By Sophia Tesfamariam,
The other day, I was talking to an Ethiopian friend of mine who found himself apologizing for the minority regime’s latest diplomatic faux pas. He was referring to the latest Ethiopian “diplomatic” charade at the UN Security Council. He was having a hard time understanding how any Ethiopian would stop so low as to deprive Eritreans of the right to development. No apologies necessary. I told him that Eritreans know full well that the people of Ethiopia never harbored such evil and willful thoughts about Eritrea or Eritreans. I explained to him that the “crab mentality” was unique to the minority regime in Ethiopia and its ignominious leaders.
For those who don’t know about “crab mentality” is, it’s an attitude that afflicts those, such as the regime in Ethiopia and its Tigrayan leaders, who suffer from inferiority complex. The term “crab mentality” is used to describe a kind of selfish, short-sighted thinking which runs along the lines of “if I can’t have it, neither can you.” This term refers to people who pull other people down, denigrating them rather than letting them get ahead or pursue their dreams. The regime’s delusions of grandeur prevent it from facing the facts on the ground and for facing its own inadequacies.
This concept references an interesting phenomenon which occurs in buckets of crabs. If one crab attempts to escape from a bucket of live crabs, the other crabs will pull it back down, rather than allowing it to get free. Sometimes, the crabs seem almost malicious, waiting until the crab has almost escaped before yanking it back into the pot. All of the crabs are undoubtedly aware of the fact that their fate is probably not going to be very pleasurable, so people are led to wonder why they pull each other back into the bucket, instead of congratulating the clever escape artist.
For the last 10 years, the minority regime in Ethiopia and its mercenaries have undermined Eritrea’s development and food security policies. It ridiculed Eritrea’s National Service program, the Warsay Yikaalo program for development and labeled it “slavery”. Today, instead of learning from Eritrea, which has managed to develop its war torn economic infrastructures using its own human and material resources, built hospitals, clinics and schools to improve the quality of life for its citizens, and built the necessary agricultural infrastructures to ensure food security for its people, the regime, in what has to be the ugliest forms of jealousy, is now trying to strangulate Eritrea’s economy and prevent it from reaching its potentials. Inflicted with this “crab mentality”, the minority regime is hell bent on destroying Eritrea and if need be, taking all of the Horn of Africa down with it.
As an Ethiopian, he was embarrassed by the regime’s attitude towards Eritrea and its people. He recounted the time in 1998-2000, when the bigoted minority regime expelled over 80,000 Eritreans and Ethiopians of Eritrean origin because Meles Zenawi did not like the “color of their eyes”. He mentioned the terror experienced by Eritrean fathers, mothers and children when they were awoken by security officers in the wee hours of the morning, yanked out of their beds and thrown out of their homes, to be rounded up and deported across mine filled borders. He recounted the agony and fear experienced by Eritrean children who were left to fend for themselves, breastfeeding infants abandoned in empty homes. Some Ethiopians tried to help their neighbors, but many watched helplessly as the ruthless genocidal regime abused and tortured Eritreans living in Ethiopia.
Today, Ethiopians are once again watching helplessly as the ruling junta in Ethiopia commits genocides in the Gambela, Ogaden and Oromia regions of Ethiopia. They watch helplessly as their fellow Ethiopians starve as Ethiopia’s fertile lands are “rented out” to feed populations in other countries, and as the regime begs for food aid on the hand while buying weapons with the other. Ethiopians watch helplessly as young Ethiopian men are used as cannon fodder and minesweepers in the regime’s destructive and deadly wars of aggression and invasion of neighboring states and beyond. Ethiopians watch helplessly as US lawmakers send billions of dollars of US tax monies to the regime through various schemes, and watch as the regime diverts aid to buy deadly arsenal to be used against its own people, to suppress their voices and cower them into submission. Meles Zenawi might very well be the darling of the West, but he is the cancer that is bleeding Ethiopia and the Horn.
Having failed to convince African leaders to sanction Eritrea at its behest, the minority regime sent its cadres to the Security Council to try to convince Africans on the Council to sponsor an anti-Eritrea Resolution on its behalf. After getting US support to pass a sanction Resolution against Eritrea in 2009 which included an arms embargo, the regime is now seeking economic sanctions against Eritrea. It also wants to sanction the Eritrean Diaspora and prevent it from supporting development programs in Eritrea, and also wants to kill Eritrea’s budding mining industry. In short, it wants the diplomatic, financial, military and political isolation and crippling of Eritrea. It wants to use the UN system to advance its regime change policy for Eritrea.
What is ironic is that the reckless, myopic regime is calling for economic sanctions against Eritrea at a time when the regime’s cadres are campaigning in cities across the United States and Europe, trying to and convince the Ethiopian Diaspora to invest in their country of origin. Under the guise of a dialogue about Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) in Ethiopia, the regime’s cadres were calling on Ethiopians to buy bonds in State (TPLF) owned enterprises, open foreign savings accounts in Ethiopia, and boost Ethiopia’s foreign currency reserves by sending remittances through TPLF dominated financial institutions etc. etc. The Ethiopian Diaspora does not trust Meles Zenawi’s regime, so the cadres received a very cool reception…some of their meetings turned into brawls and police had to intervene.
