Martin Griffiths preserving Ethiopian state more important then famine

Martin Griffiths, UN Aid Chief, calls the current man made blockade a “stain on our consciousness” but lays no blame on Ethiopia

Is the primary agenda of Martin Griffiths preservation of the state of Ethiopia or relieving the horrific human suffering of the people of Tigray?Why does he only talk in vague generalities about why aid can not get to Tigray?

Martin Griffiths, the relatively new UN Aid Chief, has complained of worsening famine and deprivation in Tigray for months but has refused to assign any blame on Ethiopia and Eritrea. Instead he seems to consistently present a scenario that he has believed his personal conversations with PM Abiy Ahmed that the epidemic human catastrophe is not his fault but he will take positive action to help. Meanwhile the Ethiopian Eritrean “de facto” blockade as described by many in the UN remains at the forefront of their policy of genocide. In his final statement he said preserving the Ethiopia state was of primary importance this week. While Mr. Griffiths spews his misguided and damaging optimism just today the Ethiopian government expelled seven more vital UN humanitarian workers.

Several months ago when it was clear that a growing famine was gripping Tigray as well as state directed genocide by Ethiopia and Eritrea against Tigray persons and property, Martin Griffiths, the new UN Aid Chief appeared quite naïve about the true intentions of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his Amhara expansionist supporters. After speaking with the Prime Minister he proclaimed that Tigray should immediately join the ceasefire because Ethiopia had helped prepare a good harvest for Tigray.

How did he not know what the Ethiopian appointed Interim Administration of Tigray was saying that Ethiopia intended to block any planting? He said Ethiopia wanted a peaceful solution and that Tigray had extended the war.  Yet throughout Tigray during the so-called ceasefire businesses and factories were destroyed or dismantled then shipped to Eritrea. Elimination of male children was being carried on by Amhara militia and Eritrean forces in Western Tigray. A complete blockade of not only food but also medicine and fuel was begun. 

Then many weeks later Mr. Griffiths visits Tigray and finds that schools have been destroyed by Ethiopian and Eritrean forces and then asks why are they not rebuilt? He openly hints that somehow the Tigray are limiting aid and does not even mention any role of Ethiopia.

Now finally on September 28th this week he mentions that communication, power, water, food, medicine, and health care creating a nearly unprecedented man made famine. Finally he mentions that Ethiopian government allegations that international aid agencies are helping the Tigray is false. Yet again however he praises the talks he has had with Ethiopian government that now there is a “change” in government which will change direction. He continues to use language which places no blame at all on Ethiopia even though other high ranking UN officials have called the situation a “de facto” blockade by the Ethiopian Eritrean genocide attempt on Tigray.


Ethiopia will start sales of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s “God” inspired speeches of wisdom to the world

The Ethiopian government is going sell volumes of the speeches given by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed over the past three years.

The arrogant delusion of grandeur of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed knows no bounds. His Press Secretary Billene Seyoum announced today that three bound volumes of his speeches from the last three years will be going for sale with some of it used to help “displaced persons”.

Since his visit in the United States in 2018 Abiy Ahmed has been promoted by Amhara expansionists as anointed by God to reclaim Ethiopia’s past glories.  Already chatter by his obsessed clerico-fascists on the internet are rejoicing. They imagine sales will spread throughout Africa and world.

There is even some talk  that owning them will bring freedom of illness and personal wealth as they are the “word of the promised one” who will deliver Ethiopia from the Zemene Mesafint , time of princes without a strong leader, which refers to a time before the Amharic Emperor Menelik II began the great Amhara expansion of the 18th and 19th century. Abiy Ahmed has promised in the next few years to become a super-power equal to China.

So the far the reality is different then the Prime Minister’s prophesy. While once proclaiming Tigray was essentially eliminated the almost year long war with the small region has resulted in losing control of much of the Amhara region to Tigray defensive invasion, placing Ethiopia in what many see as unrecoverable debt of $30 billion, and the sparking of rebellion in almost every region.


