Home Opinion Cannibalism and Necropolitics — The ugly face of genocide in Ethiopia’s Oromia...

Cannibalism and Necropolitics — The ugly face of genocide in Ethiopia’s Oromia region against the Amhara people

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Cannibalism _ Amhara Genocide
Image source : Change.org

By Girma Berhanu

INTRODUCTION

This paper is partly driven by a recent case of hate speech uttered by an Oromo student at Harvard University.[i] In this speech, the student encouraged the Oromo youth to ’eat up the Amhara flesh and drink their blood’ and then implied that such actions are energizing and, indeed, can even make you smarter.[ii]

An Ethiopian citizen who survived a mass-killing of ethnic Amharas recalls -although her family was killed- how she heard the killers chanting ‘Amhara flesh is salty and their blood makes you strong and smart’.[iii] Indeed, there seems to be a widespread belief among such extremists that these acts of cannibalism will open their eyes to a veiled wisdom and foresight.

The second driving force behind this paper is the recent genocide and ethnic cleansing committed against the Amhara people in Gimbi, Oromia region. In a rare case of global awareness, the news has been reported by major international media outlets, such as the BBC, Reuters and Aljazeera. Gunmen attacked Ethiopia’s Western Oromia region on Saturday, killing at least 320 civilians, although local sources estimate the death toll at 1500. Survivors characterised the massacre as one of the deadliest in recent years, no small feat considering the constant stream of massacres taking place in the region.[iv] Furthermore, regional authorities are widely suspected of turning a blind eye to the killings.[v]

As such, Ethiopia is embroiled in a horrific civil war bearing the hallmarks of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and displacement. Underneath this grisly reality lies an appalling cycle of hate-politics that has been deployed against the Amhara people and is currently permeating the social, political, and cultural facets of the country.

The international community has condemned this latest massive massacre of babies that are just weeks old, of children who can barely walk, of girls and pregnant women, of elderly people and impoverished farmers who toil the land to make a living.  None of these people are combatants. [vi] In the past four years only, several thousands of mainly Amhara residents regardless of religion have been murdered brutalized, and tens of thousands displaced and made homeless.

The hands of the Oromo extremists are not limited to the Oromia region. They extend to the Benishangul and Gumuz Region, where more than 25% of the population is made of Amharas. In fact, the so called “Oromo Liberation Army” and Gumuz Liberation Movement” are working in tandem[vii]. Since the Gumuz have become the region and the only authority, they have abused their power and have been used for this position ever since ethnic federalism is the tool of governance. Usually, the TPLF and now the OLF are using them as their henchmen to attack, terrorise and to cleanse Amharas from that region which is a typical ancestral and historical Amhara land.

The language based federal system is responsible for the Amhara’s suffering and persecution because Amharas in various regional states are now considered migrants and settlers in their own country. The government of Ethiopia has failed in its duty to protect the safety of its citizens. Ethiopia’s language-based federal system is partly the cause for the killings: According to the redrawn regional maps by the TPLF, “Ethnic Amharas residing outside [of] the Amhara region are being labelled as outsiders and are exposed to repeated attacks”.  The government seems to be rather too busy with justifying and socializing citizens that they be comfort­able with discrimination in different aspects, displacement and ethnic cleansing than appropriately correcting the prevailing gaps that are the sources and catalysts of the rife animosity and recurrently erupting conflict.

Unfortunately, there are no political leaders or strong organizations that protect the human rights of this ethnic group. The Amhara civil, political, economic, cultural, and social rights are violated through various means. Though all the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the legally binding International Covenants of Human Rights are considered essential, there are certain types of violations we tend to consider as more serious. Civil rights, which include the right to life, safety, and equality before the law are considered by many to be “first-generation” rights. Political rights, which include the right to a fair trial and the right to vote, also fall under this category. The Amhara living in the regional states of Benishangul Gumuz and Oromia are denied all of those rights and liberties. The mother of ethnic-focused mass killings or genocidal root causes in parts of present-day Ethiopia are the deliberately TPLF conscripted and TPLF hatched manifesto that have resulted in covert ethnic attacks, systemic dysfunction, and community atrocities. In 1994, these problems were purposefully subscribed and labelled by TPLF and its cohorts as the so called “Ethiopian Constitution”.

How much are the local security forces implicated in the latest genocidal crime? Whoever committed the atrocities, the central government and the regional military-political and security leaders are anyhow responsible. The prime minister himself, for instance, cannot possibly be absolved or freed from the guilt of the consequences thereof.

