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Humanitarian Aid to Ethiopia?: First, Do No Harm

By Dr. Asantewaa Oppong Wadie

Presented by Omni-U Virtual University



Along with many other Africans and African Diasporans, I held earnest hope that the cease fire, which was issued by the Ethiopian government in June of 2021, would signal the beginning of a time of peace in Ethiopia. However, it has become increasingly clear that the TPLF (Tigrayan People's Liberation Front) has no intention of adhering to the cease fire and are, in fact, continuing and expanding their violent attacks on Ethiopian citizens. Keep in mind that it was the TPLF who began the armed conflict by carrying out a pre-emptive attack on Ethiopia’s national military in November of 2020.


By one account, as many as 50, 000 dead civilians, victims of TPLF violence, have been found in the Amhara and Afar regions. The rising death toll does not begin to address the numerous accounts of women and girls raped or the millions of people forced to flee their homes because of TPLF violence. Dr. Natalia Paszikiwicz, a Polish-European anthropologist who has been on the ground in Eritrea, has reports that sections of the TPLF were found demanding that Eritrean refugees put on the clothes of the Eritrean Military and use knives to assault the women in the camp. As the TPLF soldiers prepared to film this scene for propaganda, one of the young men made a daring getaway which led to several of the refugees being killed or injured.


The tragedy, here, is compounded by the fact that the western media is turning a blind eye to these crimes. There has been “pin-drop” silence on these issues in the western daily news-reporting. This is most likely because the western powers- including the United States- supported the TPLF when they were in control of the Ethiopian government. Even though the conflict was started by the TPLF, the western press was steadily and consistently accusing the Ethiopian government, under the leadership of President Abiy Ahmed, of committing war crimes such as preventing critical supplies from reaching those citizens in need.


There was nightly coverage of the events in Ethiopia before the cease fire. However, now that it is clear that the TPLF is the one who is in violation of the established cease fire and the party who is carrying out violent attacks, the West is no longer interested in the story. Even more bizarre, the Awasa Guardian newspaper reports that Alex De Waal, the key analyst used by the New York Times in the creation of the article which accused the Ethiopian government of “ethnic cleansing”, has come out and admitted that he has connections with the TPLF/ Tigrayan People's Liberation Front..


The Role of the EU


Given that the Ethiopian military was accused of human rights abuses and violation of international human rights during the conflict, the Ethiopian government wisely submitted to a joint investigation into these allegations. Carrying out the investigation were: the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR). The investigation covered the period from the beginning of the conflict, in November of 2020, to June of 2021 when the ceasefire was declared. The combined committee did not find evidence of ethnic cleansing or genocide. Nevertheless, despite the findings, the EU put forward a resolution to designate new investigators for the Ethiopian conflict. The EU called for a special session of the United Nations Human Rights Committee to vote on this resolution. Not one single African nation voted to investigate Ethiopia.


However, the resolution was adopted by the UNHRC in December of 2021. It is very possible that the new investigators will produce "new" findings – they may even aim to charge Ethiopia with genocide. This would allow the western powers to run roughshod over the sovereign nation of Ethiopia.


What the US is doing?


In addition to failing to report on the aggression of the TPLF, the United States Congress is considering a bill -HR 6600- that will be extremely harmful to Ethiopia, if passed. On February 4, 2022, Representative Tom Malinowski, a democrat from New Jersey’s 7th district, drafted the H.R. 6600 bill which has a corollary bill in the Senate- S3199. The bill(s) seek to impose sanctions on Ethiopia that include the suspension of Ethiopia’s security assistance from the United States. The bill would revoke -or block- loans, financial gains, and technical assistance from the United States and, potentially, from the allies of the United States. Investing in Ethiopia would be prohibited nationally as well as on individual bases. Further, the bill would penalize any Africans in the diaspora,i.e., the United States and everywhere else outside of Ethiopia, who financially support Ethiopian citizens or who provide knowledge or expertise to Ethiopian citizens living in Ethiopia. The bill would restrict immigration, making it difficult for Ethiopians to travel to the U.S, and even rescind visas to those who currently have the right to legally enter the U.S.


Ethiopians in the United States are near united in their protest of H.R.6600 and S3199. Both bills use similar language and function to cripple the Ethiopian economy and destabilize the lives of the Ethiopian people. Perhaps the U.S. is hoping that these sanctions will incite the citizens of Ethiopia to turn against, rise up, and overthrow the stable and democratic government of Ethiopia.


We, Africans in the Diaspora, must unite our voices with the voices of our Ethiopian brothers and sisters to prevent this bill from ever becoming law. Please find attached the link to the online petition that will prevent HR 6600 and S3199 from becoming law.

Be a Voice for the Voiceless


Editor's Note

From Amy Goodman, Host and Executive Producer,"Democracy Now"

"The World Food Program's warning that 20, 000,000 [TWENTY MILLION] PEOPLE could go hungry in the Horn of Africa [Ethiopia, Somalia,Kenya] due to a massive drought and rising food and fuel prices due to the war in Ukraine. Last week, the U.N [ United Nations] projected 350,000 [ THREE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND] CHILDREN in Somalia could die of starvation in the coming months if the world doesn't act quickly.


VERY IMPORTANT

A devastating anti-Ethiopian & Eritrean resolution has passed the House Foreign Relations Committee with a unanimous vote. If eventually signed by the President this will cripple Ethiopia’s already teetering economy and will bar other countries from doing business with Ethiopia & cut off all loans from all over the world.


US congress is still acting as a mouthpiece for TPLF propaganda. We are asking all Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia to write letters usng the link below also contact your respective organizations, churches, community association, and clubs etc. to marshal forces to end this unrelenting attack on Ethiopia at the behest of TPLF.


1) Please send letters using this platform. Let us flood them with letters, Tweets, emails and phone calls to express our deep concern.


https://www.votervoice.net/mobile/AEPACT/campaigns/91709/respond


2)Call these congressmen and express your concern & outrage by their unjustified & unrelenting attack


Rep. McCaul - 202-225-2401 & Twitter handle is @RepMcCaul


Rep. Malinowski - 202-2225-5361 & Twitter handle is @repmalinowski


Rep. Meeks - 202-225-3461 & his Twitter handle is @Repgregorymeeks

202-2225-5361"


Recommended Reading

'We are the World': Ethiopia, Famine and U.S Humanitarian


https://www.votervoice.net/mobile/AEPACT/campaigns/91709/respond



https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/09/16/ethiopia-eritrean-refugees-targeted-tigray



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