Thousands are dead yet still the world will do nothing significant about the Ethiopian crisis. Diaspora influence and foreign government hesitance to see the real Abiy Ahmed greatly empowered Ethiopia’s descent into hell. The world cannot escape its responsibility in fomenting disaster. The world has to learn to not just to listen to words but also to measure the man who speaks them. To hold leaders accountable when they stray from their promises.
The impetus to finally fulfill the Ethiopian dream of a democratic state promoting ethnic unity and escape from poverty obscured the world’s view of the real Abiy Ahmed. Medemer, a promise of the blending of Ethiopia’s many cultures into a new national unity with equality for all, quickly deteriorated following the Prime Minister’s victory tour in the United States. During this visit and subsequently Abiy Ahmed progressively became influenced by the Amharic clerico-fascist movement that believed the greatness of the Ethiopian state lied in returning to the time of Amharic expansion and dominance of the 19th century. This metamorphosis of Abiy Ahmed was mostly sparked by the influence of diaspora Amhara who greatly also influenced domestic supporters.
This foreign diaspora influence is important to realize because it very much goes against the idea that what was happening in Ethiopia was all the result of beliefs and actions of domestic “Ethiopians”. Promises of aversion to war, new economic development, freedom of the press, release of political prisoners, and open dialogue about the future of the state were quickly retracted. Instead, references to the troubled time of “princes without a king” of the 18th century Ethiopia from which Amharic leadership provided “rescue” in the 19th century became the dominant theme of government forward looking policy. Medemer was a camouflage for the return of Amharic dominance, expansion, and repression of other Ethnic groups.
In the period of a year Ethiopia went from a booming economy with high levels of economic growth, foreign investment, improving educational and health care services to a devastating war that has killed thousands, displaced millions, genocidally declared Tigrayans (Tegaru) as needing extermination, bankrupting the economy, and the world view of Ethiopia as a pariah of the likes of Iran, Eritrea, and North Korea.
As I and others have written before, the function and the will of the United Nations and the African Union to to reduce the harm from this crisis is almost nil. Part of it is the disbelief that the Abiy Ahmed the world wished to see is not the evil man that ultimately emerged who kills, starves, and destroys. Now his victims are not just the Tigray but include all Ethiopians whose dream is now became a nightmare. The only recourse is to hope that the opposition forces of Tigray, Oromia, and others will be able to topple the evil.