Just 78 years after fascist colonial Italy had first organised the Tour of Eritrea that discriminated the participation of the native Eritreans in 1938, Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) led regime in Ethiopia has hosted the first competitive tour in Ethiopia.
The tour kicked started yesterday in Mekele, the regional capital of Tigray, after UCI decided only last month to include that into the Africa tour calendar. However, if only not for the eerie name the authorities gave to the tour, that would have been a good start for the sport in Ethiopia. They named it “Tour Ethiopian Meles Zenawi“.
Hang on a minute while I double check that again. Yes, you got it right! That is exactly what they called it and there is no doubt that the paranoid authorities there seem ill-advised to name it as such.
More than anything to do with the sport, the politics behind the naming of the tour as the “Ethiopian Tour Meles Zenawi” sounds desperate to make the deceased former prime minister more Ethiopian after his death today than what he was when he was “alive and shooting”.
The tour should have been named the “Tour of Ethiopia” at best or at worse the “Tour of Tigray”. Since the Tour is only within the borders of Tigray region, the evidence will prove that the later name is more fitting. But if the name “Tour Ethiopian Meles Zenawi” isn’t really a sick joke, then it is already dead in the water. They might as well call it the “Tigraway Tour Meles Zenawi”.
In the first stage, riders negotiated the 114 km asphalted road from Mekele – Adigrat via Wuqro. Today’s second stage is from Adigrat – Axum via Enticho and Meles Zenawi’s birth place Adwa. The third stage will be Axum – Adwa after they do a return lap to and from Shire. The fourth stage will return back to Mekele from Endamariam and the Tigray tour of Meles Zenawi will be concluded in the Mekele circuit on Thursday.
Since the tour isn’t daring to cross over the disputed border of the Tekeze bridge southwest of Shire into the occupied Mai-Tsebri in the Amhara region, the tour would safely remain within the Tigray’s regional state.
Invited countries such as Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Algeria and South Africa along with two local teams of 12 riders exclusively comprising only from the Tigray region are taking part in what can now be safely called the “Tigraway Tour of Meles Zenawi“.
If anything, it is a clear indication that the minority TPLF regime in Ethiopia is aggressively spreading its apartheid tentacles in the sports in the same way it has been cementing apartheid system over the last 25 years in the spheres of the country’s politics, economy, mass-media, justice and law enforcements.
Nobody in one’s wildest dream would have thought that apartheid system will take root anywhere in Africa again 22 years after the demise of Apartheid in South Africa.
As much as Heroic gesture of solidarity to the oppressed people in Ethiopia by Feyisa Lilisa in the Olympic Marathon has exposed the evil nature of the murderous regime in Ethiopia, the water splashing performance by Wedi-Kiros aka “Robel the Whale” in the Rio Olympics has also helped expose the widespread cronyism in Ethiopian sport today.
Though extreme opposites, one as an athlete who won an Olympic medal while the other one identified as laughing stoke making a mockery of the sport, both helped expose the evil apartheid nature of the regime in Ethiopia. No wonder the colonized people of Ethiopia have already had “enough” (“በቃ”) and rising in unison against the apartheid regime that is literally surviving on Western life support machine.
The moral of the story is that sport should never be used as a political tool to further discriminate and alienate parts of a society but should be taken as an opportunity to bring antagonizing factions together in a sporting spirit.
The other message that should hit home on TPLF Weyane door is that it shouldn't rely too much on the Western support it feeds on the daily basis because successive support from the US and UK administrations was neither able to prevent the demise of the Apartheid system in South Africa nor will it be able to save this one in Ethiopia too.