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HomeOpinionUnveiling Betrayal: Eskender Negas's Call to Conscience at the United Nations" 

Unveiling Betrayal: Eskender Negas’s Call to Conscience at the United Nations” 

Eskinder _ Ethiopia _ Ethiopian News
Photo Credit : Abbay Media

By Taddesse S Solomon aka Dogo Aba Bora

On February 16th, 2004, Eskender Negas’s two visits to the United Nations office to appeal for intervention were validated. A statement, delivered by the Coordination des Associations et des Particuliers pour la Liberté de Conscience, a non-governmental organization with special consultative status, was presented to the United Nations Secretary-General. This statement urges prompt and decisive action from the international community to address the escalating Amhara genocide in Ethiopia. 

Eskender made his initial appearance in December 2019, followed by another meeting in May 2022. Recent reports from humanitarian organizations and the February 26,2024 Amnesty International report, shed light on disturbing occurrences of extrajudicial killings targeting unarmed civilians and numerous human rights violations. These transgressions took place under the State Emergency Law, enforced in the Amhara regional state for several months, accompanied by widespread internet blackouts. 

On his second visit to the United Nations Genocide Prevention Office in New York City, he was accompanied by Ato Shemelese Legesse, a political activist who had traveled from Washington DC to show solidarity. Prior to their arrival in New York City, Eskinder had actively participated in rallies held at Capitol Hill, the State Department, and the White House, urging U.S. officials to withdraw their support for Prime Minister Abiye Ahmed and his regime. 

At the United Nations, Eskender Nega was accompanied by Ms. Tisgereda Mulugeta, an economist, political scientist, and human rights activist; Dr. Yohannese Gebreyesus, a political scientist and Moresh Wegene Amhara Association public relations officer and human rights activist; and Professor Emeritus Stephen Eric Bronner, an expert on genocide from Rutgers University. Professor Bronner, the Director of Global Relations at the Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution, and Human Rights at Rutgers University, is also a member of the Executive Committee of the UNESCO Chair for Genocide Prevention.

Eskender’s second appeal to the United Nations Genocide Prevention Office in May 2022 for immediate action requires no additional witnesses or experts beyond Professor Bonner Eric and his accompanying team. Eskender presented additional evidence to supplement his December 2019 plea and the ample evidence already provided. Despite harboring long-standing frustration about the agency’s failure to take timely action, he again pleaded for quick intervention, emphasizing that the absence of intervention would effectively encourage the regime to continue its genocidal acts unchecked. He further asserted that such inaction compels the victims, who practically live in a state of nature, to assert their inherent right to self-preservation. 

Shemelese Assefa and I waited outside the United Nations Office, sitting on a curbside bench near the visitors’ entrance. As we awaited Eskender and his team, two individuals who appeared to be Ethiopian approached us. I had seen one of the individuals before; he was the Ethiopian ambassador to the United Nations, Taye Atske Selassie. The bench and sidewalk confined us to a close encounter with the ambassador and his female companion, presumably an aide. The ambassador was recently appointed as a foreign minister by Prime Minister Abiye Ahmed. 

Ambassador Taye greeted us in typical Ethiopian fashion. I stood up and reciprocated with a handshake. However, Shemeles refused to exchange the greetings and vocalized his disdain, making it clear he wouldn’t shake the hand of Abiy’s servant. The ambassador responded by calling Shemeles despicable and continued toward the United Nations. Meanwhile, his aide distanced herself from the exchange; she was a good fifty feet from the bench. Shemeles ensured that every word he uttered reached the ambassador. The fiery confrontation between the Ethiopian ambassador and Shemeles on a street corner, while Eskender pleads with the United Nations to intervene, was a clear signal of the unfolding tensions in Ethiopia. 

The genocide in monasteries across Debere Elias Wereda, Merawi, Meshentie, and Sela Dengaye could have been halted had the United Nations Genocide Prevention Office taken a decisive stance. Yet, over the past 30 years, numerous genocides have occurred across Africa, Asia, and Europe, with the United Nations often appearing powerless to intervene. Instead of preventing atrocities, the UN often finds itself merely compiling reports, which tragically fail to save lives. Regrettably, the Ethiopian crisis mirrors the recurring pattern of genocide worldwide, past and present. 

In the age of betrayal it is hard to be respectful when you see people catastrophically wrong and cruel on moral issues.The enduring spirit of FANO embodies heroism and valor. This spirit has been passed down from generation to generation, transcending gender, religion, and economic status. However, amidst this legacy of honor, there exist infamous bandas, our own historical and contemporary betrayers who masquerade as scholars, religious leaders, or journalists. 

Heroism and treason often appear as twins, representing humanity’s manifestation of a dual nature or dichotomy. Throughout history, particularly in Greek mythology and literature, tales of heroes and traitors abound in every city-state. One such tragic betrayal occurred at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C., orchestrated by the Greek traitor Ephialtes. Collaborating with the invading Persians, Ephialtes facilitated the defeat and heroic death of King Leonidas and his valiant Spartan warriors. This treacherous act serves as a stark reminder that traitors, irrespective of their background or era, are often motivated by promised rewards. 

