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Ethiopia: Preserving a Three Thousand Year-old Kingdom, Part 2

Updated: Dec 1, 2021

By Dr. Asantewaa Oppong Wadie

Presented by Omni Virtual University

"Ethiopia is not just anywhere. It is the shining "north star" of the Black experience."[1]

Let me begin by saying that "Ethiopia: Preserving a Three Thousand Year-old Kingdom" was originally written as a blog- not an op-ed piece or newspaper article. As such, the blog was concise and meant to give an overall picture. However, the points raised by a fellow OmniU Virtual University Faculty member are worthy of exploration. It is my hope that my responses in Part 2 of "Ethiopia: Preserving a Three Thousand Year-old Kingdom" will provide much more insight.*

Ethnic divisions are not central to the dispute in Ethiopia. The Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) is not one and the same as the Tigrayan people. The TPLF is defined by the Ethiopian government as a terrorist group, a small criminal enterprise- not an ethnic group. In an open letter to President Biden, written by Ethiopian Prime Minister Ahmed, Biden was reminded that -like the Ethiopian government- the US Homeland Security qualified the TPLF as a “Tier 3 terrorist organization” for its violent activities dating back to the 1980s. In the same letter, Prime Minister Ahmed explains that:

Our children in the Tigray region are being used as cannon fodder by remnants of an organization recently designated as ‘terrorist’ by our House of People’s Representatives.”

Here, the prime minister makes a clear distinction between TPLF and the Tigrayan people. The Prime Minister further establishes that in the nearly 30 years that the TPLF held power, “Various identities under the Ethiopian flag were exploited by [this] small clique that appropriated power to benefit its small circle at the expense of millions, including the impoverished of the Tigray region.”

Again, the TPLF is not an ethnic group. They are a minority terrorist group who have proven themselves willing to exploit the ethnic Tigrayans if need be. The social media post of Ethiopian American journalist, Hermela Aregawi can provide further insight on this issue. She is an ethnic Tigrayan who is calling all Ethiopians to support the national government of Ethiopia. The author minimizes the shockingly brutal attacks by the government on the civilian population in Tigray, which is one key basis for the condemnation of the government by the international community.

The constitution of Ethiopia assigns the responsibility for protecting the Ethiopian people and land to the Ethiopian Prime Minister. The Prime Minister does not have to seek international approval when he needs to act in order to protect Ethiopian people from a terrorist threat. The Ethiopian government did not brutally attack the Tigrayan people. The Ethiopian government attacked the TPLF, after the TPLF carried out an unprovoked terrorist attack on the Northern branch of the national military. Given that the TPLF is within the Tigrayan region, it is plausible to believe that the Tigrayan civilian population has been negatively impacted by the response of the government. However, the Ethiopian government is acting in defense of the entire country.

Do you remember how the January 6th vandalizers of capital were brought under control or how, in the after-math of 9/11, many innocent Muslim-American families were harassed, detained, and questioned? Perhaps closer to home, do you remember the War on Drugs? Local enforcement officials could use battering rams to forcibly enter a family house, seize property, and arrest people for merely being remotely affiliated with a drug suspect. There was not then, and is not now, any international condemnation for these “brutal attacks.” It is an understood and respected fact that white "first-world nations" have the right to utilize whatever means are in their power to neutralize threats to their safety; whether those threats are real or perceived. However, when the democratically elected government of Ethiopia moves to neutralize a terrorist threat within its borders, “spin-doctors” accuse them of attacking their own civilians. Do you see a problem here? I see the condemnation of the Ethiopian government’s response as racist rebuke designed to remind the “third-world” that their sovereignty still lingers in the shadows of imperialist/neo-colonialist nations, who will wage an information war against them if they do not approve of their actions.

