Bruke Lemma, PhD
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
The Amhara people have demonstrated immense bravery in their unwavering stand against ongoing persecutions, fearlessly opposing injustice. However, Abiy Ahmed and his government, already heavily implicated in mass murder, dislocation and displacement of millions, and the imprisonment of almost all the journalists in the country, and more, have responded with relentless cruelty, heartlessness, and brutality.
In a deeply concerning move, Abiy Ahmed has declared a state of emergency in the Amhara region, and is now exploiting it as a cover to commit further crimes against humanity and intensify the oppression of the Amhara people. What was once the National Defence Army has now been transformed into Abiy Ahmed’s private, ethnic-based army, and it is currently engaged in firing on unarmed civilians and ruthlessly and deliberately destroying Amhara cities and infrastructures using heavy weaponries, tanks, and even drones.
This disturbing development raises serious concerns about the continued safety and well-being of the Amhara people. It highlights the urgent need for the international community to take action against these grave violations of human rights and firmly stand against Abiy Ahmed’s atrocities. It is crucial for the global community to say no to such heinous acts and demand justice and accountability for the Amhara people. Their plight must not be ignored, and those responsible for their continued suffering must be held accountable for their actions.
Abiy Ahmed’s purported reason for declaring a state of emergency in the Amhara region was to quell the disturbances caused by the Amhara FANOs, a group courageously fighting against the lawless and oppressive government of Abiy Ahmed, and to restore peace in the region. However, this explanation is beyond ridiculous, and it appears more like a manifestation of something akin to Munchhausen syndrome by proxy that Abiy Ahmed and his extremist ethnic cliques may be suffering from.
It’s like the definition of hutzpah, to kill your parents and ask for mercy, claiming you are an orphan – Abiy Ahmed’s regime disrupts the peace in the Amhara region through continued mismanagement, corruption, incompetence, and other bungling as well as myriad intentional acts of sabotage of the region and then declares a state of emergency to go guns blazing into the region to “restore” peace. It’s absurd!
Despite facing a significant disparity in resources, the FANOs have displayed extraordinary resilience and achieved remarkable gains against Abiy Ahmed’s heavily armed and technologically advanced army. Here, it is crucial to remember that these FANO fighters are the sons and daughters of the Amhara people, who have endured continued oppression and inhumane treatment under Abiy Ahmed and his government for far too long. The Amhara people have faced unrelenting death and destruction, mass murders, mass arrests including the imprisonment of over 20,000 of their youth, accused of being FANOs.
Almost every educated and intellectual Amhara individual in the country who does not vociferously support Abiy Ahmed attracts special attention from his government, leading to harassment, imprisonment, and worse. Such oppression and pervasive cruelty have driven the Amhara people to say “enough” to their persecutions and stand in solidarity with the FANOs, courageously fighting against the regime. Their struggle for justice, freedom, and dignity deserves unwavering support from the rest of Ethiopians and the international community.
Equipped mainly with modest weaponry, much of which they obtained from defeated elements of Abiy Ahmed’s private ethnic army that has now replaced the national defence force, the FANOs continue to garner extensive support from the Amhara people and beyond. This unwavering backing from the Amhara people has played a pivotal role in bolstering the FANO progress so far and would, no doubt, continue to do so.
The FANOs have exhibited remarkable discipline and humanity, not solely on the battlefield but also in their interactions with civilians in the areas they have already liberated and controlled. Their active efforts in preventing looting, lawlessness, and violence have made a significant impact.
Moreover, they have treated the soldiers from Abiy Ahmed’s ethnic army who surrendered to them with respect and kindness. This display of empathy and civility stands as a welcome and inspiring contrast to the general state of affairs in the Oromo region which is often plagued by extreme inhumanity and brutalities.
