Tigray Genocide

  • Tigray in Political Conundrum: Finger Pointing Taking the Center Stage Amidst Deep Crisis.

    By G. Amare


    The purpose of this article is to provide analysis of the intricate political dynamics and formidable challenges currently confronting Tigray. It explores the myriad factors that exacerbate the matter: deeply rooted beliefs, finger pointing, unsubstantiated accusations, divisive rhetoric, and the direct and indirect involvement of foreign elements.  Furthermore, the article addresses the actions that both the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and opposition parties should seriously take into consideration to get Tigray out of the wood: formulate a road map that articulates a coherent vision and offers a practical and sustainable solution. It also underscores the paramount importance of refraining from tactics that sow division, while emphasizing the necessity of prioritizing the safety and security of the people of Tigray over a personal gain and the pursuit of power.

    To begin with, let’s clarify what the term “political conundrum” entails.  The term can be defined [1] as a complex or perplexing issue or problem within the realm of politics that typically involves a situation where conflicting interests or factors make it difficult to find a straightforward solution or to understand the best course of action. It can range from policy dilemmas and governance challenges to strategic or ethical issues within the political arena. And, therefore, warrants careful consideration of the matter at stake and making decisions and taking actions based on a thorough understanding of a relevant information and assessing different options and their potential consequences before reaching a conclusion.

    So to say, Tigray finds itself in a political conundrum in the midst of the ongoing crisis. Unfortunately, the landscape has become rife with negative political tactics, finger-pointing, accusations, and appeals to public emotions, particularly anger and frustration. It is not atypical for any political party to vie for public support by positioning itself against an incumbent party. However, it is equally crucial to consider the long-term consequences of any Machiavellian tactics. Such tactics may yield short-term political gains, but the repercussions can extend far beyond an immediate political score. Particularly, the impact of such may be highly pronounced on Tigray’s already fragile condition, which is not a difficult riddle to understand.

    In the aftermath of a destructive genocidal war, it is highly anticipated unmet expectations, pervasive frustrations, anger, and the lingering trauma of warfare will subsequently give rise to dysfunctional government systems and a corrupt bureaucracy, exacerbating a cascade of challenges. Reversing the challenge that Tigray is facing today demands for innovative ideas, strategic thinking, and a big dose of wisdom. Building trust, fostering inclusive governance, and addressing grievances will take time, patience, and sustained efforts. And cornering or blaming one party is unlikely to be a sufficient or effective strategy for resolving the challenges. It cannot be reduced to assigning blame to TPLF alone as this simply oversimplifies the complex dynamics which is influenced and characterized by multiple internal and external factors and actors. Some of which are described below.

    Long-Standing Beliefs

    Long-standing beliefs can have a profound impact on peoples’ ability to adapt to changes because such beliefs shape their values, views, and norms, and influence them how they perceive and respond to change. The fact is that any change runs into some form of resistance. One  major reason is that people think they will lose something of value as a result.[2]People may also resist change when they do not understand its implications and perceive that it might cost them much more than they will gain.[3] It is often difficult to convince people with fixed beliefs unless some strategic persuasion skills that may include establishing common interests and framing perspectives in a positive light are applied.[4]  In reality, change is a challenging process regardless of the circumstances, and particularly difficult to implement in an environment that has deeply embedded values, norms, and assumptions that are solidly grounded in an enviable history and associated with profound and long-term consequences on society’s long-standing beliefs.[5],[6] Thus, attempting to change such beliefs without respect, sensitivity, and deep understanding and critical analysis of their significance may be met with resistance.

    “It follows that an acceleration in the rate of change will result in an increasing need for reorganization. Reorganization is usually feared, because it means disturbance of the status quo, a threat to people’s vested interests… and an upset to established ways of doing things. For these reasons, needed reorganization is often deferred, with a resulting loss in effectiveness and an increase in costs.”[7].

    Despite TPLF’s leadership failures, the people of Tigray still have long-standing beliefs, perceptions, emotional attachments, and a sense of belonging to the causes that TPLF stood for. They might exhibit resistance to any efforts to introduce a new change, as they could view it as contradicting their ingrained beliefs and established perceptions. Whether one likes it or not, the relationship between the people of Tigray and TPLF is peculiar, and the bond is not easy to break for practical and historical reasons.  However, while the fact on the ground is a horse of different color, TPLF’s opponents are always seen underestimating these relationships and bonds. Rather, they seem to focus on coercive measures in order to accelerate acceptance by imposing their political perspectives. They seem to have little cognizant to the complex interplay between such long-standing beliefs and a political change.

    It is very essential for political parties, seeking to navigate and implement political changes and transitions, to realize the reality on the ground. Established beliefs, traditions, and perceptions should not be underestimated. They should rather be appreciated and respected. It is critical to accept the truth that a successful change often involves a gradual shift in attitudes and behaviors over generations, rather than immediate transformation. Providing education and raising awareness with great patience, persistent work, and self-compassion may help see a change over time. [8] Repeated communications of ideas help people to see the need for and the logic of a change.[9] Acknowledging that change takes time is essential. Otherwise, rushing the process can lead to backlash.

    “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things…. Partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have had actual experience of it.”- Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince.  

    TPLF’s Political Culture

    TPLF’s efforts in Tigray has been drawn into institutionalizing a political culture of single-party control and dominance. It has implemented a rigid policy over the political landscape, limiting political freedoms, suppressing opposition voices, and tightly controlling the media in Tigray. This stifled political pluralism, contributing to a lack of political competition and choice. And TPLF has shown little interest in changing and adapting to evolving political dynamics. TPLF seems unable or unwilling to understand that in a dynamic political landscape, a party that does not adapt to changing circumstances may lose relevance and support from people who are looking for solutions to contemporary challenges and developments.

    TPLF repeatedly has failed to address emerging issues and respond to the needs and concerns of the people effectively and willingly. It has failed to recognize the fact that lack of adaptability can also lead to a state of political stagnation, where it remains stuck in outdated policies or political platforms that no longer resonate with the people. TPLF neglects to use the political dynamics that presents opportunities to galvanize support and maintain its influence. It is struggling to appeal to a younger generation who have different priorities, values, and expectations and may seek alternatives that are more responsive to their needs and aspirations by appreciating that societal changes, demographic shifts, and evolving public opinion can render certain party positions or platforms obsolete.

    All in all, the perception is that people are gradually losing hopes on TPLF because of its sluggish responsiveness and ineffectiveness. TPLF is facilitating the decline of its longtime political influences to a point where it may be difficult to rebuild trust and credibility. There is a fear from its members and sympathizers that this situation can possibly lead to internal divisions and conflicts within TPLF as different factions may have differing views on direction and strategies.

    Therefore, if TPLF has the desire to remain functional, effective, relevant, and influential in Tigray’s political landscape, it should engage in serious self-assessment, adapt its policies and platforms to current challenges, and respond to the evolving needs and expectations by being flexible, open to new ideas, capable of evolving with the times, and thriving in dynamic political environments. It should take stringent measures against corruption. It is a must for TPLF to come back all afresh and serve its people in full scale capacity, capability, competency, and with selfless integrity and determination that it had reflected to topple down the Derg regime, seemingly impossible win, after 17 years of armed struggle.

