Three interest groups are competing to influence Debretsion Gebremichael, the veteran TPLF chairman and acting regional presidentWith Abiy Ahmed as Prime Minister and the end of Tigray People’s Liberation Front’s hegemony, Ethiopia’s political climate has become saturated with anti-Tigrayan sentiment that has contributed to the isolation of the former northern powerhouse.
As a result, the region’s acting president and TPLF chairman, Debretsion Gebremichael, has received unprecedented support and praise, looked up to almost as the region’s savior. Despite the scars of economic deprivation his party imprinted on the region over the past two decades, the events of this past year led to public acceptance of him, giving the leader the benefit of the doubt in several regards.
These events have also increased the complexity within Tigrayan internal politics that poses new concerns for the region’s leadership, as different interest groups assert themselves in the political sphere.
Tigray’s politics are shrouded in the ambiguous predicament of its ruling party, TPLF. This is now embodied primarily through Debretsion, who secured his leadership position in the party after heavyweights were sidelined at a meeting in November 2017. While this meeting represented the deepest tehadso (renewal) since 2001, Debretsion has maintained the party’s politics of ambivalence and, from the outside, it remains difficult to comprehend its strategy.
One question is which actors have risen to prominence within the past year that could sway the party’s pendulum? It is critical to identify who gained influence, as this helps define Debretsion’s challenges. Currently in Tigray, the embattled region’s leader is spread thin between three categories: the power hungry, the affluent elite, and the old guards of Tigrayan politics and TPLF.
These three broad groups have all established media and social media platforms to try to mobilize people behind their interests, and have all gained significant support bases in Tigray. The categories are not mutually exclusive, as their interests overlap at times. However, as they try and exert significant pressure on Debretsion, it has pulled him in different directions, impaired his judgement, and led to inconsistent decision-making. The leader has been forced to try to accommodate the ascendant interests and movements in order to reassert and maintain his power.
The power-hungry category primarily comprises Mekele University academics and ethno-nationalists whose interests are for Debretsion to maintain hostile relations with the central government as well as with his constituents, leaving his leadership economically and politically hollow, and creating an opportunity to eventually usurp power. Those that fall into this category have strategically gained the support of the masses in Tigray by sensationalizing issues and spreading nationalism.
This group is critical of TPLF and its administration of Tigray in the past 28 years, pointing to widespread nepotism and cronyism, and the abandonment of the Tigrayan masses. They use fear tactics by centering discourse on the violent events of the past few years, despite discontent and unrest occurring nationwide.
This politically ambitious group also criticize the absence of nationalist leadership, implicating that TPLF’s role in this regard is insufficient. In relations with the rest of the federation, they bargain via threats of secession (although this is seen as highly unlikely by some commentators) and threats that Ethiopia is destined to collapse without Tigray.
However, it is important to note that the claims made by this group are hypocritical; since power is the ultimate goal, this rhetoric is used in order to resonate with the people. Once they have successfully gained their objectives, Tigray will likely be back to square one. All relevant discourse and rhetoric focused on Tigray’s isolation, secession, and Tigray-Eritrea relations will probably cease once political power has been achieved. Most newly emerged parties such as Baytona and Salsay Woyane fall into this category, as well as local civic organizations such as SebHidri and pro-secession groups.
The Money Men
The Tigrayan elite class and the influence of their wealth also form a distinct group whose interests Debretsion must acknowledge but not succumb to. These economic class vessels of the region, who mostly still live in Addis Ababa, have been pushing for Debretsion to remain defensive and continue to challenge the central government, until the pushing out of investors and elites comes to a halt. This group has been labeled the “developmental investors” (ልምዓታዊ ባዓል ሃፍቲ) by Debretsion’s regime. It includes large-scale general contractors and multimillionaire investors.
Individuals in this group depend on their wealth—whether it be in Addis Ababa or Mekele or kept abroad—in order to influence the political dynamics. They have historically been extremely privileged with a strong sense of entitlement, believing that they are the sole saviors of the region and the key to Tigray’s economic prosperity. They participate in peace processes led by Abiy or in fundraising (i.e. Tigray Development Association), while displaying solidarity with Tigray through investments. Although this is directed towards their own personal gain and benefit, as is the case with much charity, it is delivered under a veil of patriotism. They feel as though TPLF owes them for their contributions, despite the wealth they accrued while the masses in Tigray were suffering.
As aforementioned, the prominence of this group and their influence stems from their prosperity. As long as their investment opportunities are constrained under Abiy Ahmed’s government, they will continue to manipulate and sway Debretsion, playing the ethnic card to threaten calling it a day with Ethiopia.
However, compared to other influential political groups in Tigray, the affluent elite have endorsed the recent change under the premise that damage could have been significantly worse. Their concerns swing on how the turmoil has the potential to impact their businesses, not the survival of TPLF.
In general, this group has not sustained close relations with Debretsion, but have kept him at arm’s length, while ensuring to stay up to date on the politics of Ethiopia and Eritrea. They are opportunists, ensuring that they are at least defended and praised by Debretsion. In comparison to the politically power hungry, this group craves economic power.
The third distinct group with influence that acting president Debretsion must deal with are those who have been involved in regional politics for years, primarily emanating from within TPLF. The group is commonly referred to as the “old guards.” They continue to stand firm in their belief that they are the most knowledgeable regarding Ethiopia and its politics. They act as prophets yet make political miscalculations by relying on bogus news and social or electronic media tabloids like and Wurayna and Aiga Forum.
With the people despairing at the central government’s failure to bring stability, they believe a restoration of the status quo ante would bring an end to the problems. Compared to the politically and economically power hungry, the old guards pose a larger danger as they pursue both political and economic power.
Debretsion and his administration’s attempts to appease each of these groups has been done at the expense of the rest of Tigray’s population. Torn between accommodating the interests of these influential actors, the leader has failed to fulfil the basic needs of the people in regards to fair wealth distribution, freedom of speech, and demands for local administrators to be drawn from the community, to name a few.
In addition to positively influencing the regional government’s ability to serve its people, they also have not applied pressure on TPLF for internal reform. For example, while the federal government released tens of thousands of prisoners as part of a political amnesty, Tigray region did not. In general, the three groups ignore political prisoners languishing in Tigrayan prisons. Some of them have, however, campaigned for the release of federal “political prisoners” such as Biniam Tewolde, Abiy’s former INSA colleague, using a social movement called Global Movement for the Liberation of Tigrayan Political Prisoners (“ወፍሪ ሓርነት”)”.
The campaign is ironic given that the first two groups were responsible for persuading TPLF to go on the post-2010 arrest spree that was corrected last year with the amnesty, and the third group of the old guards were the ones that directed the arrests.
Debretsion has kept his region peaceful until now. But, there are urgent multifaceted challenges regionally and nationally that need to be addressed. It is time for the region to move beyond its authoritarian past and build a democracy that matches the aspirations of its people and supports its development. Rather than try and become a coercive leader, Debretsion should work out the disposition of the power players and devise an appropriate strategy so TPLF can avoid becoming dominated by one or another faction.
If he cannot properly lead his party and pass key decisions, it indicates that no party will be able to cut a deal on matters of national interest without having the full support and approval of these three groups. This predicament will have the far-reaching consequence of impairing the bargaining power of Tigray in its dealings with other regions and the federal government.
In the interim, there appears to be strong support for Debretsion that may boost his confidence, but, if key political reforms are not introduced, the current system will not produce a stable political order in Tigray. Political and governance improvement have been long delayed. There is a pressing need for a new covenant involving all elite groups representing the dominant narratives of statehood in Tigray to formulate a new way of handling differences peacefully.
Tigray has presented itself as unified during the transition when in actuality the political scene in the region is complex and fragmented. Each of the three main groups are confident in their ability to secure the power they are pursuing, continuously attempting to influence Debretsion. The acting president is now faced with the challenge of standing his ground, addressing the interests of the influential groups, and serving as the leader for all the people of Tigray.
Query or correction? Email us
Editors: Hiba Said and William Davison
Main photo: Debretsion making a speech appealing to the federal government for constitutional adherence at a December 8 rally in Mekele, the capital of Tigray.
Published under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence. Cite Ethiopia Insight and link to this page if republished.
Sep. 28, 2019 The Republic of Tigray? Aydeln, yekenyeley!
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Feb. 1, 2019 Ethiopia’s transitional justice process needs restoration work
Jan. 17, 2019 Is Tigray really a drop in the bucket for Abiy’s administration?
Dec. 16, 2018 Violent Qemant dispute fueling explosive Amhara-Tigray divide
From Getachew Reda (Ethio Semay)- Response – 5-
Dear Ato Haile Tesema,
On your final respond, you wrote-
“You tried to invoke my past articles on Aiga & Tigrai Online in and out of context. And – while I admire your memory and record-keeping skills – it’d have been useful had you raised your concerns back then, which would’ve given me the opportunity to respond.” End quote.
If you do not have an opportunity then, you do now. It won’t bring any difference anyways; because your answer would have obviously as your respond stated “invoke my articles in and out of content”. That is not an answer my dear brother.
Your other respond was:
“It’s amazing how you’re perfectly at ease when piling up accusations like a prosecutor, yet protective of one’s client like a defense lawyer. You keep saying how silent Tegaru were when atrocities were carried out against Amhara in the past, but I don’t see you speaking up against the recent crime against the Kimant and Gumuz people either (my apology in advance if I missed that)”
In this case, yes, I am a persecutor; while you are a defense lawyer for the ultranationalists. Even though, I don’t expect you to abandon your clients be exposed to my argument knowing the powerful beaks of my pen can tear apart the ideology of the ethno nationalist ideology, none of your responses is worth to defend yourself or your clients.
You asked me if I did spoke on the going issue of those communities you mentioned above. That in itself is indirect admission. The Tigrigna proverb “ባዕሉ ዝኣመነ ምስክር ነይደሊ”
(a defendant with admission doesn’t need a witness), Indirectly, you admitted my challenge to you by asking me back ‘If I have spoken for the mentioned communities. My answer is ‘you bet’. In fact I got into several heated arguments with some elements. By the way, why is Tigarayn ethno nationalists and Oromo ethno nationalists focus attentively on Kimant? To my suspicious and surprise the Kimant gave atrophy of award to the Terrorist Jawa Mohammed’s media. What do you think about this? I have no idea if they gave the same medal of award to DimTsi Weyane (which is does not surprise me anyways). Is it a real genuine concern? I still don’t understand why you and your likes Tegaru kept silent during the Amhara genocide. Not only silent, many of them were demonizing us for exposing the genocide going on. Do you have answer? Obviously not!
What amazed me is the following statement you wrote;
“On that note, my record is there for those who know me as a person trying to see things rationally, and someone who looks internally, and criticizes one’s own when need be. But I can’t and don’t have to convince anyone who already has made his/her mind.” End quote.
I see. Yes, you were applauded by the most racist and dangerous anti Amhara website “Tigrai online”. You want me to quote them how they applaud you?
Your rational mind is not as you think it is. You are one of the leading distorters how Amhara situation is just peace in Tigray. You and I know that students learning in Adigrat, Axum and Mekele who came from Amhara areas were attacked (some murdered). You well know it the Amhara land took by Tigrayans and the indigenous Amhara are chased, murdered, their wives raped, properties looted, arrested, tortured, kidnapped and intimidated, evicted from their farm lands – Such was in the form of genocide (Welkait and other areas are living evidence as we speak) . But, your rationality is telling us the reverse.
What most caught my attention last year when I read your paper “The people of Tigrai have said NO to ethnic hatred and retribution others should follow suit”
On which you witnessed the following on your visit to your lovely Tigray controlled by ultranationalist elites;-
“….Indeed, anyone who lives or visits some of the cities in Tigrai – Mekelle, Adigrat, Aksum, Shire, Humera, etc. – can find Amharic-speaking Ethiopians who have made Tigrai their temporary or permanent home. There are big and small business owners as well as professionals, skilled and unskilled workers who exercise their constitutional right to live in their northern neighboring region./ Due to stigma attached to service / waiting staff jobs at bars, it’s common for young women from many parts of the country to opt working outside their hometown. So has been the case for some girls and women from the Amhara Region who choose Tigrai for making ends meet. Go to bars and clubs in Mekelle, such as Awash (#1 & 2), Samples, Space, Stockholm, Viva, Classy, Door 1, Olympia, Tango, The Real Club etc., there’s a good chance that the person waiting your table would be more of Amharic than Tigrigna speaking.”- End Quote.
What do you think why Amhara professionals and business people made their living in Tigray? And in particular to the Amhara young girls chose to work in bars and clubs of Mekele in Tigray? I will not tempt to answer this question since it is obvious you already proved us on your testimony how Tigray is becoming employer to the Amhara or Amharic speaking Ethiopians. The Tigrayan apartheid rule in Ethiopia no doubt impoverished the Amhara society as it promised on its manifesto of hate. Finally, if you don’t read yet, I want you to read a book by Julien Benda’s ‘Treason of the intellectuals’ Good bye! Getachew Reda (Ethio Semay)
Dear Ato Getachew,
True, I had enough on this topic of discussion, but – as you could’ve seen in my opening statement to Ermias – it’s his late post that compelled me to respond, and felt I owed you an answer as well, which brought up your name.
You tried to invoke my past articles on Aiga & Tigrai Online in and out of context. And – while I admire your memory and record-keeping skills – it’d have been useful had you raised your concerns back then, which would’ve given me the opportunity to respond.
It’s amazing how you’re perfectly at ease when piling up accusations like a prosecutor, yet protective of one’s client like a defense lawyer. You keep saying how silent Tegaru were when atrocities were carried out against Amhara in the past, but I don’t see you speaking up against the recent crime against the Kimant and Gumuz people either (my apology in advance if I missed that).
Anyhow, besides the time constraint and the interest to deal with many other topics of interest, it’s not easy when the objective is not to discuss and debate issues, and convince or be convinced. Rather, to see a medium / forum of any kind as a battlefield to fire shots, bombard and emerge a winner by any means necessary or unnecessary.
On that note, my record is there for those who know me as a person trying to see things rationally, and someone who looks internally, and criticizes one’s own when need be. But I can’t and don’t have to convince anyone who already has made his/her mind.
If anything, your attitude and that of many others in your camp goes to show me how far apart we are and how increasingly unbridgeable our differences are becoming, hence, in fact, another reason to see where the nationalists come from.
Lastly, I promise you this time that this will be it for me on this topic, although our roads may cross again on another.
Ato Haile, Please disregard the name Tesfay added in bracate next to your name by accident (typographic error).
Getachew Reda (Ethio Semay)
Thank you, Ato Getachew. I noticed that too, and — unaware could do it from my end — notified Ethiopia Insight Editor, which he kindly has removed the incorrect name.
