For all constant Sacrifices Should Tigray and the Tigrayans be remunerated with discrimination, persecution and uprooting? Part two
By Selam Yiheyis (PhD), Canada
Tigrai Online, Ethiopian News, August 11, 2016
I bet! The Tigrayans are worse discriminated at the centre than often assumed
Activists advocating for Tigrayans equal and fair treatment shall start to organize and mobilize themselves for political activism in small groups. They should do it in such an informal ways as rallying Google or face book social groups. This is will help to fight ethnic discrimination in different offices, agencies and academic institutions. This author knows many friends who have suffered painful ethnic discrimination at a time when the dissolute diaspora media is yelling at Tigrayans for being an integral part of the ruling elite. If Tigrayans supported the current regime, in principle, it should have been their democratic rights. But, in reality, not only is this idea a myth but also is increasingly becoming an excuse for many pretender higher claimant Ethiopians to exploit it as an excuse to discriminate and bully Tigrayans.
Let me illustrate this point with a disheartening discrimination and exclusion case that occurred to my friend at the hands of his Tigreo-phobic colleagues at the Centre for African Studies within Addis Ababa University system. The incident occurred in 2013-2014 academic year as the Centre was seeing off a departing Egyptian professor with super praises and bravado by granting her to come back any time as she pleases. Ironically, in the same minutes, the centre rejected an Ethiopian application for internal transfers from an applicant (having similar PhD degree with the departing Egyptian professor) within the Addis Ababa University (AAU).
Imagine the Tigrayan applicant (who never took the initiative), was tacitly contacted by the centre head and invited to lodge application, to share his expertise, being a veteran instructor of the Addis Ababa University. Yet, his other Ethiopian colleagues, largely deployed through internal transfers, resisted his transfers simply scared of his Tigrayan identity. Rejection would have been enough and should not have been accompanied by defamation. But that is what has really happened. Informally, those Tigreo-phobic colleagues disseminated a campaign that the Cadre (for them a term synonymous with Tigrayan) should not join and mess up our Centre! If he was designed to mess up departments, why would have he served for over two decades? That was a heinous act that occurred to an innocent professional. Not everyone stood with the axis of the evil bargaining their conscience. The daring Centre head, from an Oromo nation, who initiated the applicant, felt dismayed at his colleagues act, boldly protested and subsequently resigned from his post in defence of truth, fairness and justice. He even gave his witnesses at three so called investigative ad hoc committees, but in vain. If advocating reason and defending ones right may lead one to be labelled as cadre, so be it. But wait a minute! Let’s take its literal meaning. What is wrong to become a cadre in Ethiopia that has witnessed thousands of cadres over successive regimes? It was old cadres who have now turned into emergent heroes, because Ethiopian politics tends to promote political recycling? There is no critical thinking!
One article has once been written in June 2015 by an active participant in Tigraionline who had raised the issue of Tigrayans discrimination, by citing the same case I am referring to above but it did not seem to have raised any eye brows. This author is reiterating the case simply to emphasize its authenticity, as it was an open secret, and to alert others that things are not ok, if we kept silent. (Now we have openly seen exploded in Amhara and Oromo Regions!). It is even more disheartening that the victim’s attempt to seek justice through series of appeals has been slammed because ad hoc committees preferred to tone it down by sacrificing the victim. The pretext was while all other scholars in the department rallied with opportunism, the voice of the courageous former department head was dropped as insufficient evidence. Look, none had the gut to defend truth and send a strong message that the zero tolerance for subtle or open ethnic discrimination in public institutions, like the Addis Ababa University. Sadly enough, those dwarf academic gangs got away with their Tigreo-phobia crime. And they are straightening their heads like heroes; because the university has no rigorous system of combating subtle discrimination. Some of the ring members of the group may apparently feel threatened at the coming up of Tigrayan person, as if he came from space. Adios to justice within the Addis Ababa University campus. That is where all the conspiracy theory against the Tigrayans have been concocted first and disseminated throughout the rest of Ethiopia and the dispora. It is an institution where generations of unskilled political elite have continued to chase and harass the Tigrayans and got away with it.
