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The Enigma of Abiy Ahmed’s Actions Against the Amhara

Sisay Mulu

The suffering of the Amhara people has been overlooked and downplayed for over thirty years, with their pain being reduced to mere numbers in the face of brutal and systematic violence. Since the TPLF took control in 1991, heartbreaking stories emerged from regions like Arsi, Arba Gugu, painting a grim and urgent picture of the violence inflicted upon the Amharas in Ethiopia. This dire situation spread to areas such as Jimma, Benchi Maj, Sheko, East Wolega, West Showa, South West Showa, Kamashi, and Metekel, among others. Ethnic Amharas endured unspeakable atrocities: beheadings, mass shootings, and horrifying incidents of victims being thrown off cliffs or drowned. Sadly, places that should have provided sanctuary—churches, mosques, and homes—became scenes of devastating carnage, resulting in the loss of many innocent lives to flames.


This brutality did not occur in silence; it unfolded under the gaze of the world. The pleas and grievances of the Amhara people have, regrettably, fallen on deaf ears. Instead of spurring action or compassion, each massacre was often reduced to cold, impersonal figures. The phrase “Never again,” a global pledge against genocide and mass atrocities, paradoxically transformed into “time and again” for the Amhara community, as each incident seemed to set the stage for the next without significant intervention from internal or external parties. The lack of substantial accountability for these crimes has not only perpetuated the cycle of violence but has also exacerbated the wounds of the Amhara population. The persistent nature of these attacks, combined with a noticeable absence of decisive measures to prevent them, has instilled a deep sense of injustice and marginalization among the Amharas.


The ongoing conflict in the Amhara region cannot be oversimplified as a mere reaction to the government’s attempt to centralize regional forces under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s command. This perspective fails to acknowledge the deep-rooted mistrust and grievances that the Amhara community holds towards a system that has consistently neglected their needs and rights, leading to economic, political, and existential challenges. 2. Instead of progress, the Amhara community has experienced a disturbing rise in genocidal violence under Abiy Ahmed’s administration.


What began as horrific massacres in the 1990s has escalated into frequent and brutal atrocities, with ethnic cleansing of the Amharas becoming disturbingly normalized over the past six years. The public’s initial shock has given way to a desensitized acceptance of the routine humiliation, violence, displacement, and discrimination faced by the Amharas.


In light of the ongoing persecution faced by the Amhara community, the government’s decision to disarm the regional forces was not just a mere policy action, but rather seen as a direct threat. It is unrealistic to expect the Amharas to surrender their only means of defense and entrust their safety to a government that has allowed them to suffer endlessly. Trust is not easily granted, especially when it has been shattered by repeated betrayals. The same government, whose soldiers and high-ranking officials have been implicated in genocidal violence against the Amharas, cannot be relied upon to protect the interests of this vulnerable community.


In order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the conflict involving the Amhara people, it is imperative to delve deeper into the underlying reasons and acknowledge their valid concerns and grievances. The Amharas’ refusal to be disarmed should not be seen as an act of rebellion, but rather as a means of self-preservation. Throughout their history, the Amharas have endured marginalization on both economic and political fronts, enduring numerous betrayals and massacres over the course of three decades. This painful past has taught them that their survival hinges solely on their ability to defend themselves. Unfortunately, neither local authorities nor the international community have demonstrated genuine concern for the well-being of the Amhara people, leaving them acutely aware that their fate hangs precariously in the balance without the means to protect themselves. Placing trust in Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his regime to prioritize the safety and interests of the Amharas has become an unwise and perilous gamble, one that could further exacerbate the already vulnerable state of this community.


It is of utmost importance to acknowledge and address these legitimate fears, ensuring that the Amharas are not left defenseless in the face of potential threats. Therefore, it is crucial for the international community, human rights organizations, and all relevant stakeholders to come together, approaching these grievances with sincerity and a commitment to justice. Only through such collective efforts can the Amhara community be granted the opportunity to live in safety and dignity, finally liberated from the shadows of violence that have plagued them for far too long.


