G. Amare, April 14, 2020
In the beginning, I would like to make a disclosure of myself that I have no association to any political group. As a matter of fact, I have never been a member of any political entity because I always intend to see things independently. In this regard, I would like to appreciate Girmay T. Giorgis for speaking his mind. I respect his political views and preferences to stand against the idea of making Tigrai an independent nation because I strongly believe in the notion that everyone is entitled not only to their opinion but also to act in any way, they think is right and appropriate.
What is critical and important is for everyone to respect and tolerate one another by doing their best to shy away from emotions, red herrings and ad hominem. All of us, Tegarus, should apply our logical reasonings and ways of seeing things in order to successfully find a solution to any challenge that we may encounter. For example, Tigrai currently finds itself at a crossroad where all but a few of its people are united to defend against all external forces who have been and still are sabotaging and conspiring to create havoc and put an end to the legacy of Tegarus’ 27 years of bitter but heroic struggle. Undeniably, however, there are internal differences, among Tegarus, when it comes to the question: which way Tigrai should go and as to what the future fate of Tigrai should be: continue in the status quo or be an independent nation?
The current situation, more than ever before, requires us, all Tegarus, to fully employ our logical approach to positively, genuinely, painstakingly, and farsightedly identify and review all the pros and cons of the situation at stake, taking into consideration the enduring benefits of Tigrai and its people. If we leave our personal motives behind and instead, stay focused on building the culture of logical reasonings and apply a methodological approach in finding a solution to our problems, then I have no doubt as to whether we would reach at or make the right decision, united as Tegarus.
Importantly, no matter which way we opt to go i.e. whether or not Tigrai should remain as part of Ethiopia or stand by itself as a country, let not everyone of us be guided or driven by our individual egos and greed. Instead, let’s be guided and controlled by the principles of truth, honesty, and our core values as Tegarus. And let our minds be ready to entertain and allow any free discussions that reflect the facts on the ground.
Let me now move on to my reflections on Girmay’s article, “Appeal to Counter Separation of Tigray.” First, I would like to challenge Girmay because his article, in my opinion, fails to provide convincing and elaborative explanations to dismiss the idea of those who are questioning the current status quo-Tigrai a state within
Ethiopia-and contemplating to make Tigrai a new country. Furthermore, it lacks a balanced analysis of the subject matter to clearly show the “Cause and Effect” relationship i.e. it rather chiefly focused on providing comments on the effect, “Separation of Tigrai'' without realizing and detailing the realities that serve as a cause for such an idea to surface. In addition, the article blames one side of the equation. I concur with Germay's theoretical statement that “…. Tigrai needs many things from Ethiopia and Ethiopia needs many things from Tigrai….” However, Girmay’s article hasn’t provided a clear elaboration to help me convince myself whether others (non-Tegaru) have the same understanding to assert that “Tigrai needs many things from Ethiopia and Ethiopia needs many things from Tigrai….” I may be wrong, but I doubt! Because the hate against Tigrai/Tegarus continues to grow uncontrolled and unregulated; the act of discrimination and blackmailing of Tegarus is persistently lingering; and I know it is politically incorrect to say but with due respect, the fact on the ground doesn’t seem to depict the reality and if at all, Tegarus are really considered as citizens within the present-day Ethiopia. Again, Girmay is politically correct when he stated, “Tigray needs so many things from other parts of Ethiopia! And other parts need Tigray. All Ethiopians and all Ethiopian regions need each other.” However, Girmay’s article seems to throw all the blame to Tegaru activists and scholars as if it is their sole responsibility to advocate the view that Tigrai needs many things from other parts of Ethiopia and vice versa.
In my thinking, it does it make sense to continue clapping with a single hand endlessly and forever. Don’t you (Girmay) think that this is also a responsibility of all Ethiopians-politicians, activities, scholars-to have such a common understanding on assertion that, “Tigray needs so many things from other parts of Ethiopia! And other parts need Tigray. All Ethiopians and all Ethiopian regions need each other.” In theory you are right but in practice this is not what is occurring and what is being advocated. Let’s be honest and practical! Instead, what is heavily and continuously being advocated, propagated, and spewed out by the other end is, “Tigrai is Poor, it cannot even support itself let alone make contribution to others; to them, Tigrai is a parasite to Ethiopia, living at the expense of others … and on and on.” So, do you (Girmay) think it is fair to blame the effect i.e. start an open discussion regarding the future fate of Tigrai including the option to make it an independent nation, if it is a clear beneficial option? Should we continue narrating a history as a reason to justify why Tigrai should linger in such a vicious cycle of political lies, conspiracies, and discriminatory propagandas? Sorry for being ignorant on the importance and relevance of history but taking the existing and current facts on the ground into consideration, I found historical narrations to be irrelevant to justify whether Tigrai should remain in its status quo. And you offer a choice: (i) to live in a country of a complicated political mayhem, being subjugated and subjected to psychological harassment just for the sake of history or (ii) to live under poverty, without doubt, my preference would be the latter because I know that it is possible to change poverty to prosperity by working hard and with great deal of determination and dedication.
