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HomeOpinionWhy stop at Mekele’s gate? (Addissu Admas)

Why stop at Mekele’s gate? (Addissu Admas)

Ethiopian troops marching north after victories over TPLF forces in December 2020 ( photo : file/ENA)

By Addissu Admas

This war has generated so much anger and rancor on both sides that most believed that only a final showdown in Mekele would have satisfied the involved parties. For the Federal Government of Ethiopia (FGE) to rid itself once and for all of an armed party that was determined to remain contentious, rebellious and insurrectionist to the end. For the TPLF party bosses to prove to themselves and the world that they are able to destabilize at will the region and damage the reputation of the federal government and PM Abiy. What else? All TPLF’s rigmarole about restoring federalism, or creating a confederation of Ethiopian states, or its declared intention to stop the progressive centralization of the Ethiopian system of government, or worse yet, attempts of re-Amharanization of Ethiopia, etc… are ways of hiding its true intentions. Which are, as I have stated in many occasions, to evade prosecution for its vast corruption, politically motivated imprisonments and assassinations, and countless other crimes. It appears to have felt that it deserved freedom from prosecution because it had convinced the West that it had “brought”, so to speak, a modicum of economic progress to Ethiopia. But we Ethiopians continue to ask: to whose benefit and at what expense? I guess the reason may be good enough for the West since we are not starving. All the other things, such as freedom of speech, detention with due process, respect for one’s property and limb, freedom of movement, etc… are all luxuries reserved only to Westerners. 

The TPLF and its ardent supporters want the Ethiopian Defense Force (EDF) to march to Mekele to demonstrate to the World that it has still enough power to exact revenge for its disastrous five months campaign in Ethiopia. A campaign motivated, designed, and implemented not to restore the power the TPLF once held, but to humiliate, degrade, and insult the Ethiopian people; especially the Amhara and the Afar. What it has really displayed for the world and history to see is its unbound cruelty, utter inhumanity, meanness of spirit, and extreme coarseness. Instead of being a campaign of battles, it was more of an orgy of depredation, destruction and rape. Was it because TPLF’s army was undisciplined and unwieldy? I do not believe so! It was intended and executed according to the plans designed and conducted by the TPLF bosses sitting comfortably in Mekele! I am more than convinced that this crazed march to the South was neither guided by a confederalist ideology, nor for uniting Ethiopians against the supposed maladministration of the new government. It was inspired instead by a paroxysm of hate. Not for what the EDF supposedly did during its 8 months campaign in Tigray, but I suspect, for all the imagined and unreal humiliations that Amharas have inflicted on Tigreans during the imperial and Derg regimes.

Let us set the records straight here once more: In Ethiopia, no one ethnicity has “colonized” the others. Colonizing not only implies occupying a territory to reside in it, but to exploit its resources for the benefit of one’s nation or ethnic group. In addition to this, countless attendant practices accompany colonialism: garrisoning, expropriation of land for the State, virtual enslavement of the local population, etc…I contend that there has never been colonialism in Ethiopia, except during the 5 years of Italian occupation. What has existed in Ethiopia is territorial expansion through wars between populations with comparable technologies, economy and political systems. The whole discussion of Amhara colonization obfuscates rather than clarify our present circumstances.

I venture to say also that Ethiopia has always been a multi-ethnic state; perhaps more today than in previous times. As such, it is inevitable that population size, organization (military and otherwise) may have allowed one group to dominate the others. This has always been the lot of contiguously living populations. It is also a fact that ethnicities living closely have often seen each other with some diffidence and prejudice even though they shared many cultural traits and belief systems. However, these should never constitute a basis for hostility, rejection and division. Ethiopia is, as the famous Ethiopia scholar Conti-Rossini memorably stated, a mosaic of peoples. Rather than this being cause for disunity and acrimony, it should be reason for celebration and pride. Indeed, we are “e pluribus unum”, out of many one.

Any group, party or movement that tries to overemphasize and exploit our differences and understandable diffidence towards each other’s ethnicity must be seen with suspicion, and even condemnation. This is what the TPLF has nurtured consistently for no other reason than to secure for itself and its people a lasting hegemony. 

PM Abiy and his government’s decision not to continue the war by marching into Mekele is one of the wisest decision in Ethiopia’s recent history. In addition to the reasons or justifications he himself has provided for it, I would like to add here what his decision will be preventing and what benefits it will garner. 

To begin with, I have been uneasy from the start by the Ethiopian government’s decision to enter Tigray to unseat the government of the TPLF in Tigray over a year ago, even though it had every legal justification to do so. While it managed, against the bitter hostility of the local population, to remain there in charge for eight long months, there was the awareness that the TPLF would have resurged since it had convinced the Tigrean people that only it stood for their wellbeing and good governance. Besides, fully aware that the day of reckoning would dawn sooner than later, it had put in place all its contingency plans. 