Looking elsewhere, one can find many individuals who share similar traits, such as Vidkun Quisling, the notorious Norwegian traitor; Benedict Arnold of the American Revolutionary War; and the Harkis who collaborated with France during the Algerian War of Independence. Traitors, or “bandas,” exhibit audacious, cruel traits and often harbor an extreme inadequacy complex. Those who dare to question Eskender’s motives are branded with these banda traits, stripping them of their perceived manhood and heroism. Eskender, who poured his life, love, and soul into being a committed advocate for justice, honor, and the liberation of millions teetering on the brink of annihilation, is deeply engaged alongside our Fanos in charting the bright future we earnestly await. 

In 490 B.C., the invading Persians were defeated at the Battle of Marathon. Pheidippides, a victorious soldier, ran 42 kilometers from the battlefield to Athens, where he collapsed after proclaiming Greek victory. Marathon holds a special place in the hearts of all Ethiopians, revered as a sport since the legendary Abebe Bikila ran barefoot in Rome, setting a record and achieving back-to-back victories in Tokyo. The marathon symbolizes enduring values such as resilience, endurance, and steadfast commitment to personal principles, which ultimately lead to triumph despite temporary setbacks encountered on the challenging journey toward justice and freedom. It serves as a test of both will and heart, demanding utmost perseverance to complete the race, often in solitude. Newcomers to the Ethiopian political landscape, emerging only months ago, appear to have overlooked the longstanding struggle for freedom and justice championed by Eskender and his compatriots tirelessly involved. Despite their proximity to influential institutions such as the United Nations, Capitol Hill, and the White House, these attention seekers have failed to transcend beyond their youtube environment to become voice for the voiceless. 

In contrast, Eskender has undertaken two arduous journeys spanning thousands of miles, driven by an unwavering commitment to defend unarmed civilians victimized by the brutal regime. Shaleqa Dawit Woldegiorgis, Ato Omer Shifa, and their supporters are dedicated to supporting Eskender and his allies in this noble endeavor. They have no spare time to engage with lowly polemics, which divert energy that could otherwise be utilized to advance the cause. Invariably, truth and history favor those who earnestly champion them. 

Decent individuals who have had the privilege of knowing Esknder steadfastly support him in all his endeavors, a blessing they unquestionably cherish. Despite confronting formidable daily challenges, only a select few are summoned to self-sacrifice in service of the greater good during the brief time we are allotted in this life. May God bless our Fanos in all their endeavors as they gallantly march to fulfill their destined duty to instill hope in millions who find themselves in despair. 

After a long yet productive day at the United Nations, Eskender, Ato Shemeles, and Dr. Yohannes opted to take the subway to Chinatown, in search of an affordable bus fare for a midnight journey back to Washington, D.C. 

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

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4 COMMENTS

  1. I found the article sound, and I hope it will force those who resort to defamation to create a political vacuum they hope to fill., to think about the effects of their words and actions.

    However, the tone of the writer seemed excessively bitter and heartbroken. Eskinder Nega, like all of us, is human and prone to mistakes. His contributions to the people of Amhara and all Ethiopians, as well as the sacrifices he is currently making, are widely appreciated. Yet, it seems unreasonable to immediately label those who criticize Eskinder Nega as ‘bandas’. Such labeling could deprive us of the heated discussions we seek, which allow us to learn and view things from various perspectives.

    I believe it is better to resolve disagreements and mistrust through dialogue. Not this way!

    • I think the writer’s tone reflects a deep sense of heartbreak and disappointment surrounding the lack of decisive action. The use of the term “bandas” is not simply a label but a reflection of the betrayal felt by many within the community. It shows the deep-seated divisions and pain caused by those who collaborate with oppressive regimes, in contrast to those with the courageous spirit embodied by figures like Eskinder Nega and his supporters.

  2. This article is an excellent portrayal of Eskinder’s true story and his role in NYC. He is a determined and disciplined individual who fearlessly fights for change and justice for the oppressed people of Ethiopia. As we all know, TPLF unjustly threw him in jail for his peaceful resistance, and the current regime is no different as it is merely an extension of TPLF. He was beaten up by regime security forces while in prison, but he never let that deter him from his goal. He is relentless in his pursuit of justice and freedom for the Ethiopian people.

    However, there seem to be some renegades on social media who are attempting to tarnish his character. These individuals are nothing but idiots with no moral compass who lack the courage to fight for social justice. The Ethiopian people need freedom from the tyrannical regime that has no time for the fruitless talk on social media. Those who engage in such talk are only helping the existing regime to extend its existence. Social media mixed with fake news will never bring about real change. These individuals need to shut up their useless propaganda and join the forces that are fighting day and night to achieve freedom for all Ethiopians.

  3. ጉራ ድንፋታ ትምክህት ብቻ ነው። Shemeles’s behavior is a prime example of belligerence. There is no sense in trashing Ambassador Taye just because the latter does not agree with him. To expect ALL Amharas to think alike is a crime and stupidity of the highest order!

    Are Eskender and Eskinder the same person? When in business, making profit should be a guiding principle. If the business is losing, then you need to quickly identify and remove what is causing the loss. Eskinder is the wrong person to lead Amhara cause. He is not articulate and not a strategic thinker. So is Shaleqa Dawit (with a lot of baggage from his Derg-era involvement). Both Eskinder and Dawit are bigots; have no diplomatic skills, as in drawing in others instead of viewing non-Fano (Amhara and others) enemy! In short, for Amhara cause to prosper Eskinder and Dawit should have to be disposed of. Of course you can keep them; it just means you are not serious about Amhara cause!

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