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"We will repeat our forefathers history," reads a banner taken from a march by Amhara groups in Ethiopia. Illustration/Curate Oromia

The “Amhara Fano” – Ethiopia’s Army of the Dead

I know the very pain Oromos feel at this moment. As an Oromo, I know those feelings. In light of the ongoing attack against all things Oromo, including Oromo people, Oromo language, Oromo flag, Oromo history, and so on. Oromos have been reduced to a state of disillusionment, despair, and anger. I also know this as it has been the waters I have been wading for some time now.

I would like the reader to consider a perspective. There is a movement of heart, feelings of unspeakable grief and inconsolable sorrow that is palpably felt by Oromos, when they see on their phone or computer screens severed heads of Oromo persons and other atrocities committed by the Amhara Fano. Like the 8-year-old girl sitting in the ashes of her burned house, her parents dead and bones deep buried in it visibly sticking out or the townspeople who witnessed the gruesome murder of a pastor while preaching in his own church gunned down along with other observance of the service.

Oromos displaced from Kiramu district are currently in temporary shelter in Gida Ayana district. Source: Gida Ayana district government communication office.
A temporary shelter in Gida Ayana district houses Oromos displaced from Kiramu district by Amhara Fano militants. Source: Gida Ayana district government communication office.

To the Oromo who feel disillusioned or are angry, I would like to point out that the feeling of utter despair is the very seal of your own human spirit that expresses itself as Oromo. You see, our people knew this from eons ago since they started passing the stories of who we are down to us orally. They always saw the humanity of the “other” (non-Oromos) through their Oromummaa (Oromo identity), but never at the expense of it. 

The nemesis of this Oromo self-identity and its spirit, its inversion and perversion, personified in the Amhara Fano, is seeking the absolute destruction of everything that is Oromo. It attacks the human in Oromo by dehumanizing Oromoness; and it attacks the Oromo in Oromo persons by falsely identifying Oromummaa with inhumanity, through scheming and deceiving as it blames the very victims of its terrorism. The attack is committed only to those identified as Oromo. Hence, it seeks to eliminate the very unchangeable state of being Oromo itself. It criminalizes, terrorizes, and eliminates peaceful Oromos that identify as such. Therefore, all Oromos feel this attack is being directed at them wherever they may be. To the extent they feel their own Oromoness, they also feel the pain of these beheadings and burnings of innocent lives and properties.

Oromo: Remember yourself! 

The Oromo nation is now the primary target, marked for destruction and terror. If you are apathetic or callous in the face of this, quietly supporting the status quo of Abiy Ahmed’s regime and its covert subsidiaries like the Amhara Fano who are systematically enabled to counteract OLA’s struggle for the freedom of its people, then you know where you stand measured with that metric.

It is also to the extent Oromos everywhere feel the angst of the destruction being enacted on their collective body that they feel who they truly are as a nation: a unique and absolutely in-exchangeable, irreplaceable, and indestructible version and variety of the diverse human family, that must not be mutilated nor destroyed; rather must be allowed to shine its brilliance, its uniqueness, for it can be a beacon that it is to the rest of them. This is the vision even flawed democracies like the U.S. have tried to harness, as we know. You might have heard of the U.S. as the democratic “beacon of the world”. Truthfully speaking though, what can be more compelling than the democratic and just structures of the Oromo collective, embodied in the Gadaa,  an indigenous democratic system of governance; of course destroyed outward by the Ethiopian forces of the past, now relegated only to the pallbearers that hold it in the mind and customs practiced among the few in an ocean of a nation that forms a majority body politic of the Ethiopian empire of nations. 

How can America monopolize that greatness even with its seriously flowed praxis of it today when the Oromo have governed themselves with it for generations way before the creation of so-called democratic, Western states? What symbolic death, then, is greater than systematically and deliberately killing those Abbaa Gadaas (Gadaa leaders) as it happened in the Karrayyuu Massacre just a year back by Abby’s regime? It is like, symbolically, cutting off the head of the nation.

Karrayyu dig a mass grave for the massacred Gadaa leaders.
Karrayyu dig a mass grave for the massacred Gadaa leaders. Nuredin Jilo/African Arguments.

All Oromos true to their Oromoness felt, through their observation and registration of this event in their own being, the significance of that horrendous event. This force that attempts to erase that through its imperial and colonial desire to conquer, subdue, subjugate, and eventually erase such a unique yet stable expression of the human collective is an old impetus, the old serpent, if you may, that deceives. It never tells the truth, (Haqa in Oromo), for it is the enemy of truth. And it seeks to kill that not in the political contours of the Oromo nation, but ultimately in the very spirit of Oromo identity (Oromummaa).

