"The Fox Outfoxing The Fox" Game Between Amhara and Tigrai Continues!
By: Dr. Michael Fessehaye
October 21, 2003
It is quite a drama to watch. "The fox outfoxing the fox" game that is being played between the Weyane in on hand and the Amhara on the other is quite intriguing; worthy of deep study and analysis. While we all are watching for Eritrea with an eagle eye for any eventualities from all enemies, be it domestic of foreign; let us see, take a look, and follow closely the state of politics and intrigues that are unfolding in the "accurse land", Ethiopia.
The age-old "the fox outfoxing the fox" political game that is being played in Ethiopia these days is quite fascinating. The 21st Century "Neftegna", the Weyane, on one hand and the 20th Century "Neftegna", the Amhara, on the other are the players and actors. It is quite a drama to watch. In fact, the "game" is quite intriguing worthy of deep study and analysis. I could say, some one who is a Ph.D. candidate in "Political Science" could write a "Dissertation" and on it and he could end up with a masterpiece.
To those who do not know the meaning of the new English word, "Neftegna", defining the word and its ramifications in Ethiopia is in order. There; in this word, lays the root-cause of the "hell on earth" that you witness in Ethiopia today. In this word resides the "cancer" that is eating Ethiopia form within to a point of no return and that is why "Ethiopia" is now synonym to "hunger" and human misery of biblical proportion. Driven from an Amharic word "Neft" (type of gun), its usage and practice goes back to 19th Century Ethiopia when King Menelik of Ethiopia sent out conquering forces from the Amhara and Tigrai region with "Neft" (gun) and rewarded them with the very land, properties, and people they conquered. But since the "Neftegna" did not cross borders or the oceans and since the pigment of the color of the skin of the "conqueror" was similar to that of "conquered', this kind of social, economic, and political adventure has never been looked at as "colonialism" or "slavery" in their true definition or manifestation. But it was taken as the internal subjugations of nationals and entities.
By all accounts, the actions and the practices of a "Neftegna" are not different from your traditional "colonizer" or "slave driver", if not worst. In essence, "Neftegna" means organized forces who go on conquering other tribes and nationals and reduce them to "Chissegna" (conquered) or a property, which are not different from your traditional "slaves". The "Neftegna" typically do not only end up owning the land and property they conquered but they reduce the original rightful landowners to tenants, "Chissegna", to labor on the fields and make them pay from 30% to 40% of the annual harvest or income. The "Neftegna" invariably is a "slave master" that operate from a distance or in absentia and the only time he shows up is to collect the fruit of labor and sweat of the "Chissegna".
Adding insult to injury, these "Chissegna" were also reduced to be canon fodders in all the subsequent wars of the "Neftegna". Going back in time, history shows that there was not a single war the "Neftegna" to have won on their own except by tears, sweat, and blood of the "Chissegna" class. A case in point, the Battle of Adwa. Despite the claims and ear-deafening "Zeraf. Zeraf.." of the "Neftegna" about it, the Adwa Battle was fought between 5000 Italians and 80,000 Welliatta (canon fodders) who were driven by the "Neftegna" to the Italian frontlines in "human waves". Any person with average intelligence could easily conclude that after over 70,000 Welliatta were slaughtered in the hands of the Italians, it is logical for the Amhara/Tigrai came to win the "trophy" by pushing the numerically reduced and logistically drained Italian soldiers. In essence, if there is any body who can claim victory at the Battle of Adwa, it is the Welliatta, and not the "Neftegna" (Amhara/Tigrai). That is a historical truth.
True to this historically tried and proven method of "canon fodders" and "human wave" warfare tactic and engagement; the Weyane were arrogantly confident that a repeat of the Adwa Battle will unfold when they told the whole world that they are marching in to "enter Asmara in four days" in June 2000. How arrogant and how confident must Meles has been to even sent 10,000 donkeys to bring back war booty from Asmara; just like the traditional "Neftegna"!! To that effect, over 400,000 "fengiregach" (modern day canon fodders) were driven at gunpoint to march to machinegun nests and mechanized brigades of the Eritrean defense forces. Alas, over153, 000 "fengiregach" were slaughtered and an equal number where put out of commission within such a short time under such Eritrea firepower. After every thing is said and done, the Eritrean landscape was littered with bodies of poor Ethiopian soldiers leaving the "fengiregach" families with no son, or husband, or father. Remember, this is not the era of "Neft" but an era of machine guns and machinegun nests whose annihilation capability is beyond measure and beyond fathom. Despite this callous and colossal losses, in terms of innocent Ethiopians' life and resources, what is so disheartening and cruel about it is the Weyane still think it is a war tactic they could repeat over and over. Why? When a Weyane top official boasted, laughingly I might add, and said some thing to the effect that it was only the "Shankilla" and "Gala" that perished while the children of Tigrai are spare or saved; that summed up nature of Weyane and the nature of "Neftegna". Such was and still is the practice the age-old mode of operation of the Neftegna (Amhara and Tigrai). Incidentally, "Shankilla" and "Gala" are derogatory terms used by the "Neftegna" to describe or define the rest of the Ethiopian nationals.
