Twitter Campaign – Irob + Kunama

Irob + Kunama – 1
  1. Irob was the first location to be attacked & fall under Eritrean forces. “The north is dying,” said a Irob man. “I strongly believe there is a campaign to target the people.” Please protect this group. #IrobMassacre #TigrayGenocide @UN @UN4Indigenous @hrw

2. The Kunama & Irob people are suffering immensely & both may be on the brink of extinction. We cannot turn a blind eye. It’s time the @UN ensure unfettered humanitarian access to all of Tigray. #IrobMassacre #KunamaStarvation #TigrayGenocide@KenyaMissionUN @UN4Indigenous @hrw

3. Muruts Beyenem was facing an uncertain future at the time of this 2019 interview, & now his community is facing mass extinction at the hands of Eritrean soldiers. When will the @UN wake up & help? #IrobMassacre #TigrayGenocide @UNReliefChief @IPRightsIntl

4. The Irob & Kunama are located in remote areas of Tigray & are silently suffering. It’s time the @UN lead & stop the #TigrayGenocide. Hold Isaias & Abiy accountable! #IrobMassacre #KunamaStarvation #TigrayGenocide @UNTreatyBodies @CSORG @MinorityRights

5. The Kunama have faced war crimes by invading Eritrean troops. Their livelihood is at risk as they are being systematically starved by the burning of crops, farming equipment, and villages. @UN you have a Responsibility to Protect. #KunamaStarvation #TigrayGenocide @USAmbUN @SVG_UN

6. The Kunama have been terrorized by Eritrea for years. This is a minority group that must be protected. We are in the 5th month of the #TigrayGenocide & the @UN continues to fail this group. Why? #KunamaStarvation @AmbMKimani @UN4Indigenous @IFADEastAfrica

7. Irob land is under full Eritrean occupation & leader Dori Asgedom, who advocated against border issues & for the plight of the Irob community is now detained by @AbiyAhmedAli. Free Dori Asgedom & condemn #IrobMassacre. #TigrayGenocide #PressFreedom@UN @USAmbUN @AmbMKimani

8. The Irob community continues to suffer a great deal under the violence & occupation of invading forces. We demand the withdrawal of Eritrean forces. Protect the Irob. Be a voice for all indigenous tribes. #IrobMassacre #TigrayGenocide @UNSRCulture

9. Charges brought against Dori Asgedom are absurd. Arresting opposition party leaders for condemning #WarOnTigray is @AbiyAhmedAli ‘s tactic to consolidate his power. Please protect democracy as well as lives in Tigray from another #IrobMassacre. Can we count on you? @USAmbUN @UN

10. Irob women cont. to face weaponized rape & starvation in the mountains of Tigray by occupying Eritrean forces. It’s time the @UN Security Council takes concrete measures to remove these troops from Tigray. #IrobMassacre #TigrayGenocide @IFADEastAfrica

Irob + Kunama – 2
  1. The Irob community never healed from the wounds of the 1998-2000 Ethio-Eritrean border war, yet again they find themselves fully occupied by Eritrean troops, who are killing them. Who is advocating for them? #IrobMassacre #TigrayGenocide@UN_HRC @UNHumanRights @Niger_ONU @hr

2. Dori Asgedom has been arrested by @AbiyAhmedAli for condemning #TigrayGenocide & demanding withdrawal of Eritrean forces. Dori did the right thing but he is paying the ultimate price. Please step up & save people from another #IrobMassacre. @Haavisto @JosepBorrellF @pressfreedom

3. The Irob are still grappling from the trauma of the last border war. Sadly, the #TigrayGenocide has renewed invasion of Eritrean forces who are pillaging villages.The @UN must lead an honest investigation of war crimes & ensure these troops leave Tigray. @SenateForeign @hrw

4. Awalom, a witness of #IrobMassacre, described watching Eritrean troops order 18 young men to lie in a remote field so they could be shot to death. Please protect this indigenous community. #TigrayGenocide @EUCouncil @IWGIA @IENearth @Survival

