( By Dr Assefa Negash )
This is my personal reaction to the divisive propaganda piece written by the former TPLF cadre Tesfaye Gebreab whose crusade against Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people has continued. In my view Tesfaye’s hatred for Ethiopia is not personally motivated. It rather emanates from the deep anti-Ethiopian identity that Italians introduced in 1890 when they created the Eritrean colony. This Italian colonial identity has particularly continued to bleed Ethiopia since the emergence of Eritrea as a separate territory in 1890.
Italian colonialism created Eritrea & Eritrean identity the latter of which is quintessentially anti-Ethiopian. The people of Ethiopia & Ethiopia’s past leaders never grasped the lethality of Eritrean identity to Ethiopia. To this day most Ethiopians least appreciate the lethal poison that Eritrean identity represents to Ethiopia. Ethiopians warmly embraced Eritreans as lost brothers & sisters after the Second World War and welcomed them with open arms. Eritreans like Bereketab Habteselassie (who was attorney general during the imperial regime), Asmerom Legesse, Tesfaye Gebreab (the EPLF cadre who grew up in central Ethiopia), flaming former left radicals at Haile Selassie University who later joined ELF & EPLF massively and a whole generation of Eritreans worked hard to destroy Ethiopia. Ethiopia never punished the more than one hundred thousand (100,000) militarily trained Eritrean askaris who joined Italian fascists as soldiers of fortune fighting alongside their masters i.e. the Italian fascists that occupied Ethiopia for 5 years and caused the death of 720000 Ethiopians (between 1935-1941). In fact far from being punished, Eritreans were rewarded by the imperial regime by way of appeasing these Eritreans following Eritrea’s federation with Ethiopia. Admittedly a few hundred former Eritrean askaris had defected from the fascist army of Mussolini and fought alongside Ethiopian patriots.
Ethiopia has more than compensated the descendants of these former askaris as witness the hundreds of Eritreans that were settled in Sidamo province and the rest of Ethiopia after they have been given fertile land. Tens of thousands of Eritreans settled in various parts of Ethiopia where they shined prominently in the business sector in places such as Dessie, Kombolcha, Gondar, Bahir Dar, Addis Ababa, Nazareth, Dire Dawa, Harrar, Jimma, etc. Ethiopians have not forgotten patriotic Eritreans such as cornel Belai Habteab who heroically died defending Ethiopia by joining the ranks of the Black Lions unit in southwestern Ethiopia. But that said the majority of Eritrean soldiers fought alongside Italian fascists against Ethiopia till the end of the war and ironically the golden age in the memory Eritreans is the period Mussoloni’s fascist army stayed in Ethiopia killing hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians. It was at this time that fascist Italy invested billions of Italian LIres hiring more than 100000 Eritrean askaris to kill and maim Ethiopians thereby creating jobs for Eritreans and making the Italian fascist rule in Ethiopia a source of employment for them. This was the essence of the colonial divide and rule policy that favored Eritreans as trusted and loyal colonial subjects of Italian fascists over the Ethiopians who resisted Italian colonial rule. …… (Read more, pdf )