Would you be shocked in this time and age the "Neftegna" is still alive and well? To these date, the "Neftegna" are still the rulers and "landlords" while the conquered are still the "Chissegna" (the tenants) that supply the free labors and "fengiregach", on demand, with no political rights and privileges. In essence, slavery of a different kind is what "Neftegna" practiced and that practice and social order is still alive and well in the 21st Century Ethiopia. Shocked? Do not be. That is the very "cancer" that is eating Ethiopia these days and what you have in Ethiopia at this hour is worst than the much publicized and criticized "slavery" in the Sudan.
Ever since Ethiopia, as we know it, came to be some 120 years ago, these two "Neftegna" took Ethiopia as if Ethiopia belongs to them and as if it was created for their use and abuse. While there rest of the Ethiopians such as the Oromo, the Somali, Afar, Sidama, Debub Hizboch, and Beshangul are reduced to "squatters" and "new comers" with no political and economic rights and privileges what so ever; these two have used the blessing of Ethiopia to fill up their bottomless stomach without impunity and shame. Even at this hour, if you see all the so-called Ethiopian "opposition" making a lot of noise from within and without Ethiopia, you will be able to see that they are the very children of "Neftegna" trying to keep the status quo unchanged and unchallenged. Watch all the so-called Ethiopian opposition; they have one common denominator that binds them. All of them are the very heirs of the "Neftegna" trying to hold on that social, economic, and political status. A case in point, take and follow Dr. Beyen Petros. Dr. Beyen Petros is supposed to be the chairman of "Debub Hizboch" and yet these person is a product of "Neftegna" trying to keep the status quo. In all honesty, can you let the "hyena" be the sheepdog for a day and expect the sheep to come home at night alive? Can you let the fox in with the chickens and expect to have chicken in the morning. By the same reasoning you could not possibly expect Dr. Beyene Petros, the child of a "Neftegna", to work or to advocate for the betterment of "Debub Hizboch", which are your typical "Chissegna".
The marginalized Ethiopians; that is, the Oromo, Somali, Sidama, Welliatta, and others are not your typical "minorities" that are doomed to live and survive at the mercy and benevolence of the "majority". These are 55,000,000 strong Ethiopians that have been used, abused, and reduced to nameless and faceless type of "slavery" by less than 10,000,000 Amhara and Tigrai for over a century. What is shameful about all this is, even in this time and age, the Amhara and Tigrai, from the common man on the streets to the educated class, still see and take the rest of the Ethiopians as squatter and unwelcome guests who are only there at the benevolence of these "Neftegna". While "time" was supposed to educate and to enlighten the Amhara and Tigrai; blinded by economic and political greed, the Amhara and Tigrai could not or would not learn or change. "Time", the relentless teacher, has given up on the Amhara and Tigrai and both are doomed to face the wrath of "time". I mean the Amhara and Tigrai are doomed to face the wrath of the rest of Ethiopia for the rest of Ethiopians are saying "enough is enough" and they are up in arms to reclaim their dignity and their pride. In an era of equality, justice, individual rights. and freedom from colonialism or slavery, be it an African or European origin, it is a must that the rest of Ethiopians have to rise and they have already risen to break the backbone of these age-old bloodsuckers and merciless killers once and for good.
Ever since Ethiopia, as we know it, came to be some 120 years ago, these two merciless "Neftegna" (Amhara and Tigrai) did not only use and abuse Ethiopia and Ethiopians but they are also antagonistic towards each other and they butchered each other in their quest to politically and economically dominate the social fabric of Ethiopia. The Amhara and Tigrai are antagonistic and bitter enemies to the grave, and yet they cannot live without each other. You heard the saying, "You cannot live them and you cannot live without them", this is it folks. When it is to subjugate the rest of the Ethiopians and when it is to blood-suck the resource and the blessings of Ethiopia; the Amhara and Tigrai are bedmates who practice a perfect "symbiotic" relationship. The Amhara-Tigrai relationship is your typical "hyena and the "fox" relationship from the jungle. This is a relation of between the "hyena" (the hunter) on one side and the "fox" (the scavenger) on the other. While the "hunter" hunts and the "scavenger" strives or lives on the leftovers and the spoils of the "hunter". If the "hyena" is to hunt, the "fox" is sent out to scout an unassuming or unguarded "prey". Never trusting each other, for over 120 years, this was the political and economic arrangement that kept them together. The "hunter-scavenger" symbiotic relationship between the Amhara and Tigrai is still alive and well in the accursed land.
