Source: Selam Kidane
Many around the world are baffled by the accounts of cruelty that is being perpetrated by the Eritrean army as consistently reported from victims across Tigray. It has been sudden, totally unexpected and extremely brutal and being perpetrated against people who are to all intents and purposes kin. Victims ask ‘why?’, Fellow Eritreans are baffled and many in the international community ask ‘how?’ How is it possible that a young army of mostly conscripts who were forcibly recruited from across Eritrea to perpetrate a level of cruelty that is seldom seen? I have been asking the same, but gradually and gut-wrenchingly I am embarking on the bitter realisation of the cruelty of the method in Issias Afwerki’s madness.
I have in the past talked about ‘pathocracy’, a system of administration that is built by a psychopathic leadership that institutes cruelty at societal level (I will try and write this out in more details at some point too, it is not the kind of thing one enjoys thinking about, much less writing about), But in short in Issias’ pathocracy normal human beings have three choices: to become a mini pathocrats by adopting the same sadistic, psychopathic tendencies (I call these the jackals), to submit to the pathocratic rule and supress all conscience (I call these people the donkeys who accept the burden without a question) or to be removed from the system: arrested, exiled or killed… three decades into his pathocratic rule EVERY Eritrean is in one of those three categories (be it inside the country or outside)… the army is no different… the thousands of deserters fall into the third category and the rest are in one of the previous two and hence prime candidates for the kind of thing Issias Afworki has been dreaming to do in Tigray for so long…
How are they made to be so cruel?
There is a question that is often asked about Eritreans (both from within and without)… why have we become so impotent? Why don’t Eritrean mothers ask after their children? Why do the fathers who have been forcefully issued AK47s simply contend to slinging it across their bonny shoulders and still walk around bowed heads? Why do the ‘ministers and officials’ regurgitate the meaningless rhetoric of greatness even when they can’t speak for their of comrades who have dissipated into nothingness right infornt of them? Why?
The answer is in the humiliation and persistent violation of dignity that has been concertedly perpetrated against Eritreans rendering us impotent… it was insidious, it was multifaceted and it is evil! Its result is the precise total sum of its component… a perfect illustration is Eritrea’s current COVID-19 situation…an entire nation that has no meaningful purpose to exist for: children are not required to attend school, office workers are not required to work, factories are not required to produce anything, everyone can scrape a ‘living’ out of scrounging. No need to buy, sell, import, export, sow, harvest, pay taxes or seek employment. Completely meaningless existence… total impotence!
Psychoanalyst Erich Fromm refers to sadism as “the conversion of impotence into the experience of omnipotence”. In this sense the madness of Issias Afworki in turning Eritrea into a nation impotent begins to make sense as being the first step to recruiting sadists to implement his grand scale evil. Fromm contended that sadism produces an emotional high, because absolute control over another, exemplified by inflicting pain or humiliation, provides a unique sense of power. In this sense the jackals and donkeys that have been rendered impotent for many years and felt humiliated by this impotence have now been provided with a perfect storm of total dominion over Tigrayans, creating an illusion of transcending the limitations of their impotence hitherto, a liberation from a life deprived of productivity .
While the above describes the why, it doesn’t actually say much about how. How did Issias manage to convince tens of thousands of Eritreans whose peers sought refuge in the very land they are being accused of committing atrocities? Herman Goering, Commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe, at the Nuremberg Trials, declared that it didn’t matter what kind of society you referred to – democratic, capitalist, socialist or whatever; ‘people can always be bought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.’
As I was writing this I read somewhere a witness account stating that the Eritrean soldiers often told victims that they are going to turn the clock on Tigray’s development just like the Tigrayans reverted ours back… now my call is for these things to be investigated independently and for the crimes to be accounted for legally, but I for one can very easily imagine how Issias and his elks would combine this rhetoric, add it to the impotence they so devilishly concocted over the years and create a sadistic lethal force that brutalises everyone in its wake.
