Eritrea: A brief expose of the war crimes committed on innocent Eritrean civilians.

Tesfay Aradom, PhD. November 2018

“Dry up the sea to kill the fish”

Prologue
The winds of change and hope that have been blowing across the Horn of Africa should inspire the peoples of this long troubled region to fully appreciate their long term socio-political and economic implications. The tested wisdom and experience of the Government of the State of Eritrea (GSE) and the resilience of the Eritrean people triumphed over the potential existential threat emanating from a volatile and rapidly deteriorating political and social situation in Ethiopia. The untenable situation in Ethiopia was a product of rampant corruption among the upper civilian and military echelons and an ethno-political system ravaged by recurrent and pervasive ethnic strife. The failed state, touted as a regional anchor, was the beneficiary of unfettered military, financial and diplomatic support from successive US administrations and European Nations. What aggravated the political turmoil in Ethiopia was the fact that the regime, preceded by an expansionist “socialist” government, was imposed on a population whose collective psyche was still under the firm grip of a deeply rooted feudal culture. Additionally, the self-serving and fear mongering narrative, promoted by the leaders in Ethiopia, that any reform or changes to the status quo in Ethiopia would result in its disintegration was proven wrong by the peaceful but persistent struggle of the Ethiopian people. It is worth noting that the relentless efforts of the Eritrean government under the leadership of President Isaias Afwerki , to support the democratic movements, played a critical role towards the development of political consciousness among Ethiopians. Lastly, the struggle for genuine democracy of the Ethiopian people in general and the youth in particular, under the leadership of Dr. Abiy Ahmed , has been a significant factor in bringing about gradual democratic change and preserving the integrity of the Ethiopian nation.

Just as the identity of a person is shaped and maintained by socio-political, psychological and emotional life experiences, collective historical and political experiences mediated by social values, traditions, cultural institutions and beliefs (McAdams, 2018) are critical factors that contribute to the development of a cohesive national identity. For more than a century, the historical and political experiences of the Eritrean and Ethiopian peoples took divergent paths and resulted in their respective national identities. Regardless, it bodes well for both nations and the region as a whole that the ushering in of peace and cooperation has been enthusiastically embraced by both peoples. To reap maximum benefits from such an unprecedented development and ensure its sustainability, the respective historical and political experiences of the two peoples should be properly understood. Any intentional effort to advance a distorted narrative of their respective histories and dismissal of each other’s socio-political experience will only result in mutual resentment and distrust.

Introduction
In this brief article I aim to take a glimpse at and walk the reader through a painful but salient aspect of the history of the Eritrean people and, thereby, make a modest contribution toward a deeper mutual understanding and sustainable cooperation between the two peoples.

Due to strategic geo-political and economic factors, selective gross human rights violations and war crimes have historically claimed a monopoly with regards to international news media coverage and exposure within academia. Others deemed less significant and, therefore, inconsequential have been relegated to oblivion and still remain shrouded in the annals of human history. The extermination of six million Jews in World War II and the Rwanda Genocide of 1994 that resulted in the deaths of almost a million civilians, mostly Tutsi, have justifiably been the beneficiaries of continual international attention. However, crimes committed against marginalized populations with insignificant political and economic clout such as the Arawak Indians (Zinn, 1995); The African Holocaust and the Slave Trade (Clarke, 1992); Aborigines of Tasmania; the Herrero and Nama of Namibia; the Gypsies in Europe; the Kurds in Iraq (Lemarchand, 2011) to name a few did not until recently capture the long overdue attention of legal scholars and historians. Despite the fact each of the above mentioned cases was a product of a unique interaction between socio-political conditions and historical events, the undeniable truth is that in every case the systematic extermination of innocent and defenseless civilians was an important motivating factor.

