Friday, July 30, 2021

Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - A Nation Without Historians: Could this be the Future of the Sierra Leonean Past(s)?

Oga, I doubt intersectionality is Ibrahim Abdullah's forte as you claimed. If that were so, he would know that, in Africa of all places, you cannot analyze class outside of ethnic, religious, and gender dynamics, solidarities, and bounded cleavages. If he were familiar with intersectionality as you claimed, he would not tendentiously malign ethnicity, the paradigmatic mode of identification in Africa that has been a central analytic category in African studies since the inception of the field, as "the original sin." 

Recall that he repeated the same error in his response to Mamdani, who patiently defended his analytical choices while re-educating his friend, IB, on the importance of acknowledging, analyzing, and using primordial and constructed non-class identities as the existing, already-there cleavages and interests that a nation-state must effectively manage and accommodate to evolve into a stable and inclusive community.

Previously, on this list, IB had persisted in this unscholarly, escapist, and performative veneration of class and economic impulses to the exclusion of more preeminent modes of social organization in African societies.

Human political and social struggles are, as Axiel Honneth argues, defined not just by the quest for distributive benefits, requiring the subordination of race and ethnicity to class, but also the desire for recognition based on primordial or constructed identities. Abdullah must be reminded of this each time he reverts to his hackneyed and outmoded obsession with class and his concomitant refusal to acknowledge the reality and legitimacy of ethnicity.

Black liberation struggles in Africa and its diaspora have always insisted on fighting oppression not only as a political economic formation but also also as a racial and layered  ethno-symbolic system founded on Euro-Americans' sense of their ethnic pedigree and history. Yet, you have the likes of Abdullah beating the broken and increasingly hollow drum of class qua class.

The existence of tribalism in Africa, Euro-America, Asia, and other parts of the world only points to the malleability of ethnic and tribal solidarity in the cauldron of politics. It does not delegitimate ethnicity, or any other category of identification for that matter, as a bounded unit of group solidarity and ameliorative activism. 

After all, class solidarity, its virulent and vindictive politicization and manipulation, and the revolutionary and reactionary political struggles flowing therefrom, have caused enormous deaths, suffering, and evils (the Soviet Union, Cambodia, Nicaragua, and many other places). Yet, we don't disavow class or argue that it is not a legitimate analytic frame, or call it the original sin.



Sent from my iPhone

On Jul 30, 2021, at 6:43 AM, Toyin Falola <toyinfalola@austin.utexas.edu> wrote:



Biko:

IB can defend himself, but certain things are not correct in the responses to him.

 

  1. I have known him since 1990, and I see him as a detribalized person. He has a grasp of those ethnicities.
  2. I am not sure he is opposed to the use of identities as organizing framework but he is opposed to "tribalism."
  3. None should lecture IB on class analysis, intersectionality, etc. This is his zone.
  4. He has been part of the gender movement for decades. You may not know his wife, prominent feminist scholar.

I think I see two sub-texts in his piece:

  1. In post-war Sierra Leone, should the organization of narratives be along ethnic lines?
  2. Who voice is dominating the narrative?

I think he went too far in his Sierra Leone history only for Sierra Leoneans, but he will be doing us a favor by explaining why he said this.

TF

 

From: 'Biko Agozino' via USA Africa Dialogue Series <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Date: Thursday, July 29, 2021 at 11:12 PM
To: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - A Nation Without Historians: Could this be the Future of the Sierra Leonean Past(s)?

This is a good start for an intellectual history of Sierra Leone, something similar should be done for every state in Africa. Comrade IBA (malaria in Igbo, is he suffering from archive fever?) should be commended for his efforts but he should be encouraged to drop the ungrammatical use of 'an' for 'an historian' and other jarring deployments of silent consonants with 'an' when 'a' would terrorize the ears less; for that was what we learned in elementary school, contrary to American colloquialism. 

 

Moses was right in pointing out that IBA should go beyond nationalist history and class struggles to also explore the history of gender and race in the social structuration of that colony and beyond. Farouk is right in dismissing his claim that only Sierra Leoneans can write the history of their country. Marx was not a US or French citizen but offered some of the best histories of the civil wars in France and the US. CLR James was not Haitian but his Magnum Opus is the best history of the revolution there. Nkrumah wrote a neglected classic on Congo; Diop was an expert on Egyptology; and the first book of Azikiwe was on the history of Liberia.

 

Without holding brief for the organic intellectual, IBA who knows the specificity of ethnicity formation in a colonial outpost designed as a melting pot of creolization and kriolization, I want to defend Marxism against the charge of absolute obsession with class struggles in ignorance of other types of struggles raised by both Farouk and Moses. The struggle against apartheid, for e.g., shows that comrades were aware that it was not only the class struggle that was involved and Marx also recognized race as a material condition under which people make history without choosing the conditions. There are dozens of references to race, black people, Africans, even kaffir and nigger, slaves, women, Scottish peasants, etc in Das Kapital, as I pointed out in my essay for ROAPE.

