ERITREA: Are the TPLF Rulers of Ethiopia Enemies or Friends of Eritrea and its Peoples?

A Note to Readers

This is a paper I presented for discussion in 2010 at the paltalk room ‘Eritreans for Democracy and Justice’ or “Geza- Enda-Joker”. As I expected, my presentation provoked an intense discussion, as well as an all out hostility by some regionalist, secessionist and defeatist Eritreans working for the TPLF government of Ethiopia. I thus want readers to understand clearly and right at the outset that the question I am posing in this paper is not whether or not the TPLF rulers of Ethiopia are the enemies of the Eritrean government. That is not. Because that the TPLF government is a sworn enemy of the Eritrean government is given and so obvious that it does not even require elucidation. What is not very clear to some Eritreans is whether or not the TPLF rulers of Ethiopia are the enemies of Eritrea and its people. Hence, the question: Are the TPLF Rulers of Ethiopia Enemies or Friends of Eritrea and its people? My express purpose is to show that the TPLF rulers of Ethiopia are indeed the most vicious enemies of Eritrea and its people.

Having said that I also want to mention in passing that whatever I say or write on issues of Eritrean affairs, I do not speak or write on behalf or in support or to defend the politics of the government of Eritrea. I do so only to defend or promote the interest and territorial integrity of Eritrea, and the unity, national honour, dignity and democratic rights of its people. Whether my controversial writing pleases some or angers others is thus beyond the point. For in as much as my writing deeply reflects the way I see the social conditions of the world in general and that of my country at present in particular, I will not waste my time worrying as to who feels offended or gratified by my writings. I do not recognize any master except my own conscience. Thus whatever I say or do or write is dictated, accepted or rejected by my own conscience and not by any external considerations.

1. Introduction

For some years now, the leaders of the Eritrean opposition groups based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – in order to justify their unprincipled and unholy alliance with the TPLF led government of Ethiopia – have been propagating and disseminating an utterly false teaching that present TPLF-led government of Ethiopia is a reliable friend of Eritrea and its people. In other words, the Eritrean political groups allied with the TPLF government are presenting deceptively and unashamedly the strategic enemies of Eritrea and its people as the strategic friends (1).

Moreover, the Addis Ababa based political groups also falsely contend that Eritrea would not have defeated militarily the Derg had it not been supported by Tigrian People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) (2). They also propagate fallaciously that if the TPLF-led government of Ethiopia would not have immediately recognised the political independence of Eritrea, the country would have remained in a political limbo like Northern Somalia today: i.e. Eritrea would not have been recognised by the African Union and by the rest of the world (3).

Much to the dismay of Eritrean patriots, the above stated defeatist, distorted and harmful political views and sentiment are being aired at a time when the deceptive and treacherous TPLF leaders are actively engaged in financing and preparing the political ground for the proliferation of ethnic, regional and religious groups to organise and operate freely along sub-nationalist lines in order to weaken and sabotage the unity of the Eritrean people, violate, undermine and subvert Eritrean independence and its sovereignty.

I am thus with the opinion and concern that that unless dealt with promptly, these dangerous political trends could have corrosive effects on Eritrea and its people, especially so on the young generation. It is thus high time now to challenge and expose these politically cancerous and capitulationist views which are solely advanced to confuse and send utterly wrong message to the young generation – a generation who shall be the future guardians and leaders of independent Eritrea- and falsify the recent Eritrean history written by the blood and sweat of Eritrean heroes and heroines.

2. The Purpose of this Writing

The main purpose of this chapter is to provide comprehensive explanation both at a theoretical and empirical level why I have characterised and identified the TPLF-led government of Ethiopia as an enemy of Eritrea and its people. In so doing, the article also aims to rebuff and expose mercilessly the harmful views and messages being disseminated by some reactionary and short-sighted messengers of the Woyane regime – views and messages that could have fatal consequences for the security of independent Eritrea and its people. Thus in order to successfully accomplish what I have outlined above, I shall first ask and answer the following two strategic/twin questions: when do we say the government of a certain country is our enemy? Conversely, when do we say a given government of a certain country is our friend?
In other words, I am going to provide the operational definitions of an enemy government and that of a friendly government by exploring the characteristic features of the two terms. This will be followed then by an explanation why I believe the present TPLF-led government of Ethiopia is a dead enemy of Eritrea and its people.

