By Aklog Birara (Dr)
“When a leader is able to remain clear-headed and composed under stressful, emergency circumstances, that leader is demonstrating emotional intelligence…enabling a sense of objectivity, emotional balance and resilience, self-regulation, and an ability to consider others, in part by staying humble and service minded.”
Evelyn Orr and Signe Spencer, Leadership in a Crisis (2020)
The acid test of government or business leadership in times of crisis is to “demonstrate emotional intelligence”—a sense of personal integrity, fairness, balance and wisdom, capability to govern or regulate one’s emotions, attitudes and behaviors, readiness and willingness to show empathy for the needs, pains and anguish of ordinary people, aptitude to acknowledge and correct mistakes regardless of potential political costs, capacity to consider different inputs from others, a sense of humility, and always dedication to serve the greater and common good.
Of these personal attributes in political leadership, fairness, equitable treatment of people, inclusivity, empathy, justice and wisdom are at the top in my assessments.
At this present, Ethiopian society is in desperate need of such government leadership at all levels—whether local, regional or federal. Nothing in Ethiopia is more dangerous than the tribalization of religion. Conflict based on religion puts under the fabric of Ethiopian society.
The sole purpose of this commentary is to remind the international community, especially the UN, AU, the government of the United States as well as 115 embassies and diplomatic missions in Addis Ababa to express alarm and immediate cessation of Ethiopian state and government sponsored large-scale persecutions, maiming, killings, incarcerations targeting EOTC leaders, members and youth.
An associated intent is to urge Prime Minister Aby to go back to what he promised tens of millions at the start of his premiership.
In this regard, I commend the Syrian Orthodox Church and its principled support to the EOTC and Synod. I also appreciate the fact that the Russian Orthodox Church is currently hosting a delegation from the EOTC.
In particular, I urge the government of the United States that has been vocal on human atrocities in Tigray to join millions of Ethiopians in Ethiopia, Australia, Europe, the USA and other parts of the globe and call on the government of Ethiopia to stop its state of siege, refrain from gross interference in the affairs of the EOTC, release those arrested immediately and unconditionally, stop persecution and harassments and persecutions and respect the rule of law.
Genesis of the problem
After more than three decades of TPLF/OLF and Oromo Prosperity Party dominated ethnic cleansing, genocide, and massive displacement of Amhara–now more than one million–two years of catastrophic war that cost the lives of an estimated 600,000 to one million innocent Ethiopian lives and the destructions of billions of dollars of investments, the deliberate tribalization (ethnicization) of Ethiopian society has now morphed into religion.
It distresses me that Prime Minister Abiy has not yet told the international community whether or not there will be accountability for crimes of war, crimes against humanity and crimes of genocide. Savagery on the EOTC compounds the lack of accountability in governance.
It baffles me that Ethiopia continues to move from one crisis to another under the watch of Prime Minister Abiy. The current potentially explosive crisis emanates from the decision by extremist tribalist and ethno-nationalist forces to split the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and its Synod (EOTC). This august and iconic institution now faces an existential threat.
Why is PM Abiy consistently inconsistent?
I recall vividly when Prime Minister Abiy on his visit to the US reminded members of the EOTC in exile to recognize the imperative that the EOTC represents Ethiopia as a distinct Country. Church leaders listened attentively to this call of one EOTC and one Synod and returned to their Motherland and their Church.
Abiy’s Messianic-like leadership for the reunification of the EOTC left an indelible landmark that motivated me and millions of others to trust that he was genuinely committed to one EOTC, indivisible Ethiopia, and equally important, to the prospect of identity as individual human beings and citizens as Ethiopians.
On a personal note, I was raised and guided by Orthodox Christians who had fond memories of ancestral Christendom that go back thousands of years. Enamored by the multiplicity of its practices including celebrations and fasting, I did not grow up obsessed with religion but identifies with it to this day. I admired the Church because it taught me to read and write. I appreciated its unparalleled services as a museum of cultures, history, knowledge, ethics, annual celebrations, institutions etc. Ethiopia’s identity is interwoven with the EOTC.
The current assault targeting the EOTC is a continuation of a deep and cancerous ailment in Ethiopian tribal politics. Unabetted ethnic cleansing, episodes of genocide, displacements of millions of innocent civilians and disempowerment based on ethnic and now fait affiliation are normalized. There is incontestable evidence that Amhara in Oromia are singled out for extermination.
On February 3, 2023, The Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention wrote a factual analysis under the title “Oromia Special Forces and Oromia Liberation Army (OLA) are the Genocide Machines in Oromia and other Regions of Ethiopia.” It confirmed what some of us have been documenting for years, but the federal government, the international media and the West had ignored. The focus was singularly on Tigray.
The Western media continues to ignore these killings. “The massacres are ongoing even as the country begins implementation of the 2 November 2022 Agreement for Lasting Peace through a Permanent Cessation of Hostilities signed between the Ethiopian government and the TPLF, an agreement that aims to bring an end to a horrific two-year war in the Tigray region of the country. The ongoing violence in the Oromia region threatens to ignite a new civil war in the country.”
