By Samuel Estefanous
One more time TPLF has made its intention crystal clear-it wants the guns to do the usual talking. According to TPLF’s propaganda Czars, guns are far more eloquent and persuasive than articulate intelligent people negotiating around a conference table.
The long suffering regular folks have got unerring message to convey. The guns have been talking for far too long that it is high time the warring factions took a step or two back and did some kind of soul searching in good earnest.
If a given system runs on the blood of the people it is supposed to serve for three generation going, there is something primordially wrong with it. After all these wars (and a sure prospect of some more coming in the pipeline) no amount of theoretical treatise or a staggering high extent of any kind of pressing practical necessity, nor the illustrious credentials and world class distinctions of the wise people at the apex of the political hierarchy justifies maintaining the status quo.
It has to be underscored in bold letters. War-particularly any sort of Civil war- is a testament of failure.
We cannot accept war as a regular way of life, however much it is practiced as a traditional sport of choice by a bunch of bigots feeding on the blood of their own kind. As the late Premier once noted bitterly and tearfully in an emotionally charged trembling voice…we are sick and tired of war.
At the end of the day, the widow stays alone with her emaciated kids in a cold dusty room with little in the Mesob to eat, the blind are left to fumble their ways out unaided, the maimed negotiate every inch of the distance and no one would care to offer them a ride. One has only to read the harrowing account narrated by Genet Ayele on how Menigstu Hailemariam encountered the horrors of the war at the fabled Jegnoch Amba. After visiting them, he certainly didn’t talk of them as ‘jegnoch’ but as freaks of nature.
Who are we saving the country for if we are set on exterminating each other to the ‘last man standing’? No, we cannot let this to go on forever.
As the ferenjis say ‘Something’s Gotta Give’.
1-Waging War to break Siege?
Time after time TPLF maintains that the government has held siege over the Region and it has got to break it to reach out to the whole wide world. At first most people were alarmed assuming that the government had sealed the state boundary to emasculate the rebel groups. It would have been like draining the sea to catch the fish if the government had indeed employed such barbaric means.
But the roads are open; the sky isn’t closed except that TPLF contingents are making free flow of aid convoys difficult and in some instances near impossible. What does this tell us about the true intention of TPLF? It believes that it stands to benefit from the suffering of the Tigray people to garner international support and to foster local radicalization of the youth.
I just couldn’t find any other credible proof to believe otherwise. What makes the previous assumption viable is the fact that TPLF has chosen to beat the war drums just when the international community is able to deliver more aid than ever. Even if the government or irregular armed forces sympathetic to the government are making the free flow of aid difficult, wouldn’t it be easier and mutually beneficial to negotiate through the relevant UN Agencies if necessary?
If any siege is to be broken, looks like it is the siege mentality of the political leaders of the Region, who thrive on conflicts. They are victims of a dog eat dog decadent culture of governance which has corrupted a whole generation of Ethiopian politicians.
2-A Detour pursued and maintained for far too long
Sometimes we forget that circumstances obliged TPLF to found EPRDF in its own image. Perhaps under strong pressure from PFJD, it was forced to create a lab coalition called EPRDF with available resources at the disposal of itself and the PFJD for the simple reason to justify its continued presence beyond the historical boundary of the province of Tigray. It has to be remembered that one of the reasons why the Rome Peace Agreement with Dergue had failed was the latter’s understandable and uncompromising stand that there is no such thing as EPRDF and that practical and meaningful negotiations could only be made with the actual rebel group called TPLF.
In hindsight, I cannot but admire the wisdom and tenacity of the Dergue in its refusal to extend cognizance to EPRDF. When one considers the fact that out of the seventeen years armed struggle with the Degue, TPLF fought fifteen years within Tigrary and for Tigray, he cannot fail to understand that EPRDF was a façade to push a clandestine sinister agenda.
It is a matter of historical record that Dergue was inherently defeated after the foiled adventurous Coup of 1989. After the ill-fated Coup, the Degue was in a state of sustained free fall and nothing could have stopped the inevitable collapse of the WPE and the government of PDRE.