Ethiopia is ignoring the needs of women and children more than ever


Professor Tony Magana at the Ayder Comprehensive Specialized Hospital Neurosurgery Clinic at Mekelle University which cared for thousands of children since 2015 from Tigray, Amhara, Afar and even Eritrea. But now is not functional.

Today Ethiopia is totally focused on war while ignoring its women and children. Although one might argue that the Tigray is the worst affected the denial of need is affecting all of Ethiopia. The public resignation of Ethiopia’s Minister for Women, Children and Youth, Filsan Abdullah comes as no surprise. In her letter she admitted there was not enough government action to address the growing catastrophe such that morally she could not continue.

For the past seven years I was the Chief of Neurosurgery at Ayder Comprehensive Specialized Hospital of Mekelle University in Tigray which was a regional tertiary hospital serving almost 10 million people. Much of my clinical work and research focused on children including dealing with birth defects, mostly neural tube defects, which are epidemic in Ethiopia.

According to UNICEF children under age 5 make up 16% of the population. About 90% of the population lives a rural life with an average yearly income for the head of the family of $783 which is one of the lowest in the world. Almost half of girls marry by their 15th birthday often to older men. Only about 3 % of births are recorded. Less than 26% of pregnant women had any type of medical attention at the time of delivery. Now it is much worse.

Although in the past decade there has been dramatic improvement in training more public health and health care providers and reaching out to rural communities the expense of travel for poor farmers remains a barrier for families to get care for children. Often they came in very late in the stage of serious illness.

I have witnessed strong commitments to improving the status of women and children throughout Ethiopia by universities, health care providers, and public health agencies but too often for the leaders of the Ethiopian Federal government who are the real decision makers these things were not worth discussion. The have an abiding fear that open discussion of such issues will reflect deficiencies in the glory of new “wonderous” medemer.

Displacement, budget priorities of war over human needs, and the situation for women and children is only deteriorating worse then ever. Ethiopia has spent more on weapons $2.5 billion in the past year than it has spent for health care over the past several years.  Credible unbiased reports indicate at least thousands and perhaps tens of thousands of women have suffered horrific acts of physical sexual violence and mutilation. Millions are in a state of famine while Ethiopian imposes a complete blockade of medicine, bottlenecks food aid to a trickle of what is needed, and has ejected many aid organizations falsely claiming they are aiding rebels. Young children are the most vulnerable to starvation and lack of health care.

In Ethiopia before the war started due to poor nutrition and lack of diversity in what diet there is available stunted growth in children which can lead to permanent physical and mental disability was rampant. Recent studies done before the war started have shown that 2 out of every 5 children five years or less are significantly stunted. Now it is worse.

Barely 60% of children finish elementary school and its even worse in isolated rural areas. Half of the population, women more than men, are functionally illiterate. Now it is getting worse.

Will Abiy Ahmed’s Faustian Bargain bring an end to Ethiopia?

The Ethiopian tragedy precipitated by Abiy Ahmed is analogous to the story of Dr. Faustus who made a deal with the devil for power.

The Faustian bargain struck by Abiy Ahmed has cost the destruction of hundreds of thousands of lives, the economy, and the political unity of Ethiopia. The last of which is likely gone forever.  Famine, displacement, isolation, economic disaster, hostility with neighboring countries, and almost comprehensive strife between many factions and ethnicities is the reality of Abiy Ahmed’s leadership of Ethiopia. The human tragedy of Dr. Faustus told in the Elizabethan play by Christopher Marlowe seems to have become reality in Abiy Ahmed.

As a young man Abiy Ahmed joined the Ethiopian Army and eventually became an intelligence officer. This field fascinated him as he was a protégé of the Tigrayan leader, Getachew Assefa. Eventually Abiy would help form the INSA(Information Network Security Agency), the national intelligence service that was at first quite secretive about its existence. 

