Written by Semere Tesfai
On part one of this article, we said – ok the Woyanes were constantly provoking Eritreans (the EPLF government and prior to it) for war. We got that. But that doesn’t prove the 1998 Ethio-Eritrean war was started by the Woyanes. How could you prove beyond reasonable doubt that the 1998 Ethio-Eritrean war was instigated ignited and escalated by the Woyanes? Well, there is only one way to prove it: by making a compelling argument for it. And this is my take:
The 1998 Ethio-Eritrean War Was Instigated, Ignited And Escalated By The Woyanes
History Will Be Very Kind To The EPLF Government Leaders For Their Handling of The 1998 Ethio-Eritrean “Border” War
Now, I’m going to make the case for the above arguments and let the Woyane-cadres and their Eritrean agents debunk the arguments – and you just be the judge. Let’s roll:
The 1998 War Was Instigated, Ignited And Escalated By The Woyane
To make a compelling case for the above argument, let’s build two pillars of abstract reasoning to support the argument.
Anyone who believes nations could wake-up one morning and start full-fledged war the next day, is just plain stupid. War is a symptom; not a cause. War is a symptom of unresolved underlying problems that have been simmering for quite some time. War is not an independent phenomenon. It is a political tool aimed to achieve a well planned political and economic objectives. Though wars are fought under different pretexts, the cause of all wars could be traced to a simple objective: power control and influence. And the objective of asserting power control and influence through military muscle is to enjoy the spoils of war-success → natural resources, expansion of land, access and control of strategic locations and trade routes, to engulf and chock a competitor, to solidify internal power, for religious ethnic cultural dominance.…. And all these and more, wealth fame and influence in mind. Simply put: all wars are well calculated political decisions with clearly defined political and economic objectives. Therefore, anyone who couldn’t see the cause of the 1998 Ethio-Eritrean war beyond the few bullets that flew on the first two weeks of May 1998 is either extremely naïve, avid Woyane cadre with political agenda, or a hired agent who earn a living serving foreign interests.
Now, taking the above premise as a valid premise, we can say with absolute confidence that the 1998 Ethio-Eritrean war was never an accidental/random war but a well calculated, well planned, premeditated war of aggression (by the Woyanes) with the intent to reap the spoils of their war-victory. Again, the spoils of their war-victory being territorial gain for their Greater Tigray project; to liberate themselves from the widely perceived (then) public perception (pawn of ShaEbia); to assert political and military supremacy over Eritrea; to secure unfettered access to the Red Sea; to heal and restore the pride of a wounded defeated divided nation; to present themselves as true Ethiopian nationalists (as opposed to ethnic warriors) who would defend Ethiopia and Ethiopian interest; and most of all to “correct”/reverse the post 1991 dark boxed state of irrelevance that their Ethiopia found itself-in.
To be precise: if the Woyanes manage to reverse/correct their “mistake” successfully, they would become the mighty Neighborhood Sheriff with the biggest gun. And as a chief enforcer of Western policies and as a chief subcontractor of Western projects, overnight, Woyane’s Ethiopia would become highly influential power-player not only in the Red Sea-Horn Region but also as far as – The Arabian Gulf, The Indian Ocean, The African-Great Lakes, and beyond. And as a result of their mighty-power, greater control, far reaching influence and easy access to the ears of global powers, their Tigray (and by extension Ethiopia) would become a shining star on a mountain-top for years and decades to come. Well, nothing earth shattering concept here; just same old song and dance. At least for the past six decades, that has been the unbridled ambition of successive Addis-regimes; and that has been the blueprint of Western powers Horn-policy. And caught between a vindictive neighbor, and global geopolitics that is alien to them, the Eritrean people have been bleeding for the past four generations at no fault of theirs.
Again, to shed more light to the same argument, let’s add a little more in depth analysis to the argument; but this time from a different angle. Though every war has its own unique causes and characteristics, all wars have a common set of events and circumstances that precede the shooting phase of it. And these are the three common stages of war prior to the shooting phase.
Stage I. The cause of war: The cause of war is always a chronic problem (between the warring Nations) that has been simmering for a quite some time; but just a little below the boiling point. During this stage, emotions on both sides are extremely high but kept under the lid, the rage and anger is evident but pent-up, the situation is very volatile but contained. And if the underlying problems don’t get the proper solution they deserve, the eruption of violence is a sure thing.
