The Honorable Michael R. Pompeo
Subject: In support of the letter dated 08/21/2020, sent to you by Honorable Rep. Dean Phillips and other Members of the United States congress, who requested a hearing on Ethiopia regarding its human rights abuses, extrajudicial killings, mass arrests, torture, rape, detentions, harassments, evictions etc.
Dear Honorable Secretary Pompeo:
We the undersigned member Organizations of the Oromia Global Forum unequivocally endorse the letter Hon. Rep. Dean Phillips and other Honorable Representatives sent to you in its entirety. We believe, the letter is well-intended, well-informed, and factually impeccable.
Contrary to the positive intentions and the factual contents of the letter, we have learned that there is letter dated 08/25/2020 sent to you by two “Ethiopian” Organizations with a reference to: “THE HUMAN RIGHT CONDITION AND DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLE IN ETHIOPIA” objecting to the analysis and conclusion of the letter dated 08/21/2020 sent to you by Honorable Rep. Dean Phillips and other members of the U.S. Congress. We are dismayed by the utter arrogance and ignorance of the two allegedly “Ethiopian Organizations”, who object the letter of members of the US congress.
The intransigence of these two groups bearing the name “Ethiopia” is at the core of the problems that are fast pushing Ethiopia to the brink of collapse. The individuals, Dr Araya Amsalu and Deacon Yoseph R Tafari, and their respective small groups, do not represent Ethiopians, as they pretend to, but a narrow-interest of the Amhara minority in USA, who are hell-bent on destroying the constitution of Ethiopia, a constitution brokered by no other than the Government of the United States of America, and which paved the way for a considerable political compromise and stability in Ethiopia after a long run.
That constitution brought together almost all the nations and nationalities of Ethiopia on equal footing in 1995 for the first time in the country’s history, after over 120 years of fierce struggle. The constitution established a multi-national federal system, which opened the door for the right of nations and nationalities to self-rule, a fundamental right that has been sought by the majority of nations and nationalities for more than a century. In a not so small way, it provided some positive responses to some of the long list of peoples’ grievances against the Amhara dominated imperial system. Among other things, it provided for the right of nations to use their native language and promote their culture for the first time. It also ended the lopsided laws and provisions of the imperial constitution that indisputably gave the Amharas the cultural, linguistic, and religious superiority over the rest of the population for over 120 years.
The two groups representing the Amhara minority, led Dr Araya Amsalu and Deacon Yoseph R Tafari, openly advance a propaganda that the current Ethiopian constitution and the multi-national federal system, which was established, and supported, by the vast majority of the Ethiopian population is a failure, and thus has to be abolished. All this is done to re-instate the old order whereby the Amhara minority maintains its undeserved superiority through brutal force, coercion, exclusion, and marginalization of the “others” the old fashion way.
It is symptomatic of all self-idealised supremacist colonizers to despise, demean and eliminate others to keep their privileged socio-political status at all costs. Such mischaracterization of the victims of suppression is not new; all socio-economic and political oppressors have used it as a potent weapon. Our intent is to deny them that opportunity, based on honesty and verifiable truth we stand to present at any time. We intend to tear down the wall of lies and deceptions and unverifiable historical events any time they emerge.
Dear Secretary Pompeo,
We, members of the Oromia Global Forum, are a global coalition of over 40 peace-loving organizations, legally registered and operating in multitude of jurisdictions and countries. Our member organizations consist of social, religious, professional, civic, humanitarian and human rights advocacy organizations. We are a coalition of Christians, Muslims, and traditional Oromo religion observers, the clergy, scientists, engineers, physicians, professors, technologists, etc. We are State and Federal Civil Servants, Diplomats, and Veterans living in various parts of the United States and all over the world. We are the mirror image of Oromia Regional State in Ethiopia, where our relatives lived and still live in harmony with each other and millions of non-Oromos. We embrace all religions equally and there is not a single religious issue that can turn us against each other, despite the constant agitation by the Abiy government to ignite a religious war in Oromia and Ethiopia. It is no secret that Abiy Ahmed and his associates are itching to start inter-communal strife in Ethiopia to divide Oromos and others. Our struggle is for equality, justice, respectful human rights, and for our share of prosperity, and our rights of true ownership of our ancestral land and true self-rule. The extremist, minority ethno-nationalist Amhara elites, the descendants of the Menelik II army, want to make sure that we never achieve this. We have no intention, nor the desire, to create an Islamic state, as they try to convince you and your honorable office.