    Hate Politics 

    This is a form of political engagement widely observed in today’s Ethiopia and Tigray, as well. It is a type of political behavior that often involves using derogatory language, spreading false information, and stoking divisiveness, fear, anger, and hostility toward specific individuals or groups. The result is often harmful. It erodes societies’ social cohesion, undermines democratic institutions, and fosters an undemocratic culture of intolerance. Hate politics is detrimental to the very principles of democracy which relies on openness, peaceful coexistence, and respect to established rules of laws, and constructive critics as opposed to combative and destructive political discourses and blame games.

    Everyone knows what the outcome of Ethiopia’s 27 years of hate politics has been. There were widespread and unfounded allegations, distribution of fabricated lies, discriminatory claims, divisive, and inflammatory campaigns to fuel animosity and mobilize support against TPLF and the people of Tigray. This ultimately has escalated to declaration of premeditated, systematic, and barbaric acts of genocidal war with the intention to wipe out the entire people of Tigray.

    Meddling of Various Groups

    The political situation in Tigray is complex and characterized by a range of actors and factors, including historical tensions and regional politics. Efforts to create divisions or fractures within Tigray’s political landscape involve various parties, including the government of Eritrea, Amhara elites, the Ethiopian federal government, and many foreign countries that have vested and conflicting economic and geopolitical interests.

    The Eritrean Government: The government of Eritrea’s desire has always been to wipe out TPLF and Tigrayan elites who are seen as obstructors or threats toward the despotic leader, Isaias Afwerki’s dream of creating a deviant Eritreanism through social engineering and implementing economic hegemony not only over Ethiopia but also over the entire Horn of Africa region-controlling, manipulation, trade dominance, and financial piracy-to serve his ego. To Isaias’s calculation, his aspiration is contingent upon the annihilation of the TPLF and the people of Tigray. That was the main reason why it was fully involved in the genocidal war that took the lives of over a million Tigrayans and vandalized infrastructures and pillaged public and private properties.

    The Amhara Fanos: the Amhara Fanos have been involved with full heart in Tigray’s war. Their plan A has been to materialize their ambition to reinstate a unitary government system and put Ethiopia under their centralized power control. To implement this project, they have unfortunately opted the venue of disintegrating Tigray and destroying its socioeconomic and political integrities. They always undermine and consider the other Ethiopians to be politically insignificant and easy to manipulate, suppress, and assimilate in absence of Tigrayans. Their other cynical ambition is to unconstitutionally expand their administrative territory by invading areas of Western and Southern Tigray. To do this, they have used the war as an opportunity to commit crimes of mass atrocities over three years. They have barbarically killed, imprisoned, tortured, widely involved in cruel sexual violations, and forcefully evicted Tigrayans from their places and brought new settlers from Amhara region to change the demography of the areas they have occupied with help of Eritrean troops and the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF).

    The Federal Government of Ethiopia: The federal government of Ethiopia has played a central role in the ongoing genocidal war. First, it framed the genocidal war as a law enforcement operation to deliberately misguide the international community. Second, it served as the main supplier of high-tech weapons of war to the Eritrean and Amhara forces. Third, it has disinformed the international community by distributing nonstop lies and fake news. Forth, it has applied the “Shock and Awe” military strategy to overwhelm, intimidate, morally and psychologically defeat, and kill the people of Tigray. Fifth, it has indiscriminately imprisoned many thousands of Tigrayans, from all walks of life, in concentration camps, and tortured and killed several.  Sixth, it has imposed a complete siege on Tigray, restricting access to essential goods, humanitarian aid, and completely shut down all means of communications to cause catastrophic deaths, humanitarian crisis, including food shortages, displacement, and reports of massive atrocities.

    Even after the signing of the Pretoria peace deal, these three forces have been seen coordinating their efforts and jointly acting not only to influence or shape the political landscape in Tigray to their overt and covert goals but also to continue perpetrating crimes of  mass atrocities. They have been openly campaigning to foster divisions by tearing down TPLF’s political roles, damaging its images, and belittling its accomplishments.

    Economic and Geopolitical Interests: Ethiopia’s political landscape has been influenced by a variety of foreign countries due to its strategic location, economic potential, and geopolitical significance in the Horn of Africa. Countries that have vested economic and geopolitical interests in Ethiopia have played key roles in orchestrating and ending the power of TPLF dominated coalition: the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). It was unfortunate meddling for these countries to support Abiy Ahmed’s coming to power solely for the sake of a few greedy individuals interests and a misguided and ill-fated policy directions. Their lack of moral compass has cut short Ethiopia’s economic growth. Their blinded missteps have stifled and switched off the spark of light to the path of democratization process.

    In a nutshell, the Tigray war has attracted international attention and involvement, with various countries and organizations taking sides or attempting to meddle and mediate. Therefore, understanding the complexity of Ethiopia’s dirty politics and foreign involvements is indeed crucial for anyone who has a genuine concern. All parties in Tigray need to delve into the context to understand the root causes of the genocidal war and the grievances of various groups. The parties should seriously and analytically assess the situation of these intertwined economic and geopolitical political landscapes.

    No one denies the fact that the war in Tigray has led to a catastrophic humanitarian crisis including extrajudicial killings, barbaric sexual violations and gang rapes, indiscriminate imprisonments, physical and phycological tortures, miseries, high level severity of food shortages, ethnic cleansing, forced evictions and massive displacements, shutting down of all means of communication channels and social serves. Security and safety also remain to be of a critical concern. The war has totally disrupted all economic activities and social relationships. All parties are highly anticipated to deeply focus on assessing the consequences and figuring out practical solutions. They are expected to work on a plan. They should find a way on how to address these issues while working toward a more stable political environment and need to develop a clear and comprehensive long-term vision for Tigray, taking the complexities of the matter into consideration. This vision should be inclusive and aimed at achieving lasting peace and development.

    In short, all parties in Tigray should critically assess and understand the multifaceted nature of the war, considering historical, political, international, and humanitarian factors. By doing so, they can develop informed strategies for engagement and contribute to a peaceful and sustainable resolution of the Tigray conflict.

    TPLF and the Path Ahead

    There is no question that TPLF is currently facing significant challenges. Unfortunately, the current political situation in Tigray appears to be in harmony with the assertions and agendas propagated by Amhara elites and the Eritrean Government: dividing Tigrayans into smaller, fractured segments in order to annihilate them or render their political role in the region meaningless.

    Tigray’s opposition parties are accusing and finger pointing at TPLF for every mishap in Tigray. In order to reverse the politics of finger-pointing, and reclaim public trust, TPLF must figure out a way forward. It should urgently consider the following steps:

    Open and Inclusive Dialogue: TPLF should demonstrate a commitment to inclusive dialogue and reconciliation within itself and others. Engaging with a wide range of stakeholders, including political opponents, civil society, and community leaders, is crucial to build trust and find common ground.

    Genuinely Concede to Past Mistakes: A crucial step in moving forward is acknowledging past mistakes and addressing any grievances that may have fueled public anger and frustration. Taking responsibility for past actions, whether perceived or real, is an important step toward.

    Inclusive Public Engagement: TPLF should actively engage with the public through regular communication, public forums, and consultations. It should genuinely listen to the concerns and aspirations of the people and be responsive to their needs. TPLF should be willing and open the political space for inclusive and diverse ideas. This includes incorporating voices from various political groups, and promoting policies that benefit all the people.