From Getachew Reda (Ethio Semay)
To Haile Tessema (Tesfay)
Dear Ato Haile Tessema;
Here I see you coming again after you told us you are done with the discussion. Good to hear from you again. I appreciated you earlier for your gentility, but now, you are becoming a different discussant showed a little disrespect for me. I will tolerate that for now for the sake to continue smooth discussion.
Here again, you came with the same argument that doesn’t proved me anything worthy to convince me, accusing me as I bragged about my knowledge on Fascism. I might not be an expert on the subject, but I can see it already fascism ideology growing up very fast in the last 45 years. I never claim I know everything. I am here to be convinced by any of you, but you failed on me as most of the Tigray elites did. Still, I want you to define TPLF if it is a fascist party or not. You already disagreed with me bitterly for me labeling TPLF as Fascist. I am not asking you or anyone to define Tigrayn fascism in order to shut anyone the way you wrongly and unfriendly depicted me.
You seemed to dislike /disagreed with me for labeling you as what I still believe you are. That is what you are; you are ethnocentric elite. I can prove you based on your multiple articles. You have been screaming so loud defending only Tigrayan causes, but disregard the atrocity made by TPLF and its stooges.
On your other articles posted on your “favorite” Tigrai online, you went back as far as 1945 events in sympathy to Tigrayans who were bombarded during the Hailesselassie era (while the King himself is under the control of the British power) of that period (do not get me wrong I am not saying do not be speaking on the cruel bombardment by British). But, you ignore barbaric and discriminative events took as we speak against other ethnic groups by Tigrayan government.
Show me when was the year you started to write Ethiopian politics. Tell me when you started involved in the Ethiopian politics that you spoke of atrocity took place against Amhara since TPLF took power? All I heard you speaking was for Tigrayn people. That puts you with the ethnocentric Tigrayan elites.
Have you ever confronted TPLF leaders for their despicable fascist acts when Eritreans in massively deported or Amahara massively murdered by TPLF and its stooges in power (by the way still atrocity is active in Welkait against Amhara and elsewhere) . We are talking atrocity committed by the Tigrayan government since 1991 (it can go as far back 1972-Ethiopian cal), and ethnic cleansing against Agnuak in Gambella in 2003 and other places. Tigrayan elites will not acknowledge their discriminative pick and choose human rights concern that is why you and I are apart.
Mr. Haile, even at the time you get the chance to visit Ethiopia; you did not care to search the atrocity that was going on Ethiopia. You were busy commenting and belittling Orthodox Christianity leaders and followers how they behave during the fasting season / ዓብይ ፆም in Addis Abeba (though you confessed you are not Orthodox Christian follower, you mentioned some biblical rules on your commentary. The question is did you go to villages and observed such behavioral change where ardent mass Orthodox followers live similar to what disgusted you and your Canada business partner in Addis Ababa Amharic speaking teenage girls talking about sex during the fasting season?
It seems, that was your main concern in Ethiopia caught your attention during your visit. You mean to tell me you never heard in any other places, cafes, hotels, village, universities people talking TPLF’s power abuse, ethnic cleansing, discrimination, mass arrest? Why you failed to the search the obvious? By the way talking about religion in Ethiopia, long live to TPLF, it introduced so many anti Orthodox cultures to destroy it in the name of democracy and freedom (Khat , prostitution, homosexual-ism – in prison and outside prison). Remember Orthodox was Tigrayan controle institution as we speak for the last 28 years. And it was demonized and dubbed by Sebhat Negga and others as “NefteGna trench”. So you shouldn’t be surprised if you see Orthodox Christians doing unorthodox acts.
Let at us see to your other issues you addressed.
You kept saying “the movement of nationalism in Tigray as reaction to a clear and present danger being openly directed at Tigrai and Tigrau”
Again, let me repeat, such nationalist movement did not start recent. It was there in the open and hidden (It was TPLF behind it –to subdue it or to promote it when it sees fit its situation). Remember, all the ultra nationalists are students or members of TPLF. Mehari Yohannes and others who want to see the demise of Ethiopia to build Tigray Republic like the “land of Jew- Israel” are all born during TPLF era and they got their nationalist education since they were kids. Any born since or after 1975 is TPLF sympathizer or member of TPLF. They know no Ethiopia, but Tigray and TPLF. That is why I and other few friend of mine argue, majority Tigrayans are TPLF or sympathy with TPLF. As the result, many became ultra nationalist.
Yes, I repeat, the situation was there waiting for something to provoke it “ዝተደጎለ ሓዊ” and ethno-nationalist “EASILY” fired up demanding secession after Tigrayans started to be deported (unfortunately, the turn comes to Tigrayans to face it- others already faced it since 1991) .
You see the ultra nationalists used this opportunity to promote their agenda of hate and secession. They were pushing for it for so long. We warned Tigraynan elites not to side with these brutal elements knowing this is going to happen. They did not heed our brotherly advice. For obvious reasons, they were comfortable siding with the fascist and ignored genocide experts’ advice too. The elites are not the victims now; it is unfortunately the ordinary poor Tigrayan like my own brother.
For you, the nationalist movement (fascist movement) just started now. It was not visible for you, because you are inside that comfortable cocoon. Or else you could have notice what was coming. You even went to the country you did not notice anything, but young Orthodox Christian Amharic speaking teenage girls talking sex during fasting.
Yes, it was not possible for you to see what was coming against Tegaru and I do not blame you if you get surprised by it. Expert like Dr. Gregory Stanton (president Genocide watch) already saw this situation very early. But, sadly Tigrayan elites like Gelawdewos and others (perhaps you too) reacted to the warning as “provocation” to the coming fact (which is happening now).
Dr. Gregory Stanton (president Genocide watch) said interview on ESAT TV was alarming. Dr. Stanton detailed the reasons why; as well as how and, what could trigger genocide in Ethiopia and specifically Tigray.
“My job is to identify trends that could cause genocides and what I am witnessing in Ethiopia is a great deal of concern for the people of Tigray because the regime is committing these crimes on their names.” …Dr. Stanton said “ …a Tigrayan minority that created its own colonies within the country rules Ethiopia.”
He further noted that the ‘minority Tigrayan regime has created animosities and mistrust amongst the various ethnic groups in Ethiopia in order to divide and rule. In these circumstances a feeling of”us-against-them” and resentment arises with deadly consequences. And there is always a nickname associated used to demonize the minority group as in Rwanda.” …what I am afraid is for the Tigrayans…” said Stanton. (Amanuel Biedemariam –ECADF website.com). This is expert of Genocide watch warning which at the end it is Tigrayans turn be the last victim. The warning went to deaf ears.
Getachew Reda (Ethio Semay)
Dear Ermias Amare, thank you also for the civil discourse.
As you well know, I already have had lengthy discussions with Getachew Reda awa Ghetachew Gebrekiros. With the hustle and bustle in the U.S., I can imagine the possible reasoning for your comparatively late response. But as I already have said enough and as I’ve a fulltime job that also involves a strenuous writing (thankfully, non-political), a personal and social life, not to mention other emerging issues to attend to, it’s taxing for me to engage in this discussion yet again.
Nonetheless, because you think we’re drifting apart and as Getachew Reda has also been asking my stand, hence I don’t appear like am dodging his question, let me first put where I stand on this entire thing.
Like you, I also come from a former and late teacher father and similar to many Tegaru families, a home wherein Tigrai was seen as part and parcel of motherland Ethiopia. Add to that the education system of my time where the history of Ethiopia and Ethiopianism was stressed and the Dergue’s አብዮታዊት ኢትዮጵያ ወይም ሞት / Revolutionary Ethiopia or death sentiment, I never thought of anything else other than being Ethiopian.
Unfortunately, having witnessed what has been happening in the rest of Ethiopia against Tegaru not only from the media, but also from returnees to Tigrai (who share their painful experience with no political agenda whatsoever to promote or manipulate); hearing what politicians in a position of power and in opposition awa “activists”, particularly in the Amhara Region, have been saying, I’d be lying if I say that am not beginning to lose hope in the country Ethiopia as we know it.
Yet, recognizing divorce is rarely amicable even in the developed world (we see how long Brexit is taking, which is supposed to be more straightforward and less painful), more importantly, realizing there is strength in unity and cooperation in this interconnected and globalized world, am still in favor of working on Ethiopia and fixing all its multilayered political, ethnic and socioeconomic problems.
At the same time, I see the movement of nationalists as a reaction to a clear and present danger being openly directed at Tigrai and Tegaru. And this is not just my take, but also something I hear from those around me – in family and circle of friends awa colleagues and strangers alike. That’s why I said Mahari et al., who were outright condemned a few years ago are now making a breakthrough and, I reiterate, are being seen as heroes standing up for Tigrai by an increasing number of people, and that’s visible on fb as well.
On the academics you described as power-mongers and now the emerging political parties, I in fact sincerely wish they were actively pursuing power independently for the simple reason that the field should be freed from political monopoly and a one-party system. Am too realist to expect a change of govt. in next election or anytime soon. But I’d like to see a good number of members of opposition making it to parliament; forming a shadow govt.; engaging in standing committees and influencing political and admin policies and actions.
Unfortunately, I’m not seeing a strong push for that never mind a takeover that is, in part, why I find your assessment farfetched.
Lastly, I frankly am puzzled by your demand for my retraction on my use of “bias & resentment”. In fact, it kind of goes to show regardless of how open-minded and politically tolerant we think we are, we could be confined to a culture that doesn’t leave room for heated argument.
On that note, I have to repeat the reasoning I already pointed out to Ghetachew GK. The bias and resentment I referred to was to the concept of nationalism (or ultra-nationalism if you wish), which I’ve seen you responding to critically, if not harshly, many a time.
And I’m amazed that – while holding me to account, obviously because I held a differing view on this – you expressed your positive view of Getachew Reda’s feedbacks, which was full of all kinds of disparaging vocabularies and sentences, including his selective view of fascism; trying to win by alleging you don’t know this or you’ve got no idea of that remarks or labeling me as TPLFite without knowing me (not that I’d be compelled to deny it if I were one, just that I happen to be a non-member).
So, while I don’t believe I’ve reason to retract, will promise you that – unless there’s something that’s vitally important and non-negligible – I’ll do my best to refrain from giving an opinion as, besides the unnecessary argument, it’s way too time consuming wen the discussions and debates are not held in person.
From GETACHEW REDA (ETHIO SEMAY)
Response Part -2- to Kaleb
As I promised you, I am here to show you how your TPLF was treating Tegaru the last 17 years in the jungle of Tigay. I did this, in the hope you and your like learn from your childish thinking.
On my conclusion to the following document I did.
“The cold-blooded murderers can fool only to the fools pretending like they are peaceful individuals and peaceful leaders not for those few of us knew who they were and still who they are. Regardless of their camouflage, their blood-soaked life would one day end up in front of the court of justice.” Getachew Reda
Here is the story that tells who TPLF is in reality.
The harrowing stories of TPLF mass murders in Tigrai as told by a surviving elder
(Editor Ethio Semay blogspot.com)
The original Tigringa version interview of Fitawrari Gezai Reda is translated into English & Amharic by me Getachew Reda. (Editor- http://www.ethiopiansemay.blogspot.com).
Let me start my view by quoting from an article I read a few years back from Ethiopian Register magazine, under the topic: “Understanding the Machine of Woyane Politics and How It Works.” In that commentary, the writer tried to show how the Ethiopian people were trying to identify the government of TPLF and the nature of it. The writer says,
“As critics and opponents of the Meles regime, we often look like those fabled individuals who try to identify a large animal blindfolded. One character touches the animal’s head, another its back, still another its legs, each one giving an account of the whole beast by the part of the beast it has felt.” Similarly, opposition parties and groups describe the Woyane political creature in various limited ways. Some say TPLF rules are similar to an Apartheid-like ethnic tyranny. Others draw parallels with a Marxist-Leninist clique. Still others equate TPLF with a shifta (banditry), two-faced par communist, par capitalist, political entity. We also mark the regime as a worari (occupying) force, clever at operating behind tribal lines, reminiscent of colonialism, yet quick to resort to frontal assault on dissidents, citizens, and communities to bolster its monopoly of power.” End Quote.
Each of these outlines of TPLF rules is right, but only partially. Each depiction highlights a particular feature or element of the Meles dictatorship.” Indeed, as the writer above tried to show the different features of TPLF, each one of these taken separately, or as a mere sum, the depictions do not, however, yield an adequate picture of the gangsters of Woyane Tigray . Even as mercenary as it is, stating Meles and his groups as group of “Banda”, still we can’t describe the nature of this political beast! The nature of the gangs should be interpreted in ways worse than what has been said for years. Can I simply say, “These are beasts dispatched from hell?
Many of us may not have the detail understanding and information how Tigrian farmers and citizens were the subject of these beasts for solid seventeen years. Because of our frustration, many of us blame the Tigrians for harboring the beasts for seventeen years, but in reality the Tigrian farmers and people have suffered more than all of us can imagine (I say this with all their collaborations with TPLF). Sadly ethnic affiliation is weird; to that extent still Tigrayan majority supports and likes this fascist beast gangs from hell called TPLF.
Leaving the weakness and the failure of the flamboyant members and sympathizers of the beasts, and leaving aside for a moment, the ugly record of the Tigrian intellectuals and all walks of Tigrians who defended and supported the cruel nature of TPLF leaders and their Bado Shidushte (06) (the notorious security apparatus of TPLF), for many years, without any doubt, the majority of the Tigrian people, particularly “farmers,” were the direct victims of TPLF savagery more than any society in Ethiopia during the 17 years of the TPLF jungle territory control in Tigray .
In this report you will read a very shocking history from an elderly man from Tigray. Fetawrtari Gezai Reda, who was tortured and released after paying Birr 15,000 ($7,500.00 at the time of that era’s dollar exchange rate), after he was captured by TPLF guerrilla fighters in 1969 EC (about 1976/1978), and recently exposed the cruelty and injustice done to the Tigrian farmers and citizens by the so called leaders of Woyane Tigray in his interview with Dejen radio, produced by my friend, Dr. Hailemariam Abebe (English and Amharic Translation by Getachew Reda -Ethiopian Semay).
Here is the short summary of the Tigrigna interview I translated into English for those who cant read or understand Tigringa:
I have some extensive audio interview that I did with him separately outside the following version of interview. For now, I will present the interview he did with Dejen radio.
