The opinion piece “In Ethiopia, echoes of Yugoslavia” (August 2) by Baroness Arminka Helič is based on a misconstrued parallel that is both factually and conceptually incorrect.
In an attempt to draw a parallel with Yugoslavia, the author has failed to understand the sociopolitical, historical and cultural contexts of the country and its people.
To begin with, Ethiopia and its people are known for their cultural and religious tolerance and have lived in harmony for many centuries. There exists no enmity among the people of Ethiopia. Therefore, comparing the country’s current situation with the Balkans is a complete malposition.
Additionally, without properly understanding the nuances of the official Ethiopian language or statements made by our leaders with regard to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the author has misinterpreted a label aimed at the TPLF as describing our compatriots in Tigray. It appears that the author attempts to call for unwarranted interventions from the international community based on misinformed ideas. However, it must be made clear that no Ethiopian official has incited ill intentions against their own people as the piece portrayed.
The TPLF, which provoked conflict in November 2020 by attacking the national defense bases in the Tigray region, is now labeled a terrorist group by the Ethiopian Parliament. TPLF leaders who caused and led the conflict in Ethiopia must be brought to justice for their acts of war. No country would sit idly by while such an attack is committed.
As for the situation in the Tigray region, the Ethiopian Government, with the aim of resolving the conflict, has enacted a unilateral humanitarian ceasefire. The TPLF clique, rejecting this peaceful gesture, has instead opted to aggravate the situation by prolonging the fighting. The author’s view of the TPLF’s destabilizing character, expanding the conflict to neighboring provinces, demonstrates only an attempt to justify the acts of the TPLF as legitimate and, even more so, unjustifiably impose sanctions on Ethiopia.
The Embassy of Ethiopia not only rejects this erroneous opinion but would also request that as a respected official of a reputed country, the author refrain from comparing incomparable situations and calling for unwarranted action.
Ambassador Hirut Zemene
Embassy of Ethiopia, Brussels