Ethiopia : June 8 Massacre

In the video, mother of one of the youngest victim of the massacre tells her story.

(borkena) The political context of June 8 massacre in Addis Ababa is more like Sharpville Massacre except that June 8 massacre in Addis Ababa is a work of indigenous aspiring ethno-supremacist political forces. Sharpville Massacre was essentially an apartheid enterprise.

Six decades after the fateful day at Sharpville town in Transvaal state of South Africa and long after formal institutional apparatus of apartheid is demolished, South Africans are not forgetful of Sharpville Massacre. 69 people lost their lives at Sharpville when police fired at peaceful demonstrators. The killings were in fact meant to preserve apartheid regime.

On June 8 June 2005, forces of the ruling party in Ethiopia, with direct order from the late Meles Zenawi, unleashed massacre on peaceful protestors in Addis Ababa. Well over 200 civilians were killed. More than one thousand Ethiopians were wounded. Tens of thousands were thrown to jail. The figure – death, wound and arrest- is only in Addis Ababa. What happened in the rest of Ethiopia is not well documented.

The event that led to the massacre was vote rigging by the ruling minority Tigray People’s Liberation Front. TPLF employes almost all forms of methods employed by the apartheid regime in South Africa. It is not less brutal, if not more brutal, than Verwoerd’s minority regime in Apartheid South Africa either. Like in the early days of Verwoerd’s government, TPLF is getting away with massacres and gross human rights violation. The regime still enjoys economic aid from the West apparently on grounds that it is creating product and resource market, opening up the country for “investment” except in few areas.

Many relate political genealogy of top leadership of TPLF, including Meles Zenawi, to families in Tigray who were brainwashed and collaborated with fascist Italy during the invasion of Ethiopia. Yet, the mobilization technique TPLF leadership used to wage guerrilla war in late 70’s and early 80’s concealed the reality and motivation of the leadership – a possible factor which caused major split in the party in the year 2000 and ongoing infighting.

Although it is hard to tell if it is a matter of coincidence, TPLF implemented political programs which are so much in line with fascist Italy war propaganda during the invasion in the 1930’s. The very Federal structure in Ethiopia is a copy of what fascist Italy implemented in Ethiopia during World War II; the Federal states are strictly based on ethnicity and language.

Apparently, TPLF leadership practice brutalities Ethiopia experienced in the hands of Italian Fascists. June 8,2005 is partially an embodiment of such brutality.

Clearly, TPLF wants Ethiopian to forget what happened on June 8,2005. To date, no formal legal procedure has been initiated in pursuit of justice to hold those responsible accountable.

In fact, the phrase “those responsible” is a misnomer. Because the massacre was literally ordered by the late Meles Zenawi – a figure many African and Western leaders hailed as “progressive leader” and a man who transformed Ethiopian economy.

Yet, even in that light, many politicians never mention or pretend to be ignorant about how Meles transformed the economic and military power of the ruling minority Tigray people’s Liberation Front to create a monopolistic political party in the economic sense and absolutist, one based on ethnic supremacy, in the political sense.

Theoretically, TPLF is member of a coalition government of EPRDF. In reality, it is a different story; relevant state machinery is virtually in the hands of TPLF.

There is no official commemoration for victims of June 8 massacre due to the tyranny like atmosphere in Ethiopia. However,some opposition parties are said to have scheduled commemoration events in their offices in Addis Ababa.

Written by Dimetros Birku
Follow on twitter @dimetros

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