Fano’s Fight: Igniting Hope for a Better Ethiopia


Throughout the past six years, amidst a continuous state of turmoil and betrayal, it is disconcerting to observe that many individuals within the international community have yet to fully comprehend the true essence of Abiy Ahmed. This particular leader possesses dangerous aspirations and exhibits dictatorial tendencies, which have undeniably influenced his style of governance. While the global community celebrated the Pretoria peace agreement with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), only a few recognized that Abiy was quietly laying the groundwork for further actions that would foster division. Despite the proclamations that echoed, claiming that “We have silenced the guns in Northern Ethiopia,” the reality was starkly different. Abiy was, in fact, setting the stage for yet another devastating conflict, this time targeting the Amhara Region, an area four times larger than Tigray.


Despite being fully cognizant of the deep-rooted grievances held by the Amhara community, whose frustrations have been simmering for over three decades, Abiy missed a crucial opportunity for reconciliation. Instead of addressing these significant pleas for justice, he opted to suppress them with an unwavering iron fist. The Amharas, alongside numerous other Ethiopians, had placed their hopes in Abiy, believing that he would guide Ethiopia towards becoming a symbol of peace and justice. Regrettably, their trust was betrayed as they were confronted with the harsh reality of his deceit and the unsettling truth about his character. By August 2023, Abiy took a shocking step by declaring war on the Amhara region, the second-largest within the federation. His approach remained uncompromising and distressingly familiar, characterized by the use of force and severe suppression. This decision gravely endangered the prospects of unity and peace, casting a long and ominous shadow over Ethiopia’s journey towards genuine justice and national harmony.


Faced with such dire circumstances, the Amharas found themselves with no alternative but to stand up and resist. Prior to this escalation, the Amhara community had meticulously organized nine peaceful public demonstrations throughout the nation, clearly articulating their demands for an end to the regime’s tacit approval of genocide against them, the removal of barriers preventing Amharas from entering Addis Ababa, and a halt to the mass displacement of their people from the capital and other regions. Regrettably, each of these sincere appeals was met with disdain and outright rejection. Abiy not only turned a blind eye to these valid grievances but also exacerbated the situation by deploying his forces to wage a relentless war against Amhara civilians.


Since August 2023, the Amhara region has been subjected to a complete and brutal siege. Communication with the outside world has been cut off; there is no internet access, and phone service is limited to major urban areas tightly controlled by government forces. This isolation is deliberate and suffocating, intended to silence the cries of the Amhara people and conceal the atrocities unfolding within the region. The violence has been unrelenting and indiscriminate. Numerous drone strikes have targeted civilians in busy town squares and public markets, displaying a cold, calculated precision that reveals a chilling disregard for human life. These are not sporadic incidents but part of a systematic campaign, where death descends from the skies without warning. The recent massacre in Merawi, which briefly captured global attention, is just the beginning of a much larger tragedy unfolding beneath the surface.


Everyday life in the Amhara region has transformed into a terrifying ordeal. Instead of safeguarding civilians, Abiy’s soldiers are committing unspeakable acts of cruelty. Reports of gang rapes, arbitrary detentions, and summary executions are widespread. Each passing day brings new accounts of brutality, each more horrifying than the last. Yet, amidst this relentless onslaught, the Amhara people continue to display remarkable resilience and courage in the face of overwhelming adversity. Their unwavering determination to resist oppression and fight for their rights serves as a beacon of hope in the midst of darkness.


The Revival of Amhara Fano: A Closer Look


The Amhara people find themselves at a critical crossroads in their history, facing a pivotal moment that demands their attention. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s disregard for their concerns has not only intensified their grievances but has also ignited a fierce determination to fight back. This resurgence has breathed new life into the Fano movement, a symbol of Amhara resistance deeply rooted in their centuries-old traditions. The essence of Fano lies in the collective spirit of defense during times of great crisis, forcing the Amhara people to make a stark choice: to arm themselves against their oppressors. This revitalization of the Fano movement goes beyond a mere reaction to recent injustices; it represents a powerful reawakening of the Amhara ethos of self-preservation.

