It is becoming clearer every day that the present conflict in Tigray had been planned by Isayas and Abiy well before they became official ‘friends’ in 2018, and in view of the current situation it is more than likely that the initiative was begun by Isayas (since his army virtually controls the country, he may, in fact, end up as top dog).
The incursion had nothing to do with the TPLF having supposedly crossed a “red line” in early November, but rather was planned to coincide with the US election when global attention was focused elsewhere.
The objective was to make Tigray disappear from the map by being absorbed in part by Eritrea and in part by Amharaland.
The goal was ostensibly to do away with the TPLF as a political unity by destroying its leadership.
In fact, the process has led to a scorched earth policy allowing Govt. and Eritrean forces to eliminate the local population by killing and raping at will without concern for age, gender or religious affiliation, including the priesthood.
It looks increasingly as though Abiy, a Protestant, is promoting the demise of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Tigray; a harbinger of what may be yet to come for the EOTC elsewhere in the country. We note that the Patriarchate in Addis Ababa has not uttered a word in defense of its Tigraen membership, in part from fear of retribution and in part because of ethnicity.
Damage to places of worship
From the very start of the invasion, there have been reports of serious damage to, if not destruction of, the provincial infrastructure, including hospitals, university campuses, factories and places of worship, both Christian and Muslim.
Faced with photographs of the damage, the government has admitted responsibility for the shelling of the famous tomb and mosque at Negash (Figs. 1-2), and the church of Amanuel opposite (Fig 3).
Photos also show damage incurred by shelling at Zalambesa (Figs. 4-5) near the Eritrean border.
There have also been reports of serious destruction by shelling of the monastic complex at Dabra Damo (Fig. 6, historic photo)
And of a church in Yeha village (Fig. 7, historic photo).
Damage was also inflicted on the rock-hewn churches of Gheralta (Figs. 8-9; historic photos).
Equally disturbing are reports of major looting of Tigraen cultural heritage, particularly ancient manuscripts and ecclesiastical service objects, from countless ancient churches, including Marawe Krestos (Fig. 10, historic photo).
Dabra Abbay (Fig. 11, historic photo)
Asir Matira (Fig. 12, historic photo)
Maryam Dengelat (Figs. 13-14, historic photos)
Asbi (15-16, historic photos).
No onslaught has been as costly to the region’s cultural heritage and people since the attacks of Ahmed Gragn in the 1530s.