Failure to foster a multicultural society dooms Ethiopia as a single nation

In an interview this week with Al Jazeera UN Secretary General said Ethiopia cannot defeat Tigray and that Tigray will not rule Ethiopia. What does this mean for the future of Ethiopia?

Today what we see happening in Ethiopia is just another example of how forced assimilation without real benefit to the assimilated can lead to tragedy and de-evolution of society. My view of what the UN Secretary General said is that he and other world leaders now realize that Ethiopia will never return to what it was? I do not think this is much different then what the Tigray leadership feels about the future? They have purposed a referendum be held after the military engagement is ended for the people to decide whether they want to stay affiliated with Ethiopia or become “independent”.

The current regime of Abiy Ahmed has failed to create a peaceful coexisting multicultural state. The rhetoric of a vastly expansive nation of many ethnic groups existing for centuries you hear from Amhara elites about Ethiopia history is misleading. Most of the territorial expansion of Ethiopia where many subjugated ethnicity and religious groups were conquered occurred since the mid 19th century. They were different then the original Amhara and Tigray Semiticly derived populations.  Frequently these groups have been a source of recurrent instability and rebellion. The dominant culture of the Amhara dictated language, religion, status, eligibility for education, political leadership, and development opportunities in the conquered regions.

Unlike what you here from many Amhara elitist the territorial acquisition of modern Ethiopia’s lands happened just since the mid 19th century

The history of the world is full of stories of conquest and assimilation. Sometimes this assimilation is totally immersive and complete. For example the story of the exodus from Egypt really involved only a small group of Hebrews but was adapted to be a essential part of the whole Jewish history and tradition because of what it represented. Other times incomplete assimilation occurs where vital elements of the dominating culture are accepted by the minority to assure its well being or even survival. For example in the United States  can American citizen can exist with cultural identity of a foreign nation. Unfortunately even in the USA this does not come with complete acceptance. The progressive ideals of the Western democracies have tried to create the concept of a “multicultural society” allowing many differences but sharing concepts of individual freedom and cultural identity. Unfortunately this has frequently fallen short of what is reality.

Just today we hear that severe fighting has broken out in Gondar between Amhara militia and Ethiopian National Defense Force fighters. Already numerous ENDF have been killed by Amhara forces when they wanted to surrender or retreat from the TDF. Thousands of Oromo people gather in the streets to celebrate the fast advancing and fast growing Oromo Liberation Army whose rises comes out of memory of being treated as second class citizens even slaves deprived of the opportunity to develop their homeland. Somali and Afar regions are going against the ancient rule that Muslim should not kill Muslim has the current chaos has brought to light again long standing feuds over water and land.

In summary, it appears the old Ethiopia will not return. Like Yugoslavia we will see a metamorphosis into a new collection of states who hopefully I pray when the fighting is over can find a way to live peacefully with each other.

Abiy Amed following Yugoslavia model for state destruction

Current armed rebellions against the central Ethiopian government

Although Abiy Ahmed Prosperity Party supporters exuberantly welcome his medemer version of a national unity  based upon the old model of Amhara elitism studies of the downfall of Yugoslavia just thirty years ago suggest it will similarly fall.  Many of those who witnessed the Yugoslavia downfall today point to the fact that political elites tried to force their version of a unity identity while ignoring altogether ethnic and religious differences in the country.

This year marked the 30th anniversary of the breakup of Yugoslavia. What was known as Yugoslavia had several ethnicities including Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. Although the different groups had similar “racial history” and language there were significant cultural as well as religious differences between the groups that were not “taken into account” in creating the Yugoslavian state in 1918 after World War I.

The monarchy gave way to a communist regime at the end of World War II during which many partisans were split between supporting the Allied and Axis powers. The new communist ideals fashioned under Josip Tito ignored language and ethnicity but instead claimed that a common goal of “self managed socialism” was the main contributing factor to a Yugoslavian nationality.

Historians have noted that the education system and cultural recognition mechanisms of the time did not present the presence of a “multi-cultural” society but only that a history of national unity from a common struggle defined the country.

