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Tigrayans’ response: “Watch me protect it with all I have got.”


Tigrayans’ response: “Watch me protect it with all I have got.”

Aynalem Sebhatu 04-20-21

A Tigrayan from Addis Ababa writes “Conversations with friends in Addis Ababa have become different — shallow, tasteless, meaningless. They want Tigrayans to denounce their Tigrayan roots. Tigrayans’ response: “Watch me protect it with all I have got.”

At this point in time, the entire Tigrayan community in Ethiopia, and generally in the world, lives in a state of siege and a state of genocidal war. The forms of violence and coercion are much cruel from those of the Derge era, where the “red terror” took place every month; now they are more overt, more frequent and in mass. The Isaias army and the Amhara forces control the instruments of violence and coercion, and the Tigrayans are seldom rash enough to challenge these vicious forces head-on. There is no point in directly challenging these forces and becoming a sitting duck for these forces’ brand of justice of the jungle. The better alternative is to stay low and whenever the opportunity arises join the armed struggle.

In fact, this is the first generation of Tigrayans which have in their hands literally the power to make life or death decisions, decisions which may determine whether Tigrayans as a people survive. While Atse Yohannes IV, Rasi Mengesha, and Meles Zenawi could blunder without risking the very existence of the Tigrayan community, Dr. Debretsion Gebremichael stands on a lonely distinction with no room for second guesses. By extension, no Tigrayan has an escape parachute from this genocidal war.  This is the time for the young to shine and it is the determination of the young which provides the shield of freedom and justice for Tigray.  The brave and devoted young fighters represent Tigray’s one hope for the future. That is the spirit of “Watch me protect it with all I have got.”

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Right now, Tigrayans are flocking in thousands entering the roads of liberating Tigray: young men and women have ascended to the mountains of Tigray in droves. With the same, if not more, moral courage and dedication that the fiercely determined removal of a dictator of the 1970s and the 1980s displayed, the new generation of Tigrayans set forth to serve as freedom fighters and build the pillars of Tigrayans’ self-determination. They are injecting new breeds of heroism into the battle against the Isaias Afewerki’s army, Abiy Ahmed’s and the Amhara forces, exposing the inhumanity of these forces to a degree that no modern army cannot accomplish. They are willing to fight and die in the cause of freedom, justice and self-determination.  To the surprise of their enemies; the young courageous Tigrayans are fighting above and beyond what is expected of them.  The brave Tigrayans are simply responding: “Watch me protect it with all I have got.”

Of course, young Eritrean and Amhara men and women also left their hometowns to fight and die in Tigray.  But their courage provides no justification for their cause; they are fighting for the most wicked sociopaths, dictators and morally bankrupt political leaders in the Horn of Africa. They are fighting for the most despicable ideal or value the people of the world have ever held—the inhumanity and immoralities of genocide and ethnic cleansing. It is important to point out that these young fighters should be unequivocally condemned by their respective communities and sitting on the fence on this tragic war is unacceptable.

What really unsettled me was when I heard some Eritreans talk about the bravery of the young Eritreans fighting in Tigray or we should be sensitive on how we talked about the Eritrean army. I understand that invading troops are brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, uncles and aunties of the Eritrean communities at large. But they are killing, raping and pillaging of innocent brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, uncles and aunties of people too. The merciless soldiers have no iota of bravery in their bones.  They are cowards who are exacting revenge by murdering innocent civilians and cheerfully bleeding innocent Tigrayans dry. They are symbols of imbecility who are raping women and leaving them to die the Chinese death of a thousand cuts. My point is simply if we are to pay tribute to bravery isolated from Ideals or values, we will end up erecting statues for S.S. officers in Israel, for Isaias Afewerki in Tigray and for Mengistu Hailemariam in Eritrea.  Therefore, all well-meaning Eritreans and the Amhara should lead a fight to demolish the hills of moral ambiguity displayed within some members of their respective communities.

For the Amhara political elites to stand silent and frozen in the face of ethnic cleansing in west and south Tigray is similar to electing moral bankruptcy and by extension it is a rejection of the alleged injustices done to the Amhara. No one could take the Amhara grievances seriously unless they address the ethnic cleansing head-on without any hesitations. Without rigorous rejection of ethnic cleansing, an extension of olive branches is simply swimming in political wilderness and it only adds insult to injury to the Tigrayans.

There has been so much wishful thinking, so many attempts to soften the hard lines of political reality that the Amhara political elites tend to shy away from the stark confrontation of the unpleasant truth--Amhara expansionism in the 21st century is not going to work. It seems to me, much as they may dislike the harsh political reality of federalism, they also have a hard time accepting that most of the nations and nationalities of the country prefer freedom from the highly centralized state of the past century. The one strong barrier which has checked Amhara expansionism—the political elites and the people of Tigray. In order to demolish this Tigrayan barrier, the Amhara elites have to betray the country’s sovereignty. They knelt down and delivered Ethiopia in a silver platter to the dictator of Eritrea.  How shameful and how disgraceful that is?  I will leave it to the Amhara people. Now when the political realities are tightening around the neck of the political elites of Amhara, they want to “make peace” with the Tigrayans. It is so absurd that no one knows whether to laugh or cry. The current attitudes of the Amhara political elites remind me of a story of a man who was brought before a judge and jury. The man claimed that he “never killed a fly.” The ruthless prosecution replies, “yes, and the flies he didn’t kill brought pestilence to this town.”

Tigray will prevail!

Eternal glory to our martyrs!

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