|For immediate release: August 9, 2023|
|To:||President Joseph E. Biden|
|1600 Pennsylvania Avenue|
|Washington, DC 20500|
|Subject:||A call for the U.S. government to stop ethnic cleansing and genocide of Amhara people by|
|the Ethiopian government.|
|“Our goal is not the victory of might but the vindication of right…not peace at the expense of freedom, but both peace and freedom, here in this hemisphere, and, we hope, around the world. God willing, that goal will be achieved.” –President J.F. Kennedy|
Dear President Biden:
Ethiopia’s diplomatic relations with the United States were established on December 27, 1903, by Emperor Menelik II and President Theodore Roosevelt. In 1919, Ethiopia joined the League of Nations as the first and only Black country in the world. When Italy invaded Ethiopia in October 1935, African Americans marched in Harlem, New York, to condemn Italy and ask their government to join the war in defense of Ethiopia. So many volunteered to sign-up and join Ethiopian freedom fighters. Few, like John Charles Robinson, managed to go and bravely fought alongside Ethiopian freedom fighters.
Relations between Ethiopia and the United States post WWII rose to prominence and was strengthened by Emperor Haile Selassie, who kept the country united and modernized. He created a peaceful atmosphere to which the US made contributions in education, training, and development. Emperor Haile Selassie’s historical visit during J.F. Kennedy’s administration left a memorable and positive impression on citizens. Haile Selassie, who was a visionary leader, welcomed the US to have military bases; the critically important Kagnew Station in Asmara, and a naval base in Massawa Port. This was based on mutual respect and trust aimed at securing regional stability and progress in the Horn of Africa. Such great diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and the United States could be resuscitated. With a collective effort to strategically deal with the immeasurable challenges and opportunities to advance sustainable democracy, rule of law and equitable economic development in the country; such active reengagement in great diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and the United States is both feasible and very desirable. And this is also in line with securing the national interests of the United States with regards to the critical geopolitical position in the Red Sea, and its desire to expand American values, e.g., the protection of human rights and sustainable democracy.
Unfortunately, currently, the Ethno-Apartheid Oromo People’s Democratic Organization or Prosperity Party (OPDO/PP) government of Ethiopia has opened a declaration of war against the Amharas who make up the majority of Ethiopia’s population. This declaration of war has resulted in much turbulence. 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 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. What makes this even more horrific is that this attack on the Amharas is based on unfounded and fabricated revisionist history, a calculated campaign of misinformation and disinformation, venomous hate speeches that identify Amharas as migrants having a “Semitic origin”.
The fundamental truth is that the indigenous Amharas living in pluralistic Ethiopia are known for the following: contributions in building a nation, unifying strategies in governance, leadership and diplomacy, high moral ground with shared values with other ethnic groups, unwavering patriotism, strong work ethic, independent mindedness, perseverance, generosity, a reliance to co-exist, a rich culture and history, respect to other cultural groups and humanity, and being God-fearing people. Amharas are predominantly Orthodox Christians with a significant number of Muslims. Based on a divide-and-conquer policy of the ethnic apartheid constitution imposed on them, the Amharas have been victims of religious and ethnic violence and devastating genocide marred by destabilization of the region and exasperated migration for 27 years under the TPLF ethnocentric brutal dictatorship and 5 years under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
Such practice of injustice toward humanity should never be tolerated or accepted and, yet, here we are, three prolonged decades of continued ethnic violence in a country whose multicultural foundations are now teetering.
What must be noted is that such malignant systemic ethnic cleansing and genocide against the Amharas in Ethiopia cannot be allowed to continue and must be confronted. The prime objective needs to be to instill peace and save lives. To that end, we must aim at peace to be transparent, predictable, and clear to understanding the core history.
