• The largest war in the world: Hundreds of thousands killed in Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict

    An estimated 383,000 to 600,000 civilians died in Tigray between November 2020 and August 2022, according to Professor Jan Nyssen and a team of researchers at Ghent University, in Belgium, who are authorities on Tigray’s geography and agriculture. The estimates represent deaths from atrocities, lack of medicines and health care, and hunger. Estimates for the numbers of combatant deaths on all sides start at 250,000 and range up to 600,000.

    https://martinplaut.com/2022/11/21/the-largest-war-in-the-world-hundreds-of-thousands-killed-in-ethiopias-

    #Ethiopie#Tigré#guerre#Guerre_civile#Erythree#Accord_de_paix

  • Éthiopie : La trêve doit être suivie par une surveillance rigoureuse des droits

    Après deux années de conflit au Tigré, la justice sera cruciale pour éviter de nouvelles atrocités

    https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2022/11/04/ethiopie-la-treve-doit-etre-suivie-par-une-surveillance-rigoureuse-des-droits

    Extrait :

    Le conflit a conduit à l’une des pires crises humanitaires au monde. En juin 2022, les Nations Unies ont estimé que 13 millions de personnes avaient besoin d’une aide humanitaire dans les régions d’Afar, d’Amhara et du Tigré. Depuis juin 2021, les autorités éthiopiennes ont effectivement assiégé la région du Tigré, empêchant l’aide humanitaire d’atteindre des centaines de milliers de personnes et bloquant les services de base, notamment les services bancaires, l’électricité et les télécommunications. En septembre, la Commission internationale d’experts des droits de l’homme, mandatée par le Conseil des droits de l’homme de l’ONU, a constaté que les forces éthiopiennes « utilisaient intentionnellement la famine des civils comme méthode de guerre ».

    #Ethiopie#Tigré#guerre#Guerre_civile#Erythree#Accord_de_paix#HRW

  • L’Éthiopie et les rebelles du Tigré s’accordent sur « une cessation des hostilités »

    Après deux ans de conflit, le gouvernement éthiopien et les rebelles du Tigré ont accepté mercredi une « cessation des hostilités » sous l’égide de l’Union africaine, en Afrique du Sud. Depuis novembre 2020, le conflit a déplacé plus de deux millions d’Éthiopiens et plongé des centaines de milliers de personnes dans des conditions proches de la famine.

    https://www.france24.com/fr/afrique/20221102-l-%C3%A9thiopie-et-les-rebelles-du-tigr%C3%A9-s-accordent-sur-une

    Le texte de l’accord de paix :

    https://martinplaut.com/2022/11/02/text-of-todays-peace-agreement-between-the-ethiopian-government-and-tig

    #Ethiopie#Tigré#guerre#Guerre_civile#Erythree#Accord_de_paix

  • The battle of Adwa – revisited 2022

    https://martinplaut.com/2022/10/29/the-battle-of-adwa-revisited-2022

    The battle of 1896

    It is not hard to see why the battle of Adwa on 1 March 1896 between the Ethiopian Empire and the Kingdom of Italy is held in such regard. With the battle of Isandlwana in January 1879, when the Zulu army attacked and annihilated a British army, killing 800 British soldiers and taking nearly 1,000 rifles and ammunition, it is a rare example of an African army defeating a European power.

    At Adwa the Italians were severely beaten and subsequently retreated back into Eritrea, with 3,000 taken prisoner. Ethiopian losses were estimated around 4,000–5,000 killed and 8,000 wounded.

    One Italian brigade under General Albertone was made up of Eritrean askari led by Italian officers. The 4,000-strong askari brigade formed the left wing of the advance. By 6 a.m. the askari they encountered the Ethiopians. Lingering darkness and heavy morning mists obscured much of what was happening, but there was soon heavy fighting.

    From the crests of hills and ridges and from out of the narrow passes, Emperor Menelik’s warriors came on in waves, a sea of green, orange and red standards, copper and gold crucifixes, burnished metal helmets, dyed-cloth headdresses and lion’s-mane-adorned shields. Menelik’s force consisted of 82,000 rifle- and sword-armed infantry, 20,000 spearmen and 8,000 cavalry–the fierce Oromo horsemen roaring their war cry “Ebalgume! Ebalgume!”

    Source : http://rastafarilive.com

    By 8.30, after Emperor Menelik committed his final reserves, the Italian army began to break up. Most of General Albertones’ officers were already dead. Albertone was taken prisoner. The askari, assailed on all sides by what seemed to be limitless numbers of enemies, gave up the struggle. They fled or surrendered.

    The cost of defeat

    The Battle of Adowa cost the lives of 289 Italian officers, 2,918 European soldiers and about 2,000 askari. A further 954 European troops were missing, while 470 Italians and 958 askari were wounded.

    Some 700 Italians and 1,800 askari were captured by the Ethiopian troops. The prisoners were forced to march to Addis Ababa, where the Italians were repatriated after payment of 10 million lire “reparation” by the Italian government.

    A far more terrible fate befell the askaris. Some 800 captured askaris, regarded as traitors by the Ethiopians, had their right hands and left feet amputated.

    The battle of 2022

    The current fighting in and around Adwa is intense. At present we only have the outlines of what is taking place, but once again Adwa seems fated to be the theatre of a decisive battle that will determine the future of the Horn.

    What appears to be happening is that fierce fighting is currently under way in and around the town.

    The analyst, Rashid Abdi reported two days ago that:

    https://twitter.com/RAbdiAnalyst/status/1585696620485955584?s=20&t=iqW4zRfyCjWeebdyqrBIWg

    *“Fierce battles raging in Tigray as ceasefire talks enter day 3. Most intense fighting around Adwa. A counteroffensive by TDF has basically cut off and trapped 10s of 000s of EDF and ENDF in a strategic sector. This will now be template of war. Draw in enemy, then cut them off

    *

    The BBC Africa editor, Will Ross provided as similar assessment on Wednesday:

    https://twitter.com/willintune/status/1585302434385399808?s=20&t=iqW4zRfyCjWeebdyqrBIWg

    Heavy fighting reported to be taking place on several fronts Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region. A senior military commander with the Tigray forces told the BBC that the clashes near the town of Adwa involved heavy artillery and tanks.

    From these reports – and other information that is difficult to verify – it will seem that both the Ethiopian forces and the Eritreans are facing a severe test at Adwa. Will a defeat, similar to that inflicted on the Italians and their Eritrean colonial troops, be repeated in 2022? We will have to wait and see.

    One can only hope that if this does happen, the Eritreans will not suffer the fate inflicted on them in 1896. So far the Tigrayans have generally treated their prisoners well – recently releasing thousands of troops they had taken captive.

    #Ethiopie#Tigré#Adwa#guerre#Guerre_civile#colonialisme#Italiens#Italie#Erythree

  • La guerra nel Tigrai non è una questione solo africana

    Gwynne Dyer, giornalista

    https://www.internazionale.it/opinione/gwynne-dyer/2022/10/25/etiopia-tigrai-guerra

    Chi scrive del conflitto tra le autorità ribelli del Tigrai e il governo centrale dell’Etiopia, o di qualsiasi altra guerra in Africa, dovrebbe sempre precisare fin dal primo paragrafo che l’85 per cento dei cinquantacinque paesi africani vive in pace. L’Africa non è un continente in guerra. Detto questo, è pur vero che quasi tutte le guerre in corso che uccidono più di mille persone al mese avvengono in Africa (l’unica eccezione è l’invasione russa dell’Ucraina), dove vive un essere umano su sei. E anche se il più ampio di questi conflitti presto terminerà, non sta finendo bene.

    Il Tigrai sta crollando. Questa provincia ribelle, abitata da sei dei 120 milioni di etiopi, è in lotta da due anni contro Abiy Ahmed, il primo ministro del governo federale di Addis Abeba. A un certo punto le forze tigrine minacciavano perfino di raggiungere la capitale. Ma oggi, per i combattenti del Tigrai, le ostilità stanno giungendo al termine tra carestie, bombardamenti e sconfitte.

    I tigrini potrebbero essere definiti gli “spartani” etiopi: contadini tenaci, abituati ai sacrifici, forti di una disciplina e di un senso d’appartenenza etnica che li hanno resi dei temibili avversari. Furono in prima fila nella lunga battaglia per rovesciare il Derg, il violento regime socialista che governò il paese tra il 1974 e il 1991, e in seguito hanno dominato la coalizione che ha guidato l’Etiopia fino al 2018.

    Negli ultimi trent’anni l’élite politico-militare tigrina ha prosperato e lo stesso si può dire, in misura minore, per la popolazione tigrina. Questo ha creato un tale risentimento tra gli altri gruppi etnici che quattro anni fa Abiy ha estromesso i tigrini dal potere potendo contare su un ampio sostegno. Ma è stata solo questione di tempo prima che le parti entrassero in conflitto.

    I soldati del governo federale se la sono passata male all’inizio, ma sono riusciti a ribaltare la situazione dopo che Abiy ha comprato dei droni militari all’estero. Alla fine, con i numeri, la tecnologia e uno spietato blocco dei generi alimentari che ha ridotto i tigrini alla fame, sono riusciti ad avere la meglio sugli avversari.

    Numerosi stati europei si sono fatti la guerra per tre secoli prima che i loro confini si definissero

    Abiy ha trovato un utile alleato nell’Eritrea, una feroce dittatura le cui truppe sono entrate nel confinante Tigrai con la sua benedizione (nel 2019 il premier etiope aveva ricevuto il premio Nobel per la pace per aver firmato un trattato di pace con Asmara). La guerra probabilmente finirà presto. Con una vittoria del governo etiope e, naturalmente, altri massacri.

    Ma non c’è nulla di particolarmente “africano” in questo conflitto. Ci sono paralleli con la storia del Giappone del cinquecento (il periodo degli stati belligeranti), della Francia del seicento (otto guerre civili a sfondo religioso) e degli Stati Uniti dell’ottocento (la guerra civile, la “conquista” del west e le guerre espansionistiche con Regno Unito, Messico e Spagna). Sono guerre che fanno parte del processo di formazione di uno stato, nel quale vari gruppi religiosi, etnici e linguistici, clan e tribù sono gradualmente spinti a ottenere qualcosa di simile a un’identità comune. È un processo spesso violento, mai completamente terminato, e in molti casi ancora in corso.

    Considerato che molti paesi africani sono indipendenti da meno di sessant’anni, forse ci sarebbe da stupirsi non del fatto che ci siano guerre in Africa, ma che tutto sommato sono relativamente poche. Numerosi stati europei – quasi cinquanta in un continente con poco più di metà della popolazione africana – si sono fatti la guerra per tre secoli prima che i loro confini si definissero. Certi lo fanno ancora, soprattutto nell’Europa dell’est.

    In realtà c’è una particolarità che contraddistingue le guerre africane: la scarsa attenzione che ricevono. La guerra in Etiopia è molto più sanguinosa di quella in Ucraina eppure è praticamente ignorata dai mezzi d’informazione occidentali e asiatici. Perché? Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, capo dell’Organizzazione mondiale della sanità (Oms), è particolarmente coinvolto in questo conflitto. È tigrino e pensa che il problema sia il razzismo. In una recente dichiarazione ha ipotizzato che la mancanza di impegno al livello globale per fermare la guerra nel Tigrai dipenda dal “colore della pelle”.

    Tedros si è chiesto se “il mondo presti la stessa attenzione alle vite dei bianchi e dei neri”, visto che le guerre in corso in Etiopia, Yemen, Afghanistan e Siria hanno raccolto solo una minima parte dell’interesse rivolto alla guerra in Ucraina.

    La tesi di Tedros sarebbe più convincente se la maggior parte degli yemeniti, degli afgani e dei siriani non fosse bianca. Ma tutti questi paesi sono musulmani, e guerre che all’apparenza hanno una dimensione religiosa, in realtà svolgono un ruolo determinante nella formazione delle identità nazionali e degli stati. Il resto del mondo presta poca attenzione perché le liquida come l’ennesima guerra tra musulmani.

    È un peccato che tanti paesi sembrino condannati ad attraversare una fase di grandi violenze sulla strada verso un futuro post-tribale. Ma, a quanto pare, gli esseri umani funzionano così. In alcuni paesi africani e arabi sta succedendo ora, solo perché l’imperialismo europeo gli ha impedito di farlo prima.

    #Guerre#Tigré#Ethiopie#Guerre_Civile#Afrique#Corne_de_l'Afrique

  • #Dheepan

    Dheepan est un combattant des #Tigres_tamouls. La #guerre_civile touche à sa fin au #Sri_Lanka, la défaite est proche, Dheepan décide de fuir. Il emmène avec lui une femme et une petite fille qu’il ne connaît pas, espérant ainsi obtenir plus facilement l’asile politique en Europe en les faisant passer pour sa famille. Arrivée à Paris, cette « famille » vivote d’un foyer d’accueil à l’autre, jusqu’à ce que Dheepan obtienne un emploi de gardien d’immeuble en banlieue, dans la cité « Le Pré ». Dheepan espère y bâtir une nouvelle vie et construire un véritable foyer pour sa fausse femme et sa fausse fille. Cependant, la violence quotidienne de la cité fait ressurgir les blessures encore ouvertes de la guerre. Le soldat Dheepan va devoir renouer avec ses instincts guerriers pour protéger ce qu’il espérait voir devenir sa « vraie » famille.

    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dheepan
    #migrations #réfugiés #réfugiés_sri-lankais #asile #Paris #violence

  • The battle of narratives around the war in Tigray

    https://www.ethiopia-insight.com/2022/10/22/the-battle-of-narratives-around-the-war-in-tigray

    A close observer of Addis Abeba diplomatic circles writes that truth has been one of the victims of the conflict in northern Ethiopia.

    It has been heartbreaking to see the resumption of fighting in northern Ethiopia over the past seven weeks after an informal truce between the federal government and Tigray’s regional government, which had been in place since March, broke down on 24 August.

    Given the almost complete lack of access for journalists, diplomats, or any neutral observers to the areas where the conflict is taking place, and Tigray in particular, observers of Ethiopian affairs have had no choice but to mostly rely on communications coming from the warring parties themselves to draw a picture of what is happening on the ground.

