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HomeOpinionOpen letter to Mike Hammer: Wolkait Spells Doom Unless Handled with Care

Open letter to Mike Hammer: Wolkait Spells Doom Unless Handled with Care

Mike Hammer _ Wolkait
Mike Hammer ( Source : Meridiano)

Yonas Biru, PhD 

Whenever I think of PM Abiy, I think of a man suffering from what author Antony Robert calls the Niagara  Syndrome. Think of a man swimming in a raging Niagara River closer to the falls. Imagine him passing  every rock that stands in his way and focusing on the next rock, but not seeing far enough ahead of  himself to avoid the falls. The Welkait issue is beyond the Prime Minister’s pay grade.  

To top it off, Amhara and Tigray politicians are irredeemably polarized, locking horns in a zero-sum game. Sadly, neither has seasoned or rational political class. The solution will not come from them. They  have not resolved anything of substance through dialogue. They kill each other until they are tired and  take a break to start over again. The PM cannot be a mediator. His MO is to side with one and kill the  other and buy time to switch sides and go after his former partners. Only UFO freshly landing on earth  may think Ethiopian solution for Ethiopian problem. Ethiopia is in an entropic spiral towards collapse.  Experts in entropic science tell us the only way to break the spiraling chaos is by introducing powerful external energy.  

If sensibly engaged, external parties such as the US and EU can play a pivotal role to break the impasse.  The international community requires to be judicious without being judicial and impartial without being  neutral. This is where the challenge lies. The fact that you are the third US Envoy since April 21, 2021,  attests to the challenge. 

Ethiopia is an extraordinarily opaque nation. The political theater in Ethiopia can be synthesized and  encapsulated in one pregnant line. It is a theater of the absurd where the protagonists and the  antagonists are 16th century primitive tribalists (Oromo and Tigray) and 17th century monks elbowing  each other to claim the 21st century. The international community can play a decisive role if and only if  it figures out what tickles their 16th and 17th century fancies and manages to tactfully sidestep them with  without trampling on them. 

If you fail to understand what makes Amhara’s, Oromo’s and Tigray’s soul sing and their spirit dance,  you will end up being a part of the problem. You will ultimately abandon your efforts and leave behind  a country in worse shape than you started with.  

The solution for Ethiopia comes by changing the rules of the game not by trying to find a common  ground between them. In the current game, there is no middle ground. If by some miracle you tease  out a common ground, they will change it into a battle ground in a New York second.  

All the atrocities you have heard about in present day Ethiopia are not driven by political conflict in the  traditional sense. They are energized by impulse-driven primitive instincts that are par for the course  forpeople stuck in the 16th and 17th century frame of mind. 

My focus in this article is the Tigray-Amhara conflict, namely Wolkait and Raya issues. During the 27  years of TPLF rule, Tigray was treated as the Alpha tribe. They took whatever they wanted to take from  whomever they wanted to take it from. Tigray is listed in the Constitution first. The listing is not  alphabetical, or by the size of the tribal population. Nor is it by land mass.  

Although Tigray represented only 6 percent of the nation’s demography, it was given proportionally  more voting rights than it is concomitant with its population size. For example, it has 38 seats in the national Parliament, 40 percent more than the Somali nation that has a greater population than Tigray.  

To strengthen its economic base, the TPLF annexed swaths of fertile lands from the Amhara tribal land.  This has been acknowledged by the Hon. Ras Mengesha Seyoum, a Tigrayan and former governor of  Tigray under Emperor Haile Selassie. Ras Mengesha is 96 years old, as long as he remembers since his  childhood, the land was under Amhara. Dr. Aregawi Berhe, the founding chairman of the TPLF is also  on the record acknowledging TPLF annexed Wolkait area to open a gate for weapon smuggling through  Sudan. There are many TPLF founding members confirming this.  

On its part, TPLF claims the lands in contention were originally part of Tigray before Amhara annexed it  God knows when. They present a 16th century map to make their case. If one follows their logic,  California and Texas will belong to Mexico. Part of France will be claimed by Germany. Portugal and  Spain would not exist in today’s world. To complicate matters, Amharas also have old maps from the  centuries past proving their claim. Regardless of who has a legitimate claim to the contested lands, the  problem is legal ownership. But both Amhara and Tigray want a political or military solution. 

During the 27 TPLF era, TPLF engineered demographic change in the contested lands to have a Tigrayan  majority. Though both people of Amhara and Tigray lived in the two lands, since 1991, schools stopped teaching in Amharic. All children regardless of their mother tongue were taught in Tigrigna as part of  TPLF’s demographic engineering. As part of its demographic engineering, the TPLF settled its former  fighters in tens of thousands and continued to do so over the 27 years of occupation.  

