Ethnic Amharas in Oromiya Regional State at Risk of Genocide (By Meskerem Abera)

Editor’s Note : At least 67 people were killed in Oromo region of Ethiopia in the past few days and the situation in many areas of the region is tense. Meskerem Abrera, who regularly shares her opinion in Amharic, sees risk of genocide against Ethnic Amharas in Oromiya Regional State.

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(By Meskerem Abera)
October 27, 2019

The incumbent government ruling over Ethiopia is headed by an Oromo prime minister, Abiye Ahmed ,who won the Nobel Peace prize of 2019. The coming to power of this Oromo prime minister is the aftermath of the mass resentment against brutal and corrupt rule of Tigrian minority ganga under the leadership of TPLF(Tigray People’s Liberation Front).The mass resentment had been mainly launched  by Ethnic Oromo and Amhara youths and politicians who assumed that they were overruled and marginalized by Tigrian minority rule for nearly a quarter century.

Soon after the downfall of TPLF, the Oromo nationalist who had converged with Amharas to fail TPLF started to divide  into two camps. The first camp wishes to supplant Oromo dominance in the place of Tigrian dominance and do not want to see ethnic Amhara officials’ visibility at the federal level of government. This camp of Oromo nationalism, Championed by Jawar Mohammod, allude Amharas as old oppressors of Oromos who imposed Ethiopia on Oromos and consider Amharas as enemy number one of Oromos, even more foe than TPLF. This camp of Oromo nationalism holds sizable amount of Diaspora Oromo intellectuals, activists and Oromo Youth at home. 

The second camp of Oromo nationalism is headed by the incumbent prime minister Abiye Ahmed who is trying to  forge the Oromo-Amhara alliance and consider this alliance as a bedrock to the furtherance of Ethiopian statehood. This camp is nascent version of oromo nationalism which is not backed by many Oromos except meager number of Oromos, most of whom are members of ODP. 

The first camp of Oromo nationalism championed by Jawar Mohammod, Ethiopian born strident Oromo nationalist holding American passport, are castigating  their co-ethnic prime minister Abiye Ahmed as disciple of Amharas, assume power to execute the political agenda of Amharas and wish to be surrounded by Amharas at the federal level of government. Hence, this camp assumes Amharas are usurpers of the revolt dominantly accomplished by Oromos; prominent personalities of this camp officially declare this through Oromo media outlets. 

Such caustic propaganda  of strident Oromo nationalists  drag the Oromo youth away from the centrist political path of Abiye Ahmed and push into fanatic Oromom nationalism which usually is manifested by killing Amharas living in Oromiya region. Even worse, strident Oromo nationalists led by Ethiopian born American citizen Jawar Mohammod, refer Amharas living in Oromia as settler colonialists who came to Oromia so as to exploit Oromos and the resource of Oromiya. In the same token, Ethnic Gamos people in Oromiya region are recently labeled as settlers who came to exploit Oromia and became victims of xenophobia. Such xenophobic sentiment of Oromos recently sharpened and deepened to take religious character of attacking all Christians considering Christian is tantamount to Amhara.        

The cumulative effect of all these virulent propaganda put the life of Amharas living in Oromoiya region of highest risk that might develop in  to open ethnic cleansing and genocide. What makes the condition more scary is the security apparatus of Oromia region such as the special police force of Oromia shares this sentiment of considering Amharas as colonizers and old oppressors that need to be cleaned from Oromia. Hence, the security apparatus of  Oromia region has been observed backing with fanatic and violent Oromo youth nationalist by action or inaction to attack Amharas. The action is by collaborating Oromo nationalist youth in attacking Amharas and the inaction is looking Indifferently while Amharas are killed and their belongings are burnet by Oromo nationalists. Let alone ordinary security officials, the head of Oromia regional state, Shemeles Abdissa, is not immuned from the archaic  sentiment of considering Amharas as enemy number one of Oromos; he publicly announced that Amharas are now broken by Oromos and he reiterate loud as he is proud of Oromos who broke the spine of Amharas. 

The international community, human right organizations and every single advocate of human rights need to be aware of such ripe hovering condition of Genocide against Amharas living in Oromiya region. It has been long since every instability developed in Oromia region start to harm the Amharas  right to live in Oromia region. At this moment due to the disarray created in Oromia region by the cause to which Amharas have no part, Amharas are being killed, robbed and their houses are burnt. Oromo government officials who are indifferent to the plight of Amhara peoples under their realm tend to whitewash the genocide condition as a mere discord. They do not want to call the problem by its right name, genocide risk against Amharas. This does not change the reality. 

Overlooking or underestimating  the nascent condition of genocide will make the problem more complicated and the way of reversing it difficult. This is what has happened in Rwanda. At the very beginning  of the infamous Rwanda genocide, the International community had confused the burgeoning genocide conditions with the then civil war and considered the genocide as mere part of the civil war. 

This knowing or unknowing indifference of the international community resulted in the elimination of nearly half a million innocent Tutsis and what the international community had to say was the slogan “Never Again” which is by far disproportionate to the grave mistake done and the shameful scare stamped on the history of mankind. Still, if the slogan “Never Again” is serious, the international community need to keep  its eyes on Oromia region in which genocide is simmering.    

Disclaimer: Views reflected in the article reflect views of the writer, not borkena’s view. To publish an article on borkena, please send submissions to     

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