By Prof. Alemayehu G.Mariam
Author’s Note: I have written this commentary for several reasons.
First, in my September 5, 2016 commentary, I announced that the T-TPLF will soon roll out a major disinformation campaign to discredit the massive popular uprising in the country and re-write the true story of valor and courage by the Ethiopian people with systematic lies and deception. On or about September 12, the T-TPLF rolled out its biggest disinformation campaign by forewarning an apocalyptic genocide on the Ethiopian horizon. The T-TPLF Disinformation Campaign I announced is now officially underway.
The T-TPLF genocide disinformation campaign is presented as a one-two punch by Abaye Tsehaye predicting imminent genocide and Seyoum Mesfin giving reassurances that the T-TPLF multi-ethnic security and armed forces will crush and decimate the massive popular uprising and resistance.
Second, I was in a quandary about writing this commentary because I could not believe that any reasonable person could argue with a straight face that removal of a government of thugs, by thugs, for thugs could plunge a country into genocide. The T-TPLF claim of impending doomsday of genocide in Ethiopia is so absurd and ridiculous, any serious response to it must necessarily be a colossal waste of time. But I have learned from history that a lie told a hundred times could be accepted as truth. The best antidote to a big genocide lie is a swift response with the incontrovertible truth. No lie about a genocide should ever go unchallenged!
Third, I wrote this commentary to address head on the ongoing T-TPLF disinformation campaign that the popular uprising in Ethiopia is not homegrown and not an organic expression of the Ethiopian people but a destabilization campaign by “Shabya”, “anti-peace”, “anti-development” and “other foreign powers” (presumably Middle Eastern). The T-TPLF is in convenient delusional denial of the plain fact that it has been rejected totally by the Ethiopian people. By constantly calling attention to “Shabiya”, “outside forces”, “anti-peace forces”, etc., as the causes of the “isolated disturbances”, the T-TPLF seeks to discredit and disparage the popular resistance, and particularly the role of young people in the resistance to T-TPLF rule. Ethiopians must be acutely aware of the fact that the disinformation campaign about a genocide concocted and planned by outsiders is a game of deception played by the T-TPLF.
Fourth, the not-so-hidden T-TPLF message in the T-TPLF genocide disinformation campaign is that Oromos and Amharas are natural and historical enemies, and cannot possibly create genuine attraction or unity. It is a campaign aimed at convincing Amharas and Oromos that they are like oil and water. Indeed, if I recall correctly, Getachew Reda, T-TPLF chief communications jockey said, “Amhara and Ormo are like “chid” (the chaff from Ethiopia’s staple food teff) and fire (the equivalent of fire and highly combustible pampas grass). They can never come together as one.
What the T-TPLF forgets is that Amhara and Oromo and Tigray and Gurage, Sidama, Gambella, Afari Somali and all the other groups are like “chid” and earth (mud), the two essential ingreidients used by the vast majority of Ethiopians to build their homes, their Ethiopian homes. But the T-TPLF continues to ply its tired old divide and rule tricks to no avail.
Fifth, another layer in the T-TPLF genocide campaign is a call to other smaller ethnic groups to join the T-TPLF and defend against an Oromo-Amhara strategic alliance. The most dangerous aspect of this disnornmtion campaign in the fact that the T-TPLF by creating a distorted narrative of Oromo-Amhara unity is desperately trying to create the impression and image of a rising Rwanda-style interahamwe (which in Kinyarwanda means “those who stand/work/fight/attack together”) being hatched and organized by Oromos and Amharas against the people of Tigray.
Sixth, I have written this commentary to challenge ALL Ethiopian intellectuals to join me in a Campaign of Truth against the T-TPLF’s Campaign of Lies and Disinformation. I am especially calling for a united counter-disinformation campaign against T-TPLF genocide disinformation campaign. When I say intellectuals, I am not only referring to academics, scholars, researchers, writers, artists, lawyers, journalists, physicians, philosophers, social and political thinkers. I also include opposition leaders, students, human rights activists, civic society, religious and cultural leaders and friends of Ethiopia.
This is the time for all good Ethiopian men and women to come to the aid of their country.
To paraphrase Martin L. King, “In the end, Ethiopians will not remember the words and dastardly deeds of their oppressors but the silence of their intellectuals and friends.”
T-TPLF Disinformation Campaign No. 1: Cry, Genocide Wolf!
On or about September 12, 2016, the T-TPLF rolled out its Disinformation Campaign No.1 by trotting out two of its founding members to give an interview.
