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Posts Tagged ‘Mengistu’

Fascist A. Ahmed’s Last Days Are Like Dictator Mengistu’s | History Repeats Itself

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on November 1, 2021

😈 The two monsters, Abiy Ahmed Ali and Mengistu Hailemariam say and do the exact same wicked things. They are both Oromos who hate Christian Tigrayans so deeply that they attempt to exterminate them using siege warfare, starvation – as a weapon of war and war Crime.

The vicious dictator Mengistu was deposed in 1991, but fled to Zimbabwe and, despite a genocide conviction, is still walking free. Tigrayan Ethiopians should not repeat the mistakes their fathers made in dealing with Ethiopia’s troubled history by allowing evil Abiy Ahmed Ali to flee the country. This bastard must be severely punished – JUSTICE must be served!

💭 History repeats itself:

🔥 Amhara & Oromos bombing Tigray, Using Rape, Hunger & Forced Resettlement (Mengistu did it back then, Abiy Ahmed is doing the same now) as a Weapon against People in Tigray for the past 130 years:-

😈 Menelik ll: Half Oromo + Half Amhara = Oromo (Crypto-Muslim / Man of the flesh)

😈 Haile Selassie: Half Oromo + Half Amhara = Oromo (Crypto-Muslim / Man of the flesh)

😈 Mengistu Hailemariam: Half Oromo + Half Amhara = Oromo (Crypto-Muslim / Man of the flesh)

😈 Abiy Ahmed Ali ´= Half Oromo + Half Amhara = Oromo (Crypto-Muslim / Man of the flesh)

👉 1. Menelik II. (1844 – 1913)

The Great Ethiopian Famine of 1888-1892

The great famine is estimated to have caused 3.5 million deaths. During Emperor Menelik’s Reign, Tigray was split into two regions, one of which he sold to the Italians who later named it Eritrea. Only two months after the death of Emperor Yohaness lV , Menelik signed the Wuchale treaty of 2 May 1889 conceding Eritrea to the Italians. It was not only Eritrea that Menelik gave away, he also had a hand in letting Djibouti be part of the French protectorate when he agreed the border demarcation with the French in 1887. Some huge parts of Tigray were put under Gonder. The Southern part, places like present day Alamata, Kobo etc were put under Wello Amhara administration.

👉 2. Haile Selassie (1892 – 1975)

In 1943, at the request of the Emperor Haile Selassie, the Royal British Airforce bombed two towns – Mekelle and Corbetta. Thousands of defenseless civilians lost their lives as a result of aerial bombardment. It is recorded that ‘on 14th October [1943] 54 bombs dropped in Mekelle, 6th October 14 bombs followed by another 16 bombs on 9thOctober in Hintalo, 7th/9th October 32 bombs in Corbetta’.

Between 2 and 5 million’ people died between 1958 and 1977 as a cumulative result. Haile Selassie, who was emperor at the time, refused to send any significant basic emergency food aid to the province of Tigray,

👉 3. Mengistu Hailemariam (1937 – )

1979 – 1985 + 1987

Due to organized government policies that deliberately multiplied the effects of the famine, around 1.2 million people died from this famine. Mengistu & his Children still alive & ‘well’ while Tigrayans starving again.

👉 4. Abiy Ahmed Ali (1976 – )

2018 – Until today: probably up to 500.000 already dead. 😠😠😠 😢😢😢 Unlike the past famine there is no natural or man-made drought, rather, Abiy simply uses war and hunger as a weapon. Abiy Ahmed sent his kids to America for safety, while bombing & starving Tigrayan kids!

❖ ❖ ❖ [Galatians 5:19-21]❖ ❖ ❖

“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

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When Abby Ahmed’s Oromo Grand Father Aided by Britain Bombed Tigray into Submission

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on September 21, 2021

This is a sad, but little told story. In 1943, at the request of the Oromo Emperor Haile Selassie, the Royal British Airforce bombed two towns – Mekelle and Corbetta.

The R.A.F squadron that carried out the raid may actually have been carried out by Canadians from number 8 Squadron.

