Today: May 28, 2024

The hypocrisy of individuals who advocate for non-violence in their profession is apparent.

April 11, 2024
7 mins read

By Jeff Pearce

Recently, the Ethiopian population experienced a sense of neglect from a foreign individual, whom we had trusted. For safety reasons, I will not disclose their identity as they are currently in Ethiopia. I have no intention of publicly attacking them on social media, unless they make it personal or cross a certain line. However, it is important to mention that they have blindly accepted the false belief that Fano, an ethnic army, is comparable to the brutal actions of the OLF and TPLF. This notion is far from the truth.

Harlan Ellison, one of my favorite authors, used to emphasize the importance of having an informed opinion rather than just any opinion. However, it is disheartening to see someone who had such insight about the TPLF war suddenly become ignorant and stubborn when it comes to the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Amhara. It is frustrating that this individual chooses to ignore the documented incidents that span over three decades, as well as the physical evidence such as bones and skulls discovered by the University of Gondar’s research team. Additionally, the moving photographs captured by Jemal Countess for his exhibition “Tears of Wollega” clearly depict the suffering and complacency that should not be overlooked. Graham Peebles’ documentary also presents compelling evidence that should not be disregarded.

Initially, acquire knowledge. Subsequently, assess your ability to uphold non-violence and consider whether the sole solution for Ethiopia lies in engaging all parties in dialogue. Excuse me for my skepticism.

I can’t call what this person believes a betrayal because they don’t owe me anything, but I do take their foolishness personally because unfortunately, like them, I am white. And how many of us who are white are there who will really stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Amhara, with the Afar, with Gurage, with mixed-heritage Ethiopians who know the kill squads will be coming for them, if not now then soon?

Just as James Baldwin used to point out that in trying to make his case over civil rights, he was trying to save the souls of white people as much as his fellow Blacks, so certain dumbass liberals still don’t understand that they need to get with the program. That until you can look your African brother or sister in the eye and say, “Yes, I believe you, I will try to carry some weight in the struggle and put my own name and reputation at risk in advancing the truth,” you are fucking useless.

There is no worse hypocrisy to my mind than that over non-violence. Isn’t it interesting how those who sanctimoniously peddle the talking option are often perfectly fine with officially mandated violence? Blinken, Mike Hammer, et. al. will fly into Ethiopia, mouth their pieties over Pretoria and negotiation and then merrily go back to endorsing Ukraine’s struggle against Putin and the sale of weapons to Israel. Now I am still squarely behind Ukraine. But don’t gaslight me that one violence is acceptable while the other is not.

Fano is a grass-roots movement that began because Amhara needed to defend themselves. Soldiers in Fano groups come from all walks of life—teachers, doctors, whatever—and need I have to say it again, Ethiopian army soldiers were already raiding homes in the night in Lalibela before Pretoria was even signed, hauling away people who were once their staunchest allies.

No, Fano is not equivalent to TPLF or OLF, because these two are terrorist groups. The war in November 2020 did not organically start with ordinary Tigrayans, demanding regional autonomy or yearning to breathe free or some other rhetorical bullshit. It started with the sociopathic leaders Debretsion and Getachew “I can eat everything in a USAID truck” Reda. With men who simmered with rage that they lost power, and they wanted it back. In sharp contrast, Fano’s crusade is so egalitarian and democratized that half the time all of us supporters are bitching about how and when they’ll get a unified leadership, and I for one keep nagging them to advance a coherent program.

So please don’t try the false equivalency. Which is another way of shoehorning in the sad, flaccid calls for “negotiation.”

Last night I was flipping through a biography of the great leftwing activist and historian Howard Zinn (A People’s History of the United States), and Zinn pegged it right:

“I am very suspicious of violence… as a means of achieving social change,” he once wrote, but he went on to add, that “if you want to say to people, ‘You musn’t do anything that will provoke violence,’ there’s no way you can avoid that unless you want things to remain as they are.”

Exactly. The person I’ve called out doesn’t realize how they’ve been influenced by Oromuma ideology, which I hasten to make clear is no way in shape or form reflective of Oromo culture and people. The stupidity of fascist Oromuma doctrine is its posture of “victimhood” and master-race BS similar to TPLF propaganda, but what makes it so pathetic is that just as with the TPLF, Oromos have always had a right to be proud of their accomplishments and place in Ethiopian history, and I’ve discussed this several times before.

I could go down the rabbit hole once more and point out how “Amhara domination,” still perpetuated in ignorant New Humanitarian and Guardian articles, was always a myth, but again, I’ve tilled that earth before, and you’ll still see the pious shake their heads anyway and say, “But war is wrong blah, blah, blah…”

Unless you’re the one facing the AK-47.

It seems that liberal sanctimony will always find a way to mutate like a virus. The Black Panthers eventually self-destructed, but at the heart of their origins was a good idea. Screw the Kumbaya circle, don’t send your fascist, racist cops into our neighborhoods trying to oppress our people because we will defend ourselves. And for taking this position, they were branded radicals.

As I’ve pointed out in interviews and print before, what is happening now in Ethiopia is a civil rights struggle. It’s being relabeled a war, a revolt, ethnic violence by the stupid and the willfully stupid within Western media, Amnesty and Human Rights Watch because it’s convenient for them to do so. Keep the African pot boiling. Keep making people think Africa is chaotic and unsalvageable. No, this moment is stretched out and taking its time, but it is the moment when a population seeks to free itself once and for all from the chains of the past.

