By Leenjiso Horo
Make the male lines like trees that have had their roots cut;
Make the female lines like rooks that have dried up in winter;
Make the children and grandchildren like eggs smashed against rooks;
Make the servants and followers like heaps of grass consumed by fire; ….
In short, annihilate any traces of them, even their names.
–The Fifth Dalai Lama’s instruction to repress Tibetan rebels in 1660.
The Tigran genocidal extremist political elites have learned the methods of committing genocide from the above instruction. This instruction has become for the Tigran political elites a political religious faith book. It adopted this instruction to implement in Oromiyaa against the Oromo people. One need to understand, the nature of Tigran culture from their successive political leaders like Ras Mikael Sehul, Emperor Yohannes IV and Meles Zenawi and his political collogues.
Tigran fascism has a long history. Its history of fascism extends back to Ras Mikael Sehul of the 18th century and Emperor Yohannes IV of the 19th century. Both men sowed seeds of fascism to which Meles Zenawi and his TPLF are the heirs. Indeed, todays Tigran genocidal elites are the products of their history. It is for this, the current Tigran elites have been continuously following the legacies of Ras Mikael Sehul and Emperor Yohannes IV. Ras Mikael Sehul was said to have killed Oromo and Amhara prisoners of war and then peeled their skins off; made the skins into sacks; then he filled those sacks with straws and displayed in public in Gondar to be seen. Emperor Yohannes IV was said to have used “force, fire, and sword” to eliminate Oromo Muslims and Waqeftaa in Wollo who were refused to be converted to Christianity. He mutilated the limbs of those who refused. That is, he cutoff the breasts of women and hands, ears, and tongues of men. It has been said he pulled out one eye from each of his victims. The purpose was to force them into accepting the religion of his choice and at the same time to teach the others the consequence of refusal to accept. Similarly, in 1991, Meles Zenawi, upon entering Finfinnee/Addis Ababa, ordered his army to set on fire Military depot (storage of chemical weapons) in the city. The explosion of the storage of chemical weapons terrorized residents, killed many of them and destroyed many homes. The toxic chemical that released into the air and water is still today causing serious harm to the residents of the city and its vicinities. With this, the brutality of TPLF accelerated with murder, violence, and terror, and the seeds of its plan for the extermination of the Oromo implemented Oromiyaa wide. And, the Oromo people are exposed to the ruthless slaughter. This consistent pattern of crime shows time and again that the Tigrans have inherently greater cultural propensity for hatred, violence and cruelty. Hence, it is clear that the Tigrans political elites have an insatiable propensity to commit crimes of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and crime against humanity.
Since 1991 to date, the Tigran political elites-led regime, its state, and its military and security forces have been committing genocide against the Oromo people. These genocidal fascist elites have already exterminated hundreds of thousands of the Oromo men, women and including pregnant women, children and elderly for no reasons than being Oromo. Not on this, millions have been evicted from their lands. Being an Oromo in and of itself is seen by the Tigran political elites as their enemy. Since Oromiyaa is placed under the administration of military Command Post, marshal law is declared. With this, mass murder, kidnapping, torture, and disappearances without trace have been carried out both in towns, villages, and rural areas. The Tigran army’s and security forces’ savagery, barbarism and ruthless cruelty in rural areas include the killing of the infants grabbing by the leg from mothers’ arms and dashing head on the ground and then shooting the mothers to death are common occurrence. In Oromiyaa, kidnappings, forced disappearances, eviction from homes and lands, arrest, torture and killings have been institutionalized. In addition to the annihilation of men, women, children and elderly, it has also targeted the Oromo political leaders, religious leaders, academics and intellectuals and business and communal leaders and journalists at all levels for annihilation. Its centrally planned, centrally organized and state-sponsored violence, killings and evictions of people from their land and homes have touch all nations and nationalities in Ethiopia. This annihilation is and has been undertaken by the centrally organized and government-directed forces.