This information is from a publication called Legation: Canada’s Military History Magazine.

“In this strange colonial world the Canadians experienced things never imagined when they enlisted…On Sept. 1, 1943, a request was received from the Emperor of Ethiopia for aircraft to drop leaflets in Macaille and eastern Tigre province prior to operations against rebellious tribes. No. 8 Sqdn., another Bisley unit and normally based in Aden, operated a three-plane detachment from Addis Ababa and spent several days bombing rebel concentrations and native hutments. One of the wireless air gunners was Flight Sergeant Joseph Leon Belley of Quebec City. This squadron was the destination for numerous Canadians. Indeed, as of December 1943 at least 19 members of the RCAF had been posted there.”

When in 1942–43 peasants in central and southern Tigray began to rebel out of desperation, they were met with a harsh response. Haile Selassie’s government in collaboration with the British Royal Air Force (R.A.F), after dropping warning leaflets addressed to ‘the Chiefs, Balabats — people of Tigre province’ on 6 October 1943, devastated the region including Mekelle, the capital of Tigray, throughout the rest of that month.

This quelled the Tigrayan peasant uprising, known as Woyane, meaning ‘revolt’.

Thousands of defenseless civilians lost their lives as a result of aerial bombardment. It is recorded that ‘on 14th October, 1943, 54 bombs dropped in Mekelle, 6th October 14 bombs followed by another 16 bombs on 9thOctober in Hintalo, 7th/9th October 32 bombs in Corbetta’.

An atrocious precedent set

The Mekelle market bombing and the fact that neither Emperor Haileselassie nor Great Britain were held responsible, and never expressed regret for the cold blooded murder of civilians set a precedent for repeating the act of atrocity during civil conflicts taking place in Tigray.

Two examples of that with stark similarity are, the Ethiopian military Dergue regime of the Oromo colonel Mengistu Hailemariam replicating aerial bombing of Tigrayans on June 22, 1988 in the town of Hawzen, Eastern Tigray, during a market day resulting in a senseless loss of 2,500 men, women and children as well as inflicting severe injuries, and this year, Ethiopian military Dergue regime of the Oromo colonel Abby Ahmed Ali massacred more than 80 Civilians, including babies and children in an air attack on a busy market in the town of Togoga Tigray, on 22 June 2021.

[Isaiah 26:10]Though the wicked person is shown compassion, He does not learn righteousness; He deals unjustly in the land of uprightness, And does not perceive the majesty of the LORD.”

Oromo Aerial Attacks on Tigray Civilians

October 6, 1943 – Mekelle

June 22, 1988 – Hawzen

June 22, 2021- Togoga

The people of Tigray region were forced to pay large sums of money and their land was confiscated and distributed to loyal gentry as a punishment and as a deterrent to future revolt. A new taxation system was imposed that ‘cost the peasants five times more than they had paid under the Italians’.

In the name of centralization, Haile Selassie took away regional power from hereditary leaders and gave it to loyal Showan administrators.

This predicament again raised the level of collective resentment, taking the form of ethno-nationalist sentiment against the Oromara Showan ruling class at the centre. As Gilkes rightly observed, ‘independence from Shoan (sic) rule was raised as a rallying cry and proved popular’.

The punitive measures of the central government, and especially the memory of the R.A.F bombardment of Mekelle on behalf of Haile Selassie’s government, became grievances rooted in popular memory.

The devastating impact

1. Men, women and children (including infants held or carried by their mothers) were instantly killed.

2. Others became severely injured, and sentenced to a life of disability.

3. Children were exposed to being half-orphaned or, in some cases, fully orphaned.

4. Due to the fact that there was no a functioning government; as international organizations, such as the Red Cross weren’t around, and as health facilities were not available, some victims lost their lives were lost for lack of basic medical aid.

5. Due to the severe injury to the bodies, some corpses couldn’t be identified. Also, as many merchants and buyers came from outskirts of Mekelle and other towns, their loved ones couldn’t be traced. As a result, many victims were buried in mass graves without proper burial their respective religions required.

