Omer Shifaw – May 8, 2023
There is no denying that Ethiopia, once a proud nation and a beacon of independence that brought Africa together, has been deliberately goaded to take the wrong path for the last 32 years first under the leadership of TPLF, then under the current ruler Abiy Ahmed Ali, both times mainly with the support of the West. Undeniably, the situation has gotten much worse in the last 5 years. Horrible things unheard of since the Rwandan genocide have been happening in the country. Just like in Rwanda, state sponsored genocide is underway in Ethiopia. Newborn babies and their parents, elderly people, school age children are being slaughtered daily because of their Amhara identity. Mass graves of the victims are commonplace, especially in the Oromia region. In this age of information, where also the perpetrators are not making any efforts to hide their crimes, the rest of the world is blatantly ignoring the full-fledged genocide against the Amhara people. So far, the International Community including the Biden Administration is watching this Armageddon in Ethiopia limiting itself to meaningless lip services. Who would dare argue this eerie and deafening silence of the International Community is not a tacit approval of the genocide bordering on complicity?
The world seems to have forgotten that soon after the Rwandan genocide, some leaders of the West were expressing their regret for letting it happen and claiming the lives of close to one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus. At that time, President Clinton vowed not to let such tragedies happen ever again. Today, the Biden Administration has chosen silence regarding the Amhara genocide in Ethiopia, and nobody seems to remember the vow made by former President Bill Clinton almost 30 years ago.
Dear Congress! since the signing of the Pretoria Accord between TPLF and Abiy Ahmed, the genocide against the Amhara people has accelerated. It was clear from the outset that such things were bound to happen. Not only the two major stakeholders – the Amhara and Afar people were excluded from the peace negotiations, Article15 of the treaty gave TPLF and Abiy Ahmed the power to amend it by “mutual consent” as they see it fit without any regard to the other sovereign regions in the country. As expected, the two parties did just that in their subsequent meetings in Nairobi and Addis Ababa. Instead of disarming and demobilizing its fighters as spelled out in the initial Pretoria Accord, TPLF fighters were allowed to keep their weapons. Per ‘mutual consent’, TPLF is recruiting and training more fighters instead. As a result, today, over two hundred thousand TPLF fighters are on standby to reinvade and reclaim Humera, Wolkeit Tsegede, Tselemt and Raya that historically belonged to the Amhara people.
Dear Congress! To facilitate the takeover of Humera, Wolkeit Tsegede, Tselemt and Raya by TPLF, Abiy Ahmed has sent the predominantly Oromo Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) into the Amhara region with the aim of disarming the Amhara regional Special Forces, Fano, the Amhara militia and the ordinary people most of whom have kept guns for years to protect themselves. Here, Abiy Ahmed is trying to kill two birds with one stone as he also sees the Amhara people as a serious threat to his power and considers them as an existential threat to the Oromo people in addition to helping out TPLF – his strategic partner – a partnership that the Biden Administration has invested in a great deal regardless of the human cost it exacts on the Amhara people and other Ethiopians.
It is worth noting one more time that the invasion of the Amhara region by ENDF was preceded by the spike in the genocide against the Amhara people in the Oromia region. Addis Ababa – the nation’s capital – where most of the residents are Amharas is under siege. For all practical purposes, Abiy Ahmed has rendered Addis Ababa into a garrison city. Units of Snipers, elite commandos and brigades of Oromo regional Special Forces that include demolition squads are camping in strategic locations terrorizing non-Oromo city dwellers. Amhara elites including university professors, civic leaders, journalists are being rounded up and thrown into government jails and private cells without any due process. Amhara employees of the Federal government are singled out and sacked from key positions. The Abiy regime has also continued destroying historical landmarks, preventing the celebration of public holidays, etc., that they think are associated with the Amhara people. The cultural genocide is so extensive that artifacts and rare books in the Ethiopian National Museum are not spared. Abiy Ahmed and his party use deceit, lies and fabricated narratives to change the cultural landscape in the country to make sure the fabric that for centuries has held Ethiopians together is dismantled.
Dear Congress! The Pretoria Accord, which is allegedly the brainchild of the Biden Administration, has aggravated the situation in Ethiopia. There is a direct link between the Accord and the spike in the genocide against the Amhara people, the systematic ethnic cleansing that includes preventing Amharas from entering Addis Ababa, and the deliberate marginalization and exclusion of non-Oromos from the economy, the politics, and the military of the country altogether. It goes without saying that Abiy Ahmed has been emboldened by the Pretoria Accord to impose the Oromo hegemony on the rest unhindered.
Dear Congress! The Biden Administration has decidedly thrown the Amhara people under the bus for geo-political and other considerations. The whole idea of the Pretoria Accord is to merge TPLF and Abiy Ahmed condemning the rest of Ethiopia to perpetual dictatorship. It is high time Your Excellencies questioned if the lofty ideals of this great nation could be served by the current reckless policies of the Biden Administration on Ethiopia that will bring neither peace nor stability in the region.
In the last two years, Ethiopia was on the agenda of the UN Security Council several times brought by the Biden Administration, but each time the motive was to benefit TPLF to save it from its demise or extricate it from the war crimes, crimes against humanity and the genocide it committed in three decades. It is a well-documented fact that TPLF has had well placed admirers in the last three Democratic Administrations that occupied the White House including the current one. The reckless and biased stances of these administrations have caused the Amhara people untold societal and psychological damages that will not heal for years to come.
Dear Congress! It is mind-boggling and disheartening that as part of the Pretoria Accord, the Biden Administration has no qualms in promoting the current apartheidic and ethnic based Ethiopian Constitution as the ultimate point of departure to resolve all contentious issues in the country conveniently ignoring the fact that the current Constitution is the very cause of all the country’s problems. To complicate matters more, the Biden Administration has kept referring to Humera, Wolkaite Tsegede and Tselmt as “Western Tigray” encouraging TPLF and Abiy Ahmed in their irridentist adventures. It is not also farfetched to think that Abiy Ahmed’s current invasion of the Amhara region has the blessing of the Biden Administration. From this, Your Excellencies should be able to conclude that Amhara representation was deliberately excluded from the Pretoria Accord.
Dear Congress! Yes, the Biden Administration did use the service of the impotent African Union (AU) to facilitate the peace negotiation in Pretoria, South Africa flashing its hollow mantra of “African solutions to African problems”. However, the rest of the world knows Ambassador Mike Hammer, the Biden Administration’s Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, was the one who ran the whole show while the UN and EU were relegated to an observer status. Then, the question is how on earth could the dictator Abiy Ahmed who has committed all sorts of human rights violations including the politicization of the justice system be trusted to implement ‘transitional justice’ in Ethiopia? That is exactly what the Biden Administration is doing. Not only the Biden Administration’s policies on Ethiopia are biased, dangerous, and pretentious to say the least, there is something that smells fishy about them that reminds one of the “Iran-Contra Affairs” of the 1980s. The reckless policies of the Biden Administration on Ethiopia are not only checkered with questionable intentions and have the potential to prolong the agony of the Ethiopian people for years to come, but they do also run contrary to the lofty ideals of this great nation. That is why the role of the Biden Administration in the Pretoria Accord, and its aftermath should be investigated. The sooner, the better!