Eritrean Sanctions and Little Boy Dawit Daniel

Eritrea Demontratinn in Large Numbers against Sanctions in cold snowy February Washington DC

Amanuel Biedemariam

On a cold snowy day in February 22 of 2010, Eritreans from around the world and the US gathered in front of the Whitehouse and State Department to denounce the unjust sanction hatched by Washington. They stood astride in defiance to make a point to the Obama administration Eritrea is one, united. They demonstrated to demand the repeal of the illegal and UNjust sanction Washington/Susan Rice authored, passed against Eritrea.
Thousands showed up. Most took a day-off from work, college students missed classes and parents allowed their kids to skip class for a day to demonstrate. Eritreans from all walks of life young and old gathered to voice their objection against illegal, Unjust sanctions based on lies.

Amongst them, a charismatic eight years old boy named Dawit Daniel who stood out in a historic way. Dawit was literally hoisted to the stage by his dad. But once on stage, he held on to the microphone like he wanted to say something.

Dawit came all the way from New York to stand up and protest illegal sanction measure. These sanction measure had no chance of passing. Hence, and to apply pressure on China and Russia and to give them cover to vote, the sanction was promoted and passed as African Initiative.

The whole idea was hatched by the US State Department Africa desk which at the time was under the control of the Dr. Jendayi Frazer. Her initial goal was to put Eritrea in the List of Countries that sponsor terrorism. However, that met a stiff opposition in the US congress that saw it as absurd because the information provided was full of lies and did not reflect the reality on the ground

Hence, she pursued the next best thing, sanctions on Eritrea however possible. This was taking place on the wee-hours of the Bush Administration and during the 2008 US election.

On October 23rd, the UNSC staged a hearing about a border dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea. The hearing was conducted because on June 12, 2008, Djibouti alleged Eritrean forces seized her territories militarily. On June 13, 2008, a day later a call to urge Eritrea to withdraw immediately; and without examination or investigation, voices of condemnation reigned on Eritrea from the US and friends.

On Nov 11, 2008, in an article, High Tech Lynching of Eritrea written on response to a hearing Dr. Frazer staged under the auspices of the UN, the author wrote,

“Their statements were suspicious, well-coordinated, unjustified, fabricated and misleading. For the seasoned observer of the region however, it is clear this was fabricated and part of a much bigger agenda. There were no motives for Eritrea, no evidence was provided, and no genuine effort was made to understand the problem and present a resolution. Furthermore, there was not an established mechanism and ability to validate the claims made by Djiboutian authorities.”

The statement above is the starting point for the lies the UNSC based its sanction decision on Eritrea. In fact, these lies were eerily like the farce claim the Bush Administration spewed leading up-to the disastrous Iraq war that turned world opinion against the US.
The US, under George Bush, pursued aggressive unilateral policy that bullied nations into following US lead by any means necessary. Unfortunately, the hubris with which the failed Bush Administration pursued its strategic goals in the Horn of Africa has resulted in genocides. Thousands were killed, millions displaced, and decimated social infrastructures for decades to come.

Hence, when the Obama campaign preached change, engagement and the audacity of hope; Eritreans and the region were hoping for a new attitude and a change of direction by the US.

The region was hungry for peace and stability. But unfortunately for the region, the then new Obama Administration appointed an over-zealot hawkish Susan Rice as US Ambassador to the UN. Ambassador Rice embraced President Bush’s aggressive policies and more. More importantly, President Obama elevated the UN Ambassador position to a cabinet level position which ensured freedom from congressional scrutiny, free to make and implement decisions. That meant the Obama Administration pursued a more aggressive policy than his predecessor. And a year after Ambassador Rice came to power; she succeeded to slapping UN-just sanction on Eritrea based on fabrications and trumped up unfounded accusations.

Worse yet, it was sad to see Washington taking such a step on Christmas Eve and delivered the news to Eritreans and the world in a most dismissive tone. Ambassador Rice told Eritreans and the world on Christmas Eve:

“I want to talk about the resolution we just adopted imposing sanctions on Eritrea. This was an African initiative. It was the consequence of a decision taken by the African Union.”

This statement is a revealing-testimonial how Ambassador Rice tried to deceive the world and Eritreans. Here is why:

Firstly, and according to the UNSC charter; the UNSC is the principal organ that can carry out decisions on matters of international security. No other organization has authority or mandate to carry out such decisions.

Secondly, it was disappointing to see the Obama Administration use a disgraceful excuse to pretend justice was being served on, according to Rice, “demand of the majority.” In this case, Africans represented-by the African Union.