Since August, the Amhara Fano has experienced an extraordinary expansion, spreading its influence not only within their region but also beyond. This remarkable growth signifies a widespread awakening to the deep-seated trauma, anguish, and frustration inflicted upon the Amhara people by a governance system that seeks to marginalize them. The revival of the Fano movement is a direct response to the systematic failures that have left the Amharas with no choice but to mobilize in defense of their lives and fundamental rights.

The Fano movement has undergone a remarkable transformation within a short span of nine months. Initially consisting of village-level factions, it has now developed into robust battalions and brigades, forming a well-structured resistance force. This evolution is a testament to the deep-rooted grievances and unwavering resilience of the Amhara people, who have faced severe repression from the government. With their hope in the government completely shattered, the Amharas understand that their survival depends on unity and resistance. The growing strength of the Fano movement sends a clear message to both Ethiopians and the international community: the Amhara people refuse to remain passive victims of violence and neglect any longer. They demand recognition, justice, and a significant change in the way they are treated. The spirit of Fano is not just a rallying cry for armed action, but also a plea for dignity, marking a crucial chapter in the Amhara’s ongoing struggle for their survival as a distinct people.


Fano and the Amhara People: A Complex Relationship


. Fano serves as a steadfast symbol of the unwavering determination and enduring resilience of the Amhara people. It stands as a diverse representation of individuals from all walks of life within the Amhara community, embodying their unwavering pursuit of a future in Ethiopia that upholds principles of justice, law, and order. Fano’s unwavering resolve remains unyielding, as it tirelessly strives to achieve justice for the Amhara people and safeguard their future.


Despite efforts by the international community to downplay its significance and the attempts of Abiy to undermine its impact, Fano has spread throughout the Amhara region like a powerful wildfire, becoming an undeniable force that cannot be ignored. History has shown that no government has ever successfully suppressed a rebellion rooted in legitimate grievances that deeply resonate with the public.


It is crucial for the international community to acknowledge the formidable influence that Fano holds. This movement not only has the potential to reshape Ethiopia’s political landscape but also to bring about significant change in the broader Horn of Africa region. The world must recognize the power and legitimacy of Fano as a key player in shaping the region’s future. It is imperative to acknowledge the Fano group as a legitimate representative of the Amhara cause in order to effectively address the pressing issues in Ethiopia. Ignoring the essential needs and aspirations of the Amhara community would not only be impractical but also destined to fail. Any meaningful and fair engagement in Ethiopia, whether it be in the realms of security, politics, economy, or diplomacy, must incorporate the ambitions of the Amhara community.


The Amhara Fano surpasses the conventional characteristics of a rebel group, embodying moral clarity and an unwavering dedication to confronting the existential threats faced by the Amhara people. What sets Fano apart is its authenticity, derived from the righteousness of its cause, distinguishing it from other groups that rely solely on military might. In a nation plagued by conflict and blurred ethical boundaries, Fano emerges as a symbol of justice, resolute in its battle against a genocidal regime. It is crucial to note that Fano does not harbor any animosity towards any ethnic or political group within Ethiopia. Their struggle is focused and targeted, aimed at toppling a regime that they perceive as detrimental to the very essence of the Amhara community. This unwavering and principled stance not only highlights Fano’s integrity but also underscores its reliability as a trustworthy ally in any diplomatic endeavor.


Engaging with Fano extends beyond a mere diplomatic maneuver; it represents a moral duty for the international community. By recognizing Fano, we acknowledge their pivotal role and the legitimate grievances that drive their actions, without endorsing rebellion.


Ultimately, if Ethiopia and the broader Horn of Africa are to achieve peace and stability, it is imperative to address these grievances with sincerity, accountability, and a commitment to justice. The world must no longer turn a blind eye to the suffering of the Amhara people but must take decisive action to ensure their safety and dignity, liberating them from the lingering shadows of violence that have plagued them for far too long. The time to act is now, lest the phrase “Never again” becomes a hollow echo of the past, repeated but ignored.





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