    Process of Transparency and Accountability: Implementing transparent and accountable practices is essential and appropriate. TPLF should openly share progress reports with its people regarding why the practical implementation of Pretoria peace deal has been delayed. It should openly discuss the challenges with the people. TPLF should prioritize anti-corruption measures, ensure that public resources are used responsibly, and establish mechanisms for accountability while showing its determination to calling for justice and independent investigation of the genocidal war, and providing and supporting essential services. Demonstrating a commitment to improving the lives of the people can help ease public anger and frustration. TPLF should actively engage the people in its efforts to address the challenges it is currently facing.

    Acknowledge the Importance of Transitioning to Multi-Party Democracy: TPLF should undergo a significant transformation by moving away from its long-standing belief in one-party dominance. Embracing multi-party democracy and facilitating the development of a competitive political space in Tigray can foster greater accountability and responsiveness.

    Long-Term Vision: TPLF should articulate a clear and inspiring long-term vision for the future of Tigray. This vision should be based on principles of inclusivity, social justice, and economic prosperity, and should resonate with the aspirations of the people.

    Opposition Parties:  Wide Gap in Advancing Civil Discourses

    The Tigray war has attracted international attention and involvement, with various countries and organizations taking sides or attempting to mediate. Tigray’s political parties should be aware of these dynamics. Security remains a critical issue in Tigray and opposition parties are highly expected to contribute towards formulating policies that ensure the safety and well-being of the people and facilitate the recovery and reconstruction of war destroyed Tigray.

    However, Tigray’s opposition parties seem to forget that one of Tigray’s current and pressing challenges is reclaiming the status quo ante.  As of today, they are seen engaged in finger-pointing and hate politics rather than focusing on critical analysis of the multifaceted nature of the ongoing crisis. There is greater need to understand the root causes of the genocidal war that has effectively shut down all economic and social activities in Tigray. It is a necessity step for them to develop clear and comprehensive short-term and long-term vision, considering the complexities of the political landscape. By doing so, they can develop informed strategies and sustainable solutions for the challenges that Tigray is facing today. Otherwise, the politics of finger pointing can only exacerbate the situation and hinder efforts to find a genuine, peaceful, and inclusive solutions.

    It is unfortunate that the political landscape in Tigray is deficient of civility and meaningful political dialogues. The situation is indeed unhealthy. There is a need to seriously address the wide gap in advancing civility. There is a sense of urgency to cultivate a culture of civilized discourse to signify the importance of promoting constructive and productive conversations within the realm of politics. Civil discourse highlights the need for discussions and debates that are marked by respect and decorum. In a civil discourse, individuals engage in dialogue without resorting to personal attacks, insults, or inflammatory language. Constructive political discourse underscores the significance of political conversations that contribute to problem-solving, idea generation, and policy development. It focuses on the merits of ideas, proposals, and arguments rather than tearing down opponents. It encourages participants to offer well-reasoned arguments, consider evidence, and seek common ground.

    The principles of a civil discourse should be practiced as a culture. Such principles should not be sporadic occurrences but rather ingrained norms within the political arena in Tigray.  Civility calls for a fundamental shift in how political discourse is conducted, with the understanding that this transformation is not just desirable but absolutely necessary for a democratic society. Without such a culture of civility, the consequences can be detrimental. When political discourse lacks civility and constructiveness, it can lead to polarization, gridlock, and a breakdown in governance. In extreme cases, it can even contribute to social unrest or violence.

    Opposition parties should prioritize their efforts in addressing the underlying issues and advance inclusive and civilized political dialogues in Tigray. It is beneficial for them to assess, reassess, and pay attention to following issues:

    Divisiveness Hinders Unity: Finger-pointing and hate politics only deepen divisions among Tigrayans. This opens the door of opportunity to adversaries of Tigray who always have the desire to fragment or annihilate Tigray and are acutely seeking internal divisions within Tigray’s political landscape. It is an open secret that Tigray’s foes always have the desire to exploit every available avenue to create internal divisions among Tigrayans. The internal strife in Tigray affords them the opportunity to evade their responsibilities, such as the execution of the Pretoria Agreement.

    A united and resolute Tigrayan front plays a pivotal role in advancing the enduring interests of Tigray. A divided society is less likely to achieve its goals and negotiate effectively with stakeholders. It is not hard to envision the emergence of vibrant and competitive political parties flourishing within a stable Tigray.

    Political polarization: One of the most significant long-term impacts of political parties that rely on accusations is the deepening of political polarization which often emphasizes on creating fragmented society, divisions, reinforcing the “us vs. them” mentality which hinders collaboration and compromise among parties, making it difficult to address the pressing humanitarian and governance challenges in Tigray today. The result is often gridlock and a lack of progress on critical matters.

    Decline in Civility: Heated rhetoric and personal attacks contribute to a decline in civility in political discourse. This decline makes it challenging for individuals from different political backgrounds to engage in constructive dialogue and find common solutions for peace and stability. A hostile political environment can deter the collaborative efforts required to bring an end to the crisis and ensure lasting peace.

    Short-Term Gain: Parties focused on finger-pointing may prioritize short-term political gains over long-term solutions. They may focus on scoring political points rather than addressing the enduring challenges faced by Tigray. This short-term thinking can lead to policy decisions that lack foresight and fail to provide lasting solutions to humanitarian, governance, security, and safety concerns. While political parties may occasionally prioritize short-term gains, such a brand of politics is typically observed in nations characterized by durable stability and well-established democratic institutions.

    Ethical Responsibility and Accountability: All parties in Tigray should have an ethical responsibility to prioritize the well-being of the people. Engaging in hate politics and divisive tactics can harm the very people they claim to serve. Excessive accusations and finger-pointing can obscure genuine issues of accountability. When everything is framed as a political attack, it can be challenging to distinguish between valid concerns and baseless claims. This can hinder efforts to hold leaders accountable for their actions during the crisis and its aftermath.

    Humanitarian Consequences: The ongoing genocidal war in Tigray has already resulted in catastrophic humanitarian crises, with millions still in need of assistance. Hate politics and divisive rhetoric can divert attention away from addressing the pressing humanitarian needs of the population.

    Confirmation Bias: Opposition parties in Tigray exemplify a strong predisposition towards confirmation bias, wherein they tend to seek, interpret, and recall information in a manner that bolsters their existing disapproval to TPLF. This inclination often leads them to selectively perceive events, reinforcing their preconceived positions rather than engaging in critical and pragmatic assessments of the complex challenges. Tigray’s opposition parties have demonstrated a propensity for disparaging, dismissing or belittling TPLF’s achievements, or purposely tend to invest their resources in cursing TPLF for its wrongdoings or shortcomings. In doing so, they inadvertently foster echo chambers, where like-minded individuals bolster each other’s beliefs. Within these echo chambers, they selectively interpret information to confirm their existing convictions, making them more susceptible to misinformation. Consequently, they become resistant to accepting information that challenges their established views, and their scrutiny of information aligning with their belief’s wanes. Collectively, confirmation bias results in biased reasoning and a distorted comprehension of the multifaceted issues at hand. Even when presented with compelling evidence showcasing the positive changes brought about by the TPLF, it remains a formidable challenge for opponents to restrain from rebuking TPLF.