Abaye Tsehaye announced an impending genocide in Ethiopia:
… Similar things that happened in Rwanda are happening in Ethiopia. Two people called Tutsis and Hutus, one (group) was in power, the other was out of power. One group had tried to get advantage during colonial rule and using mass media, armed forces, with (political) parties coordinated a campaign. They separated (the Tutsis) by looking at their (facial) features, by their tradition. They mobilized Hutus to destroy Tutsis. That’s how so many millions were (killed) and so many driven into exile.
When EPRDF took power, Rwanda as a country, as a people was destroyed. It had disintegrated. (No one thought) it could be put back together. That’s how it started.
It (genocide) had been in a process of agitation for a while. It was something that was in preparation, coordination. Later they came to regret it and began a process of reconciliation and forgiveness; the people became one and (Rwanda) were able to become one country.
The question in Ethiopia is do we have a chance of coming together and becoming one country?
That is what we need to see. There (in Rwanda) there are only two (groups). They saw the destruction was so devastating, after they paid all that price, they came to the right stand. To reconcile, to become one country and one people, they were able to go on the way of development and peace.
In Ethiopia there are 80 plus nations and nationalities, once bloodshed begins, it will go from one end (of the country) to the other end. No one can stop it. It has started already started in one or two places. Once it gets out of control like in Rwanda, the chances of being one people, one country will not exist.
Abaye Tsehai accused “Shabia [Eritrea]” and the “foreign supporters” of those directing the uprising from the outside the country (presumably “Diaspora extremists”, “anti-peace” and “anti-development” elements):
Their common agenda is to break up the order (T-TPLF regime) and to create public disorder. In the ensuing chaos, as they say ‘Chaos makes it convenient for a thief’, at a minimum, they aim to rip-off the country (of its wealth) and seize power for a short time. After that, there will be nothing left to rip-off and the country will disintegrate. There will be chaos, bloodletting and massacres. Before that (happens), they will fight with each other. Let’s say EPRDF is weakened and can’t control the situation, they will then fight with each other as to who is going to rip-off (the country) first and who seizes which power first. That’s inevitable from beginning to end. The outside (foreign) supporters are not the type who want to see Ethiopia continue in its development. They don’t want a peaceful and stable Ethiopia. Their supporters want Ethiopia to be weakened and without peace and development and disunited. They don’t want Ethiopia in peace and stability. The bosses who give them money and agenda want Ethiopia to disintegrate, breakup and become weak. They don’t want her to be united. They have anti-Ethiopia, anti-Ethiopian goal.
That is their collective goal and they don’t believe there is now or has ever been historically unity of Oromo and Amhara peoples. They were the ones creating antagonism between Oromos and Amharas (in the past). They were the ones creating strife. The hatred and bloodletting mobilization they created on Tigray people today, they will repeat it again (as they did between Oromos and Amharas in the past). This the people understand. The Oromo people properly understand this. It is for their own interest (the outside agitators’) temporary interest to create chaos throughout the country and benefit themselves, not because they are concerned about the country’s unity. Their goal is to create chaos in the country, conflict between people and create bloodletting.
According to Abaye Tehaye, the aim, agenda and goal of the foreign agitators and foreign bankrollers is to spark G-E-N-O-C-I-D-E in Ethiopia.
What is interesting about Abaye Tesehaye’s analysis is that he conveniently omits that the man who cried genocide in Rwanda, Paul Kagame, is the very man who started the Rwandan genocide.
Theogene Rudasingwa, Kagame’s former Chief of Staff to Rwandan President Paul Kagame and ambassador to the U.S. said he heard Kagame “boast in 1994 that he ordered the shooting down of the plane carrying President Juvenal Habyarimana.”
Is Abaye Tsehaye the Paul Kagame of Ethiopia?
Seyoum Mesfin delivered the second punch in the genocide fable.
Seyoum said the genocide plan will fail because the security and military structures created by the “EPRDF” ( the front organization for the T-TPLF) will prevent it. Seyoumsaid:
If they (foreign agitators and their foreign bankrollers) get a chance not only will they breakup nations, nationalities and peoples, they will split a family in 2 or 3 parts. But to believe their common agenda will get them ahead is like dew in the sun. They will continue to fan the (flames of genocide). They don’t trust each other. They will use force to attack each other. Narrow-mindedness and arrogance cannot go together to create a (governance) order. Never! Theirs is a zero sum game.
