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Lessons to Humanity—from the Betrayed but Resilient People of Tigray!

By Tsegai Berhane (PhD) Mekelle University, School of Law
Tigrai Online June, 62022

The level of atrocities committed on the people of Tigrai is very horrible and very hard to depict in words. It is at the apex of all savage atrocities one could remember in the 21st century. It is hard to believe that it is committed by fellow human beings who share common culture and religion. Especially, when you are part of that very atrocity, when you are the living witness, it is very painful and traumatizing. Day-in-day-out you witness the savage atrocities and shade your tears in despair. You feel empty when you are not able to do anything to protect your people from all these atrocities. You feel as if you are the lonely human being living in a deserted island when the international community sits idle as a spectator in a game.1 This clearly shows the hypocrisy of the international community and international system.2 Tigrai is the living witness to this.

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In a situation where the international community is watching idle from a distance while we are being killed, mutilated, raped and burned alive in a broad day light with the help of bombarding planes and drones secured from third countries (lords of genocide), as Tegaru (victims of the Abi Administration and an accomplice international community) what option do we really have to survive in this unfair world system where the motto is might is right? To borrow Winston Churchill’s words, our only option is to fight hard (blood), toil (hard work) and sweat. We have learned our lesson that the only option is Tigray for Tigray and Tigrayans for Tigrayans. The majority of the international community, except providing lip service like ‘we are gravely/highly/deeply concerned’ it is not interested to do anything more than this. The last thing it might do post facto is to shade a crocodile’s tear. Or when irreversible damage occurs to extend belated apology.

The international community due to its diverse interests, it is very unlikely to reach into a consensus to take measure on dictators like Abiy Ahmed and Esaias Afewerki. After all, that is what the international system is meant. That is the history of the so-called Public International law. It suffices to mention the Munick Pact by Britain, France, Germany and Italy in 1938 which was meant to appease Nazi Hitler from waging further war in Europe. Which in actual fact failed to

This is so, especially when you are locked 360° from all corners not to receive any help from the neighboring and international community by completely cutting off every facility a civilized people should get. A situation of total black-out.

Of course, I am not to ignore what the friends of Tigray did to voice our miseries and atrocities. We know who they are, what they did and are doing to us. We are very grateful to them and what they did will remain engraved in our hearts forever. They are already part of our history.

appease Hitler. Furthermore, international law is obsessed with the idea of an independent sovereign states which Tigray is not. Furthermore, for the international community, concern for humanity as provided in the UN Charter is simply a heart-warming concept not meant to be engaged with. This is also a clear indication of the hypocrisy of the international community.

However, the irony is that all these atrocities were committed by the country our fathers and forefathers sacrificed their dearest lives to maintain its integrity and independence. It was committed by the people we used to call our brothers and sisters (Ethiopians and Eritreans).3 These people we call our brothers and sisters killed us without any mercy (not only killed us but like a harsh butcher mutilated and burned our bodies alive), raped our sisters and mothers (not only raped but they put foreign objects in their sacred wombs so that they would not give birth to another Tigraway or Tigraweyti). This to me is the extreme part of genocide. They intentionally destroyed, looted and burned whatever infrastructure we have so that it will take us centuries to revive or not to revive at all.4 They have done everything in their capacity to wipe us from the face of the earth.

What is more painful is, the Ethiopian religious fathers (Christians and Muslims) act of blessing the atrocities as if it were a holy mission. Some even dare to call us devils on earth. This really provokes you to question the authenticity of the religious fathers. When the highest religious figures like patriarchs, deacons and sheiks boldly and openly pass a verdict on you (the creature created in the image of the God they worship) to be wiped out from the face of the world, what else can you say? Put yourselves in our shoes and judge for yourselves? Indeed, the genocidal war on Tigray also exposes the hypocrisy of the so-called religious fathers in Ethiopia. Sometimes, I even ask myself; do we really share the same religion? How is that possible?

However, the blunt truth is, we Tegaru, are not meant to be wiped out like weeds in their garden. We are meant to survive overcoming any existential threat under the sun. When our enemies think they buried us deep and will not arise again, to their dismay, we multiply and grow to defeat them. This is not because we are very special people but the secret lies on the fact that our cause is just, the principle of humanity is deeply engrained in our genes and we depend on nobody but ourselves.

Though not all Ethiopians and Eritreans are to blame.

  4 It suffices to mention Pekka Haavisto, the finish Foreign Minister and an envoy for the European       Union who stands for his conscience.

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Of course, as our history clearly shows, this is not the first time we have been betrayed by the so-called Ethiopia. However, the irony is we have never lost hope in Ethiopia. We have been doing all our best to build a common country (Ethiopia) at the expense of Tigray. Yet, the reward for all our sacrifices, hard work and sweat to build a common country (Ethiopia) was/is bombardment, killing, mutilation, rape and burning alive. Of course, there must be something wrong with us (Tegaru)? We never learn from our history? Accordingly, we are condemned to repeat our mistakes. I believe, we need to wake up if we want to survive as people.

However, the level of the resilience and resistance to reverse these atrocities by the heroes and heroines of Tigrai (old and young) is awesome. The synergy of the old and young generations in reversing the atrocities is breathtaking. I would be very ungrateful if I pass without mentioning the role our veteran army commanders have played and are playing in reversing the savage atrocities. We are very grateful to them. What they did to save Tigray and Tegaru will remain engraved in golden letters in our history. If it were not for their ingenuity (world class military minds) it could be hard to imagine what our fate would have been. Of course, this is not to downplay the role of our politicians, youngsters and the public at large but I believe without the ingenious military leadership the march forward would have been very rough and bumpy. Like what our military leaders correctly underlined, they are glad that the predicament has occurred when they are alive. Long and healthy life to our world class mind commanders who surprised our enemies and the world by their military ingenuity. Of course, our veteran military commanders are not only military geniuses but they are also world class political analysts. What a unique combination!

Finally, a tiny Tigray, the mother of super heroes and heroines and that has been aggressively attacked by multiple of enemies using the latest technology to wipe its people from the face of the earth, has the following lessons to humanity at large. Some of the lessons are:5

▪ The world system we are living in, though it pretends to be fair and humane, deep inside, it is very unfair and it is guided by the principle ‘might is right’. The international system is interest driven. In actual fact, the international community is indeed a crisis entrepreneur. If there is nothing for it in the crisis, it always gives you

Of course, the lessons are not new but simply to reiterate them.

blind eyes and deaf ears. It will simply watch you from a distance. The genocidal war on Tigrai exposes this hypocrisy;

▪ Extreme military ammunition and huge army in the absence of good cause; quality and committed leadership and army, means nothing. It is simply garbage in garbage out. If that were not the case, we (Tegaru) would have been history by now;

▪ The genocidal war on Tigrai clearly shows that the concept of sovereignty is not a blank check to the incumbent government to do whatever it likes on its citizens. Rather, sovereignty needs to be attended with responsibility to protect human rights; and

▪ Finally, though it is hard to rule out the role of external help in overcoming atrocities, the decisive factor is internal strength. Like what we say here in Tigrai our insurance is our strength. Let us keep strong and united.

Tsegai Berhane (PhD)
Mekelle University, School of Law

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