Stage II. The Trigger of war: The trigger of war is always a tiny spark in a very volatile atmosphere. And this is how the spark start. At some arbitrary place and time, by some arbitrary event and players, a minor isolated incident (violence) would takes place by some people from Nation A1. And some people (someone) from Nation A2 are (is) killed. This minor incident (violence) that could have been ignored or easily contained under normal circumstance, becomes a catalyst for a violent chain-reaction, thus exacerbating the situation by opening the lid of the pent-up anger and resentment of the reactants (people from both nations). Then, before the ordinary small group of local players at the theatre fully comprehend the enormity and magnitude of their actions, the wheels of a bloody war are set in motion.
Stage III. Reaction and counter-reaction to the incident: At this stage, to defend itself (its citizens), Nation A2 reacts (or falls in to the planned trap instigated by N1) to the incident with fuming anger and emotion. And for the exact same rational (to defend itself), nation A1 reacts to the reaction of Nation A2 with even more anger and more outrage upping the ante. And before the people of the warring nations fully realize it, they are in the middle of a shooting war.
Now based on our abstract reasoning, let’s try to answer these questions. What was the cause the 1998 war? When did the 1998 war start? And who was the arsonist? And to help us identify the real cause, the precise time, and the real arsonist, let’s look at the chronology of events:
Unprovoked, on May 06, 1998 Woyane militias killed about half a dozen Eritrean servicemen/women from the Eritrean Border Patrol Unit.
Outraged by the Woyanes provocation on May 12, 1998 the EPLF government reacted to the incident with overwhelming force. Large Eritrean mechanized forces pushed the Tigrean forces in the area and captured, the disputed Badme border area and some uncontested sovereign Tigrean/Ethiopian territories in the LaElai Adiabo and TaHtai Adiabo Woredas (districts).
Then, the Woyane led Ethiopian government reacted with outrage to the Eritrean reaction, and escalated the war by declaring war on Eritrea through its parliament (May 13, 1998); launching an air attack on Asmara airport (on June 05, 1998 which the EPLF government retaliated by attackingMekele airport); deporting thousands of Ethiopians of Eritrean origin (starting June 18, 1998), widening the war theatre from the Badme area to the whole Ethio-Eritrean border region (Tserona, Zalambessa, Alitena and Bure) and by declaring their final war-objective – which was to march all the way to Asmara for regime change.
And that’s how the 1998 war started, and that’s how it quickly escalated from a border skirmish into an all-out war. Now tell me: when did the 1998 Ethio-Eritrean war started (as when did WWI started)? And who was the arsonist?
Did the Ethio-Eritrean war start when the Woyanes pulled the trigger, bullets started flying, Eritrean blood was shed and Eritrean lives were lost (May 6, 1998)?
Did the Ethio-Eritrean war start when the EPLF government reacted to the provocation of the Woyanes with excessive force (May12, 1998)?
Did the Ethio-Eritrean war start when the Woyane led Addis regime reacted to the EPLF government reaction, and declared an all-out war including regime change?
Of course, the Ethio-Eritrean war started the minute the Woyanes pulled the trigger; of course the war started the minute Eritrean blood was shed; of course the war started the minute precious lives of young Eritrean servicemen/women was lost; of course the Woyanes were the arsonist who torched the 1998 war. What other logical explanation is there but the obvious?
And this is the Achilles’ heel of the “Isaias/Eritrea started the war” argument. When you ask the Woyane-cadres and their Eritrean agents – what was the cause of the war? Their answer is Isaias rolled his tanks and occupied disputed and undisputed Ethiopian territories around Badme. When you ask them – what was the trigger for the war? Their answer is, Isaias rolled his tanks and occupied disputed and undisputed Ethiopian territories around Badme. When you ask them – how did the warescalated from a border skirmish into an all out war? Again their answer is, Isaias rolled his tanks and occupied disputed and undisputed territories around Badme. According to their logic, the cause of the war, the trigger for the war, and the reason for the escalation of the war are all Isaias rolled his tanks to Badme and occupied disputed and undisputed Ethiopian territories. And that’s all baloney.
