The Vicious Circle of Ethiopian and Eritrea

By Tibebe Solomon 5-1-15


When the scramble for Africa began during the last three decades of the 19th century, the European powers came with economic advantage and military power to rule Africans by means of force.  The strength of their armed muscle had obscured the idea of sharing.   The powers agreed to invade Africa with the intension of direct economic and political dominance. 

Our nation along with many African countries were in no match to resist this movement.

The Abyssinians had not had the slightest idea of what the European plans were.  They were just back from the war front against Egypt and Sudan.  They were in darkness in terms of science and technology.  Life was still primitive.  Moreover, they had weakened themselves by fighting with one another for dominance among each other. 

As a result, Ethiopian became in danger of invasion from Britain, French and Italy.  One event started to lead to another.  The Wuchale treaty, the first Italo-Ethiopian war, the victory of Adwa, the 2nd Italo-Ethiopian war and eventually rested at the conflict on independence and unity of Eritrea.

The 2nd Italo-Ethiopian war that most probably was considered as the 2nd part of a play match by most Italian citizens of the time, especially became one of the reasons to be mention that had caused the 2nd world war.  It had also aggravated the tensions of unity vs independence of Eritrea and Ethiopia among the Ethiopian government, Eritrean people and the world powers of the time.

I want to direct you to the wheel of unity and independence in Ethiopia for now.  You know the wheel which makes the rat tired?  I mean the circular wheel that rotates in a vicious circle when the rat races. 

Eritreans and Hailesilassie’s government as well as British have tried their best on both sides of the arguments to come up with a feasible solution.   However, all sides have politicalized the issue and taken the matter into their own hands.  Britain tried to divide Eritrean to neighboring countries, Sudan and Ethiopia.  The Ethiopian government wanted to unite by any means.  Eritreans wanted confederation to gain freedom of official language preference, freedom of religion and control of regional economy and equality among all citizens.

All issues were however much politicalized beyond the understanding level of the majority of Eritreans and Ethiopians.  Just to mention:- those who supported the confederation scared the Muslim society in Eritrea claiming that Ethiopia will not respect or recognize Islamic religion.  All sides started killing, jailing and kidnapping their counterparts.  Those who wanted to make Tigrigna their language advocated that the Amhara is going to force the people of Eritrea to speak Amharic.  Those who wanted to control the regional economy reduced Ethiopia as another colonizer.  Nothing could be settled.  Confusion, betrayal, more oppression and animosity prevailed among citizens.   

Mengistu Hailemariam has also worked out a solution.  A solution where Ethiopia and Eritrea will be one country.    That was also politicalized by repeatedly labeling the freedom fighters, EPLF and TPLF, as “Shiftas”, “Woyanes”, “separatists” and “narrow minded”.  “ye key Kokeb Tiri” showed more cruelty and the question of “ the land?”  or “ the people?” further marginalized the two countries.  Nothing could be settled out of  the “Zemecha” as well.  Confusion, betrayal, more oppression and animosity prevailed among citizens.    

After the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea were freed from the Derg regime, a new solution came out to the stage.  A solution where the people of Eritrea will democratically decide as the two rivals Meles Zenawi and Esayas Afeworki agreed at the time when both were exhausted of war and conflict.  Once more time, the question of independence and unity was politicized.  The dearly expected genuine referendum was trivialized to slavery versus independence.  Thanks to the Almighty!  We did not go back to the civil war at the time.  Again, nothing could be settled.  Confusion, betrayal, more oppression and animosity prevailed among our citizens.  

Now comes the time of Ginbot 7 and Easayas Afowerki for the politicization to complete its circle.  It looks like they agreed to unite Ethiopia and Eritrea without EPDRF.  Their issue is clearly neither the unity of the two sovereign countries nor the well-being of Ethiopia.  What they are whispering to one another in Asmara will not work for Eritreans either.  In the middle of terrorizing our people, and the world at large, Ginbot 7 and the Eritrea government have chosen to politicize the fate of our unity amidst whole rages of agendas.   

My fellow Ethiopians and beloved Eritreans, with trans-generational civil war and bloodshed as a result of politicizing the independence and unity of our nations, citizens have paid by bloodshed, migration, poverty, disease, illiteracy and backwardness that made both countries the poorest in the entire world.  Never allow the terrorists to mix the fate of our sovereign countries with their hidden agendas.  Anybody can attempt to abolish the rule of EPDRF in Ethiopia.   However, we should not allow any group to steer our unity in the mix now.  We would rather consider the merge in calm, honest, peaceful and honorable manner after the defeat of terrorists and a more democratic Ethiopia and better Eritrea.  Let us not get on the running wheel.        

Cher Yigtemen!