July 15, 2021

Wave of anger breaks out on Ethiopian Twitter over US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s report on genocide

City: Addis AbabaTrendingPoliticsCurrent Affairs

Ethiopians have taken to Twitter to condemn US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s Annual Report on Genocide and Cruelty.

Avatar: Nigist Berta
By Nigist Berta

Nigist is a senior reporter and content creator at Addis Zeybe, who is experienced in journalism and who explores her passion for storytelling.

Wave of anger breaks out on Ethiopian Twitter over US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s report on genocide

Ethiopians have taken to Twitter to condemn US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s Annual Report on Genocide and Cruelty which has lumped the East African country alongside China, Syria, Iran, Myanmar, and South Sudan. 

The hashtag #BlinkenSoWoyane, which labels Blinken as a TPLF ally, has been trending on Twitter since the morning of July 15, 2021.

"We will strive for change through diplomacy, foreign aid, fact-finding missions, funding, participatory support, and the like, and we will do our best to produce reports of coordinated global impact and response," the US Secretary of State said.

However, Ethiopians have expressed their outrage by starting a Twitter campaign referring to the alleged atrocities committed against Ethiopians by the American government. One said the  "American government is only concerned about the TPLF's alleged atrocities, ignoring the fact that they are the main cause of the whole mess". The campaign was mounted under the hashtag #BlinkenSoWoyane.

It was first started by Tamrat Negera, a well-known political analyst and founder of Terara Network

Addis Zeybe asked him for an explanation. He explained: "I did not start a campaign denying the fact that the Ethiopian government is not innocent of this war. I have repeatedly referred to the faults of this government at different stages, and will always call them out for their faults.”

But he argues the reports from Blinken and other US government officials are not credible, adding that they are untrue, falsified, and misrepresented by TPLF actors and unreliable witnesses across the country. 

International news outlets, such as The New York Times and AP are publishing biased reports which overshadow the situation in Tigray denying facts on the ground, he claims.

"Ironically, these reports don't indicate that the collateral damage which happened right at the start of the war was the main cause was the TPLF,” he added.

Tamrat Negera’s first tweet of the campaign is:

Following Tamirat’s request, many tweets flooded the platform, which was satirical but directed different messages to the American state department.

The tweets included such remarks as "#BlinkenSoWoyane he oversees the #childSoldiers recruitment program and says it is a great development" and "#BlinkenSoWoyane - he knows Ethiopian internal borders more than US_Mexican border".

Referring to the repeated statements by Blinken on the conflict in Tigray, many denounced the US government for interfering in the sovereignty of the nation.

"We are an independent nation with the right to exercise our freedom and self-rule, " said one Twitter user which Addis Zeybe contacted via messages, who added: "Though we are economically poor, leave our matters for us."

The declarations fiercely criticizing the Ethiopian government began on May 15, 2021, with a press statement that stated: “There are numerous credible reports that armed forces are committing serious crimes against civilians in Tigray. In particular, the actions of the Eritrean and Amhara forces are deplorable.”

Following the first, the secretary released three further press statements on May 23, 2021; July 6, 2021, and July 15, 2021. The May 21, 2021 statement stated: "Visa sanctions have been imposed on forces responsible for the Tigray crisis, including those of the Eritrean and Amhara regions.

"We urge Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to pledge to completely withdraw Eritrean and Amhara forces from Tigray. Ethiopia's internal borders should not be changed in violation of the constitution" and  “Report on Genocide and Violence Prevention” respectively.

Addis Zeybe has repeatedly contacted the US Embassy in Addis Ababa by telephone and email to inquire about the US government's response to these complaints but is yet to receive a response. 

War broke out in Ethiopia’s Tigray region in November 2020 between the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)-led armed forces.

On 28 June 2021, ENDF unilaterally declared a ceasefire. However Tigrian forces continued the fighting to the bordering areas of the Amhara regional state, to regain territory in the war-torn region.


Editor's note: Before publication, Addis Zeybe contacted the US Embassy in Addis Ababa about the US government's response to these complaints. On July 16, the US Embassy in Addis Ababa told Addis Zeybe that it had forwarded the request to the US State Department and would pass on any information they received in due course.