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November 4, 2020: The beginning of the end of Tigray’s business as usual with Ethiopia and Eritrea

By Kalayu Abrha
Tigrai Online November 6, 2021

For everybody else November 4, 2020 passed as any of the thousands and millions of days; but for Tigray that day will live in infamy for as long as human history goes. Even though Tigray's right to peaceful self-governing existence was transgressed several times before throughout the century nothing compares to what started on November 4 and continued unabated for an entire year now. The world has seen similar historic events on November 4 most notably the 1956 Hungarian protests against Soviet domination in which the whole country was invaded and the capital encircled by 1000 Soviet tanks and tens of thousands of troops. In the following months  more than 50,000 were killed and 200,000 Hungarians fled the Country.


The most common statement, that is inserted in the conversations between Tegaru, is asking oneself how Tegaru managed to live among the human wolves for such a very long time. Tegaru, illiterates and scholars alike, have found it very difficult to find a satisfactory answer for this question. The absence of answer to the question has brought a sea change, in other words, a profound transformation in the  line of thinking about their status vis a vis Ethiopia and Eritrea. Although Eritrea has done most of the harm on Tigray, ungrateful to the latter for fighting and facilitating its independence, Eritrea was/is  acting as a hired proxy of Ethiopia and Amhara imperialists. Hence, the focus is on Ethiopia with the Amhara imperialists on its steering wheel. For so long, after every aggression and atrocity on Tigray, the victims forgive and forget deceived by the disarming paradox which is often used as a ground for postwar reconciliation: Fighting while intermarried, having same religion, same history, single language family, and hardly distinguishable cultures. When the “imperialist kin” of Tigray attack and devastate it and Tigray responds in kind, third parties always wonder why the two are fighting given their cultural homogeneity. That is why they are always inclined towards judging the conflicts as misbehavior on both sides. Instead of calling the spade a spade, they prefer to ask “both of them” to stop the war. Tigray has changed and changed forever from the hard earned lesson in the war. The war on Tigray, launched on November 4, is unique in the sense that, unlike pervious wars on Tigray it sent a terrible message never told before. The wars on Tigray, prior to the current one, were fought either to quash a rebellion against central rule or to weaken Tigray and remove it from the internal power struggle in Ethiopia. None of the previous invasion took away, in words and deeds, the status of Tigray as integral part of Ethiopia. I don't mean previous wars were tolerable; they have reduced Tigray into economically degraded and dependent society. After effectively murdering it in economic terms they were mocking it as unable to contribute for the purchase of pieces of chalk for itsvown schools. They are cruel and demonic beyond definition. However, their ugliness became very clearly visible after the war started on November 4, 2020.


What are the uglinesses that powerfully revealed themselves during the war that had the power to disallow continuing the business as usual of working and living with them? First and foremost is the violation of Ethiopia's sovereignty that got its justification when it happened on Tigray. Sudan was entrusted to close the western border on Tigray making it a foreign accessory to the aggression. Eritrea was paid to commit the worst of war crimes and extra-war atrocities on Tigray. Somalia sent troops to kill Tegaru. South Sudan was requested to send troops, but refused. Anyways the idea was there. United Arab Emirates sent devastating drones to support its friends whom it decorated medals. Allied troops invaded Germany. This was World War II. The alignment of forces is simple and clear. Germany did the provocation by invading Europe and the invaded came upon it with full force. The war in Tigray is also a world war, although no one wanted to call it the third. The ingredients are the same; but the diffence is the scale. What makes the war in Tigray perplexing more to Tegaru than others is why a world war was launched on them while they are only a regional state in Ethiopia. Who could have understood allied states invading the German State of Bavaria invited by Berlin under Hitler? Even if we accept, like Addis Ababa did, that Tigray is a foreign state why was it treated like Germany when it did not invade any piece of territory from its neighbors and the only thing it did was to elect its leaders? This irrationality makes the World War on Tigray the most meaningless war in history.

World reaction to the brutal war on Tigray, which is aimed at extermination using several methods, was harmfully very late; too late to be more precise. The lip service wrapped in grand humanitarian terminology continued to flood from USA, and EU in which Tegaru victims of the genocidal war partly put their hopes for survival on. As the time went on, and the death and suffering of millions of Tegaru gathered momentum, the world community continued with its game of words as if the words would become calories and save lives. Its restraints from taking drastic action, as it did in other countries where less severe human rights violations existed, is incomprehensible. Words of admiration for the military skills of the Army of Tigray, by UN chief and by the Pentagon, would not help the TDF in sharing its burden of the mission it is fighting for. TDF is not fighting for what its predecessor fought for. Its predecessor fought to remove dictatorship and share power with the rest of Ethiopians on a federal arrangement. We don' t know what is going to happen in Addis Ababa once TDF's mission is completed; but for now TDF's mission and only mission is to break the deadly siege on Tigray and free Western Tigray from invaders. The occupation of Amhara-land and Afar by TDF is not annexation as the enemy and in recent days the US  would prefer to call it. It is a military strategic move to end the annexation of Western Tigray and opening up humanitarian corridors for its starving millions. This fact was told to the whole world by the commanders of TDF, by the president of Tigray, and by Tigray's spokesman. It must have been falling on deaf ears so much that US and other world leaders are almost ordering TDF to withdraw from its positions unconditionally and never attempt to reach Addis Ababa.


For several months now world diplomacy seems to strongly favor Tigray's humanitarian objectives, but falls short of any real action to turn its words into practice. We know about the diplomatic adage that there is only permanent interest which guides action however weighty humanitarian crisis are. However, such deleterious procrastination of more potent action on Ethiopia and Eritrea has emboldened the leaders of the two and encouraged them to become even more vicious. The whole world knows USA has the moral depression of supporting Augusto Pinochet and Mobutu Seseseko against democratic movements. Every passing day the world is engaged in fruitless war of words, with the two dictators in Ethiopia and Eritrea, hundreds of people are dying of easily avoidable hunger in Tigray. The leaders in Ethiopia and Eritrea no doubt are enjoying every passing day without drastic action by the US. The delay helps them to bring their goal of extermination a day closer to attainment. As the TDF is anxious about the people of Tigray and trying to rush the end of the war. The US is disturbing the concentration of the TDF commanders by putting unwelcome obstacles on its way to victory. Feltman said he does not want to see a “Meles kind of Government” in Addis Ababa. This is too unwise for a senior US diplomat to sideline the movement of the Oromo people led by WBO (OLA) to change the government in Addis Ababa. Although this is what TDF is knowingly accused of it is not fighting to restore its past in Ethiopia. It has the lives of its millions at stake. It would never think of sitting at Arat-Kilo and do all the building of Ethiopia, which turned against its people. Whether people take Tigray for its words or not Tigray has changed forever since November 4. It wouldn't destroy Ethiopia; but it has no intention at all of serving it ever again; even if Ethiopia begs it to. By telling TDF to drop the idea of ruling Ethiopia again the chief of PP and the US are fouling their mouths for nothing. US and the world should stop worrying about the imagined intention of TDF and urgently focus on the demands set by the government of Tigray. Any participation of Tigray in any new government in Addis Ababa is intended for meeting its demands such as punishing war criminals and genocide perpetrators. Even if Tigray is to stay in the federation life will not be like dating of two lovers around a table; but Tigray would be vigilant watching the movement of the hands of the one sharing the table. Trying to obstruct justice and obliterate evidences by including Tigray in the war crimes report does not deter Tigray from taking the law into its own hands on those who tried their best to wipe it from the face of the earth . This is how the myopic world turns honest freedom fighters into terrorists.


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