The stark difference between how the FANOs have been conducting themselves in their interactions with civilians as well as the surrendered soldiers, and that of what takes place in the Oromo region regularly, specifically, the extreme barbarities of the OLF, OLA, two of the most notorious government allied groups, responsible for a widespread looting, general thieveries and the killings of countless civilians, especially the Amharas – leave us in awe and admiration for the FANOs, for their principles and conduct amidst challenging circumstances.
In any case, extensive discussions and analyses of the foregoing and other events in Amhara region abound. Here, I shall refrain from reiterating those points, but I do have a few reflections to share. First and foremost, the Amara people have shown exceptional resilience in their fight against Abiy Ahmed’s oppressive government.
Their heroes, the FANOs, who are our heroes, too, have overcome significant disadvantages and achieved victory after victory, against a heavily armed and well-resourced army. This has undoubtedly dealt a severe narcissistic injury to Abiy Ahmed, shaking his self-perceived invincibility.
As a result, Abiy Ahmed is likely to resort to extreme measures not only to maintain his hold on power but also to heal his wounded ego. He may seek to inflict the most severe suffering upon the FANO fighters and the Amhara people, in a desperate attempt to assert his dominance and preserve his image of superiority.
We must remain vigilant and continue to stand in solidarity with the Amhara people and FANOs, supporting their struggle for justice and freedom. The Amhara people, specifically, the FANOs, must be prepared for the challenges ahead, although I am confident that they have already put plans in place.
The remarkable progress that the FANOs have already achieved owes much to exceptional leadership that they must have instituted and continue to institute at all levels. In any case, no matter the cost, victory in this struggle is essential. It is a matter of life and death for the Amhara people, and failure would lead to dire consequences, possibly the darkest imaginable future.
As it should be very obvious by now, Abiy Ahmed exhibits both psychopathic tendencies and extreme foolishness and incompetence. He will undoubtedly attempt to disrupt and to destroy the FANOs, using any means at his disposal. In his pursuit of power and to soothe his narcissistic injury, he may resort to committing massive crimes against humanity. In that, while he has no qualms about humiliating others, he is ill-equipped to handle it himself.
There are those who hold on to the hope that Abiy Ahmed might eventually apologise, seek forgiveness, mend his ways, and negotiate a fair resolution for his actions against the Amhara people. However, such wishes are mere fantasies and wishful thinking. Abiy Ahmed is incapable of genuine remorse or positive change.
The declaration of the state of emergency is a clear indication of the pain and suffering he intends to inflict upon the Amhara people and the FANOs. It must serve as a forewarning of what lies ahead, we are urging the people of Amhara and the FANOs to be vigilant and resolute in facing the challenges ahead and the rest of Ethiopians to join them in their struggles.
While Abiy Ahmed’s regime is preparing to inflict pain and suffering upon the Amhara people and the FANOs, he is also engaging in very deceptive gestures about negotiations. Sending church leaders and village elders as intermediaries to seek peace and reconciliation and so forth is merely a ruse. In truth, Abiy Ahmed has no genuine interest in peace or reconciliation.
His actual intention is to pacify the FANOs, giving them a false sense of security, while secretly organizing to launch a devastating and destructive attack against them. Peace and reconciliation are the last things he wants or desires – his true motive is to deceive the FANOs and then strike them with full force.
Therefore, it is important for the Amhara and the FANOs not to fall for Abiy Ahmed’s deceptive plan, as the consequences could be devastating and irrecoverable. The only effective way to counter the regime is to persist in their fight for freedom. It is essential for them to realize that Abiy Ahmed is not a person they can trust in any way at all.
The Amhara people have been cheated, betrayed, and lied to repeatedly, and there is no reason to give any value to his words or promises. Abiy Ahmed is an unscrupulous and shameless liar, and his words are utterly worthless, worth less than dirt, if anything. It is crucial for them, and anyone else involved, to firmly reject any notion of trust in Abiy Ahmed’s false pretences and remain steadfast in their struggle for true freedom, justice and equality.