    Public Trust Erosion: When parties prioritize attacking their opponents over serving the public interest, it can lead to widespread cynicism and disengagement from the political process. Citizens may become disillusioned and skeptical, believing that politicians are more interested in their own agendas than in genuinely addressing the urgent needs of the people affected by the crisis.

    Inappropriate Use of Resources: Parties that focus on finger-pointing often spend more time and energy on attacking their opponents than engaging in substantive policy discussions. This lack of substantive debate can hinder the development of well-informed public policies crucial for recovery.

    Appeal to the People of Tigray

    There is no room for doubt when it comes to recognizing the incredible qualities that typically define Tigrayans. They exhibit unwavering resilience, strength, unshakable integrity, and a profound consideration for others. These qualities aren’t just admirable; they’re the bedrock upon which trust, cooperation, and positive change can thrive. This appeal implores the people of Tigray to harness these collective traits in undertaking a comprehensive examination of the allegations against the TPLF. It’s vital to subject these claims to rigorous scrutiny and careful consideration to ensure that we rely on concrete evidence and nuanced analysis rather than accepting simplistic accusations at face value. Understanding the historical, political, and social context surrounding these allegations is crucial in shedding light on the motivations and actions of all parties involved.

    Painting the TPLF as a sole instigator or the root cause of the Tigray crisis is, in reality, a dangerously oversimplified perspective. It’s a viewpoint that lacks critical thinking, deep understanding, careful consideration, or sufficient supporting information but rather built upon misconceptions and unfounded claims. When tackling significant issues that demand thorough examination, it is imperative that we lean on well-founded evidence and thoughtful analysis rather than spreading misinformation that may not accurately capture the complexities of the crisis. The genocidal war in Tigray extends beyond the actions of any single party.

    It is crucial to acknowledge that the removal of the TPLF from Ethiopia’s power structure did not solely result from its undemocratic, suppressive, authoritarian, and corruptive history. Nor was it solely due to its inability to implement socio-economic and infrastructure development in Ethiopia. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the underlying factors behind this change, we must delve into the pages of history.

    For example, consider the regime change in Chile in 1973, when General Augusto Pinochet orchestrated a military coup to oust Salvador Allende, leading to severe human rights abuses, including torture, imprisonment, and executions. Similarly, the coup in Argentina in 1976 under General Jorge Rafael Videla ushered in the “Dirty War,” marked by abductions, torture, and disappearances of perceived threats to the regime. Turn the page to read about the Russian constitutional crisis in 1993, where Boris Yeltsin declared a state of emergency and deployed tanks in Moscow to dissolve the parliament, resulting in casualties and significant damage. Recall the rise of General Suharto and the ousting of Sukarno in Indonesia. Delve into the chilling account of the 1989 “Tiananmen Square Massacre,” in Beijing, China. Many such historical instances in Europe, Asia, and South America reveal the complexities of political reforms and regime changes. Behind all these tragic and harrowing episodes of atrocities in history, you will find a common denominator.

    Finally, ask yourselves why the world remained silent about the tyranny in Eritrea, a nation devoid of democracy and no rule of law, while widely, persistently, and actively campaigned to oust TPLF/EPRDF—a coalition that brought remarkable economic growth, improved healthcare, and education, and implemented monumental infrastructure projects. This question underscores the need for a nuanced, thoughtful approach to understanding the intricate dynamics at play. It is only through a deep and informed understanding of history, context, and evidence-based analysis, we can strive for justice, peace, and a brighter future for all.

    In conclusion, in the context of the Tigray crisis, it is imperative that all political parties consider the long-term consequences of their actions. While negative tactics may offer short-term political advantages, they can hinder the region’s recovery, stability, and prospects for democratic governance. A balanced approach that combines criticism with a commitment to finding common ground and advancing policy solutions is essential for addressing the humanitarian crisis, fostering reconciliation, and ensuring a brighter future for the people of Tigray.


    [1] This definition was generated by Artificial Intelligence (AI)

    [2] Kotter, John P. & Schlesinger, Leonard A. Choosing Strategies for Change. https://hbr.org/2008/07/choosing-strategies-for-change. Accessed on September 4, 2023.

    [3] Ibd.

    [4] https://research.com/education/why-facts-dont-change-our-mind. Accessed on September 4, 2023.

    [5] Cancialosi, Chris. Navigating Change In Deeply Rooted Organizations. https://www.forbes.com/sites/chriscancialosi/2019/01/18/navigating-change-in-deeply-rooted-organizations/?sh=14912e694cdb. Accessed on September 4, 2023.

    [6] https://www.snhu.edu/about-us/newsroom/social-sciences/what-is-social-change. Accessed on September 4, 2023.

    [7] Marvin Bower and C. Lee Walton, Jr., “Gearing a Business to the Future,” in Challenge to Leadership (The Conference Board, 1973), as cited by Kotter, John P. & Schlesinger, Leonard A. Choosing Strategies for Change. https://hbr.org/2008/07/choosing-strategies-for-change. Accessed on September 4, 2023.

    [8] https://psychcentral.com/health/core-beliefs-examples#can-you-change-them. Accessed on September 4, 2023.

    [9]Kotter, John P. & Schlesinger, Leonard A. Choosing Strategies for Change. https://hbr.org/2008/07/choosing-strategies-for-change. Accessed on September 4, 2023.

  • OPEN LETTER: Subject – Justice delayed or curtailed is justice denied: ICHREE Mandate must be extended and beallowed full access to Tigray to deliver credible and full investigation and justice for victims of mass atrocitycrimes in TigrayYours Excellency,

    We, members of the Tigray Diaspora in the UK and together with the Tigrayan Diaspora in Europe and in solidarity with the Global Tigrayan Diaspora Communities, are writing this letter and will be gathered on 21 September 2023 in front of the Office of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, to demand that the ongoing mass atrocities committed in Tigray must be stopped, and fully and comprehensively investigated by independent, transparent and international body. As testified by the June 2023 Report on Tigray, Ethiopia, by Human Rights Watch, the Amhara Paramilitary Fano and Eritrean forces have continued to commit mass atrocities in Tigray. To date, over one million Tigrayans have perished, over 120, 000 Tigrayan women and girls subjected to sexual violence and rape and over 2 million Tigrayans continued to be internally displaced due to genocidal occupation of Tigray. The mass atrocity crimes committed in Tigray is the worst mass atrocity crime humanity has witnessed yet in the 21st Century and must be fully and comprehensively investigated for justice to prevail.

  • Navigating the Viability of Transitional Justice (TJ) in Tigray Regional State vs. Ethiopia’s Situation.



    In the wake of the genocidal war against the people of Tigray, the talk about transitional justice (TJ) has grown louder posing ambivalent questions. This article challenges the viability of TJ mechanism where the warring parties and actors of the genocidal war continue to hold power. It simultaneously describes the theoretical principles and essential preconditions for successful implementation of TJ.