Let’s look at our security and defense structures. Their claim is that the people who control and dominate these structures are Tigreans and therefore they seek to destroy these structures. The narrow-minded and arrogant have joined this campaign. Why? When the truth is revealed, it is a different thing. From all EPRF structures and ministries, these are the structures that show diversity of Ethiopian people. These structures integrate all Ethiopians. Those who never had a chance in society like the Benishangul, Somalis, Afaris, we have put them in defense institutions and integrated them and built an armed force. Let’s talk about the security structure. It is the mirror of the country. Each nation, nationality sees a mirror image of itself in the security structure…
In his other comments, Seyoum Mesfin seems to equate what the Nazis did to the Jews in WW II to what the Oromos and Amharas might do to Tigreans today. Is Seyoum serious equating Ethiopians to Nazis and Tigreans as Jews in the Third Reich?
It is not clear where Seyoum got his history education when he says the T-TPLF is the first regime in Ethiopia to ethnically integrate the armed and security forces. Perhaps he picked up bits and pieces of oral history about Ethiopia’s armed forces from hearsay, rumor and gossip mill in the bush.
The military leadership under Haileselassie was vastly more diverse than under T-TPLF rule. Perhaps Seyoum should review the diversity of military leadership under his T-TPLF regime. The fact of the matter is that both under the imperial and Derg regimes, the composition of the leadership and rank and file reflected in the Ethiopian armed forces reflected the country’s ethnic diversity. No member of an ethnic group was excluded from the armed forces. The ignorant who is ignorant of his own ignorance deserves only pity. I pity Seyoum for his willful ignorance.
In my September 5, 2016 commentary “ The Lies and Disinformation Campaigns of the T-TPLF”, I announced to the world that the T-TPLF is now engineering a massive disinformation campaign to belittle and discredit the massive popular uprising against T-TPLF rule and to counter and destroy what they believe to be an “Amhara-Oromo alliance” against them.
In my videotaped interview (in Amharic) last week with Reeyot Alemu on Ethiopian Satellite Television, I addressed that issue at some length.
In my September 5 commentary, I offered ten examples of the massive disinformation campaign that the T-TPLF will be rolling out in the near future.
At number 1 in list of disinformation campaigns I identified was the T-TPLF’s selective use of historical events and incidents to create antagonisms between ethnic groups, particularly Oromos and Amharas.
Right on cue, barely 5 days after I wrote my commentary, the T-TPLF rolled outDisinformation Campaign No. 1: Cry Genocide Wolf! Amharas and Oromos are planning to conduct genocide in Ethiopia.
The choice of the latest messengers of the genocide warnings, two top capos of La Commissione T-TPLF , Abaye Tsehay and Seyoum Mesfin, is quite interesting. Usually, the T-TPLF keeps the the likes of Abaye and Seyoum, members of “state within the state”, behind the scenes and out of public sight. Why did the T-TPLF let out its top dogs at this time?
Abaye Tsehay is one of the seven founding O.G.s (in popular parlance original gangsters) of the TPLF in September 1974. He is reputed to be T-TPLF Minister of Federal Affairs of Ethiopia and lord overseer of Addis Ababa city administration and police.
Mesfin is also one of the founding O.G.s of the TPLF. He is reputed to be a former T-TPLF foreign minister and ambassador to China.
Why did the T-TPLF let loose its two head honchos to strut out in the public and cry Genocide Wolf at the gate?
Did the disinformation campaign about the skulking, lurking and creeping genocide boogeyman succeed?
TPLF is an organization founded on hate and animated by genocidal impulses: the evidence
The fact that the TPLF is an organization founded on hate has never been publicly contested by TPLF leaders.
The most persuasive and compelling evidence of the genocidal ideology of the T-TPLF comes from Gebremedhin Araya, the former treasurer and top leader of the TPLF, who left that organization and distinguished himself as a fearless and uncompromising patriotic Ethiopian truth-teller. (See my May 2011 commentary “Licensed to Steal”.)
In an extraordinary videotaped interview (with my English translation of the Amharic words below), Gebremedhin explained the TPLF’s four ideological pillars for de-Ethiopianizing Ethiopia by systematically cleansing Ethiopian national identity, history and consciousness (begin video at 6:10):
1) Eritrea is an Ethiopian colony. Eritrea is a developed country. Eritrea existed before Ethiopia. Ethiopia is a country created by (Emperor) Menelik. The name Ethiopia is not known. Ethiopia has no history, nothing.