I would also like to offer some context on the “blockade” of Tigray by the Ethiopian government. The Ethiopian government has demonstrated its concern for the well-being of innocent Ethiopian citizens in Tigray. In an interview with CNN, Prime Minister Ahmed’s press secretary, Bilene Seyoum, shared that the government has invested over 100 billion Birr (over 2 billion US dollars) in humanitarian assistance and infrastructure repair in the Tigray region. Up until the time of the ceasefire and withdrawal of National troops from the Tigray region in late June, 2021, the government was responsible for 70% of the humanitarian aid in Tigray. Since the national government ceasefire, and withdrawal from Tigray, the onus of responsibility for allowing caravans of humanitarian aid into the region is upon the TPLF. Not to mention that, 1000 trucks of humanitarian aid were sent into the Tigray region and only 41 of those trucks returned. Over 800 trucks are missing and were used by TPLF, during the official ceasefire, to transport rebels into the Afar and Amhara regions to expand the conflict. In addition, USAID (United States Agency of International Development) has accused the TPLF of looting U.S. food storage facilities in the Tigray region and giving the food aid that was meant for civilians, to terrorists of the TPLF. Secretary Seyoum admits that the government has created several security check points for trucks going into Tigray, but this is to ensure that resources are not be sent to the rebel group or being siphoned to support terrorism.

The democratically-elected Ethiopian government has declared a State of Emergency amidst the declarations of an internal terrorist group that they intend to take over the capital city of Ethiopia. During a state of emergency, the government is within its right to take the necessary steps to protect its people and territory. As described above, the nature of this undertaking will involve innocent people. However, the current Ethiopian government has no history of holding and abusing innocent people (regardless of their ethnicity). Many of the friends and associates that I made in Ethiopia, while visiting in 2018, have informed me that they or their family members have been searched. These searches have not come up empty. Bombs, bomb-making materials, satellite phones, and machine guns have been recovered. In all, it is a most unfortunate situation brought on the Ethiopian people by a rogue political faction. However, Ethiopia has a fully functional legal system that can address the concerns of any citizen who feels they have been unduly targeted. As outsiders, we must trust the legal system to work.

It is true that the TPLF has taken -and attempted to hold- the cities of Dessie and Kombolcha. It is difficult to get reliable, current information in the midst of the conflict. Ethiopians within in the country claim that Dessie has been re-claimed by the government. On Friday November 26th, 2021 the Guardian online publication, aired a video clip of Prime Minster Ahmed, on the frontlines, in full military uniform showing the territory that the Ethiopian government has been able to re-claim from the terrorist TPLF. Meanwhile, the US embassy has ordered the evacuation of all non-essential diplomats in anticipation that the conflict could bring communication blackouts, travel disruptions, and supply chain shortages. However, Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Ambassador Jeffery Feltman, admitted in a special briefing held on November 23, 2021, that he flew in from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia overnight. In his own words, “Right now the airport in Addis is operating normally. I flew – as I said, I flew back overnight Sunday/Monday morning. And there were empty seats on the Ethiopian Airlines plane that I was on.” Feltman witnessed no pandemonium at the airport. There was no rush of people trying to get out despite the warnings of the US government. As expressed by the Prime Minister’s press secretary, Ethiopia does not approve or appreciate the hysteria being created in the media about imminent danger in the capital city. The small, criminal, terrorist faction is being dealt with by the national defense forces.

According to Prime Minister Ahmed, the United States:

has failed to openly and sternly reprimand the terrorist group in the same manner it has been chastising my Government. The many efforts the Ethiopian Government has undertaken to stabilize the region and address humanitarian needs amidst a hostile environment created by the TPLF have been continuously misrepresented. The mounting and undue pressure on a developing African country with limitless potential for prosperity has been building up over the past months. This unwarranted pressure, characterized by double standards, has been rooted in an orchestrated distortion of events and facts on the ground as it pertains to Ethiopia’s rule of law operations in the Tigray region. “As a long-time friend, strategic ally, and partner in security, the United States’ recent policy against my country comes not only as a surprise to our proud nation, but evidently surpasses humanitarian concerns.”