    These challenges have led to a battle of narratives in which federal authorities, the Tigray and Amhara regional governments, Tigray Defense Forces (TDF), Amhara militias known as Fano, and various diaspora groups frequently solicit the international community’s attention to try and control the national debate and steer international public opinion regarding the conflict.

    The actors involved in the Tigray conflict have well-established structures for communication purposes and know how to play the game of claim and counter-claim, as illustrated by the recent stories about the cargo plane allegedly shot down over Tigray and the confiscation of fuel by Tigray’s authorities at the World Food Programme compound in Mekelle.

    This is much less the case for actors battling in other conflict-affected regions, such as Oromia, Afar, and Benishangul-Gumuz. As a result, the international community has been mostly focusing on the conflict in Tigray and neighboring areas, and insufficient attention has been given until now to the situation in Oromia and elsewhere.

    Shaky narrative

    There is evidence that the Ethiopian federal government, together with governments of Eritrea and Amhara region, had been preparing a large-scale military operation against Tigray as early as July 2020—a few months before the controversial Tigray regional elections were held in September.

    Indications are that the initial Ethio-Eritrean-Amhara plan was for a brief “law enforcement” operation with the objective to control Tigray by force and remove the TPLF from power. The Tigray leadership obtained detailed intelligence on the plan, some elements of which were shared with diplomats in Addis Abeba before the war’s outbreak.

    With the cooperation of sympathetic federal military officers in the Northern Command, Tigray regional security forces prevented the full implementation of the military operation by neutralizing several Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) installations situated in Tigray during the night of 3-4 November 2020.

    Faced with strong resistance from Tigray forces and a military situation that soon became much more complicated than originally foreseen, the federal government resorted to promoting its own version of events.

    One example of this early on in the conflict was the portrayal of the fighting around military barracks in Dansha as having been the battle that started the conflict.

    Another event during the first days of the conflict that illustrates the battle of narratives was the mysterious flights of two transport planes from Bahir Dar to Mekelle during the night of the 3-4 November, flights which Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed himself admitted on 5 November to have taken place.

    In his narrative, these planes were delivering new banknotes to Mekelle, while the Tigray leadership’s version of events is that they transported commandos sent by the federal government to arrest its party leadership.

    While all sides to the conflict have engaged in the manipulation of information presented to the international community, diplomats—certainly in the initial phase of this conflict—tended to give more credibility to reports by federal officials, in part because these are the interlocutors they are most frequently in contact with and also since regular communication lines with Tigray had been cut.

    The main factor that undermined the diplomatic community’s confidence in the accuracy of federal government statements were the repeated denials to international interlocutors by Ethiopian officials, between November 2020 and March 2021, of Eritrean troops’ presence in Tigray—even when confronted with evidence.

    These statements contradicting the reality on the ground seriously harmed the professional integrity and reputation of many Ethiopian diplomats, a fact that has consequences for the credibility of the federal government’s narrative up to this day.

    Misinformation tactics

    Much of the narrative presented by Ethiopian officials during the past two years simply does not withstand minimal scrutiny and basic fact-checking, which diplomats and other observers of Ethiopian affairs are supposed to exercise.

    In the Ethiopian government’s communications since November 2020, it has often remained vague on practical details such as the locations and dates of events. The unwillingness to provide information on the crash site or registration number of the cargo plane federal authorities claim was shot down recently is just one example.

    Not mentioning the time period to which a report makes reference is another example of this, as government spokespersons often cite the number of humanitarian trucks that entered Tigray without saying during which months that supposedly happened.

    Several times already, federal authorities also accused “foreign actors” or “enemies of Ethiopia” of supporting TPLF and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) without naming these actors or providing any evidence for the accusations.

    On the other side, Tigray communications have sometimes also been found to be exaggerated or manipulated.

    An example of this is the October 2021 TDF announcement of the capture of Dessie, which was made before the event actually took place, in what was most likely an attempt to demoralize enemy troops defending the town.

    Still, considering the overall evolution of the conflict and the communications surrounding it, official Tigray sources have broadly been closer to the truth and in general provided more practical details on the reported events—including photographic and video evidence.

    Another key element in the battle of narratives is the difference between messages in English, sent out to be received by diplomats and the wider international community, and messages in local languages such as Amharic, Afaan Oromo, or Tigrinya, sent out to be received by the local population.

    A prominent example in this sense is the January 2022 assurance given by the Amhara Regional President, Yilkal Kefale, to foreign diplomats of his readiness to engage in peace talks and to open humanitarian corridors into Tigray. On the very same day, he stated in Amharic during a ruling party conference that the people should prepare themselves to “destroy the TPLF terrorist group”.

    This tactic is pursued under the faulty assumption that diplomats only consult English sources on Ethiopia. In reality, over the past year several embassies in Addis Abeba have invested in their capacity to translate documents, speeches, and interviews from local languages into English and have started giving more weight to these sources when analyzing the situation in the country.

    Information obstructed

    While messaging from the Tigray government is usually better coordinated because of the strong command structure inside Tigray, this is not the case on the side of the central government, where there is apparently no system of information sharing between different federal entities.

    Soon after the conflict in northern Ethiopia erupted, it became apparent that detailed information on military operations was only available to a select circle of people within the Prime Minister’s Office and the intelligence services.

    The result of this information gap is a disconnect between developments on the ground and the accounts that are offered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the government’s communication team.

    This became most obvious at the end of June 2021 when TDF took control of Mekelle and ENDF had to implement a hasty withdrawal from the city, but not before visiting the local UN office and destroying the communication equipment present there.

    When diplomats confronted officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs over this issue, their Ethiopian counterparts were eagerly anticipating updates from Mekelle, and admitted that they could not rely on the official information they had been given with regard to the situation in the north of the country.

    It was only the next day that the federal government presented the narrative about a “unilateral ceasefire” being declared and a withdrawal being executed by federal troops.

    Diaspora’s role

    Since the start of the conflict, Ethiopian diaspora communities have become divided along the same lines as the domestic constituencies in Ethiopia. This happened in a context where many of the diaspora members have been affected by the lack of communication with their families back in Ethiopia and by experiencing difficulties in assisting their loved ones.

    Following this polarization, many members of the diaspora started to engage in online activism, making them important actors in the battle of narratives.

    Several click-to-tweet Twitter campaigns were designed by both pro-Tigray and pro-government diaspora groups in an attempt to influence the narrative on social media.

    Amid an internet blackout in most of the areas where the conflict is taking place, these campaigns have become an increasingly prominent feature of the information environment, with the capacity to seriously amplify the spread of certain messages.

    As a result, the few pieces of information received either directly or indirectly from the conflict areas have sometimes been over-interpreted and given excessive weight.

    In general, the diaspora online activism has done little to contribute to a nuanced or solution-focused debate on the conflict in Ethiopia.

    Internal accountability?

    Since the start of the conflict, all parties have been using photographs and videos of war crimes in the framework of the battle of narratives. Many of us have seen the horrible videos of civilians being executed by security forces in Mahbere Dego and elsewhere.

    The first such videos were watched and met with horror and condemnation, and the next ones were still watched, but only for a few seconds. Now, after almost two years of conflict, many diplomats and other Ethiopia observers have become numb to these recordings of executions and other terrible crimes.

    In an effort to address requests from the EU and US to provide some form of accountability for crimes that were committed, the Ethiopian government established the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce, which recently presented its first report.

    Unfortunately, the report shows a strong bias towards documenting crimes committed by Tigray forces during their occupation of Amhara and Afar, while no efforts were made to investigate any of the alleged crimes committed by, for example, Amhara forces in Western Tigray.

    Several of the main actors have already declared that they have no trust in the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) headed by Daniel Bekele or in the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce set up by the federal government. A similar lack of trust is affecting the National Dialogue Commission, which is being boycotted by almost all major opposition parties in the country.

    At this point, Ethiopia’s internal politics are too polarized for any meaningful truth-seeking or accountability to come from inside the country. The poisonous language that is used to demonize opponents is just one example of a toxic atmosphere which does not allow for a genuine debate on reconciliation or a search for the truth.

    The involvement of Eritrean troops is another reason why truth and reconciliation cannot be achieved from within.

    After EHRC reported that Eritrean soldiers killed at least 40 civilians during the Axum massacre in late November 2020—almost certainly a vast under-estimation of the real number of victims—Daniel Bekele admitted to Western diplomats that it will be “very difficult” for the Ethiopian authorities to prosecute any crimes committed by Eritrean forces during the conflict in Tigray.

    Encouraged by propaganda and under the presumption that it is very unlikely that there will ever be real accountability, Eritrean and Ethiopian forces have been acting with a sense of absolute impunity.

    Truth then trust

    Evidence collected by the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia (ICHREE)—which was established by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC)—will be critical in order to end the battle of narratives, uncover the truth on what has happened in Ethiopia over the past two years, and start organizing meaningful accountability processes.

    ICHREE is the only neutral body that has the mandate and the capacity to go beyond the narratives and examine all the available evidence in order to establish facts on crimes committed by all parties. The UNHRC’s recent renewal of the commission’s mandate is therefore welcome. It’s telling that, while Tigray authorities welcomed the first interim report presented by the international commission, the federal government rejected it.

    The US, EU, and other partners must continue exerting pressure on federal authorities to convince them to work together with ICHREE and to allow its experts full access to all the sites across the country where war crimes and human rights violations have been reported.

    During the past months, it was mostly a lack of trust and confidence that has prevented the federal and Tigray governments from moving beyond an informal truce to starting formal negotiations.

    The conflicting official statements released by the parties are only amplifying this lack of trust. This was illustrated by the May prisoner release negotiated by AU Representative Olusegun Obasanjo during the first months of 2022 that was implemented by the Tigray government but not reciprocated by the federal government, which claimed that those released were civilians dressed in uniforms rather than real ENDF soldiers.

    It is important for the EU and the US to signal to the warring parties that the battle of narratives is being understood for what it is, and that it will not prevent them from trying to establish the facts or from acting upon their findings.

    Peace and reconciliation can only come once the disinformation campaigns stop and when a genuine search for the truth begins.

    #Ethiopie#TPLF#Guerre#Guerre_Civile#Fano#Tigré#Désinformation#Réseaux_socios

  • En Chine, Xi mène une « purge » anti-corruption avant le congrès

    AFP•15/10/2022 à 09:55

    Avant l’important congrès du Parti communiste (PCC) qui s’ouvre dimanche, le président chinois Xi Jinping mène une « dernière série de purges » via sa campagne anti-corruption, afin de consolider son pouvoir, selon des analystes.

    Il l’a lancée à son arrivée au pouvoir il y a 10 ans, promettant de faire tomber les « tigres » (hauts dirigeants) et les « mouches » (petits fonctionnaires) avides de pots-de-vins et malversations diverses.

    Depuis, au moins 1,5 million de personnes ont été sanctionnées selon les chiffres officiels, et la Chine a progressé, dans le bon sens, selon le classement de l’ONG Transparency International sur la perception de la corruption.

    Mais pour ses critiques, la campagne est aussi pour Xi Jinping un outil politique, destiné à faire tomber des rivaux. Et l’approche du congrès a accéléré la tendance.

    Depuis début 2022, des sanctions ont été prononcées dans quelque 1.110 affaires.

    la suite :

    https://www.boursorama.com/actualite-economique/actualites/en-chine-xi-mene-une-purge-anti-corruption-avant-le-congres-7041924984e2

    #Chine#PCC#Congres#Xi_jinping#Tigres#Mouches

    • L’ancien président Hu Jintao escorté hors de l’auditorium où se déroule la cérémonie de clotûre du 20ᵉ congrès du Parti communiste chinois, à Pékin, passe derrière l’actuel dirigeant Xi Jinping et le premier ministre Li Keqiang, samedi 22 octobre 2022. NG HAN GUAN / AP

      le regard du galonné à l’arrière plan...

    • Hu Jintao (chinois simplifié : 胡锦涛 ; pinyin : Hú Jǐntāo [ xǔ tɕìntʰáu]1), né le 21 décembre 1942 à Taizhou, Jiangsu (à environ 300 km à l’ouest de Shanghai), est un homme d’État chinois, secrétaire général du Parti communiste chinois (PCC) du 15 novembre 2002 au 15 novembre 2012 et président de la république populaire de Chine du 15 mars 2003 au 14 mars 2013, en ayant été réélu le 15 mars 2008 par l’Assemblée nationale populaire.

    • Je pense qu’il est gateux ou sénile... A 80 ans ça arrive aussi en Chine... A moins qu’il lui ai fait « fumer la moquette » pour faire tapisserie dans la fiesta et qu’ils aient un peu surdosés le cocktail... En tout cas sur la vidéo il ne ressemble pas à un rebelle réformiste qui s’éleverait contre le système...

    • il est lourdé, et publiquement, c’est ça la nouvelle. usuellement cela se faisait dans les coulisses, ou par un vote. là, Xi Jinping montre qu’il purge mieux que Mao, spectaculairement. ce à quoi il ressemble c’est à un géronte qui tente de garder son rang, au moins pour la montre, puisque de toute façon, il n’est à la tête d’aucune faction, c’est pas une affaire de réformisme ou pas, c’est l’étalage sans vergogne d’un pouvoir plus absolu encore que ce que la Chine a pu connaître (même pas besoin d’une révo cul ou de luttes de factions).

      c’est pas la marionnette qu’il faut regarder.

    • Je ne pense pas, faire disparaitre quelqu’un et aller jusqu’à effacer son nom et jusqu’aux preuves de son existence passée est une chose que les chinois savent très bien faire.

      Je pense que Xi avait besoin de tout le décorum et de tous les figurants pour son couronnement. Là ils s’aperçoivent que Hu est total gateux, qu’il aurait dû rester au lit et ils sont gênès. Je ne perçoit nulle satisfaction, que de la gêne...

