ዓለም አቀፍ ሕብረት ለፍትሕ – የኢትዮጵያ ጉዳይ
Armenia and Ethiopia have historic similarities with regard to their having been victims of genocide by the Ottoman Turks, and Fascist Italy respectively. Internationally established civic organizations have been made operational to achieve the objectives of justice for the respective countries.
CRIMES OF GENOCIDE COMMITTED IN ARMENIA AND ETHIOPIA
It was in 1915 that the Ottoman Turks perpetrated the crime of genocide in Armenia resulting in the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians. In Ethiopia, Fascist Italy’s war crime of genocide occurred during 1935-41 during which 1 million Ethiopians perished. This included the massacre of 30,000 Ethiopians within only three days in February 1937 at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital city. In addition to the loss of human lives, the war crime had resulted in the destruction of 2,000 churches, 525,000 homes, and 14 million animals. Furthermore, huge quantities of properties were looted from Ethiopia and are currently in the custody of the Italian Government and the Vatican.
ETHIOPIA’S SUPPORT TO ARMENIA
As Armenia and Ethiopia share mutual respect as well as a common Christian Orthodox faith, Ethiopia had welcomed, during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie I, 40 Armenian families to migrate to Ethiopia.
THE STATUS OF JUSTICE FOR ARMENIA AND ETHIOPIA
Despite Armenia’s struggle for justice for a full century, no formal recognition of the Turkish genocide has been issued by the international community with regard to Armenia. Fascist Italy’s war crimes in Ethiopia were treated in a highly superficial manner by the payment of a reparation of a mere $25 million to Ethiopia with the construction of the Koka Dam. Despite the comparatively lower levels of war crimes committed, Italy’s reparations to other nations were: $125 million to Yugoslavia, $105 million to Greece, and $100 million to the Soviet Union.
None of the perpetrators of the Fascist war crimes in Ethiopia were brought to justice unlike the Nazi criminals who were prosecuted for their crimes against the Jewish people.
In addition, although the Vatican has apologized repeatedly to the Jewish people for having been merely silent during the Nazi holocaust, it has not yet apologized to the Ethiopian people for its complicity with the Fascists, especially the collaboration between Pope Pius XI and the Fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini. Among the numerous evidences for the collaboration between the Vatican and the Fascists, mention can be made of the Lateran Treaty signed by the two parties, the numerous Catholic cardinals, bishops, and clergy who had expressed their support for the Fascist war in Ethiopia in several ways including contributions of their personal jewelry, prayers, etc. as well as the Vatican’s attempted bribe of 1 million Sterling Pounds to Emperor Haile Selassie I for his recognition of Italian sovereignty over Ethiopia. It is also a matter of record, as per the New York Times news item of February 13, 1937 that Pope Pius Xi had blessed the Italian King, Vittorio Emmanuel as “the king of Italy and emperor of Ethiopia”.
As if to add insult to injury, Italy has recently inaugurated a monument for Fascist “butcher of Ethiopia”, Rodolfo Graziani, in the presence of a Vatican representative. It should, however, be stated that on March 13, 2015, the Lazio Provincial Authority has issued a resolution demanding that the Affile Town Council annul the dedication of the mausoleum to the Fascist Rodolfo Graziani failing which the provincial authority would require the reimbursement of the funds granted for the construction of the monument and further action as required.
STRUGGLE FOR JUSTICE
The campaign for justice by civic organizations concerned, respectively, with the genocide crimes in Armenia and Ethiopia is in progress globally. As regards Armenia, two activist civic entities, namely, the Armenian Assembly of Armenia, and the Armenian National Committee of America are conducting their campaigns. The Global Alliance for Justice – The Ethiopian Cause (GAJEC) is undertaking its campaign for justice with regard to Ethiopia.
Whereas the two Armenia related civic organizations are focusing on the international recognition of the Turkish crime of genocide, in the case of GAJEC, the following are its main objectives:
- Adequate reparations by the Italian Government to Ethiopia;
- Vatican apology to the Ethiopian people;
- Restitution of Ethiopian properties by the Vatican and the Italian Governments to Ethiopia;
- Recognition by the United Nations of Fascist Italy’s war crimes in Ethiopia; and
- Dismantlement of the monument recently established for the “butcher of Ethiopia”, Rodolfo Graziani, at an Italian city: Affile.
It should be noted here that GAJEC has become a member of UN ECOSOC.
POTENTIAL FOR COLLABORATION AMONG THE ARMENIAN AND ETHIOPIAN CIVIC ENTITIES
Since the Armenia, and Ethiopia related civic entities have important common objectives, their collaboration in terms of their advocacy efforts could have a more tangible impact. It is, therefore, recommended that consideration be given to the possibility of an integrated collaborative effort on a global basis.