Open Letter to the United States Congress: cc: Nancy Pelosi, Ilhan Omar, Amy Kolbershar, and Mitch McConnell
Ethiopia can’t be another Somalia!
By Tibebe Samuel Ferenji
September 6, 2020
On August 21st, 2020, 20 members of the United States Congress, led by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, wrote a letter to the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stating “Ethiopia has experienced a regression in democratic principle”. Although in the minority, the members’ letter clearly indicates the lack of understanding of Ethiopia’s complex political discourse and the rush to judgment by the members without understanding the scope and the depth of damages done in the Oromia region by extremist Oromos. These members of Congress did not grasp the facts on the ground in Ethiopia and failed to educate themselves about the tragic events that caused the death of hundreds of innocent Ethiopians and the property destruction worth in millions of dollars before attaching their names in the letter that seems to sympathize with those who are advocating for the destabilization of Ethiopia. Sadly, these members of congress are echoing the extremist Oromos political agenda promoted by “hired gun lobbyists” instead of communicating with the US embassy in Addis Ababa to fact-check about the information they have got from their constituency. Although this letter will not affect Ethiopia in any shape or form, it has a chilling effect on the Ethiopian Diaspora political sphere. Most of the Oromo extremists in the US, who are playing a leading role in inciting violence in Ethiopia, are naturalized citizens of the United States and they are using the United States flag as their shield to incite violence that caused the 2019 and 2020 massacre of innocent Orthodox Christians and ethnic minorities living in the Oromia region. The likes of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s interest to keep their congressional seat and to be the voice of their constituency is understandable; however, to stand with those who are calling for genocide and assassinations of high ranking government officials and “celebrities” in Ethiopia is not only shameful but it is a recipe to damage the relationship not only between the two governments but between the two people.
It is clear the Oromo extremists have been more vocal and have paid lobbyists peddling their narratives disregarding the death and destructions they have caused. The fact is, the Oromo extremists who are lobbying congress who caused the death of more than 85 innocent ethnic minorities in the Oromia region and burned churches and destroyed properties in October 2019, and in June 2020 massacre in Ethiopia. On June 29, 2020, following the death of, the Ethiopian musician Huchalu Hundessa, so far, we know 235 people have been killed, thousands injured and displaced, properties worth in millions are destroyed, and towns are burned to the ground. The Oromo extremists in Ethiopia massacred ethnic minorities and Orthodox Christians, including Oromo Christians with the encouragement and funding from the Oromo extremists in the Diaspora. Ironically, the perpetrators of this heinous crime are the ones who are acting as victims and “demanding justice”. Those who support the extremists’ agenda and foment the hate that resulted in the killing of hundreds, including a nine-month pregnant woman in front of her family, put their victimhood façade and peddle their lies in the halls of Congress and the media, willing to promote their false narratives. The real victims of these tragic and barbaric events can’t hire lobbyists for the US congress to hear their voices. They have no voice in the US Congress or US media outlets. Astonishingly, because those who support the massacre are putting a well-coordinated public relations campaign acting like victims and they are screaming louder, it has gotten the attention of a few of the US Congress members and the two Minnesota Senators. The perpetrators of this brutal crime tell their lies for anyone who is willing to listen. Even some of the local media in Minnesota are telling their false narratives without fact-checking and without making any efforts to learn what really happened in Ethiopia since June 29, 2020.
Members of Congress, who authored, the August 21, 2020 letter, have given their voices to the perpetrators of the heinous crime committed in Ethiopia without taking their time to learn the truth. At least in principle, members of Congress are supposed to stand with the victims, not with criminal elements; in their letter to Secretary Pompeo, they, unequivocally, have chosen to side with the destructive forces instead of the victims. One must wonder if members of congress are the voices of these extremist elements, who is going to be the voice for the victims who were killed and injured in a manner that can only be described as a sub-human act incited, coordinated, and funded by those who are living in the United States hiding in the shadow of the United States flag. Where is the voice of the US congress for a town called Shashmnie which is burned to the ground by the extremist Oromos; what is the response of the US Congress to such destruction? We did not hear anything from the likes of Ilhan Omar or Amy Kolbershar when ethnic minorities in the Oromia region were slaughtered and beheaded by extremist Oromos.
Despite the false narratives of the extremist Oromos in Minnesota and other parts of the United States who are causing havoc in Ethiopia, Ethiopia is not regressing as asserted in the letter, but progressing to uphold the law of its land making the criminal elements, who hide behind their political organizations, the United States Flag, and the media, accountable. Congress should have asked an objective report from the US embassy in Addis Ababa instead of referring to a report obtained from subjective evidence by the likes of Amnesty International. Congress should do its homework first before interfering in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation. It is necessary for Congress to consider its actions will have an unintended consequence. In this case, it will end up emboldening and empowering those who want to destroy Ethiopia. This cannot be in the national security interest of the United States.
The United States Congress office should not be used lightly and should not be used to empower and emboldened extremist Oromos who are calling for the assassination of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and the massacre of Amharas. These fringe elements do not represent Oromos, nor do they speak for the majority of Oromos in the United States. I don’t think history will be kind to those who stand with the perpetrators of a heinous crime like the one committed in Ethiopia by extremist Oromos. It seems the lessons of Rwanda and Yugoslavia are already forgotten. Congress members should not count only votes, they should also count the lives lost because of their inaction and dangerous action that encourages violence in Ethiopia. The extremist Oromos in Ethiopia are funded and supported by the Diaspora extremist Oromos. Members of Congress should be aware of these facts and not play politics in the lives of innocent Ethiopians. The group that these members are speaking for wants the destruction of Ethiopia. How can making Ethiopia another Somalia protect the interest of the United States?
PS. This letter was also sent to the Washington Post, Washington Times, The Guardian, BBC, the Minnesota Star Tribune, Minnesota’s KARE 11 TV, and Fox 9 Minnesota.