Ethiopia: Gura Ferda and crimes against Humanity
by Tesfay Atsbeha and Kahsay Berhe
The inhuman measures of expelling Ethiopians from their own country in the district of Gura Ferda, Ethiopia should outrage all Ethiopians. How can hardworking innocent farmers, women and children who were living legally be deprived of their houses, farmland and belongings and evicted by force, simply because they are ethnic Amharas? The root cause of this crime is the backward and divisive ethnic politics of Meles Zenawi.
Since tyrants normally fear the elite of a people whom they want to subjugate, they try to destroy or weaken the elite as Hitler and Stalin did in Poland and the Italian fascists did in Ethiopia. A similar repressive policy has been causing a brain drain in Ethiopia in the last decades. On the top of that, Meles is harassing poor and harmless people like the Amharas, Anuaks and Afars, who do not pose a threat to his power.
Gold and wax on the form of organization
According to the internal magazine of the Marxist- Leninist League of Tigray (MLLT) called: “May Day” in the late 1980s, the Amharas should not be organized as Amharas and the cadres of Meles, like Addis Alem Balema (later Ambassador, etc…) were sent to convince the members of the MLLT in Europe of the alleged need that the Amharas should not be ethnically organized. It would have sufficed to pass orders to the members of the TPLF/MLLT in Tigray to let them accept whatever Meles wanted, but the members in Europe asked why the form of organization should not be left for the Amharas themselves to decide. They were told that the Russians who were members of the oppressor nation like the Amharas were organized as Party committees of Petrograd and Moscow by the Bolsheviks and not as Russians. The discussion grew hot. The participating members in a meeting in London told Addis Alem that they have neither the right to decide on how Amharas should organize themselves nor the duty to imitate whatever the Russians did and rejected the proposal.
The discussion looked like a combination of gold and wax. Meles seemed to see ethnicity as a source of as well as a danger for his power at the same time. Whereas ethnic division would enable him to divide and rule, he wouldn’t succeed if the Amharas and Oromos got their own respective independent organisations. The Amharas would be too strong if they organized themselves ethnically and those who opposed meddling in the rights of the Amharas suspected what Meles wanted, but they could not discuss openly to avoid being incriminated by Meles for opposing what he did not present openly. Therefore the indirect agitation (the Russian argument) was unanimously (except the cadres of Meles) opposed by the participants.
It is a paradox. Meles seems to fear the Amharas not only because they have the experience and the potential to remove him from power, but also because they stand for Ethiopian unity. Although his history will be associated with Ethiopia as he is (mis) ruling the country, Meles is opposed to all who stand for the unity of all Ethiopians. This is the reason why Meles lumps together the multi-national organizations to bogeymen as interhamwe, chauvinists, neftegna and remnants of the Derg. Meles also hated the EPRP more than any other organization in Ethiopia not because it is an Amahra Organization, since many Tigrayans and other non-Amharas in leadership positions belonged to its founders, but because it is for the unity of Ethiopia and it was aware of his machinations. Of course, Meles used to say that the source of the dangerousness of the EPRP was the attractiveness of its program to the petty bourgeoisie.
The TPLF and the puppet organizations
When the All Amhara People’s Organization (AAPO) came into being, Meles was forced to declare the formation of his own Amhara organization called Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) led by non-Amharas. It was the Ethiopian people’s Democratic Movement (EPDM) which was renamed to ANDM. Some members of the EPRP who didn’t want to continue the struggle as members of the EPRP, who had neither their own program nor the ability to form an independent organization went over to the TPLF. They were at first disarmed in the vicinity of Abergelle by the TPLF but not treated as POWs, because they came to the TPLF voluntarily while the fighting between the TPLF and the EPRP was going on. They might have taken a pre-emptive measure to avoid being taken prisoner. Most of them went abroad and the remaining few formed the EPDM with the help of the TPLF. To their credit, they had already struggled as members of the EPRP and they decided to continue the struggle, instead of giving up. The EPDM was created as a puppet of Meles who dissected it into ethnic components with some transplantation in its leadership. In all fairness, the difference between the members of the TPLF on the one hand and the other members of the EPRDF like the ANDM, OPDO and SEPDM is that the TPLF was formed by its own members while the others were formed by the TPLF even from prisoners of war. In other words, the TPLF was unlike the others, not a puppet in the beginning.
The homogenization of the members of the EPRDF as Puppets
The similarity of all EPRDF members (except Meles) is their homogenization as puppets. None of them has the right to express his/her own opinion, if the opinion differs from that of the tyrant. Some of the members are, owing to the fact that they are puppets, very powerful and rich puppets.
Gura Ferda and shame to the members of the EPRDF
Why are there no members of the EPRDF with a bit of courage to rescue their compatriots in Gura Ferda? Many Ethiopians would have gone to the streets to demonstrate against the inhuman treatment of Ethiopians in Gura Ferda if they had no fear of the members of the EPRDF who maintain tyranny. If there are some EPRDF members who care for their people they must first free themselves.
The perpetrators of Gura Ferda should be accused of committing crimes against humanity, because “these offences constitute a serious attack on human dignity, grave humiliation and degradation of more human beings” according to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The victims should be compensated and helped to return to their farms.