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Samantha Power’s Shameful Silence on the Genocide in Africa

“Abiy Ahmed, the prime minister of Ethiopia, flew to Washington in December to participate in the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit hosted by Joe Biden. Even though Abiy launched a full-scale attack on Tigray in November 2020 after the area resisted his attempts to postpone elections, he was still invited. Abiy’s army detained Tigrayans in Addis Ababa, and the Tigray area was purposefully starved, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Apologists for Abiy claim that the Tigray Defense Forces opened fire by assaulting an Ethiopian army facility in Tigray; however, this claim is deceptive. In addition to being organised, the Ethiopian attack on civilians was also unlawful according to any interpretation of the law.

In other words, Abiy is complicit in genocide and belongs in a global courtroom, not the White House.

Samantha Power, the director of USAID, is unlikely to speak out.

She was elected to government on the back of a lament about America’s reluctance to tackle genocide, but she has chosen to disregard the lessons from her previous efforts.

Power travelled to Addis Abeba earlier this year to beg Abiy to end the killings, but he disregarded her. Energy should feel humiliated that Biden invited Abiy to visit Washington, but her thirst for power precedes morality. But this is nothing new. She and then-Senator Barack Obama became friends through her book. However, as president, Power withdrew after Obama first refrained from intervening in Syria and chose to retire after the formation of the Islamic State in 2014 made mass murder and the Yezidi genocide possible.

Unfortunately, there is still fighting in Ethiopia. Abiy has effectively reduced Ethiopia, a powerful country, to a satrapy of Eritrea. Even though Ethiopian forces are not present in Tigray, Eritrea is still plundering and raping the area. Abiy also unlocked a Pandora’s Box by stoking racial tensions; as a result, Oromia is now the target of Ethiopia’s war machine.

But genocide is a possibility everywhere, not only in Ethiopia. During the USAID Administrator’s recent tour to the region, officials from Africa were astounded by Power’s lack of planning and comprehension of events. Consider the situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Knowledge is not free. Through blatant ineptitude, Power’s superficiality and that of Secretary of State Antony Blinken threaten to magnify racial mistrust into genocide.

The Rwandan genocide monument and museum have to be revisited by Power. It traces the events leading up to the 1994 anti-Tutsi Genocide. It demonstrates how racial strife resulted from an imported ideology that saw Hutus as native Rwandans and Tutsis as invading people who did not belong there. This idea was used as justification for the Hutu genocide.

Sadly, history is repeatable. Félix Tshisekedi, the president of the DRC, formerly collaborated with Rwanda to establish commerce and resource development while ensuring security along their shared border. However, Tshisekedi decided to play the ethnic card last year to divert attention from his shortcomings and strengthen his chances of winning the Kinshasa elections. It was an overtly racist tactic. The same “indigenous vs invader” worldview that motivated the genocide in Rwanda now targets Banyamulenge, Hema, and other Congolese communities, according to Genocide Watch. That did not deter Biden from extending the invitation to Tshisekedi to visit the White House, nor did it spur Power to speak out.

Owing to overlook the agency of Tutsis in the DRC who see genocide on the horizon fostered by Tshisekedi and stoked by the Biden administration’s moral equivalency, Blinken and Power must now accuse Rwanda of backing the M23 militia in the area. It’s comparable to dismissing the growth of the Islamic State while criticising Yezidis for self-defence.

Who would have thought that the prominent voice against genocide would join the killers in their celebration so quickly? Maybe this teaches us that power corrupts.

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