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Tuesday, April 12, 2022

The term Western Tigray is one-sided terminology that was introduced by the TPLF regime

Sustainable Solution for the Problem of Welkait and the surrounding

By Dejen Ras

Sustainable Solutions for global problems
We, humans, are keen to solve problems. Our intelligence, instinct, and intuition have helped us to be creative and make life better as time goes by. In fact, our collective problem-solving competence has increased through time. Our ancestors created fire and tamed fire for cooking food, surviving in harsh climates, defending themselves from harmful animals, and so on.  We invented machinery and robots that help us to automate and produce many things that are vital for life. The technology-based solutions to communication problems have brought the world together as if you live in the same village, they call it a global village. Problems like poverty, health, clean water, race discrimination, gender equality, and so on are being dealt with collectively and individually across nations, of course at a different pace. In all these, we are aspiring for solutions that are sustainable. 
Think about the race problem in America. The struggle for equality has never stopped. Just this week, the US Senate confirms Jackson as a first Black woman on U.S. Supreme Court.  She remarked the following in her historic confirmation with a moving speech: 'We've made it. All of us.'  We would like to give emphasis on the phrase, “All of Us.” She also quoted Maya Angelou and said, "I do so now while bringing the gifts my ancestors gave. I am the dream and the hope of the slave." She understood that she was the future of her ancestors. This is remarkable history for all humanity.  It will resonate all over the world.
We humans, in our endeavor, to solve the problems we face; create new problems as well. The growth of our needs has created global warming, for example. The 21st-century humans are aspiring to solve this environmental problem in every part of the globe. We are looking for environmentally friendly solutions that are sustainable. The solution that is being proposed should be sustainable, which means a solution that will be able to stay over a period of time.  We are not there but we are pursuing such a solution. Kudos!
The term sustainability is used in many global matters and affairs. For example, the UN has set up 17 interlinked global goals, called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), just to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. Many global actors use these standards when designing projects that have the intention to solve problems related to the environment, agriculture, technology, health, education, and so on. Sustainability is embedded in all sectors.
Sustainable Solutions for local problems
We started to present the term sustainable solution in a broader global perspective for our audience so as to remind our readers that such global wisdom should be applied when trying to solve local problems as well,  like the Wolkait and its surrounding problem. We will define the Wolkait problem in its correct context soon. One has to involve the historical, cultural, and social context that has transpired in the past 50 years, even more, if we are keen to solve this problem sustainably. Without that, if you just try to cheat and make some kind of drama and manipulation like designed demography change, using Demographic Engineering,  and claim that it is yours, then you are only listening to your own selfish and barbaric interest. At the end, your solution becomes temporal.  At one time you feel you are strong, and you decided to occupy it by force, then another time when you are weak, others will come and take it by force. That means you did not solve the problem in a sustainable way at the outset. For example, if you aspire to solve global warming, and If you try to cheat and continue to produce more CO2, then you know, and know, that you will not solve the global warming problem at all. Facts matter when solving such real problems.   
Any global power and institution meddling in this local matter without knowing the local context in-depth, by only listening to one side of the story, is making a grave error as well. For example, the recent Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch report is one example: Crimes against Humanity and Ethnic Cleansing in Ethiopia’s Western Tigray Zone. We should not Condon any crime against humans. If done it should be investigated by the authorities, and justice should be made. 
This piece just deals with the main root problem: the problem of Wolkait and its surrounding. In this regard, in the report, they claim that this region belongs to Western Tigray. Right now, the term Western Tigray is one-sided terminology that was introduced by the TPLF regime. And it is in the constitution. But the constitution is not accepted document by all. It is only forced.  At present, the name western Tigray does not exist. So, when those who prepared the report use the term, they are meddling in an instant. Especially, for those people who have endured the injustice created by TPLF for the past 30 years in that area, it is not acceptable.   That means the people at Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are ill-advised or ill-informed, or even they are doing it deliberately knowing the facts and siding with one. Therefore, even your approach to the problem matters, that means, if you are contributing to a sustainable solution or not. Let us define the problem in its deeper context, first.
