By Faith and Freedom Staff
Over the last year, “tuning out” the news has become a coping mechanism for many Americans.
Sometimes, you just have to turn it off. That’s understandable.
But we cannot ignore genocide and that’s what appears to be happening in Ethiopia, where thousands of civilians have been killed since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops into the Tigray region.
Last year, Genocide Watch announced its concerns about “the government’s inaction to stop ethnically motivated violence.” Weeks later, the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide (affiliated with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum) warned that “the willingness of antagonists to use violence against civilian populations indicates a risk of further atrocities.
Little was done, however, to prevent the current wave of human rights abuses.
We don’t know the full extent of this humanitarian disaster because the press isn’t allowed into the war-torn areas and most forms of communication have been cut-off. However, we do know that the risk of atrocities is high and continues to rise. Violence and starvation are major concerns.
Conflict on the Ethiopian-Eritrean border further compound the problem. Eyewitnesses recently reported that Eritrean soldiers opened fire during a mass in an Orthodox Christian church in Dengelat village. Soldiers went house by house through the village, dragging victims with their hands tied through the streets, and shooting them in front of their families and neighbors.
Both the Eritrean and Ethiopian governments have denied the Eritrean military is involved, however, the U.S. Department of State recently confirmed the presence of Eritrean troops. There have been “credible” reports of human rights abuses, said the agency, including sexual violence and looting.
There are other reasons we should pay careful attention to what’s happening in Tigray. Ethiopia is a key ally to the United States in a particularly dangerous part of the world and such tumultuous situations often create breeding grounds for International terrorism. As a practical matter, the destabilization of Ethiopia is not in the best interests of the United States.
Most importantly, ending the genocide in Ethiopia is the right thing to do. The dead and tortured bodies of victims are only part of the ugly truth of mass atrocities. Those who survive are left traumatized from watching their loved ones suffer and die at the hands of brutal perpetrators. The devastation of families and communities must stop.