The use of the governance structure to eliminate Amharas was one of the key strategies in the architecture of Amhara genocide. The Oromia regional state, Sidamo zone, Benshangul Gumuz regional state are good examples. Especially in Oromia region, the president of the region, Shimelis Abdissa, has clearly stated on many occasions in public and in conferences that the ultimate goal of the Oromos is to cripple Amharas and disenfranchise and eliminate them.[viii]

While all these atrocities are going on, they are not properly reported by the international media.  The reported numbers of deaths represent dry statistics, “human beings with the tears dried off,” that fail to spark emotion or feeling and thus fail to motivate action. The case of Amhara genocide is one case! Recognizing that we cannot rely only upon our moral feelings to motivate proper action against genocide, Solvic and Slovic[ix] (2004) argue that we must look to moral argument and international law[x]. The 1948 Genocide Convention was supposed to meet this need, but it has not been effective. It is time to examine this failure in light of the psychological deficiencies[xi] and design legal and institutional mechanisms that will enforce proper response to genocide and other forms of mass murder.

In Oromia region, militias have been terrorizing anyone who is not Oromo with the code-word ‘Neftegna’, or settler, and gruesome death awaits those who are singled out. The figures are staggering. Hundreds are killed in a sudden raid on villages, stabbed and disembowelled, teased and humiliated by their killers. Their gruesome exploits are captured on film, the benefits of the mobile phone era. The similarities with Rwanda are too glaring to ignore: the language in use, the killing patterns, even the crude weapons. The latest example is what happened last week in Gimbi district, western Oromia. At the time of writing this paper, dead bodies were still being counted and mass burial places are everywhere. The Guardian reported that People ‘killed like chickens’ as ethnic tensions continue in Africa’s second most populous country[xii]. What is happening now in Ethiopia has exact similarity with the ignored warning of the Rwandan genocide. A genocide is really happening right now in Ethiopia. People are crying out for help. The only thing they want is to live. They are crying out for justice not pretentious and Actorial rhetoric. But the government which is supposed to keep them safe is ’sponsoring this genocide’. Since PM Abiy Ahmed came to power, there is a widespread genocide and Amharas and other non-Oromo groups like Guraghes, Gamos and other peoples have become targets by the Oromo fanatics in the Oromia region. A few days ago, Medical doctors and nurses who protested against the genocide upon Amhara farmers in Ethiopia were beaten up by the police. It is not allowed to protest against all sorts of gross human rights violations upon the Amhara. When an Oromo singer or celebrity, Hachalu Hundessa, has been killed, the Oromo-based government declares national grief day; but when 1,500 people of the Amhara ethnicity have been slaughtered, the government has deliberately blocked the news about the massacre from being broadcast by government-controlled media houses (newspapers, radio, and television stations). Moreover, the government has refused the grieved Amhara from performing national memorial prayers[xiii].  Battering and torturing of protestors from universities is prevalent. Isn’t it clear that it is state sponsored genocide?

We are aware that successive conflicts in Africa, not least of all in Ethiopia, have led to a certain media saturation that often affects international human rights organizations. We therefore wish to alert you, in the strongest possible terms, that the crisis currently unfolding in Ethiopia can potentially become a devastating conflict with serious repercussions on the ground –where a genocide is being actively cultivated by politicians and media broadcasters–  as well as a knock-on effect across the region –with a potential mass displacement of population unlike anything seen before– and, we must insist, costly consequences for the European Union, a major bilateral partner which has twice had to endure, at considerable expense, the consequences of turmoil in the Horn of Africa: the case of Somali piracy and the exodus of Eritrean asylum seekers in the EU.

What is most devastating and depressing episode combined with the mass killings are that the act of ‘Cannibalism’, dismemberment of the victims’ bodies and necropolitics as reported by personal witnesses. This is the focus of my article.

