October 6, 2021
President Joseph R. Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
I am a Catholic Clergyman, a naturalized citizen of the United States who was born in Tigray (specifically in the Eritrea-Ethiopia contested Irobland area) in the northeastern part of the Tigray Regional State of Ethiopia. I am breaking my silence by writing this letter in response to the group of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Archbishops from North America (USA who have been recently campaigning in Washington, D.C., in support of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed Ali; Abiy Ahmed declared and has been carrying out a genocidal war and ethnic cleansing against the Tigray Regional State and its people since November 2020. I am compelled to write this open letter of urgent reminder to you, the President of the United States because I have been deeply troubled and affected like Tigrayans everywhere by the atrocities and genocidal war that has been going on against my people in Tigray. The people include the voiceless minority people of Irob residing in the northeastern Tigray of whom I am a descendant.
Sadly, all of the religious leaders in Ethiopia, as well as the Diaspora, have directly and openly been supporting the massacres of the Tigrayan people in the name of “law enforcement”—the term the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and his Prosperity Party have been calling this genocidal war. The Prime Minister has shrewdly been successful in manipulating all of Ethiopia’s religious groups for his own political ambitions. It is extremely sad and a betrayal against their religious roles and responsibilities for religious leaders to support politicians who are involved in morally reprehensible genocidal massacres and ethnic cleansing against ethnic minority groups in Ethiopia, including Tigrayans, based on ethnic hatred and prejudices.
The religious leaders who have been campaigning in support of the Prime Minister are supporting a government that has publicly committed itself to exterminate the Tigrayan people labeling them terrorists and enemies of Ethiopia. These so-called religious leaders, archbishops, and bishops who betray their religious role of peacemaker are spiritually mandated to lead their followers to salvation through the observation of their Judeo-Christian values. Instead, they are desecrating God’s Ten Commandments summarized by “love of God and love of your neighbors,” including your enemies.
As an American citizen and a Catholic clergyman, I am compelled to speak out in solidarity with my own people of Tigray who are being subjected to persecution, massacres, rapes, displacement, imprisonment, and ethnically profiling, along with a politically planned mass starvation as a weapon of war. These are all forms of a wickedly designed genocidal ethnic extermination campaign of the people of Tigray. The so-called religious leaders in such high positions should have been the first to condemn such genocidal evil that is taking place through a full-fledged war with highly sophisticated modern weapons, such as drones and the latest artillery. Instead, they are campaigning in support of hate-filled politicians and intellectuals who are misleading the diverse Ethiopian people to support ethnic hatred in a holocaust similar to that of the Jewish people in Nazi Germany and the 1994 Tutsi people in Rwanda.
These religious leaders have totally forgotten their obligation to serve God’s Kingdom of love, peace, and justice in order to serve Cesar’s earthly kingdom of political power. If they are true religious leaders, they should have known that their role is to be peacemakers, not hate or warmongers or genocide promoters! And they should know that they should NOT be manipulated or exploited by politicians who do not care about God or about their fellow human beings.
Mr. President, I and many other Tigrayans are very grateful for your leadership in strongly condemning the genocidal war declared against Tigray by Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia and the Eritrean President, Isaias Afeworki, the archenemy of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), and the Tigrayan peoples.
Mr. President, I appeal to you and the Government of the United States to put all possible pressure on the United Nations and the European Union as well as the African Union to force the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and his Prosperity Party Government and the Eritrean Government to allow humanitarian access to Tigray to avert the starvation.
Finally, Mr. President, I earnestly appeal to you and the Government of the United States to do your best to find a peaceful resolution to the worsening conflict in the whole of Ethiopia by pressuring the newly re-elected Prime Minister of Ethiopia to negotiate for the cease-fire and for the end of the conflicts through peaceful means.
Thank you, Mr. President, for your continued concern for the endangered people of Tigray and for your immediate attention to my urgent petition letter on behalf of the people of Tigray.
May God bless you, Mr. President.
Father Tesfamariam Baraki
— T. Baraki (@TesBara38) October 12, 2021
Testimonies and footage from Ethiopia’s war-hit region suggest dramatic worsening of humanitarian situation.
— T. Baraki (@TesBara38) October 14, 2021