Up to 1991, the Amhara was the "hyena" that did all the hunting expeditions and Tigrai was the "fox" that went on scouting on weak and unsuspecting prey and picked up the leftovers and the spoils of the "hyena". However by 1991, the roll of the "hyena" and the "fox" was reversed and now Weyane is the "hyena" (hunter) and the Amhara are the "fox" (scavenger). Incidentally, it is quite interesting to see how the Amhara have adapted to their new roll as scavengers while the Weyane are promoted to the status of the hunter. Frankly, given their out of this world chauvinism and ear-deafening "Zeraf.Zeraf.", no body would have thought the Amhara will play a second fiddle and settle for this new status after they have enjoyed hundred years of power, fortune, and glory. Who would have thought the self-acclaimed and self-promoted gallants and "warriors" would end up to be that weak to accept their current status without raising a finger. To settle for this current status without raising a finger is what is not expected of the Amhara; given their "Zeraf.Zeraf.."
Do not be fooled by the current "hyena-fox" arrangement, though. This was not meant to be itched or engraved in rock-solid tablet not to change. In the ever-changing rolls of these two merciless killers, there was and there is a game of "the fox outfoxing the fox" still to be played. In their quest to hold on to the "hyena" status or to ascend to that status, as the case may be, Tigrai and Amhara are playing their game at this very moment. These days, the "outfoxing" game have reached to a higher level of sophistication and intensity. This is because there is a good possibility that the roll of the "hyena" and the "fox" could be reversed in the near future; give or take eighteen (18) months. Given the next Ethiopian election is supposedly due in eighteen (18) months; the battle of dominance between the "Neftegna" is becoming more pronounced and more heated by the hour.
Within the next eighteen (18) months, a new development in the dynamics of Ethiopian politics is expected or anticipated to unfold. In light of the upcoming Ethiopian election, there is an urgency from the Amhara to snatch power from Tigrai because Meles would not be reelected for the third time. On the other hand, there is a dire need to hold on to power by the Weyane; if the Weyane are to fulfill their dream. Bear with me; I will explain the "dream" or "Hilmi Abai Tigrai" in a moment. If the he Ethiopian Constitution is to uphold, Meles will not be up for reelection. Meles can only have two 5-years terms in the office. Therefore, it can be concluded that the Ethiopian politics at this hour is duel or fight between the Amhara (current fox) to snatch power and the Weyane (current hyena) to hang in there. The Amhara have calculated or concluded that, with a small help from Eritrea, they are now in a position to snatch power from Tigrai where as Weyane are trying to hang is there until they are ready to give birth to "Abai Tigrai". Thus, the duel or game between the "Neftegna" is already being played with such sophistication and intensity.
Mark my word though; Meles will nullify the Ethiopian Constitution before the next scheduled election. There are two compelling reasons as to why Meles will void and nullify the Ethiopian Constitution. First, Weyane still need a few more good years before they declare free and sovereign "Abai Tigrai" and they do not have a viable candidate that can be presented as a replacement to Meles, if election is to be held. Bear with me I will explain as to why the Weyane need "a few more good years". It is doubtful if Weyane have a candidate for the top position who is as merciless killer, deceitful, canning, and an out to out liar as Meles Zenawi is. Second, it is being reported that Meles is being pushed by outside forces to scrap the "Ethiopian federalism based on ethnicity" all to together. True, "ethnic based federalism" ala Weyane style has been termed as the "balkanization" of Ethiopia to a point of no return not to mention it is the making of a second African "genocide". Western nations, driven by their obvious economic interests are pushing Meles to reverse this "balkanization" trend. To meet the needs of Western nations and to have "few more good years', Meles have no recourse but to void the Ethiopian Constitution and nullify all political parties in the process. Voiding the Ethiopian Constitution is a blessing in disguise for Meles. Such a move is not necessarily for the welfare of Ethiopia but it provides the Weyane the badly needed time to get ready for the birth of "Abai Tigrai".
