Jeff Pearce—Habashi’s White Savior

If you are like me who did not know who Jeff Pearce was until a couple of weeks ago when an audio of UN officials in Finfinnee dishing it out on their colleagues, or just saw a guy who looks like one of Coneheads characters ranting about Ethiopia on Zoom, you must be eager to learn about this “Ethiopian Patriot.” Luckily for you, publicly available information would reveal the Habashi’s White Savior.

If you wondered, like me, that how come an enlightened westerner who claims to be a historian, supported Tigray Genocide, you may realize the motivation is somewhere else. Jeff Pearce is a darling of the unitarist faction in Ethiopia.

When I learned about the leaked audio, which led to the recall of the UN officials from Finfinnee, I thought Jeff Pearce was a UN staff himself. Later, I thought he could be a biased reporter, but I wasn’t sure. I had to look him up. I didn’t even know the guy was this immersed in Ethiopian politics and worked full time in attacking perceived enemies of Ethiopia.

Jeff Pearce came to know Ethiopia while writing a novel that flopped. He told The Reporter—Ethiopian government friendly newspaper, that he learned about the Italian invasion of Ethiopia as he “tunneled through old newspapers and dug through archive files.” That was when he came up with the idea of writing “Prevail: The Inspiring Story of Ethiopia’s Victory Over Mussolini’s Invasion.” He claims no connection to Ethiopia in the interview. Justifying his obsession with Ethiopia, he said, “‘Why are you interested in this?’ And my answer is usually, ‘But who do I have to be? I don’t need a personal stake—your history is compelling enough.’” In short, Mr. Pearce takes a novelist’s protagonist approach to the Second Italo-Ethiopian War. He could not believe that Ethiopia beat Italy in the war. Unclear, if the admiration is a compliment or an insult, but Mr. Pearce is absolutely sure it’s a compliment. He also basks in the adulation he has been receiving from Ethiopians; some even suggested he get an “honorary Ethiopian citizenship.”

In the interview, Jeff Pearce suggests there was an interruption in education in Ethiopia “because of the Derg and the political upheavals that followed.” His Messiah complex set in when he asserted “people are hungry to learn about their nation’s past,” and they are supposedly learning from his book on Ethiopia: Prevail. Get it? Wink-wink.

Jeff Pearce describes himself as a novelist and a career surrealist in his public bios. “Historian” appears sometimes. That’s questionable in this writer’s opinion. His LinkedIn profile says he is a freelance writer. He also says he is a journalist. The Amazon author page under his name features about a dozen books.

Mr. Pearce writes on Medium—an online publishing platform, where former bloggers frequent these days. From about three dozen opinion articles he published on Medium, over 30 of them focus on Ethiopia. Since July 2020, Jeff Pearce wrote only about Ethiopia, mostly railing against Tigray People’s Liberation Front. Remember his LinkedIn profile? He is a freelance writer. Do you think a freelance writer, who writes for a living, wrote three dozen articles for free? In one of his tweets, he has acknowledged there is nothing wrong with getting paid to write about or opine on Ethiopian politics when he was accused of being a paid actor. He didn’t take issue with the accusation; it appeared. Perhaps he is just trying to sell Prevail. Good luck to him if that is the sole purpose of writing a bunch of articles in support of a genocide.

Coming back to the leaked audio [you can listen to it below if you haven’t], Mr. Pearce claims his recorder was stolen. This would have been believable if it were the 90s because back then, reporters carried voice recorders everywhere and the chance of losing them was high. In 2021, you won’t need that kind of hardware to record conversations—you press buttons on your computer and everything takes care of itself. Trust us; there is an app for that. Perhaps too many apps. Did those TPLF juntas he hates so much on Twitter and Medium unload dollars on him to get the audio? We would never know.

Perhaps you wouldn’t find the real Jeff Pearce on LinkedIn or Twitter. You will find him at an old blog where he wrote about his writing career and shared the stories and plots he came up with while writing. You will find him where he trashed Canadian TV producers who kept rejecting his pitch.

In that old blog, there is a tidbit that might upset his homophobic fans. In a blog post titled “Confessions of A Sex Scene Writer,” Jeff Pearce confesses to an arousal by gay sex scene he came up with. He even suggested he had to excuse himself to masturbate. He credited the following paragraph of his own creation that led to his “goofy” behavior.

Brin’s hands were already pulling down his underwear as they stared eye to eye, and he enjoyed the fact that the young man’s breath was growing rapid. He was swelling in Brin’s palm, Brin’s other hand cupping his testicles, finding the delicate sensitive area just underneath that prompted a moan of vulnerable longing.

This writer couldn’t care less about Jeff Pearce’s sexual orientation, but he suspects the rabid and extremely homophobic fans would be disappointed, or perhaps go on a fasting and prayer retreat.

Perhaps Jeff Pearce doesn’t care as long as he gets paid for whatever articles he churns out, even if they hate him.