Ethiopia: Amhara People, Betrayed Persecuted And Ignored – OpEd

The ideology of divisiveness and intolerance has permeated mainstream politics and poisoned societies around the world; Tribal nationalism, hatred and prejudice are widespread, hostility and suspicion towards ‘the other’ are common. This low in Ethiopia, Fear based trinity seems to have become the policy of the government.

The focus of the regime’s hostilities are the Amhara people, a large ethnic group that makes up about 30% of the population. Over the past four years, Amhara communities living in Oromo territory have been subjected to sustained violence by Oromo nationalists; The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)/Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), together with the Oromo Special Forces ((OSF) and Cuero (Oromo youth group) are behind the violence with, it seems, the approval, perhaps the active participation, of the government.

The ethnic cleansing of Oromia is part of an OLF plan to create an independent Oromo nation (Oromiya for Oromo people) and reduce the total number of Amhara in the country. Thousands of Amhara civilians have been killed, thousands of homes destroyed, hundreds of thousands displaced (there are about 5.6 million internally displaced people in Ethiopia) on the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa (which sits within Oromia). According to the United Nations). Anyone who talks about the violence, journalists, human rights activists, lawyers or students, risks arrest.

And in a dramatic provocation, on 8 April the government moved the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) into Amhara territory and ordered the disarmament and disbandment of the Amhara Special Forces (ASF), the only body providing security to the people. Gave.

reprehensible move of the government

Each of Ethiopia’s 11 regions has a paramilitary force of varying strength. They sit somewhere between the police and federal forces, and form part of a complex national security structure. After the TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front) was defeated by the ENDF in November 2022, and was forced to accept disarmament as part of the peace deal (which has not yet happened), many called for all regional Called for a program to disarm forces, not just TPLF, As part of a larger constitutional review.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had made it clear that he wanted to reform the system for the time being, and on 6 April the government announced The plan “to integrate all regional special forces into either the national army, or the federal or regional police.”

Well, a measure long awaited and in principle supported by the Amhara people and the Amhara Regional Authority. So start with the two major terrorist groups, TPLF and OLF/OLA, operating openly within the country and then proceed within an agreed democratic framework; There is a need to hold consultations with regional administrations, set a clear plan and build a consensus.

No such balancing act has been taken, and currently only the ASF is being disarmed/disbanded, and the reasons are clear: this is not to destroy an inherently flawed security mechanism, but to leave Amhara territory vulnerable to attack is to leave; Be it from TPLF in the north or OLF/OLA in the south. The ENDF, which is supposed to protect the Amhara people, is not trusted more than the government; It is not seen as a national force, with a command structure dominated by Oromo personnel, but rather as an ethnic army run by Oromo war lords.

This malicious move is seen by the Amhara community as an invasion of territory by the ENDF in collaboration with the OLF/OLA and TPLF. Heavy protests erupted, leading to clashes with security forces, with live rounds being fired at the protesters. This reinforced the view that, while the OLF/OLA/OSF are the primary perpetrators, the federal government is complicit in ethnic violence in the Oromo region and elsewhere. Which, if true, begs the question: ‘Why’? Why exactly is the government allowing a genocide?

alliance of evil

The Ethiopian government is headed by PM Abiy Ahmed, leader of The Prosperity Party, (aka Oromo Prosperity Party (OPP)); A political coalition he established in December 2018, a year after coming to office. It is, at least on paper, a broad coalition representing political groups from all major regions except Tigray, as the TPLF declined to join. In practice however the OPP, and therefore the government, is dominated by a single faction, the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP), which was led by PM Abiy before becoming PM as chairman. It refers to the previous regime, EPRDF; Another purported alliance in power for 27 years, which was actually controlled by a group, the ruthless TPLF.

When Abiy and Co. came to power in 2018, exiled opposition groups were invited back to Ethiopia. This included the OLF/OLA, who unlike other parties were not forced to disarm. Since their return, the OLF has been classified as a legitimate political party in contrast to their shadow, the OLA, which is rightly regarded as a terrorist group, and has established a close working relationship with the OPP. .

They are driven by an extreme nationalist ideology; A divisive dogma that has plagued many nations in recent years, expressed in many forms, At its core is intolerance and hatred; Misrepresentation of events and disregard of facts. Based on blame and anger at a particular social/ethnic group for evils that believers have suffered, perceived or actualized. In the case of immigrants, refugees, metropolitan elites, or OLF, the Amhara, whom they associate with ‘The Evil Ethiopian State’, become the subject of their enmity and brutality in Ethiopia.

Many believe that the OPP (the ruling party) is working closely with the OLF/OLA, in fact former members of the OLF are now embedded within the Abiy government. His radical doctrine has infiltrated the mainstream, with his violent modus operandi being supported in exchange for political support.

And where is PM Abiy in this cauldron of duplicity and violence? Like so many current ‘leaders’ he lacks principles, is politically and morally weak, and will do anything to stay in power – it seems, allowing a genocide to happen. Unscrupulous and manipulative, he is driven by personal ambition rather than a commitment to serve the people, unite the nation and create social harmony.

Beyond ‘why’ this is happening, as important as it may be, perhaps the more important question is, certainly for the Amhara people living in Oromia: how can this brutal ethnic violence be stopped? And secondly, why has no foreign power, Western or African, (openly) called on the Amhara people to stop the attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice? In contrast to the recent violence in Sudan, which has attracted a substantial response from foreign governments as well as global bodies such as the Arab League, the African Union, the United Nations, and generated a great deal of international media coverage, there is Ethiopia/ There has been little or no response to the Amhara crisis.

Geopolitics is not animated by notions of brotherhood and compassion, it is driven by self-interest, or perceived selfishness and short-term gain. Only when it is judged that US/Western ‘interests’ (a reductive term based on global divisions) are threatened in some way, or an opportunity for greater regional influence/control presents itself, do these global powers act Does Otherwise men, women and children may die by the thousands, especially when they are poor and African; The same pattern of neglect and hypocrisy pertains to climate change. The result of this inhuman approach to global affairs is what it always has been, the exploitation, injustice and suffering of the most vulnerable.

While all pressure must be applied to Western governments, and especially the US administration, the source of hope does not lie in Washington or Brussels, but rests firmly with the people of Ethiopia. Radical groups like the OLF/OLA play on people’s fears, in fact they exist in an atmosphere of fear themselves, and thrive on mistrust and social fragmentation. It is the coming together of people from different tribal/ethnic groups scattered throughout Ethiopia, united against division, duplicity and hatred, that offers the greatest hope for peace and social harmony, not outside interference.

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