The TPLF had done an incredible job at convincing the Tigrean people that the government of Dr. Abiy was their most malevolent enemy and that all Ethiopians wanted to see them suffer. Thus, the EDF was literally chasing a guerilla force fully protected, supplied, supported and encouraged by the people of Tigray. Had the EDF decided to pursue the TPLF again in Tigray, it would have fallen into the same predicament. To those who counter by saying that the TPLF is much weakened and cannot pose a credible resistance, I say that the TPLF is not so foolish as to have squandered all its force on its failed southern campaign. It may be that it has been preparing all along to do more damage to the EDF, whether it planned to win or not, once the EDF entered Tigray’s borders. By denying it a final confrontation, the EDF will preserve its newly acquired capabilities to seal off the TPLF in Tigray and deny it any possibility of a passage to the Sudan, or again to the South. Moreover, there is also the question of economics. Waging this war has been enormously burdensome on Ethiopia’s limited resources. Continuing this war out of desire to punish a deviant and malevolent group will only bankrupt the country. In effect, by not satisfying the bloodlust of the TPLF, the government of Ethiopia may be executing its best strategy.

Many have seen the PM’s decision to halt the war as a diplomatic act and an extending of an olive branch to his most rabid critics, namely the US. I say that the PM should not care one whit about them since they had decided beforehand that their winning horse has always been the TPLF. Any deviation or desire to dissimulate this on their part should be taken as a blatant hypocritical act. In their “grand global” scheme, we have never counted and we will never do. What the PM and his administration must pursue are the alliances that will never question or compromise the sovereignty of Ethiopia and her peoples. The war has indeed shown Ethiopia who her fair weather friends are. 

By sealing off Tigray for a while and limiting the war to eventually necessary small-scale interventions, the government of Ethiopia will be providing Tigreans with a rare occasion to re-assess their stance vis a vis Ethiopia. This silencing of the guns should become for them, as it has been for the overwhelming majority of Ethiopians, an occasion to realize that the TPLF has no place either in Ethiopia, or most pressingly, in Tigray. In resuming the cease-fire that it had unilaterally declared in evacuating Tigray, the Ethiopian government is not only acting in coherence to it, but would be putting the well-being of Tigreans over its constitutional right to bring to justice the TPLF. This, indeed, requires enormous restraint. The TPLF’s thuggish daring of the EDF to enter Mekele should be looked at for what it is: an occasion to cry foul and attract the condemnation of the world on Ethiopia once more.

I believe that when the dust settles, all this mindless campaign of the TPLF will be seen for what it really has been. And the people of Tigray will ultimately come to realize that hitching their wagon to the TPLF may have been the worst blunder of their history, and hopefully will lead them to reconsider their relationship with the rest Ethiopia.


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  1. I am not a military expert. In fact I know nothing about it as I was never a student of it but I am sure those qualified in the profession in the ENDF have thought long and hard about their decision to stop at the gate. What I don’t expect or don’t wanna hear is ENDF soldiers are made to be sitting ducks for Debre’s riff raffs. He must still be considered heavily armed and hungry for propaganda piece from the battlefield. For now emotions is still running very high in that region I don’t expect Debre and his cabals to face any pushback from the citizens there. We should never forget the fact that Debre and his predecessors were the only bosses in that region for more than 45 years and ruled over their fellow citizens with an iron fist. Those upright people of Tigray were bullied and steam rolled to a complete and absolute submission. They must be handpicked to say anything or get involved in politics. For them it is only the sun rises and the sun sets. That is what all commies do to you once they managed to wrestle the rule of law from you. In fact they are the law. Penal and civil codes? It is them! The constitution, you may ask? It is all them too! If you dare to say a single word about it without their approval, you wouldn’t know what has just hit you. There are a few things commies are unrivaled in. No one can match their ingenuity in feeding on human raw emotions. They are peerless in their ability to justify their despotic rule and experts in making ‘bad seeds’ disappear with no trace. The people in Tigray are tied up looking over their shoulders every minute of the day. You couple that with lethal poison of ethnic politics then you have the perfect glaucoma rendering you totally oblivious of your losses. They are made to human clockwork to only shout praise the lord whenever Debre and his gang sneeze and to jump so high jackass whenever Debre’s choir belches to the tunes of ‘laloye’. Their world has turned out to be TPLF and TPLF only. There is no independent thinking outside the realm of Debre and his gangs. In fact the people there are supposed to leave all the thinking to the leaders of the TPLF. If you dare to think outside the twisted mind frame of Debre and his goons you better be outside their deadly reach and even then you will be maligned and harassed to a point where you are to look over your shoulders 24 hours a day. Again this has been the modus operandi of all commies and their offshoot terrorists. Dare if you say something they don’t like in their hoods. The night of the long knives will be coming for you and guarantees the end of your contract on this good earth. Dare if say something outside the ‘dictionary’ of Xi! Dare if you say something even in its grey pantone scale in Putin’s hood! All what you will feel is a faint sting while walking downtown and you will drop dead which your ‘official’ death certificate shows ‘massive fatal heart attack’. Stalin was said to pull such deadly stunts on those he did not trust or did not like and then he declares a national day of mourning. Mao was even more proficient in such diabolical act. It was such evil ideology that infected our infantile intelligentsia in the mid 1960’s. Critique and reform? No sir! Dialogue and compromise? No sir!!! Give and take? Over your dead body!!! Mutual understanding? No sir! I’m the only one who ‘understands’! End of story!!!!

