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  • Hermela Aregawi

NYT's Declan Walsh: The New Face of Neocolonialism

From the beginning of the TPLF’s insurgent war against the democratically elected Government of Ethiopia and its people, the New York Times’ Declan Walsh has been dedicated to whitesplaining the story of the conflict, ignoring the cries of the majority of Africans in the Horn. Walsh was the first to accuse Ethiopia’s Government and its supporters of ethnic cleansing of the people of Tigray, without citing any evidence. Instead, it referenced its own statements and the work of known propagandist such as CNN’s Nima Elbagir, who is hated by the majority of Ethiopians and Eritreans and rightly so. Elbagir has made consistent allegations of the atrocities in Tigray by employing the sensationalist words of TPLF officials and ignoring the numerous atrocities in the Amhara and Afar regions since the federal Government of Ethiopia declared a ceasefire in June and left Tigray.

Over and over again, The Times ignored who started the war, that the TPLF insurgents attacked their fellow soldiers during the early hours of Nov 4, 2020 in what they called a pre-emptive “lightning strike” to incapacitate and destroy the Ethiopian National Defense Force and take control of the country’s largest military base and armaments, located in Tigray. Recently, even Delaware Senator Chris Coons admitted that’s how the war started. It was an arrogant miscalculation that has cost the people of Tigray and other parts of Northern Ethiopia their precious lives. The treasonous act would have moved any country’s leadership to respond with a defensive targeting of the armed insurgents. That’s what the Ethiopian Government did. But for some reason, the New York Times has a different standard for an African country and its right to defend itself and its people from an internal attack.

In the latest propaganda hit job by Declan Walsh, whose work is racist to the bone, neocolonial in its approach and spits on the basic tenets of democracy, Walsh accuses Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of planning a military campaign for months before the war erupted last November. There is evidence to show that it’s the TPLF who have been mobilizing ethnic Tigrayans using the lie that the country is against them, when the country was against the greedy, brutal TPLF leadership. For the last few years, The TPLF rejected negotiation efforts by the Federal Government of Ethiopia, unwilling to take any offer less than ruling the country again. They would not let Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed balance out the Army, which had been dominated by ethnic Tigrayans and other pro-TPLF agents for nearly three decades. The TPLF ruled the country for 27 years after its Western-backed overthrow of the then communist government, the Derg. Since, it rigged elections and killed protesters who spoke out as a matter of routine. When the TPLF was sidelined in 2018 through the struggle of the people and years of protests, it continued to operate as though it was still running the country and refused to let Abiy Ahmed do the job he was appointed, and later elected by the people to do, run the country as he and his parliament saw fit.

In what they thought was a clever chess move, the TPLF had their own regional elections last September “in an unprecedented act of defiance against the federal government." It was at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Ethiopia's Federal Government had delayed its federal election in accordance with international advisors, in line with the decisions of 78 other countries. Imagine a state in the United States ignoring the decision of the federal government based on public health advisory and going along with its own elections anyway, and finally attacking a federal military base. And further imagine, when the federal government responds, the rogue state then claiming that the government is waging a genocide on the people of that state.

The TPLF controlled much of the Ethiopian National Army for the 27 years that it ruled. How else would you be able to hold on to power when you are a minority group allegedly representing a minority ethnic group. While the Tigray People’s Liberation Front was formed in 1975 to liberate the Tigrayan people from the communist government at the time, what it has done in reality is dump the people of Tigray into the pits of war, over and over again. When the war is over, they consolidate power and money and leave the people in Tigray to rot in poverty and social decay. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

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