    TJ normally refers to the mechanisms and processes a society uses to respond to the legacies of past massive and serious human rights violations and in times of transition from conflict or authoritarian rule to peace or democracy.[1],[2] The process incorporates full range of judicial and non-judicial measures (such as institutional reform, truth seeking, vetting of public officials, reparations) in order to, inter alia, ensure accountability, serve justice, provide remedies to victims, promote healing and reconciliation, establish independent oversight of the security system and restore confidence in the State’s institutions, and promote the rule of law in accordance with international human rights law.[3] So, the TJ process is immensely complex and exceedingly sensitive undertaking. Practically speaking, its implementation, in the aftermath of a genocide, is particularly characterized by an uphill battle that requires great deal of efforts and determination.[4]Visualizing truth, justice, reparation, guaranteeing of nonrecurrence, and memorialization processes which are the fundamental pillars of the TJ for any society seeking to heal from dictators brutal mass atrocities, is a daunting endeavor.[5],[6] The process of TJ is subject to perpetrators’ obstruction or manipulation in an effort to evade accountability, exploiting their power of influence. Such a power of influence will be more prominent and impactful in situations where perpetrators are in control of the security and judiciary systems. They can easily intimidate and undermine potential witnesses’ participation and security protection to thwart investigation or impede evidence collection. That is one of the reasons why a full and vigilant engagement and monitoring of an independent body becomes crucial. Though the role they plaid varies from one place to the other, the international community (IC) were seen taking part, in most cases of the TJ that occurred around the world.

    TJ process is often seen focusing on reconciliation and healing. However, in cases where the perpetrators remain in power, like the case in Tigray Regional State vs. Ethiopia, genuine reconciliation might be elusive, as the victims may not perceive the TJ process to be fair and impartial, particularly, if the responsibility is fully left to domestic actors. The TJ process is also subjected to the ethical dilemma of balancing justice with the potential destabilization of a country: the fear of further violence and conflict may deter the international actors from making active engagements or taking decisive actions.

    TJ is often associated with post-conflict settlements where one wins power and the other loses. However, this scenario is not always the case.  TJ may be applicable even when both warring parties remain in power. There are a few success stories where reconciliation and justice pursued through the process of TJ when the parties involved continue to wield power.  For example:

    South Africa – Post-Apartheid Era[7]: After decades of racial segregation and violence under apartheid, South Africa underwent a peaceful transition in the early 1990s. The African National Congress (ANC), which had been the primary anti-apartheid movement, took power in a coalition government with the National Party, which had enforced apartheid policies. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was established to address human rights violations committed by all sides during apartheid. The TRC provided a platform for victims and perpetrators to come forward, share their experiences, and present their cases. Perpetrators who confessed their crimes and demonstrated genuine remorse were eligible for amnesty. While the process was not without criticism, the TRC played a significant role in promoting reconciliation and avoiding widespread retributive justice, allowing a peaceful transition despite the ANC and National Party remaining in power. The international community (IC) were also involved but their  role  was more that of observers and sometimes advocating for the TRC’s effectiveness and transparency. The IC did also take an interest in the proceedings and attended hearings, but they were not formal participants.

    Mozambique – Civil War Reconciliation[8]: Mozambique experienced a brutal civil war that lasted from 1976 to 1992. After a peace agreement was reached between the ruling FRELIMO party and the rebel group RENAMO, a truth commission was established to investigate human rights abuses committed by both sides during the conflict. The Commission for the Reception, Truth, and Reconciliation (CRVR) allowed for the examination of past atrocities and the granting of amnesty to some perpetrators. The process contributed to reconciliation efforts and played a role in the continuation of FRELIMO’s governance in post-war Mozambique. The role of the IC mainly involved diplomatic engagements to support peace negotiations and facilitate dialogue and mediation efforts; humanitarian aid to assist those affected by the violence; capacity building; supporting local truth and reconciliation processes that aim to address past grievances; and peacekeeping and security efforts.

    Timor-Leste-Established TJ after Independence[9],[10]: Timor-Leste gained independence from Indonesia in 2002 after a long struggle and a referendum for self-determination. Commission for Reception, Truth, and Reconciliation (Comissão de Acolhimento, Verdade e Reconciliação de Timor-Leste=CAVR) was established which operated from 2002 to 2005. The commission aimed to uncover the truth about past atrocities and human rights abuses, allowing for the reconciliation of Timorese society while maintaining diplomatic relations with Indonesia. However, CAVR wasn’t the only one in the play. The involvement and support of IC were crucial. The IC, led by the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET), aided in establishing a judicial system and building governmental institutions and law enforcement agencies. In addition, Serious Crimes Unit (SCU) was established to investigate and prosecute the most serious crime and a special tribunal (known as the Special Panels for Serious Crimes), composed of both Timorese and international judges, was formed to prosecute individuals responsible for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and other grave human rights violations.

    While these examples demonstrate a kind of successful TJ efforts when warring parties remained in power, it is essential to recognize that each context is unique, and the challenges in the process vary showing the fact that TJ is a complex process that requires careful consideration of the specific historical, political, and social factors.[11] TJ also demands genuine commitment and unpretentious engagement from all parties in the process.

    Unfortunately, there is no universally applicable blanket TJ rule, without considering individual circumstances or nuances. TJ should not be taken as a one-size-fits-all solution.  Applying a universal rule can simplify the process but it is doomed to fail if it doesn’t address unique circumstances or cases that require individualized attention. It may lead to unfair outcomes in cases where exceptions are necessary to achieve justice and fairness as it may overlook important differences among cases, leading to inappropriate or ineffective use of resources and or result in unnecessary consequences. Thus, context is crucial when considering the application of TJ mechanisms where instances of flexibility and discretion are essential to ensure fairness and achieve optimal outcomes. Striking the right balance between consistency and flexibility is important in designing effective TJ processes.

    The Application of Domestic TJ in Tigray Regional State vs. Ethiopia Situation

    The domestic transitional justice (TJ), in the Tigray vs. Ethiopia situation, is highly anticipated to face fierce and numerous challenges due to the complexity of the war: multiple actors involved, antagonistic geopolitical interests striving, and entrenched power dynamics is in collusion. The situation requires deep analysis and critical thinking to bring fundamental shifts in attitudes and actions, galvanize international support, and promote diplomatic relations.

    The war in Tigray has been wild, bloody and of unlimited scope and barbaric in nature resulting in hard to reconcile animosity and catastrophic consequences. The war has broken the social fabric of the people by an organized, systematic, and premeditated mass atrocities and a genocidal war that was declared to wipe out the entire people of Tigray in Ethiopia which poses an arduous task for the TJ process. The highly lauded TJ mechanism that is sought to resolve the Tigray Regional State vs. Ethiopia conflict, unless serious corrective measures are taken or alternate arrangements to involve the IC are made, seems doomed to fail because there exist several factors that presentchallenges to the practical implementation of the JT.

    Seven Obvious Challenges

    • The war Has International Dimensions

    When it started, the war was claimed to be a “law and order operation,” “targeting a few TPLF members” and “it is solely a domestic matter.”  However, from what has been observed, reported, and documented, the claim was far from the truth and utterly different from its original assertions. Rather, the war was well orchestrated and premeditated one with the intention to wipe out an entire Tigrayan ethnic group. It involved the deployment of multiple domestic and foreign allied forces-the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF), the Amhara regional forces, the Eritrean Troops, and some forces from the Federal Republic of Somalia.  Bizarrely, it was planned and operationalized with a military assistance-high-tech weapons, expertise, drones, and finance-from many other countries including but not limited to the UAE, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, China, Russia, Iran etc.