The reason why they want the Ethiopian constitution shredded is because it recognizes all religions, languages, and cultures and grants all nations and nationalities the right to self-govern. They are trying to dismantle the Ethiopian Federal system that takes the constitution as its core foundation, through an Executive Order from Abiy Ahmed, a non-elected Ethiopian leader, who is clearly poised to bring back the Menelik era form of unitary government that exclusively benefited the Amharas. He aspires to be a king for life, and for that to happen, he has found a willing partner in the extremist, minority Amhara ethno-nationalists, who openly support his brutality and tyrannical disposition just like these two organizations who wrote you the letter. It is not a coincidence that currently the Menelik era style of state-sanctioned killing spree is taking place in Oromia. A mere mention of the brutality of Menelik II and the atrocities he committed is considered a blasphemy, leading to physical elimination of anyone, as it happened to our beloved singer and human rights activist Haaccaluu Hundeessaa recently. All organizations that bear “Ethiopia” in their organizational identifier and their monopolized media are unapologetic supporters of this brutal policy of assimilation and extermination of non-Amhara culture, language, history and national identities.
The letter from the well-informed, well-intended members of the US congress that was sent to you is a testament to what is currently transpiring in Ethiopia. The exposure of the mayhem Abiy Ahmed’s government is creating in Ethiopia a has sent a shock wave along the spines of those who want to remain dominant in Ethiopia’s socio-economic and political landscape, those whose fear of equality, freedom, and democracy has no bound. Their near total monopoly on the press and all other forms of media in Ethiopia could not bear similar fruit in the US. The detractors want you to believe that members of the US congress got it wrong, and that they are misinformed, their judgements are poor/untrustworthy, and their demands are useless. They also want you to doubt the relevance of the demands made in the letter. Should your researchers ever require evidence of any type in the process of vetting claims by the Ethiopian government, squads of lobbyists representing it, or the cohort of organizations bearing the name “…Ethiopia.” sprinkled all over Washington, our organization is more than ready to help.
As the Reference line of their letter alluded to, they framed their concern as if it were that of the status of human rights and democracy in Ethiopia. We agree that the human rights violation is at an all times high and all hope of democratizing that country has been completely decimated. Ironically, they are trying to rub of their guilt on us. They, not the Oromo, who are the perpetrators; they, and the despotic leader they unconditionally support – Abiy Ahmed – who dimmed the light of democracy, not the Oromo people they summarily incarcerated. They do not understand how sophisticated the government of the United States is, and its superior intelligence capability and ability to sort truth from lies.
In their opening paragraph they tried to educate you on the history of Ethiopia. They stated that the Ethiopia, which encompass over 80 nations today existed for over 1000 years. It is just a myth that keeps on producing more and more bizarre myth. This is one of the many vacuous made-up history being advanced by the intellectually dishonest Amhara ethno-nationalist elites. Here is why.
The notion that the current day Ethiopia existed for thousands of years as a nation state is a myth. The name Ethiopia appears prominently on geographic maps of Africa that were produced in early 1800s encompassing the central part of Africa extending from west to east. Ironically, it does not even include the kingdom of Abyssinia (the predecessor of current day Ethiopia) that emerged only several decades later as a sovereign state with a demarcated boundary. After all the central, east, and west African regions, previously labelled as “Ethiopia” were annexed by the European colonial powers, and the name “Ethiopia” completely disappeared from the maps of Africa. It then re-emerged when Abyssinia officially changed its name to Ethiopia during the 2nd world war. Of course, King Menelik II had completed the expansion of his kingdom by 1890s which allowed him to triple the size of the territory he controlled, thanks Abyssinian colonization of the southern nations. In short, Ethiopia has been in existence with its expansive borders as a state for only 130 years, not thousands of years. The notion that the current day Ethiopia existed for thousands of years as a nation state is therefore a myth.