3. When does a neighbourly government becomes one’s Enemy?

I have already explained the purpose of this writing. I will now attempt to provide a corresponding answer to the major question I have posed above. However, before I attempt to do what I have set out to achieve, I would like to make it absolutely clear that if the government of country A is the enemy of the government of country B, it does not follow always the government of country A is also the enemy of the people living under the protection and care of the government of country B. In other words, if for one reason or another one was to identify the government of a given country at a given point in time in the category of an enemy of a given people – in order one’s categorisation to be credible – one is required to spell-out clearly the criteria one has applied to place the government of a certain country in the enemy category. I will thus attempt to do just that in the course of what follows now.

a. When does a certain government become the enemy of its neighbour?

The above question is not meant to suggest that only neighbouring countries are or could become enemies. For history testifies countries that do not share common borders have been and still do become enemies. However, I am specifically interested here only to explore how and when a neighbourly government becomes the enemy of the people as well.

In my opinion, a given government becomes the enemy of its neighbour and its people when that given government fosters harmful designs or engages in antagonistic and hostile acts against its neighbour with which it shares common borders. In other words, when the government of a certain neighbourly country engages in acts which endangers the security and unity of the people of a neighbourly country and conducts hostile propaganda day-in and day-out against it; occupies its sovereign territory illegally; mobilises international and regional public opinion with the express aim to isolate and corner its neighbour; and caries-out activities that are at logger-head with international law – then that government becomes without any doubt the dead-enemy of the government and the people of its neighbour.

b. When does a certain government become the friend of its neighbour?

Having explained briefly how and when a government of a certain country becomes the enemy of the government and people of its neighbour let me now explain and discuss when a given government is considered and seen as a friend of the people of its neighbour. A given neighbouring government is considered and seen as the friend of a given people at a given period of its history when a given government of a neighbouring country does not engage itself directly or indirectly in antagonistic and hostile activities against its neighbour and its people. In other words, a given government is considered and acknowledged as a friend of a given people when that given government cooperates with a good spirit with its neighbour in matters mutually beneficial for both and shows sympathy and solidarity with the causes and aspirations of the government and people of its neighbour. Again, put it differently, a given government is considered and acknowledged as a friend when that government respects the independent foreign and domestic policies of its neighbour; does not interfere directly or indirectly in its internal affairs, honours and abides by the agreements that governments signs with the government of its neighbour.

4. Why is the TPLF-led government of Ethiopia characterised as the strategic Enemy?

In this writing, the TPLF-led government of Ethiopia is singularly characterised and identified as a mortal strategic enemy of Eritrea and its people precisely because since May 1998 the TPLF-led government of Ethiopia have been fostering foolhardily harmful designs and was engaged and still does in antagonistic and hostile acts against Eritrea and its people. In other words, the TPLF-led government of Ethiopia has been engaged under various pretexts in acts which endangers the security and unity of Eritrea and its people, as well as conducting hostile propaganda campaign day-in and day-out against Eritrea; has occupied Eritrea’s sovereign territory illegally; has been mobilising -and still does -international and regional public opinion with the express aim to isolate and corner Eritrea (4). All these deeds and acts of the TPLF-led government of Ethiopia against Eritrea are in line and in complete conformity with the operational definition of an enemy government that I have provided in this writing. It is then for this obvious reason that the TPLF-led government of Ethiopia is being identified without any reasonable doubt as the dead-enemy of the Eritrea and its people.