Over the last five years, there was demographic reengineering that turned the tide in favor of Amhara.  Tigrayans were pushed out and Amharas were brought in. TPLF now wants to reestablish the  demographic composition to its November 2020 status quo and have a referendum once the 2020  status quo is established. This is TPLF’s preferred political solution when the problem is inherently a  legal one. 

In the US, Federalism has two sovereign powers—the national and state governments – thereby  balancing the influence of both. In Ethiopia sovereign power is exclusively with the tribal homelands. In  that sense the annexation of the Amhara lands by force during TPLF’s reign was like an invasion of  sovereign Amhara land by an external invader. Assume the federal government handed Wolkait to  Tigray by force or referendum using the new demographic composition. Assume also Tigray decided to secede from Ethiopia, invoking Article 39 and became a new country – The Republic of Tigray. What will  stop Tigray from expelling all Amhara from the Republic of Tigray? 

Even if Tigray stays within Ethiopian proper, nothing stops Tigray (a fully sovereign land) from expelling  Amharas once they establish legal ownership of Wolkait. Is this not what Oromos are doing to Amhara  currently? Is it not what TPLF did to Amharas in the 1990s? It is one thing if Tigray expels Amharas from  its legally established tribal land. It is another for Tigray to takeover Amhara’s land and turn around and  kick them out. The reverse can also be true if the rightful owner of the land is Tigray. The victims can be  Tigrayans. 

As long as the current Constitution is the governing document of the country, the first critical issue that  must be to address who does the contested lands belong to? Once that is sorted out, there are many  second-best options. I say second best because a first best solution does not exist within the current  constitution.  

Let us say legal experts determine the land originally belonged to Amhara. Then there are many options.  If Tigrayans are majority, the land can be a special administrative zone within Amhara. If the reverse is  true, If the land originally belonged to Tigray, then how to accommodate the Amhara within Tigray  proper can be determined.  

We know there are many places including in Oromo tribal land where Amhara are the largest group and  Oromos are minority. Yet the Oromo are administering the region even where they are a demographic  minority because they claim the land belongs to them. Why is a different model used when it comes to  Amhara? Determine legal ownership first and worry about how to address resettling IDPs. 

It is the mother of all hypocrisy for the PM whose tribal land is expelling over a million Amhara and now  force Amhara’s to facilitate the return of displaced Tigrayans and restore their full rights including their  right to govern themselves. Why does the PM enforce the same rule in the Oromo tribal land. The recent  statement that the Minister of Defense (a Tigrayan) made about returning Tigrayans to Amhara land is  puzzling for various reasons. First why would the Minister of Defense get involved in political conflicts?  Second, where was he when Amharas were evicted out of the Oromo tribal land in hundreds of  thousands. Where was he when Amharas were evicted out of Wolkait in the first place? 

I want to stress I am not against Tigrayans returning to their homes regardless of who is the legitimate  owner of the land. My point is the blatant difference in the way Amhara is treated.  

Please keep in mind that in 1991, the Constitution was created by OLF and TPLF to weaken the Amhara.  Amhara is the only region that lost land in all four corners – some going to Afar, some to Tigray, a large  part to Benishangul and an even larger parcel to Oromo. No other region has lost on all four corners.  For example, Tigray gained two large swaths of fertile lands from Amhara and gave desert lands to Afar.

In Benishangul-Gumuz region, according to the government’s own record, Amhara is the second largest  population. But the name of the region mentions the first and third mostly populated tribes, omitting  Amhara. The free-range constitutional right is not lost on leaders of the so called “nations and  nationalities.” For example, Article 2 of the Benishangul-Gumuz Constitution promulgates the region’s  rightful owners are ethnic Berta, Gumuz, Shenasha, Mao and Komo.  

Amhara the second most populous tribe is recognized but does not have citizenship rights. At best,  Amharas, the supposed none-native residents, are treated as unwelcome settlers. At worst, they are  regarded as invaders and subjected to forced displacement and atrocious mass murders. 

The international community need to understand there is a systemic constitutional and political agenda  to weaken and completely disenfranchise the Amhara. Let us look at the population issue. In the 1984  population census, Oromo accounted for 29.1% of Ethiopia’s population followed by Amhara at 28.3%.  The difference in population was 332,414 in favor of Oromo. 