 

Lenin was a keen supporter of oppressed and colonized nationalities and he appointed Stalin as the first Commissar for nationalities while writing the right to secession by oppressed nationalities into the USSR constitution to allow Finland to go and later allow the republic to wither away without embarking on a civil war. Mao warned the majority in China not to become chauvinistic because the minorities occupy the majority of the land mass. And Gramsci recognized the problem of southernism in Italy where his native Sadonia was treated as a conquered colony by superiorist northern Italians who saw them as the 'born criminals' of Lombroso. 

 

Stuart Hall synthesized all these in 'Race, and articulation, in societies structured in dominance' based on a study of Capitalism and Cheap Labor-Power in South Africa by Wolpe. Race-class-gender relations are different but not separate in experience and should not be separated in analysis. That was my thesis on Black Women and the Criminal Justice System. Those who neglect this articulation or intersectionality are dubbed crude economic determinists, or western feminists, or race men, but not Marxists. In the US, Critical Race Theory is the perspective that captures this intersectionality but the race in the title misleads conservative culture warriors into believing that it is only about race.

 

<image002[48].png>
 


Capitalism and cheap labour-power in South Africa: from segregation to a...

Harold Wolpe

(1972). Capitalism and cheap labour-power in South Africa: from segregation to apartheid. Economy and Society: V...

 

 

 

The practical implication is that we should make the colonial boundaries wither away and restructure Africa into the Peoples Republic of Africa united democratically for Africans at home and in the Diaspora and also for the working people of all nations to immigrate. In articulation or intersectionality, our men and women of all ethnicities and classes, all nations, will join hands to build a new nation.

 

Biko

 

On Thursday, 29 July 2021, 19:31:38 GMT-4, Ibrahim Abdullah <ibdullah@gmail.com> wrote:

 

 

From Ebira to Fulani? No wahala. 

 

 

 

On Wed, 28 Jul 2021 at 8:06 PM, Farooq A. Kperogi <farooqkperogi@gmail.com> wrote:

This is an interesting and informative read, especially because I knew nothing about the subject matter, but why can't Ibrahim Abdullah move past his predictably familiar unthinking and uncritical pathologization of ethnicity? It's particularly funny because it's not genuine; it's merely perfomative in the service of a commitment to an outmoded epistemology and praxis.

 

When Moses pointed out that Ibrahim was Ebira, he shot back with caustic venom and asserted his "Fulani" (and maternal Hausa) ethnic identity. When I wrote a column that quoted noted linguist Shapir as saying that Serer is the closest language to Fulfulde, Ibrahim didn't even bother to understand what that meant; he instinctually shot back with an impoverished, Fulani supremacist non sequitur that suggests that Fulfulde is incomparably unique among West African languages in having mutually intelligible dialects all over the world. Although this claim is demonstrably false, linguists don't even suggest that when they say languages are related to each other. 

 

Idoma, Yoruba, Igbo, Igala,  etc., for instance, are closely related to each other, but they're not mutually intelligible. But "non-ethnic" Ibrahim who moralizes and pathologizes "ethnicity" as the "original sin"🤣🤣 can't help promoting an ethnic supremacist discourse that suggests that his ethnic group is unparalleled in having no linguistic dissension within it--unlike other groups elsewhere. 

 

His performative, often hilariously histrionic, pathologization of ethnicity is, of course, a holdover from the old, reductive, discredited Marxian reification of class at the expense of competing identities. But serious Marxists have moved past that simplistic reductionism. 

 

And what's this claim that only Sierra Leoneans can write the history of Sierra Leone? What sort of disabling epistemological insularism is that?

 

Farooq 

Twitter: @farooqkperogi
Blog: www.farooqkperogi.com


Sent from my phone. Please forgive typos and omissions.

 

On Wed, Jul 28, 2021, 3:03 PM Toyin Falola <toyinfalola@austin.utexas.edu> wrote:

 

A Nation Without Historians: Could this be the Future of the Sierra Leonean Past(s)?
I B Abdullah

Sierra Leone's first-generation professional historians are almost extinct; with the passing of Arthur Abraham and Cecil Fyle within a year, we are now down to a single survivor. The pioneering Durham breed which commenced the herculean task of reconstructing the Sierra Leonean past are themselves now history: dead, retired, and hors de combat in a field that has expanded beyond their collective imaginations. And this is happening at a time when there are very few practicing historians in Sierra Leone—the second generation—with sadly no inkling of a third generation in sight.

