By Amanuel Biedemariam,
On a recent interview with ESAT, the Founder and President of Genocide Watch, Dr. Gregory Stanton stressed that Ethiopia is high on the list of countries of Genocide Watch. The reasons Dr. Stanton outlined are alarming; however true, yet, an opportunity for Ethiopians and other peace loving people in the world to try to stop it from taking place. This is not the first time Dr. Stanton raised alarm publicly. However, this time, Dr. Stanton detailed the reasons why; as well as how and, what could trigger genocide in Ethiopia and specifically Tigray.
Dr. Stanton comes with a sizeable resume and expertise in genocide related matters because he has been closely associated with the formulation of the legal language and UN resolutions that govern the international standards. He has dedicated a great deal of time into the matter understanding the triggers; the damage, the consequences and ramifications; and hopefully preventive mechanisms. Dr. Stanton said the very reason Genocide Watch started is that, after The Rwanda Genocide, he came to the realization that there is a need for a watchdog group that specifically focused on genocide. And, that is the reason why he founded the organization.
While it is difficult to trust West- based organizations that claim to do good; I found Dr. Stanton’s reasoning compelling and his observation about the issues in Ethiopia spot-on. Dr. Stanton highlighted the stages or indicators that point to the likelihood of genocidal events in a given region and in this case Ethiopia, specifically Tigray. One of the common factors in these countries is often minority regimes ruling ethnically based administrations. Dr. Stanton said a Tigrayan minority that created its own colonies within the country rules Ethiopia. He further noted that the minority Tigrayan regime has created animosities and mistrust amongst the various ethnic groups in Ethiopia in order to divide and rule. In these circumstances a feeling of”Us-against-them” and resentment arises with deadly consequences. And there is always a nickname associated used to demonize the minority group as in Rwanda.
In Ethiopia, the minority Tigrayan regime has committed countless crimes against humanity in the Ogaden, the Gambella and other places. There has been a major forced uprooting of large populations to accommodate multinational organizations not to mention the ethnic cleansing of over eighty thousand Eritreans from Ethiopia from 1998-2000. That is why Dr. Stanton was compelled to warn; ultimately, the people of Tigray will end up paying the price for the crimes the genocides Meles regime is perpetrating. He stated, “My job is to identify trends that could cause genocides and what I am witnessing in Ethiopia is a great deal of concern for the people of Tigray because the regime is committing these crimes on their names.”
Here we go…, if an Ethiopian or Eritrean makes these remarks a Tigrayan is likely to brush it off as exaggeration. But what Dr. Stanton’s attempt to expose the minority Tigrayan genocidal regime does is, give weight to the subject and raise the ante. It gives it credibility. In a recent interview with ESAT, American Professor Theodore Vestal echoed similar concerns.
What is taking place in Ethiopia is real and not difficult to see its direction. All good things come to an end and the good time the genocidal TPLF clique enjoyed at the expense of Ethiopia and the regime is coming to end sooner than later. The regime, thinking that it will be the ultimate ruler in the region played a zero sum game with every country and ethnic group in the region. It committed genocides in the Ogaden and Gambella. It is dismembering the region by giving major land-away free; in Somalia, it has created a holocaust etc…
SIGNS OF A DYING REGIME
All of what the minority genocidal regime has done is ending. In 2006, Meles Zenawi waived the Holy Bible to invade an Islamic nation and failed leaving bloody trails. Now the Kenyans have taken that dubious honor to the dismay of the Transitional Government of Somalia. This clearly is a sign that the mercenary clique has failed to do the job and replaced by Kenya.
After the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia started, the minority regime established alliances with Omar Al Beshir of Sudan and Abdallah Sallah of Yemen to isolate and entrap Eritrea. Ten years removed, The Sallah regime is on life support and Sudan has distanced itself from Meles and strengthened her alliance with Eritrea. This is significant because there were major events that changed the dynamics of the frail Sudanese Ethiopian alliance for good. Firstly, Sudan split into two. Secondly, the Weakileaks revelation that Meles wanted Beshir gone is a certain dagger into the relationship and importantly, the TPLF clique is prone to pursue US interests at the expense of Ethiopia. While the minority regime has tried to show a positive face with Sudan, in a departure from the regular positive spins, the mouthpiece of TPLF Aigaforum website posted a critical article about Sudan while President Isaias Afwerki was in Sudan on a state visit.
All one has to do is understand what Sudan means to Tigray. The city of Kassala in Sudan is 182 km from the city of Humera Tigray [aka Beghemder]. Sudan is a lifeline to Tigray because Tigray is a landlocked province. Most of the goods that come into Tigray including oil come from Sudan. If Sudan closes borders with Tigray, there will be a drastic change in the economic realities of Tigray. For long, the genocidal Meles was able to play the ICC card against President Beshir but now the political dynamics have changed after the independence of South Sudan.
Furthermore, Eritrea is deeply entrenched in Sudan. In fact, during the opening ceremonies of a new highway between Eritrea and Sudan President Beshir said, “I want no border between Eritrea and Sudan.” This is significant because it means the interest of Sudan and Eritrea are in sink economically, politically, culturally and security wise. This clearly highlights the influence Meles lacks with his immediate neighbors. The only lifeline the genocidal regime has is Djibouti. In other words, he is alienated and, what he conspired against Eritrea turned on him.
The realities inside Ethiopia are not different. Meles Zenawi and his clique have no support of the Ethiopian people. The majority of Ethiopians in the 2005 election rejected them. And the crimes Meles committed in various Ethiopian regions are a public record.
