Edited audio from a Zoom meeting, attempts to track down assault victims, and it doesn’t stop there

Against a backdrop of internal fighting within UN organizations, the TPLF has resorted to new lows to politicize the plight of victims of sexual and gender-based violence.

Sources say about a month ago in Mekelle, representatives for the TPLF came to the office of UNFPA. With a staff complement of about 80 people, it’s the agency that supplies services related to sexual and gender-based violence in Ethiopia and the region of Tigray.

“They wanted us to support them to conduct investigations into allegations…


Mai Kadra, where I and a small team went to investigate the massacre of early November 2020.

I knew it was coming, but it was still kind of a gut punch. There’s my name in print, with the most ridiculous accusation parked next to it — an accusation I happen to know isn’t true and which is libelous. I can’t afford a lawyer, so the irony, I guess, is if I could afford one, it would look like the slander is true. I’m still pretty damn tempted to find one.

Any volunteers who want to work on contingency? Anyone want to sue a creep in the U.S. for someone in Canada? DM me on Twitter, we’ll talk.


The TPLF’s creepy army of fixers for reporters

Mekelle. All photos by Jemal Countess/Getty Images. Used with permission.

There are some great movies about journalism — and some pretty awful ones. When they make a good one about reporting in Africa, I’ll let you know. But for the Tigray conflict, my brain keeps re-running a 1982 flick called The Year of Living Dangerously, based on an okay novel by Christopher Koch, who did have some journo experience.

Sorry, it’s not set in Ethiopia or anywhere else in Africa, but in revolutionary Indonesia in the 1960s. A young, handsome Mel Gibson (long before we all learned he was a batshit crazy…


A Brief Update

A trusted source in Tigray reports that TPLF officers are pushing hard to find more child soldiers. With 35 woredas (districts) in Tigray, they’re expected to recruit from 5,000 to 10,000 youths and children. But Tigrayan mothers in some zones have begun to oppose the forced recruitment, and the officers are unable to fill the numbers they’re required to deliver.

According to the source, at best, the officers have been able to get 1,000 or 2,000 from different woredas, and between 3,000 and 5,000 from others. Some of the forced recruits are children “collected from the streets.”


The truth about child soldiers is slowly coming out

The most infamous image of child soldiers in Tigay taken by Finbarr O’Reilly.

First, the photos and video were published, and the media operations who took them or accepted them and spread them around didn’t hesitate for a moment to glorify children used as weapons.

Now the gory details are starting to trickle out. It was inevitable.

Bekele (not his real name), 35, is a U.S. citizen of Ethiopian descent, a professional working in Addis Ababa. He phones virtually every day to his parents in “what the terrorists call South Tigray” and what the rest of the country knows as Raya. He shared with me what his family members have disclosed to him.


I’m just wondering…When Alex de Waal goes to parties with his TPLF buddies, do things get awkward because of all his aw-shucks gushing and practically humping their legs?

Here is Alex Mango on the late Seyoum Mesfin: “…Seyoum and his comrades, ‘revolutionary justice’ meant a transformation in the practice of killing your defeated enemies.” I somehow don’t think that memo reached the fifty (and still counting) interim administrators summarily murdered in Mekelle after the TPLF claimed victory with the unilateral ceasefire.

And here is the Director of the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University singing the praises of General Tsadkan…


by Gemechu Aba Biya

The author is a prominent Ethiopian diaspora individual who is offering this column under a pseudonym because of the severe threat, intimidation, and vilification strategies used against high-profile figures in media, academia, publishing, and entertainment.

Like most Ethiopians, I was stunned when the Ethiopian government announced on June 28 that it was leaving Tigray. Just as I was elated when the TPLF was defeated, I was disappointed to hear the news that the TPLF has reentered Mekelle.

I understand how the relentless pressure from the U.S. and the EU forced the Ethiopian government to declare a…


In 2015, while the war with ISIS was still going on, I had the opportunity to visit a Peshmerga base where I leaned on sandbags, and my fixer pointed out a village two kilometres away, held by one of the most despicable terrorist organizations on Earth.

To the world at the time, the evil of ISIS seemed a horrible yet seemingly permanent fixture of world politics. I met refugees from Mosul in a camp not far away from Erbil, people who lost practically everything. But in about three years, coalition forces would plow into Mosul and liberate the town.

And…


Dealing with Aid Providers, Handling the Media, and Laughing at the Devil

Notice the bunch of self-congratulatory white leaders sitting around discussing an African nation with no Ethiopian representative to make its case. The New Colonialism smells like the old.

Dear Prime Minister Abiy:

Hi! How are you doing? I know you’re busy, and we don’t talk much, but I thought I’d drop you a line. I’ve tried writing other people, but I didn’t get many responses. …


Before The Idiots Lie About Another War

The biggest problem with Western reporting on Ethiopia is nobody ever learns a damn thing.

Take two of the worst examples when journalism had a direct impact on events in the country. In 1973, when Jonathan Dimbleby covered the Wollo famine with a British TV crew, he mixed the horrors of skeletal starving victims with shots of Emperor Haile Selassie at a state banquet in the palace. How subtle. The contrast naturally sparked disgust in Europe and stirred more resentment among student radicals in Addis.

Except the shots were misleading. The explorer Wilfred…

Jeff Pearce

Writer person. Books - Prevail, The Karma Booth, Gangs in Canada; in June 2021, Winged Bull, a bio of Henry Layard, the Victorian era’s Indiana Jones.

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