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Abiy Ahmed’s Call for Diaspora and Friends of Ethiopia: No need for reading it between the lines

 Abiy Ahmed’s Call for Diaspora and Friends of Ethiopia: No need for reading it between the lines.


                                             Ezana Hager 3.02.2021


Abiy Ahmed made a call to the Ethiopian diaspora and friends of Ethiopia ‘to fight against the spread of false information about Ethiopia’.  He characterised those who are making noise and protest as remnants of the ‘junta’ who are painting a false picture of Ethiopia in collaboration with foreign enemies.


But what is he actually saying? Who is lying and working with the enemies of Ethiopia? Why are Tigrayans protesting against him in all ways and forms? What does he want from the diaspora and friends of Ethiopia? What should they do as humans?


What Abiy Ahmed is saying does not need serious thinking or analysis. He is asking his supporters and others to be blindly behind his regime on what he does and does not. If not, they would be considered as enemies of Ethiopia and part of the ‘junta’. He is thus asking silence and submission without any resistance, criticism or posing questions of accountability to himself and his elite. This is undemocratic at best and callous at worst. The Tigray diaspora and their Eritrean, Ethiopian and foreign friends are calling for access to information, accountability and justice which does not make them a ‘junta’ or an ‘enemy’ of anyone.


Who is actually lying and misinforming the Ethiopian public and the international community? Who claimed and unequivocally stated that Eritrean troops are not involved in the Tigray war? It was Abiy Ahmed, his officials including Dina Mufti and some of his generals. He went to the extent of affirming this to the UN Secretary General with no shame. 


It is now an open secret that the Eritrean Army is not only fully involved in the war but also is the main force in Tigray. Eritrean  infantry and mechanised divisions are occupying most part of Tigray, including, Axum, Adwa, Adi-Grat and Wikro. They have installed their own administration, check points and are distributing id cards deep inside Tigray.


Who is lying about the mass slaughter of civilians in cities, towns and villages of Tigray? It is Abiy Ahmed and his cronies. He publicly said in Parliament that a single civilian was not killed in the conflict while hundreds of  civilians were murdered by the Eritrean army including in Axum and ordered their bodies to remain on the streets for days. He consistently lied and denied the mass killing of Tigrayan civilians across Tigray in a house-to-house and street-to-street shoot out by Eritrean and regional militia. His army Chief-of-Staff has also outrageously denied the fact that all of them along the Eritrean army adopted targeting civilian sites, including residential areas, farmlands and religious sites, as a tactic of war.

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Who is lying and denying the disgraceful and inhumane gang rapes and sexual violence of Tigray mothers and girls by the Eritrean, Ethiopian and Amhara forces? Himself and his officials, including women ministers of his regime,  have denied (of remained silent on) the profound and consistent evidence of such a systemic and widespread violence against women and children in Tigray.


Who is lying and denying the total destruction of Tigray’s private and public property, including private houses, farms,  pharmacies, clinics, hospitals, schools, factories, mosques and churches? Himself and his officials, including those who are designated to enforce and check facts relating to the state of emergency imposed on Tigray. The latter led by Radwan Hussein disgracefully announced yesterday that the claims of Tigray civilian killings are not substantiated and are politically motivated. The planning or military operations have taken care of potential effects of actions on civilians.  This body vaguely and artificially expressed ‘regret’ for any loss of life during the Tigray war.


Such deliberate denial of openly known crimes raises several issues:


(I)         Even the regime’s Human Rights Commission admitted that civilians have been targeted in Western Tigray by the Amhara militia which was deployed along the federal army. So why do they contradict themselves?

(II)        The Ethiopian army and the Amhara forces have coordinated their operations with the Eritrean army. There is plenty of evidence that cities, towns and villages have been militarily targeted by both the Eritrean and Ethiopian army.

(III)     The federal army is also implicated for widespread rape and sexual violence, including in Mekele. 

(IV)      Although most, if not all, of the shooting spray of innocent civilians and looting were, and still are, committed by the sadistic Eritrean forces, all these are committed with the full knowledge of the commanders and leaders of Ethiopia.


