By Ahadu Amlak
June, 23, 2007

Of all the hot button issue in Ethiopian politics, the issue of Eritrea has been always in the front burner for almost half a century. It has been the source of a great deal of controversy and misunderstanding. Even now after sixteen years as independent entity, our passion for oneness has not diminished, though at the same time we accepted the reality on the ground.

During the early years after Eritrea was created as different entity the animosity between the two people was starting to fade away. Partly because people and goods were moving freely across the border and Ethiopia was using Assab and Massawa ports. Eritrea had access to huge Ethiopian resources for export and domestic consumption. The only thing which reminded people the presence of two different countries was; two leaders one in Asmara and the other in Addis. One thing worth mentioning is the relationship between the two countries was not on equal footing. Shaebia was on exploiting spree; running under ground financial schemes; printing fraudulent money and exporting coffee and sesame to earn hard currency.

Most Ethiopians and Eritreans agree the government of PM Melese Zenawi is the first and will be the last that treats Eritrea with out most care as runaway daughter, even some times at the expense of Ethiopia. The frightening thing is if Eritrea can not live peacefully with caring step father: the government of Ethiopia. I don’t see how it can live with future governments.

If the latest interview of Aboy sibhat with Dimtsi woyane is any indication TPLF/EPRDF has not changed an inch on its failed policy towards Eritrea. The interview was sort of admission of guilt despite the old man didn’t noticed it.

Reports coming from Tigray indicate the interview sent shocking waves from the flat lands of Alamata to the high mountains of Wolkaite. The people who gave their daughters and sons are again let down and betrayed. Once more on the policy towards Eritrea the current government is on different planet than the rest of the country. Ethiopia has never had an enemy determined to destroy her in to pieces as that of shaebia’s Eritrea, to believe otherwise is naivety.

When Eritrea is challenging the existence of our country as a nation, naturally we have to defend our selves .A responsible leader would send a clear message to Eritrea, in the process of saving our country if Eritrea goes down the path of Somalia, the responsibility rests on Shaebia period. At a time when repressive Eritrea is poking at the independence of all its neighbors, the old man has the gut to tell us Eritrea’s independence is so precious worth defending it. Fortunately there are not any ears left in Ethiopia and particularly in Tigray to listen to the failed and dangerous policy of EPRDF towards Eritrea. The last time the people rang the bell to the leadership about the imminent danger of Shaebia, instead of taking precautions against any eventuality they were dismissed as war mongers; as we all know what follows is history. The people paid dearly in blood and fortune because their government failed them. The interview on Dimsi woyane was mainly about Eritrea. Despite my anemic expectation of any credible policy towards Eritrea from the current government, I was not ready for the disturbing and shocking interview .The interview was candid, first hand ,unvarnished and gives full picture of the mind set of the TPLF leader ship. The irony is on the ninth year anniversary of the Ayder school massacre by belligerent Eritrea, the father of TPLF; Aboy Sibhat instead of giving hope and encouragement to families of that unfateful day ; was bragging how he defended Eritrean independence more than Eritreans themselves. Not only that he told us in uncertain terms how Eritrean independence is so precious worth defending it even in the future. What a shame? What always surprised me the most is that how is possible the land of Yohannes and Alula can give birth to the likes of Aboy sibhat with out even a primitive passion to their country?

It would be injustice to the Ethiopian people if this tape is not translated in to Amharic and give the opportunity to judge for themselves. It should be kept on public record; it is incredible asset for historians as well as for psycho analysts to understand how this tortured reasoning developed in the minds of our current leaders.

When we thought TPLF/EPRDF has learned a lesson about the dangerous national chauvinism of Eritrea to the existence of Ethiopia as country, still Dedebit mentality has ruled over sanity. One thing I want to be clear is I don’t support the idea of going to war with Eritrea to reverse its independence. But I am of the opinion there are ways to advocate for Ethiopias access to sea non violently and there are capable Ethiopian intellectuals with sound international law expertise who can do this. Of course if there is any good will left from the current government. It is not secret our current leaders doesn’t believe the country they are leading has the right to claim its historical seashore, even though disheartening, they are entitled to their opinion but what is disturbing is to go after who thinks otherwise.

The latest AP report about handing over Badme to Eritrea is not far from truth; just the government is testing the waters .We have already lost the fight when the Algiers agreement was signed. It was clear from the get go it was not in the interest of Ethiopia. Deep down in their heart our leaders doesn’t believe Badme belongs to Ethiopia either but again if they give it up that means 70,000 Ethiopians perished for nothing.

It is funny to see Aiga forum tried hard to defend the indefensible: interview of Aboy Sibhat, in the process we were told the struggle is for democracy not for territory then what changes in one week Aiga is crying about Badme.I am not sure even Aiga a famous place in eastern Tigray where history was made in crushing shaebia; same place the web site derived its name will be part of Ethiopia if the Algiers agreement is implemented. If the admins of Aiga forum were from Aiga locality do they accept to be handed over to Issayas’s Eritrea?

We are not talking about theory but human tragedy when our people are crying loud “we are Ethiopians”, protesting not to be handed over to a country that they don’t belong.

Is it “struggle for democracy not for territory”? When the country to be handed is repressive Eritrea. Please Aiga you can not have it both ways; either you defend the people who are crying to remain Ethiopian or support the tortured ideology of giving away your people to a living hell.

As much as I am outraged about the interview, Dictator Isayas Afeworki was furious and enraged about Aboy sibhat’s interview too; because the old man mentioned how TPLF saved shaebia from its demise during “red star campaign” by derg. The much hyped interview of DIA was announced one week ahead of time. It looks it was a rebuttal to Aboy sibhat’s interview. Eritreans were happy to know one week before the interview ;planning to avoid the dictator on TV screen so much so regular bar patrons were missing from their attendance.

The economic development in Ethiopia is touching the nerves of the dictator; for the first time as a leader of that unfortunate country he was trying to put his country on equal footing with Ethiopia; gone are the days of “we are the new breed/Singapore of Africa”. Gradually but surely reality is sinking in shaebia’s Eritrea.

Eritreans are wondered, a tyrant commanding five million starving people, spent nearly three hours talking only about woyane and Ethiopia with out mentioning any thing about Eritrea: again there is none to talk about a failed state by every standard.

For the first time DIA sounds a defeated man in dire condition with out any clue how to get out of it, and wants to reconcile with Ethiopia. His frustration gotten worst when he was asked about the millennium celebration in Ethiopia; he called it “GEEZ” calendar and bewildered how it has to do any thing with Ethiopia! This man has been an embarrassment not only to Eritreans but to the whole of Africa. When he was asked about the 2005 election in Ethiopia he said “The Ethiopian election was a drama to get a ticket to stay in office for five years”, that is exactly what election is all about Mr “President”, but the tyrant does not get it. As stands now Eritrea seems on chronic suicide watch.

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