5. Unfortunately, the Irob community with rich culture, generous and loving people are now one of the worst victims of the ongoing #WarOnTigray. Please protect this tribe.#TigrayGenocide #IrobMassacre @EU_Commission @UN4Indigenous @Pontifex @TheCWIS @hrw

6. The Irob are left with no means to survive in #TigrayGenocide. Eritrean troops have looted health centers & food from homes. They even killed cattle. Ethiopia & Eritrea must be held liable for war crimes. #IrobMassacre @RSPCA_official @UNReliefChief

7. The Irob of Ethiopia have been found dead of starvation and massacres by Eritrean troops. When will the @UN Security Council use it’s power to end the #TigrayGenocide and ensure that another #IrobMassacre doesn’t happen? @mbachelet @USAmbUN @RussiaUN

8. “If you don’t bring your father, your brothers, you don’t get the aid, you’ll starve,” an Irob woman was told. In #TigrayGenocide, civilians are being denied means to survive. These are war crime & perpetrators must be condemned. @mbachelet #IrobMassacre

9. The Irob and Kunama are minorities within a minority, making up less than 1% of the population in Tigray.The existence of both groups is under immense threat as the #WarOnTigray continues. #TigrayCantWait #TigrayGenocide @UN4Indigenous @UNOCHA @IWGIA

10. The vast population of Kunama live in the Greater Sheraro area, located close to the Eritrean border and is currently occupied by Eritrean forces. This is alongside reports of entire families dying of starvation in Sheraro. #KunamaStarvation @IWGIA @UN4Indigenous @UNReliefChief

Irob + Kunama – 3
  1. The Kunama depend on farming for their livelihood. The intentional looting & destruction of livestock, burning of villages & farming equipment has left them without food for 5 months. They are facing mass starvation. #KunamaStarvation #TigrayGenocide @UNReliefChief @UNDP @hrw

2. The Irob minority are vulnerable given the location – alongside the unprotected Ethio-Eritrean border. Eritrean forces have taken advantage of the proximity to Irob. Young men throughout Irob land face continuous attacks by Eritrean troops. #IrobMassacre @Haavisto @UN4Indigenous

3. Young men in Irob are being taken from their homes & massacred. This is happening alongside a communications blackout all while Irob land is under full Eritrean occupation. The minority group needs to be protected. #IrobMassacre @EUatUN @mbachelet @CSORG

4. “Better to kill the women of #Tigray because tomorrow they will give birth to the woyane” often said by Eritrean forces. Attacks on the Irob community are incredibly concerning bc they run the increased risk of extermination. #TigrayGenocide @UNOCHA

5. Irob people of Tigray were devastated by the Ethio-Eritrean 1998-2000 border war which they never healed from. In just 20 yrs, exposed to yet more mass atrocities by #EritreanTroops-their ethnic survival depends on immediate withdrawal of Eritrean forces. #IrobMassacre @USUN

6. The war on Tigray is an imminent threat to the existence of the Kunama & Irob indigenous minorities of Tigray. we demand @UNHCR & @UNSC to live up to their obligation of protecting both minority groups. #KunamaStarvation #IrobMassacre #TigrayGenocide @UN_GP_RtoP @mbachelet

7. The Kunama people were devastated by Ethio-Eritrean border war. In just 20 years , they’re facing more war crimes by Eritrean troops-their ethnic survival depends on immediate withdrawal of Eritrean forces. #KunamaStarvation #TigrayGenocide @UNAction

8. “Irob is now under the total control of invading Eritrean forces – there are no Ethiopian troops in the area, no telephone, no transportation, no lighting.” Irob & Kunama of Tigray are suffering. #KunamaStarvation #IrobMassacre #TigrayGenocide @EUCouncil

9. In a tragic irony, the govn’t of Ethiopia, one of the first nations to sign the 1948 Genocide Convention, currently stands accused of permitting & participating in violence that could amount to genocide. #IrobMassacre #KunamaStarvation @LindaT_G