Intelligence officers play key roles in military functioning but often do not end up as leading commanders because they develop false senses of security about the value of their knowledge which is often prejudiced by wanting to prove previously held beliefs about a potential adversary. Developing command capability in the military requires experiences much more than being an intelligence officer alone.

As a member of the Ethiopian Parliament Abiy Ahmed developed a reputation of being an intelligent and devote protector of the rights of the Oromo people who he was thought to represent with zeal. The Addis Ababa housing authority was giving housing to Amhara,  who worked for the capital city, houses in the Oromo region. This was seen as a part of the expansion of the mostly Amhara city which had been built by the Amharic emperor to colonize the Oromo region a century before into the Oromo Regional State. Abiy Ahmed championed that housing in the Oromo region should go to Oromos.

There is no denying that Abiy Ahmed had great talents as orator and potential to be a great leader perhaps. His talk of medemer where he would build a unity of Ethiopia’s many different Ethnic groups into a blended national unity appealed to many Ethiopians. At that time he denied rumors that his mother was unlike his Oromo father an Amhara. 

After being thrust forward to the rank of Prime Minister by his confidant Lemma Megersa (leader of the Oromos) and Jawar Mohammed (leader of Qeero movement) he seemed destined for greatness, being a part of the most numerous ethnic group making up more than 30% of the Ethiopian population.

Yet somehow this gift of power and prestige was not enough. Like the tragedy of Dr. Faustus in the famous play by Christopher Marlowe at some point following his being named Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed decided he needed more power. The promotors of Amhara dominance and expansionism who had been somewhat silent for years on the domestic political front but active in the diaspora  began to whisper in Abiy Ahmed’s ear. They became the “Mephastophilis” who promised greater power and immortality if Abiy Ahmed just let go of reasonable logic and would trust the power of evil.

A joint alliance of “religious leaders” promised that God would allow Abiy Ahmed to break all rules of Christian morality in the name of creating a “Christian” Ethiopian state under Amharic dominance. It did not matter that no where in Scripture is such a thing promised. What these leaders were saying was the equivalent of saying during Jesus walk in the desert, described in Matthew 4:1-11,  when he was tempted by the Devil to accept him over God to rule the world Jesus should have accepted the Devil.  That this was necessary because Ethiopia was in another Zemene Mesafint, a time of many princes but no king, which would doom Ethiopia. 

Abiy Ahmed has forgotten his Oromo heritage while many of his own ethnic group rebel in growing numbers against him. He has imprisoned Jawar Mohammed and severely sanctioned Lemma Megersa. In fact almost anyone who was a previous mentor has become an enemy.

At this moment the war in Ethiopia rages on in destruction. The Tigray and their allies are advancing but they have offered to negotiate but tragically Abiy Ahmed and his collaborators under the Mephastophilian influence refuse logic.  Will Abiy Ahmed be like Dr. Faustus who in the end of the play realizes his sin and need for repentance or he will see Ethiopia to it’s end?

The Tigray are following war ethics of the African Saint Augustine

North African Saint Augustine of Hippo (painted by Berto di Giovanni) defined when a war is justified by Christian morals

A North African Bishop some 1,600 years ago would write about how and when Christians have the right under their faith to battle in war. He later lived in Rome while it was under constant threat of attack by pagan tribes in the 5th century AD.  Saint Augustine of Hippo has been widely recognized by Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox Christians as one of the main influences in Christian thinking . He wrote about the ideal society in The City of God where he created the term jus ad bellum meaning just war.

The Sixth Commandment given by Moses had said “do not kill”. Apart from complete pacifism there seemed to many Christians no other alternative response to violence or the threat of violence to a population.   Augustine stated that the wrongdoing of the aggravating party was the initiator of war not the responder to the threat. The reason to respond to this violence or threat of violence was to achieve peace.

In fighting a just war the use of force should only be that necessary to reach the peace and also that it is directed to the combatants.  Augustine’s criteria were latter clarified by Saint Thomas Aquinas to include the war needed to waged by a legitimate authority, have a just cause, have the right intentions, have a reasonable chance of success, and be proportional to the force applied by the enemy.