Therefore, the gross human rights violations committed against innocent Eritrean civilians by successive colonial powers in Eritrea should remain intact in our collective memory lest some segments of our people become victims of what (Scobie, 1992) calls a sense of pastlessness. Realizing the potential danger of historical amnesia, the GSE utilized massive human and material resources to investigate and document, in a stunningly vivid detail, virtually every incident of atrocity committed by Ethiopia on defenseless Eritrean civilians. These invaluable historical materials have been accessible to a large segment of our people; however, for the benefit of our youth in the diaspora in particular and the international community in general, the importance and urgency of translating them into English and Arabic must be underscored. An accurate reconstruction, meticulous documentation and effective generational transmission of this painful aspect of our history is, needless to say, highly significant to the development of our cohesive national identity

The GSE and the Eritrean people should not be deterred from fully exposing and disseminating the abhorrent acts committed against innocent Eritrean civilians. Allowing our history to be told from the perspective of our former colonizers and present detractors is tantamount to trivialization of the atrocities and humiliation our people endured and distortion of our history. We should also be constantly vigilant against persistent attempts to gradually bleach out our collective historical memories by those who advance a revisionist and disparaging narrative of our political and social experience. We should never forget that the crimes committed by successive Ethiopian governments and the subsequent horrible sacrifices endured by our defenseless and innocent civilians are an integral part of our history and national identity formation process.

The wanton killings of civilians, the illegal expropriation of our arable and grazing lands and unfettered exploitation of our natural resources have historically been justified as actions necessary to ostensibly preserve international and regional stability and promote national interests and security. On the contrary, our indomitable spirit and persistent resistance against these gross human rights violations have been vilified in order to serve the geopolitical and economic interests of Western nations. As a people we should be cognizant of the fact that we owe our existence as a sovereign people in a sovereign state to the protracted valiant struggle and enormous sacrifices of our heroes and heroines.

Atrocities against Eritrean civilians did not begin in the recent past. Referring to the harsh conditions during the Ottoman Empire’s rule in Eritrea from the 16th to the 19th centuries for example, our ancestors coined a phrase that captures the essence of their suffering and the brutality of the Turkish rule. The phrase is still used to this day in casual conversations among Eritreans.

Atrocities committed by Italian Colonial Authorities
In addition to seeking to secure geo-political interests, exploit economic resources and effect religious conversion , Italian colonialism in Eritrea was also perversely inspired by a racist ideology as manifested in the preposterous motive to “civilize” a barbarian population. General Antonio Baldissera, the first colonial commander, did not mince words when expressing
his racist views nor did he hesitate to use the curbash, a whip made of hippopotamus hide that lashed backs raw. It became an institutionalized weapon frequently used to strike terror into the civilian population in order to obtain submission.

It is also worth noting that the perception of “ literate “ Italians about the colonized population was not at variance with that of the racist colonial functionaries. For the most part Italians viewed the indigenous population,

“as not civilizable, promise breakers, deceitful, anarchic, unteachable, and in any case destined to vanish because of famine and vendetta” (Bruner, 2017, p. 3).

The imprisonment, torture and murder of the civilian population based on trumped up accusations of treason and espionage were not only rampant but also executed with impunity. According to (Bruner, 2017), Napoleone Corazzini, a prominent Italian journalist who seemed to be on a mission to expose the corruption and unruly savagery that possessed the colonial police in the city of Massawa in 1891. The following paragraphs, based on Corazzini’s report and quoted in (Bruner, 2017 ) clearly illustrate the unhinged character of the Italian colonial police force and its callous disregard for Eritrean life and dignity. The first appalling incident carried out in Massawa in 1889, was about Getheon,

“a wealthy Eritrean merchant who had been arrested at Massawa, Italy’s colonial port on the Red Sea and imprisoned on espionage and treason charges pursuant to Livraghi’s orders. A search of Getheon’s house discovered a large sum of cash which Livraghi claimed as prize money, contending that the sum represented funds meant for obtaining arms and ammunition for use by rebel tribes. Awaiting trial in December 1889, Ghetheon disappeared from colonial prison. According to Corazzini , Livraghi recognized that the proof of Getheon’s crimes was flimsy and therefore decided to have him killed. Indigenous police dragged Getheon out of prison in the middle of the night, took him some distance away from Massawa, and then shot him twice. Not dead after two shots, the merchant was finished off with stones and clubs. Livraghi witnessed the killing from horseback and then dismounted to verify that Getheon was in fact dead. The body was thrown into a grave, and Livraghi helped conceal the grave by smoothing out the earth” (Bruner, 2017, p. 6).