The truth: while the trigger and the reason for the escalation of the 1998 war is self evident, the cause of the war was brewing long before Isaias and his EPLF government showed-up to the theatre. The war just waited for such a long time:
Because of the interdependence of the EPLF and the TPLF ultimate objectives
Because of the EPLF leadership miscalculation or as the EPLF leaders would like to call it “ተገሪህና” – or we didn’t see that coming. Let me explain:
The interdependence of ultimate objectives: the Woyanes desperately needed EPLF’s help to get to Menelik’s Place and to stabilize Ethiopia in order to govern; and the EPLF leaders desperately needed Woyane’s help for speedy referendum and full recognition of Eritrean sovereignty.
The miscalculation of EPLF leaders: the EPLF leadership (including most Eritreans) believed in their heart of hearts, after all the two people have been through together (Eritreans and Tigreans), the Woyanes would never double-cross their kin and burn all bridges. The reason: (a) the Woyanes are always going to need free access to the Red Sea in order to make their Tigray, the Tigray they want it to be (b) the Woyanes are always going to need a reliable and trusted ally (people-to-people based) that would help them secure their southern borders to live in peace and prosper. Again the assumption being, any conceivable threat to Tigray and Tigreans could only come from one direction: their South. That was the sole reason, why the EPLF leadership and most Eritreans were looking the other-way even when the Woyanes were mistreating Eritrean citizens at the border. That was the sole reason, why the EPLF leadership was looking the other-way even when the Woyanes were in the business of recruiting and arming opposition to the EPLF organization/government (1983-1998) right under their nose. And that was the sole reason why the war was shelved for such a long time.
But as the EPLF government and we all Eritreans found out the hard way, the Woyanes had a political calculus of their own: to bleed, starve and humiliate Eritrea. And itching for a fight, first,they started incorporating large swaths of sovereign Eritrean lands to their Greater Tigray project; then they started evicting Eritrean citizens from the lands they called home for generations (settling the area with Tigreans); and to give-it a nice finishing touch to their Greater Tigray project, they started re-naming the newly inhabited areas with brand new “Tigrean” names. But again, don’t take my word for it. This is what the Washington Post said in print regarding the cause of the Ethio-Eritrean war. Note: “the major source of contention” is the operative word here, as land was not the sole reason for the war:
“The major source of contention involved an area known as the Yirga Triangle, a barren, 160-square mile stretch of land that both sides claimed as part of their territory. Eritrea has accused Ethiopia of sending in thousands of settlers to the area in an attempt to push out Eritreans. Ethiopia claims the territory is part of its Tigre province. In 1996, a border commission was set up, but was unable to settle the issue.”
Mind you: I’m not ignorant about the findings of the Eritrea Ethiopia Claims Commission (EECC). I know the EECC position is very clearly stated. It said “given the absence of an armed attack against Eritrea (since the May 06, 1998 killing was carried-out by “Woyane militias”) the Eritrean attack that begun on 12 May 1998 can’t be justified as lawful self defense under the UN charter”. Also regarding the May 13, 1998 Ethiopia’s decision to mobilize its forces for a full assault against Eritrea, the EECC said “Ethiopia’s move was in essence an affirmation of the existence of a state of war between belligerents, not a declaration of war (as Eritrea allege) and Ethiopia has notified the United Nations Security Council as required under Article 51 of the UN Charter.” And these EECC words, and these words alone, are the only lifeline that the Woyane-cadres and their Eritrean agents have for their “Eritrea was the aggressor” argument. And I admit the EECC finding has been a valuable-tool to the Woyane-cadres and their Eritrean agents to confuse the naïve and the gullible. But that’s all. Just to confuse and mislead the naïve and the gullible. And let me explain the reason why:
Reason #1. At any given time, any Eritrean government has every right to defend its people, its servicemen and women, its sovereign territories from any foreign aggression (Woyane’s aggression in this case). And it is the Eritrean government’s prerogative how, when, were to respond if and when the rights of its citizens and the territorial integrity of its nation is violated.
Reason #2. The whole EECC finding is about a single event that happened in a single day: May 12, 1998. Yep, a one day event out of 7,300 plus days (20×365); as a single small tissue-sample in a complex human physiology; as a one page out of 7,300 pages of litigation papers. Now, even in the best of all findings (if one assumes the EECC finding is the final verdict of the whole war package – cause trigger escalation – which it is not) how impartial fair and balance could the EECC finding be if it is based on a single snap-shot of a moment in time? Not much. Right?
