The U.S. government has been mired in tacitly hyping ethnic politics in Ethiopia. It has become not uncommon for members of the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Addis to make travels to regional states and hold discussions with regional presidents.
The Embassy has been noticeably emboldening radical ethnic Oromo Nationalists – who are believed to dominate Federal government power in Ethiopia.
And the U.S. seems to continue to do that.
On November 22, the U.S. The Embassy in Addis Ababa tweeted a “promotional message” ( “informational message”) about the services of its consular section. While the tweet in English was also sent out in Amharic and Oromigna languages, the Oromigna version made a reference to Addis Ababa as “Finfinneetti.” And it does not seem to be unintended.
Ethiopians in social media seem to see that the U.S. Embassy’s use of “Finfinnee” is politically motivated to embolden the radical ethnic Oromo Nationalist forces (including those in the government structure) who have been making claims of “exclusive rights” over the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
Ethiopian Diaspora Organizations are also reacting to the U.S. government’s reckless practices as it relates to its diplomatic operations in Ethiopia.
Ethio-American Development Council (EADC), Denver-based Ethiopian Diaspora Organization, sees the U.S. Embassy’s action as a “departure from diplomatic norms is not just a deviation; it is a blatant disregard for the unity, stability, and multicultural identity of Addis Ababa.”
The Embassy has yet to remark on the matter. In a statement issued on Thursday, EADC has demanded a public apology for it.
Statement from Ethio-American Development Council (EADC) is featured below :
“For Immediate Release
Ambassador Ervin Jose Massinga,
Regarding the recent tweet referring to the capital of #Ethiopia as “Finnfinne,” the Ethiopian American Development Council (EADC) expresses our profound concern. This departure from diplomatic norms is not just a deviation; it is a blatant disregard for the unity, stability, and multicultural identity of Addis Ababa.
The term “Finnfinne” is not only contested but has been associated with the destruction of historically significant buildings, mass demolitions of homes, and the mass displacement of over 500,000 residents. These actions raise serious concerns about an alleged demographic engineering campaign by the tribal government, targeting the very essence of Addis Ababa’s multicultural fabric.
Your responsibility as a diplomatic mission includes promoting peace, not adding fuel to the fire, or inciting discord. We strongly urge you to cease using divisive language and unequivocally respect the city’s official and internationally recognized name. Ethiopians deserve diplomatic engagement that fosters understanding, not exacerbates tensions.
With Ambassador Ervin Massinga taking on his new role, we emphasize the gravity of his responsibility. Commencing his tenure with a controversial political stance that disrespects the 6 million residents of Addis Ababa and violates international diplomatic norms is not only counterproductive but sets a concerning precedent.
Initiating his tenure in Addis Ababa demands a proactive commitment to unequivocally respect local sensitivities. Language that fosters unity is not a choice; it’s a prerequisite for responsible and constructive diplomacy. Anything less is a disservice to the ideals of diplomatic engagement.
We urge you to consider the gravity of the situation and, in the spirit of fostering goodwill, to issue a public apology or, at the very least, to recall the message in question.”
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