“Quarantine Politics”: Kindly, as Dr. Tedros put it
Some are saying Tigreans should never think about secession. There are also self-proclaimed Tigrean governors. In light of the struggle ahead, all this doesn't matter. Tigrai is fighting COVID-19. Tigrai is fighting a possible extinction threat. Anyone that talks about secession or unity at this time are not following the COVID-19 pandemic. I'm not challenging anyone for a duel here- by the way. I'm not going to rebut anyone that responds to this piece.
I think Tigreans should rightfully focus their energy on fighting COVID-19. I never wanted to write this short piece. But there are people who are talking about Tigrai’s place in/out of Ethiopia at this time. Tigrai/Ethiopia needs some time to fight COVID-19. The rest can wait. Dr. Tedros pleaded the U.S, Western media, etc. to “quarantine politics”. Tigreans should heed this message and “quarantine politics”. This is the last time Tigreans should waste time arguing over the origin of Axumite civilization. The quarantined diaspora can afford to do this but Tigreans have urgent calling.
I don’t think we should discuss Tigrai’s place in Ethiopia or the universe these days. This is the time to fight the COVID-19. I believe Tigrai is part of Ethiopia. I believe this to be the case because Tigrai helped build the past and current foundation of Ethiopia. When it comes to the past, I think the historical, religious and cultural building blocks of Ethiopia, namely: the civilization (letter, government legitimacy, anti-colonial/anti-assimilationist, etc.), Abrahamic religions, and the values, attires and all that Walelign critiqued long time ago hail from Tigrai, i.e., from the land. I don’t care where the royal family of Axum, Lasta, etc. migrated. Mengistu run to Zimbabwe, so are we gonna claim Zimbabwe?
I am grateful for Axum. I am also grateful for Adwa victory. But I don’t think the past glory is greater than the present. In my view the second Weyane revolution has better quality (if not magnitude) than anything Tigrai ever did in the past. Axum was a great civilization. But what do we know about it except it conquered poor people all over the world? The Adwa revolution was also glorious, but what do we know about it, as Tigreans, beyond the fact it divided Tigrigna speakers into two enemies? The Second Weyane revolution didn’t colonize anybody. It rather bestowed freedom to people that were forgotten for ages. The Weyane revolution didn’t divide and rule. Instead it consolidated great people where some elites are bragging to be as large as elephants who can trample anyone and anything. The Weyane revolution didn’t abandon historical rivals to foreign powers. Rather, it convinced people who didn’t want to be part of Ethiopia to at least try the federalist experiment. The Weyane revolution didn’t decline because climate changed. Rather, it scored double digit economic growth that defeated all between 2005 and 2012. That is what the Second Weyane revolution achieved. It made Ethiopia the undisputed leader of Africa at the World summit. Not the aid or military seeking Ethiopia that it was during the Imperial and military regime but an Ethiopia capable of addressing forging a new partnership for development and an active advocate of global climate change. The second Weyane revolution produced leaders that could stand up to leaders of G7 and G20 individually or in tandem- didn’t matter.
It is the extension of that Weyane spirit that we see in the current fight against the COVID-19. Let’s not forget that Weyane produced the global leaders that is at the front lines of fighting the current global pandemic. Neither the Axum nor the Lallibela/Gondar, or whatever claiming civilization within Ethiopia had to grapple with a challenge that the Second Weyane is grappling these days. I’m not just talking about the WHO head (who, by the way, used to be Weyane) but the current Weyanes too. So, my question to all those claiming Tigreans can’t, in their right minds, claim Axum or whatever- I ask them how about Weyane?? IS THERE ANYBODY OUTSIDE TIGRAI THAT IS WEYANE? I welcome anyone that wants to chip in but I don’t think so. Tigreans are the kind of people who don’t dwell on history. They are the kind of people that make history. Few decades ago, the Tigrean people erected historical edifice using the Weyane. If the Weyane goes after a Century, perhaps, they will forge another Weyane and erect a subsequent edifice.
This is the moral of the story: Tigreans are alive and well. They don’t need to bring Axum to establish boundaries. Tigreans forge history amidst a fire that no one in Ethiopia outside Tigrai could ever imagine. In a plain language: Tigrean have willingly walked on landmines so their compatriots could emerge victorious. In my view, there is no Axumite or Eiffel Tower edifice that can beat that. Ordinary folks will probably understand that when Tigrai is, one day, capable of producing cinema pictures rivalling “Schlinder’s List”, “Braveheart”, “the Commander”, “Ip-Man”, etc. Until then, Tigreans will mind their business and ignore the trivial claims over Axum, Lalibella, etc. Tigreans know Tigrai is the people-not history, imperial conquest, battlefield glory, fertile land, etc. Tigrai is a software. Tigrai is a humanity, character, and values expressed by poor people somewhere in the highlands of the horn of Africa. Tigraeans are not descendants of Axumite royal families. They are children of subsistence farmers eking a living from small farms. Tigreans don’t aspire to be kings or queens. They just want to be left alone so they may fight with the forces of nature for survival.
So, please, don’t fight Tigreans over history. Tigreans have achieved more than their history. They don’t need to bring their ancestors to win current qualms. If anyone in Ethiopia ever claims to have scored a golden history beyond Weyane, let’s look at it. Weyane is not Axum. But Weyane has, in modern times, made the people of Tigrai proud. As Eminem might put it: If there is anyone that could beat Weyane, please stand up!
It is in this context that we talk about the separation of Tigrai. Weyane never said it will secede from Ethiopia. Weyane knows what it’s worth. It is not one to run away from anyone and hide in in Nakfa for decades as some did. Weyane represented Tigrai. Weyane never sought secession. Tigreans never appealed for secession. End of Story!! If there is any Tigrean that doesn’t understand this- please keep quiet (for now) and let Tigrai fight COVID-19!