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Ethiopia/Eritrea: Netizens Denounce Winds of War as Ethio-Eritrea War 2.0 Looms

Ethiopia and Eritrea fought one of the most gruesome wars in the world between May 1998 and June 2000. Following the attack on Eritrea by Ethiopian troops on 17 March, 2012, Ethiopian netizens are voicing their opinions rejecting the winds of war in the renewed conflict between the two countries.

Amidst reports of Ethiopia’s second assault on Eretria, Abe Tokichaw, Ethiopian columnist and exiled blogger, set the tone for most netizens as he satirized Ethiopia’s attack on Eretria in his regular blog post in Amharic:

እንግዲህ ዳግም ጦርነት ሊጀመር ይመስላል… በርግጥ ኤርትራ “ጦርነት የሚፈልገው የጦርነትን ዋጋ የማያውቅ ነው” ብላ የጦርነት ‘ሀፒታይት” እንደሌላት ብትገልፅም ኢህአዴግ ግን ጦር አውርድ እያለ ነው። ከዚሁ ጋር ተያይዞ “ውድ እና ጉድ የሆናችሁት የኢህአዴግ ባለስልጣኖች ሆይ ይቅርታ አድርጉልንና “ከሽራሮ ያቺው የማትረባ ሽሮ ትሻለናለች!” እና ዝመቱ በላችሁ እንዳትጠሩን አደራ! (በማለት አንዳንድ የህብረተሰብ ክፍሎች መልዕክታቸውን አስተላልፈዋል)

It seems that war is bound to happen … fair enough Eritrea has reported that it has lost a desire for war by claiming that “those who seek war are not familiar with war atrocities”. However EPRDF [Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front] looks resolute on warfare. Our “dear” and “comrade” EPRDF chiefs, we apologetically ask you not to count on us in your campaign for this war as it is better to have the cranky stew than going to war.
We Want Peace - a painting by Eritrean student Filmon Measfun. Image source: Habesha People Facebook page.

We Want Peace – a painting by Eritrean student Filmon Measfun. Image source: Habesha People Facebook page.

Writing at Merkato Blog, Yilma Bekele argues that war defines the Ethiopian government:

War is upon us again. War defines the Ethiopian Government. Since it came to power it has been at war with its citizens. No region or ethnic group has been spared from this infection. The regime is always at war with opposition politicians, journalists, publishers, intellectuals, and business people to mention a few. The regime has fought in Gambella, Hawasa, Ambo, Arba Minch and other localities against its own people. The Ethiopian Government is at war with our Somali-Ethiopians in the Ogaden and has been accused of war crimes.

Ethiopia's attack on Eritrea is a tactic for distracting Ethiopia's public opinion:

In an ideal world no country will sell weapons to this rogue regime. The people of Ethiopia and Eritrea have seen too many wars. The generation that cultivated and nurtured hatred and animosity is on its way out. This is its last gasp to save itself from its internal enemies. The Ethiopian government is using the Eritrean threat to justify its war on all Ethiopian people. The two poorest economies on planet earth are wasting their precious resource to kill each other. There is no one closer to an Ethiopian than an Eritrea. Eritreans have no one closer to heart than Ethiopians. Instead of building a great East African trade and technology Zone we are listening to those that peddle hate and violence. It is a new day. It is a new generation void of hate and violence.

A regular Facebook user, Zelelem, mocks Ethiopia’s government by sharing news from government’s news agency site [in Amharic]:

የአገር መከላከያ ሠራዊት በወሰደው የማጥቃት እርምጃ የኤርትራ መንግሥትና ተላላኪዎቹን የጥፋት ተልዕኮ ማዕከላትን ዛሬ ማውደሙን አስታወቀ።

Our national defense force has today taken measures against military posts inside Eritrea and destroyed the facilities of subversive and anti-peace elements.

Zelalem continues:

What ? But, What does ሠራዊቱ በወሰደው የማጥቃት እርምጃ የኤርትራ መንግሥትና ተላላኪዎቹን የጥፋት ተልዕኮ ማዕከላትን አወደመ mean? Anyway አስታጥቁን አታስጨርሱን እኔ በበኩሌ ጦር እና ጋሻየን አራግፌያለው፡፡
ዝማሬየንም ወደ፡ ኧረ ጎበዝ ይሙት፣ ፈሪ ይሩጥ ቢሻው፣ አተላ መሸከም ይችላል ትከሻው፡፡ ቀይሬአለሁ hahaha እኔም ብሎ ጎበዘ

What? But, what does our national defense force has today taken measures and destroyed the facilities of subversive and anti-peace elements mean? Anyway furnish us well with armament. I readied my sword and shield and started to sing I won't run away cowards run away. Just kidding, I am not

The same user comments:

If it happen, I think this one is not (http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/57223/gail-m-gerhart/brothers-at-war-making-sense-of-the-eritrean-ethiopian-war)'Brothers War’ rather “Dictators War.’ At least for me because I have no relationship with Meles's Ethiopia. He ruins my life, he ruin million's life. So what a war is am supposed to fight? I have No Deal with a Dictator. I hope most of you also…

Kiflu Hussein, a human right defender based in Kampala, cites the Greek poet Homer:

No one is so foolish as to desire war more than peace. For in peace, sons bury their fathers but in war fathers bury their sons.

Another comment on Facebook reads:

We don't need war, we don't need unification, we just be a normal neighbors like Sudan. War is not good and those who advocate for unity have never understood the mentality of Eritrean. Eritrean nationalism is built on anti-Ethiopia, period.

Some Facebook users even even decided to create a community page called “Habesha people can’t live with them can’t live without them.” Most people leaving comment on the page reject the talk of war by illustrating the brotherhood of the two nations. One community member shared a picture drawn by an Eritrean kid and wrote:

“we need peace” painted by filmon measfun.. zagre junior school (eritrea). i decided to poste this pic cause I am sick and tired of seeing people starting political SHIT in Facebook and YouTube.. we need to celebrate our similarities and respect our differences !! hate leads to nothing so stop hating !! one love y'all

Ethiopians online refuse to get carried away Ethiopian government's reasons for attacking Eritrea. Reports are repeatedly emerging from Eritrea accusing Ethiopia of planning to remove the current Eritrean government. Eritrea has also accused the United States for being behind Ethiopia’s provocative attacks.

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