NECROPOLITICS AND SLOW DEATH: THE PHYSICAL WEARING OUT AND THE DETERIORATION OF THE AMHARA PEOPLE

Necropolitics is the use of social and political power to dictate how some people may live and how some must die. According to Achille Mbembe, necropolitics is a theory of the walking dead, in which specific bodies are forced to remain in suspended states of being located somewhere between life and death.  The Amhara people are experiencing death, but also experiencing social or political death. An individual unable to set their own limitations due to social or political interference is then considered, by Mbembe, to not be truly alive, as they are no longer sovereign over their own body. The ability for a state or to subjugate populations so much so that they do not have the liberty of autonomy over their lives is an example of necropolitics. Necropolitics is relevant in the study of genocide. The decision we make in this scenario tells us a lot about whose lives we value and why. Necropolitics is the calculus behind who gets to live and who must die. In the current Ethiopia, the Amharas are to die! Mbembe describes necropolitics as “the capacity to define who matters and who does not, who is disposable and who is not.” In other words, necropolitics is a framework that illuminates how governments assign differential value to human life. The closer you are to dominant power, in the Ethiopian case OPDO/ Oromo forces, the more your life is worth. The further away you are from those axes of privilege wielded along ethnic lines, the less your life is worth under the logics of necropolitics — and the more precarious your existence becomes. Necropolitics is a useful framework in that it teaches us “how to recognize the deadly workings of power.”  It is also, it has to be said, a bleak one. In the face of such overwhelming violence, what can we do? Where do we turn? How can you survive a world that is predicated upon your death? Mere words will not suffice. As I observed, the Amharas are not only meant to perish, in the form of slow death but also disposable.

The habit of mass murder is deeply embedded into Oromo culture of warfare and social practice, according to some observers. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Oromo spread out to the Ethiopian highlands through sheer terror and unbridled violence. They brought a distinct culture of violence. Contemporary Ethiopians and European missionaries and soldiers were shocked by the group’s savage cruelty and bloodlust. One wonders why this tradition persisted! According to some observers[xiv], the long practice of Gadaa system, the limited presence of the state as well as the mobile nature of pastoralist livelihood have resulted in the militarization of the youth, and the expansion of the ‘gun culture’ in Borena[xv]. The diffusion of such weapons feeds cycles of insecurity, undermines livelihood strategies, and imperils development opportunities and intensified cattle-rustling practices. Fear for life and physical well-being, as well as fear to freely exercise religious, cultural, political and economic rights and entitlements fundamentally arise out of this environment – where small arms are relatively easy to procure, and controls are extremely lax.

Although the Gada system is hailed by Oromo intellectuals[xvi] as an indigenous democratic socio-political system of the Oromo and that Gada Democracy power transfers peacefully through fair, free and periodic election, and that it has real significance in intercommunity peacebuilding and sustaining social solidarity and integration and that the Gada system are much closer to the hearts and minds of the people and are more helpful than the modern system of governance, particularly for maintaining sustainable peace, tranquillity, and prosperity[xvii], other scholars say that the Oromo system of religion and social and political organization was a cult of death and destruction. The Gada system and the violence built in and around it ignited indiscriminate slaughter and even deeply subsumed genocidal tendencies[xviii]. Ritual mutilation of the dead and wounded used to underscore masculinity was a part of the habitual practices. Taking genitalia of the enemy as trophy provided concrete evidence of the bravery of the Oromo warrior in battle. For now, I am referring to the armed groups who performed the recent horrifying massacres in the Tole locality of Wollega, Western Ethiopia. I am not generalising. And I have no intention to stigmatise the whole ethnic group.

Nobody has been brought to justice over any of these mass killings of Amharas -or ‘Neftegnas’ in the parlance of their killers. In short, the life of an Amhara citizen in Ethiopia is considered worthless in Abiy’s regime. The Oromo extremists are destroying Ethiopia and cementing the Apartheid system in the name of Oromummaa. This vision is to build a sovereign Republic of Oromia, even if such a state would only be materialized after years of civil war, turmoil, and destruction. The Amharas are the major victims in their futile exercise, but they are blamed for all things. Victim Playing occurs when the victim of a crime or any wrongful act is held entirely or partially at fault for the harm that befell them. The Amhara people can’t bear the brunt of it all. ’Shouting while shooting’ has now taken centre stage even inside the highest national politics. Full-fledged victim blaming is running in the open.

The Oromo and the Tigrayan Nationalists have actively adopted this Dangerous Politics of Playing the Victim at the expense of the Amhara lives. In this victimhood play, the Amhara are triply victimized. 1) The Amhara are the ones who are the primary victims, targets of atrocity crimes (first-tier victimhood); 2) The ethno-nationalists claim that they, rather than the Amhara, are the victims (ጩኸቴን ቀሙኝ) (second-tier victimhood); and 3) the international community is misin­formed and manipulated by the ethno-nationalists, the majority of whom are so-called the ‘educated dia­spora’. The recent reports by the Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch and the press release by the State Department are testimonies that how much malice, distortions and victim playing are at work both at international and national levels.  The Amhara have increasingly become deliberately “The forgotten people” whose blood is thin? The global media and public opinion are indifferent to the humanitarian crisis and genocide facing the Amhara population persecuted by the ethno-nationalist armed groups, including some different sections and units of the security apparatus within regions where the Amhara reside. This is the third-tier victimhood: the statistics of mass murder or genocide, no matter how large the numbers, including mass graves fail to convey the true meaning of those atrocities, psychic numbing both by the interna­tional community and the Ethiopian government.

