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(en) meydan1: Anarchists of the Horn of Africa Call for International Solidarity Against the Tigray Genocide

Date Tue, 11 May 2021 09:52:17 +0300

We share with you the solidarity and direct action made by the Anarchists of the Horn of Africa Region against the genocide of the Ethiopian state against the people of Tigray for centuries and the exploitation of Tigray people through the Starbucks company. ---- From the Anarchists of the Horn of Africa, ---- Sexual Assault, Massacre, Genocide ... ---- Since November, troops and allied forces of the Ethiopian state have committed a genocide in the Tigray area. The state was bombing and murdering thousands of people, and its soldiers systematically raped them. Food aid was destroyed and people in the region were put to starvation. Refugees were prevented from escaping. The region's communication and assistance with the outside has been completely cut off.
A man from Tigrai is holding a small portable radio, trying to hear the news despite the information pollution.
Outside of the region, the people of Tigray are subject to violence and discrimination because of their ethnic identity. Their passports were revoked and they lost their jobs. Social media is full of propaganda indispensable for genocidal states: the public hate propaganda is provided by a lot of unquestioning supporters and fake information networks.

In response to the calls of Tigrais and other groups suffering from pressure and violence from the Ethiopian state, an attempt is made to create a decentralized and global effort against genocide. This means true solidarity across nations and borders.

At the same time, we must eliminate the financial means used by the Ethiopian state for this genocide. One way is to reduce revenues from coffee , the state's largest source of foreign exchange and direct financing . The biggest buyer of this coffee is Starbucks. The company regularly trades with the Ethiopian state, which has filled millions in its treasury by directly controlling the trademark license and the market. Those in solidarity around the world against genocide should take action to cut this flow.

An Imperial History

The Tigray people are not the first to experience violence and oppression from the Ethiopian Empire. The borders of the modern Ethiopian state encompass many indigenous peoples. Thousands of years of centralized state formations have been problematic, since the oppressor majority of the empire sought to further impose their own culture. The Ethiopian Empire, which most resisted the colonial attacks of European states in the 19th and 20th centuries, was also the same empire ruled by the ethnic Amhar elites.

The last emperor, Haile Selassie, made attempts to brutally impose an Ethiopian nationalism based on the Amhar culture. After his abdication in the 1970s, these policies continued and reached even more terrible proportions under the leadership of the Marxist-Leninist Magazine, which came to power with a military coup.

Magazine government officials in official uniforms.
The Coalition for National Liberation led parties and military structures in Tigray, Eritra, Oromia and other regions to unite, overthrew the Derg government in 1991 and established a system of "ethnic federalism".

Nine federated states were established on the basis of ethnic autonomy. But some degree of "equality" between ethnic groups did not resolve ethnic conflicts. The fact that the dispersed and overlapping geography of the different groups could not be represented, the fact that numerous groups were too few to have their own territories fueled the fire. Ethnic conflicts have become very intertwined with political discussions.

The Oromos, Ethiopia's largest ethnic group, have been subjected to systematic discrimination for centuries. An Oromo-based party that had joined with other parties and military structures to overthrow Derg was early pushed out of the new ruling coalition. Despite some new autonomy in the ethnic federalist system, discrimination is still widespread, and as recently as last year, massive actions were met with brutal reprisals. Many politicized Oromo troops argue for overthrowing the Ethiopian Empire.

An Oromo woman adorned with traditional dresses.
Recently, a new governing coalition has been formed with the withdrawal of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), the largest political party in Tigray. The remainder of the previous coalition united to form the new Welfare Party, led by Abiy Ahmed. The current government is trying to eliminate "ethnic federalism" in order to create a centralized state that elevates the "Ethiopian" identity. Strong ethnic-based political parties are a major obstacle to this goal. In the eyes of the media and the war machine, which were in total war with both the TPLF and the people of Tigray to keep its victory on its political agenda, Abriy's government has identified the entire people of Tigray with the TPLF party.

Abiy's building of a nationalist foothold at home was completed by efforts to preserve support from abroad. Ironically, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for ending centuries of conflict with the totalitarian government of neighboring Eritra. The violent resistance subsided in the period following the overthrow of Derg since Eritra left Ethiopia. The presence of Armenian political immigrants in Tigray and the ongoing rage of the previous war made Abiy's peace partners ideal collaborators for the genocide. Eritra ground forces are responsible for some horrible massacres, pillaging and destruction of villages.

Coffee is Growing the Empire

Every empire-building project in Ethiopia today needs a firm nationalist foundation. Yet in its modern global system, Ethiopia's empire is a small and sometimes exploited player. The project requires extensive foreign capital and support. Drones bombing cities, bullets digging mass graves, the media infrastructure needed to launder all these. All this requires money.

Some of this money could come as foreign aid, or as a loan that global capitalist institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are currently trying to approve. For the Ethiopian state, most of their money comes from exports though. The export of the Ethiopian king is a product of his own: coffee. One billion US dollars, or 30% of the country's total exports, were sent to eighty different countries around the world through coffee exports.

The central state has a heavy, lucrative hand in trade. He manages the trade exchange. It conducts direct diplomacy and bargaining with large buyers. The Ethiopian state even holds some international brands with the remarkable name of Ethiopian coffee. Companies that sell specialty coffee using these names have to pay a usage fee to the government.

Maintaining this funding pipe is very important for the functioning of the Ethiopian state.

Move on

Those struggling against the ongoing genocide in Tigray called for a boycott of Ethiopian coffee to reduce Abiy Ahmed's war treasure. Globally the largest and most visible buyer is Starbucks. The company buys millions of US dollars worth of Ethiopian coffee each year, with only a tiny fraction going directly to farmers. As the genocide continues, this money feeds on the massacre.

We are calling for a week of global action against Starbucks to stop its purchase of Ethiopian coffee while the military occupation in Tigray continues.

High School Anarchist Activity (LAF) published the Turkish translation of the video prepared by the call of the "Horn of Africa Anarchists" .

From May 1st to May 7th , we encourage solidarity in the form of various tactics from our comrades around the world.

What can you do to take direct action against Starbucks and spread the call to stop the genocide?

Gather your friends to hang banners, wheat paste (glue), graffiti, and / or banners.
Keep the strike line of the shops, maybe you can organize with the workers.
Try to organize autonomous actions to a large local walk or nightly Starbucks store.
Is there an Ethiopian or Eritra embassy or consulate in your city of residence? Think about what you can include in your action.
If you live in an area with Tigray, Oromo and other diaspora communities, please get in touch. Many metropolitan cities have a local social center that takes action against the existing government. Frequently research these actions on social media and participate in solidarity.

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