He cites another brutal killing that illustrates Livraghi’s ruthlessness

“ the case involved Osman, a Moslem Chief. He was arrested in a town outside of Massawa on Livraghi’s orders, also on charges of espionage and treason. Delivered to the Massawa police, Osman disappeared. Colonial authorities told his family that he had been deported to Italy. However, Corazzini claimed that the same police commanded by Livraghi led Osman one night through the countryside. At some point Livraghi ordered a halt and directed that a grave be dug. He told Osman that the grave was for him. Osman threw himself on the ground pleading for mercy, but Livraghi made him stand up and then “ laughing spasmodically” shot him twice. Remounting his horse, Livraghi smoked a cigarette while his squad threw the body into the grave and covered it over. Corazzini suggested that the body was buried “ perhaps while it heart was still beating.” Livraghi then trampled on the grave site with his horse.” (Bruner, 2017, p. 7).

Subsequent to the defeat of Italy by the Allied Forces in April 1941, the British Military Administration (1941-1952) in Eritrea allowed Italian bureaucrats to continue to serve in powerful civilian and military positions. As a result, the Italians continued to abuse their power and commit atrocities against Eritreans. For example ( Almedom, 2006) gives a chilling description of an event that occurred on August 7, 1941. The account clearly illustrates the utter disregard the Italians had for Eritrean lives, as well as the complicity of the British:

“In Asmara, the families of Eritrean police officers had not been paid for several months following “liberation.” Those families signed a petition asking for their situation to be considered by the new administration. Twenty delegates were sent to deliver the petition to the BMA. They were met by a very hostile Italian officer, a member of the “ old guard”, who inspected the signed petition, ridiculed the delegates for trying to voice Eritrean grievances, and ordered one of his subordinates to shoot them. Many were killed on the spot and those who fled were pursued all the way to the Eritrean quarters of Idaga Hamus were some armed Eritreans fired back to stop the chase.” ( Almedom, 2006, p. 115)

War Crimes committed by Ethiopia
According to (Erlich, 1996,) the Tigrean Ras Alula, King John the IV ‘s military strategist and ruthless administrator in Eritrea, frustrated with his repeated failed attempts to take Kassala from the Sudanese Mahdists, decided to cover up his military debacle and appease his King by exterminating the Kunama and Nara nationalities and pillaging their villages. The following excerpt from his book clearly illustrates the above stated point

“ On November 1886 the ras ordered his army to march some eight miles southward to the spring of Mogolo. There he camped again, became frustrated with his inability even to contemplate an attack on Kassala, and therefore ordered the greatest plunder in the history of the Baria tribes. During the last week in November, two-thirds of the people and cattle of the Baria and Kunama north of the Gash were destroyed. On 1 December 1886, ordered his army to march back to Tigre, even though, as in the previous year, he had not seen the gates of Kassala” (Erlich, 1996, p. 101)

The struggle armed for independence in Eritrea started in 1961 after all peaceful protests were exhausted. Gradually as it gained both military and political momentum it wreaked havoc within successive Ethiopian regimes. As the result, as the collapse of Haile Sellassie’s feudal regime seemed imminent, Ethiopia’s brutal war against innocent Eritrean civilians intensified. The result was an unprecedented loss of innocent civilian lives, razing of entire villages and immense scale of looting with the sinister intent of eradicating the basic foundations of their lives.

During the struggle for independence and the post-independence era, the PFDJ People’s Front for Democracy and Justice), formerly the EPLF (Eritrean People’s Liberation Front), embarked on a concerted effort to carefully and exhaustively document the atrocities committed by successive Ethiopian regimes. For example, the massive unedited document painstakingly prepared by Tesfalidet provides a disturbingly graphic account of Ethiopia’s crimes against humanity. Furthermore, the important task of shedding more light on Ethiopia’s sordid history has continued through rigorous academic work. As a result, important books and articles have been published. For example, the voluminous and invaluable piece of work by (Berhe et al, 2017) is replete with visual images, incriminating evidence from Ethiopia’s military and security sectors and most importantly testimonials from victims who miraculously escaped Ethiopia’s wrath. In the introduction, the book provides a succinct historical context to help the reader gain a profound insight into the intentions of Ethiopian rulers. The book also includes hitherto secretive Ethiopian documents, such as classified correspondence between high level civilian and military officials regarding its policy of extermination and copious reports on casualties for each incident of atrocity it committed.

