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HomeOpinionThere’s Genocide on the Amhara people, but Nobody’s Talking About it

There’s Genocide on the Amhara people, but Nobody’s Talking About it

Amhara Genocide - Ethiopian Politics
Courtesy of Author

By Dr. Caleb

The latest spate of genocidal violence against the Amharas perpetrated by Abiy’s Fascistic regime has largely been ignored by the international community, and therefore, very few people around the world are aware of the Invisible Cry. The ongoing ethnic cleansing in Ethiopia has led to the displacement of thousands of Amhara people from their homes. The displacement of the Amhara people is not a new phenomenon in Ethiopia. Historically, the Amhara people have been subjected to discrimination and persecution by other ethnic groups in the country. The Oromia region has reportedly become one of the hostile regions for the Amhara to live in since the ethno-nationalist insurgents took power in 1991, however, after the Abiy Ahmed regime came to power in 2018 the Oromo expansionist ruling party and its security forces in an attempt to Oromize the region (ethnically purify the region) the extent of killing and evictions of Amhara escalated, and being ethnic Amhara has become a death sentence in many parts of the country. Some of the most serious allegations for the last six years are mass killings, raped, tortured, people, deprived of food, evicted and forcibly transferred, and forced to lead miserable lives for no reason other than their Amhara identity. 

Ethiopia’s headlines over the past six years have been filled with heartbreaking news. The relentless bloodshed and widespread displacement. The corruption, inflation, famine, ethnic atrocities, and continuous loss of life have cast a dark shadow over the nation. This distressing reality depicts a nation trapped in an endless cycle of civil strife, perpetually moving from one devastating conflict to another under the leadership of one man, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

The disturbing trend of conflict and a propensity for bloodshed appears deeply ingrained in Abiy’s administration, leading to accusations of chaos, death, and destruction. They’re becoming defining characteristics rather than occasional occurrences. Despite these troubling developments, the Nobel Peace Organization opted not to retract its accolade, a decision that sparked sharp criticism for appearing to endorse a leader whose legacy was increasingly associated with violence and turmoil. This stance highlighted broader concerns about the alignment of recognition with real-world outcomes and the implications of honoring leaders whose actions do not align with the principles of peace and stability.

Lack of accountability for genocide and related atrocity crimes violations will only serve to entrench impunity and feed into a vicious cycle of violence. When Abiy Amhemed government is not held accountable, perpetrators see nothing wrong with committing these violations again. “ለዘር ማጥፋት እና ተዛማጅ የጭካኔ ወንጀሎች የአብይ አህመድ መንግስት ተጠያቂ አለመሆኑ ቅጣትን ከማስፈን ይልቅ በበለጠ መልኩ የዘር ማጥፋቱን እና ማጽዳቱን  እየቀጠለበት ወደ አስከፊ የብጥብጥ አዙሪት ውስጥ እንዲገባ አድርጎታል።”

The so-called “international community” (which exists only in the popular imagination) does not yet call Amhara genocide even Ethnic cleansing. Ethnic cleansing has become the dominant term used to describe genocidal crimes without using the word, “Genocide.” “Ethnic cleansing” is a term invented by Slobodan Milošević and Serbian propagandists as a euphemism for forced deportation and genocide. It is history’s most successful euphemism used for genocide denial. It was not until the term “genocide” was applied to the crimes that force was used to stop them.

Being ethnic Amhara is becoming a death sentence 

The extremist Oromo militias, backed by elements of the Abiy government one assault after another over the past six years committed both forced displacement [“ethnic cleansing”] and genocide. They were shot or beheaded and buried in mass graves. The crimes often go together. Genocidal massacres are used to terrorize a victim group into fleeing. The eradication of Amhara civilians from the region by an organized campaign of ethnic cleansing and as part of that campaign documented a whole range of very serious abuses, extrajudicial killings, sexual violence, and mass incarceration. Horrific detention conditions and then the forced expulsions of hundreds of thousands of Amhara from this area that had been their home by those joint forces. The objective was to ethnically purify the territory. 

In addition to this heart-wrenching genocide, confronted with the devastating stories of Amhara children who have endured unimaginable loss and now face uncertain futures. Over the past six years, they have witnessed relentless massacres and attacks in the Welega and Oromia regions, where they tragically lost their fathers, mothers, relatives, and loved ones. For some, the loss extends across multiple generations and extended families. These children have witnessed unimaginable violence, experiencing the death of their families firsthand through brutal means such as machetes, clubs, and other horrific methods. Massacres have occurred in supposed places of refuge, including homes, churches, mosques, and schools. Leaving behind a trail of unimaginable devastation and irreparable loss.

The trauma and suffering endured by these Amhara children are beyond comprehension. Their lives have been shattered by the brutal realities of conflict and violence, robbing them of their loved ones and their sense of security. These children, displaced and forgotten, are suffering greatly, struggling with grief, hunger, malnutrition, and a lack of education. The Abiy government’s denial of their existence has made it incredibly challenging to provide the long-term support they desperately need to rebuild their shattered lives. The genocide perpetrated against the Amhara people was a meticulously planned campaign of horror. Amhara men, women, and children were ruthlessly targeted for extermination simply because of their ethnicity. Extremist Oromo militias, backed by elements of the Abbey government, systematically hunted down and brutally murdered Amhara individuals. 

