Ethiopia and the News

The current Ethiopian state of affair shows how volatile situations in that country are. International media have been muted until an athlete has shown his solidarity with protesters in his home country. The crossed arms gesture of Lilessa in Rio has made headlines throughout the world. The sign of resistance has brought everything to a spotlight.

People who have been gagged for a quarter of a century have started voicing their concerns. Most recently, people have started protesting in every corners of the country, only to get the attention of a few concerned media—but that is still not enough. The international media has turned a blind eye to the misery at home. Enough has not been said about the people of Ethiopia and what they have to live with.

Nothing has been more worrying to the government than the two major ethnicities (the Amhara and Oromo) coming out in solidarity, protesting marginalization (and, as the ruling party puts it, “lack of good governance which it is dedicated to address”). The Oromo question did not just come about ten months ago. It is not just as old as the state wide resistance started to surface. In the same token, the grievance of the Amhara did not just start because of Welkayit (a historical part of the Amhara people incorporated into Tigray region without the will of the people). It is a question of identity, most importantly, struggle for survival.

Of course, for the last twenty-five years, the EPRDF (Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front) government had the opportunity to address most questions, but did not do much. The ruling party, which is a pseudo-coalition (t is no secret that all other are mere subordinates of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, often referred to as TPLF), was in its comfort zone, failing to address the questions the two largest ethnic groups have been raising. However, ignorance and arrogance of the ruling party has made it fail to understand that there is a point where it has to stop what it is doing and start questioning what is wrong with whatever it is doing.

Rather it kept unleashing repressive endeavors towards the people of Ormiya and Amhara, further providing immediate causes to the instability that we have now— the implementation of The Addis Ababa-Oromia Integrated Masterplan and attempts to arrest members of the Wolkayit Amhara Identity Committee.

There is no platform for the free media. The TPLF/EPRDF government has made sure that there is no alternative source of information. To check this fact, it would suffice to look at reports by the Human Rights Watch and CPJ.

Different sources indicate that the government has killed more than a thousand people and detained over twenty thousand youth in military camps. To make matters worse, the prime minister has given the military a direct order to take unconditional action against civilians. In regions where there is not a single armed group involved, unleashing the military is a crime against humanity.

Instead of alleviating problems, the Ethiopian Government seems to be working more on creating ethnic tensions. It is allowing certain ethnic groups to hold demonstrations, holding rifles openly, and warn others literally saying “our patience is wearing thin” while sending the army to kill and disarm another ethnic group to which the former sent a clear message to. It is clearly violating its own constitution, Article 29 to be exact, and fanning misleading reports that certain ethnic groups have been targeted. Furthermore, it is working more on creating ethnic alliance to counter the growing opposition.

I can say more. But I cannot state more than what has already been said by the people of Ethiopia. Every report that comes out of Ethiopia is disturbing. For reasons unknown to me or to the dismay of many Ethiopians, the international media preferred silence. Ethiopia is not in the headlines. Nobody, except Ethiopians themselves, is talking about Ethiopia. If a dire situation in a country with close to one hundred million people cannot be in the news, I think I must have misunderstood the basic definition of news my whole life?