After making sure that the Dergue needed only a gentle nudge for it to crush in to the abyss, TPLF put together a ragtag Front from the broken pieces of the dying colossus itself and right away started carving out the carcass. If TPLF had fought back the temptation to ‘own’ Ethiopia at the expense of its ‘mesmer’, it wouldn’t have shared the sad fate of its predecessor. If it had remained true to its founding vision, it would have accepted the Dergue’s offer to undertake a genuine peace dialogue to jointly determine the future of the Country. Instead of disbanding the army and the state structure, it should have tried to maintain it and it should have tried to prop up the Dergue for the good of the Nation, however bitter the pill was to swallow.
Who would have thought the United States would reinstate the bulk of the imperial Japanese government after the carnage the latter had inflicted on it at Pearl Harbor and the greater Pacific war theater? But it kinda did, for its own good and for the good of the Japanese public. That is what seasoned and matured statesmen do.
It is lately that the leaders of TPLF have begun to come out clean about the blunder they had made in creating a façade Front to subjugate the rest of Ethiopia. Until I heard General Teklebrehan making it unequivocally clear for us all, I had a lingering suspicion that it might not be the case the case, though.
He was very much upset talking about the ‘historical misstep’ TPLF had taken when it crossed the provincial boundary and marched all the way to Addis. According to the General, the overwhelming majority of TPLF fighters volunteered to liberate Tigray and not the rest of Ethiopia as the latter forces were fighting them tooth and nail. That is why some contend that TPLF’s downward spiral begun at the first Congress of EPRDF in the year 1988.
What about the twenty seven odd years, TPLF had stayed in power, one may wonder…to my mind it was one extended detour maintained for far too long. All those years were lost on the people of Tigray and the rest of the Country.
The incumbent should take note, too, lest the detour becomes the main course. A seasoned level headed leader offers the olive branch, when he is in a position to ‘call all the shots’. That is the exact right time to press for negotiation. Yesterday, I was rereading Lt.Colonel Brehanu Bayeh’s memoir and folded the tome at the page where he has emotionally relived the memorable conversation the then Premier and himself had with the President of the Republic around the year 1989.
They asked the President to break the obstinacy and negotiate to grant a Federal status to Eritrea and the others as well, if need be. Mengistu’s answer was incredibly grounded and realistic. Practically he told them that over the years, they had mindlessly squandered precious opportunities to negotiate,
‘Now if we press for a federal union in the panic state we are in, they are certain to mock us’ he had said. Let this be a lesson to the leaders, let them not succumb to shallow sentimentalism and the emotional effusions of the army of drooling advisors who are ever chasing cheap popularity to garner momentary support.
3- Quo Vadis TPLF?
TPLF has moved back in time to the year 1988 and is doing a phenomenal reckoning of its past and future. It has jettisoned its heavy winter overcoat called EPRDF and now it is standing clad in its own a tight fitting khaki outfits. A couple of years ago someone has asked this very question relative to EPRDF. I repeat it to TPLF-Quo Vadis TPLF?
This isn’t the time to lose the lucidity of existential questions in the haze of incomprehensible Marxists lingos. Where are you headed from here? The leaders of TPLF need to tell the people of Tigray and the rest of the Country as they would tell their respective mothers in simple clear and precise terms. This is the time for you to ‘simplify and unify’ your composition.
Surely you aren’t going to repeat the mistake of 1988 by trying to found a union of ‘federalist forces’. We were like TPLF should have known better than that the last time you tried to forge a union of mercenary forces.
Portray yourself as the ultimate guardian of the FDRE Constitution and win the hearts and minds of ethnic based political parties thereby foment discord from distance? In that case do you yet believe the people of Tigray stand to benefit from the suffering of its kith and kin? What does TPLF intend to do on the ruins of Ethiopia? Sing ‘mesmerina haylina’? A mesmer that thrives on ruins and celebrate death is defeated at the very inception.
Break free from the greater Ethiopian polity? Alright, maybe we can stay on this topic. Question is, HOW? TPLF isn’t the people of Tigray. Besides, every single Ethiopian has got some stake on the said question.
Hence, the need to talk and talk to the government of the FDRE even if your mouth goes dry on you and your lips crack in the process and you ear hurts like a pin is stuck in to it.
No matter what, eventually, the question of the people of Tigray is going to be resolved through dialogue, the only question is when do you chose to undertake it, now or after losing yet hundreds of thousands of lives, after the cancerous seed of suspicion and hatred is further and deeply entrenched?
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