Zeate Medhin, August 3, 2018
Three innocent people of Tigray origin were killed by a mobon July 29, 2018 in Jawi district, Amhara region. They were barbarically bludgeoned to death with iron bars and stone. A fourth victim, who is now on intensive care, entered a police station hoping to get protection but the police turned a blind eye allowing the mob to drag him out, beat him and left him for dead. The victims worked for the Tana Beles Sugar Development Project. Their crime wasbeing from Tigray.
While numerous deaths and displacements are experienced throughout the country (over 2 million displaced since the new PM came to power), what makes the targeting of Tigrayans unique is that it is fueled by Abiy Ahmed’s populist rhetoric. He uses derogatory terms that incite violence such as የቀንጅቦች (“day-time hyena”), የፖለቲካነጋዴዎች(“political businessmen”), hate mongers, perpetrators of state terrorism, etcetera to describe the TPLF. He alludes that the day-time hyenas and political businessmen hail from Tigray and that they are the reason for all grievances expressed by the Ethiopian populace. He is telling his base that the blame for all sufferings lie with the TPLF which is being harbored by the people of Tigray. In one of his rallies attended by tens of thousands of youngsters, he recklessly promoted vigilante justice by telling them that they should responsible in protecting their community from ፀጉረለወጥ(“aliens”).He knew base understood ፀጉረለወጥas synonymous people of Tigray origin, but he never made an effort to dispel it, because he wants them to understand it that way.
Fascists provide simple reasons to explain the sufferings of a society and find a scapegoat to push the blame to. Abiy Ahmed’s simple solution is “medemer” and he is blaming the TPLF and its base, which happens to be the people of Tigray, as hindering the implementation of his solution. This sounds like a typical tactic employed by aspiring fascist leaders.
In the early days of his incumbency, he was intentionally ambiguous, but these days, he is becoming bold in making the association between all evil in the country and the TPLF. He is promising to crack-down on the TPLF and stating that its removal will restore the country to its former glory. He is colluding with foreign powers notably Egypt and United Arab Emirates (UAE) who are funding his crusade against the people of Tigray and he has entereda quid pro quo deal with Isayas Afewerki.
There are several examples ofhis populist attacks on the TPLF, and while doing so, withholding the truth from the Ethiopian population to advance his agenda. For example, following the explosion in Meskel Square that struck the rally of his supporters on June 23, 2018, Abiy Ahmed used terms that implicate the TPLF. The truth is that the assassination attempt was concocted, led and operated by people of Oromo and Amhara origin. Here is the list of the perpetrators whose case is already in the court.
1. Beyene Bula, architect of the operation and team leader (Oromo). Incidentally, this person was in jail and was released by the Abiy government in April 2018.
2. Tesfaye Urge, senior official at the National Intelligence and Security Service- NISS (Oromo)
3. Abdissa Keneni (Oromo)
4. Inspector Robso Wayu Mohammed (Oromo)
5. Girma Kassa, deputy commissioner of Addis Ababa police (Amhara)
6. Hiwot Gedda (Oromo)
7. Getu Girma (Oromo)
8. Desalegn Tesfaye (Oromo)
9. Bahru Lola (Oromo)
Despite this glaring fact, he chose to remain ambiguous about who was behind the explosion because he wants his base to keep on associating the TPLF with this sad incident.
Another notable example is the assassination of Engineer Simegnew Bekele. There is ample evidence that the assassination had full support from Abiy’s operatives. For example, the engineer was stripped of his security detail, surveillance cameras at Meskel Square were removed days before the assassination, Meskel Square which is normally guarded 24/7 was withoutsecurity protection when the engineer was assassinated. The engineer’s blood is in Abiy’s and Egypt’s hands, but his operatives are trying to deflect the blame to their only scapegoat – the TPLF. Engineer is Simegnew is TPLF’s and the people of Tigray’s hero as evidenced by the huge rally across Tigray in his honor. They should know that their allegations will never hold water because the Ethiopian people are smarter than Abiy and Egypt give them credit for.
Abiy Ahmed is colluding with Egypt and the UAE to undermine the completion of the Hidase Dam. His strategy for fulfilling Egypt and UAE interests and his ambition of becoming the 7th king of Ethiopia is fascism as evidenced by his portrayal of the TPLF and the people of Tigray as the cause of all sufferings in the country. His portrayal is of course far from the truth. The TPLF and the people of Tigray led the fight against the Dergue and working with other nations and nationalities in the country, brought Ethiopia from being the epitome of hunger to a thriving and vibrant country with one of the fastest growing economy in the world.
Targeting and demonizing a specific ethnic group is a tactic used by fascists. Abiy Ahmed is ramping up his attacks on the TPLF and Tigray and his followers are resorting to violence. Before coming to power, the Abiy group injected hatred among the different ethnic groups in the country and as a result, Ethiopia is currently riddled by ethnic conflicts. If Abiy Ahmed continues heading along thisdangerous trajectory, he may lead the country to a civil war.