Ethiopia is falling apart, but Abiy still has options | Conflict
Providing assistance to the hungry in the Tigray region of Ethiopia is not only about saving lives, but about whether Ethiopia will continue to unite or disintegrate as a country.
When the Ethiopian Army get away Departing from Merkel, the capital of Tigray on Monday, the area is controlled by fighters from the Tigray National Defence Force or TDF (the armed faction of the former ruling party Tigray People’s Liberation Front or TPLF). Of the 6 million people in Tigray, more than 5 million need emergency assistance. According to the United Nations, 350,000 people are already in a state of famine. Pre-school children are at the greatest risk because their small bodies cannot last without essential nutrients.
In the next few months, an estimated 30,000 children may die of hunger. If assistance is not resumed and strengthened, the number of deaths could easily increase by 10 times.
Before giving up Meckler, the retreating Ethiopian army ransacked the aid base and took all the money from the bank.They also Stole Communication equipment for aid agencies. The upcoming TDF found that a city does not even have a day’s food supply.
Prime Minister Abi Ahmed Announce He called it a “humanitarian ceasefire.” This is a good headline, but his statements in the past few weeks have made it clear that this is not the case. In fact, he plans to start the war through other means-blockade.
In a speech reported on June 25, he accused aid agencies of having a hidden agenda to provide supplies to insurgents.Almost immediately, three staff members from the international medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (Médecins Sans Frontières, or MSF) was murderedThe murderer is unknown, but the suspected finger points to the government.
The announcement of the “humanitarian ceasefire” restricted the suspension of military offensive operations to only three months of agricultural time. It was just time to buy new weapons, and-Abi had promised-to return to Tigray by force. A ceasefire is usually an agreement between the fighting parties, but the announcement refers to TPLF as a “criminal military government.”
In his speech on June 30, Abi said frankly that the war is now being waged against the people of Tigray, and he said that they stabbed the army on the side of the TDF. He said that they will now have time to understand their situation. What he meant was that he would block Tigray and let the people starve to death and succumb.
Hunger is a particularly terrible weapon. Parents watched helplessly as the pain of the young children wasting is almost as terrible as the hunger pains suffered by these children themselves. The memory of famine lingers in people’s minds for generations, leaving behind long-term hatred for those who caused pain. Ireland’s great hunger in 1845-51 gave birth to the country’s struggle for independence. The Great Famine in Ukraine-Stalin’s hunger movement in the 1930s-convinced many Ukrainians that they would never be part of the same country as Russia.
Abi has a choice. He can decide to allow international humanitarian work in Tigray. This means allowing aid convoys to travel along roads and allowing rescue flights to land at Merkler and other airports in the area. This can prevent famine and save hundreds of thousands of lives.
Allowing humanitarian access is also the first step to reassure the Tigray people, regardless of any political differences between the federal government and TPLF, they are still considered Ethiopian citizens.
The strengthening of the lockdown sends a completely different message: your government wants to starve you to death.
The TDF is well-equipped and aggressive, and its young fighters are angry at the atrocities they have suffered. They have just won a series of amazing military victories and acquired a huge arsenal. If aid does not reach them from Ethiopia, they will definitely find another way to obtain it. The obvious choice is to launch an offensive and clear the road to Sudan for unofficial cross-border aid operations.
International aid donors are considering it as a last resort, because man-made famine of this magnitude is unreasonable without taking any measures to prevent it. But they also know that cross-border operations can have political consequences. It will cut the umbilical cord between Tigray and Ethiopia.
The Tigray people are very angry about rape, killing, plunder and starvation, and the government’s incitement of hate speech in the media, and they demand independence. Their leaders know that this is a dangerous road and hope that the possibility of a negotiated settlement will remain open so that they will become part of Ethiopia-possibly increasing regional autonomy in some form.
Abi’s decision in the next few days may determine which route to take—humanitarian access and a country that can be united, or the hunger blockade and the disintegration of the country.
Sympathizing for hungry children in Tigray and caring about Ethiopia’s future as a single country boil down to the same single choice.
A child’s body quickly lost weight. It didn’t take long for Abiy to choose his own path.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.