The first generation professional historians—Arthur Porter?, Akintola Wyse, Gus Deveneux, Arthur Abraham, Mac Sam Dixion-Fyle, Cyril Foray, James Lenga Koroma, Eddie Turay, Alpha Bah, Gilbert Cleo-Hanciles—with one exception have all joined the ancestors. Those with terminal degrees, not including Arthur Porter, Cyril Foray, did graduate work and completed their primary research within four/five years of each other, that is to say, between 1972 and1977. Graduating in the middle of the second decade of independence was rather late—they could all have studied at the University of Ibadan the birth place of African historiography; for Ibadan, and the four second generation universities in Nigeria, had all produced PhD's in history by the mid-70s. But Fourah Bay College, and later the University of Sierra Leone, remained an under-graduate liberal arts school, which meant that there were no graduate programs/ students, just the rare but occasional masters student—three in the last century: Gilbert Cleo-Hanciles, Alpha Lavalie, and Festus Cole.

Within a decade after their graduation, this pioneering cohort started trooping off to greener pastures even before they could fulfill their historic mission—Abraham was the first to depart to Liberia; followed by Wyse who moved down the coast to Nigeria; then Dixion Fyle. All this happened within five years—1977-1981. The Journal of the Historical Society of Sierra Leone— a script taken from Nigerian and Ghanaian historians—started life in 1977 but unfortunately choked to death when Abraham the founding editor left for Liberia. As Head of African Studies, Magbailey Fyle would continue editing the Africana Research Bulletin, the flagship publication of African Studies, not history. With his departure to the US, Abraham, who had returned, would take over African Studies until he himself immigrated to the US in the late 90s, leaving Wyse, the last man standing, solely in charge of the abandoned manor.

So a department that started life with Arthur Porter as chair, succeeded by a British expatriate, Peter Kup, and an American in the 60s, John Paterson, who would remake the department by offering the first course in African history, ran a top-heavy undergraduate program straight into the twenty first century when it was mistakenly merged with the externally mid-wifed African Studies program—a US sponsored outfit dubbed 'Africanist enterprise' by leftist critics. The 1960s saw, not only, the establishment of the Institute of African Studies but also the beginning of a full fledged history department with courses in African history and an honours program.

But History, the abused queen of the humanities/social sciences, has not been as popular as it used to be—few students now want to offer history or major in a discipline that seemingly has no utilitarian value outside telling boring stories about a past no one cares about/want to remember. So students now troop to law en mass at FBC. At Njala and Unimak history is visibly absent in the menu; it is as if the end of history has been proclaimed with the fundamentalist embrace of a dis-anchored STEM that promises a rosy future with no sense of the past. Years ago attempts to recruit graduate students after a colleague at an American university offered to guarantee a four-year graduate funding fell apart because there were none to recruit. Law and the social sciences, erroneously seen as lucrative professional pathways, are sucking in students from history at a time when historians are needed to engage in the task of producing historical knowledge for/about the nation-state and the continent of Africa.

The fall in student enrollment for history is admittedly a global trend dating back to the last century. But its deleterious consequences in Africa have meant more non-Africans, especially white European males, exclusively taking over the research and writing of African history. The sprouting of post-colonial studies in the erstwhile post-colony and the global North, and the recent resurgence of counter hegemonic epistemological agendas in the global South, are indicative of a major seismic shift in decentering and provincializing Euro-America. Can we in Sierra Leone/Africa afford to be left out in this intellectually reinvigorating de-colonial context?   

If the first generation academic historians were saddled with producing a 'nationalist' history—'they wanted their voices heard'—a leading practitioner declared; that narrative came in the form of an ethnic problematic which served as an ideology for the political class. Undeterred, the second-generation historians embraced this well beaten and discredited pathway in reconstructing the Sierra Leonean past. But unlike the first generation historians whose terminal degrees were minted within four/five years apart of each other, the second group spanned a whole generation to come on stream—I. Abdullah, 1990; P. Dumbuya 1991; J. Alie and A. Jalloh 1993; F. Cole, 1994; S. Ojukutu-Macauley 1997; I. Rashid 1998; N. Blyden 1998; G. Cole 2000; J. Bangura 2006, T. M'bayo 2009; and L. Gberie 2010.  Almost all the above that researched Sierra Leone history/historiography within this twenty years period lived and worked outside Sierra Leone. And all of them with the exception of Abdullah, Blyden and Rashid were trained at FBC before graduate work in North America/UK. Of these twelve historians, eight are currently resident outside; one has never held an academic position; while two only recently returned from their sojourn in the US.

After twenty years in the trenches it is fair to say this cohort of twelve scattered mostly in the US have still not succeeded in making the desired impact, in terms of research output, that would translate to ownership of the Sierra Leonean past by Sierra Leonean professional/academic historians. Indeed this goal, which eluded the first generation, continues to haunt not only the study and production of knowledge(s) on/about the Sierra Leonean past in general but also the humanities and social sciences broadly defined.