The TPLF’s target of killing is not just only Oromo men who might organize themselves to fight back in order to defend their people and country, but it also targeted women and children. It targeted women because they are the bears of the next generation and the children are targeted because they are the next generation. The purpose of killing women and children is to destroying a nation “root and branch” of a targeted population. In this case, the targeted population is the Oromo people and the aim is to destroy the “root and branch” of the Oromo nation. This is a policy of exterminating current generation and the future generation of the Oromo nation. Furthermore, today the fascist TPLF’s murderous political repression, violence, genocide, ethnic cleansing and crime against humanity have plagued Ethiopian empire state. Hence, the nations and nationalities in Ethiopia are under the extremist genocidal elites’ state-organized physical extermination. No one is spared from this except the Tigran ethnic group. Particularly, the annihilation of the Oromo people has become the state policy in the Tigran extremist led Ethiopian state. As it is clear to all, State violence has been institutionalized in Oromiyaa. Genocide has become the ultimate expression of the Tigran led state’s aim to annihilate the Oromo population. This policy of repression, violence and genocide is not spontaneous but it is the outgrowth of the decisions made by the Tigran powerful political and economic elites who have access to the significant state resources-the judiciary, the army, the police force, the security, intelligence and the economy. In order to implement this policy, the institution of violence- the notorious Agazi Special Force has been created; military and concentration camps have been expanded; technique of torture have been refined and organizational criminal intelligence networks and killing squads have been established throughout the country whose purpose are to destroy nations and nationalities in Ethiopia.
Genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and war crime Genocide
The general framework for analysis on the question of genocide in Ethiopia is the following based on the UN Convention on Prevention and Punishment of crime of genocide Article II of 1948. It is oftentimes referred as crime of crimes. It states “genocide means any of the following acts Committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
- Killing members of the group;
- Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
- Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
- Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
- Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”
On basis of this article, the two fundamental elements of the crime are the first is intention, and the second is the act committed include at least one of the five criteria cited above. Based on the Article II the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of crimes of genocide, under the TPLF, the Oromo people have been intentionally killed (Article II a); the regime’s inhumane treatment of a serious bodily and mental harm have been inflicted upon the Oromo, Sidama, Somali, Gambella, Amhara and etc. (Article II b). Furthermore, this Tigran perpetrator regime has been subjecting the Oromo, Anuak and the Amhara to a systematic expulsion, eviction and forced removal from their homes and farmlands and subsequently settling its nationals on those lands. It has undertaken deprivation of means of livelihood by confiscating property, destruction of homes, looting and denial of housing that are tantamount to a deliberate act to inflict on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction (Article II c). Furthermore, land is the life of the people. Hence, expulsion of the people from their land is a deliberately inflicting on the people, conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction in whole, or in part (Article II c). It is therefore clear according to Article II a, b, and c, genocide is clearly committed by the TPLF led-regime of Ethiopia.
Here it is important to understand the basic difference between crime against humanity, genocide and ethnic cleansing and crimes of war. Genocide is understood to be the state-organized, state-sponsored systematic mass murder of innocent and helpless men, women, and children with the purpose of eradicating a group from a territory and subsequently populating that territory by the nationals of the perpetrators. For this, it commonly describes campaigns of mass extermination. It is a form of annihilation. It includes physical disappearance (the body destruction) and symbolic disappearance (the destruction of the memory of their existence). For these, it is oftentimes said that the main objective of genocidal destruction is the transformation of the victims into “nothing” and the survival into “nobodies.”
Ethnic cleansing is defined as forcible removal, unlawful displacement, relocation, deportation, forced transfer and expulsion of an ethnic group from a given territory. It is a forced permanent removal of one group of people by another from a region or territory and the subsequent occupation of that territory by ethnic group of the perpetrator as though the target group had never existed there. It includes the removal of all physical reminders of the targeted group through the destruction of historical sites such as shrines, monuments, cemeteries, and houses of worship. With ethnic cleansing, the group’s attachment to the land and its environment will be destroyed through destruction of the group’s homes, social service centers, farms, institutions and the societal infrastructures. Methods for carrying out ethnic cleansing among other things include, such as:
- forced expulsion, or voluntary evacuation through violence, intimidation, fear and genocide;
- Arbitrary arrest and detention;
- Extra‐judicial executions;
- Rape and sexual assaults’ as well as deportation and military assaults against civilians and etc.
Ethnic cleansing is related to genocide. It is a form of genocide. If so, one may ask a question as to what makes genocide distinct from ethnic cleansing. One distinctive difference is ethnic cleansing is focused more closely than genocide on territory and on forced removal of ethnic groups from specific areas. The purpose is to create ethnically homogeneous geographic areas belonging to perpetrator ethnic group. Another difference between the two is the intent of genocide is to destroy the group, whereas the intent of ethnic cleansing is to displace the group. Hence, intent to displace is not intent to destroy. However, the overlap between ethnic cleansing and genocide takes place when forced removal of population leads to a group’s physical and symbolic destruction. In this case, ethnic cleansing becomes genocide. Genocide is the ultimate form of permanent removal.
