Why Should Ethiopians March with Eritreans

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February 10, 2010

By Amanuel Biedemariam

Every time Eritreans come across their Ethiopian counterpart, the favorite statement of Ethiopians is that we are the same. We are brothers. Well, here is your time to prove it!

Prove it by standing with your brothers and sisters. Prove it by standing for justice. Prove it by showing your support and readiness for a new beginning, a beginning towards mutual trust, cooperation, understanding, and love for each other for the good of the people in the region.

Everything has a beginning. Elias Kifle, Sileshi Tilahun, and Demise Belete, among others, took the initiative to visit Eritrea and to talk to President Isaias Afwerki, a controversial figure in Ethiopian circles, and returned with a different attitude.

They were determined to expose the Eritrean perspectives. They wanted to tell Ethiopians that Eritrea was not the enemy but a true friend of Ethiopia. That Eritrea seeks Ethiopian unity, peace, cooperation, and partnership. Mr. Elias and his partners sacrificed a great deal. They were ridiculed and called traitors, but they stood their ground and pursued what they felt was right.

Because of the bold initiative, no one is ridiculing them anymore. On the contrary, Ethiopians regarded them highly. The price they paid and their determination paid off big time. The interview with PIA was a success. It changed the way many viewed president Isaias, and, as a result, many Ethiopians are working with Eritreans now. The chance they took became a platform for the stage for many to say openly,

“We want to march alongside our Eritrean brothers and sisters and express our solidarity with them on the incoming worldwide demonstration against the unjust UN-imposed sanction slapped on Eritrea. We want to work with Eritreans in many other fields of mutual concern.”

Likewise, we, Eritreans, want to be a part of a new beginning, to leave the history of hate and bloodshed behind, and start anew. This demonstration is the first occasion when Eritreans and Ethiopians stand together for a purpose in DC and tell the world that we are not enemies,  and we will never be.

We are brothers and sisters capable of working together, united for a purpose. The purpose is to live together side by side as partners to achieve success. Not at the expense of each other but by working for each other. That is what we are determined to achieve, what we strive for, and what we want to tell the world.

We need to march in unity to change perceptions. For centuries the West was relaxed because they could take for granted that we would kill one another for no reason. We will march to change that. We need to show the enemies of our people that we can be smart and stand united to challenge their evil ways. We need to march to set an example that peace is the way. But most importantly, we need to march to become an excellent example for future generations.

We need to be the first to say that we are amongst those who marched first for unity, for peace, cooperation between Eritreans and Ethiopians for a new beginning.

We need to march together because we have a much bigger fish to fry. To get rid of a despot, a master of genocides, a thief, and a mercenary. To put in jail a person responsible for so much bloodshed, destruction, and displacement of millions; and a criminal whose murderous troops shot at point-blank and killed many youngsters who dared to stand up for freedom.

We need to stand together and march in unity to tell our detractors propping-up despots is unacceptable, and their ways are hurting the future of our people and killing progress. Because if we don’t, they will think and believe they are doing well by abusing our people. And unfortunately, the people they care about most are the handful benefiting at the expense of millions while the millions are condemned for handouts. We are marching to break that cycle.

We need to march to annul the illegal, immoral, and UNjust sanctions imposed on Eritrea for many reasons.

First: like Samuel Johnson, English author, critic, & lexicographer, once said,

“An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere”!

They sanctioned Eritrea unjustly because they have a bully pulpit, ownership of a defunct world body, the UN. Meles, who is a party to the mischief, has been directly responsible for the arms and the bloodshed in Somalia.

Eritrea cannot ship arms or provide any other logistical support when the US is controlling the Indian Ocean, the land and air, and anything in between. Furthermore, Eritrea doesn’t have the resources.

What Eritrea did was stand for justice for the Somali people by asking the world community to resolve their issues without outside meddling. Eritrea took a moral stand just as many Arab states do on Israel by not recognizing Israel so long as the Palestinian issue remains unresolved. The UN had no evidence to back up US and Meles Zenawi’s claims about Eritrea’s support for armed groups in Somalia.

South African Ambassador to the United Nations Dumisani Kumalo, who served as chairman of the UN Security Council’s Somalia sanctions committee, speaking of Somalia, said that TFG and Meles Zenawi’s troops supplied 80% of ammunition available at the Somali arms markets. Kumalo also noted that the committee had received details of some 25 military flights sent by Meles Zenawi into Somalia and knew that Meles Zenawi’s troops had brought military equipment into the country to arm “friendly clans.” The UN Envoy for Somalia Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah also said no evidence to prove that the allegations made against Eritrea are correct.

The US does not care about the well-being of the Somalis. Because if it did, it would not have supported Meles Zenawi in his quest for Somali blood. If the US were for justice, human rights, and the rule of law, it would have kept the Somali freedom fighters instead of encouraging and abating the Meles’ and Museveni’s to help create mayhem.

But, then again, who acquitted the US? We all know the US is a party to the conflict as well. I guess “Might is right,” as the saying goes.

Secondly, the sanctions’ intended goal is to boost Meles Zenawi, weaken Eritrea (the only country standing on his ways) and render Ethiopians at the mercy of Meles Zenawi for decades without any serious challenge to his reign.

Is that what you want? A murderous thief sells Ethiopia to individuals, entities, and countries that will not be in Ethiopia’s best interest. He is selling Ethiopia piece by piece, hoping that his investors will keep him in power to maintain their investments. Therefore to lose focus at this point is irresponsible. We need to march together to stop this madness.

Thirdly, we need to march because success means the defeat of Meles Zenawi and his gang. One of the intended goals of the sanction is to reverse the momentum that is ready to engulf the Ethiopian nation. This undercurrent has been building due to hatred of the people who detest the  TPLF.  It is by far the most crucial moment in the history of the Ethiopian struggle. It is a moment that will define history. If Meles is allowed to win, the bloodshed will continue for a long time because the change his masters seek is dangerous and will mire the region into bloody conflicts worse than what we are witnessing in Somalia.

Conclusion

This is when Ethiopians need to take a firm and clear stand and decide whether they want Meles and the TPLF gang gone. There is no need for those who are hesitant and fearful to show that they are working with Eritrea because they are afraid of a backlash. There is no need for those who want to stay in the background, afraid to be weaker if Eritrea loses. There is no need for those who want to put themselves in a favorable position by taking the middle ground to switch sides when convenient ala Hailu Shawel. These people or groups have no stand and can not lead. Do you want Weyane gone? Then take a stand. Show the people of Ethiopia that you can stand against Woyanne and lead.

(The writer can be reached at [email protected])

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