By Liberty Sam
June 10, 2018
If Badme were given to Ethiopia, and Eritrea did the things we are doing now, what would have we done? The answer is we would have ignited another full fledged war. Right after the verdict is announced, didn’t Ambassador Siyum Mesfin ask the Eritrean government to abide by the verdict? Didn’t we dance in the streets of Addis Ababa because we thought we were given Badme and others places that we did not ask for? There is no peace by sidelining the rule of law. Because true justice is affirmed only through the court of law.
As if it was new to Ethiopia only, I have heard the people of Irob saying if the border is demarcated the Irob people will be divided into two. Not going far away, don’t we know that the Ethiopian people of Afar, Kunama, and Tigrina are also found in Eritrea. Don’t we know that the people of Tigre, Rashida and Hidareb, are found in both Eritrea and Sudan. Don’t we know that the people of Afar, Issa are found in Ethiopia and Djibouti. Don’t we know the Somalis and Oromo are found in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia? If this is the realty of Africa, why are the people of Irob raising the issue as unique to them? In fact, if it is handled appropriately, the stretching of an ethnic groups along the two countries can be used as a bridge. This is common in Europe, North America, Asia and South America.
The issue of Badme is easier than the Issue of Irob. Although the administration was under Tigrai, most of the dwellers of Badme were Eritreans. Do you know that before the war 85% of the dwellers of Badme were Eritreans? Excluding the new settlers, because they are connected to the military, I am sure the original Eritrean and Tigrean dwellers of Badme can live together in peace side by side regardless of the demarcation.
Although demarcation is not the easiest way to make peace between the two people, there is no any other choice. Ethiopia had two choices. Not to go to the court or abide by the court verdict. We went to the court and the second step is to abide by the verdict and move on.
I know some people may not be happy by my argument. However, there will not be peace by hiding the truth. Because we have the winning Army, we cannot break International law. Our Army is in there to be guided by domestic and international law. Playing by emotions is not going to be a solution to the problem.
Peace building takes time and many sacrifices. For many people to blame the EPRDF for its decision is naïve. Do you think 36 smart people passed the decision without considering all the issues we are talking about here? If we had any other solution, why have we been in the destructing no war not peace situation for the last 16 years? Who do you think the international community faults for the stalemate?
It is time to put the down payment for lasting peace one at a time.