Twenty-four years of state- terror and looting under TPLF in Ethiopia

By Alem Mamo
December 14, 2015

“The voices of the wailing mothers echo across this land” – Community elder in western Ethiopia


Noun 1. terrorism – the calculated use of violence (or threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear

Synonyms: act of terrorism, terrorist act1

A wailing mother paces around the mutilated body of her twenty-year old son. Both of her hands are crossed over her head as she weeps with anguish. Distraught and mournful she beats her chest while family members and friends join in the collective sorrow of the community. The young and aspiring college student has been shot in the head by TPLF’s sniper. His face covered with blood, his body lies in the middle of the road. “What time do we live in?” the old man in his late sixties asks wiping tears from his wrinkled face. “When the old bury the young we must realize that there is something fundamentally wrong in our society,” he retorts. In the background the wailing voices of a group mothers gets louder. The mountains and the hills carry their wailing, joining with the mothers in to the next town behind the hills. “Our country has been struck by an evil force,” the other old man whispers. “Our country has been struck by evil force,” he repeats. “They kill our children as we watch silently” the third man joins the spontaneous, emotionally charged conversation.

This is not a war zone, at least not in the conventional sense. These places are small towns and villages with rolling hills and tightly knit communities who make a living from the land. Over the last twenty-four years their way of life has been disrupted as they endure constant humiliation and terror by the TPLF regime. Their lands appropriated and given to the members of TPLF’s ruling elite and their supporters in the name of ‘development’ and ‘infrastructure building.’ State terrorism in its fullest and deadliest form of violence and brutality has continued to reign across the country unabated. From one corner of the country to the other mothers bury their young while those who murder with impunity are rewarded and compensated for their wicked brutality. The wailing mother asks, “how long will this go on?” “How many times we should bury our young?” another mother asks. The sound of wailing mothers has been repeated in this land so often and for far too long.

The recent killings of innocent unarmed civilians by the regime’s security forces is in response to student demonstration opposing the proposed “master plan” that pushes the limits of the capital Addis Ababa in to the territories of communities larger populated by small scale farmers. The fact is the “master plan” is another well-orchestrated blue print for looting and displacing families and communities who lived on their ancestral land for centuries. Thus, they have the legal and the natural rights to refuse and resist to be displaced. As we have witnessed over the last few days that is exactly what they did. Peaceful and non-violent resistance to assert their inalienable rights.

TPLF Inc. from its very inception is a deeply violent group that has no regard to human life. This vicious and abhorrently violent nature of the group has inflicted serious pain and trauma in the collective psyche of the Ethiopian people. To those who bankroll, arm, offer diplomatic and political support to a regime that continues to implement a policy of state terror against the people of Ethiopia, we say the long held imaginary ‘stability’ is no longer sustainable. As history tells us people do not have infinite patience to endure oppression and injustice. When dignity is threatened, when humiliation is inflicted on daily bases, people have no choice but to rise up. The political, economic and overall security situation in Ethiopia is not sustainable. The situation no longer is simply an issue of human rights violations to be responded to by a vague and meaningless condemnation. In this regard, the international community, as it has done in many past and present crises, is watching this unfolding tragic situation with an attitude of ‘business as usual.’ The fact is this is not business as usual, this is a serious crisis emerging and the time for action is not tomorrow, it is now.

A mother’s pain of losing a child, a father’s shame of being unable to protect his boy, a brother’s loss of a friend, a sister’s anguish of losing her playmate – it is a story that Ethiopian’s became so accustomed over the last twenty-four years. Disappearances, mass murder, assassinations, extrajudicial killings, torture, and kidnapping are the main characteristics of the TPLF regime. For those of us who are engaged in the struggle for freedom, democracy and justice let’s once again come together regardless of our political or any other form of affiliation to speed up the day of our freedom. This is not a struggle that should be left to a certain group or political party. This is our collective struggle from the four corners of the country and around the world. The killing machine of the TPLF regime doesn’t discriminate, it kills with impunity and it inflicts unimaginable suffering on all citizens. We can and we should unite to shorten our suffering.

The writer can be reached at alem6711@gmail.com

1 http://www.webster-dictionary.org/definition/terrorism



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