Ato Gezai Reda is originally from Enderta (around Mekelle), but worked and spent most of his life in Shire Awraja (Enda-Selassie). He was an employee of the Ministry of Interior before his ordeal. Ato Gezai expresses his thanks to Dejen radio for having him as a guest, and for getting the opportunity to expose the crimes of TPLF to the Ethiopian people, after keeping them with him for many years for lack of a free forum. Ato Gezai Reda, after briefly explaining about his life history, directly goes to his narration. In the mid-’70s, he was a member of “Teranafit” (a group established in shire district before it merged with Prince Mengesha Seyoum’s armed rebel group – the Ethiopian Democratic Union – EDU). He said TERANAFIT at first had no intention of fighting against TPLF.
Teranafit was established to fight against then military Junta in power – the “Derg.” But TPLF accused members of Teranafit of being “rivals” in recruiting the Tigrian youth. Because of this, he said he and other Teranafit members came under the focus of TPLF hostility. Ato Gezai Reda was captured in March 1969 (1977/78) when he and others were travelling by bus to Axum to celebrate the religious holiday of Hidar Tsion. TPLF fighters threw hand grenades and ambushed the bus in the vicinity of “Af Gah-gah”. Held at gunpoint, the rebels ordered three passengers to get down, and those were: Ato Gezai, Ato Feseha, and Ato GebreTsadik Woldu.
The three “captives” were taken to a locality called Mai Demas, where they were thrown into a closure, and spent a bitter cold night along with livestock. The next day, says Ato Gezai,
“we were taken to Badme. Along the way, every village we passed by, there were many young farmers and elders who were being rounded up by TPLF as Teranafit accomplices.” Ato Gezai and other 50 prisoners were taken to a place called Ginbot (near Badme). Ginbot was lush green, and had several springs that watered the site. “Upon our arrival,” says Ato Gezai, “all of us were ordered to roll over a field covered with ash which was so thick and over a feet or two high. We did as ordered, but fell to severe coughing, sneezing, and itching. Once our introductory lesson was over, we were thrown into a tiny cell, joining other prisoners who had lost their hairs due to inhuman conditions. Those who were imprisoned before us were seriously emaciated, like they have been starving for a long time. Parts of their bodies were burned with fire, and their skins had turned yellow. With their sunken eyes, they looked like lifeless skeletons.
Their legs were swollen, and their voices coarse.” Some of the young men whom Ato Gezai saw in that prison cell were students from Adi-Awala, Adi Dairo in Shirre. The other victims included individuals who suffered from “manic depression,” and had already lost their minds, understandably from the complication of constant exposure to cruel torture and loss of hope in life. The next morning Ato Gezai was interrogated as an accomplice of the Teranafit rebel group which TPLF saw as a sworn enemy.
On the second day, they woke Ato Gezai up, took him out, and tied his hands behind his back against a tree, and set a pile of firewood between his legs. He was fixed to a tree trunk as the TPLF guys used tight ropes and wires to wrap him by. They started the fire between his legs, and Gezai Reda’s long journey into the world of hell controlled by TPLF starts in earnest. As a thick smoke chokes Ato Gezai, the fire has already created blisters all over his body. Out of desperation, he shouted “Kidus Michael! Kidus Michael…” His torturers heard what he said, and started to make fun of him. The torturers picked up two small rocks and rubbed the stones against each other and, mockingly, asked their victim: “Can you see your St. Michael in these stones?” (At this moment on the Radio, Ato Gezai is overwhelmed with emotions of grief, and slips into silence)
He comes back on air, and continues his narration. “The fire was too much painful,” and I cried out: “The fire Is Hell!”, and said, “My brothers and sisters! I can’t move left or right. I am being eaten up by the fire. You bet Hell is better than enduring this cruelty!” My hands were tied behind me to a tree; there is no way one can escape from the chocking smoke and the flames of the burning wood. My body started to swell like a balloon. My body was covered with blisters, containing water under the swollen skin. And at one time, my skin burst and gushed out water from my entire body. Then my torturers ordered a break, using the military code “erefti!” (Recess/ break!).
After this unbelievable torture of burning and roasting my body with fire, they took me away from the fire, and untied my hands. I was lying on the ground, from where I slipped into unconsciousness. I can’t remember how long I was in a state of shock. I only knew when they woke me up again, and ordered me to stand, walk, and sit back to the burning fire. I couldn’t move my body! I was burned, numb, and roasted; my throat and lungs were coarse like burned; I couldn’t talk either. Practically, my body was turned into the size of a monster; my eyes were hanging out of their sockets. My tormentors also knew I that I couldn’t move. They looked for other means. They burned a bunch of figs, and threw the fire onto my body. After a few days, I woke up, and tried to make sense of where I was (mind you I was still in severe pain and mentally devastated).
But once more, they took me out in that bad shape, when I was looking just like an invalid. I was asked if I’d learned anything from my being tortured. The interrogator asked me if there was something I could make as a confession. I said: “Other than being a member of Teranafit, I have nothing to confess; I did nothing wrong that harmed TPLF; if there is anything, please show me any evidence of wrongdoing than torturing me for a crime I know nothing about.” I begged them to tell me if I’d done anything wrong to them. Ato Gezai went on to say, “The interrogator didn’t whet his thirst of cruelty, and said me, ‘You still didn’t learn a lesson after all that?!”
He then ordered the torturers to take me back to the torture chamber, where I was hung upside down, and the interrogators started to beat my bare feet with a rubber stick. My body started to burn like I caught fire: I shivered, vomited, moaned with unbearable pain. By the way, I still have difficulty walking, and I often feel pain in my feet.” “Those are not Tigrians, those are not Ethiopians; those are some evil creatures from hell! They have no respect for even to the elders. They were educated by us, by the Tigrian parents; they were schooled by the farmers’ and tax-payers’ money, they were armed by Tigrians but turned their back on us, and humiliated us in a way difficult to express in words.”
Question- Other victims?
Ato Gezai:– There were many of them. At least eight people were being executed every day. Every morning, many young ones from among the prisoners would be called out by their names. The prisoners knew they were being taken to be murdered. The young ones would cry, scream, saying, “tell my parents and families that I am executed…goodbye Tigray! Good bye folks!” Mass murder was routine. I can tell you a few more agonizing stories as to what extent TPLF’s cruelty stretches. The crimes of TPLF that I saw with my own eyes are chilling.” “There was this elder who was highly respected in Shirre Endaselassie. His name was Gebrelibanos Mezgebo. He was a chief accountant employee of the Ministry of Internal revenue. He and a few other respected individuals like him were selected by the people of Shire and surroundings to go to TPLF bases, and meet with TPLF officials over how to peacefully resolve the war with the Derg.
The idea was proposed by the Derg officials. The Derg explained to the elders of Shirre that war was killing the nation, and such peaceful plan was also being executed in Eritrea. Eritrean elders were also elected by residents to go to the mountains to meet the rebels over a possible dialogue with the Derg. The Derg proposed they can solve their differences with EPLF-ELF for the sake of peace to the war-torn country. Likewise, the elders from around Shirre went to TPLF-held areas so as to meet and discuss the issue with them.
“Mind you!” says Ato Gezai Reda
“…these are respected elders, who know nothing about politics, or who have never been members of any political group. But since the Derg officials ordered them to do something to resolve the conflict, they went out as peace envoys, shouldering responsibilities both by the people and the Derg. The residents also gladly agreed to try the strategy if that would work out for the sake of peace. The elders met TPLF leaders, but they were unlucky: they were thrown into prison immediately.” Dejen radio – And then? Ato Gebrelibanos and the other elders were murdered.
Question:- How come?
Ato Gezai – Well, it is a very sad and shocking scene to witness such tragedy taking place in ones presence. One night EDU rebels came to the vicinity with their full military might. Subsequently, TPLF “firing squads” rushed to where we were being held. And we heard the interrogators saying loudly, “Let us Kill them! Let us finish them!” Immediately, they opened the door and ordered us to line up. They wanted to carry out the execution there and then but they changed their mind, and rushed us to a gorge covered with thick forest. However, they delayed the execution for reasons we did not know. “Let me take you back for a second, to the question of what happened to Ato Gebrelibnos Mezgebos. As I said earlier, we were told EDU rebels were encircling the area. At that moment they tried to kill all prisoners. But later on, they decided to rush us somewhere else. However, Ato Gebrelibanos was badly burned and tortured like myself. He was a sad sight to the eye. He had open wounds on his back and his legs. He was almost crippled from torture. The TPLF decided he should be put to death. THEY FIRED THREE SHOTS INTO HIS BODY AND MURDERED HIM where he was lying!”. “With him, there was also a very handsome young man who was their member, a “guerilla fighter,” who fell sick with severe malaria. He was shivering with high fever, was unable to walk. He was lying under a shade from the outside of the prison cell that housed us. He was there just to rest and get some medication. He too was shot to death by the firing squad in his sleep. They executed him on the spot because he was unable to walk with the rest of us. This young fighter was from a village called Enticho (Adwa). They pumped three shots into each of the two victims in a cold-blooded murder.
Question:– Why did they do that?
Ato Gezai – They didn’t want to carry them.
Question;-They shot and killed their own fighter too?
Ato Gezai – Yes, they were cold-blooded murderers who had no value for human life. I have no idea how such youngsters came out from the womb of Tigrians and turned into some despicable monsters!
Question: – And then?
Ato Gezai – We left the two murdered gentlemen behind us as we were rushed to a place called Maay Lam (Mereb). It was very hot, humid, and sand. Many of the prisoners had a difficult time dragging themselves along a very hostile terrain. Many of us never had any exercise, let alone overcome long journeys atop our tortured bodies. We had no power at all. Many of us had headaches, dizziness, and were thirsty and exhausted. Those who were limping and had fallen behind, the rebels pulled them like they were animal carcasses to be disposed of. Rebel harassments were rampant against those who staggered on the way. Among the weak prisoners, I remember there was a respected elder, Balambaras Tilahun. He was from Deki Awuaala. They wanted to riddle his body with bullets. Fortunately, when they were ready to do just that, some higher official of the organization came to the scene, and the firing squad asked the official if they could kill the man whom they saw as a burden. The official asked them if his interrogation was finalized. They said “no.” He told them to first get over the investigation. The old man was spared, and was suggested they somewhat carry him. However, they tied him tight to a single long stick (It was supposed to be a stretcher).
They went away rocking the old man left and right his body tied/hooked with that single stick. Finally we reached a place called “La’e-Lai Barka/Uper Barka/ (may be close to Eritrea border), and it was time to spend the night there. On the same night, they told us there would be assignments, and they split us in two: Group A and Group B (the reason was one of the groups would go to the Red Cross for check-ups, while the other would take other assignments. That was what they said).
We formed long columns, but we were worn out. Immediately everyone was asleep. But again in the same night, they woke us up, and called the names of 25 individuals. They took them to a nearby ravine, and in an outburst of gunfire, the 25 were murdered en masse. That day was Ethiopian Easter holiday. The way how the gentlemen were killed was really frightening to human mind. They told the victims to line up like soldiers but they machine-gunned them down all at once. The killers didn’t even bother to bury the victims. Their bodies were later found by Eritrean cattle herders. When the cattle came closer to the sight, they began to retreat as if they had seen predators. This alerted the herders who became curious why their cattle were frightened, and suddenly saw the bodies of 25 Ethiopians murdered at one go.
“It is really heart-wrenching to recall such tragedies despite the passage of a long time,” says Ato Gezai. He mentioned some of the executed individuals by name. Among them: Ato Tewolde Gebresilassie (a town council official from Endaselassie – Shire) Ato Abebe Gebre-Mariam (an old man from Adi Beiray, Deki-Awala) Wodi Goshim, a 16-year-old from Endaselassie. Mohammed, a 12-year-old boy from Adua who came to the Selekleka to visit his aunt. In prison, the boy always cried, saying he wanted to go to his mother and his Aunt and would often ask them “what am I doing here? I want to go to mom”. Altogether with the kid, 25 people were slaughtered.
By the way, after the herders discovered the mass murder, they immediately notified ELF fighters. The ELF men were shocked, and held an official meeting, and expressed their disappointments by the gruesome murders TPLF committed. ELF told TPLF to move out of their territory. TPLF fighters who were guarding us shared the secret with us. Some of the fighters were very close to us and sympathized with our condition. It was their closeness and sympathy that helped us to get the information that TPLF had differences with ELF with that incident. Unfortunately, many of the prisoners were murdered, (even after the ELF ordered TPLF, move out itself and its prisoners from their area). Those murdered, were murdered in the same fashion: “summary execution!”
After they relocated us, there were killings as well. There were prisoners like Haleka Tilahun (Adi Hagerai?) , Yigzaw Hailu (I think if I am not mistaken he was the son of Kegnazmach or Dejach Hailu Aduwa). Yigzaw was unique than the rest. He was a strong man. He killed one of the executioners, and stabbed another with the executioner’s own knife, and fled on foot. They pursued him with a barrage of machine gun fire. They shot him, but could not find him, dead or alive. After a week, however, his death was confirmed when vultures were spotted, and they were scavenging on the corpse.
Question: – What happened to you finally?
Ato Gezai – I was told I could bail myself out by paying them Birr 15,000 (then the equivalent of $7,500 U.S. dollars). They ordered me to write a letter to my wife to make the payment. I pleaded for lesser settlement. They told me “TPLF is not a marketplace for bargaining.” Finally, I wrote a letter to my wife and they took the letter to her, and she sold our hotel (the only source of income we had to support my children and my wife at that time while I was under TPLF custody). My wife had no other choice, and she sold our property, met one of the agents, and paid him 15,000 Birr.
I was released but there was a string to it: If I talked about TPLF brutality, I would be hunted down. No mercy! And they had these so-called fedayeen, (disguised TPLF snipers who infiltrate towns either to kidnap victims, or else, murder them.)…
We have heard many people lost their fingernails, and fingers and limbs were being pulled off the bodies of victims during torture. And we heard TPLF was forcing its victims to dig their own graves before they were shot dead.
Question:-It that true?
Ato Gezai – Many despicable things have befallen too many innocent people. One day, they decided to kill me. My hands were tied, and I was watching when they were digging my grave. They dug it themselves because I was too weak to do anything. I was tied very tightly, and asked them: “My hands are tied and it is hurting me badly. Can you please loosen the rope?” One of my guards got upset and said: “This is your grave; in our law, you were supposed to dig your own grave. But because you have no muscle to do that, we are doing you a favor. Therefore, you better shut up and get ready to enter your warm grave!”
I was put down in the grave. Then, the firing squad gathered and started to lower down their heads to the ground with their formal whispers (prayers par communist zealots), called “zikri sema’atat” (a prayer in memory of our martyrs). When they prayed their version, I was also praying loudly: “ABUNE ZEBESEMAYAT… (Oh, our Heavenly Father…) at that moment, one of them by the name “Mesele” asked me, “what are you chanting for?” When he was asking me this very question, another messenger called Alemseged came running and screaming so loud towards us. They said, “who is that guy?” He screamed so loud from a distance, and told them, “wait, wait! Don’t do anything! Don’t kill him!” Alemseged told them higher officials were saying that the prisoner had more interrogations and should be spared of the execution.
