100 Days of Bloodshed in Tigray: Denial, Hypocrisy and Complicity
Isaac M. (from Mekelle). 11.02.21
Bloodshed, looting and gross abuses continue.
The mass atrocities, prevalent rape and sexual violence, total property and livelihood destruction and grave bodily harm infliction on Tigrayans have continued in the region. Video, pictures and audio evidences are emerging exposing the crimes of the Eritrean and Ethiopian forces, as reported by the international media, inter alia, the Washington Post, The Economist, and more recently Financial Times.
The Eritrean army continues to kill entire families, including babies, mothers and the youth as a tactic of war. This is happening in villages and towns such as Edaga-arbi, Edaga-hamus, Adyet, Mahbere-doge, Adwa, Temben, Endaba-guna and Waldiba. Whenever they sustain defeat and loss from their engagement with the Tigray Defence Forces (TDF), they resort to killing civilians with no sense of humanity. And this is a policy of extermination and subjugation.
The cruelty of the Eritrean forces went to the extent of abducting an elderly mother from Semema village close to Selekleka town in Western Tigray, take her to Eritrea on the basis of an unconfirmed claim that her son is fighting with the Tigray fighters against them. This case in particular must be reported to all humanitarian and UN organisations and concerned governments. It demonstrates the level of cruelty this foreign force is inflicting on the people of Tigray. Of course, this is a continuation of the killing and abduction of Eritrean refugees who were sheltering in Tigray as fully documented by the United Nations and others.
The Ethiopian army and Amhara militia have now adopted the same war tactic including in Southern Tigray, although this was the case from the beginning with regards to bombarding and shelling villages, towns and cities indiscriminately.
The Eritrean occupying force is not only killing innocent civilians in masse but also confiscating their belongings, with a focus on grains and other foodstuffs, and take all of it using vehicles and camels. They vandalise the things they are not able to take away, especially things that are essential to sustain life and animals. There are plenty of video footages now that show all these.
In addition to this, the extreme repression, intimidation through inflicting gross bodily harm, systematic rape, abduction, displacing and starving the population in cities and towns under full control of Eritrean, federal and Amhara forces continue.
This is happening in Mikelle, the capital city of Tigray, Wukro, Adi-grat, Adwa, Axum, Shire and Humera. On Tuesday (February 9), three youth were killed by the federal army in Wukro and yesterday one youth was killed in the streets of Mikelle. Today, February the 11th, federal forces have killed three people in Adwa and went house to house to force residents of Axum open businesses and the likes without their will; they are terrorising the population.
Denial and hypocrisy
While all these are happening in one regional state of the country, the Ethiopian regime is doing its best to pretend as if it is prioritising aid delivery to millions of Tigrayans that are facing famine due to deliberate policy of using starvation as a means of war.
As if all is ok, and despite the full occupation of Tigray by a foreign army and the bloodshed inflicted by both regimes and the Amhara forces, the Addis Ababa regime and its state machinery are preparing for a national election.
How is it possible to hold a legitimate election while part of a state’s territory who have millions of people is occupied by a brutal foreign force that are killing citizens?
How is it possible to advance democracy and ensure legitimacy through an election while tens of thousands of Oromos, Southerners, the Gumuz and others, including their political leaders, are behind bars?
How is it possible to hold a legitimate election in Ethiopia while trying to assassinate, or illegally arresting, political leaders, who are critical of a foreign (Eritrean) president?
All these questions demand plausible answers.
Some so-called activists and elderly have begun televised initiatives to provide relief and promote reconciliation respectively. An activist namely Tamagn Beyene, who is famously known for using the word ‘Ethiopianess’ is coordinating the fund-raising campaign to help the people of Tigray without uttering a word about the foreign occupation, the bloodshed, wanton destruction of property and the extreme abuses of women all over Tigray.
Similarly, the so-called religious and elderly groups, embracing some renowned personalities such as Athlete Haile Gebreslasse have visited Tigray for what they call reconciliation and peace building efforts. However, while they spoke about an army attack by TPLF as a cause for all the things that are happening now, they have been silent about the Eritrean occupation, killing and looting, including sexual abuses across Tigray.
Sadly, these and similar denials and silence will have consequences for the unity and stability of Ethiopia and the horn of Africa region. Esayas Afewerki and Abiy Ahmed along their fragile regimes are not eternal, but the people of Tigray are, despite the bruit force and complete destruction of their livelihoods they have faced.
We have to recall that the Jewish people has not ceased to exist despite the barbaric crimes they had sustained by Nazi policy of mass murder, eviction and expropriation of their businesses and wealth. They are the stronger people politically, economically and militarily in the word today.
The immoral and unacceptable behaviour of regime backers in Ethiopia may well be explained by various reasons such as ethnic and economic alignments. There may also be other elements such as confusion, misinformation and fear of reprisals.
Complicity or ignorance
However, why is that some foreign powers, including the UK and the US, talking about supporting a national election in Ethiopia today, while gross violations of human rights and humanitarian laws are openly committed, tens of thousands are murdered, mothers and girls are raped and sexually abused throughout Tigray and private and public property are deliberately looted and destroyed?
It is an open secret that the USA rallied behind the two dictators when the war was waged against Tigray under the pretext of a response to an attack against a federal army’ command.
Even if we give the Abiy regime the benefit of the doubt, although unlikely to be true, that the Tigray authorities have begun the war, what sort of justification have they found to continue supporting the war while the Ethiopian, Eritrean and Amhara forces are engaged in ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity?
The tone of the US administration significantly changed when Trump was ousted from office and the Biden administration began work. But we have not witnessed any concrete action other than words and diplomatic phone calls. They all know what is happening through their satellites, agents, the media and aid agencies.
Countries such as China and Russia have not faith in humanitarian norms or protecting populations from grave crimes. However, the Tigray case has become a real test to the west. Will they firmly stand to stop the madness of the Eritrean and Ethiopian regimes against the people of Tigray or be complicit in the crimes by turning a blind eye on the atrocities, deliberate destruction and starvation that have begun to shock the conscious of human beings at world stage?
It may be that the Eritrean and Ethiopian regime backers along those who are in their payrolls and their Arab masters are investing their human, financial and diplomatic resources to cover up the dreadful crimes that are being committed against the people of Tigray.
Their main purpose of propagating to hold a bogus election which is designed to legitimise the illegal regime of Abiy Ahmed which brough multitudinous suffering on the people of Ethiopia more generally and on Tigrayans in particular.
Despite their sheer numbers, efforts and media control, justice and truth are not on their side. The struggle must thus continue, by pressuring, naming and shaming all their (domestic or foreign) accomplices, to free the people of Tigray from bloodshed, deadly repression, foreign occupation and also to hold those responsible to account.
A luta continua!
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