Tigray Conundrum 2021: Ethiopian Enemies and Foreign Friends
Kalayu Abrha 03-06-21
It is a usual part of children's play to test one another's wits with riddles such as: What has four legs but does not breathe? The answer is: table or bed! If someone gives you a riddle like: Who are the enemies and friends of Tigray? The grandson of a martyred patriot like me would answer matter-of-factly: Foreigners (Italians) are the enemy and Ethiopians are the friends. The challenged side may even consider the answer to the riddle as too obvious. Can it ever come to your mind that this answer which looks plainly obvious is the wrong answer? Do you have the energy and will power to hear that the right answer to the riddle is the other way round? Foreigners are the friends and Ethiopians are the enemies! Well, friendship and enmity is not weighed by citizenship at least when it comes to Tigray. A compatriot is a fellow citizen whom one expected to love more than a foreigner. This is theory! When it comes to practice the entire logic of citizenship-based intimacy may stand on its head, as it did in Tigray since November 2020.
If the British Martin Plaut spends several months of sleepless nights to tell the world about the horrific atrocities Ethiopians are committing in Tigray (fellow Ethiopians) then I am lost in the meanings of the word’s enemy and friend. As "Ethiopians" in Tigray we are bred in such a way that we trust Ethiopians and suspect foreigners. That sounded logical to us all. Although we saw and heard that Haileselassie used foreign air power to bombard Tigray in the early 40s; denied Tigray food aid during the terrible famine of 1958 and 1973; robbed its territories in Southern and Western Tigray; although we were dismayed by the brutality of Derg troops on famine victims in 1984-85 drought; we preferred to attribute it to bad governance on the part of the ruling elite, freeing ordinary Ethiopian from the blame. Not deterred by the brutalities committed against them for the entire century, Tegaru went with the routine of serving Ethiopia from the bottom of their hearts. When they got the opportunity to be at the helm in 1991, they took Ethiopia to great heights never seen before.
For Tegaru the world started to rotate from east to west since November 4, 2020. One can understand nuclear science, though with great difficulties. It is also possible to explain how the solar system came into being. For any human it is almost impossible to comprehend if the Earth reverses its rotation to east-west. To me as a Tigraway what Ethiopians did and are doing in Tigray and why the rest of Ethiopians, including religious leaders, cheered the brutalities is beyond the capacity of my brain to take in. Her Excellency Angela Merkle is a leader in a faraway land. Who can understand Angela's anger about the brutalities in Tigray and the indifference on the part of the Ethiopian leaders? Ironically, Ethiopians were angered by Angela Merkel's anger! Tegaru fought against Sudan in the 19th Century unfortunately driven by tricky regional politics of the time. When Ethiopian troops mishandled drought victims in Tigray the Sudanese saved their lives by hosting them with unforgettable kindness. Which do I consider as my friends? Derg? Because it is Ethiopian? Tegaru didn't learn even from this. It was after this that they built the Dam and challenged Sudan! The dangerous refrain "Ethiopians are mine, foreigners are not" is seemingly tatooted onto the Tigrayan DNA.
Only after 40 years Ethiopian troops again displaced hundreds of thousands of Tegaru from their homes in Western Tigray. The displaced and brutalized again got shelter in the familiar place that Tegaru can by now call their second home: Sudan! It was not a formal government level action initially. The way ordinary Sudanese received the displaced Tegaru brings tears of gratefulness to your eyes. How can the displaced Tegaru understand this riddle? Chased away by their own "compatriots"; but hosted by foreigners. One could argue that Eritreans are foreigners who are doing most of the atrocities in Tigray. That is a different matter. The enmity between Tigray and Eritrea was planted and watered by the rulers of Shewa. The latter are using what they planted as a stick to beat both into dust. Ethiopians invited Eritrean troops to commit atrocities with the intension of transferring the blame to the latter. We have criminal number one Ethiopia criminal number two Amhara and criminal number three the Eritrean tyrant. Eritreans are suffering no less than we do: and those that have the freedom to do so have stood on our side.
USA has a lot of problems of its own. Its parliament building was attacked sending shockwaves all over the world. The transfer of presidency was a severely testing time for the newly elected and appointed US leaders. It was at this trying time that US Secretary of State Blinken, who got the whole globe on his shoulders like the mythological Atlas, managed to pay attention to Tigray! The whole Ethiopia roared against him for being just human! The going got tough and when Bliken, with that grace and patience, flexed his muscles the world of brutality was shaken to its foundations. Ethiopian politicians were heard saying "We were betrayed by our friends". This shows how callous they are and expect USA to be the same! US and EU cannot be partners to their satanic acts on their fellows.
Now Tegaru have cleared their heads, though washed with blood, that they have been big fools to trust and sleep with their enemies. The Earth for sure is rotating from east to west. In fact, it has been like that for centuries. It was only Tegaru who were not learning their lessons properly. There is always an end to everything including the irrational love Tegaru have for Ethiopia. It is proved beyond any iota of doubt that Ethiopians are enemies. The conundrum has got an unusual answer; but what is usual and what is unusual depends on context not on beaten-track principles. I wind up with what Aiga's Zeru Hagos lamented a couple of weeks ago. I read his statement posted on his own column for commentaries. I read it several times because it struck my essence so deeply. He said: "How am going to repent for a lot of efforts I made to defend Ethiopia?" (I have rephrased the quote). This is exactly what those of us Tegaru who served Ethiopia without reservations are feeling now. We are consoled by the facts that while Ethiopians have tightly closed their eyes on Tigray: the part of the world that always makes sense is watching our situation with widely opened eyes. Barbarian enemies vs. Civilized friends. This is fine with us except that the geography is too strange and evades logic. It is a blessing in a bad guise that the virtuous are now visible to the world when the cloud of vice clears. Once Tigray knows who its enemies are it is possible for it to stir into a bright new world with patience and foresight.
Tigray will win!
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