The amazing thing was a member of the firing squad was my neighbor’s son by the name “Nuguse Lilai”. This young man was a promising soccer player in Shire Enda-Selassie, back in the good old days. At that time, I used to encourage him and his friends to pursue their sports. Occasionally, I used to support them financially. I also used to take their pictures, extending some form of fatherly help. He was the first one who jumped into the grave, and pulled me out, by cutting the rope that had tied my hands. I saw him and his friends beaming with joy in the presence of the executioners who were suddenly ordered to delay my death. However, I felt like they were playing with me like a toy. I begged them to finish me off. I asked them why they were playing with my soul, and asked them to fire a single shot, and get over with me, instead of taking me back and forth to the same hellish life. They replied, “We have orders that you have more interrogations.”
So to answer your question, “Yes, they used to make us dig our graves before they killed us. Indeed, they were evil, anti-Tigray, anti humanity, anti their own family, anti Ethiopia, generally they were demons from devil knows where.”
Question: – you have seen and witnessed all these nightmares, and the unbelievable evilness of TPLF. I think to my understanding hearing this shocking story, do you think you considered them as Tigrians? This is barbaric. Their action is even worse than Fascist Mussolini’s atrocities. How were you judging them at that time?
Ato Gezai — Oh! We took them as the disciples of Satan. Given their lack of humanity, I could only say I was saved by the power of God! They were cruel. They fed us very salty food so that we would feel thirsty, and they would punish us by denying us water. They added gasoline to the injera and soup so that we would suffer with hunger. It is hard to explain their cruelty.
They kept prisoners in dungeons; there were dungeons in Kalema (Jihanem) near Gondar, another one in one of the Tekeze River hills, and another in Tembien. Those underground prisons were dug beneath the hills. I heard it was very hard for strangers to tell if there were underground prison chambers or not.
Question – Have you had children at the time? Did they ever know where you were?
Ato Gezai – I had young children, all of them under seven. They didn’t know where I was till my release.
Question – After your wife sold the hotel and paid TPLF the money they had asked, how did you end up going back to EDU? What forced you to leave town?
Ato Gezai – Let me tell you, whether I like it or not, they could have taken the money anyway.
Question:- How is that?
Ato Gezai – What they did to many innocent families, they could have done to my wife too. There are more and more sad stories. For instance, they execute their victim. By the way, they cover the heads of their victims with some sort of garment. Then they execute them. After that, the TPLF prepares a letter as if it were written and signed by the victim. TPLF would write as though the victim was alive, and was a dedicated fighter. In the letter, they would write as if their victim would tell his family that he would never abandon TPLF, and for his cause, he was dedicating the family property to his organization “TPLF”.
So when the family gets the letter, given the reign of TPLF terror in the area, would be forced to hand over the property. Don’t forget TPLF has already killed the individual. Many families were robbed of their children and property by such sordid TPLF crimes. They never cared that their victimized family had kids, and would perish to hunger.
Let me tell you about the fate of one promising businessman in Adi Hagerai, Adiabo. His name was GebreTsadik Tsige, the son of Haneta Tsige. They were of Eritrean origin that lived as good Ethiopians. The young businessman had heavy-duty trucks and over a thousand heads of cattle. They killed him. On top of that, they ordered his wife to pay Birr 12,000. She said she had 6,000 Birr to pay right away, and not the entire sum of money. She asked them to give her more time. They demanded she had better paid the full amount right away. When she could not find the money, they took the trucks, 500 heads of cattle from the family ranch.
Now, let me go back to your question and answer what happened to me after I was released.
I gave my hand to Colonel Kale-Kristos Abai, then regional governor of Tigrai province. I visited the colonel’s office, where I was interviewed by the governor himself and other attending senior officials. Upon hearing my harrowing stories of tortures and mass killings, they were heart-broken, shocked and truly disoriented. On my part, I begged them to keep the stories to themselves. “If the stories leaked and reached TPLF,” I told them, “they will kill me. No doubt about that.” But the officials were overwhelmed with the gruesome murders TPLF was carrying out against innocent people. They immediately called for public meeting with the residents of the town. They began to tell the people the crimes being committed by TPLF.
At that moment, they wanted an eye-witness, and called my name to testify. I heard them calling my name, but I kept quiet. I did not want to risk my life for I knew TPLF would murder me. In the first place, I didn’t want to disclose TPLF crimes to the Derg. But the Derg was also another problem, and I had no choice but to tell them what I went through. Immediately on the third day, TPLF sent me a “death warrant.” They sent one old man relative of my family. The letter told me to get prepared for my death any time.
I prepared myself in a few days, kissed my kids and my wife good-bye, and after a long trek through the jungle, I joined EDU combatants.
Question:- Dear Ato Gezai: You have seen TPLF in detail. TPLF is anti Tigray, anti Ethiopian culture. They changed everything, even the names of villages and hamlets. They devalued the honor of our mothers; they chopped away our territories, and ports preserved by our forefathers. Would you share your views with us on these points?
Ato Gezai:- “TPLF is insane; they are evil, anti Christian, anti religion and anti our culture. They went against Tigrian culture. They desecrated churches. They smoked cigarettes inside churches. They turned churches into dancing halls. They tore down holy church garments and used them as sacks for stolen goodies. They used Medhani-Alem churches in Sheraro as their dancing floor for their “artistic troupe.” They forced elderly priests to lead their dances. They forced priests to throw their crosses, and made them carry guns and forced them to shoot. This was the most disturbing time in the history of our country. After having been an EDU combatant, I was forced into the world of exile, and I will never be able to visit my country until I make sure TPLF is removed and gone forever.” Concluded Ato Gezai Reda.
NOTE FROM GETACHEW REDA: Who is Ato Gebrelibanos Mezgebo? I am his son in law. Ato Gebrelibnos Mezgebo is from Yeha, near Adua. His wife, Woizero Yeshi is from Aduwa, Yeha. Woizero Yeshi, an elderly mother is still alive with her 7 children and many grand children. Justice will reveal, murderers who killed elders and young children as old as 12 years would one day face the wrath of justice.
The cold-blooded murderers can fool only to the fools pretending like they are peaceful individuals and peaceful leaders not for those few of us knew who they were and still who they are. Regardless of their camouflage, their blood-soaked life would one day end up in front of the court of justice.
I thank Ato Gezai Reda from my heart, and Dejen radio in behalf of the family. The family may not question TPLF currently for fear of persecution. We the family are many and we are everywhere to challenge the thugs and murderers. Justice will prevail! There will no more be a mystery. The curtain that had covered the criminal and murderous nature of TPLF is uncovered for all to see, and for all to add their voices they had up to day kept for themselves for fear of being added to the long list of the thousands of men and women TPLF firing squads murdered in the quiet fields of northern Ethiopia.
In his recent interview, Fitawrari Gezaie Reda exposed his torturers and prison chiefs who sent many young kids and elders to their death chamber as Abebe Teklehaymanot (filed name Usman) he was the ETPLF/EPRDF Air force chief. Awalom Weldu (real name Tiku Weldu- the brother of Abay Weldu (currently Abay Weldu is TPLF’s CC) – Awalom was the first TPLF/EPRDF Ethiopian Ambassador to Eritrea. (Currently, Ass/chair and CC of Gebru Asrat’s “Arena” party).
Mesele was also the x-Derg Lieutenant Officer, who later fled to TPLF and became one of the executioners. The story will be published in book version for history to document it (update- already published).I also have an audio interview with Gezai Reda whom I interviewed him myslef for the second time after the above interview you read. (Getachew Reda Ethiopian Semay) ጌታቸው ረዳ _//-
From Getachew Reda (Ethio Semay)
Respond to Kaleb
Yes I said “Fascism did start in Tigray in 1967 (Ethiopian calendar)”
Yes, I also said “Sadly, many Tigrayan including you ‘Kaleb’ appreciated the apartheid/fascistic/Tigrayan rule”.
And your answer was
Wow! is all you can say when you have no point to defend your Mafiosi TPLF that arrested you for speaking your mind. You still praise your abuser “treating your abuse as mistake”. You are likely candid for what the Psychologists called it Stockholm syndrome. You are not the only one suffering from such psychological defect, there are thousands of them. I heard a fellow who praised TPLF commanders publicly in Mekele conference for killing his father. I already did a commentary two years ago on him. That is new on you to praise and defend your abuser.
You are mooing here and repeat like a broken record what your TPLF taught you. I am not going to buy what she taught you, I know TPLF more that you know her. You seemed to be born yesterday. You are not sophisticated to know your TPLF; your myelin seems not functioning to understand and respond coordinately.
You came with abc …Infinitive questions. You want me to answer for all these questions? Read all my books and all the interviews I did with media and individuals. Go find them, will you? Some are Tigrina and some are written in Amharic. You will find the answers to most of your questions there. I am not going to write a book for you here?
Having said this, based on your characterization on me, I might be unstable- but let me ask you a question any stable person like you if you can answer it.
Why is TPLF not Fascit? And what is Fascism?
To answer your doubts -indeed, yes, not only I am bias towards the ethno Fascit struggle you admired crazily, but I hate it and confronted its ideology and its savage cruelty. TPLF can’t be distinguished from the Derg (both are similar). Except Derg is not Fascist, TPLF is. Though Derg is savagery cruel, regardless its cruelty, you might wonder why Derg is not Fascit in its ideological characterization. You can’t define the differences, because you are ignorant to differentiate the different ideology each followed.
Yes, TPLF is a criminal organization to the extent burn elderly Tigrayans with fire. You understand? You are telling me “I have to understand the history and the reasons behind why Tegaru are feeling the way the feel today.’ Oh!
So, therefore, is the following how Tegaru believe Tigray interest can be achieved through TPLF leadership by being savage to elderly Tegru? (That I will post it on Part 2 on my next post).
You even pathetically and childishly accusing me as I am paid to challenge TPLF.
“Reading your comments you seem like you are not interested on facts, either you don’t know the crimes committed against Tegaru or you are paid to deny them.”
Yes, I know TPLF and interested on facts Mr. biblical Kaleb. Here is the fact I want you respond if your own TPLF or you brave enough to tell me why your TPLF did the following. The following paper prepared by me might not wake you up, since you are suffering with Stockholm syndrome. What that? Stockholm syndrome can be seen as a form of traumatic bonding, which does not necessarily require a hostage scenario, but which describes “strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.” That is you between you and TPLF that arrested you and created bondage on you.
But, read on my part 2 respond to you. The record will help you to realize when one day comeback normal from your hypnosis whom the hell you were defending to. Read the following;-respond to you on Part 2- after Part 2-I will give you an answer on Part 3 to your question on Hauzen. For now, watch Part 2 when posted.
Getachew Reda (Ethio Semay)
Getachew Reda (Ethio Semay),
You said “Fascism did start in Tigray in 1967 (Ethiopian calendar)”, you have also said “Sadly, you still appreciated the apartheid/fascistic/ Tigrayan rule”. Wow
You seem like unstable and very biased towards Tegaru struggle. You have to understand the history and the reasons behind why Tegaru are feeling the way the feel today. Since its inception the struggle of TPLF was real and it will continue to be real, yes in the last 27 years there was some mistakes but that is part of the struggle, you make mistakes and you correct them and you move on to the next chapter. Who made TPLF to be TPLF? It was the Tigray people, Tegaru believe Tigray interest can be achieved thru TPLF leadership, thus you can’t question the cause of the struggle, but that doesn’t mean you can’t question the mistakes done. Reading your comments you seem like you are not interested on facts, either you don’t know the crimes committed against Tegaru or you are paid to deny them. Upton Sinclair once said “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” You are neglecting/denying the cause of the struggle, at least you could have appreciated the 17 years of TPLF struggle.
Just to reminded you:-
1. Who signed the “Treaty of Wichale” on May 2, 1889? Menelik did, this was against Tegaru interest, wasn’t it?
2. In On October 6, 1943 Emperor HaileSilasie authorized an aerial bombardment by collaborating with the British Royal Air Force based in Aden, they dropped 68 bombs in Mekelle city, by the way you can visit Mekelle city market and see devastation yourself. This is a fact on the ground.
3. In On October 7, 1943 Emperor HaileSilasie authorized an aerial bombardment by collaborating with the British Royal Air Force based in Aden, they dropped 48 bombs in Corbetta Raya and Hintalo Enderta, thousands of civilians died. All this crime was by our own government who has defected his own people and country for England to save his own life and his family, where is the patriotism? This is a fact, I hope you don’t deny this.
4. Who bombed Hawzen in June 22, 1989? Over 2,500 Tegaru died within few minutes by Chauvinist groups (Menelik camp elites).
5. ESAT (Menelik camp media) declared genocide against Tegaru, did you say anything?
6. 45 thousands Tegaru were displaced from Gonder, did you say anything?
7. Addis Ababa – Mekelle road has been closed for more than a year, did you say anything?
8. Many Menelik camp media are advocating to cut any federal fund to Tigray, did you say anything?
9. Many Tegaru are being arrested without a trial, did you say anything? By the way I was arrested by TPLF/EPRDF for asking the legality of Siye’s and the like arrest in 2002. Are you doing your part to have fair trial?
I can list hundreds of reasons why the struggle of TPLF was valid and remains to be valid, but you seem like to focus on small things rather than the systemic problems that caused Tegrau to feel the way the feel today. Just get real.
Good Job, Kaleb! You’ve wonderfully listed down what had really fallen upon this Great Society.
I really appreciate your initiation to write about this kind of deep political complications in Tigray .
I will put my comment as follows .
1. I agree that the regional president is being influenced by so many interesting groups and which is affecting his consistency. This has made the politics in Tigray complicated, goalless and direction less .
2. But I disagree in the category of the groups and the extent of their influence.
A. The hard line independence groups is more of the ex general and TPLF favorite family network which are highly affected by current regime than academicians . only a few men like mahari yohanis and his seb hidri crew are only included. I find difficult to say about the baytona because so far I couldn’t figure out their interest and aspirations except supporting the TPLF groups .
B. I don’t also agree with your inclusion 3rd woyane in the hardline independence group … Though there is some confusions in the position of some their lower rank members which is understandable for a new party in the highly polarized time. I learned it is the opposite from My engagement with the party coordinators .
My conclusion .
1. I agree there are so different groups influencing the regional politics but the majority of them are TPLF own splinter groups . the influence of the two groups you mention the so called elites can’t have direct influence because most of them lacks the means to do that . they are only lobbying TPLF own splinters .
