Wosene Yefru, Professor
Tennessee State University
November 21, 2021
Yale University P.O. Box 208288 New Haven, CT 06520-
I am writing this open letter to The Genocide Program at Yale University, MacMillian Center for International and Area Studies concerning the proposed conference on “Tigray Genocide in Ethiopia.” I am dismayed and saddened by the conference title “Tigray Genocide in Ethiopia.” I am somewhat familiar with the excellent credential and high academic excellence of this private ivy league. I would like to mention that I was considered for the position of Assistant Professor at the Department of History, the finest and most prestigious Department in the nation, in 1990. I am also familiar with the Macmillian Center on its digital copies, original pictures and extensive archives in its online “Genocide Data Bases.” The Center has done extensive “Genocide Studies” and its psychological implications to the global community. However, I will not attempt here to discuss or tell The Genocide Studies Program of the Macmillian Center what elements constitute or what is the precursor for “Genocide.” The Macmillian center has done extraordinary research, seminar and conferences on “Genocide” in Armenia, Cambodia, the Holocaust, Rwanda, Darfur and many other places around the globe. “Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur, 2008,” by Professor Ben Kiernan, founding member and Director of The Genocide Studies Program at the time at Yale University is a land mark in the field. The book has been described as ‘illuminately put together, well narrated and lucidly discussed.’
I myself greatly benefited and inspired by the high standard scholarship of Professor Kiernan who wrote about the extermination of the Australian aborigines during the colonial conquest in the 19th century, the native Indians in America, the Armenian genocide, the Nazi Holocaust, the world wide colonial extermination and the possible outbreaks of mass violence around the globe. After having said this, I have simple and direct question to the Director of the Macmillian Center. How in the world the world renowned Genocides Studies Program at Yale conceptualized or imagined a non-existence Tigray Genocide in Ethiopia? When and where this genocide took place? It is simply perplexing to think that the Macmillian Center could have not known the massive violence and extermination of the Amhara in their own villages and towns across the Amhara regions by the Tigray Liberation Front [TPLF] right now ? What is the motive and scenario in creating a narrative for genocide and fabricate evidence and misinform the global community? How the ‘paid mainstream media’ of the West and the United States duped into publishing and announcing fabricated stories? why the United States and the West engaged in Gunboat diplomacy and intimidate and threaten a sovereign state in favor a small rebel groups or rather genociders themselves? What is the rational for doing all these? What are the consequences of these myopic drama of “Tigray Genocide” for Macmillian Center’s prestige and scholarship? This is a global insurrections against democracy and its creed and value. I am glad US Democracy has been spared for the moment but afraid the very principle of democracy and the precious Bill of Rights, the beacon of hope for humanity, have been fundamentally shaken and its system has been compromised by TPLF which shattered every norms of the civilized world by the Billion dollar, looted out of the country, scheme and lobbyists in Washington D.C. Ethiopia will survive with or without democracy but I do not think Western Democracy will. This is not prophecy; remember January 6, 2021 insurrections and may in fact could happen again. It is a blue print for destroying democracy; that is what the TPLF and its surrogates are doing, undermining the very principle of democracy and Journalistic ethics and standard. The basic codes and canons of major mainstream media of the West have been corrupted by stolen money by TPLF.
Allow me to indulge and sketch briefly a short biography of the Tigray Liberation Front. TPLF has been established in the 1970s to fight the Military Regime of Ethiopia. The Derg, as it was called then, affiliated itself with the Soviet Union ideologically and TPLF seized that opportunity and ally itself with the West, particularly the United States. It was the United States who gave TPLF logistical and military support and help them to topple the Communist regime. In 1991 the US led the TPLF thru reconnaissance to capture the capital city, Addis Ababa, and seized power. Meles Zenawi, the leader of TPLF has created a militaristic State apparatus to implement the Tigray Manifesto, that declared “ the Amhara are the eternal enemy of Tigray and must be eliminated at any cost.” Militaristic state is a precursor for genocide and almost for three decades demographic change, ethnic cleansing and extermination of the Amhara populations by all means took place. The silent genocide of the Amhara went on unnoticed and the regime officially acknowledged that 3 million Amhara were missing. One high TPLF official admits that they have killed 5 million Amhara.
Here it is important to document factual history of TPLF and examine how this territorial expansion, genocidal ideology and militaristic State developed. Its history goes back to the middle of the 18th and 19th [1769 to 1855] centuries and the creation of TPLF in the 70s is simply a precursor of these events. This period is called Zamana Mesafint [the Era of the Princes]. In this brief period of history of Ethiopia, the empire was destroyed in 1708 and the country had split up into different provinces and ruled by the War Lords. Here it is important to underline that the country was destroyed by Tigrean War Lords. Historically the province of Tigray is the poorest and never has adequate resources to maintain the normal daily life. Because of this economic necessities and during harvest time the people of Tigray goes to neighboring provinces, the Amhara region in particular, to procure grains and other necessities. It is because of this necessities that the War Lord of Tigray destroyed the empire so that they can loot individual provinces by means of war. This is how the militaristic state developed in Tigray than anywhere in the country. War fare is their daily life and tradition and will not attempt to be creative and create wealth. Psychologically it is simple for them to loot and destroy others’ property.