It envisions the erasure of such identification or connection to that root, and it seeks to replace it with a construct that it has artificially concocted. This is the very ailment of Ethiopia. It is an artificial construct that was devised so deviously, and brutally with the sole purpose of erasing what naturally has been there inherently in independent and egalitarian nation systems like the Oromo. As a theory of advancement and oxymoronically, Ethiopia exists to continually work against and destroy naturally autonomous, advanced, egalitarian and democratic structures inherent in the Oromo society. 

The force that their Ethiopia wields and unleashes on innocent people and communities only delivers destruction of life. It abhors all forms of mutual symbiosis of systems and communities as we know it. There is nothing good in that mindset, the one that conceived, delivered, and still perpetuates imperial, Amhara-centric Ethiopia. The best of our advances, even as humans, are well utilized when they work with a  structure that has always been there, or improve on it, but not when they destroy its fundamental framework. 

You can’t burn down a people and create a nation. All that will be left to form that nation will be ghosts of pain and death. This is the anathema the Amhara elite time and again try to achieve with regard to the Oromo nation, their self-dubbed “Oromo problem.” They try to create a so-called stable Ethiopia, out of the death of Oromos and Oromoness. It has never worked since the beginning with its arch creator Menilik II. It is not working today. And any construct, as in Ethiopia, forged out of trauma and death of the Oromo and Oromoness (Oromummaa) always brings forth thorns and thistles; more death and destruction on the land.  

Abiy’s battle cry – a false premise  

When PM Abiy started the war in the North, he had a mantra: “While we live, Ethiopia will not be destroyed.” Not many noticed at the time that that was an absolutely erroneous premise to begin with. It was a deliberately crafted ruse, a perfect one to wage an unjust war, and in fact a state terror upon the enemy designate. No one in any political collectives, groups, opposition entities, etc included within Ethiopia in 2018 was proposing the destruction of Ethiopia. Well, that didn’t stop Abiy and the Amhara elite from creating the bogeyman. 

It was a silent beginning of the civil war and Amhara-Fano-terror today underway that would unfold loudly in a year or so. The Amhara elite and Abiy had to create that deceptive meme and drum it down the ear of the Empire mass long enough to stir up animosity of those who “love” Ethiopia against those who “hate” Ethiopia. No  Oromo political opposition or Tegaru political opposition was asking for more than a mere democratic election within the multinational, federal structure of Ethiopia itself. However, by simple calculation, Abiy and his new baby project, the Prosperity Party (PP)  would lose in both regions decisively denying him stay in power. So it had to be war.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in military uniform.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in military uniform. Source: FanaBC.

It is to steer the moral and blind support of those who revere the imperial “Ethiopia” construct;  particularly,  the Amhara society. This is the original invention of the Amhara elite, which later harvested the OPDO oligarchy, and sold itself to Abiy himself, through invisible threats, one can surmise, to his own person. 

We have to only remember when the generals and political leaders were assassinated within the then EPRDF itself in 2018. The Amhara elite were subverting what they perceived as the Oromo victory in 2018, and solidifying their grip on his loyalty to them. Their final draw was to offer him Eritrean support via their own work i.e. Endargachew Tsige, and Berhanu Nega who have close ties to Isayas Afeworki. With that ammunition, Abiy, who from the get-go was intoxicated with childhood prophecies and his mother’s dreams (which are formative and powerful on a young mind in such dire world circumstances) was bought; because it guaranteed a path for him for perpetual one-man tyrannical power that can rig and still elections perpetually. In Amhara folk saying such an event is named “kokebachew geteme”; which means that their stars are aligned, or their goal and destiny are together now.  

The Amhara Elite’s motto: dismantle “tribal politics”  

I would ask the reader to consider why, at that very time, the Amhara elite who were praising the  Oromo Protests that effectively unseated TPLF out of power in 2018, now turned around, both for the purpose of taking out the Tegaru and also ultimately their true enemy designate the  “Oromo threat” started defining Ethiopia’s problem as “ye zer poletika” (tribal politics), their code word for the multinational federalism and all the freedoms it entails to the Oromo and Tegaru, among other nations that want to self-govern within post-imperial Ethiopian structure. 

Their “die Endlösung” (final Solution) to that ultimate problem to this day remains the utter public vilification, institutional infiltration, denigration, and destruction of the multi-national federal order which endowed the Nations and Nationalities in Ethiopia the right to self-determination, democratic self-governance, and civic and institutional structures designed to protect those rights. 

