EADC’s call to end the suffering of the Amhara people in Ethiopia and the accompanying request for a constitutional amendment is not the best approach to addressing the Amhara cause
By Mekuria Gize
The hearing held by the House Foreign Services Subcommittee, chaired by John James, had three main dominant actors: the chairman himself, Mike Hammer, and House Representative Congressman Bradley Sherman. Chairman John James accurately grasped the mindset of the Ethiopian government and its leader, Abiy Ahmed Ali, and strongly criticized him for the numerous human rights violations happening in Ethiopia. Congressman Brad Sherman was more of a defense lawyer for the TPLF and Tigray cause, with a keen intent to dispossess the Amhara people of their natural ownership rights to Wolkayit, Humera, Tegedey, and Telemt. He always raised the issue of what he calls “Western Tigray,” even though since the US established diplomatic ties with Ethiopia in 1903, there was no such region called “Western Tigray ” until the TPLF assumed power in Ethiopia in 1991. Mr. Sherman talks of the return of displaced Tigrayans from Western Tigray, and asks if new people from Amhara entered Western Tigray to alter the would-be referendum per the Pretoria agreement, even though there is no stipulation in that agreement that hands Wolkayit, Tegedey, Humera, and Telemt to Tigray. What is painful about the mindset of the House Representative is he never talks about the return of one million displaced Amharas from Oromia.
Mike Hammer displayed a conciliatory tone towards Abiy Ahmed, often going out of his way to defend him. He even suggested that America’s current position on AGOA and the possibility of IMF funding could prevent economic collapse in Ethiopia. However, the economic collapse of Ethiopia is a blessing in disguise for the Amhara people. If Abiy Ahmed is unable to fund his war machine in the Amhara region, he will be forced to withdraw his forces, thereby hastening the freedom of the Amhara people from Abiy Ahmed’s tyrannical rule. Although Mike Hammer tried to walk a fine line in order not to mention the word “Western Tigray,” we could sense him agreeing in one instant under pressure from Congressman Brad Sherman, in which he wanted to link the condition of IMF lending to Ethiopia upon returning “Western Tigray” to the Tigrayans. Mike Hammer tactfully admitted Abiy Ahmed was encouraged to wage war on Amhara in order to hand over these disputed territories to Tigray in return for IMF funding and a good relationship with the US. What I can gather from Mike Hammer’s testimony is that he has little sympathy for the Amhara people, but with tremendous love and caring for the people of Tigray at large. I have no concern about his love for Tigrayans, but what is painful is that he is talking about his government position standing for all the people of Ethiopia irrespective of any particular ethnicity yet said nothing about the war waged on Amhara by the brutal Abiy Ahmed. It is still in our memory that the United States and Europe called 12 UN Security Council meetings during the war in Tigray. It is still in our memory that the United States of America warned that it will sanction Abiy Ahmed over a few drone strikes in Tigray but did nothing when over 70 drone strikes targeted ordinary Amhara civilians, clearly implying Abiy Ahmed enjoys the support of the US no matter what painful harm it does to the Amhara people. Mike Hammer also stated in the hearing that he visited displaced people in Tigray, highlighting their horrific situation, but never mentioned if he has visited displaced Amharas stationed in Debre Berhan, not far from the capital city, Addis Ababa. He never talked about the 5-year-long killings of the Amharas in Oromia and Benishangul and never questioned the failure of Abiy Ahmed to protect them.
The House hearing clearly reveals that the occasion was a follow-up to the Pretoria agreement. All human rights violations focused on things that supposedly happened in Tigray. Decon Yoseph Teferi, in an interview with Abebe Gelaw, and Mesfin Mekonen, in an interview with the Zewdu, stressed the importance of changing the Ethiopian constitution to be tabled in the subcommittee hearing of November 30, 2023. In my opinion, this approach is wrong from the inception and not useful to the Amhara cause. The Amharas are not primarily oppressed by the constitution per se. It is the lack of democracy and the inability to govern themselves by their own true representatives that marginalized them. For the last 27 years under the TPLF and for the last 5 years under Abiy Ahmed’s OPDO, Amharas were led from the center using pseudo representatives much like in the era of the colonial viceroys of the British and Spanish empires.
During the peak of Amhara slaughtering in Oromia and Benishangul, which coincided with the war in Tigray, EAC failed to stand on the side of Amhara people, practically ignoring them focusing solely on the war in Tigray. Many misguided Amhara intellectuals and activists stood by the side of Abiy Ahmed, justifying the government’s right to violence, despite the absence of democracy and inclusive governance like what we see in the Western hemisphere. Giving Abiy Ahmed total control of state power and the army essentially means empowering the OPDO to continue subjugating the Amharas to arbitrary arrest, killings, and constant displacement. This kind of activism also denies the right of citizens to arm for self-protection, similar to the practice we see in the United States of America.
I disagree with EAC ‘s demand for the US government and the US House and Senate members to intervene because it diverts attention from the pressing issue in Amhara on constitutional grounds. The Amhara people have enough natural resources, and hard -working farmers to stand on their own. For an Amhara person that is born, grown, educated, and lived somewhere in Menz, Debrework, Lasta Lalibela, and Gayint, constitutional change is a tangential issue compared to what he or she had to bring changes to his or her own regional state. The urgent problem in Amhara is the arbitrary drone killings, burning of peasant agricultural fields and cities, and destruction of infrastructure by heavy artillery by Abiy Ahmed’s defense forces, essentially destroying the livelihood of the Amhara people and all civilization in Amhara. Inviting the American government to assist in changing the Ethiopian constitution is unorthodox and typically a matter left to a sovereign country. However, the United Nations, America, and Europe have the leverage to interfere in Ethiopian internal affairs when it comes to human rights violations in Ethiopia.
1. With Abiy in power, at a minimum, the Amhara government should elevate itself to a con-federal state, securing its own defense force, banking, telephone, and internet systems, independently manage its electric power, and water resource infrastructures free from interference from the lunatic Abiy Ahmed.
2. Supporting the fano movement is the right path to Amhara emancipation. If Fano follows the fighting spirit of the Taliban, no force on earth can stop it from capturing state power in Ethiopia.
3. EAC ‘s call for constitutional change in Ethiopia is a non-issue for the Amhara people. The Amhara are not single-handedly affected by the current constitution any different from other ethnic groups in Ethiopia. Such a question overshadows the current plight of the Amhara people. The main problem for Amharas suffering is their isolation from power.
4. Mr. Bradley Sherman, knows that, come hell, Wolkayit, Humera, Tegedey, Humera, and Raya will not be handed over to Tigray. The ownership right of these ancestral lands belongs to the Amharas any attempt to do otherwise will be the cause for the fall of Abiy Ahmed and the eventual ascent of fano to the throne in Addis Ababa.
5. The Democratic Party and the Biden administration are insensitive to the Amhara cause and have discriminatory policies despite the fact that Amharas are the most disadvantaged people, be it in the war with Tigray or now the war in Amhara. The power base of the Democratic Party in America is the vote from the black people. It’s time to start lobbying the black population in the USA through engagement of community leaders, churches, and university venues. Triple A is the right organization to address the cause of Amhara people in the USA. It has skilled and able people to identify pressing issues from non essential matters.
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