EthioPoint: Ethiopians Analysis | Research Articles

How can it be "Cannon Fodder"? Misconception and distraction, the case of Berhanu Nega

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By Sebhat Mersie Hazen, Ph.D
ESAT Special Dr Birhanu Nega on Andargachew Tsege July 29 2014In examining the article, “Cannon Fodder” or Big Hope for Ethiopia, the author- Teshome attempted to explain the role of AG-7, by casting aspersion to undermine the movement. He and few others are trying to create fear, confusion, distortions and distraction.
In framing the issue, Teshome juxtaposed the interrelated interests of Berhanu Nega and Isaias Afeworki, president of Eritrea by portraying the former, promoting the interest of the latter as “cannon fodder”, a typical propaganda line of TPLE/EPRDF.
The attitude and tone toward the Eritrean regime is negative, clearly subjective, despite the pretention to be impartial and objective. Surely, there are Eritrean opposition elements and may be legitimate grievances against the president. Yet, president Isaias Afeworki, still the popular leader of Eritrea.
It is hard to accept this fact for TPLF/EPRDF, it’s supporters and apologists, including the naive and gullible. These forces knowingly or unknowingly have stood against the liberation of Ethiopia people from the yoke of TPLF/EPRDF’s rule.
The article incorrectly stated that the support of the Eritrean regime to the fundamentalist, meaning the Islamic court union of Somalia “shortsighted” in spite of the fact, it was regarded as stabilizing force for Somalia at that time.
Unfortunately, chaos was preferred than stability by outside powers In which Meles Zenawi had been a partner. As a result, the Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia and ousted the Islamic Court Union from power. This blatant aggression against Somalia has been the first of its kind in the modern history of Ethiopia. I used to hear repeatedly from the late Meles Zenawi blaming the previous government of Ethiopia as the aggressor rather than a victim. It was Somalia who invaded Ethiopia due to its territorial demand of the Ogaden. This has been the fundamental reason for war between the two countries. In spite of the fact, Meles Zenawi, the defender of Somalia suddenly reversed himself and became the aggressor against that country, which still going on a rather shameful opportunistic and unprincipled stand of that episode. Now, Ethiopian troops are still in Somalia in the guise of “peace keeping” force with other African troops in that country. It is ironic, even the Mengistu’s regime of Ethiopia didn’t go as far as Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia to over throw the regime. Yet, Teshome’s article never mentioned the invasion into Somalia by TPLF/EPRDF, while blaming the Eritrean regime for supporting the Islamic court union is misleading, either to confuse the public, or beyond the author’s grasp of complex situation that was unfolding in both Somalia and Ethiopia at that time. The motivation of Meles Zenawi to invade Somalia was to evade and change the focus of his illegal and criminal atrocity he had committed against the opposition – Kenjit and its supporting, as well as innocent citizens, in the wake of electoral defeat in the 2007 election. The domestic factors was the real reason than the external one. But Meles Zenawi manipulated that event to his own advantage and managed to converging its interest with America’s security and strategic interest in combating “terrorism” in that part of the world. Yet, Ethiopia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity was never threatened despite occasional clashes along the borders of the two countries.
Let me point out, the misconception of the author that he attributed Zenawism as ideology, a danger to Eritrea and the rest of the Africa as a whole. For Africa, Ethnic problem is not a new phenomenon. But Teshome is confused to understand the difference between ideology and organization. Zenawism it’s not ideology, and can never be.
Basically, the formation of Kelill (regions) on ethnic and language basis of federation, yes defective, but resided on state structure, which is an organizational sphere. Ideology is on rather different sphere, which involves principles, perspectives and outlooks.
Revolutionary Democracy can be conceived in the realm of Ideology. But the concept of revolutionary democracy is not invented by Meles Zenawi. He was a borrower from Lenin.
Teshome is elevating the person into a higher level which he never was, but clever, not thoroughly intelligent. Since the Kelill (regions) structure was established twenty three years ago, the negative impact have been enormous for the people of Ethiopia. But Teshome’s focus on Africa is misdirected, unless he want the notion for the propose of evasion and distraction from the real focus. Such sophistry and concern for the rest of Africa is disingenuous and demagoguery, to say the least.
The struggle against TPLF/EPRDF by AG-7 for freedom, justice, equality and democracy in Ethiopia is paramount. It is obvious that Teshome want to support TPLF/EPRDF in the future war with Eritrea. But the armed struggle is between TPLF/EPRDF and AG-7. There is a distinction between the Eritrean regime and AG-7… to unite into one collection is a distortion.
There are confused and some  hostile elements among the public toward the leadership of Eritrea, due to hangover, the separation of Eritrea from Ethiopia and the huge loss of sea outlet, including the port of Assab. With this in mind a variety of motives can be detected on some individuals, mostly irrelevant, outdated and personal than the reflection of collective interest of the Ethiopian people.
Let me say that, there are levels of contradictions. In the law of contradictions, there are primary and secondary contradiction. In the current context, the ruling elements of TPLF/EPRDF, who controlled the Ethiopian state are the primary contradiction, or the main enemy of the majority of the Ethiopian people. The Eritrean regime does not even come close to the level of secondary contradiction.  This must be clearly understood. Clarity is first and foremost. The current hué and cry of the few can be gleaned that AG-7 should not fight with arms against TPLF/EPRDF. Why? According to the author of the article because the Eritrean regime is weak, so AG-7 troops “expendable human wave- cannon fodder” for Eritrean troops. This is outrageous propaganda, simplistic devoid of logic and reality.
The author also highly exaggerated the number of Eritrean army dessertors to validate his own assertion without empirical evidence or statistical proof.
It must be stressed that to engage in critical and rational discourse is one thing. But it is quite another thing to involve in a preconceived notion of empty rhetoric, with lies deceit and falsification. It is not a constructive endeavor. And despite the noise and fuss, the train left the station. The stake is too high and involve quite a considerable sacrifice, in terms of resources and blood.
Self interest, arrogance and ego must give way to humility rationality, objectivity and wisdom for the sake of the majority of the Ethiopian people.
CEASE AND DESIST. Let us strive to attain the moral high ground, and persist in the struggle, victory is inevitable.

–   Dr. Sebhat was a professor of Political Science at Addis Ababa university until he was discharged illegally by Meles Zenawi with the other 40 university teachers.