Fact: If it were up to the majority, Ambassador Rice and President Obama will still be slaves. And the sad part is President Obama is a constitutional scholar well-versed and aware on why safeguarding minority rights is of national importance. Yet, that is how Obama and Rice decided to bestow their version of justice on the people of Africa in this case Eritreans. That’s because justice was not the motive, the aim was systematic decapitation of Eritrea and lead-it to serfdom.

That is what motivated little Dawit Daniel, an eight-year-old boy, to skip class, join the demonstration and to express his views. He got up on the stage picked-up the microphone and tapped on it to make sure the sound is ok and asked,

“Can you hear me?”

This young boy was covered with Eritrean flag from head to toe as he stood on a stage facing the State Department and said,

“First, I just want to say a couple of reasons why I thank God; first, I thank God that I am part of Eritrea, people that care about their country more than anything else…and I thank God… we are all here…, because at the end of the day…we are going to make difference.”

Dawit was fully aware that his presence can, and will make a difference. Pumping as if readying for a fight, Dawit continued…

“Why you people are wondering why an eight-year-old is here in a school day because school is a priority…? I am here so people can hear my voice about what I think about the UNJUST sanction.”

Making it clear to all why he was standing there. After few comments and, after questioning the reasons why the US and the British pushed for sanctions he said,
“This sanction has no legal basis. If, UN is using border dispute to justify the sanction, why didn’t the UN sanction Ethiopia when it is violating a legal and binding decision?
Please note: this is eight-year-old kid asking loaded questions that penetrate deep into the sensibilities of world-leaders that he feels have wronged his people unjustly. And continued,

“Also…I want to give a message to Barack Obama. Ok…, you know…, when you were running for president…I loved you! You were my leader. I followed you on every stump. You were my role model. But then…, the happiness you gave me, turned to sadness…During the inauguration… you said, you will give hand to those countries who want to make peace…Eritreans are making peace in the best way they could…how come…, you don’t give hand to Eritrea?”

This is a kid who felt betrayed by his hero. And continued.

“I want to give a message to Susan Rice. First, you give us a present that is the sanction and then you said; you…care for us…!? Stop trying to fool us because Eritreans have gone through a thirty-year war. You can’t fool us. We learned a lot of experiences…so.”

Dawit’s statements were reaction to calloused and disingenuous statements made by Susan Rice when she announced the sanction decision on Christmas Eve. Quote:

“The United States stands with the people of Eritrea who have fought long and hard for their independence and to build a country in which we have great hope for the future. Thank you.”

Dawit is right to call-out Ambassador Rice. The US has never sided with the good people of Eritrea. To the contrary, it is the US that led the people of Eritrea to decades of colonialism by an African country while consciously denying Eritreans a right to self-determination.

The US handed Eritrea to Ethiopia for its own strategic considerations. That is a historic fact that Ambassador Rice knows well. Furthermore, Ambassador Rice was disingenuous to claim the US stands with the people of Eritrea after slapping sanctions that attempt to tie Eritrea’s hands with arms embargo while at conflict with a very hostile neighbor, Ethiopia.

Concluding remarks
Imagine being convicted without a due process; imagine being sentenced to death without legal representation and imagine once convicted, there is no process or mechanism for appeal. That is what the Obama Administration and the UNSC did to Eritrea. They sanctioned Eritrea based on trumped-up, fabricated and unsubstantiated accusations.

Washington is deeply involved on the affairs of the region and Somalia. Washington, in partnership with rogue ally Meles Zenawi, invaded Somalia and created mayhem that took countless lives and displaced millions unnecessarily. Somalia is awash with armaments in large part with arms supplied by the criminal regime in Ethiopia. Hence, Washington and Ethiopia aught to bare all responsibilities.

Instead, Washington used border dispute with Djibouti, (fabricated dispute) and Eritrea’s support for extremist group, which is a proven-lie,  as justification for sanction against Eritrea while deliberately ignoring  Ethiopia’s occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories in violation of international law, the final-and-binding Hague decision.

The sanction against Eritrea exposed how unjust, broken and corrupt the UNSC is. It exposed the overreach and irresponsible abuse of power. Because, the sanction on Eritrea had nothing to do with global security, regional security, the stability of Somalia or a border dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea. It is a punitive measure designed to chip-away at the strength, stability and sovereignty of Eritrea.

Unfortunately, Eritreans are familiar with these injustices. Eritreans have suffered for decades and paid dearly with the lives of hundreds of thousands for decades. Millions have been displaced and scattered everywhere around the world. Despite these hardships however, Eritreans have learned to turn this tragic imposition of injustices to positive. Eritreans have learned to challenge them-united and effectively. Regardless where they live and regardless of the impediments they face, they overcome as one. That has been the hallmark and salvation.

