We pray Ethiopia commit to a just peace now

The war on Tigray by Ethiopia and Eritrea cannot be justified. The human, moral, material, and financial costs out way any benefit of a futile attempt at Ethiopian dominance. Photo source DW

The war on Tigray by Ethiopia and Eritrea cannot be justified. The human, moral, material, and financial costs out way any benefit of a futile attempt at Ethiopian dominance.  The Ethiopian leadership would be wise to review the advice of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke 14 where Jesus tells the story of how a wise king should consider the cost of negotiation for peace versus war. Ethiopia must see the time for peace is now. The Tigray fight just to survive and prevent more horrible suffering seen during occupation and Ethiopia’s desire to establish dominance has yielded a high cost of human suffering. There can be no peace without absolute security of the people of Tigray to be free to self determine their future and have the means to defend that right. In this world history has shown that human rights violations eventually come to light. Ethiopian contrition and renewal to real democratic reform will hasten it’s return to respectability.

 Ethiopia’s reputation has plummeted to that paralleling North Korea and Eritrea resulting in economic sanctions from Western democracies. Turning alliance to China and Russia who base their foreign policy on favorable transactions to themselves which usually involves exploitation is shaky because they also see a region in turmoil with withering economic potential and stability. One cannot see how any Ethiopian can imagine that the alliance with Eritrea has benefited them. For who in Ethiopia is life now better then it was in 2018 when Abiy Ahmed came to power.?

The Tigray, Ethiopian-Eritrean conflict since November 2020 has come at great cost of Ethiopia, Tigray, and even Eritrea. Prior to the war the Ethiopian economy was growing with a stabilizing currency. There were dreams of becoming a middle class country within a generation. Yet today the economy has shrunken significantly with international lenders severely cutting loans. The total government debt exceeds $60 billion and rising due to inflation and weapons purchases. Meanwhile millions are displaced by war, drought, and insufficient food production.  More so of course in Tigray but still growing throughout the whole of Ethiopia.

Eritrea faces more sanctions and isolation. The false veil of friendly support for Amhara expansion has been removed revealing a dark ambition to control the whole of the Horn of Africa. 

The concept of creating textile and clothing manufacturing in Ethiopia by international companies has likely been dealt a permanent blow because a reassessment has revealed that the greater stability of Western Africa combined with the high cotton production there may make relocation favorable. 

Tigray has seen more than 500,000 people die from war, lack of health care, lack of food, power, and transportation. Infant and maternal mortality are sky rocketing.  Even in Ethiopia health expenditures have plummeted from a high of $23 per capita to perhaps less than $10 per capita. The high cost of necessary imports such as medical supplies versus the falling birr has reduced the quality of life and life expectancy for all but the minority of elites.

If Ethiopia wants to regain the reputation of respect and once again pursue a higher standard of living for its people peace is the only war forward. It is the only path to righteousness.

For Tigray a prayer for deliverance in the new year, Psalm 35

The traditional New Year in Tigray is upon them.  Tigrayans faith is a way of life and a source of strength during crisis.

Hundred of Tigrayan worshipers killed by Eritrean soldiers invited to invade Tigray by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in November 2020, alleges deacon at the Church of St. Mary of Zion, which Ethiopian Orthodox believe hosts the Ark of the Covenant. Source Christianity Today

The people of Tigray trace their heritage to a joining of the ancient Saba culture of the Levant lead by Queen Sheba to the Israeli kingdom of Solomon.  Today Tigray is mostly Ethiopian Orthodox which was born in Axum with minority Catholic  and Muslims. All whom share in recognizing the Psalm written by David as holy.

When Saul had not followed God’s commands and David was chosen  to be the next leader of the Israelites David it is traditionally held wrote this prayer, Psalm 35, to God when Saul was pursuing his capture and death.

Here its in Amharic and English. Dear Lord we pray:

 አቤቱ፥ የሚበድሉኝን በድላቸው፥ የሚዋጉኝንም ተዋጋቸው። 1 Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.
ጥሩርና ጋሻ ያዝ፥ እኔንም ለመርዳት ተነሥ። 2 Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help.
ሰይፍህን ምዘዝ የሚያሳድዱኝንም መንገዳቸውን ዝጋ ነፍሴን፦ መድኃኒትሽ እኔ ነኝ በላት። 3 Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.
ነፍሴን የሚሹ ሁሉ ይፈሩ ይጐስቈሉም ክፉትን በእኔ ላይ የሚያስቡ ይፈሩ ወደ ኋላቸውም ይበሉ። 4 Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt.
በነፋስ ፊት እንዳለ ትቢያ ይሁኑ፥ የእግዚአብሔርንም መልአክ ያስጨንቃቸው። 5 Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the Lord chase them.
 መንገዳቸው ዳጥና ጨለማ ይሁን፥ የእግዚአብሔርም መልአክ ያሳድዳቸው። 6 Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the Lord persecute them.
በከንቱ ያጠፉኝ ዘንድ ወጥመዳቸውን ሸሽገውብኛልና፥ ነፍሴን በከንቱ አበሳጭተዋልና። 7 For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have digged for my soul.
ያላወቁት ወጥመድ ይምጣባቸው፥ የሸሸጉትም ወጥመድ ይያዛቸው በዚህ ወጥመድ ውስጥ ይውደቁ። 8 Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall.
ነፍሴ ግን በእግዚአብሔር ደስ ይላታል፥ በማዳኑም ሐሴት ታደርጋለች። 9 And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in his salvation.
አጥንቶቼ ሁሉ እንዲህ ይሉሃል። አቤቱ፥ እንደ አንተ ማን ነው? ችግረኛን ከሚቀማው እጅ፥ ችግረኛንና ድሀውንም ከሚነጥቀው እጅ ታድነዋለህ። 10 All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like unto thee, which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him?
የክፋት ምስክሮች ተነሡብኝ፥ የማላውቀውንም በእኔ ላይ ተናገሩ። 11 False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not.
ስለ በጎ ክፋትን መለሱልኝ፥ ነፍሴንም ልጆችን አሳጡአት። 12 They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul.
 እኔስ እነርሱ በታመሙ ጊዜ ማቅ ለበስሁ፥ ነፍሴንም በጾም አደከምኋት ጸሎቴም ወደ ብብቴ ተመለሰ። 13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.
ለወዳጄና ለወንድሜ እንደማደርግ አደረግሁ ለእናቱም እንደሚያለቅስ ራሴን ዝቅ ዝቅ አደረግሁ። 14 I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother.
በእኔ ላይ ተሰበሰቡ ደስም አላቸው ግፈኞች በእኔ ላይ ተሰበሰቡ እኔም አላውቅሁም ቀደዱኝ አልተውኝምም። 15 But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: yea, the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew it not; they did tear me, and ceased not:
ፈተኑኝ በሣቅም ዘበቱብኝ፥ ጥርሳቸውንም በእኔ ላይ አንቀጫቅጩ። 16 With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth.
አቤቱ፥ እስከ መቼ ድረስ ታይልኛለህ? ነፍሴን ከክፉ ሥራቸው ብችነቴንም ከአንበሶች አድናት። 17 Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions.
አቤቱ፥ በታላቁ ጉባኤ ውስጥ እገዛልሃለሁ፥ በብዙ ሕዝብ መካከልም አመሰግንሃለሁ። 18 I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.
በግፍ የሚጠሉኝ በላዬ ደስ አይበላቸው፥ በከንቱ የሚጣሉኝም በዓይናቸው አይጣቀሱብኝ። 19 Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause.
ለእኔስ ሰላምን ይናገሩኛልና፥ በቍጣም ሽንገላን ይመክራሉ። 20 For they speak not peace: but they devise deceitful matters against them that are quiet in the land.
 አፋቸውንም በእኔ ላይ አላቀቁ እሰይ እሰይ፥ ዓይናችን አየው ይላሉ። 21 Yea, they opened their mouth wide against me, and said, Aha, aha, our eye hath seen it.
 አቤቱ፥ አንተ አየኸው ዝም አትበል አቤቱ፥ ከእኔ አትራቅ። 22 This thou hast seen, O Lord: keep not silence: O Lord, be not far from me.
አምላኬ ጌታዬም፥ ወደ ፍርዴ ተነሥ፥ አቤቱ፥ ፍርዴን አድምጥ። 23 Stir up thyself, and awake to my judgment, even unto my cause, my God and my Lord.
አቤቱ አምላኬ፥ እንደ ጽድቅህ ፍረድልኝ፥ በላዬም ደስ አይበላቸው። 24 Judge me, O Lord my God, according to thy righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me.
በልባቸው። እሰይ እሰይ፥ ነፍሳችንን ደስ አላት አይበሉ ደግሞም፦ ዋጥነው አይበሉ። 25 Let them not say in their hearts, Ah, so would we have it: let them not say, We have swallowed him up.
በመከራዬ ደስ የሚላቸው ይፈሩ፥ በአንድነትም ይጐስቍሉ በእኔ ላይ የሚታበዩ እፍረትንና ጕስቍልናን ይልበሱ። 26 Let them be ashamed and brought to confusion together that rejoice at mine hurt: let them be clothed with shame and dishonour that magnify themselves against me.
ጽድቄን የሚወድዱአት ደስ ይበላቸው ሐሴትንም ያድርጉ የባሪያውን ሰላም የሚወድድ እግዚአብሔር ታላቅ ይሁን ዘወትር ይበሉ። 27 Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the Lord be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.
 ምላሴ ጽድቅህን ሁልጊዜም ምስጋናህን ይናገራል። 28 And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.