Consequently, either by exposing the Tigray population to a ruthless foreign army, or for not protecting civilians and their property,  or by facilitating and condoning the massacres, the horrendous gang rapes and sexual abuses of Tigray mothers and sisters and the systemic looting and wealth destruction, the Ethiopian army along its political leaders won’t escape personal and collective responsibility. It is simply a matter of time. Also, the attempt that the officials and their backers are making to conceal the crimes constitutes an obstruction of justice under Ethiopian and global laws.


If they have confidence that such claims are not true, why not allow UN and other aid agencies, journalists and others to travel to Tigray? If the torture and alleged execution of Tigray army officers in central Ethiopia are not true, why don’t they allow a visit to the concentration camps of human rights organisations to them?


Furthermore, who is denying the presence of starvation in Tigray? Abiy Ahmed himself and his entire state machinery is telling the international community that all is under control while the truth of the matter is that people have begun to die as a result of malnutrition.


Interestingly, however, in all these lies and denials, there has been a revelation of some truth by his officials of atrocities, rape and sexual violence, hunger, looting and wanton destruction of infrastructure, and most importantly the presence of the Eritrean army in Tigray. 


The Tigray diaspora community and friends of Tigray also get first-hand information with respect to the widespread murder, rape of their sisters and mothers, and the looting of almost everything from spoon, tray  and grain to that of medicine, cars and machineries. They also have first-hand information about the starvation of loved ones –all these come from their families and friends even under difficult circumstances. Sons and daughters have been told about the murder of their loved ones after a month or so, thanks to the telephone and internet barricade imposed on most part of Tigray.


Who is working with the enemies of Ethiopia then? To Abiy Ahmed, everyone who exposes all these crimes is the enemy of Ethiopia. But for anyone who has human instinct it is the Abiy regime that has waged a war against his own people (and not any more against the TPLF) with Eritrea, Emirates, the Amhara and Somalian forces. This is unheard of in the history of Ethiopia or any other nation. From this, therefore, its Abiy’s regime and his collaborators who are working against Ethiopia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.


The Tigrayan diaspora and their friends are therefore protesting against all these crimes. They are demanding that the war, the crimes and the starvation must stop and there shall be accountability for all these crimes against the people of Tigray; nothing less nothing more. Whether you call them remnants of the ‘junta’ or ‘enemies’ of Ethiopia, do not really matter.


What Abiy Ahmed is asking then from his diaspora supporters and their backers? We don’t need to read his call between the lines; he is simply demanding that they should give a blind eye to all these atrocities, hunger and aggression by the Eritrean and other foreign forces against the people of Tigray.   He is asking them to act to coverup the heinous crimes perpetrated against innocent women, children, elders, priests and historic and religious sites. He is asking them to condemn those who are demanding justice as ‘junta’ or Ethiopia’s enemies  when they have lost sisters, brothers, parents, friends and their homes and property.


It is up to the Ethiopian diaspora and friends of Ethiopia to decide on whether to be used as coverup for the grave crimes committed against Tigrayans in Tigray or other parts of Ethiopia, or stand with those who demand for justice. If they opt for the former, that would have extremely severe short and long term all-rounded repercussions in the country, the region and beyond. If some decide to actively condone, support and take part in in the coverup, however, that may amount, subject to furnishing evidence and degree of their participation,  to aiding and abetting those who are planning, leading and committing the international crimes in question.  


Finally, we are living in a century of technology, the rule of law and accountability for global crimes. We are in an age of satellites, advanced forensic science, etc. Whether Abiy Ahmed is supported by his domestic and foreign partners does not really matter- the truth will fully come out sooner or later, and each of us will be judged by history and a court of law for our deeds. Therefore, Abiy Ahmed and his friends should not waste time on deceiving and lying; they should not undermine the intellect of the international community. There should, and will, be accountability for all the crimes committed, and are continuing to be committed, against Tigrayans. Period.

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