Upon the death of Tito in 1980 the long standing denial of ethnic identities and their suppression gave way to overflowing cries of discrimination and favoritism. It is interesting that many who have studied this change remark that ethnicity itself was not the cause for change but the existing pattern of political elites of a few ethnic groups to claim their concept of national identity was superior to other groups ideals. Ethnicity became a tool of political power, oppression, and ultimately resulted in the killings of thousands.

The breakup of the former Yugoslavia

Muslims, Christians, Catholics, Orthodox, Serbs, Montenegerins, Macedonian, Bosnians, Croates, and Slovennes all began to be polarized from each other. Even within groups there was division based upon how devoted one was to one’s own ethnicity or religion. In seeking recognition for their own religion it became a political tool for manipulation and oppression as well as ethnicity.

Abiy Ahmed who was once the representative in the Ethiopian Parliament for the Oromo region immediately north of the capital, Addis Ababa, made his early reputation as a mediator between religions and protector of Oromo rights to housing. However over the past two years he has found tremendous political support and power by realigning himself with mostly Amhara elites who have revived the concept of Ethiopia having an Amharic manifest destiny. Like those who tried to create a central unity in Yugoslavia he is supported by academics who speak not in terms of historical fact or scripture but in flagrant political  language which proclaims this is the only manner in which Ethiopia as a nation can thrive. That this approach will lead to it becoming an international super power. No regard is given that while for last ten years it approached Gross Domestic Product Growth of almost 10% annually it is now in reality a -2% for this year and in unescapable debt.

As regards those who are not Amharic he is saying that they can be a “part” of this unity if they agree to suppress dissent on his approach. Whereas initially he called for a free press, release of political prisoners, and openness in political discussion this has been transformed to a tyrannical state where dissent is rewarded with a branding of “terrorist” that can lead to imprisonment, confiscation of assets, or even assassinations. Healthcare, banking, communication, food, security, and right to life are reserved for those who agree with the Abiy Ahmed version of medemer while others will be deprived.

Just as in Yugoslavia this strict acceptance of only the Prosperity Party ideal of being an Ethiopia has resulted in open rebellion in not only Tigray but also Beningshagul, Amhara (Qemont and Agaw), Oromo, Somali, Afar, and Gambella regions. The fastest growing revolt is occurring in the region of Oromia of his own ethnic group. 

Noted authority on Ethiopia, Alex De Waal, wrote this week that Abiy Ahmed has turned up his rhetoric to excite his supporters while many other African leaders are increasingly shunning him.  The United States previously the foremost supporter of Ethiopia finds itself having to impose sanctions because of overwhelming evidence of mass genocide. Both De Waal and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Gutierrez both have indicated that they believe Abiy Ahmed is a risk of destroying Ethiopia if he does not change course. In an interview with Al Jazeera, the UN Secretary General stated that Ethiopia cannot defeat the Tigray forces.



USA will immediately suspend Ethiopian free trade agreement AGOA for human rights violations

USA is expected to immediately suspend AGOA with Ethiopia

There are many reports that tomorrow the United States will announce the removal of Ethiopia from free trade under the  African Growth and opportunity Act due to its failure to maintain human rights standards called for in the treaty. Ethiopia was formally warned of this impending action last month if no changes in human rights violations were happening.  The USA imported $572 million in 2019 from Ethiopia but sold almost $1 billion to Ethiopia. What action Ethiopia will take in response may include reducing American imports to Ethiopia. It is not known what other Western democracies such as the European Union will also follow the same action at this time.

Summary of USA Ethiopian Trade Status (Latest reports available are 2019)Ethiopia is currently our 84th largest goods trading partner with $1.6 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2019. Goods exports totaled $1.0 billion; goods imports totaled $572 million. The U.S. goods trade surplus with Ethiopia was $442 million in 2019.

Ethiopia was the United States’ 77th largest goods export market in 2019.
U.S. goods exports to Ethiopia in 2019 were $1.0 billion, down 22.5% ($295 million) from 2018 but up 279.8% from 2009.
The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2019 were: aircraft ($736 million), cereals (wheat) ($63 million), machinery ($38 million), electrical machinery ($38 million), and special other (returns) ($26 million).
U.S. total exports of agricultural products to Ethiopia totaled $109 million in 2019. Leading domestic export categories include: wheat ($62 million), pulses ($10 million), vegetable oils (ex. soybean) ($7 million), prepared food ($2 million), and coarse grains (ex. corn) ($1 million).

