(Originally written at the comment section of http://awate.com/tplf-anniversary-celebrations-looks-ahead-to-regional-integration/ by me
I congratulate for TPLF in doing a commendable job by changing himself from a marxist-leninist freedom fighter to the one who accepts political diversity and still keep his prmosie to his own people. TPLF was courageous enough to drop his original manifesto of Abay Tigray and took a universal approach to fight for social grievances. Tigray people were oppressed people and their social grievances forced them to fight so that the source of their grievances can not stopped. They did this by toppling the brutal Derge regime. They cooperated with all possibel allies to make their dreams happen. Once the brutal regime was removed, they look deeply into the prevailing problems of their own people while working with other people too.
There is one fact in this regard, the role of EPLF can not be forgotten. Without this historical link, TPLF’s history is INCOMPLETE. I wish former EPLF members were invited there and proudly express their historical contribution at this special day. PFDJ is not EPLF and hence can not represent EPLF. But officials within PFDJ are still alive who did a great role for TPLF’s dream to come true.
Today, PFDJ is against everything, against history and against peace. If TPLF’s original manifesto was kept as it is, may be what we see today in Tigray could not have happened. They were wise to change their program of making an independent state country called Tigray. Now, it is a state within bigger Ethiopia, state that has its own way of doing things. And the social grievances that happened before has very least chance to re-occur.
Yet, there are thousands of miles to go so that a regional peace can be established, first in Ethiopia, as there still social grievances in other states, like the Oromo, debub Hizboch, Afar, etc, taking a brave politcal decision will enhance by many folds the progress we see both at state (kilil) and national level. The government at Addis Ababa should continue to be brave in accomodating extermists and discuss to end the remaining social grievances. If not, no state can sleep well when there is someone who is still screaming from anguish.
Second point: Addis Ababa government which is still under huge influence of TPLF should be brave enough to end the border dispute with Eritrea. Regional integration within the horn of Africa can only be achieved by respecting each other not by keeping a hostage of each other. the border issue should be and must be finalized once and for ever. Then, Eritrea will also join the on-going regional integration for ever.
Unfortunately, PFDJ system will not allow for economic integration. But, I am quite sure in one thing. If the government of Ethiopia and the government of Eritrea, no matter who is in power agreed to settle the border issue and this is of course the Ethiopian government who rejects the implementation of the agreement, then, the political evolution within each country can take its own course.
Whether the border issue is resolved or not, Eritrea will not live in PEACE with every one, be it with its own people or neighbouring, under the PFDJ system. But, the PFDJ system matters above all for Eritreans. Eritreans can choose to stay in slavery under the brutal system if they choose so or completely dismantle it and install a new system that gives them peace within themselves and their neighbouring countries. Within this context then, the Government of Addis Ababa should pull out the PFDJ issue while dealing with the BORDER ISSUE. PFDJ will decay sooner or later but the border will not. Today, we might feel that the border issue can be resolved once PFDJ is removed. But the truth is not.
We, Eritreans, above everything fought war to make our country free of foreign occupation and TPLF did a big role in this regard. I thank you on this historical day. Neverthless, we removed one dictator and another home grown dictator was nurtured. This is our own problem. Our problems can be olved by ourselves. We allowed a dictator to grow up and we are responsible for this and to remove it, it rellies on our shoulder. If you help us, like what we did to each other during the armed struggle, it is good and welcomed. But, still another pressing issue still remains.
On this occasion then, I will remind the Ethiopian government and historically, TPLF, to END the border dispute once for ever. This is the demand of Eritrean people. We didn’t chose to go to war with Ethiopia, PFDJ pushed us. We went and we fought to keep our sovereignity alive, there us no sin within this. People did before and they will do now. The war for Eritreans was just like as if two individuals (like the Greek history) or kings went to war because of their son and daughter’s love affair. The king (PFDJ – without official declaration and no parliament involved in the decision making process) called us, the same to Ethiopia (though much wiser to decide it at parliamental level through official declarations – the EPRDF lead government – it is a wisdom actually) and we went. This is what kings do when they have absolute power and in the case of Eritrea, it becomes more noticeable, this is what I see in our side, I have little idea on how Ethiopians see the declaration done by the government in Addis-Ababa. In this regard, the government of Ethiopia did everything through official declarations, even for the deportation of innocent Eritreans from Ethiopia. PFDJ government, which I prefer to call it, as the Eritrean government is 100% controlled and manipulated by PFDJ, didn’t make official declarations. He had all the right to declare in reaction. This is a normal norm of governments. Governments has all rights that they assume to protect their country. PFDJ is not a government and hence can not make declarations. What he will pretend is, as a front, he has a right to defend the country, not as a government to protect the country. Politically, defense and protection are different things.