6. The psychological scar lasted for many years whereby a plane over the sky was feared to be an air bomber, and people had to run for a cover.

7. Many people asked “What have we done to Great Britain to deserve this?”

An atrocious precedent set

The Mekelle market bombing and the fact that neither Emperor Haileselassie nor Great Britain were held responsible, and never expressed regret for the cold blooded murder of civilians set a precedent for repeating the act of atrocity during civil conflicts taking place in Tigray.

Two examples of that with stark similarity are, the Ethiopian military Dergue regime of the Oromo colonel Mengistu Hailemariam replicating aerial bombing of Tigrayans on June 22, 1988 in the town of Hawzen, Eastern Tigray, during a market day resulting in a senseless loss of 2,500 men, women and children as well as inflicting severe injuries, and this year, Ethiopian military Dergue regime of the Oromo colonel Abby Ahmed Ali massacred more than 80 Civilians, including babies and children in an air attack on a busy market in the town of Togoga Tigray, on 22 June 2021.

💭 Tigray deserves apology for Great Britain’s aerial bombardment of Civilians In Mekelle, Tigray, Ethiopia.

💭 #TogogaMassacre | Abiy Ahmed Repeated What His Oromo Father Mengistu Did on the Very day of June 22

#TigrayGenocide | A Tale Familiar to Three Generations of Tigrayans

💭 My Note: History repeats itself:

🔥 Amhara & Oromos bombing Tigray, Using Rape, Hunger & forced resettlement (Mengistu did it back then, Ahmed will do the same now) as a Weapon against People in Tigray for the past 130 years:-

😈 Menelik ll: Half Oromo + Half Amhara = Oromo (Crypto-Muslim / Man of the flesh)

😈 Haile Selassie: Half Oromo + Half Amhara = Oromo (Crypto-Muslim / Man of the flesh)

😈 Mengistu Hailemariam: Half Oromo + Half Amhara = Oromo (Crypto-Muslim / Man of the flesh)

😈 Abiy Ahmed Ali ´= Half Oromo + Half Amhara = Oromo (Crypto-Muslim / Man of the flesh)

በራሳቸው አንደበት ሲመሰክሩልን

[Galatians 5:19-21]

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

💭 “The fight for Tigray is a horrific déjà vu… For older Tigrayans, all of this seems like a horrific déjà-vu.”

This statement captures the reality that almost all facets of the ongoing war on Tigray trigger memories of the horrors of the past for Tigrayans.

The most recent parallel the man-made famine in Tigray in the 1980s captured and shared to dramatic effect by photographers, such as Stan Grossfeld, is recognizable even to outsiders who recognize the terrible similarity with what is happening now. It is awareness of this historical context that enabled Senator Leahy, president pro tempore of the US Senate, to be one of the first amongst the international community to clearly identify what is happening in Tigray as a genocide.

This genocidal war continues to fuel an ever-worsening humanitarian and human rights crisis characterized by gross human rights violations, war crimes, and crimes against humanity including genocidal rape and the weaponization of starvation. Worst of all, the recalcitrance of the Ethiopian and Eritrean regimes in spite of considerable international pressure for a ceasefire and unfettered humanitarian access, reveals that unless direct action is taken there is little chance that these atrocities will stop.

In this context, the striking parallels between the current War on Tigray and past tactics employed by previous Ethiopian regimes – most notably Haile Selassie (1930-1974) and the Derg regime (1974-1987) led by Mengistu Hailemariam – in attempts to subjugate Tigrayans, deserve a much closer look to highlight the long-standing intentions and motivations fueling the current emergency.

Emperor Haile Selassie

Emperor Haile Selassie, best known for the history and songs that have romanticized him as an African statesman, is also responsible for the deaths of millions across the country. In Tigray, his imperial regime committed indiscriminate air bombings of civilians, annexed Tigrayan territory, and deliberately hid famine even as the Emperor hosted luxurious parties and fed his pet dogs delicacies.

