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Amhara defiance: Cause, possible way out 

Amhara Defiance _ Ethiopian News
Image source : SM

BY KIBOUR SELAM 

So long as one claims to be a proponent of pan-Africanism or Pan-Africana-ism (to include the whole black people around the world), he/she should recognize the unpatrolled role of the gallant people of Amhara that had paid a huge sacrifice defending Ethiopia from then imperialists and colonialists well over one-and-a-quarter of a century years ago. The reward the people received is “death, displacement and cultural and religious persecution.”

Earlier in April 2022, a team of Researchers of Gondar University unearthed a gloomy reality buried in the dust for decades when they exposed TPLF’s gruesome crime in Wolkayit and Tsegde. The thugs killed and tortured about 59,000 Amharas between 1983-1990. Torching and killing quarters that were discovered have reportedly resembled that of Nazi’s prisons. It was a deliberate ethnic cleansing.  

TPLF committed all kinds of crimes against Amhara people before it was wiped out from power following years of civil unrest. The killing, displacement, ethnic cleansing and other crimes could have ended in post TPLF Ethiopia.  

The atrocities only changed hands. Shene (OLA) group committed the crimes, and the government failed to provide security to the Amhara people. Displacement in the name of development continued. Minorities in Oromia and Benishangul Gumuz are not only killed, but also denied dignified funerals as well. 

The Human Rights Watch on August, 31, 2022 reported, “Three residents involved in burying victims believed that over 400 people had been killed in at least 6 villages of West Oromia. Similar killings in western Oromia in Tole and Sene are well documented. In addition, an armed group killed ethnic Amharas in Hawa Gelan district of Kellem Wollega. 

My 8-month-old was shot dead, the attackers shot my other child; the bullet came out around her neck…I prayed to Allah to save her life. The villagers’ calls to government forces had been left unheard, a small contingent came after the armed group left the place, and was in vain, recounted HRW on the atrocities. 

On November 2, 2020 Amnesty reported the killing of Amhara minorities in Oromia region at Gawa Qanqa village in Guliso District of Western Wollega, at least 54 were killed by Shene armed group.

Recently, government forces are being implicated for killing innocent civilians in Debre Elias Orthodox Tewahedo monetary in East Gojjam. 

There is not any special advantage the Amhara secures so far as some propagandists are fanning for decades, brewing hatred against the people, and the people never want any. What the Amharas amassed, if any, is by the sweat of their eyebrow.  But we dearly need our equality, economic rights and the right to life to be respected. 

Why do I say so?

The collapse of the imperial Ethiopia brought Mengistu Hailemariam to power in 1978. What did he do afterwards? He killed educated Amharas and members of the aristocrats, and deliberately impoverished the remaining ones while a few others fled the country.  To draw parallelism, Ethiopian professor emeritus Baharu Zewde in his book the Modern History of Ethiopia documented the fact that the Italian aggressor massacred [Amhara] scholars in deliberate actions during the five year occupation, Mengistu’s killing helped “enemies” to weaken the Amharas in general. 

Destroying Mengistu’s regime, Meles Zenawi and his TPLF did the rest of the homework—no matter who instructed all to do so.

Meles literally cleanse Amharas from their ancestral lands. He took some of the land and integrated it with his Tigray. He gave some to the Oromos. He created inorganic state, Benishangul Gumuz, taking large swaths of land from Amhara and he helped the mushrooming of minorities within Amhara to develop anti-Amhara sentiment within the so-called Amhara state itself. The Oromos and other people to the South of Ethiopia even quitted using the Ge’ez script considering that it is attached to the Amharas. They borrowed Latin from a far-off region. The Amharas till now are shedding their blood for the territorial integrity of Ethiopia, for its flag and history.  

TPLF and its ignorant elites tried even to miniscule the victory of Adwa. They fanned a propaganda painting Emperor Menilik II as a killer. But as most descendants of Amhara both at home and abroad started to glorify the annual marking of the Victory of Adwa, the Tigrian elites went to create a different narrative. They tried to give a picture that the emperor’s role in the defeat of the Italian aggressor is little. They delve into looking for an exaggerated role of “heros” presumably from Tigray.   