2) Tigray is an independent sovereign country which was invaded by (Emperor) Atse Menelik and became an Amhara colony. Tigray is a colonial territory of Amhara. That is what is stated in the woyane (TPLF) Manifesto which is the policy guideline (exhibiting the Manifesto in the video). Therefore, we must liberate Tigray from Amhara colonialism and create a Tigray republic. [To read the original handwritten TPLF Manifesto”, click here; for the online version click here]
3) Amhara are the enemy of the Tigray people. Amhara are not only enemies but also double enemies. Therefore, we must wipe out Amhara. We have to destroy them. Unless Amhara are destroyed, beaten down, cleansed from the land, Tigray cannot live in freedom. For the government we intend to create, Amhara will be the main obstacle. (Emphasis added.)
4) Since Ethiopia is a country created by Menelik’s invasion and since there are many nations and nationalities invaded by Menelik, these groups (hold and exhibits Manifesto in the video) must gain their freedom from what is now called Ethiopia and establish their own country. The country known as Ethiopia is new and not even 100 years old. This country must be destroyed, zeroes out. Nations and nationalities and we must create our own governments. Eritrea gets her independence; that is the basis of our struggle.
The language used by the TPLF in demonizing and vilifying Amharas is eerily similar to the Hutu campaign against Tutsis in Rwanda in the 1980s and early 1990s. The Hutus demonized and dehumanized Tutsis before they launched their genocide campaign.
No one has ever challenged the veracity of Gebremedhin’s testimony or the authenticity of the substantial documentary evidence of TPLF internal policy supporting his testimony.
Last week, in a videotaped interview entitled “Breaking the Silence: A Message from Tigrayans to Tigrayans”, Sirak Amare and Tilahun Woldeselassie, former TPLF officers, confirmed every aspect of Gebremedhin’s story about the genocidal propaganda of the TPLF.
There is corroboration in Meles Zenawi’s remarks and observation which echo Gebremedhin’s testimony. Meles once told the esteemed and distinguished Ethiopianist, the late Professor Donald Levine: “The Tigreans had Axum, but what could that mean to the Gurague? The Agew had Lalibela, but what could that mean to the Oromo? The Gonderes had castles, but what could that mean to the Wolaitai?”
Meles also said the Ethiopian flag is nothing more than a “piece of rag” and that “Ethiopia is only 100 years old. Those who claim otherwise are indulging themselves in fairy tales.”
Meles believed while he was alive and his T-TPLF today conveniently believe that there is no such thing as Ethiopia, only a collection of “nations, nationalities and peoples” in an imaginary land created by Amharas. (See my May 2016 commentary, “Does Ethiopia Need a Constitution?”.)
The significance of Gebremedhin’s testimony and documentary evidence can best be appreciated by examining the TPLF Manifesto, which remains to this day the guidepost and ideological underpinning of the TPLF. It is noteworthy that no current or former TPLF leader has ever jointly or severally disavowed the authenticity of the “TPLF Manifesto” nor repudiated any of its contents.
A careful and critical examination of the “TPLF Manifesto” shows that it is impregnated with genocidal ideas and plans for Amharas and eventual balkanization and disintegration of Ethiopia and its people.
The Manifesto is full of hate talk about the oppression, persecution, dispossession, ethnic domination and exploitation of the Tigrean people by the Amhara people.
The Manifesto spins a tale of how “the Amhara aristocrats and their supporters (in the post-Menelik II period) took away the freedom of Tigray and jarred the unity of the people.”
The Manifesto accuses ALL Amhara people of “drowning the people of Tigray” in a sea “of ignorance, disease and famine.”
The Manifesto accuses ALL Amhara people with ethnic cleansing of Tigreans and chafes at how Amharas tried “especially to make Amharas out of Tigreans’ involuntarily and by force. But because they broke up and took away [Tigrean] land and oppression, Tigreans were forced into exile.”
The Manifesto rants about how “the people of Tigray for a long time have been deprived of their human and political rights by oppressor Amhara people who adopted [oppression] as government policy.”
The Manifesto claims the “oppressor Amhara people engaged in economic exploitation and [predation] of the people of Tigray.”
The Manifesto claims that the “Amhara people have sought to weaken and eliminate our [Tigrean people’s] tradition and language or to secure the interests of the Amhara rulers, they have used our three thousand year history and tradition as a slogan and an object of pride for themselves.”
The Manifesto depicts ALL Amhara people (not specific Amhara individuals or groups in power) in their entirety as bloodthirsty ethnic cleansers who must be eradicated from the face of the earth.