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. The recent direct order stated by Abiy Ahmed’s genocidal leadership and its affiliates including the TPLF, and Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) forces to disarm the Amhara people “by all means necessary” is in effect as we speak. Abiy Ahmed has openly declared war on the Amhara people and brutal military campaigns are underway. 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. Indiscriminate killings are taking place in the Regional State. In this newly declared genocidal war, not even sacred places like, ancient monasteries are spared where countless hermits, monks, nuns, including civilians and orphans were massacred, in Western Wellega, and Northern Shoa in cold blood by OLA (the Oromo Liberation Army). OLA is a faction of the Oromo Liberation Organization who made a pact with Abiy’s government in 2018 to enter Ethiopia while armed and continue to operate using the government infrastructure and to carry out the ethnic cleansing and the genocide of Amharas.
We call on the US to recognize the pattern of gross violations of human rights by the government of Abiy Ahmed that persists to date.
- We demand that the government of Ethiopia immediately end its declaration of war against the Amhara civilians, special forces and the Fano Amhara Popular Front that consists of freedom fighters, such as Eskinder Nega, International award-winning journalist. Primarily, the integration of the National Army requires the dissolution of the Ethnic Apartheid constitution through transitional government. It is only then i.e., under the newly formed democratic institution that the Ethiopian government could disarm all special forces and the militia to build an inclusive national army. However, Abiy’s Oromo ethnocentric government of expansionism known as, “Oromuma,” profit from rampant corruption, divide and conquer ethic-based policy, induced starvation, cruelty, greed, ignorance, arrogance, and genocidal dictatorship to dismantle and terrorize the Amhara people.
- We are demanding accountability at the highest level of the Federal Government of Ethiopia, led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, OPDO Chairman, as well as the regional state administration of Oromia, led by Mr. Shimelis Abdissa, OPDO Vice Chairman and the organized TPLF and Tigray Defense Forces (TDF) leadership for the ethnic cleansing, genocide, war crime and forced internal displacement of 7 million Amharas throughout the country, including 500,000 in Addis alone.
- We are asking for the United States government, African governments, as well as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and EU in partnership with the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, and the Ethiopian Human rights Council to call for “immediate and impartial investigations” of the Amhara genocide and make the culprits accountable according to law. In Addis Abeba over 10,000 prisoners, predominantly Amharas including professors, philanthropists, journalists, businessmen, advocates of civil liberties, and youth are languishing in dehumanizing prisons based on trumped up charges where torture is widely reported. In addition, 30,000 Fano prisoners in the Amhara region are exposed to “relentless physical abuse and coerced into confessing crimes they never committed” according to Dr. Daniel Bekele of the Ethiopian Human Right Council (EHRC). All prisoners must be released immediately without any condition.
- Reparation, reconstruction, and rehabilitation should be all inclusive to all war-affected regions of Amhara, Afar, Tigray and Western Wollega. The Amharas have been economically, socially, and politically marginalized communities. Deliberately, they have been denied exposure by the international community regarding the loss incurred by Tigray’s brutal invasion assisted by ENDF. 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 unstable economy is the consequence of rampant corruptions, bad governance and the ethnic policy that prohibits capital mobility in the country. The $44B stolen by the TPLF Oligarchy of former rulers must be returned to the people by a democratically elected government as presented on HR128 in 2018. People are suffering from economic hardship involving high unemployment and skyrocketing inflation along with ethnic and religious violence. Amhara kids are deprived of school meals for not speaking in the Oromo language. Amhara farmers are also prohibited from having access to fertilizers by design to accelerate hunger as a weapon to continue with the ethnic cleansing. Currently, 20 million people need immediate food assistance due to the ethnic wars and environmental destruction. The Northern Ethiopia war stoked by Tigray against Amhara region and Afar has incurred the cost of $22B in damage, but Prime Minister Abiy’s priority has been to build a $7 billion dollar palace in Addis Abeba.
- The ultimate response to the overarching problem in Ethiopia is the formation of a new transitional government to restore peace, security, and sustainable development while establishing democracy to protect all citizens rights while maintaining stability in the Horn of Africa in line with the national security interests of the United States of America.
The priority to challenge the dire conditions require setting up a platform for the establishment and success of a process of open dialogue and inclusive political reconciliation and reform to end the declaration of war, ethnic cleansing and genocide and religious violence against the Amhara people and others.
