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Ezana Sehay 01/01/2020

Ever since the soft coup d’état that toppled the nationalist [EPRDF] government, Ethiopia has been facing an ugly stew of problems, so much so, the country’s current situation can only be described as an omnishambles – “a state of total chaos, total disorder, and total mismanagement.

The prognosis is not promising either. The Manchurian candidate [ the current Prime Minster] doesn’t seem to posses the ability nor show interest to deal with the nation’s problems that are pilling up fast. He is too busy fulfilling the commands of the puppeteers who brought him to power.

Amid the country’s turbulence and in spite of the multifaceted challenges thrown at it from many directions, Tigray has remained to be the oasis of serenity in the region.

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To those who are familiar with the civility and farsightedness of the Tigrean people this shouldn’t come as a surprise. What is surprising is, how fast TPLF [government of Tigray] woke up from its decade-long hibernation and is able to mitigate threats that were meant to undermine the region’s stability and the unity of its people.

TPLF’s resurgence and its ability to project power comes from one source – it embodies Tegaru’s will to survive and triumph.

For the most part of the last three decades, TPLF/EPRDF had kept Ethiopia safe and prosperous. It presided over the country’s emergence from relative back water to continental political and economic powerhouse, from diplomatically isolated country to one actively courted by the powers to be of both the West and East blocks. That same tenacity with which it has rebuild and protected Ethiopia is now absorbed in its determination to make Tigray safe and strong.

From Tegaru’s perspective, the just ended year [2019] will be remembered for being one of the pivotal years for many reasons. But none are as important as the followings. First, it the year we witnessed the meteoric rise of Tigrean nationalism. Second, it was the year Woyane and the people of Tigray renewed their vows; the climax of which was the just concluded people’s conference that took place in Mekelle. The enthusiasm, determination, confidence and nationalism exhibited by the participants of the conference was reassuring to say the least.

The bottom line, Ethiopia is becoming a dangerous place and Tigray is stepping up as it always has. Nevertheless we [Tegaru] can not afford to be complacent, if any we need to redouble our diligence, as the threats we face are proliferating.In addition to the old ones, such as advocates of yester year politics and the unpredictable Eritrea dictator, there are some evolving ones, such as the erratic and ominous ambitions of the current prime minister.But it is not the actors that are troubling. It is the actions.

We are no longer in an era of formally declared wars fought by people in recognizable uniforms in battle fields, which were normal practice through out history. Where as now there is a more blurred line between peace and war. With covert operations, paramilitary elements, struggles in cyber-space, and foreign meddling in domestic [local] political matters that ebbs and flows.

The security measures the government Tigray has taken so far including training and deploying forces, are praise worthy. But while praise worthy, are not grounds for complacency – for two reasons.

First,they are commitments of the old uniforms-on-battle fields sort.Thus, while they are necessary, they are only – part of what is needed. Second, they represent a commitment of far too much of our human resource.

We are not, of course, on a war footing. Nor should we be. At least not in the sense of sending soldiers in lorries toward heavily defended enemy lines or storming fortified trench positions. But we are susceptible, to the slow erosion of our position and our capacities and to sudden upsets due to unconventional attacks.

The point is, as the prevailing circumstances in Ethiopia illustrate, if we are not at war, we are in conflict, and we should be ready to respond and prevail.

It is there fore, incumbent on the government and the people of Tigray to do three things.First, rebuild our conventional strength by increasing the size the security forces, dramatically expand the Woyenti[militia]forces and invest in military hardware in a meaningful scale. [And incidentally, we must make that investment with an eye to the defence of Tigray and its allies like the people of Afar.]

Second, build our unconventional strength. We must invest in elite special forces, surveillance, and defence against unconventional war fare, such as cyber sabotage.

The third challenge is at once the easiest and most difficult. It is easiest because it requires neither time nor money. But it is the hardest because it requires us to discard comforting illusions. We must take seriously the dangers that confront us.

In the last few years, there were times where too often we retreated into bromides about a peace dividend, how Ethiopia needs more of Tigray or our supposed invulnerable status as a “moral superpower”. Even among our friends that last attitude quickly becomes tiresome. Among our enemies, it is held in contempt. And we do have enemies.

These enemies do not share our vision, appreciate our aspirations or respect our values. To them diversity is disunity, democratic debate is paralysis and patient and restraint are weaknesses. And so, they are on the move.

Of course, we shouldn’t surrender to their vision or rhetoric. We must be true to our selves, including our love of peace and our desire to think well of others and win them over by persuasion and by the power of example. With that being said, idealism must not become naivetéin practice or theory.

So, let us be proud of our government’s [TPLF] commitment to salvage the Ethiopian federal system in short run. Nevertheless, our long-term devotion should be able to address the question in every Tigraway/Tigraweyt’s mind now days:

How did the people who possess an incredibly rich history, whose empire once used extended from Meroe to the north,Somaliland to the south,from Beja to the west and the Gulf of Oman to the east; the guardians of the two great religions, owners of the only alphabet in the continent of Africa, who developed a uniquely sophisticated calander and telling time came to be provincial, both literally and figuratively?

In other words, our long-term commitment should be the renaissance of Tigray:Let us strengthen our capacity to commit to it overtime on the battle fields, in the shadows and our own hearts and minds.

Glory to the sacred land and its indomitable people.





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