It is that spirit that propels Eritreans young and old to face these challenges. That is why the little Dawits of Eritrea are incensed and ready to tell the world to stop the bullying in the name of justice, democracy, stability and terrorism. They are ready to stand up to do what it takes to reverse the UN-just sanction and to campaign the US and the UN to stop their hostile unfair approach toward Eritrea.

On 20 November 2010, on the sanction’s one-year anniversary Eritreans around the world will be launching the 30 days Action for Eritrea to call on the Barack Obama’s Administration and the United Nations to annul and repeal the unfair and unjust Resolution 1907 (2009) that imposed sanctions on the people of Eritrea.

Eritreans know they cannot rest until these injustices are reversed. Thus, they have decided to reach out any way they can. Eritreans everywhere are reaching to leaders at all levels local, regional or nationwide.

“The Illegal & UN-just Sanction must be Repealed, and repealed NOW”!

Awetnayu@hotmail.com

 

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Eritreans in New York

Eritreans gather to welcome their president, Eritreans in New York

 

 

October 3, 2011,

By Amanuel Biedemariam,
There are not enough words to describe what transpired on September 25, 2011 in New York City before, during and after the gathering with His Excellency President Isaias Afwerki.

The festive-charged environment was indescribable and the event was a smashing success. The number of Eritreans who came in droves covered the gamete. Florida   drove eighteen, Minnesota over 21 hours, Chicago 14 and Grand Rapids Michigan drove over ten hours. From Edmonton Canada people drove for two days and Toronto drove for over ten hours. People drove from everywhere. Those that flew in from the West-Coast and Europe came to Washington DC and boarded onto buses to New York with those that gathered in DC from everywhere.

It will be disingenuous to discount logistical problems people encountered on the way to New York but once they were loaded-and-ready, everyone was happy and enjoyed the ride. People partied all the way to New York. They laughed, danced to patriotic songs that played inside the busses.

We started boarding about 3 a.m. and arrived in New York about 9 a.m. which is considered good time for a trip from DC to New York. When we arrived, we were greeted by long-lines of Eritrean crowd trying to get-in to see the president. The crowd covered many blocks of New York city creating a traffic nightmare.

It was serene to be received by crowds of Eritreans adorned with colorful Eritrean flags and dressed in traditional outfits that beautified the glorious New York city. They accorded New York grace and dignity unmatched by any. These Eritreans were smart and conducted themselves with unmatched civility because they understood the magnitude of the event and it mean a lot to ensure a safe and successful event.

The weather was calm and cloudy as we arrived. We hurried to get out of the busses to join the crowd. The people I came with all joined the long lines and I found my station in the media section.

From that point-on, I was oblivious to what was taking place outside as cell phones and computers were-not allowed for security reasons so we did not have a way to communicate with the outside. My focus was inside and the assigned job.

The event had so many moving parts readily visible. The stage was graceful and fitting. The stage was designed  by volunteers who did a great job setting stage worthy of the moment. The mood was festive. The security was tight making it difficult to move once you are inside because movements were restricted.

When the president arrived, the hall was raucous with greetings that lasted a while. And after a brief exchange of greetings, the President and his delegates got seated on the front and program details were read by the organizers.

As is customary, the program started with a moment of silence to remember Martyrs accompanied by graceful saxophonist Eritrean veteran musician Tesfamariam. Soon thereafter, the EriAm Sisters sung Eritrean national anthem adding flavor to a memorable event.

Amidst cheers of welcome that emanated from deep feelings of happiness, after the crowd cheered and showed much they missed him and expressed deep love, the president and the delegates were lead to the stage and sat for the seminar.

President Isaias’s presence was grand. He occupied the seat with grace and comfort. It was incredible moment for Eritreans to witness their beloved hero seated in front of them. The President was beaming with a glow of happiness that filled the hall. There are thousands of pictures that showed the grandiosity and beauty of the moment and the presence. However, there exist no picture that can describe the feelings and the happy expressions in the hall.

I sat close enough where I can see the action closer than many. However, the whole event appeared like a dream and passed way-quicker especially relative to the time that passed to prepare and travel for the event

This event was by far the most significant even more than the February 22,  2010 demonstration against sanctions Eritreans held around the world. Because in this occasion Eritreans wanted to send clear message to the world. The messages were loud and clear for all to see and bare witness to. It was saying loudly that Eritrea is in the house in New York City, hitting New York like lightning. It said Eritrea is one, dedicated, unwavering, unperturbed and will persevere to victory. It said, Eritrea is one with President Isaias Afwerki. It said we love Eritrea.

The event showed Eritreans are patient, disciplined and resilient. It showed that Eritreans speak with one voice, the same tone everywhere and all the time.