The book consists of forty-three cases narrated by twenty nine authors. Each story begins with a demographic and brief socio-economic description of the village, town or city that was targeted for annihilation and destruction. As the editors admit this is not, by far, an exhaustive document but the accurate and graphic narration of each incident indisputably proves the brutality of the Ethiopian regimes and the extent to which they were determined to go to annihilate the civilian population. The book also demonstrates that this was not a case of whimsical acts of cruelty by deranged individuals but premeditated and carefully planned state sponsored crimes against humanity.

It is noteworthy that each incident narrated in the book was thoroughly investigated and carefully analyzed. The following is a list of the Eritrean villages, town and cities targeted by the Ethiopian regimes with the year in which the incident took place in parentheses:

Atrocities committed under Haile Sellassie’s reign:
Rora Bet Gebru (1966); Adi Ibrahim(1967); Emberemi (1967); Mogolo(1967); Hazemo(1967); Ailet and Gmhot (1967); Melebso (1967); Adi Shuma (1968); Geleb (1970); Besikdira (1970); O’na (1970); Habrengeqa (1970); Kubub- Abena (1971); Dighe Adie Atba (1971); Um Hager (1974).

Atrocities committed by the Ethiopian Military Junta:

Asmara (1974-1975); Gegeret ((1975); Weki-Duba (1975); Agordat (1975); Mai Idaga (1975); Hirghigo (1975); Dekemhare (1975); Adi Keih (1976); Alale (1976); Mendefera (1977); Debarwa (1977); Digsa (1977); Damba Siharti (1981); Imbahara(1983); Asmat (1983); Molki (1984); Adi Qeretz (1985); Arierb( 1985-6); Hamertoq (1987); Shie’b (1988); Hedglene (1988);( Massawa (1990).

Under the guidance of PFDJ, formerly EPLF, the Eritrean people never contemplated to exact revenge on the military that dehumanized them for decades. On the contrary, according to (Ogbamichael, 2016), following the total military defeat and eventual collapse of the Ethiopian Military Junta in May 1991, the Eritrean civilian population, still reeling from the long and brutal Ethiopian rule, was able to forgive and summon the emotional strength to offer food and water from its depleted resources to the well-armed occupation army as it chaotically trekked, in droves, towards the Sudan in the west and Ethiopia in the south.

Such acts on the part of Eritrean civilians, which are consistent with EPLF’s history of magnanimity, demonstrate their nobility and benevolence. Furthermore, the decision by the Eritrean National Assembly on June 26th, 1998 to protect the rights of Ethiopian civilians in the midst of the “border war” demonstrates the government’s principled stand on the issue of human rights. This should be juxtaposed with the Ethiopian government’s decision to expel and expropriate the property of over 70,000 Eritreans and Ethiopians of Eritrean descent because “ it did not like the color of their eyes”. In fact, anecdotal and circumstantial evidence suggests that the government was bent on exterminating the Eritrean civilian population and even commit instant shooting of Eritrean POWs (Gebreyesus, 2018) during the “ border war”. Thus, to watch innocent Eritrean civilians see off the brutal colonial troops with a tremendous outpouring of forgiveness must have been surreal just as it was a clear testament to their nobility.

Lastly, one can justifiably argue that the United Nations (UN); the African Union (AU), formerly the (Organization of African Unity) (OAU and the Western Nations were complicit in the commitment of these heinous crimes. They chose to turn a blind eye and remain silent despite the fact that they had the regional and international legal instruments to invoke in order to bring pressure to bear on successive Ethiopian Governments. But their appalling inaction emboldened the oppressive system in Ethiopia regime to carry on with its reprehensible policy.

What makes this matter utterly ludicrous is the audacious duplicity of these regional and international organizations to level politically motivated accusations of “human rights violations “ against the GSE in order to advance the geopolitical and economic interests of Western nations and their puppet regimes. Needless to say, the GSE, as the current diplomatic and political developments illustrate, continues to be the bastion of a fiercely independent policy and a staunch promoter of genuine social and economic progress in the region.

Conclusion
The main objective of this brief article is not, to borrow a phrase from (Zinn, 1995), to grieve for the victims. Rather, for Eritreans in particular and the international community in general to come to grips with the fact that the Eritrean victims did not suffer and perish in vain. Their sacrifices were made for a noble cause, the outcome of which all Eritreans will relish for generations to come. As survivors of this painful aspect of our history, we shoulder the responsibility of taking stock of their horrible experiences and integrate the new historical awareness into our individual and collective national identity. Just as important is also the task of educating our youth about this important facet of our history.