Ethiopia was the United States’ 88th largest supplier of goods imports in 2019.
U.S. goods imports from Ethiopia totaled $572 million in 2019, up 28.6% ($127 million) from 2018, and up 406.5% from 2009.
The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2019 were: coffee, tea & spice (coffee) ($131 million), woven apparel ($112 million), knit apparel ($98 million), special other (returns) ($95 million), and electrical machinery ($45 million).
U.S. total imports of agricultural products from Ethiopia totaled $151 million in 2019. Leading categories include: unroasted coffee ($130 million), nursery products ($6 million), spices ($3 million), planting seeds ($357 thousand), and wine and beer ($271 thousand).

Ethiopian relations with Egypt and Sudan worsen while Getachew Reda makes new friends for Tigray

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s problems with Sudan and Egypt are only getting worse by the day. Ethiopia remains in severe disagreement with Sudan, Egypt, and by alliance with much of the Arab league over who has sovereignty over Nile water use relating to construction of the Grand Renaissance Damn in the northeast west region of Ethiopia known as Beningshagul. Abiy Ahmed’s Eritrean alliance and land disputes with Sudan are also playing a big role in creating an increasingly adversarial crisis.

In July 2021, former Egyptian Minister of Irrigation Mohammed Nasr A’llam told the Al-Monitor that Egypt was closely following developments of the GERD. They believed that the damn had some technical problems otherwise they might have considered military action against the dam at that time.

TPLF advisor to Tigray President Debretsion appeared on Egyptian Television to a receptive audience

Tigray Peoples Liberation Front close advis0r to elected President  Debretsion Gebremichael  of the Tigray State recently appeared on an Egyptian Television interview to discuss the Ethiopia Tigray conflict and other issues. It appears he met a receptive and sympathetic audience in Egypt. Personal sources close to Egyptian leadership have told me that Egypt opted out of military action for two reasons, one that they believe there may be technical problems limiting the filling and secondly they look forward to a Tigray victory that will make for better negotiations. 

The United Nations Security Council has discussed the issue without resolution for months. Apart from saying that Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia should have a binding agreement, in effect, giving standing to all three to which Ethiopia disagrees. Now it has referred the case to the African Union for resolution. 

It is notable that President Debretsion was once the head of the Ethiopian Electrical Power Corporation and oversaw much of the GERD construction. Additionally it is now known that Tigray Army units have progressed northwest of Gondar in the direction of the Beningshagul region which has seen uprisings sympathetic to the same cause as the TPLF. Many speculate that the Tigray intend to open a supply route via Sudan.

Widely respected journalist Bashir Hashi Yussuf has suggested that Egypt is secretly supplying arms and aid to the Tigray via Sudan. This has also been raised as possible by Foreign Policy and other analysts. Sudan now has a joint defense treaty with Egypt. Additionally Ethiopia has demanded that Sudan remove its soldiers occupying a disputed region called al-fashaga which had been claimed by Ahmara expansionists supporting Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Sudan claims the fertile farm area as its own.

Eritrean opposition groups to Esaias Afwerki, leader of Eritrea and ally of Ethiopia in the Tigray conflict met in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, to discuss how they could remove the Eritrean government. They may also be forming an armed movement as well based in Sudan. Sudan has long standing problems with the Esaias regime regarding his support of the Grand Renaissance Damn and respect of Sudanese sovereignty. 



Will increasing Amhara chaos and abandonment weaken Abiy Ahmed support?

In his quest to continue blockade of potential vital supplies coming into Tigray possession Abiy Ahmed has extended embargo of electricity, fuel, food, medicine and other supplies to Tigray held areas of Amhara. This is creating anger at the Amhara and Ethiopian Federal governments.