DEHUMANISATION AND ‘CANNIBALISM’: MAKING SENSE OF THE SENSELESS

David Livingstone Smith’s book ‘Less Than Human’: The Psychology of Cruelty offers a revelatory look at why we dehumanize each other, with stunning examples from world history as well as today’s headlines.

“Brute.”

“Cockroach.”

“Lice.”

“Vermin.”

“Dog.”

“Beast.”

“Neftegna”.

“Sefari”.

“Qomatta”.

These and other monikers are constantly in use to refer to other humans—for political, religious, ethnic, or sexist reasons. Human beings have a tendency to regard non-members of their own kind as less than human. This tendency has made atrocities like the Holocaust, the genocide in Rwanda, and the slave trade possible, and yet we still find it in phenomena such as xenophobia, homophobia, military propaganda, and racism. Less Than Human draws on a rich mix of history, psychology, biology, anthropology and philosophy to document the pervasiveness of dehumanization, describe its forms, and explain why we so often resort to it. David Livingstone Smith posits that this behavior is rooted in human nature but gives us hope in also stating that biological traits are malleable, showing us that change is possible. Less Than Human is a chilling indictment of our nature and is as timely as it is relevant.

I still cannot find answer in the book or elsewhere why the dehumanization propaganda is so successful in breaking our natural inhibition to deliberately harm others? How by repeatedly calling others as vicious and vile animals can make us delude our minds into thinking about them as subhuman? What exactly is natural inhibition against inflicting pain to others, anyway? How far does social constructivism play a role in creating this? What can be done to strengthen it? We all know that it’s very difficult, psychologically, to kill another human being up close and in cold blood, or to inflict atrocities on them. So, when it does happen, it can be helpful to understand what it is that allows human beings to overcome the very deep and natural inhibitions they have against treating other people in our case the Amhara people like game animals or vermin or dangerous predators. What we see in the recent mass atrocity in Western Ethiopia is a form of dehumanization at its worst. The role that dehumanization played in what is rightfully considered the single most destructive event in human history: the Second World War. More than seventy million people died in the war, most of them civilians. Millions died in combat. Many were burned alive by incendiary bombs and, in the end, nuclear weapons. Millions more were victims of systematic genocide. Dehumanization made much of this carnage possible[xix].

The U.N. office on genocide prevention has condemned targeted attacks against civilians based on their ethnicity or religion, including hate speech and incitement to violence, in Ethiopia. It has warned that ethnic violence “has reached an alarming level over the past two years,” and the new rhetoric sets a “dangerous trajectory that heightens the risk of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleans­ing and crimes against humanity.

Why, over the past century, have good people repeatedly ignored mass murder and genocide? In a compellingly insightful article entitled “If I look at the mass I will never act”: Psychic numbing and genocide, Slovic (2010)[xx] wrote that most people are caring and will exert great effort to rescue individual victims whose needy plight comes to their attention. These same good people, however, often become numbly indifferent to the plight of individuals who are “one of many” in a much greater problem. Of course, every episode of mass murder is unique and raises unique obstacles to intervention. But the repetitiveness of such atrocities, ignored by powerful people and nations, and by the general public as we witnessed in the case of the latest Amhara plight in the Tole locality, calls for explanations that may reflect some fundamental deficiency in our humanity — a deficiency that, once identified, might possibly be overcome.