The intervention of a group of Sierra Leone scholars spearheaded by two historians—Dixion-Fyle and Cole—on the study of the Creole/Krio marked the first scholarly attempt by Sierra Leonean historians/scholars to consciously seize the initiative in shaping the study of their past(s). New Perspective on the Sierra Leone Krio was therefore timely; it was a major collective intervention by Sierra Leoneans scholars in thinking through basic foundational issues in the reconstruction of the Sierra Leone past though it remains uncertain the extent to which they contoured the field or re-defined the problematic. But the theorization around the Creolisation versus Kriolisation binary—the sucking up of autochthonous communities in the Freetown area—revealed contradictory possibilities that the contributors were reluctant to engage. Gibril Cole would pursue this theme of Kriolisation in his monograph that sets to re-invent the Oku community as Krio Muslims in nineteenth century Freetown. But these and other related issues have been challenged by Joseph Bangura—The Temneh of Sierra Leone— who raises fundamental questions about the city of Freetown and its inhabitants that goes against the traditional narrative of Creoledom as the hegemonic cultural capital and political force. Even so, these works remain centered around the original sin—ethnicity and the privileging of specific groups in understanding our individual and collective past(s). Blyden's work on West Indian identity similarly falls within the suffocating ethnic ambit of the first generation. And Jalloh, following the path of Bah, who was no doubt influenced by the invention of Creoledom/Mendedom thesis, has presented his own elaboration on this theme in his work on fullah in politics and commerce.

But after sixty years of knowledge production, Sierra Leone historiography needs to move away from this ethnicisation of the past and, by implication, the present. This original sin, which defines the first generation historians, has been reproduced with unrefined gusto sans nuance by the second generation of professional historians.

Small gains have been made in the area of the historiography of the Sierra Leone civil war—where Sierra Leoneans collectively intervened to define and shape the knowledge(s) produced about the war and the subsequent debates around the war and its continuation. This took place in an African Development special issue and subsequently an anthology—Democracy and Terror— under the aegis of CODESRIA. Here the work of Zubairu Wai, an historically informed social scientist, stands out at the end point of this major scholarly intervention in shaping the field—the historiography of the civil war— in how we think and make sense of the war.  Individual scholars have made seminal contribution in their specific areas of study—ranging from social history to subaltern subjectivities—slaves, peasants, and workers—to gender and class. The anthology on Sierra Leone historiography—Paradox and History— was an attempt to chronicle some of the debates and themes in the reconstruction of the Sierra Leonean past(s).

Amidst this dark cloud there are visible signs of a blue sky in the horizon. The Ebola anthology published in 2017—Understanding West Africa's Ebola Epidemic—has laid the groundwork for an opening in medical history/history of epidemic/pandemic; an hitherto untouched area in the study of the Sierra Leonean past. Festus Cole's initial foray into public health and disease was a first. Tamba M'bayo's pioneering article on Ebola and poverty, which appeared in the new Journal of West African History, is also suggestive of the emerging/ new thinking around medical history in our understanding the Sierra Leonean past. An exciting dissertation on Sierra Leone medical history, and the use of medical knowledge for scientific and economic gains, by Chernoh Alpha Bah, is in the making; and a new course on medical history proposed by this writer in a recent curriculum review are pointers towards an exciting new sub-field within Sierra Leone historiography written by Sierra Leoneans.

Though the study of the Sierra Leonean past has been in the menu at the department of history at Sierra Leone's premier institution of higher learning since the late 60s, it has not always been taught by qualified/dedicated professoriate with interest in the area. The dispersal of the first generation of professional historians to different climes in search of livelihoods; the demise of two academic journals dedicated to the study of that past; the fall in enrollment of history majors; the dearth of qualified faculty; the lack of solid long term research agenda; plus the chronic inability to make the needed transition to graduate education have all collectively hampered the possibilities within which a third generation of historians could emerge.

Only Sierra Leoneans can write their own history (ies). And only universities in Sierra Leone can produce those historians. It is immaterial at this point whether they troop out to do graduate work or not—the key production point in their making has historically been the Ivory Tower on the Hill.

But we need to do more than recruit and nuture a third generation of historians. There is the dire need to go beyond the year 1500 in our research/ understanding of the Sierra Leonean past: no Sierra Leonean historian has done work on the history of the European slave trade or social/economic history of slavery. For a country that memorializes its historicity as an original Pan-African project (nation-state?), these yawning knowledge gaps, not only questions that claim but also undermines the extent to which it could be persuasively ideologised and reproduced in the service of national as against ethnic interests.

As the second generation of Sierra Leonean historians are on their way out— none of them are below fifty-five— should we now start visualizing a future without Sierra Leonean historians?

