By Leabinet Fano
The current conflict between the Ethiopian military and the Fano freedom fighters is expected to conclude soon, with Fano emerging as the victor and defeating the army. This conflict is rapidly coming to an end, resulting in a significant embarrassment for Abiy Ahmed and his top military generals, who have been involved in war crimes against civilians in various locations. Let us highlight a few points demonstrating the miscalculations made by the top military leaders, including the country’s highest-ranking individual.
1. Making FANO an enemy by itself is a historical mistake
The term FANO represents liberty, freedom, justice, and equality. አትንኩኝ አልነካህም:: This value is close to the heart of humanity. Especially for Ethiopians, being FANO is a more profound indigenous knowledge to stand and defend family, wife, land, and country. The construct FANO, by itself, has enormous significance for many. It is inclusive. It is appealing. Anyone in any corner of the country can relate to it in an instant. That is why many people say, “I am FANO.” The unwise leaders chose to go against it. They made many enemies. Some in the corridors of power understood the heaviness of the name and tried to give other names for them, like Jawusa, shifta, and Zerafi, … It did not work.
2.You cannot take guns from the Amhara people by force easily
You cannot take guns from the Amhara people by force as such. Military leaders like General Abebaw were heard saying on TV that they would disarm the people within ten working days. Well, it has been six months, and the Military itself is disarming its weapons to Fano’s at an alarming rate. The people in the region have a more profound belief and practice in having guns. They have used it to protect their families, people, properties, and their country for centuries. It is like the Texas people believing in the Second Amendment. Go and try to take the guns away from those people. They will give their lives for it. So, it was a huge miscalculation to send the military deep into the rural area to fetch their weapon. They could have been successful if they had a civilized discourse about the rule of law with the people for the past six months instead of sending the whole army into the region and bombarding them with heavy weapons and drones.
3.Miscalculating the propaganda and public diplomatic front
The leadership of Abiy Ahmed, in general, has no clear view of how he managed to stay in power for the past five years. He thinks that because he is clever and did this and that. But the fact is the majority of the diaspora was with him in many ways, including in public, digital diplomacy, and propaganda, in addition to the financial and moral support. They all undermined it. Now, everyone has become FANO. Almost all have defined one enemy: the unfaithful and unstable fable government that failed to protect its citizens, especially children and women. Day and night, these digital, social media, and media Fano’s are hunting Abiy Ahmed and his military hardware day and night. They expose every bit of his and his military general’s wicked strategy. The substantial government media, the paid cadres, and YouTubers are not much to the virtual FANOs. The government has tried to imprison hundreds and thousands inside the country to dominate the narrative, but he cannot silence the diaspora FANOs.
4. FANO warrior’s high moral ground.
In history, if a group fights with high moral ground and high virtues like justice, freedom, and equality, then the warriors of that group are highly encouraged, and they get extraordinary strength from that moral ground. They can withstand and sustain painful situations for long. Since they are fighting for something worthy, they may consider their affliction as nothing. FANO have showed this to the whole world. Even they are starving, they do not robe Banks, they do not harass the people, they do not rape women and so on. On the contrary, the military is showing the opposite. The governments soldiers are suffering from lack of moral to fight. They know that they are shooting to the wrong people. They remember how FANO fighters helped them during the war with the TPLFites. The people in the region were their main support at that time. Now they are shooting at those very people who saved them from major embarrassment. Hence, most of them give up fighting easily. The generals, the commanders, and all the soldiers have lost their will, strength and courage to fight. Everywhere they are defeated badly by few number of FANO fighters. One of the causes is these soldiers have no passion and commitment at all since they all know that they are not just fighting a war.
5. FANO fighters are highly supported by the people
Ezekiel Gabiso, an Oromo critical thinker, stated that “the army cannot defeat FANO, as they have the support of the people.” The leaders in the government were not intelligent enough to detect this early. They thought they could convince the people in the region by cheating and lying. But the Amhara people, like the rest of Ethiopians, are patient. They listen to what you say and watch what you do. If you fail them once they may forgive you. But if you do it again and again, then they will detest your words and your images. The thought of you will be like a cursed thing for them. In the present Ethiopia, the prosperity party is like a cursed bad construct to them. Nobody wants to listen and see the head of that party. Everyone is counting the day; they will hear the news that the party is gone forever. On the contrary, the people are looking for FANO. The people are supporting the FANO fighters in numerous ways. Any government on the planet cannot win by fighting the whole population. The government is defeated at the start of this unjust war.
All in all, the prime minister started this war by listening to the advice of his Oromo elites, who were saying openly in the media that the only resistance to their dominance lies among the Amhara people, and they wanted to crush that resistance. Since they had defeated TPLFites, who dominated politics and power in the country for three decades, they had hoped to do the same on FANO. They all miscalculated in rushing to this process. Now they are left with a few days only! Their fatal mistake will be recorded in the history of the country. FANO will start a new chapter for Ethiopia and Ethiopians.
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