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“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own fact”

Mesfin Tegenu (Photo: SM/File)

By Mesfin Tegenu

The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” The author of the recent op-ed published by Borkena under the headline, “AEPAC’s demand for constitutional reform in Ethiopia is not an effective approach to addressing the Amhara cause,” later corrected to EADC (Ethiopian American Development Council), is certainly entitled to his views on the current crisis in Ethiopia. However, the entire basis for his article is not rooted and, in fact, is utterly false, starting right with the headline.

Our organization, the American-Ethiopian Public Affairs Committee (AEPAC), works both to improve relations between the United States and the second-most populous nation on the African continent, while fighting to enhance democracy in our ancestral homeland. We have been presenting our case to members of Congress, culminating in last week’s crucial hearing by the House Foreign Affairs Committee entitled, “Ethiopia: Promise or Perils, The State of U.S. Policy.”

AEPAC has vociferously condemned the human rights atrocities taking place in Amhara, including attacks on civilians, the bombing of key religious and historical sites, and the devastation of food supplies, setting the stage for a famine. We’ve urged the Biden administration to leverage its influence in the region to convince the Abiy government to cease attacks on Amhara civilians, respect human rights, and release all prisoners of conscience.

Ethiopia is at a critical juncture where the Abiy government has unleashed severe attacks on its own citizens, employing uncivilized methods that have led to the tragic loss of Amhara civilian lives through cowardly assault involving heavy machinery, including drones. The Ethiopian government persists in its indiscriminate attacks on the Guargea zone and the southern people of Ethiopia, while the population suffered from widespread starvation in Tigray, Afar, and Northern Gondor.  In light of these grave circumstances diaspora organizations must shift their focus away from op-eds of such nature.

Whether the author mistakenly conflated AEPAC or EADC with another organization, the decision to engage readers in such trivial matters calls for a reassessment of diaspora, priorities, strategy, and their potential as positive contributors. This situation prompts a thorough evaluation and rectification of any disjointed or contradictory efforts to ensure a more impactful and meaningful contribution to addressing the pressing challenges facing Ethiopia.  

Regrettably, the inaccuracies in both the headline and the premise of the article are not the only errors requiring correction. The article falsely asserts, “During the peak of Amhara slaughtering in Oromia and Benishangul, which coincided with the war in Tigray, AEPAC failed to stand on the side of Amhara people, practically ignoring them, focusing solely on the war in Tigray.” This claim is entirely unfounded. On the contrary, AEPAC has consistently condemned atrocities and ethnic cleansing perpetrated against Amhara civilians in various regions, including Wollega, Arusi, Shahsemene, Northern Showa, and others. AEPAC has also deplored attacks on Ethiopian citizens in Gurage, Gambela, Afar, and Southern regions.

Had the author taken the time to verify information through AEPAC’s official channels, such as their Twitter handle @AmericanEthiopian or their website, they would have discovered the truth.

The writer also makes an absurd and untrue claim that the Amhara Association of America is the only group representing the cause of the people of Amhara. This is not only false, but making such allegations has the effect of dividing the Ethiopian diaspora, at a time when unity among those who care about the nation’s future is more important than ever before.

Ethiopia is currently at a critical juncture. Its children in the Amhara region are fighting for their survival against an arrogant ethnocentric government that has demonstrated a disregard for boundaries in pursuit of its objectives. Regardless of the writer’s intentions in this ill-informed article, the consequence of this misguided piece is to hinder the progress of a united front by fostering unnecessary dissension. 

Given the size and scope of these factual inaccuracies, we strongly urge Borkena to completely retract this falsely premised opinion piece and remove it from the website. Until then, it is critical that AEPAC correct the record while reaffirming our commitment to a better Ethiopia with human rights for all.

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

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