The genesis of false claims about TDF drug use by misinformation axis revealed

Mereja.com, a supporter of Abiy Ahmed and Amharic centric ideology, printed a fake scientific study purporting to show Tigray Defense fighters use drugs and suffer terrible addictions.

There exists a vast misinformation propaganda mechanism of the Ethiopian-Eritrean-Diaspora axis involved in the current conflicts of Ethiopia, Tigray, and Oromia. In July 2021 there was an abrupt change in the fortune of war when the occupying Ethiopian forces had to make a hasty retreat from Mekelle and eastern Tigray. Abiy Ahmed’s explanation was that he wanted to give Tigrayan farmers a chance to plant crops even though Abiy Ahmed’s own appointed Tigray Interim Government revealed to France 24 that planting and farming were actually blocked. 

It was during this retreat that two excuses began to circulate in social media associated with support of Abiy Ahmed and Amharic centric thinking in support of the war on Tigray. We know that Facebook and Twitter have large populations of autobots created to look like real persons who run on algorithims. These are triggered by statements of the Ethiopia-Eritrean-Diaspora axis of misinformation. 

Claims began that Tigray was defeating the invading forces of the Ethiopian National Defense Force, Eritrea, and mercenaries from Somali by using youth waves that were drugged. As a young man in the United States Army and a student of history a Texas A&M University we learned that well trained and coordinated infantry is what it takes to take and hold ground. Fire, move, cover are the key elements to infantry movement which must be choreographed exactly to match terrain, environment, enemy capabilities and responses. What you see in the Tigray are officers and non-commissioned officers who just a few decades ago fought well equipped larger forces backed by Russia in the same areas they are in combat today. They are well disciplined and well trained. 

Recently Abreham Belay, the so called Tigrayan Defense Minister for Ethiopia ( he is really of Shabia ancestry not Tegaru) had re-circulated that Tigrayan youth Tigray Defense Force prisoners where being drugged in their tea. Well a investigation has revealed where this fake news likely was launched. Looking back to July 2021 Mereja.com published a formal appearing post that looked like a scientific study with Western authors under the title, Tigray Culture of Drug Use in Battle and Devastating Addiction of Tigray YouthHowever when you actually read the article it is a review of the history of drug use by soldiers in various wars. There is no information presented about Ethiopia or Tigray. 

As I previously wrote, while the stimulant Khat is not grown or used by the Tigray, it is the second largest export of Ethiopia. In the Amhara and southern regions you can vendors in every street corner. It is also common knowledge that soldiers in Ethiopian National Defense Force in addition to their few hundred birr salary generally receive a guaranteed beer ration on a weekly basis.

Mereja.com claims to be the largest online Ethiopian journal and is based in Washington,DC . According to Apollo Services it has two employees, Elias Kifle and Habtamo Oda and has many visiting writers. Prior to Abiy Ahmed coming to power in 2018 it was frequently blocked from the internet in Ethiopia. 


Tigray head doctors describe worsening medical care catastrophe in emergency briefing

In an international zoom briefing Doctors Amanuel Haile and Kibrom Gebreselassie gave a detailed briefing on the deteriorating medical crisis in Tigray caused by the Ethiopian siege which impedes all aspects of health care. Ethiopian diaspora along with others are working to establish means of sending financial support as well as organize and carry out shipments to Tigray and to refugee centers in Sudan. Donations are encouraged to this link https://givebutter.com/xWtpbD

In an emergency international zoom conference today Drs.  Amanuel Haile, Tigray Health Bureau Director,and Kibrom Gebreselassie, CEO of Mekelle’s Ayder Hospital, the continuing catastrophic health care crisis in the Tigray region suffered under the Ethiopian siege was reported.

