Ethiopians express spontaneous anger at ISIS, despite state violence; grief is turned into vote of no confidence against TPLF regime

22 Apr

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

In the morrow of Tuesday’s spontaneous protests against Islamic militants, the TPLF regime has organized its own official rally to condemn ISIS massacre of Ethiopian citizens. Tuesday had witnessed the tears of Ethiopians, men and women and children at a spontaneous protest by Addis Abebans, most of them youthful.

For many, the ironic twist is why there is no more safe place for Ethiopians – neither at home nor abroad – which is the disturbing question in the thoughts and tears of many both in the unofficial and official rallies.

For a regime which has state violence as its religion, true to form police commandos today in the official rally badly clubbed several citizens into unconsciousness. There are also reports of several live ammunitions fired on the mourners. A few of the consequences of state violence and its victims have been captured in pictures (below), including the depth of hatred the commandos have been brainwashed no less than the ISIS barbarians, as a picture below showing a Ramobesque karate kick against a young mourner.

TPLF violence on unarmed and grieving citizens (Credit: and Negere Ethiopia)

TPLF violence on unarmed and grieving citizens; also Rambo in action to save the TPLF (Credit: and Negere Ethiopia)

From Addis Abeba, Addis Standard witnessed early on that police, like yesterday, have today “forcibly dispersed thousands of protesters who came out to the streets to protest the killings by ISIS militants of 28 Christian Ethiopians in Libya.”

In an article titled A State Organized Rally Against the IS Killing Ended in Chaos, Many Injured, the paper also notes:

    “Thousands of city dwellers descended on the streets of Addis Abeba this morning to participate in a government organized rally against the killings by militants of the Islamic State (IS) of Ethiopians and possibly Eritreans and the killings of three Ethiopians by xenophobic attacks in South Africa. But the rally was marred by chaos following chants by protesters that led to a police crackdown.”

Addis Standard further indicated that there were chants against the regime informing it its time was over and also asking “where is the government?”, a reference to its ignoring the call of those in distress in Yemen and the attacks and live burning in South Africa, which was also a theme of yesterday’s informal and spontaneous rage of citizens.

Protesters slogans (Courtesy of ESAT)

Protesters slogans (Courtesy of ESAT)


Similarly, the first thing in Reuters dispatched story today, it registered:

    “Ethiopian demonstrators hurled stones and scuffled with police during a rally by thousands in the capital on Wednesday after a video showed dozens of compatriots being shot and beheaded by Islamic State militants in Libya. The rally was to show solidarity with families of those killed. Scuffles erupted moments after Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn spoke. Witnesses saw several people being detained by police.”

Tuesday, that is, a day before the official planned protest rally against ISIS, organized by the ruling party people flocked to Cherkos area of Addis Abeba in keeping with Ethiopian tradition of solidarity in times of distress to pay their respects to the whole fallen at the families places of Balacha Belete and Eyasu Yekuneamelak – two of the better known of the 28 ISIS-slain friends in Libya.

Iyasu Yukunoamlak and Balcha Belete (Credit:

Iyasu Yukunoamlak and Balcha Belete (Credit:

Shortly after, as if a coded message had arrived on twitter or email, or in some ways, perhaps anger morphed the grieving human mass into what turned out to be loud, angry boisterous rally. People flocked into the streets. The police commandos could not break their lines, as the protesters managed to run the streets chanting patriotic songs and condemning in the same breath both ISIS and the TPLF regime.


The protesters knew enough the TPLF regime; they showed this in the accuracy of their expectation that it would use the official rally Wednesday to score propaganda, instead of mourning the fallen citizens. One could also sense this already from an article that announced the regime’s plan to organize a rally, which appeared on Fana – TPLF’s news agency. It could easily be noticed therein the regime’s interest in and/or readiness to do everything, including making the rally its show and earn political credit for it. For instance, there were coded languages in the news story, talking about the rally being political and organized by the ruling party itself through the Addis Abeba youth federation.

Languages such as “በተደራጀ መልኩ” were repeatedly used. The shame of this is that the regime did not have any courtesy of inviting the legal opposition, since this is national mourning. It thus became another sign of Ethiopia being a single party state, irrespective of how much the United States lipsticks it with being a democratic state.

Secondly, the protesting youth also knew that the TPLF would fan its paid political cadres and heavy security all over Wednesday. Its purpose is to control the type of chants and slogans by the marchers.

Therefore, from the mourning place the young mourners left Cherkos and pushed off in unexpected directions onward to the National Palace area, presumably to go to the Meskel Square – a place that has traditionally been recognized as mass rally pedestal.

