As times of uncertainty and desperation loom large, the threat of a full-scale civil war blows prominently in the winds more than ever. The Tigray crisis spurred last November when the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments along with their military forces declared an offensive against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in the Tigray region. The TPLF is a heavily armed (militant) authoritarian political organisation that held power in the government until 2018.
Ever since the appointment of Abiy Ahmed as the Prime Minister in 2018, the once dubbed beacon of hope for his peace-oriented mindset and reforms, ethnic tensions have been rising in the country as he seems to be going down a familiar autocratic route. From disbanding of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), forming a new (unified) political organisation, the Prosperity Party to declaring the TPLF as a terrorist organization, are some of Ahmed’s measures that have escalated tensions between the Federal government and the TPLF; who sense this to be a usurping of their political dominance over the region of Tigray. Unfortunately, as these two sides play out the script of war, it is the people in this region that suffer the most.
As the BBC reports, according to a conservative estimate by the United Nations, 22,000 Tigrayan women have been raped — including children as young as 8. Women and children are deliberately targeted, raped and are victims of other forms of horrifying sexual violence, which in this conflict is being used as a weapon and a war tactic. As per the UN-backed Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), an estimated 353,000 people are in phase 5 (catastrophe) and a further 1.7 million are in phase 4 (emergency) facing imminent starvation due to this man-made famine in Tigray. The Northern tip of the country which is home to nearly 5.6 million people, reports suggest the prolonged conflict has internally displaced millions of people, with more than 63,000 fleeing to the bordering country of Sudan. The opposition is claiming nearly 52000 deaths in the conflict, though beyond numbers, lies the tragic potential of human lives ceased to unnatural means. This cycle of violence, henceforth, without a doubt will plague the future of the nation of Ethiopia.
Sadly, where is the outrage on the global stage? While mainstream media has covered this to some extent, news surrounding the elite G7 club has garnered much more attention and discussion in recent days. It is incredibly heart-breaking, as we simply sit and watch a genocide unfold, way uglier than the current round of hostilities elsewhere in the world.