Other precursor of genocide by the TPLF is the rise of Yohannes IV, born as Kasa Mercha, who proclaimed himself Yohannes IV Emperor of Ethiopia in 1837 to 1889, by conspiring with the British who came to conquer Emperor Tewodros II of Ethiopia who tried to end to the decentralized Era of the Princes. The emperor tried to bring the country as nation state from 1855 until his death in 1868. Again it was the Tigray War lord, Yohannes IV, who usurp Tewodros’ attempt to unite the country. He has created an autonomous and weak states to make easier to Tigray War Lords to loot.
The last War Lord, hopefully, of TPLF, Meles Zenawi, has repeated what Yohannes IV did. He has created nations and nationalities states under the pretense of federalism and made himself and his War Lords the boss of all nationalities. He single handedly dictated the constitution and inserted Article 39 which allow nations to secede; he encouraged ethnic cleansing on ethnic line and from 1991 to 2018, for almost three decades, Meles Zenawi looted his newly created nations, sold their arable lands to foreign investors, reportedly to Arabs and Indians; exploits their natural resources, arrange demographic changes, use ethnic cleansing as a means to achieve his ambitions of territorial expansion. He annexed Wolkayit, Tselemt, Humera, Alamata and Raya and brought them under his province of Tigray. He deployed “Classical Genocide,” a term coined by Ben Kiernan in his book: Blood and Soil [43:08], and exterminated Amhara, his eternal enemy. His classic genocide include demonizing Amhara and other non-Tigray people. He believe that the Tigray are the golden race and said he is “happy to be born among this particular golden race.” His motive for all these nonsensical nuance is sheer ethnic hatred, particularly Amhara; though it is not covered by the 1948/50 Genocide Convention, he committed cultural and political genocide. Over all 100 Billion dollar was smuggled out of the country and deposited in foreign Banks. It is thru this elicit funds that TPLF corrupting the democratic system of the West and the United States. The behavior of the Tigray War lords are conditioned by the psychological needs of territories and resources and they will fight to death to secure it. Without territorial expansion, with its genocidal ideology, they cannot compromise and live with harmony with others. This is their nature and no one can change that.
Going back to the conference on “Tigray Genocide” at MacMillan Center, it is incumbent to all descent people and the Genocide Study at Yale to see and study what is going on right now. The TPLF started the war after killing the Defense force in Tigray. About hundreds of soldiers were slaughtered in their bed while asleep; the pretext given by the TPLF is that “the federal government is in violation of the constitution, and the action is a preemptive action,” a bogus claim. However, the federal government believe that “the constitution is a living document and will not allow anyone to violate it.” It is a paradox and difficult to delineate the difference between the federal government and the TPLF. The leadership in the federal government are the former cadre of TPLF and that is why it is difficult to win the war by the federal government. However, the carnage of genocide began after the federal government responded and invaded Tigray. It was this time that the TPLF ordered the extermination of about 1,500 daily laborers of Amhara ethnic in Mycadra. The perpetrators fled to Sudan and claimed that the Defense Force of the federal government and the Eritrean Army committed genocide against Tigray. This is the classic case of genocide, the genociders play victim of genocides. A simple material witness of this false narrative is two distinguished journalists, with the highest journalistic ethic, Araya Tesfamariam and Hermela Aregawi, both Tigray descents. Hermela Aregawi’s mother was in Tigray at the time of the fabricated genocide and told her daughter that the story was false. Indeed there was some killing by the Eritrean Army in Axum and that has been investigated by a team of government and independent investigators. However, what is going on right now is quite shocking and never known to our human soul. The War lords instructed their militaristic force to engage in gang rape, killing, looting and send back to Tigray whatever value they can get; empty tracks are following them to transport their loot back to Tigray. They are invading the Amhara and Raya regions and engaged in mass killing; they move in and out in every town in these two regions at will, rapping and destroying properties. In Combolshia alone they have exterminated at least 150 youths and committed a heinous crimes against young boys. They are even killing domestic animals including camels. This is in short the true story of the “Tigray War” in Ethiopia and no “Tigray Genocide” took place. They are now working on a documentary about a bogus story of “Hummera Massacre” in Sudan and have assembled several Westen media to document it. This false narrative by the “paid main stream media” must be exposed to safe guard the highest journalistic ethic and keep us informed the unfiltered and factual news.