Air bombing Mekelle (capital of Tigray)

During Emperor Haile Selassie’s reign, Tigray remained marginalized from the country with no significant political or economic representation. This gave rise to the first “Woyane” movement that carried out armed resistance against the monarchical rule of the Emperor. Instead of attending to the people’s demand for democracy and equality, the Emperor resorted to bombing market sites in Mekelle and surrounding areas with the help of the British Royal Air Force. This resulted in the death of thousands of innocent Tigrayans in 1943. These attacks targeted the civilian population as a possible deterrent for anyone seeking to join the Woyane armed struggle against the central monarchy.

Annexation of Tigrayan Territories

Following the defeat of the first uprising, the Emperor systematically incorporated southern territories from Tigray to Wollo province (currently part of the Amhara region) to weaken the region and hinder potential recruitments for possible future revolts. It is to be remembered that Emperor Menelik, who ruled Ethiopia before Haile Selassie from 1889 to 1913, also utilized the same tactics. Under his rule, he had incorporated parts of Tigray’s western provinces to be included under the Gondar province. The motive under both administrations was to deprive Tigray of its rich socio-economic resource to sustain resistance against the oppressive rule of the Emperors that continued to undermine the rights of different ethnic groups.

Hiding Famine

During the 1958 Tigray famine, Emperor Haile Selassie was unwilling to send emergency food aid to the starving population. An estimated 100,000 Tigrayans perished as a result. His decision was in line with the increases in farmland taxation for Tigrayans and other economic restrictions that left Tigray in a state of poverty for decades to come. In 1973 the Emperor once again hid a famine that devastated areas of Tigray and Wollo. The famine in 1973 killed an estimated 200,000 people. Once the news about the massive famine broke out to the rest of the world, the government officials quietly asked for aid that was inadequate to alleviate the famine. This was done to hush the news so that the Emperor’s image is not tarnished. Despite their denial and active efforts to spread propaganda regarding the 1954 and 1973 famines, the Emperor and his administration are without question responsible for the thousands of lives lost.

Mengistu Hailemariam

Mengistu, leader of the Communist military junta known colloquially as the Derg, used the slogan “drain the sea to catch the fish” in his attempt to subjugate Tigray. More than a slogan this aim was widely implemented in widespread campaigns of extrajudicial killings to deter people from joining the armed struggle, weaponizing hunger and forcibly removing Tigrayans from Tigray.

Weaponized Hunger

The 1984 famine, which has become associated with Ethiopia in the popular imagination of the rest of the world, was devastating due to government policies that blocked access to foreign bodies like the United Nations preventing them from providing aid. In order to hide the severity of the famine, international actors were denied access to the affected community. The famine ended up taking the lives of more than one million Tigrayans in what was one of the most horrific humanitarian disasters in recent history.

Sexual Violence, Indiscriminate Shelling and Chemical Attack

The Derg also committed weaponized sexual violence, indiscriminate shelling, and chemical attack on civilians and their residential areas. Victims of sexual violence include children as young as 13 years old. Indiscriminate shelling also targeted schools, markets, and residences all occupied by civilians. In addition, civilians bore the brunt of the horrific use of chemical weaponry.

Forced Resettlement

The terrible conditions of the 1984 famine were later used as an excuse by the military junta to forcefully resettle thousands of Tigrayans to areas outside of Tigray that were less affected by the famine. The resettlement program, which was non-voluntary and executed with poor planning and coordination failed to take into account needs for basic humanitarian services to relocated populations and as a result, took the lives of 50,000 Tigrayans while leaving many more displaced from their homeland. This resettlement program referred to at the time as a “vast human tragedy of historical proportions” was of course an act of demographic engineering intended to quash the resistance to the brutal regime by depopulating Tigray.

Mengistu found guilty of genocide

After the fall of the communist military junta in 1991, its leader President Mengistu was tried in absentia for genocide and found guilty in 2007. The High Court judgment stated:

“Members of the Derg who are present in court today and those who are being tried in absentia have conspired to destroy a political group and kill people with impunity.”