References
Almedom, M. A.: Re-reading the Short and Long-Rigged History of Eritrea 1941-1952: Back to the Future? Nordic Journal of African Studies 15 (2): 103-142 ( 2006)
Berhe, S.; Tesfaburuk, H; Yemane, T. (Eds)(2017): Gfi Gezati Ethiopia ab Ertra. HDRI Publishers
Bruner, C.S. (2017). Late Nineteenth- Century Italy in Africa: The Livraghi Affair and the Waning of Civilizing Aspiration. Cambridge Scholars Publishin
Gebreyesus, Z. ( 2018). Meghuar Igri MeKel. HDRI Publishers
Clarke, J. H. (1992). Christopher Columbus and the African Holocaust: Slavery and the rise of European capitalism. A and B Distributors and Publishers Group.
Erlich, H. (2006). Ras Alula and the Scramble for Africa. A Political History: Ethiopia and Eritrea 1875-1897. The Red Sea Press, Inc.
McAdams, D. P. (2015). The Art and Science of Personality Development. The Guilford Press
Ogbamichael, S. (2016). Siret: Sgdan tzelatn Eritrawi SHwanetn, Nalet Publishers.

Rene Lemarchand, Editor (2011). Forgotten Genocides: Oblivion, Denial and Memory. University of Pennsylvania Press
Scobie, E. (1992) African Global Presence. A & B Books
Zinn. H. (1995). A People’s History of the United States 1492-Present. Harper Collins Publishers, Inc.Rora Bet Gebru (1966); Adi Ibrahim(1967); Emberemi (1967); Mogolo(1967); Hazemo(1967); Ailet and Gmhot (1967); Melebso (1967); Adi Shuma (1968); Geleb (1970); Besikdira (1970); O’na (1970); Habrengeqa (1970); Kubub- Abena (1971); Dighe Adie Atba (1971); Um Hager (1974).

 

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Delina Eritrean Urban Kitchen

      By Amanuel Biedemariam

For twenty years, Eritreans in the diaspora have been forced to focus on the situation in Eritrea. Every day that went-by was a struggle as the situation in Eritrea was tough to say the least. Eritreans were inundated with news that made them feel uneasy.

As a result, Eritrean community was focusing on helping their country anyway they can. In the process, overlooked were the lives, the stories, achievements and businesses of Eritreans all over.

Eritreans are industrious, technical and brilliant entrepreneurs that have been able to adopt and strive everywhere they went. That story is yet to be told.

One such story is Abraham Melles’s who came to the US in 1998 from Eritrea and quickly established as one of the promising entrepreneurs that achieved many successes in relatively short period of time. 

Most of the people that know his early business ventures know Enjera Restaurant in Metropolitan Washington DC, in Crystal City, Arlington, Virginia. 

Abraham opened Enjera restaurant as Eritrean cuisine against the advice of many who wanted him to promote it as Ethiopian but insisted to promote Enjera restaurant as Eritrean cuisine and did very well until he sold it for profit and moved on to other ventures.

Abraham has a good eye for business. A year after he came to the US and settled in Virginia he founded Crystal Parking, a Virginia-based parking services company. Crystal Parking has been operating for 18 years as parking management for businesses, special events, valet parking, transportation and temporary staffing company successfully. Abraham Melles has employed thousands, many of whom are Eritreans. These are Eritreans with little or no experience being acclimated to life in the US.

His latest ventures caught my attention because, this time Abraham is hoping to create opportunities in Eritrea and in the US simultaneously.

Abraham recently opened Star Hotel, a 28-room boutique hotel in Asmara, Eritrea and, in August of 2018, Abraham opened Delina Eritrean Urban Kitchen, 50-seat tapas-style restaurant that serves Eritrean cuisine in Bethesda, Maryland, 20 minutes outside DC, that he named after his 10-year-old daughter.

Abraham is always thinking about growing his business ventures while embracing his community, providing employment and business opportunity for all. In fact, in the very near future, Delina Kitchen will open a restaurant in Arlington, Virginia. 

Delina Kitchen is very appealing because it is modern, hip and designed to expand beyond the Metro DC area and all over the country if not the world. Abraham Melles is one such person that could accomplish that.

The food is healthy and fresh prepared every day. It is a well executed concept that has been received very well by Bethesda community.  