And if my understanding is right, the EECC didn’t deny Eritrea’s right to defend itself. The EECC didn’t deny the cause of the conflict (the simmering problems that existed for twenty long years). The EEC didn’t deny Woyane’s daily provocation prior to May 12, 1998. The EECC didn’t say Eritrea’s land-claim is unfounded. In fact Eritrea was awarded most of the “disputed” territories including the town of Badme. It just said (a) on that specific day (May 12, 1998) Eritrea’s use of overwhelming force can’t be described as self-defense because Ethiopia didn’t attack Eritrea with overwhelming force prior to that specific day (b) Ethiopia’s response the next day (13 May 1998) was not a declaration of war but an affirmation of a state of war between belligerents (c) Eritrea didn’t notify the UNSC in advance as required under Article 51 of the UN Charter before it made its military move; but Ethiopia did. That’s all. Therefore the only thing one could possibly argue about the 1998 Ethio-Eritrean conflict is, Eritrea’s failure to notify the UNSC in advance. Now, is, not notifying the UNSC in advance a big deal? Well, for a matter of optics? Probably! For substance that count? Hell No! Again let me explain:
Just for the sake of argument, let’s say Eritrea made a colossal diplomatic blunder by not notifying the UNSC in advance as required under Article 51 of the UN Charter. And fair enough, the EPLF government did fail to notify the UNSC in advance. Now tell me: due to the EPLF government diplomatic “blunder” what did we exactly miss? What would have exactly changed had the EPLF government notified the UNSC in advance? Had Eritrea notified the UNSC in advance, do you truly believe the UNSC would have forced the Woyanes to stop their nonsense and demarcate the border fair and square? And if the Woyanes refuse to comply, do you truly believe they would’ve came down on them like a ton of bricks? Do you think the Woyane militias and theirTeraros would have stopped terrorizing Eritreans and encroaching deep into sovereign Eritrean territories the day after Eritrea notified the UNSC? Absolutely not!
One has to be extremely naïve and gullible to fall for that kind of nonsense. The argument that – Eritrea didn’t notify the UNSC as required under Article 51 of the UN Charter, and as a direct causation, “the whole world community” is standing against Eritrea is simply preposterous. The reality: it is not what a tiny poor black African country (Eritrea) did or didn’t do at any given time that determines the position of the UNSC and its powerful global powers, but the effect of that poor black African country’s move at the ground level vis-à-vis their regional policy and their national interest that determines their position. And that is always constant.
The impotent UN, the corrupted continental organizations, the worthless regional bodies, the commissions and agencies that are formed (delegated) by them, are all tools of global powers. Their findings and their decisions are not – fair balanced and impartial legal decisions. They are skewed and lopsided political decisions. Their findings and their decisions are so biased and so predictable, you don’t even need to read their final print to know what is in it. They are that predictable and they are that awful. But of course, knowing full well the findings and the decisions of these UN agencies is a joke, their findings and their decisions are used selectively every day by governments of all colors and stripes if it (the UN agencies findings) converges with their policies and interests.
So, what is new if the Woyane-cadres and their Eritrean agents conveniently cherry-pick and publicize the EECC finding like everything else? Like UN agencies report on corruption, torture, failed (fragile) states index, fairness and transparency of elections (or lack of it), human rights abuse, rate of economic growth, social development index, freedom of this and freedom of that….. Isn’t that what all governments do every single day: Cherry-pick and publicize what they like and strongly oppose/condemn what they don’t like? Then what makes the EECC finding any different from the rest of them? But again, just to prove a point, let’s see how the “world community” (The UN, The SC, The Continental organizations….) run their daily business.
Whenever Israel rolls its tanks to Lebanon or Palestine and start carpet-bombing neighborhoods to the stone-age, the response of the “world community” is always – get over it; Israel has every right to defend itself. Bidding Western projects, whenever Ethiopia rolls its tanks deep into Somalia, killing citizens and destroying properties of a sovereign UN member nation, the “world community” doesn’t have any problem justifying Ethiopia’s aggression. Whenever Ethiopia crosses Eritrean borders (unprovoked) and whenever it declares regime change in Eritrea (which is a declaration of war in itself) in front of the whole wide world, the “world community” doesn’t have any problem looking the other way in silence. Whenever Russia violates the sovereignty of its weaker neighbors (Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Crimea) the “world community” just talks and talks and talks….. with no substance. Whenever the US and its allies unilaterally invade and topples governments of sovereign UN member-Nations half the world away, and whenever the US bombs countries covertly and overtly at will, the “world community” is just a silent witness. Now tell me: what good has done “notifying the UNSC in advance as required under Article 51 of the UN Charter” for the sovereign UN member nations who found themselves at the short end of the stick? Nothing! Right? And that’s exactly my argument.
