We don’t have to see eye to eye or concede 100% with someone as long as we agree on foundational principalities. As long as one who is taking on the role of an advocate and speaking up for the voiceless is doing so without bias to identity and puts aside prejudices in pursuit of justice, I give that person’s thoughts and objectives serious consideration. Such is the case with Meaza Gidey, an Ethiopian community organizer who has dedicated her life to rising up in defense of Tigrayans and highlighting the continued persecution of her people.
Born and raised in the province of Tigray, the war that is taking place in northern Ethiopia is one that hits close to home for Meaza. She does not have the luxury of analyzing the strife from a place of detachment; to the contrary, Meaza has no choice but to personalize every development and to speak on the topic with a passion that only comes when one feels an existential threat and a risk to the continued existence of their heritage. A scholar and an International Relations researcher, Meaza does an amazing job of forcefully indicting Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s brutal campaign against Tigrayan people.
The conflict that is taking place in Axum, Adwa, Mek’ele and beyond is but one facet of a broader battle that is being waged on social media in order to shape and influence public opinion. In this contest of ideas and propaganda, there are few that match Meaza’s aptitudes, eloquence and deep reservoir of knowledge she readily disseminates on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Only 26 years old, Meaza has the energy that comes with youth and the wisdom that only arrives with experience.
Let me take a moment to stipulate one thing, I don’t endorse every position that Meaza takes and there are aspects of her activism that hints a bit too much on the very ethnocentrism that is destroying Ethiopia. However, I also understand her predicament; she is caught in the same bind that most Ethiopians are entrapped by. A country that has been united for close to 3,000 years is in the process of unraveling because too many of us would rather focus on ethnicity and forget about our commonalities.
The fact that Meaza omits the genesis of the very sectarianism that is rupturing Ethiopia is alarming. The way she shifts attention away from the TPLF—which implemented apartheid 2.0 in Ethiopia—is a glaring red flag that is a stain on her overall admirable effort to shine the light on the interminable suffering of Tigrayans. But I won’t let a disagreement in one area obviate her overall points; the way civilians have been turned into casualties and the toll of anguish taking place throughout Tigray is one that only the most callous of tribalists can ignore.
Meaza Gidey is one of the leading faces of the #StopWarOnTigray movement in Ethiopia. The ongoing war has led to civilians killed, women + girls raped, & 4.5M+ at risk of starvation. @meazaG_'s passion isn’t political. It’s personal. @TommyASC91 @Forbeshttps://t.co/0g6kdvwWcx
— Omna Tigray (@OmnaTigray) March 1, 2021
The reports of rampant violence, rape being weaponized to terrorize families and discriminate harassments based on ethnic affiliation cannot be brushed aside. Though many try to distract from these truths by pointing at strawmen and tilting at windmills, the reality of what is taking place in Tigray cannot be wished away nor can it be justified by even the most crafty politician. It is for this reason that I chose to highlight Meaza this morning; I join in her efforts to #StopWarOnTigray and call on the Ethiopian government to stop terrorizing Tigrayans.
I equally condemn the government of Eritrea for illegally and immorally taking part in a campaign to murder and maul Tigrayans with impunity in their own lands. Issayas Afeworki, the tin pot dictator of Eritrea, should be tried in the International Criminal Court for the felonies he is committing against his own people; we can now add to the docket the bloodletting he is loosening against Ethiopians. The same goes for Mengistu 2.0 by the name of Abiy Ahmed; an erstwhile Nobel Peace Prize recipient has shown his true colors as he wages a war against 6% of the population in order to consolidate power and become the “7th king of Ethiopia”.
Elie Wiesel once said “wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must —at that moment—become the center of the universe”. Against the tide of complacency and in the face of our collective indifference, Meaza bravely rises to place Tigray in the center of the universe. I wish her well in her endeavors, cast my lot with her when it comes to defending the marginalized and add the plight of all Ethiopians as we strive to raise public awareness to the ongoing crimes against humanity that is taking place in Meaza and my birthland:: I agree with @meazaG_, the time has arrived for all #Ethiopia|ns to put aside ethnicity and join hands in defense of our common humanity. We must stop #StopWaronTigray and #HealEthiopiaTogether Click To Tweet
“Toward no crimes have men shown themselves so cold- bloodedly cruel as in punishing differences of belief.” ~ James Russell Lowell
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