Blocking Passage for Refugees

One final point that bears mentioning here, considering that Eritrean forces are actively engaged in the current Tigrayan crisis is the role played by Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) – which later became the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) the party ruling Eritrea today under much of the same leadership – in exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in Tigray in the 80s. More specifically, in 1985, following a political disagreement between Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and EPLF officials led to the latter blocking the road connecting Sudan with Tigray. Refugees were forced to take a “long and dangerous route” on top of suffering from starvation. This cost thousands of lives as they reached Sudan through tougher terrains.

History repeats itself in Tigray

At the start of the current conflict, those that lived through the previous campaigns against Tigray and resultant famines recalled the horrors of the past and feared a repetition was likely. As feared, those that fled to Sudan in the previous famines are now again in tears remembering what they went through decades ago and how much worse the current circumstances are.

All the crimes that were committed in the past, forceful annexation, weaponized starvation and rape, banned chemical attacks, forced resettlement, blockage of passage for refugees, massacres, and indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas are being committed on Tigray since the declaration of the offensive by Abiy Ahmed Ali on the 4th of November 2020. Although this analysis focuses on the events post the start of the war, it should also be noted that roads from Amhara to Tigray were blocked since 2018 preventing the transportation of grains portending the tactics being used to weaponize hunger now.

Today the reality on the ground is very dire. The United Nations (UN) has reported 350,000 people are experiencing famine in Tigray and 30,000 children are at risk of dying from starvation. Aid is available but restricted by Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Amhara regional forces. All the while, Ethiopian diplomats are engaged in telling the world access has been granted and that aid is being delivered. The population of Tigray has more than doubled since the time of President Mengistu Hailemariam. Food supply to more than 7 million Tigrayans has been deliberately looted, destroyed and farmers are prevented from farming. Meanwhile, unfettered access to aid agencies has yet to be granted. The UN revealed that 99% (130 out of 131 documented incidents) of the humanitarian aid blockage is happening by the Ethiopian troops and its allies. Multiple testimonies from the Tigrayan families reveal that famine is occurring on a large scale. The only thing standing in the way of the international community from knowing the full scale is the unavailability of data. Alex De Waal said, “no data, no famine” which has been effectively concealed using both communication blackout and blockage of roads connecting many parts of rural Tigray by invading forces.

The same crimes that got Mengistu Hailemariam convicted of genocide are being committed by Abiy. It is also critical to note that the retired officials of the Derg regime have been assigned key positions within the military leadership of the current Ethiopian defense force. Thus, not only do the atrocities reported so far indicate the genocidal intent of this war, but most importantly the involvement of the military officials that were part of the Derg regime found guilty of genocide must also be used as evidence to show this genocidal intent. Once the crimes are categorized, the international community will have the responsibility to intervene and stop the atrocities in Tigray before the only conceivable future is one with another “Never Again” campaign in it.

Source

💭 የትግራይ ቀዳማይ ወያኔ” (‘አብዮቱና ትዝታየበሌ/ኮሎኔል ፍሥሐ ደስታ ገጽ ፲፬/14፥ ፲፭/15) የመቐለ በአውሮፕላን መደብደብ 77ኛ ዓመት

💭 “Reyot – ርዕዮት: ዘር ጨፍጫፊዎች እና ሞት ቀፍቃፊዎች ክፍል ፩ ፤ የNAZI ደቀመዛሙርት እና የHolocaust መንፈስ በኢትዮጵያ

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ሚሌት ብርሃነ መስቀል Millete Birhanemaskel on #TigrayGenocide

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on July 28, 2021

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Fascist A. Ahmed’s Last Days Are Like Dictator Mengistu’s | History Repeats Itself

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on July 24, 2021

The two monsters, Abiy Ahmed Ali and Mengistu Hailemariam say and do the exact same wicked things. They are both Oromos who hate Christian Tigrayans so deeply that they attempt to exterminate them using siege warfare, starvation – as a weapon of war and war Crime.

The vicious dictator Mengistu was deposed in 1991, but fled to Zimbabwe and, despite a genocide conviction, is still walking free.

