By Teodros Kiros ( Ph.D)
We need peace and not war. Spiritual Reason must reign in Ethiopia. War is irrational and catastrophic, and its leaders are unintelligent, insecure and morally vacuous; whereas peace is rational and generative of great ideas, and its advocates are highly intelligent, visionary and deep spiritual thinkers.
It is the advocates of peace who must flood the Ethiopian landscape and guide the prevailing dangerous situation in Ethiopia and East Africa.
I will analyze the prevailing condition in Ethiopia from ten foundational angles to save the country from catastrophe.
Let me first list the ten angles and briefly comment on them, as a full-fledged commentary on all of them would constitute a book and what follows is an outline of a book I am considering.
(1) Abiy’s Regime
The Abiy regime continues to have many faces. One face is that of a security regime, a function of its governing task, which is to protect the nations and nationalities of Ethiopia. The second face is that of a power-hungry vampire ready and willing to consume those who oppose the Ethiopian unitary state wherever it finds them by creating wars including a genocide against one of its pillars, the Tigray nation, only because Tigray requested to elect its leaders and exercise a modicum of autonomy. The third face is that of a full-fledged fascist state and that seeks to prevail by any means necessary. The fourth face, when it failed to capture the Tigray nation, was that of a peacemaker and becoming a co-architect of the Pretoria agreement which ended the hostilities. The fifth face is that of a regime which is playing one nationality against the other without a principled commitment to any of them, and is perpetuating war to create a Unitary Ethiopian State and write a new constitution which abolishes the idea of nationalities from Ethiopian discourse. When Abiy wears this face, he fraternizes with the Amharas and becomes their advocate. He wore this face when he committed genocide against the people of Tigray. When required, Abiy wears another opportunistic face and presents himself as the voice of the Oromos and becomes an advocate of the rights of ethnicities and nationalities.
We really do not know who this person is, other than the faces and masks he wears to stay in power by any means necessary.
Abiy is unwilling to break ties with any one of the nationalities, including Eritrea, a none-Ethiopian regime, so that ABIY COULD STAY IN POWER AND FULFILL HIS MOTHER’S VISION THAT HE IS DESTINED TO BECOME THE SUPREME LEADER OF THE GREAT ETHIOPIA. That too is yet another delusional face requiring medical attention.
(2) The leaders of Nations and Nationalist Parties
When these faces of the regime are thrown at the various nations and nationalities, self-appointed leaders of parties react to the regime and mobilize the people to respond to the regime in complicated ways. The central players are leaders of Tigray, of the Amharas, and of the Oromos, with their different visions and strategies of survival.
The quests of these NATIONALITIES AND ETHNICITES ARE four: linguistic freedom, religious freedom, the right to secede from a federal union if necessary, and the procurement of food, shelter and clothing as human rights. The party leaders are essentially the formal voices of the people’s demands.
(3) THE SILENT PEOPLE
Scholars, including me, have not carried out, under the present circumstances, a national empirical study of what the people really want. We do not have data. Rather, it is those who speak on their behalf who tell us what the people want, which in their view is hate, anger and animosities towards one another. At the moment the people of Ethiopia are profoundly alienated. Their leaders are conditioning them to think negatively and badly about one another. As I will argue below, the Ethiopian media is the systematic conditioner and socializer of the Ethiopian people
(4) The Media
The Media leaders from the Diaspora are the self-appointed voices of the Amhara, Tigreans and Oromos, the chief players. They have militarized their minds and think only of war and never of peace.
The Ethiopian media does not report, investigate, or inform the public dispassionately, as it should. It is a socializing agent at best and a propaganda machine at worst. Its reporters are largely not very well read, occasionally illiterate, shamefully biased, money-hungry, corrupt to a fault, incompetent and vicious. The desperate masses flock to them in search of information, particularly during the time of war, and are systematically misinformed through juvenile language, boring long sentences and bad writing, and racist and misogynist phrases.
(5) The US
All nations, as the renowned American political scientist Hans Morgenthau argued, see the world through the lens of National Interest. American Politics is invested in the Red Sea, as the anchor of its National Interest. To that end, it desires a stable Ethiopia which can serve this interest which is at war with the National Interests of China and Russia, two major powers who keep their eyes on the Red Sea and court both Eritrea and Assab, crucial for Ethiopian stability and Eritrea’s hostility[VW1] . The US has calmed Eritrea’s leader and the Ethiopian Prime minster and their conflicting National Interests. The US is aware of the Amhara quest for domination and Tigrean and Oromia resistance to that domination. It is also aware, as expressed by the Secretary of State, that genocide and ethnic cleansing against Tigreans have been committed. Lately it has been quiet. The US is a keen observer. It played a key role in engineering a truce to the war in Tigray, when it sensed that the Tigreans are unstoppable and invited the combatants to the negotiating table, along with the UN, its Security Council, and the African Union.