When I first approached the crowd greeting people and finding my way, I bumped into a Caucasian approximately six feet two in height. I said, “excuse me” and I realized the man had communication equipments in his hand. Not sure what he was doing, I asked, “what are you doing? he replied, “I am a reporter from Expressen.” Expressen…? I asked. He said it is a Swedish Newspaper. I asked what he was doing and he replied I came to film this event. And I asked him what his impression was? He said, I am surprised…I thought I was going to see more on this side not the other. He was saying it in a surprised and, disappointed tone.

Evidently, he came with a predetermined idea to film President Isaias embarrassed by thousands of demonstrators. Instead, he learned the truth about Eritrea and learned first hand that Eritreans are one with the President.

That is one message that reverberated sending shockwaves to detractors and enemies. That is the message Eritreans wanted to send loud and clear to the world, the State Department and, the stooge-agents of the criminal junta in Ethiopia that were parading as Eritreans. It is a message of solidarity. It is an answer to those who wanted to weaken Eritrea systematically by targeting one specific strength, unity . They delivered the message in New York City where Ambassador Rice can see clearly that President Isaias Afwerki and Yemane Ghebreab are the people. There is no way to extricate any Eritrean from another for whatever reason. Eritreans are one with one-voice and, that is the message those who traveled millions of miles-collectively wanted to send and sent it loudly and clearly.

There was not a whole lot of new information that His Excellency divulged. One of the first things that he said was that; ten years may have elapsed since I last saw you but you were never far away from me. That is expression of affection. And the feeling was mutual. Because nearly every question that people asked was accompanied by expressions of support and praises for his bravery. However, there were a lot of memorable statements that he made.

He referred to those who went to Addis as ‘nefseher‘ meaning they are none but dead souls walking. He acknowledged that there is exploration for oil. He said that there is not much any one can do to us if we are united. He said that all the lies the Weyane clique spewed over the years are exposed. He said it is opportune moment for Eritreans to engage at the UN. He said that the highlight of his trip was his meeting with his people.

The audience asked many penetrating questions and the answers were satisfying. One young woman said, all issues in Eritrea are being addressed adequately. How about human rights?

He answered, “I have been fighting  for human rights for over forty years.” The primary focus in Eritrea is and remains, to ensure that the basic needs of Eritreans are met. That is the number one focus. He emphasized that Eritrea does not tolerate human right abuse at the government level and we have mechanisms in place to prevent abuse by the private sector as well.

He also said that a great deal of effort is exerted and, steps are in place to get the Diaspora involved in development efforts of the nation. Eritrea is shifting to a higher gear  toward development. And if we are going to succeed in achieving the outlined objectives for 2012-2013, we need to make sure the concerns of Diaspora Eritreans are addressed. Regarding the border, he said, it will, in due time. Moreover, he stressed that we need to focus on what we are doing to develop Eritrea.

It was incredible to witness the harmony, affection and support the public showed President Isaias. The people did not come there to find out any thing new. They did not travel to demand anything from the President. They just showed up to show support.

After the President left the Manhattan Center, I briefly spoke to Dr. Berhe Habtegiorgis and asked him what his observations revealed. His reply captured the moment precisely. I still remember his focus, enthusiasm and the exuberant tinkle in his eyes as he said, “The world can not understand or believe what just transpired because it is in complete contradiction to what is taking place all around the globe!”

I was dead-tired barely able to open my eyes but,  as soon as the President arrived the energy and excitement took over and managed to communicate on Facebook with Eritreans all over the world that were eager to be part of it any way they can.

Afterward, I was excited to reconnect, to talk about what transpired  with my wife and friends that traveled with me. I asked with excitment, “did you have fun…?”

I saw dazed gaze of disappointment. I saw teary-eyes. And heard, we didn’t get in.

I melted. You didn’t see the President? I shouted? No.

They said,  “We did not see him. We didn’t even see him leave as we were expecting him to come on that side and he came out on the back.”

Very few people saw him. Who else did not get in? I found out nearly all the people that came with me didn’t get-in along with over 2,000 people. Apparently, President Isaias knew large size crowd was unable to get in. As a result, he expressed his disappointment by saying “I thought the City of New York was a big city with bigger venues.”

We were all tired beyond expression. We wer hungry and sleepy from travelling all night but captured by the moment and surprised by the fact that thousands could not get in. We knew there were people that were not able to get in but we did not know the size. I was disappointed but, as I spoke with those that did not get-in, my feelings started to change dramatically.

The sadness that I felt turned into pride. I begun to understand the resolve and satisfaction that they felt. My friend Haile said,

“Don’t get me wrong, I would have loved to have been inside and enjoy the moment but, the purpose of my journey was to give support, show solidarity with my President and I have accomplished that regardless where I was. And, I am satisfied.”