It is no exaggeration to say that the TPLF Manifesto is the organizational and ideological equivalent (except of the number of pages) of Mein Kampf. In its Manifesto, the TPLF outlines its struggle against Amhara oppressors and articulates the essential elements of its genocidal ideology and future plans for Ethiopia without the Amhara people.
I have examined the TPLF’s politics of hate in my recent commentary, “Ethiopia: Rise of the “Amhara Retards” and Oromo “Criminals and Terrorists” in 2016?”.
There is no question that the TPLF as an organization that was conceived in the hate-filled minds of the seven O.G.’s. The TPLF leaders and their supporters breathe hate, and that hate courses in their bloodstream.
The T-TPLF’s angry genocide boogeyman returns in 2016
The T-TPLF is trotting out the same angry old genocide boogeyman it has been trotting out whenever it found its rear end in the ringer. Today, the T-TPLF’s ass is grass and the people of Ethiopia are the lawnmowers!
In the 1990s, the late T-TPLF thugmaster Meles Zenawi was fond of saying that without his guiding hand and T-TPLF leadership, Ethiopia will go the way of Yugoslavia. The former Yugoslavia is today seven nations, Meles used to counsel. Meles repeated the same message in a videotaped interview in 2009. Balkanization was Meles’ dream for Ethiopia. It is the T-TLF’s dream today. Over the past 25 years, Meles and his T-TPLF have toiled day and night to carve up and chop up Ethiopia to facilitate and prolong their rule; and when it’s time for them to go, to make sure Ethiopia goes up in smoke. It is like the wish of the donkey in Ethiopian folklore. The donkey said, “After I die, I could not care less if the grass grows.” Apres T-TPLF, le deluge. (After the T-TPLF, the flood.)
The former Yugoslavia splintered into 7 states. Ethiopia under the T-TPLF is splintered into 9 apartheid-style bantustans called kilils. The T-TPLF today is trying to convince Ethiopians and the world that without their steady hands at the helm, Ethiopia will break up into 9 pieces. The T-TPLF kept Ethiopia broken into 9 bantustans for 25 years and now warns that in their absence Ethiopia will break up into 9 bantustans. Crazy logic. To translate an Amharic proverb, “A boldfaced thief will argue with the owners about ownership of the stolen loot.”
White apartheid leaders used to justify the continued existence of minority white rule in South Africa by claiming that if they were removed from power South Africa will disintegrate in a “a two-phase process of revolution which has as its objective the establishment of a Communist state” and accelerate the spread of communism throughout Africa. The T-TPLF is making essentially the same argument. Without them in power, Ethiopia will disintegrate in an ethnic conflagration which will draw the entire Horn of Africa. They must, under any and all circumstances, remain in power.
On May 6, 2005, nine days before the election, Reuters reported that Meles “warned that a victory for the opposition in May 15 elections could lead to Rwanda-style bloodshed, accusing his opponents of trying to foment ethnic hatred.” Meles pleaded:
I call on the people of Ethiopia to punish opposition parties who are promoting an ideology of hatred and divisiveness by denying them their votes at election on May 15… Their policies are geared toward creating hatred and rifts between ethnic groups similar to the policies of the Interahamwe when Hutu militia massacred Tutsis in Rwanda. It is a dangerous policy that leads the nation to violence and bloodshed.
On May 16, 2005, Meles Zenawi declared, “for the next one month no demonstrations of any sort will be allowed within the city and its environs” and authorized his security forces, the police and the local militias to use deadly force. In November 2006, Meles’ Inquiry Commission established that 193 unarmed protesters were killed “by targeting their heads and torso” and 763 severely wounded by gunfire. The Meles Massacres (political mass violence is genocide) represent major crimes against humanity.
In June 2005, barely a month after the May 2005 election, T-TPLF information minister trotted out the genocide boogeyman. Bereket Simon talked to BBC’s Martin Plaut about the existence of a “genocide” plan by opposition leaders and supporters:
The alternative was strife between the different nationalities of Ethiopia which might have made the Rwandan genocide look like child’s play. If you allow people who defy law and order, [to] take matters into their own hands and government sits idly, not discharging its responsibility of maintaining law and order, anybody who feels they are capable of taking matters into their own hands will reign over society and that will definitely bring the whole Ethiopian society into turmoil. The alternative to this would have been much more disastrous where you might find millions or tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands perishing within the coming days and months.
