Angel Olaran compares Tigray with a concentration camp

In this publication, the missionary Angel Olaran compares Tigray with a concentration camp, “with more freedoms and comfort, but almost with the same difficulties to learn what happens within our ‘four walls and outside them'”. And he adds, “with the uncertainty of not knowing when this is going to end in order to start living and the ever-deeper conviction that the solution for Humanity is not among politicians or economists, on whom the UN depends”.

Angel Olaran left us in the previous publication with the question “Towards the final stretch? with the answer in the air waiting for what would happen with the holding of a decisive meeting between Tigray and Ethiopia for the negotiation of peace that was scheduled for October 8. The following letter, which you can read below, begins by commenting on the non-holding of this meeting.

Meanwhile, on the fronts, he regrets that “the game of drones continues”. According to Angel Olaran, “in Tigray alone it is estimated that some 500,000 civilians have died”. And he is aware that “only in the federal army 120,000 soldiers have died, most of them young people with minimal military training”. “A young Tigrayan soldier commented to two of our professors that his finger was sore from pulling the trigger so much: at the level of, life per shot”. And he added: “the fallen were immediately replaced by many others”. “On October 13, they reported that 650 buses had left Addis Ababa for Eritrea, carrying young soldiers who were barely prepared. As I have said before, they are supported by a population of about 115 million people. The Tigrians by about 8 million”.

Written by Angel Olaran

Moderately disappointed

Not to be a “bird of ill omen”, we all kept it to ourselves, but we knew that the moderately celebrated news of the negotiation between Tigray and Ethiopia, which was to take place in South Africa on October 8, would not take place.

Today, October 7, the former president of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta, one of the main actors in the negotiation, has announced that, for reasons of lack of security, lack of an agenda to follow . . . he would not attend the negotiation.

Only yesterday, the President of Tigray announced that he had not been informed of how the Tigrayan representatives would travel: security measures for their passage through Ethiopia, since their government has been declared by the Ethiopian parliament to be terrorist and criminal; their government is still considered a junta – considered “rebels” by the international press.

The organization of the event is in the hands of the African Union and as of today, October 10, no official communiqué has been made available.

Will the day arrive?

At least not for lack of interest to the gallery: a new day has been set: next weekend (October 16). On the fronts there has been a cease-fire for a few days.

Today, Sunday, October 16. There has not even been any mention of what should have been held last weekend in South Africa, postponed to this weekend. This makes it clear: nobody expected the meeting to take place, and nobody was surprised by this lack of appreciation.

And in the meantime? The drone game continues

On Sunday the 9th Shire and Dengolat were bombed. In this city 5 people died and more than 40 wounded were admitted to hospital. On Monday they bombed Makelle twice, and Agulae; from this city 4 people are known to have died and two vehicles were destroyed.

On October 10, about 20 bombs fell on Adigrat, resulting in 20 people seriously wounded and killed. It was also the turn of Alitiena and Dohan. In Alitiena, in the last few weeks, 8 people have died, and the clinic of the Daughters of Charity has been damaged, with no injuries.

Wukro was also not spared by the passage of a drone. On the 12th, at 3 pm, a noise, almost forgotten, alerted the population: it was a drone. It passed over us, just like that. A few minutes later we heard the explosions of two bombs. They landed on a vacant lot, without causing any damage. When the first onlookers approached, they found something like boxes with many copies of a letter addressed to the population inviting them to reject the criminal junta and support the new government that the PP has already appointed for Tigray.

Since a few days ago, the university area of Adigrat has been bombed, without any “program”. Those who live above the second floor spend the day outside their homes. They go up at night.

The number of civilians who have died lately because of drones and some mig that another one reaches 200. In the international media, these deaths do not even serve as filler. On the part of the UN and its allies, their attitude is: there’s no greater form of contempt than to ignore something”.

I spent the 8th and 9th weekend in Makelle; on Monday as we approached Wukro, we learned that since Sunday night, at the hospital prepared ad hoc in Wukro, Tigrayan soldiers with minor injuries are still arriving. The population is helping with some food, blankets …. Our school has offered a cow.

Given this lack of appreciation and the drone game, there are already 3 open fronts on the northern border with Eritrea: Shiraro, Bademe and Zalambesa. Local attention is focused on these fronts rather than on negotiation. No one is concerned about what – if anything – the UN, the African Union and others are thinking.

We now have first-hand information: those lightly wounded. On Wednesday morning, I met a former student of ours; the night before he had arrived in Wukro from Shiraro. He told me that, in terms of military personnel and machinery, the opposing armies are far ahead of us. But, he added, technically we are much better prepared than they are, as well as better motivated. Sadly, complemented by another young soldier who commented to two of our professors: that they had a sore finger from pulling the trigger so much: at the level of, life per shot. And at the same time, he added: the fallen were immediately replaced by others. This same story of the sore finger from so much shooting was told to me by an acquaintance of ours, a soldier who moves between Wukro and the fronts – a question of logistics. His brother is at the front and was telling me how he told him the same story of the sore finger from so much shooting. An Eritrean prisoner of war commented that not a single Tigrayan soldier’s bullet hit the ground. We have seen this scenario before. On October 13, it was reported that 650 buses with young, barely trained soldiers had left Addis Ababa for Eritrea. As I have mentioned before, they are supported by a population of about 115 million people. The Tigrians by some 8 million.