Federal police in riot gear (Credit:

Federal police in riot gear (Credit:

Police in right gears in every corner of the city and encircling Addis Abeba University (Credit:

Police in riot gears in every corner of the city and encircling Addis Abeba University. The police surrounding the campus refused them exit. The students chanted from within calling the regime “Thief!” and “የሃገር አንበሣ የውጭ ሬሣ!” (“Lion at home and corpse abroad!”) (Credit:

Even if the protesters were grieving the citizens slaughtered like animals in Tripoli and their lack of any defense, the regime’s federal police saw it fit to beat them brutally, injure them with bullets, as if they were the monster that slay our brothers in Libya or the purposeless and ungrateful South African monsters that burned Ethiopians and other Africans alive. Finally, Tuesday ended with the police taking their loot – a huge number of protestors they loaded on trucks and took to unknown prisons or wherever.

The reason for this is what the TPLF has feared happening. Everyone is its opponent. The majority of Addis Abeba youth vented out their anger at both the evil incarnate, that is ISIS, and the ethnic regime, which has chosen to ignore the pleas for help of their brothers and sisters from the inferno in Yemen, South Africa and now Libya.

In respect of those young men, the regime has undoubtedly failed them, and its responsibilities in not protecting them, or giving them help. As citizens, they argue, it ought to do right by them and the constitution, and also out of a sense of human solidarity, despite these young people being politically opposed to the ethnic oligarchy in power in Ethiopia – like most Ethiopians.

Candlelight vigil for ISIS-slain Ethiopians (Credit:

Candlelight vigil for ISIS-slain Ethiopians (Credit:

Tuesday evening, there were candlelight vigils in places, but mostly near family homes of two of the fallen in Cherkos, police in riot-gear surrounding the mourners. They even seized some from there and threw them to prison.

The question that needs answer in Ethiopia is how those masquerading as government would be able to govern, when more than half the population of Ethiopia is opposed to them. Those that support the regime are clearly supporting its violence, lest they do what is within their possibility to restrain it!

“How can it be that we daily are witnessing a tragedy?” Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi asked.

We surely understand the frustrations of Italy, Malta and Greece, as far as the situation of immigrants that want to reach ‘Europe the fortress’ is concerned. While they are European shores and watercourses, the municipalities, cities and harbors of these three European states are being used frequently and the costs covered by them.

Today, Greece said “the “great powers” of Europe need to take more responsibility for the unfolding crisis in the Mediterranean Sea.”

And yet, Western leaders in general, especially those in Europe meet again and again presumably to plot measures to end the human tragedy in the Mediterranean Sea. There is nothing to nudge them at this point, even after the overthrow of Col. Gaddafi to stabilize Libya, as a greater part of the problem. As a failed state, Libya has now become the source of Europe’s problems, and the false allures to the immigrants, where many of trek to reach Europe only to be abused in all sorts of ways.

We learn to our utmost revulsion that the United Kingdom, especially its Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond have been responsible to push Europe into its present of ambivalence on this matter. The foreign secretary thinks only deaths and sufferings of the immigrants would become actual deterrence to those unwanted but keep on knocking Europe’s doors. He calls this “the appropriate strategy”.

In a way, this means that the UK has made the policy for European leaders and nations. Interestingly, the European leaders also seem to understand, if not the problems of the immigrants, at least, the urgent need to save Europe’s sea from becoming burial ground.

All the same, from where we stand, what is not coming out clear is how many of Europe’s leaders truly understand and believe in the real causes that compel immigrants to accept fate unto death to change their lot. We are referring here to persecution and repression, poverty and inhuman degradation in their homelands, for instance, Ethiopia. However, when we closely look at Ethiopia, Europe’s papers give grip to the daily story that has now has become standard lauding the last several years of double-digit growth and TPLF’s role as counter-terrorism warrier, while it has only rented out at the auction block Ethiopia’s national foreign and security policies! May be a good propaganda for those in power and calming to investors; but it is bad politics that could not be translated into improved life for the population.

How could these learned people, i.e., the leaders of Europe – like the United States that dubbs “Ethiopia as a democratic country” – miss that the policies of the TPLF regime have been significantly contributing to Ethiopians to trek out into deaths and maximum risks, when they flee their homeland via Djibouti or Somalia, or the Red Sea to Yemen, Sudan into Libya and then to Europe? What is the point of debating this issue ad infinitum if political leaders cannot take policy measures that address the ‘push and pull’ factors on immigrants and refugees, people who are ready to take all risks on Earth by moving themselves out of their unacceptable situations?

Europe has closed its eyes to the ‘push factors in Ethiopia’, i.e., the policies of ethnic discrimination, state violence, denial of freedoms, lack of accountability, scope for civil society activities, the regime’s robbery of the nation’s resources that thus far have benefitted corrupt TPLF officials and their families.

Are these leaders aware that, as the war is raging in Yemen, still there are Ethiopian refugees today finding ways to leave Ethiopia and go into the war zone. Some disclosed that they were doing this because of TPLF’s persecution of the Oromos. The UNHCR made it known that the new arrivals have come before it is able to find ways and lull from the fighting to move out and resettle the already over 250,000 Yemen-stranded refugeesto the relatively stable Somaliland, Puntland and Djibouti. As in the case of many refugee situations, in Yemen too the majority of these huge group are Ethiopians.