Delina Restaurant is serving an area that is home to Marriott Headquarters, National Institute of Health (NIH) and other major multi-national organizations. Delina creatively engages the community by providing healthy fun positive environment. They also have Jazz music on Thursdays.

Abraham Melles is an inspiration, he is part of the Eritrean Diaspora story that we must all tell from now on.

Ethiopia: Tigray the Looming Genocide

By Amanuel Biedemariam,                                                                             Repost from October, 2011.            

On a recent interview with ESAT, the Founder and President of Genocide Watch, Dr. Gregory Stanton stressed that Ethiopia is high on the list of countries of Genocide Watch. The reasons Dr. Stanton outlined are alarming; however true, yet, an opportunity for Ethiopians and other peace loving people to try to stop it from taking place. This is not the first time Dr. Stanton raised alarm publicly. However, this time, Dr. Stanton detailed the reasons why; as well as how and, what could trigger genocide in Ethiopia and specifically Tigray region.

Dr. Stanton comes with sizeable resume and expertise in genocide related matters because he has been closely associated with the formulation of the legal language and UN resolutions that govern the international standards and laws. He has dedicated great deal of time to understand the triggers, the damages, consequences, ramifications and preventive mechanisms.

Dr. Stanton said the reason he started Genocide Watch is that, after The Rwanda Genocide he came to the realization that there is need for watchdog group that specifically focused on genocide. And, that is the reason why he founded the organization.

While it is difficult to trust West- based organizations that claim to do good; I found Dr. Stanton’s reasoning compelling and his observation about the issues in Ethiopia spot-on. Dr. Stanton highlighted the stages or indicators that point to the likelihood of genocidal events in a given region and in this case Ethiopia, specifically Tigray.

One of the common factors in these countries is often, minority regimes ruling ethnically based administrations. Dr. Stanton said, 

“Tigrayan minority that created its own colonies within the country rules Ethiopia.”

He further noted that the minority Tigrayan regime has created animosities and mistrust amongst the various ethnic groups in Ethiopia in order to divide and rule. In these circumstances a feeling of ”us-against-them” and resentment arises with deadly consequences. And there is always a nickname associated used to demonize the minority group as in Rwanda. 

In Ethiopia, the minority Tigrayan regime has committed countless crimes against humanity in the Ogaden, the Gambella and other places. There has been a major forced uprooting of large populations to accommodate multinational organizations not to mention the ethnic cleansing of over eighty thousand Eritreans from Ethiopia from 1998-2000.

That is why Dr. Stanton was compelled to warn the world; ultimately, the people of Tigray will end up paying the price for the crimes the genocides Meles regime. 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.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpoOJZ2nU1Q

Here we go…, if an Ethiopian or Eritrean makes these remarks a Tigrayan is likely to brush it off as exaggeration. But what Dr. Stanton’s attempt to expose the minority Tigrayan genocidal regime does is, give weight to the subject and raise the ante. It gives it credibility. In a recent interview with ESAT, American Professor Theodore Vestal echoed similar concerns.

What is taking place in Ethiopia is real and not difficult to see the direction. All good things come to an end and the good time the genocidal TPLF clique enjoyed at the expense of Ethiopia and the regime is coming to end sooner than later. The regime, thinking that it will be the ultimate ruler in the region played a zero sum game with every country and ethnic group in the region. It committed genocides in the Ogaden and Gambella. It is dismembering the region by giving major land-away free; in Somalia, it has created a holocaust etc…

SIGNS OF A DYING REGIME

All of what the minority genocidal regime has done is ending. In 2006, Meles Zenawi waived the Holy Bible to invade an Islamic nation and failed leaving bloody trails. Now the Kenyans have taken that dubious honor to the dismay of the Transitional Government of Somalia. This clearly is a sign that the mercenary clique has failed to do the job and replaced by Kenya.

After the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia started, the minority regime established alliances with Omar Al Bashir of Sudan and Abdallah Sallah of Yemen to isolate and entrap Eritrea. Ten years removed, The Sallah regime is on life support and Sudan has distanced itself from Meles and strengthened her alliance with Eritrea. This is significant because there were major events that changed the dynamics of the frail Sudanese Ethiopian alliance for good.