2. The other so called academicians such baytona and 3rd woyane are new group and not yet to exert real pressure .. Let alone to be appeased , they had not even invited to public meeting until very recently …
Anyways I really Appreciate your article which will initiate arguments and counter arguments for further discussion .
From Getachew Reda (Ethio Semay)
Thanks again Ato Haile Tessema;
I appreciated for the gentle exchange of ideas we have together regardless our differences of two opposite poles. Having said, this time, I have a hard time to understand some of your responses due to your indefinite position when it comes to discuss on the Tigray ultra nationalists/Fascists. For instance I asked you
Let me started with my earlier question to you which on which you gain failed to answer my question., let me start with the quote you quoted me. Here is what I said;
“… which kind of opponents are we discussing here about when you want me to not demonize opponents? You answer was;
“They, on their part, assert that it’s those in the pretext of a single, unified Ethiopia who do not recognize diversity, and are hell-bent to subjugate people who do not share their ethnic background, language, culture and history that are “ruining the country”. End of Quote.
You did not answer my question. You did instead come with what they said “on their part”(on their behalf). I did not ask you what they assert on their part. I asked you what kind of opponents you are telling us not demonizing them was my question.
Let me argue with your new fabrication since you came up with unfounded allegation. You said
“…those in the pretext of a single, unified Ethiopia who do not recognize diversity, and are hell-bent to subjugate people who do not share their ethnic background, language, culture and history that are “ruining the country”
Please, name one. Please, name one who doesn’t recognize unity in diversity in the political organization. Name one! You can’t.
If you genuinely want to learn who is subjugating the people of Ethiopia into the enclave apartheid states/kilil/ for the last 27 years ; no one other than your organization (TPF) subjugated the people of the nation into enslavement (even worst). Sadly, you still appreciated the apartheid/fascistic/ Tigrayan rule.
You and I know that ‘TPLF’s ethnic federalism political project that has been put in practice in Ethiopia since 1991 has been instrumental in fomenting inter-ethnic conflicts; massive displacements; ethnic cleansing, destabilization, etc. It has promoted neither democracy nor unity. It has created mutual enmity and a culture of mutual suspicion. According to UN sources, in 2017 alone, more than 1 million people were displaced in Ethiopia. Between January and June 2018 alone 1.4 million Ethiopians have been internally displaced making Ethiopia the country with the highest number of internally displaced people in the world. This figure surpasses the records of war-torn Syria and Yemen. All this internal displacement has been engendered by ethnic federalism.` Isn’t it?
Does TPLF believe unity in diversity? The answer is no. Why? Here is why.
According to Durame’s ‘Top 10 infamous Meles Zenawi Quotes’, (www.durame.com/2012/06), in a 1993 interview with the reporter, and in 1997 in a discussion with Donald Levine the former TPLF leader and Prime Minister said:
”Ethiopia is only 100 years old. Those who claim otherwise are indulging themselves in fairy tales.”
”The Tigreans had Axum, but what could that mean to the Gurague? The Agew had Lalibella, but what could that mean to the Oromo? The Gonderes had castles, but what could that mean to the wolaita?”
However, up to now not even single historic evidence is found linking the Axumite civilization only with the Tigryans as Meles claimed. No script in Tigrygna, the language of the Tigryans, was found in Axum’s obelisks and related relics. The Axumites at first used Sabean as a means of communication and most of what anyone can see from the structural remains are Sabean symbols and inscriptions. After they converted to Christianity, Geeze as an official language replaced Sabean. The Axumites, furthermore, with the advance of their fame and power, widely mixed with various ethnic groups of northern Ethiopia, like the Beja, the Beniamer, the Saho, Afar, other Agews, Tigre, Tigryan, Amhara, and even Nubians of Meroe, etc. and became a fused Ethiopian stock. As a result’ their history was and is Ethiopian as opposed to the unscientific propaganda of the TPLF. (Abinet hunegnaw)
It is this not the man who led TPLF until died that Ethiopia is 100 years old? Do you believe Tigrayans were in Ethiopia only 100 years?
Can you tell me what is going on in Welkait? genocide!! Isn’t it? So, you call this unity in diversity?
You of course are free to share Ermias’ view and “… applaud him for coming forward leaving behind all the pathetic Tigrayan elites who are busy appeasing the ultranationalists’ propaganda”.
You in return respond,
“And, come to think of it, it wouldn’t be right to hold you to account for coming with all kinds of names for people who happen to hold an opposing view. After all, Ermias has labeled them as power mongers who only are after individual or their group interests.”
I am telling you that the ultra nationalists wouldn’t be right hold me to account for calling them all kind of names. Those who I called Fascists are ethnic fanatics. That is what they are. Is not it?
To my surprise, you came with something unexpected from an intellectual person like which I never expected to read. Here is what you said about Fascism and ethnic;
`“So, far as fascism goes, they raise the ethnically motivated attacks, which I will address below in my answer to your question, as recent example.” End of
Ethnically attacks do not raise fascism! Fascism is a different theory and politics. If you are refereeing, because we referred the ultranationalists in Tigray as they are- that is what they are. They were there before the ethnically motivated attack. TPLF is Fascit party. Is it not? We can discuss it here if you are interested. Mehari Yohannes and Muluwork Kidanemariam and the rest of the ultranationalist groups becoming ultranationalists after they were most of them becoming puppets or members of TPLF . Fascism did start in Tigray in 1967 (Ethiopian calendar).
The second fanny thing here again, you said;-
“You concluded that either I don’t know Mahari Yohannes or intend to mislead you. But, truth is, although I don’t know him in person, I’ve read his writings and watched his interviews. And he’s someone who started the Tigrayan nationalist movement way before most people.” End of Quote.
You might wonder why I said it is fanny. I acknowledge that you are educated (Though I do not know your trailing), but your knowledge of Fascism must be very limited. Tigray nationalist movement did not started by Mehari Yohannes. In fact, It was officially well organized and established in 1967 (Et-Cal) in Dedebit jungle in Tigray. Before that we can go all the way to First Weyane Tigrayan nationalist resistance movement. Some Tigrayan authors and ethnocentric politicians even take it back to the AmdeTsion /ZeraYakob and so era. All those are considered “movements” aren’t they? (Tigray nationalist movement)
Here is the other side of you. You do not buy the ultranationalists goal, but, you end up with ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ and understand why they are that way and feel sympathy for the ultranationalists as the following.;
“And I wouldn’t be apologetic if I had to buy to what he is selling because I now see where his and his comrades’ discontent comes from……’ However, when I saw the ethnic attack that happened recently, and continue to see happening, can’t help but see why the Maharis feel the way they do..”
So, you will late them free of the hook if you are a judge, because you now see where his and his comrades’ discontent comes from. My dear brother Ato Haile, you cant help ‘BUT..’ ethnic nationalism is very contagious- sorry to say this, that is why most of you ethno nationalist elites are regardless how far you claimed to distance yourself from the ultranationalists, that tight ethnic bond is a center gravity to attract the “flocks”. Once one is inside that foamy pouch of ethnic cocoon, they will have different dye like the butterfly, but same butterfly.
I will tell you a commentary I did on my own Ethio Semay on Merera Gudina and others. Merera Gudina think he is far from the ultra nationalists- but, he is not; her is what he said when he was participating the OSA conference in Minnesota.
“Over the last quarter century, Oromo activists have grown matured politically. I have also outgrown my views. All of us have transcended our limitations. We find ourselves in the same boat in the rising tide of Oromo nationalism. Today, Oromo nationalism a rising boat that is able to accommodate all of us. t is with this new spirit that I am addressing OSA as a Keynote speaker twenty two years later…” (Merera Gudina)
That shows a rotten apple, plus a rotten apple, plus a rotten apple you may continue adding up – will never produce a good healthy apple!
I will quote you again- since you said it is your last discussion to comeback. You quoted me saying
“And you are telling us he is a considered a hero for wishing the death and destruction of Ethiopia?” (this is in regard to Mehari Yohannes.)
“Not quite. Rather, if I weren’t clear enough, I reiterate – seeing what happened and continues to happen or being said about Tegaru in the rest of Ethiopia – there’s an increasing number of people, by that of course the social media engaged type, who see leaving Ethiopia as an option.”
Here we go! Tigrayans never started to leave Ethiopia as an option when they were ruling Ethiopia- because, no one touched them- they were comfortably on the helm of power where they live, their people were the rulers in Ethiopia. That is why. Now, the game is changed. The Oromo are now the rulers (one after the other!) Oromo can sleep on the street of Addis with his MENCHA, no one can say anything (Oromo are the rulers). The Qero Oromo thugs can stop any Christian with cross symbol on his neck, they can stop him and snatch his cross and throw it, Oromo Police have the full right to take down the symbol of Orthodox Christian flag or Ethiopian flag at any time they want. 25 banks robed. No one is accountable. Why, because Tigrans are out Oromo are replacing (in) power (at least for now).
You quoted me the following talking about Mehari Yohannes;
“You asked, “Where did you see him changed to the extent you said “That surely has changed in the last couple of years”.
Your answer was;
Here what I tried to say has changed is not Mahar’s view, but rather the view on him or the nationalism he promotes.”
You are confusing me here. The nationalism he promoting never changed. If the nationalism he is promoting is accepted as you said and became a hero of the people. That means Tigrayans are buying “the death of Ethiopia in order to establish Tigray).. The nationalism he promote never changed. What change are you talking about when you said “the nationalism he promotes”.
In a clear and excellent English writing you said iit here
“..That surely has changed in the last couple of years. Not only is Mahari’s position seen as mainstream and accepted by many — political parties, “elites” and ordinary people alike — but also he is a hero for an increasing number of people.” End of Quote.
Whatever the case- he is not changed. So we deserve to call him little fascist – (መሓሪ ዱቸ) )
Finally; You said:
Anyone can say what he wants, but one thing is abundantly clear, Tegaru as a people haven’t attacked other Ethiopians, burned their homes or chased them out. During the height of the ethnic strife, I saw (and shared it on my fb timeline) how Amharas and, to a lesser degrees Oromos by that I mean due to their sheer population size in Tigrai, were treated, and I’m thankful and proud of that.” End of Quote;
Tell me who is leaving in Welkait? Who took over Welkait and who was chased out of Welkait? I will agree with you if TPLF does not represent Tegaru or Tegau ae not represented by TPLF; or if Tigay people did not harbored, feed, built TPLF. By the way, is not TPLF Tegrau. How many in number should it reach to qualify as “people”?
Let me say at my end of my discussion with you. I like to thanks you and still appreciated you for your gentle discussion. I think I found you gentler than the other Tigrayan elites I encounter. We are all Tegaru , but in a different opposite poles. I also want to thanks the Editors of Ethiopia insight (they are great!)
Getachew Reda (Ethio Semay)
Dear Haile Tessema,
Thanks a lot for the feedback . As always, your humbleness and mellow tone gets my undivided attention. Although our point of views are lately growing apart, I still look up to you and I’m one of those fellows out there who try to lean from people sitting on the other side of the aisle. I should also recognize you for sharing us raw facts (not analysis) from Mekelle and you’ve keeping us in the loop. I hope you continue doing that.
Personal bias / resentment
First off, I don’t know Aiga forum’s or Tigrai online’s editorial policy is or how they operate their business. But an article with personal bias and sweeping accusations will not make it’s foot to Ethiopia-Insight. You have no idea what I’ve been through to substantiate my evidences (most of them are linked) to get this article published. I can tell you that much. That doesn’t preclude me from addressing your characterization. I just can’t let it die.
So, what resentment are you referring to? A typical argument could be a retaliation to what tplf might have done to my parents or myself or significant others. I said this because people cost their job, if not their life, should they go against the party’s will. However, none if this applied to us. During my recent visit to Ethiopia, I had a great time (you’ve read my poem). I was in Hawelti celebrating Tigrai Festival. My aging parents are thankful as they are enjoying their retirement life sharing with the great people of Mekelle during good and bad times. You actually confirmed recently with full confidence how respectful they are when you saw a comment from one of the lowest common denominators on my face book page (Maykka Agz). In case you wonder, I did my civic duty as a young architect. I left National Consultants (Loc. Addis Ababa), the then #1 consulting office in Ethiopia, to build the cultural and building complex of the Marty’s project. I was fortunate for that. After teaching few years in MU, I got scholarship in the US and the rest is history. I have never had any connection with the party or what’s so ever. So, not only did I express any perosnal bais, but there’s no room for that in Ethiopia-Insight.
Here’s the problem, I wouldn’t mind for others to open their big mouth and accuse me; chances are they don’t me or my parents. To hear that from somebody I highly honor and respect felt like I was surrounded by an air of melancholy. Unless you substantiate your characterization, I’d appreciate if you retract it. As I always advise my readers, leave the author alone and rip his mindset apart.
Back to my response:
I noticed Getachew Reda shared his well-thought response on two segments. I can’t thank him enough for saving my virtual inks. I suggest that everybody read it as I endorse most of his argument and his clarification. I can give you so many examples on what tactics the first group are doing to snatch the power from the incumbent party. But the two Getahews played my part in defense of my argument. Mehari (shockingly described by you as “the hero whose agenda made it to the main stream media”) has actually stated that he wants power. Camouflaged by Sebhidri a civic organization, after working the leg work, his sinisters reached a maturity and he’s resigning to seek power. Did he ever give an ultimatum to Debretsion like be nationalist or I will take the power from you? I hope you don’t challenge me for stating Baytona and SW’s desire to take over political power using “whatever it costs” approach (ዝሃብካ ሂብካ ምህፍታም). I haven’t analyzed them deeply as much as you do because that needs enough research on their program. But it wasn’t a rocket science to tell their strategy to win the hearts and minds of the poor through sensationalizing issues.
You said “What if the objective is entirely the opposite, i.e. to empower the president, thereby make him as nationalist as can be.” Haile, I can’t conceive the rationale behind your counterargument. These men are no longer activists. They are politicians. They have vested interest. They believe they can serve the people better should they take the power. How is that empowering the president? One should rather ask how they got formed. They are the end product of TPLF. Where were they all those years when TPLF had her world, yet leaving the region impoverished? Where were they when people were getting fired for their political view. What did they say when founder (ex- member) of the party couldn’t even pay a respect to his friends funeral; couldn’t even see his extended family in Tigrai? First of all, these ultra-nationalists wouldn’t be around had TPLF not been marginalized. When you speak up, they would say “ኣይግዚኡን”.
