(By Tigray Academic Diaspora in Europe (TADE), UK- Branch, 04 March 2021) –
Adwa is a symbol of freedom against colonization and foreign aggression since 1896 after the defeat of Italian invaders. Adwa is a small but historical town in Central Tigray whose name has been resonating for the last 125 years across the world especially among the African countries and black communities. This is because at Soloda battleground in 1896, poorly armed & untrained Tigrayans with their fellow countrymen/women defeated and routed out a well-armed & trained Italian invading/colonists force. That victory did not only preserved the independence of Ethiopia’s independence but also became the motivating factor for colonized African countries in their struggle against European colonizers as well as it has become the pride and rallying point for discriminated black people especially to those who were residing in the USA & the UK.
Presently, the very town of Adwa which turned Ethiopia into a symbol of freedom for Black People across the globe is a mourning & saddened by the devastation committed by ironically its own Ethiopian ‘sons’ led by Colonel Abiy Ahmed, who is pretending to celebrate its 125 years old victory & glory. As the Italian fascistic looted the Tigray’s heritages (e.g. The obelisk returned by TPLF 22nd April 2004) this nascent fascistic government wants to thief the history and glory of the town which he destroyed by hiring Eritrean brutal mercenaries (paying $500 million). These brute forces have not only destroyed the town and out all surrounding villages, but also several Tigrayan towns & villages across the region; demolishing non-military installation, economic structure burned down harvest, fruit farms ransacked stored grain silos. These brute and ill-trained infantries have wantonly killed and still are killing unarmed civilians including priests, male youngsters of all ages (from 4 to 80) and raped underage girls, grandmother, nuns, and forced family members to commit incest at gunpoint. Evidently, this sort of wanton killings, immoral subjugation and mass destruction/looting of heritage are part of the pre-meditated war of genocide, as planned and guided by Colonel Abiy Ahmed’s notorious mentor Isaias Afewerki, the pariah rulers of Eritrea. The proof that this war was a pre-mediated genocide can be deduced from the timing for starting the war on 3rd November 2020, before the harvest was collected, when the whole region was covered by an infestation of an aggressive a swarm of locust, and when the whole world’s attention was on the USA’s election. The other proof items are warning given to Chief Staff General Al Burhan of Sudan (30/10/2020), standby Amhara forces/militia at the borders purchased drones and secretly stored chemical & cluster-bomb) and the exchanged military visits of the two dictators in preparation for the war.
Instead of using the time for an apology, pacification and reconciliation with Tigrayans and other internally displaced people (such as Gumuz & Gedeo folks, since 2018), the war criminal Colonel Abiy Ahmed and his cohort are bustling to celebrate Adwa, pretentiously, in a better way than previously done; in order to disguise the massacre he committed in Tigray. Since the start of the cleansing war on 3rd Nov. 2020, under the pretext “Maintaining Law & Order” – more than 50,000 civilians have been killed, more than sixty thousands of Tigrayans forced into exile in Sudan, more than 4.5 million of people are in need of food and altogether over 2 million citizens are internally displaced (IDP). Sadly, some of the IDP are still in hideout all over the bushes and mountainous available within the region, and of course without any form of food or water supply. Already dead bodies of children and elders of those who died out of starvation are being found strewn along several feeder and main roads across the whole region.
Almost all the civil infrastructure including universities, schools, churches & mosques have been demolished with artilleries; as exposed this week by Amnesty International (AI)’s 25 pages report, titled,
“Ethiopia’s Tigray crisis: How a massacre in the sacred city of Aksum unfolded” as indicated in this link:-> https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-55832711
The Colonel Abiy’s government cut all internet and telephone access just before the war began and the blackout is still imposed on the whole Tigray Regional State. Various agencies including the U.N. stated that the situation is “exceedingly worrying and dire” with fighting reported continuing all over Tigray, in spite of the government’s claims to the contrary. The Ethiopian government has verbally agreed upon humanitarian access, but millions of people are still denied basic necessitates and people are dying of starvation. Water and electricity services are still cut off in most of the Tigray region including Adwa. Various international agencies and different nations including the new the USA Administration have continued to condemn the atrocities and they are urging the African Union to help, as noted in this link:-> https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-56229256
The town of Adwa and its neighbouring towns as well as their respective dwellers are currently under the occupation of the so-called brutal Eritrean Army. These soldiers are undisciplined and militia-like teenagers and Amhara militia who have been brainwashed with hatred by their revengeful chieftains and instructed to kill any young male above the age of seven. It should be deplorable to note that fraternal folks kill each other; and for that matter deploying teenagers who should be at school. This week the TPLF’s spokesperson, Mr. Getachew Reda revealed that Colonel Abiy Ahmed’s army includes pregnant and ill-trained/naive female soldiers who asked her captors to fetch their lost items such as cell-phones during a heated combat. In like manner, the shabbily dressed and ill-trained Eritrean infantry are too young to be on such a war front. As both forces were neither inducted of international laws nor the rules of wars, they do not seem to know what to loot and what not to touch; as one can be seen in the following link: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10222059393586516&id=1612121532&sfnsn=scwspmo.