The point: it’s a dog-eat-dog world. Sovereignty and territorial integrity of a nation are achieved and preserved through strength (sweat and blood), not by crying and begging at the lobbies and corridors of the corrupt AU/UN headquarters. In this planet – your only security, your only defense, your only safety, your only insurance, the only truth/democracy that matters…..is the size of your military muscle, and the size of your alliance (coalition). The bigger the size of your military muscle, the bigger the size of your alliance…. the safer you are. If you are a mighty power carrying a big stick, always every word you utter is “the truth”. But if you are a lone lamb in this vast wilderness, you are the first one to be consumed. That’s why, the small islands and the small communities who called those islands home for centuries (in the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Oceans and near the poles) are not sovereign small nations but properties claimed by mighty global powers from half the world way.
And in a parallel reasoning, we can imagine, in a hypothetical distant future, if vital resources become scarce (over-population, draught, melting of polar ice caps.….) which “savages” would be the first ones to be “liberated” from their “homegrown tyrants”. Of course, vengeful locals lending a helping hand in the invasion of their country and in the mayhem and destruction of their communities – as history has attested time and again since the days of slavery. I mean – if the “savages” fail to notify the UNSC as required under Article 51 of the UN Charter that is. Well, I’m sure, the dead-souls who are down on their knees begging the Woyanes (or anyone with a big gun) to invade Eritrea in order to bring them to power, and the one man/woman institutions who are on the payroll of the West under the guise of journalists, human-rights advocates, faith based charities, pro-democracy movement leaders, media personalities…… would beg to differ. And that’s given.
ግን: ሓቁ ክነግረኩም ዋርሳይ ኤረ፡ forget about Badme a small piece of land, even when we fought for thirty long years to liberate the whole country, we never gave an advance notice (about our military plans and moves) to any global continental regional powers or their agencies. Never! Not out of arrogance or ignorance, not that we didn’t try or didn’t need their support, but because we learned early in the game it wasn’t going to do us any good – as we knew exactly where they all stood. We only notified them once. And that was from the gates of Menelik Palace. And to tell you the truth, they were not thrilled at all. They just accepted our sovereignty with a heavy heart. And the question that comes to mind is, with all their global reach, with all their influence, with all their mighty power, why in the world did they accept our sovereignty with great reluctance? Well, because we controlled the ground and we gave them two “bad” choices: to accept Eritrean independence or to witness the disintegration of their poster-child. And they chose the obvious. That’s how we made history. Of course our demand was wrapped-with “Genuine Northern Alliance” ready to serve their interest in the region for better or (for) worse. Guaranteed. At least that was what we thought it was. But, in any case, it served its purpose.
ሕጅውን: ሓቁ ክደግመልኩም ኣናብር ሳዋ’፡ Literally, “against all odds” – after our boys entered Addis and started smoking cigars inside Menelik Palace, for mission accomplished and for a job well done, we all patted each-other on the back Tegadelty-Style, and for months, nonstop, danced 24×7 ወሰደየ ጅግና በዓል ስረ….... from dawn to dusk to dawn…. in every corner of this planet including on the streets of Addis. Then, after all the non-stop crazy festivities and euphoria, and after we all felt Ethiopia was stabilized and our sovereignty was irreversible, we all danced one more farewell round ‘ኣንትን ትሃርማና፡ ኣንትን ትድስቓና – ካብ ሎሚ ምሸተ….’ in Addis and beyond. And then our mechanized infantry loaded their armored personnel carriers and headed home to turn the page and start a new chapter – of course believing we won’t be betrayed by those whom we helped and trusted the most. And you know what happened next.
But seriously, having said all that, no doubt, there are many honest questions that deserve honest answers. Does the EPLF government bear any responsibility whatsoever for the 1998 war? Did the EPLF government made any favor (be it to itself or to the Eritrean people) by rolling its tanks into the disputed and undisputed territories? If the Woyanes were itching for a fight as you (Semere) allege, was falling into their trap the wisest thing to do? Could we’ve done things differently? And more are honest questions that deserve honest answers.