Here is the crux of the issue. ‘’In the beginning of the conflict, the Oromia Special Forces (OSF) under the command of the Oromia regional government merely stood aside while the Oromo Liberation Army’s (OLA) military actions against the Amhara people. Recently the two factions have created a formal strategic alliance in order, it appears, to forcibly displace all Amhara from the Oromia region through massacres, the burning of their homes, the commission of sexualized violence, and other well-known forms of terrorization associated with genocide. According to organizations closely monitoring the killings and other human rights abuses against the Amhara, at least 1,566 Amhara people were killed and 239 were injured in the Oromia region in 2022.”
The terrorization and continuous slaughter of Amhara in Oromia, Beni Shangul Gumuz, Addis Ababa and environs is being carried out deliberately, systematically, and collaboratively among Oromo armed and political groups, including the Oromo Prosperity Party, partners in crime, TPLF, as well as members of the FDRE headed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. This is the reason why Prime Minister Abiy refuses to condemn terrorist acts against Amhara.
This is also the lead reason why Abiy treats the Oromo led rebel and splinter Orthodox group at par with the EOTC. Why did the Prime Minister ignore or neglect to recall what he had said only four years ago, namely, the EOTC is an Ethiopian icon synonymous with “country,” meaning Ethiopia. You need to ask the question of Who changed? Is it the EOTC or Abiy? Why? What is Abiy’s ultimate agenda?
I contend that Ethiopia faces a gaping hole in nurturing and strengthening Ethiopian national institutions. This leads me to my conclusions. Ethiopia is in dire need of Ethiopian national institutions that might mitigate the total collapse of this ancient country with promise.
When I ask myself what core national institutions feature prominently and serve Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people as a whole today, the answer is arguably only three: a) EOTC b) Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) and c) Ethiopian Airlines (EAL).
Why do I feel that Prime Minister Abiy is now a liability?
- Splitting and ethicizing the EOTC deprives Ethiopia and 60 million EOTC members of a core national institution or an icon that serves as a social glue or a unifier of diverse peoples.
- Unaddressed quickly, boldly, and constructively by Ethiopian government leaders, especially the Prime Minister, the dismantling and tribalizing of the EOTC will most likely have a ripple effect on the ENDF.
- The democratic West led by the United States that is preoccupied with the Russia-Ukraine war and emerging China must heed to the voices and pleas of millions of Ethiopians who demand for the immediate cessation of Ethiopian government interference in the affairs of the EOTC, demand the release of prisoners and an end of religious persecution, maiming, killing and large scale incarceration of EOTC leaders and members, urge for the restoration of the rule of law and accountability for crimes.
- The African Union and Commission cannot afford to keep numb concerning the urgent plight of millions of Ethiopians, the state of siege and command post in and around Addis Ababa as Ethiopia hosts the AU summit this week. At minimum, member delegations have a moral obligation to express their concerns directly to Prime Minister Abiy.
- The international community, especially the Biden Administration has an obligation to express its disapproval of curtailment by the Abiy Ahmed government of freedom of speech, freedom of religion and closure of social media.
- I commend Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonen for his principled and firm stand in support of the EOTC. I urge other members of the cabinet to speak up and stand firmly with the EOTC.
- I urge the Amhara Prosperity Party to differentiate and distance itself from the Oromo Prosperity Party led by Shimelis Abdissa and Company.
Long Live the EOTC!!
One Church and One Synod!!
Long Live Indivisible Ethiopia!!
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The pm is toast. He has lost the political center, his credibility is in the gutters, and his humanity is under investigation. It is my opinion that It is obvious to most people in Ethiopia that there is something questionable, something uncomfortable, and something that puts everyone at unease when he says anything.
By associating with extreme fringes, the inevitable has now happened. How a Nobel peace prize laureate with so much political capital and with so much good will and well wishes of hundreds of millions both in Ethiopia and abroad turned around and tarnished his image, reputation and legacy down to the gutters is mind boggling.
words do not seem to wake up abiy ahmed ali and his oromo cohorts, or your cries to the international community (what is that?). You can save yourself only through struggle like Darwin said..struggle…
Thanks for your article, Dr. Aklog, and great, you are now very explicit as to who is behind these problems plaguing Ethiopia including that of the EOTC. As such, while I enjoyed reading your otherwise very well-written articles in the past, I was continually mystified as to why you didn’t want to explicitly state, or identify, who has been behind the problems plaguing Ethiopia, or who has been orchestrating these things and all – namely, the Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, himself.
It is true we have the TPLF, the OLF and other bit players who have been and continue to terrorize Ethiopians in this or that capacity, but the Prime Minister never, ever really stood against these entities, rather he has been and continues to work to magnify the problems they all create. He is against them only when they become a threat to his power – otherwise, they are free to cause as much chaos, mayhem, pain and misery as they like, and he would do everything in his power to give them covers.
Anyway, after your article was published, there had been some kind of resolution to the EOTC problem, but it is a false resolution. Abiy would only be using it to buy time and come up with another distractive things targeting the EOTC and so on. In short, there would never be peace and unity in Ethiopia as long as Abiy remains in power, he is a man totally intent to destroy Ethiopia – simply because he is mad!
