Twitter ought to Suspend Abiy Ahmed from its Platform

Twitter ought to Suspend Abiy Ahmed from its Platform

When Twitter suspended President Trump, it said the following: 

After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence. 

Twitter didn’t suspend Trump for what he had tweeted per se. It suspended him because it deemed the tweets in question potential causes for violence. Twitter side-stepped the debate about free speech and the metaphysics of the “platform” itself (whether it’s a mere platform or a media outlet with an editorial policy) by framing its decision in consequentialist terms – he has been banned to minimize harm

If Twitter can suspend a person on such finely calibrated moral grounds, apparently out of abundance of caution, it has a far more strong ground to suspend the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Mr. Abiy Ahmed.

Here is why. 

Abiy has been using the platform to incite violence against ethnic Tigrayans by tweeting a call to arms bordering on a call to genocide. On July 18, 2021, he told his 750,000+ followers: “Let’s join hands to rid ourselves of the weed, cancer and satan”. The words weed, cancer and satan ostensibly refer to the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF), a political party that is widely supported by ethnic Tigrayans and against whom the Abiy-led regime has been at a war footing for the last eight months. Although the regime maintains the war is only against the TPLF (bad enough already, given that the TPLF had just been voted in to govern Tigray by an overwhelming majority), it’s now morphed into a war on ethnic Tigrayans. When the Ethiopian Army suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Tigray Defence Forces (TDF), Abiy appeared on TV and blamed the defeat on the Tigray people. He explained the defeat away by saying: “Our army was back-stabbed by the Tigrayan people”. That gave the police in Addis Ababa and elsewhere a licence to lash out against civilian Tigrayans. According to reports by Amnesty, Reuters, and the state-appointed Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC), hundreds of Tigrayan-owned businesses in Addis Ababa have since been closed down; and hundreds of civilians have been jailed. Crimes include speaking Tigrigna, playing Tigrigna music, showing support to the TPLF (for example, by having a picture of its leader on your phone) and possessing a Tigray Government-issued ID. What this practically means is that literally every person of Tigrayan descent can be accused of being a member of the TPLF, and hence a weed, a cancer or a satan. 

So when Abiy uses the words “weed”, “cancer” and “satan”  in his tweets, there’s absolutely no doubt as to whom they refer to among his supporters. They refer to any ethnic Tigrayans. 

If Twitter was worried about Trump’s tweets being used to justify violence in a country with strong guardrails against civilians turning on one another and where there’s no specific ethnic minority that the tweets targeted, it should be horrified by Abiy’s tweets for two reasons. First, Abiy is very blunt in his tweets in a way that Trump never was, and never could have been. Abiy is clear about who the target is and about what needs to be done. The target is ethnic Tigrayans and what needs to be done is left to each person’s discretion, which means anything goes. This has all the hallmarks of a call to genocide. Second, there’s no independent body in Ethiopia who can say “this is wrong”. So, if Abiy orders an attack against Tigrayans, which has done in multiple tweets, ethnic Tigrayans have no one to appeal to. 

It is for these reasons that the decision to ban Abiy from Twitter should be much easier and uncontroversial. If Twitter does not want to give a “leader” who flirts with genocide a platform, it ought to suspend Abiy Ahmed. The stakes could not be higher. Twitter has a responsibility to act. 

Teklai Gebremichael

Writes about Tigray.

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Davey McCrackett

    I could not agree more

  2. abraham

    Abiy ahmed ali is calling the ethiopian people for tigray genocide.

  3. AbaTadel

    Abiy is a criminal. He ordered people of Tigria to be targeted and killed any where any place in Ethiopian. He is master minding the genocide in Ethiopian on Tigrians

  4. Tegegne Tefera

    TPLF and it’s leadership committed documented atrocities, that amounts to Genocide in the horn of Africa for the last 30 years. They committed massacres in Somalia, committed ethnic cleaning of Eritreans in Ethiopia, looted the country. At last it was defeated by the people of Ethiopia and forced out of power. It did not accept the decision of the people of Ethiopia therefore it claimed it has conducted an election which TPLF perfected in cheating for the last 30 years all over Ethiopia on the captive population of Tigray and lead insurrection and mascaraed the countries defense forces. It then committed ethnic cleansing in Wolqite Tegede and Telemt. It is forcing children as a fodder for war and civilians as human shield. Mascaraed Eritrean refugees where they have taken shelter, killed Tigreans who did not support it. This is a designated terrorist organization since the 1960s. The people of Ethiopia and the region need to be protected this a clearly dangerous organization. Abyi Ahmed was talking about this dangerous organization. Abyi Ahmed is supported by by the millions of Ethiopians including Tigreans and just elected overwhelmingly in a transparent election which was the first in the countries history. The government of Ethiopia declared a unilateral ceasefire to allow humanitarian access to the people of Tigray that suffered due to the a war started by TPLF. TPLF not only rejected the ceasefire but attacked aid convoys taking much needed supply to the people of Tigray and killed aid workers. This post is an attempt to silence those that oppose violence against children and women and the people of Ethiopia in general and the people of Tigray in particular. Twitter should ban those who advocate the continuation of violence not those who want to end it by rooting out the culprits.

  5. Berhane

    We the people by the people government leaders should not be exception to hate speech and genocidal in their statement. Abiy Ahmed’s labeling entire Tigray people “cancer” is horror blood path. We can only hope Twitter sends clear message by suspending his account and setting an example to other.

  6. Ghenet Gebremariam

    Abiy amhed is telling his supporters to continue to kill and rape tigrayans. His Twitter account is a platform that is and has put millions of people at risk of being killed and raped. This is genocide.

  7. Marta

    Abiy Mohammed is a killer, he declared war on his own people with Eritreans, Amhara military, troops, used UAE drone attacks, killed thousands of civilians, gang raped children and women, destroyed infrastructures, burn people crops and thousands displaced to Sudan and millions internal displaced. Also he blocked out communication, internet, food access, bank.
    and fabrication a lots of lie news to the about what’s happening in Tigray region Ethiopia. Therefore, he needs to block from media platforms.

  8. Yosef

    Twitter ought to Suspend Abiy Ahmed from its Platform

  9. Berihu

    Twitter should suspend to Abiy Ahmed from the flat form.Because of his #TigrayGenocide. He wrote hate words and motivational ideas for genocide.
    Suspend immediately for his hate waord

    1. Kinfe

      Abiy Ahmed is calling the people of Ethiopia to initiate for Tigray Genocide. He is promoting ethnic cleansing. He is using very offensive words. Dear Twitter staff, please consider his very hard word. His account must be suspended for ever. As his words will be a cause for millions lives to be in danger. Thank you.

  10. Girmay Abreha Giday

    Undabtdly he has been declared a clear unprecedented genocide against Tigrians
    In his Platform. For this reasen
    Twitter shoud ban for ever..for the evil act of #Abiyahmedali.

  11. Zelealem Desta

    It is Genocidal message.

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