Addis Ababa narcissism is costing more suffering and loss of life

The narcissist state of denial of Addis Ababa’s leaders and prosperous citizens to recognize the reality of the Ethiopia Tigray conflict is ignorant of history and is only causing more needless suffering. Destiny is bringing change.

Initially outnumbered and outgunned the tiny region of Tigray (Tigray Peoples Liberation Front) captures Addis Ababa in 1991 from the Derg Regime which surprised the world

This week it has been widely reported that Tigray Defense Army has continued to move toward Bahir Dar, Gondar, and most importantly Addis Ababa. Over 50,000 fighters in Afar Militias and Ethiopian National Defense Forces have been killed trying to stop the TDA advance in the past few days.

A graphic from The Subsahara Post dated August 28, 2021 on status of the Tigray forces in Amhara

In discussions with some folks in Addis that are not Tegaru or Oromia they tell me that there exists a prevailing attitude that Addis Ababa is an impenetrable fortress protected by a divinely protected Abiy Ahmed. While there are now millions of displaced persons throughout Ethiopia, millions in a famine state, and war in almost every regional state life in Addis seems little affected they say.  Of course food, fuel, rent, and the price of just about everything else is going through the roof. Oromia and Tigray ethnic groups are often arrested and sent to hidden detention camps.

However, the followers of Abiy Ahmed believe that they cannot be touched. When I asked some of them what they know about the war a frequent answer was they were confident Abiy Ahmed’s army was ready to take back Mekelle any day now. That reports of the the entrance of Tigray deeply into the Amhara region were just propaganda.

Ministry of Health hold Food planning seminar this week focusing on choosing right food groups. No discussion or admission of problem in Tigray shown on the their Facebook page

While this week at a Ministry of Health special seminar on Food Groups devoted to encouraging Ethiopians not to get fat. Millions in Tigray are suffering famine with infants dying at Ayder Comprehensive Specialized Hospital everyday. Where is the concern about these “Ethiopians”?

While millions of people are displaced without food, shelter, or security in Tigray, Amhara, Afar, Somali, and the Southern regions. Well to do residents of Addis are happy that new luxurious beds have been imported for sale in Addis Ababa.

A luxury canopy bed being advertised on Facebook for tens of thousands of birr in Addis Ababa

The wealthy and middle class of Amhara who make up a significant part of the population and the lesser working class of Oromia and other regions make up most of the demographics of the city. Although the area was known as Finfinne (natural spring) by the Oromia who lived there it was colonized by the Amharic king, Menelik II, who ushered in many Amhara settlers to colonize the previously Oromia area. The name was changed  to Addis Ababa meaning new flower just before the beginning of the 20th century. Tension has always existed about the proper name of the city and the inequalities of success of the Amhara and the native Oromo.

Amhara settlers moving into area near Mount Entoto in the 1890s

I remember the Ethiopian New Year celebration 2 years ago when I spent it in Addis Ababa. High tension was seen between Oromo and Amhara young men who marched in the streets carrying their respective national flags foretelling that there would be a future confrontation. 

Oromo protests broke out in October 2019 in Addis Ababa as reported in the Addis Standard

The newly found success of the Oromo Liberation Army now operating within a short distance of Addis Ababa in addition to the Tigray Army march may bring significant change to FinFinne. 

Author: Professor Tony Magana

Professor Tony Magana is Head of the Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences at Mekelle University in Mekelle, Ethiopia. He directs a neurosurgery residency and training program as well as neuroscience research.

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