Today: June 19, 2024

Urgent Call to Action: Supporting the Amhara People in Crisis

MAY 25, 2024
Photo by Jemal Countess from his Tears of Wollega website
It is a rainy afternoon in Toronto, and I find myself far away from a forgotten people. Despite being unable to offer direct assistance, I can only ponder about them and express my thoughts through writing. It may not be a scientific concept, but perhaps the lack of international advocates is a telling sign of the vulnerability of persecuted groups. The Amhara are among those who fall into this category. I reflect on the various movements and demonstrations in support of the Uyghurs, the Rohingya, the Ukrainians, the Palestinians—undoubtedly deserving of attention.

I anticipate the arrival of Amhara supporters who will establish tents on university campuses. Thus far, I have not witnessed any Amhara marches with white individuals, aside from myself. I eagerly await for Africa, as well as the entire world, to rediscover the hopeful and positive spirit that inspired “No More” signs and solidarity in cities spanning from South America to the Middle East.

You can’t even call the Amhara the “forgotten people” because no one forgot their persecution—next to no one bothered to pay attention to their plight in the first place.

The few ferenji individuals inside Ethiopia are either so oblivious or so damn gutless that they will not investigate or sound the alarm.

It seems that merely sitting in a café in the capital city validates your viewpoint as being on par with ours, who have actively reported on the Tigray war and personally encountered internally displaced individuals in Dessie. Our team includes individuals who have reliable witnesses and sources in Lalibela, providing them with firsthand information about the door-to-door raids conducted by federal soldiers. Additionally, we have members like Sheba Tekeste, who accompanied researchers from the University of Gondar during the collection of Amhara victims’ remains.

For what it’s worth, here is what I know. I know I would rather publicly support the Fano movement organizing defenders and raise Amhara fists than stand over a pile of Amhara bones.

I know that I wake up each morning with an unquenchable rage over a people denied justice and humanitarian care, that I’m carrying around this flame-thrower indignation at the sheer scale of the lies about them, the denial of their situation, and if I feel that—and I’m nobody, with literally no skin in the game—imagine those living through it, and the despair of their diaspora family members abroad.

For next to no one outside their community will help amplify their voices.

I know that slandering a defense movement established as a last resort to ethnic cleansing, lumping Fano in with “ethnic militias” or “ethno-nationalists” is the cheap tactic of the ignorant or the willfully ignorant.

I know that reading just one book on Ethiopian history does not make anyone an expert on it, and only a fool cherry-picks lines from 19th century texts to slap into X posts and peddle a toxic philosophy that Tigrayan or Oromo or even Amhara people, for that matter, are a master race; that their chosen ethnicity did everything, achieved everything substantial in a nation’s culture, we are the champions, no time for losers, la la la. This is why I have a forest of low book towers on my floor, some bought and some loaned, to parse the complexities. I know that a smart person stays humble—he or she keeps learning, keeps digging to find out more.

I know this as surely as all of us should know the chest-beating, the bragging, the training of a psychopathically fanatical militia and deploying them around a capital city is the surest way that leads back to a landscape of bones.

I know that the Amhara need acknowledgment. Not because they ask for intervention or any self-absorbed superpower to come along and solve their problems. They would simply ask in the politest way possible for that superpower to stop helping the people trying to kill them and fucking up their country. They would ask for their displaced to be given shelter, their hungry to get food, their people to be treated with the dignity, respect, and basic human rights everyone is supposed to receive.

I know that the divine spark, or the essence of the truly compassionate and good in each individual, the sense of justice and decency that is every human being’s natural birthright, or whatever fancy way you wish to express it, dictates that you should care about these people.

You don’t do it because you are a middle-class white liberal who clicked onto Amnesty or Human Rights Watch yesterday (and please don’t do that again, ugh, because they’re bloodsuckers, and that can be proved again and again and again). Don’t do it out of “Down with America” sentiment that’s a reflex as sure as Pavlov’s dog panting, and hey, yes, I certainly understand that sentiment much of the time because I mean Jeez, I have to live next to these guys (who just might be stupid enough to re-elect the babbling fool who tried to overturn their government). Don’t do it to tick off a check list of oppressed peoples to add to your virtue signal list—

Do it because they face rapid extinction. The Abiy government and its accomplices intend to kill them all. They are already trying to exterminate the very cultural institutions of Ethiopia, trying to summon a shambling, grotesque Frankenstein monster of ethnic hate and terror to put in these institutions’ place.

I’m not going to chew your food for you. Go look at the moving, captivating photos of Jemal Countess. Go pay attention to the postings of Betty Sheba Tekeste and read the articles on sites like Borkena. Go check out the meticulous research done by the Amhara Association of America.

Grant the Amhara the minimal decency of your attention. And then realize you’re needed. To add your voice, help others organize, hit the streets, make a donation to their humanitarian relief—make a difference. For them.

Do it because they are entitled to acknowledgment. More than that, they are entitled to sincere allies and their moments to make their case—not beg or plead their case, but argue it—with the definitive evidence, which is so damn overwhelming, it is a disgusting crime that the Western mainstream media ignores it.

And the only natural conclusion can be that major media brands are deliberately ignoring it out of standard journalistic group-think, to keep their access to certain sources, to peddle the narratives they have already invested in, to pass off moronic, inconsistent U.S. State Department messaging and bromides as “news.”

I know that the Amhara can save themselves, through Fano, with help. Your help. What I want to know is… why is it taking so damn long for the rest of the world to wake up and offer it?


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