365 Days of War in My Home State Tigray of Ethiopia- scary messenger call at 1:25AM
By Mulugeta G PhD
Tigrai Online November 6, 2021
November 4, 2021 marked the 365th days memorial of the war on Tigray that was waged by the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed with his allies, the Eritrean government, Amhara forces and other foreign actors. I have been reflecting and sharing with y’all my frustrations and agony about the war while also working on research that helps to inform the health crisis of war (e.g. organizing a global health symposium in April, APHA presentation in October, several articles and interviews in local, national and international media).
As someone who has been involved in global health research and follower of the situation in Ethiopia, it was clear to me in December 2020 that something very serious that could grow into a genocide was in the making. I have reflected that in my MUSC Catalyst interview. The suffering of the people of Tigray continues to this day with complete siege which is killing people from starvation and lack of other basic health services. The humanitarian corridor is blocked intentionally. The war of genocide continues and my suffering and worries also continue to increase with each day passing.
While contemplating about the one-year memorial of the war (not able to sleep till 1AM), I got a distressing message from my nephew (see my tweet @ProfMulugeta) that indicates that Ethiopian military police are detaining him and taking him away to somewhere he doesn’t know. He mentioned that other Tigrayans from the same area were also being rounded up and taken to encampment camps. I haven’t heard from him since. There is no response when I call his phone. With my brother and sister and their families in Addis Ababa, my worries have now even multiplied. It’s no more about my 80+ year- old mom that I haven’t heard from since February. It’s a lot of trauma.
As member of the Tigray community, I am trying to use this 365-days memorial as an opportunity to appeal to the international community to uphold its responsibilities set out in international laws of protecting civilians from arbitrary detention, harm and death. My friends in the US including my congressional representatives are in a great position to help stop the ongoing genocidal war on Tigray.
Unfortunately, despite the availability of abundant facts reported by UN agencies, USAID, US State Department, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and international media such as CNN, NYT, Washington Post, The Guardian, etc., there is no commensurate action taken to stop this horror that my family and the people of Tigray are going through. Hope this changes soon as the war escalates and is going closer to Addis Ababa.
At this point, I believe that there shouldn’t be any single doubt within the minds of the international community as to what the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments intents are. It is to annihilate the people of Tigray in any way possible. The Ethiopian government conspired to commit a full-fledged crime of genocide in collaboration with allies from as far as Turkey and UAE.
As I write this, the government of Ethiopia is bombarding towns and villages, indiscriminately killing civilians. International journalists are repressed and intimidated not to document, investigate, and report the atrocities. Millions are starving to death beyond the reach of humanitarian aid. The devastating impact on the victims, communities, and society can take generations to overcome and heal. In a nutshell, the conditions in Tigray today are desperate and catastrophic and require your prompt support and concrete actions to save the people of Tigray from extermination. Signing a petition or sending a letter to your representative is an action that you can take immediately (see petition below). Ethiopia is also becoming a failed state which could cause regional instability.
My appeal to you is to collectively or unilaterally help with the call for:
-Enforcement of effective measures that allow unfettered delivery of humanitarian aid to rescue the millions of children and civilians who are dying due to man-made starvation and malnourishment and due to lack of basic drugs and medical supplies, as well, and find ways and means to assist the return of displaced people to their homes.
-Imposition of a no-fly zone, an arms embargo, and other sanctions to stop Mr. Abiy’s desperate air bombardments of civilian targets.
-Taking unequivocal and practical steps to stop financing Mr. Abiy’s genocidal war project, directly or indirectly, as this, unquestionably, enables him to procure weapons and allow the genocidal war to continue aiming at wiping out the entire population of Tigray.
-Ordering, in no uncertain terms, the immediate withdrawal of Eritrean troops and hold offenders accountable for the crimes committed against the people of Tigray.
-Urging your congressional rep to vote for the H.Res 445 and get it passed through Congress. https://www.sjtethiopia.org/a-petition-calling-on-the-us-congress-to-fully-support-resolution-445/
-Urging your Senator to vote for Amendment #555 in H.R. 4350 which charges members of the Atrocity Early Warning Task Force and the Secretary of State to promptly determine (within 60 Days of being enacted into law) if the atrocities in Tigray amount to crimes against humanity and genocide. https://www.sjtethiopia.org/petition-to-the-us-government-congress-and-senate-call-atrocities-in-tigray-genocide/
As Martin Luther King said, Injustice anywhere is Injustice Everywhere.