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7:48 am - Tuesday May 18, 2021

Dystopian Apartheid Oromuma and Geopolitical Squeeze Against Ethiopia (Getaneh K)

Dystopian Apartheid Oromuma and Geopolitical Squeeze Against Ethiopia

Getaneh K

Ethiopia, under PM Abiy Ahmed, is under category 4 diplomatic pressure with potentially severe consequences.
Just in the last three days alone, between February 2nd and 4th:
– (1) The German Chancellor, French President, US Secretary of State spoke (read: applied heavy diplomatic pressures) with PM Abiy. All with the same coordinated and choreographed messages to let unfettered access to international organizations. Essentially the Ethiopian government is not fully in control of the situation in Tigray and needs intervention. If it had, it would have let media and aid workers access. Much worse there is no coherent and coordinated narrative from the government side despite overwhelming moral  cause for military action.
– (2) President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, in a conversation with Gen HR McMaster (former US National Security advisor to DJT), suggested US should intervene in Ethiopia.
– (3) The UN Sec General Antonio Guterres and UNHCR all voiced the same message, i.e the Ethiopian government is not in control of the situation.
– (4) USAID administrator (and former US ambassador to the UN under Obama and trigger happy for interventions) Samantha Power made a the highest possible warning.
-(5) The UN Security Council–at the request of US, UK, France, Ireland, Norway, and Estonia—held (for a third time) informal closed-door videoconference to discuss the humanitarian situation in in Tigray region.
Diaspora TPLF, its highly organized and resourced digital disinformation brigades along with its western supporters, cultivated over 30 years, have successfully turned TPLF as a victim instead of one that treacherously attacked the ENDF-Northern Command compounds–killing hundreds of officers in their sleep, taking hostage to close to 10,000 others and taking possession of the country’s heavy military armaments. No one talks about the fact that TPLF admitted it has indeed conducted what it referred “anticipatory lightening [preemptive] strike”. The Washington Post, NY Times, FT and the Economist all run editorials and/or major news articles that depict Ethiopian national defense forces as “invaders” instead of a national defense force putting down insurrectionist. No one talks about the seditionist TPLF that parading barefooted hostage ENDF solders in front of taunting spectators. The Mai-Kadra massacre of 1000+ Amharas by TPLF doesn’t make it into the narratives anymore.
Meanwhile Sudan (at the egging of Egypt) stabbed Ethiopia at its back and has trespassed 40km deeper into Ethiopian borders—with the goal of giving a land corridor to TPLF—as they did back when TPLF bleed Ethiopia in the 1980s.
Given all these dire external (and internal) threats, you would think PM Abiy Ahmed to work, all hands on deck, to get things under control and give utmost attention to the Tigrai issue: both security and humanitarian emergency access needs and give accurate and verifiable information to international media organizations. You would expect PM Abiy to consolidate internal political unity and common purpose in the face of these external geopolitical headwinds. You would expect Ethiopian diplomats to offer up to date (and accurate) information, promote the national interest and fight the torrent of disinformation leveled against it.
But no! Not all.  PM Abiy and his vengeful ethnic apartheid Party are laser focused on attacking Amhara people and hell bent on replacing TPLF as a suffocating and hegemonic power. OPDO is hell bent on preserving the ethnic “federalism”. Enter Dystopian Apartheid Oromuma.
Ethiopia as (a Distant) Plan B
The Oromo ethno-nationalist political parties’ central organizing principle is—false but potent— “Settler Colonialism” narrative—in which Ethiopia (under Amhara leadership) is depicted as a colonial empire that concurred “native” Oromo land and that Amharas who live in central and southern Ethiopia are “settlers” enemies (never mind the actual history is the opposite: Oromo history in Ethiopia dates only 400 years old and Oromos are the last people to settle, by medieval violence, in most of the area they live today). The goal of OLF (and all other OLF derivative entities) is to establish a country called “Oromia” that is cleansed off from Amharas and purified from other ethnic groups that espouse Ethiopia. The multiple genocide level massacres that have been waged in 1990s, in October of 2019 and July of 2020 against Amharas and Orthodox Christians in the so called Oromo Region (as documented and verified by Minority Rights International, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and many others) is direct result of “settler colonial” narrative and the desire to create a new country. OPDO (Oromia-PP), the Party Abiy Ahmed leads, modified OLF’s goal by stealth as “Oromizing Ethiopia” as plan B (because they couldn’t achieve Plan A based on false narrative so easily). Hence OPDO’s masquerading of being pro- “Ethiopia” while still holding OLF’s genocide inducing (and unbounded lie) settler colonialism narrative close to its chest.