The United States is not neutral in this conflict. The previous US president, Donald Trump, openly spoke of how Egypt will blow-up the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. The Dam is an extreme source of pride for Ethiopia and Africa, as it was built independent of loans from western banks. Of course, there is a longer story here, but the point is that Trump imposed sanctions and called for the dam to be bombed. The Biden/Harris administration similarly continued and expanded sanctions against the Ethiopian government, apparently for the actions that they have taken to protect themselves from a terrorist threat.

Recently, what has been most shocking to me is that Jeff Pearce, author of the book Prevail: The Inspiring Story of Ethiopia's Victory Over Mussolini's Invasion, 1935-1941, published on November 24, 2021, an article entitled: Ethiopia: The West’s Diplomat Meet in Secret to Decide How to Help the TPLF. The article is, ostensibly, based on a leaked copy of a Zoom meeting between western diplomats and the leaders of the TPLF. The meeting was secretly taped and shared with the press. The full leaked Zoom meeting is available for viewing on (until it is taken down) [SEE RECOMMENDED READINGS]. In the Zoom video, Vickie Huddleston, former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, can be heard saying to Berhane Gebre-Christos, a TPLF member,

Abiy should step down, there should be an all-inclusive transition government.”

This is a former top US official calling for regime- change of a democratically elected administration! Why is the US even willing to engage in conversations with a terrorist organization??? Huddleston further remarked to the TPLF leadership, "I hope you have military success fairly soon because it seems as if the situation is only becoming more drastic." Reportedly, current and former diplomats from the US, Britain and the EU were all on this Zoom call. The meeting ended with Ephraim Issac of the TPLF asking all in attendance to, “Keep thinking of how we can get an international coalition to help us.”

The US does not appear to be neutral. Instead, it seems decidedly involved on the side of TPLF. The TPLF is a minority group that has no chance of winning against a country of several million and a national military. The only way for the TPLF to have even a modicum of success is for it to be supported by outside forces. This is a European versus African issue. If the West succeeds in bringing about regime change in Ethiopia, they will go through Africa dividing up countries putting in place transitional governments that favor their political interests.

Lest We forget: "Ethiopia is the only African country to remain unconquered and sovereign in spite of the colonialism that swept through Africa. Our Ancestors did their part to keep Ethiopia independent so We,

African Americans, must get involved on some level to make certain Ethiopia remains unbowed, unbroken, and unconquered." [1]

A. Oppong Wadie, Ed.D. Co-Director Aba Educational Consultants

*Editor's Note: The primary goal of the H3O Art of Life Blog is to provide information about, as well as insight into, subject matter- vital to the interests of our community- which is often obfuscated by mainstream media. Since we recognize that the Blog format must, necessarily, be more concise than other forms of journalism, we offer resources for further study such as: Recommended Readings, Recommended Viewing(s) and/or Recommended Listening. As always, we welcome your comments and appreciate the support you give by sharing our content via the social networks available to you.

Blog Notes

[1] "Ethiopia: Preserving a Three Thousand Year-old Kingdom". (Dr. Asantewaa Oppong Wadie in The H3O Art of Life Blog)

[2] Ibid, (Dr. Asantewaa Oppong Wadie in The H3O Art of Life Blog)

Recommended Readings

Prevail:The Inspiring Story of the Ethiopian Victory Over Mussolini's Invasion. by Jeff Pearce

Ethiopia and the Origin of Civilization. by [Ancestor] Dr. John G.Jackson

My Life and Ethiopian Progress: The Autobiography of Emperor Haile Selassie.

by [Ancestor] Haile Selassie. Translated by Edward Ullendorf

Pillars in Ethiopian History. by [Ancestor] William Leo Hansberry

The Real Facts About Ethiopia. by [Ancestor] J.A. Rogers

The Lost prophet of the Bible: Enoch the Ethiopian. by Indus Khamit Kush

I Didn't Do It for You: How the World Betrayed a Small African Nation. by Michela Wong

The Ethiopian Prophecy in Black American Letters. by Roy Kay

Understanding Contemporary Ethiopia: Monarchy, Revolution and the Legacy of Melee Zenawi. by Gerard Prunier

A Road Called Down on Both Sides: Growing Up in Ethiopia and America. by Caroline Kutz

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