The impact of conflict on children is profound and far-reaching, with devastating consequences for millions worldwide. Especially in Ethiopia’s Amhara region. Those who have survived genocidal massacres now seek refuge in the Amhara region in different locations. They are facing an uncertain future far from their homes. Across the country, over 3.5 million Ethiopians are internally displaced, living in horrible conditions every day without proper acknowledgment and support. 

The international community must exert pressure on the Aniy Ahemed government to acknowledge the existence of these vulnerable Amhara children and provide the urgent help they desperately need. It is imperative to advocate for their rights and raise awareness about their plight, ensuring that they receive the necessary support and assistance to rebuild their lives and secure a hopeful future. By coming together and speaking out on behalf of these children. We can strive towards meaningful change and ensure that their voices are heard and their needs are addressed. Abiy government intentionally denies their existence. As they are the living proof of the darkest face of his regime, they are languishing, unseen, and unrecorded. It is crucial for the global community and humanitarian organizations to assist those deliberately neglected by their governments, especially children, and collaborate to develop sustainable solutions that alleviate their profound suffering.

The Western world’s selective and disjointed policies are viewed as substantial contributors to the ongoing suffering and turmoil in Ethiopia. The war in Europe is starting with Western audiences, and It carries with it echoes of World War II and Nazi Germany, the horrors of the Holocaust, and the words “never again.” Ethiopia, Amhara people meanwhile, is a foreign and unfamiliar land where discerning who the bad guys are can be difficult. Too often for US and European readers, the reaction to conflict in Africa or the Middle East is for many to shrug and say, “Isn’t that region always at war anyway?”

The so-called “international community” (which exists only in the popular imagination) still avoids using the word “genocide.” For ongoing atrocity crimes by Abiy Ahemed government federal forces and extremist Oromo militias on Amhara people. History shows that for three months during the Rwandan genocide, they refused to call it genocide. They are still blocking recognition that genocide was committed against the Rohingya in Burma. They are blocking recognition that genocide is being committed against Christians in Nigeria,” Now the turn it seems to the Amhara people, how many more Amhara need to be killed, mass incarcerated in horrific detention conditions, tortured, raped, and then forced expulsions displaced, from this area that had been their home to ethnically purify the territory.

“Never again” has become “time and again.”

On December 9, 1948, United Nations member states approved the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide – a treaty born out of the fervent desire to ensure that “never again” would any person face the horror of genocide, such as the atrocities inflicted by the Nazis during the Holocaust. However, since then, the world has witnessed the odious scourge of genocide in Darfur, Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo,  Myanmar, and Cambodia.

It wasn’t long ago that in the northern town of Merawi, Amhara region civilians were killed in door-to-door raids by Ethiopian troops. Multiple attacks have been launched by the OLA and other Oromo militant groups with aggression into the Amhara Region in North Shewa— in Efrata Ena Gidim, and Kewet districts. The attacks included door-to-door mass executions in Ataye, Shewa Robit, Jewuha, Senbete, Majete, Molale, and the surrounding villages.  The ethnic cleansing of Amharas in Oromia made headlines when close to 250 Amharas were slaughtered like chickens. Most recently, several violent episodes of anti-Amhara discrimination, deprivation, and arbitrary detention of Amharas and putting them in Concentration camps have been compounded with a full-blown genocidal war declared on Amharas as part of a campaign of unfathomable cruelty by the Abiy fascistic regime. But for the most part, when it comes to Ethiopia, the world is fixated on the Pretoria peace deal, which serves the narrow geopolitical interests of certain players. 

Conclusion

In 1986, Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, when accepting his Nobel Peace Prize said, “Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.” How far now are the Amharas from the center of our universe? But it is no surprise. If we glance back to recent genocides in Darfur, Rwanda, Burma, and Cambodia, we see how the world has, in fact, averted its eyes even as victims were still victimized and perpetrators still not held to account. The genocidal governments remained in place, yet from both American and European policy perspectives, have largely been legitimized by the international community. The plight of the Amharas in Ethiopia is yet another intolerable (and yet tolerated), grievous (yet how many are grieving) trend: the normalization of genocide.

The international community’s response to the war on Amhara has been very weak. The US and EU, which are best placed to pressure Abiy Ahmed’s regime, have not issued strong statements condemning the war on Amhara. The war on Amhara exposed the moral deficit and hypocrisy of the US and EU foreign policy towards Ethiopia. If the international community stands for human rights this is the time to stand in solidarity with the Amhara people and all those who seek justice, freedom, and dignity in Ethiopia. Through collective action and unwavering commitment to human rights investigate the well-substantiated commission of atrocity crimes by Abiy Ahmed and his government federal forces jointly with extremist Oromo militias; collect, classify, and preserve evidence in support of accountability efforts; and refer [Abiy Ahmed’s] crimes to the ICC for investigation.” to initiate a meaningful transitional justice process in Ethiopia.

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

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