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May 18, 2021
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The Possible war between PFDJ and Ethiopia – How pro-justice Eritreans can make a difference

Tomas Solomon/

PFDJ is instigating another war with Ethiopia. After several years of failed attempts to destabilize the Horn of Africa, we have now witnessed the regime revamping its investments in arming and training subversive groups such as Al-Shabab, Gumbot 7 and TPDM. This latest attempt by PFDJ to let Gumbot 7 infiltrate deep into Ethiopian territory from Eritrea is nothing short of a call for an all out war with Ethiopia. There is no doubt that PFDJ is miscalculating the intelligence of  Eritreans and expecting them once again to allow themselves slaughtered in a senseless war that they don’t want to be a part of.

To this day Ethiopia has been very patient with PFDJ and except for one or two minor reactions, I can’t recall an action that was taken by Ethiopia that succeeded in restraining PFDJ from continuing those provocative encounters. At this point in time, I am not certain if PFDJ and Ethiopia will go to war or not. I hope things won’t escalate to an all out war. However, something tells me things are only going to go south from here.
We as pro-justice Eritreans, we have to expect and plan for all possibilities. The most critical question we should ask ourselves is what do we do IF a war flares up between PFDJ and Ethiopia. Should we make inconsequential statements such as calling upon both side to show maximum restraint? Should we stay indifferent? Should we support the regime that brought this war upon us just because it is an Eritrean regime? Should we tell the victim (Ethiopia in this case) to respect Eritrean territorial integrity and condemn its retaliatory actions? Should we demonstrate pro or against Ethiopia? Should we tell Ethiopia to do whatever it likes, eradicate PFDJ and place another government in Asmara?
My answer would be none of the above.
We as pro-justice Eritreans, the safety and wellbeing of our people come first, not the borders, not the trees, not the animals, not the mountains, not our false pride and nothing  what so ever. Without the people we can’t have a country we can claim ours. Whether one is forcefully recruited into the military or he/she is a civilian living in a remote village, we should reject the death of any Eritrean due to PFDJ’s idiotic blunders.  Our role as Eritreans first and as justice seekers second should be to get our people stay out of this war and to let PFDJ and its allies such as Gumbot 7 and TPDM face the consequences on their own.  How can we do that?
On one hand we can start campaigns and relentlessly work to let our people know that this is not their war and we can ask them to stay out of it. We can tell them that PFDJ and its allies are solely responsible for this war. We can say Eritrean lives matter and we can refuse to let PFDJ blindfold our people with bogus nationalism and patriotism slogans only to herd them to the slaughter house.
On the other hand we can bring our diplomatic relations with Ethiopia into play. We can tell our ally to stick with acceptable rules of engagement, to go for targeted attacks instead of getting dragged into an all out war, to be mindful of the lives of civilians and simple recruits, to focus on military installations, to give enough time for civilians to flee battlefields, to minimize collateral damage, to find a quick exit … and so on.
If we are clever and determined enough, we can even take further steps to encourage our brothers and sisters to turn their guns towards PFDJ criminals while we leverage our relations with Ethiopia to broker truce between our armed nationals and Ethiopian forces.  Does this idea sound farfetched? Well, it shouldn’t. If we are operating from the belief that Eritrean conscripts are forced into slavery then we have no reason to disregard the fact that this situation may create an opportunity for the slaves to free themselves in the same manner black Americans did during the Civil War.
Obviously, we can’t mention Ethiopia and ignore the fact that there are still some Eritreans with enormous mistrust of Ethiopian intentions. It is really hard to win an argument these days when assumptions are frequently presented as facts and when opinions are usually formed based on fear of the unknown and nothing else. However, here are some choices for all of us to consider.  If a war breaks out between PFDJ and Ethiopia we will need to have a clear stand. That is, we should either consider this war is a war on Eritrea and stand on the side of PFDJ or we should label it PFDJ’s  war by helping our people stay out of it and leaving PFDJ and its allies all by themselves to face Ethiopia.  Depending on how the engagement goes, this situation may also present an opportunity for Ethiopia to clear the suspicions some Eritreans have once and for all about the presumed “hidden agenda”.
Tomas Solomon

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