To emphasise, Abyssinia, that existed prior to the annexation of the southern nations occupied a territory that was not even one-third of the present-day Ethiopia, and it did not include any part of present-day Oromia. The other myth is the false claim that the current day Ethiopia is mentioned in the Bible about 45 times. However, this falls under the era when “Ethiopia” (Cush land) referred to a vast region of Africa south of Egypt, not exclusive to the current day Ethiopia. The Amhara historians are working around the clock to convince the world that their kingdom was vast, their kings were infallible because they were divinely selected, and the biblical Ethiopia (Cush land) is the same as the Ethiopia of today. They advance a theory that Oromos are foreigners with their roots in Madagascar who invaded Ethiopia sometime in the past, a myth devoid of any semblance of truth. All this is, to claim that they are the rightful owners of the current Oromo land. The problem with their delusionary thinking is, that they are not able to produce any evidence written by anyone else but them. Enough with the historic backdrop.
Dear honorable secretary, Mr. Pompeo,
Please allow us now to debunk some of the sequences of events they tried to call your attentions to, so that you can dismiss the House Representatives’ letter outright:
- “Since 2018, the reform process led by Dr Abiy is progressing at astonishing pace by opening political space and allowing all opposition parties to peacefully participate in the upcoming election”
Contrast their statement with the fact that the most prominent opposition party leaders are in prison, that their supporters are being killed on daily basis and all their local offices looted and closed by the government of Abiy Ahmed and the fact that elections are indefinitely postponed. It is astonishing that these two groups present you with litany of lies. It shows how little respect for your office and how little regard for truth they have. Haven’t they been aware of the recent gruesome human right violations reports by independent international organizations, even by the Ethiopian Human Right’s Agency or they are just part of the government cover up? Do they know that there is American Embassy and military attaché in Addis Ababa and you probably have far more intelligence report regarding what is happening there than they do?
- “Diaspora opposition groups were allowed to move back to their homeland to participate in peaceful political activities which most have indeed complied. During the same period, the government has made significant effort to accommodate the extremists which is unprecedented in Ethiopia’s political history”
What is this significant effort the Ethiopian government made that they so admire and try to impress you with? That all opposition party members and leaders have been rounded up and incarcerated without due process, undermining the basic tenets of the constitution of the land? What do they think the reasons that compelled the United States Representatives to write such a letter to you? How laughable that these self-righteous deniers of inequality, and the existence of human rights violations by the Ethiopian government dare to call those who are fighting against it “extremists”.
- “Oromo extremist’s leaders including Jawar Mohammed, Bekele Gerba, OLF – Sheneye (current armed insurgency group fighting the Ethiopian government) have resorted to repeated and intolerable violence which has resulted in the current ethnic cleansing, kidnapping, and human right violations including the assassination of a popular Oromo singer Hachalu Hundessa”.
We do not have to do anything to defend the positions, teachings, and political views of our Oromo leaders specifically Jawar Mohammed and Bekele Gerba, both of whom are staunch proponents of non-violent struggle to bring peace and democracy to Ethiopia. These are revered leaders whose thoughts and methods of struggle are on record, abundantly available in writing and in Audio for the entire universe to judge. No, these two gentlemen are the type of leaders Ethiopia needs, and if they do not agree with their method of struggle, then they are the ones who are extremist, in its true meaning. We challenge anyone anywhere to produce an evidence of extremism by any of these two magnificent human rights advocates. The US representatives who are currently demanding the release of these two individuals are not the type of people who promote extremism. It is understandable why tyrants and their enablers are terrified by the teachings and heroism of our politicians and human rights defenders like Bekele Gerba and Jawar Mohammed.
- “The government finally took the solemn responsibility of Law and Order to protect the safety of all its citizens by arresting suspects who have planned or participated in the current civil unrest There is clear and present danger of Islamic extremism similar to the state of its neighboring countries such as Somalia is steadily growing. If left unchecked, it can pose imminent terrorist threat to Ethiopia and the entire region”
When the writers inform you that “the government (Ethiopian) finally took the solemn responsibility of Law and Order to protect the safety of all its citizens” they are explicitly justifying the current shoot-to-kill policy of the government to murder unarmed Oromo protesters, summary incarceration of tens of thousands of Oromos without warrant in COVID-19 infested jails and schools turned in to prisons, denial of justice, killing of the Oromo Islamic clergies in their places of worship, burning down of peoples‘ homes as a deterrent to opposing the government’s human rights violations. What a shame that people, like these two writers, living in the United States believe that this kind of brute force is a legitimate government response to peoples’ demands; That this kind of barbarism is required is to uphold the law and order. This is a country where the police have more power than the justice system and those judges who refuse to entertain the sham politically fabricated evidence against political prisoners are beaten and thrown to jail. What kind of law and order is that?