I am an Eritrean and have been advocating for ending the forced conscription of these very people for so many years, but I didn’t see this coming… despite being a psychotherapist and a trauma researcher, who spent several years in the region that is now being brutalised. Infact I had been researching the traumatic stress being inflicted on the peers of the soldiers that are now being accused of inflicting infinitely more atrocities… I write this not as an expose but as an account of my own journey to realisation. A realisation that I have barely started and it already fills me with horror.
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The brutality demonstrated by Eritrea’s soldiers in Tigray is the result not just of the education of hate fed to the Eritreans since independence in order to create an ‘Eritrean’ identité but also to continue the colonial era stripping of Tigrayan identity from the people.
You made an interesting horror dramatic write up to convince yourself and others. I have witnessed your contribution to the instigation of war between brothers in Ethiopia among its people. Now you are trying to made up a story and show us how Issayas Afewarki transformed from Impotence to Omnipotence. The fact is different, have you ever asked for this “ who let the dog out?”, in Ethiopian and Eritrean case I ask you “ who let the dog in?”.
Had the Tigray Regional force not been attacked the Norther Ethiopian National Army, the Eritrean Army wouldn’t get an easy path to walk-in to the region it was eagerly waiting for.
Don’t forget this too, the Tigray elites were the one who made very mad Issayas Afeworki by deliberately forcing them out of their original place Ethiopia. They killed them, they let them walk out of Ethiopia with no even a penny. They robed their properties, a property and business they established for long years.
Eritreans were very sad and mad not when they were fighting for their referendum, it was rather when they were forced out of Ethiopia by Melese, the cruel and brutal leader of TPLF, and its followers.
Now it is unfortunate to Tigrayans’ facing this challenge and don’t worry, they got what they deserve. As my own people, I don’t wish something bad happen to the Tigrayan innocent people, but on the TPLF military Junta group no one has mercy on them let alone the Eritreans.
The TPLF Juntas’ plan was very unrealistic and miscalculated. There intent was to separate Tigray from Ethiopia by killing Issayas and Overtaking state power in Eritrean. God is great! , and TPLF elites disappeared like a smoke that leaves a burning wood.
Hence, your outcry won’t help anyone than trying to instigate war between brothers.
With due respect Please leave Ethiopia and Eritrea alone.
I am afraid that the evidence is not in your favour. The Ethiopia-Eritrea-Somalia alliance was signed long before war broke out.
On 8–9 July 2018 Prime Minister Abiy visited Asmara to seal the peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia. In the same month the ice between Eritrea and Somalia was broken, with a three day visit by Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed to Asmara. It was the first visit by a Somali president to Eritrea since it gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993. The two nations have not had diplomatic ties in nearly 15 years. Abdinur Mohamed, a spokesman for the Somali president, said on Twitter that the country “is ready to write a new chapter of its relations with Eritrea.” Economic and security concerns are at the top of the agenda, as well as “regional issues of interest to both countries,” Eritrea’s information ministry said.
This alliance had planning the invasion of Tigray long before there was any fighting on 3/4 November 2020.
By October 2020 there were clear indications that tensions in the Horn were ratcheting up.
• The Ethiopian parliament cut its ties with Tigray after the Tigrayans held a regional election on 9 September that the Addis government deemed “illegal”.
• Tigray accused the federal government of freezing the quarterly budget of 285 million birr, that the World Bank provided for the implementation of safety net programs in the region.
• The ruling Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) issued a statement accusing Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of plotting war against Tigray. Over the weekend the TPLF called on the people of Eritrea and the Ethiopian defence forces to stand by its side to avert the bloodshed and end autocratic rules of the leaders. “The leaders are cementing personal relations by ignoring brotherly ties between the peoples of Eritrea and Ethiopia and the dictator leaders would be held accountable for all chaos that may happen,” the statement said.
• Daniel Berhane – founder of Horn Affairs wrote in a Tweet: “#Ethiopia‘s army Northern Command in limbo. Former command head resigned and #Tigray wouldn’t accept Abiy Ahmed’s new appointee. Further, Tigray declared Abiy can not make any decision regarding the army. In effect, Tigray took over the most heavily armed wing of the military.”