The only offer from Abiy Ahmed’s government that they must entertain now is the complete withdrawal of his army from the Amhara region, along with the establishment of a transitional representative government and the dissolution of his party, with the rather Orwellian name, Prosperity Party (PP). The Amhara branch of PP is almost non-existent now, but its complete dissolution must be expedited by the Amhara people and their glorious FANOs.
They must all trample on the grave of the odious Amhara PP, squash it repeatedly under their feet, ensuring it could never have a life again and never again would it be able to serve as an instrument of their enemies. This should then be followed by the immediate establishment of a regional transitional representative government.
Negotiating with Abiy Ahmed beyond these demands would undoubtedly lead to accepting a fate of merciless slaughter at the hands of a heartless man and his private army— an outcome that is as gruesome as it is inevitable if Abiy Ahmed is allowed to prevail.
Here, the people of Amhara and the FANO fighters must recognize that no government, especially one as widely reviled as Abiy Ahmed’s, stands a chance against a united and determined population. Their glorious FANOs have already demonstrated exceptional skills, heroism, and leadership in their achievements so far, and there is no doubt they will continue securing significant victories. However, they must not underestimate the challenge that lies ahead—a madman and his heavily armed private army stand ready to confront them.
Preparation, readiness, and determination are of utmost importance. While they possess the strength of unity, they must be fully prepared for the fight ahead. The path they are on is not easy, but their collective resolve and courage will carry them forward and help them navigate the very tough road ahead.
Some have written here, criticizing the FANOs for their perceived lack of strategic leadership and suggesting negotiations with Abiy Ahmed, with terms including a democratic election in two years’ time. However, Abiy Ahmed’s extensive track record as a pathological liar makes it extremely senseless for anyone to believe that he would honour any promises that he might make during any possible negotiations.
He has broken every promise that he has ever made, betrayed everyone, and committed multiple crimes against humanity, including in the two-year war in the Tigray region, he has imprisoned almost all journalists in the country – with all that and more, how would anyone think he would behave better in any future negotiations. Thus, engaging in talks with him would be an exercise in futility, given his history of pervasive lies, deception and dishonesty.
In addition to the misguided call for negotiations, the criticism of the leadership within the FANOs, was also a bit uninformed and somewhat misguided. As such, the FANOs, an ad-hoc part-time army composed of farmers, Amhara youth, and others, poorly armed and with minimal training, have achieved multiple victories against a well-equipped and heavily resourced government army.
Thus, given the significant disadvantage of these FANOs, it is evident that their achievements could not have occurred without excellent leadership in their ranks. The truth is that the FANOs must possess smart and effective leadership, both distributed and communicative, rendering them very challenging for Abiy Ahmed and his army to pinpoint and/or to outmanoeuvre. This intelligent leadership must have been instrumental in their successes.
Still, we must also acknowledge the inherent heroism of the Amhara people and their fierce history in battles and resistance, which contributes to the FANOs’ determination and courage. Despite facing numerically superior, heavily armed and seemingly stronger adversary with vast resources at its disposal, the Amhara people’s collective spirit and resilience have played a crucial role in defying the odds and pushing forward in the struggle for their rights and freedom and continue to score victories after victories. Their unwavering commitment to prevail is a testament to their strength and resolve.
In any case, while we must always welcome constructive criticism, but we must be wary of criticism that comes from those with conflicting motives and loyalties, as it can be insidious and morally questionable. In addition to some suspect criticisms, there are also Abiy Ahmed’s troll armies, deluded and paid agents, and ethno-narcissists propagating misinformation across the internet.
Their aim is to drown out the voices of the victims, manipulate narratives, and portray the victims as oppressors and the oppressors as victims. They shamelessly spread falsehoods to achieve these deceitful ends. It is our collective responsibility to counter their actions and continue to be the voice for the voiceless.
After enduring decades of cruelty and persecution, the Amhara people have finally taken a decisive stand demanding their fundamental rights. It is incumbent upon all of us to support them wholeheartedly, utilizing all available means and resources.
