Eritrea: Independent or a Neo-Colonial Post?
By WS Asfaw
Tigrai Online, February 3, 2017
“If you want peace prepare for war.” 2,500 year old Greek maxim
It is of strategic interest, for Ethiopia to have a peaceful and democratic Eritrea. Chaos and bloodshed from internecine wars are catastrophic by their very nature, and will directly and indirectly affect Ethiopia. Above all the heavy toll that will be paid to clear such a mess of human tragedy leaves the whole society in tangible agony. It is not about who suffered or lost most. One loss is too many for all. Otherwise, conventional war with the inevitable collateral damage is devastating especially if logged with modern weapons of mass destruction. However, the Eritrean regime through its mercenary partners (Genbot 7, OLNF, OLF, etc) is continuously becoming provocative in semi clandestine activates along the border and certainly seems to be asking for trouble.
Molla Asgedom and his compatriots’ decision not to spill their fellow countrymen’s blood in vain, and rightly deciding to pack and go back home, had above all, important messages. Primarily, the Eritrean regimes’ intention of destabilizing Ethiopia is not a dream but a reality. Secondly, the Tyrant Isaias will go to any length to attempt to implement his evil intentions. However, the dictator cannot see ‘the wood from the tree’. The ex-combatants of the Tigrai People’s Democratic Movement (TPDM), verified to the whole community that the Eritrean regime is squashed with crisis and left between the dead and the living and its demise is imminent. The regime seems to be sleep-walking into its final resting place. While gasping to survive, Isaias is selling Eritrea bit by bit to Saudi Arabia and Qatar at give away prices. The Eritrean Army, which was sold to Shiia Iran are now gone to the opposing Sunni camp of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The security system is basically defunct. Isaias cannot salvage the sinking ship no matter what he does, simply because the remaining army is not fit for any purpose and are dumping the regime, while the rest of the population is trekking to where ever they could get temporary respite.
On June 13, 2013, someone by the name Wadi Keren, wrote a comment in one of the web sites. He said, “Gamal Abdel Nasser, President of Egypt, is really the father of our country. He conceived the idea of Eritrea; he executed it by convincing us Eritreans (that) it is our idea. He really deserves credit by our country even if he did it to protect the Nile, he used us cleverly, but it is okay. We will make him a monument when we become rich.”
Nasser, the yesteryear villain and renowned dictator has become a hero in the blinking mind of the above individual unless, of course, it is taken as sordid and sarcastic comment. Nasser was not confined to Eritrea. He was interfering in sovereign states across the Arab world, like Libya, Iraq, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen, etc. He was vigorously involved in getting rid of the reigning monarchs in the above countries. It seems Eritrea was also programmed by Nasser’s long term objective to become another region to frustrate peace and development in Ethiopia, at best and land-lock Ethiopia at worse. In case Egypt failed to destabilise Ethiopia directly, it created Eritrea and Somali to fill the Egyptian boots to threaten the very fabric of the Ethiopian society. This was the dynamite hatched in the Egyptian foreign policy of Nasser. At the centre of the self imposed Egyptian mixed phobia and arrogance is the unrealistic belief that it is going to lose the flow of the Nile. The wars that was waged against Ethiopia, thereafter, became the cause for millions of Eritreans, Somalis, and Ethiopians to perish and many more millions were and still are displaced from their home and, and yet the gloomy saga continuous with no end in sight. While implementing this diabolic Egyptian policy since the 60s, not a single Egyptian life was lost in pursuing this diabolic policy. On the other hand, Egypt continues to transform the desert into fertile agricultural land enough to feed the Arab countries, while, we the victims and owners of the precious liquid-gold are often struggling with primordial survival methods and at the mercy of the unpredictable climatic condition.
Aklilu Habtewolde, in his UN debate said, “It is clearly known to the Soviets that the region was always used as a base to invade Ethiopia. I still want to stress that Eritrea cannot become an independent state; otherwise it would only serve as scaffolding for other governments who want to invade us.”[i] The prophetic words of Aklilu Habtewolde were true in the 1950s and are glaringly true today.
Let us call a spade a spade. Eritrea is neither liberated nor independent; it is doing what Eritrea is designed to do. It is a Trojan horse of Egyptian foreign policy to deter Ethiopia from having peace and unity within itself. Egypt, the neo-colonial “empire” is in complete control over the Eritrean regime, despite its internal instability. Egypt mollycoddles Isaias to use him against Ethiopia. Myopic as he is, Isaias is happy to serve the paymasters even if Eritrea implodes in his face. The slow demise of Eritrea is not Isaias’s concern.
Prior to 1993, for many forward looking Eritreans the notion of Independence was a negotiating card and not an end in itself. Serious questions were not discussed concerning the final destiny of Eritrea. The pre-colonial history of Eritrea was distorted at will in order to manufacture a fake story instead. Thus, “independence” became a rallying point, rather than a decision based on sober theoretical and practical implications. It became an emotive denominator that gravitate the majority of the population into the struggle. The Reporter interviewed, the strident Eritrean dictator Isaias Afeworki, after all the bloodshed, and to the surprise of his own supporters said, “I do not believe that Eritrea was directly colonized by Ethiopia. After all Ethiopia was created after Second World War”. (My translation) An Eritrean minister recently also reiterated similar statement saying that the ‘idea of Eritrea being colonized by Ethiopia was a ludicrous concept’. He was right. The ‘colonial question’ issue served its purpose in deceiving and confusing millions. He was bragging to indicate that civilised Eritrea could not have been colonized by a backward society. The Eritrean fronts went to the extent of obliterating thousands of years old history and social relationships to serve their neo-colonial masters.
1, Tesfa (Ethiopia) Aletaseb: Yeqen Gerdosh, Renobot Publishers, Addis Ababa, 2006 P:40