👉Tigrayan Ethiopians should not repeat the mistakes their fathers made in dealing with Ethiopia’s troubled history by allowing evil Abiy Ahmed Ali to flee the country. This bastard must be severely punished – JUSTICE must be served!

💭 History repeats itself:

🔥 Amhara & Oromos bombing Tigray, Using Rape, Hunger & forced resettlement (Mengistu did it back then, Ahmed will do the same now) as a Weapon against People in Tigray for the past 130 years:-

😈 Menelik ll: Half Oromo + Half Amhara = Oromo (Crypto-Muslim / Man of the flesh)

😈 Haile Selassie: Half Oromo + Half Amhara = Oromo (Crypto-Muslim / Man of the flesh)

😈 Mengistu Hailemariam: Half Oromo + Half Amhara = Oromo (Crypto-Muslim / Man of the flesh)

😈 Abiy Ahmed Ali ´= Half Oromo + Half Amhara = Oromo (Crypto-Muslim / Man of the flesh)

[Galatians 5:19-21]

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

___________________________________

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ሁለቱ አረመኔ የኦሮሞ ኮሎኔሎች መንግስቱ + አብዮት አህመድ ለትግራይ ሕዝብ ያላቸው ጥላቻ

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on July 3, 2021

😈 ትግራዋይ ጠሉ አረመኔ ኦሮሞ መንግስቱ ኃይለ ማርያም በሐውዜን ገበያ ጭፍጨፋ ማግስት፤ በትግራይ ሽንፈት ገጥሞት ቂጡን በመርፌ ተወግቶ ከስልጣን መወገጃው ሲቃረብ

😈 ትግራዋይ ጠሉ አረመኔው ኦሮሞ ግራኝ አህመድ የመንግስቱን ሥራ ደገመው፤ በሐውዜኑ ጭፍጨፋ ፴፫/33ኛ ዓመት፤ ልክ በዕለቱ በቶጎጋ ገበያ ላይ ጭፍጨፋ ካካሄደና ቂጡን በመርፌ ተወግቶ ከትግራይ እንዲወጣ ከተገደደ በኋላ የመንግስቱን ከንቱ ንግግር ደገመው

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Food is Being Used as a Weapon of War in Tigray, Ethiopia | ABC

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on June 22, 2021

👉 Conflict spurs famine in Ethiopia’s Tigray region.

😠😠😠 😢😢😢

‘ምርጫ’ የወጣችሁ፤ የኢትዮጵያ አምላክ፤ የአብርሃም የይስሐቅ የያዕቆብ አምላክ ለትግራይ ግፍ ይበቀላችሁ!

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#TigrayGenocide | A Tale Familiar to Three Generations of Tigrayans

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on June 21, 2021

💭 My Note: History repeats itself:

🔥 Amhara & Oromos bombing Tigray, Using Rape, Hunger & forced resettlement (Mengistu did it back then, Ahmed will do the same now) as a Weapon against People in Tigray for the past 130 years:-

😈 Menelik ll: Half Oromo + Half Amhara = Oromo (Crypto-Muslim / Man of the flesh)

😈 Haile Selassie: Half Oromo + Half Amhara = Oromo (Crypto-Muslim / Man of the flesh)

😈 Mengistu Hailemariam: Half Oromo + Half Amhara = Oromo (Crypto-Muslim / Man of the flesh)

😈 Abiy Ahmed Ali = Half Oromo + Half Amhara = Oromo (Crypto-Muslim / Man of the flesh)

[Galatians 5:19-21]

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The fight for Tigray is a horrific déjà vu… For older Tigrayans, all of this seems like a horrific déjà-vu.”

This statement captures the reality that almost all facets of the ongoing war on Tigray trigger memories of the horrors of the past for Tigrayans.

The most recent parallel the man-made famine in Tigray in the 1980s captured and shared to dramatic effect by photographers, such as Stan Grossfeld, is recognizable even to outsiders who recognize the terrible similarity with what is happening now. It is awareness of this historical context that enabled Senator Leahy, president pro tempore of the US Senate, to be one of the first amongst the international community to clearly identify what is happening in Tigray as a genocide.

