By Achamyeleh Tamiru
Yesterday on August 29, 2016, the Ethiopian regime has officially declared war on the Amhara people of Ethiopia. As I speak the army is firing live ammunitions on Amhara peaceful and unarmed civilians in Gondar and Gojjam who are struggling to survive the Amhara genocide declared by the Tigrian People’s Liberation Front 41 years ago. For the last two months alone, there has been an ongoing massacre in Gondar and Gojjam and close to a thousand people have been killed by the regime’s federal police and military in Amhara various cities and places. In Bahir, Dar, Gojjam alone close to 150 people were killed in one day during a peaceful protest two weeks ago. In Gondar, more than 50 protesters were killed during a peaceful protest and other times when they were just walking normally.
What is going on in and around the “Amhara region” is nothing short of genocide on the Amhara people. Presently, there is a large military division where tens of thousands soldiers have been deployed throughout the “Amhara region”, and part of that military division has an Agazi brigade which has been given the green light to shoot and kill as it sees fit. The Agazi is responsible for the killings for unarmed civilians that were peacefully protesting as well as those that were just walking.
The cause of Amhara is a matter of existence. It is a matter of continuing as a people. The regime since its inception has had adopted an anti-Amhara policy. In the 1976 TPLF manifesto, it specifically states that the Amhara people are an enemy of the Tigray and they should be wiped out. Throughout its 25 years in power, it has made sure to ethnic cleanse Amharas from various regions of the country, as well as carried out a systematic genocide, annex their land and evict them, and weaken the people socially and economically. Speaking of figures – in the year 2010, when the Population Census Commission Agency announced the 2007/2008 population result to the Ethiopian Parliament , the agency officially confirmed that 2.5 million Amharas were missing. What was most shocking was that the same document from the Agency showed that the annual population growth of the Amhara region was 2.3%, but 2.5 million Amharas were missing compared to the previous Population Census result. One does not need to be an expert to understand the magnitude of the ethnic cleansing, the massacre and the genocide when there is a decrease of 2.5 million people, while the annual growth of the population is 2.3%.
While all this is happening in the twenty first century, what is very shocking and unfortunate is the lack of coverage by world renowned networks such as CNN, BBC, France 24, Bloomberg and others while such crimes against humanity has been committed by a Western backed regime. It is as though there is a deliberate effort to not find out or report on what is going in Ethiopia. So far the only news network that has reported on the issue is Aljazeera, but unfortunately it was very generalized and at that very biased. It botched the report by presenting unprofessional and biased portrayal that was in support of the regime. It even went ahead and hinted of a genocide against the Tigray people (which the regime hails from) when in reality it was the Amharas that were and still being killed.
In addition, some new sites have cited being restricted from entering the country, and if allowed, they are restricted to only certain parts of the country. This obviously is an alarming indication that the regime does not want its killings to be reported, and really it should not come as a surprise when the country ranks among the top 5 countries being censored. Therefore, this should motivate and oblige news-networks to find out what is going and find ways rather than making excuses or completely remaining silent.
Presently, Ethiopia is facing one of the worst famines seen in 50 years, and there are 20 million people starving, and a significant part of them are Amharas. The cause of the famine is policy failure. The Ethiopian regime has failed to remedy this famine because of deep rooted corruption, failed economic policies, and weak and bad governance. Furthermore, it is no doubt that the regime uses food as a weapon for its political agenda. In 2012, BBC had made a short report entitled, Ethiopia ‘using aid as weapon of oppression.’ The BBC stated, “A joint undercover investigation by BBC Newsnight and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has uncovered evidence that the Ethiopian regime is using billions of dollars of development aid as a tool for political oppression.” Ever since the Amhara protests, the regime has deliberately stopped the distribution of food, water, and medicine. It has also refused to provide medical assistance in any capacity. This is a retaliatory measure against the Amhara people. To add insult to injury, the regime is gunning down unarmed Amharas on the streets.
It is no secret that western parties such as the U.S, U.K, EU, and many others have backed the Ethiopian regime politically, militarily (training), and aid. In 2015, in his visit to Ethiopia, President Obama unashamedly declared that the Ethiopian regime was democratically elected knowing well that the regime had claimed it won a 100 percent of the vote which is unheard of anywhere in the world. In the same month, Susan Rice in a press conference claimed that the regime had won a 100 percent of the votes, but not before bursting into laughter.
Moreover, the U.S government trains and supports the Ethiopian military as part of its “war on terror” effort in Somalia, and in turn this training and arms is in reverse used to repress the Ethiopian people. Since 1991, the current Ethiopia regime has received more than 50 billions of dollars in aid, and yet it has been largely appropriated to a single ethnic group and politicians at the top. The Western parties have largely collaborated with the regime in the oppression and suppression of the Ethiopian people, and as a result many Western Medias have ignored this fact protecting their government ‘policy towards Ethiopia. This type of policy does not clear anyone from being complicit and in facilitating the killings going in the Amhara region. What is going in Ethiopia right now is a crime against humanity which the media cannot and should not partake in silence.
As media and institutions, we are confident that you will report what is going on the Amhara people without bias or generalization. We will be upholding you to your mission statements and scrutinize how much you are staying true to professionalism. We are saying this because various media in the past as well as the present have failed in reporting the facts where it has led countless loss of lives. For instances, during the Rwandan genocide many news media and institutions including the Bill Clinton Administration, classified the genocide as a civil war, and it therefore led to an anti-intervention propaganda. Months later we have seen in how such irresponsible and unprofessional coverage and reporting has cost close to a million of lives.
You think of the World War II period and the Holocaust as one of the worst experiences in history, yet currently there is genocide and mass killing on the Amhara people of Ethiopia. As an institution, If you really believe that you are the voice of conscience, you have an obligation and responsibility to report staying true to the facts, and not just the facts but going far and beyond in providing the prefect context of what is transpiring. By doing this, you are not only staying true to your principals, but you are also saving lives by exposing what is going on. It, therefore, vital you report what is going on in Ethiopia and particularly the Amhara people in detail with careful considerations to context. I have written a couple of appeals to your esteemed institution over the last two months to help us stop the genocide committed on the Amharas of Ethiopia. But you turned a deaf ear. If you had listened to my yelling and heeded the stings of remorse before you had urged your diabolical vengeance to this extremity, Abebe Geremew, 25, a young Amhara Tour operator who, was shot on the head while on his way back his house by the regime mercenaries gangsters at Bahir, Dar, would yet have lived.
I appeal to your good feelings and beg you in name of humanity and justice to do some thing for my poor Amhara people who are now under massacre that has long been planned by the murderous
Tigrian People’s Liberation Front. The apparent genocide committed has tragically become an almost hourly occurrence during the last two months of relentless war declared on the Amharas by the Western-backed Tigrian regime of Ethiopia. Please speak out clearly, bravely, lovingly for the innocents now massacred by the tens of hundreds every day. They are massacred as they are fighting for survival. Please don’t tell the world a vague reports of a generalized protest by the Amharas to exacerbate our disappointment and add insult to injury. Please get the courage to say few words about the full-scale genocide on the Amharas of Ethiopia and the genocide committed by the Tigrian People’s Liberation Front.
I look forward to receiving a response from you regarding the top urgent issues I have raised.
Thank you for reading my letter.
By Achamyeleh Tamiru