Less then fifty percent of health care facilities have any staffing at all. Even those that are open have no electricity or supplies. There are no antibiotics to treat infection, no surgical supplies, and even simple things such as bed sheets and soap are scarce. No electricity is present to run medical equipment except for occasional runs at the tertiary Ayder Hospital on a rare basis.

During the so called truce following the exit of occupying forces of Ethiopia from Eastern Tigray but not Western Tigray there has been a strangulating blockade of food, medicine, and fuel. Only 5% of necessary medical supplies were coming through the blockade. The Ethiopian military as well as the Ethiopian Ministry of Health under Lia Tadesse continue to limit what will be cleared for transport into Tigray from Ethiopia so that the people of Tigray would be “punished”.

Immunizations for children, oxytocin to help in childbirth, HIV testing, antibiotics, cancer drugs, tuberculosis drugs, anti-malarials, oxygen and surgical equipment are a few of the many banned items. Even while Ethiopia claimed to be assisting in medical supply the reality is that not a single item was donated by Ethiopia itself.  Only donated supplies from foreign countries in miniscule quantities are transported.

The medical crisis extends beyond just humans as there have been outbreaks of rabies in some cities from infected dogs spreading to humans. Feed for livestock is sparse and many animals have become infected with anthrax which has spread to humans as sick animals are desperately consumed.

While fifty thousand health care workers have attempted to remain on station to help the population they have gone unpaid essentially since  November 2020. There is no fuel or parts to allow transportation of patients to health care facilities. 


Ethiopia claim Tigray youth fighters drugged while ENDF using Khat

Ethiopian Defense Minister claims Tigray youth fighters are drugged.

Examination of the claims by Ethiopian Defense Minister Abreham Belay that Tigray youth fighters captured were given drugs is a bizarre and hypocritical statement. He no doubt is aware that there is a potent stimulant, Khat, commonly used in the Amhara, Oromo, and southern areas of Ethiopia which is not common in Tigray. It seems he wants to claim the Tigray forces are just youths coming in undisciplined waves often defeating superior numbered Ethiopian forces which have “superior weaponry and training”. So he came up with the idea that the Tigray have magic drugs that turn this innocent youth into supermen. There is a great irony in that there is high if not certain likelihood that his own fighters which often include youth are likely using Khat to greater extent then the Tigray. Not only do the Tigray culturally not favor its use but the availability of Khat would be almost impossible. It does not grow in Tigray and is perishable within a short time. The Tigray siege would make it difficult to import in great quantities.

Khat leaves containing a strong amphetamine like stimulant are the second greatest export of Ethiopia. They are not cultivated in Tigray. Here is shown a typical Amhara plantation.

The second largest export of Ethiopia are leaves of the plant, Khat (Catha Edulis)which contains the amphetamine-like substances cathine, cathinone, and methcathinone. Traditionally it is chewed slowly for hours to increase alertness, improve the mood, and increase mental focus. Its use is very common throughout much of Africa and the Arab regions. Public health studies have shown its greatest use in the the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region, Oromia, and Amhara regions of Ethiopia. 

When I lived in the Amhara region one could find a Khat vendor on almost every block of a town whereas in Tigray the cultural use of Khat has been much less accepting.  Often times taxi drivers, security guards, young men college students, policemen, and soldiers in the regions mentioned in the areas above partake of Khat as documented in public health research. There is little research on its effects on physical activity although in Olympic competition it is banned as happened to a Kenyan boxer in 2004.

Although in these regions the popularity of Khat use is high little is known about any deleterious effects. Some clinicians involved in stroke care like myself have wondered whether it creates a greater risk of hemorrhagic stroke but to date no definitive evidence has been demonstrated.

Finally, Ethiopia has very poor resources for drug testing. I cannot believe that the Ethiopian Defense Forces is drawing blood, urine, and hair samples from its prisoners and sending them to foreign countries for testing which is what would be required.


Medical Director gives witness of Mekelle bombing and severe shortages in Tigray

Medical Director of Ayder Hospital in Mekelle , Dr. Kibrom Gebreselassie Desta Source: Facebook

The following is a copy of the account given by Dr. Kibrom Gebreselassie Desta, Medical Director of Mekelle University Ayder Hospital of the bombing of the kindergarten in downtown Mekelle as documented on his Facebook.  The horror of injuries and death was magnified further by the Ethiopian government’s siege of medical supplies which rendered severely limited what medical care could be given to survivors.


It was noon.