As a result of their ignorance of international laws, these forces have committed unheard types of horrific atrocities on the people of Tigray: want on killing of all ages, covering disabled men with grass/hay and burning them alive, shooting crippled & blind individuals, using sexual violence as a weapon of war, subjugating family members to rape each other, raping nuns, snatching personal belongings (cell-phones, wedding rings, worn necklaces), pouring in water/soil into grain silos, burning piles of harvest & hay. This very week, in Adwa itself house to house looting has been carried out and the booties were loaded onto lorries & army tracks, finally dispatched to looted properties to the Amhara region and Eritrea. The booties include uprooted house/gate doors, mattress, chairs, beds, stools, kitchen utensils, even clothes including hand-kerchiefs, jerrican-plastic as can be seen in this link: https://youtu.be/EPPc3YnfeAs and https://youtu.be/HBOkfu0mAXE
Although Colonel Abiy’s atrocities have been inflicted across almost all corners of the country; however, what has been committed on Tigray was purposely targeted to wipe the people and destroy their historical heritage (registered under UNESCO). The very reason behind this genocide was and still is the fact that the people of Tigray with their centuries-long political experience, would be the stumbling block to his dictatorial dream, to be the 7th king of Ethiopia (as he claims, to be told by his mother). The reason from the Eritrean side is the fact that Isaias Afewerki’s incompetence and failure as a leader are exposed by the competence and economic success of the TPLF’s leadership. This point has been augmented by the very words of Eritrean captured high-ranking prisoners of war (PoW) and voluntarily interviewed refugees. The amount and magnitude of the Eritrean jealousy can be measure from the factories and universities they have destroyed; as they have none of that that type in their country.
What makes this celebration extremely absurd is the fact that a regime that has invited and allowed the brutal and vengeful foreign alien force to wipe out the people of Adwa, whom he supposedly should protect from any invader has been noted bustling to celebrate the 125th years of Adwa Victory. What an irony! While thousands of the victory makers, the Tigrayans have been massacred and fled their abodes, villages, and seeking humanitarian assistance from the outside world, what sort of celebration is to be held at the very spot of this historic victory, Adwa town? Would it not make sense rather, to turn this 125th Anniversary as an appropriate and historical juncture to apologize to the Tigrayans and to make a compassionate vow to compensate them for all the atrocities and losses inflicted; so as to re-gain their hearts to continue within the empire of Ethiopia, although it has utterly failed them three times in one century?
Furthermore, Adwa having had demonstrated the effect self-pride and unity of Ethiopians, with all the achievements scored in that wide time, during the scramble for Africa, should have been taken as a harbinger for the young generation, as a unified and progressive Ethiopian. Unfortunately, the young generation’s dream to inherit such a country has been shattered beyond recovery by Colonel Abiy Ahmed, with unnecessary and avoidable war of genocide, waged against those anchors of this victorious, memorable, and eventful dream! Sadly, this dismay and loss of dream shall not only remain within the borders of Ethiopia proper; but will reverberate, at least for the next two decades, among thousands of Africans and other black communities, academic, journalist, humanitarian and concerned world citizens who have been and are still following the ongoing genocidal war.
Nonetheless, we still hope Adwa will remain as shining as a symbol of self-pride, freedom & unity for all Black people across the globe and at this very opportunity, we would like to link Adwa’s achievement to the current worldwide movement “Black Lives Matter”. Yet to keep the spirit of Adwa’s victory and ‘Black Life Matters’ movement to keep on shining and resonating, we need to loudly voice to stop any form of war or violence against one another among the human species, of any colour & creed. This exacts calling our political leaders to come up with a practical and actionable plan to stop wars or any form of violence; as our ears had enough of their nice words but our eyes are hungry of their visible actions, not tomorrow, but right away today!
Finally, we call upon your conscience of all world citizens who are reading this article, to spread out the Tigrayans’ plight and to voice out loudly on behalf of the voiceless hungry babies’ bawling and raped girls’ ragingly howling. We beseech you all, to start voicing today to spare the people of Adwa, the initial victors from extinction, as no wards can get across to you the atrocity being committed against Tigrayans at this very minute, while you are reading these lines. For now, we humbly ask you to join us shout out the following four wailings:
- Condemn the ongoing brutal war on Tigray and the violence in other parts of Ethiopia;
- Demanding UN monitored withdrawal of Eritrean soldiers from Tigray and unrestricted access to humanitarian assistance;
- Requesting UNSC mandated independent investigation of mass atrocities and killings in Tigray, and;
- To bring dictator Colonel Abiy Ahmed and the pariah dictator Isaias Afewerki to ICC on the crime they are still committing on humanity and for breaking the international law on war engagements, which protects unarmed civilians and non-military institutions & structures.
Although, the Adwa Victory Day we cannot celebrate it with parades and all paraphernalia as we did it previously, for this sad year, let us commemorate it in our hearts and let us uphold our hope that there will be light after every tunnel as spring follows every winter!