10. “What I would have never in my worst nightmares thought was that Eritrean army would return 20 years later, to fully occupy our lands & commit the same atrocities they committed during the Ethio-Eritrea border war” #IrobMassacre #TigrayGenocide @hrw

Irob + Kunama – 4
  1. The Irob + Kunama are minority groups within a minority. They are facing real extermination under Eritrean soldiers.Their geographical location & low population size puts them at a higher risk of genocide. #IrobMassacre #KunamaStarvation #TigrayGenocide @NorwayUN @UN_GP_RtoP

2. The Irob & Kunama are experiencing insurmountable atrocities during this 5 month-long genocidal tragedy of Ethiopian & Eritrean occupation. They are being starved to death. #IrobMassacre #KunamaStarvation #TigrayGenocide @UN_GP_RtoP @UKUN_NewYork @Haavisto @SecBlinken @mbachelet

3. Tigrayans are hungry today bc starvation is relentlessly & systematically being used as a weapon of war. Minorities like the Irob & Kunama are particularly at higher risk of starvation. #KunamaStarvation #IrobMassacre @EUCouncil @jakejsullivan

4. 3 days ago @EmmanuelMacron stated that France’s role before+during the 1994 #RwandanGenocide was a “monumental failure”. So why does France ignore #TigrayGenocide? Ethnic #Irob + #Kunama face gross violations under Eritrea|n troops. @franceonu  #IrobMassacre #KunamaStarvation

5. The Ethiopian govt. is intentionally & systematically starving Tigrayans. Ethnic minorities like the Kunama & Irob are likely in danger of going extinct. Responsibility to Protect. @SAdamsR2P @LindaT_G #IrobMassacre #KunamaStarvation #TigrayGenocide

6. The Irob + Kunama communities, as minorities in Tigray, are being deliberately slaughtered by Ethiopian + Eritrean forces. A community that is less than 1%, is the most threatened with extinction. @EU_Council @UNOCHA @SecBlinken @EstoniaUN #KunamaStarvation #TigrayGenocide

7. The Irob + Kunama population in Tigray are limited in number, & the atrocities they face in the #TigrayGenocide are putting them at risk of extinction. The @UN must provide special protections for these people, before there are none left. #IrobMassacre #KunamaStarvation @UNDPPA

8. The remote, vulnerable Irob community in Tigray has been under a major telecommunications + electricity blackout as they suffer through horrific massacres & weaponized rape in the midst of the #TigrayGenocide. We need your help protecting them, @UN. #IrobMassacre @Refugees @hrw

9. The people of Kunama in Tigray, are at extreme risk of extinction due to the #TigrayGenocide. This vulnerable community in particular is facing weaponized starvation, as villages & farming equipment are burned down + property & cattle are looted. #KunamaStarvation @FilippoGrandi

10. The Kunama community is suffering immensely from the #TigrayGenocide. They’ve faced not only starvation & destruction of villages & property, but also the abduction of refugees & the destruction of refugee camps. We must protect them immediately. #KunamaStarvation @UNOCHA @hrw

Irob + Kunama – 5
  1. 5 months into the conflict, we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg in stories about the #TigrayGenocide. The more remote communities, such as Irob & Kunama, are the most vulnerable & need protection, before they become extinct. #IrobMassacre #KunamaStarvation @mbachelet @USUN

2. Kunama people in Tigray are facing mass starvation and displacement from their indigenous lands by Eritrean troops and Amhara militias. They deserve protection. #KunamaStarvation #TigrayGenocide @un @IWGIA @CSORG @Survival @IPRightsIntl @nowthisnews

3. Kunama people are facing mass looting of properties, including cattle & farming equipments. They lead their lives through farming & Eritrean troops are deliberately burning farming equipments, to prevent them from growing crops. #KunamaStarvation @UN @Incomindios @IENearth

4. Credible sources indicate that Kunama villages near Sheraro such as Geza Adura & Geza Meker have been burned by Eritrean troops with livestock’s stolen & Kunama women being told to bring their husbands & sons or face consequences. #KunamaStarvation #TigrayGenocide @hrw @UNOCHA

