By Addissu Admas
I do not enjoy – nor indulge in – attacks against a person. However, when that person occupies a position of some responsibility and importance and continues to engage in a stream of unfounded and damaging accusations, I feel it a duty to respond to him or her at least to set the records straight; and hopefully, disqualify him or her as reliable source of healthy opinions. Such is the case with Alex de Waal.
In an article he wrote recently on Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper closely associated with the New York Times, he, as is his wont, indulged in a series of unfounded and very partial accusations against the Ethiopian people and government. Apparently, Mr. De Waal has long ago decided, for reasons that still escape me that he will only listen to the TPLF, and its Tigrean sympathizers, which are of course, even now in the majority. Not once in this article, has he indicated that he is willing, even for an instant, to give the Ethiopian people and their government, a token benefit of the doubt. Like a good TPLF sympathizer or agent (I let the reader decide which) he decided that the guilty ones were all south of the Tigrean border. He deliberately chose to ignore all the destruction, looting, murder, rape, that has been committed by the invading Tigrean people’s army led and organized by the TPLF since July of this year. Even the UN and other human rights groups have clearly reported the rapes and murders committed by TPLF forces, despite the pressure of the US department of state. But de Waal decided to ignore all of them completely.
I do not know where his blind devotion to such a heinous party comes from. It is certain that he enjoyed the friendship of its high-ranking officials while they reigned supreme over Ethiopia. The TPLF cadre, it must be acknowledged, did a fantastic job at cultivating the friendship of many so called “scholars” and diplomats. Most likely offering them special treatment, or bribes of sorts they could never expect from their own institutions and governments. Now, I guess, it is time to stand up to save an old friend.
If Alex de Waal had a modicum of integrity, he would have paused and listened to the immense suffering Ethiopians endured during the 27 years of TPLF rule. He was happy to receive all his information apparently from the TPLF, as he continues to do today. The mark of a good scholar is to listen to all parties, read the literature of both sides, and make one’s considered judgment. Mr. de Waal, had decided that the TPLF provided him with all he needs to know. This has tremendously shaken my trust in these so-called “prestigious institutions” of the West. Are they really engaged in finding out the truth, or are they simply engaged in trying to find rationalizations and justifications for their government ill-conceived policies? Any government that is willing to listen to Mr. de Wall will be making a disastrous mistake because it would be only getting a very lopsided and biased view.
Mr. de Waal states that the Ethiopian people are characterizing Tigreans as cancerous. This is an outrageous lie. The government of Ethiopia stated that the TPLF, and not the people of Tigray, is cancerous. This is not to deny that thanks to the hateful campaign perpetrated by the TPLF, and its desire to alienate the Tigrean people from their fellow Ethiopians, that some unsavory and hateful words have been exchanged over social media. But this cannot be taken as the word of Ethiopians. To do so would be, to say the least, an unscholarly and malicious reporting.
The Ethiopian militia are not on the frontline, neither literally nor figuratively, as Mr. de Waal writes. They are engaged in liberating their territories from the most destructive force that Ethiopia has known since the invasion of Muhammed Gragn (Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi) in the 16th century! Can Mr. de Waal tell us how many Amhara and Afar men have been killed in this senseless war? How many women have been raped? How many schools, hospitals, businesses being destroyed? No! He would not, because he does not care to know what happened outside Tigray. His bandying about the word “genocide” to indicate what happened in Tigray is not only sickeningly irresponsible, but should make him liable for a lawsuit! He should know, however his bias is incurable, that especially someone who holds a position such as his cannot make such an accusation so lightly. What would he then call what happened in May Kadra? If that was not an instance of genocidal action or ethnic cleansing, however you may want to label it, then what comparable act has been committed against Tigreans? Name one!
It is obvious that De Waal wrote this peace to have Israel put pressure on the UAE to end its military cooperation with the Ethiopian government. However, it fails miserably to achieve its goal, since it is entirely biased and lopsided. If state department foreign policies are based on such kind of opinion pages, then we are in for a very troubling outcome.
I take this opportunity to reiterate again the facts of this war, not to remind my fellow Ethiopians who are immersed in its intricacies, but to inform those foreigners who happened to read this piece and are not acquainted with the basic facts of this war.
- This war was started by the TPLF when it stormed the weapon warehouses of the Northern Command, the largest of the Ethiopian Defense Force, with the apparent intention to arm itself and wage war against the EDF. In the process, it killed uncounted military personnel of non-Tigrean origin.
- The government of PM Abiy countered by moving into Tigray to restore order and the sovereignty of the government of Ethiopia. This move was backed by the current constitution of Ethiopia.
- While the Ethiopian government of Ethiopia maintained order for 8 months over Tigray, it was pressured by TPLF’s Western allies to abandon Tigray since it was under a constant accusation of all kinds of crimes. The official reason given by the government of Ethiopia was “ceasefire” which the TPLF simply ignored and continued to fight.
- The TPLF decided, for reasons that still needs to be investigated, and has most likely a foreign origin, decided to unseat a government that was installed legitimately through an election that has been praised, even by Western media, as the fairest in Ethiopian history.
- While the TPLF apparently succeed to reach deep into Ethiopia, within a couple of hundred kilometers from the capital, it quickly began to unravel, and is now in the throes of complete annihilation.
- During this entire southern campaign of the TPLF, the Western media and governments decided not to report on the slaughter of Amhara and Afar people. But it instead continued to harp, as De Waal has done in his piece, on the tragedies that happened in Tigray, ignoring the much greater destruction, rape, and killings that has happened on a vast scale in Amhara and Afar.
- The Western media and governments are continuing to work relentlessly, despite the apparent defeat of the TPLF, to destabilize and ultimately dismember Ethiopia. Ethiopians continue to be baffled and completely outraged by Western media and governments determination to see Ethiopia become a failed state. Many speculate that Egypt is behind this campaign to undermine the Ethiopian state because of the dispute over the Renaissance dam. Or, is it really that, as a poor nation, Ethiopia is an expandable pawn in the global war America is waging against its arch-rival China? It remains to be seen!
Mr. de Waal, as an “Africa scholar” is supposed to give us a serious analysis on these facts, not take sides blindly and become the megaphone for TPLF grievances, and worse, lies. It is a mark of good scholarship to put aside personal sympathies and biases to listen to voices that we have no empathy for to arrive at a balanced view. Alex de Waal has failed on all the characteristics of good scholarship. He, therefore, should never be consulted, and much less followed through, in his recommendations.
1 Massacres, rape, siege: Why Israel must stop its UAE ally aiding Ethiopia’s atrocities – Israel News – Haaretz.com
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