How and when was this problem created?
Remember, the very reason, we are still in this problem is because this problem was deliberately created in the past 45-50 years when the Marxist-Leninist political party, TPLF, took the land by force using the Darwinian principle of “the survival of the fittest.” Even the pioneers of this party know that very well. It is in the public media what these former members of the TPLF witnessed about it.  Actually, that area was a hiding place for many rebel groups even before the formation of TPLF. The forces like the youth movement called EPRP,  EDU, and other small and large rebel groups used to control the area before and during the Derg regime.  TPLF forces took that area by force from all these rebel forces who were struggling with Derg, and even sometimes with each other. Prior to controlling this area, TPLF was confined in a very small area on the other side of Tekeze river. The remnants of these different rebel forces still exist today. If they are asked about it, they could provide a deeper clarity on the matter.  
Note that we did not define the problem by asking whose inheritance is that place? Which people group lived there and what kind of administration was there at that time prior to that period. The correct contextual definition of the existing problem comes out from the struggle to dominate the politics of the country. Historical evidence provides us that TPLF aligned with their northern neighbors, Shabiya, and assisted by western forces and Arab nations like Egypt managed to overthrow the Soviet-aligned central government. This provides a huge opportunity for TPLF forces to do whatever they want in the country. Especially, in this part of the country which helped them to hide and gain momentum almost for two decades of struggle. It is a highly a romantic place in connection to their struggle to power. So Welkait and the surrounding problem is created prior to TPLF assumed power. The problem was created prior to the existing constitution. This constitution was developed without the real representation of many pf the ethnic groups, especially the Amhara people. The constitution was not inclusive in that sense. 
If needed, the people who lived all their lives in that part of the country are there. They are able to give evidence of their inheritance.  All the rebels who used to hide there have eaten, drunk, and got shelter from these people.  There is no confusion on this matter. The only confusion arises when one comes and claims the land of others by force. And when the international body believe in and accept it as a fact by listening to the narrative of one side of the story. 
Make no mistake here, we are not arguing that Ethiopians from other parts of the country cannot live in Welkait and its surrounding. No way! Even the present constitution states that every Ethiopian has the right to live, work and make properties anywhere in the country, read Article 15. But administrative-wise, Welkait, and its surrounding got problems when the TPLF led government decided to include it in the Tigray region. This problem has been propagated from its inception until now. TPLF has created the problem. So, it is part of the problem. It cannot act as an innocent entity. It should not be treated as if so.   
The people have been formally asking the existing and previous governments for years in a democratic way. But the previous TPLF led government gave a deaf ear. There are many reasons for that. Its geostrategic importance is significant for everyone, especially for them. 
Why is the Welkait Problem so complicated?
1. Political power. Anyone who controls Welkait can control Ethiopia. This statement seems a bold one. But it is fact. Without controlling Welkait and its surroundings, TPLF and its former partner Shabiya could not have made it so far. Help from historical enemies of Ethiopia, like Egypt, comes this way. You can train and hide all your forces in these areas. Its proximity to the semen mountains and Tekeze river further will allow you to mobilize your forces easily and fight the central government for decades until you win.
Without Welkait, TPLF is back to its infant stage when it started its struggle on the other side of Tekeze. It is weaker without it. No clear weapon, logistics, and even food supply root.  Without direct communication with Sudan and without monopolizing the border with Eritrea, it cannot be a significant power force in the region. Welkait and its surrounding hold by its enemies means, TPLF is choking to death. The people of Tigray can  destroy it by themselves even.  Right now, TPLF is like a tiger whose spinal cord is crushed, it cannot move in a meaningful way. Only the head is left for the Tigray people to crash it themselves.
2. Economical Reason. Welkait and its surroundings have a huge agricultural potential. As stated by Tedla & Moges, “Economically, Welkait is rich in fertile land, where mechanized agriculture can produce surplus consumables and export items, including sesame seeds, incense, cotton, and valuable minerals. ” These are mostly export goods. One who has control over the local area has definitely an economical advantage over the adjacent areas.