To make things worse, there is the discourse of cannibalism. Survivors described hearing these acts in different contexts. They heard it from the armed groups themselves. Now, in a conflict over land and power, cannibalism as a crime of war seems to have entered the 21st century. No doubt, elements of both myth and magic both play a role in these accounts. In essence, rumours of cannibalism do much the same thing as the act itself: They terrify. That terror becomes its own form of psychological warfare—a tactic to consume the enemy’s power. In his illuminative text, Abbink (2008) —Cannibalism” in Southern Ethiopia. An Exploratory Case Study of Me’en Discourse[xxi]— describes that cannibalism- the consumption of human body parts by other humans- continues to be a challenge for anthropological explanation. In various parts of the world and over hundreds of years this phenomenon has been reported- whether as a collective representation or as an actual practice. It never fails to evoke intense feelings of revulsion, outrage, and fear. As important as the question of its occurrence is that of the embeddedness of its representations in the discourses of social exclusion and demonization of others. The Amharas are excluded and demonized by the Oromo tribalists, and it should not surprise us that the news that come out of the killing fields in Oromia region are actual practices on the body of the Amhara people i.e., necropolitics manifested in flesh and blood consumption of human body! Previously this practice was also reported in Benishangul and Gumuz Region. Captured members of the Gumuz Liberation Movement confessed to ethnic cleansing, murder, and cannibalism.[xxii]

Surviving victims have provided eyewitness accounts to the international and local media that local government authorities, police, militia, Special Forces, and others have participated in mass killings and the eviction of Amhara. Targeted killings and massive displacements of Amhara are therefore systemic and structural will be exploited by foreign interests including Egyptian and Sudanese conspirators[xxiii]. For the first time in recent years, Western media—the BBC, the Guardian, NBC, PBS News Hour, the New York Times, the Washington Post, AP, AFP, NPR, and other media — has given ample coverage to ethnic genocide of Amhara in Wollega, Oromia, Ethiopia, and adjacent areas. The UN has called for an investigation. Whether in the North or in the South or anything in between, evidence shows that Amhara are encircled by murderous actors targeting helpless Amhara. Amhara life is cheapened.  Aklog Birara wrote that if this latest Rwanda-like genocide in Wollega, Oromia does not send shivers and wake us up to act; then I do not know what else will do the trick. These terrorist groups are still hatching evil plot to dismantle the country and drag the Amhara people into suffering and eventually destroy them. That is necropolitics and slow death—the physical wearing out and the deterioration of the Amhara people

The following points can be crucial in determining the way forward to save the cheapened life of the poor Amharas. C.S. Friedman wrote the following[xxiv]: Nothing like the Holocaust had ever happened before. No one envisioned the kind of genocidal evil that was slowly gathering steam. The Jews had survived 2000 years by sheer tenacity, surviving persecutions and recovering, over and over again, and the Nazis tapped into their inherent Jewish optimism that dark times would eventually pass, if you just survived them. Jews were survivors.

Many believed the way to survive was to cause as little offense as possible. Cooperate, don’t cause trouble for the Nazis, and they won’t get angrier and hurt you more. This is actually what is happening in Ethiopia i.e., for the Amharas to survive is to cause as little offence as possible. Extermination is not a rational venture and appeasement will not soften its stand because it wasn’t rational to begin with. In fact, it will prove to itself that it can do it with no resistance and consequences[xxv]. The discourse among some Amhara intellectuals is ‘keep quiet; it is just temporary. Things will be better’. Pathetic I would say[xxvi]. Optimism is good and bad. Optimism that leads to inaction can lead to the kind of holocaust. Human brain has a survival blackbox called amygdala. Amygdale activates fight-or-flight response without any rationalization, but eternal optimism can suppress fight-or-flight action to underestimate the danger to be eaten away by a predictor. Amygdale tells you to jump whether it is a snake or a rope. Overriding this instinct to appear brave, rational, cool but it can lead to a snake bite. In the Ethiopian case, Amharas are being annihilated, vanished or cease to exist by the barbaric forces hutched in the Oromia and Gumuz regions while by the Tigrayans in their own Amhara region. We have not heard a word of sympathy from elders or so-called Aba Geda so far. The killings are tacitly approved by the local elders and a segment of the Oromo population.

CONCLUSION

The three decades-long crimes against the Amhara are referenced in the UN Genocide Convention and the ICC Rome Statute articles- Articles 6, 7, and 8. I. Genocidal Acts (Article 6 of the Rome Statute); II. Crimes Against Humanity (Article 7 of the Rome Statute). III. War Crimes (Article 8 of the Rome Statute). However, nothing appears to change rather intensified killing mechanism is in place. What can we do?

My last words are that genocide is an irrational venture and rational people do not know how to deal with. It can only be stopped by irrational groups.  Abandon your optimism in the goodness of human nature and do something about it. There is no a single case of genocide without a government action or inaction. The West could have saved a good number of Jews before the defeat of Nazis in 1945 but nothing was done.