    • @colporteur

      XXème Congrès du PCC : "l’incident Hu Jintao" et le nouveau Comité central

      https://asialyst.com/fr/2022/10/22/chine-xxe-congres-parti-communiste-pcc-incident-hu-jintao-nouveau-comite-c

      Extrait :

      Alors que le 16 octobre à l’ouverture du Congrès, Xi Jinping avait aidé Hu à s’asseoir, il en fut autrement ce samedi. Quelques heures avant la clôture de la première rencontre, des membres du personnel viennent prendre les lunettes de l’ancien numéro un chinois et commencent à « l’aider » à se lever, bien malgré lui. Hu tente alors de prendre le porte-folio en face lui, mais il est intercepté par Li Zhanshu, président de l’Assemblée nationale populaire. L’ex-président tente de se s’asseoir de nouveau, il est remis debout et progressivement escorté à l’extérieur. Sur son chemin, il interpelle Xi Jinping qui hoche la tête, et met sa main sur l’épaule du Premier ministre Li Keqiang, son protégé. Peu après, les journalistes sont appelés à quitter les lieux et on voit Li Zhanshu s’essuyer le front. Wang Huning, l’idéologue du Parti semble un peu ébahi, tandis que les autres dirigeants assis au premier rang baissent les yeux – y compris l’ancien chef du gouvernement Wen Jiabao, Zeng Qinghong, bras droit de Jiang Zemin, ou le vétéran Song Ping, mentor de Hu et Wen.

    • seconde main. nombreux gérontes "marxistes" maintenus (exceptions multiples à la règle du départ en retraite à 68 ans, dont Wang Huning) au regard des quincas économaître et technocrates annoncés plus hauts comme promus. moins de modernité gestionnaire (en kleptocratie on s’en fout) davantage d’archaÏsme confucéanisants (la #Société_harmonieuse)
      mais oui, virer le plus publiquement possible ce n’est pas gommer une photo. la Chine de Xi Jinping surpasse l’antique URSS de Staline

      Wang Huning [renouvellé en tant que membre du Comité permanent du bureau politique du Parti communiste chinois ], la tête pensante du régime sort de l’ombre, 25 octobre 2017
      https://www.lemonde.fr/asie-pacifique/article/2017/10/25/wang-huning-la-tete-pensante-du-regime-sort-de-l-ombre_5205652_3216.html
      Cet ancien professeur en sciences politiques, francophone, est un partisan du néo-autoritarisme à la chinoise.

      En accédant au Comité permanent, où il va superviser le département de propagande du parti, Wang Huning accède à une place prééminente dans la hiérarchie du pouvoir communiste. Une consécration pour celui qu’on a surnommé le « Kissinger chinois » ou « conseiller en chef de Zhongnanhai », le lieu du pouvoir communiste à Pékin, non loin de la Cité interdite. Wang Huning est l’un des théoriciens du pouvoir chinois depuis Jiang Zemin, qui l’a fait monter à Pékin en 1995, alors qu’il était doyen de la faculté de droit de l’université de Fudan à Shanghaï. Il rejoint alors le Centre de recherche de la politique centrale, le think tank du pouvoir central, dont il dirigera le département d’études politiques. Entré en 2002 au Comité central, il sera ensuite l’auteur du concept de développement scientifique de Hu Jintao et sert, selon sa biographie par la Brookings Institution, de lien entre l’équipe de Hu Jintao et l’ancien président Jiang Zemin et son éminence grise, Zeng Qinghong, tous deux très influents.

      M. Wang a fait des études de français – langue qu’il parle couramment – puis de politique internationale et de droit. Devenu professeur, il effectuera plusieurs séjours comme chercheur invité aux Etats-Unis à la fin des années 1980, notamment à Berkeley, en Californie. C’est durant ces voyages qu’il dresse le constat que Washington est le grand rival auquel Pékin ne cesse de se mesurer. En 1991, il publie un livre, Les Etats-Unis contre les Etats-Unis, où il détaille ses six mois passés sur le sol américain à tenter de comprendre la première puissance mondiale, ses forces et ses failles.

      « Plume » de Xi Jinping

      La responsabilité d’un intellectuel chinois, juge-t-il à ce moment, est à la fois de comprendre pourquoi la Chine, une civilisation vieille de plus de 2 000 ans, a pu sombrer dans le déclin et pourquoi les Etats-Unis, jeune pays de 200 ans, a pu devenir la première puissance mondiale. « Je considère, écrit-il, qu’un intellectuel vivant au XXe siècle a le devoir d’étudier ces deux phénomènes. Tout intellectuel chinois doit le faire, c’est un moyen de mieux connaître le monde et soi-même et d’explorer le chemin de la Chine vers la puissance et la prospérité. »_Voilà posé les bases de cette fameuse renaissance chinoise tant vantée par le sécrétaire général du PCC, Xi Jinping.

      Dans les années 1980, il s’intéresse au système juridique. Dans un texte de 1986, il attribue ainsi les abus de la Révolution culturelle à l’absence de séparation entre la police, le parquet et la justice – un avis très partagé dans cette période d’ouverture politique. Mais il se fait vite remarquer ensuite pour sa défense d’un pouvoir centralisateur fort, capable d’« être efficace dans la redistribution des ressources » et de « promouvoir une croissance économique rapide », comme il l’écrit en mars 1988 dans un article pour le Journal de l’université Fudan_ (« Analyse sur les formes de gouvernement pendant le processus de modernisation »). M. Wang devient à ce titre un représentant de l’école de pensée néo-autoritaire. C’est cette théorie qu’il faut comprendre, écrit le sinologue Jude Blanchette dans un article récent intitulé « Le rêve néo-autoritaire de Wang Huning » pour « comprendre la phase ultra-conservatrice dans laquelle se trouve aujourd’hui la Chine ». Devenu proche conseiller et « plume » de Xi Jinping, il l’accompagne lors de nombreux voyages à l’étranger.

      WANG HUNING : L’ARCHITECTE DU « RÊVE CHINOIS »
      Théophile Sourdille
      https://www.iris-france.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Asia-Focus-95.pdf

      LA STRUCTURE CHANGEANTE DE LA CULTURE POLITIQUE CHINOISE SELON WANG HUNING
      https://legrandcontinent.eu/fr/2022/10/08/la-structure-changeante-de-la-culture-politique-chinoise-selon-wang

      #terreur #pleins_pouvoirs

  • Scorched Earth: Using NASA Fire Data to Monitor War Zones - bellingcat
    https://www.bellingcat.com/resources/2022/10/04/scorched-earth-using-nasa-fire-data-to-monitor-war-zones

    NASA’s Fire Information for Resource Management System, or FIRMS, is a tool that detects active fires and thermal anomalies. It has long been used to track wildfires, including the forest fires that blazed across southern Europe this past summer.

    But missile launches, heavy artillery fighting and explosions also generate fires and heat that can be detected.

  • Did a Nobel Peace Laureate Stoke a Civil War?

    After Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, ended a decades-long border conflict, he was heralded as a unifier. Now critics accuse him of tearing the country apart.

    By Jon Lee Anderson

    At the wheel of an armored Toyota Land Cruiser, trailed by a car full of bodyguards, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed drove me around Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. With a politician’s pride, he pointed out some of his recent civic projects: a vast park and a national library; a handicrafts market; a planetarium, still under construction. Throughout the city were government buildings that he’d built or remade: the federal police headquarters, the Ministry of Mines, an artificial-­intelligence center, the Ministry of Defense. In the Entoto Hills, above Addis, he had established a complex of recreational areas to showcase his Green Legacy Initiative, aimed at making Ethiopia a pioneer in sustainable agriculture and renewable energy. He boasted of having planted eighteen billion trees. “If in five years the world does not recognize what we have done,” he said, as he negotiated a turn, “then I am not your brother.”

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/10/03/did-a-nobel-peace-laureate-stoke-a-civil-war

    16 pages de portrait, de souvenirs, de récit historique, sur ce qui se passe en Ethiopie et ce qu’ Abiy a dans la tête...

    Essentiel pour ceux qui ont manqués un épisode depuis 1974...

    #Ethiopie#TPLF#Tigré#guerre#guerre_civile#Erythrée#USA#Abiy_Ahmed#Oromos#Amharas#Afars#Nuruddin_Farah#eau#Somali#Somalie#Géopolitique#Egypte

  • International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia

    (19 pages +annexes) (A/HRC/51/46)

    19 September 2022

    ​In its resolution S-33/1, on the situation of human rights in Ethiopia, adopted on 17 December 2021, the Human Rights Council decided to establish, for a period of one year, renewable as necessary, an international commission of human rights experts on Ethiopia, comprising three human rights experts, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council, to complement the work undertaken by the joint investigative team.

    https://www.ohchr.org/en/hr-bodies/hrc/ichre-ethiopa/index

    In the present report, submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution S-33/1, the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia presents its initial findings. The report concludes that there are reasonable grounds to believe that violations, such as extrajudicial killings, rape, sexual violence, and starvation of the civilian population as a method of warfare have been committed in Ethiopia since 3 November 2020. The Commission finds reasonable grounds to believe that, in several instances, these violations amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. The report provides an assessment of transitional justice developments and makes urgent recommendations.
    Selection of incidents and themes
    The Commission’s time and resource constraints obliged it to select a specific and manageable group of incidents and themes for which it could complete investigations in two months with limited resources. Although its selection reflects some of the most significant violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, while illustrating broader patterns, it does not allow the Commission to present a comprehensive picture. Although its mandate authorizes it to investigate incidents throughout the territory of Ethiopia, the Commission confined its investigations for this report to the hostilities in Tigray and Amhara regions. It acknowledges that its selection will frustrate many, especially in light of the broad and troubling range of allegations of violations in Ethiopia since 3 November 2020. The Commission hopes that it will have the opportunity to expand its investigations and findings with additional time, resources, and cooperation to include further incidents and themes, such as those set forth in section VII.

    Background
    After four years of anti-government protest and rising ethno-nationalist sentiment, Ethiopia’s ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) chose Dr. Abiy Ahmed from its Oromo wing as its new Prime Minister (PM) in April 2018. The new PM took office promising political and economic reform, amid great optimism and with strong international support. He was lauded for quickly making peace with neighbouring Eritrea. A comprehensive amnesty saw EPRDF’s political and armed opponents return to Ethiopia from exile, including in Eritrea, or released from jail.
    There are two accounts of what followed: Federal government spokespersons and their supporters (including in Eritrea) allege that TPLF veterans masterminded a series of violent attempts to sabotage or undermine the government, accusations they deny. Others claim the growth of vigorously anti-TPLF sentiment in government statements, and government-aligned media. Related narratives drew on anti-Tigrayan ethnic slurs that had surfaced in Eritrean propaganda during the Ethio-Eritrean war (1998-2000), in nationalist rhetoric around contested elections (2004-2006), and in Oromo (and Amhara) activism (2014-2018).
    Hate speech against Amhara and Oromo communities also proliferated in a newly competitive and ethnicised political environment. Political conflict erupted in inter- communal violence and religious tensions. In January 2019, the ENDF launched a counterinsurgency including airstrikes against the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) in western Oromia, in a conflict that has since continued and escalated. New leaders were installed in four regional states, and when a national Prosperity Party was established in December 2019, the TPLF (and some ruling Oromo politicians) declined to join.
    24. With the outbreak of COVID-19, the Federal Government postponed elections. Influential Oromo opposition leaders were arrested after further ethnicised violence. The TPLF pressed ahead with elections in Tigray in September 2020. Federal and Tigray regional governments declared one another’s actions ‘unconstitutional’, and fighting erupted on 3-4 November 2020.

    Conclusions :

    The Commission finds reasonable grounds to believe that the ENDF shelled Mekelle on 28 November 2020, killing and injuring civilians and striking civilian objects days after Tigrayan forces had left the city with their assets. ENDF soldiers committed widespread extrajudicial killings, rapes and other forms of sexual violence, and looting during the seven-month period stretching from 28 November 2020 to 28 June 2021. ENDF personnel also used civilian objects for military purposes and restricted access to medical treatment.

    The Commission finds reasonable grounds to believe that Tigrayan forces killed civilians and persons rendered hors de combat, raped, looted, and damaged or destroyed civilian infrastructure and property in Kobo and Chenna in late August and early September 2021.

    The Commission finds reasonable grounds to believe that the ENDF conducted a drone strike against the Dedebit IDP camp on 7 January 2022, killing and injuring approximately 60 civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure. It also finds reasonable grounds to believe that there were no soldiers or military equipment in or near the camp on the day of the attack.

    The Commission finds reasonable grounds to believe that the ENDF, EDF, and Fano have committed widespread acts of rape and sexual violence against Tigrayan women and girls. In some instances, the attackers expressed an intent to render the victims infertile and used dehumanising language that suggested an intent to destroy the Tigrayan ethnicity. Tigrayan Forces have also committed acts of rape and sexual violence, albeit on a smaller scale.

    The Commission finds reasonable grounds to believe that the Federal Government and allied regional State governments have implemented a widespread range of measures designed to systematically deprive the population of Tigray of material and services indispensable for its survival, including healthcare, shelter, water, sanitation, education and food.

    The Commission is deeply troubled by its findings because they reflect profound polarization and hatred along ethnic lines in Ethiopia. This has created a disturbing cycle of extreme violence and retribution, which raises the imminent threat of further and more pronounced atrocity crimes.
    127. Many of the indicators and triggers contained in the 2014 UN Framework for Analysis of Atrocity Crimes are present in Ethiopia today, including but not limited to:
    Dissemination of hate speech and absence of independent mechanisms to address it;
    Politicization of identity;
    Proliferation of local militias and other armed groups across the country;
    Particularly dehumanizing types of violence inflicted upon civilians on the basis of their ethnicity and perceived allegiance with the enemy;
    Imposition of strict controls on communication channels, including internet shutdowns; Widespread arbitrary detention on ethnic grounds; and
    Obstruction of humanitarian access and attacks on humanitarian aid workers.

    #Ethiopie#TPLF#Tigré#guerre#guerre_civile#Erythrée#ONU#crimes_de_guerre#OHCHR#rapport

  • En Ethiopie, pourquoi la trêve a-t-elle été rompue ? (15mn)

    https://www.radiofrance.fr/franceculture/podcasts/les-enjeux-internationaux/en-ethiopie-pourquoi-la-treve-a-t-elle-ete-rompue-1888440

    Après une accalmie de cinq mois et l’entame d’un cycle de négociations entre le gouvernement éthiopien et le Front de Libération du Peuple tigréen (TPLF), la guerre a repris dans le nord de l’Éthiopie, avec le concours de l’Érythrée voisine qui soutient Addis Abeba.
    avec :

    Mehdi Labzaé (Sociologue et politiste, spécialiste de l’Ethiopie).
    En savoir plus

    Elle était passée relativement inaperçue en pleine guerre en Ukraine : en Ethiopie, les belligérants avaient acté d’une trêve à la fin mars.