In the 1994 census, the first under TPLF, Oromo accounted for 35% of the population. The  corresponding figure for Amhara was 25.9%. The population difference between the two skyrocketed  to 4,898,228 in favor of Oromo.  

In the 2007 census that was conducted under TPLF for the second time, the Oromo population  accounted for 36.7% of the population. Amhara was 23.3%. The population difference increased  astronomically to 9,944,415. Between 1984 and 2007, Oromos population jumped from 29.1% to 36.7%.  In contrast, Amhara’s population shrank from 28.3 to 23.3%.  

The data shows between 1994 and 2007, the population growth for the Oromo was 2.9%. Amhara was  the lowest of all tribal homelands at 1.7%. If these growth rates are used to project Oromos and  Amhara’s the population difference between 2007 and 2023 will be far more than 10 million. This is not  population demography. It is stupid tribal politics perpetrated by stupid people. 

Any international intervention that does not take the systemic Amhara disenfranchisement by Oromo  and Tigray tribal overlords will only make the situation worse not better. The worst the international  community can do is trying to solve a land ownership problem using political, military, and/or diplomatic  tools.

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

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Any Ethiopian who got his or her Ethiopian Geography education prior to 1991 knows ver well that there is no such place called Western Tigray. No such place ever existed!!!

    TPLF’s own original founder Dr Aregawi Berhe, has openly and honorably admitted that Welkait area was forcefully and illegally annexed by TPLF to open what they called a Western Corridor for their utopian land called Greater Tigray.

    Most people of Ethiopian origin, do not think or believe it is that confusing or unclear for Mike Hammer to thoroughly understand the convoluted and corrupted history behind Wolkait. Disenfranchisement and marginalization of the Amhara people should not, must not and will not be accepted any longer. The past fifty years, and especially the past 30 plus years have resulted in the current status that has befallen Ethiopia. The status quo is no more the norm. Both the tplf and the abiy regime are failures.

    All the micro and macro indicators of abiy’s era point to one and only one thing- an inevitable state collapse.
    The person responsible for all this saga and predicament is abiy the terrible and his pp party, and his mentors and stepfather and stepmother, the tplf.

    What a cursed premiership this guy is having. Bloodshed, chaos, murder, displacement and wars for over five consecutive years!!!!! The Italian occupation was about five years. This abiy dude and his oromumma pp just surpassed that!!!

    • Many of your Amhara fanno supporters are bragging as if Israel sent them rockets, drones, and multiple artillery pieces along with Israeli special units. Is that true? PP are running due to your propaganda, but in real battle, you can’t stand in front of them. የዉሸት ቋቶች :የዉሸት ቋቶች:የዉሸት ቋቶች: ፋኖዎች ቋቋቲያሞች!!

      Humera, Raya, and Welkayit belong to Tigray, and they have never been part of the Amhara region.
      –Humera, Raya, and Welkayit belong to Tigray, and they have never been part of the Amhara region.
      –Humera, Raya, and Welkayit belong to Tigray, and they have never been part of the Amhara region.

      Fannos are killers, robbers, kidnappers, and brutal murderers of children, nuns, priests, and elderly people. Fannos burned churches and plundered sacred religious heritage.

      –Terrorists like Andargachew Tsege, Abebe Belew, Geletaw Zeleke, Messay Mekonen, Dereje Habtewolde (Dere News), Habtamu Ayalew, and all those who share their genocidal views are genociders and should be brought to justice.

      Tell us your thoughts via Alemu.Kejela09 @ gmail.com but don’t try to engage in a cyber attack or any kind of malicious act as the emails are used to store financial information and sensitive classified documents exchanged with TPLF.

    • Any Ethiopian who got his or her Ethiopian Geography education prior to 1991 knows ver well that there is no such place called Amhara Region No such place ever existed!!!

      Humera, Raya, and Welkayit belong to Tigray, and they have never been part of the Amhara region.
      –Humera, Raya, and Welkayit belong to Tigray, and they have never been part of the Amhara region.
      –Humera, Raya, and Welkayit belong to Tigray, and they have never been part of the Amhara region.

  2. The US and other western countries are aware that the Amhara are anti-western and under the Eritrean dictator. In their old narrative, they claim to have defeated European colonialism and contributed to the anti-colonial and freedom struggle of Africans. Their anti-western values and modernization were opposed by Tigray whose late leader Meles Zenawi described as anti-development and modernization. The Amharas are rejected in the west and do not have any friends there. Now even they are fighting and destabilizing the country and the region. The Eritrean trained and armed Amhara forces are defeating the Oromo dominated government army and threatening Oromia. Oromia is the gift of Tigray to the Oromo people. The two regional powers powers Eritrea and Tigray are confronting each other.