Every moment is New.
Everyday is New.
Every year is New.
So, is a man or a woman, ” New moment to moment”; we forgive & forget the past and accept him/her as New.
The Abiy at cabinet-meeting, was renewed with his own actions and words of forgiveness today Feb 15, 2023. (as stated below)
“According to reports, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed himself led the three Bishops to the patriarchate and met with his Holiness Abune Mathias in Amist Kilo. He was accompanied by other senior-level government officials and elders who were undertaking mediation efforts within the framework of the decision from the Holy synod.”
“And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,”
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.
Let us all turn the page, start anew!
One may think, he fooled you and gained something of “value” from you.
Conspired against you belittled you, burn your house, harmed your loved-ones, left you with little.
It is all an “illusion”, everyone comes here alone and with nothing & naked, and at the end of the “illusion” we call “life” ends, everyone leaves at time of “death”, taking nothing of his/her collection (values), tribalism, languages, flags, villages… all he/she once FIRMLY & FALSELY “IDENTIFIED” with.
Finds self alone once more.
Worldly “life” is a schooling to grow “spiritually” to the next higher-level-of- AWARENESS. Nothing more.
He is still an asset, sir! He should be criticized but not discarded. Who else among the opposition is up to the task?
Ittu Aba Farda,
This is extremes stupidity, something like giving one who attempted to murder you more and more chance to complete the job because you are afraid there might be others who might do the same to you! We need to come up with some thing better than singing this stupid song over and over that there is no one in the opposition who is prepared to lead the country some such.
That aside, you are an Abiy apologist, you continually come up with crazy and confused ideas, you cannot improve a mad man by criticizing him, he would need a very serious medical treatment, something they that he is highly unlikely to seek. Untreated, he would go back to his obsession, trying to destroy Ethiopia over and over again.
Ethiopians must Dump Abiy, Save Ethiopia!
Watch your language, sir! Nothing productive will come out of hurling insults at individuals you don’t even know. Grow up!!!
Tell me which part of what I have written do you think is not grownup? What is more stupid than giving a man who has been doing the same things over and over again to give yet more chance to do the same thing?
Despite that, you have been advocating exactly that one way or another in your drivels here and else where. Therefore, the label you being Abiy’s apologist, it is more than fitting and justified.
As to Abiy, he is now up to another trick now, re: EOTC, it took two days for the phony solution to fall apart and there would be more death and distractions. . .
So, Ittu, start using your brain, start thinking, have a heart for countless many of our people that this man has been orchestrating or have been instrumental otherwise in their murders and more, okay?
First, you need to grow up then we can have sensible pow wow.
Dr. Aklog, ‘Ethiopian Diaspora Intellectuals [EDI]’ like you have cast your votes to serve the White Supremacist West [WSW] for better pay & benefits than serving poor Ethiopia.
When Abiy took over, he invited all EDI to join his team to tackle Ethiopia’s age-old ills! Yet, you opted out! So, what are your whining and crocodile tears for Ethiopia all about?
Unlike the EDI, Abiy REFUSED to sell Ethiopia to Egypt & Egypt’s WSW Patrons. He also repulsed the Proxy Wars they unleashed via their Dogs: TPLF, OLF/OLA/IFLO*…
Ethiopia is a country of 86 ethnics. If the EOTC is unbiased and all-inclusive, why has the Synod been almost all Amara since the dawn of Orthodox Christianity in Ethiopia?
Abba Sawiros is Amara and his group said: ≈ “To stop the Orthodox Exodus to other churches [that conduct services in ethnic languages], we have appointed multi-lingual bishops. We ask the Synod to accept them…” What makes that Divisive & EOTC Coup?
If you don’t want to be part of the solution, what is in it for you for fuelling the problem? Has any EDI done anything for Ethiopia that is remotely comparable to Abiy? Compare:
1). Abiy kept TPLF-bankrupted Ethiopia afloat with $1 billion from UAE’s Prince MBZ.
2). Despite COVID, WSW-Sponsored TPLF-OLA-IFLO Proxy Wars, WSW’s embargo and sanctions, WSW’s aid cancellation [UN/EU/WB/IMF], Birr devaluation, drought…:
i). Abiy’s regime feeds 10 million students twice a day; Addis feeds over 45, 000 needy residents twice a day; the Sheger & Public-Private Bakeries give free bread to the needy;
ii). Over 700, 000 refugees have been flown home from Savage Arabia, Africa, etc.
iii). Ethiopia is self-sufficient in wheat and has started exporting tons of surplus wheat;
iv). Robust Ethio Defence and Law Enforcement Agencies have been built from scratch;
v).Electrification/industrialization/mechanization/communication/etc. are almost on track
vi). Addis Ababa’s open-air public toilets [rivers, empty lots, etc.] have become parks;
vii). Over 15 million Amaras live in Oromia and those in Wollega are just a tiny fraction.
*IFLO: Islamic Front for Liberation of Oromia – defunct but embedded within OLF/OLA