Ethiopia holds a profound cultural significance for the black diaspora as one of the world’s oldest black independent nations. It has inspired the dream of black sovereignty against European colonies throughout Africa and the world. Ethiopia, which has fought hard to maintain its right to exist free and co-existed in peace with its neighboring countries, is now facing a new kind of war, a war that not only threatens its existence but also the spirit of Pan-Africanism.
Over the past 200 years, Ethiopia served as a symbol of black liberation by resisting European colonization and defending its rich cultural identity, giving life to Pan-Africanism. During the colonial era, Ethiopia was the first African country to join the League of Nations to represent the black voice and advocate for the independence of other African nations. However, this resilient country has faced many challenges in the past 50 years due to its tumultuous and evolving political landscape.
Currently, Ethiopia is under full-fledged civil war with the Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), which formerly ascended to power in 1991. The TPLF first seized power after the decline of the Derg regime, which ruthlessly ruled the country for 17 years. As the dominant ruling coalition party, TPLF spearheaded conflict with neighboring Eritrea, culminating in the 1998 – 2000 boarder war that killed more than 70,000 people and displaced over 80,000 ethnic Eritreans from Ethiopia.
During the totality of its 27 year reign, the TPLF politicized the ethnic diversity of Ethiopia, segregated its citizens along ethnic lines and usurped civil and political powers to allow jury-redistricting of states. Even worse, the TPLF expanded its own territorial region of Tigray into Amhara, Afar and Benishangul-Gumuz regions, while employing policies of ethnic cleansing and genocide on other ethnic groups –some of which is documented by Genocide Watch, US Congress and the US Department of Justice. The segregationist and divisive agenda of the TPLF destabilized the country and moved Ethiopia far from the core ideologies of black unity and Pan-Africanism.
The April 2018 election of Prime-Minister (PM) Abiy Ahmed was the result of popular protest against the TPLF. Once in a position of power, the PM started delivering the promises he vowed during his inauguration ceremony: ended a more than 20 years rift with Eritrea to make peace; released political prisoners and exiled opponents; appointed a progressive cabinet; and enacted anti-corruption efforts. In addition, the PM introduced a series of political reforms to change the ruling party’s ethnic-based federalism from one that only represented a select few ethnic groups to an inclusive federalization that did not marginalize any ethnic group. Although these reforms were widely accepted by the Ethiopian people, the TPLF leaders from the minority Tigray ethnic group wanted to regain political power.
On November 4th 2020 TPLF plotted and carried out a treasonous attack on the Northern Command of the Ethiopian National Defense Force to take control heavy artillery. This command was stationed in Tigray for more than 20 years guarding the sovereignty of Ethiopia and helping the people of Tigray with their harvest and building infrastructure.
The TPLF top leaders and generals openly bragged on a televised broadcast that their swift attack was a preemptive strike. Leading up to the war, between late 2019 – mid 2020, PM Abiy’s administration sent multiple delegations to Tigray to encourage dialogue and mediation between the central government and the TPLF unproductively (NAI, Disinformation In Tigray, May 2021). These repeated efforts were organized and led by representatives of civic societies, respected individuals, coalition of mothers, religious leaders, and famous individuals–young and old. However, no amount of effort led to fruitful discussions and Ethiopia was driven to a disastrous war, that is lingering to this day.
During the course of the war, the swift capture of Mekelle, the capital of Tigray, by the Defense Force was a surprise to many. It was a triumph and a jubilation to most Ethiopians, including Tigrayans in Tigray, who were the victim of TPLF tyrannic rule for decades. Abiy’s strong, One-Ethiopia message is accepted and appreciated by many Ethiopians and the diaspora at large. This message of unity is, however, a menace to TPLF and its supporters which have a stake in maintaining the weak and impoverished Ethiopia. As the combat lingers and the outcome now bleak, the true nature of the Western entities have come to light to the Ethiopian people.
Western media made little fuss about the civilian massacre carried out by the TPLF on the people of Mai Kadra, in Tigray, “on 600+ ethnic Amharas in the village from November 9 – 10”. (NAI, Disinformation in Tigray, May 2021). Recently, more massacres have been committed on the people of Afar and Amhara, right after the cease-fire was unilaterally declared by the Ethiopian government.
Again, the Western media is choosing silence against the backdrop of these heinous crimes on innocent civilians, which should have clearly revealed the true nature of the TPLF’s stance. Instead, the West makes unsubstantiated allegations of war crimes against the Ethiopian government and chooses to depict TPLF and Tigrayans as the victims of the federal forces of Ethiopia. (NAI, May 2021). Although, no credible evidence on the ground justifies the Western medias’ wild allegations of a systematic human rights atrocities by Ethiopian and Eritrean forces, they continue to cycle these accusations.
As Western media continues to exasperate propaganda of the humanitarian crisis in Tigray, the United States is putting pressure and sanctions on Ethiopian government to fracture the nation. This matter concerns freedom. Ethiopian citizens have fought long and hard to be rid of the tyrannical TPLF and now their hard-won freedom is threatened by the Western support of TPLF. Ethiopians want the freedom to choice over political and economic preferences. Ethiopia wants to be free from Western interventions in its internal affairs and the region as a whole. The meddling of the US and its allies is pushing the country to the edge.
Now Ethiopia is at a critical moment and is calling upon the world to save the oldest black nation which inspired the ideals of Pan-Africanism. We have witnessed the consequences of Western meddling in Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Afghanistan, which is no different from the unwelcome intervention in Ethiopia.
The reform in Ethiopia since 2018 and the progress made to stabilize the Horn of Africa is being jeopardized by the TPLF and escalation of Western propaganda. Ethiopia is calling upon you, the American public, to show your unwavering support and counter the ill-conceived, perpetually designed disinformation to the international community about the current conflict in Ethiopia. It is imperative for the world to know that TPLF is an oppressive organization and to condemn the false narratives waged upon Ethiopia.