Again another similarity is ethnic cleansing takes on extermination. At this stage mass killings begin. Killing becomes sport. At this time, the perpetrators dig up the mass graves, burn the bodies, cover up evidence, and intimidate witnesses. Leaders of the guilty regimes block investigations of crimes, and often remain free from punishment of their crimes. The question one may raise is as to causes for ethnic cleansing. The primary objective for ethnic cleansing are ethnic difference, pursuit of land-grab, economic goal and political power. It is the function of unchecked political power-the power that commits crime of ethnic cleansing to achieve its objective of land-grabbing, of capturing natural resources, economic wealth and consolidate its political power base. Not only these, the TPLF’s ethnic cleansing also based on its hate, prejudice, intolerance for other ethnic groups and on its complete disregard for the sanctity of human life. These are what the Tigran political elites have been doing in against the nations and nationalities in the Ethiopian empire state
Crime against humanity
Crime against humanity means atrocities and offences committed against any civilian population. It constitutes mass killings of large number of individuals. It is a crime committed as a part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population. Methods of committing crime against humanity include:
- mass systematic rape;
- enforced disappearance of persons;
- Forcible transfer of population;
- Persecution against collectivity on racial, national, ethnic, cultural, gender, religion, political
or other grounds;
- Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty and etc.
- Arbitrary arrest and detention;
- Extra‐judicial executions; and etc.
Here one may raise question as to what makes genocide distinct from crimes against humanity. The answer is this, contrary to the crime against humanity, genocide has different focus. It focuses not on killing of individuals, but on the physical destruction of the groups. This means the intent of genocide is to destroy, to annihilate the group. That is to deny a particular group of people the right to exist. Thus, the victims of genocide is the group, not individual. For instance, a single isolated act could be qualified as a genocide (e.g. Sidama massacre at Loque in 2002), whereas a single isolated act against a civilian does not qualify as a crime against humanity because the crime against humanity must be committed within the context of a widespread or systematic attack on any population. Sometimes, persecution is combined and intertwined with genocide. For instance, a charge with crime against humanity is attached to the individual who is charged. Whereas a charge with genocide is attached not only to that person who is charged but to his or her ethnic group as well. The legal definitional criteria for genocide is intent. That is, intent is what distinguishes genocide from crimes against humanity. For example, the late PM Meles Zenawi’s statement of the “Majority can be made minority” is the statement of intent to destroy the majority in whole, or in part. This statement was made in reference to the Oromo people. It is the intent to commit crimes of genocide to reduce the majority to a minority status. On the basis of this, his regime has been committing genocide against the Oromo people since 1991 to-date. It must, therefore, be clear that a charge of the Tigran political elites with genocide not only attaches with the elites themselves, but also to their ethnic group as well.
War crimes are the wilful violations of the laws or customs of war, including:
- Atrocities or offences against persons or property;
- Murder, ill treatment of the civilian population in occupied territory;
- Murder or ill treatment of prisoners of war;
- killing of hostages;
- Torture or inhumane treatment, including biological experiments;
- plunder of public or private property;
- Wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages; and etc.
With the understanding of the fundamental distinctions between the types of these crimes, the question then remains as to under which type of crime the TPLF, its associates and allies be charged with upon the fall and demise of the TPLF fascist regime. Here, the associates include-among others, accomplices, aider and abettors, conspirators, crime facilitators, accessories, land-grabbers and etc. These are individuals with the actual and full knowledge of genocide, ethnic cleansing, crime against humanity and war crimes committed against Oromo and other peoples and yet choose to benefit or profit from such crimes. The fact is, such are individuals who have been involved in committing crimes against their own people in alliance or in association with the fascist TPLF colonial regime. For instance, if diaspora based individuals’ bought a piece of Oromo land or properties or received the land or property from the TPLF led fascist regime in the name of “investor”, they will be charged with either genocide, or ethnic cleansing or crime against humanity or with war crime depending upon the type of the crime committed. The fact is this, these individuals have been and are willingly and voluntarily engaged in the Oromo land-grab for selfish reasons with actual and full knowledge of crime being committed against the Oromo people. Consequently, these land-grabbers deprived our people life, liberty, land, and homes. These benefits or profits are made on the blood of the Oromo people. Under this condition, one thing must be clear that upon the demise of the TPLF led fascist regime, the people who were evicted from their lands or properties were taken from have full right to retake their lands or properties back.
