By Prof. Al Mariam,
Author’s Note: I have written this commentary for several reasons.
First, in my September 5, 2016 commentary, I announced that the TPLF will soon roll out a major disinformation campaign to discredit the massive popular uprising in the country and re-write the true story of valor and courage by the Ethiopian people with systematic lies and deception.
On or about September 12, the TPLF rolled out its biggest disinformation campaign by forewarning an apocalyptic genocide on the Ethiopian horizon. The TPLF Disinformation Campaign I announced is now officially underway.
The TPLF genocide disinformation campaign is presented as a one-two punch by Abaye Tsehaye predicting imminent genocide and Seyoum Mesfin giving reassurances that the TPLF multi-ethnic security and armed forces will crush and decimate the massive popular uprising and resistance.
Second, I was in a quandary about writing this commentary because I could not believe that any reasonable person could argue with a straight face that removal of a government of thugs, by thugs, for thugs could plunge a country into genocide. The TPLF claim of impending doomsday of genocide in Ethiopia is so absurd and ridiculous, any serious response to it must necessarily be a colossal waste of time. But I have learned from history that a lie told a hundred times could be accepted as truth. The best antidote to a big genocide lie is a swift response with the incontrovertible truth. No lie about a genocide should ever go unchallenged!
Third, I wrote this commentary to address head on the ongoing TPLF disinformation campaign that the popular uprising in Ethiopia is not homegrown and not an organic expression of the Ethiopian people but a destabilization campaign by “Shaebia”, “anti-peace”, “anti-development” and “other foreign powers” (presumably Middle Eastern).
The TPLF is in convenient delusional denial of the plain fact that it has been rejected totally by the Ethiopian people. By constantly calling attention to “Shaebia”, “outside forces”, “anti-peace forces”, etc., as the causes of the “isolated disturbances”, the TPLF seeks to discredit and disparage the popular resistance, and particularly the role of young people in the resistance to TPLF rule. Ethiopians must be acutely aware of the fact that the disinformation campaign about a genocide concocted and planned by outsiders is a game of deception played by the TPLF.
Fourth, the not-so-hidden TPLF message in the TPLF genocide disinformation campaign is that Oromos and Amharas are natural and historical enemies, and cannot possibly create genuine attraction or unity. It is a campaign aimed at convincing Amharas and Oromos that they are like oil and water. Indeed, if I recall correctly, Getachew Reda, TPLF chief communications jockey said, “Amhara and Ormo are like “chid” (the chaff from Ethiopia’s staple food teff) and fire (the equivalent of fire and highly combustible pampas grass). They can never come together as one.
What the TPLF forgets is that Amhara and Oromo and Tigray and Gurage, Sidama, Gambella, Afari Somali and all the other groups are like “chid” and earth (mud), the two essential ingredients used by the vast majority of Ethiopians to build their homes, their Ethiopian homes. But the TPLF continues to ply its tired old divide and rule tricks to no avail.
Fifth, another layer in the TPLF genocide campaign is a call to other smaller ethnic groups to join the TPLF and defend against an Oromo-Amhara strategic alliance. The most dangerous aspect of this disinformation campaign in the fact that the TPLF by creating a distorted narrative of Oromo-Amhara unity is desperately trying to create the impression and image of a rising Rwanda-style interahamwe (which in Kinyarwanda means “those who stand/work/fight/attack together”) being hatched and organized by Oromos and Amharas against the people of Tigray.
Sixth, I have written this commentary to challenge ALL Ethiopian intellectuals to join me in a Campaign of Truth against the TPLF’s Campaign of Lies and Disinformation. I am especially calling for a united counter-disinformation campaign against TPLF genocide disinformation campaign. When I say intellectuals, I am not only referring to academics, scholars, researchers, writers, artists, lawyers, journalists, physicians, philosophers, social and political thinkers. I also include opposition leaders, students, human rights activists, civic society, religious and cultural leaders and friends of Ethiopia.
This is the time for all good Ethiopian men and women to come to the aid of their country.
