"Unimaginable horrors" are being committed
Scottish aid charity Mary’s Meals is highlighting atrocities unfolding in Ethiopia urging the public to become the voice for those living there in terror and deprivation.
A recent update from the charity’s long-standing partner in Tigray outlining unimaginable horrors – including the murder of children and rape as a weapon of war – has led Mary’s Meals’ founder, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, to appeal to the world on their behalf.
He said: “The relative peace of recent months was both a breath of fresh air and an answer to prayer and we are shocked and saddened by this recent letter detailing yet more horror and suffering as violence has once again broken out.
“Since November 2020, updates from our partner in Tigray have been characterised by gut-wrenching stories of inconceivable brutality and suffering, along with assurances that our colleagues there are trying their best, under horrendous circumstances, to bring relief to the most vulnerable.
“The resumption of fighting is making it almost impossible for our partner to get aid to those in need, but we must not make the mistake of thinking there is nothing we can do. We have a voice, and we must speak up for the people of Ethiopia now.”
Mary’s Meals has been serving meals in Tigray since 2017 and before the war, was feeding 24,320 children every school day. When the conflict flared up in Ethiopia in November 2020, schools closed and access to some areas proved impossible.
Working with its local partner, the charity began providing food and support to help thousands of displaced families driven out of their rural towns and villages who were seeking sheltering in the capital Mekelle in hastily constructed refugee camps.
Fighting erupted again in northern Ethiopia again last week, shattering a four-month ceasefire.
Mary’s Meals has received a devastating update from the charity’s partner which outlines the diabolical situation the people of Tigray now find themselves in which says: “Since the dawn of 24 August, dark clouds loom over Tigray because war has broken out once again.
“As you know, there had been countless reports of atrocious violations on human rights after the war that broke out since 3rd November 2020. In silence, months have passed with each day bringing new horrors, forever marking the minds of innocent civilians who got caught up in the tide of such a hate-filled attack.”
In the message from its partner, who can’t be named for security reasons, Magnus was told: “In silence, months have passed with each day bringing new horrors, forever marking the minds of innocent civilians who got caught up in the tide of such a hate-filled attack.
“It was not enough that some of the most vulnerable communities had been starving for months on end, it was not enough that the children born and raised with so much love and hope had been murdered with their bodies left to the elements, and it was not enough that families saw the bright vitality of their daughters and wives dim and be replaced with sheer terror laying witness to the horrors they endured.
“Now, war seems to have been ignited once again, undoubtedly rearing to claim the lives of many young souls who could have contributed for the betterment of humanity.”
Magnus continues: “I hope we do not look back in years to come with a heavy feeling of shame and regret because we failed to stand up for our brothers and sisters in their time of need. We cannot look away while this continues.
“I cannot ignore the pleas from our colleagues to pray for them, speak up for them, and advocate on their behalf and I am asking that you please join me. If you pray, pray about Ethiopia. And, importantly, make Ethiopia and the situation in Tigray a topic of conversation. Make sure people know what is going on because it cannot be allowed to continue. And tell anyone with the power to influence exactly what our partner is telling us; we must show how humanity can prevail over injustice and cruelty.”
Mary’s Meals normally provides a nutritious daily meal in school to 2,279,941 children every school day, working in 20 countries around the world, including Ethiopia, Haiti and South Sudan.