The taz received this text a few days ago from the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray. The author, whose identity is known to the taz and who wishes to remain anonymous, reports in it about the air strikes in Ethiopia at the end of October on Tigray’s capital Mekelle, which is controlled by the insurgent TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front). The rebels have since responded with a major offensive in the direction of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
In the early morning I made my way from Adigrat to Mekelle to access the Internet at the UN agency IOM. It took longer than expected because the black market gasoline was mixed with water and the car had problems with it. When I reached Mekelle, around 10:20 a.m. I passed the Mesfin Industrial Engineering (MIE) factory complex in the north-west of the city.
I was about 200 meters further when I heard a loud bang behind me. I knew it had to be an air strike because there had been one two days before. At first I tried to drive on. I heard several other explosions; I later learned that it was from the anti-aircraft missiles.
The people were confused, they ran in all directions and didn’t know where to go. I had to park and parked my car at a hotel. Mekelle’s sky was full of smoke. At first I thought that the attack had hit a fuel depot, because the smoke was black and strong and rose in waves into the sky. I asked a young man what had been hit and he replied: “The hospital in Mekelle.” That worried me very much, I thought of the many patients in the clinic. I ran there with others.
Fortunately, the hospital wasn’t the target, but some of its buildings had been hit. Many patients left their hospital rooms and ran away. The nurses tried to convince her to go back to her room. When I realized that the MIE industrial complex was the target of the airstrike, I got my car and drove to the UN building.
The people were visibly scared and nervous. Many said: Now we have to go and fight. People in the UN office were also concerned. They were busy packing up their things, they were pacing back and forth. A security guard from Somalia gives the appointments for internet use there; I had spoken to him twice before. I got an appointment for next week. I also learned a few things about the air strike, the destruction of various machines and a warehouse for tires. Two engineers are said to have been killed there and over 20 people injured.
After the federal government forces (Ethiopia’s army; d. Ed.) Were beaten and driven from Tigray in June, I had expected new violence. Because an advisor to the Prime Minister (Abiy Ahmed; d. Ed.) Said you can end the war if you drop ten bombs on every city in Tigray. Still, I was shocked by the air strike. People were running around looking at the sky to see if new bombs were falling. It was the first air raid since registered that I had directly experienced, I usually only remember the bombing of Hawzen in 1989 when I was seven years old and the jet fighter was chasing over my mountain village.
This air strike is now part of the genocidal war against the Tigrayers . Our brutal enemies have turned against us, Eritrea and Somalia, two African countries and the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, two Arab countries, as well as nine Ethiopian states and other invisible allies.
I see this as part of the genocide against Tigray. The target of the airstrike was one of the few factories that hadn’t been looted and broken, and that should destroy Tigray’s economy.
I think the attacks will make the young people go to war because they will tell themselves that even if you stay home, security is not guaranteed. It will fuel the struggle of the Tigers against the federal government and its allies.
We are in a total blockade, no humanitarian aid has come to us for over 100 days, many people are dying of hunger. The world is unjust when one is poor. I’m not complaining about being an African; i am proud to be a tigrayer. But all Africans watch us starve to death and their mouths are closed. Who can hear violence if not the neighbor? We have a saying: if you intentionally sleep, you won’t hear when you try to wake them up.
Bombs or hunger, lack of medication or Covid-19: no Tigrayer knows whether he or she will still be alive tomorrow.