After this brief discussion of the classic case of genocide, I will add a statement and report to the International Criminal Court in 2020 by the Amhara Defense Force. It was a classic genocide case ever reported to ICC. Other may have done similar study and hope to collaborate with anyone who wanted these criminals to be tried and prosecuted to the fullest. The case begin with the Genocide Watch Report. In a scale one to ten, the Genocide Watch has declared Ethiopia to have reached the high end of its scale. It means it has crossed the lines and reached the red zone of ten. Virtually all the characteristics’ of genocide have been conducted without being noticed: classification [ethnicity]; symbolization [name calling]; discrimination [on the basis of ethnicity]; dehumanization [Amaraa/Naftegna]; organization [Gada/Ireecha]; polarizations [divide and conquer]; preparation [demographical change]; prosecution [phony charges against innocent people]; extermination [genocide on the basis of ethnicity, religious association and political affiliations];denial [total denial of genocide by authority]. Most recently the Ethiopian Tewahido Orthodox Christian Churches were targeted and burnt down to the ground and its clergies were slaughtered in many regions; so far the local, state and federal governments did not interfere to stop the carnage: killing and burning with impunity has continued and hope the International Criminal Court put an injunction to these atrocities and compel the Ethiopian Government to give a written deposition to the prosecutor of all charges against those who participated in aiding, abetting, coverup and denial of genocide.
The silent genocide in Ethiopia has been going on since the Tigray Liberation Front [TPLF] took power n 1991 and began deconstructing Ethiopia as a nation state. The TPLF along with the Oromo Liberation Front [OLF] conducted genocide in the following regions of Ethiopia:
- Arba Guug 154 Amara were killed in December, 1991
- Debra Sina 200 Amara were killed in June1991.
- Glolecha 46 Amara were killed in, December1991.
- East Hararegay, in Bedeno 150 Amara were killed, in April 1992.
- East Harargay, in Weter, 92 Amara were killed in March 1992
- West Hararegay in Gelemisso 46 Amara were killed in July/August 1992.
- Burayu 65 Amara were killed in September 2018.
- Gumuz, Beni Shangul 12 Amara were killed in April 2019.
- Metekel, Beni Shangul 160 Amara were killed in September 2020.
- Gura Ferda, Ilubabor, 31 Amara were killed in October 2020.
- Shasmenay 180 Amara were killed in July 2020.
- Zewi 60 Amara were killed in July 2020.
- Dodota, Arsi, 90 Amara were killed in July 2020.
- Negele, Arsi, 46 Amara were killed 2020.
- Adis Ababa 12 Amara were killed in July 2020.
- Lega Tafo, Showa, 10 Amara were killed in 2020.
- Athaye, Showa, 80 Amara were killed in 2018.
- Majetay, Showa 50 Amara were killed in 2018.
- Wolkayit, Begemdir over 1000 Amara were killed since 1991.
- Tsegalay, Begmdir over 1000 Amara were killed ince 1991.
- Raya, over 1000 Amara were killed since 1991.
- Wollo over 1000 Amara were killed since 1991.
- Gondar over 1000 Amara were killed since 1991.
- Gojam over 1000 Amara were killed since 1991.
While the above mentioned numbers are reported by various news organizations, 5 mllion Amara reportedly missing since 1991 and it seems nobody knows exatly what happened to them; also a Britsh docmentary stated that 2.5 million Amara were vanshed due to cancer causing agent distributed as fertilizer by the TPLF in 2008-2010; This act of genocide has never been documented and discussed by the Genocide Studies Program at Yale University.
Following the murder of Hachalu Hundesa, an Oromo artist and activist, on June 29, 2020, hundreds of Amara were killed in Shashemnaie, Zewi and other regions with the full knowledge of the Federal Government as well as the State Regional and Local Governments. During the gruesome genocide in Shasemenaie and Zewi, local authorities were told by the President of the Oromo regional government, Mr. Shemelis Abdisa, not to interfere and take preventive measure [this incident has been reported by news agencies]. Following the incident, the leadership of the Federal Government denied that genocide took place, even though the killers have a list of Amara, Guragay and Christian names, including the address of each individuals. However, these incidents have been repeatedly characterized as a conflict of rivals groups though the genocide took place in the middle of the night while the victim asleep.
For humanity to survive in our planet, human being must protect one another against those void of human soul and flesh; a pregnant women were slaughtered; a three years old boy was executed; hundreds of men, women and children were slaughtered like animals; as of this writing the gruesome genocide continued in Beni Shangul and Guru Ferda regions where a six month old girl slaughtered along with her families; the carnage took place in the middle of the night with the support of the state and total denial of the federal authority; this act of genocide is well financed and coordinated by TPLF and OLF with full knowledge of the federal government of Ethiopia [this is part of Oromu-ma’s plan to change the demography of Beni Shangul like that of Addis Ababa]. Such heinous crime is a rare episode since the massacre in Rwanda, Darfur, the Congo and the German Nazi exterminated 6 million Jewish. Genocide will continue in Ethiopia unless the International Criminal Court takes immediate action and bring charges against those who committed these heinous crimes against humanity. The Genocide Study Program at Yale should take this matter seriously and involve in fact finding mission rather than holding a conference on bogus claim. Thank you.
Wosene Yefru, Professor
Tennessee State University