The above case is just a microcosm that illustrates how Tigrayans are enduring even more severe discrimination in different offices and civil service position where as the noisy diaspora and so-called free press are adding salt to the wounds by airing lots of excessive anti-Tigrayan campaigns. One fact should inspire Tigrayans and the rest of Ethiopians whose conscience places them in defense of truth and justice. What seems to destroy them emboldens them, as can be learnt from their past history. Thus, it is when Tigrayans are subject to harsh criticism they should take it as more of an opportunity than challenge; because it shows how strongly they are functioning and moving on. Thus, Tigrayans and impartial/rationale Ethiopians should never lament but increase their resolve for peace, fairness and development for meaningful change. They should demand genuine reform and become exemplary for others too because they never fought to thrive corruption. They should also keep on asserting their deserved rights, of course, by executing their responsibilities. Tigrayans and friends of Tigray should appear so high when cowardice political elite act so low! The current anti-Tigrayan sentiments are just a bubble that would eventually dissipate into the thin air. Smear propaganda should not intimidate true sons and daughters of Ethiopia, including the Tigrayans; instead it should raise their resolve and solidarity for unity and nation building. International forces cannot organize our home country any better than us. Thus, members of all Ethiopian ethnic communities should combat the dissolute diaspora elite and the international media campaign which is designed to divide us further and open loopholes only to stab us from the back; we know what is happening to the Middle East. We will carefully draw lessons and will maintain our national integrity and create an atmosphere of accommodative political dialogue and amicable peace. We cannot afford to lose semblance of our more stable and evolving state in the midst failed and failing states ; that peace did not come without sacrifice either.
The Way forward: The riots as acts of Treason or Freedom fighting?
It is extremely worrisome that biased articles are swarming the internet media from irresponsible opposition elements. Openly profaned campaigns are swarming ER-SAT (Eritrean sponsored ISAT) and VOA-Amharic. Face Book, Zehbesha and Nazreth .com are becoming open voices of hate campaign against Tigray and Tigrayans and are beating war drums to declare protracted civil war on Ethiopia while their hosts and their families are sheltering themselves in safer space in USA and Europe. They are creating an enabling environment for anti-Ethiopian forces ready to strike from the Red Sea and the Gulf. They are becoming Trojan horses of Shaebiyya and Islamic fundamentalists. Without doubt, I cannot excuse them for allying with anti-Ethiopian forces simply because of their political and ideological differences with the TPLF/EPRDF. First things First! Ethiopian security and sovereignty cannot be bartered or compromised. University professors from USA and Europe are preaching hate campaign targeting the Tigrayans and bent on declaring civil war instead of peace and stability. That really shows their prematurity after all those degrees! I am puzzled by the notion and the goal of Ethiopian intellectualism. Ex-EPRP members are allying with Shaebiya and unrepentant Derg remnants and are beating war drums to settle old scores against the TPLF/EPRDF and the people of Tigray for nurturing them. Regrettably, all those retired politicians are misleading the Ethiopian youth holding them hostages of prejudices. Those Gim 7 members and former Kinjit politicians who got publicity by charging the TPLF as Shaebiya’s agent have now happily turned into Eritrean government agents to destroy Ethiopian territorial integrity and political sovereignty shamelessly declaring that they would ally even with the devil to grab power. Does their sole seizure of power assure Ethiopia manna from heaven? Adios! Requiem for Ethiopian sense of justice and history! Ethiopia is watching!
Many of us who lived during the last 40+ years very well know how the country has evolved, of course, with all limitations in democracy, governance issues and political culture. To be fair, given the grave danger that would befell Ethiopia in the aftermath of the recent riots, we can’t afford to bargain with our peace and national security. No one is above the law or national security! No responsible citizen from the western world would like to see his/her nation crumbling before their eyes. Yet, the dispora politicians never felt shame and any sense of guilt into sowing seeds of discord and poisonous propaganda to divide our multi-cultural and multi-national Ethiopia. The Ethiopian diaspora should desist from throwing bombshells into the Ethiopian political scene, which is like a stained glass house. They should also cease their belligerence against certain ethnic groups, like the Tigrayans. Meeting ends has already given them enough burdens and has left them little energy to bear any more character assassination. Like the wretched proletariats about whom Karl Marx had lamented, the overwhelming Tigrayans would have little or nothing to lose except their despicable chains. I would think, they would not fear to rethink their own liberation in self defense. Even those Tigrayans, who invested in Addis Ababa and Central Ethiopia, have earned them less of applause but more resentments as if their wealth was ill-gotten through corruption networks. Many Tigrayans have been turned from self respecting investors into beggars over night in Gonder-Amahara over the years 2015-16. To add salt into their injury, ANDM prominent leaders, including the Regional President, have derided over them by saying: Did you come in search of grain or flour aid? That was a huge blow to their pride and an insult not just to the victims but to the people of Tigray at large.