And as long as the TPLF-led government of Ethiopia does not cease to engage itself directly or indirectly in antagonistic and hostile activities against Eritrea, continues to refuse honouring the legally binding agreements it has signed with the government of Eritrea, as well as refuses to start cooperating in a good spirit in matters of mutual interest, and continues to become an obstacle to the Eritrea’s progress and security, it will remain to be the number one enemy of Eritrea and its people. As matters stand today, the TPLF-led government of Ethiopia, is a serious menace to the security of independent Eritrea, the unity of its people, and an obstacle to its economic progress and emancipation. This is also the reason why the majority of the Eritrean people perceive the TPLF-led government of Ethiopia, -and rightly so- as the strategic enemy of Eritrea and its people. As is the case, in the last decade, the Eritrean people have been closely and keenly observing the dirty politics of the TPLF-led government of Ethiopia, they thus cannot be fooled by Orwellian language of deception used by the TPLF rulers of Ethiopia. Indeed, the Eritrean people knows only too well that since May 1998, the TPLF-led government of Ethiopia has been following a criminal, protracted and conscious of no-peace and no-war strategy against Eritrea with the express aim to strangulate the country economically and create a Somalia type of scenario in which Eritrea will be ungovernable and without a central government. And once the Eritrean people are at war all against all, the TPLF army and its Eritrean collaborators to step-in and subjugate Eritrea and its people. Again, the political objective is to bring once again the country, its people and its highly valued and strategic sea-ports under the direct control of the TPLF-led government of Ethiopia.

Paradoxically, in spite of the colossal crimes the TPLF government of Ethiopia has committed and continues to commit against Eritrea and its people, yet on every occasion, the TPLF-led government of Ethiopia shamelessly claims and pretends to be the reliable friend of Eritrea and its people. Strangely enough, there are some Eritrean intellectuals in the Diaspora and the political groups based in Ethiopia that entertains and echoes the lies of the TPLF rulers of Ethiopia, defends and dismisses its atrocious deeds against the Eritrean people as simple things which are inevitable to happen at times of war(5). However, as far as I am concerned, the systematic destruction of crops, hospitals and health centres, vandalising the cemetery of Eritrean martyrs, the raping brutally of Eritrean mothers, and the destruction of historic monuments, are not things which happened because they were unavoidable at war time. In the concrete Eritrean case, the colossal crimes committed against the Eritrean people were planned and executed by the direct order of the Ethiopian government authorities in order to incur maximum pain and humiliation on the Eritrean people (6).

5. Some Self-Revealing Questions

I am going to be asking some self-revealing central questions here in order by so doing to show how politically corrupt and deceptive the TPLF collaborationist Eritreans has become when it comes telling the Eritrean people the true political nature and stand of the TPLF regime towards Eritrea and its people. I am posing some central and self-revealing questions in order to expose the phoney nationalism or rather the sub-nationalism entertained openly or in disguise by the collaborationist Eritrean groups operating from their bases in Ethiopia. Needless to remind readers, sub-nationalism is diametrically and violently opposed to Eritreanism (Eritrean nationalism).
The self-revealing questions which I have in mind are the following: (1) How could groups that identify as Eritrean nationalists dare to call a government which has committed such colossal atrocities against Eritrea and its people a friend of Eritrea and its people? (2) How could that be possible a government which is still occupying Eritrean sovereign territory illegally and in crude violation of the verdict of the Ethiopia-Eritrea Border Commission (EEBC) could be identified as an ally of Eritrea and its people? (3) And how could a regime that is invading periodically Eritrean sovereign territory with impunity could be identified as an ally of Eritrea and its people? Are these deeds not a clear manifestation that the TPLF government of Ethiopia has an utter contempt for Eritrea, its people and international law? In other words, how could the Eritrean groups based in Ethiopia afford to describe the aggressive TPLF-led government of Ethiopia – a regime with unreserved hostility to Eritrea and its people – as Eritrea’s strategic ally?

(4) How could a regime which has cruelly deported and humiliated more than 80.000 thousand Eritreans and Ethiopians of Eritrean origin (7) be described and accepted as a strategic ally of Eritrea and its people? (5) What kind of Eritreans are those who describe the TPLF regime which has brutally raped Eritrean mothers and young girls; destroyed hospitals and health centres; dismantled and transported equipments to Tigray; vandalised and dug the cemetery of Eritrean martyrs; and destroyed historic monuments, crops, homes and churches (8), as a friend of Eritrea and its people? (6) How could the TPLF-led government which has displaced in its May 2000 flagrant invasion of Eritrea 1.2million people from their beloved homes and rendered homeless; destroyed agricultural areas in western and central Eritrea– the area considered to be the breadbasket of the country from where 60% of the agricultural produce comes and rendered useless, be treated and accepted as a friend and ally of Eritrea and its people?(9) How could a regime spawning and fostering ethnic and religious divisions and antagonism among the brotherly people of Eritrea be described as a friend of Eritrea and its people?.