    Mais le 24 août dernier, les combats ont repris, en particulier dans l’Etat du Tigray, le plus septentrional de la carte fédérale éthiopienne.

    #Ethiopie#TPLF#Tigré#guerre#guerre_civile#Erythrée#wolkait

  • The Despotism of #Isaias_Afewerki: Eritrea’s dictator makes his move on #Tigray

    No country in the world has a purer autocracy than Eritrea. The state of Eritrea is one man, Isaias Afewerki, who for twenty years was the leader of a formidable insurgent army that won a war of liberation against Ethiopia in 1991, and who has since ruled as president without constraint on his power. Three decades after independence, Eritrea has no constitution, no elections, no legislature, and no published budget. Its judiciary is under the president’s thumb, its press nonexistent. The only institutions that function are the army and security. There is compulsory and indefinite national service. The army generals, presidential advisers, and diplomats have been essentially unchanged for twenty-five years. The country has a population of 3.5 million, and more than half a million have fled as refugees—the highest ratio in the world next to Syria and Ukraine.

    President Isaias—Eritreans use the first name—got to his position and held it because his overriding concern is power. The country has no shrill personality cult, no slavish performances of obedience to the leader. Isaias is an underestimated cypher, a lesson in understated ruthlessness. In an era when autocrats have adopted new guises and mastered new tactics, he has persevered with old-fashioned forms of absolute despotism. He has not even pretended to change. He simply outlasted his most vigilant adversaries, expecting that, in due course, a new set of foreign leaders and diplomats would suffer amnesia, gamble on appeasement, or simply not care about norms of human rights and democracy.

    The latest twist to Isaias’s despotism is his effort to contrive a war between the federal government in Ethiopia and its antagonists in the region of Tigray. He wants to see both weakened—and Tigray so badly mauled that he can eliminate it as a viable political entity, once and for all.

    Isaias’s logic is genocidal. In November 2020—when the world was distracted by the U.S. election—Isaias sent his army to join Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s forces in a war to “crush” the Tigrayans. Abiy gave him political cover, lying about the Eritrean role. After a year of mass killing, rape, and starvation inflicted on Tigray, as well as havoc across Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa more widely, the Tigray war settled into a stalemate. It was broken late last month with a fierce battle between Tigrayan forces and the Ethiopian federal army. The Tigrayans won the first round.

    On the morning of September 1, the second round began. Eritrean artillery opened up huge barrages, firing at Tigrayan defenses while Ethiopian conscripts readied for Isaias’s signal to charge into battle.

    Eritrea was an Italian colony, carved out of the northern reaches of the feudal empire of Ethiopia during the late nineteenth century scramble for Africa. Isaias was born in 1946, five years after Italian defeat in World War II. Eritreans of his generation have a love-hate relationship with their former colonizer. The Italians exploited Eritreans as laborers and denied them education. But the imperial power also made Eritrea special. Italy’s initial interest was in the Red Sea coast, then as now a strategic shoreline. After the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, as much as one eighth of the world’s maritime commerce passed through the channel between Eritrea and Yemen. The same is true today, and every global power wants a presence in the Red Sea: China’s first overseas station is in next-door Djibouti, and Russia is negotiating for a naval base in Eritrea.

    Benito Mussolini dreamed of a new Roman Empire in Africa, including Libya, Somalia, and Ethiopia—with Eritrea as its model. The colony became Africa’s second biggest manufacturing center after Johannesburg. Architectural historians salivate over Eritrea’s capital Asmara, considered a showpiece for Art Deco buildings. Its Fiat Tagliero gas station modeled on an airplane is especially cherished by aficionados, of whom Isaias is said to be one. Successive wars have left the city undamaged and undeveloped, a museum of modernism. When a tall and ugly contemporary apartment block was built overshadowing the futuristic Fiat garage in 1994, the president is said to have intervened to insist that central Asmara retain its character. It is one of the few places where the fascist emblem of the bundle of sticks remains on public buildings.

    Mussolini’s new Roman Empire was the “first to be freed” by the Allies in 1941. The British Military Administration dismantled much of Eritrea’s industry in the name of war reparations and referred the future status of the territory to the United Nations, which proposed the delicate and ambiguous solution of “federation under the Ethiopian Crown.” The British left in 1952, remembered for impoverishing the territory but introducing a parliament and newspapers. The federal formula required that Emperor Haile Selassie rule with restraint, but after ten years of contrived unification with the rest of Ethiopia, dissolving Eritrea’s autonomous parliament, a small rebellion escalated. The first shots were fired in September 1961, and the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF)—founded in Cairo the year before—began its guerrilla operations shortly thereafter, with the single goal of independence.

    Isaias was a science student at university in Addis Ababa when he slipped across the border to Sudan and joined the ELF. He dedicated himself to learning Arabic because the rebels relied heavily on Arab countries for support. In 1967, he went to China for military training. On returning to the field, he was dismayed by the ELF’s lack of consistency in applying its revolutionary tenets and its failure to follow the Maoist model of consolidating a base area: any Eritrean nationalist was welcome to join, and differences of opinion were resolved by putting people of different political leanings in different units or holding inconclusive meetings. Along with another leftist who had trained in China, Ramadan Mohammed Nur, Isaias set up the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) in 1970. It was nationalist but also revolutionary.

    Successive Ethiopian regimes—imperial and communist—fought their wars in Eritrea on a huge scale and with unremitting brutality. Once or twice a year, they launched vast ground offensives. The emperor’s forces burned villages and singled out suspected nationalist sympathizers for detention and torture. Haile Selassie was overthrown in a revolution in 1974, and the head of the military junta, Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam, switched to the Soviet bloc. The USSR supplied an arsenal and trained Ethiopia officers in its use. They mounted artillery barrages at EPLF-held hillside strongholds, after which massed infantry brigades stormed them, time and again, with relentless futility. Daily daytime air raids meant that the EPLF became nocturnal—all activities from transporting supplies to cooking and laundry took place during the hours of darkness. In the EPLF-controlled areas, every dusk, anonymous hillsides would transform into hives of activity as fighters emerged from their hideouts.

    The EPLF’s ethos was egalitarian and ultra-disciplined. That was what ensured its survival under relentless onslaught. Its leaders insisted that Muslims, Christians, and members of all Eritrea’s nine ethno-linguistic groups were considered equal. Rather than postponing its revolutionary agenda until after the war, it enacted land reform and women’s emancipation in its “liberated areas,” and set up schools and hospitals for fighters and civilians alike. During its twenty years of armed struggle, it had no formal ranks, only positions of commander for specific tasks. After liberation, when it set up a memorial to its martyred fighters, the EPLF chose a monument in the shape of a plastic sandal. Manufactured in an underground factory dug out of a mountainside, sheltered from the daily air raids, plastic sandals had been the ubiquitous footwear of the guerrilla fighter.

    This was the image that Isaias projected to the world: an austere revolutionary, first among equals among comrades. Less mentioned was the fact that the EPLF was also Leninist in structure and discipline. The decisions of the central committee, once adopted, were to be implemented without question. Nor did the EPLF hesitate to kill. On many other occasions, EPLF members were executed on the merest suspicion that they might be spies. Scores of Eritreans were “sacrificed” in these purges, and hundreds perished in the vicious internecine war with the older, fissiparous ELF. In one episode from the early days of the EPLF, a band of well-educated volunteers was purged because they dared challenge Isaias. Known as the Menqa—or “bats”—because they supposedly conspired in darkness, the moniker says as much about the executioners as their victims. (Among them was Mussie Tesfamichael, one of Isaias’s close friends from his school days.) The Menqa were at least subjected to a process of investigation, and their fate became the subject of whispered debate. Not so for the next challenge to Isaias, from a group dubbed Yamin—“rightists” in Arabic—many of them highly educated, who simply disappeared without trace. The merciless elimination of dissent is the original sin of many revolutionary movements, a dark spot that cannot be erased.

    Ultimately, would-be dissenters fell in line because the EPLF was an astonishingly effective military machine. To call it a “guerrilla” movement would be a misnomer. It became a conventional army, defending its base areas in mountain trenches and fighting huge armored battles. The town of Nakfa in the desert hills close to the Red Sea—bombed into ruins by day-in-day-out attacks by Ethiopian fighter jets, yet never yielded by the EPLF—became the symbol of their resistance. (Eritrea’s post-independence currency is called the Nakfa.) After years of relentless combat, the EPLF turned the military tide. In fighting at the port city of Massawa in 1990, the EPLF captured ninety-nine Soviet-supplied tanks and inflicted thousands of casualties. They won a decisive victory in 1991, which was duly followed by a 99 percent vote for independence.

    The seven years after liberation were a period of hope for Eritrea. Fighters turned their energies to reconstruction. The diaspora returned, with professionals from Europe and America starting businesses, teaching at the university, and building retirement houses. Aid flowed in. Eritrea had the good will of the world.

    Signs of incipient autocracy, however, were evident from the outset. The secretive, centralized command structure that had been so efficient in wartime didn’t vanish when the EPLF became an ostensibly civilian government. Days before the declaration of independence, fighters protested the decision that they should continue to serve without pay for two more years. A group of disabled veterans marched—there’s no verb that conveys the determined collective motion of their wheelchairs, artificial limbs, and sticks—towards the capital to demand their pensions. They were shot at with live ammunition. Some were killed, others were arrested and disappeared. At a political convention in 1994, the EPLF dissolved itself and established the Popular Front for Democracy and Justice as a civilian political party. It was ostensibly to be one of many in a multi-party system, but in practice, the PFDJ was indistinguishable from the state itself. The EPLF’s shadowy financial network, set up for clandestine arms purchases, morphed into the party-owned Red Sea Trading Corporation, later the focus of UN investigations for a host of illicit activities.

    Veterans began to vote with their feet. Ramadan Nur quit politics. The minister of foreign affairs, Petros Solomon, a hero of the liberation war, asked to be demoted to run the ministry of maritime resources. Following elaborate consultations across the country, a constitution was drafted, but after the Constituent Assembly ratified it and handed it to the president in a ceremony at the national stadium, no more was heard about elections, an independent judiciary, or freedom of the press. Isaias had a reputation for knowing Eritreans one by one, forgetting no one, with an uncanny ability to espy their secrets. His intelligence network was both invisible and pervasive.

    In May 1998, Isaias escalated a border skirmish into a war with Ethiopia, which was governed at the time by a sister revolutionary movement, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). Ethiopia had a tradition of martial imperialism that the Eritrean leader had learned to fear. Isaias’s border incursion—claiming a small town known as Badme—re-awoke Ethiopia’s militaristic spirit.

    The battle that was unfolding was both a comrades’ war and a cousins’ conflict. The two sides knew each other intimately. The EPRDF coalition was dominated by the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), founded during the revolution of 1974–1975. Over the next seventeen years, the EPLF and TPLF literally fought in the same trenches against Mengistu’s army, which employed Soviet tactics of relentless obliteration by artillery and airstrikes and massed infantry assaults.

    During that time, the EPLF and TPLF resisted with astonishing stoicism. But they also quarreled over doctrine and tactics. While the EPLF dug trenches to defend their base area in the desert mountains of northern Eritrea, the TPLF waged a textbook guerrilla war among peasant villages, withdrawing when the government army attacked and counterattacking when they could fight on their own terms. They disagreed over political doctrines too, in arcane debates that a generation later seem to belong in the seminars of Marxist theoreticians. Was the Soviet Union a “social imperialist” or ultimately an ally, even though it was the major backer of Mengistu? Were Ethiopia’s diverse ethnic groups—known in Marxist terminology as “nationalities”—entitled to self-determination?

    The worst falling out occurred in the depths of the great famine of 1985, when the EPLF closed the main road that brought relief aid from neighboring Sudan. But three years later, they patched up their differences in order to defeat Mengistu, accomplishing the task in May 1991. For the next seven years the EPLF in Asmara and the TPLF/EPRDF in Addis Ababa appeared to be the best of friends. But their differences were deeper than the factionalism of leftist politics.

    Isaias held the TPLF and its leaders in a special contempt. He and many of the Eritrean leaders hailed from the Eritrean highlands, historically coterminous with Tigray. They speak the same language—Tigrinya—and share the same history, dating back to the Axumite kingdom of the first century C.E. that were divided by the colonial boundary drawn at the turn of the twentieth century. Many Eritrean and Tigrayan families are intermarried. Isaias grew up in urban Asmara, where his father was among the first Eritreans to go to secondary school. Middle-class Asmarinos’ maidservants were often from Tigray’s northernmost district, Agame, as were the street sweepers and boys who hawked prickly pears. Their Tigrinya has a different accent. In private, members of the Asmara elite disparage the TPLF—including their leaders—as “Agames,” the sons of their maids. For them, it is unthinkable that Tigrayans could be their military equals or that Tigray’s prosperity could surpass Eritrea’s.

    The ostensible reason for the 1998 war was a minor territorial dispute over the town of Badme. Underneath it was the question of who should be number one in the Horn of Africa—Isaias would never be content to be anything else. A few weeks earlier, when President Bill Clinton had traveled to meet Africa’s “new brand” of leaders—the other three were Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, and Ethiopia’s Meles Zenawi—the White House chose Kampala as the venue. To the dismay of White House staffers, Isaias declined the invitation. He knew he wouldn’t dominate the meeting and didn’t want to sign up to a coalition he wouldn’t lead.

    A few weeks after the outbreak of that war, I went to see Isaias with Paulos Tesfagiorgis—who ran the Eritrean Relief Association during the liberation war and had after independence overseen the country’s only human rights organization, the Regional Center for Human Rights and Development, for a brief period until it was shut down. Isaias carefully stage-manages every encounter and likes to meet alone without staff to keep a record. But the Badme War seemed to have shaken him. Arriving at his office, the guards were casual in dress and manner. Security checks were minimal. The receptionist, wearing her fatigues, waved us upstairs. The austere camaraderie of the guerrilla days lingered, but every visitor was monitored.

