Misrepresentations of the Genocidal War on Tigray, by the Ethiopian Government

Published on 8th February 2022

OPEN Re: Misrepresentations of the Genocidal War on Tigray, by the Ethiopian Government, as an African Issue

The Global Society of Tigray Scholars and Professionals (GSTS), a global knowledge network of over 5,000 Tigrayan scholars and professionals worldwide, who are proud Africans, strives to build a knowledge-based resilient society in Tigray, and the African region at large.

Since the onset of the war in the Tigray region of Ethiopia on the 4th of November 2020, we have been striving to bring to light the excessive and brutal war unleashed against the Tigrayan people. This violence includes gross atrocities identified by international organizations and experts as war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing which combined amount to acts of genocide.

Our efforts have included countering and mitigating flagrant attempts by the Ethiopian regime and its war allies to whitewash and cover up its heinous actions including the ongoing violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws, against the Tigrayan ethnic minority. The latest of these efforts by the regime to cover up its crimes have focused on garnering support for the ongoing brutal civil conflict from other African nations and institutions based on cynical misappropriation, deceitful narratives, and corruption of the Pan-African solidarity. This distressing abuse of sacrosanct ideals of Pan-Africanism builds upon efforts by the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to manipulate and undermine African institutions, including the African Union through the course of this brutal war. Regrettably, the war on Tigray will likely serve as a case study revealing that the African Union can be strongarmed by individual states and dictators to the extent of not being able to discharge the mandates conferred to it - including under the Constitutive Act under the maxim of “African Solutions to African Problems” and the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA).

The danger in the indifference shown by the African Union to the immense suffering of people in Tigray is symptomatic of an institution in crisis and incapable of addressing deeper questions pertaining to the rights and responsibilities of all African citizens. At a time when the principles of the institution are put to the test, the African Union has chosen to take the easy option and look away even as genocide is unfolding in the very country where its own headquarter is located. This reinforces the widely held opinion, especially amongst Africans, that ‘African Solutions to African Problems’ is only a convenient cover to shield those in leadership positions in Africa from accountability to the crimes they commit on their people, the Africans.

It is a sad reality that African peoples are no strangers to governments using the apparatus of the state to commit and conceal heinous crimes they commit on their people. These realities, while terrible, are a product of African governments’ leaderships and only serve to complicate efforts to come out from under oppressive regional and global structures and relationships and to chart our own destinies. It is, therefore, all the more unforgivable when an oppressive government utilizing brutal violence against its people attempts to deploy the language and guise of the pan African struggle to whitewash its crimes.

Within the context of the war on Tigray, these crimes include the use of weaponry manned by foreign experts including the horrifically destructive deployment of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV, drones), from China, UAE, Turkey, Iran, etc., by the Ethiopian government. Drones operated by foreigners have been deployed against civilian communities, civilian and public infrastructure, and other spaces, including residential homes, hospitals, camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs), refugee camps, and public transport even as the Ethiopian regime is propagating its deceptive Pan-African campaign. In addition to the countless deaths and physical injuries that have resulted from these near-daily drone attacks, these strikes continue to terrorize civilians already traumatized by more than 15 months of a brutal war and suffering from acute malnourishment as a result of the brutal siege and humanitarian blockade imposed by the Ethiopian regime.

GSTS, as an association of proud African scholars and professionals committed to the betterment of Africa and its society, is fully cognizant of the challenges facing Africans and peoples of African descent across the world. We are horrified that the very important discourses developed to address these realities are being subverted to shore up a violent state killing and oppressing African peoples for whom pan-African action and solidarity is a lived reality that never wavered. PM Abiy Ahmed has not only failed to live up to pan-African goals and aspirations of the African people but also abused and continues to abuse wellmeant African institutions, values, and Pan-Africanism to cover up the scandalous crimes he and his allies committed and continued to commit on the people of Tigray.

We at GSTS, also find it deeply distressing that misrepresentations by the Ethiopian regime seek to erase the African identity and history of the people of Tigray who are proud custodians of an ancient, diverse, and rich African civilization. It is important to recognize that Tigray has a distinguished history of countering colonial and external domination. Indeed, Ethiopia’s independence from outside domination and colonization was guaranteed and safeguarded through the sacrifices of the people and military leaders of Tigray, which places Tigray and Tigrayans firmly in the pan-Africanist camp.

It is with this in mind that we are writing to our African brothers and sisters, African nations, institutions, and civil organizations to highlight and correct misrepresentations, deceptive narratives, manipulation of African institutions, and abuse of the very essence of PanAfricanism itself, by the Ethiopian regime. 3

We at GSTS would also like to extend a plea for solidarity from our fellow Africans to stand by the human and humanitarian rights of the Tigrayan and other Ethiopian peoples by:

1. supporting calls for the end of the inhumane siege and de-facto humanitarian blockade imposed by the Ethiopian government on the Tigray region of Ethiopia;

2. strongly condemning the horrendous atrocities that were and continued to be committed against the civilian population of Tigray in this brutal war;

3. supporting victim-centered independent investigations into all alleged atrocities, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and acts of genocide committed in the Tigray war;

4. condemning the abuse of the sacred values and discourses of Pan-Africanism and African institutions to whitewash a total civil conflict and the ongoing genocide and persecution of a proud African ethnic minority, the Tigray people;

5. condemning the daily lethal drone strikes on the civilian Tigray population, civilian infrastructure, livelihood, and other spaces, jeopardizing the safety of civilian communities and violating international Human Rights Law, Arms Trade Treaties etc.;

6. upholding justice, basic human rights, and the protection of vulnerable minorities as truly Pan-African and human values;

7. opposing the abusive “# NO MORE” movement which supports a genocidal regime through a wicked manipulation of Pan-Africanism and African camaraderie;

8. calling for the complete and verifiable withdrawal of Eritrean forces from Tigray, where they have been credibly associated with grave atrocities, violations of international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law;

9. supporting and pressing for credible and comprehensive immediate ceasefire agreements and de-escalation of hostilities by all parties to the conflict, and fostering efforts toward a sustainable path to peace and a roadmap which addresses the underlying causes of the unprecedented and grave crises ravaging Ethiopia.

GSTS avers its readiness and commitment to work with our African brethren, Nations, and Institutions in Africa and all over the world to support any initiative that fosters longlasting peace, stability, reconciliation, and a better future for all the peoples of Ethiopia and the region at large.

Sincerely,

The Global Society of Tigray Scholars and Professionals


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