This is the state of the Ethiopian politics at this hour. Interestingly enough, Eritrea is in the equation or is in this "foxing" game. How can Eritrea be in the picture and in the equation, did you ask? To both players, Eritrea is the "winning card". Who ever a uses Eritrea effectively will emerge as a sure winner, both have concluded. Both the Amhara and Weyane are trying to use Eritrea to achieve their objectives. That is why both are not ready yet to accept the "final and binding" verdict. The recent rejection of the "final and binding" verdict from both camps has this inertia that dives it. Both are pushing for more bloodshed to achieve at their respective objectives; albeit they have bloody and antagonistic objectives.
The Amhara will push for war, not necessarily Ethiopia will be able to turn the clock back to pre-1991 and not because the have the legal or military might to get part of Red Sea by force. But if the Weyane are to be broken beyond repair, then Shaebia is the one to do it for them, the Amhara calculated. If the Amhara are to come back to power in a lightening speed and if their ascension to power will be a smooth sailing without shedding blood on their part, then Eritrea is the one that is designated as the sacrificial lamb. The Amhara know Eritrea is gone, Assab is gone, "Badime" is Eritrean, and the famous "Straight Line" will remain straight line. But for once for the last time they like to use "Eritrea" as the fuel that drives the Ethiopian politics until Weyane is broken beyond repair and deformed beyond recognition. Thus, the Amhara have calculated that they have to push Weyane to continue on a "suicidal mission" against Eritrea until the last nail to nail-shut the Weyane coffin will be driven once and for all by Shaebia. That is why the Amhara are calling for the rejection of the "final and binding" verdict.
On the other hand, the Weyane will push for war against Eritrea for two compelling and complementary reasons. If "Hilmi Abai Tigrai" is to be a reality, the Weyane need (1) a few more good blood-sucking years in Ethiopia and (2) they like to see a "balkanized" Ethiopia to a point of no return so that the upcoming "Abai Tigrai" will face no challenge from the rest of the Ethiopians. If the Weyane could have good ten years after seceding from Ethiopia, they have calculated that by that time they will garnish enough support or recognition from African countries and the world community to legitimize their secession. The Weyane have done they homework and they have concluded that an economically devastated, a military weak, and a politically "balkanized" Ethiopia will not be in any shape or form to challenge the upcoming "Republic of Greater Tigrai" for at least ten years by which time they think they can get away with Ethiopian lands from Begemidir and Wollo.
Make no mistakes about it; Weyane is on trimester to give birth to "Abai Tigrai". In fact, had it not been for the "bloody Shaebia" standing on the way, by now "Abai Tigrai" would have been up and running. To give birth to "Abai Tigrai", Meles needs few more good years in Ethiopia and to weaken Eritrea. To do that, Meles has to convince the Ethiopians that he is true son of "Ethiopia" and the loss of 36,000,000,000 Birr in arms and armament and 153,000 "fengiregach" in the process the "Badime" adventure was indeed for something and there might be a need for more money and "fengiregach" from the "South" in the future. That is why Weyane are still crying "Badime" even at after the "final and binding" verdict is rendered. As a byproduct of this adventure, such salesmanship of the part of Meles is intended to by him a badly needed leverage and time to nullify the Ethiopian Constitution and make him self the "Prime Minister" for some more years until such time "Abai Tigrai" is born and running. Otherwise, for Weyane to go to labor to give birth to "Abai Tigrai" at this hour is "suicidal" or to give birth to a stillborn "Abai Tigrai".
Therefore, the rejection of the "peace agreement" has two evil players behind it, each with their antagonistic objectives. Both of them know the verdict is "final and binding" and there is no recourse left but accept and live with it. But they have to try to get maximum mileage out of the war. In essence, Eritrea is being looked as (1) survival kit of Weyane or (2) as a "bomb" that could destroy Weyane once and for all; it all depends on which side of the game you are playing it.
"The fox outfoxing the fox" game between Amhara and Tigrai is being played in full swing. After every thing is said and done, who will emerge as the winner? None of these two will end up the winner. The winners will be the rest of the Ethiopians. The other Ethiopians are letting these two evils dig the grave of each other. After these are finished with each other, the rest of the Ethiopians will come to break their backbone for good and will be will peace in the Horn. It is ironic, isn't it? The very country (Eritrea) that was supposed to be destroyed and erased from the face of the map will be the one that will save the Ethiopians from these two evils for the third time. Eritrea saved Ethiopia from Hailesellassie and from Derg. For the third time, Eritrea will save Ethiopia from these two bloodsuckers at the same time in one go and there will peace in the Horn.