The yawning chasm in the production of historical knowledges about us that excludes the period before 1500 should be made history! This Dark Age in the Sierra Leonean past needs to lite up by inaugurating research projects that deal with that period; by reintroducing the subject of history as against social studies in Kindergarten/Primary school/ and senior secondary school. Bringing history back in schools should be seen as an investment against our individual and collective ignorance; an ammunition to guarantee our collective security against national amnesia. Such an act is not only necessary for our collective liberation/emancipation; it should be seen as the springboard for our individual and collective survival as a multi-national nation-state in the twenty-first century.

It is never acceptable to have non-nationals write your history; nor is it acceptable to have them define the kinds of questions a nation should ask or confront in trying to make sense of its individual and collective identity in the committee of nations in the global arena. We are an African nation and non-Africans cannot and should not be producing knowledge(s) about us that are then appropriated by 'others' to define us. Let us collectively re-write our past by actively making history.

IB Abdullah
Leceister Peak
Freetown



Sent from my iPhone

--
Listserv moderated by Toyin Falola, University of Texas at Austin
To post to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com
To subscribe to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue+subscribe@googlegroups.com 
Current archives at http://groups.google.com/group/USAAfricaDialogue
Early archives at http://www.utexas.edu/conferences/africa/ads/index.html
---
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "USA Africa Dialogue Series" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to usaafricadialogue+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
To view this discussion on the web visit https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/usaafricadialogue/D1ED1745-5DE1-46B1-84BF-B495F29B8C0B%40austin.utexas.edu.

--
Listserv moderated by Toyin Falola, University of Texas at Austin
To post to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com
To subscribe to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue+subscribe@googlegroups.com
Current archives at http://groups.google.com/group/USAAfricaDialogue
Early archives at http://www.utexas.edu/conferences/africa/ads/index.html
---
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "USA Africa Dialogue Series" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to usaafricadialogue+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
To view this discussion on the web visit https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/usaafricadialogue/CAPq-FWuBRxkf05YWEC_-YujoTc9woX9T6B4gqf8ugL6kKR%3D0oQ%40mail.gmail.com.

--
Listserv moderated by Toyin Falola, University of Texas at Austin
To post to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com
To subscribe to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue+subscribe@googlegroups.com
Current archives at http://groups.google.com/group/USAAfricaDialogue
Early archives at http://www.utexas.edu/conferences/africa/ads/index.html
---
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "USA Africa Dialogue Series" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to usaafricadialogue+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
To view this discussion on the web visit https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/usaafricadialogue/CAAtmTC-_7tQiikPzoeSb-F-Axo8Z-rAXycvyJRf49MLmG0PYBg%40mail.gmail.com.

--
Listserv moderated by Toyin Falola, University of Texas at Austin
To post to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com
To subscribe to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue+subscribe@googlegroups.com
Current archives at http://groups.google.com/group/USAAfricaDialogue
Early archives at http://www.utexas.edu/conferences/africa/ads/index.html
---
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "USA Africa Dialogue Series" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to usaafricadialogue+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
To view this discussion on the web visit https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/usaafricadialogue/404565316.1586936.1627609851211%40mail.yahoo.com.

--
Listserv moderated by Toyin Falola, University of Texas at Austin
To post to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com
To subscribe to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue+subscribe@googlegroups.com
Current archives at http://groups.google.com/group/USAAfricaDialogue
Early archives at http://www.utexas.edu/conferences/africa/ads/index.html
---
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "USA Africa Dialogue Series" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to usaafricadialogue+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
To view this discussion on the web visit https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/usaafricadialogue/SN7PR06MB724793F1083C1C507E164E64F8EC9%40SN7PR06MB7247.namprd06.prod.outlook.com.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

USA Africa Dialogue Series - Tigray Crisis: A Conversation With General Tsadkan Gebretensae, Tigray Defense Force Central Command

Also watch: 


Tigray Crisis: A Conversation With General Tsadkan Gebretensae, Tigray Defense Force Central Command 
 Will the ceasefire between Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Ethiopian government's bring lasting peace to Ethiopia? 
94 Published 3 weeks ago on July 9, 2021
By The Elephant

 Photo: TesfaNews Download PDFPrint 

Article Editor's note: Gen Tsadkan Gebretensae is a key member of the Tigrayan Defence Forces Command and widely regarded as one of Africa's best military thinkers and strategists. He was a former top Ethiopian army general. He is widely-regarded as one of the masterminds of Operation Alula which in late June 2021 led to major reversals for the Ethiopian army in Tigray. In this interview, conducted in Tigray on 6 July by The Elephant, Gen Tsadkan spells out his views on peace and the way forward for Ethiopia. 

– The Elephant: What is the context of what is happening in Tigray? 

