolve peacefully the differences between the TPLF and the Federal government. To no avail. They also know that the TPLF armed forces treacherously attacked the Ethiopian Defence Forces on 3 November 2020, killed officers and soldiers, and took over the weaponry that was positioned there to defend Ethiopia’s northern borders. Americans know that the TPLF ruled Ethiopia for 27 years with an iron fist, with a total disregard for human rights. They know it looted the wealth of the country—over 30 billion US dollars (Transparency International) and funneled it into the offshore accounts of TPLF leaders and their relatives.
Given all what Americans know about the TPLF, we Africans must ask: “Why is America committing all its diplomatic, economic, political, media, NGO, and academic resources to support the TPLF’s project to overthrow the democratically elected government of Ethiopia?”
American newspapers’ anti-Ethiopianism appears to be inspired by the anti-Ethiopian pages of Mussolini’s Il Popolo d‘Italia. Some American academics sound increasingly like the Italian fascist scholars Ugo Rellini and Guido Landra in their anti-Ethiopian zeal. Consider Yale University’s absurd project to give life to the “big lie” of “Tigray genocide” fabricated by the TPLF and the Western media whose sources are invariably TPLF members! Yale University’s project resuscitates the “academic procedure” that the “scholars” of Fascist Italy used to paint Ethiopians as savages. To make sense of the incomprehensible American proxy war against the democratically elected government of Ethiopia, one must bring into the picture the intimate relations between the TPLF and the USA.
In the 1980s, the USA was intent on overthrowing the DERG, which it saw as a beachhead for communism in Africa. It found that the TPLF was not only happy to be the American tool for overthrowing the DERG, but it was also willing to advance America’s interests in Africa, if the US helps it to take power in Addis, which it did, with Herman Cohen orchestrating the delivery of Ethiopia into the hands of the TPLF. America thus created a puppet state in East Africa. For 27 years, the TPLF was the American Trojan horse in Africa. America reciprocated by legitimating the anti-democratic TPLF regime as a “democracy.” Thus, President Obama declared, without batting an eyelash, that the TPLF government is “democratically elected.”
As Ethiopia goes, so goes Africa. And Americans know this. If the TPLF gets back to power, America will have in its possession one of the most historically and symbolically important countries in Africa. It could thus use it as an economic, political, cultural, and eventually, military launching pad for dominating African countries and advancing its geopolitical interests. Thus, its proxy war against the democratically elected government of Abiy Ahmed, because The US government considers the loss of its Trojan horse intolerable and finds Abiy’s decision to give primacy to the pursuit and defense of Ethiopia’s political, diplomatic, and economic interests unacceptable.
There is absolutely no doubt that Ethiopians categorically reject the return to power of the TPLF tyrants. As well, there is no doubt that Ethiopians fully support the Ethiopian government’s resistance to the TPLF’s effort to reconquer power through force. Never in the contemporary history of Ethiopia have Ethiopians within and outside the country been so united in the defense of an Ethiopian government. Historically, Ethiopians living in the West have always opposed those in power: they have demonstrated against the Imperial regime; they have demonstrated against the DERG; they have demonstrated against the TPLF regime. For the first time in the history of the Ethiopian Diaspora, Ethiopians living in the West are, like Ethiopians within the country, massively demonstrating in support of Ethiopia’s democratic government.
We indicated earlier that America prefers to have a puppet state in Ethiopia so that it could pursue policies that serve her geopolitical, economic, and diplomatic interests. But there is also an additional issue to raise. America accepts, for example, that France is an independent state that pursues her interests. America does not wage a hybrid war to install a puppet government in France. Rather, it treats France as a sovereign state and tries to cooperate with France in ways that serve the common interests of both countries. Why doesn’t America follow a similar policy vis-à-vis the present democratic government of Ethiopia?
To answer this question, we must look at American history. Roosevelt said in a radio speech he gave on December 29, 1940: “We must be the great arsenal of democracy.” Of course, he could say this by conveniently scotomizing that America is also “the great arsenal of” racism against people of African origin. This centuries-old racism is part and parcel of the American political, economic, judicial, policing, educational, medical, and other state and social organs (Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow, 2020). Note for example that there are more college-age African Americans in prison than in college.
If America does not respect the sovereignty of Ethiopia and African countries, it is because its sentiments about Africans are saturated with contempt rooted in the racism that runs through the veins and arteries of America’s everyday life and institutions. President Donald Trump openly described African countries as “shit-hole nations.” His frankly expressed anti-African racism is the tip of the thick racism that subterraneously irrigates American life. The present American ruling elites hold the same racist belief as Trump, but silently. They articulate this deep-running racism surreptitiously in their treatment of Africans. Hence the contempt that President Biden, Anthony Blinken, Jeffrey Feltman, the American media, NGOs, some academics, and politicians show for the democratically elected government of Abiy Ahmed.
