Yonas Biru (Ph.D)
As I have written in the past, Ethiopia has experts with international repute in almost all imaginable fields from agriculture to finance and from medicine to digital technology. We have Ethiopian professors in all US Ivy Leagues. We are well represented as professors at America’s Ivory Towers of higher education. Yet, our people still plough their land with oxen and hand tools. If there is any disease unleashed on earth by the wrath of God, our nation has it as if we are the world’s museum of plagues.
Ethiopia sits smack right in the middle between the stone-age where Lucy roamed our land and the digital-age of which we are physically a part. Our mindset and social psychology is stuck in the past, but we obliviously exist in the 21st century.
I simply cannot resist the urge to write a candid and angry response to a recent open letter addressed to President Biden that was signed by 21 Amhara diaspora organizations. The level of ignorance manifested in it is damaging to the Amhara cause.
Amhara intellectuals do not seem to know the anthem for geopolitics is Janet Jackson’s “What Have You done for Me Lately,” not Muhamad Ahmed’s “ትዘታ.” Anyone who knows this will not waste the first half a page (the most important real-estate) አቱቶ ቡቱቶing about the history of Ethio-American diplomacy beginning in 1903.
The second important thing in international diplomacy is not to make a fool of oneself by writing a claim. Here are two examples:
The letter claims “Since 1991, approximately 6.7 million Amharas have perished at the hands of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), as documented in ‘Metsehate Amhara’ published in 2015.”
The letter continues: “The devastations have continued exponentially in the last 5 years of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s rule, due to his government’s dismal failure to generate peace, stable economy and progress in Ethiopia and the region at large. Like the atrocities that occurred during the Holocaust and in Rwanda, the genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Amharas have been horrific.”
If one believes the 6.7 million genocide figure between 1991 and 2015 and accepts the claim that “the devastations have continued exponentially in the last 5 years” we are led to believe many more million Amharas have been killed since 2015. That makes the genocide in Ethiopia far more than the magnitude of the genocidal extermination in Rwanda. Do they not know numbers?
The open letter further claims: “Forced internal displacement of 7 million Amharas throughout the country, including 500,000 in Addis alone.” The highest figure international agencies have confirmed is 5.6 million. This includes all people, not only Amhara. No evidence if the Amhara constitutes the majority of the 5.6 million. But to claim 7 million Amharas is bad fiction. Correction: It is utterly stupid.
They continued their fiction: “On August 8, 2023, the government of Ethiopia inhumanly and against the international law has committed a massacre against Amhara children and women civilians using drones and 107 MM rockets while they were praying at St. Mary church in Debre Berhan which is located 136 Km away from the capital.”
This seems the same fiction about the massacre in Mariam Zion Church in Axum that the British mercenary Martin Plaut wrote in 2021: “On Tuesday, 15th of December, Ethiopian federal troops and Amhara militia approached the Mariam of Zion cathedral in the Tigrayan city of Aksum. It is possible that they thought that Tigrayan troops were sheltering in the church – taking advantage of the ancient right of sanctuary. According to a number of sources the church was full, with some saying that up to 1,000 people were in the building or the compound surrounding it… As many as 750 people are reported to have been killed.”
Some of the paragraphs are not only part fiction but also utterly nonsensical. Here is one example. Forget the 1.6 million fictional war fatality figure and focus on the logic of the rest of the paragraph.
“Both Abiy’s OPDO/PP and TPLF are responsible for the loss of 1.6 million lives due to the senseless war in Northern Ethiopia, regardless of the Pretoria agreement that embolden both OPDO/PP and TPLF to re-annex Welkait and Raya from the Amharas, as we speak. The development of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is also the primary focal interest of Amharas & others since Blue Nile emanates from the center of Amhara region, but peace and stability must be maintained.
The signatories of the letter who were part of the #Nomore አካኪ ዘራፍ pleaded with President Biden to intervene. The psychology of “stay out of our business” was silenced and “for the love of God save our nation” became part of the daily prayers of the Amhara intellectuals. This is what happens when an intellectual class is driven by emotion and አቱቶ ቡቱቶ rather than by rational thinking.
The 21 Amhara diaspora organizations wrote thus in their open letter:
“It is incumbent upon the United States to implement its enormous influence and leadership to stop one of the greatest human crises and catastrophes by rethinking its current policies while working in collaboration with the international community for swift action to prevent or control the war against the Amhara people.”
As I have said many times, the emancipation of Ethiopia from thug politics must start with the emancipation of Amhara, Oromo, and Tigray intellectuals from their ignorance. Only God can do it. Thus, my open letter to God. God please show us mercy.