My Ethiopian friend also wanted to bring my attention to another self serving article posted on the Ethiopian Government site Walta Information Center. As I said many times before, you have to stay up late and burn the midnight oil to keep up with the minority regime in Ethiopia and its propaganda machinery. The article’s headlines got his attention. It said, “The UN Monitoring Group Report: The proof of Eritrean regional destabilization efforts; IGAD’s position vindicated”. I explained to my friend that this only showed the regime’s contempt for IGAD members and that it was an insult to the intelligence of the people of the Horn.
The headline should read, “IGAD members taken for a ride, used by Ethiopia to advance its regime change policy against a member state, Eritrea”. The article’s hollow and childish contents are a regurgitation of the lies concocted by the regime at various forums, and repeating them will not make them fact. The minority regime in Ethiopia has single handedly brought the total destruction of Somalia. Its invasion and occupation of Somalia has created the greatest humanitarian disaster in the history of Somalia. Eritrea does not have any links with Al Shabbab and has never given weapons or any other material support to Al Shabbab or any other groups fighting the Transitional National Government of Somalia headed by Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, once a guest of the Eritrean people who, by the way, saved his life when Ethiopia invaded Somalia in 2006.
I explained to him how Meles Zenawi’s minority regime undermined the credibility, integrity and efficacy of the regional organizations-African Union and IGAD- and how it used them to advance its “regime change” policy for Eritrea. I showed him the 4 July IGAD Communiqué which said:
“…The IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government held its 18th Extra-Ordinary Summit in Addis Ababa, on 4th July 2011, under the Chairmanship of H.E. Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and Chairperson of IGAD…”
The “evidence” used to convince IGAD members that Eritrea was destabilizing the region was the made in Menelik Palace fairy tale about “bombing the African Union” and “Eritrea was behind the Uganda bombings”, was taken right out of the UN Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group’s (SEMG) report, which had not been released at that time. I wrote to Matt Bryden, the SEMG coordinator and asked him why the SEMG had given a copy of the report to Ethiopia and not to Eritrea. He denied giving the Ethiopians a copy. Bryden told me:
“…The SEMG did not provide a copy to Ethiopia, but I believe that one of the permanent missions to the UN may have done so…”
We may never find out who did that and that is not the issue. The issue is that Ethiopia took that unpublished SEMG report and used its unsubstantiated allegations against Eritrea to convince IGAD members to condemn Eritrea and call for even more sanctions. The ruthless, lawless, street smart Prime Minister used IGAD to advance his hate-filled bigoted and ugly agenda against the people of Eritrea.
In 2009, the minority regime used Eritrea’s absence at IGAD and its position at the African Union Peace and Security Council to pass a sanction resolution against Eritrea in violation of the African Union’s own rules. As the paper trails and the records show, despite claims about Resolution 1907 (2009) being an “African Initiative”, it was in fact, a decision made by a handful of Africans, in violation of the African Union’s own rules which clearly state that:
“…. Any Member of the Peace and Security Council which is party to a conflict or a situation under consideration by the Peace and Security Council shall not participate either in the discussion or in the decision making process relating to that conflict or situation. Such Member shall be invited to present its case to the Peace and Security Council as appropriate, and shall, thereafter, withdraw from the proceedings…”
Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda who are parties to the conflict in Somalia participated in the meetings and pushed the resolutions against Eritrea, the one nation that has no bone in this fight.
Ethiopia invaded and occupied Somalia in violation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1724, 1725 and Resolution 1744. Ethiopia is militarily occupying sovereign Eritrean territories, including Badme. The illegal meetings (African Union and IGAD) and decisions were orchestrated by Ethiopia who served as the Chair of the Peace and Security Council when the decision against Eritrea was made in 2009. Not surprisingly, it was also Ethiopia that Chaired the IGAD meeting when that entity decided to call for sanctions against Eritrea. Where is the integrity in “ganging up” against a fellow African State? Where is the pride in suffocating an African population, just to score political points? Where is the responsibility to the people that they purport to represent? It’s a shame and an embarrassment to see such vicious and childish antics from grown men who hold the lives of millions in their hands.
Inflicted with this ugly “crab mentality”, the minority regime is trying to poison the minds of the brotherly neighboring people of Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda and Somalia, who just want peace and stability so that they can use their meager resources to develop their countries and fight their only enemy-poverty. The overt and hostile campaign by the regime’s cadres at the Security Council only shows the regime’s contempt for the UN system and international law. It also shows the extent that the regime and its cadres will go to subjugate not just their own people, but also other populations in the region.
The cure for the “crab mentality”
Dignity, pride and respect are earned, they are not given. Today, Eritreans having implemented developmental policies which allow for the full participation of the people, including women, and by developing creative programs that enable the youth to develop to their full potentials and become partners in the development of their beloved nation, are able to hold their head up right and walk with dignity and pride. Eritrean youth have earned the respect of the entire nation and its Diaspora population. They are confident in their ability to develop their nation without seeking external support. They are providing immeasurable service to their country and people.
Today, Eritrean youth are sharing their experiences with other youth in the region and encouraging the youth to play a greater role in the development of their own nations instead of raising arms against each other and stretching their arms for handouts …no “crab mentality” there!
The rule of law must prevail over the law of the jungle!