Every story that I heard was more uplifting than the other. A father with his four grown children came from California, paying thousands and said that he was proud to have been there even if he was not able to get in. A group from Grand Rapids Michigan were very popular because they kept the mood very uplifted by singing  “Masse” (a form of traditional rap) entertaining the crowd. A family that came from Edmonton Canada after driving two days, a family that drove from Florida and unable to get in expressed the same feeling of satisfaction. Those that did not get in were there without rest, food and water for over six hours. They stood with disciplined. NYPD were wowed by patience and cooperation.

The organizers were faced with logistical nightmares considering the short notice, the security considerations, the uncertainties and the distance they had to deal with. The list of details that they needed to sift through, the coordinating efforts were nightmarish. But it turned-out beautifully and there were many reasons why it succeeded.

Firstly, it is because Eritreans are very organized, can mobilize fast and in greater numbers. They travel distances for their nation any time and anywhere. That is due to years of experience and organizational structures that were formed during days of the struggle for liberation. For example, in February of 2010 Eritreans successfully organized large demonstrations to oppose the illegal sanction levied by the US against Eritrea.

Secondly, it is because Eritrea takes center stage in the life of every Eritrean in ways unseen anywhere. Eritreans sing, dance, laugh, cry, wed and talk Eritrea every single second. Eritreans think and talk Eritrea all the time. Eritreans live for Eritrea. Eritreans are aware and educated about their country. They are cognizant of all the threats, the challenges and opportunities. And they know how to fight and make use of the opportunities presented to them. This is one occasion that Eritreans seized like there is no tomorrow.

Conclusion
There are moments that change lives and take place once in a while. This occasion was one of those moments. There were many heads of states that gathered in New York for the same UN conference President Isaias attended. But, none were received with the passion and enthusiasm. No one received the kind of welcome President Isaias received from his people. None of them came to demand or complain; they came to support and show solidarity.

It has been a while, since there has been a concerted effort made to demonize President Isaias and give inaccurate picture about Eritrea. There has been many hysterical noises made by handful opportunists.

It was exposed on Sunday 25 September that they truly are the walking dead (nefseher) as the President called them.

Eritreans came with a purpose united in a vision in a surreal environment making indescribable spiritual connection with each other and their president.

President Isaias embraced the moment and gracefully delivered unscripted speech from the heart in a presidential setting confidently. The journey was tough and long but joyous and historic. The sacrifices made were all worth it because, in the process and in the moment, we affirmed to each other that we are all Eritreans in a mission to express that we are one, “Eritrean in New York” in support of our nation and President!
Indeed “Hade hzbi, Hade libi”!

Thank You Zersenay Tadese

By Amanuel Biedemariam

November 29, 2010. Ever since he burst upon the scene in 2002, Zersenay Tadese has proven that he is the embodiment and example of what Eritrea is all about; resilient, consistent and victorious. Like most Eritreans around the world, I am wowed by what Zersenay has achieved for himself and by extension, the people of Eritrea at large.

In a sport that requires tremendous amount of team support and organizational structure for any success, Zersenay has single handedly placed himself in a position of international acclaim and placed Eritrea in a map of a sport that has traditionally been dominated by a handful of nations.

My aim therefore, is to thank Zersenay Tadese for all the joyous moments that he brought into the faces of all Eritreans every time we saw him. We are happy to see him compete, see he meeting and enjoying Eritrean communities in the Diaspora and happy when he went back to Eritrea and contributed to the lives of Eritreans in many ways.

We were also happy when he was received by the biggest victory-welcome accorded him by the people of Eritrea from the President down to the youngest that revere this deserving soul. Eritrea needed Zersenay to be the best possible human being that he could be and he delivered with his heart, dignity and humble nature. He brought a sense of decency and became a true model for Eritreans and the world for those who chose to notice. He is my hero and the hero of millions of Eritreans. I am thankful that he set the bar high for all to follow, and grateful for the example he set for future generations of Eritrean athletes.

Clearly his professional accomplishments speak volumes of the type of hard working and dedicated individual that he is. He is the current record holder of world’s half Marathon. He won a bronze medal in the 10,000 meters in 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greek making him the first-ever Eritrean Olympic medalist. He has won over twenty medals ranging from bronze to gold all over the world. He is the epitome of success with a demeanor that is a true reflection of what Eritreans are; courteous and gracious to a fault. And he did it graced by an Eritrean flag that was tailor fitted for him. However; what stands out is that outfit exudes a national soul that is confident and determined to show the world what Eritrea is all about.

I want to thank Zersenay for being the true anchor of Eritrean sports based on international standards. I want to thank him for setting THE example of what it means to achieve success and yet remain grounded while firmly connecting with his country at all levels. I want to thank him for his strength and for remaining steady just like Eritrea has over the last ten years when many were ganging up to frustrate her into submission. He never gave up even when teams ganged up on him. On the contrary, he saw what he needed and recruited others into becoming a part of his team. He helped to expand the size and quality of Eritrean athletes in a world stage.

