We can no longer deny the atrocities in Ethiopia


(Source: Boston Review, by ALEX DE WAAL, 02 March 2021) – 

A civil war in the northern region of Tigray broke out in November 4, 2020. Denial within the international community has prevented much-needed humanitarian aid.

An Ethiopian refugee, who fled the Tigray conflict, walk in the Tenedba camp in Mafaza, eastern Sudan on January 8, 2021, after being transported from the reception center. Photo: by Ashraf Shazly/AFP via Getty Images

At terrifying speed, a humanitarian disaster of is unfolding in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia. Amidst an ongoing civil war that broke out in November, the Tigrayan people are starving en masse. Occupying soldiers are killing, raping, and ransacking, mercilessly and systematically. The personable, reformist prime minister Abiy Ahmed Ali—who little more than a year ago was basking in the glow of a Nobel Peace prize—is driving his country into the abyss. There are indications that he wishes it wasn’t so, but every sign points to the fact that the forces he has unleashed are beyond his control. They include ethnic militia and the vast army of neighboring Eritrea, both implicated in sickening atrocities.

Amidst an ongoing civil war that broke out in November, the Tigrayan people are starving en masse.

The “international community”—African, American, and European diplomats, the United Nations and its agencies—have known for months that something truly horrendous is happening. But like shocked onlookers, they haven’t wanted to believe the facts. Ethiopians too—including government ministers, ambassadors, and humanitarian workers—are confused and in denial. They don’t want to believe that these things could happen in their country. Our collective pretense that things couldn’t be so bad is the biggest obstacle to stopping starvation and mass atrocity in Ethiopia.

The reports trickling out from Tigray are growing more shocking by the day. A report by Amnesty International documenting a massacre at the cathedral city of Axum has seized the headlines over the last few days. That atrocity is known to the world because pilgrims—including Ethiopian Americans—had congregated there for an annual festival. Amnesty International accuses Eritrean troops of perpetrating the atrocity. But it appears that the slaughter of civilians is happening everywhere.

The New York Times has got hold of a copy of an internal U.S. government report that documents “ethnic cleansing” in western Tigray, and CNN and Vice World News have compiled and cross-checked survivor testimonies from two other separate massacres in which scores, even hundreds, were killed and villages were burned. A graphic video taken shows soldiers standing over the bodies of the dead and dying discussing how to finish off those crying out in pain. And this is ongoing: last week, satellite evidence showed that more than 500 buildings were burned in another location, Gijet, where Tigrayan sources describe a scorched earth operation by six divisions of the Eritrean army.

People are dying of hunger. Aid workers tell of “staggeringly high” numbers of malnourished children, of hospitals so comprehensively ransacked that there are literally no medicines, of fields of standing crops burned by soldiers and grain stores and warehouses looted. Nurses say that they are receiving—but can’t help—a daily stream of women and girls who have survived rape.



2 thoughts on “We can no longer deny the atrocities in Ethiopia

  1. Would you mind replacing immediate withdrawal from Tigray of Eritrean forces by immediate withdrawal from Tigray of PFJD (ህግደፍ)?

    you could only seize anything you want by force, military action, not by sayng eritreans are our brothers or Serawit higdef propaganda instead of saying serawit Eritrea.

    Many elite Tigreans and all Eritreans in diapora disagree to call their defense forces “Eritrean forces”. They find it offensive and it doesn’t stain or spoil their reputation. Many Tegarus agree to use PFJD(ህግደፍ) army which is act of denial to expose the crime committed by eritreans by norrowing down the accountablity of eritreans to a single politicall party. The reality in the ground collids with this pretencious act of concealing the crime. Many eritreans are now throwing party together with amhara diasporas in abroad. Many are happy with the suffering of Tegarus mothers and their children.There are people expressing their happiness saying ” the eritrean army should have beheaded or cut her neck ” when referring to the lady who have been amputated and lost her hand and leg. Lemin angetuwuan aykortuwatim neber eko new eyalul yalut yih chikane be set lij new yaemiyasayut ?? so could you still tell us that they are just chasing TPLF leaders or they want to kill all Tegraway and subjugate the rest ?

    I guess the future great tigray will still entartain the dead amhara culture and superstition, nepotism, and discrmination . However, what we want is not only to segregate outselves from amhara but to put all those bad cultures aside and repalce them with good ones – respect and eqality , perseverance and hadwprking should be rewarded not tribal based and family based promotion as it was in teh past by rewarding only adwa people. go to hell again those of you who say eritrean are our brothers and want to stick the crime only to PFJD or HIGDEF.

    I think many of you live your family i abroad and you didn’t lost any family member and some of you married to eritreans And many of you live in overseas as eritreans that is why you call eritreans brothers and try to delude the poor Tigrean famers

    Many of you are happy because you got a mean sto make money from youtube by creating many youtube profiles just for meony in te guise of creating wareness to the public about the onging war.

    I see some youtubers inviting people” ክራዐይ ክስማዕ ዘለዎ እናበልኩም ተታልሉና TMH , Tigrai online and DW is enough others are money making shops;

    For your info, The People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (abbreviated PFDJ; Tigrinya: ህዝባዊ ግንባር ንደሞክራስን ፍትሕን, Həzbawi Gənbar nəDämokrasən Fətəḥən, abbreviated ህግደፍ?

    I am happy to entertain any kind of degrading remarks, insluts or whatever you may say. people from poor living background never had respect to one another. Changing a location will still donot clean the back poor culture of insulting and degrading hoping to hurt someone feeling. Donot worry we can bear it . bandadat beluley ni zom higdef ziblu we are lsing people and working hard to appease eritreans by saying serawit higdef.

    1. As Eritrea is a sovereign country, its forces are called “Eritrean Defense Force” of “Eritrean troops” or “Eritrean Army”. PFJD (ህግደፍ) is the governing political party of Eritrea.

      It may be unconfortable to many Eritreans to use “Eritrean Defense Force” or “Eritrean troops” or “Eritrean Army”, these terms must be used to indicate Eritrea has an army or troops as a sovereign nation, not PFJD (ህግደፍ).

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