5. The Kunama people are minority within a minority & have the smallest population in Tigray. The towns and villages where Kunama live have been occupied by Eritrean troops & Amhara militias since the beginning of the genocidal war #KunamaStarvation #TigrayGenocide @UN @IWGIA

6. Kunama people of Eritrea have long standing tension with dictator Isaias Afewerki. Eritrean troops burned down Shimelba refugee camp where large Kunama pop. reside. Same is being done to #Tigray #Kunama community. #KunamaStarvation @UN4Indigenous @UNSRCulture @IFADEastAfrica

7. Indigenous communities lead sustainable life, Kunama & Irob people have strong spiritual, cultural, social & economic ties to their lands. Many of them are currently IDPs & facing atrocities by Eritrean troops. #KunamaStarvation #IrobMassacre @UN @mbachelet @EUCouncil @EUatUN

8. Kunama people depend on farming for livelihood. Eritrean troops are deliberately burning crops,& equipment which is leading to mass starvation.@UN must act immediately to protect the people of #Kunama #KunamaStarvation #TigrayGenocide @IWGIA @Survival @IndigenousPpls @USAmbUN

9. Kunama settlements are in northwestern Tigray, now under Eritrean occupation. Reports of massacres & mass destruction by Eritrean troops threaten the very existence of this minority group. We urge @PmTunisia @Niger_ONU @KenyaMissionUN to end #KunamaStarvation #TigrayGenocide

10. Kunama are fleeing sexual violence, massacres, & looting by Eritrean troops only to arrive in Sheraro & find a desperate, dire situation. We demand unfettered humanitarian access to all of Tigray. #KunamaStarvation #TigrayGenocide @EstoniaUN @MexOnu

11. Due to the ongoing state-sponsored #TigrayGenocide, #Tigray|an Kunama are facing serious risk of starvation and extinction. @UN needs to ensure unfettered humanitarian access to all of Tigray and independent investigations into war crimes. @Chinamission2un #KunamaStarvation

12. Kunama settlements throughout northwestern Tigray have been burned down and looted by Eritrean troops causing massive displacement, #KunamaStarvation, and risking their survival as an indigenous minority group. We are demanding @UN protect the Kunama people. #TigrayGenocide

13. Kunama are the smallest ethnic minority in Tigray. Facing possible extinction due to the genocidal war waged against Tigray by Ethiopian and Eritrean forces. Why isn’t @MinorityRights fiercely advocating for their protection & right to exist? #KunamaStarvation #TigrayGenocide

14. 5 months into the genocidal war in Tigray the Kunama people are suffering disparate and existential consequences. Their unique culture, indigenous to Tigray, is at risk of total annihilation.#TigrayGenocide #KunamaStarvation @DicarloRosemary @wessendorfk @nowthisnews

15. The Kunama within Tigray, Ethiopia must be protected. As a vulnerable minority within a minority group, the survival of their language and culture is an international & moral imperative. #UNSCActNow to save the Kunama people!#KunamaStarvation #TigrayGenocide@Incomindios @hrw

Dear Ethiopian Propagandists

A Heartfelt Letter from a Tigrayan-Irob Woman

“There are too many idiots in this world. And having said it, I have the burden of proving it.”
― Frantz Fanon

Dear Ethiopian Propagandists, 

My name is Weyni. I was born in Tigray, Ethiopia and I am part of a small ethnic minority called Irob (ኢሮብ). When other Ethiopians think of Tigray, the majority only know of Tigrigna speakers, who in their mind happen to be from Axum, Adwa, or Mekelle.  This continued ignorance has always tried my patience.  

Tigray is home to the Irobs, Kunamas and Tigrigna speaking people. Unfortunately, not many Ethiopians, let alone outsiders, know about these different ethnic groups in Tigray. They are all unique culturally, geopolitically, and socio-economically.

If you have never heard of Irob, here are some facts for you. 