And the answer for all these questions and more, is not rocket science. The job of any given government is to protect its citizens and to guard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation it is governing. Back then, the EPLF government did exactly what any government worth its salt would have done under similar circumstances. And without a doubt, history will be very, very kind to the Isaias led EPLF leadership for their handling of the 1998 “border” conflict. And let me explain the obvious:
History Will Be Very Kind To The EPLF Government Leaders For Their Handling Of The 1998 Ethio-Eritrean “Border” War
To make a compelling case for the above argument, again let’s recap the facts:
Fact #1. Prior to 1978, Eritreans in the Badme region constituted the great majority of the inhabitants on both sides of the Eritrea-Tigrean border. But ever since the Woyanes showed-up to the theatre (around 1978) things started changing; and changing forever. Today, much less Eritrean clear majority on both sides of the Woyane controlled Badme border region, I doubt if there are any Eritrean farmers left in the area, and I very much doubt if there still exists, a single name of a place given by Eritreans prior to 1978.
Fact #2. Prior to 1991, the center of border contention was limited to the coordinates of point B at the Settit River, and some areas around the straight border-line that goes from the confluence of Mereb-Mai-Ambessa (point A) to the Settit River (point B). But after 1991, the “contested” border areas kept expanding. The Woyanes started encroaching deeper into sovereign Eritrean territories in all regions of the border. And each time, after they claim the land, they were harassing and evicting Eritrean farmers from the very place they called home for decades – Hazo at Upper Indeli 30 December 1993, a dozen villages of Adi-Mahrai (Zibra) June 1996, Denbe Hinbrty July 1996, Gheza Sherif August 1996, Adi-Murug July 1997, Enda Tchi July 1997…… just to mention few.
Fact #3. High level Ethio-Eritrean meetings were held many times (20 July 1994, 20 April 1997, June 1997, 08 and 16 August 1997……) to settle the border issue and to protect the rights of Eritrean citizens at the “contested” border areas; but only all to end in vain.
Fact #4. Spoiling for a fight, the Tigrean hardliners upped the ante (after 1997) from harassing evicting and killing Eritrean civilians and uprooting whole Eritrean villages in the ever-growing “contested” border areas, into dismantling local Eritrean government administrations and killing Eritrean service men/women. And the killing of half a dozen Eritrean border patrol unit on May 06, 1998 by the Woyanes was – so to speak, the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Back then, faced with such reality, any Eritrean government leaders (EPLF, opposition, or any other leaders for that matter) would’ve done only one of these choices:
Bury their head in the sand, cross their fingers, and hope and pray one day the Woyane hardliners to change their mind and become Eritrea-friendly.
Retaliate in a limited way – by dismantling few Tigrean local administrations and by killing half a dozen Tigrean militias, hoping the Woyanes to understand – and stop being hostile towards Eritrea and Eritreans.
Use overwhelming force to stop Woyane’s adventure once and for all.
And we all know what the EPLF government did. And I believe (like most Eritreans do) the EPLF government-response was the right response. But don’t take my word for it. Assuming leaders of a nation are judged by history based on the accomplishment of their decisions, let’s see if the May 12, 1998 EPLF government decision could pass the strict scrutiny test:
Did the 1998 EPLF government decision stop the cunning Woyanes, their unruly militias, and their vindictive ጠራሮ from terrorizing harassing evicting Eritreans and confiscating properties of Eritrean citizens once and for all? Yes it did.
Did the 1998 EPLF government decision forced the Woyane dominated Addis regime, to sit and talk seriously about the Ethio-Eritrean border issue? Yes it did.
Did the 1998 EPLF governments decision forced the Woyane dominated Addis regime, to sign a final and binding border decision knowing full well, it is a whole lot less than what they promised their constituents (in the shadow of darkness) and a whole lot less than they dreamt to achieve? Yes it did.
Did the 1998 EPLF government decision, made the legitimacy of Eritrean sovereignty and theEthio-Eritrean territorial borders crystal clear (for the second time I might add) to Eritreans, to Ethiopians and to the whole wide world? Yes it did.