While much could be said about all the achievements of this giant; all the accolades would have meant nothing if Zersenay was selfish and irresponsible. However, Zersenay understood his historic responsibilities and his place in the history books of Eritrea and etched it by embracing his people and reveling on their support. Zersenay Tadese, I thank you for making Eritrea proud. I thank you for being the anchor and pillar of a nation. I thank you for the foundation and legacy you have established.
Thank you Warsay – a pride of Yekealo!

Ethiopia: A Defining Moment for the People of Tigray

Amanuel Biedemariam

05 December 2010,

For a while, many Tigrayans, some openly and some behind the curtains, have been ripping some benefits from the tyrannical Meles regime unashamedly, boldly and with impunity. They are benefiting at the expense of all Ethiopian ethnic groups in many ways in the name of Tigray. Why this issue warrants an attention is the fact that they are benefiting more than any ethnic group; while claiming to be Ethiopians. But most importantly, they are doing it at the expense of the people in the region be it Ethiopians, Somalis, Eritreans or The Sudanese and in many ways.

It is ironic that the genocidal tyrant Meles Zenawi repeatedly cried Interhamwe when the Voice of America broadcasted reports that he didn’t like. While that rant was an effort to rebuff pressures from his Western masters; in reality, the resentment, which is building up on Tigrayans continues. It is, therefore, possible for the majority of Ethiopians to lash out in ways that are unpredictable and downright genocidal. That is the brutal truth. It is recent history that unexpected events led to the most horrific genocide of our time in Rwanda when the Hutus’ killed 800,000 to 1,000,000 Tutsis’ in a short period of time. While there is no history of enmity amongst the various ethnic nationalities of Ethiopia at the level of Hutus’ and Tutsis; they have not lived a harmonious coexistence either. It is also worth noting that what caused the genocide in Rwanda could not have been expected to create such a historic holocaust in Africa. The genocide was sparked by the death of the Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, when his plane was shot down.

The question, are Ethiopians resenting Tigrayans? And, what can Tigrayans do to change that resentment?

The resentment stems from the fact that Tigrayans are in power with full control of the economy, military, information, political and everything else in between. To deny that, is to deny reality. Ethiopia, since 1991, has been and is still being controlled by an ethnic minority clique from Tigray. The amount of monies, material wealth and the resources under the control of these Tigrayans is simply put, insane. They have gotten extremely rich simply by the sheer advantage of occupying the Menelik Palace provides. It accords them unchecked diplomatic prowess and political cover from any PR attacks around the world. In addition, control of the military gives them almost impenetrable power-base from which to control the nation and its agendas regionally and internationally.

In fact, prior to the election of 2010 that brought a nominal reshuffle of the cabinet, on June of 2009, Gunbot 7 and other major Ethiopian organizations released a list of names in Senior Command Posts in the Ethiopian army. And listed General SamoraYunus, Chief of Staff, Lt. General Tadesse Worede Training Department, Lt. General Geazi Abera Logistics Department, Brg. General Gebredela Military Intelligence Department, Lt. General GebreEgziabiher Operations Department, Lt. General Berhane Negash, Engineering Department, and Brg. General Mola Haile Mariam air force are all from Tigray. Throughout the entire army, 98% of the core-leadership groups are Tigrayans. They also exposed the systemic domination of Ethiopia in all sectors of the government including agriculture, transportation and all other government ventures.

tplf-celebration-tigray

This is the reality of Ethiopia today and many have written about it ad-nauseam and Ethiopians know that is the case. However, they are unable to do anything about it. In 2005, the election they thought could bring change, served as tragic transitional point in Ethiopian history. It defined a new Ethiopia with uncertain future and direction. It destroyed the vision Ethiopians have had for their country – at least temporarily. It generated unnecessary suspicion on each other and a period of unease. Unfortunately, that has not changed one-bit since 2005. In fact, the tension is building up with Ethiopians wondering; if the Tigrayans truly believe that they can go on like this indefinitely. It is a political and societal conundrum for Ethiopians who are vehemently incensed about the ruling clique yet, always cognizant that their words and actions could likely ignite unnecessary tension with Tigrayans. They were afraid that Tigrayans could be forced into a bunker mentality if they believed they are ganged up on. According to Human Rights Watch,

Ethiopia is a de facto one-party state masquerading as a democracy. Its ruling party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), permeates the state and goes to great lengths to ensure citizens’ political loyalty. In parliamentary elections in May 2010, the EPRDF won 99.6% of the seats. In local elections in 2008 it won more than 99% of the vote.

