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    The Rebel HD-2

News

Call It A Genocide

todaySeptember 27, 2021 7

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By: Heaven Gidey

“Claim to be Amhara and we’ll give you back your house and find you a husband. But if you claim to be Tigrayan, we will come and rape you again.”

These are the words of Samrawit Weldegerima, 24, a Tigrayan refugee recalling an ultimatum given to her by Amhara soldiers (quote taken from Associated Press).

Tigray is the northernmost regional state of Ethiopia, bordering Eritrea and Sudan. Standing at only six percent of the national population, Tigray is home to over 7.1 million people. Although the regional state is known as the birthplace of Ethiopian civilization, due to an ongoing war within the country, Tigray is currently facing one of the largest humanitarian catastrophes in history.

On November 4th, 2020, the unelected Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, waged a genocidal war on the people of Tigray. Commanding the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) to carry out unjust military strategies such as weaponized rape, the mass execution of civilians, and other ethnically targeted attacks against Tigrayans. Over the past 10 months, the people of Tigray have dealt with the effects of widespread looting, internal displacement, and a man-made famine, consequently killing more than 70,000 civilians. Businesses have been bombed, healthcare facilities have been destroyed, educational buildings overtaken by the opposition, food/water aid blocked, and electricity cut –leaving 6.8 million civilians fighting a war in the dark.

Ahmed’s rise to power in 2018 escalated the deeply-rooted ethnic tensions between the different political parties within the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). Tigray’s People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) was the ruling party for 27 years, leading the country into economic stability before refusing to join Ahmed in forming the Prosperity Party. Ethnically, Ahmed comes from an Amhara and Oromo background, so after a wave of anti-government protests carried out by the Oromo and Amhara regions, Ahmed used his descent and unfulfilled promises to rise rank. In 2019, Ahmed established a peace treaty with Eritrea, a neighboring country that fought for independence from Ethiopia over 28 years ago. Although the treaty opened up the border and telecommunication lines, it was known to be a strategic political calculation between Ahmed and Eritrean president, Isaias Afwerki, that would consolidate his power.

Due to a lack of essential resources and services, over 70,000 Tigrayans have had no choice but to flee to Sudan, while more than 2.2 million are internally displaced throughout Ethiopia –leaving behind their homes and livelihoods. Sudan is a neighboring country whose borders have opened up for refugees who are in dire need of aid and medical attention, however many humanitarian access points have been closed off and/or blocked by the Ethiopian government.

One of the global organizations who’ve been advocating for the war-torn region over the past year is Omna Tigray. They have established the Twitter campaign, #CallItAGenocide, in order to spread awareness and negate misinformation spread by the Ethiopian government –who has countlessly denied all allegations of these war crimes.

As the conflict continues to worsen, Tigrayan communities from all around the United States have collaborated in creating advocacy groups such as Tigray Youth Las Vegas, in pursuit of ending the ongoing genocide. Their demands are simple –get the United Nations involved and allow access to humanitarian aid. Having hosted numerous protests, both locally and nationally, these communities use their voices to amplify awareness, connect the public with fact-checked information, and collect donations. In an effort to raise money, some of these groups sell clothing, jewelry, and other items, donating all the proceeds to Tigray relief programs.

For more information, and ways to help, please visit omnatigray.org/getinvolved.

Written by: Ashton Ridley

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Call It A Genocide

By: Heaven Gidey “Claim to be Amhara and we’ll give you back your house and find you a husband. But if you claim to be Tigrayan, we will come and rape you again.” These are the words of Samrawit Weldegerima, 24, a Tigrayan refugee recalling an ultimatum given to her more »

todaySeptember 27, 2021 7

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