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Ethiopia: At A Decisive Stage Between Its People And The TPLF (Part 1)

In order to understand the ever changing agendas and the dangerous attitude of the TPLF regime requires one to first have some idea about the background and the founding of the Ethiopian nation.

Ethiopia’s current political map came into shape in 1945, after the victory of the Allied powers over the Axis forces and specifically when the British Empire decided to cede the control of the Ogaden region to Emperor Haileslasie of Ethiopia. But prior to the founding of the present-day Ethiopia, there were many other indigenous rivaling entities competing for power from regions such as Tigray, Gojjam, Shoa as well as the Mahdi from the Sudan. However, with the advent of the Mahdi movement and the Italian invasion, the kingdoms of Tigray and Gojjam were much weakened. This power vacuum and the existing contention between the French and the British to expand their colonial territories were exploited by the aspiring Shoan King Menelik, who forged agreements with European powers and managed to expand his territory. This gave Ethiopia its present-day geographical appearance.

In the course of history that took place after, a history punctuated by much strife and contention amongst the warring nobilities in Ethiopia, the Amhara noble class came out triumphant. Hence, they formed a monarchical feudal dynasty that put the ownership of all land and the means of production under the tutelage of the Royal Family, the feudal lords and their vassals, effectively enforcing a strict policy in which all the other entities and nationalities were to become subservient to the ruling elite. However, the creation of a modern nation-state required the complete overhauling of the antiquated political system that based on outdated feudal notions. Hence, it was only natural that nationalities and entities that were stepped upon for centuries start to rise and rebel.

Nonetheless, the attempt to expand the Ethiopian territory by Ethiopian emperors did not stop there. The Haileslasie regime, in order to get a sea outlet annexed Eritrea by invalidating the prior agreement it made with the Italian empire to unite Eritrea and Ethiopia under federation with the help of the American Administration. The annexation of Eritrea added further fuel to the internal instability that was already prevalent in Ethiopia. As a result of the outbreak that ensued, the Haileslasie regime was overthrown through the combined tremor caused by the Eritrean revolution and uprising of the Ethiopian masses.

However, the insurrection of the Ethiopian masses was not organized, and did not bring about a leadership that was intent in establishing democratic rule. The power vacuum left by the Haileslasie regime was filled by the military junta that had a relatively better organization, the Derg.

Similarly to its predecessor, the Derg regime, on its part, not only did it fail to ensure a progressive government, but it also made the blunder of attempting to crush popular resistance through military might that led to much bloodletting and chaos. Such a situation paved way for the creation of many nationalist or popular organizations. The armed insurrection of the Tigrayan people, hence, was created under such state-of-affairs.
Eritrean organizations and specially the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front, taking into consideration not only the open aggression the Ethiopian regimes were inflicting upon the Eritrean people, but also the much anguish upon their own people, were providing moral and material support to the just struggle of the different Ethiopian movements from early stages. As part of the cooperation, it is well documented that fighters belonging to the EPRP as well as Tigrayan opposition that were staying with the E.P.L.F. to acquire some experience; moved back to Ethiopia to continue their struggle when the Haileslasie regime was toppled.  One of those fighters who were staying with the E.P.L.F. to gain practical experience and objectives of struggle and was sent to Tigray to continue his struggle by the EPLF was combatant Mehari Tecle. And he initiated the armed struggle by meeting and consulting with the members of the Tigrayns Progressive Movement that was formed by Tigryan students and was operating in Addis Ababa. Hence, an organization known as Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front was created in February 1975 and its core cadres were trained at the training center of the EPLF.

Not so long later, due to the dispute and misunderstanding between the Tigrayan fighters, the organization was split into two and the Weyane People’s Liberation Front was born. During this time there were also other Tigrayan organizations such as EDU and Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front and Tigryan People’s Liberation Front Executive Committee, etc. However, because of the antagonism amongst the different organizations led into physical confrontation, the Tigrayan People’s Popular Front came out triumphant thanks to the support that it got from the EPLF.

The Tigrayan people, who desired very much to break the cycles of dominance and discrimination against them, have enabled it to come to power by providing material support and by paying much sacrifice. However, the narrow mentality and ploys of the TPLF leadership was not only not representing the aspiration and desire of the people of Tigray, but also the choice of the clique to pursue revenge instead of becoming revolutionary vanguard and the racial policies it followed have lit fire in Ethiopia that could not be easily extinguished and is on the verge of its demise and threatening the very existence of the country.

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