Earlier this week, I noted that we should all be very careful about assigning guilt given the fog of war and disinformation that abounds in Ethiopia. However, in a shocking development, Sekuture Getachew, a high-level TPLF official, admitted on Dimsti Weyane TV show that the TPLF conducted a “preemptive strike” against the Ethiopian National Defense Force Norther Command.
What is now beyond question is that the TPLF initiated this conflict and forced Abiy Ahmed’s hand. No head of state around the world would have stood pat as rogue elements within their country’s borders brazenly attacks its own military in the dark of night and murders soldiers in their sleep. What Sekuture Getachew calls a “preemptive strike” is nothing short of treason and an act of terror.
“Israel made surprise attacks against these forces and demobilized the enemy troops to successfully defend itself. It is a similar strategy that was used now.” ~ Sekuture Getachew
Mr. Getachew acts as if the TPLF is a country defending itself against an invading force; to the contrary, Tigray is part and parcel of Ethiopia and the TPLF making a “surprise attack” against its on nation’s military is sedition. It’s one thing to work within a political framework and oppose Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration, but to take up arms and subvert the rule of law in order to form their own state outside of the Constitution that TPLF itself wrote is malicious insolence. TPLF’s actions are in fact, a red line that must be dealt with lest their defiance festers and metastasizes into a wider war that has dire implications for Ethiopia and the region as a whole.
The blame lies solely on the TPLF for the conflict that is taking place in Tigray; not only did they kill without provocation, they have also plunged the province of Tigray into a state of crisis and initiated a war that has unleashed massive human suffering and strife. Moreover, according to eye witnesses, stories corroborated by independent media and the report released by Amnesty, the victims of Thursday’s gruesome terror attacks in Mai-Kadra were in fact mostly Amharas and people who survived the onslaught recounted that the instigators of the mass killings were TPLF soldiers.
While my heart continues to hurt for the innocent Tigrayan civilians who are caught in this cross-fire, it has become abundantly clear that the TPLF is hell-bent on burning Ethiopia to the ground in order to regain power. They will do so through terror and using the suffering of Tigrayans as both a human shield and a spear in their campaign to bend public perception to their will. Abiy Ahmed is correct, TPLF cannot be allowed to start a campaign of terror then set the terms for peace.
TPLF have proven, by their own admission, to be criminals who are willing to act callously and in blatant disregard for human life in order to achieve their political ambitions. It is important to make a distinction between TPLF and Tigrayan people as a whole, the two are not the same any more than ISIS represented all Muslim people. TPLF is an ideology that partitioned Ethiopia into ethnic Bantustans, which gave rise to the ethnic clashes and chaos that have become the norm throughout the country.
After 27 years of murdering anyone who dared to challenge their authority, jailing and torturing with impunity thousands of Ethiopians for the crime of opposing them and ruling with an iron fist, to now pivot and demand to be heard through force is audacity at its apex.
Any organization that takes part in ethnic cleansing, mass-killings of unarmed civilians and funds likeminded extremist groups like the OLF cannot claim to be liberating anyone, they are liberation front only to the extent that they are front companies working to destabilize Ethiopia to the benefit of foreign actors who profit while Ethiopians are impoverished.
This is not to give blanket endorsement to the actions that Abiy Ahmed is taking; after sweeping into power on the winds of change and medemer, it is very concerning that he is returning to the same failed repressive tactics of that the TPLF perfected. However, when it comes to the conflict in Tigray, Abiy occupies the moral high ground and his actions are warranted. The only acceptable result at this point, given TPLF's admission, is full and unconditional surrender and the criminal prosecution of those who planned and approved the campaign of terror they initiated almost two weeks ago. #Ethiopia Click To Tweet
The international community and journalists should really think twice about conveying this conflict through a “two sides to a story” prism, the reality is that the TPLF are an outlaw faction who are acting belligerently and risking the lives of millions of Ethiopians in order to achieve their narrow and self-centered aims. If violent factions attacked US soldiers in their barracks or militants launched a terror campaign against French citizens, no one would demand that the respective governments enter into negotiations with zealots.
Even at this moment, TPLF militias are indiscriminately lobbing rockets into populated areas in Gondar and beyond intent on widening the conflict and inflate suffering. In a truly Orwellian fashion, while they accuse Abiy Ahmed of war crimes, they are the ones committing them. The same standard should be applied to Ethiopia; terrorists cannot be allowed to act with impunity and then cry victim when they receive their comeuppance.
Maybe Abiy can't trust international calls for negotiation because Western and regional actors keep granting the TPLF impunity. My analysis here (repaired link):https://t.co/2SETb2w015
— Bronwyn Bruton (@BronwynBruton) November 13, 2020
While I pray for a speedy resolution to this unfolding tragedy, the hard work of mending Ethiopia will continue long after the last bullets have been fired. While necessity dictates that the Ethiopian government act to restore order in Northern Ethiopia, they must also do more to confront the equally radical OLF who are roaming around the country targeting Ethiopians based on their ethnicity. They should likewise prosecute to the fullest extent of the law those who willfully incite ethnic violence, freedom of speech does not mean freedom to start fires.
Moreover, Abiy Ahmed and the Prosperity Party should immediately eradicate the divisive policy of ethnic federalism and then initiate a national reconciliation effort that is inclusive and gives the opportunity for people to express their sorrows and release their grievances. There is no prosperity without peace, and there will not be peace as long as Ethiopia is shrouded in the blanket of Apartheid 2.0. Some might flinch at the thought of comparing “ethnic federalism” to apartheid, but any system that is based on balkanizing a country based on ethnicity and creating Bantustans rooted in tribe, even if it is not an exact carbon copy of the bygone South African policy, must be called out for what it truly is.
The Violence in #Ethiopia a Reflection of Our Inner Traumas [THREAD]
most of us, whether abroad or back home, who use social media or face to face conversations not so much to listen but to bludgeon each other do so because we are deeply pained and
— Teodrose Fikremariam (@TeodroseFikre) November 13, 2020
Beyond that, Abiy Ahmed must pay attention to the needs of the people irrespective of identity. Ethnic clashes and strife is as much a condition of poverty and hopelessness as it is a manifestation of hate peddlers, if people are given opportunities and feel like stakeholders in their own country, they will dedicate less time venting and more time tending to their own needs. For those of us living abroad, before we jump on bandwagons and fan the flames of antagonism that is fueling ethnic resentments, let us use our gifts not to stoke passions but to convey messages of solidarity that transcends ethnicity. After all, we shall heal together or we will suffer apart.
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