We are a group of Ethiopian Americans residing in New Jersey and New York. We are writing you this letter to express our deep concern regarding a joint statement issued by you and Indiana Senator Todd Young on Ethiopia’s current situation.
As Ethiopian Americans, we are relieved that life in the region of Tigray is returning to normalcy after a relatively brief but intense law-enforcement operation by the Ethiopian defense forces (EDF). You have to understand the fact that, the need for the government to reinforce law and order in the area arose after special forces and militia organized by Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) launched a premeditated and unprovoked attack on garrisons of the Northern Command of the EDF, on November 4, 2020. Considering the treasonous act committed by the TPLF, the Ethiopian government had no choice but to conduct a swift law enforcement operation to defend the nation.
It may be appropriate to ask what the US government would do if the governor of Texas uses state and militia forces to attack Fort Hood US Military base and brutally kill hundreds of its members. While that scenario may be unlikely, the US army would have undoubtedly taken all measures necessary to make sure the governor as well as his collaborators are captured and tried for treason. The Ethiopian government did what the USA or any other sovereign nation would have done in a similar situation.
Unfortunately, western media has been misrepresenting the efforts of the federal government, while propagating TPLF’s version of the operation. In order to understand the current situation in Tigray and why the government of Ethiopia was forced to defend itself you need to understand what the TPLF did to Ethiopians over its thirty years of brutal dictatorship and why it declared war on the Northern Command Post, committing heinous crimes on hundreds of military personnel and their families.
- For close to three decades the TPLF imposed a brutal dictatorship on Ethiopians. During that period, it intentionally nurtured inter-ethnic animosity as a strategy to “divide-and-rule”. The TPLF instituted ethnocentric policies, controlling the military, the economy and political power, resulting in a state-sponsored rampant corruption in which billions of hard-earned public finances, assistance funds as well as government loans from other countries have been siphoned off to TPLF members and TPLF owned businesses.
- It carried out gross human rights violations including mass killings, arbitrary arrests
and torture in order to intimidate political opponents and the general public.
- Years of sustained and deadly popular protests around the country forced the TPLF to lose control of state power for the first time in twenty-seven years. This momentous change ushered in a ray of hope with the new government leaders promising a transition to a democratic rule. When pushed out of central power most TPLF criminals moved to Tigray to evade justice by hiding under their ethnic identity.
- Instead of apologizing for their crimes and opting for a peaceful dialogue, TPLF leaders continued to conspire for a Coup d’état, undermined and frustrated the government, intentionally attempting to derail public confidence in the system.
- In the face of several provocations, the current administration remained committed to peaceful resolution of differences and attempted reconciliation via involving religious leaders and elders. However, corrupt TPLF leaders rejected all those efforts.
- In September 2020, in violation of Ethiopian constitution and contempt for the authority of Ethiopian House of the Federation. After conducting illegal elections, the TPLF claimed to win all the seats and declared the Federal Government illegal, with clear intentions to disrupt law and order in the country.
- While the EDFs were enforcing law and order following the attack on the Northern Command, the TPLF forces massacred over 700 innocent Amhara Ethiopians in the town of Mai-Kadra on November 9, 2020. Both Amnesty International and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission have independently confirmed the carnage.
We want you to understand the fact that, contrary to the campaign of misinformation by TPLF supporters, the law-enforcement operation by Ethiopian government was neither a civil war nor an operation directed against the people of Tigray. The purpose of the operation was to simply fulfil its obligations and restore law and order in the region. During the operations, the EDF have taken utmost care to protect civilian areas while the TPLF was further committing war crimes by moving its forces in to some communities and massacring others.
After liberating the people of Tigray from TPLF criminals, the government has now started restoring public service facilities that have been intentionally destroyed by the TPLF and is working with humanitarian agencies to address humanitarian issues. Despite claims by supporters of the criminal enterprise that suffocated Ethiopians for decades, it should be clear that the safety and the well-being of the people of Tigray is of utmost importance to the current government and the people of Ethiopia.
While the government and the people of Ethiopia will welcome all moral and material assistances for the rehabilitation of refugees and internally displaced people, as well as the re-construction efforts, TPLF criminals should be held accountable for the horrendous and treasonous crimes they have committed on Ethiopians and the people of the region of Tigray.
We hope you study the situation with an open mind and re-examine your statement and stand with us in supporting the justified actions taken by the Ethiopian government to insure law and order in the country.
NY/NJ Ethiopians Task Force