Where are the TPLF dissidents?

By Getachew Reda
June 8, 2007

“It is this fear that has terrorized the cadres into submission in the face of gross crimes." Did you remember who said it? We will come back later for the answer.

Wait a minute! I have one more beautiful quotation to help refresh our memory.

“It is evident that Shaebia officials used to reiterate that unless Council of Tigrai was not changed and cleaned out, Shaebia's dreams could not be fulfilled. They were confidently saying that unless the persons they identified by name were not removed from the Council, Ethio-Eritrean relations would suffer. This attitude was shared by their foreign supporters and locally residing confidants. Their wish seems to have come true. I want to say congratulations to all of them!” - Former Tigray regional governor Gebru Asrat in 2001.

Since Gebru Asrat made the above remark, many Tigrayans (in particular those in the opposition in the Diaspora) took his remarks as promising. Above all Alemseged, Gebru, Aregash, Tewelde… and the rest of the dissident group had a relatively better image than the Meles-Sebhat camp which is generally seen as inimical to Ethiopia. The dissidents were expected they would mobilize their comrades within TPLF and struggle come out of in defense of Ethiopia. But, that didn’t happen.

Not only their rhetoric gave the false hope limited in Tigray, but they pumped up the entire nation into euphoria when they asserted publicly on media saying: “We have to struggle to reverse the trend”.

Few Tigrayan friends that I managed to contact asked them to tell me what they thought about Alemseged’s tour to the US and Gebru’s tour to Europe in the past, and why they were spending time with them. They told me, “they are the only hope for Ethiopia capable of capturing the anti Ethiopia Meles Zenawi alive or dead at the end of the day compared with other existing Ethiopian oppositions. They are fit to do the desired job.” I never trusted any of their rhetoric, knowing that the time to capture their adversary Meles Zenawi “alive or dead” assurance was gone a long time ago when they fell into a trap he set up for them while they bluffed without any strategy.

At the time of their campaign around 2002/3, Former Deki-Alula online staff writer by the name “Dagmawi Alula” asked Gebru Asrat and Aregash how they see the future of the country and if any message they have to convey to those of us in the Diaspora.

Gebru and Aregash: “We have to do our utmost to prevent the palace group from destroying the country. Destroying what had been achieved over the last years has become the Palace Group chosen pre-occupation. We have to struggle to reverse the trend. No question that we will win. Truth will prevail in the end”.

My question to these bluffers is, yes, truth will prevail in the end but how? What are you currently doing about the hope you gave the public? That your group will struggle to reverse the trend of Sebhat/Meles conspiracy to continue using Ethiopia/Tigray blood to “defend” their Eritrea?

What message do you have to convey to those in the Diaspora? You repeatedly told the interviewer that “We…have to do our utmost to prevent the palace group from destroying the country”. It has been a long time since the interview; the question for you that I need to pose is, “On what stage of destruction would you stand up for you to assert ‘enough is enough!’?

You don’t think the destruction you’ve already seen is not enough to churn your stomach, and spark a fury within you that would dispel the fear that at one time gripped the cadres in Mekelle for which you belittled them as ‘cowards’?

Did you guys remember the following question? How about the TPLF cadres? Gebru and Aregash: “The TPLF cadres are being terrorized by Meles. Today is not like the phenomenal time of the rebel-era when a Tegadalai would speak out and defend justice without fear of consequences. The cadres have their own families - today they have kids. If they are thrown out of their jobs, they have nothing to feed themselves and their young ones. It is this fear that has terrorized the cadres into submission in the face of gross crimes.”

If such was the case, what terrorized you to the silence and submission in the face of gross crime going for the last six years after you split from the rest of the Shaabiya TPLF group? Tsegay Berhe, the man Meles Zenawi assigned as Tigray watchman, said while visiting the Diaspora last year that you are living well, with all the privileges still honored, your security bodyguards still with you, frequent travels around the world with no much hassle. And much more privileges still in place.

Could that privilege be the reason for you too to be silent? and forced you into submission in the face of gross crime against the nation by the Sebhat/meles Shaabiya group? The headline reads: “Red Sea is Ethiopia's natural frontier, says TPLF dissident” Was it true? You meant it? You people calling yourself TPLF always amazed me always, the way, and the style you manipulated and fooled the public into a psychological submission. Every body was floating into the sky without having a wing (euphoria?) when Ethiomedia.com published a news in its headline highlighting the euphoria saying “ In what could be the latest victory for the Ethiopian people and opposition parties, a former senior Ethiopian government official and TPLF dissident said Ethiopia's natural frontier is the Red Sea”.

You the dissidents! Didn’t you think you hoodwinked the public? "All efforts must be marshaled to restore the nation's historical and legal right of ownership over the Red Sea." Said Gebru Asrat – Ethiomedia, highlighted his speech saying, “In a clear blow to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's Eritrea agenda, Gebru discarded the notion that “Eritrea was a colony of Ethiopia. It was, it is Ethiopia who must decide what Eritrea should and should not get”.

(By the way, I have nothing against Ethiomedia for presenting what was right and has been said by the dissident group). My question to Gebru and other TPLF dissidents is what happened that you failed to deliver on your promise? “Who is lying here”? How did you prove to us the effort you promised to be marshaled to restore the nation’s historical and legal right of ownership over the Red Sea, that you were part of the game in the past is now in process to reverse the damage done? It has been six years, and so far, we haven’t seen you moving/ What happened?

When Gebru and Aregash asked what message do they have to convey to those in the Diaspora?

Did you hear how Sebhat Negga, the most dangerous man in TPLF, vowed how he and his party would defend his motherland “Eritrea” at any cost and with a Tigrian blood?

Hello dissidents? Can you hear me? Where is your voice? Are you “scared” of the enemy within?

“Truth will prevail at the end,” was what you were quoted for. Sure, but we want you in the middle of the struggle, not at the end after the truth prevailed. There is no doubt the Ethiopian people would in the end prevail over those individuals who fought against the national interest of the country. And the time was ripe for TPLF dissidents to be counted and cleanse your hands today from TPLF whose chief, Sebhat Nega, told everyone, including you, that their grand mission to to use the Tigrian youth against Ethiopia and for the independence of Eritrea was accomplished successfully, and would do it again if Eritrean independence comes under any attack today or tomorrow or as long as TPLF/EPRDF is alive.

The writer, Getachew Reda, is a resident of San Jose, California, and can be reached at Getachre@aol.com