How Eritrea Elevates the Horn

For Colonialist and Imperialist culture, the blowing of the bugle represents a signal that symbolises their commitment to military warfare and global domination, this includes when hunting animals for pleasure or sport. Based on its makeup and construct, the trumpet is the most powerful instrument in an orchestra.

Ironically, when addressing the quest for self- determination in what is officially called the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia’s National Defense Force Band(ENDFB), has the distinction of being the first ensemble of its kind to incorporate western imperialist military ceremonial patterns. The ENDFB was initially assisted by the British Royal Corps of Army Music, who trained both Tigray and Somali marching bands. This paved the way for the Imperial Bodyguard Band of the Ethiopian Empire, who started with a dozen captives from a province called Welega named after the Oromo people.  When sharing their legacy, Ethiopians proudly and emphatically proclaim that they were never subjected to settler/classical colonialism, moving forward let us just say collectively speaking no nation in Mother Africa endured this period without a scratch. 

During World War II, the US military created a poster with an Ethiopian soldier blowing a bugle horn, under a caption with the following words “This man is your friend he fights for freedom”.

Today the only Ethiopians embracing this neo colonialist narrative are the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which means they still consider those outdated tunes music to their ears.

Beyond the trumpeters, drummers and drum major is the directive to send Ethiopians to slaughter while fighting for a US Imperialist led regime.

From the look of things, the TPLF has a two -fold strategic focus first to overthrow the Ethiopian Government secondly an all- out invasion US Imperialism led and supported invasion of Eritrea.

If the Biden Administration dares to dismiss this as a nickel and dime conspiracy theory, let their spin doctors in Homeland Security and diplomatic mouthpieces attempt to justify the unwarranted attacks of Ethiopia’s northern Command while they were sleeping, and the 22 unprovoked attacks on Eritrea with rocket launchers.

After this unnecessary act of provocation, the TPLF’s handlers at the US State Department retaliated by imposing restrictions on Eritrea and Ethiopia, specifically visa restrictions for Government officials and security forces representing both nations.

When examining these dynamics from an objective and honest lens, it appears the Ethiopian Government is being punished for signing an historic peace agreement with Eritrea three years ago, while Eritrea is paying the price because they are in existence. 

The wildcard in this situation is Ethiopia’s Prime Minister who is the first member of the Oromo nation to be in this position. Another trailblazing accolade for Prime Minister Ahmed is being a 2019 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, which he earned for the role he played in facilitating the peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea.   

Because Prime Minister Ahmed received the Nobel Peace Prize around the same time that there was an assassination attempt on his life, US Imperialism used this opportunity to downplay the role of Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki as a guarantor and stakeholder in this epic and groundbreaking process.

The long- term ramifications of US Imperialism’s decision to snub President Afwerki and the people of Eritrea, came as no surprise especially since they initiated UN Security Council Resolution 1907 in 2009, which was a bogus claim that Eritrea was supporting Al-Shabaab in Somalia and was refusing to withdraw troops from a disputed border with Djibouti.

Sadly the African Union was diplomatically coerced to peddle this propaganda and narrative with Uganda and Burkina Faso leading the way as neo-colonialist front runners, US Imperialism prematurely began to function as though they had stifled Eritrea’s people and revolution, however as early as 2012 a UN Monitoring Group failed to find evidence that Eritrea had ever supported the Al-Shabaab. 

Only after China, Russia and South Africa began to call for the lifting of this unwarranted and unsubstantiated diplomatic measure, did the UN finally lift the sanctions in 2017.

Since President Afwerki is an extremely humble and dignified freedom fighter, he has never expected validation from US Imperialism in the form of a coveted peace prize or an apology from Mother Africa’s most hateful enemies for an accusation absent of the truth.

President Afwerki also understands all too well the predictable methodology of US Imperialism that propagates the notion that ex guerilla fighters are obsessed with bloodshed and are incapable of aggressively pursuing the path of peace and human decency. Isn’t this why the US Africa Military Command(AFRICOM) lurks over the Horn of Africa because we need to be saved from ourselves? 

The only problem with this angle is 18 years before Eritrea and Ethiopia’s current peace agreement, a previous attempt at ensuring peace was attempted, after the TPLF waged a full- scale war against Eritrea under the false claim of a border dispute. Two years later a boundary commission announced a ruling, that Eritrea unconditionally adhered too, only to see the trigger- happy US supported TPLF dismiss the process completely. This was on the heels of the TPLF who were then in power, decided to expel 77,000 Eritreans and Ethiopians with ancestral ties to Eritrea, who before they were shown the door had their belongings confiscated. 

By the time Congresswoman Karen Bass who is the Chair of the US House foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations and Congressman Joe Neguse and Congresswoman Ilhan Omar visited Ethiopia and Eritrea in 2019, their goal was to save face and to divert attention away from their attempts to stifle Eritrea’s right to self- determination and do damage control surrounding a peace agreement that they had absolutely nothing to do with whatsoever.

What must be noted is that Congresswoman Bass has gone from showering both Eritrea and Ethiopia with praise two years ago, to claiming that in July the Ethiopian Diaspora urged her to push for US military intervention to resolve the crisis. By placing the blame on Eritrea and refusing to condemn TPLF outright, Congresswoman Bass need not insult our collective intelligence, especially with the current chair of the AU DRC President Felix Tshisekedi stating that the AU is trapped as an institution.

President Tshisekedi stated there is a lack of information to enable intervention and demanded that the US share information with the AU, which would in addition to what he is receiving from the US Ambassador to Kinshasa.   

Since this exchange took place at the US Institute of Peace during a webinar, it wreaks political theater.  If Congresswoman Bass was engaging Eritrean and Ethiopian Diplomats in Washington, she would know that the Eritrean and Ethiopian communities have established people to people diplomatic task forces and have been seeking audience with her to show they have a united front and are against military intervention. Perhaps this is the intel President Tshisekedi and AU are looking for, he too could have paid a courtesy visit to the Eritrean and Ethiopian diplomats when he was in Washington.

Africans at home and abroad are growing increasingly suspicious of CBC members who refuse to engage their Ambassadors in the US but are quick to jump on an airplane and travel to their nations for photo-ops that accomplish very little if anything at all.

Any talk about humanitarian assistance to the Horn of Africa, that excludes vilifying Eritrea for expelling USAID from its shores is at best political small talk, this includes human rights watchdogs continuing to downplay that Eritrea is the only nation on our Mother continent with free education and health care for its people.

If President Afwerki and Eritrea maintain its course, not only the rest of the horn but all of Mother Africa might begin to dance to this tune.

Obi Egbuna Jr is the US Correspondent to the Herald(Zimbabwe’s National Newspaper) and External relations Officer to the Zimbabwe Cuba Friendship Association his email address is obiegbuna15@gmail.com

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of The Southern African Times.

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