Lies Have Consequences: Demolition of Tigray
Politicians usually say “elections have consequences” when they win an election and when they want to impose their own way. In Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed did not come to power via an election and he could not possibly utter the same words. Given many notable lies of his leadership, I would not be surprised if he says, “elections have consequences.” For him, a more accurate pronouncement should be “lies have consequences.” The days of “wearing his faith and his gospel of love and peace in his sleeves” are gone for good and the real nature of his being is revealed in his constant lies and war-making. The consequences of these political lies and liars are destroying Tigray and its people at an alarming pace.
This is a dark and frightening time. When most of the world is struggling with a “novel” microscopic enemy, the people of Tigray also are in dark at the mercy of armies of Isaias Afewerki, Abiy Ahmed and Amhara extremists. Before the voracious grips of fascists on Tigray, the six million Tigrayans were strong and living with six million ways of life. Relatively, it was such a delightfully simple life. Tigray was at peace with itself: its democratic regional election and its regional government enforcement of law and order were the envy of all regional governments of Ethiopia.
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Then the snakes appeared in the Garden of Eden; somehow it looks now the rest of Ethiopia has conspired against Tigray by waging a genocidal war in the dark. Ethiopians’ deafening silence on the war against Tigrayans continues without a hitch. It is very hard to imagine and contemplate what the people of Tigray are thinking and going through right now. For sure, the six million ways of life are no more. Death, rape, starvation, thirst and isolation have firmly absorbed the souls and minds of the people of Tigray. And yet just as substantial in the silence from significant sections of the Ethiopian elites, most especially those from the Amhara and the Oromos. These are consequences of years of political lies and demonization of TPLF and the people of Tigray.
The Amhara and Oromo political elites within the EPRDF, colluded in a superbly organized campaign of youth groups, convinced these various political actors that the “national interest” required a new, more democratic, form of government. Three decades of lies and demonization of the TPLF gave a good political scapegoat for the incompetence of the Amhara and the Oromo political elites. They planned the formation of a new government without the TPLF. The TPLFites, as spokesmen for federalist forces, were beaten in a fair fight of majority rules, and wandered off to their home region which is 800 kilometers away from the center of power of the country, Addis Ababa. Yet Abiy Ahmed and the Amhara elites looked upon the TPLF and the people of Tigray as a “foul cancer” (Abiy Ahmed’s words) which should be cut from the Ethiopian body politic at the earliest possible date and by whatever means were necessary and expedient.
The Amhara political elites failed to address the day-to-day Injera and Wat issues of their constituents. Instead of addressing the public demand head on; specially the demand for jobs by the youth, they engage in diversionary dangerous political ploy. They effectively implanted fear and victimization in the minds of the Amhara people via their official mass media and their affiliated social media. They popularized a conspiracy theory of “Amhara genocide” in order to scare the Amhara and to support their violence against Tigrayans. That is exactly what transpired in northern Amhara (Gondor) when the Amhara killed, looted and expelled thousands of Tigrayans in 2016. Now the killings and pillaging in western and southern Tigray is continuing without any mercy at all. As much as they would like to deny it, they are forcing the “relocation” of thousands of Tigrayans towards central Tigray. In southern Tigray, they are bluntly forced to change their Tigrayan identity. The previews of the horrors of what exactly happened in these two areas of Tigray are trickling out via survivors fleeing to Sudan. What we heard so far might be only the tip of the iceberg.
The Amhara political elites presented the Constitution as a dangerous innovation of Tigrayans to subjugate the people of Amhara. This has been a concrete bid for their political power and forming a centralized unitary state. This might lead to unsustainable ethnic conflicts as Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic country. Historically, the power relationship among these different ethnic groups have been complex and they might prefer to exercise their self-rule and self-determination. Consequently, such political lies and agitations lead to more mistrusts of each other and ethnic conflicts.
In addition, it should be noted that a significant percentage of the people of Amhara are in a radical frame of mind, and, if they were not particularly interested in politics, they were decidedly in favor of immediate demands of land grabbing from neighboring regional states. And now it is this settler-colonialism where this anti-constitutional force has overwhelmed the federal regional states. The Amhara official policy of settler-colonialism and of harnessing the military power of Abiy Ahmed and Isaias Afewerki have, for the time being, cemented Amhara’s control over parts of Tigray.
One could, indeed, suggest—at least for the purpose of argument—that the rampant appearance of ethnic conflicts, after the ascent of Abiy Ahmed to power, in every corner of the country is an almost certain sign of a failure or crisis in political leadership. At a personal level, some of my best friends are Amhara, but I still insist that we have succumbed too long to their political lies. However, above and beyond this personal level of relationships, there is a vital area of analysis which is concerned with the goals and dreams of Amhara extremists, with the role that lies and liars play in the origin of the genocidal war in Tigray.
The inventions and innovations of “alternative realities,” propelled by social media platforms, are not unique to Ethiopian politics. The incident of January 6th in the USA, the Capitol riot of the right-wing, is a reminder even the most advanced countries could fall to the prey of conspiracy theories. I should also note that the eerily similarities displayed by the right-wing and the Amhara extremists’ conspiracy theories are food for thought I will leave you with.
Tigray will prevail!
Eternal glory to our martyrs!