Ethiopia is a sovereign country which has a long history with itsown calendar, alphabet, numbers, script, painting and crafts. A country that has a deep historical root for Christianity and Islam. Furthermore, a country which has more than 84 tribes which is beauty in diversity, living in harmony and respect. Since November 4, 2020, the country that all religious followers and different ethnic groups were living peacefully in respect and love, is now in war with itself due to the political instability. The war is among the Northern Tigray region with the central government of Prosperity Party and Amhara region with the support of the Eritrean government. Before the war began the region had been struggling with three urgent situations. 1. The Situation of desert locusts: the desert locusts invaded the Tigray region (there is no information about the current situation because there is no access of electricity and internetor phone calls) and the youngsters were running up and down on the mountains and hills, struggling to chase the locusts from the fields with their people and regional government.2. The situation of the harvest: since the desert locusts invadedthe fields, they tried to collect the harvest even if it was not ready, at the same time chasing the locusts. 3. The situation of COVID-19: coronavirus COVID-19 is apandemic that has affected the whole world. There were restrictions in the region like in any other part of the country, to keep the distance, not to have gatherings, to stay at home, and so on. But they couldn’t keep the restrictions for various reasons. In addition to these urgent situations the war emerged.
It is obvious that there were various disagreement and tension between the Tigray region and the governments of Prosperity Party and Amhara region, which lead to the closing of the roads from Addis Ababa, capital city of Ethiopia, through Amhara region to Tigray region for over two years. Also the tensions between the two parties Prosperity Party (PP) and Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) connected with the postponement of the 6th national election due to the coronavirus and their political ideological problems became worse than ever.
The regional government decided to have their own election and consequently, Dr. Abiy Ahmed the Prime Minister of Ethiopia (who awarded a Nobel peace prize in 2019) announced on TV and said “if there will be the regional election young people will die, mothers will cry, houses will be destroyed and people will be displaced for we have prepared enough for that”. The regional government said that it is unconstitutional to postpone the election and after that, the region decided to have their own election on September 9, and established a new regional government. As a consequence, the regional budget was withheld, the Safety Net Program provided by international development partners and particularly the poverty alleviation program financed by the World Bank that the millions of Tigrayan poor people benefited from a lot was also denied beside refusal to give the masks for the students in Tigray.
PP and TPLF are political parties and their problem is political and ideological. There is only one way to solve it. That is only by embracing dialogue and discussion around the table in the WIN-WIN solution. But they didn’t want to seat around the table for dialogue. This is the weakness of our politicians. They only think to keep their own interest but don’t care about their people and national sovereignty. The Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr. Abiy came on power in 2018 through revolt and was given the power as a transitional government of Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and later on he changed EPRDF in to Prosperity Party. And TPLF refused to join because, PP is unitary party and EPRDF was federalist party. That mean, TPLF does not accept unitary instead favor federalism.
After that, the PP and TPLF parties announced different ideas on November 3, 2020, concerning the military command which was based in the Northern region. These two parties are political parties and the military is a non-partisan institute and the guarantee of the country and the people, as well as, the guarantee of the constitution, but was not able to stand as non-partisan institution and handle the situation. And then, the two parties (PP and TPLF) transmitted their dissension into the military and complained to each other.
Afterwards, the government announced the demonstration with the slogan “I stand with ENDF” and to put your right hand on your chest to show your support for the military in order to go for war. Amazingly, the Ethiopian Reconciliation Commission leaders are religious leaders who favored the war by putting their hand on their chest and by giving applause. The first time in history to hear the religious leaders have favored war. And this is the announcement of civil war, which is a genocide on the Tigray people.
Besides that, electricity was cut off, banks closed in the region, thousands of Tigrayans jailed because of their identities, Tigrayanssuspended from their work outside the region from different officesin the country especially in the capital city simply because of their ethnic profiles, even their bank account were closed, some denied flight in the international airport, others double checked their passport and so on. At the moment there is blocked telecommunications, road and air access to the Tigray region, andthe aid agencies are prevented to help over 3.4 million civilians who need “life-saving support” including the basic necessities of life that is; food, water and healthcare.
As a result, the nation is failing. Because its youngsters, engineers, technocrats, civilians and elderly are dying by airstrikes in the cities and by weapons in war, as well as, our infrastructures are being destroyed. Over 36, 000 people have fled from Tigray to Sudan. “Tigray authorities say over 100,000 people have been displaced, and the United Nations has warned that an additional 1.1 million people may need aid. No official figures of the number of people who’ve been killed are available”.
Most of the time I heard some people including Dr. Abiy Ahmed saying our nation will not fail. What a pity! We should not separate the person and nation. Amazingly nobody condemned yet these unethical and illegal consequences that Tigrayans are facing in their region, as well as, in their country either Ethiopian Reconciliation Commission or others within the country. And the bombing of the cities and towns within Tigray region continues.
Robert Schuman, a Christian democrat, once said about peace for European “peace between nations (and particularly France and Germany) was an obvious starting point for European integration”. And furthermore, he confirmed saying “peace was the primary aim of solidarity”. Therefore, for Ethiopians the only means for their integration, solidarity and development is PEACE.
I embrace peace, dialogue, and reconciliation. I advocate and call on all parties to embrace the same.
Ks. Tesfay Hailemariam