TPLF wants these new parties to be around for they would join her fighting the central politics. Does that help Enderta Gebar improve his life by getting enough share from his land grab? Will that bring the corrupted individuals to justice? These groups and Tplf have actually one big thing in common – expect Tegaru to be politically and nationally homogeneous. That would be physically impossible & practically never going to happen. It’s actually an insult to the general public’s basic intelligence. Because they don’t appreciate diversity within Tigrai (you know what I’m talking about, dialectics being one them). The region is as big as Ruwanda, but it’s still taboo to think otherwise. Hence, in my dictionary, these parties rationale is not genuine at all. They formed a party because they believe tigray needs an ultra-nationalist party to fulfill its national interest or TPLF is not natinalist (ዋይ ውርደት) .. You should listen to Aboy Sebhat’s comment on that subject.
About the affluent elite, you should listen to the full version of the video of their conference with Debretsion. It’s hilarious. They considered themselves as saviors. They literally said “ if you want us to save you(tplf), we should discuss openly”.
Last but not least, on your remark with regards to secession, you expected me to rather write a “solid argument on why the ethno-nationalists’ cause is misguided; how secession could be politically, economically and socially harmful”. Why do we mix up things brother? It’s not the purpose of the article. Ghetachew Gebrekiros already analyzed that.
With your potential, I can only hope that one day you’ll realize how externalizing internal problems “እይ ግዚኡን” is detrimental effect to creating a competitive society.
Thank you again, Ato Getachew Reda for taking time to engage in this discussion.
You started with the question and answer:
“… which kind of opponents are we discussing here about? We are talking on opponents who are causing great and irreparable harm to our country’s existence and unity. These are models that accounts for a wide range of negative public behaviors, including as I said above “ruing a country”.
They, on their part, assert that it’s those in the pretext of a single, unified Ethiopia who do not recognize diversity, and are hell-bent to subjugate people who do not share their ethnic background, language, culture and history that are “ruining the country”.
You of course are free to share Ermias’ view and “… applaud him for coming forward leaving behind all the pathetic Tigrayan elites who are busy appeasing the ultranationalists propaganda”. And, come to think of it, it wouldn’t be right to hold you to account for coming with all kinds of names for people who happen to hold an opposing view. After all, Ermias has labeled them as powermongers who only are after individual or their group interests.
Yet, likewise – as I alluded to in my earlier response – there’s no shortage of people on the other side of the fence who accuse the kinds of Ermias as power and prestige hungry and puppets of the incumbent PM.
My point: It’d be more productive and informative to the reading audience to stick to the point of why a given ideology, policy or practice is not in the best interest of the people we all claim to stand for without going overboard on unproven motives.
So, far as fascism goes, they raise the ethnically motivated attacks, which I will address below in my answer to your question, as recent example.
You concluded that either I don’t know Mahari Yohannes or intend to mislead you. But, truth is, although I don’t know him in person, I’ve read his writings and watched his interviews. And he’s someone who started the Tigrayan nationalist movement way before most people.
And I wouldn’t be apologetic if I had to buy to what he is selling because I now see where his and his comrades’ discontent comes from. But, for the sake of honesty and b/c my record speaks for itself; let me reveal that I don’t fully agree with him. In particular, I don’t see separation as a bed of roses as it’s depicted to be. To the contrary, I imagine that it’s going to be politically, economically and socially detrimental and painful to everyone – the potentially separating and the remaining. In this politically and socioeconomically connected, globalized world, unity and harmony would be the way to go.
However, when I saw the ethnic attack that happened recently, and continue to see happening, can’t help but see why the Maharis feel the way they do. And I know for a fact that am not the only one: I see it in a circle of family members, friends, colleagues and strangers whenever I hold this discussion.
You grieved, “And you are telling us he is a considered a hero for wishing the death and destruction of Ethiopia?” Not quite. Rather, if I weren’t clear enough, I reiterate – seeing what happened and continues to happen or being said about Tegaru in the rest of Ethiopia – there’s an increasing number of people, by that of course the social media engaged type, who see leaving Ethiopia as an option.
You asked, “Where did you see him changed to the extent you said “That surely has changed in the last couple of years”. Here what I tried to say has changed is not Mahar’s view, but rather the view on him or the nationalism he promotes.
Who said in 2005 “ዕቃ ወደ ቀበሌ፤ ትግሬ ወደ መቀሌ”? Quite a few people. As a matter of fact, I was visiting Ethio from North America at that time, and heard the complaint from many Tegaru who at work, in their social contacts and even randomly by strangers have been told so.
The problem and unbridgeable difference in our opinions is that you tend to link what TPLF, as a political party and a govt. in power, has done with that of the people of Tigrai. Yet, while I agree with you that politicians, intellectuals and prominent Tegaru should speak up when atrocities against any ethnic group occurs, what I’m talking about is ordinary Tegaru.
Anyone can say what he wants, but one thing is abundantly clear, Tegaru as a people haven’t attacked other Ethiopians, burned their homes or chased them out. During the height of the ethnic strife, I saw (and shared it on my fb timeline) how Amharas and, to a lesser degrees Oromos by that I mean due to their sheer population size in Tigrai, were treated, and I’m thankful and proud of that.
To sum up, I think we’ve said enough, at least I have, and don’t think there’s anything new to add on my side. On top of that, am not a columnist or journalist to engage in one single topic for this long (besides, I’ve another Ghetachew to respond to in a very similar fashion). And am sure you’ve other things to do as well. So, unless there’s untouched issue to get to, this will be it for me, while of course you can have the final word.
Thank you and cheers!
Thank you Ermias Amare for your great article.
Dear Haile Tessema, I would like to say you welcome for your gratitude. And let me proceed to my observations against your remarks on Ermias’s article.
Ermias , in this article has framed 3 physically different political bodies but conceptually coherent in their purpose on the present political affairs of Tigrai saying “Three interest groups are competing to influence the president of Tigrai The power hungry, the affluent elite, and the old guards of Tigrayan politics and TPLF”.
You started your remarks opposing the categorical approach. Well, that is normal. But, you continued to clarify why you oppose Ermias’s classification saying “And, except perhaps for the third group, I find Ermias’ assessment based more on personal bias or resentment than proven facts, and here is why.“
Primarily, Haile, I was expecting you to exhibit for readers your evidence of personal bias or resentment of Ermias Amare displayed in the article, if you have.
I don’t believe that you will merely drop such weighty claims for the purpose of attracting acclamation of some groups.
Now let me keep on stating my core remarks.
Ermias argued that “The power-hungry category primarily comprises Mekele University academics and ethno-nationalists whose interests are for Debretsion to maintain hostile
Relations with the central government as well as with his constituents, leaving his leadership economically and politically hollow, and creating an opportunity
To eventually usurp power.”
In my view, this is unquestionably true on account of many indications.
The folks who are categorized under this set are enthusiasts of caring TPLF narrating external threat for the people in their social media posts, interviews and movements. On the contrary they are too feeble to dissent against human right violations and governance challenges in the region. They easily accept excuse of the ruling party.
Have you seen any demonstration from these political parties, civic societies or groups against TPLF in Tigray?
However, they have marched many times by themselves and even with TPLF to belittle the federal government.
When I read your article, I was highly puzzled by the following question forwarded against Ermias.” Can’t the fact that the people of Tigrai have been targeted by politicians,
Activists, and elites of other ethnic groups, particularly the Amhara, to this very day, serve as a catalyst to turn some into becoming ethnic-centered
& ultranationalist? “
In fact, Ermias Amare is one of the ardent opponents of such movement. He has even gone to say I’m woyanay.” In his social media posts repeatedly. Hence, accusing him as oblivious to the problem is not proper at all.
Monumental failure of TPLF is dragging the people of Tigrai to yet another bitter struggle. Moreover, there is one familiarized myth in Tigray following the defeat of the party in the federal front. We know that TPLF has betrayed the people. But if we at this critical time dared TPLF, there is no any alternative organized force that takes care of our survival.
In my understanding, TPLF and the other keen forces to TPLF know this blanck cheque. And they are exchanging it as they wish.
They don’t want to see new political dynamism in the region. These 3 forces are directly or indirectly playing that drama.
I agree with you ultimately that Debrestion Gebremichael is not different from these groups. He has not prospective of leadership. I don’t expect any miracle from his leadership in the region.
From Getachew Reda- Response to Haile Tessema; (segment -2)
I thank you too for responding. Now, to your response.
“I think we’ll have to get out of using spiteful words and demonizing opponents if the objective here is a healthy discussion and debate.” Here is a problem with this view.
Mr. Haile, which kind of opponents are we discussing here about? We are talking on opponents who are causing great and irreparable harm to our country’s existence and unity. These are models that accounts for a wide range of negative public behaviors, including as I said above “ruing a country”. So, to demonize the growth of Nazi type elements in Tigray is appropriate at any discussion.
Condemning the act and actors of Fascism in Tigray or elsewhere should not obscure healthy discussion unless one wants to defend it. Don’t they deserve to be called lunatic? God doesn’t even condemn demonizing demons? The term is created by the creator for reason- (for us to use it) . I will demonstrate below why ultra nationalists deserve to demonize by us – ‘the public’.
As I stated earlier, Ermias already understood very well the danger looming in Tigray by these ultranationalists’ activity. That is why I applaud him for coming forward leaving behind all the pathetic Tigrayan elites who are busy appeasing the ultranationalists propaganda (to the extent even you seemed to like to inform us that one of the leading Tigrayan Fascist propagandist Mehari Yohannes is a seen as a hero and mainstream politician.
Because of his acceptance, you seemed to advise us to mellow down from spiteful words or demonizing the ultranationalists (“opponents”). It is fanny you want us to believe Mehari Yohannes is mainstream politician accepted by an increasingly number of Tigrayans as hero.
Here is what you said:
“As Ermias may recall, when Mahari Yohannes (unashamedly diehard nationalist both you and Ermias mentioned), for example, raised the issue of Tigrayan nationalism and the quest for independence a few years back, most — if not nearly all Tegaru — used to jump up & down on him, and treat him like an outcast with all kinds of colorful & derogatory terms thrown at him, and he was warned that Tigrai is part of Ethiopia, and that its future is sealed with the “mother country”.
That surely has changed in the last couple of years. Not only is Mahari’s position seen as mainstream and accepted by many — political parties, “elites” and ordinary people alike — but also he is a hero for an increasing number of people.” End of quote.
“ There you have it! Seriously? You are not kidding me brother Haile? You said “That surely has changed in the last couple of years”. When was the last time you hear him? Do you ever follow this guy? Let me quote him for you since you have no clue on him or you are intentionally misleading us.
Have you ever read his book published few months ago on 2011 (Ethiopian calendar) title ትግራይ ሎሚ’ ኸ ናበይ!?
Before I quote him- I like readers to know that the term he used “ክልውጦም” is wrong –he should use the word “ክንልውጦም/ንክንልውጦም”. Okay, let me quote him.
Here on page 222, says;
8.2- ናብ ረብሓና ክልውጦም ንኽእል ዕድላት
ከምቲ ዝራአናዮ ሓደጋታት እንተሃለው’ ውን፤ ንምስረታ ሃገረ ትግራይ ዝጥዕሙን ጽዒርና ናብ ረብሓና ክንልውጦም ንኽእል ዕድላት ይፍጠሩ ከምዘለውን ክንፈጥር ከምንኽእልን ምጭባጥ የድሊ።
ኣብዚ ቀዳማይ ዕድል ተባሂሉ ክጥቀስ ዝኽእል፤ ኢትዮጵያ ናብ ሓደገኛ ግን ንዓና ዝጠቅም ናይ ምፍራስ መንገዲ ተምርሕ ምህላዋ እዩ።”
Mehari is talking to all of you in a clear and unsophisticated term, that Ethiopia is going to a dangerous rout and heading to her final distraction/burial, therefore Her death and destruction is in benefit to us Tigrayans> Is this a mainstream? And you are telling us he is a considered a hero for wishing the death and destruction of Ethiopia? Is this not few months ago that he published his book? Where did you see him changed to the extent you said “That surely has changed in the last couple of years”. Please! I am sorry, this is sad, and pains me so much to see educated elites can’t see what is coming from such lunatics who wish the entire 3000 years civilization and hard struggle destroyed so they can establish “Republic of Tigray”. How sad!
Here is the other fanny question you forwarded to Ermias to answer it for you.
“But how could Ermias overlook the call made as early as in 2005 “ዕቃ ወደ ቀበሌ፤ ትግሬ ወደ መቀሌ” (Goods to city admin; Tigraians to Mekelle, i.e. confiscate their belongings and deport them to their regional capital), which was a cause for widening the gap.”
The same question goes back to you to answer it. Who said in 2005 “ዕቃ ወደ ቀበሌ፤ ትግሬ ወደ መቀሌ”? Explain to me who said such call? Waiting to hear your answer then I will discuss with you based on your respond, having said, what are you expecting Ermias to do? Not to challenge the ultranationalists? What does Ermias has to do with it- “ዕቃ ወደ ቀበሌ፤ ትግሬ ወደ መቀሌ”? ? I am sure he or any one, not only Tigrayan , but any human being doesn’t support such ethnic cleansing call. So, I have no idea why you brought such issue to see his perspective how he (Ermias) overlook the call. Ermias surely will feel the same you feel. The issue is who did the call and why?
You also came with something different issue as if Ermias support the following;
“How about the targeting of ordinary Tegaru & business people (physical attacks, the burning of homes and businesses & killings) in several parts of Ethiopia, particularly Amhara, including in a house of worship, in guilty by association collective blaming mode
Yet, none of the non-Tigraian political leaders or govt. officials; religious or community leaders; intellectuals or prominent citizens spoke up to denounce the atrocities or call for separation of a political party., govt. & the people. In fact, a good number of them were applauding the inhumane act, and inciting for more. This, more than anything else, has fuelled the Tigraian nationalism sentiment.”
Are you really serious? Though one of the victims is my younger brother who was TPLF guerrilla fighter all his life since young boy, came home from the jungle as victorious (?) with a bullet still in his head and TPLF did not give a dumb to treat him (which I already commented on media when the Amhara mob jumped on him while walking on the street, for no reason at all, just for responding to their inquiry if he is a Tigrayan or other ethnic- he said Tigartayna, and massive Amhara mobs jumped on him. As the result, ruined his kidney, and admitted in the hospital- no government, but me was the one who bear the heavy hospital expense to treat his trauma) , With all this knowledge I have, I want to ask you back what did Tigrayans say when Eritreans were deported by your TPLF leader Meles Zenawi, because TPLF did not like the color of their eyes?
What did Tigrayans said when ethnic cleansing was committed against Amhara by TPLF and OPDO/IOLF/OLF? I will tell you on my next round detail how Tigrayans were acting when such atrocity was committed. For now, I will again want you to dispute the following comment by Dr.Assefa Negash which I post it last night, if such is not true.
