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Ethiopian New Year: Breaking Free from Abiy Ahmed’s Grim Legacy, The Nation’s Dream for Liberation and Peace

Bruke Lemma, PhD

“Better to die fighting for freedom than be a prisoner all the days of your life.” – Bob Marley

As Ethiopia approaches the dawn of a new year, its people stand at a critical crossroads, far removed from the usual anticipation and celebration. Instead, they bear witness to Abiy Ahmed’s pre-new year’s speeches, drenched in lies and fictitious victories, casting a deceptive veneer over the harsh, unrelenting realities endured by millions of Ethiopians.

Behind Abiy Ahmed’s web of deceit, the nation grapples with a multitude of crises, enveloped in a shared sense of desperation and determination to free themselves from the clutches of Abiy Ahmed’s brutal regime. While Abiy Ahmed revels in painting an illusion of success, the grim truth persists, growing graver with each passing day.

Over 20 million Ethiopians teeter on the brink of food insecurity, their lives haunted by an unending uncertainty. An additional four and a half million are displaced within their own land. Meanwhile, the Amhara region bears the brunt of a brutal war, with Abiy Ahmed’s army employing heavy weaponry, drones, and airstrikes against unarmed civilians.

The rest of the nation grapples with a crumbling economy, soaring inflation, and the pervasive grip of corruption and incompetent administration. Amid this bleak landscape, hope glimmers through the unwavering resistance of the Amhara militia, who have been battling Abiy Ahmed’s despotic regime for the past four to five months.

This struggle has garnered support not only from the Amhara people but also from the rest of Ethiopians. The FANO’s fight against the regime not only inspires the Amhara people who are standing steadfastly behind their sons and daughters but resonates with the entire nation of Ethiopia. As such, the whole of Ethiopia and Ethiopians yearn for change and an end to Abiy Ahmed’s oppressive rule.

The mere contemplation of Abiy Ahmed’s departure, akin to the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, or Mobutu Sese Seko, is enough to brighten the day of millions of Ethiopians. However, the path to liberation is fraught with peril, as Abiy Ahmed is likely to unleash further devastation before relinquishing power.

The desperate cry for change echoes from every corner of Ethiopia, except among the ethno-extremists who thrive on division. The actions of the international community offer some hope, but the stakes have never been higher.

The global community is beginning to heed the cries of the Ethiopian people. Calls for sanctions on Abiy Ahmed and his cronies, personal sanctions against the leader, and a weapons embargo are gaining momentum. Yet, more concerted efforts are needed to avert an impending catastrophe.

While I’ve consistently prefigured Abiy Ahmed’s leadership trajectory, what has transpired is beyond even my darkest predictions. We have a leader who ruthlessly attacks unarmed civilians, deploying heavy weapons, tanks, drones, and airstrikes, effectively transforming the entire national defence force into a killing machine, all of which is unleashed in the Amhara region. The horrifying scenes of summary executions, even of children and the elderly, in broad daylight on the streets of the Amhara region are beyond what I could have imagined.

I had foreseen that he would be a terrible leader, corrupt, exceedingly incompetent, dishonest, and a duplicitous pathological liar, but the extent of his brutality and callousness has shocked me. What’s even more unsettling is that we have yet to witness the end of this nightmare. Things are poised to deteriorate further, much further. It’s almost certain that as long as Abiy Ahmed remains in charge, the country’s fortunes will continue to plummet.

The last five years have made it abundantly clear to me and other Ethiopians that Abiy Ahmed lacks the intelligence and capability to effectively lead and solve any of the complex challenges the nation faces. Consequently, he has resorted to a strategy of perpetuating unending crises as a means of retaining power, all without the need to offer genuine leadership or resolve any of the pressing issues afflicting the country.

His tenure has been marked by a conspicuous absence of the intellectual capacity and patience required for effective governance. What he does possess in abundance, however, is narcissism—more specifically, malignant narcissism. This personality trait is wholly inadequate for the demanding task of problem-solving.

The crises in the Amhara region can be seen, in part, as a consequence of Abiy Ahmed’s arrogance and malignant narcissism, which led him to seek ways to avoid actual leadership and governance. He likely believed that by suppressing the region, he could emerge unscathed.

