Thinking about how to stop the Waldiya like mass killings from happening again anywhere in Ethiopia

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By: Birhanemeskel Abebe Senyi

The Woldiya Massacre was a preplanned attack. Every time something that delights or cause celebration among the Oromo and the Amhara people, the TPLF security apparatus seems to attack the people either on the eve, on the day of the event or the day after the event.

The events could be a holiday like Timket, Irrecha, political events or anything that will have political significance in advancing the cause of justice, equality, freedom, and equity.

This is not a conspiracy theory. TPLF is an organization. As an organization, it acts with a decision. Its decision has patterns. A closer look at all major attacks by TPLF commanded security forces clearly shows that there is a clear pattern in its actions. There is marked similarity of timing and events and patterns of attacks.

Besides, none of the attacks by the TPLF commanded security apparatus were carried out as a result self-defense by the security forces, or defense of others or even defense of property. All the attacks that took place in Ethiopia took place without any provocation by the Ethiopian people except the mere act of protesting against the regime.

Let’s see few of the patterns of TPLF security attacks on the Ethiopian people over the past two years alone.

After progressive elements within the OPDO under the leadership of Lemma Megersa took state power in Oromia, TPLF committed the 2016 Irrecha Massacre and organized the Somali Janjaweed Militia invasion of Eastern and Southern Oromia displacing close to one million people and killing thousands.

On the day the Team Lemma held the first of its kind conference between Oromo artists and Oromia regional government officials in Addis Ababa, the TPLF security apparatus killed ten people in Ambo to cloud the event without any provocation.

The TPLF security apparatus committed the recent Chalenqo Massacre a day after groundbreaking and globally well-received performance of Artist Hachalu Hundessa at the Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa that was broadcasted live on Oromia Broadcasting Service (OBN) and on the social media outlets.

The Waldiya massacre is not any different. The Waldiya attack was preplanned to turn the excitement and buzz that was created at the planned performance of Teddy Afro in Bahir Dar this weekend. It was meant to turn the merry of the people into mourning.

Once the Ethiopia people get this issue in its proper context, the question is not really what the TPLF might do next but how could the people respond to protect and defend themselves against such attacks.

There are three issues that need immediate attention.

  1. Collective self-defense. An attack on one should be taken as an attack on all necessitating collective self-defense against the attacking group and their interests all over Ethiopia at the same time. The Ethiopian people must stand together and stand with each other. An attack on Waldiya should be taken as an attack on all other Ethiopian cities that should unify all of the Ethiopian people to exercise collective self-defense. There shouldn’t be any mistake here. TPLF is used to attacking turn by turn and in rotations. If the Oromo people are silent when Amhara people are attacked, or if the Amhara people are silent when the Oromo people are attacked, then the TPLF has all the incentive to continue attacking in a rotation. There will not be any deterrence that will force it to rethink its actions. This should be one of the grounds on which Oromo-Amhara cooperation should focus: collective mutual self-defense. In fact, the Oromo and Amhara people should put their acts together fast and encourage all Ethiopians to join hands to stop all security apparatus engineered killings all over Ethiopia.

  2. Second, attacks like the one that took place in Waldiya should not be grounds to divide progressive forces but should be used as a cause that will unify them all. I have seen some individuals attacking progressive elements in the ANDM in connection with the Waldiya attack instead of attacking the TPLF. I understand the reasonable expectation from Gedu and his team to do more to protect the people and bring to justice the attackers. But, attacking the progressive elements will not encourage them but will rather discourage them. That will not serve the progressive causes. We all know the limited human and material resources both Team Lemma and Team Gedu are operating in comparison with the organized financial and human resources at the disposal of the TPLF. Besides, both the OPDO and ANDM are infested with parasitic elements that still serve the interests of the TPLF. Therefore, focusing on strengthening the progressive elements, and attacking the parasites in the OPDO and ANDM should be the focus of the people. The same holds true among Oromo and Amhara activists.

  3. Third, the Ethiopian people’s struggle to establish the government of the people for the people by the people where political power resides with the people, not with organized political or armed groups, should seriously consider forming a forum of coordination and collaboration where the people could channel and get information to get mobilized as fast as possible and in unison. At least the conversation to form such a forum should be the top priority to move the country forward and the people to a common destiny of forming a country where equality, justice, freedom, and equity are the rule, not an exception.

I hope addressing or at least start conversing about these issues will help the process of ending the era of mass killings of Ethiopians by the TPLF security forces.


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Note:

The attached pictures show the gulf between the Ethiopian people and the TPLF. One TPLF affiliated site, Tigrai Online, posted the celebratory note about the “Ethiopian military” on the day of the Waldiya attack while the other picture shows two snipers, members of the same military, standing on a rooftop in the city of Waldiay just before the attack.