Tigray Demonstrators Gather at Boston Marathon – Boston University News Service – Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts 2021-10-21 16:10:09 –

Emma Grassman-Hughes
Boston University News Service

Boston — Manual requests for “#SanctionEthiopia” and “#FreeTigray” adorned a handful of posters shook over the cowbell-wielding marathon spectators on Monday morning.

Less than 12 stoic demonstrators stood side by side near the finish line on Boylston Street in a wave of fun cheerleaders. November.

A Tigray woman wants to take her autograph at the Boston Marathon and bring awareness of the genocide in Ethiopia. Photo by Keshon Young.

Helen Gebreziy, 29, who has lived in Boston for a lifetime and has a family in Tigray, said, “Ethiopia is running here today. Tomorrow will continue to starve innocent people in the dark !!!!” I clasped the sign that says.

Selam Geberargay, 31, moved from Tigray to Boston in 2013. She had a sign that said, “Millions of people could die unless help is provided right now.” She raised a huge American flag and put a red and gold Tigrinya flag on her shoulders.

For both women, the Boston Marathon is the purpose of an annual celebration. Gebrezgiy grew up in support of Ethiopian runners. Geberargay’s first marathon was in 2013. Since then, she has returned every year to “support, support and show love for those runners.”

But this year was different.

“Unfortunately, I haven’t talked to my family for 11 months this year, so I’m not here to celebrate, cheer, or show such joy,” Geberargay said. .. “I talk to Boston residents, stand with us, stand with Tigray, break your silence. What’s happening in Ethiopia isn’t OK. Tigray isn’t okay . “

On November 4, 2020, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered an attack on the Tigrinya army in the region. When he took office in 2019, Abby was seen as a precursor to progress. He bordered Eritrea, and Nobel negotiated a peace treaty with neighboring Eritrea in 2019 after the Tigrayans, who make up about 7% of Ethiopia’s population, felt most hostile for decades. Received the Peace Prize.

The girl with a more mature demonstrator has a provocative sign listing the genocide situation to which the Tigrayans are exposed. Photo by Keshon Young.

Abbey’s reign began with the dissolution of the controversial coalition government of Ethiopia, founded by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in 1991. Under the coalition government, “concerns about the level of human rights and democracy have been raised on a daily basis,” he said. BBC report from June About the origin of the current conflict. Prime Minister Abbey quickly responded to public pressure to modify the system, creating what was called the “Prosperity Party” and expelling long-standing leaders from the TPLF.

Tensions between parties continued to rise until Abby finally launched an attack in November, claiming that the federal government was “pushed into a military conflict.”

Almost a year later, Abby was accused of genocide in the Tigray region with the help of Eritrean troops.International Watchdog Group Omna Tigray etc. Abby also said, “With hunger […] Sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls. Omna Tigray estimates that more than 70,000 civilians have been killed, more than 900,000 Tigrinyas have lived in famine, and more than 2 million have been evacuated.

The federal government of Ethiopia has also restricted and sometimes completely blocked access to aid, electricity and telecommunications, leaving Tigrayan diaspora members uncertain about their loved ones’ status in Ethiopia.

Gebrezgiy was unable to contact his grandmother for several months to see if he had basic necessities such as food and medicine. The entire Geberargay family, including her mother and father, is currently unreachable.

“They are one of the people you see in the picture and may be hungry and dead,” said Geberalgay, a banner whose fellow demonstrators had images of Tigrinya toddlers in the skeleton. I pointed.

“My mother has blood pressure problems. If she can’t go to the hospital and get the medical help she needs, she can die. She’s been stressed and traumatized for 11 months.”

Geberargay said demonstrators, a close group of family and friends, protested many times around downtown Boston, but their plea seemed “deaf.”

So, especially given the popularity of Ethiopian runners who finished second, third and fourth in the men’s race, they came to the marathon to raise awareness. She added that large crowds provide greater visibility to support the group’s ultimate goal of activating action from the United Nations.

Astor, a demonstrator who refused to reveal her name, also emphasized the need for UN intervention. This is likely to involve the right amount of public pressure.

“We have an international community for some reason, but the international community has been reporting on it for a year and no action has been taken,” she said. “We hope people will see this [demonstration] Then educate themselves and develop their own informed opinions. ”

For Tigrinya demonstrators, the time of decisive action is now.

“Go back to the past [President] Clinton said, “I was late in dealing with the Rwandan genocide,” and now we are seeing it happening. [again]”Her voice was almost drowned by the hoops and noisemaker swells that lifted runners through the last 100 yards of their 26-mile race,” said Geberargay.

“But they can’t say we were late or we didn’t know, because we give all the information and tell people exactly what the Ethiopian government has done to people as a genocide. Because I came, “she said. I heard cheers. “So don’t tell us you were late for action. Act now.”

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