    Moreover, the war violated international laws. The denial of access to humanitarian aid, during conflict, is a condemned act by the UNSC.  Blocking the free passage or timely delivery of humanitarian assistance to persons in need as well as the deliberate attacks against humanitarian workers are violations of UN conventions. However, such conventions were found to be meaningless and without practical application in Tigray Regional State vs. Ethiopia war. The UN miserably failed to implement its own rules and regulations and remained apathetic while the entire people of Tigray haven been suffering under complete siege and in darkness, deliberately and cruelly starved to death. Several reports indicate the death of hundreds of thousands of people due to lack of food and essential medicines and medical supplies. The death of some aid workers has also been reported while on their duty. So, the genocidal war in Tigray vs. Ethiopia has international dimensions. The crimes committed, unquestionably, reflect crime against humanity and war crimes that deserve attention and thorough investigations by an independent body established by UNSC, such as the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia (ICHREE), to hold criminals accountable, possibly at international criminal courts. This should not, at any cost, be left to only domestic TJ system.

    • Resistance to Confront Past Wrongs

    Theoretically speaking, for TJ to take root, the warring parties must demonstrate a genuine willingness to confront their past wrongdoings and human rights abuses. Acknowledging responsibility for atrocities committed and expressing remorse are essential steps in rebuilding trust. However, Ethiopia’s federal government has stubbornly and consistently opposed and rejected the call for an independent investigation. This inserts the suspicion that the government is trying to conceal its involvement and protect individuals implicated in human rights abuses. Such a refusal to conduct independent investigations has perpetuated a culture of impunity: perpetrators continue to act without fear of consequences; and there are ongoing and nonstop human rights violations that further erode trust. Evidently there is no willingness to confront past wrongs from the authorities and officials of the federal government of Ethiopia.

    • Difficulty to Earn Public Support

    The success of the TJ process hinges on garnering broad public backing. Reconciliation efforts, truth-telling, and victim-centered approaches are highly dependent on prioritizing victims’ needs and demonstrating legitimacy. However, in Ethiopia, with highly polarized ethnic groups and deep-rooted divergence between the warring parties, there exists an abundant deficit of public trust and support. Winning trust is no small feat and garnering public support is an uphill and a windward battle. Public support, a crucial element of TJ, is an unsettled debt in the Tigray vs. Ethiopia scenario.

    • Partisan Judiciary System and Political Bias

    The establishment of an impartial and effective judiciary system is a vexing and burdensome project to envisage in the current day Ethiopia. Evidently, one way or another, every high ranked official, many religious leaders, civic societies, teaching institutions, professional organizations and many more, have stood in support of the federal government’s genocidal propaganda campaigns against the people of Tigray. These groups valiantly got involved or facilitated the all-out war in Tigray without care, shame, or remorse for their actions.  It is hardly possible to find individuals who would be impartial and without political bias. Indisputably, this hinders the process of TJ from ensuring fair trials and adjudication of cases in Tigray Regional State vs. Ethiopia’s post-war environment. And a justice system influenced by partiality would undermine the entire domestic TJ process.

    • Victim and Witness Insecurity

    Ideally, TJ advocates that the voices of victims must be heard and respected throughout the process and their needs, concerns, and rights must be prioritized to achieve meaningful and lasting reconciliation. The TJ process should also offer support and protection to witnesses who may have cooperated with independent investigations. Witness protection is crucial for ensuring their safety and encouraging their participation in subsequent justice measures. Nonetheless, it is plausible that the process in Tigray Regional State vs. Ethiopia would undermine the participation and protection of victims and witnesses.   It is hardly possible to create a conducive environment that offers security protection in Ethiopia where peace and stability is highly volatile, there is ongoing active conflict everywhere in the country, and Ethiopia is suffering from lack of stable, dependable, and reliable government.

    • Rejection for Independent investigation 

    Another very concerning aspect of the Tigray Regional State vs. Ethiopia’s situation is the rejection for independent investigation by the federal government of Ethiopia. This is a major roadblock to the TJ process and can have serious consequences. Impartial investigations are essential steps to establish the truth, hold perpetrators accountable, and pave the way for healing and lasting peace by playing vital roles in addressing human rights violations and facilitating a society’s transition from conflict to peace.

    Independent investigations and TJ serve different purposes but can significantly impact each other in the pursuit of justice and reconciliation and in healing wounds, and rebuilding trust in societies recovering from the impact of a genocidal war. They are interconnected and complementary components of seeking justice and reconciliation.  Having one without the other produces little results, if not none. Independent investigations, if conducted by impartial bodies or commissions, free from political influence or interference, ensure credibility and transparency and lay the groundwork by uncovering the truth and identifying responsible parties, while TJ helps translate these findings into concrete actions, such as prosecutions and reparations. Thus, independent investigations have direct impact on TJ process.

    Independent investigation plays crucial roles in establishing accountability for human rights violations, war crimes, and atrocities committed if conducted free from political influence or interference. Its contribution to the process of TJ is immense:  (i) serves as a source of truth and unbiased evidence to provide the foundation for truth-telling and acknowledgment of past wrongs; (ii) plays a role in holding perpetrators accountable and determining appropriate legal measures; (iii) increases public awareness and legitimacy by  shedding light on the truth;  (iv) increases public awareness of the magnitude of the crimes committed and this heightened awareness can generate support for TJ measures and build public confidence in the process; (v) provides basis for prosecution-the evidence collected during independent investigations serves as a foundation for legal proceedings and prosecutions to hold perpetrators accountable; (vi) offers witnesses and victims the assurance that their testimonies will be heard impartially and without fear of retaliation; and this  encourages more people to come forward and share their experiences, contributing to a more comprehensive understanding of the crimes committed; (vii) serves as a deterrent against future human rights violations and atrocities. Knowing that their actions may be subject to scrutiny and prosecution can dissuade perpetrators from committing further abuses; and (viii) gives victims a platform to share their stories and have their suffering acknowledged. This acknowledgment is an essential aspect of restorative justice and healing for individuals and communities affected by the crimes.

    • Asymmetric Power of Influence 

    Another critique of TJ revolves around its potential for selective justice caused by power imbalance. While the goal of TJ is to ensure that all perpetrators, irrespective of their strength or power, are held accountable, this may not be practically achievable particularly whenever there is asymmetric power dynamics-one has stronger and the other weaker power of influence. A stronger party typically holds more power and could shield its members to evade accountability. It is highly likely to have less willingness to cooperate, even if the responsibility of TJ is carried out by an international independent body. The stronger party often manipulates the system, exploiting its power to thwart investigation or impede evidence collection, hindering efforts to uncover the truth. It may have better access to resources, including legal representation, which can further tilt the scales of justice in their favor. The stronger party may have control over media outlets or the ability to shape the narrative surrounding the conflict.

