Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed made a press release on Sunday concerning the violence in Oromia, Harar, and Dire Dawa areas weeks ago. The speech of the Nobel winner has become a hot issue in social media just after its live transmission on state Television.
The premier on his press release talked about those who died due to the violence, identifying them with their ethnicity and religion.
He said that 86 people died due to past conflict. Among them, 50 were ethnic Oromo, 20 Amhara, 8 Gamo, 2 Silte, 1 Gurage, 1 Argoba, and the rest are unidentified. When it comes to religion, he said that 40 of the victims were Christians, 34 were Muslims, and 12 were from other religions.
This way of the prime minister’s identification of the dead caused controversy. “Why did he forgot that they are Ethiopians?” a man commented on social media in the office of the prime minister’s page. He added, “why is [the PM] become shy to criticize the criminals behind the death of civilians?”
Others mentioned the prime minister’s iconic phrase, “We Ethiopians, while alive, we are Ethiopians; when we die, we become Ethiopia,” said in his inaugural speech at the parliament.
Some asked the question of why did the prime minister forgot his word and talk about their ethnicity and religion instead of their being Ethiopia? “Stating their ethnicity and religion is a very worrisome thing to do. It won’t help a bit for anyone knowing it. We are all brothers and sisters; we don’t want anyone to get hurt.” says another comment.
Besides, the speech failed to point out the criminals behind this shameful act, according to some commenters. “I expected the leader to denounce the person who initiated this violence in the first place,” said one of them.
On the other side, some believe that nothing is wrong with the speech of the PM. The prime minister himself explained why he chose to mention the victims by their ethnicity and religion during his speech; he said he did that to highlight the fact that “when violence occurs, it kills every ethnicity and religion.”
“He explained why he said that. we should not take things the wrong way,” commented a person who took the prime minister’s speech positively.
Furthermore, the prime minister promised that the government would take every necessary measure to promote peace and security while working to reverse the mistakes of the past.