By Dawit Giorgis
The most dangerous crisis in Africa is one unfolding in the Horn of Africa, in Ethiopia. It is a complicated crisis triggered by extremist elements to create an ethnocentric government, which makes one ethnic group superior to all others. The country has been sucked into a quagmire of unending internal wars and terrors that have taken countless lives, and is characterized by one of the most gruesome crimes in history. The country has become a failed state, with no functional central government, run by a group of ethnic warlords from the Oromia region, where the current PM has been elected.
After the collapse of the brutal regime of the Tigrai People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) by a popular uprising over four years ago, the Oromo-dominated government under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has endangered the very foundation of the country. The social fabric of this age-old nation is torn asunder, and the history of the land, which is rooted in biblical teachings, is under assault with fabricated narratives.
Today, the survival of this ancient country is challenged by an anti-Semitic war declared by extremist elements, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), which has declared the war as Cushites against the Amhara Semites. In their fabricated history, they make their followers believe people of the Semitic origin were colonizers.
Ethiopians of all backgrounds have lived relatively peacefully for thousands of years despite their differences. This current phenomenon that thrives by splitting people along ethnic lines is very new for the Ethiopia that has existed for millennia, like Israel.
The intent of these radical elements is to create a Cushitic empire. The recent war launched by the regime was an exercise to create the necessary condition to tighten the grip of the Oromo to be able to move on with their agenda. As a means toward that end, Christian Amharas are being slaughtered, the oldest Christian church is attacked, and millions have been displaced.
This Cushitic war against the Semites of the North has been conducted in a very barbaric manner — a type of brutality unseen in our history. It is hatred to its worst limits. Recently, when the attack on the Orthodox church became unbearably and brazenly intense and very violent, the response of the church was firm and immediate. Millions went to the streets in unprecedented show of force. This abated the attempt to destroy the Synod of Ethiopia for now.
The claim of the Cushitic movement spearheaded by OLF goes beyond Ethiopia to Kenya, Sudan and Somalia. The war has just begun earnestly in Ethiopia.
As a lawyer and a man who has worked in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, I can attest that the crimes being committed in Ethiopia are more gruesome (though at a lower scale ) than the Rwandan atrocities that shook the conscience of the world. Amharas are being murdered, crucified and burnt alive publicly, and are now forced in millions to leave their ancestral lands.
All these incidents are recorded and reported by credible and ethical journalists and institutions. Regrettably, the West has refused to see the truth and condemn the crime for what it is — a genocide! The conflict and genocidal crimes against the Amharas have not received the attention of the international community either. To most Amharas, the silence of the international community is reminiscent of what happened during Fascist Italy’s aggression against Ethiopia or the Holocaust perpetrated by Nazi Germany
The world is silently watching the deliberate destruction of 3000 years of civilization.
The ongoing attack on Ethiopia is an attack against the hub of the age-old Ethio-Israeli relationship. The struggle of the people of Ethiopia, which has a population of 120 million and is the source of the Blue Nile, has been more or less similar to the struggle of the people of Israel. In both cases, it is a struggle for survival, while surrounded by hostile counties.
Ethiopia is located in the most militarized zone in Africa along the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. There are over seven big military bases in tiny neighboring Djibouti alone. Any conflict that happens in that region can easily escalate and impact other parts of the world.
In fact, the war declared by the OLF on the basis of a fabricated Cushitic narrative has an agenda which is being pushed by certain foreign countries. If this war is not contained early, it will quickly expand to the region; a proxy war will follow; and millions will begin migrating to the Mediterranean countries, as has already been witnessed.
In the northern part of Ethiopia, the Tigreans are Semitic as well; but are currently allied with the Oromo Cushitic agenda for a very narrow advantage related to an Amhara ancestral land, which they have illegally claimed. They believe they can only get these lands if they are allied with the ruling Oromo government. The truth is an eventual alliance between the Tigreans and Amharas is unavoidable, since the marauding army of the OLF is likely to consume even the Tigreans.
The repercussions to regional security and stability is enormous. American and other Western experts have always looked naive in their understanding of issues in the Horn of Africa. Whether by design or ignorance, they have invariably missed to avert imminent catastrophes, and only payed attention after the worst has happened.
What makes the situation even more complex is that this war of ethnic cleansing and genocide is being led by a Prime Minister who protects one image to the external world and does something horrific within the country. Like Hitler and Mussolini, he has succeed in deluding his massive followers by telling them about a promised land which only exists in his narcissistic mind. His fake charm and blatant lies have earned him support from many western countries who want to see the surface and not what is beneath the surface.
It is high time that the world was aware of the fox in a sheep’s skin and saved the country and the region from an imminent disaster of mass destruction, displacement and suffering.
Ethiopians are determined to bring peaceful change but need the understanding and support of the democratic world. But the world has once again forgotten Ethiopia. Four days after the war between Russia and Ukraine started, the ICC prosecutor general rushed to Ukraine and two days opened a war crime case against Russia. The massacre in Ethiopia started four years ago. It was confirmed by a committee of Ethiopians in the in the diaspora, which I was part of, working together with international criminal lawyers that genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes have taken place in Ethiopia in a manner that I explained above. The ICC and the powers behind it refused to see the case of Ethiopia in the ICC. Last year in a war between government and Tigray liberation front it was concluded by the chairman of the peace commission HE Olusegun Obasanjo that one million Tigryans were killed in the 8 month war and according to the Ethiopian government army chief of staff 380, 000 government troops and civilians were killed. There was no international investigation that could make leaders accountable. The death of 1;4 million people did not interest the international community nor it a headline in any major paper or media. The killing continues and the silence continues also. Wars and deaths in Africa are not of concern for the international community. An unjust world particularly for Africa.
“Look beneath the surface; let not the several quality of a thing nor its worth escape thee” Marcus Aurelius.
By Dawit Giorgis
Africa Institute for Strategic and Security Studies