  • The Irob people have become a bilingual community with Saho and Tigrigna being spoken by most. The Irobs engage in agriculture and cattle breeding. Their language, Saho, is cushitic, as is the case with Somali, Oromifa, Afar and other languages spoken in the Horn of Africa. Indeed, their language is very close to Afar. However, while Afar follows the Latin script, Saho follows the Ge’ez script. Almost all Irobs feel a special sense of community with Tigrayans.  
  • The Irob people inhabit remote border towns and villages in the Eastern Zone of Tigray. Their land is presently known as Irob woreda which has the city of Adigrat as its capital. Irob people are one of the two indigenous ethnic minorities that inhabit Tigray with a population of only around 41,000, which is less than 1 percent of Tigray’s population.
“Tigray is home to the Irobs, Kunamas and Tigrigna speaking people… They are all unique culturally, geopolitically, and socio-economically.” #IrobMassacre #TigrayGenocide

Dear Ethiopian propagandists – Now that you know some facts about Irob, we can move on to where my anger and frustration comes from. 

Reflecting on my childhood is something I have been doing too often lately. The current genocidal war in Tigray has brought up too many familiar past experiences that I had long managed to store in the furthest parts of my brain. Stored memories I have worked to forget in hopes of better days for the people of Irob and for Ethiopians as a whole. We will go ahead and call those stored memories of my past what they are–childhood trauma.   

The Irob people border Eritrea. As a result, Irob people in Tigray were ravaged and traumatized by the 1998 to 2000 Ethio-Eritrean border war. For two decades, Irob was a military camp and the people have never recovered from the traumas and war crimes they lived through during that time.

“The current genocidal war in Tigray has brought up too many familiar past experiences that I had long managed to store in the furthest parts of my brain.” #IrobMassacre #TigrayGenocide

I get panic attacks when I reflect on the Ethio-Eritrean war. I must have been only 8 or 9 years old when I saw my first dead body and countless wounded people. The Eritrean army (Shabia) was going from house to house, raping women, abducting our families, taking our stocks (cows, goats) and anything and everything we had. 

The day that changed me the most was the day the Eritrean army came to our home. My mother was a young woman. My grandmother pulled her to a dark corner of our house and told her to quickly put on her old raggedy dress. She then quickly took me and my young brother to hide under a bed and told us not to make a sound. I was so terrified because I thought they were going to do the unthinkable to my mother. 

Not so long after that, my younger brother and I left our home for Uganda as  refugees and that was the end of our childhood and innocence. Everything in life became about survival – a very typical story of the Irob youth. 

Even after the Ethio-Eritrean border war that ended in the early 2000s, Irob land remained a “no-peace no-war zone.” As a result, the  socio-economic conditions drastically stagnated, forcing Irob youth like myself to seek opportunities elsewhere. Many of my childhood friends and families embarked on extremely dangerous journeys to reach Europe via the mediterranean sea, Egypt, and Israel, only to end up being the victims of human traffickers in the Sinai desert, where they were tortured, abused and held for ransom. Many Irob diaspora have paid ransoms of up to $60,000 dollars for the safe return of family members trafficked in Sinai to no avail. Their family members ended up horrendously killed and their organs removed to be sold for $20,000 dollars or more on the black market.

“She then quickly took me and my young brother to hide under a bed and told us not to make a sound. I was so terrified because I thought they were going to do the unthinkable to my mother.” #IrobMassacre #TigrayGenocide

Dear Ethiopian propagandists – Somehow, during the current genocidal war on Tigray, you have failed to realize Tigrayans were not immune to the suffering caused by the ramifications of the last decades’ wars and poverty. 

I recently saw a tweet from an Amhara nationalist that read, “Where were the Tigrayans when Ethiopia was suffering?” My simple and only response was:  “We were also suffering with you, you idiot!”

What I would have never in my worst nightmares thought was that Eritrean forces would return 20 years later, to fully occupy Irob land and commit the same atrocities they committed during the Ethio-Eritrea border war. Tigrayans and the people of Irob hadn’t healed from that war before this one started. 