    So, in scenarios where both warring parties retain power, the anticipation is that TJ would be challenged with power imbalance. The Ethiopian government and its allied forces are architects and perpetrators of the premeditated genocidal war and thus, are showing extreme and inflexible determination to evade accountability. The TJ mechanisms require access to information and evidence gathered by independent investigations. Nevertheless, Ethiopia’s federal government has been and is staunchly opposed to an independent investigation and has been obstructing access to information and evidence. The fact is that there are abundant and incontestable evidence and undeniable truth documented and reported by sources including Amnesty international, Human Rights Watch, and many other credible media outlets and sources that crimes of human rights violations, war crimes, barbaric rapes, ethnic cleansing, and immense destruction and pillaging of infrastructures that took place in Tigray widely and indiscriminately. Ethiopia’s federal government albeit rather still holds the federal political power and has been seen using this leverage to shield from accountability by exerting influence over law enforcement agencies and the international community.

    As mentioned above, Ethiopia’s federal government has been manipulating its power leverage to obstruct and or discredit the benefits of an independent investigation, preventing the truth from coming to light. The government is highly engaged in meandering the focus and scope of TJ measures as it did in the past to influence the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN-OHCHR). The UN-OHCHR was arm-twisted to change its initial call for transparent and independent investigation and agreed to form a joint investigation plan in collaboration with the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC). As expected by many, the outcome of the so-called UN-OHCHR-EHRC joint investigation was shocking and deliberately tilted. First, the joint investigation occurred in onlypurposely selected and targeted crime places or certain individuals. Second, the main crime scenes in Tigray have been purposely excluded, leading to a perception of selective justice. Third, the process was not transparent. Fourth, individuals who, directly or indirectly, had their hands in the genocidal war in Tigray were involved.

    Not only these but Ethiopia’s federal government has also abused its power to conspire with foreign forces, betraying its people. It has formed military alliances with foreign forces of Eritrea and the Federal Republic of Somalia and sought military assistance-high-tech weapons, expertise, drones, and finance-from many other countries including but not limited to the UAE, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, China, Russia, Iran etc. to wipe out the entire people of Tigray.

    The government allowed its local allies from the Amhara region to freely commit barbaric massacres and ethnic cleansing and in the end, abolish all possible crime evidence by relocating, exhumation and burning the remains of massacred Tigrayans, buried in group and the federal government remain muted and did nothing to oppose such inhumane acts. The government rather seems to have tacit agreement with these perpetrators.

    Moreover, the government has used its power of influence to block media outlets, journalists, and international organizations from entering into Tigray’s crime scenes. It has been seen influencing how the IC responds to the genocidal war in Tigray. The government has exerted pressure against the IC to refrain from taking strong measures against perpetrators, including imposing sanctions. The government has been also impacting civil society’s ability to advocate for justice and if civil society organizations face restrictions or repression, their ability to push for accountability and justice becomes limited.

    Under these circumstances, TJ might prioritize reconciliation over justice, leading to a compromised process by sidelining accountability measures, significantly impacting the efforts of TJ. It is highly likely that the TJ process would allow the stronger party to evade accountability by throwing crimes solely at the weaker party, inconsistent with the ideal principles of TJ.


    Yes, TJ may help end immediate conflicts. However, the power imbalance that exists in Tigray vs. Ethiopia raises concerns. Obviously, the Ethiopian Federal government undoubtedly has a comparative advantage to sway the process to its favor. The people of Tigray are in a weak and disadvantageous position. The federal government considers itself as a supreme party that it cannot be prevented or annulled by any other power. So, it is highly anticipated that the proposed TJ will face unique challenges and complexities that deserve serious attention from the international community. The fact on the ground necessitates a vigilant and careful attention to uphold the principles of fairness, impartiality, and accountability.

    The situation in Tigray Regional State vs. Ethiopia deserves international support and oversight if there is a genuine desire to bring long lasting peace. The establishment of independent investigation and TJ should be taken very seriously. It is essential for the IC and human rights organizations to advocate for transparent and credible investigations and a specific and an independent TJ mechanism be created to ensure that victims’ voices are heard, and justice is served. The use of international criminal accountability mechanisms, such as the International Criminal Court (ICC), should not be put aside. The matter cannot be simply resolved, and durable peace cannot be materialized by completely throwing the duty of the TJ mechanism into the hands of domestic investigators and legal system.

    Ethiopia’s federal government assumes a strong power position and persistently rejects calls for independent investigations and seen sidelining accountability measures, thereby stalling the peace process. This behavior of the government was observed during the entire military war that started in 2020. It was seen manipulating its power of influence to disinform and create an asymmetry of information by narrating a one-sided story of the war that enhanced the already existing implicit and explicit biases of the IC.  It is vital to counter the influence of political power and ensure that justice is pursued in a fair and equitable manner.

    The bottom line is that the Tigray Regional State vs. Ethiopia situation presents unique features to the process of TJ. It is unlikely that the conflict will get resolved and durable peace be materialized by only domestic TJ mechanism.Despite the ethical dilemmas, the international community must directly be involved by standing together to support and protect the victims and ensure that perpetrators are held accountable for their heinous crimes. Only by doing so can there be hope for the TJ to bear fruit and a genuine reconciliation and lasting peace be achieved in the Tigray Regional State vs Ethiopia post-war situation.

    [1] https://www.ohchr.org/en/transitional-justice#:~:text=Transitional%20justice%20covers%20the%20full,S%2F2004%2F616).

    [2] https://www.ictj.org/what-transitional-justice

    [3] United Nation Human Rights Special Procedures (January 2022). Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation, and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence. https://www.ohchr.org/sites/default/files/2023-01/Contemporary-perspectives-SR-Truth-01-2022-User-Friendly.pdf

    [4] United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (2016): Fundamentals of Genocide and Mass Atrocities Prevention; a comprehensive overview of the history, policy, and critical debates in the field of genocide and mass atrocity prevention. https://www.ushmm.org/m/pdfs/Fundamentals-of-Genocide-and-Mass-Atrocity-Prevention.pdf

    [5] Inter-American Institute of Human Rights. Contribution of Truth, Justice, and Reparation Policies to Latin American Democracies. https://www.corteidh.or.cr/tablas/28004.pdf

    [6] United Nation Human Rights Special Procedures (January 2022). Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation, and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence. https://www.ohchr.org/sites/default/files/2023-01/Contemporary-perspectives-SR-Truth-01-2022-User-Friendly.pdf

    [7] https://www.democraticprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/SouthAfricaReport_PROOF11.pdf

    [8] https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-540-85754-9_16

    [9] https://law.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Legal-History-and-the-Rule-of-Law-in-Timor-Leste.pdf

    [10] https://www.ictj.org/sites/default/files/ICTJ-Brookings-Displacement-Truth-Telling-Timor-Leste-CaseStudy-2012-English.pdf

    [11] https://www.ictj.org/what-transitional-justice

  • Tigray War and Amhara War: Are they Comparable?

    Kalayu Abraha

    The airwaves in Ethiopia are congested with the convenient but irritating narrative that the War in Tigray is being replicated in the Amhara Region. If replication is intended to mean that guns are fired and drones are being used I agree a hundred percent that the two are comparable. However, comparing wars and drawing similarities is not based on the facts that guns are fired in both. Since the advent of the gunpowder a few centuries back guns are fired in wars and this is a very weak basis for comparing them. Wars are normally compared not by how they are being conducted but why they are being conducted and who is involved in them. The whole truth and nothing but the truth is that the Tigray War and the Amhara War are not comparable but strongly related.

