The Woyane Duplicity
The Woyane Duplicity When I write this piece, some people may question the necessity of attacking the Woyanes, when we have more pressing issues at home, that we do have the enemy in our midst to
The Woyane Duplicity
When I write this piece, some people may question the necessity of attacking the Woyanes, when we have more pressing issues at home, that we do have the enemy in our midst to deal with first and, they remind, any outside threats against Eritrea is secondary. I admit, I couldn’t agree more. I do, however, want the Woyanes’ bogus and, frankly, quite dangerous peace overtures has to be put in perspective. Because, without context, words or phrases or statements don’t mean anything, if not misleading. Therefore, it is within the context the Woyanes’ statements have to be evaluated.
So, have you been surprised, as I have, by the Woyanes’ sudden love for Eritreans? I bet you do, If you have an iota of concern left for the well being of Eritrea and Eritreans. And if you were looking for a confirmation of the Woyanes’ duplicitous love towards Eritreans, then, their recent ኤርትራውያን ትግራይ ዐድኹም ኢያ፡ ሰራዊት ኤርትራ ውን ገዛኻ እዩ pronouncements should do the trick. So what made the mischievous Woyanes, despite the crimes they committed against civilian and peaceful Eritreans in Ethiopia, for them to profess their love for Eritreans now? Indeed, what made them do a change of heart? Unless one is gullible and naive to accept such statements at face value, the astute one should have to have a closer scrutiny of the hairy details of these pronouncements. Details matter now; because, it is in the details where the devil hides.
So how can we translate the Woyanes’ new found love, in spite of their well known hatred of Eritreans? What is the motive behind their attempt at detente with Eritreans? The answer can be found in the annals of history and in the context of what is going on in Ethiopia today.
Narrating here of what historical events had happened, which was a precursor to the Woyanes’ strange vagaries today, would be a tall order. Doing so would require volumes. Therefore, any mention of past historical episodes via-a-vis the Tigrayan elites toward Eritrea would only be to reinforce my point.
Some people, perhaps the few uninformed ones, who think, only the Woyanes, and, not their ancestors, were hostile to Eritrea has to refer to history books to understand the context. Since the 19th century, the Tigray elites have never wavered in their incessant desire to subdue Medri Bahri – today’s Eritrea. Featured prominently in this episode was Rasi Weldemichael Solomon, whose struggle to ward off the Tigrayan elites’ attempt to control Medri Bahri became his final undoing. Initially aligned with them against the Egyptians, which culminated in the battle of Gundet and Gura in 1876, Rasi Weldemichael – himself a brutal one, in the manner he dealt with the TseAzegans – became increasingly wary of the motives of Emperor Yohannes – the great paternal uncle of Isaias Afewerki, the dictator of Eritrea – and, rebelled against the Emperor to preserve the sovereignty of Medri Bahri. Ras Alula, the Emperor’s military man in Medri Bahri, though a military genius himself, was nonetheless wary of Rasi Weldemichael; for he feared, in Rasi Weldemichael, he would find a match. Upon learning of Alula’s concern, the Emperor had offered a truce to Rasi Weldemichael and tricked him to come to Tigray to sign a peace treaty. The Rasi took the bait and, once there, in a classic case of betrayal by the Tigrayans, the vanquished Rasi was arrested – some oral history suggest that he was invited, liked there and married a Tigrayan. It is a murky history. What is certain is that, he was outwitted by Alula to go to Tigray, never to see Medri Bahri again; thus the beginning, though for short time, Alula’ undisputed reign in Medri Bahri. By this time though, the British had already recognized Massawa as Ethiopian territory in the Hewett Treaty; not in spirit, but as a bait to Tigrayan elites to help them evacuate the Egyptian forces trapped by the Sudanese Mahdists. Also by this time, the Italians were already in Massawa with the tacit approval of the British. This caused the furious Alula to say this to a British Consul:
“What does England mean by destroying Hewett’s treaty and allowing the Italians to take my country from me?… Did I not relieve the Egyptian garrison..?… Have I not done everything I could? You English used us to do what you wanted and then left us.”
“An Unofficial Mission to Abyssinia” Manchester Guardian, May 17, 1897
The deceiver of Rasi Weldemichael was himself deceived by the British. But note how Alula described Medri Bahri as “my county”. It is a clear testament that the Tigrayan elites have always looked up North, and, not down South. Is it any wonder then when the so-called General Tsadkan predicted the Eritrean port of Assab to eventually be Ethiopian – or, “a matter of time…”, as he described it? They will, as always, try to subdue Eritrea in perpetuity.
Which brings me to the Woyanes’ ‘‘ኤርትራዊያን ትግራይ ዐድኹም እያ፡ ሰራዊት ኤርትራ ውን ገዛኻ እዩ‘‘ deception. If Eritreans had not seen the brutality of the Woyanes, these kind of statements would have been superb and marvelous. But it was a mere two decades ago, the Woyanes, in the glory days of their power, – I doubt they thought they would be confined to Tigray today – they brutally deported peaceful Eritreans from Ethiopia by expropriating their properties; and, in a text book case of banditry, they also divided the loot among themselves. One, among many, of the cruelty they often used against Eritreans was the separation of families. If, for example, they deported the father, they left his family behind, only to deport them later; or, if they deported the family, they left one or two teenagers behind, only to deport them later. They had the younger Eritreans scooped from the streets and from their homes and threw them into concentration camps. Yea! That is the brutality they inflicted on Eritreans – the people they call “our brothers” today. Just to satisfy their wounded ego and nurse their self esteem, they had to inflict maximize psychological trauma on the deportees; a trauma still felt by many to this day.
Regrettably, nor did the Tigrayans show a token of opposition to these brutal Woyane policies towards Eritreans.
Therefore, it is within this context that the Woyanes recent overtures deserve close scrutiny. Since they were chased out of Addis Abeba and their glory days gone, the Woyanes are in an acute siege mentality now. They suddenly hit the learning curve to understand that the world is strange enough to let you drink from the chalice of victory today, only to let you down the steep hill the next day. They are vulnerable, or felt vulnerable now. But vulnerability is good sometimes; because it helps you to be proactive, accept your mistakes and strive to build trust. But not the Woyanes; that is why they are talking about war or the enterprise of war these days. It is, therefore, from the point of vulnerability that they are extending an opportunist hand to Eritreans.
Hence, the Woyanes’ recent pronouncements ‘‘ኤርትራውያን ትግራይ ዐድኹም እያ፡ ሰራዊት ኤርትራ ውን ገዛኻ እዩ‘‘ have, in my opinion, two equally dangerous motives:
The first, short term and tactical reason, is to protect their northern flank. In case a war would break out, for they feared that will eventually happen, by enticing the rank and file of the Eritrean military to flee from the brutal regime in Eritrea, they want to make sure nothing significant happens in the north.
The second, long term and strategic reason, is to empty Eritrea. Already, due to unbearable living condition under the brute dictator, Eritrea is hemorrhaging of its youth at an alarming rate. Thus , under the guise of “peace”, the Woyanes want to accelerate the demise of Eritrea; which would then be easier for them to invade. It is pure deception, cruelty and chicanery.
It makes you wonder how cunning the Woyanes are in their double dealings to lull Eritreans into submission. Are the Woyanes playing their last straw? Perhaps so!
Be very wary Eritreans; as with all things Woyane, what the lulling voice says is not what the crafty mind wants.