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HomeOpinionMr. Ambassador, Say Our Name: We are the The Amhara Fanos

Mr. Ambassador, Say Our Name: We are the The Amhara Fanos

Ethiopia _ US Ambassador _ Fano
The Author (file)

By Sisay Mulu (Amoraw)

On May 15th, United States Ambassador to Ethiopia, Ervin J. Massinga, addressed the pressing issues of human rights and national dialogue in Ethiopia. Despite the gravity of the situation, his speech revealed a profound bias and a troubling dismissal of the Amhara Fanos. In a call for national dialogue involving all warring parties, the Ambassador specifically acknowledged the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) by their formal names, thereby recognizing them as significant entities within the conflict. 

Contrastingly, his reference to the Amhara Fanos was starkly dismissive, labeling them merely as “those fighting in Amhara, those that call themselves the Fano.” Such a characterization not only undermines the legitimacy of the Amhara Fanos but also trivializes their cause and the sacrifices they have made. This selective acknowledgment is not just a matter of diplomatic phrasing—it is a clear indication of disregard and disrespect towards the Amhara people. It sends a disheartening message to the Amhara community, suggesting that their grievances and struggles are of lesser importance, thus deserving less respectful recognition. This bias undermines the very essence of a fair and inclusive national dialogue, which should aim to treat all parties with equal seriousness and respect.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s recent dismissive remarks in Bahir Dar, where he suggested that the Fanos operate under Arega Kebede, not only undermine the profound cause the Fanos have valiantly upheld but also reveal a glaring omission: his failure to propose genuine dialogue. This absence raises critical questions about Ambassador Massinga’s claims. Without a direct invitation from the Prime Minister for negotiations, one must question the basis of Ambassador Massinga’s assertion that the Fanos have declined to negotiate. Who extended this supposed offer, and to which factions of the Fano was it directed? The lack of clarity and specificity here severely undermines the credibility of the Ambassador’s statements and suggests a possible misrepresentation of the facts.

The stark reality is this: until the state of emergency was declared by Abiy Ahmed in August 2023, the Amhara people endured immense hardships yet persistently sought to voice their grievances through peaceful means. Their legitimate protests for justice were routinely scorned by the Prime Minister and his officials, who trivialized these actions as mere power grabs. Despite facing multiple genocidal massacres, severe poverty, and even blockades restricting their movement into Addis Ababa, the Amhara community continued to extend the olive branch, yearning for peaceful resolutions. Sadly, their steadfast commitment to peace was met with unyielding aggression—a genocidal war unleashed upon them. It is crucial that international representatives and stakeholders recognize these facts and approach the situation with the gravity and sincerity it demands. Ambassador Massinga must understand that this narrative falsely portraying the Amhara Fanos as instigators rather than victims perpetuates a grave injustice. The Amhara people’s persistent pursuit of peace in the face of systematic oppression and violence must be acknowledged and respected. The blame lies not with those who have been systematically oppressed and brutalized, but with those who wield power unjustly and violently. The Amhara Fanos deserve recognition and respect for their courageous fight against oppression. By ignoring their name and their cause, Ambassador Massinga is not fostering dialogue but rather perpetuating a dangerous cycle of marginalization and injustice. This is not merely a diplomatic misstep; it is a policy statement that dismisses the legitimate grievances of the Amhara people and undermines their quest for justice, freedom, and dignified life—an aspiration denied to them for over three decades, escalating to genocidal levels in the past six years under Abiy Ahmed’s regime.

It is imperative to recognize that the Amhara have been relentlessly marginalized, economically disenfranchised, and subjected to political oppression. These injustices have been intensifying alarmingly under the governance of Abiy Ahmed, resulting in egregious human rights abuses against the community. By diminishing the significance of the Amhara Fanos, who represent a robust resistance movement with substantial support from the Amhara people, Ambassador Massinga commits a severe oversight. His words reflect a politically motivated decision that risks not only misrepresenting the dire situation but also alienating a significant segment of the Ethiopian population that is crying out for international recognition and support. This is not just a diplomatic misstep; it is a grievous error that could have profound consequences for the pursuit of justice and peace in the region.

