Ethiopia’s law enforcement operation in the northern part of the country was distorted and at best misrepresented in reputable media outlets in the West. Tibebe Samuel, who is the son of one of the greatest journalists Ethiopia ever had, questions “Why are Western Media outlets against Ethiopia?”
By Tibebe Samuel Ferenji
January 6, 2021
I grew up trusting and believing the stories published in media outlets dubbed as “mainstream media”. For most of us, when we think of mainstream media what comes to mind are the likes of the BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, and so on. These are among the news outlets that have the largest readership in the world. I have begun to understand, like media outlets in most countries, the so-called mainstream media in the Western world are nothing more than a propaganda machine designed to spread the superiority of the western world and keep the rest down by fabricating false news and disseminating information that destabilizes African nations the west considers threats to its interest. In some cases, despot governments use western journalists and western media outlets to protect their interests by paying them huge amounts of money to publish rosy pictures of their leadership.
The Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) led government in Ethiopia was such a despot regime that paid western journalists to present TPLF’s “positive image” to the rest of the world. These journalists have used western media outlets to cover up TPLF’s crimes against humanity and promote its leaders as “democratic, smart, western allies, etc.). When the current Prime Minister of Ethiopia came to power, and the TPLF fled to Mekele, it continued to use these hired guns to undermine the efforts of the new Prime Minister and further the ethnic conflict the TPLF sowed in Ethiopia for years. Newspapers like the New York Times, the BBC, and The Guardian have done the TPLF’s bidding and made enormous efforts to undermine the reform in Ethiopia. From the beginning, the likes of the New York Times used its influential paper to promote, a man named Jawar Mohammed with the malicious intention of undermining Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Jawar Mohammed was lionized and promoted as someone who can “challenge Abiy Ahmed” when in fact, he was not even cable of leading a child center. It would have been unthinkable for the New York Times to promote such an immature and incapable demagogue to lead a neighborhood sports club let alone a country for any other non-African country. To mask his dysfunctional qualities, Jawar was dubbed as a media mogul, entrepreneur, and someone who could pose a serious threat to Abiy Ahmed. In reality, however, Jawar Mohammed was neither a media mogul nor an entrepreneur. He took over a media network called Oromia Media Network (OMN) using his cliques.
The OMN was established by a group of individuals as a nonprofit organization supported by the United States taxpayers. The New York Times and others could have learned that Mr. Mohammed controlled the OMN sabotaging the organization using his wife and a few of his followers. If they dug a little deeper, they could have learned Jawar Mohammed did not own the OMN and could not properly lead the OMN, an organization that had only seven employees. The notion that a man that was incapable of leading an organization that has seven employees could lead a nation like Ethiopia can be imagined by those who wish the destruction of Ethiopia. The fact that Mr. Mohammed is a US citizen and not eligible to hold political office in Ethiopia was not a secret to the likes of the New York Times. This was not something that required in-depth research. All this information was in plain sight. However, the Western media outlets’ motive was dubious; they knew that Mr. Mohammed will not be allowed to take part in the election and they wanted to use this as a pretext to undermine the Ethiopian election and promote violence in Ethiopia. Fortunately for Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Election Board postponed the election.
The western media knew Jawar Mohammed had the poison pills to further ethnic division and weaken Ethiopia and wanted to use him for their evil objectives. Strong Ethiopia or any strong African nation is considered a threat to the western countries’ interests; therefore, creating chaos in Ethiopia became a primary mission of the western media. The fact Abiy Ahmed became popular and an influential African leader did not sit well with some of the western journalists; he is feared because his vision to help establish a united and prosperous Africa has become a serious threat to the westerners’ interest. The West wants to continue to shackle Africa with its “aid programs” and loot its natural resources. We have seen time and again the efforts to destabilize Africa by lionizing and using demagogues and self-centered political actors.
The dubious motive of western media has become much clearer since the conflict in the Tigray region began. The TPLF leaders have continued to use the likes of the New York Times to promote false narratives about the conflict in Tigray. The Ethiopian government took the necessary action against the TPLF to enforce its laws. The fact must be clear here. The Ethiopian government made enormous efforts to make the TPLF part of the current government. The TPLF was given ample opportunities to reform itself and work within the constitutional framework. It refused. To make matters worse, the TPLF attacked the Ethiopian Defense Force Northern Command stationed at the Ethio-Eritrean border guarding the people of Tigray against harm. This military force served the people of Tigray beyond the call of duty. These soldiers helped Tigryan farmers with their farming and built schools in Tigray contributing money from their salaries. It is this military force that was attacked while it was sleeping. There was no indication whatsoever that the TPLF would take such bold action. This action was confirmed by the TPLF leadership on its own media outlet. One of the TPLF leaders, Sekuture Getachew, told the world stating the TPLF took preemptive action against the Ethiopian Defense Force Northern Command in “lightning speed”. He bragged claiming it took only 45 minutes to destroy the Northern Command. This is the fact that led the Ethiopian government to respond and take law enforcement actions in Tigray. What country in the world would tolerate such action? This is what the western media don’t want the world to know and covering it up by making noises with fabricated allegations.