“With the exception of few enclaves, no Emergency decree exists in Ethiopia”
This is another deception the writers try to use to influence your view of the situation. One of those meant to minimize the adverse impact of this kind of decree on human life. It shows how little regard they have for truth, and their lack of knowledge that the US military has a better intelligence and understanding of the operations Abiy Ahmed is running with the help of his military and mercenaries borrowed from Eritrea. He has ordered Oromia to be under state of emergency for the last two years without the legal approval of the Parliament. His military personnel have been sent to all corners of Oromia and are carrying out litany of extrajudicial killings, torture, and rape. Oromia is not an enclave; it makes 1/3 of Ethiopia’s land mass.
By all standards, it is obvious that both the Chair of the “Ethiopian” Advocacy Network, Deacon Yoseph R Tafari, and the Chairman of the “Ethiopian American” Civic Council, Dr Araya Amsalu unequivocally support the repressive regime of Ethiopia. They claim that they are writing this letter on behalf of Ethiopian Americans without ethnic or religious distinctions. There are no such people. They are writing on behalf of the Amhara elites and for sure they do not represent us, the Oromo Americans.
They tried very hard to paint the event that took place on the day following the death of Haccalu Hundessa as “ethnic cleansing.” They characterized the unfortunate instant explosion of anger and riot as a carefully planned attack against the non-Oromo, Shashmene, Christian citizens. The killing of Haccalu was a direct result of the tamped up and call for his elimination by the Amhara dominated mass media because he condemned Menelik II on a national TV for the atrocities the late emperor committed against the Oromo people during his imperial expansion. Despite the fact that more Oromos died compared to none -Oromos during the riot, and that both Christian and Muslim Oromos and non-Oromos died, the Amhara elites love to characterize this as “ethnic cleansing” perpetrated by Muslim Oromos. That was perhaps what Abiy wanted to unfold, because his fully equipped police and army intentionally allowed the riot to proceed, because they did not interfere in a timely manner. This has been what Abiy has been itching for a long time, to divide Oromos by inciting intercommunal violence to stay in power. This kind of violence, regardless of who starts first, must be condemned by any society. However, when Oromos, who are estranged in their own country and marginalized by the descendants of Menelik’s army, stand up for their rights, there is going to be a clash between the people which may lead up to similar violence unless it is properly managed. Just painting it as an “ethnic cleansing” against Amharas and Christians, where in fact it is not, is a dishonest political stunt. If Oromos continue to be denied their right to self-govern, their right to their natural resources, it can have a devastating effect, unless the Ethiopian government and its allies such as the organizations led by these two gentlemen genuinely work towards justice for all and stop undermining the country’s constitution and their impassioned quest to destroy the Federal system accepted by all nations of Ethiopia. At this point, it is only the Amhara elites, like those represented by organizations like “Ethiopian” Advocacy Network and “Ethiopian” American Civic Council who sent you a letter to quash US House Representatives’ letter dated August 21, 2020 and the current Ethiopian Government who would like to have the constitution shredded and the current nations-based Federal System replaced with Emperor Menelik style Amhara dominated Unitary system.
The letters being sent to you by US legislators should give you a good feel of where the truth stands in terms of Human Rights Violations by the government of Ethiopia, and emergence of a self-proclaimed “Law and Order Strong-man” dictator, and cold blooded murderer who has quashed the dream of the 110 million strong country, to fulfil his mother’s prophesy that he is destined to be the Seventh King of Ethiopia. It is ironic, to say the least, those who wrote you the letter on behalf the Government of Ethiopia urging you to “support the law enforcement effort being taken by the government against the perpetrators…”. In other words, they want you to stand with a murderous government, in a stark difference to what the US Representatives are demanding you to do. If there is any religious persecution in Ethiopia, it is committed by the very government they support and they want you to support too, which defies any logic.
In conclusion, we humbly and respectfully ask your esteemed office to dutifully assess the current volatile situation in Ethiopia and provide the leadership the United State has always demonstrated to be capable of in such situations, to avoid the collapse of law and order in Ethiopia leading to an inevitable civil war.
