What lessons do Ethiopians draw from the TPLF initiated war?
Aklog Birara (Dr)
“They gave the land, and we took it. This is green gold.” Karuturi on land grab in Gambella
“The government is killing our people through starvation and hunger…We are dying here with our children. Government workers get their salary, but we are just waiting to for death. “An Annuak Elder to Human Rights Watch
“I decided to tell the pain I am going through to the public. Disclosure of defilement of a female is uncommon in Afar,” an Afar 16-year-old girl gangraped by members of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). https://fb.watch/alqvWcvmrA/
Imagine as we “celebrate” Ethiopia’s Christmas we each must reflect on the social and psychological pain and agony from which girls, married and unmarried woman and even a nun suffer because of rape. Authorities and victims confirm that in one location alone TPLF combatants raped and defiled 73 Amhara girls and women in front of a parent or a spouse at gun point. Their plights are especially gruesome and unimaginable. Informal reports indicate that girls and women commit suicide rather than live with the scars.
I urge you to open, watch the above video and listen to the agonizing voices of women who are in distress. You do not have to think if the degraded is your sister, mother, spouse or other. It makes no difference. The TPLF defiled the person’s humanity and degraded the dignity of the entire family. This planned and deliberate defilement degrades each and everyone of us. It degrades Ethiopia as a country too.
Government and societal neglect have consequences. Ethiopia has effectively normalized ethnicity-based massacres. Preliminary estimate puts the number of Amhara targeted and killed by the TPLF since November 2020 at 7, 012. These most recent targeted murders by the TPLF took place in the towns of Agamsa, Nefas Mewecha, Dessie, Kombolcha, Debre Tabor, Kemmisie and other towns in Northern Shoa, Wuchale, Wurgessa, Wegel Tena, Mai Kadra, all in the Amhara region. Do not forget that the Government of the United States had advised its citizens to leave Ethiopia. It assumed that the TPLF was on the verge or a come-back to power.
I find it hard to reconcile American Government commitment to diversity, justice, the rule of law, democracy, peace, and stability on the one hand; and its affinity to the TPLF on the other.
The Tigray war alone informs us that the cost of not unraveling ethnic federalism head on is huge. The least we can do is to learn from the enormous costs to human life, to human livelihoods, the national economy; and more importantly the lasting psychological pains that ordinary people—youth, girls, women, the elderly will experience over the coming years.
For those with patience and perseverance, I urge you to access the following videos and media clips. You can then decide if TPLF engineered ethnic federalism that other ethnic elites embrace supports the Ethiopian state; and is worth the price the society is paying.
My conclusion is ethnic federalism is not worth the price. It is neither participatory nor democratic at all. Ethiopian political elites do not have anyone else to blame for the current human atrocities and economic destruction but themselves. Therefore, political, and social elites would ignore the core institutional and structural problems that persist at their country’s and their own peril.
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