JULY 27, 2015
As a minority, the regime in Ethiopia cannot survive in a peaceful democratic arrangement with its own people and neighbors. Its very survival depends on when Ethiopians divide along with ethnicity, region and religion. They lie, exaggerate, falsify and misinform to instill fear and doubt among the people. That strategy is no longer effective as time is not on the regime’s side anymore.
By Amanuel Biedemariam,
For over 16 years, the TPLF played negative roles in perpetuating the acrimonious relations between the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia by spewing false propaganda. The TPLF believes good relations between Ethiopians and Eritrea will hasten its demise. For that reason, it has done everything possible to keep them separated, at odds and, injected hostility consistently to keep them separated.
ESAT’s visit to Eritrea and the subsequent interview with President Isaias Afewerki by Amsterdam and Washington-based Ethiopian Satellite TV journalists Fasil Yenealem and Messay Mekonen was a game-changer. The reports moved public opinion away from hostility and in favor of working with Eritrea because the reporters gave their assessment and testimonial. The interview with President Isaias is changing minds, the relationship dynamics, and long-held perceptions between Eritreans and Ethiopians.
President Isaias explained Eritrea’s position clearly. He stated that an ethnically based constitution is a recipe for the fragmentation of Ethiopia. He explained that a strong and united Ethiopia is an asset, not a threat to Eritrea.
Upon their return to brief Ethiopians, on March 9, 2015, ESAT held a Journalists Post Eritrea Journey Discussion with the Public in Arlington, Virginia. For the first time, many Eritreans participated openly.
The civility during the discussion stood out, signaling the willingness and ability of Eritreans and Ethiopians to work together to eliminate the TPLF and establish collective understandings for the future of both countries. It happened because Eritreans and Ethiopians gave the process the time, patience, and willingness have led to the current state of Eri-Ethio relations. These developments have shaken the TPLF to the core. Hence, and to counter, consistent all-out media blitz to sell doubt and fear is underway.
As a minority, the apartheid TPLF regime in Ethiopia has decided that it cannot survive in a peaceful democratic arrangement and at peace in peace with its neighbors. The TPLF concluded that its survival depends on propaganda, selling fear, and doubt. Lies, deceit, misinformation, fabrication, exaggeration, and falsification are their standard mode of operation. It designed the lies to divide Ethiopia based on ethnicity, region, and religion. The TPLF kept Ethiopia in constant fear and tried to keep Eritreans and Ethiopia at odds.
However, the strategy is no longer effective because Ethiopians have given up on the TPLF, rejecting everything TPLF. Ethiopians are also winning the PR battles against the TPLF. ESAT is now the preferred information source for millions of Ethiopians worldwide. And instead of hate, Ethiopians have chosen to work with Eritrea.
That has made the TPLF nervous. Hence, it is engaged in a strategy of trying to plant doubt in the minds of Ethiopians about the interview with President Isaias, working with Eritrea and ESAT.
The TPLF is using its agents to infiltrate oppositions websites. They are on Paltalk and radio stations spewing falsities to implant doubt on people’s minds. Just like in the courtroom, the idea is to create reasonable doubt and make people think twice about supporting ESAT and the idea of working with Eritrea.
They are telling Ethiopians that ESAT is Eritrea’s Amharic program. Isaias is the enemy of the people of Ethiopia. Eritrea does not want the opposition to succeed. Eritrea kills and imprisons members of the opposition based in Eritrea. There is no Ethiopian opposition, and the latest, their attempts to undermine Dr. Berhanu Nega’s trip to Eritrea.
The TPLF uses its lackeys and unapologetically-Tigrayan websites (Aigaforum and Tigrai Online) to push TPLF-agenda to disseminate false news and misleading information.
The TPLF is trying to use Eritrea in many ways. In the latest episode, the plan is to use the recent move to unite Arbegnoch and Ginbot7 forces as Arbegnoch-Ginbot 7 (AGUDM) to vilify Eritrea in the international community’s eyes and justify military campaigns against Eritrea.
However, the TPLF cannot attack Eritrea even if it desperately wants to because it has no support from within or out. In response to the reckless statements by PM Hailemariam Desalegn, during a recent panel discussion, Professor Terrence Lyon said,
“The recent really quiet astonishing bellicose statements made by PM Hailemariam Desalegn against Eritrea are really the groundwork for what could be an escalation of that conflict (the Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict). And that it would be very useful for the United States and President Obama to say directly to the highest levels of officials in Ethiopia that the U.S. won’t be on board with them on that. Crossing the border into Eritrea would be a catastrophe and shouldn’t do it to make sure there is no ambiguity on that point.”
Some consider Hailemariam’s rant a cry for help because of the increased resistance against the regime. During a recent interview with ESAT, Dr.Berhanu Nega said,
“If the TPLF is to attack Eritrea now, their aim is Ethiopian opposition not Eritrea.”
The TPLF also knows attacking Eritrea will expedite its demise. Hence, these claims are stunts designed to distract the gullible.
Ethiopia is at a critical transitional stage. Ethiopians are aware that the current state of affairs is not sustainable and that it represents a danger not only for the future of Ethiopia but also for the entire region. Ethiopians are eager for transition, and they are sure that the TPLF will not leave power peacefully. The recent election reminds us that the status quo will persist as long as the TPLF has power.
Because of it, Ethiopia is vulnerable to becoming an unstable country like Somalia, Yemen, or Libya. As witnessed in Libya and others, the problem is that if unrest starts in Ethiopia, it will be irreversible.
These are the realities driving Ethiopians to look for solutions and alternative routes. ESAT’s visit, Dr. Berhanu Nega’s trip to Eritrea, and the increase of armed rebellion activities represent these realities. Ethiopians have concluded change in Ethiopia can only come when they can present a credible threat of force to back their peaceful quest.
The TPLF understands these facts, and the only way it can combat them is through media. It is excessively dependent on propaganda, lies, and disinformation/misinformation campaigns. It can only fight it with threats, intimidation, and trickery by spending millions in subversive activities such as hacking.
The TPLF has employed all tools available. However, time is not on TPLF’s side, so it is forced to react to developments rather than shape them. Every day Ethiopians are shaping the agendas and stealing attention.
Recent moves of Arbegnoch Ginbot 7 (AGUDM) and others are a reflection of these realities. The trajectory for the minority clique is on a downward spiral while the struggle to eject the minority mafia clique is gaining momentum.
Change is inevitable in Ethiopia, and no matter what the TPLF or its handlers do, they cannot stop the inevitable. There is also one reality that no one can change, and that is Eritrea will always welcome Ethiopians, and no propaganda can change that.