Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Abiy Demands Somalis to Build Statues for their Butchers

By Abdurahman Keldir Ali

On March 18, 2023, Abiy Ahmed, the PM of Ethiopia, organized a launching ceremony for his new book Generation Medemer. Among the attendees was the president of the Somali Region Mustafa Omer. In his comments in the ceremony, Mr. Abiy demanded Mr. Mustafa to use the income generated from the sale of the book for building a statue for what he called “the Ethiopian fighters who shed their blood for the sake of the country”. In contrast, Mr. Abiy asked the other regional presidents to build public libraries and places of tourism in their regions using the book’s income. This act is a reminder that the old mentality of Successive Ethiopian Regimes that sees Somalis as eternal enemy.

PM Abiy with President Mustafa of the Somali State at the launching ceremony of Abiy’s book “Generation Medemer”.

These comments not only insulted the people in the Somali Region and offended their history and legitimate struggle for rights and freedom, but also shocked the people of the Somali Region.

These humiliating and inconsiderate remarks are in a stark contrast to both the current political atmosphere of Ethiopia and historical facts regarding the war of 1977.

The Current Political Atmosphere

As for the current situation of Ethiopia, the PM preaches tolerance, peaceful coexistence, and unity among the peoples and nationalities of Ethiopia. He also set up a committee for national dialogue whose aim, among other things, is to address the historical differences among the peoples of the country and to rectify and heal historical injustices and wounds inherited from the previous regimes. Unfortunately, Mr. Abiy breached what he preaches by repeating the old, false, hostile rhetoric against the people of the Somali Region.

In addition, the comments totally contradict the alleged message of unity apparent from the book’s title which Abiy called “Unification of Generations”. In his comments, Abiy divided the Ethiopian Generation into first class citizens who deserve libraries and tourism landmarks; and “others” who do not deserve life. Mr. Abiy wants Somalis to build statues on the corpses of their slain people, whom Derg regime massacred in Jigjiga and elsewhere in the Region.

Fabricated History

As for historical facts, many Ethiopians believe a false history. First, no battle took place in Mount Karamardha between The Derg and its allies and WSLF and its allies. When Somali freedom fighters and their allies overran the whole of the Somali Region in 1977, the Mengistu army deserted and fled Jigjiga City where Mount Karamardha is located, without mentionable resistance. At the time, Somali rebels reached the outskirts of Harar. After its utter failure and humiliation, Mengistu Asked for help from foreign powers, and the region has been recaptured for him by 17,000 Soviet and Cuban communist armies([1]), These foreign powers overpowered the Somalis and recaptured the region. Therefore, the claim that Mengistu defeated the Somalis is a blatant lie. Somalis were defeated by communist forces that came from overseas.

Karamardha Mountain, Jigjiga, Somali State

In the second phase of the war, the Somalis stopped on neither Karamardha nor Jigjiga, so, no battle took place on Karamardha and so called Victory is a false and fabricated narrative.

In fact, there is a horrible crime that took place in Jigjiga and its surroundings at the time. When the Derg army was fleeing from Jigjiga before the arrival of the Somalis, they collected and summarily executed around 100 dignitaries and community elders of the city([2]). This is a crime Somalis will never forget.

Abiy likes to build memorial statues for the criminals who massacred Somali people. Worse, he wants the statues on the corpses of their victims. Even worse, he wants Somalis to build the statues with their own hands and money.

In addition to Somalis, many armed fronts fought against the Derg regime. The sacrifices and struggles of those rebels culminated in the downfall of the Derg regime and birth of the current federal system which allowed an Oromo prime minister to lead Ethiopia. This wouldn’t be possible without the armed struggles of the peoples of Ethiopia against the brutal regime. In reality, the people who fought against injustice and brutality deserve statues and memorials from Abiy, not the criminals who inflicted unmentionable atrocities against Ethiopian people.

I am sure Abiy is not ignorant on the historical facts. He, however, is either deliberately repeating false narratives or he is appeasing influential extremist members who have been calling for statues since Abiy came to power. Either way, it should be known to everyone that the children of massacred fathers will never accept statues on the graves of their fathers for murderers.

Double Standards

Mr. Abiy asked the Presidents of other regions to use the book’s income to build public libraries and to develop tourism in their respective regions. In contrast, he humiliated the president of the Somali region by ordering to build statues on the bodies of his own ancestors to glorify their murderers who not only committed systematic mass killings against Somali people but also dispossessed them by taking their homes and distributed them to the families of the criminals.

The Aanolee memorial statue in Arsi Zone of Oromia.

What Abiy did is equivalent to asking the president of Oromia to build statue of glory for Menilik’s army who committed unimaginable atrocities against innocent Oromos in Aanolee massacre of Arsi Zone by cutting off the hands of men and breasts of women whose only crime was resisting the incorporation of their land into Abyssinia.also, The victims of Mount Karamardha are no different from the victims of the Red Terror, for whom a memorial Museum was built in the center of the capital Addis Ababa, unless their ethnicity is a reason for dealing with them in a different way.

 Abiy Ahmed was supposed to Demand the construction of a statue of Glory  for the victims of Mount Karamardha, just as the statue was built for the victims of Aanolee in Arsi Zone of Oromia Region and Red Terror Martyrs’ Memorial Museum in Addis Ababa.

Dancing on Corpses

The civilian casualties in the Ogaden region alone during the year following the Somali defeat were estimated at 25,000([3]) and 700,000- 800,000 people displaced, though some of this refugees were Oromo([4]).
This number exceeds half of the region’s population at the time. Does Abiy consider this a great victory worthy of celebration and Building memorial statues!!!?, how long will we continue with the mentality of dancing on the corpses of our Victims!!?

Abiy Owes Apology for Somalis

Rubbing salt on unhealed wounds inflicted on our people won’t serve the country’s interests, unity, and peaceful coexistence of this multiethnic society.The people of the Somali region deserve reparations from Ethiopian new leadership for atrocities inflicted on them, not sarcastic calls for statues building.

Finally, Abiy Ahmed Should apologies for the people of the Somali Region for his degrading comments.

Abdurahman Keldir Ali
Email: [email protected]
Writer in the history of the Horn of Africa

[1] . The Ogaden War: an analysis of its cause and Its Impact on Regional peace on the horn of Africa, Brigadier Joseph K.nkaisserry, 1997, p:18      

[2] . Evil Days, 30 years of War and Famine in Ethiopia, an African watch Report, September 1991.p:76      

[3] . Evil Days,Ibid.p:84      

[4] . Evil Days,Ibid.p:82      

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