However, the unexpected resilience and strength displayed by the Amhara people and their FANO militia forces who bravely stood up to him have turned the region into a quagmire for him. Prior to this, another source of perpetual crises was his complete alignment with Oromo ethno-extremists.

Whether he has always harboured such Oromo-extremist beliefs, as some suspect, or if he adopted them after assuming power, is a matter of speculation. In reality, these affiliations may be mere illusions, as Abiy Ahmed lacks any genuine convictions whatsoever beyond an insatiable thirst for power. As a malignant narcissist, he is driven solely by this thirst for power, a trait common among individuals of his personality type.

He adapts to his surroundings and says whatever is necessary in order to gain and maintain power. Specifically, regarding the Oromo extremists, with their ignorance and radical exclusion of others, embracing an ethos of extreme greed, they are likely to create discontent among a wide range of people, thus fuelling continuous crises and disturbances.

In Abiy Ahmed’s narcissistic mind, this is the best way to retain power and amass a horde of loyal foot soldiers to protect that power. The well-being of the rest of Ethiopians, including that of the Amhara people, has never been, and will not be of any interest to him at all.

Employing a diverse set of mechanisms, Abiy Ahmed has recklessly ignited numerous conflicts that have swiftly spread to nearly every corner of the country, resulting in the deaths,

destruction, and immense suffering of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Ethiopian people. All of this occurred before his current campaign in the Amhara region, where countless lives have already been lost, and many more will likely perish before it concludes.

In all these actions and more, Abiy Ahmed stands as an unprecedented figure in the country’s history, and even on the world stage, he is a rarity. He lacks any empathy, embodying mind-boggling shamelessness, and is willing to utter any statement, regardless of glaring contradictions or the overwhelming evidence that exposes his words as lies and deceptions.

This includes a tendency to regularly plagiarize the speeches of world leaders, and his qualifications which have been proven to be bogus, with some of them even plagiarized. These falsehoods are well-documented and widely known, yet nothing appears to deter him. He persists in his web of lies and deceit, and causing immeasurable harm and chaos.

Abiy Ahmed’s untrustworthy character creates an insurmountable obstacle to negotiations aimed at resolving conflicts, including the ongoing crisis in the Amhara region. How can one trust a pathological liar who spews falsehoods more frequently than he takes a breath? Therefore, there was widespread derision when he recently suggested negotiating with FANO without the presence of an intermediary, proposing that they can resolve the issue on their own.

While the FANO may indeed desire peace, they are not willing to engage in negotiations with a pathological liar. For any negotiations to even begin, certain conditions must be met. First and foremost, the army must withdraw from the Amhara region without imposing any preconditions. Secondly, an independent arbitrator must be involved to facilitate the negotiation process; anything less is absolutely a nonstarter.

While direct negotiations are impossible, given Abiy Ahmed’s character as we have seen, the grim reality is that unarmed civilians are being ruthlessly slaughtered as we speak. In the face of Amhara FANO militia, whose valour and bravery they cannot match, Abiy Ahmed’s cowardly army has resorted to attacking soft targets, showing no mercy even to women, children, and the elderly. They conduct door-to-door searches and carry out summary executions, and causing widespread destruction to vital infrastructure in the Amhara region.

The only way to put an end to Abiy Ahmed’s genocidal mass murder of the Amhara people is for the international community to exert immense pressure on him to immediately halt these heinous atrocities. This should involve, among other things, implementing an arms embargo and imposing comprehensive sanctions on Abiy Ahmed, the army, and all other parties involved in the ongoing campaign in the Amhara region.

Otherwise, if left unchecked, Abiy Ahmed will not take any actions to halt these atrocities; in fact, he is likely to escalate them for two compelling reasons. Firstly, Abiy Ahmed consistently reveals himself as a malignant narcissist or narcissistic sociopath, entirely devoid of any trace of humanity. Moreover, his fundamentally flawed perception of reality convinces him that he is more cunning than anyone else, capable of deceiving not only the Amhara people and other Ethiopians but also the international community and beyond, without fail.

