Aklog Birara (Dr)
Part I of II
For decades, I was a fan of the Washington Post. For decades, I subscribed to the noble idea that a free, independent, and impartial media is a pillar in democratic governance. When applied in an impartial, non-partisan, truthful and transparent manner, international media can serve the global common good: peace and stability, justice, respect for human rights, human worth and dignity and the advancement of democratic governance. When it sides with Government policy, it does the opposite.
Regarding the idiotic and moronic war that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) began a year ago, I find it shameful that the West, including its media proved to be incapable of applying the same standard of scrutiny of rejecting terrorism, jihadism, and ethno-nationalism in Ethiopia as they did when terrorists bombed the Twin Towers in New York city.
These same forces preach “the responsibility to protect, peace and stability in the Horn of Africa” while lending “deaf ears and blind eyes” to the root causes of the problem, namely, TPLF’s treason, brutality, terrorist acts and its inhumanity to humankind. The TPLF is evil.
I no longer heed to what Western policy, decision and opinion-makers say. I watch what they do. If they are genuinely committed to Ethiopia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, why would they refuse to condemn the terrorists TPLF and OLA? Why would they try to impose their political will on the second most populous country in Africa?
I welcome negotiation that will bring lasting peace in Ethiopia. I welcome the prospect of addressing the constitutional system and administrative structure that pits one ethnic group against another. The TPLF, its ethnic elite allies and foreign powers established the system that led to the current crisis. They cannot be part of the solution. Can they?
In the light of the above, I am totally convinced that negotiation with the TPLF and its surrogate, the OLA that continue to champion insurrection, propagate hatred to specific ethnic groups such as the Amhara, advocate the destruction of the Ethiopian state, conduct terrorist acts and support man’s inhumanity to humankind is a recipe for disaster.
This leads me to the Washington Post. The Post’s one-sided and biased reporting concerning crimes committed by the TPLF that include treason, ethnically motivated and targeted killings of 1,654 confirmed deaths of Amara civilians in Mai Kadra, allegations of “war crimes” by TPLF troops for “gang raping 71 Amhara girls and women” in the town of Gaint. This happened after the Government had declared a unilateral ceasefire last June. Recurring episodes of terror constitute a plethora of evidence that the TPLF poses an existential threat to Ethiopians and Ethiopia. This same terrorist group and its ally the OLA have also announced publicly that they are determined to dismember Ethiopia.
Compelling evidence of human atrocities and deliberate and massive destruction of social and economic infrastructure in the Afar and Amhara regions by the TPLF and the underreporting by the mainstream media of the cycle of murders of Amhara in Benishangul Gumuz as well as Wellega force me to conclude that Western media is playing a substantial role in the relentless assault on Ethiopia. Forget the rhetoric the “responsibility to protect” that gives more value to one ethnic group over another.
Ethiopia is in peril from multiple angles. By not demanding that the TPLF and OLA stop their insurrection without any preconditions, Western media and Western Governments have become enablers. If they are enablers, they must have a hidden agenda. Do not ask me what that agenda might be!! I know for sure it is geopolitical.
I suggest that behind proxy wars on Ethiopia from different directions is also Egyptian determination to avert the completion of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD); and to disable Ethiopia to the point that it will not have the resources to build additional dams.
This combination of assaults from every direction means that Ethiopia’s adversaries wish to keep Ethiopia ethnically polarized and economically backward, poor, and dependent.
The above notwithstanding, Western Governments, media and human rights groups can salvage their moral standing and mitigate the peril Ethiopia faces by being truthful, fair, even-handed, and supportive of the majority. It is the majority that is fighting for Ethiopia.
In this regard, I commend Amnesty International’s latest report on the warfare targeting Amhara females. I urge the Post to provide due coverage to TPLF’s ethnicity based and targeted “crimes of war by the TPLF” that Amnesty says is incontestable. Thus far, the Post and other Western media are hardly pursuing the global common good embedded in democracy. If the Post cannot help Ethiopia by providing a balanced report on the crisis; at least it should not do more harm by taking sides. If it is unwilling to challenge the TPLF, why not leave Ethiopians alone, stop gross interference and emboldening terrorists?