In November 2005, Prof. Christopher Clapham wrote, “It is difficult to exaggerate the enormous amount of damage that has been done to the EPRDF government by Bereket Simon, the… principal spokesman for the government. His neurotic and consistently inflammatory pronouncements, extending even to threats of an equivalent to the Rwanda genocide, have conveyed a very clear impression, both to the opposition and to the outside world, that the EPRDF is entirely unwilling to engage in any normal or reasonable political process…”
Meles Zenawi even thought that Tigreans who support the opposition secretly wish genocide on the people of Tigray.
In June 2006, Abraha Belai, the web editor of Ethiomedia interviewed the late and renowned Ethiopianist Prof. Donald Levine who had a conversation on the genocide charges against opposition leaders with Meles Zenawi.
Abraha Belai: Prof. Levine, if I may have to ask you one question, you know there are Ethiopians of Tigrai origin even in the leadership positions of Kinijit. I hope you know at least the distinguished scholar and playwright, Dr. Hailu Araia. Did you ask Meles why are Tigrians then rooting for Kinijit?
Prof. Levine: Yes, exactly. I asked him why Kinijit has Tigrians, and why Tigrian residents in Addis overwhelmingly voted for Kinijit if the latter were out to exterminate them. He said why are you surprised? There were Jews serving even the Nazis! When I heard that, honestly, that churned my stomach.
In other words, for Meles the only Tigreans that would dare support Kinijit (or any other opposition group) are self-hating Tigreans who secretly wish for the extermination of their Tigrean compatriots.
On July 4, 2005, Meles Zenawi told BBC Hardtalk’s Stephen Sackur:
Sackur: But you’re also telling me that if things go wrong, as they might you said, this country could slip into anarchy like Rwanda. You said that to me. Does that suggest you’ve established a level of stability and confidence in the future that can sustain this country?
Meles: We are not out of the woods yet. We are trying to get out of it. We’ve made some progress. But we are not out of the woods yet. I do not believe any African country, including South Africa, is completely free from risk of relapse of tragedy.
In other words, the specter of genocide lurks under every rock and behind every tree in Africa. According to the T-TPLF, today the specter of genocide has arrived in Ethiopia.
Meles Zenawi was pretty candid about how he orchestrated the arrest of the opposition leaders in November 2005 and slap them with bogus genocide and treason charges.
Congressman Christopher Smith, Chairman of House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations recounted a revealing conversation he had with Zenawi in his opening statement at a hearing (H.R. 4423 “Ethiopia Consolidation Act of 2005”) on March 28, 2006:
During my visit to Addis last August , I met with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, and I asked him why he had not investigated the June shootings of demonstrators by agents of his government. His response was that the investigation might require the arrest of opposition leaders, and he didn’t want to do that while by-elections were still scheduled. He went on to tell me that he had dossiers on all the opposition leaders and could arrest them for treason whenever he wanted. Thus, their arrests were all but certain even before the events that ostensibly led to their being incarcerated.
In October 2007, Congressman Smith made a speech to the National Press Club about his conversation with Meles:
I also had a lengthy meeting with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. I urged him to investigate the slaughter of the pro-democracy demonstrators, to punish those responsible, and to release all political prisoners. I raised my deep concerns regarding the lack of fairness—especially the intimidation tactics employed by his agents–during the recent national elections…. Finally, when I asked the Prime Minister to work with the opposition and show respect and tolerance for those with differing views on the challenges facing Ethiopia he said, “I have a file on all of them; they are all guilty of treason.
And genocide too.
In early November 2005, Meles Zenawi arrested and charged “76 opposition politicians, journalists, and civil society activists” and , “accused them of treason and genocide, as well as intentionally using violence or unlawful means to change the “constitutional order.” Another 55 defendants, 35 in absentia, including five Voice of America reporters in the United States and 32 others elected members of the Addis Ababa city council and a newspaper publisher were charged with the same crimes.
Meles accused the VOA:
We have been convinced for many years that in many respects, the VOA Amharic Service has copied the worst practices of radio stations such as Radio Mille Collines of Rwanda in its wanton disregard of minimum ethics of journalism and engaging in destabilizing propaganda.
Article 269 of the T-TPLF Criminal Code provides three conditions that qualify as genocide a) killing, bodily harm or serious injury to the physical or mental health of members of the group, in any way whatsoever or causing them to disappear; (b) measures to prevent the propagation or continued survival of its members or their progeny; or (c) the compulsory movement or dispersion of peoples or children or their placing under living conditions calculated to result in their death or disappearance with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a nation, nationality, ethnical, racial, national, color, religious or political group.