This genocidal war continues to fuel an ever-worsening humanitarian and human rights crisis characterized by gross human rights violations, war crimes, and crimes against humanity including genocidal rape and the weaponization of starvation. Worst of all, the recalcitrance of the Ethiopian and Eritrean regimes in spite of considerable international pressure for a ceasefire and unfettered humanitarian access, reveals that unless direct action is taken there is little chance that these atrocities will stop.

In this context, the striking parallels between the current War on Tigray and past tactics employed by previous Ethiopian regimes – most notably Haile Selassie (1930-1974) and the Derg regime (1974-1987) led by Mengistu Hailemariam – in attempts to subjugate Tigrayans, deserve a much closer look to highlight the long-standing intentions and motivations fueling the current emergency.

Emperor Haile Selassie

Emperor Haile Selassie, best known for the history and songs that have romanticized him as an African statesman, is also responsible for the deaths of millions across the country. In Tigray, his imperial regime committed indiscriminate air bombings of civilians, annexed Tigrayan territory, and deliberately hid famine even as the Emperor hosted luxurious parties and fed his pet dogs delicacies.

Air bombing Mekelle (capital of Tigray)

During Emperor Haile Selassie’s reign, Tigray remained marginalized from the country with no significant political or economic representation. This gave rise to the first “Woyane” movement that carried out armed resistance against the monarchical rule of the Emperor. Instead of attending to the people’s demand for democracy and equality, the Emperor resorted to bombing market sites in Mekelle and surrounding areas with the help of the British Royal Air Force. This resulted in the death of thousands of innocent Tigrayans in 1943. These attacks targeted the civilian population as a possible deterrent for anyone seeking to join the Woyane armed struggle against the central monarchy.

Annexation of Tigrayan Territories

Following the defeat of the first uprising, the Emperor systematically incorporated southern territories from Tigray to Wollo province (currently part of the Amhara region) to weaken the region and hinder potential recruitments for possible future revolts. It is to be remembered that Emperor Menelik, who ruled Ethiopia before Haile Selassie from 1889 to 1913, also utilized the same tactics. Under his rule, he had incorporated parts of Tigray’s western provinces to be included under the Gondar province. The motive under both administrations was to deprive Tigray of its rich socio-economic resource to sustain resistance against the oppressive rule of the Emperors that continued to undermine the rights of different ethnic groups.

Hiding Famine

During the 1958 Tigray famine, Emperor Haile Selassie was unwilling to send emergency food aid to the starving population. An estimated 100,000 Tigrayans perished as a result. His decision was in line with the increases in farmland taxation for Tigrayans and other economic restrictions that left Tigray in a state of poverty for decades to come. In 1973 the Emperor once again hid a famine that devastated areas of Tigray and Wollo. The famine in 1973 killed an estimated 200,000 people. Once the news about the massive famine broke out to the rest of the world, the government officials quietly asked for aid that was inadequate to alleviate the famine. This was done to hush the news so that the Emperor’s image is not tarnished. Despite their denial and active efforts to spread propaganda regarding the 1954 and 1973 famines, the Emperor and his administration are without question responsible for the thousands of lives lost.

Mengistu Hailemariam

Mengistu, leader of the Communist military junta known colloquially as the Derg, used the slogan “drain the sea to catch the fish” in his attempt to subjugate Tigray. More than a slogan this aim was widely implemented in widespread campaigns of extrajudicial killings to deter people from joining the armed struggle, weaponizing hunger and forcibly removing Tigrayans from Tigray.

Weaponized Hunger

The 1984 famine, which has become associated with Ethiopia in the popular imagination of the rest of the world, was devastating due to government policies that blocked access to foreign bodies like the United Nations preventing them from providing aid. In order to hide the severity of the famine, international actors were denied access to the affected community. The famine ended up taking the lives of more than one million Tigrayans in what was one of the most horrific humanitarian disasters in recent history.