    The Amhara political elite do not want to take the whole blame for the Tigray War. They try to escape the blame by posing as victims of a similar campaign conducted against Tigray by the “Oromized” ENDF. They have shifted the propaganda tune and are imitating Tigray’s call for justice in almost identical terminology. Now they have succeeded to muffle the voice of Tigray and have become much louder because they are in the possession of a massive propaganda machine. The Tigray airwaves are so jammed that the world has become less attentive and less sympathetic to the Tigray call for justice. First and foremost, the settings of the two wars are different. The War in Tigray was against the elected Regional Government; and by extension against the people of Tigray. TPLF may be compared with Fano as a political entity; but the former was a ruling party while the latter is just an irregular armed group wreaking havoc to law and order in the Amhara Region and far beyond.  In the Amhara Region the elected Regional Government is not the target of Federal attack; it is rather an ally of the Federal Government against the Fano. Amhara Regional Government moved to the Federal Palace in Addis Ababa while Tigray Regional Government moved to the mountains and valleys of Tembien! During the Tigray War against the elected Regional Government of Tigray the Amhara Regional Government was on the driver’s seat of the invasion on Tigray.

    Amhara Region politicians, allied with Oromia Region politicians as the Oromara Block, invaded Tigray. After they failed to subjugate Tigray the two turned against each other blaming each other for their failures in Tigray. Does anybody have so much of short memory enough to forget that the Amhara political elite turned against its Oromara partner for signing the Pretoria agreement to end the War in Tigray? Wasn’t this the core reason for the Federal Government to act on the strong Amhara opposition that took up arms against the Pretoria agreement and what the latter called the betrayal of the Oromia Prosperity Party? The War in Tigray and the resistance waged by the TDF was neither to demolish Ethiopia not to destroy the Amhara. To the contrary, the Amhara elite were determined to eliminate Tigray as a demographic and geographic unit by inviting a foreign force in violation of the territorial integrity of Ethiopia. Tigray was only trying to save its people from the destruction planned on it.

    The Amhara political elite changed the narratives to a reverse gear and are portraying the war in the Amhara Region as their turn in the queue next to Tigray. They are shifting the blame for the Tigray War to the Federal Government and Oromia Prosperity Party as if they did not play the leading role in it misleading the Prime Minister to invade Tigray and invite Eritrea into the War. Abiy Ahmed had almost no interest in invading Tigray. His sole interest has been to protect his throne at Arat Kilo. When he saw that it was dangerous for his Premiership to tolerate Tigray, to the dissatisfaction of the Amhara elite hell bent to destroy Tigray, he selfishly jumped into the ill-fated Tigray allied invasion. Now Abiy Ahmed is nostalgic about the prewar years and dreams to relive them. He is furious at those who misled him against Tigray. Tigray can only be a passive spectator in the fight between Abiy Ahmed Amhara elite and Eritrean rulers. No interference when the demons fight one another. It is for the better!

    Amhara elite in the media, who were preaching genocide in Tigray as 95 versus 5, have drastically changed their terminology drawing similarities with Tigray as if their loud calls for genocide in Tigray are not recorded. With a lot of noise and repetition they are trying to brainwash the people of Ethiopia and obliterate any sign of the evil things they have been doing before and during the Tigray War. Many are having strange expectations from Tigray to condemn the Amhara War and even stand with the Amhara against the Federal Government. They tell Tigrayans, as if the latter were forgetful kids, that the Amhara political elite opposed the Tigray War while Oromo political elite supported it. This can only be a funny word game played by the Arada street children when they want to hoodwink each other.

    The bitter pill of truth for the Amhara political elite to swallow with eyes closed is, had it not been for the Oromo reservation and even strong opposition to the War in Tigray the Amhara propelled War in Tigray could have continued to this day further devastating Tigray. Tens of thousands of ENDF troops were surrendering to TDF not because they were not brave enough to continue fighting but because they did not believe in the War itself. Who was killing and robbing ENDF troops who refused to continue fighting in Tigray? THE FANO, with full political backing from the Amhara elite. It is serving justice for the ENDF to take revenge against the Fano. ENDF are not lesser Ethiopians than the Fano.

    Tigray is politically and culturally mature enough to oppose civilian killings even within the territories of its enemies. Tigray never supports any action by the ENDF that causes harm to innocent Amhara civilians. It is too intelligent to repeat the statements made by the callous Amhara political elite that “…there are no civilians in Tigray and hence there are no civilian deaths”. Tigray prefers to blame only the Amhara elite for the invasion and destruction of Tigray; but it knows perfectly well that millions of ordinary Amhara civilians did their best to participate in the invasion of Tigray directly or indirectly. To hammer my point home I will use the World War II experiences of alliance and counter alliance. When Germany invaded France Italy was member of the Axis Powers in alliance with Germany. Imagine a situation after the War Italy invades Germany and the latter calls France for help! If readers you were the President of France what would you ask the French Parliament to do? Help Germany against Italy? That’s insane! How about the innocent French millions who perished in the hands of Axis troops? How about French economy devastated by the Axis Powers until it was somehow restored by the US Marshall Plan? In this regard the best policy for France is to turn deaf ears to Germany’s call for help.

    I think Tigray is doing exactly that. It may help the Federal Government against the Fano irregulars not out of love for the ENDF but because it has a stake in the occupied Territories of Tigray which is the logical outcome of Amhara extremism embodied in the Fano.     

  • ATAD-America Condemns the Proclamation by the Ethiopian Ministry of Education and Calls for Immediate Correction

    The Alliance of Tigrayan Associations in the Diaspora in America (ATAD—America)
    condemns, in the strongest terms possible, the proclamation of the Ethiopian Ministry of
    Education that annexes schools in the Tigray Regional State that are currently occupied by the
    Amhara and Eritrean forces (namely: Western Tigray, Southern Tigray and North Western
    Tigray) to the Amhara Regional State. We strongly request an immediate correction to the
    released official documents of the Ethiopian Ministry of Education.
    ATAD-America considers that an official government communication that implies
    schools within the constitutional boundaries of the Tigray Region to belong in the Amhara
    regional state are not only unconstitutional but also run counter to the principles and
    agreements duly signed and acknowledged in the Pretoria Agreement for Permanent Cessation
    of Hostilities and the Nairobi Accord. ATAD-America strongly condemns and rejects any such
    assumption or claim by the Ethiopian government concerning these territories, which are
    indisputably the sovereign territories of Tigray. This illegal annexation of the occupied Tigrayan
    territories is untenable under any acceptable legal frameworks and historical grounds and we
    urge an immediate correction.
    While the people of Tigray are engaging the international community and the Ethiopian
    government in good faith to ensure the unconditional return of the occupied territories of
    Tigray per the Ethiopian constitution and in adherence to the principles of the Pretoria
    Agreement for Secession of Hostilities and the Executive mechanism signed in Nairobi, we are
    very sad that the Ethiopian government is failing to fulfill its obligations. The Ethiopian
    government, in taking such a step, is both infringing on the basis for a lasting peace contrary to
    the hopes and aspirations laid in Pretoria and Nairobi accords. ATAD—America, therefore,
    demands the Ministry of Education of Ethiopia to publicly apologize for the mistake. We also
    call upon all parties to the Pretoria agreement to play their role in resolving this pressing issue
    and expedite the return of the occupied territories to Tigray so that the interim administration
    of Tigray initiates a programme to return the displaced residents back to their homes.