(7) What kind of Eritreans are those who describe the TPLF-led government of Ethiopia as the friend of Eritrea and its people when its rag-tag armies have stolen and transported to Tigray as war booty thousands of Eritrean cattle, donkeys, camels, mules, sheep, and goats belonging to the Eritrean people? (10) (8) How could a regime that invaded Eritrea using massive force during the ploughing and planting season with the intention to create humanitarian and food security crisis in Eritrea be treated and accepted as the friend of Eritrea and its people? Last but by no means the least, how could the TPLF regime which has stolen the property of Eritreans that have an estimated value of some $800.000.000 could be described as the friend of Eritrea and its people? (11)

As far as I am concerned, the straightforward answer to the all the above posed questions is this: the Eritrean groups based in Ethiopia which defends the interest of the TPLF-led government of Ethiopia and describe it as a strategic ally of Eritrea and its people are on the payroll and total control of the TPLF government of Ethiopia. As such, these groups are totally dependent for their political survival and day-to-day activities on the TPLF government of Ethiopia and are thus subservient to its strategic interest. Consequently, they are incapable in defending or advancing the national interest of Eritrea and its people or to play a meaningful role in the democratic struggle for a new Eritrea by Eritreans and For Eritreans. This is the main reason why the Eritrean people also do not trust and much less lend their support to these groups based in Ethiopia and views them instead as the active collaborators with the historical enemies of Eritrea and its people.

6. Some Concluding Remarks

This writing has raised and discussed in detail whether or not at this juncture the TPLF-led government of Ethiopia is an enemy or friend of Eritrea and its people. By advancing convincing and rational arguments as well as by forwarding hard and unimpeachable evidences, I have characterised and identified the TPLF-led government of Ethiopia as a dead strategic enemy of Eritrea and its people.
Consequently, in concluding this writing, I would like to point out that Eritreans must be acutely aware that the TPLF rulers of Ethiopia who pose and portray themselves misleadingly on every occasion as the friends of Eritrea and its people while keeping the country and its people as hostages through their cruel strategy of no-war and no-peace, are in reality the most dangerous enemies of Eritrea and its people. As such, if circumstances allow them, the TPLF rulers of Ethiopia are determined to destroy the achievements of the Eritrean people scored in the last fifty years through their blood and sweet.
In other words, Eritreans must understand clearly that the TPLF-led government of Ethiopia has no interest to end its hostility with Eritrea. Indeed, as Haile Kiros, the then government spokesperson, succinctly put it: “the TPLF was the most hated and isolated government in Ethiopia before the start of the 1998-2000 Eritrea-Ethiopia war. However, once we started the war with Shaebea in June 1998; it helped us immensely to achieve national unity and acceptance inside Ethiopia” (12).
So according to the TPLF-led government of Ethiopia, the continuous existence of the PFDJ led government of Eritrea is seen as a blessing-in-disguise for the TPLF-government. What this means is that Eritreans must expect a long political winter and continue indefatigably to sleep with one-eye open to defend the honour and integrity of Eritrea and its people until the tyrannical TPLF-led government of Ethiopia is defeated in both Eritrea and Ethiopia through the joint struggle of the oppressed people of both countries.

In the meantime, patriotic Eritreans must make it absolutely clear on every occasion to the TPLF rulers of Ethiopia that Eritrean independence is real and irreversible. As is the case, colossal price has been paid to secure and make Eritrean independence a reality. Consequently, if attacked Eritreans are going to defend independent Eritrea no matter what the cost.

The Woyane fascist thugs ruling Ethiopia, their cadres and the tiny unpatriotic Eritreans who collaborate with them, should know right on time that the Eritrean people are politically highly matured and have enough intelligence and patriotic zeal/dedication and the ability to clearly identify and discern their strategic friends and sympathisers from their dead enemies and their local collaborators. Indeed, the Eritrean people know only too well today, despite claims to the contrary by Eritrean woyane collaborators, that the ethno-fascist thugs ruling Ethiopia today are the most vicious and envious mortal enemies of independent Eritrea and its freedom loving people. The Eritrean people and the advanced and enlightened members of Eritrean society knows also well that the politically oppressed Ethiopian people living under the thuggish Woyane rulers and the intellectuals fiercely opposed to the TPLF rule in Ethiopia, are the friends of Eritrea and its people in the struggle to defeat the TPLF rulers of Ethiopia.

