|An Unforgettable Crime
Jun 11, 2008, 12:36
Yesterday marked the 10th of June; ten years ago on this day the TPLF regime issued an order prohibiting any Eritrean to enter Ethiopia through any means of transportation. Two days later on 12 June 1998, the regime officially declared that all Eritreans residing in Ethiopia as well as all Ethiopians of Eritrean descent will be collectively deported from the country. The following day, TPLF cadres embarked on a campaign of dragging Eritreans and Ethiopians of Eritrean descent, including day-old infants, from their homes and putting them in prison camps while looting their belongings. The Eritrean people will never forget this brutal crime of ethnic-cleansing and crime against humanity, the brutality of which can only be compared to very few other similar incidents.
The primary objective of this crime on Eritreans and Ethiopians of Eritrean descent was to create ethnic-based hostility between Eritreans and Ethiopians so as to further escalate the border dispute. Despite the crippling attacks inflicted on them by the Eritrean people’s struggle, the Haile Selassie and Derg regimes never resorted to such brutal and malicious tactics. Indeed, only a backward clique whose mind is plagued with vindictiveness and hate can commit such an immoral and brutal crime over unarmed innocent civilians.
One of the main engineers of the crime against Eritreans and Ethiopians of Eritrean descent is the TPLF official by the name of Abai Tsehaye. In an interview he conducted with the clique’s radio on 7 June 1998, this official said “Eritreans want all Ethiopians, and particularly Tigrayans, to be their slaves…so far they have monopolized the Ethiopian economy and have been thriving on the Ethiopian people’s hard work.” These remarks were meant to incite the Ethiopian people to join in the atrocities against the Eritrean people. In campaigning for ethnic hostility, TPLF leaders had hoped that the Ethiopian people would raise swords and axes against Eritreans. Fortunately however, the Ethiopian people possessed better sense.
In a statement he gave to the Christian Science Monitor, a Western Ambassador present in Addis Ababa at the time said that Ethiopia’s atrocities against Eritrean families based only on ethnic origin is a disturbing development. “Every diplomat in Addis Ababa could write a book about these horrifying crimes,” the Ambassador further added. The Ethiopian Ambassador to the US, Birhane Gebrekristos, denied the whole incident and said: “we have not deported a single adult, let alone small children.” However, the crime of ethnic cleansing against tens of thousands of Eritrean women, children and the elderly, including those under treatment in hospitals, as well as the blatant looting of their belongings could not remain uncovered. Thus, realizing that they could no longer hide their crimes, the leader of the clique admitted their crimes on TV and said that Ethiopia has the right to deport any foreigner just for not liking the color of his/her eyes.
At the time when the TPLF clique was committing such crimes against Eritreans, the Eritrean National Assembly convened its annual meeting in June during in which it asserted that the Eritrean people’s historic brotherly relationship with the Ethiopian people, in general, and the people of Tigray in particular, is not and cannot be compromised by temporary conflicts and tension. Moreover, the Government of Eritrea affirmed that it will not take counter measures on Ethiopians residing in Eritrea and that their right to live and work in Eritrea will be respected in accordance with the law.
These historical facts attest to the fact that the people and Government of Eritrea have been endeavoring to minimize the negative effects of the border conflict on their endeavors to promote peace, good-neighborly relations and regional cooperation. On the contrary, filled with hatred and vindictiveness, the TPLF regime irresponsibly sought to instigate hostility among the peoples to further escalate the border problem. However, the clique did not succeed in its wicked machinations and the Ethiopian people were not fooled! After surviving a brief period of acute suffering, the deported Eritreans not only resumed a normal life but also flourished in their own country amidst warm and welcoming fellow citizens and Government!