Sexual Violence, Indiscriminate Shelling and Chemical Attack

The Derg also committed weaponized sexual violence, indiscriminate shelling, and chemical attack on civilians and their residential areas. Victims of sexual violence include children as young as 13 years old. Indiscriminate shelling also targeted schools, markets, and residences all occupied by civilians. In addition, civilians bore the brunt of the horrific use of chemical weaponry.

Forced Resettlement

The terrible conditions of the 1984 famine were later used as an excuse by the military junta to forcefully resettle thousands of Tigrayans to areas outside of Tigray that were less affected by the famine. The resettlement program, which was non-voluntary and executed with poor planning and coordination failed to take into account needs for basic humanitarian services to relocated populations and as a result, took the lives of 50,000 Tigrayans while leaving many more displaced from their homeland. This resettlement program referred to at the time as a “vast human tragedy of historical proportions” was of course an act of demographic engineering intended to quash the resistance to the brutal regime by depopulating Tigray.

Mengistu found guilty of genocide

After the fall of the communist military junta in 1991, its leader President Mengistu was tried in absentia for genocide and found guilty in 2007. The High Court judgment stated:

“Members of the Derg who are present in court today and those who are being tried in absentia have conspired to destroy a political group and kill people with impunity.”

Blocking Passage for Refugees

One final point that bears mentioning here, considering that Eritrean forces are actively engaged in the current Tigrayan crisis is the role played by Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) – which later became the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) the party ruling Eritrea today under much of the same leadership – in exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in Tigray in the 80s. More specifically, in 1985, following a political disagreement between Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and EPLF officials led to the latter blocking the road connecting Sudan with Tigray. Refugees were forced to take a “long and dangerous route” on top of suffering from starvation. This cost thousands of lives as they reached Sudan through tougher terrains.

History repeats itself in Tigray

At the start of the current conflict, those that lived through the previous campaigns against Tigray and resultant famines recalled the horrors of the past and feared a repetition was likely. As feared, those that fled to Sudan in the previous famines are now again in tears remembering what they went through decades ago and how much worse the current circumstances are.

All the crimes that were committed in the past, forceful annexation, weaponized starvation and rape, banned chemical attacks, forced resettlement, blockage of passage for refugees, massacres, and indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas are being committed on Tigray since the declaration of the offensive by Abiy Ahmed Ali on the 4th of November 2020. Although this analysis focuses on the events post the start of the war, it should also be noted that roads from Amhara to Tigray were blocked since 2018 preventing the transportation of grains portending the tactics being used to weaponize hunger now.

Today the reality on the ground is very dire. The United Nations (UN) has reported 350,000 people are experiencing famine in Tigray and 30,000 children are at risk of dying from starvation. Aid is available but restricted by Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Amhara regional forces. All the while, Ethiopian diplomats are engaged in telling the world access has been granted and that aid is being delivered. The population of Tigray has more than doubled since the time of President Mengistu Hailemariam. Food supply to more than 7 million Tigrayans has been deliberately looted, destroyed and farmers are prevented from farming. Meanwhile, unfettered access to aid agencies has yet to be granted. The UN revealed that 99% (130 out of 131 documented incidents) of the humanitarian aid blockage is happening by the Ethiopian troops and its allies. Multiple testimonies from the Tigrayan families reveal that famine is occurring on a large scale. The only thing standing in the way of the international community from knowing the full scale is the unavailability of data. Alex De Waal said, “no data, no famine” which has been effectively concealed using both communication blackout and blockage of roads connecting many parts of rural Tigray by invading forces.

The same crimes that got Mengistu Hailemariam convicted of genocide are being committed by Abiy. It is also critical to note that the retired officials of the Derg regime have been assigned key positions within the military leadership of the current Ethiopian defense force. Thus, not only do the atrocities reported so far indicate the genocidal intent of this war, but most importantly the involvement of the military officials that were part of the Derg regime found guilty of genocide must also be used as evidence to show this genocidal intent. Once the crimes are categorized, the international community will have the responsibility to intervene and stop the atrocities in Tigray before the only conceivable future is one with another “Never Again” campaign in it.

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