Now, ask the ardent opponents of the 1998 EPLF-leaders decision what they would have done differently to achieve the same result without bloodshed. And all you hear from the self-acclaimed brainiacs is, a blank-stare, incoherent talks, unintelligible hypothesis and endless arguments about trifling issues. Yes, after a decade and half of badmouthing the PFDJ regime, after a decade and half of Monday-morning quarterbacking judging and criticizing with hindsight, still they don’t have any credible alternative idea they can sell to the Eritrean people; except to ride on the back of Ethiopian tanks from Mekele to Asmara. And in the name of bringing change, to subject the Eritrean people to the nightmare of Ethiopian occupation (round two), is a political blunder that fly in the face of the three-generation Eritrean sacrifice at best, and downright treason at worst. That’s why the Eritrean opposition that are cuddling in bed with the Addis regime are in a vegetative state. And that’s why I’m saying, after all the dust is settled and the smoke is cleared, history will be very generous to the EPLF government leaders for their handling of the 1998 “border” conflict.
Final note: Every calendar year, (beside our religious and mass organizations annual celebrations) there are national holidays we Eritreans celebrate very religiously. And our national holidays are so personal and so touching to each and every one of us, every single year we make preparations for months to make them better than the previous years.
On the 1st of January, we all celebrate the New Year’s Day with music dance and fireworks….. wishing to have a peaceful and prosperous year.
On the 8th of March, as we all celebrate the unparalleled contribution of the Eritrean-Woman in molding the Eritrean identity and in achieving the Eritrean people’s aspiration to determine their destiny, we all gather to assess our achievements and failures (in the journey of gender equality) of the previous year(s). And based on our assessment, we renew our commitment with great vigor to work harder than ever, to empower the Eritrean-woman economically socially and politically. We pledge to achieve gender equality because – to us Eritreans – gender equality is not an issue of morality but an issue of national security; and our economic military social political…. strength is predicated upon the empowerment of the Eritrean-woman.
On the 24th of May, we all celebrate our independence-day united with great zeal jubilation and pride waving our flag, dressed colorfully, styled with different hairstyles, eating and sharing great variety of Eritrean cuisine, playing different music, dancing different dances…. to celebrate Eritrea’s birthday and to show the whole world our unique Eritrean identity.
On the 20th of June, we all gather together in silence, united by our shared experience: grief (as death and suffering was in every family) to hold candlelight vigil to honor, to remember and to appreciate the sacrifice of our fallen heroes and heroines. And each year, during our candlelight vigil, we renew our pledge to change the quality of life of the Eritrean people for the better, and to defend Eritrea (wherever we are) true to the spirit of our fallen heroes and heroines.
On September 1st, we all gather together with passion to celebrate the launch of our armed struggle, to honor and to remember our National hero Hammed Idris Awate and the selfless brave men and women who followed his footsteps to make Eritrean independence a reality.
And no matter how small of a community, no matter how far from home, each year, we all gather together with great passion and enthusiasm to celebrate our national holidays in every corner of this planet except in Woyane’s Ethiopia.
And that begs the question: is the Woyane dominated Addis regime, against the PFDJ regime or against the very concept of Eritrean sovereignty? If the current Addis regime is against the very concept of Eritrean sovereignty (which it is), how is it different from its predecessors? In Woyane’s Ethiopia, who is against Eritreans celebrating their national holidays? The regime? The Ethiopian elite? Both? Do we (Eritreans) have to tone-down celebrating our national holidays with enthusiasm and pride to have “good” relation with Ethiopia?
Many of the Eritrean opposition leaders are snug in bed comfortably with the Woyane dominated Addis regime. But the only right Eritreans inside Ethiopia (their “constituents”) have is, to be herded and to be paraded into anti PFDJ government demonstrations that are staged by the Addis regime. That’s a fact! Now tell me: Do the Addis based opposition leaders represent the aspiration of the Eritrean people? Is the love of Woyane worth, not celebrating Eritrean independence? Is the love of Woyane worth, not holding candlelight vigil to remember our heroes and heroines?
Anyway, when it comes to the Ethio-Eritrean politics, there are two types of people that baffle me the most: the sensible Ethiopians who couldn’t understand why Eritreans feel uneasy about Addis regimes and the Eritreans who swear – ‘the Woyanes are friends of the Eritrean people and defenders of Eritrean sovereignty’, when in reality, the Woyane dominated Addis regime is as hostile to Eritreans as its predecessors, and when in fact the Woyane-Dinosaurs (the only Ethiopians who supported Eritrean independence) are crawling out of the woodwork one after the other, making speeches and writing books “repenting their sin” (their prior position on Eritrea) right in front of their very eyes. How true the age-old Eritrean adage: ፈሊጡ ዘስቀጠስ (ዝደቀሰስ): ሓርማዝ ነይንቕንቖ::