I have commented on the ludicrous genocide trial of opposition and other leaders following the 2005 election in my December 2006 32-page commentary “Keystone Cops, Prosecutors and Judges in a Police State”.
One fact I want to bring to the reader’s attention in light of the current genocide T-TPLF disinformation campaign about that trial is the “proof” offered to prove genocide against the defendants in T-TPLF kangaroo (monkey) court. Shimeles Kemal, the T-TPLF prosecutor, tried to prove his genocide allegation with evidence of
beatings causing bodily injury on a Tigrayan-born individual…, arson on the home and property of two Tigrayan-born individuals…; acts causing fear and harm to the mental health of members of an ethnic group based on their ethnic identity; and indirect and direct acts causing harm to members and supporters of the EPRDF by excluding them from social interactions and preventing them from attending funerals.
(For the most comprehensive and arguably the definitive report on the genocide trials conducted by the T-TPLF in their kangaroo (monkey) courts, see Amnesty International, “Justice Under Fire Trials of Opposition Leaders, Journalists and Human Rights Defenders in Ethiopia, 2011.)
In March, 2005, five months after Meles slapped the genocide charge, Kemal moved the court to amend the charge to “attempted genocide”. By then Kemal and the T-TPLF had become the laughing stock of the international legal and human rights community for their lack of basic knowledge and familiarity with the law of genocide under well-established international standards.
But the T-TPLF is singularly responsible for the commission of genocide in Ethiopia.
In January 2004, Genocide Watch issued a report documented “genocidal massacres of Anuak people in and around Gambella, Ethiopia in December 2003.”
In December 2006, Meles Zenawi invaded Somalia and committed unspeakable crimes against humanity and genocide against the Somali people. The Meles/T-TPLF crimes against humanity and genocide against the Somali people is documented in a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) entitled, “Shell Shocked: Civilians Under Siege in Mogadishu”.
In June 2008, Human Rights Watch documented T-TPLF genocide in the Somali Regional State in Ethiopia. HRW reported, “The Ethiopian military campaign of forced relocations and destruction of villages reduced in early 2008 compared to its peak in mid-2007, but other abuses-including arbitrary detentions, torture, and mistreatment in detention-are continuing.”
In January 2012, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a report entitled, “Waiting Here for Death” Forced Displacement and “Villagization” in Ethiopia’s Gambella Region.” According to the report, “By 2013 the Ethiopian government is planning to resettle 1.5 million people in four regions: Gambella, Afar, Somali, and Benishangul-Gumuz. The process is most advanced in Gambella; relocations started in 2010 and approximately 70,000 people were slated to be moved by the end of 2011.” That is genocide by ethnic cleansing.
In December 2012, Genocide Watch documented the T-TPLF “forcibly relocated approximately 70,000 people from their land with the intention to lease the land for foreign and domestic investment.
On August 3, 2016, BBC reported, “Prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn warned on Tuesday that Ethiopia was sliding towards ethnic conflict similar to that in neighbouring countries.”
Why the genocide disinformation now?
The T-TPLF’s genocide disinformation campaign now has several objectives.
The first objective of the genocide disinformation campaign is to discredit the massive popular uprising in the country as something that is directed and under the command and control of “Shabiya” and unnamed foreign forces, presumably Middle Eastern governmental and private interests. By constantly calling attention to outside forces as the cause of the uprising, the T-TPLF seeks to discredit and the popular resistance and the role of young people in Ethiopia. Such disinformation aims to accomplish certain objectives: 1) All Ethiopians are content with T-TPLF rule but for the agitation of outside forces. 2) It is unthinkable that protest, uprising and resistance could be homegrown because a) Ethiopians are too cowardly to mount a challenge on their own and/or b) too stupid to be able to figure out the source of their oppression is the T-TPLF and rise up against it.
The second objective of the genocide disinformation campaign is to scare the hell out of the Ethiopian people into believing bloodshed and destruction is just around the corner. They want to specifically back the people of Tigray into a corner and force them to believe that without the T-TPLF defending them, they will perish in a genocidal carnage organized by Oromos and Amharas. T-TPLF general Samora Yunis once said, “TPLF means people of Tigray and Tigray means the TPLF.” They also aim to trot out the angry genocide boogeyman to scare the hell out of Ethiopians that without the T-TPLF there will be bloodshed that will make the Rwandan Genocide look like a picnic.
The third objective of the genocide disinformation campaign is to give the people of Tigray assurances that they are safe because the mighty T-TPLF army and security forces will defeat those planning genocide and crush the current massive popular uprising and resistance.
