Ethiopia: Looking for International Voices of Conscience





By Dejenie A. Lakew (Ph.D.)

Ethnic cleansing is defined as the systematic forced removal of ethnic or religious groups from a given territory by a more powerful ethnic group, with the intent of making it ethnically homogeneous.Ethnic cleansing in Gondar, Ethiopia

The forces applied may be various forms of forced migration (deportation, population transfer), intimidation as well as mass murder and rape. Ethnic cleansing is usually accompanied with the efforts to remove physical and cultural evidence of the targeted group in the territory through the destruction of homes, social centers, farms, and infrastructure, and by the desecration of monuments, cemeteries, and places of worship.

This is precisely what happened and is happening now as we speak in northern Gondar regions of Humera, Welkaite Tegede and Telemet for the last two and half decades. We have heard repeatedly (VOA and through other medias) from the people of these regions of Gondar that Tigray liberation front forces them to sign a plain letter and declare they are Tigre and if they are not doing that they are told to leave the place and go where Amhara people live else face severe consequences, they are told the place now is only for Tigre people. They force them not to use their own language Amharic in any form and for any purpose, they prohibit them not to come to towns for otherwise they will be harassed, taken to police courts and being interrogated as criminals and coerced to accept being Tigre or leave the place. They settle millions of people from Tigray on the regions and over populate the Amharas and broadcast through their television, the settled population of Tigray as native residents of the regions.

Those elders who know the history of the region and others who boldly reject the forced annexation of their territories in to Tigray and talk and campaign against it in public were imprisoned, disappeared and killed. This is what ethnic cleansing in the proper sense of the word is.

Consider the decision the Tigray liberation front mercenaries make and said to these people, if they are not willing to change in to Tigre, then they have to leave the place and go to where Amharas live, although, all these places of northern Gondar are their cultural and natural places where they lived for centuries. If this is the mode of argument and socio-political philosophy of TPLF, then all those Tigre people who live in every corner of Ethiopia, stashing illegal wealth and political power in places where they are not from should leave those places and go to Tigray. With their analogy, the one that follows none of the forms of correct thought process which I have given their intuitive definitions below, the Tigre people from Addis Ababa, Bahir Dar, Gondar, Harar, Awassa, Jima, Diredawa, Gambella, Southern Ethiopia, Eastern Ethiopia Western Ethiopia, in cities and towns across Ethiopia, owning huge businesses occupying government offices with huge majorities through corruption and nepotism should leave all these places and go back to Tigray, the region where only Tigre people live. If what they do to the people of Northern Gondar is just, then this is more than a just action from the people of Ethiopia.

Aristotle outlined fundamental principles where thought process can take place in modern humans. These principles are sometimes called fundamental principles of logic in modern thinking.

[1] Law of contradiction – dictates that nothing cannot be both true and false at the same time. It is therefore a fallacy for something to be what it is and to be what it is not at the same time.

[2] Law of excluded middle – dictates that something which has a logical value is either true or false but not both. There is no middle truth between these two possibilities. In terms of existence, something either exists or does not exist and there is no middle possibility between existence and non-existence

[3] Principle of Identity – dictates that a thing is always the thing itself


Besides these principles of thought, there are what are called principles of inferences – logical argument forms that are used to validate truth to make a reasonable and just decision. Our lives are results of decisions we make on a daily basis.

These laws and principles are vital for modern societies to think properly, and make reasonable and rational decisions in order to make a civilized and modern human living. The ritual and destiny of any society which is devoid of such skills of thought process is chaos and social tornado of unpredictable nature, unable to come out of such social paralysis and senseless existence.

There is no a single principle of valid thought processes stated above that is valid and followed by the arsonist TPLF, instead it violates all forms in every dimension of social, political and economic problems Ethiopians confronted today, as problems require real solutions which are obtained from individuals who follow fundamental laws of thought and make valid arguments to validate truth and make just decisions which TPLF and its hollow members intrinsically cannot.

The questions I pause therefore are: where is the world and the international human rights watch? Where are the voices of conscience and truth when TPLF commits clear crimes of ethnic cleansing on the people of Northern Gondar? TPLF should know better the people of Gondar and the Amharas in particular and the Ethiopian society in general what they are capable off, not only defending their homes and places where they live but dying for their country for centuries along with their fellow Ethiopians alike.

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Dr. Dejenie A. Lakew is an adjunct professor of mathematics at John Tyler Community College, Virginia, USA
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