TPLF surrender to Ethiopia and Eritrea in an African Union brokered peace deal. Image credit: Atlantic Council.
“…the New Africa Institute in New York has identified that the TPLF disinformation network is composed of six stages, and essentially, each of these stages describes how the TPLF western allies and agents to disseminate propaganda and shape global public opinion…”
Hermon Gidey of the Council of Eritrean Canadian Communities and Organizations, a brief while before she was interrupted by Bloc Quebecois MP, Alex Brunelle-Duceppe who supports CIA-front funded groups such as the World Uyghur Congress (9:15:55-9:16:45)
Where does this quote come from? From the Subcommittee on International Human Rights, of course. Naturally, this part of the testimony was interrupted, and then censored by MP Brunelle-Duceppe. The censorship is so blatant that you can see vast differences in the time allotted in favour of “Tigrayan” testimony as opposed to testimony from Eritrean and Ethiopian witnesses. The CECCO, for example, were given less than the six minutes promised to them for both witnesses put together, with Hermon Gidey being interrupted, the Ethio-Canadian Network for Advocacy and Support only six minutes, with one of their witnesses, Jeff Pearce, being subjected to Liberal antics, while Security and Justice For Tigrayans were given seven minutes, and Mukesh Kapila as an individual was given a full seven minutes (9:24:38-9:31:37), despite the general six minute restriction for organizations.
Before the proceedings even began, Heather McPherson, the extreme anti-China and anti-Russia New Democratic Party MP, immediately started smearing the Ethiopian and Eritrean witnesses as allegedly threatening the “Tigrayan” witnesses. (8:55:00-8:55:40) She also criticized sub-committee chair and Liberal MP Sameer Zuberi for “making the witnesses uncomfortable.” There was no real basis for this allegation. She may have been referring to anti-TPLF comments made online by members of the CECCO (Council of Eritrean Canadian Communities and Organizations) and from the other pro-Ethiopia/pro-Eritrea witnesses.
In fact, Jeff Pearce, another witness at the subcommittee, renowned for his research on the Italian-Ethiopian war and subsequent book on the topic, Prevail, was interrupted completely after his initial statement, of which he was only permitted three minutes to articulate in full (9:34:38-9:37:43). Pearce left the forum in protest after House of Commons rules and Liberal theatrics were used against him, to prohibit him from fully responding to an allegation from Conservative MP Arnold Vierson (9:40:30-9:41:51). Vierson claimed that Jeff Pearce “seemed to have a lot of animosity” towards the “Tigrayans” and that one of his Twitter posts was “contributing to the violence there”. (9:39:54-9:40:30)
Jeff Pearce was not in violation of the rules of the House when he answered the question. He was allowed, and in fact, required, to answer the question. The only rule he violated was trying to finish his answer to the question when a call to order was made by a panellist. This was perfectly understandable, and only occurred once. To Pearce’s credit, he was also rather polite in asking. Yet, the chair, Liberal MP Sameer Zuberi (a proud anti-Iranian zealot), along with Liberal MP Ali Ehsassi (who made the call to order) decided to coordinate in making it seem like Jeff Pearce was repeatedly violating the rules of the House. (9:40:30-9:41:51)
Ehsassi also condemned Jeff Pearce’s “language and…decorum”, which is entirely subjective, since no profane language was ever used by Jeff Pearce at any point. Essentially Jeff Pearce had broken a rule no one was aware of, because Liberal MP Ehassi made it up on the spot. However, such is colonial, imperialist intrigue in the “rules-based, international order”, exemplified in the pro-TPLF witness Mukesh Kapila (9:24:38-9:31:37), an anti-African racist who said “there is nothing to learn from Ethiopian history”.
Now let’s actually examine the problem that the “rules based international order” has created with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). This problem is actually similar to the problem of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, led by current president Paul Kagame, and the attempted colour revolution in Burundi that China and Russia blocked at the United Nations after realizing that they were fooled by Obama on Libya. What’s common among the West is to use a minority “ethnic” (really cultural identity group, as most Africans only fall under three major ethnic groups: Arab, Bantu, and Nilotic) group, in that particular African state, to make a neo-colonial state compliant to western interests, by allowing an extreme, fascist political formation of that group to seize political power and establish a puppet regime.
The allegation (really fact) that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front extorts food and financial aid for military provisions is not new either. Jeff Pearce was ostracized by the Liberal MPs for pointing this out effectively in his opening statement.
The TPLF’s habit of stealing food aid goes all the way back to the food crisis of 1983-1985, when Ethiopia was a socialist state under the Derg. That is the modus operandi of this group. The food crisis was amplified by them and other opportunist rebel groups’ actions such as the Amhara National Democratic movement and the Oromo Liberation Front, while being blamed on the Derg. It set a disturbing precedent for them and for the western intelligence agencies: the TPLF, with western, anti-communist/pro-colonial support, could commit war crimes, deprive the population of food, and commit mass rape, all while projecting the crimes onto the government in power, and use “international” (majority white nations’) support to topple the government and take power for themselves.
For the record, Ethiopia was in fact allowing food aid into Tigray, which in fact was to their detriment, because the packages had not been fully searched and the distribution of food could not be verified by the Ethiopian government, so it actually gave them a military and political disadvantage.
