This is a continuation of last month’s post, The November War. Click or tap here to read it.
Ethiopia defeated rebels who, on 4 November 2020, had declared war upon the Ethiopian National Defence Force. Some are left, still causing problems in Tigray. Ever since, the people have had no peace. There is now a two-pronged attack on Ethiopia. From the west come attacks on Ethiopian Metekel, especially attacks upon Amhara and Agew Amhara Jews. In the north, there is the Republic of Sudan invasion of Gondar. January is meant to be peaceful. It is the month of Ethiopian Christmas followed by the UNESCO registered baptism ritual temket (timket).
1. Temket in Gondar & Addis Ababa
Temket is Ethiopian Orthodox baptism. In the Western calendar, it falls on 19 January. Thousands of years old, it began in Gondar. Click or tap here to view a video. Now, the district of Gondar is under attack.
The cleansing and protective baptism ritual is open to everyone. Jews, Christians, Muslims, Animists and non-believers take part. Animals also have the holy water. On its eve, each monastery brings out the tabot. This is the replica of the Ark of the Covenant.
The community parades it for 10 kilometres to baptismal water. They strew qetema rushes before the procession. Then at night, they bless the water in prayer. The next day, after baptism, worshippers retrace their footsteps. Clear eyed, dresses still white, they return the tabot to their monastery.
Temket was inscribed by UNESCO in 2019 (14.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Click or tap here to see the list. This month, representatives of UNESCO attended at Jan Meda Horse Course in Addis Ababa. Invaders of Gondar said, ‘No more Jewish and Christian festivals.’
2. Attacks in Metekel
The site of a new dam project, Metekel in Gojjam district is twice the size of England. It is challenging to defend it. Mercenaries of various nationalities murder people there with bombs, guns and arrows. From May 2020, communities of Amhara farmers have lost 100 people almost daily.
The mercenaries have foreign training and funding. They enter Ethiopia from Sudan where they pose as refugees. Mercenaries’ violence has displaced 174,000. Mostly farmers, their agricultural skills are now wasted during a time of food shortage. This was reported by ETV Zena, January 24, 2021. Click or tap here to view the news report in Amharic. By February, there were 400,000 displaced people.
At Christmas 2020, mercenaries massacred 103 farmers: Agew Amhara Jews. People were asleep. Barring doors to prevent escape, the mercenaries burned alive men, women and children in their houses. The Ethiopian National Defence Force chased the attackers. One dropped a mobile phone. On it was a plan to destroy the nearby Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
This month, mercenaries murdered 104 on a bus. A farmer had put his wife and 4 children on it, expecting it to take them to safety. Where were foreign reports of the atrocities?
3. Attacks in Gondar
A month ago, the Republic of Sudan invaded Gondar in northern Ethiopia. Troops stole livestock and burned harvested sorghum and cotton. Three farmers resisted. The invaders shot or burned them alive. When the Ethiopian National Defence Force killed and routed some invaders, the United Nations complained. Ethiopia’s foreign minister visited Khartoum to broker peace. The Republic refused to negotiate.
Invaders got as far as 68 kilometres inside Ethiopia. They kidnapped 55 shepherd boys. Nobody knows where the children are now. They murdered and raped farmers and called vets “wizard” before beheading them.
The United States is implicated in the invasion. Last year, its president incited Egypt to violence. In public, he told Egypt to bomb the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Soldiers of the Republic of Sudan had American Humphrey jeeps. This was according to a news report by Seber. Click or tap here to view the report in Amharic. Some had photos of President Trump on their military tanks.
Theft and damage soon amounted to more than 1 billion Ethiopian birr. Troops of the Republic of Sudan stole 400,000 livestock and pharmaceutical-grade seed oil; also, combine-harvesters and tractors. They bombed water wells and reservoirs used for cattle, as well as bridges, roads and veterinary clinics.
Egypt backs the Republic of Sudan. Earlier this month, the US Finance Minister and Foreign Policy Military Advisor met in Khartoum. They were joined by the Egyptian Foreign Minister and the Arab League led by Saudi Arabia. The month before, they undertook joint military training in the Republic of Sudan.
Ethiopia cannot declare war on the Republic of Sudan. If she does, Egypt, followed by Europeans, will invade.
4. Ethiopia’s Plight is Ignored
Friends of rebels defeated late last year have not given up. In Addis Ababa, police discovered vehicles containing automatic rifles, Bren machine guns and grenades. They belonged to foreign non-government organisations. In Djibouti, an Egyptian ship, supposedly carrying spare parts, had on board 100,000 machetes and “chain fire-bombs” (like grenades). They were intended for Ethiopia.
Mercenaries attempted to assassinate the Ethiopian prime minister, also the interior minister. He oversaw the capture of the “November War” criminals. They tried to destroy the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Defence Construction.
Washington diaspora wrote about the attacks to the United Nations. It never replied to them. Ethiopia is rich in cultural heritage. Her people love peace. How can the United Nations ignore her plight?
My 86-year-old friend cried at this loss of life. He said, ‘Never have I seen such a coalition against Ethiopia.’
© Ianet Bastyan, January 2021
Featured image: Temket in Addis Ababa © Mesfin Tadesse, 2020