Sour Grapes or Real Threat: Tamrat Negera Feyisa’s Interview
Sour Grapes or Real Threat: Tamrat Negera Feyisa’s Interview Have you ever noticed what a political ranter we don’t like can get us into? Collective Obsessional Behavior is the term Sociologists describe. Yea! that is what
Sour Grapes or Real Threat: Tamrat Negera Feyisa’s Interview
Have you ever noticed what a political ranter we don’t like can get us into? Collective Obsessional Behavior is the term Sociologists describe. Yea! that is what we have become. Instead of creating a united front against any threat we face, we collectively obsess about individuals’ personal narratives. And when that happens, the first thing we do, for better or for worse, as it has always been, is to create hysteria, hyperbole and scapegoating. Indeed, when that happens, anger becomes common currency and insults and contemptuous manners replaces common decency. And that is well and good, really good; since doing so would give us a sense of superior morality, outwardly appearing to care for the well-being of Eritrea and Eritreans, while jealously guarding our comfort zones and blame others for the misfortune befell on us. More on that later. But that was exactly what happened recently, when an Ethiopian journalist, Tamrat Negera Feyisa – perhaps an Amhara-ized Oromo – raised the ire of Eritreans in an interview, when, in his matter-of-factly manners, he said, literally, “the day Ethiopia decides to dismember Eritrea, Eritrea wouldn’t exist”; and then, climaxing his rhetoric, in so doing, he declared, “no power can stop Ethiopia” – to dismember Eritrea. And according to him, everything will be fine, peaceful and tranquil.
Such malign intentions for Eritrea are not uncommon in Ethiopia among the Amhara hardliners. What made this unusual was that Mr. Tamrat took it to the next level to snatch a sovereign country’s independence, literally. Mr. Tamrat Negera Feyisa, the arm-chair warrior, could have been born Kelbesa, or Demeksa, or Megersa before he changed his name to mainstream Amhara one: Tamrat, a possibility. For he fits the profile of an Amhara-ized Oromo perfectly well. Or, perhaps the senior Negera Feyisa could have been a Dergue soldier in Eritrea back in the days, maiming Eritreans before he himself was killed; thus, for Tamrat to begrudgingly justify his malign intentions for Eritrea – I suspect. But what I can argue with absolute certainty is, extreme nationalists are rabid dogs who main anybody on their way; for their insecurity, or lack thereof, they tend to hide their ugly and hideous nature till the opportune moment materializes. Remember what Hitler’s extreme nationalism brought to the western world in the 1940s. Just beware of extremists and pseudo-nationalist, for they are of no good to society.
So, have you ever been demonized for your political believes by Higdef zombies who wanted to prove they are more Eritrean than yourselves? I am damn certain you do! Have you ever noticed those trolls and agitators at public gatherings? Those are the insecure pseudo-nationalist ones who put a brave face to disrupt real and legitimate Eritrean gatherings. And since they don’t have an identity to fall into, they become inherently ruthless. These kind of people, unless restrained, have the tendency to be extremely feeble and dangerous and once they got the sniff of power, the havoc and misery they brought to bear would be unimaginable. You don’t have to go too far, just look what Eritrea finds itself into under the illegitimate dictator, who, close to half a century, presented a facade of Eritrean identity and legitimacy to the Eritrean public, only to cause misery, death and destruction to the trusting public.
Just to sweeten the argument, recalling an historical precedent would be appropriate here – the Spanish Inquisition. The Inquisition is remembered to be the era of religious intolerance and repression of heretics in the late 15th century Europe. Created by King Aragon of Spain in 1478 to eliminate religious deviants and heretics, it [Inquisition] was put under the direct command of the Grand Inquisitor by the name of Tomas de Torquemada. As Grand Inquisitor, Torquemada – a Jew converted to Catholicism – had been the force behind the Inquisition, which murdered more than 300,000 Catholics in Spain. Torquemada himself was responsible for the execution of more than 2000 alleged heretics. Through sheer violence and brutality, Torquemada, the Jew heretofore, proved more Catholic than the Catholics.* Any similarity here with the demeanor of Tamrat Negera Feyisa? Certainly! Devouring Eritrea has been an age old ambition of chauvinist Amhara extremists; a perennial disease from which they could never recover. Thus, for Tamrat (Kelbesa) Negera Feyisa to parrot the chauvinist Amhara talking point, it is nothing but his sheer desire to be more Amhara than the Amharans. Though, in fairness, the Amhara elites, if not reconciled, are at least content with the loss of Eritrea and only humming their perpetual obsession “yebaHr ber” or, “access to the sea” and to do just that, if only possible, they want to snatch the port of Assab from Eritrea. But, for the Amhara-ized Mr. Feyisa, he wouldn’t settle for anything less than Eritrea on its knees. Had he gotten the opportunity and the power – considering Oromos hitherto sub-human status within Ethiopian society – no doubt, he would have turned on the Amharas themselves. Because, an oppressed person would never forgive his oppressor and finds an opportune moment for revenge. Since Menelik’s time, regrettably, it was the Amhara elites who instituted pervasive racism and discrimination against the Oromo people; calling them with demeaning names like: GALLA, KOTU. It was only after the revolution of 1974 that the Oromos had the humiliation and pervasive injustices against them remedied, albeit slowly. Is it surprising then, to see the current ‘Quero’ movement unleashing its vengeance against non-Oromos in Ethiopia? It certainly has the element to this sad chapter of the Oromo people. And yet, for Tamrat Negera Feyisa, compared to his lust to dismember Eritrea, the sad history of Amhara domination of the Oromo people isn’t that important to him. If humiliation and discrimination of the Oromos was good to his perverted mind, then, it certainly must be good for Eritreans, so goes his twisted logic. “What is good for the goose is good for the gander,” in its general sense, of course.