Night time special satellite imaging of Ethiopia shows minimal lighting of most of the Amhara region indicating loss of electricity on the night of September 14, 2021

Numerous Amhara media outlets are complaining that much of the Amhara region which has been effectively occupied by the Tigray Defense Forces are now without electricity as well as running low on fuel, food, and medical supplies. Upwards of a million displaced persons are said to be in or near Dessie and/or Bahir Dar.  However, officials of the Amhara National Movement and other local officials are complaining that the Federal Ethiopian government is not doing anything to help them. For its part, Getachew Reda, spokesman for the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front government of Tigray says they will try to help with what resources they have. The streets have been filled with protestors demanding government services. There are also complaints that the city’s youth are not being given weapons to defend Dessie. Although somewhat “Amhararized” many in the city have Oromo roots in ancestry and tradition. Some have theorized that is why they are not be given weapons.

Past few days have seen streets of Dessie city in Amhara filled with protesters complaining the government has abandoned them

Yesterday there was a complaint by a strong Amhara supporter that in Wegal Tena some Ethiopian soldiers were trying to rape local girls and when local men tried to stop them they were shot by the soldiers

Eritrean Army Beni Amir tribe factions committed atrocities in Tigray

Eritrean troops promised to withdrawal from Tigray after committing rape, ransacking, stealing, and killing but never did

Commanders in the Tigray Defense Army are now reporting in several Tigray media sites that atrocities suffered by the people of Tigray were committed by Beni Amir factions of the Eritrean Army. This news comes after many Eritrean army soldiers have been captured and interrogated.

Easily identified by their dialects and characteristic facial markings they are now being heavily implicated in the raping, ransacking, and killing which happened in Tigray and still happening in Western Tigray. TDA sources say that Eritrean soldiers were acting under orders from the Eritrean and Ethiopian command structure.

Witnesses to the killing of more than 80 civilians and priests at St. Mary’s Church in Axum, an important Ethiopian Orthodox shrine, told Al Jazeera in February 2021 that many Eritrean soldiers had the dialect and facial markings of the Beni Amir tribe. Investigations by Amnesty International also report Eritrean Beni Amir soldiers committed many killings of civilians in Tigray.

Eritrea is semi-divided between Christians in the mountains and Muslim tribes in the valleys and periphery.  Beni Amirs are a clan originally based in Sudan and present day Eritrea which traces its roots to at least the 15th century CE of the clan leader, Amer Ibn Kunnu. They have similar lineage to Kushites along the Nile River rather than the Tegaru people of modern day Tigray who are Semitic in origin. For centuries they were allied with Egypt and Sudan and then with the Italian colonists. They frequently have a facial scar on the cheek below the eye consisting of two lines which is different then the “eleven sign” of the Tegaru of Tigray.

Beni Amir tribal markings on a young man

A Beni Amir leader known as Awate (Hamid Idris Awate) who trained and served in the Italian Army is credited with starting the armed struggle for independence. Then Idris Mohammed Adem started the Eritrean Liberation Front in 1960. 

A little more than 50% of the Eritrean population are Tigrinya (Semitic origin). While Beni Amir make up only a small percentage they have a long history of involvement with the Eritrean Army. Although initially in the 1970s the tyrant leader of Eritrea, Esaias Afwerki, was associated with the Christian Eritrean People’s Front which defeated their Muslim rival it now appears that Esaias who is now an atheist has created new bonds with at least a faction of the Beni Amir who have stayed in Eritrea serving in the military while many others left. They now have been reported as accepting Esaias Afwerki fascist ideology as their own.

The Beni Amirs were once cattle grazers but destruction of farmland drove them to city dwelling. Over the past century they have frequently been involved in land disputes and conflict between Sudan and Eritrea. 

UN priority of preserving Ethiopian state over human rights makes it useless to find peace

The United Nations places preservation of the current Ethiopian regime over human rights and right to self determination of the Tigray and other ethnicities in Ethiopia

The United Nations is turning a blind eye to the suffering of the Tigray people by stating the preservation of the Ethiopian state is their first priority. Imagine if the Nazi Germany government sat as the judges of human rights violations against the 6 million Jews who suffered genocide! This is exactly the situation we are seeing now with the “joint” cooperation between the Ethiopian government who with its partner Eritrea has committed intentional starvation, rape, murder, displacement, withholding of health care, financial services, and communication very openly and publicly against the Tigray and other minority ethnicities in Ethiopia.

This week we have witnessed how useless the United Nations as well as the African Union is when a member nation’s government becomes inhumane and unjust. Although the United Nations Charter says the “inherent dignity” and the “equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family should be protected and” upholding these human rights principles as “the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world” is fundamental to every undertaking of the United Nations. The reality is the real priority is about preserving the current leadership of a corrupt or inhumane country.