The failure of International Community
The international community has a responsibility to use appropriate means to prevent genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Ethiopia. However, it has failed to stop the Tigran fascism. It knew the early warning for these crimes. It knew, the Tigrans are a minority that constitutes four and half percent of 102 million population. Despite this, this minority totally controls the government. Hundred percent of the leadership is concentrated in the hands of Tigran minority ethnic group with hostility toward other ethnic groups. This minority has a complete monopoly over the Army, police forces and security and intelligence. Furthermore, the parliament is hundred percent its party, no opposition. Judicial system services the state. The Foreign Service are populated with the Tigran ethnic group. This minority ethnic group has also a total control over the economy and finance. At the same time, there is no free press. In the light of all these, the international community has overlooked the factors that should have drawn its attention about the likelihood of genocide, ethnic cleaning, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Ethiopia. This failure of international community has encourage, the TPLF led-regime to commit crimes of genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and war crimes against the peoples in the Ethiopian empire.
In sum, the TPLF is a megamurder regime. It is a radical bloodthirsty regime. Since it militarily seized power in 1991, it has been committing genocide, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and war crimes against the people. The cruelty, savagery and intensity of its crimes against the peoples are unparalleled in the history of Ethiopian state. Hence, it is not a mischaracterization to call it, the regime of death and destruction the Ethiopian empire has ever seen. As it is stated in the above paragraphs, genocide has been perpetrated by the Tigran genocidal elites against the Oromo people. It has planned, coordinated and executed a policy of violence, terror, and annihilation of the Oromo and other peoples, their supporters, and their sympathizers. Such crimes have been carried out both domestically and beyond national borders. It has failed to comply with the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and other crimes to which the Ethiopian state is a signatory. At the same time, the Ethiopian judicial system is at the service of national security state. Consequently, it has also failed in Ethiopia with regard to human rights violations and crimes against humanity. Moreover, the international community is also not willing to confront the Tigran led-regime for its crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and genocide. This means it turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the crimes that the Tigran fascist regime is and has been committing against the peoples. Consequently, it too has failed to defend the people against genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity in the case of Ethiopia. The only way of bringing justice to the people of Ethiopian empire state regarding the crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity is through the establishment of Special International Tribunals. It is, therefore, time for the international community to confront head on and stop this genocidal violence against the people before it reaches catastrophic proportions.
However, one thing must be clear. No one will come to stop the genocide, crime against humanity and ethnic cleansing against the Oromo and other peoples. As history has shown time and again, no a nation ever came to save the Armenians from the Ottoman Empire committed genocide as one and half million were destroyed in three years; no a nation came to save the Jews from German committed genocide until after six million were perished; and no a nation came to save Tutsi from Hutu committed genocide until after one million were perished in three months. So, it is to be naive to expect the world community to come to the Oromo’s aid to stop genocide that the genocidal fascist Tigran elites are being committing against them. The genocide committed against the Jews, the Armenians and Tutsi were committed by the majority, whereas today the genocide against the Oromo people is being committed by the minority regime. The TPLF’s genocide against the Oromo people can only be stopped by the Oromo people alone. This demands organization, leadership, and a political will to act. For this, the Oromo people must be organized and armed in order to fight and removal this enemy and its horror of genocide from Oromiyaa. At the same time, it is incumbent upon the peoples of the Ethiopian empire state to join together in the fighting against this barbarous common enemy, to remove its horror of genocide, its crime against humanity and its ethnic cleansing and to bring it to justice. Here one has to be realistic that there is no help coming from external powers to stop the TPLF genocide against the Oromo and other peoples. Hence, it is time to take ones destiny into one’s own hands in order defend oneself, to fight and defeat this dangerous enemy-the TPLF. For this, it is time to organize, mobilize and army the population to fight in order to dismantle the TPLF led genocidal fascist regime, to remove its horror of genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, its laws and its institutions.
Oromiyaa Shall BE Free!