Still, while Abiy Ahmed’s government has been exceptionally oppressive towards the Amhara people, it is crucial to recognize that Abiy Ahmed’s regime has been detrimental to other regions of the country as well. As we support the Amhara people, we must also stand against injustices occurring elsewhere in Ethiopia under Abiy Ahmed’s extremely corrupt, incompetent and cruel regime.
It is highly crucial for these Ethiopian people in other regions of the country to unite with the Amhara people and provide unwavering support to them in any way they can, as well as fair and just-minded Ethiopians living in the diaspora, regardless of their ethnic backgrounds.
In any case, Ethiopians have endured five years of absolute hell, as the entire country suffered extremely under the rule of Abiy Ahmed. Initially, many of us were ecstatic when Abiy Ahmed came to power, unaware of the true extent of his ruthlessness, propensity for instigating wars and conflicts, and his narrow-mindedness, his darkest dark triad personality, sheer incompetence, stupidity and shamelessness, among other things.
Little did we know at the time that he could not tolerate peace, and would always seek opportunities to sow chaos and destruction. It is deeply distressing that we didn’t have even an inkling of the horrors that awaited us all under Abiy Ahmed’s regime, let alone predict the mind-boggling scope of it. It is unimaginable how a man could set out to destroy his own country in such an abhorrent and shameful manner, as Abiy Ahmed has done and continues to be doing. The level of suffering and devastation he has inflicted on the country is beyond comprehension.
The Amhara people, who had already endured extreme hardships under the previous regime, suffered even more under Abiy Ahmed’s rule. He continued their oppression, subjecting them to targeted violence and even genocide, surpassing the atrocities committed against them by his predecessors. It has been an open season on all Amhara people, especially in the Oromo region, for almost five years now.
Abiy Ahmed intensified the persecution of the Amhara people, surpassing what we had ever imagined possible. Though not to the same extent, the rest of the country did not escape his tyranny either, as people in various regions also bore the brunt of his disastrous rule. Looking back, it is a painful realization that we had welcomed this man with open arms, ignorant of the immense pain and suffering that he was to unleash not only on the Amhara people but on the entire country as well.
The TPLF and Abiy Ahmed oppressive regimes have inflicted immense pain and hardship upon them, subjecting them to every possible form of persecution. However, the indomitable spirit of the Amhara people remains unbroken. They have united to demand their fundamental rights, seeking equal representation and equal power and an end to their persecutions.
They have come together in massive numbers; they refuse to accept marginalization any longer and are determined to assert their rightful place in Ethiopia as Ethiopians. The Amhara people firmly believe that the days of being treated as second-class citizens must come to an end. They are resolute in no longer allowing Amhara mercenaries among them to facilitate and aid their enemies in inflicting pain and suffering upon them.
The subjugation of the Amhara people was made possible by false and fabricated narratives that were spread to shame and oppress them. These narratives falsely portrayed the Amhara as historical oppressors, justifying their mistreatment that lasted for decades. These stories, crafted by their enemies to control them, must be unequivocally rejected now, and the Amhara people must break free from the chains that have bound them for so long.
Their demand for equal development, representation, and power, as well as a prominent leadership role, is not only just but also long overdue. There is no valid reason why they shouldn’t lead now – others have had their chance, but they have left much, much to be desired. The time has come for the Amhara to step up and show the way forward.
While the struggle is still ongoing, the Amhara people and their FANOs have demonstrated remarkable organization and unwavering dedication. They may need to make further sacrifices to overcome the challenges ahead. The oppressive regime of Abiy Ahmed is resorting to extreme violence, firing at unarmed civilians, using heavy weaponry, tanks, and even drones to suppress their aspirations.
However, these are the last desperate attempts, the death gasps of a bankrupt, mindless regime; they cannot halt the Amhara people and their determination and unity. Despite the difficulties and minor and not so minor setbacks that they may encounter, I am very confident that the Amhara will ultimately achieve victory in their pursuit of justice, equality, and a better future.