Michelle Bachelete, UN Human Rights Chief stated “preliminary findings” as dictated by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission were

  1. Government forces and their allies continue to be implicated in allegations of human rights violations.
  2. Reports also suggest that people of Tigrayan ethnicity have been detained by law enforcement officials on ethnic grounds, mostly in Addis Ababa 
  3. Incitement to hatred and discrimination were also documented targeting people of Tigrayan ethnicity, as well as attacks on journalists and the suspension of media outlets’ licenses and shutdowns of Internet and telecommunications in Tigray.

Ms. Bachelet added that Tigrayan forces have also allegedly been responsible for attacks on civilians, including indiscriminate killings resulting in nearly 76,500 people displaced in Afar and an estimated 200,000 in Amhara.

More than 200 individuals have reportedly been killed in the most recent clashes in these regions, and 88 individuals, including children, have been injured, she said.

There have also been reports of the recruitment of children into the conflict by Tigrayan forces, which is prohibited under international law.

However her answer to the situation was however that the priority of the United Nations was the preservation of the Ethiopian state and by extension of the current government of Abiy Ahmed. Even though the United Nations has previously stated that the Abiy Ahmed regime and partner Eritrea is carrying out a “de fact0” blockade against Tigray that is forbidden under the UN Charter she called for an immediate ceasefire without concern for its consequences.

No discussion was made about concentration camps or mass killings in Western Tigray or Aksum. No investigation at all about Eritrea who seems to be given a pass by the UN and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission.

As I have previously written the history of the United Nations in dealing with genocide is poor. To put it bluntly it is always too little and too late as was seen in Yugoslavia, Burma, Rwanda, Darfur, and others. The Tigray have no choice but to continue to fight for their survival.

Ethiopia must atone for its immorality before any peace can come with Tigray

Ethiopia blocked aid groups in Tigray for saying there was starvation

The moral hypocrisy of Abiy Ahmed and his supporters is the greatest impediment to seeking a peaceful resolution to the Ethiopian Tigray conflict.

Now that the war has spread to include more than a one third of the Amhara region with millions being displaced and severe disruption of life the previous silence seen from most of the rest of Ethiopia towards the inhumanity and death in Tigray that has gone on for almost a year has been ignorantly replaced. Today this silent majority who once actively encouraged rape, mutilation, starvation, and killing without even a whisper of protest, who believed that they had rightfully killed a “rabid dog” mercilessly now contends that they are the victims. 

They bear no responsibility for enthusiastically even some would say manically obsessively demonstrating a clear intention to wipe out a whole ethnic group, the Tigray. Ethiopians fail to realize most importantly that they are the victims of their own nefarious intentions.

When the “elected leader” Abiy Ahmed makes fun of atrocities to women you laugh. When aid agencies want to feed the starving children you accuse them of a conspiracy and want them removed from the country. Now however that the crisis has spread to Amhara you complain that they left. You said “hands off” Ethiopia that Ethiopia should have Ethiopian solutions. Yet you invite a foreign  country with one of the worst human rights records on the planet to do your killing, maiming, and deprivation. You seek to get tools of destruction from Turkey and Iran to kill Ethiopians. Now you are begging for the Western democracies who you denounced to protect you from the natural consequences of your own actions.

A chance for peaceful resolution can only come when both parties begin to trust each other and show some basic signs of humanity. Ethiopia must admit it wanted to commit genocide and punish those responsible. Abiy Ahmed and his supporters have a long way to go before this can happen.

A lesson for Ethiopia is elections have consequences! Amhara now suffering is the end result!

Those who voted for Abiy Ahmed endorsed his inhumanity and cruelty in his election

The supporters of Abiy Ahmed endorsed his inhumanity and cruelty in the election booth and are now paying the price of fostering division and tyranny. 

In September 2020 in the midst of growing distrust of the Ethiopian Federal government and against the will of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed the Tigray Regional State held an election for its parliament.