It is crucial to grasp the unique nature of the conflicts unfolding in the Oromia and Amhara regions. These conflicts, while geographically proximate, are rooted in distinctly different triggers and objectives. It is a critical error to conflate the resistance of the Fanos against Abiy Ahmed’s oppressive regime with the insurgencies of groups like the OLA or the TPLF. Such comparisons grossly misrepresent the situation, ignoring the deep-seated grievances and profound mistrust the Amhara community holds towards a government system that has systematically failed them for decades.

Under the leadership of Abiy Ahmed, the Amhara community has endured a horrifying surge in violence that can only be described as genocidal. The massacres, beginning in the early 1990s, have not only persisted but have intensified to the point of becoming almost daily horrors. Over the past six years, the ethnic cleansing of Amharas has tragically morphed into a routine event, leading to a chilling normalization and a numbed public response. The Amhara people have faced systematic humiliation and massacre, have been effectively barred from entering Addis Ababa, forcibly displaced in large numbers, and relentlessly subjected to ethnic profiling and targeted attacks.

Understanding the conflict in Amhara requires looking beyond the superficial narratives to acknowledge the legitimate fears and grievances of the Amhara people. Their resistance against disarmament should be seen not as defiance, but as a desperate act of survival. The international community, human rights organizations, and all relevant stakeholders must engage with these grievances earnestly and commit to pursuing justice. Only through such sincere and dedicated efforts can the Amhara community hope to live in safety and dignity, finally free from the persistent shadows of violence that have darkened their lives for far too long.Beyond Rebellion: Embracing Fano as a Legitimate Voice for the Amhara People

Fano is born out of decades of betrayal, multiple pogroms, systemic oppression, and the political and economic marginalization of Amharas. It stands as an unwavering emblem of the Amhara people’s enduring spirit and quest for dignified survival. Fano represents a cross-section of Amharas from all walks of life, embodying their unyielding pursuit of a future in Ethiopia that is enshrined in justice, law, and order. Any disrespect to Fano is a disrespect to the Amhara people and other supporters of Fano in and outside of Ethiopia.  

The international community can no longer afford to ignore the formidable influence wielded by Fano. As a dynamic force, Fano holds the potential not only to dramatically alter Ethiopia’s political landscape but also to instigate widespread positive change across the Horn of Africa. It is high time that Ambassador Massinga, alongside other global leaders, recognizes the Fano group as a legitimate representative of the Amhara cause. To overlook the profound needs and aspirations of the Amhara community is not merely impractical; it is a strategy doomed to fail. For any interaction within Ethiopia—whether in security, politics, economics, or diplomacy—to be equitable and impactful, it must embrace the ambitions of the Amhara community.

Moreover, Amhara Fano transcends conventional rebel group paradigms. It epitomizes moral clarity and a profound commitment to addressing the existential threats facing the Amhara people. Unlike other factions that rely solely on military might, Fano’s legitimacy is derived from the righteousness of its cause, distinguishing it in a nation fraught with conflict and murky ethical boundaries. As a beacon of justice, Fano remains resolute in its battle against a regime it deems genocidal. Notably, Fano harbors no enmity towards any ethnic or political groups within Ethiopia; its struggle is precise and targeted, focused on dismantling a regime that threatens the very essence of the Amhara community and Ethiopia at large. This sharp and principled approach not only reinforces Fano’s integrity but also underscores its potential as a reliable ally in diplomatic endeavors.

Engaging with Fano extends beyond mere diplomatic strategy; it is a moral imperative for the international community. Recognizing Fano means acknowledging their pivotal role and the legitimate grievances that fuel their movement, without condoning rebellion. To truly engage with Amhara Fano, we must start by addressing them appropriately as the Amhara Fanos. This acknowledgment is not just about nomenclature; it is about affording them the dignity and legitimacy they deserve in the international arena.

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

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4 COMMENTS

  1. “Fano’s legitimacy is derived from the righteousness of its cause, distinguishing it in a nation fraught with conflict and murky ethical boundaries.”

    Thank you Amoraw

  2. The American ambassador called you Nos (rather than Fan-Nos) because the likes of you could never grasp the truth that using guns to resolve disputes is primitive.

  3. I have better name for you, a name better than the stolen ‘Amoraw’. Call yourself Wyatt Earp. Nobody will mess with you with that name. I am shivering in my boots now just for saying the word.

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