THE ALARM OF GENOCIDE
That being the case, what could push Ethiopia over the edge and create a scenario that could dismember the nation and create chaos? What could trigger a situation that makes a specific group of Ethiopians, in this case Tigray a target for mass killing? Why Tigray? Is there a truth behind Dr. Stanton’s alarm about genocide? To say Ethiopia loathes the TPLF and Meles Zenawi is understatement. Hence, is there truth to the fact that Tigrayans will ultimately pay for the crimes Meles is committing in their name?
While there are many Tigrayans that say Meles does not represent Tigray; the reality is the main supporters of Meles are from Tigray. On the other hand, one of the main threats to his regime is Tigray based with a resurgent TPDM, a movement that is creating problems from within and gaining momentum with tens of thousands in the force already. This means that the people Tigray, at least a sizeable portion are, opposed to Meles Zenawi’s rule. However, a perception exists that Tigrayans are the ones perpetrating the oppression that is taking place in Ethiopia.
In 1998, Meles and his clique forced over 80,000 Eritreans out of their homes. What is interesting was that the majority of Ethiopians were opposed to this. They hated seeing their neighbors, their friends, friends of their sons and daughters, people they grew up and grew old with; old, young and people that knew little or nothing about Eritrea forced out of their homes and ethnic cleansed. This is a precedent Meles Zenawi set, unheard of before and breaking the fabric of a long-standing relationship between both peoples. Therefore, is it likely, when the opportunity arises that Ethiopians could say, “What is good for the goose is good for the gander” and repeat history?”
In 2003, a report that detailed the atrocities the minority clique committed in Gambella became public and it compelled Dr. Stanton to state, that the crimes “fit the definitions of genocide and crimes against humanity. Human Rights Watch also conducted two investigations of their own and determined that the crimes against the Anuak meet the stringent definition of crimes against humanity.” This does not include the forced eviction of thousands of Anuak Ethiopians from their homes, villages and farmlands to accommodate Indian and other multinational corporations. If Anuaks have the opportunity, will they lash out?
The most Brutal atrocities by Meles and his clique are taking place in the Ogaden. Major humanitarian organizations have provided detailed account of the atrocities the genocidal clique is committing in the Ogaden. Horrid pictures of tortured and raped women; torched village after village; reports of systemic alienation and denial of humanitarian aid to millions of Ogadeni’s over a sustained period with irrefutable-evidences are abundant. Thousands have perished while millions remain disconnected from the outside world, deliberately. The international community has been-denied access to the area. In fact, two Swedish reporters are in jail captured by the minority clique while trying to report about the plight of the people of Ogaden. The list could go on…, but the question is there a repercussion? And who will pay?
What the minority clique is doing to the people Somalia is a historic crime that will reverberate for generations. It is the highest crime of humanity like the holocaust and the crimes of the Ottoman Empire on the Armenian people. What makes it more ironic is that the people of Somalia were not posing any threat; they were not in a position; they did not have the capacity or, the ability to do harm. The minority clique invaded a sovereign nation at the behest of Westerners and committed genocides needlessly. Unfortunately, the regime is still at it using the people of Somalia for political, monetary and military advantages from the West and using the plight of the poor women and children as apolitical theater against Eritrea squandering precious moments for the people. Will they have their day?
The people of Oromo didn’t fare better either. The first target of the minority clique was Oromia. The people of Oromo have suffered the most in the hands the TPLF. Any resistance against the clique meets brute force. Thousands of students have perished, beaten and jailed in high schools and colleges for showing a sign of opposition. Siye Abraha, a clique member said that the jails are full of Oromo people. A fight with Tigrayan students in colleges is a reason for serious punishments. This is because Oromia poses the greatest threat since the Oromo represent the highest percentage of Ethiopia’s population and if they rise, it will end the regime’s reign. Whilst the minority clique is-forced to apply an appeasement strategy, the people of Oromo are asserting their position evermore with vigor. And it is certain that they will clash in due time. The list of atrocities is long everywhere in Ethiopia.
These are the realities in Ethiopia today. The situation in Ethiopia is grave and requires urgent intervention. Numerous causalities can lead to calamitous and bloody events in Ethiopia at any time. There are different scenarios under which these events could become reality. However, the clique has ignored all the possibilities with a belief, “As long as the international community is with us, the people of Ethiopia and the region does not matter“, hence, catering to the needs of foreign powers and businesses solely. For example:
The regime is in violation of international laws for sitting on Eritrean territories which could trigger a conflict at any time when Eritrea sees it necessary. Furthermore, the Tigrayan minority regime has based its very existence on the destruction of Eritrea. Emboldened by the support it gets from the West, it is feeling invincible which could lead to a conflict. This will create an opportunities for the insurgencies to assert their positions forcefully and target their perceived threat, the people of Tigray.
Sudan could close its border with Tigray and deny needed goods creating economic chaos for Tigray. This in turn will force Tigryans to migrate into areas where they may not be welcomed.
Frustration and helplessness of the youth will be rampant and a conflict from within will be rampant. Insurgencies will erupt and create a civil war inside Tigray. This grim assessment is happening as we speak and will gain momentum in a much faster pace because the regime has broken all the bridges with Ethiopians. It denied Tigrayans their traditional gateway and business partner in Eritrea isolating the people.
Dr. Gregory Stanton made it clear that Meles Zenawi will face justice for the crimes he is committing all over Ethiopia. There is always a price to be paid and someone is going to pay for all the crimes committed over the last two decades. The question is will that affect the people of Tigray and how?
What can the average person do to avert disasters and unnecessary hardships of poor innocent people? Meles Zenawi is a friend to no one. He is leading a minority clique that does not answer to the Ethiopian people. As he gets desperate, he is doing all he can to stay in power and if he cannot, he has already seeded all the destructive seeds to light the fire and destroy everything so he cannot be brought to justice. This alarm is a call to all regardless of where they come from.