The IMF comes into play

This UN institution has found a compelling, solid reason to demand a return to negotiation. For them, there is nothing more humane than to continue to maintain a system that ensures the economic gain of a few. And here the IMF has already come into play, with its great invention of the 1970s, I believe, the restructuring of the national budget: privatization of social services that entail economic gain, and in Ethiopia it is the turn of the Ethiopian Commercial Bank, which has already been sold at 40 %. But the buyers, before investing, demand peace in the country, which in turn requires negotiations. How to describe the attitude of the IMF, for whom the purchase, by the capitalist system, of 40 % of the shares of a national bank is worth much more than the lives of many thousands of young soldiers and civilians! In Tigray alone, an estimated 500,000 civilians have died. In addition, the IMF, once a door is opened for it, acquires the power to impose its conditions on any project that Ethiopia may present to them, demanding new privatizations of social services, which entails the reduction of the national budget in this type of services, and an increase in the family budget. Not to mention the not very discreet profits of the investors. The system deserves it.

New prospects

Well, here we have them, last minute:

First: The African Union (AU) has asked Ethiopia and Tigray for a ceasefire, apparently with great seriousness and forcefulness. Tigray must have already accepted it. The counterpart’s reaction is awaited. In an AU survey on the separation of Tigray, most of the nations of the continent, defending themselves, declared their opposition.

Today, October 20, no major changes on the fronts.

Second: Overnight it became known that the EU, on the 17th and 18th in a special meeting, was going to deal with the agendas of: climate change, Ukraine and Tigray – what a rush, at the same level as these two international vedette agendas! Which also contributed to forgetting South Africa and the rest of the world.

Today, on the 19th, the EU has gone more unnoticed than South Africa. One wonders why such a silly game. Not even childish, because serious things can happen between children.

Also, in Europe this kind of survey must have been made and most of the EU member states, including Spain, defending their sacrosanct national integrity, are against the independence of Tigray. Because they are. And okay.

Today I found out that, from the federal army alone, 120,000 soldiers have died, mostly young men with minimal military training, for whom Tigray was a small region far away from their homes and concerns. For Tigrians, everything happens in their homes. With the anomaly that they have not fought for their independence. With the events of the last two years, a sense of nationhood has been born and matured. In fact, the word independence is not even heard in demonstrations, meetings, conversations and greetings. (I do not know the word independence in Tigray; but I do know the word: vencerá – teeser) And this victory is the one that imposes to be a nation.

Until the beginning of the conflict, on November 4, 2020, everything in Tigray happened under the national flag of Ethiopia. In my first 28 years in Tigray, I never saw the Tigray flag on display. I never heard anyone say: Wukro is Tigray, as opposed to Ethiopia, something so common in some nations of the Spanish state. Wukro, being located in Tigray, was Ethiopia.

I wonder why EU member countries oppose Tigray to be a nation when Tigray has been kicked out of Ethiopia and has every right not to kneel. Following orders, superior suggestions, Tigray is open to negotiations, to which, it has no right whatsoever as it is considered, by those same superior instances, terrorist and criminal. After two years of insistence, it has not succeeded in getting the Ethiopian parliament to recognize the unanimously elected government of Tigray. Neither the UN, nor the AU, nor the EU, nor . . . have demanded such recognition which should have been the most fundamental issue..

Contrary to the deterrent principle, that someone is not condemned to serve as a precedent for possible similar cases, of separation at the national level in this case, Tigray is being penalized. Someone is being punished only if there is sufficient evidence to justify it. And I don’t think there has been a serious, independent study on the criminality, terrorism of Tigray or his government. And many countries, without any criteria, have decided against it. Will they treat all their affairs with the same simplicity? Would it be surprising if some of their regions fight for their independence?

And here we continue, with more freedom and comfort than in a concentration camp, but with almost the same difficulties to find out what is happening within our “four walls and outside them”, with the uncertainty of not knowing when this is going to end to start living and the ever-deeper conviction that the solution of Humanity is not among politicians or economists, on whom the UN depends.

Many cultures for centuries have developed their own WISDOM based on human principles of solidarity, support, service… Buddhists, Taoists, Muslims, Christians, Humanists, Hinduists . . . Their wise men and women have been inspiring their people in order to live in harmony. Wise men and women above all political, economic, religious, and nationalistic partisanship. . . There is an urgent need for a similar alternative, with authority over the UN Security Council and the like, in the religious order and others.

Children are still running and smiling.

A strong hug.


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