Therein lies the conundrum. Ethiopia is a distant option B for OPDO/Oromia-PP. Despite in charge of Ethiopia, Oromo nationalists get their energy and motivation—not from defending the national interest and a new vision—but vengeance against Amhara and the idea of establishing Oromo as a hegemonic ethnic group in Ethiopia. Anti-Amhara narrative and the zeal to exact revenge (for perceived injustice in the past, whatever that maybe) is what animates them. OPDO/OLF gets its inspiration from inflicting pain and suffering on the Amhara people.
While the international community is sounding an emergency alarm, OPDO is busy running public demonstrations against Amhara people—with genocide educing chants of “Neftegna, leave out of Oromia” and accusing legally registered peaceful parties that represent Amhara or Ethiopian interests as being enemies of the people. OPDO/OLF is busy ethnically cleansing Amharas from Wollega, Metekel (with over 200 thousand displaced in less than a year but you won’t hear a peep from the so-called international community on this) and other places. OPDO is too busy massing soldiers in Addis Ababa environs (where the real enemies Amharas and those who identify as Ethiopian live) and is not really bothered by what’s happening elsewhere.
There was no much of a resistance to TPLF diaspora disinformation brigades successfully gaslighted their way into making the seditionist, treasonous and insurrectionist group appear victim. The universal unity that was observed during the initial phase of the military campaign against TPLF had many of us doing citizen diplomacy and advocacy on behalf of Ethiopia. But that has since largely been evaporated after OPDO/OLF orchestrated the massacre and ethnic cleansing of Amharas in Metekel (and Wollega) and PM Abiy refusing to take concrete actions to stop it. It’s very difficult to defend a government that is hellbent to ethnicity cleanse you off from your own land.
The prosperity gospel (read: fraud) powered Abiy Ahmed doesn’t operate in institutions nor coordinate his actions with relevant ministries (heck, even ministers learn their selection for a post or their summary firing from media. And of course he shall not be questioned even by a docile toothless Parliament. What a petulant 7th King!).
The Ethiopian embassies are clearinghouses for incompetent, mostly former, officials and assorted parasitic retiree cadres as a way to make them disappear. Gone are diplomats who are capable and articulate in the world stage and replaced by pathetic small scale contraband merchants who otherwise are fiddling their fingers sightseeing the engineering marvels of their host country.
The other day, there was a fact-finding congressional committee hearing of sort—where invited speakers were anti-Ethiopia TPLF and OLF secessionist sympathizers while Ethiopian government view was never represented. At least in in the past, someone from the Embassy in Washington, DC would attend and make the case (often successfully so by telling playing US lawmakers the need for Ethiopian help in counterterrorism). The Ambassador to the US, Fitsum Arega has transformed the job description into “micro donation collection operation from Diaspora Ethiopians”. He is busy collecting dimes and changes while TPLF disinformation pulls the rug underneath his feet. The gallant ENDF sacrifice are letdown by vengeful, medieval and incompetent OPDO.
PM’s credibility is already in the gutters. He rose to the popular stardom in the hearts of Ethiopians when he proclaimed, “We are Ethiopians when we’re alive; Ethiopia when we perish”. It was either a deception or a self help book rhetoric that he didn’t actually mean it (too bad we oozed with Hope and change). Turns out the deception went international as evidenced by the premature Nobel Peace Priz (they’re eerily awaking to the fact that his words mean nothing much). As they say “Trust comes walking and departs flying” –almost impossible to regain it back. This credibility crisis will cost Ethiopia dearly, unfortunately. When the Secretary of State demands Ethiopia does this and that, he is doing it with the full force of the government of the United States. If his demands are not met, there will be consequences. When you rely on $3Billion+ annual aid (a third of it from US), there is not much room to maneuver.
Ethiopia is in really geopolitical pressure squeeze. But we don’t have the capabilities of Aklilu Habtewold nor the wisdom of HIM Haile Selassie to get us through this. God save Ethiopia!
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