Officials at the time noted that more than 90% of the eligible voters came out to vote for the 152 seats open in the 190 member regional parliament. All but 38 seats went to the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front. The closest contender to the TPLF was the Tigray Independence Party who wanted secession from Ethiopia.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed would declare this election illegal and the TPLF terrorists. Then Ethiopia in the midst of holding a war with Tigray as well as fighting insurgency in the Oromo region held an election in July 2021. This election did not include Tigray and two other regions. Many opposition groups in Oromia and other places boycotted the election saying the Prime Minister was controlling who could run. Abiy Ahmed supporters claimed an overwhelming victory that showed the country wanted to buy in to Abiy Ahmed’s false promise of medemer and unification.  They endorsed his inhumanity and cruelty.

Meanwhile tens of thousands of women were raped, hundreds of thousands of civilians mutilated and killed, and millions more subjected to starvation, lack of health care, banking, and communication in Tigray. 

Today the Tigray Defense Force, the Oromo Liberation Army, Agaw Liberation Army, and others are defeating Abiy Ahmed and Esaias Afwerki forces in Amhara and Oromia. I feel sorry for every civilian that is suffering as it is all unnecessary. But there is an important lesson here. Elections have consequences. Strong support for evil does not make it good. The suffering of the Amhara people now in the war has been brought on to a great extent by their own actions.  Instead of sympathy for suffering of their fellow “Ethiopians” they and their leaders make fun of the injustice, mutilation, and death sanctified by them. Elections do have consequences!.

Ethiopia’s war machine economy is collapsing irreversibly now

The Consumer Price Index of Ethiopia has risen astronomically since the beginning of the Ethiopian Tigray conflict

There is no doubt now that Ethiopia is now in an irreversible state of economic collapse and fragmentation under Abiy Ahmed’s government. Instead of addressing the everyday problems of the people he has caused millions to be displaced, killed, starving, and put Ethiopia in severe debt spending all the countries assets on a failed military adventure.

Everyday consumer items such as diapers, enjera, petrol, vegetables, clothes, etc. have doubled or tripled in price. People are waiting hours to buy a limited amount of fuel for their cars.  Although the official government exchange rate of birr to dollar is 45 yesterday it was reported to be 67 and many forecasters predict it will approach 77 in the near future.

Although over 5 million are starving in Tigray it is now estimated that more than 1 in 4 Ethiopians are suffering food shortages. Locusts, war, changing rain patterns, displacement, lack of government funding for seeds and agricultural necessities giving way to war needs all will result in poor harvests for the foreseeable future. Abiy Ahmed has turned the whole government into a war machine neglecting the needs of noncombatants. 

War and unrest in Oromia, million displaced in Amhara, and lack of hope for peace in the near future is killing any and all export trade. European and American sanctions on Ethiopian exports coupled with escalating prices on imports cannot be sustained much longer. Roads to Kenya and Djibouti are currently blocked by war impeding export and import to only air means. Growing world wide displeasure with Ethiopian Airlines is making it hard for the airline to make enough cash to pay off the monthly loans and leases on its aircraft. There are new calls from many African countries that they have been too dependent on one airline and now wish to develop others.

Noted Ethiopian scholar Alex De Waal in July noted that there are five mechanisms apart from military strategies that would play a role in the collapse of the Ethiopian state. Ethiopia’s decades of growing economic prosperity and development came to a screeching halt in November 2020 when after months of preparation the government of Abiy Ahmed decided to proceed with a plan to crush Tigray out of existence.

At this moment the area of influence of the Ethiopia federal government has significantly contracted. De Waal predicted that the federal government would become isolated, fragmented, and dissolve. Abiy Ahmed has ceded control of Western Tigray to Eritrea who will not likely just give it back. Armed rebellion has not only broken out in Tigray but now includes Gambella, Somali-Afar border where the two ethnic groups are fighting each other, Agaw of Amhara, Beningshagul, Qemont of Amhara, and very significantly in the Oromo region. The sphere of influence and control of the central Ethiopian government has contracted significantly from its status prior to November 2020.

More and more it is appearing in the views of many analysts that the Amhara region which is not held by the Tigray is beginning to function as an independent state. Amhara leaders including the Amhara National Movement are complaining that the Ethiopian Federal government cannot be relied upon to help the Amhara people. Tigray itself is now a defacto independent country.