If we can get a concession of that simple point that this is a civil rights struggle, then it shouldn’t be too big a leap for the “well-intentioned” to realize that desperate, targeted people need to defend themselves. In my book, The Gifts of Africa, I wrote a whole section on Frantz Fanon, the psychiatrist and activist who backed Algerian independence. And he recognized what Zinn saw, that nonviolence could serve as a convenient ploy of the powerful to reach a compromise—one that either kept the status quo or merely helped “moderates” to power who could be sucked into the corrupt vortex later on.

Well, screw that. Fanon spent time as a psychiatrist treating both Algerian torture victims and even French soldiers who did torture and earned their own PTSD from their actions (in one unbelievable moment of horror, victim and torturer both ran into each other on the hospital grounds). The gentle activist who pushed for violence in The Wretched of the Earth was privately repulsed by it. And this facet of his character, though ironic, perfectly fits.

Those of us who have known real violence in different forms know it is ugly and repulsive. There are movies with action choreography and quick cuts, and then there is the real-life visceral tangibility of people bleeding at your feet, waiting for an ambulance, or bodies rotting in a field. No one with any remaining shard of their soul could meet a veteran with an amputated limb and want someone else to go through what they did. Could wish for more misery.

Yet it is the only option for those who aren’t listened to, those who are ignored, those who are callously dismissed when the lights shine into darkened bedrooms and the safeties click off on rifles.

There is something that indeed disturbs me more than the fight that will traumatize a generation of Ethiopians. I know the fight is bloody and heart-wrenching, but it’s still necessary. No, what’s worse is this:

It’s that certain white liberals and media correspondents are quick to condemn an Amhara student or an Amhara farmer with a rifle. But the Amhara women sobbing in IDP camps…? “Oh, yes, what a shame. Well, that’s Africa for you.”

In taking these postures, the white liberal or correspondent pretends they’re being noble or “objective.” The cop-out that “all sides are to blame” is so easy, and it’s perfect because the end goal—which can be a perfectly unconscious attitude—is to slip back into your own society, not to keep any lasting relationships or integrate yourself into the African community. They’re disposable, and you’ll eventually go home, won’t you? Rising above the fray works because you have nothing of your name or your reputation invested. You only have to answer to your editors at your paper or network.

No, I don’t expect a reporter to endorse Fano’s campaigns, but I do think Fano and Ethiopians are entitled to things being presented as they are, without the cutesy, arch language that undermines the facts on the ground or overt X posts that misrepresent them.

Right now, the media is gradually coming round to covering the ethnic cleansing of Amhara. But the sword swings both ways, and it’s incredibly annoying that people on social media platforms rushed to post HRW’s reports and quote Laeticia Bader. Because HRW and Amnesty are the same creepy outfits that sold you out over 2020 and 2021, siding with the TPLF and having Bader make the rounds of interviews to defend HRW’s ridiculously flawed and biased investigations.

Peddling their wares validates them. And they aren’t needed—they never were—when we have plenty of Ethiopian sources to report on atrocities, when the meticulous research of the AAA is far more reliable than anything Amnesty or HRW says.

In the same way, people have to realize that Western media is still not your friend. And it never will be. Its goal is to lure eyeballs to death scenes, to sell the EU and U.S. policies on Africa, and keep white people thinking Africa is hopeless. This is the business model for covering Africa. I can virtually guarantee that when Fano eventually wins, Western TV crews will show footage of “jubilation” in the streets. The very next day, those same crews will report that the new interim government is failing the people. You watch, it’ll happen.

So that ferenji I’ve railed against above…the person doesn’t realize it yet, but they’ve demoted themselves. They’ve gone from being an ally to a symptom.

Maybe they’ll wake up eventually, but right now I have more faith in Fano winning in the end.

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  1. You’re as usual a disgrace because there’s a democratically elected government in the country similar to any democratic country and this group wants to grab power by force that’s using weapons instead of advancing their region. Why should they be allowed to do so? Do you think the people on the photo have even an elementary education and you’re encouraging them to topple the government?

    Of course, guys like you and the estranged Yonas might be anticipating the new regime that’ll be made up of the most illiterate people in the country will throw you some bones, because that’s what you seem to be betting on. But it’s the whole country that’s said no to this backward people who’d colonized the whole country for close to one hundred years and were advancing their own interest only. Eventually they succumbed to their illiteracy and backwardness and people just like them straight from the woods calling themselves TPLF took power. They also caused a lot of damage by simply robbing the country and the government coffer and advancing their own region only.

    Luckily, their time run out too, but this government is a democratic government that gives equal right to every region including to the Amara region the so called fanos are representing. If they win you know very well what kind of administration it’ll be, it’ll be worse than TPLF because the so called Amaras hate everyone indiscriminately. So you know you don’t know what you’re talking about and for the bone you’re craving you better look somewhere else, because these dudes aren’t going to make it to power. The government has said they can’t fight them and they don’t know what to do, other than to go down to their level and engage in a guerilla war.

    Sorry for disappointing you but the country you’re talking about is a democratic country, and has strong force, both in the north, the central part of the country and the south. If you like them so much teach them how to improve their economy and live a much better productive life. They might even make you their prime minister because you seem better educated than them at least on the outside and you’ll join many others who’re craving to line up their pockets.

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