Ethiopia: Grim Realities and Vain Hopes
Aynalem Sebhatu 07-20-21
Before the ascent of Abiy Ahmed in 2018, the Ethiopian economy had been performing at one of the highest growth rates of the world. The hopes of Ethiopians fighting the grinding poverty off their backs that once were associated with the country’s strong economy have long since plunged on the grim realities of the wars in Tigray, Oromia and Benishangul-Gumuz and its agonizing consequences.
Today a significant segment of Ethiopians would like to pretend that the wars are not happening while others struggle, either consciously or unconsciously, to forget the brutal wars raging in the country. But these wars cannot be wished away. The wars are overwhelming the economic, political and social pillars of the country thereby leading to the disintegration of the country. The people of Ethiopia, Eritrea and the Horn of Africa in general will have to live with the dire consequences of these wars for many more years to come.
One of the tragic consequences of the war is the total dismantling of the economic and social infrastructures of Tigray, not to mention thousands of innocent Tigrayans who are raped and lost their lives. Simply put, the genocide in Tigray is a barbarity of colossal proportion and the greatest calamity in the region. Yet, neofascist Ethiopian and Eritrean activists and their spin-doctors of the social media have sought to diminish the atrocities committed by the Eritreans, Ethiopians and Amhara forces by comparing it as a “collateral damage” of a war. Needless to say, we should all be horrified and reject their inhumane and immoral pronouncements to the unfolding genocide in Tigray. Unfortunately, many Ethiopians have turned savagely inward on their fellow citizens and their country. How else could one explain the cheerful reception of Eritreans’ and the Amhara forces’ unspeakable brutalities by Ethiopians?
In part the enthusiasm of the Amhara extremists is directed against the very existence and structure of federalism thereby against the constitution of the country. They presented the Constitution as a dangerous innovation of Tigrayans to subjugate the people of Amhara. This has been a concrete bid for their political power and forming a centralized unitary state. This might lead to unsustainable ethnic conflicts as Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic country. Historically, the power relationship among these different ethnic groups have been complex and they might prefer to exercise their self-rule and self-determination. Consequently, such political manipulations and agitations lead to more mistrusts of each other and ethnic conflicts.
With Abiy Ahmed’s support, the Amhara political elites created a heavy dosage of anarchy and in part the message itself demands extreme political evangelism propagated by the Amhara Mass Media and its affiliated national media outlets. The propaganda is usually orchestrated by social media outlets serving as tentacles of disinformation and creation of lies at an industrial scale. Demonization of the TPLF and the people of Tigray became the national pastime for a long time there by creating an environment for the invasion of Tigray. The war in Tigray and the illusion of winning the war has bought enough time for the ruling party of the Amhara regional state. In addition, the wars looming with Oromia, Benishangul-Gumuz and Sudan might be used to divert the attention of the people of Amhara towards external forces rather than internal problems thereby sparing the political elites some time.
Political elites of Amhara have used diversionary external policy in order to distract the people of Amhara from the injera and wat issues within their region. They skillfully diverted the attention of the unemployed youth to organize under Fano and special forces to find an adventure in the “wild west” of Tigray. They awakened and misled the young about Welkait and Raya (western and southern Tigray) and prepared them for war against Tigray.
Abiy Ahmed and The Amhara elites show no interest in resolving conflicts using constitutional means and following the rule of law of the land. With the blessing of Abiy, the Amhara elites set out to expand their borders through the use of force, they do so in ways that require misleading the people of Amhara in facing serious sacrifice of blood and treasure. Thus, the chauvinists must carry the fight into the immediately perceived enemy fortress and demand unconditional surrender. Rarely will the Amhara extremists settle for political tolerance, rational political discourse and resolve their grievances using law and order prescribed by the constitution of the country.