(6) The United Nations
The UN sees the Ethiopian situation through the prism of human rights. Its task is to determine if war crimes and genocide have been committed.
(7) The Security Council
The Security Council had tabled the Tigrean question. For precision’s sake I will quote the entire statement
Security Council Press Statement on Ethiopia
“The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Juan Ramón de la Fuente Ramírez (Mexico):
The members of the Security Council expressed deep concern about the expansion and intensification of military clashes in northern Ethiopia. The Members of the Security Council further expressed serious concern about the impact of the conflict on the humanitarian situation in Ethiopia, as well as the stability of the country and the wider region.
The members of the Security Council welcomed the efforts of the United Nations Secretary‑General in response to the situation in Ethiopia. The members of the Security Council called for refraining from inflammatory hate speech and incitement to violence and divisiveness. The members of the Security Council called for the respect of international humanitarian law, for safe and unhindered humanitarian access, the re-establishment of public services, and further urged the scaling up of humanitarian assistance. They further called to put an end to hostilities and to negotiate a lasting ceasefire and for the creation of conditions for the start of an inclusive Ethiopian national dialogue to resolve the crisis and create the foundation for peace and stability throughout the country.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their support for the role of regional organizations, namely the African Union, in resolving conflicts and sustaining regional peace and security. In this regard, they took note of the statement of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on the situation in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia of 3 November and further expressed support for the African Union High Representative for the Horn of African Region, Olusegun Obasanjo. The members of the Security Council welcomed his strategy and efforts to achieve a ceasefire and a prompt and peaceful resolution of the conflict. The members of the Security Council strongly urged for cooperation with and support to the African Union High Representative.
The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and unity of Ethiopia.”
(8) The Pretoria agreement
(9) The European Union
I will also quote the statement in its entirety.
The European Union (EU) and its Member States congratulate the Government of Ethiopia (GoE) and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) for signing the Agreement for Lasting Peace through a Permanent Cessation of Hostilities (CoHA) and for the subsequent Declaration of the Senior Commanders on the Modalities for the Implementation of the CoHA. The EU also commends the African Union High-Level Panel for a successful mediation that led to these agreements, which represent an important step towards peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia.
Implementing the CoHA requires strong leadership as well as a robust and sustainable monitoring mechanism, to ensure, among other things, that the cessation of hostilities is respected by all sides, paving the way for recovery, reconstruction and reconciliation. The EU welcomes the progress already made since the signing of the CoHA and stands ready to support the implementation of the agreement.
Massive humanitarian needs in northern Ethiopia, as well as other parts of the country, require an adequate and well-coordinated response. The urgent needs of the populations affected by the conflict must be met. To this end, unimpeded humanitarian access to all in need and the full restoration of basic services in all areas are critical. Furthermore, the EU recalls the importance of an active, constructive and effective cooperation with national and international human rights mechanisms.
Throughout the conflict, the EU has continued its support to the Ethiopian population with development assistance and humanitarian aid. The sustained implementation of the CoHA enables the EU to resume its strategic engagement with Ethiopia, including through political dialogue. Concrete progress on the implementation of the ceasefire, unimpeded humanitarian access, and accountability for International Humanitarian Law and human rights violations and abuses, will allow the gradual reestablishment of the full spectrum of EU’s development cooperation and economic support.
Ethiopia’s overall stability, sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as peaceful development are key for the region and for the EU. The EU strongly calls on Ethiopia’s regional neighbors to constructively contribute to the full implementation of the CoHA. In this context, while underlining the importance of the 2000 Algiers Agreement and the 2018 Peace Declaration between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the EU reiterates its call for an immediate and complete withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Ethiopia.
(10) China and Russia.
China and Russia have yet to be lobbied to act justly, considering that the Eritrean leader has sided with Russia’s war against Ukraine, and made himself a darling of Putin. China continues to operate within Ethiopia, and it has implicitly sided with the victims of genocide as a member of the Security Council. [VW3]
When we take these ten lenses into account, a picture emerges pointing to a peaceful resolution of the Ethiopian conflict and to a promising though precarious future for Tigray. The time is now, for Tigreans and progressive Ethiopians to call for a full implementation of the Pretoria agreement. All the friends of Tigray and all those Tigreans who speak on the behalf of the Tigrean farmers who sacrificed their children in order to live in dignity, respect and prosperity must put pressure on the Security Council, the United Nations, the African Union and the members of the Pretoria agreement to return Tigrean lands, so that the full material restoration and spiritual and psychic healing of the victims of genocide can begin. The time is now. We must be vigilant, active and willing to flood global streets on behalf of Justice and Truth.
We must awaken the sleepy Pretoria agreement by activating fully the ten lenses I have outlined above.
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