By Elias Amare,
IT would serve no useful purpose here to go back and analyze in detail the long and bitter war between Eritrea and Ethiopia. History should be the great educator that helps us not to repeat its bitter lessons. Otherwise we will continue to lament decade after decade, like the Stephen Dedalus character in Joyce’s novel Ulysess, “History is a nightmare from which [we are] trying to awake.”
We are where we are now, and the burning question of the day is how we move forward towards durable peace, cooperation and eventual integration of the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia, undeniably, has a central role to play in unraveling these festering interlocking conflicts of the Horn. There is a growing consensus that is emerging now among Eritreans and Ethiopians that the major impediment towards durable peace and cooperation between Eritrea and Ethiopia is the TPLF/EPRDF regime of Ethiopia.
On May 24, Eritreans inside the country as well as all over the world will be celebrating the 24th anniversary of their independence. Eritrea’s independence is not of the neocolonial type. It is genuine and meaningful. The Eritrean people have proven themselves to be steadfast and resilient against all types of conspiracies and hostilities of the Western enablers of TPLF, and their African stooges. Eritreans have also proven in words and deeds that they desire nothing but good for Ethiopia. Many democratic forces in Ethiopia are also realizing that Eritrea is a trustworthy ally and partner for peace. In short, the Eritrean people have a lot to celebrate, as they have truly become owners and masters of their destiny, and no force on earth can take that sense of genuine independence and sovereignty away from them. The late patriotic Eritrean scholar, Prof Tekie Fessehatzion said it best 15 years ago: “In defiance Eritrea was born; and in defiance Eritrea will forever live free!“
In sharp contrast, the minority regime in Ethiopia under the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) also will be marking its 24 years in power. During the past 24 years, it has proven itself to be one of the most corrupt, tyrannical and subservient regimes in Africa. It has been waging genocidal wars against the Ethiopian peoples in all corners of the country, as well as wars of aggression against its neighboring countries. Its ruling elite have been looting and plundering the resources of the country. Ethiopia has never witnessed such sheer level of repression and brutality in its modern history during the past century as it has under the TPLF regime.
After 24 years in power, the TPLF minority regime is still a “liberation front“. Liberate whom from what? On May 24, the regime will be conveniently holding its charade of national elections. It is a foregone conclusion that these fake elections will be once again stolen from the Ethiopian people — with the blessing of the usual suspects of the West — to perpetuate the tyranny of a very narrow and frightened minority group over the majority of the Ethiopian peoples. The minority Ethiopian regime has also been illegally occupying sovereign Eritrean territories for the past 17 years, and perpetuating a de facto state of war against Eritrea.
Thus, unless the TPLF regime’s stranglehold on power is brought to an end, the prospects for durable peace, cooperation and integration between Eritrea and Ethiopia, eventually leading to peace-dividend of greater integration of the Horn, will just be a dream deferred. It has taken us a long time and arduous struggle to reach to this point. Though there are grounds for pessimism of intellect, as Gramsci pointed out, if we have the optimism of the political will, the challenges ahead are not insurmountable.
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NOTE: The above note was extracted from a paper presented by Mr. Elias Amare at the ESAT Conference on Ethiopia and Horn of Africa Conference in Arlington, VA on May 9, 2015. We have posted the entire text of the paper below in the comment section.