The Tigray War in Context: A Report by the Horn of Africa Pan Africans for Liberation and Solidarity

June 24, 2021

The Ongoing War in Tigray, Ethiopia

Our stance  

Horn of Africa Pan Africans for Liberation and Solidarity condemn all military violence and killings perpetrated on civilians in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, as well as the sexual violence, displacement, theft, discrimination, harassment, and intimidation of all Tigrayans who have been adversely impacted by the ongoing conflict and crises. We also reject the sweeping violence and killings targeting non-Tigrayans in Ethiopia, including Amharas, Oromos, Eritrean refugees in Tigray, as well as Eritreans in Eritrea. We are against any and all animosity, violence and hostility rooted in ethnic, religious, gender, political, regional or national identity, namely between Tigrayans, Amharas and Oromos. We unequivocally support and uplift mutual cooperation, solidarity, and peace among all parties and people in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the broader Horn of Africa region. 

We have identified the following, nonexhaustive contradictions in the ongoing crisis that are of note:

  • Primary: 
    • Global capitalist hegemony and western imperialism maintaining its stronghold in the region [by way of its proxy actor, the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, and/or Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed via western admonition], and the fight for the right of self-determination of Horn of Africa/Global South states, including the right to shift geopolitical alliances
  • Secondary: 
    • The Northern Ethiopian regions and their ruling classes, [comprised of ethnic Tigrayans and Amharas] who have historically reaped the benefits of concentrated state power and the state-sanctioned exploitation and subjugation of ethnic groups in the Southern Ethiopia regions [Oromia and Ogaden, among others]
    • Poor and working-class peoples of Ethiopia [largely residing in rural areas] and elite/ruling class party leaders and regional factions [largely residing in urban cities and centers] contending for state political power

Central to the ongoing war in Tigray, Ethiopia between the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF), the Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF), and other internal and external actors, is the competition for social, political, and economic control of Ethiopia and the broader Horn of Africa region. Our aim in providing historical context to the events leading up to the conflict is to illuminate what is grounding our assessment of the primary and secondary contradictions at play, the global hegemonic economic interests at stake, and how to remain steadfast in our commitment against exacerbating the conflict via foreign “humanitarian” intervention.