We have no better or another way of understanding this matter, other than our conclusion that the West’s eyes have been deliberately shut, primarily because of their economic interests and the TPLF’s role as their chieftain in the fight against Al-Shabab – franchise of Al Qaeda.

Moreover, already there are a huge number of British companies in Ethiopia that are amassing huge profits in different sectors from mining to manufacturing, consultancy services, etc., to advising government on security matters. Also there are American, Australian, Dutch, Italian, Irish, French, German, Finnish, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Belgian, etc., companies operating in Ethiopia, although not on an equal scale as the British. Yet, each of them now have found their feet on solid ground to forcefully defend their interests in Ethiopia, with no thought of the wellbeing of ordinary Ethiopians.

This is what is known as the marriage of interests between the foreign powers and the TPLF. The latter has been found most reliable as far as Western economic and security interests in Ethiopia and the sub-region are concerned. It is a regime that lives on handouts and their support since it lacks legitimacy.

After all, in a country where double-digit growth is the story that has been disproportionately ballooned, the other side of Ethiopia’s dark story is that to this day over a sixth of the nation leaves on the so-called Western humanitarian handouts with wonderful sounding names. The fact of the matter behind this fiction is that to the extent possible this story is repressed, not to allow questions from home. The World Bank pushes soft loans under various guises. The purpose is to sustain this much hated and incompetent regime in power – a formula that addresses the needs of both sides – investors and host country’s failed growth agenda.

One of the foreign companies not many days ago boasted that it was repatriating 70 percent of its profits out of the country. It is a huge kill by any measures. However, I could not help wondering what its investment level is, operating capital and how sharp its sense is about loss and gain, realizing its awareness that the party would soon be over.

While trying to secure legitimacy through growth and development, even then the TPLF is quite all right with this substantial profit repatriation. All that it needs is the West continuing to give it political and diplomatic, media and intelligence support to ensure its continuity in power.

As a matter of ‘personal principle’ and small talk to entertain themselves, these companies tell Ethiopians that the country has come a long way from famine. The Irish Times weekly articles that possibly aim to give boost to latest efforts by Bob Geldof is most notrious in its insult of citizens’ iintelligence. Mr. Geldof, although an old friend of the Ethiopian people, he is now taxing them heavy. He has been involved in winery and, as his insurance, pushing an American private equity in Ethiopia.


Ethiopians are tired of being treated like fools

As if Ethiopians do not know what is good for them, some Western nations constantly remind Ethiopians that these days how far they have come. If one specially looks at the Irish times, today their topic would be Ethiopia’s economic miracle, tomorrow the city’s transformation or the next day how potatoes have averted hunger in the south, story on manufacturing, etc. For instance, on Tuesday the paper dealt with how ‘the human toil’ is changing Ethiopia. Its message was how Addis Abeba is to become Africa’s best city in five years, which even the UN, especially the Habitat, with all its data and familiarity with Addis Abeba as one of the cities it focusses on would feel restrained to make a sorcerer’s predictions, for the paper is aggressive promotions.

Last Saturday, the story was tasteless commercial about Ethiopian Airlines. Therein it speaks of ‘George Clooney crowding and five exhibits not to miss’ for a flight to Los Angeles. This worries me thinking that if the TPLF has secretly made Ireland shareholder in the national carrier! One never knows with the TPLF!

We do not recall a time when Irish companies have ever shown such interests thus far in the welfare of the Ethiopian people as now. Unfortunately, they are doing this time when the regime is only creating wealth and life to foreign interests, itself and its ethnic circle! See in particular the case of Bob Geldof, who has nauseatingly become hand and gloves with the regime, abandoning his friendship to ordinary Ethiopians!

That is why the young in Ethiopia, whether school age or university graduates are unhappy with this corrupt regime and its pretentious friends. They see the regime as uncaring and un-Ethiopian at heart.

Of course a person’s history cannot be totally ignored. The history of most TPLF leaders families shows that they have served the interests of imperialist Italy and shed Ethiopian bloods in the Battle of Adowa. Their children have done it again many times over after that, especially in their long years of collaboration with the TPLF to render Ethiopia a landlocked nation! By the admission of Sebhat Nega, the TPLF insisted Eritrea breakaway, when the EPLF proposed at some point negotiated settlement with Ethiopia.

We observe everything; we do not see anything happening now in isolation; we see them all in their interconnection, even if they happen at different times and seemingly in distant manners!

Today’s clubbing of angry and grieving Ethiopians, incensed by the humiliation their nation has suffered, has strummed a bad chord. There is then the shooting and injuring and imprisoning yesterday and today of citizens, which should not go unpunished until Ethiopians find the answer to the question when the country’s and citizens’ humiliation would be over!

It is good the TPLF and its foreign allies recognize that Ethiopians have been asking this question for sometime now! Today, the majority of the nation has signaled they are working on the answer!

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