THE SLOW-MOTION GENOCIDE WE CAN STOP IN OROMIA

By Worku Burayu (Ph.D.), February 16, 2020

West Hararge, Badessa town – only a week ago. The police tortures innocent people.

Summary: My vital message today is: Let the United Nations, AU, EU, USA, UK, World’s  Government, Humanitarian Institutions, Politicians, Lawyers, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB) and any concerned entities know that the slow genocide is taking place in Ethiopia on Oromo people. I am calling for an end to Ethiopia’s an invisible war on Oromo and Oromia. To stop the slow-building genocide on Oromo, it is essential that Ethiopia’s PM get back to his sense of humanity. He must stop revenge against youth. Thousands of political prisoners languishing in confinements must be released. Mass imprisonments due to their political view or being Oromo youth or members of political organization must be stopped. The Injustice of Ethiopian Justice must be demolished. Lifting the existing state of emergency must be the priority. Truth and Reconciliation must prevail.  I am writing this article since the world’s governments and human rights and other civil society organizations did little in response to the deliberate and genocide intent happening in Oromia. So, my big question is where have they gone?  We don’t want Rwandan genocide to happen in Ethiopia.

The slow making genocide we can stop: Not all genocides happen with quick pace. Some are slow and calculated and kill by the intentional blocking of basic necessities such as food, water and basic healthcare, for example, what is exactly happening in Western Oromia. Such genocide at a slower scale in a longer time frame is called a slow genocide. While Genocide may incite outrage from media, Slow Genocide may not be noticeable enough to cover as a story. Ethiopia’s invisible war on Oromo and Oromia is an example of Slow Genocide. Let’s clear the misconception that genocide requires millions physically to be wipeout. Guilt of genocide does not require that the great bulk of the victims be physically wiped out. Acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group is a genocide. Intention to cause harm is a key. All genocides are deliberate and horrific; and they are always preventable. The humanitarian crisis in Western and Southern Oromia, which is preventable, is at that listing point. Current suffering is on a devastating scale, and it’s about to get far, far worse. Right now, the number of Oromo people fleeing violence in these areas is growing at faster rate. The people who remain in the zones are also confined to the bush, scared to run, and quickly running out of basic resources and access to any medical care, coupled with intentional blockings of media outlets, telephone services and electricity. Escape and/or staying could offer the same result that might mean death. Including today’s (Feb 15, 2020) police harassment and violence that included shooting and wounding of unarmed Oromo society in Bosat, 10 km away east of Adama, Ethiopia has resumed the mass imprisonment in cities, the continuity of the bulk Oromo confinement, as practiced in Ethiopia, fits the legal definition of genocide. Two years ago, one out of every eight incarcerated persons in Addis Ababa (AA) was Oromo. Now nine out of ten is Oromo- confirms a genocide is in progress, that Oromo have been singled out for some terrible fate by the Ethiopian government. The same is true for those who have fled and are now living in dire conditions in main cities including AA and its surrounding towns such as Burayu and Sabata, etc. where more than 400 arrested in this week alone.

In January 2019, the EPRDF began a campaign to destroy the Oromo Liberation Army, an army fighting for the right to self-determination of Oromo for over 40 years, within two weeks span. The current Prosperity Party (changed from EPRDF to PP) government escalating its operation beginning of this year (January 2020) after a one-year operation become not only futile exercise but with disastrous loss of human beings and properties. But this time, the government has changed the tactic, and calculated the killing of unarmed mass, intended to a group of people in the area and murdering deliberately the Oromo youngsters on the street or those picking coffee or those on their daily workplaces. The United Nations General Assembly recognized Genocide as a crime under international law first in 1946. It was codified as an independent crime in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the Genocide Convention). The Convention has been ratified by 149 States (as of January 2018). Surprisingly, Ethiopia, the country where slow genocide occurred repeatedly, is one of the first signatory of this convention. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has repeatedly stated that the Genocide whether ratified by States or not, they are all bound as a matter of law by the principle that genocide is a crime prohibited under international law. According to the article II of the Genocide Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