All these mobilizations for the war, bloodletting, human sacrifices and wastage of resources are done in the name of the unsuspecting people of Amhara. It is a strategy of political survival for the leaders of the Amhara region, and it fits very well with the political calculation of the two fascist pin heads of the Horn of Africa, Abiy Ahmed and Isaias Afewerki. All along, Abiy Ahmed’s political strategy has been to create chaos in northern Ethiopia and in Eritrea. Simultaneously, Isaias political strategy has been the destruction of Tigray as well as the disintegration of Ethiopia. Abiy and the Amhara elites would love to see the mutual destruction of Eritreans and Tigrayans and create further distrust among the people of Tigray and Eritrea. If this does not come to fruition, they would direct the extermination of Tigrayans who are living outside Tigray in Ethiopia. Across Ethiopia, innocent Tigrayans from different walks of lives are rounded up and thrown into prisons and their fate uncertain.
For how long could the Amhara political elites use such diversionary political tactics? That is anybody's guess. But it could not possibly continue for long. With the Tigrayan forces pushing and clearing in the south and western Tigray, it is possible the defeated military, militia and Fano members returning from the war fronts might foment significant political demands for reforms if not for a revolution. The war may provide the young Amhara with opportunities to rebel against the rulers of the regional government.
The Amhara political elites are providing political scapegoats and argue that responsibility, of the horrible crimes committed against humanity in Tigray, cannot be laid on their doorsteps. This argument, while doubtlessly appealing to those with categorical hatred towards TPLF, strikes me as merely irrelevant and wanders off down a dead-end street. Because it fails to distinguish between the people of Tigray and the TPLF. Here one asks, for example, Did Abiy’s “law enforcement operation” justify the killings, bombing, raping and looting of TPLF members let alone innocent civilians? In fact, the fundamental responsibility for the war crimes in Tigray must be placed on the Amhara chauvinists and their political leaders, Abiy Ahmed and his military rank and files, Isaias army and those who incited and encouraged the war crimes in Tigray.
Whatever truth is coming out from the war crimes in Tigray, it is unlikely to sway hard-core Amhara extremists who still regard Tigrayans as responsible for their alleged persecution of the people of Amhara for the last three decades. In essence, the Amhara political elites joined Isaias Afewerki’s chorus of blame on the TPLF and on the people of Tigray for Eritrea's and Amhara’s failure to prosper and to develop democratic institutions. Let alone expressing empathy with the people of Tigray, it is becoming vainly hopeless to expect the federal leadership, the Amhara leadership and most Ethiopians even to ponder about the consequences of the genocidal war in Tigray.
Abiy Ahmed has declared war on independent newspapers and media outlets. By clamping down journalists and the few independent media outlets, the Ethiopian government is at an all-out war with the truth. Abiy Ahmed’s government is run by people incapable of understanding and telling the country what it is doing in Tigray. In order to conceal what really is taking place in Tigray from the country, the unconscionable habits of spreading lies are piling-up in all the structural levels of the government. Of course, the fountainhead of all lies turns out to be Abiy Ahmed himself. With the liars and the spin-doctors of Ethiopia parading closely behind their dictator, the Ethiopian people are continuously brainwashed with a barrage of misinformation to justify the genocidal war in Tigray.
It is very important to spell out the many various components—economic, military, cultural, psychological, social, political, intellectual—in the making of the genocidal war in Tigray. In the real world, the unspeakable atrocities committed in Tigray cannot be unmade, their effects will persist for a long time to come, even when their results slowly disappear. This time around, it is unique that the genocidal war in Tigray is of such dimension as to involve radical reconsiderations: the people of Tigray and the government of Tigray reassess their policies that are at the center of their national interest. The people who are at the center of the genocidal war, the Tigrayans, reassess their local, regional and federal governments. It seems that the genocidal war in Tigray formed such a turning point in the well-being of Tigrayans, the Tigrayans have to chart their destiny with reasonable assurance of their security into the future. The question remains: how do you fully secure Tigray which is located in one of the roughest neighborhoods of the world?
Tigray will Prevail!
Eternal glory for our martyrs!