It can be concluded that every human misery that has been unfolding in Ethiopian, every war that have been fought by canon fodders, every social and economic disaster that have been recurring in the "accursed land", all the HIV epidemic that is sweeping the Ethiopian landscape like a prairie fire is a direct result of this unholy and unhealthy social and political order we call "Neftegna". The underlining reason as to why Ethiopia is synonym to "hunger" it is not due to nature induced calamity but for the most part it is due to this unhealthy social, economic, and political order the country. If Ethiopians are to live in decency among the civilized world, if Ethiopians are to save themselves form handouts and alms of benefactors, if Ethiopians are to break the tradition of "beggary", and if the Ethiopians are to walk with their heads up; then the first order of business should be to dismantle and destroy this Neftegna" social order or class. If not, it will be business as usual in the accursed land. Not only that, the expansionist policy of the "Neftegna" and their bottomless stomach will be the source of non-ending war and bloodshed in the Horn. In short, if the Horn is to have peace, this "cancer" should be eradicated and the backbone of the Amhara/Tigrai should be broken once and for all.
These two are the very enemies of Eritrea, which are on a mission to destroy Eritrea, if they could. God only knows how much these two players have squandered the meager sources of Ethiopia in war against Eritrea. Not only that, they have left millions of other Ethiopians to bear the brunt of the war for years to come. If these are the enemy of the Motherland, then what kind of Eritreans are those that are brewing "evil" against the country and people with Weyane? What kind of Eritreans are out there who are still begging the Weyane to put them in power in Eritrea; that is, if the Weyane are to put them in power? What kinds of Eritreans are out there that are sleeping in rat-infested motels in Mekele and "Iri Bekentu" to do more harm their own people? What kind of Eritreans are those who go on begging the Weyane, on their knees, for help or are sweeping the streets of Mekele? What kind of blinding hatred and vendetta against Shaebia could these elements harbor to practice "to kill the fish, drain the lake" doctrine against their own people? What kind of Eritrean could they be practice "scorched earth tactic" or "let no grass grow after me" against their kind with the sworn enemy? How strong is the backward mentalities and tendencies of the Eritrean elements to fall such low to this shame? What kind of Eritreans are those who wine and dine with Weyane in the middle of the war while the blood of our young ones is fresh? What kind of Eritreans are out there that go knocking the door so Western nations to economically and diplomatically strangulate Eritrea, while the Eritrea is in the middle of the war or the middle of far-reaching drought? Do these people really sleep at night after they have sold their soul to "devil" and after they have "bartered" Eritrea for bottles "Katikala" and for donated wheat", left over of Weyane, in the streets of Mekel?. Since when does an Eritrean went down, on his knees, to be beg from a "certified bagger" anyway? How could and Eritreans beg from born and certified "beggar and what do they expect to get? In all honesty, I doubt if these are Eritreans and how can they claim to be Eritreans doing unEritrean thing? "Mergem Weladi Ente Zei'Ketele Ye'Enenie" will be their story and their fate. What would the bigger than life giants and gallants of Eritrea from the distance past and recent past say when they are told that we have Eritreans that are being supported and sustained by Weyane in exchange of burning their churches, mosques, schools, and home? What kind of Eritrean could they be to sit there doing nothing while their own sisters and mothers were raped by Weyane in front of their eyes? Have these elements heard the latest song of the Eritrean mother, which goes like this: "Entai Eleyo Hadar Lomi Qine Ezi Weyane Hamed Kaisehane". Do they know what that song means? Help me understand the mentality and the nature of "Hatela" of the Motherland if you could! It is just unEritrean to betray your kind, especially at a time when your kind needed you the most! It is damn shame and disgrace not to be there for your kind when they needed you the most. Albeit few in number, we have those who betrayed the mothers and we know them one by one.
While the "outfoxing" game of the Amhara/Tigrai is being play, it is a must that Eritrea should stay on course, focused, alert, watch for Eritrea with an eagle eye, and be prepared for any eventualities from all enemies. As usual, the Eritrean determination, steadfastness, unbridled sacrifice for the cause of the Motherland; the unabridged love of Eritrea should be there if Weyane is to come to be cured from this insanity. If the "guarantors of peace" are to live up to their obligations and responsibilities, the ever-defiant nation should be ready for any eventualities more so now than ever. "God only helps those who help them selves" and "we have only us" to save ourselves. As the Eritrean mothers put it, may "Kidane Mihret Sembel" (God/Allah) continue protecting the "Halal Meriet"; Amen/Ensha'Alah!
Wetru Awet N'Hafash!
Hiji Win Hade Hizbi Hade Libi!
Eternal Glory to the Dead and the Living Heroes/Heroines
It is a Must "Wefri Warsai-YekeAlo" Should Succeed!