  3. The influence of Communist China in Ethiopia started on the watch of meles zenawis TPLF regime and now has now continued on uninterrupted on abiy’s PROSPERITY PARTY AND OROMU MA REGIME!!!! The influence of Communist China in Ethiopia started on the watch of meles zenawis TPLF regime and now has now continued on uninterrupted on abiy’s PROSPERITY PARTY AND OROMU MA REGIME!!!!

    “The US and other western countries are aware that the Amhara are anti-western and under the Eritrean dictator. In their old narrative, they claim to have defeated European colonialism and contributed to the anti-colonial and freedom struggle of Africans.”

    NOPE DIGITAL CADRE!!!!

    The US and West knows very well who is who. The TPLF and OLF have both been supported by anti Western elements since their inception. In fact, tplf in particular has been the direct beneficiary of Communist China’s support since the 1970s.

    In fact, it is due to this clandestine support and ideology that tplf received since the 1970s from Communist China that the INFLUENCE OF COMMUNIST CHINA TOOK FOOTHOLD FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ETHIOPIAN HISTORY DURING THE ERA OF MELES ZENAWI AND HAS CONTINUED NOW UNDER ABIY AHMED!!!!

    During the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie, the technocratic Ethiopian officials were all trained in the US , France and Uk primarily. Examples include PM Aklilu Habtewold, graduate of the Sorbonne, PM Endalkachew Mekonen, graduate of the Oxford University, PM Michael Imru ( graduate of the Oxford University), Foreign Minister Minase Haile ( graduate of Columbia University and the University of Wisconsin), Dr Haile Giorgis Workeneh, former Mayor of Addis Ababa, ( graduate of Carnegie Mellon, PhD in engineering, also a US registered engineer) and on and on.

  4. The TPLF is master of Orwellian doublespeak that creates new realities out of thin air. Like creating “Greater Tigray” by inventing “Western Tigray”. Western Tigray was invented by the TPLF and systematically “cleansed” of its Amhara population to become part of Greater Tigray during its 27 years of ethnocracy. The people who remember it as part of the Amhara region are still alive in their majority. We are not here speaking about something that took place hundreds of years ago. It is current history. It is not unusual that epochal population push happens caused by famine, drought, natural disasters, etc… but it is definitely the first time in Ethiopia’s history that a systematic ethnic cleansing is taking place in all the major ethnic enclaves or Killils, programmed and implemented by the central government.
    Secondly, who will be in and who will be out in this real or imagined referendum? The people of the so-called Western Tigray/ Wolkait, etc…? The Amhara and the Tigrean People? All Ethiopians? What would be the criteria for voting? What for qualifying to vote? Etc… Naturally, this is the most difficult thing to decide because it is, to begin with, an impossible proposition. The bold-faced Woyane regime never accepted the Algiers decision to return Badme to Eritrea. It is clear that it will not accept any outcome of the referendum that does not favor it, whether decided by an “impossible referendum” or through intervention of “impartial mediators”. As long as the logic of ethnocracy is upheld in governing Ethiopia, there will be no peaceful solution to the problem. As I want to re-iterate again, the solution to this problem can only take place by changing the very Killil system and replacing it with a more rational federal subdivision.

  5. I have said this before about previous articles posted by the dear countryman Obbo Yonas. I always read them with undivided attention. I urge and encourage him to keep writing in matters that affects that gem of the colored that produced us all. In reading this article I found one paragraph to be too attention grabbing. Here it is:
    ‘In the 2007 census that was conducted under TPLF for the second time, the Oromo population accounted for 36.7% of the population. Amhara was 23.3%. The population difference increased astronomically to 9,944,415. Between 1984 and 2007, Oromos population jumped from 29.1% to 36.7%. In contrast, Amhara’s population shrank from 28.3 to 23.3%.’
    This is very graphic and troublesome to me. What does it mean? What is the real message? I have arrived at two different conclusions.
    1) The books on the final census counts in 2007 were cooked to belittle(undercount) one over the others and use that for budget appropriation.
    2) The 2nd conclusion I have arrived is that in years prior to 2007 there was a massive genocide carried out in Amhara region numbering into millions that was hidden from the rest of the world. This one is extremely troublesome to me and can be extremely inflammatory to the gullible. I urge my dear author Obbo Yonas to revisit this paragraph and shed some light on it.

    Other than that I always enjoy reading the author’s articles even though I may find some views in them that I chose to differ with. Blessings to you and your family!!!

