Art as weapon of Warfare: Unique Tigrean Music soft-warfare


(By Gebre Selema, First published on – 

Every society has its own unique features of representation. Tigreans use art for war, for celebrating wedding, for religious exaltation, for farming, for mourning, almost for everything for expressing bad and good. Tigrean women sing while they do milling using milling stones in their homes by hand. They mill the whole night and sing. Music serves Tigreans as motivational tool not only to fight bravely, but also to work hard in every daily activity. I am writing this piece to convey the message to readers that Tigrean or TDF singing while they are under an active genocide is not because they are happy for being killed. It is because Tigrean use music as fuel to console themselves even time of distress and tragedy and to fight hard.

Farmers in Tigrai do sing while they are plowing their plot of land. They sing when they are weeding their growing crops. They sing when they are harvesting crops; They sing while they are beating their crops in the threshing floor. They sing while they are their grazing their animals.

Religious celebration in Tigrai is embellished by music. Kudus Yared or Saint Yared of Tigrai is the father of art not only in Tigrai, but also in Ethiopia. Saint Yared is known for his famous ecclesiastical breathtaking Hymens. It has been said, Saint Yared used to be in trance when he used to sing holy hymen. Legend has it he could not feel a piecing on his body when he was singing ecclesiastical hymen.

In Tigrai music is like food and fuel. Tigreans are the most cultured society in Africa, if not in the world. Everything is done in an orderly manner. Tigreans are now singing using art as weapon of war. I have read many books on wars and I have never read any society using art as weapon of war except Tigreans. Now Tigreans are not using defamation propaganda or lying or deceiving propaganda to defeat their enemies. Tigreans are using their art, music to fight their enemies. The TDF are seen singing with high moral to fight the enemies. It is this and others that makes Tigrean identity unique. Tigreans have unique culture, unique language, unique history, unique civilization. It is this uniqueness that burn the enemies with jealousy and wish to eradicate Tigreans from the face of the earth. Those enemies who suffer from inferiority complex wish to wipe out this beautiful identity from the face of the earth so that they can fill the identity crisis and vacuum in them.

Thus, readers should know that the TDF singing at this tragic time is not happiness but using art as weapon of war for them to work hard against the mortal enemies. I hope people will not misinterpret that they are singing and dancing because things are good in Tigrai. No, they are using music as weapon of war. Because Tigreans use music as weapon of war, farming, wedding, mourning and working. In the rest of the world mostly music is used for celebrating and expressing joy and happiness. But in Tigrai music is also used to fight enemies which is unique to Tigreans only.

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