For more than two decades, we had been witnessing two giant nation building experiments, with two diametrically opposite visions and end results in the Horn of Africa region.
The Eritrean experience which is the pride and glory of the Eritrean people, the people of Africa and all the freedom loving peoples of the world and the Ethiopian experiment which brought humiliation, indignity and shame to the people of Ethiopia, Africa and the people’s yearning to breathe free.
From the get-go the Eritreans believed that for the lofty ideals of the revolution to be realized and be a reality on the ground, the creation of Eritrea as an independent nation was never the only and only final answer. The progressive forces in the region had to join the struggle for social justice and democratic governance.
The Eritrean revolution was a people’s revolution and all Eritreans without exception joined the struggle. The national democratic revolution solidified the unity of the Eritrean people, increased their organizational skills, catapulted their political awareness and created the most efficient and lethal fighting force in Africa.
Being the historical product of the armed struggle, the Eritrean leadership commanded trust and support of the Eritrean people. The leadership stayed true to the fundamental principles of the revolution and uphold the public trust, worked for the common good and stayed clean from corrupt practices.
For Ethiopians, it was like the barbarians next door coming to annex, brutalize, conquer and colonize the nation. A minority of a minority Tribal Junta suffering from an inferiority complex laden mindset with dual mentality and speaking out with both ends of its mouth and with none of Ethiopia’s best interests at heart became the de facto rulers of Ethiopia.
Lies and deceit became part of the Ethiopian statecraft. Looting state coffers became standard practices. Selling Ethiopia to the lowest bidder became their first priority. They allowed the NGO infestation to fester and turned Ethiopia into an NGO capital of Africa. A debilitating culture of dependency was its destructive consequences.
The Eritreans wanted to build a strong, united, democratic, progressive, assertive, dynamic and self reliant nation. They had to bury all the sub national issues six feet under and made unity in diversity, gender equality, self reliance, social justice, democratic governance and participatory democracy as the guiding principles of the nation building task. Unlike Ethiopia, Eritrea gave the NGOs their walking papers.
In Ethiopia, it was the exact opposite. Ethnic Apartheid and Article 39 became the laws of the land. Ethiopia became Balkanized into ethnic enclaves and Bantu Lands. Ethnic conflict and discord were systematically fanned to destroy the fabric of the Ethiopian society. Everything and anything in Ethiopia were seen through an ethnic prism. Ethiopian unity and nationalism became the Tribal Junta’s primary targets of attack.
As if the ethnic conflict and discord nightmares weren’t enough, the brutal Tribal Junta is now adding fuel to the fire by bringing political Islam into the Ethiopian body politic. Demography and geography makes Eritrea and Ethiopia easy targets of political Islam. Christians and Muslims lived side by side in peace and harmony for centuries in Eritrea and Ethiopia. The Genocidal and murderous Tribal Junta is hell bent on destroying these proud culture of tolerance and mutual understanding.
Eritreans wanted to be masters of their own destiny. They wanted to follow their own independent political and economic policies and pursue their own vision of their country. Self reliance and our can do spirit became the backbones of the economy. An economic policy which leaves no Eritrean behind and that made the Eritrean people as the most valuable and precious resource of the nation was put in motion.
Symmetrical development drive which gives more emphasis to the disadvantaged areas and communities and a balanced distribution of the nation’s wealth was enacted. These approach narrows the gap between the cities and the villages and gives every Eritrean a stake in the Eritrean dream. Today, self reliance which was once ridiculed as a concept from the loony left is mainstream and applauded by most of the progressive economic thinkers.
In direct contrast to Eritrea’s self reliance and can do spirit, Ethiopia’s economic model relies totally on begging, handouts, loans and grants. While most Ethiopians are languishing in abject poverty, it’s common and sad to see white elephant and prestige structures built in the cities. The corrupt Tribal Junta shamelessly mortgaged and sold Ethiopia’s and Africa’s futures by conspiring with their masters and financiers.
Eritrea is Africa’s future and Ethiopia is its past. Ethiopia is the portrait of everything and anything that had gone wrong in Africa. Eritrea exemplifies the aspirations of the future of Africa. Eritrea is showing the world a new way of doing business – the old ways of doing business is over. It had left Africa poor and the weakest link of the global economy.
The old master and slave type of arrangement should be replaced by a new relationship based on mutual respect, trust and partnership. Shared partnerships and economic co-operations and not debilitating and addictive economic aids should be encouraged. Eritreans became the sole owners of all aspects of the national development drive. A hard to swallow concept for the powers that be indeed.
Ethiopia is just a dying old pseudo-empire always serving the interests of the powers that be. She is always ready and willing to do all the US bidding and conduct its proxy wars. Us fingerprints are all over the Ethiopian policies. They are designed to protect US interests and not the interests of Ethiopia and its people. One of the pitfalls of becoming a US lapdog is that there are no permanent friends but permanent interests in the US international policy doctrine.
There are two competing and antagonistic policy objectives in the HOA region. The US/Ethiopian policy of harassment, bullying, intimidation, destabilization, aggression, subjugation and domination and the Eritrean vision of peaceful coexistence, non-interference, respect for national integrity, sovereignty and borders, mutual respect and partnership, cooperation, development and integration in the political, economic, social, cultural and security dimensions and creating a safe neighborhood.
The HOA region had been on the receiving end of the unjust, erroneous, adventures and militaristic US policies for far too long. It had become a favorite playground of third rate affirmative action State Department diplomats. Its destructive consequences are turning the region into the Killing Fields, creating failing and failed states, displacement of people and pain and suffering of biblical proportions.
The irony is that we are seeing today, tyrants, dictators and genociders who used to rely on the US for their financial and political survival and well being thrown like old shoes once they become a liability or their services are no longer needed. A correct reading of the HOA US policies indicates that the angel of death next destination could be the Menelik Palace. That is a good thing and Amen to that.