  2. Subject: “Why stop at Mekele’s gate?” by Addissu Admas, December 27, 2021

    Short Commentary, 27 Dec 2021
    I will read the Article over and over until I digest the subject matter, thoroughly . In the mean time, I quote the following last paragraph of the Article :

    QUOTE ” I believe that when the dust settles, all this mindless campaign of the TPLF will be seen for what it really has been. And the people of Tigray will ultimately come to realize that hitching their wagon to the TPLF may have been the worst blunder of their history, and hopefully will lead them to reconsider their relationship with the rest Ethiopia. ” UNQUOTE

    I believe that when the dust settles, all this campaign of the TPLF will be seen for what it really has been. And the people of Tigray, with their memory of Great Tigrayan – Ethiopians like Atse Yohannes and Ras Allula, will ultimately come to the realization that hitching to a separate wagon the TPLF may have done tragic choice. Hopefully, it will lead them to reconsider their relationship with the rest Ethiopia. It is the choice of the people — not on an ambitious individual. I wish good ‘road’ to the people of Tigray and eventually to the Ancient Country around the Globe, called ETHIOPIA. What is wrong with that ?!?!? It is a sincere question. What will be the benefit of disintegrating Ethiopia into pieces? Who will benefit out of that destruction? May the oldest Black African Country in the WORLD be spared for Humanity. It is the choice of ALL ETHIOPIANS — NOT on ambitious self-centred individuals. THE END

  3. Folks, I just remembered what one of those white supremacist fans of Debre said last summer after Abiy ordered the complete pull out of the ENDF from Debre’s joint and the subsequent parade of POWs in the streets of Mekele. That clone of the White Citizens Council told the world Debre’s and General Tsadkan had carried a ware fare that will go down in military history as one of the best executed plan and deserved to be part of the text books at military academies. I was wondering what he would say now. Folks, this is the best example where you see someone eating his crow. I mean the whole crow skin on with all its feathers still intact. Talk about deflated! The mother of all deflation.

    • The white supremacists and the TPLF share one ideology in common. That is supremacy. The late TPLF supreme fascist leader Meles Zenawi referred to the Tigray people as the golden ones in one of his infamous speeches.

  4. Not so sure how this civil war is going to end. But Ethiopia will not be a coherent country anymore. Tigrayans, I am sure will not be part of the spirit of Ethiopia any longer. Oromos, I am sure are waiting to taste power which is long due. Amharas need to come to terms that the Ethiopia they have ruled as ELITES is no more present.

  5. This article is nonsense. The guns have not been silenced. Alamata is seeing Amharas being executed by TPLF while Tigrayan citizens of the town are looting their neighbors. Just line the “unilateral ceasefire” from a few months ago that was intended to do exactly what the author of this article is suggesting – ie time for Tigrayans to reflect and calm down – did not work before and will not work now. The massive loss of life of civilians and infrastructure in Amhara and Afar far exceeds the case that would have been incurred had Abiy ordered his troops to remain in Tigray in the first place. Doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

  6. One die-hard supporter of the TPLF said that the `tegaru` will fight and defend themselves until they are left with the last person and bullet. The propaganda of the `superior and master tribe` the TPLF has been injecting the Tigray people with has vitiated and dirtied their minds. Their deep hatred towards the Amharas and contempt towards the Oomos and others have made them unwilling to live in peace and equality in Ethiopia. Their political stance is based on ruling and exploiting others as masters.

  7. Why do we have to live together if we hate each other so much? tplf will get its dirt-poor place and go… leaving behind in other parts of Ethiopia all the goods it has stolen. Salsawi weyane’s loot in Europe and USA should be expropriated. There is enough wealth to let the others keeip on with whatever Ethiopia is left..Oh, except the dumbfounded shenes who have to be reckoned with. That is my solution – with of course the revenge and the psychological battle going to continue on and on (like between the blacks and whites in the US, eh??)


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