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Many of the pages in this directory are born out of the polemics, which took place on EthioForum. It's not as I do not believe in debates, I myself went through many changes. I do believe in primacy of a dialogue with oneself. Maybe what I say and write can make something think -- and then and only then there is a change of changes.

I hope that the messages can understood without the context. I hope that I preserved the essence of my own process of thinking.

Anatoly, Jan. 1, 2000

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EthioForum Archives
2004:
War of Words As Indication of Defeat

I guess I was right that Asmara would try to work it's way out through the diaspora and opposition, including EthioForum. The next article we should expect is about Issayas defending Ethiopians from the government of Meles.

I believe I've read the same Orwell-based author before and even asked myself how the same logic doesn't apply to Eritrea and the cult of personality of Issayas? Well, this is the Art and Practice of EPLF Rhetoric... Ignore the questions.

There are some clarifications for our writers, in case if they will start thinking one day.

First, "the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. As we all know the grand experiment of synthetic federal union hit the dust ten years ago..." There is a difference between United States and USSR, which had "central government" and not federal. Russia now is a Federal Republic (like Germany, for example). When Eritrea became a province of Ethiopia, it wasn't a federation. Moscow fights Chechnya over those very non-academic principles. If our writers understand the difference, they can understand the nature of the American Civil War, when a part of the country can't declare itself independent without the rest of the country to be agreed. Maybe than Eritreans would understand the problems Ethiopians had with the referendum, when nobody besides Eritreans were voting.

I was advised to read Federalist Papers, which I read when I came to US. The issues of Union and Federation are in there. Those documents are even more important for Ethiopia than for Russia or the United States. One of the fundamental flaws of the present government is the lack of understanding the principles of federation. In fact, the actual power arrangement resembles the 19th century structure when the strongest Ras kept the control over others through military force. Haile Sellassie's drive to have a central government was an attempt to have a nation, where the sense of citizenship (being Ethiopian) surpasses the sense of national identity. This is known in history as "modern nations."

I already wrote about the Marxist nature of the both "fronts" -- and I only hope that Eritreans themselves never really understood Marx and were bad teachers to their younger Tigrean comrades. Marxism itself was invented because of the necessity to overpower this national principle -- but both world wars proved that it is not easy and German workers fought British workers, because the nations do exist. Well, that was the question I had about the nature of Eritrea as a nation...

Regardless, will Eritreans study the issues of the state and the nation, the parties involved in Ethiopian elections should. I am not sure what the word "Federal" (Republic of Ethiopia) refers to -- republics, states? Which nationality earns this status? Why each of them doesn't have its own election at their own timeframe? Are there local and federal parties?

So, what is this article about? There are interesting new features in this propaganda war -- "The campaign of vilification by Walta's stable of ghostwriters against the U.S and Eritrea is part of the pattern." The last part -- against the U.S and Eritrea! Tell them and tell again -- tell Americans that everything against Issayas' government is against Eritreans -- and most importantly -- against the USA! Not only our writers defend Ethiopians, they are also defend Americans! Tell me about Orwell!

But most telling is this one -- "A good argument can be made that the border war started as an accident that could have been settled with enough good will." An accident? Thousands of solders were sent south by accident? Maybe they just walked down by accident? When did you hear last time about wars-accidents? Accident means that the event took place out of your control, and to speak of an accident after thousands died fighting each other wouldn't cut it even in fiction writing.

But this Cold War which Eritrea and Ethiopia are about to have has its own logic. Not only it is a psychological warfare, but also a war of resources. USSR lost it because it couldn't pay for it. And this is the motivation of our writers; they, like everybody else, understood that the Ethiopian army didn't fall apart and there is no prospect to win the war. In fact, there is a good chance that Ethiopia's military forces can win the war. No, it wasn't an accident, it was a mistake. A miscalculation, thinking that the Meles of 1998 is the same as 1991. A misunderstanding that Ethiopia is a country and a big country.

Judging by the previous Eritrean mini-wars this one will go nowhere too. All those writing and diplomaticking is nothing but the search for way out of the situation, without losing face. In normal countries both governments would resigned in 1998, but this is not the case with non-elected governments.

It's not the end of the story, at some point our writers would ask each other -- "Does he knows what he is doing?" People do have their own judgement. What would they see? Issayas is not about to win the Cold War either -- it is economy, stupid! That is where the real battlefiled is. This recent war closed any posibility even to dream of the Hong Kong of the Red Sea -- and that is the biggest defeat Eritrea suffered already. Nobody would invest in any country which is in the state of war -- hot or cold war. Hong Kong was the place of stability in Asia when the rest were going through wars and revolutions -- and only because of it became a financial center.

All those literary exercises can't change the fact that Eritrean government has already lost the war. The more they write, the more visible it becomes.

Next time when Issayas recalls 100-150 thousand Eritreans in Italian army, he should remember that Italy paid for them. Who will pay now? Will it be the scattered around the world Eritreans? Without Italy there would be no Eritrea in the first place -- there is nobody out there to replace it. The appeal to US is useless. If our Eritrean writers do read CIA reports, they probably know that an even bigger Ethiopia is outside of the American strategic interests, as it was said many times by the State Department.

Looks like they, mentioning Marx and Marxism everywhere, didn't read Marx, who wrote a big book "Capital" -- nothing but economics, very boring. This great revolutionary began where his students should begun their "revolutions" -- in it's capital, the real power of any nation.

Last time, I advised the same team to replace the word TPLF with EPLF and see if their writing will continue to make sense. I think it will work fine, they should try it. Including the title -- When Language Stands on Its head.

Anatoly, Libertarian

----- Original Message -----
From: Tes Haile
To: EthioForum Mailing List Sent: Monday, December 27, 1999 5:37 PM
Subject: [EthioForum] - When Language Stands on Its head: The Art and Practice of TPLF Rhetoric

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