Today, many ethnic elites including the Oromos talk about their bigger role in the battle of Adwa and try to downplay the Amhara and the Emperor’s role. Narrow minded elites perceive only black and white. They can’t see the forces behind culture and language.

Whether one likes it or not, without the Amharas pivotal role, the rest of the people would not have even known that they had been at risk of losing their ancestral land, culture and language. Why the Oromos living in Kenya didn’t defend themselves from colonialists? Harar, to the east of Ethiopia, was under Ottoman ruling, so why didn’t they defend themselves? Let alone people south and east of Ethiopia, the Tigris to the north were unable to defend themselves and the Italians seized most of their lands until 1898. It was Emperor Menilik and the Amhara forces who played a central role in the fight. Yes, Afar, Showan Oromos, Harar Oromos under the leadership of Ras Mekonnen, and the likes took part in. All were rallied under the commander-in-chief—Emperor Menilik II who was a son of the showan nobility. 

The people of Amhara never hesitated to defend their country; they were literally the defense wing of the people in general. A simple example to this claim could be, the war songs which were chanted at times that Ethiopia’s sovereignty got at risk, say, during the Ethiopia-Eritrea war and recently during the northern war to mobilize the people were Amharic war songs.

The entire freedom-loving people and black people in general must investigate the extent of burden on the shoulders of Amhara. The OLF works with Ethiopia’s historic enemies. TPLF and other internal so-called liberation forces work against the interest of Ethiopia. These forces first and foremost put Amharas as their principal enemies. Why? Because these people always see the big picture, Ethiopia. Most, if not all, Amharas intermingle with communities in Ethiopia, see themselves as Ethiopians rather than Amharas. Despite the killing, displacement, torture, ethnic-slur, economic deprivation and discrimination, the people even recently defended Ethiopia, falling alongside “the Ethiopian Defense Force”.

Today, the Oromo authorities are killing Amhara people who are living in Wollega, and the so-called Sheger city, around Addis Ababa, have made many Amharas homeless after their homes were bulldozed in broad daylight. The mayor of the city, speaking to the national TV, said, “We’ve turned them into legally poor people.”

Roads to and from Amhara state are usually risky for travelers. It has become a trend in Ethiopia to learn news of tens of peoples abducted on a daily basis, mostly Amharas on the road to Gojjam. 

Now that the people were persecuted, evicted, impoverished, massacred, cleansed, discriminated against for 30 years…, how can one argue that the Amhara Fano lacks cause in its armed struggle? Whether one likes it or not, the Fano militants have taken life in defense of themselves, their children and motherland. 

The government may want to quell the resistance. Yes, it has all the means to do so. But, what would it achieve after that? Would it rally the 50 million Amharas behind any national cause? No way. For quite some time, the government may stand out as being victorious if it attempts to engage in an all-out war. I don’t think this also is easily attained. We know what price has been paid during the two-year war against TPLF. Don’t forget the 50 million people who subscribed to the prime minister’s call to defend the motherland when TPLF stabbed the national force from behind. 

The way out

First and foremost, admit there is a genuine cause the Fano is raising and it is shared among the 50 million Amharas residing at home and abroad. Then, make a dialogue. Foreign powers grants and credits become relevant development drivers given there is a stable country. Now the pillar of the country is under the risk of collapse, I hope the meaning is clear. Both sides know that there are forces who want to fuel the fire. Hence, nip it in the bud. Go to a roundtable. This round table was offered to (formerly terrorist) TPLF, a thug with no real cause but wanted impunity. The so-called Shene (still designated by law as terrorist) was given the opportunity.  So, why not to the one that is a protector of Ethiopia? The ruling elites must display wisdom here.

Editor’s note : Views in the article do not necessarily reflect the views of borkena.com  

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