Secondly, Abiy Ahmed, with his deep pathological tendencies and well-known trademarks of perpetual lying and deception, persists in his futile attempts to deceive others even after they have all become acutely aware of his complete lack of any scruples. To the point where some

world leaders now refuse or actively avoid shaking his hand, underscoring how his reputation precedes him.

However, it’s not just Abiy Ahmed but the entire hierarchy of his Pathocracy is infested with Pathocrats, psychopathic Oromo ethno-extremist elites, and others with highly disordered personalities who grapple with a distorted perception of reality, extreme greed and inhumanity.

The utter failure to grasp reality, as demonstrated by Abiy Ahmed in his New Year message and regularly before, as well as those that are being demonstrated by the other Pathocrats within his Pathocracy, all resemble what one might find in a mental asylum.

Overall, they are fixated neither on resolving the challenges faced by the people of Ethiopia nor those of their own ethnic group, the Oromo Ethiopians, most of whom struggle to meet their basic daily needs, much like the rest of their fellow Ethiopians.

Instead of addressing the fundamental needs of shelter, food, basic healthcare, education, and employment, among others, for both the Oromo and other Ethiopians, Abiy Ahmed and his band of zealots continually preach to the Oromo Ethiopians about their past glories dating back more than four centuries, while consistently lying to or completely ignoring the rest of Ethiopians.

Abiy Ahmed and his ethno-extremists implicitly and explicitly continue informing the Oromo people that they are working to bring back these past glories. However, they reveal to them that the only barrier preventing the resurrection of these imagined glory days is the Amhara people, whom they have all preposterously labelled as oppressors. In their distorted view, then, eliminating the Amhara people would magically transport them to this historical utopia.

In the distorted views of both Abiy Ahmed and his predecessor, the TPLF, who shared similar aspirations of a glorious future achieved by eliminating the Amhara people, they cast the Amhara as the architects of oppression against the Oromo and Tigray communities. Essentially, this is the genesis of the genocidal conflict against the Amhara—a case of fanatic groups oppressing, looting, and killing the impoverished in pursuit of a glorified past.

In any case, this tragicomedy of Ethiopian politics has unfolded over the past three to four decades, characterized by the dominance of two of the most ruthless groups in the world: the TPLF, previously led by a monstrous intellectual dwarf who has since passed away, and later helmed by his loyalists and imitators. Now, we have Abiy Ahmed, a narcissistic psychopath who, over the last five years, has proven to be even more sinister than the TPLF—ironically, the very group that trained him. His intellectual deficiencies rival those of any TPLF leader.

Accordingly, Abiy Ahmed believed that if the Amhara people endured three decades of TPLF’s pervasive oppression and subjugation without substantial resistance, then he reasoned that he and his Oromo ethno-extremists could employ a similar approach with minimal or no consequences. However, their calculations crumbled when the Amhara people organized and decisively reacted to Abiy Ahmed’s heightened oppression and subjugation of them.

In response, he is escalating the situation now by mobilizing the entire defence force and troops from the Oromo region to invade the Amhara region, doubling down. Nevertheless, this endeavour too would ultimately prove unsuccessful, as the Amhara are now awakened and have had enough of enduring their oppression and subjugation in silence.

The Amhara people were able to offer a strong resistance due to the courage and bravery of their sons and daughters, who organized and equipped themselves as traditional FANO militia forces that beat back Abiy Ahmed’s army of mercenaries, catching them all off guard.

Now, Abiy Ahmed and all his ethno-extremist associates find themselves ensnared in a deeply flawed and morally reprehensible strategy that has completely ceased to work. Their lack of any discernible intelligence makes it exceedingly challenging for them to extricate themselves from this situation.

In particular, Abiy Ahmed, with his deep pathology, fails to grasp the impossibility of subjecting a population of 40 or 50 million to humiliation, mass slaughter, continuous harassment, impoverishment, state oppression, and more without them eventually reaching a breaking point and rising up, as the Amhara courageously have done now.

The widespread, universally embraced, and resilient movement we are witnessing in the Amhara region is a volcanic eruption caused by extreme, vicious, and relentless injustice. Consequently, there is no power in the world that can suppress such a vast population through violence, as Abiy Ahmed is now attempting to do.