I tried to persuade the Post’s Editorial Board to publish this Op-ed that I have now modified to provide the American public an Ethiopian American’s perspective on the matter.
I recognize that the concert of Western media and other actors against Ethiopia has been relentless and highly synchronized. A Lecturer at Harvard Christopher Rhodes wrote a blistering Op-ed under the title “How Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed tore Ethiopia apart” https://www.washingtonpost.com that the Post published. It places the blame for the current crisis squarely on the Ethiopian Prime Minister. By doing this, it gives cover to the TPLF and the OLA that are conducting a countrywide insurrection to dismantle Ethiopia.
This is not Abiy’s war. This is not a war between Amhara and Tigreans. The war is between those who have coalesced in defense of their country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty on the one hand; and terrorists, jihadists, ethnonationalists and agents of foreign governments on the other. The fight is for the soul of Ethiopia.
Western media including the Post propagate Western Government policy rather than the truth. Misinformation helps terrorists. The truth helps Ethiopians who are dying each day to preserve Ethiopia. It saddens me that there is minimal reporting on the massacres, rapes, destruction of investment property and infrastructure by the TPLF since June. There is no reference to the diversion and the potential destruction that the formation of a newly minted alliance of nine ethnic liberation fronts in Washington DC will cause. There is no challenge posed by the Post or other Western media why this alliance formed in America’s capital while America’s Special Envoy Ambassador Jeff Feltman was on a mission to Ethiopia?
The mayhem and destruction in the Afar and Amhara regions since June have been compounded by TPLF’s all-out insurrection. This latest assault has left millions of poor Ethiopians even poorer. Sadly, the Post’s inflammatory and partisan Opinion of placing the blame on the Government of Ethiopia and not the squarely on the TPLF seems to embrace if not justify this tragic trend. If left unchallenged the Opinion undermines US national security and erodes the advancement of democracy in Black Africa.
While it is not flawless by any means, the Post failed to recognize that Ethiopia had concluded a free, peaceful, and competitive election.
The Post owes it to its readers to concede facts on the ground: to avert the current asinine war, Ethiopian spiritual leaders and elders, mothers, and civic leaders made valiant efforts for peace and national consensus. The TPLF rejected this gesture. The TPLF and not the Government of Ethiopia started and then expanded the war. The TPLF and not the Government of Ethiopia deployed child soldiers; instigated rapes of Afar and Amhara women; mauled cattle and camels; destroyed clinics, schools, and other infrastructure; burned churches and mosques; plundered properties of peasant farmers; and vowed to disintegrate Ethiopia. The Amhara did not invade Tigray. The TPLF invaded Afar and Amhara lands. The Amhara and Tigrean people have a great deal in common that the TPLF has discarded. The only way out of the mess is peace. Peace is untenable with the TPLF.
Treason is a maddening phenomenon
The West underestimates the anger and sense of betrayal among Ethiopians including me that emanates from the TPLF’s treasonous assault on Ethiopia’s Northern Command in the wee hours of November 4, 2020, just one day after Mr. Joe Biden became President. Generations of Ethiopians will commemorate this day as “Day of Martyrs.” On this day, the TPLF affirmed its disloyalty and animus to the Ethiopian State. You cannot afford to negotiate with the TPLF unless you are ready and willing to accept your own demise.
Inevitably, the TPLF would galvanize Tigreans around its perceived mortal enemies: the elimination of the Amhara and the removal of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The TPLF core moronic and idiotic leadership believed that to achieve its dual objectives, it must appeal to the international community that it is conducting a “peoples war” in which all Tigreans wherever they live are involved.
For reasons that have nothing to do with protecting innocent Tigrean and non-Tigrean lives, the TPLF agenda found traction in the West and material support from Egypt.
The collateral damage this type of war entails is huge. Innocent people die. Warring factions expend immense resources. The TPLF leaves no stone unturned to achieve its ignominious and unattainable goal.
Part II will follow shortly
November 12, 2021