Gen Tsadkan: I don't need to go back to the horrendous atrocities that have been committed against the people of Tigray by invading forces of Isaias and Abiy, but after the offensive, after what has happened recently, the Ethiopian government is in my opinion living in an illusion. It is an illusion that has been created by themselves. They tried to deny the reality on the ground. They tried to cheat the world by saying they have declared a unilateral ceasefire while they have been defeated. We decimated two brigades of their forces which were running away from Mekelle, so this nonsense of unilateral ceasefire is a drama that has been created by themselves. Instead, they should recognize the realities on the ground and come with a realistic solution. You cannot have a ceasefire at a time when you have already blocked every movement of goods and services. Ethiopian Airlines is not flying to Mekelle, there is no telephone, there is no internet, there is no power, there is no road transport, humanitarian aid has been blocked. He cannot talk about any unilateral ceasefire while trying to strangle the whole people of Tigray. So, I think I would like the international community to understand the situation we are in. We have been very much restrained because we don't want to be seen as if we are not accepting a political solution. The whole problem is not only in Tigray but in the whole of Ethiopia. We know the Government forces are almost finished but at the same time we are restraining ourselves for a realistic political solution to the whole problem. I would like the international community to understand this situation, that is the message I have now. 

The Elephant: You were a part of the group that mediated between the PM and the TPLF before war broke out, what led you to break off that role? 

Gen Tsadkan: You are right, myself and a group of prominent political individuals in Ethiopia have been trying to mediate. The basis of the interaction we had was to accept the existing Constitution of Multinational Federalism and resolve any other issue apart from it. In my interaction with the PM, it was very clear that he was looking for; (A) dismantling the Multinational Federalism, which brought Ethiopia together and (B) he was looking for a solution that is not a political peaceful solution but preparing himself for war. That was very clear for me in our last meetings. So I had to make a choice. I knew that the political solution to Tigray would not come, in my interactions with him. I was interacting with the President of Tigray, Debretsion Gebremichael. On the part of Tigray, I saw willingness to resolve the issue, as long as the Multinational Federal Constitutional Arrangement is respected. That was not the case with Dr Abiy Ahmed, so I had to take a position. And at the same time, there was no other choice. The Ethiopian Government invited foreign forces to invade our country, so the choice was either to surrender to foreign forces or Abiy's forces, or join the resistance. I chose the latter. 

The Elephant: Those final meetings you had with the PM, when was that, 2019 or 2020? 

Gen Tsadkan: I think it was 2020. It was not 2019. We had several, we had some meetings earlier, precisely around three major meetings, but the last one was in 2020. 

The Elephant: When did you specifically join the armed resistance? Gen Tsadkan :It was after November. 

The Elephant: Could you explain the relationship btw the TPLF, the TDF, the Government of Tigray and your position now?

 Gen Tsadkan: The TPLF is the ruling party, the TDF is a word that has been coined, not in a negative sense but in a positive sense, during the resistance. The whole resistance is led by the Government of Tigray, not the TPLF, as a ruling party it might have its say but the resistance is led by the Government, the duly elected Government of Tigray. The Government of Tigray has established a Central Command which decides on all issues related to war and peace, all issues: political, diplomatic, military, economic issues, this body is chaired by the President of Tigray, Dr. Debretsion, and the military effort is one aspect of the resistance. I serve as a member of the Central Command in the structure that I have described, so the TPLF is the ruling party, the Government of Tigray is the one leading the resistance, through a structure called the Central Command that decides on all issues related to peace and war. The TDF, the Tigrayan Defense Forces, is an element in the whole structure that is being commanded by the Central Command. Below the Central Command there is a structure called the Military Command, the Military Command specifically directs and commands operations in the army. This is the arrangement. 

The Elephant: Were you expecting to win control of Tigray so soon or even at all, did it come as a surprise to you? 

Gen Tsadkan: No, it didn't come as a surprise to me. In fact, I am on public record even before the war started telling people, you know, of all regions, the Region of Tigray is a region which shall not head for war but at same time is not scared of war. I know the history, I know the potential, when this thing started it was very clear that the most senior, most highly experienced commanders are from Tigray, which has been the backbone of the Ethiopian armed forces for the last thirty years, highly experienced because most of them have gone through two major wars, I very much know the military tradition of Tigray, so when you combine those two elements, highly experienced and skillful commanders and a society with a very deep military tradition, it only takes a short period of time to reorganize and regain control. That's exactly what happened. At the same time, this has been facilitated by the atrocities committed by the enemies of Tigray, that created a widespread opposition and dedicated of the youngsters to finish all this within a short period of time. When all those things came together, given the experience we had, we had to organize the fighting units, train the fighting units, and it was clear for us that when we get some time, we will create a very formidable fighting machine, and that's what has happened. 

