And by the way, why is nobody talking about the war in Tigray?

We had to wait until the fighting stopped to finally hear about the conflict. According to Amnesty International, the “unprecedented” war, considered one of the world’s deadliest, has been raging in Ethiopia for two years. The death of hundreds of thousands of people in the second most populous country in Africa, a humanitarian disaster, the intervention of the United States, famine, etc. There is so much information that normally rotates in red in the information banners of our continuous news feeds. Not this time.

Paradoxically, this is the signing of an agreement between two camps, the federal government led by 2019 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Abiy Ahmed and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in the north of the country. it could shed light on the war. Fire may finally allow us to collect reliable numbers on this internal conflict. “If the terms of the agreement are followed, humanitarian organizations will be able to enter the region freely. Roland Marchal, a researcher at Sciences Po and an expert on the Horn of Africa, says that then the situation can be calmly assessed. Most of the figures circulated are due to the propaganda of various camps. »

“The famous law of death by kilometers”

But the first thing you should know is that Tigray, a region of six to seven million people in northern Ethiopia that borders Eritrea, is off limits to journalists. That’s why it’s hard to make headlines with this extremely deadly civil war. “Communication has been hidden since the beginning of the conflict. Tigray has been under siege for two years,” says Patrick Ferras, a doctor of geopolitics and an expert on Ethiopia. Not to mention that in the media and politically, France does not tend to pay attention to Ethiopian news … it is not part of its sphere of influence on the continent.

“In Africa, France only has knowledge and sensitivity to what happened in its former colonies. Ethiopia is part of its blind zone. Immigration to France from this region is also low. At the media level, there is a kind of competition from news sources with Covid-19, Ukraine and Mali, which has historically been a focus of France. Several factors combine: the famous law of death by kilometers, but also the approach of the state and the journalistic hierarchy”, analyzes Jean-Marie Charon, media sociologist.

In the early 2000s, the conflict in Darfur, located in neighboring Ethiopia’s Sudan, caused great emotion in France. “It took time for the international community to accept and participate in it, Roland Marchal emphasizes the complexity of the war in Tigray. The conflict started in 2002 and the international community has been interested in it since 2004.”

“Emmanuel Macron only said the word Ethiopia once”

Two years, the length of the war between the TPLF and the Ethiopian government. The agreement on the cessation of hostilities, signed in Pretoria on Wednesday under the auspices of the African Union with the participation of the Americans, is dangerous. “What is not planned is the disarmament of the Afar and Amhara militias that are auxiliaries of the Ethiopian army. Tigrayans lost practically everything, retreated with nothing and only got services restored and humanitarian aid, Patrick Ferras reports. They have lost political credibility. »

In a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, France praised the “wisdom and courage” of both sides after the signing of the agreement. “I understand that the war in Ukraine is closer to our borders. However, at a conference with ambassadors in September, Emmanuel Macron mentioned the word Ethiopia only once in his speech. When we are a country of human rights, we should be interested in the situation, “says Patrick Ferras. Especially since the ceasefire can be broken quickly. Two days after it was signed, the Tigray rebels are already condemning the bombing of the other side. What drives the world to show interest in the conflict?

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