To Honorable Samantha Power Administrator, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
Tigrai Online June 26, 2021 />
To: Honorable Samantha Power
Administrator, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
Dear Ms. Power,
The Security and Justice for Tigrayans in Ethiopia (SJTE), an advocacy group of Americans of Ethiopian origin, is writing this letter to express our sincere appreciation for your relentless efforts to bring the dire situation in Tigray to the attention of the world. We are also thankful to the Biden Administration for appointing an individual of your caliber at the helm of USAID at this critical juncture for the people of Tigray.
Thanks to your dedicated efforts and the actions of the US government, the issues affecting Tigray are on the forefront of the agendas of international organizations and governments such as the UN and G7. We would also like to thank the US government and your agency in particular for the generous financial and food aid you provided to Tigray so far.
For context, the current atrocities devastating Tigray did not happen in a vacuum, and they are neither new nor unplanned. Unfortunately, we have seen this “movie” before where the pre-1991 Ethiopian government (primarily led by the Amharas) under the previous fascist communist regime of Mengistu Hailemariam relentlessly attacked Tigray and denied food access to its people resulting in the deaths of over a million Tigrayans from the famine of 1984.
The government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and its Amhara architects are at it again, now allied with Eritrea and the remnants of the fascist Mengistu regime hoping for the same result—to exterminate the minority population of Tigray, or at least reduce it by millions so they can remain in power unchallenged. Having removed all sources of livelihood, they have blocked food access for over 7 months in the hopes of defeating not only the Tigray Defence Forces (TDF) but also the people of Tigray.
Despite the devastating famine and egregious atrocities of the 1980s, the resilient people of Tigray rose against all odds not only to defeat the Mengistu government, but also succeeded in bringing unprecedented peace, stability, and economic growth never seen in Ethiopia’s history. A proof, if one was needed, that the current atrocities against the minority people of Tigray are all about power consolidation for PM Abiy and ethnic dominance for the Amhara elites.
As you know, these atrocities have been described my many including the US government, international media and others as war crimes, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and genocide. We would like the world to understand that this is a deliberate effort to exterminate the people of Tigray and we ask all governments and international organizations to act accordingly in an urgent manner. Anything short of this will result in unprecedented number of deaths and permanent economic destruction which will make the remaining people of Tigray fully dependent on international aid.
We are reminded of your persuasive and enlightening Ted Talk you delivered on November 10, 2008, where you spoke about “American and democratic responses to mass atrocity and genocide”. After speaking about the challenges for a few minutes, you said “there is good news, amazing news in the 21st century” because of the widespread growth of the anti-genocide movement in the United States at the time. You continued to say that “there will be a political cost…to be paid for allowing genocide”. But you also asked one crucial question: “will evil prevail” to which you responded “no, not unless we let it”. In your respected opinion, have we made progress on the important questions you raised in 2008 given the ongoing atrocities and war crimes in Tigray?
SJTE and the people of Tigray hold your ongoing efforts to raise awareness to prevent famine in high regard. As a humanitarian, a woman, and a person of significant influence, we urge you to continue your fight not only against famine but also against rape and violence against women and the genocide in Tigray.
Security and Justice for Tigreans in Ethiopia [SJTE]
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