Firstly, Sudan split into two. Secondly, the WikiLeaks revelation that Meles wanted Bashir gone is a certain dagger into the relationship and importantly, the TPLF clique is prone to pursue US interests at the expense of Ethiopia. While the minority regime has tried to show a positive face with Sudan, in a departure from the regular positive spins, the mouthpiece of TPLF Aigaforum website posted a critical article about Sudan while President Isaias Afwerki was in Sudan on a state visit.

All one has to do is understand what Sudan means to Tigray. The city of Kassala in Sudan is 182 km from the city of Humera Tigray [aka Beghemder]. Sudan is a lifeline to Tigray because Tigray is a landlocked province. Most of the goods that come into Tigray including oil come from Sudan. If Sudan closes borders with Tigray, there will be a drastic change in the economic realities of Tigray. For long, the genocidal Meles was able to play the ICC card against President Beshir but now the political dynamics have changed after the independence of South Sudan.

Furthermore, Eritrea is deeply entrenched in Sudan. In fact, during the opening ceremonies of a new highway between Eritrea and Sudan President Beshir said,

“I want no border between Eritrea and Sudan.”

This is significant because it means the interest of Sudan and Eritrea are in sink economically, politically, culturally and security wise. This clearly highlights the influence Meles lacks with his immediate neighbors. The only lifeline the genocidal regime has is Djibouti. In other words, he is alienated and, what he conspired against Eritrea turned on him.

The realities inside Ethiopia are not different. Meles Zenawi and his clique have no support of the Ethiopian people. The majority of Ethiopians in the 2005 election rejected them. And the crimes Meles committed in various Ethiopian regions is public record.

THE ALARM OF GENOCIDE

That being the case, what could push Ethiopia over the edge and create a scenario that could dismember the nation and create chaos? What could trigger a situation that makes a specific group of Ethiopians, in this case Tigray a target for mass killing? Why Tigray? Is there a truth behind Dr. Stanton’s alarm about genocide?

To say Ethiopia loathes the TPLF and Meles Zenawi is understatement. Hence, is there truth to the fact that Tigrayans will ultimately pay for the crimes Meles is committing in their name?

While there are many Tigrayans that say Meles does not represent Tigray; the reality is the main supporters of Meles are from Tigray. On the other hand, one of the main threats to his regime is Tigray based Tigray People Democratic Movement (TPDM),  movement that is creating problems from within and gaining momentum with tens of thousands in the force already.

This shows that the people Tigray, at least a sizeable portion are, opposed to Meles Zenawi’s rule. However, a perception exists that Tigrayans are the ones perpetrating the oppression that is taking place in Ethiopia.

In 1998, Meles and his clique forced over 80,000 Eritreans out of their homes. What is interesting was that the majority of Ethiopians were opposed to this. They hated seeing their neighbors, their friends, friends of their sons and daughters, people they grew up and grew old with; old, young and people that knew little or nothing about Eritrea forced out of their homes and ethnic cleansed.

This is a precedent Meles Zenawi set, unheard-of before and breaking the fabric of a long-standing relationship between both peoples. Therefore, is it likely, when the opportunity arises for Ethiopians to say, “What is good for the goose is good for the gander” and repeat history and kick Tigrayans out of Ethiopia. 

In 2003, a report that detailed the atrocities the minority clique committed in Gambella became public and it compelled Dr. Stanton to state,

“That the crimes fit the definitions of genocide and crimes against humanity.”

Human Rights Watch also conducted two investigations of their own and determined that the crimes against the Anuaks meet the stringent definition of crimes against humanity. This does not include the forced eviction of thousands of Anuak Ethiopians from their homes, villages and farmlands to accommodate Indian and other multinational corporations. Hence, if Anuaks have the opportunity, will they lash out?

The most Brutal atrocities by Meles and his clique are taking place in the Ogaden. Major humanitarian organizations have provided detailed account of the atrocities the genocidal clique is committing in the Ogaden. Horrid pictures of tortured and raped women; torched village after village; reports of systemic alienation and denial of humanitarian aid to millions of Ogadeni’s over a sustained period with irrefutable-evidences are abundant. Thousands have perished while millions remain disconnected from the outside world, deliberately. The international community has been-denied access to the area. In fact, two Swedish reporters are in jail captured by the minority clique while trying to report about the plight of the people of Ogaden. The list could go on…, but the question is there a repercussion? And who will pay?