The Tigray have agreed to peace talks to end the conflict but the Ethiopian government has refused saying that they are doing a law enforcement action. Law enforcement actions under international law cannot be directed to endanger innocent civilians. The parties must agree to seek peace when one offers it realistically. The Ethiopian offer of a temporary truce to allow planting while the Ethiopian and Eritrean forces stopped farmers from planting was a false pretense as noted by the Abiy Ahmed appointed interim administration during Tigray occupation.

Let us examine this criteria with respect to the Ethiopian Tigray Conflict

Application of Use of Force to Combatants not Noncombatants
A. In the “fog of war” injury to civilians must be avoided as much as possible. Intentional starvation, withdrawal of health care, livelihood (banking, communication, education)  of civilians and children at the approval and command of Ethiopian and Eritrean authorities grossly violates this mandate.

  1. Tigray Legitimate Authority
    Although the Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed claimed falsely the election of the TPLF to rule the Tigray State was illegal it is clear as documented by many international researchers that the vast majority of Tigray voters by a margin of over 90% voted for TPLF. The opposition party, Tigray Independence Party, joined with the TPLF in supporting the war action. The Arena Party who was placed as interim administration would once there within a few months admit that the Abiy Ahmed government’s intentions was to starve the population and prevent agricultural food production by stopping farmers planting. Abiy Ahmed never allowed Tigray to vote in any Ethiopian election.
  2. Tigray Just Cause
    Proponents of the actions of the Ethiopian Federal Government claim there was an unprovoked attack on the Ethiopian Army North Command in November 2020. However many analysts have noted that Ethiopia began preparing for war months before November 2020 including building up forces on the Amhara and Afar borders. Pre-paying Esaias Afwerki, ruler of Eritrea, over $500 million USD beforehand and promising another $500 million upon starting the war. Arranging medical facilities in the Amhara region for a planned war. Reducing the necessary operating budgets to sustain Tigray government functions for months. Declaring the TPLF terrorists who could not hold office while just a few months before claiming in a speech to Parliament that they were exemplary leaders. The Tigray State government has claimed that Article 39 which allows for self determination of a regional state and that territorial disputes should be handled by civil litigation where violated. This has been recognized also by many members of the African Union and United Nations.
  3. Right Intentions
    The intentions of the Tigray State have been to remove the threat of loss of life, abuse, starvation, communication, property, and making a living imposed by the Ethiopian state on anyone who is a Tigray by ethnicity.
  4. Proportional Use of Force
    While the Ethiopian and Eritrean forces have widely attacked noncombatants by the deprivation of food, communication, transportation, fuel, electricity, personal security, livelihood, in a severe and constant manner clearly under order from commanders and government leaders this has not been the case for the Tigray forces. They have openly invited any and all investigations by unbiased bodies of any accusation. They have set up civilian administrations by local authorities in compliance with international rules of war.
  5. Reasonable Chance of Success
    In spite of the complete siege by Ethiopia denying food, medicine, fuel, health care, communication causing civilian death increasing daily the Tigray forces have reclaimed most of Tigray but not Western Tigray and temporarily occupied parts of Amhara to provide a buffer from invasion. They have asked for peace talks in lieu of demanding a complete military victory to which the Ethiopian government refuses.

Finance Minister declares peace talks are the only way to economic survival of Ethiopia

Before the start of the Ethiopian Tigray conflict the Finance Minister was a rising star in bringing in investors to Ethiopia. Now he is desperately fighting avoid complete economic collapse

In a major break from Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed’s stance that no negotiations will be done with the “terrorist” Tigray National State government Ethiopia’s Finance Minister Eyob Tekalign this week announced that the guns should be silenced and peace negotiations begun to return to the path of prosperity. Mr. Tekalign and Ethiopia’s economy are in the midst of disaster after having paid more than a $ 1 billion USD as well as secretive Ethiopian gold transfers via Dubai  to Eritrea and hundreds of millions in weapons sales to Turkey, Iran, among other suppliers too. 