Mr. Tamrat Negera Feyisa, flaunting his animalistic impulses, continued: after paying homage to the dictator for keeping Eritreans uneducated – there is an element of truth here to fair minded Eritrean – he endorsed for the extreme form of enslavement for Eritreans. It is incredible how the human psyche works. Someone who experienced a heathy dose of discrimination, prejudice and enslavement in his life is not going to heed to a peaceful, people to people relations and, in fact, he is more open to enslaving others. Indeed, that someone is permanently hypnotized to a slave mentality. That is exactly what Tamrat displayed in the interview: his slave mentality. “We have to create Eritrea which is not a danger either diplomatically, politically and economically to Ethiopia,” Tamrat thundered. The good natured Oromo, allowed us to have our own impotent parliament subject to the whims of benevolent Ethiopia. “Some form of administration,” as he called it. When the interviewer interjected, as if to reinforce Tamrat’s point, asked him if he meant an administration “commanded by federal police,” Tamrat replied sarcastically, “yea, that is what is needed,” he chuckled. Then later, perhaps his human instinct kicked in, he allowed Eritrea to have an embassy – and, only one embassy – in Addis Abeba, controlled by Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affaires; although, under which article of the Vienna Convention for diplomatic relations this arrangement falls, Mr. Feyisa didn’t answer; nor did he give any precedent for this unusual arrangement between two sovereign nations.
But there was one notable moment in the interview, when Mr. Feyisa – the desk warrior and ‘political analyst’ – didn’t hide his anxiety about the fate of Ethiopia, when, for example, he mentioned the fate of the former Yugoslavia. War had happened in Yugoslavia, he said, when the state of Serbia wanted to create puppet states of the constituent parts of Yugoslavia; therefore, he concluded, the disintegration of Yugoslavia became inevitable; implying the futility of such an endeavor. Then, the logical question is: If Serbia’s attempt to create puppet states was Yugoslavia’s undoing, what makes it workable to create a puppet state in Eritrea? This critical point didn’t cross his mediocre mind. Nor did the interviewer challenged; perhaps, that was what he wanted to hear, he swallowed it wholly. One can be puzzled at the spectacle of the whole charade. I think, Tamrat’s performance was nothing but impulsive and rhetorical; but either way, should Tamrat decide to dismember Eritrea, Eritreans, irrespective of their current set back, expect this coward Oromo to be at the forefront of his campaign. There was a time when Oromo militia were roaming Eritrea, chanting their famous slogan “embi yale sew Tiyit aguRisew,” and raping women and pillaging villages; and, we all know how it ended up; except Tamrat, who recently woke up from his trance state.
What Tamrat (Kelbesa) said wasn’t that important. What matters is our reaction.
Ladies and gentlemen! how easy could it be for any agitator, internet troll or rabble rouser to control our emotions? Think about it, out of no where, Tamrat spoke to the effect of something we don’t like, and, in an instant, created a storm. When do we stop this persistent herd mentality? When do we stop the collective obsession about irrelevant issues? As far as I am concerned, our anger towards this Oromo rabble rouser is a bit misplaced, because:
First, he wasn’t the one who created the condition we are in, so our gun should have been at the forehead of the Tembienay dictator.
Second, in his rebuttal to the uproar of Eritreans, while we Eritreans are silent, Tamrat itemized for us every detail of the dictator’s misdeeds towards Eritreans: the trafficking of Eritreans, the closure of Asmara University, Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia ..etc
Nobody can dispute the veracity of what Tamrat said; none, whatsoever. We just need to muster the courage to confront the non-Eritrean dictator, who, in his lust to dismember Eritrea, created Eritrea’s existential vulnerability by allowing, encouraging, even forcing the exodus of Eritreans from their country. Eritrea as a viable entity wasn’t his lifelong dream, but its failure and dismemberment is; and, by changing his colors like chameleon, he worked for his ultimate goal from within – the dismemberment of Eritrea. That is what an enemy does, if only we knew and conscious about it. If he doesn’t belong to one of us, expecting him to care for Eritrea and Eritreans is sheer madness. It is way past time to confront him.
*Brian Innes: The History of Torture