The Elephant: how many POWs do you currently have? 

Gen Tsadkan: I might miss some of the information, the latest information I have before five days is around more than 8000, the prisoners of war kept increasing, they might have increased a little bit. But that is the figure I know. 

The Elephant: Do you want to say about plans for treatment of these POWs? 

Gen Tsadkan: No, I don't think there is anything in particular, I know my colleagues are in touch with the ICRC, and will handle them according to international law. 

The Elephant: What is the current humanitarian situation? What actions are you hoping the International Community will take? 

Gen Tsadkan: As has been described by the international media several times and by UN Agencies, the humanitarian situation is extremely dire. The Ethiopian Government is trying to aggravate this by blocking any connection with Sudan and any other corridor. Even they have blocked air communications. So the Government of Tigray and the Central Command have decided, I think it has been communicated, we are ready to accept any humanitarian assistance, ready to facilitate anything that the U.N. or any humanitarian assistance agencies would like to have, security, we will provide security to the areas we control, more than 90 percent of Tigray, we will comply with their requirements, so my message is, there is a huge need for humanitarian assistance and we are ready to accept any assistance, if the international community means business, let them come and do what is required to save lives in Tigray. 

The Elephant: what will happen if the PM continues to refuse humanitarian access to your region? 

Gen Tsadkan: Not only resisting humanitarian assistance to our region, but if he continues to do the way they are acting, that is, strangling Tigray, blocking power, electricity, internet, air transport, land transport, not only humanitarian assistance but to civilians as well, I think the Government of Tigray and the resistance in Tigray will be required to break its restraint, restraint from military activities, we know we have the capacity, we have increased our capacity, we know we can do what it takes to pressurize the government so if they continue behaving like the way they are doing, playing games, and trying to deceive the world with their illusions, the first consequence will be continuation of operations. We will be left with no other alternative except to resolve it militarily. We would like it to be resolved peacefully but if there is no other choice, then the next choice will be, try to resolve it militarily, and we know we are capable of doing that. 

The Elephant: What is your timeline for that option? 

Gen Tsadkan: No, I'm afraid to comment on this. We are watching the situation seriously. 

The Elephant: are you prepared to negotiate peace with Abiy and with the Eritrean leader Isaias? 

Gen Tsadkan: I think that's an issue that we have to deal with when it comes. We have made our points clear on the last declaration of what we mean by a negotiated ceasefire, we have clearly indicated that we are for a negotiated ceasefire. In a negotiated ceasefire, issues are raised and we discuss to resolve them, but the process has to start. 

The Elephant: Do you have anything to add to the conditions for the negotiated ceasefire that TPLF released on Sunday? Gen Tsadkan: No, I was part of the Central Command that drafted that list and I'm happy with it. 

The Elephant: Do you have any message for Ethiopians as a whole? 

Gen Tsadkan: I would like to say it's very sad that our country Ethiopia is in such a situation. We were forced to act the way we did, because of the Central Government in Ethiopia, is in our opinion directed by Asmara, by Isaias, Isaias' security forces, intelligence forces are operating in Ethiopia day and night. I hate this kind of situation to prevail in Ethiopia, but at the same time, it is sad to see that Ethiopians are just accepting the behavior of the Central Government, but I would like to say that even though so many atrocities have been committed, it's not led to resolve our issue peacefully and politically. So, when Ethiopians come out of the illusion that the Prime Minister has created, the reality on the ground is completely different, let Eritreans get out, not only from Tigray, but from all of Ethiopia. Let Ethiopians set their own trajectory themselves. Eritrea has a heavy hand, heavy presence not only in Tigray but in Addis Ababa and all over Ethiopia as well. 

The Elephant: What are the battlefield developments, status of Western Tigray? 

Gen Tsadkan: It's very clear that Amhara forces are in Western Tigray, it's obvious that they are preparing to face us. So, we'll handle it the way they would like to handle it. 

The Elephant: Does that mean you are waiting for them to act, you're not going to push it? Gen Tsadkan: No, I didn't say anything, it is a military situation and we will see the situation and act according to what is warranted militarily for us The Elephant: have the ENDF and Amhara forces retreated to other side of Tekezze River? 

Gen Tsadkan: They have already blown up bridges, it is very clear that it's a continuation of the policy of Abiy Ahmed to strangle Tigray and take away a Constitutionally recognized geographic region of Tigray to another area. So, they are preparing themselves across the river. That, we know. 

The Elephant: Do you see the capture of Mekelle as a turning point that will lead to a speedy end to conflict or is it opening up a new front in the war, in the north and west? 