Genocide, mass murder, massacres. The words themselves are chilling, evoking images of the slaughter of countless innocents. What dark impulses lurk in our minds that even today can justify the eradication of thousands and even millions of unarmed human beings caught in the crossfire of political, cultural, or ethnic hostilities? This question lies at the heart of Why Not Kill Them All? Cowritten by historical sociologist Daniel Chirot and psychologist Clark McCauley, the book goes beyond exploring the motives that have provided the psychological underpinnings for genocidal killings. It offers a historical and comparative context that adds up to a causal taxonomy of genocidal events. Why Not Kill Them All? makes clear that there are no simple solutions, but that progress is most likely to be made through a combination of international pressures, new institutions and laws, and education. If genocide is to become a grisly relic of the past, we must fully comprehend the complex history of violent conflict and the struggle between hatred and tolerance that is waged in the human heart[xxvii]. I read the book but it did not help me grasp adequately the possible reasons or mechanism behind that level of cruelty against civilians, opening the abdomen of a pregnant woman, killing an ‘embryo, a fetus, and a baby’, and toddlers in front of their parents, burning alive a whole family, ‘practicing cannibalism’ etc.

It was 1944 at Auschwitz death camp, and Jewish prisoner Murray was about to witness an act of such extreme cruelty it would haunt him forever. As the baby flew upwards, the Nazi sneered, “If you can’t walk, you will fly”. He then aimed his gun, pulled the trigger, and shot the flailing infant dead. When the mother immediately fainted, she too was shot in the head.[xxviii]

The above example is to show the reader that even worse and more barbaric atrocity crimes are being committed in the Oromia region which I have no energy to detail all here!

Professor Girma Berhanu teaches at the Department of Education and Special Education
University of Gothenburg, Sweden.


[i] https://fb.watch/dVrVrJ3hq6/

[ii] https://fb.watch/dVrVrJ3hq6/

[iii] https://fb.watch/dVsyQDYRzC/

[iv] https://www.huffpost.com/entry/ethiopia-ethnic-attack_n_62b0129fe4b0c77098b0572f https://wwnews.cryptomatters.net/ethiopia-at-least-200-civilians-mostly-amharas-killed-in-saturday-attack-say-reports-and-officials/;
https://thetimesnews.in/world/deadliest-assault-say-witnesses-as-over-200-die-in-ethnic-killing-in-ethiopia-world-information/
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ethiopia-attack-ethnic-amhara-killed/

[v] “Let All Human Beings Listen to this”: A resident of Tole said “I swear in the name of Allah” and added that “the administrator of the Tole locality or village Mr. Nigatu Ummeta, said he had organized and undertaken massacre of Amhara civilians on the instruction of officials in the upper echelons of the power hierarchy of the regional administration (of the Oromo Regional state)”. The administrator of the Tole Mr. Negatu Ummeta (an ethnic Oromo) and the head of the Militia office of Tole village Mr. Kidane Merwa (an ethnic Oromo) have publicly revealed the truth about the genocide four days after they have been imprisoned by the Federal Ethiopian army. According to Mr. Negatu Ummeta, Mr. Batcha, the administrator of the Gimbi district and the head of the Peace and Security office of the same district called him by phone and instructed him to carry out genocide against the Amara inhabitants of the Tole village. Mr. Negatu Ummeta said that Mr. Batcha and the head of the Peace & Security office of Gimbi district told him that “our army (i.e. the Oromo Liberation Army or OLA otherwise dubbed OLF Shene by the incumbent regime) has an operation which it would carry out on Saturday (the 18th of June 2022) and they (these two officials of Gimbi district) have instructed me to accord the army (of the Oromo Liberation Front) the necessary support and cooperation”. According to Mr. Negatu Ummeta, Mr. Batcha and the head of the Security Office of Gimbi district told him that the Oromo Liberation Army would enter the Tole village on Thursday the 16th of June 2022. Further these two officials of the Gimbi district instructed Mr. Negatu Ummeta, Mr. Kidane Merwa and Sergeant Assefa to remove the local police and militia members from the Tole village on Thursday the 16th of June 2022……. (The report has been compiled and written by Mrs. Genet Asmamaw, a journalist. Translation of the compiled text from Amharic into English by Assefa Negash, M.D.)