3. Security and Stability Reason. Anyone who secures Welkait, and its surrounding region controls the security and stability of the country. It controls the area that has a direct border with Sudan as well as Eritrea. It means you control the tripoint or tri-border area.  Remember, the Fasil castle in Gondar was partly destroyed by forces who came this way; Emperor Yohannes was killed by Mahdist forces who came from that direction. Derg regime could not manage peace all the 17 years in Welkait area, and finally its downfall came from this surrounding.   
Now if TPLF forces control this area, they can enjoy direct access to Sudan, and Port Sudan and strengthen with historical enemies of Ethiopia, like Egypt,  to unsettle the country. At the same time, they also control the influence of Eritrea in the region. That is why they have tried to break through that area more than 3 dozen times in the last almost two years of war, but without success.
Sustainable solution to Welkait Problem
The way forward or the sustainable solution to this problem is to be truthful and allow the people in the country to decide by themselves so that they live in peace and develop (or prosper) together. We propose three solutions in order of their degree of sustainability. The former is our best suggestion.  
Sustainable solution 1.
The ultimate best solution is to eradicate ethnic-based regional and local administration from the constitution. Amending the constitution provides a sustainable solution to this critical problem.   That will allow citizens to live anywhere in the country, including Welkait and its surrounding. This is the most sustainable solution.  Even it is the most viable sustainable solution for most of the conflicts in the country right now. Many African countries have implemented such rules. They have avoided ethnic-based systems - the root of all evils. It starts sweet like honey when you start to fight for the right of your own ethnic group and ended up bitter like death when you kill other ethnic groups brutally whom you lived side by side for centuries. So, stop ethnic-based politics, regions, and local administrations. But of course, it does not mean ethnic cultures, languages, and rights should not be respected. Every ethnic Identity should be celebrated, and every ethnicity should co-exist with other ethnicities.
Sustainable solution 2.
If not, if people should adhere to this ethnic-based regional and local administration, then the way this problem, Welkait, and its surrounding problem, was handled in the past was wrong. It was first controlled by force as described above, and later demographic engineering was done systematically for more than two decades. Hence this reality should be considered when solving it if our solution has to be somehow sustainable.  Maybe go deep into the history. We recommend an article by, Achamyeleh Tamiru. Remember, the solution that considers such past history will face resistance from one side or the other.  However, the more you are closer to the truth, the more it is sustainable it will be. Why is the reason that two neighbor people, Amhara and Tigray, are not solving this problem in truth? The land is enough if it is handled rightly and respecting human life.   
Sustainable Solution 3.
Take out TPLF from the equation for example, by force or it decays by itself, or it becomes crushed by the Tigray people. Then there is no one who tries to get power in the country in a crooked way like it does, and the people of Tigray will live where ever they like to live in the country, including Welkait and the surrounding. The people can live where ever they want with their fellow citizens in the country without the burden of helping TPLF to get power or without the burden of helping the hidden agenda of Egypt and the West as they did so far.  We know that the youth of Tigray are dying every day for the main agenda of Egyptians and others, not just for the cause of Tigray people. They are the dream forces of the Egyptians to destabilize Ethiopia. Of course, this is not told to them directly. They said that they are fighting for the people of Tigray. But that is a pure lie. The fact of the matter is, the people of Tigray, as is evidenced in the recent development,  have benefited nothing in the past 47 years of struggle except a few ones who made fortunes out of it. But now they are in limbo, they are under the fierce control of TPLF, and they need to be free from this strong hold. So set them free from TPLF bondage. 
Of course, TPLF has come so long due to its enablers like Egypt, and some western powers. That is why the world was under one narrative, one propaganda when it comes to the northern conflict in Ethiopia. TPLF has many people at the top of the western echelon: WHO, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, USAID, and so on. The very strength of TPLF lies only with these global powers. That is why it has been difficult to apply this solution by Ethiopian government so far. 
Advice for global forces meddling in Ethiopia
The global forces who are meddling in other countries' internal affairs should align themselves to one of the sustainable solutions proposed above if they intend not to make the problem worsen. If they really care for the Tigray people, let them just leave the problem to be solved by Ethiopian people and the government so that those Tigray people who are now living in Welkait and the surrounding continue to live in peace and harmony like the rest of their fellow citizens. Hence, we remind you to preach and teach yourselves about sustainable solutions, which you claim to apply in your guiding documents. 
Right now, you are not helping! You are meddling! So #NoMore Meddling in other countries in the name of human rights and so on!  

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