by Mastewal Desalew
July 12, 2020
Make no mistake, the massacre in Oromia and Addis Ababa following Hachalu’s death primarily targeted ethnic Amharas or those perceived as Amharas; using the perpetrators word the “neftegna”. This does not mean other ethnic groups are not affected. Ethnic Gurages who are considered as ‘Gilgel’ -meaning small- neftegna and even Oromos, especially those who adhere to Orthodox Christianity, are targeted in predominantly Muslim areas of Arsi and Bale, where the local perception is one have to be a Muslim to become an Oromo; being an Orthodox Christian is considered synonymous with being an Amhara in those areas. The perception has its own historical root, but I would not go into that.
The Nazi like rhetoric among the enablers and supporters of the massacre had played a role in instigating the ongoing ethnic cleansing in Oromia. The brazen sympathizers of such evil crimes marched in the streets of the US, UK, Canada and other countries chanting: “Down Down Amhara!”, “Down Down Neftegna!”, “Down Down Ethiopia!” “Amhara is a terrorist!”etc. Yes, it is on Camera and there is video evidence. Most of these people were not in the streets to advocate for the right of Oromos, rather to spew their hate towards the Amhara/Neftegna. And OMN, the media of Jawar Mohammed, live streamed most of these hate calls and Qeerroo – an informal Oromo youth group behind most of the atrocious killings in Oromia in the past 2 years – responded with their machete and arson against those whom they perceive as Amharas. But this did not happen without the help of those in power.
The massacres at the first 3 days of July 2020 were committed at least in 40 ‘woredas’ (equivalent of county) in Oromia region. Tens of thousands of members of Qeerroo, mostly from rural areas, were transported from as far as 80 km and then unleashed on cities and towns; the targets were listed in advance. Mobilizing, transporting and coordinating tens of thousands of people, giving them directives, locating thousands of victims and their property and then committing the killings and the arson in such large scale and wide areas requires huge financial, institutional and organizational capacity. This is the void filled by those within the government and the ruling party- the September 2018 and the October 2019 massacres were committed in the same manner and coordination. Security forces turned a blind eye to the call of the victims with the direction of their bosses and in some circumstances when those under attack tried to organize themselves and attempted self defense, security forces swiftly took action against them; Eskinder Nega and thousands of Addis Ababans are thrown to prison accused of defending against the marauding killers unleashed on the city: in the word of attorney general Adanach Abebe, “for insulting Qeerroo”.
Unless Abiy Ahmed and his colleagues’ understanding of the raison d’être of a government is straightened up and their treachery politics change course, what we are going to see in the future would dwarf what we had seen in September 2018, October 2019 and July 2020. Yes, attacking civilians with marauding youth with machete and stick in their hands is a new phenomenon introduced to the country with the ascendance of Abiy Ahmed to power. If Abiy and co were determined to avert the catastrophe, they could have taken lessons from the previous two similar massacres. Unfortunately the president of Oromia, Shimelis Abdisa himself is a proponent of anti Amhara/Neftegna rhetoric; remember what he said in his 2019 Irrecha speech – “we have broken the Neftegna in the same place where they broke us.” That is what he said in front of tens of thousands of participants of the festival, and the crowd emphatically cheered his speech. Even Abiy Ahmed himself once threatened that hundreds of thousands would be murdered overnight if he is overthrown; guess who he is insinuating would commit the killings? It is Qeerroo.
The evil in the country has: a root in the constitution, an ideological supporter in TPLF, an enabler in OPDO, and an implementer in OMN and in Qeerroo. If we are coward or shortsighted to point out all the bad actors, we would continue to suffer as those treacherous politicians continue to play in the life and property of innocent citizens. History will judge us!
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