Tigray Elites keep beating drums of war targeting not only Eritrean sovereignty and the reversing of Eritrean independence but to totally dismantle Eritrean identity. Yes, I know it is a futile attempt…but let’s see if we can get into the genesis of this fantasy.
- Anyway, they told us this sick agenda in their 1976 founding manifesto.
- They have never reversed this position, though at times, when convenient, they would claim to have supported Eritrean independence.
- And now, while cornered and in their way out, they have openly made it clear that Eritrean identity has become a formidable obstacle in their way to establishing the Greater Tigray Empire
- Thus, we keep hearing them saying that Eritrea and its strong national identity must shudder to pieces in order for them to reconstitute their aspired ambition.
- Eritrea, as a polity, is among the oldest in Africa; older than the TPLF constructed modern Tigrayan identity.
*Most African countries started getting their independence in the 1950s to 1970s, during the so-called decolonisation era.
- If not for the interests of USA and its servant Emperor of Ethiopia, Eritrea should have gained its independence right after Second World War, in the 1940s.
- Eritrean identity and its determination to settle in an independent country was shaped up long before Ethiopians could think and act as ONE. Read how Emperor Minilik constituted Ethiopia, purging native populations, along the way, crashing their long history of self-rule. Read how he cleverly used the compitition that existed between the super powers of that time in the region, mainly, Britain, France and Italy to accomplish the establishment of modern Ethiopia on the ashes of brutalized societies and their governing institutions.
- On the contrary, Eritrean identity is something that has evolved naturally, influenced and molded by modernity and what it entails, including labor and market factors, peaceful social and economic mobility, peaceful contacts and commingling of different cultures, and the forced conscription that Italian authorities introduced across social and geographic spectrum. All these factors helped create commonly identifying national characteristics of Eritrea, which served as the basis of national identity. The founding experience was farther bolstered during the liberation struggle through volunteer mutual contributions, in lives and materials.
- On the other side, truth be told, Ethiopian identity was built on mythology (such as the “3000 years” history and the Solomonic dynasty fable); and on expansionist aspirations: a/ internally, through acquiring new territories in the western southern and eastern parts of modern Ethiopia by brute force; b/ externally, the burning desire to expand to the Red Sea. Eritrea has become the victim of this expansionist desire for the last 70 years.
- While Eritrea identity is a natural evolution cemented by common experience towards becoming a full-blown independent nation, the Ethiopian identity is built on contradictions: a supposedly independent sovereignty, but that sovereignty would only mean the Emperor.
- While Eritrean identity is a celebration of an experience that eah and every sector of our society participated in, the Ethiopian identity was patched-up by force to serve the ambitions of an Emperor, a ruling class, where a ruling family owned the entire land and its population. Hence, the Ethiopian identity is frankly an identity that is marred by bitter remembrance of quashed aspirations of societies that were victims of Minilik’s scorched-earth campaigns of subjugation. That’s why when the TPLF introduced its divide-and-rule constitution and supplemented it with divisive governing policies, the societies that were brought together by force were seen quickly drifting apart.
- Aside being constructed by bloody bricks, modern Ethiopian identity pillars seem to be hinged on:
1- the claims that Ethiopia was a Christian island; that its history went back to King Solomon ( pure myth)
2- an acute allergy towards Arabs and Muslims
3- the desire to control the Red Sea.
- Tigray Elites malady emanates from the contradictions upon which Ethiopian identity was built, bonding peoples that tend to repel each other, which demands an enormous brute force to keep them together; a wise solution would be for Ethiopia to reconcile with its past and start afresh, setting towards a union of equals.
- At any rate, as far as Tigrayan Elites are concerned, it’s obvious that they are in dire straits. However, they should not blame any other party but themselves. They and their sick agendas brought them to the current predicament. And this sick mindset has roots.
a/ the bitterness they harbor by the loss of Emperor Yohannes (Tigrayan) to Minilik ( Amhara). In effect, they think they would have been the architects of modern Ethiopia had Emperor Yohannes not been killed in Gallabat, fighting the Mahadists of Sudan, to secure and expand his territory (Let’s for now forget about the debate as to who truly owns the civilization of Axum).
b/ the fact that they could not subjugate a country ot 110 million, of which they are barely 6%, and when it comes to ruling it peacefully, the math is not in their favor. Either ways, democratically, or by force, their chance to lord over Ethiopia seems to be very low. They have recognized this fact, but it was too late.
6/ and the fact that they don’t own a territory that has a feasibility for standing as a separate entity.
b/ hence, Tigray Elites’ prospects of either ruling Ethiopia or declaring an independent country were clearly based on getting Eritrea’s backing: if possible to continue to say niceties about Eritrea as long as they thought Eritrea served them; if not, dismantle Eritrea and Eritrean identity.
It appears, Tigrayan Elites are huddling around the last option: dismantling Eritrean identity. What they are not aware of is that the bond holding Eritrea together is much more stronger than the will they could ever summon to break it up.
We celebrate June 20 proudly, as a nation, fully aware of our past, present an future, one Eritrea, indivisible, built upon the will of its constituents, marching forward in harmony. We celebrate the remembrance of our shared sacrifices in defending and maintaining our Eritreanness- our binding force, our national identity. Eritrean spirit is not something that flares up and dies down with changing circumstances. It’s a defining character of who we are, our essence, as a people and as a nation.
The memory of our fallen heroes binds us closer and drives us to be better citizens. May they rest in peace.