Badme was used by the weyanes as a pretext to declare war on Eritrea under the lame excuse that “Eritrea invaded a sovereign Ethiopian territory”. Now that the Boundary Commission has ruled that Badme actually belongs to Eritrea, what is left of the weyanes is anyone’s guess. The judgment day has just begun. The issue of Badme has become more frightening to them than peace itself. One would think that the weyanes’ worst enemy is peace itself, for once the war stops all the lies the Ethiopian people and the rest of the world were told by the government of Mr. Meles Zenawi may come to the open for everyone to see who the villain and the righteous, the aggressor and the victim really is. Indeed Badme is the weyanes’ worst nightmare.
One sure way for the demise of the ruling clique in Addis Ababa has been long understood to be for it to embrace peace within itself, with its people, and with its neighbors, particularly with the State of Eritrea. Under the premise that “Eritrea invaded a sovereign Ethiopian territory”, the weyane-led government of Ethiopia unleashed a war of attrition against Eritrea and waged successive military offensives to overthrow the Eritrean Government and in its place establish a regime amenable to its agenda of containment and re-colonization of the latter. The weyane clique, not only did it promise diehard Ethiopians of the “return of Badme”, but also the capture of Assab, if not the total conquest of Eritrea. Thanks to the ever resolute and steadfast Eritrean leadership, unwavering determination of the Eritrean people, and resolve of our fighting men and women, Eritrea, through thick and thin air, has for one more time reaffirmed its sovereignty and capability to stand against all odds. Eritrea held its ground; repulsed the Ethiopian invading forces, and inflicted untold damage to the Ethiopian war machinery.
In the aftermath of the war it created, what does the weyane clique show for itself except the loss of an untold number of lives and the wastage of resources, which could have been wisely used to feed the hungry and build the nation’s devastated economy? Neither Badme nor Assab was captured militarily or acquired legally! Eritrea remains independent and the Government of Eritrea has not been overthrown! President Isaias Afewerki is still the leader of the nation he had a hand in emancipating, and more importantly, in preserving its sovereignty! The weyanes have to answer to the Ethiopian people for the losses of hundreds of thousands of human lives, the carnage, the squandering of the meager resources of the country, and the promise of the “return of Badme”, the “recapture of Assab”, the “overthrow of Isaias” and “replacement” of him by elements agreeable to them, and of course “the return of Eritrea to its mother country”, Ethiopia. No wonder the weyanes chose war over peace then and they still are bent to resorting to violence now instead of coming to terms with reality and abiding to the rule of law!
The weyanes are again on the loose beating the war drum against Eritrea. Despite the Boundary Commission’s decision that Badme is unconditionally Eritrean territory as ruled in the April 13, 2002 deliberations, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s government continues to insist reversal of the Commission’s decision on the boundary between Ethiopia and Eritrea. The Prime Minister has threatened, “that if its concerns were not properly addressed, Ethiopia might eventually reject the demarcation-related decisions of the Commission”. Recently, the ruling clique, through its State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Tekeda Alemu, has further reiterated its position that it “would find it difficult to believe that any person in his right mind would put Badme in Eritrea”, an affirmation of noncompliance of the U.N. Security Council’s resolutions by the Ethiopian regime.
The Boundary Commission President, Sir Elihu Lauterpacht, could not have been clearer when he said, “…Ethiopia has continued to seek variations to the boundary line delimited in the April Decision, and has done so in terms that appear, despite protestations to the contrary, to undermine not only the April Decision but also the peace process as a whole”. The most important message of the Commission’s rulings is being deliberately ignored and conveniently glossed over by the weyanes as if anything “final and binding” does not apply to Ethiopia, but only to its adversaries.
Such behavior by the weyane regime is not anything out of the ordinary for anyone who follows Ethiopian history. To lie, deceive, and deny as tactics of political undertaking is imbedded in the psyche of the Ethiopian political culture. This kind of political game played by Ethiopian rulers for centuries have served them well, and they have done this by successfully aligning foreign forces to rescue them from problems of their own making. They lie and beg with style and they get away with a crime all the time! It is indeed a breath of fresh air to hear that Ethiopia for the first time in history has been told by the world community to accept that the ruling of the Boundary Commission is “final and binding”. This is a momentous leap by the United Nations that Eritreans were always eager to hear from a world body they entrusted once with their freedom and identity. It is more than fifty years late in coming, but it is better late than never, and for that Eritreans are grateful that someone finally spoke the truth.
The weyanes did not act alone in their bid to wage war against Eritrea and its government. They also had others to dance to the tune of their lies, deceptions, and military power of gloom and doom. They were successful in aligning of forces of annihilation in one and defeatism in the other. They were successful in bringing together forces of reaction both from within and without. The weyanes no longer needed much of their inner circle propaganda services in maligning Eritrea, its leadership and government. Instead, they relied heavily on the services provided by some gullible Eritreans and foreign nationals working under the disguise of democracy, reconciliation, peace, and diplomacy.