  1. Killing members of the group (e.g. Gujii or Mecha Oromo);
  2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group (What is happening in Western and Southern Oromia right now);
  3. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part (Current intentional burning of the houses with humans inside or with all its properties in Oromia);

Which of intents aren’t occurred in Oromia? The youth member of the Oromo society called QEERROO (YOUTH) are deliberately targeted as a group in Oromia in particular and Ethiopia in general; they are killed or imprisoned in mass including University students. The mass killings of Oromo in Gujjii, Wollega, Borana, Karrayyu and Wollo by government troops particularly in Anifilo, Ayira, Begi, Mandi, Yubdo and many other in that geographical area is continuing. Since early January 2020, the govt cut telephone services, internet, electric power and water services and transportation facilities from the western Oromia to block information from Ethiopian public and international medias. However, people who survived from the genocidal act informed that people are killed in mass.  A father, who was self-sufficient with his 10 families (8 children), fled his birthplace because of the murder happening and hide in the neighboring Regional State. He told the media that shocking crime was happening in Western Oromia. Now he is begging on the street to survive his families. Another wittiness explained that men and women are killed because they are young and Oromo. Supported by pictures, this genocidal act, where more than 20 people killed at the same spot, was exposed by Elias Hirpha on social media (Facebook). This determined young Oromo also killed a day later as he was trying to escape the mass killings by the military forces about to enter Asosa city in neighboring regional state of Beneshangul Gumuz. Government armies forced those who escape to go back to the area that might mean death. What I have uncovered is quite devastating because it has not possible to get as much information as possible because of blocking media outlets and telephone services as tools to hide the genocidal action in Oromia.

Historically, Oromo are victims of deliberate, genocidal policies of successive Ethiopian governments. The present situation is, the continuation of a slow genocide since the time of Minilik, king of Ethiopia. The amputation of hand and breast of Arsi Oromo (Harma Muraa fi Harka Muraan Aannolee) and the massacre of Calanqoo (Calanqoo Calii) by Ethiopian emperor Menelik II; the wipe out of the Oromo clan such as Gullaalle, Abichuu Yakka by the kings of both Minilik and HaileSilassie; the bulk murders of Oromo in Water city by the Meles Zenawi regime and his intent and implementation to reduce number of Oromo to the minority in Ethiopia; the mass killings of Oromo youth and the more than 1.6 million Oromo displaced in the country during Abiy’s administration, Abiy’s intent to wipe out a group of Oromo are the sign of slow genocide.

The genocide denial tale is a norm for Ethiopian government (recent denial is by Leencoo Baati a close allies and Advisor to the PM) that is frequently used by genocide deniers internationally. Ethiopia always misleads Western donors into accepting the denial narrative it fabricates, in part, because donors immorally choose to admit the possibility that the Ethiopian government will successfully maintain stability in the Horn of Africa. This perception clearly shows the continuity of global difficulty of defining Ethiopia as a genocidal nation.

Conclusion: Before the mass killings began on April 7, 1994 in Rwanda, United Nations peacekeeper Roméo Dallaire was pleading to the world to stop the genocide from progressing. But the leaders of the world turned their collective heads and Rwanda experienced an event that will forever change its history and world history. It is time to stop before the similarities to the Rwandan genocide happen in Ethiopia. The case of Ethiopia is different. When people are finally determined to fight back, this will collapse Ethiopian State. It mayn’t stop in Ethiopia alone but can engulf the whole East Africa. I am calling for an end to the slow-building genocide and Ethiopia’s an invisible war on Oromo and Oromia.

Horaa Bulaa!


You can’t expect trust from such person who would do anything for money!

Why does Lencho Bati deny what the world knows? Yaa Rabbi nu baasi soba akkanaa jalaa! Lencho Baati ol jedhee nama laalaa kana booda.

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