An act of bullying and psychological harassment in different areas of life, residences, and places of work, places of worship, academic institutions and public spaces has to stop. This made me entitle my article as it reflects the grim reality: Requiem for Justice and History: For all constant Sacrifices Tigray and the Tigrayans made they are remunerated with discrimination, persecution and lately ethnic cleansing. It reminds me of the Tigryna proverb roughly rendered: “If the goody was fairly acknowledged an ox would deserve brand tella (liquor) rather than atella( residues) in gratitude!”. The Tigrayan diaspora in Ethiopia are even far worse treated than the habesha oxen. They are becoming more and more disenfranchised citizens left at the mercy of their hosts everywhere in Ethiopia. Who would disagree with me when the recent mobs in Gonder/Amhara and Oromia have written this glaring fact on their walls and protest logos! Decades of political gossiping has exploded into the surface threatening the entire Ethiopian integrity. It so appears that the riots unfolding last week are more inclined into acts of treason than one of freedom fighting simply because they were bent on crucifying the messenger! What are sincere Ethiopian waiting for? Are we going to stand behind the poor victims caught in the cross fires (from which ever direction) or just shrug in the situation as long as we are safe? Are we still to appease them by imitating Jesus Christ who prayed to forgive those crucifiers for they don’t know what they are doing Or we are firmly standing to call the spade a spade?
An attack on any Ethiopian entity is an attack on every single Ethiopian!
The mob makers were openly claiming that Amaharas and Oromos were marginalized. That could be true. I appreciate their expression of solidarity especially if it were for something noble agenda. And I would not strictly challenge them without evidences. But, I may simply be skeptical and would remark slogans are mere words unless they are proven and supported by evidences. Where are the evidences that Tigrayans as a whole are or are largely responsible for their problems of marginalization, mal-governance, corruption and skewed wealth distribution? How would the millions of Tigrayan peasants staggering under poverty be accountable for bad governance in Oromia or Amhara that are essentially being run by their own people? Why would not they challenge their own respective leaders at home regions instead of crossing their index fingers on poor Tigrayans who are also equal if not worse victims of circumstances? Externalizing problems can only treat the symptoms and not the real causes of political malaise. Who tried to see the agonies of the overwhelming Tigrayans who are as twice more marginalized as any other Ethiopian nationality or ethnic groups? The Tigrayans are marginalized first by their own incompetent local leaders and second by “extremist nationalists” across Ethiopia who are targeting Tigrayans for uncalled attack. I am less certain if the TPLF would ever rescue of the Tigrayans for fear of being labelled as racists favouring Tigrayans! Who deserves the labelling racist has been proven Amhara and Oromo areas in the broad day light! The masks have been uncovered in the years 2015-2016, especially last week. The Tigrayans are fed up of being marginalized as if they have come from Mars and suddenly swarmed Ethiopia. It is good that the formerly more oppressed members of Ethiopian nationalities have started to straighten their heads and broaden their shoulders. Yet, why would the Tigrayans be more threatened with uprooting every day and everywhere? I observe that they were progressively lowering their self esteem and their profile every other day.
The trend that innocent Tigrayans are gradually losing their dignity, pride, independence and initiatives in their own country is not at all a healthy signal for the rest of the Ethiopians too. It is the beginning of losing the mother of freedom for the rest of Ethiopians too. And they should raise their higher moral ground to fight this unfortunate trend that in the end would benefit no other ethnic group. The clear message that Tigrayans are sending is none other than“we have no more firm shoulders to bear endless defamation, intimidation, persecution and ethnic cleansing!” Yes, the Tigrayans too deserve freedom of expression, peace, security, democracy and development! They too deserve pride and independence and can no longer fathom of hoping against hopes. They won’t solely seek justice from EPRDF; TPLF or mercy from the mercenaries-face book/diaspora heroes and ANDM sell outs that are stabbing them from the back. After all, it was the people of Tigray who begat the TPLF; it was the not the other way round. Friends and foes need to be well aware that the Tigrayans very well know how to earn their freedom! If the TPLF/EPRDF cannot clean its house from saboteurs and salvage Ethiopians by constitutional means, the Tigrayans will be pushed into radicalism thereby taking the law into their own hands to defend themselves. They may find it to difficult to tolerate a slap in their face in defense of utopian federalism! Time is ticking and they are running out of patience. They have the will, the experience and the cause for legitimate self defense! Period!