His ongoing escalation of the situation, involving the deployment of additional troops and equipment to the region, underscores that Abiy Ahmed cannot be relied upon to bring an end to the bloodshed. He must be forcibly restrained, for there is no evidence of empathy or decency within him that would deter him from exacerbating these atrocities and committing even more heinous crimes against humanity.

In the coming few days or weeks, we must prepare for a series of potentially catastrophic decisions if Abiy Ahmed remains unchecked. Moreover, the situation in the country has deteriorated into what is essentially a one-man rule. There is no one within Abiy Ahmed’s government who possesses the authority or the courage to rein in his actions or voice dissent.

Consequently, members of parliament who dared to criticize some of his actions have been imprisoned and are enduring ongoing torture. This cruel fate also extends to nearly all journalists in the country, including some of the most prominent intellectuals and opinion leaders, particularly those hailing from the Amhara region.

Given this escalating backdrop of the crisis and Abiy Ahmed’s ongoing descent into complete madness, along with the resulting ongoing large-scale genocide of the Amhara people, it is crucial for the international community to step in and put an end to his actions.

The international community must send a clear message to Abiy Ahmed that the indiscriminate killing of unarmed civilians through the use of heavy weaponry, drones, and airstrikes, as well as the deliberate targeting and destruction of critical infrastructure like hospitals, as he has done and continues to do, is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

The crisis must be resolved through mediation, with dialogue facilitated by an independent mediator. As a crucial first step, the military must promptly withdraw from the Amhara region and cease all ongoing actions.

Here, for those who have closely followed the background of the situation in the Amhara region, it’s straightforward – a matter of greed, ignorance, and opportunism. Ethnic elites have

manipulated a fabricated enemy to divert the population’s attention while they amass wealth.

However, for newcomers to the situation, it may initially appear more complex than it truly is.

It is profoundly disconcerting to observe Abiy Ahmed, the TPLF, and other ethno-extremists exploiting this apparent complexity to persistently propagate falsehoods and fabricate narratives that invert roles, portraying victims as oppressors and oppressors as victims.

What’s even more concerning is the unquestioning acceptance of these glaringly incorrect narratives by certain parties, influenced in part by their own geopolitical interests and preferences regarding which side gains the upper hand. Of course, there are also those who are misled by these narratives due to their naivety and the exploitation and abuse of their goodwill.

It’s crucial to emphasize here that this author does not belong to the Amhara ethnic group but rather considers himself an independent observer committed to advocating for the victims of injustice. Anyone with a modicum of decency and fairness, after even a brief examination of the situation, will recognize that the Amhara people have undeniably suffered greatly and unjustly for decades at the hands of both Abiy Ahmed and the TPLF regimes.

While we must vehemently reject any attempt to stoke ethnic hatred or promote divisions, it is of utmost importance that we take a clear stance in this situation – a stance firmly in support of the victims, irrespective of their ethnicity – and work diligently to secure justice for them or assist them in obtaining justice on their own terms.

One of the most glaring examples of false narratives pertains to the territories that were forcefully annexed from the Amhara region by the TPLF three decades ago, which the group subsequently incorporated into the Tigray region. During this dark period, the Amhara endured ethnic cleansing from these territories, mass murder, imprisonment, torture, and more.

However, the Amhara have since managed to reclaim their ancestral lands from the TPLF during the two-year war between Abiy Ahmed and the TPLF, a conflict that was initiated by the TPLF in an attempt to regain the power the group lost to Abiy Ahmed.

Now, however, the TPLF is striving to regain control of these lands, resorting to various subterfuges, including mobilizing international sentiment and waging a propaganda and media campaign to reshape global perceptions. Astonishingly, despite the atrocities it inflicted upon the Amhara people, the TPLF has disseminated false narratives that unjustly demonize the Amhara, even making unfounded accusations of ethnic cleansing—a complete distortion that some, regrettably, seem to accept. This represents a glaring case of inverting the roles of victims and oppressors, mirroring the very injustices they suffered.