The fourth objective of the genocide disinformation campaign is to convince Ethiopians and particularly the donors and loaners and the international poverty pimps that without the T-TPLF, there will be no Ethiopia. By repeating this lie, the T-TPLF leaders think that they can convince their supporters in Ethiopia and outside supporters to continue funding their corruption and human rights abuses.
The fifth objective of the genocide disinformation campaign is to establish the foundation for a new disinformation narrative that smaller ethnic groups such as the Benishangul, Anuak, Somali, Afari and other groups must join the T-TPLF in the imaginary impending Oromo-Amhara interamhawe genocide Armageddon.
Ethiopians must be acutely aware of the fact that they are being bombarded daily by endless T-TPLF disinformation campaigns.
For example, just a couple of days ago, the T-TPLF put out disinformation on the online version of a magazine called “Addis Fortune” (AF). Quoting “gossip” from deep inside the T-TPLF, AF announced that “there appears to be a shift of sorts in the balance of power at the House of the Revolutionary Democrats.”
AF talked about the internal power struggles within the T-TPLF and how the hardliners are losing the political debate.
AF predicted “inevitable demotions and purges in the political bureau of each party in the governing coalition and executive committee members of the EPRDF.” AF announced the kernel of the disinformation campaign:
The chairman of the EPRDF, Hailemariam Desalegn, is plotting his way to form a new administration, which will perhaps be more technocratic, comprising non-party members in the cabinet for the first time in a decade, gossip says. If anyone has emerged from the recent Council meeting stronger, it should be Hailemariam; he was able to assert himself, at least rhetorically, and seems to have put himself in an upstanding position, according to gossip.
The AF gossip is of course disinformation directed by T-TPLF central command. The T-TPLF is sending out a trial balloon to see how the foreign loaners and donors and international pimps will respond. It aims to lull the Ethiopian people into believing that big changes are coming and Hailemariam is the man to bring about the changes.
But everyone knows Hailemariam is a T-TPLF puppet. But the T-TPLF is trying to reinvent him as a victorious leader in the internal power struggle and the savior of Ethiopia.
The fact of the matter is that there is as much blood on Hailemariam’s hands as there was on Meles’ and is on all of the T-TPLF leaders and their minions.
There is no difference between Tweedle Dee T-TPLF and Tweedle Dum Hailemariam.
It staggers the mind to think that the T-TPLF leaders in fact believe that their removal from power will plunge Ethiopia into genocidal conflict that will make the Rwanda genocide a picnic. Either they have a demented sense of self-importance or they are just so scared to death that they have to conjure up genocide as their ultimate justification to cling to power.
The fact of the matter is that the T-TPLF’s has used the people of Tigray as a trademark, with little benefit for the people of Tigray. (See my August 21 commentary “Ethiopia: Beyond the Politics of Hate”.)
Every dictatorial regime in history has painted a portrait of doom and gloom if it is removed from power.
There were those who said Ethiopia will vanish if Emperor Haileselassie died.
Mengistu Hailemariam used to say that without him at the helm, Ethiopia will disintegrate.
Mengistu said he will continue the war against Eritrean rebels for 100 years, but when push came to shove he grabbed the first plane to Zimbabwe where he currently lives.
Meles’ T-TPLF just like Mengistu’s Derg will catch the first flight out of Ethiopia for Virginia, Miami, Ohio, Denver and other places in America when they hear the bell tolling for them.
They are now asking themselves today, “For whom does the bell toll?”
It tolls for thee, T-TPLF!
There is an old saying that to the person holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
To those who have practiced genocide, to those who think, contemplate, plan and scheme genocide, everything looks like genocide to them.
A popular uprising against a regime universally condemned as an abuser of human rights is not a call for genocide.
Massive nonviolent resistance against a regime universally condemned as an abuser of human rights is not a signal for genocide.
South Africa continued after the end apartheid white minority rule and South Africa today is a democratic country. There is no reason why Ethiopia cannot continue after the end of T-TPLF rule and transition into democracy. A democratic Ethiopia will flourish after the T-TPLF is deposited into the dustbin of history.
Genocide Watch has identified “ten stages of genocide” which include “classification, symbolization, discrimination, dehumanization, organization, polarization, preparation, persecution, extermination and denial.”
These are not some academic or theoretical models. These stages actually occurred in Rwanda.
Those who do not learn from Rwanda’s history are doomed to repeat it.
No lie about a genocide should go unchallenged. One genocide lie anywhere is one too many genocide lie everywhere.