Girmay’s article continues to oppose the idea or the question of Tigrai separation from Ethiopia, without providing a logical reasonings to challenge the question and justify why Tegarus, irrespective of their number (few, a few, some, many or majority), should not bring the issue to the table for brainstorming and as an option for discussion. As I said earlier and I will say it again, everyone is entitled to their opinion including those who are working, promoting and selling the idea of separating Tigrai from Ethiopia. It may be politically correct for Girmay to say, “…Such a promotion is against the interest of the people of Tigray and so I call on all Tegarus to stand against such inattentive publicity.” However, I found this statement to be a gross generalization and lacking supporting facts. For Girmay to reach this generalization, he should have presented data to justify and qualify his statement. Unless otherwise, one has an intention to ignore the idea or prefer the idea not to be talked at all or circulate around, the current situation doesn’t justify Girmay’s gross statement. From what I hear and observe in various forums and medias including networked talks and discussions going on among friends, the social media, and particularly, the cheers and applauds displayed at public parades and festivities, the quest for independent Tigrai is not only becoming a very popular move but also is capturing and invading the mind of Tegarus at a speed that no one has never guessed before. Importantly and to my recollection, I don’t think this kind of idea has been born out of the blue. My take is that it is a cumulative manifestation of events and observations; and it is the outcome of the successive scrutinization and documentations of the political situations and phenomenon that have occurred in Ethiopia within the past 27 years.
I candidly ask Girmay to do a genuine retrospective analysis of the past, not for an academic consumption but for the purpose of deeply learning about what has been said, narrated, reported, claimed, alleged, played or aired on mass medias about TPLF and the Tigrai people, right from the beginning of 1991, when EPRDF took power and stretched out to our present time. This will help you get a clear picture of the situation, learn about the “cause and effect” relationship and in the end, you will be able to know and say with confident whether or not the argument to separate Tigray makes sense or is relevant at all or if it is destined to only some activists/scholars as you claimed. Furthermore, such analysis will also help you justify your claim, “whatever their motive might be.” Otherwise, I can assure you that the question is not to be underestimated as if it is unpopular, irrational and illegitimate. As a matter reality, it is becoming a hot spot and evolving itself as a common agenda, circulating among friends within the Diaspora community where I have firsthand information. If you do not mind, let me please share with you the anecdotal data I knew.
There are about 50 friends with whom I informally share ideas and discuss on this matter: whether or not Tigrai should remain as part of Ethiopia or become a standalone country. Every one of us is asking why Tegarus see themselves as diehard guardians of Ethiopia even though they are being discriminated, and genocide declared against? What is peculiar for Tegarus to be exceptionally singled out from the rest? Why is the history of Tegarus discredited and their contributions being graded to no value? Why has it become a routine political agenda to scrutinize/count/audit Tegarus belongings with special focus while no damn attention is given to other citizens’ belongings? Aren’t Tegarus Ethiopians? Why do all killings, physical and mental harassments, displacements, and damages to their properties have occurred against them irrespective of their political affiliation? The list of questions goes on and on. To your surprise, none of us had ever entertained such questions in our entire life and until recently and in no single time has occurred to our mind to consider Tigrai as a country. Now, the situation is different. We are all inclined towards opening our eyes and minds to consider every single potential option. To determine the proportion of the people who are in favor of the idea of separating Tigrai is yet to be affirmed by doing a research. Otherwise, the anecdotal data are not reflective of what Girmay’s article portrayed, “….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.” Let’s assume Girmay claims to be true, that only “some Tegaru activists or “scholars'' are making the argument of separating Tigrai from Ethiopia but will this be enough to convince readers why the idea is ridiculous and the individuals are making the argument against the interest of the Tigrai people and for the sake of their own motive?
In my opinion, the article is in short of clarifications, supportive facts and logical explanations to claim why it is ridiculous. The article seems to have underestimated the facts on the ground. Finally, I would like to end by saying, let every single option be available for open discussion. Then, allow the general public to decide what is better for them by giving them the chance to vote without fear of what the outcome would be. Till then, let’s all work hard; stay united; and focus on investing our resources to make Tigrai a prosperous and a peaceful place to live in! Thanks!