Staff were leaving the hospital for the midday break.
I locked my door and sat in the couch. I didn’t want to go home for lunch. I know I have no prepared lunch at home. It has been more than a year since I got my salary, like any Tigrea government employee. Every commodity that you can get in the market is at least 10 times more expensive than its pre war value. But this too is if that commodity is available. Eating once a day is a routine thing for someone who can afford it. For someone who is the director of the biggest referral hospital in the entire region. For someone who had spent two decades in medical school, a subspecialist in Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery like myself. For the common people imagine how hard life is.
Our friends and family members who live abroad send us money sometime when the have means to do it. Dealers will cut a minimum of 35% of the cash and they give you at an exchange rate which is too low than the bank rate. You should be grateful as this is your only hope to see the sun rising the next day.
Photograph of the kindergarten bombed in Mekelle on August 26, 2022  Source: DW
While dozing in silence I was started by the sharp noise of an Ethiopian military jet. It was followed by a deafening explosion. I thought my hospital was the target. I run to the emergency room. Everyone was alert and ready to receive the victims. The head nurse told me he saw smoke in the neighbourhood which was at least one kilometre away from our hospital.
We heard the siren of an approaching Red Cross ambulance. It brought an injured elderly woman and a dead boy, at least 17 years old. He had a big hole in his chest. His heart was blown out. An instant death for the kid, but a lifetime horror for the woman who had to endure the scene in the entire trip. Soon more ambulances brought dead and injured children of the air strike. The target this time was a kindergarten. The children’s Amusement Park was completely destroyed. The area is a quite neighbourhood with no military installation or camp. Ethiopians, like their Eritrean allies are known to target market places and schools. They did hit their target once again. We in the receiving end of their two year long atrocities, it is another day of sorrow and bitter sadness.
In a hospital which has no budget in a year, with a staff who haven’t received their salary in 16 months, with no electricity (our sterilisation department, the operation theater, imaging department are not functioning because there is no fuel for generators. NGOs like WFP, USAID, UNICEF, WHO and OCHA were asked for help, none of them could help us. The treatment we got from UNICEF was the most painful. The guy there laughed at us when he heard neonates are dying of hypothermia. USAID and WFP opted not to respond to our quest. The others at least shared our pain.) or telecommunications services, here we are to treat our wounded. The emergency physician approached me and asked for more intravenous fluids. Her tears were visible. She knew the hospital has no fluids nor antibiotics. All I can do is shed my tears with her.
Such is our life in Mekelle, Tigray.
This too shall pass!

The ongoing effects on women’s health by the continued Tigray siege

Irreparable harm continues to affect Tigray as the world fails to engage reality

My prospective as a long time researcher, teacher, and physician at Mekelle University on the effect of the Tigray war and subsequent siege on women’s health 

Just prior to the invasion of Tigray by Ethiopian and Eritrean forces we know that Tigray had one of the highest rates of medically assisted childbirth in Ethiopia likely to be close to 20%. This low number reflected that it also included a high number of women who were recognized in screening by local health authorities as at risk for a problem pregnancy which lead them to seek closer follow up and care.

Now the health care extension worker network and local clinic systems staffed by public health officers, nurse, and general practitioners have been eliminated. There is no communication system or reliable transportation system even if there was functioning health facilities to visit.

Tigray already had high levels of birth defects including neural tube defects which require close pre-natal care and surgery immediately after birth to improve the health of mothers and children not only for their survival but to promote prevention. The medical and prevention services for these defects in which Tigray was a leader in Africa recognized for the leading research work done by Mekelle University by the World Health Organization and Ministry of Health which has abandoned Tigray now have essentially ceased.

Vaginal bladder and rectal fistulas which are preventable by pre-natal and appropriate birth care management have already skyrocketed. Additional many horrendous mutilations by invading armed forces further added to this burden. Women with these preventable and treatable conditions require sophisticated counseling and specialized surgical care units to avoid a life of social rejection and isolation. These services minimally exist now.

Female reproductive system, breast, thyroid and other malignancies affecting not just the elderly but often women as young as the second decade were in the pre-war era being addressed by preventive screening and the development of comprehensive cancer treatment at Ayder Hospital in Mekelle. A three hundred bed cancer center which included surgical suites and a radiation therapy installation remains unfinished and somewhat vandalized by the occupation of Mekelle.

Before the war about 25% of Tigrayans required food aid. Most of the rural population of women have to carry out the duties of contributing to farming and raising animals, caring for elderly relatives, collecting daily water, and child care. Poor health compromises their abilities to function in society causing higher levels of birth defects, maternal and child perinatal mortality, and retards the goals of elevating women’s status in society.