- We urge the international community to intervene and immediately set up a negotiation platform between the Amhara people and Abiy’s government, as has been done previously in Pretoria and Tanzania with the TPLF and OLA declared terrorist organizations as proclaimed by the Ethiopian parliament, respectively.
We urge the US government to strengthen the long-standing relationship between Ethiopia and the US by promoting democracy, rule of law, and fundamental human rights for all nations in Ethiopia while supporting the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The disinformation, blatant lie, and allegations against Amharas in Wolkait Tsegede, victims of torture, displacement, and gross human right violations for over 30 years by TPLF forces, by US congressmen such as Brad Sherman and James McGovern is not only misguided, irresponsible, and prejudiced, but counterproductive to advance a strong partnership between Ethiopia and the United States.
- To date, Amharas are fighting to defend themselves against a genocidal war declared by Abiy Ahmed’s tyrannical regime and forces like TPLF and OLF. The ongoing genocidal war waged against the Amhara should not be ignored nor underestimated. Their struggle to resist undue oppression and annihilation and assert their God-given right to live in peace and dignity as citizens of the country is a just cause and must be recognized and supported. The Amhara stand for equality of all Ethiopians, for justice and the unity of the country. Abiy Ahmed is leading the country to the abyss. We believe that ultimately the people of Ethiopia will get a democratic system of government. Despite multifaceted campaigns against them, including genocide, Amharas believe that, in collaboration with other Ethiopians, they will play their part to assure the unity of the country and the establishment of a democratic government. And victory is indeed inevitable.
There is nothing more powerful than the voices of people. Stability could be attained when Amharas’ fundamental rights are respected and secured. With peace, all is possible, e.g., to invest and employ resources in Ethiopia while developing a lasting relationship with the US. The Ethiopians and predominantly Amharas in the Diaspora represent the largest number professional democrats among Africans and contribute with remittance of up to $4 Billion to Ethiopia annually. Any economic measure taken by the IMF and the World Bank to finance Ethiopia’s debt should be consistent with the government’s responsibility to maintaining peace, stability, and the accountability to the genocide and ethnic cleansing of the targeted Amharas, including other ethnic groups.
We believe in a strong democracy and freedom as a path to building a strong nation with territorial integrity and sovereignty who could be a reliable ally to countries who upheld democracy and justice at high standard.
We hope our proposed actions would send a powerful signal in support of fundamental rights and help promote effective engagement for a political resolution where Amharas and others would have a critical role to forming a reliable and stable government in Ethiopia as strategic ally to the United States to secure regional peace and development.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Secretary Blinken, the US State Department
Undersecretary, Victoria Nutley, US. State Department
Ambassador Mike Hammer, US. State Department
Former Ambassador Samantha Powers, USAID, US. State Department Senate Majority Leader, Senator Schumer Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell
House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarty,
House Minority Leader, Hakeem Jeffery
The Congressional Black Caucus, The United States Congress
|1.||Abba Bahrey Forum|
|2.||Adwa Great African Victory Association (AGAVA)|
|3.||All Shewa Ethiopian People Multipurpose International Association|
|4.||Amhara Dimtse Serechit|
|5.||Concerned Amharas in the Diaspora|
|6.||Congress of Ethiopian Civic Organizations (CECO)|
|8.||Ethio-Canadian Human Rights Association|
|9.||Ethiopian Community Association of Greater Cincinnati (ECAGC)|
|10.||Ethiopian Dialogue Forum (EDF)|
|11.||Freedom and Justice for Telemt Amhara|
|12.||Global Alliance for Justice – The Ethiopian Cause|
|13.||Global Amhara Coalition (GAC)|
|14.||Gonder Hibret for Ethiopian Unity|
|15.||Major Lemma Woldetsadik Memorial Foundation|
|16.||Network of Ethiopian Scholars (NES)|
|17.||Radio Yenesew Ethiopia|
|18.||Selassie Stand Up, Inc.|
|19.||The Ethiopian Broadcast Group|
|20.||Vision Ethiopia (VE)|
|21.||Worldwide Ethiopian Civic Associations Network (WE-CAN)|