[vi] Assessing Accountability of Genocide of Amhara in Oromia, Ethiopia. Aklog Birara (Dr) “People ‘killed like chickens’ as ethnic tensions continue in Africa’s second most populous country”: PBS News Hour

[vii] https://mereja.com/amharic/v2/441935?fbclid=IwAR0VqQ3ZQjUyiQegSEKr8tUUGUl6X9WzcUwZ_CdsV0gUDlgbEtL2ZwMskeA

[viii] https://ethiopoint.com/the-banality-of-evil-how-tplf-has-evolved-into-a-nefarious-and-villainous-death-machine/

[ix] Slovic, S., & Slovic, P. (2004). Numbers and nerves: Toward an affective apprehension of environmental risk. Whole Terrain, 13, 14-18.

[x] https://ethiopoint.com/the-banality-of-evil-how-tplf-has-evolved-into-a-nefarious-and-villainous-death-machine/

[xi] http://journal.sjdm.org/7303a/jdm7303a.htm

[xii] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jun/19/ethiopia-more-than-200-amhara-people-killed-in-attack-blamed-on-rebels?fbclid=IwAR1ZvSN5M55FAQy2pPD3onhS7YEIumkLk_6qoFlilM-r_064YoILYTEJbG4&fs=e&s=cl

[xiii] What is mind boggling is the fact that the incumbent regime led by Abiy Ahmed has suppressed any public discussion about the genocide that targeted Amara civilians. The chairman of the parliament has denied a honorable member of parliament from putting on the agenda of the parliament the genocide that claimed the lives of more than 1500 hundreds of innocent Amara civilians. What is even more disturbing is the deeply insensitive attitude of prime minister Abiy who was engaged in the diversionary tactic of tree planting while thousands of innocent Amaras including pregnant women were disemboweled in a gruesome manner. A three days old Amara baby was among the victims of the genocidal killings that targeted poor Amara civilians in the Tole locality of Wellega, in western Ethiopia.

[xiv] Gun, Culture & Violence: The Political Economy of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) among Pastoralist Communities of Borena Oromo, Ethiopia. LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing (2012); Donald Levine, “Greater Ethiopia: The Evolution of a Multiethnic Society”, 1974

[xv] Hallpike, C. R. (2011). On Primitive Society: And other Forbidden Topics. AuthorHouse.

[xvi] Jalata, A. (2012). Gadaa (Oromo democracy): an example of classical African Civilization. Journal of Pan-African Studies, 126.

[xvii] Galla, Candace (2012). “Sustaining generations of Indigenous voices: Reclaiming language and integrating multimedia technology”. {World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium Journal: 46–48; Oromo Indigenous Philosophy (Gadaa System): The Case of 74th Gujii Oromo Gadaa Power Transition (PDF)

[xviii] “እሬቻ ምንድን ነው? በ ቄስ ዶ/ር ቶሎሳ ጉዲና what is irreecha ?by pastor DR. Tolossa gudina irreechan  maal inni?” on YouTube. https://youtu.be/ttr5wbCDXiE

[xix] Smith, D. L. (2011). Less Than Human: the Psychology of Cruelty. NPR. NPR, March29.

[xx] Slovic, P. (2010). If I look at the mass I will never act: Psychic numbing and genocide. In Emotions and risky technologies (pp. 37-59). Springer, Dordrecht.

[xxi] Abbink, J. (2008). ” Cannibalism” in Southern Ethiopia. An Exploratory Case Study of Me’en Discourse. Anthropos, 3-13.

[xxii] https://www.reddit.com/r/Ethiopia/comments/jblksr/metekel_militia_members_confess_to_ethnic/

[xxiii] Assessing Accountability of Genocide of Amhara in Oromia, Ethiopia. Aklog Birara (Dr) “People ‘killed like chickens’ as ethnic tensions continue in Africa’s second most populous country”: PBS News Hour

[xxiv] Yared Haile-Meskel (2022-06-30) Personal communication.

[xxv] Chirot, D., & McCauley, C. (2010). Why not kill them all?. In Why Not Kill Them All?. Princeton University Press.

[xxvi] Cassam, Q. (2021). Extremism: A philosophical analysis. Routledge.

[xxvii] Chirot, D., & McCauley, C. (2010). Why not kill them all?. In Why Not Kill Them All?. Princeton University Press.

[xxviii] Nazis’ ‘longest-serving prisoner’ saw babies thrown in air and shot down in sick target practice in front of mothers | The Sun. Sophie Jane Evans 10:55, 26 Jul 2020
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5 COMMENTS

  1. I wish the dear countryman author of this article takes back this statement: ‘The habit of mass murder is deeply embedded into Oromo culture of warfare and social practice, according to some observers. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Oromo spread out to the Ethiopian highlands through sheer terror and unbridled violence.’ I wish he does because it is totally uncalled for. I also wish the author calls out by name the Harvard student who urged my Oromo people to feed on the fleshes of my dear Amhara sisters and brothers. What is his name and was that reported to Harvard University officials? If he really said that there is no reason justification because it is outside the periphery of freedom of expression. What is his name? He must be exposed.