Importantly, when the TPLF assumed power, it enforced a discriminatory constitution upon all Ethiopians. This TPLF authored constitution confines people to specific regions or denies them equal rights and legal protection if they opt to live beyond these designated areas. Effectively, it deprives them of the basic right to reside anywhere in their own country, forcing them to stay within their ethnic enclaves.

Instead of perpetuating false claims of ethnic cleansing and the like, the TPLF and others could advocate for the removal of this unjust constitution. Such action would significantly contribute to resolving many of the issues in the TPLF-annexed areas, which are now rightfully in the hands of their original owners, the Amhara. The Amhara are more than willing to share these

lands with everyone and ensure equal protection under the law for all. The sole obstacle to achieving this is this unfair constitution. Remove it, and most, if not all, of these problems will vanish.

However, the TPLF has no intention of pursuing such a just path. Instead, it aims to have its cake and eat it too, as the saying goes. The TPLF seeks to displace the Amhara from their rightful lands through subterfuge, employing tactics such as shaping global opinion using false narratives and other clandestine methods, only to prevent their return, even continued stay, using the very constitution the TPLF itself authored during its time in power.

Such actions are offensive and should repulse anyone with a sense of decency. It’s highly unlikely that anyone, even with a modicum of intelligence, would allow themselves to be manipulated in this manner by the TPLF, a highly crude ethno-extremist group.

While a number of other false narratives circulate, but I won’t address them here; the constraints of time and space prompt me to conclude shortly. However, I want to extend my gratitude to the international community for their expressions of concern regarding the ongoing atrocities in the Amhara region that are being perpetuated by Abiy Ahmed’s government.

This includes organizations such as Amnesty International, the UN, the EU, and others. It’s also highly commendable that a group of countries including Australia, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the US, has also voiced deep concern about the ongoing situation.

In this context, it’s crucial that countries like Australia, which possess substantial resources and experience across various domains, should not only contribute collectively as part of this or any other group but also take individual initiatives. They should be ambitious, vocal, and ready to share their opinions and provide practical assistance, among other efforts.

The US, as the leader of this group of countries, has recently expressed its disapproval of Abiy Ahmed through its recent actions. While there may have been earlier actions that appeared conflicting, it’s possible that they are working to strike a balance among various considerations. We remain hopeful that all their actions will align soon.

While the steps taken by the international community are highly commendable, the ongoing escalations by Abiy Ahmed and his army’s relentless atrocities against unarmed civilians, including the deliberate destruction of critical infrastructure such as hospitals, demand urgent and intensified international efforts.

Therefore, in addition to maintaining consistent diplomatic pressure on Abiy Ahmed’s regime, they should also actively advocate for an immediate halt to the violence and call for comprehensive UN investigations into the ongoing egregious crimes against humanity in the Amhara region.

It is also highly imperative to push for arms embargoes against Abiy Ahmed’s regime, impose personal sanctions on key figures within the regime, and provide direct humanitarian aid to the Amhara region, which continues to bear the brunt of this conflict.

While the FANOs have signalled a ceasefire to offer respite to the suffering population during the Ethiopian New Year, Abiy Ahmed’s government has rejected these gestures. They persist in firing upon civilians and essential infrastructure, even using civilians as shields to deter the FANOs from returning fire.

This stands in stark contrast to the FANO resistance forces, who prioritize the well-being of the people. Conversely, the government operates with complete disregard for the safety and well-being of civilians. Among other things, Abiy Ahmed’s army continually engage in looting, theft, carrying out summary executions of civilians, and commit other heinous crimes.

It’s a harrowing start to the new year for most Ethiopians. In addition to the ongoing atrocities that are being committed by the regime, Abiy Ahmed’s severe mismanagement of the economy has led to widespread unemployment and uncontrollable inflation, leaving people struggling to meet their basic daily needs. More than twenty million people are grappling with food insecurity, and are on the brink of hunger and starvation, and an additional four and a half million are internally displaced with nowhere to celebrate the new year.

In these very challenging times, Ethiopians would greatly appreciate the solidarity of the international community, which can raise their voices against the criminal leaders. They endured three decades of cruel oppression under the TPLF, and now, they face an even more dire regime under Abiy Ahmed.

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