BY ROBERT CROWE | ASSOCIATED MEDIAS *
Disinformation is the latest dangerous weapon left in the hands of the Tigray elites and their allies who have not accepted the change of government in Ethiopia led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Abiy Ahmed. The U.S. magazine “The Week” is the latest victim of this barrage of fake news subtly branched out by what remains of the TPLF, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, the party of former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, and of current WHO Director-General Tedros Adhamon.
The US weekly, in a report titled “Tigray, Ethiopia“, reported a series of false news that aims to discredit the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments. After all, this is an ancient story: at a time when journalists travel little, in the absence of direct testimonies, the news reported from one side or the other. And very often it’s just fake news. Thus, in this propaganda war, those who frequently remain in the middle are the NGOs, used in an instrumental way. In other cases, however, it is even the large international humanitarian organizations that are being exploited.
The news reported in good faith by “The Week” about Tigray seems to be the children of these perverse logics of propaganda. Other media even go so far as to accuse the Eritreans of committing horrific crimes in Tigray against the civilian population and in particular against women when everyone knows and recognizes that the ethics and sense of solidarity and responsibility of the Eritrean Popular Front for Liberation have forged in the last 30 years a people that stands out for its civic sense and respect for others and that is often taken as an example not only in Eritrea but in countries where there is an important diaspora.
Eritrea in particular is recognized for the role that women have played in the struggle for national liberation by gaining the consideration of Eritrean men who have ended up being educated to respect them and to the concept of equality. Claiming that Eritreans steal in the Tigray when history teaches us that Eritreans have helped, without asking for anything in return, countries such as Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and Somalia out of an exclusive sense of solidarity, is not only false but criminal.
The Tigrayans themselves, who are well aware of the Eritreans and who received their unconditional support during the war of liberation, know that these are slanders that are artfully published to denigrate the collaborative efforts of President Isaias Afewerki and Prime Minister Abiy to pacify the Horn of Africa.
Observers, but also mere analysts who have studied and experienced the recent events in the Horn of Africa, know perfectly well that Eritrea has a positive and stabilizing role in the region. Prime Minister Abiy, respecting his political mandate, is also committed to pacifying the area, thus creating the conditions for the development of the entire region. Peace with Eritrea, after twenty years of war, was achieved in a few weeks. We know today that all the Ethiopians wanted it, with the exception of the TPLF Tigrayans, who have always hindered it, but Eritrea, in particular, wanted it.
The proof is that when a man of peace like Abiy arrived, the President of Eritrea took very little to find an understanding of peace agreement, by restoring the normal course of a story that had already been written twenty years earlier. Then, as evidence of this historic event, the Nobel Prize arrived, then, again, came the three-party agreement (Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia) to give, in fact, an economic and social perspective to the whole Horn of Africa.
The only ones who have always fought against this peace and development process were always and only them, the TPLF who today use their international network built and financed with the huge sums stolen from the Ethiopian Treasury budget to continue to disinform about what really happens in Tigray and the region.
Unfortunately, this international fake news factory is also made up of NGOs and UN officials who are still linked to TPLF leaders. They pretend to ignore that the TPLF has revealed itself to be subversive and that it has committed terrible terrorist acts and crimes that the Ethiopian government is preparing to judge in the coming months.
For example, it has now been established that the Tplf militias have fled to Sudan after committing the Mai-Kadra massacre, passing themselves off as refugees by mixing with fleeing civilians. As is now established, before fleeing Mekelle, they freed the Tigray prisons filled with common criminals after having supplied them with military clothes copied from the uniforms used by the Eritrean military and sewn into their factory in Adwa in order to be able to accuse the Eritreans of their crimes.
The issue of armed intervention in Tigray to safeguard peace in Ethiopia and in Tigray is the result of the response to an armed attack by the TPLF carried out in November 2020 which aimed at destabilizing Ethiopia and carry out a military coup to overthrow the Ethiopian government of Abiy. All those who today accuse the Ethiopian government of intervening in Tigray pretend to forget that if it had not been for the military reaction that made it possible to defeat the criminal and terrorist plans of the TPLF, today we would have a divided Ethiopia prey to fratricidal ethnic wars with serious repercussions on all states in the region and with millions of victims and refugees.
These people should also remember that the regretful Tplf Tigrayans did not want to respect the peace agreements signed by Ethiopia and Eritrea and are responsible for destabilizing the entire region for more than 20 years supported by an international community deceived by their politics based on fake news and backed by grateful and generous contributions to complacent media. While selling the image of a stable government that thought only about the growth and development of Ethiopia, they were preparing the secession of the Tigray and other Ethiopian regions by exploiting the ethnic conflicts and buying huge weapons to be concentrated in Tigray under the pretext of the Eritrean threat that was regularly artfully fed.
In fact, one cannot fail to recall how the Tigrayans, when they were still in command in Addis Ababa, had more than 80 percent of their national armaments transferred to their home. It was a clever and rather arrogant gesture that actually aimed to maintain control of the armed forces in order to dominate the rest of Ethiopia and the entire region, including Eritrea.
To understand the current situation in Ethiopia and Tigray, one cannot ignore what happened on November 3rd last year: the hostile attack by the TPLF on all the positions and military bases of the Northern Command of Ethiopia against which Prime Minister Abiy had to oppose was the cause of the situation that the Ethiopian government is trying to manage with effort and dedication in Tigray.
For those who wanted to understand how things really were, it would have been enough to re-read the various public speeches that Abiy made before intervening in the Tigray region. Real appeals launched to the people explaining that Addis Ababa wanted to do nothing but restore order in the region and peace throughout the Horn of Africa. Repeated appeals reiterated also by television channels, but fallen on deaf ears in the Tigray not out of the real will of the population but because the elites wanted to resist until the end.
What happened after the capture of Makelle, the capital of Tigray, by the federal force is certainly a chronicle of war. And as always, tragedies are also unintentionally caused in these cases. If there have been acts of violence committed by the military they must of course be investigated and harshly condemned.
We have no doubt that the Nobel laureate, PM Abiy, will be able to bring any culprits to justice and that he will promote a commission of inquiry to this end that will shed light on what happened in an impartial manner. If, in addition to the criminals of the TPLF, there were also soldiers or officers of the Ethiopian army among those responsible, he would be able to punish them in an exemplary manner. Because even during a war, there are rules and laws that must be respected. But even these facts, if they are established, must not make us forget the reality and that is it was the Tigrayann power groups that did not respect the peace agreements and, by their hostile act, started the war. It was always they who did not want to lay down their arms despite the numerous invitations to surrender. And, again, it was them before they fled the region opened prisons and sent thousands of ordinary criminals to the streets, and used the helpless population as a shield.
In such situations, it is clear that there is a humanitarian emergency. In a tortured region, it is clear that the population, already exhausted by famine and COVID, is in a state of profound suffering and is therefore trying to escape to the neighboring regions. This is certainly a tragedy to be reckoned with and to cope with. We should all strive to put an end to the suffering of people harassed by power games.
But the truth must be respected. It is difficult, but it is necessary to try to stick to the facts without being subjected to provocations and without giving in to the attempts at disinformation that are still going on. On the other hand, there are also victims and tragedies.
* This is a software translation of the original article titled “Tigrai: storia di una caduta tra dramma e falsità” that was first published on the Associated Medias website.