References and Notes

1. To understand my points, listen to the ridiculous claim made by so-called educated Eritrean (Muhurat Eritrawyan) in a VOA interview upon their return from an Ethiopian government sponsored and organised meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The two Eritreans who characterised the Ethiopian government as a strategic friend of Eritrea and who spoke uncritically in support of everything what the TPLF-led government does against Eritrea were Dr. Abiyo and Dr. Mohamed. The ridiculous views they expressed in that interview has indeed angered Eritrean patriots at home and in the Diaspora. For such views were expressed at a time when the TPLF-led government of Ethiopia have become a serious menace to the territorial integrity, security and the unity of Eritrea and its people. See the interview conducted by VOA journalist, Minia Afework, in September 2011.
2. Again this claim is false and pure propaganda ploy disseminated by TPLF cadres and their Eritrean agents.
3. This claim is also false and misleading because Eritrea has had fulfilled all the internationally required criteria to be fully recognised as a sovereign nation and a member of the United Nations and other continental and regional organisations. Thus, irrespective of the TPLF government’s position then, Eritrea would have been recognised any way as a free and sovereign nation. It is thus ridiculous and unjust to compare the Eritrean case with that of Northern Somalia. It is unjust comparison because the Eritrean issue is a colonial question while that of Northern Somalia is a question of secession.
4. The continuing hostile and malicious posture of the TPLF-led government of Ethiopia against Eritrea is stated in a recent document released by the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In this document, the TPLF rulers of Ethiopia, as usual, have made a litany of false accusations against Eritrea. The top political priorities of the TPLF regime, at present are to conduct diplomatic campaign in order to give the wrong impression that small Eritrea is a menace to international and regional peace in the Horn of Africa region. They are engaged in such futile efforts with the hope to further isolate Eritrea and convince the International community to continue the sanctions regime imposed on Eritrea by the UN Security Council in 2009 and 2011. See the document “entitled, “Eritrea’s Efforts to Lift Sanctions: a mockery without changes in policy or Behaviour”.
5. This is precisely the reason why the TPLF government bootlicker Eritrean political groups are denied any support or sympathy by the Eritrean people.
1. See “Mass Expulsion of Eritreans and Ethiopians of Eritrean origin from Ethiopia and Human Rights Violations”, by Prof. Dr.Gaim Kibreab in Eritrean Studies Review, vol.3, number 2, 1999.
7. Meles Zenawi, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, has expressed ridiculous and quasi-fascistic views to justify the inhuman and illegal mass-deportation of Eritreans and Ethiopians of Eritrean origin from Ethiopia. Here it is as broadcasted on radio Ethiopia in July 1998:
8.See also the report prepared and submitted by Asmerom Lgesse on behalf of Citizens for Peace in Eritrea “Uprooted, Part Two: A Scientific Survey of Ethnic Eritrean Deportees from Ethiopia conducted with regard to Human Rights Violations”, February 22, 1999.
9. Ibid, See also Peter Biles, “Eritrean disaster looms as a million flee from rapidly advancing Ethiopian forces”, The Independent, 20 May 2000.
10. See “Relationship at a Distance”.
4. Ibid
11. Concerning the ill-treatment, torture, rape, or other the degrading treatment and the mass deportation and displacement and other human rights violations committed by the TPLF led government of Ethiopia against Eritreans, See Human Rights Developments, World report 2001 Human Rights Watch. See also” Relationship at a Distance”, by Ogbazgy Abbay Asmerom, June 19, 2000. See also the report on the “Eritrean-Ethiopian War” in Wikipedia, the free Encyclopaedia.
12. This was confided to me by Haile Kiros, the then government spokesperson, when I visited Ethiopia on a peace mission in October 1998.

Drs. Tsegezab Gebregergis, London, June 2015.