Kaleb Tadesse (PhD)
When the Nobel committee presented Abiy with the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize, they knew that it was not because of his lightning first few months in office in 2018 when he released political prisoners, opened up the media, and made peace after 20 years of war between Eritrea and Ethiopia. It will be remembered that he was given the great prize based on their hope when they heard Abiy’s vision of “Medemer”, an Amharic word connoting strength through diversity, once sounded attractive for the Western they thought he would be able to bring peace to the country and the region of the Horn of Africa. Yet, in office, probably won’t be even one year. Abiy Ahmed has revealed leadership traits the Nobel committee might now wish it had known about. Now Americans as well as the Europeans are worried and confused. Abiy Ahmed became the man who changed the symbol of peace into a fear of war and made Ethiopia a hotbed of war. He went around every region like a firebomb and started raining firebombs, and he made Ethiopia a battlefield. He started raining fire bombs around every region like holy water. He abolished the dream of the Ethiopians and crushed the hopes of Western countries.
The dynamic of war in the Amhara region.
When it started, it was a fight in the Oromia region. Then he got into a power struggle with the leaders of the TPLF and ignited the bloody war that ended with more than a million dead and many displaced also left the nation’s economy battered, and devastated its infrastructure. Then less than ten months after the November 2022 signing of the Pretoria Agreement that ended the two-year-long Tigray crisis, the second-largest region—the Amhara region Abiy started a new war, and after three months of the war in the Amhara region, the state of emergency was declared. The federal government has also further exacerbated insecurity with mass arrests, extrajudicial killings, internet blockages, and disruptions to basic services being the order of the day. As the conflict escalates, several local and international actors (including the United States) have expressed concern and called for peace.
Prior to the conflict, there were areas of mutual support between the Federal government and Fano forces. In 2019, upon the formation of the Prosperity Party, Abiy Ahmed praised the Fano, along with Qerro, for their role in the political change. Fano forces also fought the Tigray War on the side of the Federal government. However, tensions between Fano and the federal government surged in April 2022 with the arrest of many Fano fighters. Uncertainties that arose from the Pretoria Agreement regarding contested territories such as Welkait and Raya further expanded the rift between the two actors. Furthermore, the decision to dissolve the unilateral disarmament of the Amhara Special Forces, as well as of the Fano ethnic Amhara self-defense force, served as a major turning point. The government’s decision was a ploy to weaken the Amhara movement. This action was met with fierce resistance from protestors who argued that the decision was untimely and would leave the region defenseless from potential attacks and unable to protect its borders from the TPLF in the North, the OLF/OLA to the South, as well as from Sudan in the west. So, a subsequent wave of street protests across the Amhara region was followed by the defection of more than 70% of Amhara regional Special Forces to the Fano armed groups.
The Drivers of the Conflict
The conflict in the Amhara region is driven by a combination of triggering factors and long-term grievances. Political discontent tracing back to 1991 served as a foundation for the ongoing conflict. In 1991 before introducing an ethnic-based constitution the TPLF annexed the Welkait territory to the Tigray region renaming it West Tigray. Amhara in the region were persecuted: they were not allowed to practice their culture; the use of the Amharic language was prohibited; place and personal Amharic names were changed; ethnic-based identity cards were enforced. In 2016, the Welkait Committee members had been arrested and tortured for petitioning for identity recognition of the Welkait Amhara population. The ethnic-based structure of its Constitution, and decades of failure to bring perpetrators of human rights violations to justice.
In May 1991, the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) introduced ethnic-based politics. Since then, ethnic politics has become the modus operandi in Ethiopia and served as a basis for the country’s existing federal arrangement and party politics. From the start, the EPRDF regime and other ethno-nationalist forces used derogatory labeling
and anti-Amhara narratives to mobilize other ethnic groups against the Amharas. Consequently, Amharas living outside of the Amhara region have long been subjected to pogrom-like attacks including harassment, massacres, and mass expulsions. The Pretoria agreement between the federal government and the Tigray region did not include other areas and actors who were also severely affected by the war. Another key factor contributing to present-day ongoing violence, beyond the reductionist identity politics the constitution enshrines, is the impunity for past massacres. To this day there has still been no adequate, let alone independent, investigation into abuses committed by security forces during the 2014 to 2018 protests, nor has anyone from the previous TPLF-led EPRDF regime been brought to trial. Similarly, the mass graves of killings committed by the TPLF against Amhara civilians in Welkait were recently uncovered, yet no actions have been taken by the Abiy government to hold those responsible within the TPLF accountable.