What the minority clique is doing to the people Somalia is a historic crime that will reverberate for generations. It is the highest crime of humanity like the holocaust and the crimes of the Ottoman Empire on the Armenian people. What makes it more ironic is that the people of Somalia were not posing any threat to Tigray or TPLF; they were not in a position, did not have the capacity or, the ability to harm Ethipia.

The TPLF minority clique invaded a sovereign nation at the behest of Westerners and committed genocides needlessly. Unfortunately, the regime is still at-it  exploiting the people of Somalia for political, monetary and military advantages from the West. TPLF is using the plight of the poor women and children as apolitical theater while squandering precious moments for the people Somalia. Will they have their day?

The people of Oromia didn’t fare better either. The first target of the minority clique was Oromia. The people of Oromo have suffered the most in the hands of TPLF. Any resistance against the clique meets brute force. Thousands of students have perished, beaten and jailed in high schools and colleges for showing a sign of opposition. Siye Abraha, member of the TPLF said that the jails are full of Oromo people. A fight with Tigrayan students in colleges is a reason for serious punishments. This is because Oromia poses the greatest threat since the Oromo represent the highest percentage of Ethiopia’s population and if they rise, it will end the regime’s reign.

Whilst the minority clique is-forced to apply an appeasement strategy, the people of Oromo are asserting their position evermore with vigor. And it is certain that they will clash in due time. The list of atrocities is long everywhere in Ethiopia.

These are the realities in Ethiopia today. The situation in Ethiopia is grave and requires urgent intervention. Numerous causalities can lead to calamitous and bloody events in Ethiopia at any time. There are different scenarios under which these events could become reality. However, the clique has ignored all the possibilities with a belief, as long as the international community is with us, the people of Ethiopia and the region does not matter. Hence, catered to the needs of foreign powers and businesses solely at the expense of people in the region.

For example: The regime is in violation of international laws for sitting on Eritrean territories which could trigger a conflict at any time when Eritrea sees it necessary. Furthermore, the Tigrayan minority regime has based its very existence on the destruction of Eritrea. Emboldened by the support it gets from the West, it is feeling invincible which could lead to conflict. Conflicts are opportunities for insurgencies that like to assert their positions forcefully and target their perceived threat,  in this case the people of Tigray.

Sudan could close its border with Tigray and deny needed goods creating economic chaos for Tigray. This in turn will force Tigryans to migrate into areas where they may not be welcomed.

Frustration and helplessness of the youth will be rampant and a conflict from within will be deadly. Insurgencies will erupt and create a civil war inside Tigray. This grim assessment is happening as we speak and will gain momentum in a much faster pace if the regime falls. The TPLF has broken all the bridges with Ethiopians. It denied Tigrayans their traditional gateway and business partner in Eritrea isolating the people.

CONCLUSION

Dr. Gregory Stanton made it clear that Meles Zenawi will face justice for the crimes he is committing all over Ethiopia. There is always a price to be paid and someone is going to pay for all the crimes committed over the last two decades. The question, will that affect the people of Tigray and how? What can the average person do to avert disasters and unnecessary hardships of poor innocent people?

Meles Zenawi is a friend to no one. He is leading a minority clique that does not answer to the Ethiopian people. As he gets desperate, he is doing all he can to stay in power and if he cannot, he has already seeded all the destructive seeds to light the fire and destroy everything so he cannot be brought to justice. This alarm is a call to all.

Note

Since the release of this article in October 2011, a lot of these predictions have materialized. Tigrayans that resided in various parts of Ethiopia have been evicted and forced back to Tigray. The TPLF has been defeated and retreated to Tigray and still exploiting Tigrayans using Tigray as hiding place. The people of Tigray are held hostage denied voice by the TPLF that wields all its force and money. The money they stole from the people of Ethiopia. Ethiopia remains under tremendous pressure, still as a result of the intransigence of the TPLF who is denying the people of Tigray the change. Ultimately things will come to a collusion point unless the people of Tigray collectively say enough and give up TPLF. Otherwise the threat remains real.

Sudan’s relations with TPLF has changed based on interests after the TPLF handed huge chunk of Ethiopian territories  to Sudan. Omar Al Bashir has changed numerous times based on his opportunism. One thing for sure, Sudan is no longer in a position to be a factor in saving TPLF.