Doug McGill in Ethiopia


According to ‘dave’ of The Anuak Genocide Watch, a blog from Gambella, a reporter from Rochester, Minnesota is ‘the only member of the press consistently covering the events’ there. Doug McGill, the former NY Times reporter, now writes a column for the Rochester Post-Bulletin called ‘Global Rochester’. (A little Rochester, Minnesota paper can do this but the NYT can’t?) The columns are collected on a website called, naturally enough, The McGill Report, and his despatches from Ethiopia are, or should be, required reading. A sample.

‘The Minister of Genocide’

Some Anuak relief groups have named Barnabas Gebre-Ab, Ethiopia’s Minister of Federal Affairs for the State of Gambella, in western Ethiopia, as the highest-ranking of three officials responsible for the targeted killing of more than 1,200 Anuak in the past three months in Gambella.Last December 13, more than 400 Anuak were killed in a single day in the town of Gambella, the capital of the state of Gambella. Eyewitnesses say the Ethiopian army has since conducted scorched-earth raids against many Anuak villages killing men, women, and children.


Like many top Ethiopian government figures, Gebre-Ab fought as a revolutionary for more than a decade to topple the cruel Communist regime known as the Dergue. Gebre-Ab was a medic in the revolutionary militia, hiding out for years until the Dergue was finally overthrown in 1991.


As we finished our beers, Gebre-Ab described how he had hungrily read through all the great works of Communist revolutionaries for inspiration. It struck me that he and his fellow revolutionaries are now discovering that revolution doesn’t work as a principle of governance.It’s been thirteen years since the Dergue was overthrown. Today, rather than fostering democracy, the Ethiopian government is adopting the Dergue’s own former methods to keep power and maintain domestic rule.

‘An Anouak Survivor’s Story’

NAIROBI, KENYA — Emmanuel Okwier Oletho, a teenage agriculture student in Gambella who has a sister in Minnesota, was at home at around noon on December 13. His father, Okwier Oletho, the pastor at the Assembly of God Chuch, was one of Gambella’s most prominent figures. Here is Emmanuel’s eyewitness account of that day:

“A lot of Highlanders came, followed by Ethiopian government soldiers. My Pop opened the window and he said ‘I’m a pastor, why are you looking for me?’ They said ‘We are searching for you. You are the one we are looking for.’ He said ‘Okay, let me finish my prayer.’ At that time the house was starting to burn because they threw two bombs into the house. The furniture was burning.

“When he finished he ran out the window. They pursued after him and killed him with an axe.”

‘A Bloody Saturday’

On Saturday, December 13, in a single bloody burst of targeted mass murder, Ethiopia became the world’s latest sovereign to attempt genocide as a way to solve its problems with a troublesome minority.The U.S., which gave Ethiopia $32 million in foreign aid last year, is investigating the massacre in which eyewitnesses say uniformed Ethiopian soldiers murdered more than 400 members of the Anuak tribe.

The charge is made by dozens of Anuak refugees who live in the United States, and who have spoken by telephone to relatives who survived the massacre. More than 2,000 Anuak live in the U.S., having fled ethnic cleansing over the past decade.

The genocide in Ethiopia is, it seems, only being covered with any regularity in Rochester, Minnesota. The rest of the world is too busy with George’s Folly to care. Somebody needs to tell Emmanuel not to expect any outside help. President George W ‘I went to war against Saddam because he was committing genocide’ Bush is only interested in stopping genocide when it’s happening in a country with oil–A LOT of oil. Tell Junior that the area of the Anuak has oil (it does, too, though not all that much, certainly not compared to Iraq) and maybe you’ll get his attention.

First, though, somebody has to show him where Ethiopia is.

Africa, George. Africa. Big place south of Italy, right across the water (you know where Italy is, that’s the place you got in so much trouble on your first Euro-trip that the Prime Minister, considered by many experts in Europe to be the dumbest politician on the continent, had to pull you out of the fire by the heels). Camels, lions, pyramids. You know. AFRICA. Elephants, crocodiles, scary black people. AFRICA, you dimwit. It’s near Iraq. *sigh* Map, George. Look at a map. *pause* That thing with the squiggly lines running all over it. Never seen one before? Oh, fine. Oh, a road map? Um, not quite the same thing, George. This covers a little more territory–NO, Africa was NOT your birthday present. Saudi Arabia was. Remember that nice Mr Abdullah who came to see you? He dropped off the keys that day. It’s all yours– No, when you’re old enough to handle it respons– GET DOWN FROM THERE RIGHT NOW! Right NOW, I said! The very idea. Reaching for Iran when you haven’t digested Iraq yet and Afghanistan is sitting on a corner of your plate hardly touched. On second thought, maybe it will be best if you don’t know where Ethiopia is. Well, best for both of you, dear. I’m not sure that poor little country could stand Gebre-Ab and you at the same time. Why don’t you go find Don and the two of you can play outside. Well, I don’t know. Bomb some more wedding parties in the desert, you had fun doing that, didn’t you? Oh, the neighbors didn’t like it? How do you know? They wrote you a note. But darling, you don’t know how to–Oh, Don read it to you and that’s how you know what it said. Well, I don’t care what you do but really, dear, you’ve got to get out of Mommy’s hair because frankly if she doesn’t get a little drinky-poo and some peace and quiet pretty soon, she’s going to SCREAM! Now, GIT! And don’t touch Syria! I’m saving that for Christmas!

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