• In his first foreign interview with the Financial Times in February 2019 Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed underlined tensions with Tigray. In the interview the prime minister professed to be unfazed by the forces he had unleashed. ‘” Yesterday they were on the streets of Mekelle insulting me,” he said, referring to the Tigrayan capital. “But I love that. That is democracy.” Mr Abiy said he wanted to secure peace by persuasion, not through military pacification. “Negative peace is possible as long as you have a strong army. We are heading to positive peace,” he said.’ That was then. Now the situation looks rather different.
• Professor Kjetil Tronvol wrote that having studied the region for 30 years there had “seldom been a clearer case of a coming violent conflict than the ongoing altercation between TPLF/Tigray and the PP [Prosperity Party]/Federal government in Ethiopia.”
The writing was on the wall: this was was coming.
This chronological happenings should be developed and be established more. Many like Abebaw (I do not think it is his name) who are proxies for the perpetrators will continue to lie until they dye to hide their crimes. We will never let down the voiceless civilians in Tigray. We can never fail with great human beings like Paul supporting the causes of the victims
You’re a coward and useless lair who is trying to discredit Mr. Plaut! The clear article Mr. Plaut wrote is clear and factual unlike others.
Let me tell you the facts: the dogs 🐕 were let in by killer Ahmed and his mercenaries after 2 & half years of preparation to attack Tigray. It’s Ethiopian who asked Eritrea and other National like South Sudan, Kenya and Somalia to help not just attack civilians in Tigray but eliminate the entire ethnic in Tigray!
So, please stop your lies and go to hell! The rapes starvations of civilians in Tigray by your king who’s destroying Tigray is evil and you too act like one. Shame on you attacking Mr. Martin Plaut for calling out the truth!
I always wonder why people like you always fail to look at the substance and analysis of the subject matter. It is prudent to focus on that and present a critique by available facts or research to get the facts. It does not help your writing by attacking Martin Plaut. The writeup is brilliant as it precisely depicts the megalomanic Issais. I would have liked if the writer had included a discussion about the “Red Flowers”(ቀያሕቲ እምባባ), a carefully designed program implemented to create a new Eritrean by educating children under the age of ten. This was in the 70s in Zager, Sahel and other places. Those kids are now in their late 40s, early and mid 50s. You can imagine what that education system produces as early education and its followup is critical in what you are going to produce.
I beg your pardon, Selam! Your title should rather be: “Isaias Afwerki’s Army: From Omnipotence to Impotence.” Remember the Tigrinya word: Y’kealo (literal meaning: Omnipotent); a word of endearment, interchangeably used, for fighters and the Secretary-General of the EPLF, alike. Remember again, it was minted in our sanatorium, that is Sahel, Eritrea. For your article to be an expose, and not a journey of realization; I recommend a trip to our modern history, in other words, the origin of totalitarianism.
Absurd comment without any context
Thank you Selam and Paul for the fantastik analysis. This will help us who is not yet in the categories defined above. I talked for a week ago with some one who worked very near the Psykopat and to my question why, why? he answered me abrupt, Isaias is a sick person in real terms, he is a Sadist. He must see others suffer to live a normal life. In my view he is worse than Sadam and Idi amin. Your analysis also helps us understand people like Abebaw above, thank you and continue with your inputs.
Mr. Martin , Thank you for uncovering the truth .
Tigray is under attack by the armies of Eritrea and empire Ethiopia for the last three months clandestinely. It is just the story of many Tigraues whose lives are endangered. As the dictators executed in destroying Tigray and its people from the world, United Nation, USA and the rest of the world fails to stop the madness of these sick men’s actions. As all, we know that political, religious, and prominent leaders have tools that can avert the minds of their citizens by providing fabricating and unfounded allegations and lies to attain their illusory self attach with their egos and fame. As one says that citizens are very stagnant and powerful resources to any manipulator who needs them to do things on his/her behalf by installing lies and using them as weapons to destroy what the leaders believe by their account is the enemy of the people. We are watching results in genocide 21st -century what Issias and Abye with his associates had planted hate and enmity into their armies, supporters, and cowardice of people over TPLF and Tigray since they assumed power.
Thank you Selam and Mr Martin Plaut for your well articulated article. For those who deny the reality, let them bark the whole night until they wake up and see where they are.