Moreover, there is a definite resentment because Ethiopians are-not convinced the Tigrayans, ruling the country by force, are Ethiopian nationalists. Because before they came to power in 1991, they fought for the rights of the people of Tigray -with the idea of creating Greater Tigray (Abbay Tigray) in mind. This is documented on their Tigray-manifesto of 1976. In fact, Ethiopians are convinced the idea behind article 39 is a ploy designed to give the clique and in effect the people of Tigray the possibility of seceding from Ethiopia if they choose.

Article 39 gives all Ethnic groups in Ethiopia a “Right” to be break away from the union. It states”

“The right to self-determination up to secession of nation, nationality and peoples may be exercised: where, the demand for secession is approved by a two-thirds (2/3rds) majority of the legislature of the nation; where, the Federal Government within three years upon receipt of the decision of the legislature of the nation, nationality or people demanding secession, organizes a referendum for the nation, nationality or people demanding secession; where, the demand for secession is supported by a simple majority vote in the referendum and where, the Federal Government transfers power to the parliament of the nation, nationality or people who has opted for secession.”

Under this arrangement the TPLF clique could claim, they respect the rights of all ethnic groups while giving themselves opportunities to become independent at any given time legally at a time of their choosing. To emphasize its meaning, one can look at a statement that articulates; “If the demand for secession is approved by a two thirds (2/3rds) majority of the legislature of the nation, any ethnic group can secede.” That means, Meles can order the handpicked rubber stamp parliament to vote for secession and Tigray will become independent. This is a clear example on how Ethiopia can break apart.

Furthermore, the Tigrayan minority clique stands-out for their history and propensity for merciless brutality. They have committed genocides in Gambella, Ogaden and Somalia. Countless have lost lives in Southern part of Ethiopia and everywhere in the country. Their human rights records are atrocious by all standards. The sense of instability and insecurities that permeate throughout every aspect of Ethiopian life is palpable. That is now compounded by massive land-leasing program they have embarked on displacing millions under the guise of development. They have created an environment that is full of pressure and can explode in uncontrollable ways difficult to contain once unleashed.

The Tigrayan minority clique has reached a point of hubris that is unparalleled. Leading up to the sham election of 2010, The Human Rights Watch documented some instances of the withholding of donor-funded food aid from families with malnourished, hungry children on the basis of political affiliation. On November 29 William Davison of Bloomberg reported the Ethiopian government has relocated about 150,000 people in the eastern Somali region in the past five months. The VOA and others reported; Meles Zenawi is forcibly uprooting million Ethiopians in the Gambela, Afar, Ogaden, and Benishangul regions from their land. This is consistent with the story The BBC reported accusing the TPLF of using Aid funds for arms. In simple terms the crimes of the Tigrayn clique is beyond redemption. They are getting their way by using every dirty trick under their sleeves to the detriment of the people of Ethiopia and the region. In Ogaden they quarantined the entire population and isolated Ogadenis from the rest of the world denying them access to everything. Under the guise of fighting terrorism and development they are destroying lives and a way of life of millions of people of Ethiopians everywhere.

Moreover, everything the Meles led minority clique from Tigray tried have failed. Regardless of how rosy they claim things are or will be; it is a time proven that everything they utter is a lie. After the sham elections of 2010, the regime effectively rendered itself illegitimate. Even if it falsely certified itself with a rubberstamp parliament and 96% victory; what it did is tell the world how belligerent it has gotten. It showed that Meles Zenawi is playing a different game. On the recent reshuffle of his cabinet Meles tried to defuse blame of his failures by throwing his former partners under the bus (ala Aboy Sbhat) to extend his reign. And to show diversity he brought-in individuals that have no popular support, constituencies and represent no viable party. As a result, Ethiopia will not enjoy leadership continuity when the regime falls. Ethiopia would have to start all over again in the least predictable way as it did during the last two transitions.

The Key:
Whereas the country is governed by a rogue and illegitimate despot…Whereas the country is being divvied-up torn to pieces and given away to multinationals…Whereas the country that is rich and full of promise is rendered to abject poverty with no hope for change …Whereas all hope for continuity through a consensus have disappeared and the nation is dominated by a handful rich-elite…Whereas the nation is divided ethnically creating a perfect template for disintegration….Whereas citizens of a nation are rendered helpless and hopeless… Whereas citizens have decided that change is possible only through the barrel of a gun…Whereas the illegitimate government have lost all political capital in the region…Whereas there exists no good-will or intent by the ruling clique…Whereas there exists no trust or confidence on the ruling mafia clique…Whereas the minority genocidal regime is totally convinced that peace does not serve its best interest…Whereas the clique have decided to impose its hegemonic agendas with the nations on the region wantonly…Whereas it has become clear that the mischief by the clique will only worsen…Whereas it is proven that no ethics or humanitarian logic binds the clique to the people of Africa and the region…Whereas it is established that compromise, the rule of law, fair play and do-good for goodness-sake amounts to mean crime on their dictionary.