    The presidential office was an unremarkable Italian-era building with the spacious corridors and high ceilings favored by Mediterranean architects from the era before air conditioning. Isaias’s own office was capacious, simply furnished, and dark. The curtains were drawn, and there was just one dim light shining on a coffee table. Isaias himself sat at a large desk, head in hands. He glanced up only to wave us to sit down. He was wearing a khaki safari suit and plastic sandals.

    We sat, we waited. Then Isaias stood up, more heavily than his frame seemed to warrant—he is tall but slim—and joined us. His few steps were tired, and he slumped into the low chair, summoned coffee, and sighed. His face is normally inscrutable. At that moment he looked weary and wounded. He seemed at a loss for words. What he said next was the only time anyone can recollect any hint of remorse or self-doubt. If it was a performance for our benefit, it was a convincing one. “What have we done?” he asked. “What have I done?”

    But Isaias’s brooding demeanor lasted no more than a minute. As he spoke, he transformed, becoming focused and energized. For more than an hour he surveyed the political and military landscape, the state of world geopolitics, and the failures of the previous seven years. His coffee remained untouched. He shifted his forceful gaze from Paulos to me and back. He was in command of our encounter, and our cups of coffee also went cold.

    Eritrea had made the first gains on the battlefield. From Isaias’s encyclopedic monologue, battalion-by-battalion, he seemed utterly confident in victory. He was up against a much bigger country, however—and as Ethiopia cranked up its military mobilization, it would outnumber and outgun its smaller neighbor. Then again, overcoming long military odds was a familiar predicament for Isaias, even a comfortable one. Since leaving his university studies for the field in the sixties, forging the most efficient insurgent army in Africa, out-fighting Ethiopians was just what he did. We couldn’t tell if he believed in his own mystique, but he was certainly compelling: there was no detail on which Paulos or I could challenge him.

    As Isaias detailed the deployment of his troops, their logistics and fighting capacities, he also portrayed himself as strategist, diplomat, quartermaster, and military tactician. All the other commanders who had led fighters in the previous war faded from his telling. And indeed, many were pushed away from any active role in the command. Isaias was determined that the victory should be his alone. We left the meeting with a clear sense of Isaias’s focused, manic micromanagement of the war, and a glimpse of the dark void that lay behind it. There was also no vision beyond battlefield victory and the inexorable working out of historical inevitability.

    Isaias ran his war and lost it. Perhaps eighty thousand soldiers died on both sides in battles that resembled the western front of World War I. In May 2000, the Ethiopians overran Eritrean trenches, and the rout began. Veteran EPLF commanders hastily took charge of the disarrayed units and organized a last-ditch defense which slowed the Ethiopian advance. Isaias, who had previously scoffed at any suggestion of a ceasefire, desperately called Washington, D.C., to beg for one. Prime Minister Meles then ordered his troops to halt. The Ethiopian army chief of staff, General Tsadkan Gebretensae, rued that order for twenty years. He is now a member of the Tigrayan central command, organizing the defense against the Eritrean attack.

    Meles’s calculus was that Isaias would be overthrown or contained, which seemed possible at first. Eritrean veterans knew who had bungled the war and who had salvaged some honor in the defeat. Demands for change grew louder. Paulos organized a group of independent Eritreans to petition for human rights and democracy. They met in Germany, writing a letter to Isaias, reflecting on their country’s predicament and asking for Eritrea to turn towards the path of democracy. (The story is vividly told in Stephany Steggall’s book, The Eritrean Letter Writers.) In November 2000, the “Group of 13” (G-13) met with Isaias in Asmara.

    This was not an encounter that Isaias wanted and one for which he appeared astonishingly ill-prepared. Meeting the group alone, he began by accusing them of betraying Eritrea and giving solace to its enemies, then demanded they apologize and retract the letter. They of course refused. One of the G-13, the eminent physician Haile Debas, read out the substance of their letter, watching Isaias’s reactions closely. The president was ill at ease and unable to handle a well-articulated challenge. Leaving the meeting, Haile remarked to Paulos, “We have a bigger problem than I thought. He is mentally unstable.”

    A few months later, fifteen senior EPLF leaders—the “G-15”—formulated similar demands. Isaias ignored them. They made the fatal error of waiting. In private conversations (some of them recounted in Dan Connell’s book, Conversations with Eritrean Political Prisoners) they shared their dismay at how Isaias had betrayed their dreams and their remorse over their own failure to confront him over his abuses. For his part, Isaias was biding his time. A week after 9/11, with the world’s attention distracted, he struck with his trademark ruthlessness.

    Petros Solomon returned from his morning jog to find security men waiting for him outside his home. His young children were waking up inside. They have not seen or heard from him since. Their mother, Aster Yohannes, was studying in the United States at the time. After negotiating with the president’s office, she flew home. When Aster’s flight landed at Asmara airport, security agents boarded the plane and took her straight to a prison camp. Her children waited at the arrivals holding their flowers until the airport had emptied. She, too, has been neither seen nor heard of since. Their daughter Hanna has patiently campaigned for her parents not to be forgotten. She told her story in PBS Frontline’s Escaping Eritrea last year.

    One of the G-15 dissidents recanted. Three were abroad. The other eleven—among the most celebrated leaders of the liberation struggle—disappeared into Isaias’s gulag. Some are feared dead, others incapacitated. No one knows. No charges have been published.

    Abiy Ahmed became prime minister of Ethiopia in 2018. A reformer and relative political novice, he offered an olive branch to Isaias. One veteran diplomat compared it to a rabbit asking a cobra for a dinner date. The two men declared an end to the conflict with Eritrea, and Abiy was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The details of the deal weren’t revealed to the African Union or the Ethiopian parliament, however. Best practice—and the standard procedure at the African Union—is for a peace agreement to include provisions for democratization, human rights, and demobilization of over-sized armies, all subject to international monitoring and reporting. In this case, everything was chanced on words of goodwill. The Nobel Prize was a triumph for wishful thinking, but the Norwegian committee wasn’t the only one guilty of gullibility. The deal was greased by prince Mohamed bin Zayed of Abu Dhabi. The U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs, Tibor Nagy, anticipated a “warm, cordial” relationship with Eritrea. Isaias got sanctions lifted, a security pact with Ethiopia, and an emergent axis of autocrats that brought Somalia into his sphere of influence.

    After Eritrea was brought in from the cold, Isaias didn’t relax his grip. Instead of demobilizing his vast army, he shopped for new weapons. Instead of allowing his people to move freely, he dispatched security agents to Addis Ababa. When Covid-19 hit, he took the opportunity for a rigorous lockdown. He trained special forces for the Somali army, reportedly with the goal that President Mohammed Abdullahi “Farmaajo” could dispense with the inconvenience of an election. The Somalis are skilled at restraining would-be autocrats, however, and managed to hold their election in May, removing their aspiring dictator. Isaias is also fishing in Sudan’s troubled waters.

    But for Eritrea’s despot, these are sideshows. The contest with Tigray is the main event.

    For Isaias, this portends a final decision by force of arms. He will fight without mercy. If he prevails, his lifelong ambition of becoming master of the Horn of Africa will be within his grasp. Should Isaias fall, a complacent international community will be able to claim no credit for the end of his dictatorship and destabilization. Hopefully, after a lost generation, Eritreans will be able to enjoy their long-awaited liberty.

    https://thebaffler.com/latest/the-despotism-of-isaias-afewerki-de-waal
    #Afewerki #Erythrée #dictature #Tigré

    ping @karine4 @isskein

  • Ethiopie : un massacre ordinaire ARTE Reportage (12mn)

    Il y a un an et demi, l’un des soldats a filmé le crime tout en l’encourageant. Quelques mois plus tard il est arrêté par le camp adverse, qui documente l’horreur des crimes de guerre de ses frères d’armes de l’Armée Ethiopienne.

    https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/109954-000-A/ethiopie-un-massacre-ordinaire

    A Mekele, la capitale du Tigré, nous avons rencontré « Fafi », le vidéaste amateur. Il reconnait les crimes de guerre et revient sur son état d’esprit à l’époque. Deux de ses frères d’armes de la 25em brigade témoignent eux aussi des circonstances du drame. Dans la prison où ils se trouvent, ces jeunes soldats côtoient 6000 autres prisonniers de guerre.

    A quoi reconnaît-on un massacre ethnique ?

    #Ethiopie #Tigré #conflit #guerre #Mekele #crimes_de_guerre #armée #guerre_civile #Corne_de_l'Afrique

  • Les rebelles du Tigré dénoncent une offensive « conjointe » de l’Ethiopie et de l’Erythrée

    Le bilan de cette guerre meurtrière est inconnu. Mais elle a déplacé plus de deux millions de personnes et plongé des centaines de milliers d’Ethiopiens dans des conditions proches de la famine, selon l’ONU.

    Le Tigré est en outre privé depuis plus d’un an d’électricité, de télécommunications, de services bancaires ou de carburant.

    https://www.boursorama.com/actualite-economique/actualites/les-rebelles-du-tigre-denoncent-une-offensive-conjointe-de-l-ethiopie-et

    #Ethiopie#Tigré#TPLF#Erythree#Corne_de_l'Afrique

  • Éthiopie : les rebelles tigréens et le gouvernement central s’accusent mutuellement de rompre la trêve

    https://www.rfi.fr/fr/afrique/20220824-%C3%A9thiopie-les-rebelles-tigr%C3%A9ens-et-le-gouvernement-central-s-a

    Les autorités du TPLF ont accusé l’armée fédérale éthiopienne d’avoir lancé une offensive contre les « positions sur le front sud » des rebelles tigréens, rompant ainsi près de cinq mois de trêve. Peu de temps après, le gouvernement éthiopien a à son tour accusé les forces rebelles du Tigré d’être à l’origine de la reprise des combats.

    #Ethiopie#Tigré#Soudan#Fanos#TPLF#corne_de_l'Afrique

  • Amnesty et HRW déplorent que le Tigré a été le théâtre de « nettoyage ethnique » et de « crimes de guerre » - Le Temps
    https://www.letemps.ch/monde/amnesty-hrw-deplorent-tigre-theatre-nettoyage-ethnique-crimes-guerre

    #Expulsions, #exécutions, #viols, #pillages, privation d’aide humanitaire : forces de sécurité et milices se sont livrées à un « #nettoyage_ethnique » et à des exactions sur des civils dans la partie occidentale du #Tigré, affirment Amnesty International et Human Rights Watch (HRW) dans un rapport commun mercredi.

    #Éthiopie

  • Ethiopie : « Ce qui se passe au Tigré est sans aucun doute une catastrophe humanitaire »
    https://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2022/02/04/ethiopie-ce-qui-se-passe-au-tigre-est-sans-aucun-doute-une-catastrophe-human

    La guerre civile qui se déroule depuis novembre 2020 dans le nord de l’Ethiopie est à l’origine d’une catastrophe humanitaire concernant d’abord le Tigré mais aussi, désormais, les régions voisines Afar et Amhara. Le gouvernement d’Addis-Abeba, en guerre contre les rebelles des Forces de défense du Tigré (TDF), est accusé d’exercer un blocus sur la province et ses 6 millions d’habitants. Aucun convoi humanitaire n’a pu y entrer depuis près de deux mois. Michael Dunford, directeur Afrique de l’Est du Programme alimentaire mondial (PAM), tire la sonnette d’alarme alors que, selon une étude publiée le 28 janvier par l’agence onusienne, près de 40 % de la population tigréenne souffre de pénurie alimentaire extrême.

  • Stop au viol et aux violences sexuelles en Ethiopie ! - Amnesty International Belgique
    https://www.amnesty.be/veux-agir/agir-ligne/petitions/article/stop-viol-violences-sexuelles-ethiopie

    Dans la région du #Tigré, en #Éthiopie, depuis le début du conflit qui a éclaté en novembre 2020, les graves atteintes aux droits humains se succèdent et se multiplient. Malgré les restrictions d’accès et la coupure totale des communications, Amnesty a été en mesure de mener des enquêtes sur les #crimes_sexuels et les #humiliations perpétrés à l’encontre de #femmes et de #filles tigréennes et d’alerter sur la situation dramatique dans cette région.

    #viols_de_guerre

  • Sexual violence used as weapon of war in Ethiopia’s Tigray, Amnesty finds

    Ethiopian and Eritrean troops have raped hundreds of women and girls during the Tigray war, subjecting some to sexual slavery and mutilation, Amnesty International said in a report Wednesday.

    Drawing from interviews with 63 survivors, the report sheds new light on a scourge already being investigated by Ethiopian law enforcement officials, with at least three soldiers convicted and 25 others charged.

    Some survivors said they had been gang-raped while held captive for weeks on end. Others described being raped in front of their family members.

    And some reported having objects including nails and gravel inserted into their vaginas, “causing lasting and possibly irreparable damage”, Amnesty said.

    “It’s clear that rape and sexual violence have been used as a weapon of war to inflict lasting physical and psychological damage on women and girls in Tigray,” said Amnesty’s secretary general Agnes Callamard.

    “Hundreds have been subjected to brutal treatment aimed at degrading and dehumanizing them.

    “The severity and scale of the sexual crimes committed are particularly shocking, amounting to war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.”

    ‘All of us were raped’

    Northern Ethiopia has been wracked by violence since November after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner, sent troops into Tigray to topple its regional ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

    He said the move came in response to TPLF attacks on federal army camps.

    As the conflict has deepened, the humanitarian toll has spiked, with aid workers struggling to reach cut-off populations and 400,000 people facing famine-like conditions in Tigray, according to the UN.

    Alleged perpetrators of rape include government soldiers, troops from neighbouring Eritrea – which has backed up Abiy – as well as security forces and militia fighters from Ethiopia’s Amhara region, Amnesty said.

    More than two dozen survivors told Amnesty they were raped by Eritreans alone, while others said Eritreans and Ethiopians had worked together.

    “They raped us and starved us. There were too many who raped us in rounds,” said one 21-year-old survivor who reported being held for 40 days.

    “We were around 30 women they took.... All of us were raped.”

    Investigations ongoing

    AFP has previously interviewed multiple survivors of gang rape perpetrated by Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers.

