ADDIS ABEBA IS NOT UNDER ATTACK Thousands gather against US and fake news
“Stop CNN, stop Fake News”. That’s what the signs say, hold by thousands of Ethiopians who gathered in Addis Ababa and Washington over the past days to support the Ethiopian government and denounce what they believe is a continuous disinformation and propaganda operation against Ethiopia regarding the crisis in Tigray, a region in the north of the country. The latest fake news, contained in the alarmist headlines spreaded within the last week, was the news reported primarily by CNN according to which the militias coordinated by the TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front), were 15 miles away from Addis Ababa and that the city was almost “surrounded by rebels “. News then denied in the following hours by countless testimonies on the field as Abebe Bekele, Dean of the Faculty of Surgery at UGHE University who reassures friends from Addis Ababa via Twitter. “Dear colleagues who have written to me to find out how I am. Please consider it total fake news! “. Even Ugandan journalist Daniel Lutaaya, sent to Ethiopia for NBSTV TV, wants to make things straight: “Watching CNN and other inter’l media before before my flight, I thought I was going to a war zone. No bullets, no tension, bass are open, no roadblocks. There is actually more Military presence in Kampala (Uganda ed.) than in Addis Abeba ”.
After a few days, CNN itself specifies that the news reported came by the rebels and that no eye witnesses on the field were able to confirm the presence of militiamen.
So why then, reporting the TPLF proclamations without first making any check? Why did CNN decide to unleash general panic, especially, in a particularly delicate moment for Ethiopia? In fact, just in the recent days, after the entry of the TPLF forces (TDF) in the cities of Dessie and Kombolcha, 390 km from Addis Ababa, the closest point ever reached to the capital, the Ethiopian government declared a state of national emergency for 6 months. According to the Ethiopians who are demonstrating in the streets, everything follows a precise plan. “Remember the untruths about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Chemical weapons in Syria? Genocides in Libya? CNN, New York Times, Guardian, BBBC, were the newspapers that talked about it the most ”, says an Ethiopian citizen to a local TV. At the heart of the protest is in fact the belief that the US is trying in every way possibile to destabilize Ethiopia in order to dismiss Abiy Ahmed accused for over a year of genocide and ethnic cleansing against the Tigrinya population of the region. A series of complaints that don’t find any confirmation even in the report released last November 3 by the Joint Investigation carried out by UNHCR and the Ethiopian Commission on Human Rights.
While the investigation acknowledges that both sides in the conflict have committed several human rights violations, there is no evidence that the Ethiopian government was responsible of genocides, has deliberately denied humanitarian assistance to Tigray or used the hunger as a weapon of war as claimed for months by the media and also by the United States. In fact, US was also at the center of the protests, particularly for the decision, once again appealing to “humanitarian reasons”, to adopt an other punitive measure against Ethiopia by suspending it from the Agoa (African Growth and Opportunity Act) and therefore from the export of products to the USA. A decision that in addition to giving the figure of how deteriorated are the relations between the two countries (the vote of about 100,000 Ethiopian Americans might have had an impact on the defeat of Biden in Virginia), puts hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk and it does not take into account the humanitarian effects that such a blow to the country’s economy will have on the entire population.