The Honorable Deans Philips, Member of Congress, 1305 Longworth HOB, Washington, DC 20515, Phone: (202) 225-2871, Fax: (202) 225-6351
The Honorable Eliot L Engel, Member of Congress; 2426 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515, Phone: (202) 225-2464, Fax: (202) 225-5513
The Honorable Karen Bass, Member of Congress; 2059 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515, Phone: (202) 225-7084, Fax: (202) 225-2422.
The Honorable James P. McGovern, Member of Congress; 408 Cannon House Office Building
The Honorable Betty McCollum, Member of Congress; 2256 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515, Phone: (202) 225-6631, Fax: (202) 225-1968
The Honorable Steve Stivers, Member of Congress; 2234 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515; Phone: (202) 225-2015; Fax: (202) 225-3529
The Honorable Tom Malinowski, Member of Congress; 426 Cannon HOB; Washington, DC 20515, Phone: (202) 225-5361
The Honorable Jamie Raskin, Member of Congress; 412 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515; Phone: 202-225-5341
The Honorable Dina Titus, Member of Congress; 2464 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515; Phone: (202) 225-5965.
The Honorable David Trone, Member of Congress; 1213 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515; Phone: (202) 225-2721
The Honorable Colin Allred, Member of Congress; 328 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515. Phone: (202) 225-2231
The Honorable Ilhan Omar, Member of Congress; 1517 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC, 20515-2305; Phone: (202) 225-4755
The Honorable Angie Craig, Member of Congress; 1523 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515; (202) 225-2271
The Honorable Jackie Speier, Member of Congress; 2465 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515; Phone: (202) 225-3531; Fax: (202) 226-4183
The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson, Member of Congress; 2306 Rayburn Office Building
Washington, DC 20515, phone: (202) 225-8885, Fax: (202) 226-1477
The Honorable Anna G Eshoo, Member of Congress; 202 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515; Telephone: (202) 225-8104; Fax: (202) 225-8890
The Honorable Steve Cohen, Member of Congress; 2104 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515; Phone: (202) 225-3265; Fax: (202) 225-5663.
The Honorable Joyce Beatty, Member of Congress; 2303 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515, (202) 225-4324.
The Honorable Robin L Kelly, Member of Congress; 2416 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515, Phone: (202) 225-07733; Fax: (202) 225-4583.
The Honorable Alma S. Adams, Ph.D., Member of Congress; 2436 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515-3312; Phone: (202) -225-1510 (office); Fax: (202) -225-1512
|22. Oromo Evangelical Lutheran Church of Los Angeles
|2. Bilal Oromo Dawa Center
|23. Oromo Evangelical Lutheran Church of Washington DC Metropolitan Area
|3. Canaan Oromo Evangelical Church
|24. Oromo Evangelical Lutheran Mission Society
|4. Charismatic International Fellowship Church
|25. Oromo Human Rights and Relief Organization
|5. DMV Oromo Islamic Center
|26. Oromo Legacy, Leadership and Advocacy Association
|27. Oromo Lutheran Church of Baltimore
|7. Gaadisa Sabboontottaa KP
|28. Oromo Relief Association in USA
|8. Global Gumii Oromia
|29. Oromo Resurrection Evangelical Church
|9. Global Oromo Advocacy Group
|30. Oromo Parliamentarians Council
|10. Global Waaqeffannaa Council
|31. Oromo Political Prisoners Association
|11. Horn of Africa Genocide Watch
|32. Oromo Scholars and Professionals
|12. Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa
|33. Oromia Support Group
|13. International Oromo Lawyers Association
|34. Oromo Studies Association
|14. International Oromo Women’s Organization
|35. Tawfiq Islamic Center
|15. International Qeerroo Support Group
|36. Tawhid Oromo Islamic Center in Minnesota
|16. Network of Oromo Studies
|37. Union of Oromo Communities in Canada
|17. Mana Kiristaanaa Fayyisaa Addunyaa
|38. United Oromo Chirstian Church in Australia
|18. Oromo Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church
|39. United Oromo Evangelical Church
|19. Oromo Community of Bergen
|34. Wabii Maccaa Association
|20. Oromo Community of Oslo
|41. Washington DC Metropolitan Oromo SDA Church
|21. Oromo Communities’ Association of North America