To paraphrase Martin L. King, “In the end, Ethiopians will not remember the words and dastardly deeds of their oppressors but the silence of their intellectuals and friends.”
TPLF Disinformation Campaign No. 1: Cry, Genocide Wolf!
On or about September 12, 2016, the TPLF rolled out its Disinformation Campaign No.1 by trotting out two of its founding members to give an interview.
Abaye Tsehaye announced an impending genocide in Ethiopia:
“… Similar things that happened in Rwanda are happening in Ethiopia. Two people called Tutsis and Hutus, one (group) was in power, the other was out of power. One group had tried to get advantage during colonial rule and using mass media, armed forces, with (political) parties coordinated a campaign. They separated (the Tutsis) by looking at their (facial) features, by their tradition. They mobilized Hutus to destroy Tutsis. That’s how so many millions were (killed) and so many driven into exile.
When EPRDF took power, Rwanda as a country, as a people was destroyed. It had disintegrated. (No one thought) it could be put back together. That’s how it started.
It (genocide) had been in a process of agitation for a while. It was something that was in preparation, coordination. Later they came to regret it and began a process of reconciliation and forgiveness; the people became one and (Rwanda) were able to become one country.
The question in Ethiopia is do we have a chance of coming together and becoming one country?
That is what we need to see. There (in Rwanda) there are only two (groups). They saw the destruction was so devastating, after they paid all that price, they came to the right stand. To reconcile, to become one country and one people, they were able to go on the way of development and peace.
In Ethiopia there are 80 plus nations and nationalities, once bloodshed begins, it will go from one end (of the country) to the other end. No one can stop it. It has started already started in one or two places. Once it gets out of control like in Rwanda, the chances of being one people, one country will not exist.
Abaye Tsehai accused “Shaebia [Eritrea]” and the “foreign supporters” of those directing the uprising from the outside the country (presumably “Diaspora extremists”, “anti-peace” and “anti-development” elements):
Their common agenda is to break up the order (TPLF regime) and to create public disorder. In the ensuing chaos, as they say ‘Chaos makes it convenient for a thief’, at a minimum, they aim to rip-off the country (of its wealth) and seize power for a short time. After that, there will be nothing left to rip-off and the country will disintegrate. There will be chaos, bloodletting and massacres. Before that (happens), they will fight with each other. Let’s say EPRDF is weakened and can’t control the situation, they will then fight with each other as to who is going to rip-off (the country) first and who seizes which power first. That’s inevitable from beginning to end. The outside (foreign) supporters are not the type who want to see Ethiopia continue in its development. They don’t want a peaceful and stable Ethiopia. Their supporters want Ethiopia to be weakened and without peace and development and disunited. They don’t want Ethiopia in peace and stability. The bosses who give them money and agenda want Ethiopia to disintegrate, breakup and become weak. They don’t want her to be united. They have anti-Ethiopia, anti-Ethiopian goal.
That is their collective goal and they don’t believe there is now or has ever been historically unity of Oromo and Amhara peoples. They were the ones creating antagonism between Oromos and Amharas (in the past). They were the ones creating strife. The hatred and bloodletting mobilization they created on Tigray people today, they will repeat it again (as they did between Oromos and Amharas in the past). This the people understand. The Oromo people properly understand this. It is for their own interest (the outside agitators’) temporary interest to create chaos throughout the country and benefit themselves, not because they are concerned about the country’s unity. Their goal is to create chaos in the country, conflict between people and create bloodletting.
According to Abaye Tehaye, the aim, agenda and goal of the foreign agitators and foreign bankrollers is to spark G-E-N-O-C-I-D-E in Ethiopia.
What is interesting about Abaye Tesehaye’s analysis is that he conveniently omits that the man who cried genocide in Rwanda, Paul Kagame, is the very man who started the Rwandan genocide.
Theogene Rudasingwa, Kagame’s former Chief of Staff to Rwandan President Paul Kagame and ambassador to the U.S. said he heard Kagame “boast in 1994 that he ordered the shooting down of the plane carrying President Juvenal Habyarimana.”
Is Abaye Tsehaye the Paul Kagame of Ethiopia?
