Dr. Bekele Gessesse
March 06, 2021
Dear International Communities,
I would appreciate if you could kindly take the following concerns into consideration for the sake of humanity.
Ethiopia has been in transition over the last 3 years, following the collapse of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front- dictated government called the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front for about 27 years. Prior to that, the Country suffered a lot under the brutal dictatorship of the Derg Military Government for 17 years.
Although the Country never had opportunities to form a democratic form of government, due to various internal and external reasons, our relation with our neighbours and the world at large has been phenomenal. The Country has made huge contributions to world peace and security, from the active membership of the League of Nations, the United Nations and the African Union, to sending peace keeping forces to such areas as Korea, Congo, the Sudan and Somalia. Her most serious endeavours have been to form a democratic system. She is on her way to complete the building of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam to take her population out of darkness, using her own water, without causing significant harm to the interests of her neighbour, the Sudan as well as Egypt. However, all of these genuine efforts are meeting with significant internal and external obstacles and challenges. These include serious conflicts in the Tigray Region at the moment, as well as serious acts of genocide in the other parts of the Country, especially against the Amhara people and the believers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. What is expected of good friends from among the regional and international communities is to make unbiased contribution to the investigation of the facts on the grounds and resolution of the conflicts. Contrary to these fair expectations, however, things are going in manners that will not benefit the long term interest of the Country, and even her neighbours and the international communities at large. There are repeated acts of double standards. Thus, the purpose of this small message is to bring all internal and external stake holders to their good senses and help them to refrain from engagements in distractive actions that will be detrimental and regretful to all stake holders.
- Current tragedies in Tigray Region – the role of the Federal Government
While the stated mission of the recent armed involvement in Tigray was to bring the alleged TPLF criminal leaders to justice, it is very sad, indeed, to see the heavy casualties and sufferings of the innocent civilians. It is very disturbing to see the sufferings of over 60,000 refugees in the Sudan, especially women and children. There are different reports of serious allegations, including sexual abuses and destructions of lives and properties. It is the duty and obligation of the Federal Government to ensure a proper investigation into such serious allegations and bring the perpetrators to justice. Due compensations need to be paid to the innocent victims of the conflict/war. We want our people back to their beloved Country as a matter of urgency. We want to see proper restorations of supplies to the entire population. We want to re-build confidence and strong feeling of nationhood.
Ethiopian people lived together or as good neighbours peacefully for thousands of years. This is particularly so between the Amhara and Tigray people who share boundaries, culture, religion and aspirations. There are some internal and external forces that try to set one group against the other for the negative and sinister purposes of divide and rule. These negative motives should not be allowed to bring animosity and self destruction between these brotherly and sisterly people. It will be catastrophic for the wellbeing of both groups and the integrity of our Ethiopian Nation at large.
- The roles of international communities:
It is appreciable for the international communities to share concerns when there are human crises. They are expected to assist in the above endeavours as neutral and objective observers and supporters. The fact of the matter, however, is that, by and large, they are still playing double standards.
I would like to remind them, again, that the TPLF (Tigray Peoples Liberation Front) and EPLF (Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front) came to power about 30 years ago, with the heavy backing from the West and the Arab World for their usual sinister purpose of divide and rule. They brought them to power, knowing very well that they were unrepresentative and undemocratic, to say the least.
Where were the international communities when the TPLF-led dictatorial regime carried out the following acts of genocide and crime against humanities in different parts of the Country?
- Against the Amhara and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church followers, in places such as Arba Gugu, Bedeno, Assebot, Gura Farda, Shashemene, Wolkait , Benishangul/Metekel and most recently, in Mai-Kadra;
- Oromo people,
- Gurage people
- Gedeo and Wolayta people,
Where are they when Sudan is violating Ethiopian border and causing massive population displacement?
Why are they trying to cause confusion regarding land and people, especially between the Amhara and Tigray people? It is a crime to play cards with people’s lives. As mentioned above, the international communities can and should act as independent observers or as parts of unbiased investigating teams. However, they cannot jump into making conclusions before carrying out independent and objective investigations. They can make calls to end the intervention of external forces. But it did not make any sense at all when they called for the Amharas to move out of territories that historically belonged to them. The most serious question regarding this matter concerns places such as Wolkait, Tegede and Tselemt. These places were under Gondar Begemdir and Semien Province/land of the Amharas for time immemorial, until the TPLF came to power in 1991, Tekeze River being the official boundary between them and the then Tigray Province. It must be emphasised here, however, that during those good old days, people used to freely cross boundaries and work or settle any where they liked. It was due to such proximities and co-habilitation that both Amharic and Tigrigna were used in the area.
The balance changed significantly following the coming to power of the TPLF in 1991. They were taken and put under the new Tigray Region. More Tigray refugees returning from the Sudan were settled in the area. Even this should not have been a problem because they returned to their Country. The serious problem, however, was the gross mistreatment of the Amhara people by the TPLF forces. There are reports of many Amharas who were subjected to gross sufferings, deprivations and displacements. The current Ethiopian Constitution that was developed by the TPLF-dominated group did not receive the free will and consent of the Ethiopian people. The Amhara people are particularly the highest casualties of that Constitution.
The healthy way forward may include the following immediate measures, among others:
- Immediate restoration of peace to Tigray Region and take actions suggested in Section (c) above;
- Immediate withdrawal of Sudanese forces from Ethiopia, without which there will be heavy costs;
- Stopping genocide against the Amhara
- Revision of the constitution based on the free will and consent of all Ethiopian people;
- Development of non-ethnic/non-linguistic genuine federal system that allows every citizen to live in places of their choices and enjoy equal access to all political, economic and social opportunities;
- Building genuine democratic institutions and systems of governments and mitigate the forces of mass out-migrations, exodus and instabilities;
- Bringing regional and international peace, environmental protection and sustainable development at local, regional and international levels.
Dr. Bekele Gessesse
Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development Expert/Consultant
Also, Executive Director/Company Secretary of AGROFOREP