The Nobel Prize goes to war

November 2020

Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of the federal government of Ethiopia and Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2019, has launched a military offensive against the autonomous region of Tigray in Northern Ethiopia. A few weeks after the start of the clashes, at least 40 thousand refugees have fled to Sudan. Tigray is the northernmost region of Ethiopia, bordering Eritrea. Ethiopia, the second most populous nation in Africa, is a federal state made up of several different regions and ethnicities. The regional government of Tigray, dominated by the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), held local elections in September despite the lockdown national government imposed by the central government and the postponement of the vote to a later date. Prime Minister Abiy dissolved the Tigrinya government and, without listening to the African Union's calls for dialogue, attacked the region with aerial bombardments and troops on the ground. All lines of communication have been cut, but reports of violence and massacres continue to arrive through people fleeing the war and crossing borders. The TPLF called for resistance and fired rockets at government airports and also at the Eritrean capital. This would only confirm the involvement of the Asmara regime in the military operation.

As I write this, the Ethiopian army is preparing to launch the assault on Mekelle, the capital of Tigray, with the support of the Amhara militias and perhaps also with the support of Eritrean troops. the government has rejected calls from the UN and the European Union for a ceasefire and the creation of humanitarian corridors to save civilians. The conflict has deep roots of conflict between the various ethnic groups that have always been fighting for power and the risk of a civil war extended to neighboring states is more than real.

Ethiopia has been on Amnesty International's black book for years for violating press freedom and imprisoning political opponents. Of these governments had been minister Tedros, the current controversial director general of the WHO. In 2018 with the victory in the elections, Abiy Amhed, the first head of the Oromo ethnic government, presented himself as a peacemaker by freeing some political prisoners, proclaiming national unity, granting a certain freedom of the press and making peace with Eritrea . However, looking in depth it was an ambiguous peace treaty, signed with the dictator Afewerki at the head of a ferocious regime for twenty years, in the silence of the international community, which created hundreds of thousands of refugees who cross deserts and seas to put themselves in except. Tigray itself is home to 100 Eritrean refugees who fled the Afewerki dictatorship, who are now fleeing to Sudan. The doubt arises that peace was the premise of a paradoxical alliance of the current Ethiopian government with the Asmara regime against the TPLF of Tigray, which have always been enemies. Once in power, Abyi also ousted the ruling Tigrinya elite from the government.

With its 110 million inhabitants, Ethiopia has an inadequate public health and a number of health workers per inhabitant among the lowest in the world: 3 doctors per 100 thousand inhabitants, salaries are starving and the majority of Ethiopian doctors work abroad with a brain drain among the highest in the African continent. In full pandemic, with more than 100 positives, despite the few tests carried out and almost 2000 deaths, once again war has become a priority for the Ethiopian government. Armies have always been great spreaders of disease as well as unprecedented violence. We would like this pandemic to lead to a moratorium on all ongoing conflicts on the planet. Let the virus at least stop the wars, these additional additions of pain and destruction. The suffering and deaths from Coronavirus and all other diseases are not enough, we need to create more pain, other oppression, other victims and people on the run. And in this dramatic situation, where crimes against humanity have already been committed, it is paradoxical that one of the main perpetrators of so much violence is a Nobel Peace Prize. One would expect an explanation from the gentlemen of Oslo, who only timidly invited us to seek dialogue and suspend the conflict. It would take a petition to force them to revoke the Nobel Prize to Abyi also asking for the return of the prize in money. It would be the minimum in front of so much inconsistency. And this latest unsuccessful example should also make us reflect on all the mistakes of the past in awarding the Nobel Prize, especially to many men of power.

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