Ethiopia’s debt to foreign creditors now exceeds $30 billion USD requiring payment of nearly $2 billion USD annually for a country whose whole normal peacetime budget is $2 billion. Prior to Abiy Ahmed taking office Ethiopia had nearly 10% growth each year for the previous ten years but now the real growth for past year and half is -2%. Many analysts estimate that Ethiopia even if immediate peace was declared would require at least 10 years of solid growth exceeding 5% per annum to climb out of catastrophic debt.

Mr. Tekalign is meeting the representative countries from the International Monetary Fund to try to arrange newer financing and payment. The likely outcome is that in return for consideration in refinancing Ethiopia will likely have to make major and significant promises which will put its economic progress forward to be under rigorous scrutiny. In other words, Ethiopia’s foray into an unnecessary and unjust war will cost it significant freedom in future economic development until debts can be paid.

The Consumer Price Index has risen more than 250% over the past year along with inflation going over 40%. The Finance Ministry is trying to gain control by lifting taxes on basic food items and making banks increase deposit reserves with central banks. International bond raters now rate Ethiopian government bonds as Caa1 which is near worthless. Displacement of millions of farmers, locusts, changing rain patterns, and a complete absence of any near term stability for Ethiopia complicate any viable economic recovery. These failing economic indicators and the progressive success of the Tigray armed forces in dominating the Ethiopian and Eritrean forces are severely dampening any interest in foreign investment.

The experience of hundreds of foreigners trapped in Tigray who has listened to them?

Tigray diaspora protest in Washington DC before the onset of the Ethiopia Tigray conflict that they fear Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed will start a war!

The USA policy on dealing with Ethiopia Tigray conflict and humanitarian crisis is at least partly based upon the testimony of hundreds of foreign passport holders who were trapped in Tigray. Meanwhile the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission has ignored them.

At the time of the onset of the Ethiopia Tigray conflict in November 2020 there were thousands of foreigners both ex-patriot and diaspora present in Ethiopia. NGO employees, religious missionaries, foreign development/business,  and academics from China, India, Europe, USA, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and others. Following the capture of Mekelle many were gathered there. They numbered in the hundreds at least.

At that time I had been Professor and Chief of Neurosurgery at Mekelle University in Tigray. Leaders of the University and our Ayder Comprehensive Specialized Hospital met with representatives of the Red Cross. There was no active effort by the occupying Ethiopian or Eritrean troops to address the issue of trapped foreigners. The Chinese were given special treatment so that they  organized their own affairs and were allowed to take armed buses to Samara in the Afar Region. Meanwhile all others were cut off from banking, communication including to their embassies, or traveling. I became the coordinator working with the Red Cross to try and evacuate and inform American diaspora as well as expatriates. We had meetings together with Indian, European, Australian, South Korean, Japanese and other foreign passport holders. Holding these meeting was difficult and frankly discreet because the occupying forces did not want us to talk to them. 

Being a former soldier schooled in the Geneva Convention to which Ethiopia is a signatory I wanted to inform the Red Cross of all combatants who were treated at Ayder Comprehensive Specialized Hospital so that their families would be notified. Instead I was threatened with arrest for aiding terrorists.

Diaspora women especially young women were constantly harassed by Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers. Most of the diaspora were visiting relatives in Tigray. The soldiers treated them like they were spies or had fake US passports. Sometimes passports were confiscated and personal belongings seized. Any cash in their wallets was often taken. 

Initially some communication was tried via the World Food Program and the Red Cross but quickly the occupying forces became convinced that NGOs were somehow cooperating with the Tigray military. Some initial attempts to send buses of foreign passport holders to Samara in Afar Region were tried with intermittent success however the Ethiopian authorities mostly blocked diaspora from leaving for some time. 