Hermon Gidey was also rudely interrupted when she was about to explain both the TPLF’s history and the six stages of “the disinformation network” that the TPLF use to project the crimes that they commit. Her statement was based on the work of The New Africa Institute “Disinformation In Tigray: Manufacturing Consent for a Secessionist War”. In short, the six stages are:
Briefing Western Contacts
Developing a Pro-TPLF Narrative
Creating Facts on The Ground
Amplifying Primary Sources
Producing High Level Reports
Demanding International Action
Another important fact to mention is that Eritrea did not split from Ethiopia on ethnic lines after the TPLF took power. They were allied against the Derg, in a web of contradictions, throughout the Derg’s tenure. The split occured because the TPLF’s Ethiopia abandoned the anti-imperialist camp, abandoned socialism, and also initiated disputes on the eventual Eritrean-Ethiopian border. It was really an ideological/geo-political split. In fact, Tigrinyians, Tigrayans, and Tigres are actually the same “ethnic” group with the same cultural lineage, same cultural practices, and the same language, and “Tigrayans” are actually the majority in Eritrea, with Tigrinya being the main operating language there.
The common term for these groups is “habesha” or “hebessa”, with a common history rooted in the Kingdom of Axum, so the claim that anyone in the Eritrean army would be telling “Tigrayans” that their blood line needs to be wiped out while committing sexual crimes or other war crimes, or that the Eritreans would be actively trying to ethnically cleanse people with the same cultural heritage in Tigray, is nonsensical. Feven Mulugetta, a graduate of Addis Ababa University, witness for Security and Justice for Tigrayans, and relative to a high ranking TPLF party member, Mulugeta Gebrehiwot Berhe, was allowed to push this lie with little to no push back from the entire pro-colonial House of Commons (9:53:06-9:56:00). This testimony is reminiscent of the “incubator baby” allegation from Naryah Al-Sabah, where she falsely claimed that Iraqi soldiers were killing babies and putting them in incubators, to justify US involvement in the Kuwaiti-Iraq war.
Twenty-seven years of dictatorship, ethnic cleansing in Somalia and Sudan in the name of the US manufactured “War on Terror”, and 38 billion dollars of loot from public coffers to fund largely endowed multi-million dollar NGOs abroad, such as Omna Tigray, are what prompted the other cultural groups in Ethiopia to overthrow the TPLF and install a liberal “multi-ethnic federalist” government.
The often-ignored background of the war on Ethiopia
With TPLF belligerence was seemingly gone in 2018, there was space for Ethiopia and Eritrea to let bygones be bygones and author a peace agreement. With Abiy Ahmed implementing IMF friendly, neo-liberal reforms, the “international” (majority white nations) community was willing to give the new Ethiopian government credit for the peace accords and award him the Nobel Peace Price in 2019.
However, a situation in which Eritrea would be able to trade openly with the Horn of Africa while still belligerently defying “rules-based international order” dictates at home, throughout Africa, and at the United Nations would not be tolerated by NATO for long.
There is a common misconception (among the anti-imperialist camp that is aware of the history of the TPLF) that trouble was started in Ethiopia because they had signed on to the Belt and Road initiative. That is inaccurate. Ethiopia had signed on to Chinese infrastructure projects in 2011 under the TPLF, then were allowed to continue the Belt and Road initiative for another five years after the first two years of projects. The uprising in Ethiopia was organic in nature, and it was primarily about uprooting the toxic ethnic politics that had come about with the TPLF (Witness Tihut Asfay 9:34:05-9:34:40).
Eritrea, however, had not officially signed on to the Belt and Road initiative as of 2020. Eritrea has also historically always refused to bend over backwards for western interests in the region, and is the only African state to have refused to take IMF or World Bank loans. Strategically and economically, Eritrea is also an alternative path to the sea for East and North-East African states, as opposed to the neo-colonially controlled Somalian route. When Eritrea had finally signed on, it was in November 2021, a year into the Tigray war and after they had officially announced their involvement.
The attack on Eritrea by the TPLF government in Tigray in November was entirely unprovoked. Most of the mobilization was being done by the Ethiopian government after Tigray defied the national governments’ orders and ran elections in the region. When they attacked the Ethiopian military base on November 5, 2020, they mentioned Eritrea as a reason for the “pre-emptive self defence”. The TPLF made it a point from the beginning to brand Eritrea as an enemy, going back to the border conflicts post-1991.
Most of the testimony in the “Situation in Tigray” subcommittee hearing was anti-Eritrean. The cultural roots of these countries defy the logic of the testimonies, but they were made regardless. This should awaken most people to the fact that the true geopolitical target of the “rules-based international order”, in this particular act of intrigue, is in fact Eritrea.
This painful history also makes it clear that the true enemy to African independent development is tribalism, which is formed on a nonsensical, pseudo-historical, and colonial basis. There are only a handful of Africans out of a vast mass of them that benefit from these conditions, but it perpetuates nonetheless because of the racist tropes of the “rules-based international order” and because of a fundamental lack of education on how the class societies in Africa today were formed.
“The Situation in Tigray” subcommittee reaffirms the same anti-communist, pro-colonial, and racist bias that Canada has always had towards the continent it is plundering. It was even a miracle that voices like Jeff Pearce and the CECCO were allowed to initially participate. Even those voices, who aren’t explicitly anti-imperialist or communist faced heavy resistance by the NDP, Liberals, Bloc Quebecois and the Conservatives.
At the time of this writing, the Tigrayan authorities have surrendered and signed a peace agreement with the Ethiopian government. Ethiopian forces will control the Tigray region and TPLF forces will surrender all small arms, with Ethiopian control of the region naturally controlling the large arms, as per the written agreement presided over by the African Union. The “Tigrayans being subjected to genocide” will have to settle for the opportunity to run for a seat in the national parliament, while using the language rights they already had before the war started.
Let the “rules-based international order” go the way of the dust bin, and let Africa, along with the rest of the Global South, rise and reclaim the place in history that it should.
Christian Shingiro is a Rwandan-born naturalized Canadian citizen. He is known for his participation in Communist/anti-imperialist national and international politics and is the radio show host of The Socially Radical Guitarist. He is also a freelance web developer in Toronto, striving to provide “Socially Radical Web Design at a socially reasonable price”.