The western media outlets publish reports as if the Ethiopian government is the aggressor because they have no interest in telling the truth. Why would the western media outlets write headlines that paint the Ethiopian defense force “as the invading force”? It is not because these media outlets don’t know the truth, it is because they want a blood bath in Ethiopia by garnering support for the TPLF. With the intention of internationalizing the conflict, the western media is reporting fabricated news asserting Eritrean soldiers are not only in Tigray but that they are looting properties in Tigray and selling them in the street of Asmara. On its December 28, 2020, report the New York Times stated “A European official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential findings, said some of those stolen goods were being openly sold in the Eritrean capital, Asmara”. What is sad and easy to verify for the New York Times was that Asmara has been in a lockdown since the COVID-19 pandemic affected the world. In Asmara, no one is allowed to leave their house let alone engage in selling goods in the street.
This is the tip of the iceberg. The western media sensationalize what is happening in Tigray by using a headline like “‘Slaughtered like chickens’: Eritrea heavily involved in Tigray conflict, say eyewitnesses”. Of course, anonymous eyewitnesses are saying this. “Anonymous source” is used to promote fake news and to attack targeted governments and officials. Any objective newspaper would ask a reasonable question before publishing baseless “eyewitness accounts”. Here, there is no interest to be objective and no interest, to tell the truth. It is worth noting that the TPLF has been subservient to the western interest for more than 40 years; thus, the effort by its western allies to save it is understandable. What is disgusting is the western media’s role in this unholy plot.
Let us be clear here if Ethiopia needed Eritrea’s help, Ethiopia has the right to seek that help. Moreover, Eritrea had the legal right to enter into this war when its capital city was attacked by the TPLF rockets. There is no need for any “covert operation”. There was no need for Eritrea to take part. Ethiopia did not even use its soldiers in full capacity. While the law enforcement action was taking place in Tigray, Ethiopia had soldiers in peace-keeping missions in Sudan and Somalia. So, why would the Western media publish false news knowing it’s false. Was it difficult for the New York Times to call the US embassy in Asmara and confirm whether goods are sold in the street of Asmara? Of course not. The New York Times and its likes don’t want the truth. They don’t want to tell us about the soldiers massacred by the TPLF while in their bed; they don’t want to tell us the innocent thousands of Amharas massacred by the TPLF in Maikadra and Humera. In fact, the New York Times and the Washington Post failed to clearly state Amnesty International report indicated the TPLF was responsible for the killing of thousands of civilians in Maikadra. Why would the western media want to coverup such atrocities committed by the TPLF?
They have a bigger purpose; they don’t want to see a strong and prosperous Ethiopia. They have seen the TPLF serving their purpose for more than 40 years. After all, the TPLF was handed power in Ethiopia by the likes of Herman Cohen, the former US State Department official allegedly paid in millions by the TPLF. It was under the watchful eyes of the western media and governments the TPLF looted, murdered, raped, and exiled millions of Ethiopians. We did not read such sensationalized headlines. You don’t need to look any further today to see what the westerners are plotting against Ethiopia. In social media platforms the likes of William Davidson, Martin Plaut, and of course Herman Cohen are promoting the “Eritrean soldiers in Ethiopia” narratives. Why would these people care more than any other Ethiopians? What is in it for them? This is not just about Ethiopia; it is about entire Africa. A peaceful prosperous Ethiopia means a peaceful prosperous Africa. The westerners don’t want influential leaders like Abiy Ahmed in Africa. If the vision of such leaders succeeds, Africa will be truly free and a master of her own destiny. This is unthinkable for the western world. This is why, more than the ground war, the propaganda war is raging.
Today, Tigray has a provisional government led by Tigryans; communication is restored in some parts of Tigray, the Ethiopian government and the International Red Cross are providing food and medical needs to the people of Tigray. Unfortunately, you will not read this in the likes of the New York Times.
The writer is the Executive Director of Tibebe and Associates, a US based consulting firm.Join the conversation. Like borkena on Facebook and get Ethiopian News updates regularly. As well, you may get Ethiopia News by following us on twitter @zborkena