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Appeal to Counter Separation of Tigray

Appeal to Counter Separation of Tigray

Girmay T. Giorgis   April 2020


Ethiopia finds itself in turbulence and instability for over ten decades. The main cause of the instability is the political publicists who emphasize any difference that may exist in the society. This has been happening since the downfall of the monarchy. Instead of focusing on uniting the people and resolving any problem that may arise in the society, regional parochialists and die-hard nationalists have been playing a destructive role. Some agitators continue to highlight differences and confuse innocent people, thus prolonging their sufferings.

One of the most troublesome cases is the way some Tigrayan activists are advocating for Tigray's separation from Ethiopia. They confuse the people of Tigray by promoting separation of the region from Ethiopia. These individuals are telling the people that there is nothing Tigray needs from Ethiopia and that the history hitherto known as a history of Ethiopia belongs to Tigray only. The basis for their assertion may be because the City of Axum, which is one of the main foundations of the Ethiopian history, is located in Tigray. If such a narrow view abounds, those who live in the city of Axum today may tell others that its history belongs only to those who live in the limits of the city.  The same can be said regarding other historic places like Lalibela, Ye’ha, etc.

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It is well-known and documented fact that, in the long history of Ethiopia, peoples migrated from some regions to other areas and settled in new places. For example, it is re-counted that when Axumite dynasty lost the political power to Queen Yodit many royal family members and others migrated from Axum and other parts of Tigray to Shewa and many other parts of the country. Likewise when Zague Dynasty lost power to the dynasty based in Shewa, the so called Solomonic Dynasty, many groups of people migrated from Last and adjacent regions to Tigray and Eritrea. And many other movements can be mentioned.Hence; it is myopic to assume that the people who live today in one locality of Ethiopia must be descendants of those who lived in that locality, say, two thousand years ago. So the dwellers of Axum circa two thousand years ago may had not been necessarily the ancestors of those who reside in the city of Axum today, and in Tigray itself for that matter. The same goes for other historic sites. Those who must be credited for those marvelous sites and monuments and historic sites could have been the ancestors of those who live in those places now, or they may be ancestors of any other societal group that may have been relocated to any other part of the country and beyond, or even may have gone extinct. Therefore, all the historic sites in the country, whether they are in Tigray, in Wollo, in Gonder, in Harer, in Sidama etc. all are heritages of all Ethiopians about which all citizens must be equally proud of.

Those activists must know that their assumption that the history of the Axumite Civilization belongs only to people who now live in Tigray is tantamount to saying that those who built the pyramids in Egypt were the ancestors of the Arabs who currently live in Egypt.  Let us look at the issue from another perspective.  Is it right to say that the Eiffel Tower has nothing to do with the people of France except those who live in the city of Paris today? Or is right to say that the Washington Monument belongs only to those who live in Washington DC and has nothing to do with other Americans. Again, can it be said that the Tower of London belongs only to Londoners and other British have nothing to do with it?  No. Those statements are not accurate. Similarly, it is not apposite to uphold historic localities in Tigray to be heritage that belongs only to those who now live in Tigray. 

Uttering that “Tigray does not need anything from Ethiopia” is a preposterous statement as well. Of course Tigray needs so many things from other parts of Ethiopia! And other parts need Tigray. All Ethiopians and all Ethiopian regions need each another. In the era of globalization all countries need each other as well. In short, the claims being argued by some Tigrayan activists, or “scholars” to use the term they assign to themselves, regarding separation of Tigray from Ethiopia is ridiculous whatever their motive might be. Such a promotion is against the interest of the people of Tigray and so I call on all Tigrayans to stand against such inattentive publicity.

If our scholars’ concern is that Tigrayans have been maltreated in Ethiopia, that must not happen. Whenever Tigrayans are mistreated all of us, including other Ethiopians, must stand together against such wanton actions and combat the abuse. Nevertheless, advocating for separation is not a solution. No Ethiopian should be ill-treated by another Ethiopian in the country they share. As far as I know there has never been contradiction and animosity among the people of Ethiopia. Therefore, it is very unlikely that the expelling and other abuses could have been done by the ordinary citizens. Those mistreatments probably have been instigated by the ruling class or some local self-appointed leaders. They are occurrences that must be prevented by a united undertaking of the Ethiopian people, and of course by the federal and local governments.

I am posting with this short opinion an article I wrote many years ago in which I tried to show that Ethiopia is an intrinsically evolved nation. I wrote the article to challenge some regional leaders who questioned the existence of Ethiopia as a nation. I am posing it(To Read Click Here) again because there are still some negativistic parochialists who still believe the same way. For example, advocating for separation of one part of a sovereign nation is not far from repudiation of the existence of the nation itself.

Ethiopia is a sovereign nation and Tigray is its integral part. Whenever incidents like expelling Tigrayans from other parts of the country or other mistreatment occur, we must compete against those actions by joining forces with other Ethiopians who oppose such actions.  We must strive to make the country a place where all nationalities live in peace and harmony. Opting for separation is defeatism and unfeasible. The fact that the peoples of Ethiopia speak different languages and live in various regions does not make them unrelated peoples.

The lines that separate one Kilil from another are simply administrative lines that separate one jurisdiction from another within the same sovereign country. They are not international boundaries or borders.

In fact, some of them may be related to people on the other side of the line more than those who live in the same jurisdiction with them. Let me call attention to a reality on the ground. Are not those Ethiopians who live in border areas between Tigray and Wollo the same people whether presently they live in the so named Amhara kilil or Tigray kilil? Or let us look at the subject matter going down to provincial (Zobas) or district levels. Does the administrative line between Adwa and Agame make the people who dwell on either side different peoples? The same is true in many other parts of the nation of Ethiopia.

In conclusion, the best thing the Ethiopian political activists can do for the people of Ethiopia is stop disseminating hatred and separatist propaganda and toil to harmonize people and help them to mitigate poverty by concentrating on development.



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