Amhara Democratic Party Press Release


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Amhara Democratic Party Press Release While it is difficult to come up with an exhaustive list of factors that precipitated Amhara nationalism, few stand out. It is possible to argue that the first principal factor behind the rise of Amhara nationalism has been the very narrative of Ethiopia’s current federalism, which is based on ethnic arrangements. Most of the ethno-nationalist movements that overthrew the military regime, Derg, held an implicit and/or explicit assumption that the main motivating factor behind their struggle was Amhara oppression. The Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), for instance, believed that the root cause of oppression and injustice in Ethiopia lies in “Amhara’s chauvinistic great nation” mentality, thus making its struggle a de facto attempt to eliminate this mentality within the Amhara. The first ever manifesto of the party blatantly describes its struggle as “anti-Amhara national oppression”, clearly identifying the Amhara as the principal enemy along with imperialism. The Oromo Liberation Movement (OLF), perceiving Ethiopia to be characterized by “Amhara dominance”, oriented its fight towards “liberating” the Oromo by overthrowing this oppression. As Mohammed Hassan succinctly put it, “Oromo nationalism emerged partly out of the struggle against Amhara domination”. With the coming to power of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) spearheaded by the powerful TPLF, this narrative became the hegemonic view of Ethiopian historiography and political discourse. The restructuring of the Ethiopian state along ethnic federal lines with this hegemonic thought in mind meant the narrative was now given an institutional expression. Thus, by design, the federation aimed to ‘liberate’ the multitude of ethnicities in order to enable ‘self-determination’, while simultaneously containing the Amhara so that other groups can continue to exercise their ‘self-rule’. A recent article by insightfully argues that the logical role of the regional party (ANDM) became ‘disciplining’ the Amhara instead of representing them. Derogatory terms like ‘Chauvinist’, ‘Oppressor’ ‘Neftegna (gunslinger)’, ‘Yekedmo sre’at nafaqi’ (one who pines for the old order), became the favorite expressions used by EPRDF officials (including those from the ANDM) and other ethno-nationalists) to refer to the Amhara, with the purpose of frustrating any independent political participation by members of the group. The resentment borne out of this designation of their people have eventually led to the development of a nationalist consciousness with the aim of fighting and reversing this inherently one-sided narrative. The second factor is the dominance of this narrative and its disastrous consequence than just frustrating genuine political participation as it led to repeated identity based attacks on the Amhara living in large numbers in different parts of the country. , indiscriminate killings, dispossessions of property, and complete disruption of livelihoods. While harassment, arrests, exiles, and killings of individuals for political participation and expression of opinions is the common experience of all Ethiopians over the past 27 years, repeated identity-based attack of an entire group has been the unique experience of the Amhara than any other group until very recently. [The recent conflicts between the Oromo and Somali communities have led to massive attacks on members of both groups, producing mass causalities and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)]. The immediate period following the collapse of the Derg regime saw repeated sporadic violence on ethnic Amharas in various parts of the country, leading to the death and displacement of many. Such violence, however, did not stop with the restoration of order. Among others, in different parts of Oromia, the Southern Nation Nationalities Peoples Region (SNNPR), Gambella, and Benishangul Gumuz regions, hundreds were killed and thousands were displaced for the simple crime of being an ethnic Amhara on multiple occasions.

The Canadian government on Wednesday issued a safety and security alert for Ethiopia, citing clashes in parts of the country. They subsequently cautioned citizens to exercise caution. A statement on its official portal read: ‘The Safety and security tab was updated – incidents on the road between Harar and Dire Dawa, and between Holeta and Ambo, on August 23.’ They did not state exactly the cause or nature of the incidents. Harar and Dire Dawa are located in the east whiles Holeta and Ambo are located more in the central part in the Oromia region – close to the capital Addis Ababa. displayAdvert("mpu_3") Canada like most development partners of Ethiopia have lifted nationwide travel advisories in respect of the country but it cautions nationals to exercise a high degree of caution due to the volatile security situation. The United States embassy in the country had earlier this month reported of ‘intense clashes’ in the eastern region – specifically between Harar and Babile. The embassy said the fighting had led to the blockage of a major road connecting the east to the capital Addis Ababa. The government dismissed the claim saying only sporadic clashes had taken place.

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