It has been over 48 hours since Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced a “unilateral indefinite humanitarian truce” to relieve civilian suffering of famine and lack of medical supplies to Tigray. Many including this writer were suspicious of the veracity of this announcement. The complete lack of any arrival of relief has caused 2000 people to die and 1000 more will die everyday this promise is not keep. Instead over 230 buses loaded with armed soldiers have departed from the Wollo region in Ahmara and are scheduled to disembark at Kobo on Amhara Tigray border.
This new negative and nefarious development is reminiscent of the fake projection of famine relief portrayed by the Derg Regime tyrant, Mengistu Haile Mariam, during the Ethiopian famine from 1983 to 1985. He initially claimed to put together groups of scientists and others to study the problem and reason a solution. Instead what they came up with was a devious punishment of forced displacement, murder, and mayhem that resulted in deaths of at least one million over the two year period. The most affected areas were Tigray, Wollo, and Eritrea.
As a result of the delayed response to that famine international relief organizations and United Nations members were supposed to create better famine prevention and response mechanisms. Millions contributed to fund drives and some foreign militaries airdropped food. But today the UN and western democracies are exhibiting too much patience that may once again kill a million or more people with a leader of Ethiopia whose record of treachery seems intent to exceed the evil done by his idol Mengistu Haile Mariam with the use of starvation as a weapon of war.
Five hundred days and five hundred thousand dead in Tigray which means 1000 dead a day have and will continue to die. Although the Ethiopian government using weapons of war supplied by other countries continues to kill civilians including innocent women and children daily now the greatest threat to the population are the sanctions of Ethiopia on Tigray. The most powerful sanctions currently going on anywhere in the world is the complete blockade of food, water, electricity, communication, fuel, and medicines from Ethiopia or Eritrea to Tigray.
In a bizarre example of hypocrisy, supporters of Abiy Ahmed’s Ethiopian government have made the statement “Sanctions are a form of warfare that kill more people than bombs & guns” referencing H.R. 6600 which seeks to stop Tigray holocaust. The bill contains specific exemptions to humanitarian aid to any part of Ethiopia. It should be remembered that the United States still gave over $ 1 billion in aid to Ethiopia the past year.
Except for a few carefully pre-screened medical aid flights which are like giving a man dying from hunger a single grain of rice this situation is now extending into its second year. International experts say that 83% of Tigrayans are at risk of death eventually from hunger or otherwise treatable medical conditions.
The birth of Jesus Christ celebrated by the Ethiopia Orthodox Church this week recognizes the son of God who was sent to teach human beings as creations of God how to live and relate to each other. Man’s justification by grace was a free gift however his salvation from sin had to be earned by following God’s rule over his creation through a transformation of the self. Quite definitively this stated that all men were created in God’s image. Each man has the potential for sin because God gave him absolute free will in the hope that he will voluntarily find happiness and fulfillment in life by following God’s instruction. However, each man has the potential for salvation as well. Although the voluminous Bible tells the story of man’s discovery of God the essence of Jesus teaching can be simplified into two statements. Love God above all else and love your neighbor as yourself.
Today in Ethiopia the leadership is celebrating a homecoming. Even though on their calendar it is the day to celebrate Jesus birth this fact on this day is at best a side show. This week the world has seen an infant, Surafel, dying of starvation in a Tigray hospital blocked from helping him by the Ethiopian government, the drone attack on an Eritrean refugee camp killing children, and copiously spewed statements of hate from numerous Ethiopians promoting genocide in defiance of Jesus message of love. It seems the love of God in Ethiopia once admired by the rest of the world has been replaced by idolatry to a deranged sense of Ethiopian nationalism which is really a façade for ethnic hatred.
The lure of power with its intoxicating effect on morality predicted in the Old Testament when the ancient Israelis requested a king once again seems to have come true in Ethiopia with Abiy Ahmed and his supporters. They have built a golden calf making an idol of Amharic nationalism to replace God. Consumed with his own essence he ignores God’s command to love thine enemy and extend charity to him.
The ancient laws forbidding starvation, protecting innocents, and harboring a sense of forgiveness have apparently left the souls of leadership of Ethiopia in favor of greed, revenge, and bloodlust. They want a high place in the United Nations but defy the humanitarian goals which created its foundation in the aftermath of world war. Rather than seeking to be servants of God to better the life of others they harbor an insatiable hunger to acquire more power to wreck greater havoc on their brother.
For young children in Tigray the availability of health care facilities and safe transport to them, intravenous hydration, and antibiotics for treatment can make all the difference whether a child lives or dies from infection which was the leading cause of death for those under age of 5 even before the Ethiopia Tigray conflict. This adds to many children already dying everyday from starvation.
This week health officials in Addis Ababa are celebrating improved use of antibiotics in Ethiopia but remain silent on the fact that for almost a year there has been no supply of antibiotics to save the lives of innocent children in Tigray. It seems they feel no responsibility to the welfare of children in Tigray. Given the Ethiopian blockade and the resistance of international authorities to challenge the humanitarian catastrophe in Tigray it is reliably expectant without a doubt that many times more children are dying.
The leading cause of death of children in Ethiopia under age 5 has been well established to be infectious disease. A study looking at demographic data and disease statistics in 2019 before the Ethiopian Tigray conflicted indicated that male children, 0–11 months aged children, 12–23 months aged children, anemic children, husband with a lower education, mothers paid employment, non-breastfed children, regions of Amhara, Afar, Dire Dawa, Benishangul, Gambela, Oromia, SNNPR, Somali and Tigray were significantly associated with higher odds of morbidity in Ethiopia.
The general effects of the war contribute further to the medical crisis. Lack of fuel for public means of transportation means that for the mostly rural population of Tigray there is no way to seek medical consultation.
Severe budget cuts due to the need for war spending more than doubling the Ethiopian government budget has now resulted in medical supply shortages throughout Ethiopia not just Tigray. Even in discussions I had recently with some in the SNNP this is a growing situation. So it is likely death rates for young children from infection are increasing nationwide now not just in Tigray.