We could point out here a curious phenomenon narrated by TPLF apostates. Based on their experience as former TPLF activists, they indicate the presence of a strange bond between TPLF and American officials. This bond was palpable, they say, in the shamelessly effusive eulogies to the tyrant Meles Zenawi that Jeffrey Feltman, Gayle Smith, and Susan Rice delivered, which surprised those who knew the atrocities Meles Zenawi committed and of which Americans were aware. The bond seems to be rooted in a mutually shared world-view that stratifies human beings based on the belief that some groups are superior to others. For Americans, the stratification is based on race, with whites at the top; for the TPLF, it is based on ethnicity, with, to use Meles’s words, the “golden Tigreans” at the top. This shared supremacist belief has created a kind of libidinal bond between American officials and TPLF leaders that has led to a consensus among them that Africans should be led by the “superior” group. The TPLF treats Tigreans who do not subscribe to its supremacist ideology, and there are many, as enemies and Ethiopian stooges.
Africans defeated the racial stratification of colonialism. Now, however, racial stratification has taken a new form: “cognitive colonialism.” Its core idea was expressed by the Belgian colonialist “philosopher” of racist paternalism, Placide Tempels. He wrote in 1945, “It is up to us [Westerners] to provide them [Africans] with an accurate account of their conception of entities, in such a way that they will recognize themselves in our words and will agree, saying: “You have understood us, you know us now completely….”
The words may be different, but the stench of anti-African racist paternalism is all around us when Biden, Blinken, Feltman, Samantha Powers reject the democratic government Ethiopians have created after 27 years of struggles against the tyranny of the TPLF. They are telling Ethiopians, “you are not mature enough to know what is good for you, but we do; so do what we tell you to do.” America has recruited a bevy of 21st century “Placide Tempels” to disguise this contempt for Africans as “knowledge” assumed to be inaccessible to Ethiopians. Hence the “cognitive colonialism” of Alex de Waal, Mark Lowcock, Martin Plaut, Nima Elbagir, William Davisson, Kjetil Tronvoll, René Lefort, Gérard Prunier, to name a few.
However, the truth is that in their war to dismember Ethiopia, the megalomanic TPLF leaders are committing a genocide of Tigrean youth. They are using them as human shields for their soldiers and as cannon fodder, as if the lives of young Tigreans have no value. It is therefore the duty of we Tigreans to participate fully in the present resistance to the aggression of the TPLF against our homeland Ethiopia, and ensure that it will never resuscitate. The existence of a future generation of Tigreans depends on the defeat of the TPLF.
The Ethiopian resistance to the aggression of America’s Trojan horse expresses the struggle of Africans to make themselves the authors and actors of their own history. It is a struggle for the freedom and dignity of Africans and African Americans. W.E.B Du Bois, the erudite Afro-American, considered Ethiopia a “star” that shines in the firmament of Humanity as the promise of liberation of people of African descent from the night of oppression. It is this “star” that America wants to obliterate by using the TPLF as its executioner. Make no mistake. America will use other means—involving another state to internationalize the war, using CIA dirty tricks, instrumentalizing UN agencies—to bring back to power its TPLF Trojan horse. Africans and African Americans must join Ethiopians and ensure that the TPLF is fully defeated, a necessary condition for ensuring the future of Africa’s sovereignty.
In 1935, Langston Hughes (1901-1967), the celebrated African American writer wrote the poem, “Call of Ethiopia,” for a rally to protest against the Fascist invasion of Ethiopia. Ethiopia is confronted in 2021 with the TPLF attempt and its American masters to transform her into a puppet state in order to perpetuate America’s domination of Africa. We should then listen again to the prophetic lines from Langston Hughes’s “Call of Ethiopia”:
“To men who die / For freedom’s sake / But in the wake of your sacrifice / May all Africa arise…
Ethiopians free / Be like me, / All of Africa, / Arise and be free! / All you black peoples / Be free! Be free!”
In 2021, the “Call of Ethiopia” is, as in 1935, a call for all Black people to stand up in unison in support of Ethiopia’s struggle for freedom and unity. The “Call of Ethiopia” is now the “Call of Africa.” It is a call to struggle against the proxy war America wages against the sovereignty of Africa. The cry “No More” forcefully voiced by Africans everywhere in the wake of America’s hybrid war on Ethiopia is an affirmation of the God-given right of Africans to be the thinkers, imaginers, and makers of their history. “No More”!
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