United We Should Stand Against Genocidal Forces

United We Should Stand Against Genocidal Forces

The genocidal war on Tigray that was waged in November 2020 has caused the extreme suffering of millions of Tigrayans living in Ethiopia and traumatized Tigrayans across the globe. 

Following the formation of the genocidal alliance between Ethiopia’s power hungry Abiy Ahmed, ill-minded Isaias Afewerki, and land greedy Amhara expansionists, the people of Tigray have endured a war of aggression no one can imagine in his or her most gruesome nightmare.

It is beyond doubt that the main objective of the war on Tigray is the decimation of everything Tigrayan and all Tigrayans possess — both the tangible and intangible, including their lives. As witnessed by Tigrayans themselves and foreign workers and diplomats, Abiy and Isaias’ intentions are clear: to wipe out Tigray. 

Had the genocidal plan been fully realized the way the alliance had intended, the Tigray of old would have ceased to exist, as would all its rich traditions, cultural assets, and Tigrayans’ historical pride inherited from their ancestors. The plan of the aggressors was to exterminate Tigrayans, take their lands, and claim their history through complete destruction and subjugation of its people.

For Tigrayans there is nothing more horrifying and humiliating than losing their identity rooted in their unwavering belief in their right to self-determination and territorial integrity. The idea that they would live as second class citizens in their own homeland is so unconscionable that they would rather sacrifice their lives and those of their children for their nation, for their motherland, for their Tigray Adey

This is not the first time Tigrayans have fought for the future of their homeland, a homeland once rooted in their Ethiopian identity. In Ethiopia’s history, countless Tigrayans have made the ultimate sacrifice fighting against foreign invaders to defend Ethiopia’s territorial integrity.

In return for their contribution to Ethiopia, Tigrayans have been subjected to the unimaginable collective punishment that almost a year and a half of genocide has brought. The whole region is suffering a slow death, as the Ethiopian government suffocates Tigray by imposing a siege stopping humanitarian end from entering.

The scale and intent of this gruesome genocidal war has once again awoken Tigrayans’ innate bravery, tenacity, and resilience to defend their homeland and identity, no matter how strong or how mighty the enemy may be. People of all ages, faiths, genders, and social status have come together with only one aim in mind – to fight for their survival and that of their identity and homeland.  

During this genocidal war, Tigrayan forces were faced with armies combined to at least four times their size that were fully equipped and had the support of foreign actors near and far. The Ethiopian government believed that this “law enforcement operation” would only take a few days or weeks at most, given that Tigray was completely encircled and under a complete tele-communications blackout. These enemy invading forces assumed it would be an easy feat to exterminate an entire population.

However, not only did they not realize that starting a war is much easier than ending one, they seriously underestimated the will of Tigrayans to fight back. Tigrayans are known as resilient, determined, and brave fighters. Additionally, they have highly experienced military leaders who were ready to train young fighters who were ready to fight for what they believed in. From the combination of the experienced war generals and the courageous popular forces has emerged an incredible defense force, the Tigray Defense Force (TDF) that is fighting to remove genocidal actors from all of Tigray and to end the deadly siege on the region.

Despite countless victories against the aggressors, the war on Tigray continues. Eritrean and Amhara forces still occupy parts of northern and western Tigray and the TDF continues to fight to liberate Tigray.

The way forward might be challenging and difficult to predict, but two things are certain: Tigrayans want to live in peace and they want to hold those who committed the atrocities during the war on Tigray accountable. It is the duty of every Tigrayan to protect Tigray from all ill-minded criminals who are determined to exterminate Tigrayans during this genocidal war. Tigrayans may have political differences and dialogue and debates should also be welcomed, but this is not the time to get lost in our differences, but rather the time to stick together to defend the Tigrayan identity, land, and history.

At this moment in time, it is highly premature to talk about the type of administration Tigray may have or Tigray’s future within the Ethiopian polity. Had it not been for the TDF and the highly experienced generals leading the fight against barbaric invaders, Tigrayans would still be subjected to the extreme aggression they faced during the first 8 months of the war. That is not to say Tigrayans are not suffering immensely in liberated areas because they are. Today, as a result of the war and the siege on Tigray, millions of Tigrayans are living in famine conditions and thousands have died of starvation or from lack of basic medical care. Tigray is still facing an uphill battle on multiple fronts. 

So by all measures, at this moment in time, it is about survival: ending the siege, reconnecting Tigray, allowing aid access, and relieving the crisis so that Tigray can return to a state where it is appropriate to decide its fate. In the end, no one but the people of Tigray can decide what should ensue. It is up to Tigrayans to choose Tigray’s political fate.  Presently, I believe that talking about a transitional government and other political demands seems to be completely out of touch and untimely.

Tigrayans have a responsibility towards the men and women, the brave children of Tigray, who are willing to sacrifice their lives to see a peaceful Tigray. Until the desired result is achieved, Tigrayans have no choice but to stick together and fight our enemies united and with resilience!

Meanwhile, it is the moral duty of every human to empathize with those suffering in Tigray and speak out against the atrocities being committed during this genocidal war. It is the duty of every human to hold criminals accountable for the war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocidal acts in Tigray. 

Aman– Omna Tigray Contributor, March 2022