In Ethiopia’s northern corner lies a region called the Tigray. In June, the Ethiopian government ordered a “de facto humanitarian aid blockade” against the region and the results have been beyond all civilized human comprehension. Nothing into the region. Nothing out. Including food.
The Tigray’s food supply has long been exhausted and reports of starvation deaths are now being received. It’s been reported that people in the region are picking leaves to eat as their only means of survival. A mother who recently gave birth to a 1.7-pound baby died of starvation during childbirth along with her newborn.
There are 20 districts within the Tigray region and reports of widespread death are coming in from all of them. The U.N. has labeled this as the worst atrocity against humanity in more than a decade. It’s a forced hunger crisis of unparalleled proportion.
Persecution is nothing new to ethnic Tigrayans. They’ve been slaughtered en mass, young girls are consistently gang-raped until they die, crops get burned out and water supplies are purposely tainted. Those who have somehow managed to survive these abuses now have the pleasure of being starved to death in this final phase of ethnic cleansing, the year, 2021. As impossible as this may seem, this is the year we’re living in.
Hayelom Kebede who is the former director of the understaffed and under-equipped Ayder Referral Hospital in Tigray said he reached out to the Ethiopian health ministry, telling them, “You are killing people.” Their unempathetic response was, “Yeah, OK, we’ll forward it to the prime minister.” He said all he could do was cry. He knows in his heart that no help will arrive.
Over 50 children who were lucky enough to make it to the hospital are in what Kebede could only call “very intensive care.” A photo was furnished to the Associated Press of a hollow-eyed skeletal-appearing young boy being fed through his nose via a long red tube. By the time this article is published, the child will have undoubtedly died.
It isn’t like it wasn’t known in advance that something like this might be coming around the bend. Tigray has its own forces, albeit not all that heavily equipped, and they and the Ethiopian government have been battling each other for the past 10 months. Rather than keep sending the Ethiopian military storming in, the government changed paths by choosing a quieter and less expensive method of shutting the Tigryans up. Starvation.
Now we get to the Biden administration. Even knowing people are dying from hunger by the second, he issued Ethiopia a rather weak warning by telling them to knock it off. Similar to what you might say to a dog that just peed on the carpet. And he gave them several weeks to get back to him. “Take your time, guys.”
Biden used the infamous, and expected, “sanction” word which ran no goosebumps up anyone’s spine. China will gladly give Ethiopia what they need if the U.S. won’t. Try again, big guy.
Now, so you know the entire story, here’s the other side of the coin. The Tigryans once ruled the entire roost in a very repressive fashion. They controlled Ethiopia’s national government. This past November, Ethiopia’s forces got tired of being pushed around by their own government so they did what any unloyal military would do and revolted.
They began by looting food sources throughout the Tigryn region and, then, destroying medical clinics and health centers on their way back. The troops had a little help from allied soldiers in neighboring Eritrea, who jumped at the chance to reign down a little terror.
But it just so happened that, despite every attempt, in June, what was left of Tigray’s fighters reclaimed their region and sent the opposing troops scurrying. Ironically, citing humanitarian reasons, the Ethiopian government immediately called for a ceasefire. Then, they inhumanely created a blockade.
It’s difficult to comprehend the ever-changing political winds in the deepest, darkest continent of Africa. Just when you think you have a slight grasp on things, it slips away. But, one thing we should all understand is how starving innocent women and children to death, in any language, is a travesty beyond the inhumane.
Their bulging eyes and protruding stomachs. Skeletons wrapped in tight shrinking skin. Human remains scattered across the sands. Trees picked dry of their useless, non-nourishing leaves. These are not humane pictures. They’re savage, no matter which side believes they’re right, and they should be immediately condemned…not in a few weeks as Tigray’s 6-million starving residents scream for help with what little of their breath remains.
While the U.N., along with Joe Biden, are debating what’ll happen to the planet in 50 or so years, people are dying today. And what a slow, cruel, and painful way to be made to die. This is not a time for political chatter. This is a time for action.
Don’t you agree?