  6. Subject: “Open letter to Mike Hammer: Wolkait Spells Doom Unless Handled with Care” borkena.com”,August 22, 2023

    Humble Commentary, 23 Aug 2023
    The honourable Dr,Yonas Biru said it all.
    QUOTE: ” I love the following paragraph : Amhara and Tigray politicians are irredeemably polarized, locking horns in a zero-sum game. Sadly, neither has seasoned or rational political class. The solution will not come from them. They have not resolved anything of substance through dialogue. They kill each other until they are tired and take a break to start over again. The PM cannot be a mediator. His MO is to side with one and kill the other and buy time to switch sides and go after his former partners. Only UFO freshly landing on earth may think Ethiopian solution for Ethiopian problem. Ethiopia is in an entropic spiral towards collapse. Experts in entropic science tell us the only way to break the spiraling chaos is by introducing powerful external energy. ” UNQUOTE

    ha). NOW! Let me be very NAIVE and disagree with the last sentence above.
    hu). I believe — perhaps naively — that Ethiopia had — and can ——-solve its own problem in its own way.
    he). I honestly believe the humble assertion.
    ha) Let the admirable rich history of Ethiopia itself be the witness
    hie). Imagine the SPIRITS of Hale Sellasie, Menelik, Tedros, Yohanness ———– to keep Ethiopia intact with its DIGNITY.
    hi) NO less than ANY country around the Globe.
    ho). YES, than any other country around the Globe and call me NAIVE.

    They say that miniscule knowledge is dangerous, a reflection of ME. YES, ME .
    Never the less, I still believe in the DIGNITY and vast HISTORY of the ANCIENT PROUD INDEPENDENT BLACK AFRICAN COUNTRY AROUND THE GLOBE — ETHIOPIA.
    I STOP HERE .

  7. Your H.E. Ambassador Mike Hammer,

    I personally thank you so much for what you have been able to accomplish as an envoy to my region of origin for this greatest nation in the history of mankind, USA. Thanks to your skillful and persistent endeavor, the war that gobbled up the lives of millions, the northern part of that country has finally started to see the days of peace since the middle the 1970’s. What makes you stand out among your predecessors is you have conferred to all sides includes individuals and groups here among us who claim to represent that country. I can also say this without an iota of hesitance. When the names of candidates for this year’s or next year’s Nobel Peace Prize winners comes out, it will not mean anything to me or hold water for me if your name is not on the list. Those beleaguered people are very lucky to have skillful diplomats like you.

    Now once you helped doused the flames of bloodshed in one part of that unfortunate country, there is another one that erupted in another region sending tens of thousands of young people to their inevitable deaths. You see, there are a lot of smart aleck and hideous but stupid individuals among us here and over there who are skilled in inflaming calm situations and starting stupid wars. We have had a ton of them. They have been starting destructive wars since 1974 exploiting the ills that have been bedeviling that country. I would like you to send words of advice to those who are in the business of inflaming the situations over there that can lead to stupid and destructive conflicts.

    May The Almighty Our Creator Grace You With His Blessed Guidance so the besieged people of that country would henceforth live in peace and harmony. Blessings to you and your family and May God Continue To Bless The United States of America!!!

    • Ittu Aba Farda!

      You must be a different Ittu Aba Farda, your tone used to be a little different lol
      I hope all is well, how come you Thank Mike Hammer? a member of a team who continuously pushed a supported TPLF to fight the central government which is now a cause for millions of people to die and displaced. You must also know that when one flame is gone, the west will start another one immediately, that’s how they keep us where we are. Africa ion general. Most of the war in Ethiopia is fully or partially sponsored by the west until we get it why. I think you get it, I am all about straight up dictatorship for Ethiopia right now. A government that does whatever is needed without any foreign approval. I want Dr Abiy to continue destroying these bad guys out of my country without discriminating a region. Get them where they at, the west obviously will respect a government who destroy local mafias.

      • Sir or madam,

        Please stay dealing with the affairs of your own country. Just like us you must have your hands full with pressing issues in your country already. We should avoid trying to snoop into the affairs outside our countries.

      • You said, “” I want Dr. Abiy to continue destroying these bad guys out of my country without discriminating against a region.” You are a genocider.

        Peace be upon all Ethiopians living in all regions, regardless of their ethnic or religious background.

  8. Humera, Raya, and Welkayit belong to Amhara, and they have never been part of the Tigray region. Ask Dr Aregawi Berhe, Ras mengesha Seyoum and so on….

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