Gen Tsadkan: It all depends upon the central government of Ethiopia and its partner Isaias, it could be, it's very clear that they cannot win the war. The capture of Mekelle and the defeat of the Ethiopian army clearly shows if there was any doubt, that they cannot win this war. On the other hand, the people of Tigray have been under huge atrocities of all kinds, have stood and resisted. The war will continue growing. Even the military experience and the political nature of the just cause of the war, it will keep on growing. So the capture of Mekelle would signal a huge political message to Abiy, to come to his senses and then resolve the political situation not only in Tigray but in all of Ethiopia peacefully, sooner. It has signaled that he cannot get his way by force, that is what he wanted, he could not, he mobilized not only his forces but other forces as well, he mobilized all of the army of Eritrea, he mobilized the technological capacity of the UAE, that did not work. So, for us, we were not craving for war. We wanted a peaceful solution from the very beginning. And it is now after the defeat of Abiy's forces we are saying, let's have a negotiated ceasefire. But Abiy and the Amhara elites can resist this, can say no, we'll have our way by military means, if that is their choice, we'll see. So it all depends on how they will react. The sooner they come out of their illusion that they have created, that they are riding victory after victory, it will be better for all of Ethiopia and Tigray as well. As long as they live with that illusion, and trying to mobilize innocent peasants and bringing them as cannon fodder to the new fronts that have been created in southern and western Tigray, then the war will continue. 

The Elephant: Are there any splits within TPLF, on any topics such as engaging the government, or are you pretty united? 

Gen Tsadkan: Pretty united. Obviously, there are different opinions on how the political situation should be resolved, and resolved once and for a durable period of time. But that is for Tigrayans to discuss among themselves and resolve. That is the situation. On the issue of you know defeating the invaders, and coming to a lasting political situation, there is complete unity. 

The Elephant: is there anything you would like to share about journey of your life, as someone who fought against Dergue and toppled it? 

Gen Tsadkan: I would like to say that I am a product of the people of Tigray. The struggle and the pain that the people of Tigray have went through have created people like me, not only me, several like me. So, when all these things are done, I hope some people will have a lot of time, I will have time as well, to go through all this. But for the time being, as I said, I am the product of the struggle and the pain of the people of Tigray. Thank you very much.

Read more at: https://www.theelephant.info/op-eds/2021/07/09/tigray-crisis-a-conversation-with-general-tsadkan-gebretensae-tigray-defense-force-central-command/
The Elephant - Speaking truth to power.





--
Okey C. Iheduru


--
Listserv moderated by Toyin Falola, University of Texas at Austin
To post to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com
To subscribe to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue+subscribe@googlegroups.com
Current archives at http://groups.google.com/group/USAAfricaDialogue
Early archives at http://www.utexas.edu/conferences/africa/ads/index.html
---
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "USA Africa Dialogue Series" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to usaafricadialogue+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
To view this discussion on the web visit https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/usaafricadialogue/CAGCbkjo-iUmqUvkh6dNVHuwEVRMw6Cesq8dDQM-9%2BaLt2-9LYg%40mail.gmail.com.

USA Africa Dialogue Series - (Screenshot) What About Moslems Comparing Buhari With Jesus Christ?



--
Chidi Anthony Opara is a Poet and Founder/Publisher of; PublicInformationProjects (www.publicinformationprojects.org)

--
Listserv moderated by Toyin Falola, University of Texas at Austin
To post to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com
To subscribe to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue+subscribe@googlegroups.com
Current archives at http://groups.google.com/group/USAAfricaDialogue
Early archives at http://www.utexas.edu/conferences/africa/ads/index.html
---
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "USA Africa Dialogue Series" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to usaafricadialogue+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
To view this discussion on the web visit https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/usaafricadialogue/CABTLsgiN35%2BhZDBzwgSqMYvLYjgsebLNa_kHe3A%3DfKW%3Db0xt4w%40mail.gmail.com.
 
Vida de bombeiro Recipes Informatica Humor Jokes Mensagens Curiosity Saude Video Games Car Blog Animals Diario das Mensagens Eletronica Rei Jesus News Noticias da TV Artesanato Esportes Noticias Atuais Games Pets Career Religion Recreation Business Education Autos Academics Style Television Programming Motosport Humor News The Games Home Downs World News Internet Car Design Entertaimment Celebrities 1001 Games Doctor Pets Net Downs World Enter Jesus Variedade Mensagensr Android Rub Letras Dialogue cosmetics Genexus Car net Só Humor Curiosity Gifs Medical Female American Health Madeira Designer PPS Divertidas Estate Travel Estate Writing Computer Matilde Ocultos Matilde futebolcomnoticias girassol lettheworldturn topdigitalnet Bem amado enjohnny produceideas foodasticos cronicasdoimaginario downloadsdegraca compactandoletras newcuriosidades blogdoarmario arrozinhoii sonasol halfbakedtaters make-it-plain amatha