It is high time for the average Tigrayan to be asked where they stand on these matters.
It is time to ask, are you with the people of Ethiopia and the region seeking a peaceful coexistence? Do you ac cept these war mongers as your leaders and embrace them as is? Do you believe the people of Ethiopia are happy with the minority clique from Tigray? Are you proud on how the clique is handling Ethiopia? Do you think the people of Oromo, Ogaden, Gambella or Amhara are happy with the way they are being treated? Do you believe fair election, which is inclusive has taken place to satisfy the people of Ethiopia? Do you believe Ethiopia is headed on the right direction? How long do you think the TPLF clique can hold-on to power without the support of Ethiopians? The questions are endless. TPLF Tigray Flags in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is at crossroads. More than any time in its history, Ethiopia finds itself at a delicate stage. During the commemoration of the 2005 Ethiopian election in DC, Dr. Gregory Stanton, President of Genocide Watch warned the people of Tigray; ultimately the people of Tigray will end up paying the price for the crimes the genocidal Meles regime is perpetrating.
He stated

My job is to identify trends that could cause genocides and what I am witnessing in Ethiopia is a great deal of concern for the people of Tigray because the regime is committing these crimes on their names.

That is the truth whether one chooses to accept it or not. Because, the origin of the leaders in Menelik Palace is Tigray; the people of Tigray fought alongside the ruling clique for the rights of the people of Tigray. Therefore, rightly or wrongly the perception exists the criminals in Menelik palace are representatives of the people of Tigray. That is the prevailing belief. The question is then; what can the people of Tigray do?
Concluding Remarks:

To quote Gandhi, “An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.” There is also a saying in Tigrigna “you can lace poison with honey but the taste inside will never change.”

So, the moment of truth is here. Ethiopians all over the world are coming together and the momentum is building up against the thugs in Menelik Palace. In this and other future endeavors, Eritreans have embraced Ethiopians and vice-versa to charge ahead. The failed regime is on the defensive all over Ethiopia with his morally defeated soldiers on the run in Ogaden, Gambella, South and Central Ethiopia and most significantly; TPDM is chasing his soldiers in Tigray. Moreover, all these groups are coming together and putting the criminal regime on the defensive more and more.

Moreover, all of what the regime tried to achieve was based on mischief and trickery but all that is come to an end. The alliance that he set up with Yemen, Djibouti, and Sudan in order to strangulate Eritrea failed. He is now the odd man out. What he calculated with Eritrea failed completely and now Eritrea is poised and on the right track. The no-war no-peace agenda he set up ended up isolating Ethiopians from their natural trading partners all around. Eritreans didn’t fail as he expected instead they are vibrant and flourishing. In all, what he banked-on was the misery of Eritreans but he forgot that Eritreans are resilient. It was a big mistake to bet against the people of Eritrea. He was dismissive and believed he can strangulate Eritreans economically so he shut all doors by telling Eritrea, “let them quench the thirst of their camels from the waters of the Red Sea” when he abandoned Eritrean ports. Eritrean camels are drinking water from the dams in every corner. Eritrea is not the isolated nation he was hoping it to be. To the contrary, it is flourishing in every way be it in sports, diplomacy, agriculture, mining and in all aspects Eritreans are on the move.

As a result, the warmongering and hate mongering mouthpieces at Aigaforum are not saying Eritrea is poor any more. They are saying Eritrea is becoming rich! Therefore it is going to hurt us what is Ethiopia to do? They are going crazy, completely at a loss for any sane strategy hence, they are calling Eritreans “Egyptian-army” that are coming to hurt us. These people are no-more in the realm of sanity they are delusional to the point of pity.

Therefore, the choice is clear. In this defining moment; do the people of Tigray want to be with the people of the region and coexist in peace or will they believe on the hegemonic agenda of Meles? Do they want partnership or hate? Meles like the past leaders will crumble and crumble badly. So the choice is clear: Meles or the people of the region in peace. The people of Tigray need to denounce the criminal regime and stand with the people of the region openly-soon for the sake of their own people. One more thing to ponder; it is certain at the end, the world will side with the people of Ethiopia and the region. So should the people of Tigray.

This case is not a concern for Ethiopians only; it concerns all peace loving people in the world. It is obviously a great concern for Eritrea and the region because it directly impacts our securities and that means we will do what it takes to ensure peace. Hence, let the rising momentum engulf these criminals for good. The people of Eritrea are peace loving and their interest is peace and prosperity of the people in the region