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by Justy Robinson 8 months ago in controversies
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The People's Loss

Photo by MARCIN CZERNIAWSKI on Unsplash

I shall begin by saying the US should not be the police for the world; if history is any indication, the US continuously fails to correctly police itself after all. We are global citizens as much as we are US citizens- but if we entertain the idea of separate countries, we should accept the certainty of their sovereignty. To that end however, it should be the prerogative of any civilized nation to defeat evil in the various places it arises.

It was the prerogative of Hitler’s Third Reich to gain dominion over all of Europe, and to erase Jewish people and all other minority peoples anywhere they could- something they were doing in quick and efficient fashion prior to 1941. That war was being fought for 853 days before the US got involved (despite our allies having been decimated for two years to that point and a myriad of human rights violations occurring), and only because we were dragged into it kicking and screaming after the tragedy of Pearl Harbor. If this piece was on a different topic- I’d ask what’s the point of being allies when your “ally” wouldn’t help you while you’re being beaten to death; but that’s a topic for a different piece. In fact, this piece isn’t about World War II at all- it’s about Ethiopia. But before we get there, I’d like to mention another sad fact of World War II. Two-thirds of all casualties in that war weren’t combatants- but civilians. Ponder that, a soldier knows they could die on a battlefield and is relatively trained for it; a civilian could barely guess that they’d die on a battlefield, and could do even less to prepare for it. A war where the majority of casualties are civilians is not a war- it’s a mass murder.

To Ethiopia. Today, January 30th, 2021, is the eighty-seventh day of the war on Tigray. Mind you, Tigray is not an independent nation; it is a small region and a ethnic people of larger Ethiopia, one that the Ethiopian Government & the country of Eritrea have gone to war with. That may not make sense to you so I’ll say it a bit differently; the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, and the government of Eritrea, a totally separate country, have waged war with the northernmost region of Ethiopia. A government killing its own people. Where have we seen that before?

To my vexation, among the trending hashtags is #StopTheWarOnTigray. But I must ask if it is a war if soldiers have closed off the border and are shooting anyone who tries to escape? Is it a war if soldiers are looting medicine and food- starving an estimated 4,000,000 civilians while killing and displacing those same citizens? Is it a war if an untold number of Tigrayan mothers, daughters, and sisters are being brutally raped before being killed or put into overflowing refugee camps? How is it a war if ALL of the casualties are civilians? The “War on Tigray,” is the Massacre of Tigray- the Ethnic Cleansing or the Genocide of Tigray, even.

This is the eighty-seventh day of the Genocide of Tigray where nothing has been done. The US and the UN have been talking about it, but nothing has been done. Abiy Ahmed and the Eritrean Government have violated the Geneva Conventions eighty-seven times over, yet nothing has been done. Why? My first thought would be because they’re black, but this isn’t the first time the US has sat on its hands while human rights are entirely ignored abroad. My second thought is because they’re not American but Ethiopian-Americans and Eritrean-Americans took to the streets with activists of all colors, classes, and creeds to voice their disgust at these sins. So, why? Bureaucratic red-tape? Distance? No monetary interest in people's lives?

Even now, November 16th, 2021, the war continues. The battle has certainly changed considering the TPLF have managed to almost-completely remove federal troops from Tigray- but the atrocities have not stopped; on either side. If you had asked me whose side I was on when the genocide first began, I would've answer, efficiently and proudly, with Tigray. But today, 379 days into the genocide and subsequent war... not long after Amnesty International released a report condemning the "Tigray Rebels," (if it's fair to call them that) for the same raping and looting as that which they've suffered since the genocide began, I'd be remiss not to mention how my sight has changed- but only a little bit. Rape is wrong, no matter which side started doing it first, and it must be defeated everywhere it occurs- even if the perpetrator was the victim of a genocide. Tigray will win this war and I hold to the faith that the evils perpetrated by the other nine "states" of Ethiopia and the Prime Minister will be defeated, but the people of Ethiopia, the women and children of Ethiopia, the civilians of Ethiopia only win with the defeat of all evil- whether perpetrated by the Ruling Administration or the TPLF.

As I’ve said before, is should be the prerogative of any civilized nation to defeat evil in the various places it arises; and as the Ethiopian Government tries and fails to obfuscate it’s sins (we don’t know the full scale of events, but slowly more and more information is being leaked), and as the TPLF move closer and closer to the capital Addis Ababa, a civilized country MUST seek to defeat these sins and hopefully sooner than 853 days after the sins have begun. As both American citizens and World citizens, our elected officials deserve a call from us. They need to be reminded what their job is: to represent our interest, and my interest is certainly the defeat of such evil. If you, reader, are against rape, against mass murder and ethnic erasure, against continued violations of human rights and an ever increasing number of new war crimes, call your elected officials and get in our streets. There is more work to do.


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Justy Robinson

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