Many Oromos have pondered what is behind this push despite all reason by the body politic of the Ethiopian Empire. Their ardent supporters and prominent leaders have lived and still do in the West, where they enjoy Western democratic freedoms that, if considered, would find their antagonistic position on the language rights, state rights, etc of the Oromo for instance laughable and ridiculous. They have no qualms about it. What is good for them in America, Europe or Australia is not good in Ethiopia. But why?

I have sought explanations in nooks and crannies of possible arenas in the history of this empire, in its people’s collective knowledge and cultures. The one explanation that has kind of left me with some sense lies in the realm of the mysterious. If you consider what Daniel Kibret, an ordained prelate of the Amhara-controlled Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOTC), did when he openly called for genocide of the Tigrayan population whom he identified as the mortal enemies of Ethiopia.

A member of parliament and close advisor to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Mr Kibret made this speech in September 2021, when the war between federal and Tigrayan forces was in full swing. Other Amhara elites go even further. Appearing on the frontlines, Amhara businessman Worku Aytenew tells Amhara soldiers that killing Tigrayan forces “isn’t enough. It is better to roast them like goats and eat them.”

In the ensuing months, Amhara Fanos, on record burned people alive, symbolically and verbally mocking them as if barbecuing for a cannibal’s platter. Now, with what is going on in Wollega with beheadings of innocent civilians by hordes of Amhara Fanos that raid villages and towns, all sorts of abominable atrocities are being committed on record, both audio and video.

“the God of Ethiopia”

From such observations, starting with political misinformation triggered by the elite now working on the ground doing its bidding using terrorist tactics, the only conclusion one can draw is that for this ilk Ethiopia is not just a political construct. It is a living entity, like a living poltergeist, a demon possessing the collective mind of the Ethiopianists if you may, that they worship; and their entire regalia, rituals, words and customs, culture, and abominate history concocted by conquerors is geared towards committing all the way to absolute destruction of all things; is to protect the power to make Ethiopia as they originally envisioned it alive.

God of Ethiopia
Orthodox Christians celebrate Meskel , a holiday that commemorates the finding of the true cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified, at Meskel square,  in Addis Abeba, September 26, 2022. Ethiopian Press Agency/Hadush Abreha.

In what is widely known as Harmaaf Harka Muraa Aannolee, Menilik II did not hesitate from committing atrocities of terror against the Arsi Oromo, cutting the breasts of defenseless women and the hands and legs of would-be soldiers, burning civilians including women, children and elderly, in trapped halls in the late 19th century.  It is absolutely the same with the current acolytes of the Empire drumming up and practicing in public view of the entire world, in fact, to the pleasure of all willing to see from the convenience of their sofa chairs from anywhere in the world.

They claim the “God of Ethiopia” has ordained these actions. This deity they identify is evidently a God of Death; for in its name what is practiced is death, pillage, and plunder; backed by official narratives and propaganda of lies and deception passed as truth to unquestioning masses. The proofs are clear that the forces backing the Amhara Fano are anti-life,  anti-nature, and anti-all things, not them, i.e. Amhara. It hates what it is not, and it has to kill it to feel secure to be and live; even when there is no danger for it to exist as itself, as Amhara.

Of course in simple terms, this is a sentiment of pure hate for anything that is not Amhara; Oromo and Tegaru are the primary prey for this predator currently for the latent danger to the oppressive Empire they represent and pose. The Amhara elite and their seemingly mind-controlled supporters of the Amhara masses in Ethiopia are possessed by this spirit of hate. They will do all things necessary to achieve their tyrannical and age-old anti-Oromo goals. They also, conveniently, will serve as Aby’s stick to punish Oromos who have stood against his tyrannical regime, among which the primary and formidable one being the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA). 

That is where we stand in Ethiopia today, where innocent Oromo children, mothers, fathers, harmless farmers, and their families are being murdered- beheaded or offered as burnt offerings to what all Abiy and his supporters claim to worship, and which they call the “God of Ethiopia.”

“All Hail the God of Ethiopia!” They beat the drums and shout till our eardrums hurt, and our eyes burn from the images of the innocent human beings they cut down like weeds. All that know honor and the truth still hold their tongue, when mindless hordes of minions say “Amen” though this is a political union of a  corrupt state and religious powers.

As they continue to hack down innocent necks with, literally, a machete, like a tall branch off a low-hanging tree in their backyard, I know how Oromos feel. The lips of this good and generous nation quivers and mutters hidden under the avalanche of tears flowing down their face: 

Waaqa have mercy!” “Save your innocent people from those who know no “Safuu” (morality, reverence for life); and have already killed their human spirit, and their own truth!” “Save us from the balladeers of imperial Ethiopia and their ever-replicating Army of the Dead!” 

Yaa Waaq sabakee baraari, haqaan faradi” – God, save your people. Bring truthful justice, they say!

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