  2. Usually those who make such repugnant suggestion to my Almighty Our Creator fearing Oromos to carry out savage killings are those who have been holding wholesale grudges for personal reasons. I hear things. Someone who is close to the speakeasies had a few times told me that these professors here in the USA, Europe and in Oceania had on one or a few occasions their romantic overture was snubbed by certain girls. Remember these haters of innocent human beings also have this strong case misogyny embedded in their demonic psyche. Hello dumbbell!!! She has said no. No is no! What language you don’t understand? That is her personal choice and is fiercely protected by all international laws!!! You should have known that as a college professor and student. No is no!!! Hello, hello! I gave up!!!

  3. Yes the ugly cruel truth must be told like it is. PM Abiy Ahemd and his Party that calls itself Prosperity Party has not only completed but surpassed all the definitions of the crime of genocide.

    In 1948, the United Nations Genocide Convention defined genocide as any of five “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such.” These five acts were: killing members of the group, causing them serious bodily or mental harm, imposing living conditions…

    Amhara people have been subjected to systematic Genocide, Human Rights abuses, Discrimination, danger, intimidation , humiliation, physical, economical and emotional suffering by the unelected, Cruel and Ruthless PM Abiy Ahmed who has no ability, qualification, credibility, good moral and character for the high position he holds.

    He has been committing calculated Genocide and crimes against Amhara People by using his position for deceiving and giving and hinting sinister messages and instigation between Amhara People Christians and Muslims against Oromos.

    He is always planning to inflict harm and massacre against Amhara People. The ruthless restless PM Abiy Ahmed and the Orommuma fascists next target are the followings innocent people that their Humans’ rights must be protected and Ethiopian Government must restrain itself from Terrorizing and Committing Crimes and Genocide against Amhara People!!

    If anything happens to those people Abiy is the responsible for the continuation of Abusing and Terrorizing Amhara People!!

    His Holy Abune Samuel
    His Holey Abune Petros
    Dr. Sintayehu Sime
    Dr. Wondosen Aseffa
    Deacon Berhanu Admas
    Deacon Tadesse Worku
    Ato Tesfaye Bihonegn

    Ethiopian Government controlled by Abiy Ahmed Stop Terrorizing Amhara People!!!!! Stay Out of Orthodox Christians Affairs, Religion and People and the faithful Holy Fathers!!! Keep your religion to yourself and leave the Orthodox Christians and Muslim Amharas!!!

  4. Well researched and sourced article. This is a starting point to peel back the layers and have many discussions. Also a good advice to Amharas who are in the fight against Oromuma hegemony. I also do wonder the if the barbarity and inhumanity of these Oromo killer squads (backed by the regional and federal governments) harkens within their genetic memories. I have read several articles and research papers that allude to this phenomenon. So perhaps the brutality and the lack of empathy even within a good number within the Oromo community may be related to their genetic memories. As the author has shown during the invasion in the 16th century by the Oromo Lubas the type of blind primordial violence they exhibited against the Ethiopian population was never before seen. Wonder if this remains within that genetic memory somewhere deep inside. Amharas and other Ethiopians should learn a big lesson and start to understand our history without sugar coating and omitting certain aspects for fear we may offend some. Rationality will not defeat irrationality as the author has indicated. Amharas and others this is a clarion call to you especially Fanos, you cannot reason with these forces. Until you meet them head on and stop waiting for them to come to you there will be no victory. FANOS TIME TO MEET THESE OROMO PARAMILITARIES HEAD TO HEAD, YOU CANNOT REASON WITH THEM. FANOS, AMHARA PEOPLE THERE IS NO GOVERNMENT TO PROTECT YOU, Amhara Prosperity Party IS YOUR ENEMY ALSO AND YOU KNOW THAT!!!

  5. Timely and important well articulated and balanced article,

    No more hiding heinous crimes in Ethiopia. Genocide Crime must be exposed. Those who care more and want to hide heinous Genocidal crimes are part of the crime. That is all to it. No honeymooning and np sugarcoating. Genocide operation is running in full-fledged against the innocent people of Amhara ethnicity.

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