Open Letter to the Ethiopian People and International Stakeholders

We in Ethiopiawinnet, a rights-based global civic organization committed to a united and democratic Ethiopia, would once again like to bring to your attention the extremely grave crisis currently unfolding in the Gonder and Gojam regions of some 20 million people. In the Amhara Regional State in northwestern Ethiopia, the situation is fast turning from one of state-led crime against humanity to one of genocide. Following nearly a year of defiant protests in several parts of the Oromia Regional State in southwestern and southeastern Ethiopia as well as in the capital city of Addis Ababa itself, and exemplar nationwide public protests against government interference in the religious affairs of Ethiopian Muslims earlier, the civil disobedience campaign against a tyrannical minority regime has moved north presently engulfing some two-thirds of the 100 million people of Ethiopia.

In some localities, the resistance is rapidly assuming the disturbing form of a popular insurrection by ordinary citizens who have overcome their fear of terror in the hands a murderous tribal militia, called Agazi, for the past 25 years. As we write, the regime is mobilizing the national army and air force, and even requisitioning the commercial Ethiopian Airlines to transfer shock troops after the Prime Minister vowed to liquidate protestors by any means necessary. We lift our voice now to express our alarm at the prospects of a bloody civil war that is likely to make Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, and Rwanda child’s play.

We assure you that we are not being overly alarmist, and only ask you to seriously ponder the following facts:

  1. The Tigrean People Liberation Front (TPLF) regime, which claims to represent some 5% of ethnic Tigreans, has deliberately created ethnic Bantustans and fomented inter-ethnic and inter-communal hatred, albeit with some success;

  2. TheTPLFregime,whichclaimstohavewon100%oftheseatsinParliamentlast year, is considered illegitimate and roundly despised by at least 95% of the population as the nationwide call for a new government would attest;

  3. The totalitarian TPLF regime, which controls all state agencies, the commanding heights of the private sector, and has turned the security services into a glorified TPLF militia, has a long history of state-sponsored mass murder and terror in such places as Addis Ababa, the Ogaden region, and the Gambella region; and

  4. The currently imploding TPLF regime has been acting with impunity knowing full well that its Western backers, which have provided ample support in the form of lethal aid and development assistance, will continue to shamelessly look away in the vainglorious hope of stamping international terrorism in the Horn of Africa.

To the Ethiopian People:

  • With admiration and respect, we support your gallant and peaceful struggle for a united country under the rule of law and an accountable government.
  • We wish to note the exemplary way protestors in Gonder and Gojam expressed their empathy with those in Oromia, Gambella, and elsewhere in the country thereby turning defeating the divide-and-rule strategy of the tribalist regime and its odious apartheid policy.
  • We urge you to intensify your exemplary and historic struggle for freedom by employing a multitude of tactics (such as boycotting regime-owned businesses) which would minimize the risk to human life while upholding the core values of Ethiopiawinnet.
  • We encourage you, the youth of Ethiopia, toward the immediate promise a transitional government which will soon be formed in a manner that is inclusive of all stakeholders to finally burry totalitarianism--of the Left or the Right.

To the TPLF Regime:

  • We would like to remind you that the government you captured by force will be taken away from you soon. Your will to continue to forcibly impose yourself on a proud people is visibly wilting as millions overcome their fear of a mirage—your tiresomely choreographed propaganda of invincibility.
  • Having taken to heart that you are unequivocally rejected by every sector of society, you will do well to minimize the damage to the country, not to mention to learn from the Derg and ensure your future as ordinary citizens, by standing aside as a transitional government is formed. Humvees and mercenary sharpshooters aiming at unarmed citizens will not save you from the wrath of an enraged citizenry, and must instead prepare to submit to the merciful judgment of a Peace, Truth, and Reconciliation process under an inclusive transitional government of national unity or under politically-neutral technocrats.

To Donors, Allies, and Neighboring Governments:

  • Ethiopia is undeniably the anchor state of a region of uniformly failed states, and has historically played a responsible role in stabilizing the turbulent region. No one will benefit from its fragility by destabilizing it.
  • The shocking contempt for the Ethiopian people over the past twenty-five years by governments of powerful states in North America and the European Community, despite the self-serving charity that is state-to-state aid, is yet another sordid example of the failure of Western foreign policy toward the Middle East and Africa. As an expression of your displeasure with the disastrous performance of this client regime, please suspend all lethal aid and all non- emergency financial aid--as was temporarily done after the 2005 electoral debacle.
  • The regime with a stranglehold of Ethiopia must be told, in no uncertain terms, that it has to suspend its martial law and immediately remove tanks, gunships, and stockpiles of weaponized chemicals from the streets. It must be told to stop criminalizing legitimate dissent, release all political prisoners, and consent to a transitional arrangement.

  • The Security Council of the United Nations must take decisive and timely action, including enforcing the demand of the U.N. Commissioner for Human Rights to allow international observers to investigate the killings which have now exceed 600 which are widely expected to rise dramatically as things escalate. The TPLF regime should in fact be suspended from being a member of the UN Security Council in view of its gross abuse of human rights and its impending genocide on the Ethiopian people.

    To Ethiopians in the Diaspora:

  • We urge you to continue exercising your advocacy rights and obligations in your adopted countries to galvanize support for the struggle for freedom from well- meaning people, to demand that your political representatives raise the plight of the Ethiopian people with the foreign policy establishment as well as with the international donor agencies.

  • We plead with you to focus on the common good by reaching out to all Ethiopians to exploit this window of opportunity to end tyranny for good, and also to provide financial support for the victims of state violence. You must also support various initiatives underway to bring together civic organizations, political organizations, and notable compatriots to craft a national agenda for a post-TPLF transitional government.

  • We call on all Ethiopians in the diaspora who currently transfer well over five billion US$ to members of their Ethiopian relatives and friends thereby providing much needed foreign currency to the TPLF regime to change their methods of transferring the money to one which would deny the regime any access to the foreign exchange.

  • Ethiopiawinnet stands ready to work with other civic groups to spearhead such effort immediately. We need to save our beloved country by forging consensus toward an all-party conference.

    Thank you, and God bless Ethiopia and her united people. 

Tesfamichael Makonnen