A living savior of the Amhara people
Fano is a historical term used in Ethiopian struggles against injustice and foreign invaders. It is mainly shown as a youth movement that has played a significant role in preserving the concept of Ethiopian nationhood. As a youth group, it has emerged from within the Amhara ethnic group and has features reminiscent of classical political, religious, or even social movements. A crucial movement tasked with saving the very existence of the Amhara population as well as the integrity of Ethiopia. In this, it differs from other similar youth movements in the country, whose aim is to dismember the Ethiopian state into ethnic components.
In light of such context, the federal government’s moves to disarm the Fano along with its plan to dissolve regional Special Forces acted as a triggering factor. The exclusion of Amhara voices from the recent peace processes including the Pretoria peace talks with the TPLF and the Tanzania peace talks with the Oromo Liberation Army, uncertainties regarding the fate of contested territories such as Welkait and Raya, and reluctance to disarm the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) led Tigray Defense Force also served as push factors.
The groups that constitute Fano say they were forced to pick up arms and defend the Amhara people from “decades of marginalization, subjugation, and genocide.” They are referring to the human rights violations committed against Amhara civilians residing outside of their region. Examples are the massacres that took place in Western Oromia and Benishangul-Gumuz, etc. Many Amhara civilians were killed and maimed, with hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes.
Currently, Fano is able to mobilize youth and equip itself with abundant armaments. Moreover, popular grievances precipitated from an intentional shortage of fertilizer supply and distribution in the Amhara region, travel restrictions imposed on Amhara travelers to Addis Ababa, and the demolition of more than a hundred thousand houses in Oromia’s Sheger city further fueled armed struggle against government forces.
As the current fight between Fano and Abiy Ahmed forces indicates, if there is an army that survives from the Amhara region, it is estimated that the next cup will be in the Somali region. Considering all these facts, if the Western governments could go back five years, they seem to prefer to take away the prize that they have given because their guess is wrong. For Ethiopians, the era of Abi’s rule has been a time of suffering. Today Ethiopians are living in misery, they have lost their chance and are forced to wait with dark hope. the opportunity has become their destiny. Abiy is an evil ruler who brought calamity to all Ethiopians.
Ethiopia after Abiy came to power
Since Abiy came to power the country has gone down the hill. It is not known which one to take and which one to leave. Tigray’s mother’s heart is broken: Amhara’s mother is moaning. Afar’s father is suffering too much like tears in the sky. The Somali father’s energy jumped due to the amount of grief. Abiy is a king of war, a person who gives blood to his devil and he is always happy when people suffer and he is sad when people are happy. At this time Ethiopia is facing another great suffering, and the sound of wailing and crying echoes in all four directions of the country.
To tell the truth, what did Ethiopia gain since Abiy Ahmed came to power? What did the people of Ethiopia get from this person? And the legacy of Abiy Ahmed, if it is possible to talk honestly. The coming of this person to the political arena of Ethiopia is a blessing or a curse in terms of the economy, politics, social issues, national honor, and pride in general, which Ethiopia got from Abiy Ahmed. Let’s call the international community that allowing him to stay in power for one more day causes more chaos in the country as well as in East Africa. Right now 31 million Ethiopians need urgent food aid, according to a recent report. 5 million Ethiopians have been displaced from their homes. They remained as internal refugees.
In terms of internal displacement in the world, Ethiopia took first place during the regime of Abiy Ahmed. It is during Abiy’s regime that Ethiopia lost millions of its children more than in the last 100-year- wars in the country. During the rule of Abiy’s regime, one dollar currency exchange has doubled in five years. 56 Birr has started to be exchanged legally, it is 110 Birr in the black market. Abiy’s regime’s system brought inflation, continued erosion of disposable income, and a slide back to poverty . During Abiy’s regime the price of commodities and services, from basic agricultural produce to imported goods, from basic health services to transportation, has seen significant increase over the last five years. For example, one quintal of teff, which was 5000 Birr 3 years ago, has tripled this year to 15 thousand Birr. Onions, including 200 percent double, cannot be found anywhere if it is not 120 birr. Life has touched the sky. For example, the salary of a medical doctor is not worth the price of a sheep. The middle class of society has disappeared which is sliding back to poverty. During Abiy Ahmed’s regime the country was accompanied by less than 100 rich people, and 120 million Ethiopians lived below the poverty line.
In Ethiopia during the TPLF era, the Ethiopians were moved from place to place as they wished from Wolyga to Jigjiga; from Moyale Mekele, whereas now during the reign of Abiy Ahmed, it is considered inviting death to an Ethiopian who moves even within 20 kilometers away from the city where they live.