Recently, I was scrolling through social media and saw a list of Irob civilian youth massacred by Eritrean forces during mass killings from late December 2020 to early January 2021, a list gathered and posted by the  Irob Advocacy Association (IAA). The first ten were immediate family members. I couldn’t look any further at the list. Seeing their names, I ended up throwing up a couple of times and crying myself to sleep. 

Currently, Irob land is not only under full Eritrean occupation, it’s also completely closed off – no access to phone service, humanitarian assistance or the ability to move freely or safely. There is not a single day that goes by that I don’t try reaching family members in Irob land, only to have zero luck. If we are lucky once in a while someone will escape to Adigrat to bring news of our families, but the news is never good. 

“Currently, Irob land is not only under full Eritrean occupation, it’s also completely closed off – no access to phone service, humanitarian assistance or the ability to move freely or safely.” #IrobMassacre #TigrayGenocide

Recently, my aunt made it to Adigrat after walking for days on foot. Her husband was killed in a battle during the Ethio-Eritrean war in early 2000s and now the Eritrean forces came back  looking for his family. They only found his son and they killed him in front of my aunt (his mother) on December 21, 2020. My aunt was convinced that the Eritreans came back to get their revenge and finish off what they started during the borderwar. 

“I must be cursed,”  she said while sobbing breathlessly. “Why didn’t they take my life either with my husband or my son? I am already dead inside. No life left in me. Why couldn’t they just take me with my son?”

We both cried on the phone. I promised to call back before she returns to Irob. 

“Each generation must discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it, in relative opacity.”

― Frantz Fanon

Dear Ethiopian propagandists – You have chosen to betray your mission for “a united” nation as you continue to support the genocide in Tigray. There cannot be “unity” with idiocity, genocide, forced integration, and destruction. 

I sincerely had internalized the belief that my generation of Ethiopians would carry on a better legacy. I thought we would learn from the mistakes of the past and collectively build our future. I was wrong. Also naive.  I discovered that we are the generation that was unable to free itself from emotions of the past, mostly passed on to us from the generation before us. For we chose not to grow in the light, we must therefore suffer in the darkness.  

“Dear Ethiopian propagandists – You have chosen to betray your mission for “a united” nation as you continue to support the genocide in Tigray. There cannot be “unity” with idiocity, genocide, forced integration, and destruction.” #IrobMassacre

Dear Ethiopian propagandists – You have chosen to confront other Ethiopians in the battlefield. And for those of us that are not fighting on the ground, you have decided to attack us in the digital world. The online bullets are real. The hate speech, the denial, insensitivity, and ignorance. 

Dear Ethiopian propagandists – Most of you have chosen to live in the past. Your repeated statements of: “Your people did this to my people many years ago…” have fueled the division. You romanticize revenge. You romanticize war. You romanticize central powers who wage wars on their own people for the sake of hegemonic authority. 

Dear Ethoipian propagandists – The damage is real. Our emotions are raw. You have pushed us further away. You have voiced your support for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, one who invited a foreign force to invade our land, massacre our people, and steal our wealth. You have voiced your support for dictator Isaias as he invaded our lands, massacred our people, and stole our wealth.  And we must find ways to heal from this. This will take years, maybe decades. Your fake patriotism has bred more idiocy. You have shown no sympathy for Tigrayan lives, our culture, and our identity. 

“The damage is real. Our emotions are raw. You have pushed us further away. You have voiced your support for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, one who invited a foreign force to invade our land, massacre our people, and steal our wealth.” #IrobMassacre

Dear Ethiopian propogandists – I have met many idiots, but none like the idiots who deny the ongoing genocide in Tigray. The evidence is there. Our suffering is real. Yet, you have chosen to look away. 

Dear Ethiopian propagandists – If I sound like an angry Tigrayan-Irob woman, it’s  because you have given me every reason to be so. 

Sincerely , 

A Justifiably Angry Tigrayan-Irob Woman

Weyni 04/02/2021