Poor planning causes Ethiopian public hospitals to severely lack medical devices

A recent study of Ethiopian public hospitals found serious gaps in the current practices of public hospitals in planning and budgeting medical devices. Especially in all areas outside of the capital, Addis Ababa. Tigray hospitals remain essentially non-functioning and are not currently supported by the Ethiopian government.

A new published study shows the vast majority of Ethiopian public hospitals fail to have the basic required medical devices necessary to provide medical care according to WHO standards. Even worse most of these hospitals and the Ethiopian Ministry of Health have no plans to improve on this serious shortcoming. 

The study was published by officials at the Ethiopian MOH. Prior to Abiy Ahmed taking power as Prime Minister in Ethiopia Ethiopia was heralded as being a leader in attempting to develop health care in Africa. However with the diversion of government spending to wage war resulting in annual per capita expenditures decreasing from an already low $23 to now an estimated $18 (which is a hundred times less then developed countries). Millions of dollars worth of medical equipment, drugs, and other supplies were allowed to be taken to Eritrea from Tigray also apparently the Gondar region. 

ENDF sent Somali and Eritrean wounded fighters to unknown fate

What happened to the wounded Eritrean and Somali mercenary soldiers sent to Mekelle Stadium by the ENDF? No one was found there when the ENDF retreated.

We witnessed Somali and Eritrean mercenaries as casualties in Mekelle during the Ethiopian Tigray conflict.  We know that instead of being allowed to stay in Ayder Hospital, transferred to the local military hospital, or to Amhara instead they ultimately disappeared after a transfer to a stadium.  Many Somali mothers whose young men where taken by the former Somali government to Eritrea to join forces invading Tigray in November 20202 are asking what happened to their sons?  Similar questions are being asked of the Eritrean government by Eritrean mothers. 

I was present at Mekelle University Ayder Hospital as a faculty member during the early Mekelle occupation by invading forces. We cared for many casualties of war including civilians and combatants from Tigray and the invading forces. We identified both Eritreans and Somalis in Ethiopian uniform. The locals easily recognized the accent and mannerisms of Shabia which is the term they use for Eritreans. Similarly we had many doctors in training from Somalia and Somaliland who were able to communicate with the Somali mercenaries.

However, the supervising Ethiopian Defense Force quickly moved these foreign mercenaries from Ayder to a makeshift hospital with high security set up at the Mekelle soccer stadium. Apparently there were no doctors there or any type of medical equipment. One wonders what was the fate of these mercenary forces who were injured and required medical treatment? No patient was found there when the ENDF retreated. Apparently families in Eritrea and Somali have been told nothing.

Everyday the future grows dimmer for Ethiopia

Government supported security forces search the streets killing unarmed young men who look like Oromos in the southern region of Ethiopia. Source OLA spokesman Odaa Tarbii.

Everyday there are growing reports of extrajudicial killing in just about every region of Ethiopia. Clearly the population diffusely throughout the country has no faith in the government. While Abiy Ahmed makes international trips to get his picture taken with various foreigners this does not hide the lack of solidarity rising in Ethiopia. His lies about economic growth, currency stability, and domestic food security, are blatantly exposed by the millions now displaced facing hunger and insecurity from Tigray to the the Kenya border. Once stable lives for working class and middle class families in the cities throughout the country are now faced with growing unemployment and rising inflation making everyday life the most miserable in several decades. Meanwhile the Tigray siege continues unabated except for a trickle of aid which the Western democracies foolishly call progress.

When I first came to Ethiopia in 2012 it seemed to be a place that was on the way to a better future. Many hospitals and universities had been built. There had been relative peace since the 1990s. At first the change in leadership in 2018 seemed to be a continuation of progress with many promises of free speech, opposition parties without condemnation, free press and economic opportunity. Frankly it is hard to believe it is the same country now.  Educated professionals of just about every ethnic group including Amhara, Tigray, Oromo, Somali, etc. are leaving the country in droves. They have become pessimistic that the country’s situation will improve in the near future.

Even previous skeptics of immoral acts by the Ethiopian government such as the poorly regarded Ethiopian Human Rights Commission are now admitting growing horrors. Probably in part because they fear future criminal liability for being conspirators in genocide.

European democracies and most of the American political establishment although wanting to support the poor status of the population especially in Tigray need to finally realize that sustaining the current failed leadership is only leading to a failed state of death and misery. There is no medemer or unity.