    Amnesty said Wednesday that health facilities in Tigray had “registered 1,288 cases of gender-based violence from February to April 2021”, though doctors note that many survivors do not come forward.

    In February Ethiopia’s women’s minister Filsan Abdullahi Ahmed said rape had “without a doubt” taken place in Tigray. A task force she established has since sent a report to the attorney general’s office.

    On Tuesday, Filsan told AFP it was up to law enforcement officials to determine the scale of the problem and who was responsible.

    “I think they are doing their best... They have to go and really study thoroughly before they identify who committed the crimes.”

    But she added: “I would prefer them moving at a faster pace so I can say justice has been served, and I hope we will see justice being served.”

    In May, the attorney general’s office said three soldiers had been convicted and sentenced for rape and that an additional 25 had been charged with “committing acts of sexual violence and rape”.

    Investigations were continuing, it said.

    https://www.france24.com/en/africa/20210811-sexual-violence-used-as-weapon-of-war-in-ethiopia-s-tigray-amnest
    #Tigré #Ethiopie #guerre #viols #viol_comme_arme_de_guerre #abus_sexuels #violences_sexuelles

    • Ethiopia: Troops and militia rape, abduct women and girls in Tigray conflict – new report

      - Forces aligned to the Ethiopian government subjected hundreds of women and girls to sexual violence
      - Rape and sexual slavery constitute war crimes, and may amount to crimes against humanity

      Women and girls in Tigray were targeted for rape and other sexual violence by fighting forces aligned to the Ethiopian government, Amnesty International said today in a new report into the ongoing Tigray conflict.

      The report, ‘I Don’t Know If They Realized I Was A Person’: Rape and Other Sexual Violence in the Conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia, reveals how women and girls were subjected to sexual violence by members of the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF), the Eritrean Defense Force (EDF), the Amhara Regional Police Special Force (ASF), and Fano, an Amhara militia group.

      Soldiers and militias subjected Tigrayan women and girls to rape, gang rape, sexual slavery, sexual mutilation and other forms of torture, often using ethnic slurs and death threats.

      “It’s clear that rape and sexual violence have been used as a weapon of war to inflict lasting physical and psychological damage on women and girls in Tigray. Hundreds have been subjected to brutal treatment aimed at degrading and dehumanizing them,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

      “The severity and scale of the sexual crimes committed are particularly shocking, amounting to war crimes and possible crimes against humanity. It makes a mockery of the central tenets of humanity. It must stop.

      “The Ethiopian government must take immediate action to stop members of the security forces and allied militia from committing sexual violence, and the African Union should spare no effort to ensure the conflict is tabled at the AU Peace and Security Council.”

      The Ethiopian authorities should also grant access to the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights Commission of Inquiry, and the UN Secretary General should urgently send his Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict to Tigray.

      Amnesty International interviewed 63 survivors of sexual violence, as well as medical professionals. Twenty-eight survivors identified Eritrean forces as the sole perpetrators of rape.
      Widespread sexual violence

      The pattern of acts of sexual violence, with many survivors also witnessing rape of other women, indicates that sexual violence was widespread and intended to terrorize and humiliate the victims and their ethnic group.

      Twelve survivors said soldiers and militia raped them in front of family members, including children. Five were pregnant at the time.

      Letay*, a 20-year-old woman from Baaker, told Amnesty International she was attacked in her home in November 2020 by armed men who spoke Amharic and wore a mixture of military uniforms and civilian clothing.

      She said: “Three men came into the room where I was. It was evening and already dark… I did not scream; they gestured to me not to make any noise or they would kill me. They raped me one after the other… I was four months pregnant; I don’t know if they realized I was pregnant. I don’t know if they realized I was a person.”

      Nigist*, a 35-year-old mother-of-two from Humera said she and four other women were raped by Eritrean soldiers in Sheraro on 21 November 2020.

      She said: “Three of them raped me in front of my child. There was an eight-months pregnant lady with us, they raped her too… They gathered like a hyena that saw something to eat… They raped the women and slaughtered the men.”

      Health facilities in Tigray registered 1,288 cases of gender-based violence from February to April 2021. Adigrat Hospital recorded 376 cases of rape from the beginning of the conflict to 9 June 2021. However, many survivors told Amnesty International they had not visited health facilities, suggesting these figures represent only a small fraction of rapes in the context of the conflict.

      Survivors still suffer significant physical and mental health complications. Many complained of physical trauma such as continued bleeding, back pain, immobility and fistula. Some tested positive for HIV after being raped. Sleep deprivation, anxiety and emotional distress are common among survivors and family members who witnessed the violence.
      Sexual slavery and intention to humiliate

      Twelve survivors said they were held captive for days and often weeks, and repeatedly raped, in most cases by several men. Some were held in military camps, others in houses or grounds in rural areas.

      Tseday*, 17, told Amnesty International that she was abducted by eight Eritrean soldiers in Zebangedena and held captive for two weeks. She said: “They took me to a rural area, in a field. There were many soldiers; I was raped by eight of them… Usually, they went out to guard the area in two shifts. When four of them went out, the rest stayed and raped me.”

      Blen*, a 21-year-old from Bademe, said she was abducted by Eritrean and Ethiopian soldiers on 5 November 2020, and held for 40 days alongside an estimated 30 other women. She said: “They raped us and starved us. They were too many who raped us in rounds. We were around 30 women they took... All of us were raped.”

      Eight women also told how they had been raped by Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers and associated militia near the border with Sudan, as they sought shelter.

      Two survivors had large nails, gravel, and other types of metal and plastic shrapnel inserted into their vaginas, causing lasting and possibly irreparable damage.

      Soldiers and militia repeatedly sought to humiliate their victims, frequently using ethnic slurs, insults, threats, and degrading comments. Several survivors interviewed by Amnesty International said that the rapists had told them, “This is what you deserve” and “You are disgusting”.
      Lack of support for survivors

      Survivors and witnesses told Amnesty International that they received limited or no psychosocial and medical support since they arrived in the internally displaced persons camps in the town of Shire in Ethiopia, or in refugee camps in Sudan.

      Survivors also suffered because medical facilities were destroyed and restrictions imposed on the movement of people and goods, which hindered access to medical care. Victims and their families said they are short of food, shelter and clothes due to the limited humanitarian aid.

      Reports of sexual violence were mostly hidden from the outside world during the first two months of the conflict that began in November 2020, largely because of access restrictions imposed by the Ethiopian government and the communications blackout.

      “On top of their suffering and trauma, survivors have been left without adequate support. They must be able to access the services they need and are entitled to – including medical treatment, livelihood assistance, mental healthcare and psychosocial support – which are essential aspects of a survivor-centred response,” said Agnès Callamard.

      “We must see all allegations of sexual violence effectively, independently and impartially investigated to ensure survivors receive justice, and an effective reparation program must be established. All parties to the conflict should also ensure unfettered humanitarian access.”

      https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2021/08/ethiopia-troops-and-militia-rape-abduct-women-and-girls-in-tigray-conflict-

      Pour télécharger le rapport:
      https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/AFR2545692021ENGLISH.PDF

      #rapport #Amnesty #Amnesty_International #femmes #filles #esclavage_sexuel #milices #armées #soldats #crimes_de_guerre #crimes_contre_l'humanité

  • Aide médicale vitale pour les personnes déplacées du Tigré | The Storyteller
    https://storyteller.iom.int/fr/stories/aide-medicale-vitale-pour-les-personnes-deplacees-du-tigre

    Aide médicale vitale pour les personnes déplacées du Tigré. Mekele, Tigré - « Je suis enceinte, je suis déplacée, mais je suis toujours en vie », se lamente Lete en caressant son ventre. Elle attend son examen prénatal dans une clinique mobile de l’OIM à Mekele, la capitale de la région du Tigré, en Ethiopie.Lete fait partie des plus de 1,7 million de déplacés internes touchés par la crise dans le nord de l’Éthiopie, qui a débuté après une flambée de violence dans la région du Tigré en novembre 2020. « J’ai marché 90 kilomètres depuis ma ville natale d’Adwa, dans le centre du Tigré, avec mes enfants. Étant enceinte, c’était extrêmement difficile. J’étais seule avec mes enfants, j’ai dû abandonner mon mari et nous ne l’avons pas revu depuis. À mi-chemin de notre voyage, des gens nous ont aidés et nous ont laissés monter dans leur voiture pour aller à Mekele », raconte-t-elle.
    Lete fait partie des centaines de déplacés internes qui reçoivent un soutien médical de l’équipe mobile de santé et de nutrition de l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM), qui travaille actuellement dans des sites de déplacement de fortune qui étaient autrefois des écoles. Chaque jour, l’équipe - composée de deux agents de santé, deux infirmiers, deux sages-femmes et deux psychologues - se rend sur différents sites à Mekele. Selon la Matrice de suivi des déplacements de l’OIM, plus de 1,7 million de personnes ont été déplacées à l’intérieur du pays en raison du conflit actuel dans le nord de l’Ethiopie. Les établissements de santé sont débordés. De nombreuses personnes déplacées, notamment des femmes, des enfants, des nouveau-nés et des personnes handicapées, ont besoin de produits de première nécessité tels que de la nourriture et un abri. En outre, la menace de la COVID-19 accroît les craintes car de nombreuses personnes vivent dans des sites de fortune surpeuplés où les conditions d’hygiène sont mauvaises. Les pluies actuelles risquent d’aggraver la situation en provoquant davantage de déplacements dus aux inondations et en augmentant les cas de diarrhée aqueuse et de paludisme.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#ethiope#tigre#sante#personnedeplacee#santementale#vulnerabilite#urgence#humanitaire#crise

  • Crimes sexuels. Au Tigré, le viol devient une #arme_de_guerre

    Depuis quatre mois, une #guerre se déroule à huis clos dans le nord de l’Éthiopie. Outre les combats et les pillages, de plus en plus de témoins font part de #viols_systématiques commis par les #soldats éthiopiens et érythréens. Lucy Kassa, est une des rares journalistes a avoir pu se rendre sur place, au prix de menaces. Dans le Los Angeles Times, elle rapporte l’horreur d’une sale guerre.

    Une jeune femme et sa sœur marchaient sur le bord d’une route déserte dans le nord de l’Éthiopie le mois dernier lorsque cinq hommes les ont forcées à monter dans un pick-up et les ont conduites jusqu’à un petit bâtiment au toit de métal. L’accent et l’uniforme de leurs ravisseurs ne laissaient aucun doute : c’était des soldats érythréens, ceux venus soutenir les troupes éthiopiennes dans les combats qui font rage depuis novembre dans la région du Tigré, à la frontière entre l’Éthiopie et l’Érythrée.

    Mehrawit, 27 ans, mère de deux enfants, a été séparée de sa sœur et enfermée dans une pièce où il n’y avait qu’un matelas fin et sale. Elle a été violée pendant deux semaines. Ses agresseurs lui ont cassé le bassin et la colonne vertébrale, la laissant recroquevillée sur le sol. Un jour, quinze soldats l’ont violée à tour de rôle pendant huit heures. Elle les a comptés. Elle hurlait de douleur, et eux riaient :

    Au bout d’un moment, je suis devenue complètement insensible, raconte-t-elle dans son lit de l’hôpital de Mekele, la capitale de la région du Tigré, quelques jours après avoir réussi à s’enfuir. Je voyais leur visage. Je les entendais rire. Mais je ne sentais plus la douleur.”

    Son récit est l’un des rares dont on dispose sur le conflit sanglant qui secoue le Tigré. Les organisations de défense des droits de l’homme ont tiré la sonnette d’alarme, disant que dans cette zone montagneuse, à l’abri du regard du monde, les soldats des troupes gouvernementales se livrent à des viols et à des agressions sexuelles sur les civils. Les Nations unies craignent l’imminence d’une catastrophe humanitaire dans cette région qui compte 6 millions d’habitants. Plus de 60 000 Tigréens ont rejoint les camps de réfugiés de l’autre côté de la frontière, au Soudan.

    (#paywall)

    https://www.courrierinternational.com/article/crimes-sexuels-au-tigre-le-viol-devient-une-arme-de-guerre

    #Tigré #Ethiopie #viol #viols #armée #soldats

  • Lettre d’un Tigréen à son pays en guerre

    Alors que la guerre se poursuit au Tigré, ce professeur d’université, originaire de la région, explique comment les divisions ethniques ont eu raison de son sentiment d’appartenance nationale.

    Dans les années 1980, quand j’étais enfant, à Asmara, ville alors éthiopienne [et actuelle capitale de l’Eythrée voisine], mes parents me demandaient souvent ce que je voudrais faire quand je serais grand. Invariablement, je leur répondais que je voulais être pilote de chasse ou général de l’armée de terre. La raison était simple : mon père était soldat dans l’armée éthiopienne sous le régime du Derg [régime socialiste autoritaire à la tête de l’Ethiopie à partir de 1974] et, moi aussi, je voulais tuer les « ennemis » de la nation.

    J’avais grandi en temps de guerre, le bruit des roquettes et des balles constituait la bande-son de ma vie et les médias d’Etat fournissaient le scénario. On m’a appris à voir le conflit de façon manichéenne, avec d’un côté les bons Ethiopiens patriotes et de l’autre les rebelles haineux. En 1991, dans les derniers jours du régime sanglant du Derg, je me revois en train de pleurer, tout en brandissant notre drapeau vert, jaune et rouge.

    Ce que je ne savais pas, c’est que parmi les « ennemis » combattus par mon père, il y avait des cousins à lui et les enfants de nos voisins. La #guerre_civile a rompu les liens sociaux et culturels qu’avaient tissés de nombreux groupes ethniques, dressant souvent les membres de mêmes familles les uns contre les autres. Mon père, de la région du Tigré, avait combattu des membres de sa propre ethnie appartenant au #Front_de_libération_du_peuple_du_Tigré (#TPLF). Pour ma famille, il ne faisait pas bon être à la fois tigréen et éthiopien. Parmi les partisans du régime du #Derg, on se méfiait de nous en raison de notre appartenance ethnique : on nous soupçonnait d’être des agents du TPLF. Parmi les Tigréens, nous étions perçus comme ayant trahi notre peuple en prenant parti pour le gouvernement. Comme des milliers d’autres familles, nous essuyions des insultes de différents camps.

