The world must speak up for Ethiopia
A devastating update from our partner in Tigray
A recent letter from our long-standing partner in Tigray, which outlines unimaginable horrors – including the murder of children and rape as a weapon of war – has led our founder, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, to appeal to people to take notice of the atrocities unfolding in Ethiopia and to become the voice for those living there in terror and deprivation.
Magnus says: “The relative peace of recent months was both a breath of fresh air and an answer to prayer and we are shocked and saddened by this recent letter detailing yet more horror and suffering as violence has once again broken out.
“Since November 2020, updates from our partner in Tigray have been characterised by gut-wrenching stories of inconceivable brutality and suffering, along with assurances that our colleagues there are trying their best, under horrendous circumstances, to bring relief to the most vulnerable.
“The resumption of fighting is making it almost impossible for our partner to get aid to those in need, but we must not make the mistake of thinking there is nothing we can do. We have a voice, and we must speak up for the people of Ethiopia now.”
We have been serving meals in Tigray since 2017 in partnership with a trusted local organisation (unnamed here for security reasons) and before the war, we were feeding 24,320 children every school day. When the conflict flared up in Ethiopia in November 2020, schools closed and access to some areas proved impossible.
Working with our local partner, we began providing food and support to help thousands of displaced families driven out of their rural towns and villages who were seeking sheltering in the capital Mekelle in hastily constructed refugee camps.
Fighting erupted again in northern Ethiopia again last week, shattering a four-month ceasefire.
We have received a devastating update from our partner, which outlines the diabolical situation the people of Tigray now find themselves in.
It says: “Since the dawn of 24 August, dark clouds loom over Tigray because war has broken out once again.
“As you know, there had been countless reports of atrocious violations on human rights after the war that broke out since 3 November 2020. In silence, months have passed with each day bringing new horrors, forever marking the minds of innocent civilians who got caught up in the tide of such a hate-filled attack.
“It was not enough that some of the most vulnerable communities had been starving for months on end, it was not enough that the children born and raised with so much love and hope had been murdered with their bodies left to the elements, and it was not enough that families saw the bright vitality of their daughters and wives dim and be replaced with sheer terror laying witness to the horrors they endured.
“Now, war seems to have been ignited once again, undoubtedly rearing to claim the lives of many young souls who could have contributed for the betterment of humanity.
“I beseech you to pray on our behalf and become our voices as we are about to be silenced once more. In the name of the poor, please advocate for this madness to end, as your support is critically needed right now. This is the juncture from which there will be no return, and in such time, it would show how humanity could prevail over injustice and cruelty.”
Magnus continues: “I hope we do not look back in years to come with a heavy feeling of shame and regret because we failed to stand up for our brothers and sisters in their time of need. We cannot look away while this continues.
“I cannot ignore the pleas from our colleagues to pray for them, speak up for them, and advocate on their behalf and I am asking that you please join me. If you pray, pray about Ethiopia. And, importantly, make Ethiopia and the situation in Tigray a topic of conversation. Make sure people know what is going on because it cannot be allowed to continue. And tell anyone with the power to influence exactly what our partner is telling us; we must show how humanity can prevail over injustice and cruelty.”