Seyoum Mesfin delivered the second punch in the genocide fable.
Seyoum said the genocide plan will fail because the security and military structures created by the “EPRDF” ( the front organization for the TPLF) will prevent it. Seyoum said:
If they (foreign agitators and their foreign bankrollers) get a chance not only will they breakup nations, nationalities and peoples, they will split a family in 2 or 3 parts. But to believe their common agenda will get them ahead is like dew in the sun. They will continue to fan the (flames of genocide). They don’t trust each other. They will use force to attack each other. Narrow-mindedness and arrogance cannot go together to create a (governance) order. Never! Theirs is a zero sum game.
Let’s look at our security and defense structures. Their claim is that the people who control and dominate these structures are Tigreans and therefore they seek to destroy these structures. The narrow-minded and arrogant have joined this campaign. Why? When the truth is revealed, it is a different thing. From all EPRF structures and ministries, these are the structures that show diversity of Ethiopian people. These structures integrate all Ethiopians. Those who never had a chance in society like the Benishangul, Somalis, Afaris, we have put them in defense institutions and integrated them and built an armed force. Let’s talk about the security structure. It is the mirror of the country. Each nation, nationality sees a mirror image of itself in the security structure…
In his other comments, Seyoum Mesfin seems to equate what the Nazis did to the Jews in WW II to what the Oromos and Amharas might do to Tigreans today. Is Seyoum serious equating Ethiopians to Nazis and Tigreans to Jews in the Third Reich?
It is not clear where Seyoum got his history education when he says the TPLF is the first regime in Ethiopia to ethnically integrate the armed and security forces. Perhaps he picked up bits and pieces of oral history about Ethiopia’s armed forces from hearsay, rumor and gossip mill in the bush.
The military leadership under Haileselassie was vastly more diverse than under TPLF rule. Perhaps Seyoum should review the diversity of military leadership under his TPLF regime. The fact of the matter is that both under the imperial and Derg regimes, the composition of the leadership and rank and file reflected in the Ethiopian armed forces reflected the country’s ethnic diversity. No member of an ethnic group was excluded from the armed forces. The ignorant who is ignorant of his own ignorance deserves only pity. I pity Seyoum for his willful ignorance.
In my September 5, 2016 commentary “The Lies and Disinformation Campaigns of the TPLF”, I announced to the world that the TPLF is now engineering a massive disinformation campaign to belittle and discredit the massive popular uprising against TPLF rule and to counter and destroy what they believe to be an “Amhara-Oromo alliance” against them.
In my videotaped interview (in Amharic) last week with Reeyot Alemu on Ethiopian Satellite Television, I addressed that issue at some length.
In my September 5 commentary, I offered ten examples of the massive disinformation campaign that the TPLF will be rolling out in the near future.
At number 1 in list of disinformation campaigns I identified was the TPLF’s selective use of historical events and incidents to create antagonisms between ethnic groups, particularly Oromos and Amharas.
Right on cue, barely 5 days after I wrote my commentary, the TPLF rolled out Disinformation Campaign No. 1: Cry Genocide Wolf! Amharas and Oromos are planning to conduct genocide in Ethiopia.
The choice of the latest messengers of the genocide warnings, two top capos of La Commissione TPLF , Abaye Tsehay and Seyoum Mesfin, is quite interesting. Usually, the TPLF keeps the the likes of Abaye and Seyoum, members of “state within the state”, behind the scenes and out of public sight. Why did the TPLF let out its top dogs at this time?
Abaye Tsehay is one of the seven founding O.G.s (in popular parlance original gangsters) of the TPLF in September 1974. He is reputed to be TPLF Minister of Federal Affairs of Ethiopia and lord overseer of Addis Ababa city administration and police.
Mesfin is also one of the founding O.G.s of the TPLF. He is reputed to be a former TPLF foreign minister and ambassador to China.
Why did the TPLF let loose its two head honchos to strut out in the public and cry Genocide Wolf at the gate?
Did the disinformation campaign about the skulking, lurking and creeping genocide boogeyman succeed?