    En 1991, le régime répressif du Derg a été vaincu et le TPLF a pris la tête de l’Ethiopie. Ma famille a quitté Asmara pour Addis Abeba [la capitale éthiopienne], où nous avons vécu dans un camp de réfugiés pendant dix ans.

    Durant les vingt-sept années qui ont suivi, la coalition menée par le TPLF a gouverné le pays. Elle a mis en oeuvre une sorte de #fédéralisme_ethnique qui a favorisé la #conscience_ethnique, au détriment de l’#identité panéthiopienne. Toutefois, avec le temps, la #résistance populaire à la domination tigréenne et à ses pratiques non démocratiques a fait tomber le régime, à la suite de manifestations monstres. En 2018, la coalition au pouvoir a choisi un nouveau dirigeant. #Abiy_Ahmed a promis lors de son investiture de promouvoir la paix, l’espoir et l’unité. Cela n’a pas duré longtemps. Le 4 novembre 2020, Abiy déclarait la guerre au Tigré.

    Le conflit a fait naître une conscience nouvelle de ce que signifie être Tigréen dans la société éthiopienne au sens large. Le gouvernement qualifie sa propre action d’" #opération_de_police " , et non de guerre contre le peuple du Tigré. Pourtant, c’est ainsi que la vivent beaucoup de gens. De nombreux Tigréens soutiennent le TPLF. En outre, dans le cadre de l’actuelle « opération de police » destinée à capturer les principaux dirigeants du parti, des milliers de citoyens lambda ont été tués ou déplacés. Entre-temps, de nombreux « non-Tigréens » ont salué la prise de #Mekele, la capitale du Tigré, et ont gardé le silence quand le gouvernement a empêché des convois d’aide de parvenir à leurs compatriotes. Le #fichage_ethnique et le #harcèlement des Tigréens s’accentuent.

    Devant l’émergence d’une #crise_humanitaire qui touche les Tigréens ordinaires, la volonté délibérée du gouvernement de refuser l’envoi d’aide, le #silence et le soutien de la majorité des Ethiopiens, sapent mon sentiment d’appartenance à l’Ethiopie. Pour moi, l’un des pires aspects de cette situation est que mon père, qui a toujours été fier d’être éthiopien, a une fois de plus été condamné à la souffrance et à l’isolement. Personnellement, il me paraît impossible d’être à la fois tigréen et éthiopien dans le contexte actuel. Le lien que je gardais avec l’Ethiopie semble définitivement rompu.

    https://www.courrierinternational.com/article/recit-lettre-dun-tigreen-son-pays-en-guerre

    #Tigré #guerre #lettre #Soudan

  • L’oublieuse mémoire coloniale italienne

    Commencée avant le fascisme, galvanisée par Mussolini, la colonisation par l’Italie de la Libye, de la Somalie et de l’Ethiopie fut marquée par de nombreuses atrocités,loin du mythe d’une occupation douce. Longtemps refoulés, ces souvenirs commencent à ressurgir

    Tout commence dans le centre de Rome, sur l’Esquilin, la plus haute des sept collines antiques. Plus précisément dans la cage d’escalier d’un immeuble sans ascenseur, situé à deux pas de la piazza Vittorio. Dans ce quartier à deux pas de la gare Termini, les prix de l’immobilier sont beaucoup plus modestes que dans le reste du centre, si bien que l’Esquilin est devenu, depuis une vingtaine d’années, un lieu de concentration de l’immigration africaine et asiatique, ce qui n’est pas sans provoquer des tensions le squat, occupé depuis 2003 par les militants néofascistes de CasaPound, est juste à côté.

    C’est donc là, en rentrant chez elle, épuisée, dans la touffeur d’une après-midi de fin d’été 2010, qu’Ilaria Profeti se retrouve nez à nez avec un jeune homme arrivé d’Ethiopie par la route des migrants. Dans un italien presque sans accent, celui-ci lui assure, documents à l’appui, qu’il est le petit-fils de son père, Attilio, un homme de 95 ans qui est resté, sa longue vie durant, plus que discret sur ses jeunes années de « chemise noire » fasciste, en Abyssinie.

    Levons toute ambiguïté : la scène qui vient d’être décrite est tout à fait vraisemblable, mais elle est issue d’une oeuvre de fiction. Il s’agit en réalité des premières pages d’un roman, le superbe Tous, sauf moi (Sangue giusto), de Francesca Melandri (Gallimard, 2019), qui dépeint avec une infinie subtilité les angles morts de la mémoire coloniale italienne. Le fil conducteur de la narration est le parcours sinueux d’un vieil homme dont le destin finalement assez ordinaire a valeur d’archétype.

    Issu d’un milieu plutôt modeste, Attilio Profeti a su construire à sa famille une position plutôt enviable, en traversant le mieux possible les différents mouvements du XXe siècle. Fasciste durant sa jeunesse, comme l’immense majorité des Italiens de son âge, il est parti pour l’Ethiopie, au nom de la grandeur impériale. Après la chute de Mussolini et la fin de la guerre, il parviendra aisément à se faire une place au soleil dans l’Italie du miracle économique, jouant de son physique avantageux et de ses amitiés haut placées, et enfouissant au plus profond de sa mémoire le moindre souvenir de ses années africaines, les viols, les massacres, les attaques chimiques. C’est ce passé, refoulé avec une certaine désinvolture, qui revient hanter ses enfants, trois quarts de siècle plus tard, sous les traits d’un jeune homme d’une vingtaine d’années, arrivé à Rome après une interminable traversée.

    Comme l’héroïne de Tous, sauf moi, Francesca Melandri vit sur l’Esquilin, au dernier étage d’un immeuble à la population mélangée. Et à l’image d’Ilaria, c’est sur le tard qu’elle a découvert ce pan escamoté de l’histoire italienne. « Quand j’étais à l’école, on ne parlait pas du tout de ce sujet-là, confie-t-elle depuis sa terrasse dominant les toits de la ville. Aujourd’hui ça a changé, il y a eu une prise de conscience, et de nombreux travaux universitaires. Pourtant cette histoire n’est jamais rappelée par les médias. Lorsqu’on parle du dernier attentat à la bombe à Mogadiscio, qui se souvient des liens entre Italie et Somalie ? Quand des bateaux remplis de migrants érythréens sont secourus ou coulent avant d’être sauvés, qui rappelle que l’Erythrée, nous l’appelions "l’aînée des colonies" ? »

    Le plus étrange est qu’à Rome, les traces du passé colonial sont légion, sans que personne n’ait jamais pensé à les effacer. Des stèles près desquelles personne ne s’arrête, des bâtiments anonymes, des noms de rue... rien de tout cela n’est explicité, mais tout est à portée de main.

    Comprendre les raisons de cette occultation impose de revenir sur les conditions dans lesquelles l’ « Empire » italien s’est formé. Création récente et n’ayant achevé son unité qu’en 1870, alors que la plus grande partie du monde était déjà partagée en zones d’influence, le royaume d’Italie s’est lancé avec du retard dans la « course » coloniale. De plus, il ne disposait pas, comme l’Allemagne qui s’engage dans le mouvement à la même époque, d’une puissance industrielle et militaire susceptible d’appuyer ses prétentions.

    Visées impérialistes

    Malgré ces obstacles, l’entreprise coloniale est considérée par de nombreux responsables politiques comme une nécessité absolue, à même d’assurer une fois pour toutes à l’Italie un statut de grande puissance, tout en achevant le processus d’unification du pays nombre des principaux avocats de la colonisation viennent de la partie méridionale du pays. Les visées impérialistes se dirigent vers deux espaces différents, où la carte n’est pas encore tout à fait figée : la Méditerranée, qui faisait figure de champ naturel d’épanouissement de l’italianité, et la Corne de l’Afrique, plus lointaine et plus exotique.

    En Afrique du Nord, elle se heurta vite à l’influence française, déjà solidement établie en Algérie. Ses prétentions sur la Tunisie, fondées sur la proximité de la Sicile et la présence sur place d’une importante communauté italienne, n’empêcheront pas l’établissement d’un protectorat français, en 1881. Placé devant le fait accompli, le jeune royaume d’Italie considérera l’initiative française comme un véritable acte de guerre, et la décennie suivante sera marquée par une profonde hostilité entre Paris et Rome, qui poussera le royaume d’Italie à s’allier avec les grands empires centraux d’Allemagne et d’Autriche-Hongrie plutôt qu’avec sa « soeur latine .

    Sur les bords de la mer Rouge, en revanche, la concurrence est plus faible. La première tête de pont remonte à 1869, avec l’acquisition de la baie d’Assab (dans l’actuelle Erythrée) par un armateur privé, pour le compte de la couronne d’Italie. Cette présence s’accentue au cours des années 1880, à mesure du recul de l’influence égyptienne dans la zone. En 1889, est fondée la colonie d’Erythrée, tandis que se structure au même moment la Somalie italienne. Mais l’objectif ultime des Italiens est la conquête du my thique royaume d’Abyssinie, qui s’avère plus difficile que prévu.

    En 1887, à Dogali, plusieurs centaines de soldats italiens meurent dans une embuscade menée par un chef abyssin, le ras Alula Engida. Cette défaite marque les esprits, mais ce n’est rien à côté de la déconfiture des forces italiennes lors de la bataille d’Adoua, le 1er mars 1896, qui porte un coup d’arrêt durable aux tentatives italiennes de conquête.

    Seul pays africain indépendant (avec le Liberia), l’Ethiopie peut désormais se targuer de devoir sa liberté à une victoire militaire. Le négus Menelik II y gagne un prestige considérable. Côté italien, en revanche, cette défaite est un électrochoc. Ressentie comme une honte nationale, la déroute des troupes italiennes entraîne la chute du gouvernement Crispi et freine durablement l’im périalisme italien.

    Adoua est un tournant. L’historien et ancien sénateur de gauche Miguel Gotor est l’auteur d’une remarquable synthèse sur le XXe siècle italien, L’Italia nel Novecento. Dalla sconfitta di Adua alla vittoria di Amazon (« L’Italie du XIXe siècle. De la défaite d’Adoua à la victoire d’Amazon » Einaudi, 2019, non traduit). Pour lui, c’est là-bas, sur les hauteurs de la région du Tigré, par cette humiliation retentissante, que le XXe siècle italien a commencé.

    L’aventure coloniale italienne s’est ouverte de façon peu concluante, mais l’aspiration à l’empire n’a pas disparu. La décomposition de l’Empire ottoman offrira à Rome une occasion en or, en lui permettant, en 1911-1912, de s’implanter solidement en Cyrénaïque et en Tripolitaine. « Souvent la conquête de ce qui allait devenir la Libye est évacuée un peu vite, mais c’est un moment très important. Pour l’armée italienne, c’est une répétition, un peu comme a pu l’être la guerre d’Espagne, juste avant la seconde guerre mondiale », souligne Miguel Gotor. Ainsi, le 1er novembre 1911, un aviateur italien lâche quatre grenades sur des soldats ottomans, réalisant ainsi le premier bombardement aérien de l’histoire mondiale.

    « La conquête des côtes d’Afrique du Nord est importante, certes, mais la Libye est juste en face de la Sicile, au fond c’est du "colonialisme frontalier". La colonie au sens le plus "pur", celle qui symboliserait le mieux l’idée d’empire, ça reste l’Abyssinie », souligne Miguel Gotor. Aussi les milieux nationalistes italiens, frustrés de ne pas avoir obtenu l’ensemble de leurs revendications territoriales au sortir de la première guerre mondiale, continueront à nourrir le rêve de venger l’humiliation d’Adoua.

    Le fascisme naissant ne se privera pas d’y faire référence, et d’entretenir le souvenir : les responsables locaux du parti se feront appeler « ras », comme les chefs éthiopiens. A partir de la fin des années 1920, une fois le pouvoir de Mussolini solidement établi, les prétentions coloniales deviendront un leitmotiv des discours officiels.

    Aussi la guerre de conquête déclenchée contre l’Ethiopie en 1935 est-elle massi vement soutenue. L’effort est considérable : plus de 500 000 hommes sont mobilisés. Face à un tel adversaire, le négus Haïlé Sélassié ne peut résister frontalement. Le 5 mai 1936, les soldats italiens entrent dans la capitale, Addis-Abeba, et hissent le drapeau tricolore. Quatre jours plus tard, à la nuit tombée, depuis le balcon du Palazzo Venezia, en plein coeur de Rome, Mussolini proclame « la réapparition de l’Empire sur les collines fatales de Rome » devant une foule de plusieurs centaines de milliers de personnes.

    « C’est bien simple, à ce moment-là, en Italie, il est à peu près impossible d’être anti fasciste », résume Miguel Gotor. Dans la foulée de ce succès, le roi Victor-Emmanuel III est proclamé empereur d’Ethiopie ; Benito Mussolini peut désormais se targuer d’avoir bâti un empire. La faillite d’Adoua avait été causée par un régime parle mentaire inefficace et désorganisé ? La victoire de 1936 est due, elle, aux vertus d’une Italie rajeunie et revigorée par le fascisme. La machine de propagande tourne à plein régime, l’assentiment populaire est à son sommet. « Ce moment-là est une sorte d’apogée, et à partir de là, la situation du pays se dégrade, analyse Miguel Gotor. Ar rivent les lois raciales, l’entrée en guerre... tout est réuni pour nourrir une certaine nostalgie de l’épopée éthiopienne. »

    Mécanisme de refoulement

    Le rêve impérial sera bref : il ne survivra pas à la défaite militaire et à la chute du fascisme. L’Ethiopie est perdue en 1941, la Libye quelques mois plus tard... Le traité de Paris, conclu en 1947, met officiellement un terme à une colonisation qui, dans les faits, avait déjà cessé d’exister depuis plusieurs années. Tandis que l’Ethiopie indépendante récupère l’Erythrée, la Libye est placée sous la tutelle de la France et du Royaume-Uni. Rome gardera seulement une vague tutelle sur la Somalie, de 1949 à 1960.