Many Tigray diaspora when they finally made it Addis Ababa were “detained” or even arrested. When they tried to check in for flights to leave at the airport they were blocked or apprehended. The American and other embassies spent considerable time getting them free. Some of them at the airport were actually other ethnic groups who had visited other regions but because their name “sounded” like a Tigrayan they were arrested.

The right to visit the World Food Program, Catholic Charities, or the Red Cross was soon blocked by the occupying forces. They would physically harass the women, often steal cash present on the person, in a least one case stole a motor vehicle, and did arrest some foreigners who would wait in line at the World Food Program office just to hand in a message requesting evacuation.

These diaspora and foreigner workers were important witnesses to the human rights violations and atrocities committed in Tigray. I know the United States State Department, Australian, and European equivalents interviewed hundreds collecting first hand testimony. Additionally many of us have responded to inquiry by the investigating bodies of the African Union and the United Nations. Yet to my knowledge the so called Ethiopian Human Rights Commission has avoided collecting any information from these important witnesses. Non Oromo or Non Tigray Ethiopian complainers of American policy now in place should understand that American policy is based upon a very good knowledge of what was happening and is happening in Tigray.

I remain very thankful to the Indian government for facilitating my own evacuation.

Ethiopia must face both its military and economic failure

The Ethiopian consumer price index is more than 250% higher then before the war

A complete collapse of the Ethiopian economy comes closer to reality each passing day. The calamity this would bring in terms of literally total loss of human necessities for survival for most Ethiopians may ultimately be the cause for an end to the war. Will the Ethiopia Tigray conflict end due to peace talks, military victory, or collapse of the Ethiopian economy?

The government of Abiy Ahmed remains fixed to its position it will not negotiate with “terrorists” even though it is  suffering progressive defeats and loss of territory. The Ministry of Finance is releasing optimistic economic forecasts being sternly questioned by even economists who are ardent government supporters. At the same time international financial institutions and Ethiopian economists are sounding the alarm that the war costs are bringing the country to a financial collapse. Ethiopia has received less than $500 million in loan disbursement this year while spending $1 billion in payments to Eritrea and 51 million to Turkey. Amounts for other weapons are unknown at this time. The United States and European allies are clearly indicating tough sanctions will happen if no progress to peace is made.

Over the past several weeks the armed forces of Eritrea and Ethiopia have been retreating from advancing Tigray and Oromo Liberation Army forces. Economic activity remains stalled in Tigray as well as much of the Oromo and Amhara regions. Today the large Amhara city of Dessie is surrounded, Gondar has lost all communication, and Tigray forces are 150km away from Bahir Dar. In an attempt to slow the advance of the Tigray forces into western Ahmara the Ethiopian National Defense Force destroyed a strategic bridge at Ibnat. Military analysts at this time do not predict a speedy end or that the Tigray will be defeated. 

According to the Ethiopian Ministry of Finance the total foreign and domestic debt incurred by Ethiopia is $55.6 billion (USD). In just the last year in great part due to the war effort but also affected by COVID and poor agricultural prices the debt has nearly doubled.  Out of this more than half is debt owed to foreign lenders. Within the last year the government has paid $1.8 billion debt service payment The country’s gross domestic product was $1.4 billion but it had to pay interest on loans in excess of $1.8 billion. 

Since Abiy Ahmed assumed power the percentage of the gross domestic product used to pay interest has gone from 20% to over 33% of the GDP. Some are predicting the debt cost will go to 70% of GDP and the total debt could easily double.  Although Ethiopia is one of the top ten producers in the world of many grains abnormal rains, locusts, inflation, war, and displacement have reduced its agricultural output. Additionally food imports since Abiy took office have been increasing rather ten decreasing. Combining lessening high quality food exports with the need for more imports is leading to forecasts of greater food dependence of foreign aid.  Before the war 25% of Ethiopians were dependent on foreign food aid. In Tigray more than 90% have been assessed as needing food aid.  Now with millions displaced the number has certainly increased.