I believe that there exists Eritrean government because Eritrea is a sovereign country. We have all the government structures and above all the people. What I reject is the system installed by PFDJ to run the government. Eritreans did not chose that system but all they believe is they have a government. be it weak, corrupted, communist, athiest bla bla does not matter. And the people believe that Eritrea is a sovereign country with definite border lines. And if there is any foreigner who lives in the country illegally, they have a right to bring him to the international rule of law. In this regard then, Ethiopian government should leave without any pre-condtion from the area that he is living illegally. If he choses, let him get a legal document, a VISA (seriously). The Ethiopian government can not send his people or his army to USA because he wanted so. Or, he can not bargain politically to change a system that he is confortable with.
Yes, I do agree that PFDJ is not for PEACE and development. If it does, let it be. Ethiopians are capable to guard their peace while they are in their own land. Living inside a foreign country can not give one PEACE. And PFDJ is anti-development (indeed he is), let him collapse. It is a very simple economic principle. Ethiopia has lots of gates to make business with. They have verified this throught their own experiences. Home grown and internally focused policies are always the means for PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT. PFDJ policy is above everything an enemy to Eritreans, to his own people. The Ethiopian government has see this and Eritreans are experiencing it.
To conclude, Ethiopian government should believe that there is an Eritrean government no matter what system he has. Then, respect the Eritrean sovereignity. Ethiopian government under the leadership of EPRDF in which TPLF is part didn’t make any hesitation to accept Eritrean sovereignity and to respect what you accept makes you only STRONGER and more wiser. Because, Eritrea and Ethiopia as countries, Eritreans and Ethiopians as people is the scale finally. This is our measurement scale. Systems die, evolve or remain unchanged. TPLF evolved into where it is today, from 11 young freedom fighters inspired by marxist-leninist ideology to EPRDF then to government and a capitalist and some how democratic power. On the other hand, EPLF, initially of the same history, evolved into a national government and was able to form a transition government, a very commendable historical acchivement, just like that of EPRF upto 1994. Then, he handed power to PFDJ and we are where we are now, we see TPLF evolved while PFDJ decayed. It is historical discourse.
And, I call your friendship to help Eritrean people who are in desperate need of help. We have hundred thousands of refugees who need care. We call for unconditional helping hand by all means possible. Eritreans at this time are faced with very complex probles, social grievances, political grievances, ecocomical grievances, just to mention some. For this the minimim demand is basic human rights respect. Else, it will be solved by the Eritreans themselves. Eritreans problems should not be used as a tool to advance the political dispute with PFDJ. Marxists do that because that is how they solve problems. Ethiopia can not be a substitute of our country. We are refugees there, just like the Jews in Egypt and later all over the world. They were not happy till they get a country they call home. Equally, we Eritreans may live in comfort in your country but we know that it is not our home. We can build houses, accumulate wealth and get integrated. But, but, we can not considered as HOME. Home is sweet and hence Eritrea is SWEET. We are only safe when we live in a country that we are attached emotionally, culturally, historically and with the soil that we came from. Therefore, we are refugees in Ethiopia and treat us most. We are so delicate and easy to cry. We are so sensitive and always orphaned. (This is my personal two years experience – I am living in France relatively safe and confort, as a student) but I am missing my HOME, the simple hut, covered by grass, with no bath room, toilet, salon bla bla – but that room is the most beautiful house that I ever slept peacefully and so is Eritrea.)
Congratulations again TPLF for making your dreams come true and I wish you good luck with the rest remaining journey. Long live TPLF.