By Amanuel Biedemariam,
For over 16 years the TPLF played negative roles in perpetuating the acrimonious relations that existed between the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia by spewing false propaganda. The TPLF believes good relations between Ethiopians and Eritrea will hasten its demise. For that reason it has done everything possible to keep them separated, at odds and, injected hostility consistently.
ESAT’s visit to Eritrea and the subsequent interview with President Isaias Afewerki by Amsterdam and Washington based Ethiopian Satellite TV journalists Fasil Yenealem and Messay Mekonen was a game changer. The reports moved public opinion away from hostility and in favor of working with Eritrea. The testimonial-reporting and the interview with President Isaias are changing minds, the relationship-dynamics, and long held perceptions between Eritreans and Ethiopians fundamentally.
President Isaias explained Eritrea’s position clearly. He stated that ethnically based constitution is a recipe for the fragmentation of Ethiopia. He explained that a strong and united Ethiopia is an asset not a threat to Eritrea.
Upon their return, to brief Ethiopians, on March 9, 2015, ESAT held special Journalists Post Eritrea Journey Discussion with the Public in Arlington Virginia. For the first time, many Eritreans participated-openly.
What stood-out was the civility with which the discussion was conducted-signaling the willingness and ability of Eritreans and Ethiopians to work together in order to eliminate the TPLF and establish cooperative understandings for the future of both countries.
Time, patience and willingness-of dedicated Eritreans and Ethiopians have led to the currents state of Eri-Ethio relations.
These developments have shaken the TPLF to the core. Hence, and to counter, consistent all-out media blitz to sell doubt and fear is underway.
As a minority, the apartheid regime in Ethiopia has decided that it cannot survive in a peaceful democratic arrangement that is at peace with neighbors. The TPLF concluded that its very survival depends on PR, propaganda, selling-fear and doubt. Lies, deceit, misinformation, fabrication, exaggeration and falsification are their standard mode of operation. These lies are designed to keep Ethiopia divided based on ethnicity, region, and religion and in a constant state of fear. It is also designed to keep Eritreans and Ethiopia at odds with each other.
However, the strategy is no longer effective because Ethiopians have given-up on the TPLF and they are rejecting everything TPLF. In fact, Ethiopians are winning the PR battles against the TPLF. ESAT is now the preferred information source for millions of Ethiopians worldwide. And instead of hate Ethiopians have chosen to work with Eritrea.
As a result the TPLF is currently engaged in a strategy of trying to PLANT DOUBT in the minds of Ethiopians about the interview with President Isaias, working with Eritrea and ESAT. This is done surgically using lackeys that roam on TPLF websites. They are on Paltalk and radio stations spewing falsities designed to implant doubt on people’s minds. Just like in the courtroom, the idea is to create reasonable doubt and make people think twice about supporting ESAT or the notion of working with Eritrea.
The lies are that ESAT is Eritrea’s Amharic program. Isaias is the enemy of the people of Ethiopia; Eritrea does not want the opposition to succeed; Eritrea kills and imprisons members of the opposition based in Eritrea and, there is no opposition to challenge the TPLF etc… The latest craze is their attempts to undermine on Dr. Berhanu Nega’s trip to Eritrea.
The TPLF is using its lackeys (Ethiopian Review and the like) and unapologetically-Tigrayan websites (Aiga and Tigrai Online that push TPLF-agenda), to disseminate false news and misleading information about matters that concern Ethiopia and Eritrea.
The TPLF is trying to use Eritrea in many ways. In the latest episode the agenda is to use the recent moves by Arbegnoch-Ginbot 7 (AGUDM) to vilify Eritrea in the eyes of the international community and to justify military, or other campaigns and, warn Ethiopians against working with Eritrea.
However, the TPLF is no position to attack Eritrea even if it desperately wants to because it has no support from within or out to wage any military campaign against Eritrea. In response to the reckless statements by PM Hailemariam Desalegn, during a recent panel discussion, Professor Terrence Lyon said,
“The recent really quiet astonishing bellicose statements made by PM Hailemariam Desalegn against Eritrea are really the ground work for what could be an escalation of that conflict (the Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict). And that it would be very useful for the United States and President Obama to say directly to the highest levels of officials in Ethiopia that the U.S. won’t be on board with them on that. Crossing the border into Eritrea would be a catastrophe and shouldn’t do it to make sure there is no ambiguity on that point.”
Some consider Hailemariam’s rant a cry for help because of the increased resistance against the regime. During a recent interview with ESAT, Dr.Berhanu Nega said,
“If the TPLF is to attack Eritrea now, their aim is Ethiopian opposition not Eritrea.”
The TPLF also knows attacking Eritrea will expedite its demise. Hence, these claims are stunts designed to distract the gullible.
Ethiopia is at a critical transitional stage. Ethiopians are aware that the current state of affairs is not sustainable and that it represents danger not only for the future of Ethiopia but also for the entire region. Ethiopians are eager for transition but they are certain that the TPLF will not leave power peacefully. And the recent election is a reminder that the status-quo will persist as long as the TPLF has power. This makes Ethiopia vulnerable into becoming unstable country like Somalia, Yemen, or Libya. The problem, as witnessed in Libya and others, if unrest starts in Ethiopia it will be irreversible.
These are the realities driving Ethiopians to look for solutions and alternative routes. ESAT’s visit, Dr. Berhanu Nega’s trip to Eritrea and the increase of rebellion activities represent these realities. Ethiopians have concluded change in Ethiopia can only come when they can present a credible threat of force to back their peaceful quest.
The TPLF understands these facts and the only way it can combat it on the media, by propaganda, with lies and with disinformation / misinformation campaigns. It can only combat it with threats, intimidation and trickery by spending millions in subversive activities such as hacking. As this is its last hurrah; it has employed all tools available.
However, time is not on TPLF’s side. The TPLF is increasingly being forced to react to developments rather than shaping it. Every day Ethiopians are shaping the agendas, and stealing attention. Recent moves of Arbegnoch Ginbot 7 (AGUDM) and others are reflection of these realities. The trajectory for the minority clique is on a downward spiral while the struggle to eject the minority mafia clique is gaining momentum.
Change is inevitable in Ethiopia, and no matter what the TPLF or its handlers do they cannot stop the inevitable. There is also one reality that no one can change and that is Eritrea will always welcome Ethiopians and no propaganda can change that.