The Ethiopian government is trying to slow down inflation now at 45% for this year alone based on the Consumer Price Index by buying wheat and forcing banks to put more deposits in the central bank. Even so many Ethiopian economic experts say that even if the war stopped tomorrow it would take 10 years or more for an economic recovery assuming 5% percent or more economic growth yearly could be obtained instead of the -2% this year.


The unholy alliance of religious Ethiopia with anti-religious Eritrea

Esaias Afwerki was trained to be an athetist in Communist China under Chairman Mao

The paradoxical alliance of Abiy Ahmed and his religious supporters with the anti-religion regime of Eritrea’s Esaias Afwerki. Look at any survey ranking the world’s countries in religious observance and its importance in daily life and you will usually find Ethiopia near the top. Yet Abiy Ahmed has put together an unholy alliance with avowed anti-religious Eritrea to facilitate genocide as a means to gain power against the very vows of brotherhood and humanity which make up the core of the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish religions of Ethiopia.

Abiy Ahmed has placed the head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church on house arrest because he spoke out against genocide. He has conspired with Eritrea in performing acts of murder and desecration against Christian, Muslim, and Jews (Qemont) to their followers and sanctuaries.  

Although Esaias was apparently raised as a Christian as far as anyone can tell he is now atheist. As a young man in the 1960s he was trained in Marxism under Chinese Chairman Mao who advocated a religious free world. In the early 1970s he complained that the early Eritrea independence movement, the Eritrean Liberation Front, was too full of Muslims leading to him to crush the ELF and start the Eritrean Liberation People’s Front. Although he has tried to curry favor with Islamic Arab league nations who deal with him based upon practicality without regard to his religious abhorrence in Eritrea there has been a long history of closing mosques and Islamic schools. In 2017 many demonstrations by Eritrean diaspora occurred in protest of Muslim oppression in a country where at least 1/3 of the population follows Islam.

At various times the Eritrean police state has imprisoned or assassinated religious followers. Like China it wants people to be devoted to the state not to God.  In 2019 all Catholic Church charities including hospitals and schools were closed down and patients thrown into street. During my time in the first three months of Eritrean and Ethiopian occupation of Mekelle, the Catholic Church charities office was the target of artillery barrages, ransacked, and all equipment removed by Eritrean army soldiers. Several times I walked to meet with the representatives of the Catholic Bishop of Adigrat who was detained in Adigrat and was searched, my camera photos reviewed and erased, and warned not to return. The Tigray Ethiopian borders has about 40,000 Irob who are a separate ethnic group who are mostly Catholic and have suffered terribly by the Eritrean occupation.

Members of the Pentecostal Church denomination, Mulu Wongel,  to which Abiy Ahmed claims membership have been arrested, detained, tortured and even worse many times in Eritrea since 2002. Although the exact numbers are unknown we know that at least several thousand Christians have been imprisoned without cause or trail in Eritrea for nothing more than practicing their faith.

The relationship between Muslims and Christians in Ethiopia and Eritrea has been historically mixed. Although an Ethiopian King granted refuge to followers of Mohammed’s new religion from Saudi Araba pagans centuries ago and now Ethiopia is recognized as a special place in Islam the relationship has always had flares of unrest. Some of the diaspora that met with Abiy Ahmed during his visit to the United States in 2018 support the concept shared by many Amhara elites that Ethiopia should be a “Christian nation”.  Now many of his closest advisors echo similar dreams. Yet there are Muslim supporters who buy into his promise of Medemer unity.

Whatever claims Abiy Ahmed and Esaias Afwerki make in public there can be no denying that the orders they give their armies and militias are not to respect religion. Massacres at Axum’s St. Mary’s Ethiopian Orthodox Church of over 80 civilians and clergy and the near destruction of the Negash mosque in Tigray followed by ransacking and pillaging by Eritrean troops portray a clear aversion to respect of any religion by either Abiy Ahmed, Esaias Afwerki, and their supporters.