“በአክራሪ ብሄረተኛነት ስሜት የተለከፉ የአንድ ነገድ ተወላጆች በሌሎች ነገዶች ላይ የክፋት ድርጊቶችን ሲፈጽሙባቸው እነሱ በሌሎች ነገዶች ተወላጆች ላይ በሚፈጽሟቸው የክፋት ሥራዎች ምክንያት ምንም ዓይነት የእፍረት፡ የሀዘኔታም ሆነ የጸጸት ስሜት አይሰማቸውም። አብዛኛዎቹ የአንድ የአክራሪ ብሄረተኛ መንግስት ወይም ቡድን ተከታዮች እነሱ የእኛ መንግስት ነው የሚሉት ኃይል በሌሎች ከእነሱ ነገድ ውጭ ባሉ የሌሎች ነገዶች ተወላጆች ላይ የሚፈጽመውን ማናቸውም ዓይነት የእብሪት ድርጊት፤ የጅምላ ጭፍጨፋ፤ የዘር ማጽዳት (ethnic cleansing)፤ ኢኮኖሚያዊ፤ ማህበረሰባዊ፤ ፓለቲካዊና ባህላዊ መድሎዎችን የሚያስፋፉ ፓሊሲዎችን ሁሉ ካለ አንዳች የይሉኝታና የፍትሃዊነት ስሜት ይደግፋሉ። (this was true with Tigrayans)
ባለፉት ሃያ ሰባት ዓመታት የወያኔ መንግስት በኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ የአንድን አናሳ ነገድ ጥቅም በበላይነት የሚያስጠብቁ የአፓርታይድ ፓሊሲዎችን ነድፎ ተፈጻሚ አድርጓል። እነዚህ ፓሊሲዎች ደግሞ ብዙሃኑ የኢትይጵያ ህዝብ የሲዖል ህይወት እንዲመራ አድርገዋል። ይሁን እንጂ በእነዚህ ረጅም ዓመታት አንድም ጊዜ ቢሆን አብዛኞቹ የትግራይ ተወላጆች በዚህ የአፓርታይድ ሥርዓት ላይ ተቃውሞ አላሰሙም። እንዲያውም በእነዚህ ዓመታት ሁሉ አብዛኞቹ ትግሬዎች (በዝምታቸውም ይሁን ምንም ባለማድረጋቸው – through silence or inaction) ከዚህ ዘረኛ መንግስት ጀርባ በደጋፊነት ቆመዋል።” (ዶ/ር አሰፋ ነጋሽ)
Didn’t this explain the mirror of Tigrayans? So now because similar abuse occurred to Tigrayans, all in a sudden they are the only ethnic cleansing victims and you want to blame others. Tell me where were you when the Amhar were mass murdered by TPLF and OPDO/OLF….what were Tigrayans saying about such atrocity? What were you saying/ if not what is your perspective about Professor Asrat Weldeyes death and incarceration by TPLF? How come Tigrayan nationalism failed to rise up when TPLF was targeting Amhara elites/ fired from all jobs and universities with all the atrocities? Why do you feel others to feel sorry when no Tigrayans (99%) went silent during the government ethnic cleansing done to the Amhara. Gambella and so on…? You guys cry loud and blame others when it only happen to Tigrayan? Why are we Tigrayans discriminative and pick and choose type character?
Let me conclude with this message to the TPLF ultranationalists’ and their appeasing elements. With poet Debebe Seyfu’s “Tire Chewe”
ጥሬ ጨው – ደበበ ሰይፉ
መስለውኝ ነበረ ፣
የሰው ፍጡሮች ፣
ለካ እነሱ ናቸው ፣
ጥሬ ጨው..ጥሬ ጨው
ጥሬ ጨዋዎች ፣
ገና እሚቀራቸው ..
Getachew Reda (Ethio Semay)
Thank you Getachew Reda for your feedback.
I think we’ll have to get out of using spiteful words and demonizing opponents if the objective here is a healthy discussion and debate.
You’re right, I’ve had my opinion pieces published on Aiga Forum awa Tigrai Online. As an “independent media” still remains elusive within & outside Ethiopia, these two served me and others as useful outlets to tell our side of the story for which I remain grateful to both.
Back to the main issue of discussion: I can see how Ermias’ fallaciously one-sided view of the political situation in Tigrai appeals to you as it clearly tends to exonerate or take the blame from one (your?) side to that of Tigrayan ethno / ultranationalists.
But how could Ermias overlook the call made as early as in 2005 “ዕቃ ወደ ቀበሌ፤ ትግሬ ወደ መቀሌ” (Goods to city admin; Tigraians to Mekelle, i.e. confiscate their belongings and deport them to their regional capital), which was a cause for widening the gap.
How about the targeting of ordinary Tegaru & business people (physical attacks, the burning of homes and businesses & killings) in several parts of Ethiopia, particularly Amhara, including in a house of worship, in guilty by association collective blaming mode.
Yet, none of the non-Tigraian political leaders or govt. officials; religious or community leaders; intellectuals or prominent citizens spoke up to denounce the atrocities or call for separation of a political party., govt. & the people. In fact, a good number of them were applauding the inhumane act, and inciting for more.
This, more than anything else, has fuelled the Tigraian nationalism sentiment.
As Ermias may recall, when Mahari Yohannes (unashamedly diehard nationalist both you and Ermias mentioned), for example, raised the issue of Tigrayan nationalism and the quest for independence a few years back, most — if not nearly all Tegaru — used to jump up & down on him, and treat him like an outcast with all kinds of colorful & derogatory terms thrown at him, and he was warned that Tigrai is part of Ethiopia, and that its future is sealed with the “mother country”.
That surely has changed in the last couple of years. Not only is Mahari’s position seen as mainstream and accepted by many — political parties, “elites” and ordinary people alike — but also he is a hero for an increasing number of people.
So, how could someone as well immersed in Ethiopian politics in general and in Tigrai politics in particular as Ermias choose to overlook this fact. At the very least, if he doesn’t want to recognize this as the underlying cause, he at least could’ve made the claim (still a false claim in my book) that it’s the nationalists’ manipulation, not the attack in and of itself, that has triggered nationalism in Tigrai.
But to conveniently zoom in on a particular issue; pigeonhole concerned individuals and groups in one category, and label them as power hungry comes across as irresponsible and outrageous.
Another thing I forgot to mention in my previous comment, don’t know why Ermias chooses to believe, and promote the view, that Dr. Debretsion has a differing position from his comrades, hence giving “Last Man Standing” title to his article, I guess.
I asked him once, and he gave me a vague answer that it’s because there’s a fact he knows / believes or something to that effect. And I wonder if he has a soft spot in his heart for DD, as Ermias likes to call him, or if it’s an attempt on divide and conquer.
As for me, Dr. Debretsion is equally responsible for the accomplishments or failures of the current TPLF leadership.
From Getachew Reda (Ethio Semay)
Dear ‘Ayte’ Haile Tessema;
I read your reaction on Ermias Amare’s article on which I disagree with you. In the last several years, I followed your writings on your favorite Aigaforum.com website, which I never like it (I hope it is not you), You wrote here something on Ermias labeling his view as ‘bias’ for commenting rightly on the power-hungry group most of them are University academics who are ultranationalists (Tigray First) power hungry elements?
“The power-hungry category primarily comprises Mekele University academics and ethno-nationalists whose interests are for Debretsion to maintain hostile relations with the central government”is completely true!
Ermias was absolutely on the mark for exposing the tactic of the Tigray First ultranationalists group most of them University academics’ “…leaving his/DebreTsion/ leadership economically and politically hollow, and creating an opportunity to eventually usurp power.” That was the clear tactic of the elements like SebHidri, Baytona and Salsay Woyane and many unorganized ultra nationals’ individuals from the University. Competition for power always comes after the state collapses economically or otherwise, that is true here.
Do you expect these ultranationalists in Mekele University will openly declare they are working against TPLF to create economic havoc in Tigray knowing the consequence? No. what they will do is exploiting its members to abandon or oppose the failing organization leadership. So opportunity for power competition inevitably will occur that way.
That is why one commentator on Aiga critiqued them for focusing their majority time in politics than academic research. That tells you many things. Take a look at the leader of the so called SebHidri who is a very scary and disgusting fascist, a young man extremely possessed with hate towards Amhara & Ethiopia. His name Mahari Yohannes;- his message to an audience why he is struggling the failing (ትግራይ ተጠሊሙ mantra )TPLF and the“Amhara country”Ethiopia says it all. He said, “If you ask me if I am struggling for power- yes, I am fighting for power. If you have no power your goal will not be fulfilled.”My goal is power!” That is what he said. So, therefore, Mr. Haile Tessema- where is Ermias’s bias towards these ultranationalists whom most are university elites.
Ermias superbly applied it this way, “Those that fall into this category have strategically gained the support of the masses in Tigray by sensationalizing issues and spreading nationalism.” Is that not true?
These lunatics have the gut to go back to hundreds and thousands of years talking about how Axum/Tigray was abused by Amhara or by Showa/Menlik and so on. Nothing mentioning what Yohannes/Alula / did to others or to the national sovereignty. all these idiotic ethno nationalist propaganda was spread to the mass and reverberated by the mass which in return created “Collective narcissism, looking for dominance or power. All this propaganda is to gain power back to Tigray (no doubt the ethno nationalists final goal is “power).
Tigrayan elites most of you, need to reexamine your conscious. Followers of ethno-nationalist ideology in Tigray, no matter what their academic or intellectual background may be (be them social scientists, Physicians or historians), are apt to fall into the trap of ethnic demagogues as they have given up their individuality, their conscience and identified themselves with the defective thinking of demagogic ethnic leaders such as Meles Zenawi who do the work of thinking for all their blind ethnic followers. That might include some of you discussing with me here my brothers and sisters.
So, for Ermias to state “…This politically ambitious group also criticize the absence of nationalist leadership, implicating that TPLF’s role in this regard is insufficient.” Such statement certainly echoed by this power-hungry group seeking change and power. Is that not what they said in most of their arguments when they talk about why TPLF is falling apart?
This is because Meles Zenawi who do the work of thinking for all their blind ethnic followers is not there with them anymore. So to replace the vacuum, these power-hungry groups are working hard openly to replace Meles Zenawi’s Fascist ideology if possible to remove the old guard, most if not all are criminals. The motto“ተጠሊምና” has the power to seek power.
Thanks Getachew Reda (Ethio Semay)
Would like to start by thanking Ghetachew Gebrekiros for bringing my attention to Ermias Amare’s article on Ethiopia Insight.
I do not only wholeheartedly recognize Ermias’ right to his opinion, but also admire his typical courage to freely and boldly express his views, which indeed is in short supply in our political discourse.
In this article, Ermias shares his take on the current state of politics in Tigrai and how “Three interest groups are competing to influence” the president of Tigrai, which he categorizes, “The power hungry, the affluent elite, and the old guards of Tigrayan politics and TPLF”.
And, except perhaps for the third group, I find Ermias’ assessment based more on personal bias or resentment than proven facts, and here is why.
“The power-hungry category primarily comprises Mekele University academics and ethno-nationalists whose interests are for Debretsion to maintain hostile relations with the central government as well as with his constituents, leaving his leadership economically and politically hollow, and creating an opportunity to eventually usurp power.”
On what evidence is this based, particularly the allegation that there is a hidden desire / agenda to drain DT politically and economically? What if the objective is entirely the opposite, i.e. to empower the president, thereby make him as nationalist as can be.
And how could Ermias be sure that the entire motive is to obtain power and prestige? Can’t the fact that the people of Tigrai have been targeted by politicians, activists, and elites of other ethnic groups, particularly the Amhara, to this very day, serve as a catalyst to turn some into becoming ethnic-centered & ultranationalist?
While strongly disagreeing with the ethno-nationalist approach, if Ermias is not willing to see the potential underlying causes favoring, instead, simplistic and devalued factors for personal gain, does it occur to him that the same allegation is often made from the opposite camp? That anyone who works with the incumbent PM, for instance, is perceived as an opportunist who is after ministerial or vice, agency head, ambassadorial position or a delusional daydreaming to be the next Mustefa Omar?
This is not to claim that there are no overly ambitious individuals who chase political power and economic benefits in both camps. But you just can’t downgrade a cause / movement with a legitimate concern into solely individual interest.
Instead, what I would expect from Ermias and someone of his caliber is to come up with a solid argument on why the ethno-nationalists’ cause is misguided; how secession could be politically, economically and socially harmful, and why it’s in the best interest of everyone to stay together, etc., thereby refute the opposing view.
By the same token, the onus would be on the ethno-nationalists to present their argument why Tigrai should secede if it has to, and what makes them think that the region will be better off going it alone without having to condemn Ethiopianists and coming up with all kinds of names for them.
On the “affluent elite”, Ermias asserts:
“These economic class vessels of the region, who mostly still live in Addis Ababa, have been pushing for Debretsion to remain defensive and continue to challenge the central government, until the pushing out of investors and elites comes to a halt.”
This is news to me, and while I won’t argue that there are none as claimed, the common denominator of this group is, as expected from businesses all over the world, to protect their immobile wealth, and continue to generate profit wherever their companies are established.
This is in fact why Abiy Ahmed reportedly picked them (instead of religious & community leaders) to mediate truce with TPLF leaders.
To sum up, I think it’d be in our people’s best interest to focus on the main issues, challenges and solutions as opposed to side issues.
Haile, I describe your comment as “Ermias debunked”…Ermias makes wild accusations about TPLF and everybody else in Tigray. He displays poor judgment using hyperbolic descriptions: such as affluent elites craving economic power and playing the ethnic card, etc. – this sounds like a made up accusation. Debretsion deserves a better understanding of his leadership in the current political climate than Ermias is willing to give due consideration – this is Ermias’ shortcoming.
From- Getachew Reda (Ethio Semay)
Before I go on to put my comment on the article, I like to praise my good friend and my brother Ermias Amare on this superbly explained the current mirror in Tigray. I myself, as an ardent critique to most of the Tigrayan educated elites for many of their servitude to TPLF; -it is my heartfelt honesty when I say Ermias is one of the very handful Tigrayan I actually admire whom I followed him in the last few years reading his papers and well articulated arguments. On this his latest article- I have no much disagreement, but to say Bravo Ermi!!
