How Ethiopian Airlines forced a Tigrean air hostess into exile

This is a story of a woman – I will call her ‘Hewan’ – who has been deprived not only of her job, but of the country she loves.

A mother, in her early thirties, Hewan is now seeking refugee status in the USA.

She has left behind her little son and a mother in her sixties. “I feel very sad. I had a life in Addis; I had my son and my family. I never thought of leaving,” Hewan says.

Hewan’s ‘crime’ is that she is a Tigrean.

Discrimination begins

It is painful to hear how the ethnic profiling of Tigreans on Ethiopian Airlines began almost as soon as Abiy Ahmed came to power on 2 April 2018.

It marked the beginning of the end of the EPRDF – a movement in which the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front had played a leading role.

“Now there’s no-one to look out for you,” Hewan was told.

Gradually the ethnic profiling of Tigreans increased.

“We no longer were given flights to Europe or the USA,” Hewan explained. “We were given short-haul destinations in Africa or the Middle East. They are more tiring as there is a rapid turn-around. And the pay is worse. There are no stop-overs or per-diem payments.”

Hewan asked – repeatedly – why this was. Her bosses were evasive, or refused to reply.

She tried to go to her union, but the union had split and a pro-company union was supposed to ‘represent’ the employees. They did nothing.

Into exile

In October last year Hewan took leave and went to see friends in America. When she was scheduled to return her leave was extended. Then she was put on indefinite, unpaid leave. The airline had, in effect, abandoned her.

Now she is staying with a friend of her brothers. They are back in Mekelle with arrest warrants out for them.

“I feel so oppressed. My friends call, but I can’t say anything to them. I am almost crying on the phone.”

Her job as a senior member of Ethiopian Airlines cabin crew has gone.

Seperated from family and the life she loved in Ethiopia, with security officers monitoring her house in Addis, there seem few options for Hewat.










  1. Not just the airline, the bank,any government employees including the TGRAY soldiers Been fired from there work only because they belong to TGRAY community
    Not forgetting they took there houses and businesses too

  2. This is the worst ethnicity cleansing for Tigrians by the man Abyi Ahmed he campaigned for genocide to all Tigrians in the name of law and order. We see now in every direction a concentration campaign for elimination innocent Tigrians in this 21 century and acted as what Hitler done at 19 century for the Jewish concentration camp at Auschwitz. My hart is bleeding by what happened at Ethiopian Air lines

  3. Ethiopian airlines is highly committed discrimination, harassment. All Tegaru ethnic employees are fired from work. It has to stop this and bring those into justice.

  4. Dear Tigray peoples I’m originally from Eritrea 🇪🇷. I know that Tigray regin have been get discrimination since doctor abiy comes in power, now every single day having lost to many innocent people and beautiful community that killed by Ethiopia 🇪🇹government and personal dictatorship Isseyas Afworki not Eritrean community, I’m feeling deeply sorrow. For sure happiness could be changed maybe it takes time ⏲️ after painful will get better.
    Tigray will win!!!!

  5. Abiy, peacefully got the power from TPLF, however, he acts as if he snatched by force. He turned his back to TPLF. He, right away, started sidelining Tigrean from all the powers including the military because he thinks all Tigreans support TPLF though it’s their right to support anyone. He blamed TPLF for all wrong doing of the previous administration as if he was not part of it.
    The people of Ethiopia needed change for better not for worse. Unfortunately, things got worse due to Abiy’s mishandling from everywhere & now the country is in turmoil. This guy still don’t care about all the bloodshed everywhere. He just trying to silence things with force in order his being a 7th king dream be happened.
    The responsible world leaders has to take immediate action against this mad person before creating more chaos to the Horn of Africa.

  6. Sorry ti her this history this history is easy way of ogaden somalis daily life when tplf control ethiopia,they tplf displaced 2 million ogadenis ,killed thousands blocked since 2006 no medical go to ogaden no communication at all and all recorded by international NGOS n human right organization so they tplf make famous jail ogaden in jigjiga so the ethiopian who use to do that to my beloved ppl are the victim of ethiopia.
    Conclusion:-i am not a fun of abiy nor Ethiopia but tplf official must face justice for the crime they committed period.
    The tigrai people must fight their god given rights not in the failed name of TPLF period. Ethiopia as country cannot survive dictatorship or criminal elements like tplf every nation or nationality mus create independent state for them selfs.

  7. Everyone I think of used to love and proudly claim as Ethiopian, but no more. Personally, I am ashamed to mention my origin due to many reasons that the world democratic nations seem complacent and late to abate the ongoing human tragedy in the country.
    To mention a few:
    *Rampant mass genocide all over the regions
    *Lawlessness instigated by the illegal PM Abiy’s murdering stooges in order to divide and rule while eliminating activists.
    *Eritrean mercenaries lotting holy sites, dismantling and stealing individual and organizational (investors and state of Tigay) properties raping and killing Tigray people.
    *Human trafficking Tigray youth by Eritreans to either sell them as bodyparts to the rich but sick Arab Emirates
    * Ethnic cleansing in the name of peacekeeping.
    *Blocking access of humanitarian organizations and media to cover up the ongoing war crimes against Tigrians.

    Tigray people are praying for merci without compromising their struggle for freedom and democracy from all nations of the world.

    1. Do not be ashamed of your country or your nation. I am a South African by origin and a white man at that. During the years of apartheid it was hard. But I fought this terrible system and in the end it was defeated. But I am still (at least partly) a South African, and proud of it.

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