30 May 2021

Ethiopia: The Ethiopian government having come under big pressure internationally because of the Tigray crisis, an anti-US rally has mobilised more than 10,000 in Addis Ababa. It had been organised by the Ethiopian Youth Ministry. The mayor of Addis Ababa, one of the main speakers, was heard saying: "We will never kneel down. The preconditions and travel restrictions by the US and its allies are completely unacceptable.” Similar rallies were held in other cities, e.g. Diredawa, Harar and Gambella.

Nigeria: An unknown number of students have been kidnapped from an Islamic school in the town of Tegina in Niger State in western Nigeria today Sunday. According to a teacher, 150 are missing, others think the figure is around 200. Gunmen on motorcycles had stormed the town, firing indiscriminately. While people fled, they seized the students aged 6 to 18. 2 people were shot during the attack and 1 has since died. “There have been at least six kidnappings of students in north-west and central Nigeria since December (…) and more than 800 students and staff have been abducted.”

29 May 2021

Ethiopia: What held for Darfur, that “the debate over whether the atrocities were or weren't genocide became a distraction from dealing with what actually could be done to stop the atrocities”, could now well hold for Tigray too. This truly excellent BBC article written by Alex de Waal starts out with defining genocide including a brief overview over the term’s history. And then it turns to alternative terms (ethnic cleansing, atrocity crimes, starvation crimes), because one of the problems with “genocide” is that it takes a very long time to establish whether/that it has taken place (with Mengistu, it took 40 years).
As for the alternative terms, note that Rafael Lemkin, a Polish lawyer of Jewish descent who invented the term genocide in 1943/44, “was particularly concerned with food deprivation as a tool of genocide. In his book Axis Rule he devoted more space and attention to Nazi policies of limiting food rations to starvation levels than to gas chambers and killing squads.”