At this moment four regions have left the hands of Abiy Ahmed and are suffering from the crisis of war and war. Gondar is hungry, Tigray is starving, and thousands are dying every week; The crisis in Wolga is killing children; In southern Ethiopia, human beings are eating cattle food, etc., and the question arises. What did Ethiopians really get from Abiy Ahmed, the human rights and humanitarian situation deteriorated further than before, with civilians impacted by a devastating war in Tigray and currently in Amhara and ongoing deadly ethnic violence everywhere throughout the country. Abiy’s regime is a disaster; this time there is nothing on earth that worries Ethiopians more than getting rid of the Abiy regime that has brought them calamity.
In the case of contemporary Ethiopia, sectarian violence is a direct consequence of colonialism. Abiy Ahmed, from his father’s TPLF and his guardians OLF, studied and thought about how to destroy the Ethiopian state. The document of the colonial rulers, which denies that Ethiopia has preserved its independence through the sacrifice of all its children, and has paid the price of blood and bones from all four corners, is a document containing a very toxic narration story, that accuses the Amhara people of oppressing and the Orthodox Church as an invader of faith and culture.
TPLF and OLF have been baptizing their followers with the document as their manifesto. Abiy Ahmed has been studying this document to implement and execute it. When he started implementing, at the same time, a large-scale war was launched against both (the Amhara people and the Orthodox Church). He stopped the war against the church for the time being and used his full power and time to attack the Amhara people. He issued an official proclamation to the world. For six months, including the last 3 months, the Amhara people have been suffocating with gunpowder smoke and killing children with drones. The farmer’s fields are being shot, he is still engaged in the killing of innocents and is conducting a large-scale genocide campaign. By repeating the great disaster he committed in Tigray yesterday against the Amara, he proved that he has no mercy for any Ethiopian child and rightly proved that he is a curse for Ethiopians.
The Amhara people with the Fano movement retaliated double and grew into a more structured and to some extent centralized force. Today the Amhara people stood and folded their hands and defeated death. His response to those who came to kill him from the door became, “You will come first before my death.” Five months later, the Amhara people have moved from being a defender to being an aggressor. The Amhara people’s movement’s appearance has changed. One of Fano’s leaders recently said that the only weapon left from the government’s army is a drone. What they mean shows the level the struggle has reached in five months. Fano’s struggle has reached the phase where he left the Amhara region to join other oppressed people and entered Addis Ababa. It seems that the time is really approaching to end the scourge that has come to Ethiopia by Abiy Ahmed. The day when the documents of the colonial rulers will be torn up and burned is near more than ever.
The tyranny has come to the forefront, the Abiy Ahmed regime, who lost sleep to erect the Oromo Empire on its feet, and the arrogant and unwritten apartheid system has reigned in the land of Ethiopia. A large-scale campaign is being conducted with the main target of targeting institutions. Two of the country’s largest credit institutions have fallen into the hands of thieves. Information is coming out widely that both the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia and the Development Bank of Ethiopia is carrying out thin orders given by the Oromia Prosperity Office to whom and how they will lend. Millionaires and billionaires from the same ethnic group have mushroomed. Amhara, Gurage, Tigray, and other Ethiopian investors are out of the game. Many have made migration their choice.
The loan, the bid is being made to flow like a flood to one camp. It is becoming clear that the institutions that are being implemented in Oromia’s prosperity due to the stubbornness of the Oromo nationalists have reached an age where they cannot serve Ethiopians equally. Ethiopian Airlines and Ethio Telecom, which are expected to be the next targeted institutes by Abiy’s daydreams so-called Oromo Empire, are only a matter of time. It is well known that the ongoing Gurage conflict has been caused by Abiy’s Oromo Empire project expansion. It is expected that the map of the Sidama region will change tomorrow. Oromia’s prosperity has closed its eyes and is carrying out a wide-scale campaign against its tyranny.
The mission of making the Ethiopian color disappear is being carried out in every direction. The recent Irecha celebration is the biggest manifestation of this danger. To make Ethiopia look like them, Abiy Ahmed, who is swimming in daydreams that he will end the Oromo Empire in East Africa, is continuing his activities day and night. However, Abiy and Oromo extremists are not willing to take lessons from their father TPLF, the people of Tigray have lived and witnessed the price they paid for the hunger and ignorance of the martyrs. The Oromia of Prosperity Party who failed to learn the lesson from TPLF put the Oromo people who have made great sacrifices for the existence of Ethiopia in danger.
According to the latest report of the United Nations, if the power to stop the regime that has brought disaster to Ethiopia does not take action soon, Ethiopia is facing a huge threat of genocide in the near future. It is important to call on all Ethiopians to help the Amhara people in their struggle and a call to action for the International Community to stop the heightened risk of genocide and related atrocity crimes in Ethiopia, mainly in the Amhara region.
Editor’s note : Views in the article do not necessarily reflect the views of borkena.com
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