    Le projet d’empire colonial en Méditerranée et en Afrique, qui fut un des ciments de l’assentiment des Italiens à Mussolini, devient associé pour la plupart des Italiens au régime fasciste. L’un et l’autre feront l’objet du même mécanisme de refoulement dans l’Italie de l’après-guerre. Les dirigeants de l’Italie républicaine font rapidement le choix de tourner la page, et ce choix est l’objet d’un profond consensus qui couvre tout le spectre politique (le premier décret d’amnistie des condamnations de l’après-guerre remonte à 1946, et il porte le nom du dirigeant historique du Parti communiste italien Palmiro Togliatti). Les scènes de liesse de la Piazza Venezia ne seront plus évoquées, et avec elles les faces les plus sombres de l’aventure coloniale. Même la gauche transalpine, qui prendra fait et cause pour les mouvements anticoloniaux africains (notamment le FLN algérien) n’insistera jamais sur le versant italien de cette histoire.

    « Cela n’est pas étonnant, la mémoire est un phénomène sélectif, et on choisit toujours, consciemment ou non, ce qu’on va dire à ses enfants ou ses petits-enfants », remarque le jeune historien Olindo De Napoli (université de Naples-Frédéric-II), spécialiste de la période coloniale. « Durant l’immédiat après-guerre, ce sont les témoins qui parlent, ce sont eux qui publient », remarque l’his torien. Ainsi de la collection d’ouvrages L’Italia in Africa éditée sous l’égide du ministère des affaires étrangères, emblématique de la période. « Ces volumes sont passionnants, mais il y a certains oublis, qui vont vite poser des problèmes. »

    Parmi ces « oublis », la question la plus centrale, qui fera le plus couler d’encre, est celle des massacres de civils et de l’usage de gaz de combat, malgré leur interdiction par les conventions de Genève, lors de la guerre d’Ethiopie. Dans les années 1960, les études pionnières d’Angelo Del Boca et Giorgio Rochat mettront en lumière, documents officiels à la clé, ce pan occulté de la guerre de 1935-1936. Ils se heurteront à l’hostilité générale des milieux conservateurs.

    Un homme prendra la tête du mouvement de contestation des travaux de Del Bocaet Rochat : c’est Indro Montanelli (1909-2001), considéré dans les années 1960 comme le journaliste le plus important de sa géné ration. Plume du Corriere della Sera (qu’il quittera pour fonder Il Giornale en 1974), écrivain d’essais historiques à l’immense succès, Montanelli était une figure tutélaire pour toute la droite libérale.

    Comme tant d’autres, il avait été un fasciste convaincu, qui s’était porté volontaire pour l’Ethiopie, et il n’a pris ses distances avec Mussolini qu’en 1943, alors que la défaite était apparue comme certaine. Ra contant « sa » guerre à la tête d’une troupe de soldats indigènes, Montanelli la décrit comme « de longues et belles vacances », et qualifie à plusieurs reprises d’ « anti-Italiens » ceux qui font état de massacres de civils et d’usage de gaz de combat. La polémique durera des années, et le journaliste sera bien obligé d’admettre, à la fin de sa vie, que les atrocités décrites par Rochat et Del Bocaavaient bien eu lieu, et avaient même été expressément ordonnées par le Duce.

    A sa manière, Montanelli incarne parfaitement la rhétorique du « bon Italien » (« Italia brava gente »), qui sera, pour toute une génération, une façon de disculper l’homme de la rue de toute forme de culpabilité collective face au fascisme. Selon ce schéma, contrairement à son allié allemand, le soldat italien ne perd pas son humanité en endossant l’uniforme, et il est incapable d’actes de barbarie. Ce discours atténuant la dureté du régime s’étend jusqu’à la personne de Mussolini, dépeint sous les traits d’un chef un peu rude mais bienveillant, dont le principal tort aura été de s’allier avec les nazis.

    Ce discours trouve dans l’aventure coloniale un terrain particulièrement favorable. « Au fond, on a laissé s’installer l’idée d’une sorte de colonisation débonnaire, analyse Olindo De Napoli, et ce genre de représentation laisse des traces. Pourtant la colonisation italienne a été extrêmement brutale, avant même le fascisme. En Ethiopie, l’armée italienne a utilisé des soldats libyens chargés des basses oeuvres, on a dressé des Africains contre d’autres Africains. Et il ne faut pas oublier non plus que les premières lois raciales, préfigurant celles qui seront appliquées en 1938 en Italie, ont été écrites pour l’Ethiopie... Il ne s’agit pas de faire en sorte que des enfants de 16 ans se sentent coupables de ce qu’ont fait leurs arrière-grands-pères, il est seulement question de vérité historique. »

    Désinvolture déconcertante

    Malgré les acquis de la recherche, pour le grand public, la colonisation italienne reste souvent vue comme une occupation « douce », par un peuple de jeunes travailleurs prolétaires, moins racistes que les Anglais, qui se mélangeaient volontiers avec les populations locales, jusqu’à fonder des familles. L’archétype du colon italien tombant amoureux de la belle Abyssine, entretenu par les mémoires familiales, a lui aussi mal vieilli. Là encore, le parcours d’Indro Montanelli est plus qu’éclairant. Car aujourd’hui, si sa défense de l’armée italienne apparaît comme parfaitement discréditée, ce n’est plus, le concernant, cet aspect de sa vie qui fait scandale.

    En effet, on peut facilement trouver, sur Internet, plusieurs extraits d’entretiens télévisés remontant aux années 1970 et 1980, dans lesquelles le journaliste raconte avec une désinvolture déconcertante comment, en Ethiopie, il a « acheté régulièrement » à son père, pour 350 lires, une jeune fille de 12 ans pour en faire sa femme à plusieurs reprises, il la qualifie même de « petit animal docile », devant un auditoire silencieux et appliqué.

    Célébré comme une gloire nationale de son vivant, Indro Montanelli a eu l’honneur, à sa mort et malgré ces déclarations sulfureuses, de se voir dédié à Milan un jardin public, au milieu duquel trône une statue de lui. Au printemps 2019, cette statue a été recouverte d’un vernis de couleur rose par un collectif féministe, pour rappeler cet épisode, et en juin 2020, la statue a de nouveau été recouverte de peinture rouge, en lointain écho au mouvement Black Lives Matter (« les vies noires comptent ») venu des Etats-Unis.

    Indro Montanelli mérite-t-il une statue dans l’Italie de 2021 ? La question a agité les journaux italiens plusieurs jours, au début de l’été, avant que la polémique ne s’éteigne d’elle-même. Pour fondée qu’elle soit, la question semble presque dérisoire eu égard au nombre de témoignages du passé colonial, rarement explicités, qui subsistent un peu partout dans le pays.

    Cette situation n’est nulle part plus visible qu’à Rome, que Mussolini rêvait en capitale d’un empire africain. L’écrivaine italienne Igiaba Scego, née en 1974 de parents réfugiés somaliens, y a dédié un passionnant ouvrage, illustré par les photographies de Rino Bianchi (Roma negata, Ediesse, réédition 2020, non traduit).

    Passant par la stèle laissée à l’abandon de la piazza dei Cinquecento, face à la gare Termini, dont la plupart des Romains ignorent qu’elle a été baptisée ainsi en mémoire des 500 victimes italiennes de l’embuscade de Dogali, ou l’ancien cinéma Impero, aujourd’hui désaffecté, afin d’y évoquer l’architecture Art déco qui valut à la capitale érythréenne, Asmara, d’être classée au patrimoine de l’Unesco, la romancière fait une station prolongée devant le siège romain de la FAO (l’Organisation des Nations unies pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture), construit pour abriter le siège du puissant ministère de l’Afrique italienne.

    Devant ce bâtiment tout entier dédié à l’entreprise coloniale, Benito Mussolini avait fait ériger en 1937 un obélisque haut de 24 mètres et vieux d’environ seize siècles, ramassé sur site d’Axoum, en Ethiopie. Il s’agissait, rappelle Igiaba Scego, de faire de ce lieu « le centre de la liturgie impériale .

    La république née sur les ruines du fascisme s’était engagée à restituer cette prise de guerre à la suite des traités de 1947, mais après d’innombrables vicissitudes, le monument est resté en place jusqu’en 2003, où le gouvernement Berlusconi choisit de le démonter en trois morceaux avant de le renvoyer à Axoum, à ses frais.

    En 2009, la mairie de Rome a fait installer sur la même place, à deux pas de cet espace vide, une stèle commémorative afin « de ne pas oublier le passé . Mais curieusement, celle-ci a été dédiée... à la mémoire des attentats du 11-Septembre. Comme s’il fallait enfouir le plus profondément possible ce souvenir du rêve impérial et de la défaite, la ville a choisi de faire de ce lieu le symbole d’une autre tragédie. « Pourquoi remuer ces his toires horribles ? Pensons plutôt aux tragédies des autres. Le 11-Septembre était parfait », note, sarcastique, Igiaba Scego.

    A une quinzaine de kilomètres de là, dans le décor grandiose et écrasant du Musée de la civilisation romaine, en plein centre de ce quartier de l’EUR où la mémoire du fascisme est omniprésente, l’ethno-anthropologue Gaia Delpino est confrontée à un autre chantier sensible, où s’entrechoquent les mémoires. Depuis 2017, elle travaille à fusionner en un même lieu les collections du vieux musée ethnologique de Rome (Musée Pigorini) et du sulfureux Musée colonial inauguré en 1923, dont les collections dormaient dans des caisses depuis un demi-siècle.

    D’une fascinante complexité

    Lorsqu’on lui parle de l’odyssée de l’obélisque d’Axoum, elle nous arrête tout de suite : « C’est bien simple : ce qui a été réalisé là-bas, c’est exactement l’inverse de ce qu’on veut faire. » Restituer ces collections dans leur contexte historique tout en articulant un message pour l’Italie d’aujourd’hui, permettre à toutes les narrations et à toutes les représentations de s’exprimer dans leur diversité... L’entreprise est d’une fascinante complexité.

    « Les collections du MuséePigorini ont vieilli bien sûr, comme tous ces musées ethnographiques du XIXe siècle qui véhiculaient l’idée d’une supériorité de la civilisation occidentale. Le Musée colonial, lui, pose d’autres problèmes, plus singuliers. Il n’a jamais été pensé comme autre chose qu’un moyen de propagande, montrant à la fois les ressources coloniales et tout ce qu’on pourrait en tirer. Les objets qui constituent les collections n’ont pas vu leur origine enregistrée, et on a mis l’accent sur la quantité plus que sur la qualité des pièces », expliqueGaia Delpino.

    Sur des centaines de mètres de rayonnages, on croise pêle-mêle des maquettes de navires, des chaussures, des outils et des objets liturgiques... L’accumulation donne le vertige. « Et ce n’est pas fini, nous recevons tous les jours des appels de personnes qui veulent offrir des objets ayant appartenu à leur père ou à leur grand-père, qu’ils veulent nous confier comme une réparation ou pour faire un peu de place », admet l’anthropologue dans un sourire.

    Alors que le travail des historiens peine à se diffuser dans le grand public, où les représentations caricaturales du système colonial, parfois instrumentalisées par la politique, n’ont pas disparu, le futur musée, dont la date d’ouverture reste incertaine pour cause de pandémie, risque d’être investi d’un rôle crucial, d’autant qu’il s’adressera en premier lieu à un public scolaire. « Ce qu’il ne faut pas oublier, c’est que parallèlement à ce difficile travail de mémoire, la population change. Aujourd’hui, dans nos écoles, il y a aussi des descendants de victimes de la colonisation, italienne ou autre. Nous devons aussi penser à eux », précise Gaia Delpino.

    Retournons maintenant au centre de Rome. En 2022, à mi-chemin du Colisée et de la basilique Saint-Jean-de-Latran, une nouvelle station de métro doit ouvrir, dans le cadre du prolongement de la ligne C. Depuis le début du projet, il était prévu que celle-ci soit baptisée « Amba Aradam », du nom de la large artère qui en accueillera l’entrée, appelée ainsi en souvenir de la plus éclatante des victoires italiennes en Ethiopie.

    Ce nom était-il opportun, alors que les historiens ont établi que cette victoire écrasante de l’armée fasciste avait été obtenue au prix de 10 000 à 20 000 morts, dont de nombreux civils, et que les troupes italiennes avaient obtenu la victoire en faisant usage d’ypérite (gaz moutarde), interdit par les conventions de Genève ? Le 1er août 2020, la mairie a finalement fait savoir que la station serait dédiée à la mémoire de Giorgio Marincola.

    Pour le journaliste Massimiliano Coccia, qui a lancé cette proposition avec le soutien de collectifs se réclamant du mouvement Black Lives Matter, « revenir sur notre passé, ce n’est pas détruire ou incendier, mais enrichir historiquement notre cité . Et on peut choisir de célébrer la mémoire d’un résistant italo-somalien tué par les nazis plutôt que celle d’une des pages les plus sombres de l’histoire coloniale italienne.

    https://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2021/02/05/libye-somalie-ethiopie-l-oublieuse-memoire-coloniale-italienne_6068846_3232.

    #Italie #colonialisme #colonisation #Mussolini #fascisme #Libye #Somalie #Ethiopie #atrocités #occupation_douce #mémoire #mémoire_coloniale #occultation #impérialisme #Corne_de_l'Afrique #baie_d'Assab #royaume_d'Abyssinie #Alula_Engida #bataille_d'Adoua #Menelik_II #Crispi #Adoua #Tigré #Cyrénaïque #Tripolitaine #colonialisme_frontalier #Abyssinie #Haïlé_Sélassié #propagande #traité_de_Paris #refoulement #mémoire #massacres #gaz #Indro_Montanelli #gaz_de_combat #bon_Italien #Italia_brava_gente #barbarie #humanité #lois_raciales #vérité_historique #culpabilité #viol #culture_du_viol #passé_colonial #Igiaba_Scego #monuments #toponymie #toponymie_politique #Axoum #stèle #Musée_Pigorini #musée #Musée_colonial #Amba_Aradam #ypérite #gaz_moutarde #armes_chimiques #Giorgio_Marincola #Black_Lives_Matter

    L’article parle notamment du #livre de #Francesca_Melandri, « #sangue_giusto » (traduit en français par « Tous, sauf moi »
    https://seenthis.net/messages/883118

    ajouté à la métaliste sur le #colonialisme_italien :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/871953

    ping @cede