Some Eritrean men and women of letters, websites, and groupings, albeit inconsequential and miniscule in number, were (and they still are!) at the service of the weyane propaganda machine. The weyanes could not have done it better themselves. These “opponents” have followed the weyanes to the letter, and more. Whatever the weyanes have said of Eritrea and its leadership, it was echoed both in form and content in a “repeat after me” type of parroting. Like the weyanes, the “opponents” tried to demonize the person of President Isaias Afewerki and labeled Eritrea as an “aggressor” and “belligerent” nation. They advocated for international blockage of economic and humanitarian assistance to the country. They had to campaign for the European Union, African Union, the U.S. and others to severe ties with Eritrea. For them it doesn’t matter that the nation is at war and its survival is at stake. They rather advocate for the Bandinis, the Lakes, and the likes than for the Eritrean displaced and victim of drought and famine. This time around, when the country is facing massive humanitarian crisis due to drought, the “opponents” are campaigning very hard via websites such as Asmarino.com for humanitarian assistance to Eritrea to be channeled through non-Eritrean NGOs instead of indigenous agencies whose records speak volumes of their efficiency and incorruptibility.
The “opponents” rather rejoice at their “success” in misinforming the editors of The Boston Globe (one of the few well-known newspapers in the U.S. that supported the Eritrean cause for decades) to take an erroneous stand against the nation and government. The “opponents” would rather support the U.S.-Rwanda peace proposal of entrapment than that forwarded by the Eritrean government in bringing about peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia in 1998, right at the beginning of the conflict. After the fact, we now know that had the world accepted the Eritrean peace proposal, then all the lives lost, the properties destroyed, and the social fabrics disrupted would have been spared. Whether they agree or not, the “opponents” are in perfect collusion with the archenemies of Eritrea, the weyanes.
The “opponents” are now shifting gears. After a prolonged period of silence, they are reappearing in cyberspace and on stages of halls of infamy, lending support to one another and playing the same old record no one with an honest mind cares to hear about. They are talking about “reconciliation” and yet they have no qualms to call those with whom they had to “reconcile” the most vicious medical term there is, “rabid”, mad dogs, animals suffering from an irreversible disease called rabies. They are shuttling from town to town to comfort one another and “discuss the Constitution” as if the Eritrean public did not know better. Why all of a sudden we are hearing of their meetings and “words of wisdom”? If there is anything new in town these days, it is that the “Tigrayan officials [are] warn[ing] of clashes over Badme”, and “…one way or another there will be skirmishes” between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Did their weyane friends give them signals to resume the usual, the other side of a war, a propaganda campaign? If so, what excuse will they come up with now to justify their actions? There is no Badme to “invade” at this time. No one should make a case out of it. No more. That damn place is now reaffirmed to be Eritrean. So said an international court. Wouldn’t the “opponents” in concert with their weyane friends leave us alone to mind our own lives as much as they should with theirs?
This is not to say that the “opponents” should not be responsible for their own actions. Like for the weyanes, a day of reckoning should also begin for them. Unlike the position they advocated, Eritrea is not the “aggressor” nation. It couldn’t be. Eritrea couldn’t have “invaded” its own territory. Badme, the “root cause” of the war itself and the nemesis for the “opponents” to take positions of dissentions against the Eritrean government, is reconfirmed to belong to Eritrea through the rule of law. The cases of the Bandinis and the Lakes are consequences of the war itself as much as the actions taken by the “opponents” in advocating for the foreign diplomats. Therefore, whatever misdeeds committed by the “opponents” cannot be seen in isolation. Eritrea has had to struggle against the political, economic, diplomatic, and humanitarian onslaught advocated by the “opponents”, so that the European Union, the Africa Union, the U.S., humanitarian organizations, and civic agencies would deny Eritrea of their assistance and take stringent measures against it.
Already, officials of the weyane regime are seeing that “the fallout of the legal [Eritrea-Ethiopia border] decision could reverberate around the ruling coalition group – the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPDRF)”. In his deliberations of April 1, 2003 filed by IRIN News, the President of Ethiopia’s Tigray region was particularly honest when he said that the border ruling “will damage the image of the TPLF [Tigray People’s Liberation Front, dominant Party in the EPDRF], and the capacity of the TPLF to hold the people may be restrained”. As the deputy administrator of the Tigray region, Mr. Abadi Zemo, has also noted that “the effects [of the border ruling] could be felt wider than just in the border region”, the future of Ethiopia simply rests on how Mr. Meles and his ruling coalition conduct business from here on. As a starter, they should abide by the ruling of the Boundary Commission. The guarantors of the Algeries Peace Agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia (the United Nations, African Union, European Union, and U.S.A.) have particularly the responsibility that peace reins in the ever-troubled region of East Africa. It will all depend on how Ethiopia is allowed to behave by the international community from now on. For its own sake and for the sake of the peoples in the region and world peace, Ethiopia should be reminded to stay clear from wars, and instead focus on building its own economy and feeding its own people.