Ethiopia and Eritrea use Orthodox mystical beliefs to create fear and justify genocide

Many ancient cultures including Ethiopia see the hyena as a mystical creature of evil who can transform into a human form. The Ethiopian hyena plays role in the false depiction of the Tigray by Ethiopian religious leaders

Religious leaders, Esaias, and Abiy Ahmed together created a cruel plan for genocide incorporating common Ethiopian Orthodox Church folklore and belief of the Tigray people. The human atrocities committed by Eritreans and Ethiopians on the people of Tigray were part of a deeper psychological warfare to encourage Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers to commit atrocity while creating fear and panic among the Tigray involving hyena and Christian resurrection.

The attempted complete conquest of Tigray involved devious input from Amhara religious leaders, Ethiopia, and Eritrea. Recent revelation about how Eritrean dictator Esaias Afwerki was the mastermind while Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was the puppet on a string was revealed in Eritrea Hub. Esaias it is claimed is now directing all policy of Ethiopia towards Tigray as well as taking over intelligence functions and propaganda.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church which makes up 90% of Tigray places great importance on the promise of the resurrection of both the soul and the physical human body after death by their faith in Christ. The start of Christianity in Ethiopia began in what is now Tigray but only after centuries of being Jewish. As a result in Ethiopia the Orthodox Church uniquely follows many Jewish customs.

Caravaggio classic painting of Jesus with Thomas who was shown and felt Jesus death wound

They believe that the dead must be buried in consecrated natural ground to allow it to return to dust. Remembering that Christ upon his resurrection showed Thomas his wound as told in the Gospel of John to prove his identity as well as the idea that the body is a holy creation of God there is a great fear among the common folk that disfigurement or dissacration of the body before or even after death will affect one’s resurrection. For example, in the hospital in Mekelle, many would refuse amputation even if it was necessary to safe life because they feared resurrection without a leg or arm.

The corruption of the body starting soon after death as well as the body being unclean makes it necessary to be interred quickly usually within a day or two after death. This is why you see, for example, the sense of urgency given by those recovering dead bodies from the Tekeze River in Western Tigray to bury them quickly.

Killing civilians or soldiers then burning them or leaving them unburied is done to convince the Tigrayans (Tegaru) that Ethiopia and her ally Eritrea have the unholy evil power to effect afterlife. This for what is commonly referred as the countryside people is quite terrifying. At the same time the Amhara and Eritreans are encouraged that they are killing a nonhuman entity.

The use of term hyena has two specific meanings when used in propaganda by Abiy Ahmed’s religious supporters. Many Orthodox believers see the world as having significant mystical components including evil and good magic as a part of their faith. The hyena is seen as a potentially supernatural being who can transform from beast to man and has evil magical powers called buda. Having lived in Amhara for almost two years some time ago, I witnessed how whenever a hyena was killed on the highway local people would often come to harvest its gallbladder which was is said to have magical powers.

The hyena is a powerful scavenger that finds it prey or carrion at night. The powerful jaws it possesses can easily crush bone so that it if finds a human corpse the whole body may be consumed without a trace. If the body is not placed in holy ground then folklore would say that resurrection may not occur. Hyenas can attack not only the body but the soul in Ethiopian folklore. Those attacked by hyena may require religious exorcism says local folklore.

In a recorded interchange between a captured Amhara soldier and the avenging Tegaru farmers in Hawzen in March of this year this exact fear was told to the farmers. The enemy soldier feared he would be executed and consumed by wild animals without burial. He requested at least to be killed by a church so he could be buried in one piece on consecrated ground. This also shows how the attacking Amhara where propagandized as well to see their enemy as unholy and evil. Ultimately the farmers did not kill the captured soldier but he was sent to a POW camp in Mekelle.

Referring to Tegaru as hyena is also dehumanizing them. Werehyena are hyenas that can camoflage themselves as man and carry out death and destruction. Convincing Amharas and others that Tegaru have an inherently evil nature that must be destroyed and can only be by death of the whole population. In other words they are giving an excuse for genocide. When they kill Tigray they are killing evil not men.