Having said that, I will add something to his unexpanded or jumped intentionally on some of his lines. Here Ermi wrote;
a) “With Abiy Ahmed as Prime Minister and the end of Tigray People’s Liberation Front’s hegemony, Ethiopia’s political climate has become saturated with anti-Tigrayan sentiment that has contributed to the isolation of the former northern powerhouse. As a result, the region’s acting president and TPLF chairman, Debretsion Gebremichael, has received unprecedented support and praise, looked up to almost as the region’s savior.
b) “Despite the scars of economic deprivation his party imprinted on the region over the past two decades, the events of this past led to public acceptance of him, giving the leader the benefit of the doubt in several regards.
c) “…Ethiopia’s political climate has become saturated with anti-Tigrayan sentiment that has contributed to the isolation of the former northern powerhouse.”
Three issues need to be explained. Let me take you to the issue in line number (b) then I will deal with line (a and c)
“Despite the scars of economic deprivation his party imprinted on the region over the past two decades, the events of this past led to public acceptance of him………”
I might be wrong for not looking detail at his critique on this issue why the people accept him as a savior regardless his party did not bring economic development to the state; but, there is unique behavioral/political reason why they accept him and his party as a savior regardless economically deprived (if the assessment is true).
As we know TPLF is ethnic party- in fact it is a Fascit party. Therefore, TPLF with all its ugly repression and disposable human rights abuse to the people of Tigray, it developed Tigray better than other areas using its power to benefit its people (let us say its followers).
The evil work of the TPLF strangulating and exploiting Ethiopia using Tigrayan elites in many of its struggle is something that this generation should never forget. My dear friend Dr.Assefa Negash wrote a book called “The pillage of Ethiopia, by Eritreans and Tigrean Surrogates” ; – in that book, on can easily see how the pillage of Ethiopia to benefit Tigraya performed with foreign NGOs and local documented evidence , including that of the government officials interviews and signatures. So, the growth of the Tigray region cant be dismissed easily. The growth of Tigray economic development been accelerated in two ways. First, the policies adopted by the federal government have benefited the people of this region better than anyone else in the budget and project allocation.(see አዲስ ዘመን ጋዜጣ የካቲት 2 ቀን 1989 ዓ. ም. ) Secondly, it is the indigenous peoples of the region that are spread throughout the country, with the governmental support they receive (the benefits of tax, import tax etc. They have taken their villages and have brought significant development and improvement in the Tigray region. In fact Meles started to turn his attention to the rest of the region in Ethiopia after his government threatened and perhaps even defeated by Kenijit party in Addis and elsewhere. Before that, the Green Book was busy documenting Tigray development growth.
line # (c) and I will go to (a)
“…Ethiopia’s political climate has become saturated with anti-Tigrayan sentiment that has contributed to the isolation of the former northern powerhouse.”
Tigrayans climate is surely saturated by anti Tigrayan sentiment. This has reasons for it. We Tigrayans were been advised and still warned not to follow TPLF for many, many, years. no ear. In fact, they showed very arrogant and ugly provocations and superiority upon other ethnic- particularly against Amhara. Therefore, we new this climate was going to be invetibaly occurred. But, fall in a deaf ear. The sequence is seemed seriously very uncomfortable to all of us including to myself as the consequence of the 28 years superiority and arrogance reflected by TPLF cults. This will need details, so, let us put it to another day of discussion and let me go to line # (a)
Now let me take you to line (a)
a) “…..As a result, the region’s acting president and TPLF chairman, Debretsion Gebremichael, has received unprecedented support and praise, looked up to almost as the region’s savior.”
I see that. We have seen, and often seen, the supporters of this government (TPLF), the majority of the people of this tribe, as opposed to the other peoples of Ethiopia. In Ethiopia, where the TPLF struggles are widely spread and under the influence of the TPLF, they have been the eye and ear of this government, under the influence of the TPLF regime. This is not new for the Tigrayans to side with TPLF leaders for the following reason. Tigrayans (most perhaps 95% I am talking about mainly the elite-city and town duelers) are followers of “radical nationalism/extreme nationalism”.
What is radical nationalism? How does it change the natives of one tribe?
Extremist nationalism embodies an extremist political movement that blindly nurtures the people of a tribe as a human crowd. Anyone who is a member of a radical nationalist organization or a political movement is showing too much love for my people or my people. He/she will develop a great deal of hatred and contempt for those of the other tribes who live with him, just like those outside his tribe. A staunch supporter of a radical nationalist or extremist government or organization believes in certainty that his or her indigenous peoples are superior to any other ethnic group. You can openly listen on their arguments, read their books and writings and songs in Tigray.
Members of a tribe who belong to an extremist national movement or government tend to treat others with disdain other than their own (this is true in Tigray by TPLF followers) . What I am describing about the characteristics of radical nationalists today includes organizations and their supporters who advocate radical nationalism, which concentrates on the identity of a tribe. A radical nationalist would regard any person of his tribe as the evil of the other tribes, regardless of the severity of their actions.
So let me end this with an explain elaboration by my friend Dr.Assefa’s argument to this as response to why Tigrayans are now behind TPLF’s DebreTsion.
በአክራሪ ብሄረተኛነት ስሜት የተለከፉ የአንድ ነገድ ተወላጆች በሌሎች ነገዶች ላይ የክፋት ድርጊቶችን ሲፈጽሙባቸው እነሱ በሌሎች ነገዶች ተወላጆች ላይ በሚፈጽሟቸው የክፋት ሥራዎች ምክንያት ምንም ዓይነት የእፍረት፡ የሀዘኔታም ሆነ የጸጸት ስሜት አይሰማቸውም። አብዛኛዎቹ የአንድ የአክራሪ ብሄረተኛ መንግስት ወይም ቡድን ተከታዮች እነሱ የእኛ መንግስት ነው የሚሉት ኃይል በሌሎች ከእነሱ ነገድ ውጭ ባሉ የሌሎች ነገዶች ተወላጆች ላይ የሚፈጽመውን ማናቸውም ዓይነት የእብሪት ድርጊት፤ የጅምላ ጭፍጨፋ፤ የዘር ማጽዳት (ethnic cleansing)፤ ኢኮኖሚያዊ፤ ማህበረሰባዊ፤ ፓለቲካዊና ባህላዊ መድሎዎችን የሚያስፋፉ ፓሊሲዎችን ሁሉ ካለ አንዳች የይሉኝታና የፍትሃዊነት ስሜት ይደግፋሉ። ባለፉት ሃያ ሰባት ዓመታት የወያኔ መንግስት በኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ የአንድን አናሳ ነገድ ጥቅም በበላይነት የሚያስጠብቁ የአፓርታይድ ፓሊሲዎችን ነድፎ ተፈጻሚ አድርጓል። እነዚህ ፓሊሲዎች ደግሞ ብዙሃኑ የኢትይጵያ ህዝብ የሲዖል ህይወት እንዲመራ አድርገዋል። ይሁን እንጂ በእነዚህ ረጅም ዓመታት አንድም ጊዜ ቢሆን አብዛኞቹ የትግራይ ተወላጆች በዚህ የአፓርታይድ ሥርዓት ላይ ተቃውሞ አላሰሙም። እንዲያውም በእነዚህ ዓመታት ሁሉ አብዛኞቹ ትግሬዎች (በዝምታቸውም ይሁን ምንም ባለማድረጋቸው – through silence or inaction) ከዚህ ዘረኛ መንግስት ጀርባ በደጋፊነት ቆመዋል።” (ዶ/ር አሰፋ ነጋሽ)
This is exactly why Tigrayans are still behind DSebreTsion. They were been puppeting TPLF for years ands still not new. It is those reason mentioned above why they call DebreTsion as their savior. Will he be their savior ? Time will tell. I can only say “Tigrayans need to revolt against TPLF and reshape their Ethiopianism and get rid of this arrogance superiority which will not take us now where, Ermias You did a good job brother! Thanks (Getachew Reda –Ethio Semay)
I do not understand why people should not mind their business. Leave Tigray alone! The main reason TPLF is isolated and hated is not because they did something different than the rest of EPRDF, the reason they want them gone is so that to destroy Tigray! The West, Eritrea, Arabs and Amhara will never back down until they destroy Tigray. It is only Tigray people who continues to fight for its right and destroying their wishes. Regarding other Ethiopians, I am not so sure they know why they hate Tigray. Some are being forced to hate them and others are being tricked for power.
The West and Arabs know, Tigray is not going to be enslaved willingly and needs to be destroyed to get what they want. The Amhara wanted the one religion, one language and Amhara superiority complex to garnish but this will never happen again in Ethiopia.
No more Ethiopia without respecting every single ethnic group.
The one thing that puzzles me the most is, why people take the Tigray people like herds who follow one leader. This article was written with the intentions of dividing the people of Tigray. That is the only way, you will attack Tigray by dividing us and having us kill each other. I do hope that your wishes come to ashes!
To the Tigray people who are involved in this nonsense and grouping with the enemy of Tigray (whether out of Power searching or naively thinking it will help Tigray), open up your eyes. Why would the West, Arabs and Eritrea involve in attacking Tigray? They just want us to eat each other for now. unless they destroyed every single person with Tigray blood or put us like the Red-indians of America in cages, we will never give up our freedom even in another 15o years! We are free and just people.
We are the history of the stupid called current Ethiopia. Yet, they take everything that belong to us and want us to be eliminated!
I am sure you will be saying that I am TPLF cadre but you are wrong. I am just full blood Tigraway!
It was a very great article to read. I had great time reading it and understanding about politics in the Tigray region. The author seems very knowledgeable about what is going on in that part of the country. It was my first time on this website, but i will definitely come back to read more of his articles, thank you soooo much.
Ideology-worship is the main problem with Ethiopian politics, including Tigrean politics. Ethnic nationalism is utterly against the interests of Tigray, it being a small region that sends migrants all over Ethiopia to prosper and that has large business interests in Ethiopia. Yet Tigrean elites cling to it, nonchalantly willing to sacrifice the masses for their ideology. Hopefully they evolve from the politics of ideology to the politics of interest. I hope the wealthy classes will be able to push such progress. That’s what all of Ethiopia needs to move towards a more peaceful politics.
Congratulations on reading us your first(if not mistaken)article on Ethiopia insight.
Enough time,I took to read and digest your article and of course appreciated your boldness to speak your mind,uncommon to many of us.
Here are my reflections and would ask apologies for any naivety or miscalculations done unintentionally.
The first throw of my understanding is if you,the diaspora community of Tigrai ,really understand the beats in us.It’s palpable how difficult it could be to keep upto date with politics of the horn noting its fragility but to narrate it the way you did is steering the interest of the ordinary men to the left.
My second asking ,call it doubting ,is on the existence of the three groups.As a stern TPLF critique ,I don’t see the power mongers and ልምዓታዊ በዓል ሃፍቲ in the group.For one thing ,TPLF is mainly led by class politics and its proponents aka the old guards.It’s here why I was amused when you mention political parties in the progress like the third weyane.To my knowledge ,third weyane mainly focuses in creating a prosperous and autonomous Tigrai while envisioning an Ethiopia that helps its cause.It’s to remember that for TPLF and its wannabes ,a Guatemalan and Tigraian agrarians are of equal caliber ;renaissance is admitting you are in the decadence but staying the same old.This stirred me what have third weyane,a social democrat party ,to be compeer with?
Your appeasement has some substance ,particularly the notion of regional government’s failure to serve to the public majority and lack of internal reforms.
But do you think it happened because Debretsion(PhD) is busy appeasing the 3 groups ?
It’s NO,by a miles distance!
The politics in TPLF is staying the same,living the old-line ,malignant nepotism and oligarchy.Yes,they will use a few academicians but only to stay TPLF.
But where are the three bar TPLF and the old guards?
TPLF will remain TPLF ;arrogance with no substance on the decadence.
እኛ የወርቅ ልጆች ኢትዩጵያን ካልገዛን ሀገሪቱ ትፍረስ ትግራይም ትገንጠል የሚል የጋርዮሽ ህሳቤ ይዘህ ገና ትግራይም በጎጥ መታመስዋ የማይቀር ነው። የ45 አመት የህወሃት የፋንታሲ ፕሮፓጋንዳ የትግራይን ህዝብ ህሳቤ በክፉኛ አዛብቶታል።
Frankly speaking Tigrean peasants are better politicians than some of the Amhara intellectuals who boost about Ethiopias past but do nothing at present.These people have not been able to maintain security in their own region but are hindrance to the struggle against poverty being waged by the Ethiopian people.Ethiopian can develop only if we can remove this cancer society.
Even it has some basic points in catagorising the influencial groups in rigions political sphere, Most of the analysis is baseless and judgemental. it is far more slipped to personal feelings and wishs than to the realities on ground.
This an outcry from the enemies of people of Tigray. Of course Tigray is more peaceful and untitled than ever, more than you can imagine. Idiot idea…you think, categorizing and dividing Tigray will work?..no, try it somewhere, you will live confused without understanding the moral and psychology of the people.
On that note, Can you please tell us about others as well?
I found this article nonsense which doesn’t understand the real situations of Tigray and TPLF except it’s trying to use some common expressions used in the Tigrean political atmosphere that seems real for external readers who don’t know about the facts in the ground.
It is a wrong way of looking at Tigrai and leading others to look wrongly too.
Would love to understand the hostility towards Amharas if someone could explain. With regard to the old guard, like Haile Sellassie, they will soon be in the dustbin of Ethiopian history.
This article is deficient in its misplaced emphasis on internal political groups in Tigray. The problem for Tigray and TPLF is external – the sour relations with Abiy and regional issues, along with persistent animosity and resentment. EPRDF has come to an end after providing Ethiopia 25 years of stability to rebuild the nation. Debretsion is providing the leadership for Tigray to sort things out and make a final determination about Tigray’s role inside or outside Abiy’s new political party being formed. This is the immediate concern for Tigray.
To an extent the fourth group is the diaspora, silent but work well within the TPLF. I’m not going to go into detail here, but regardless the diaspora are the fourth group.
My hats off,for your none biased and critical views.
I think Tigray and beyond we need scholars who critically think and voice their views without being carried away by emotions and political or ethnic affiliations.
Keep it up,not following crowd but your reasoning.
” Power hungry, old guards and moned or affluent elites ” interesting comment. Didn’t know that Tigraians have such well advanced and divergent sphere of politico and socio-economic interest. However, it seems they have one thing in common: they are united in antagonizing and undermining the central government and its new reforms in every sense. Till they realized that fact their differences matter less to the rest of country and the wary and comtempous citizens.
Of course we are going to continue antagonising and undermining the central government. It’s new reforms are clear steps backwards, all the people who contributed to the growth of Ethiopia are all behind bars or dead. Ethiopia is slowly changing, not completely but it is clear in parts into a lawless state. TPLF was in Addis Ababa, and very well knows how to operate Ethiopia, we have the most experience out of any party in Ethiopia. So, it’s not that hard to tell when something is wrong.