“When you speak truth to power, clashes are inevitable”

Originally Posted on EUI News

This is the third war in Tigray in his lifetime.

Mehari Taddele Maru narrates his story while waiting to board a train on the East Coast of the United States. In the background, Americans shuffle around the coffee shop with their lattes. Born and raised in Tigray, the northernmost region of Ethiopia, Mehari has come a long way.

Once a mathematics student, he transferred to law school after realising that by doing so he could do more to improve the human condition. “Growing up without a father and grandparents instilled in me a sense of compassion with those who are suffering,” Mehari says, his eyes piercing the screen as he recounts painful childhood memories of civil war. “Moving to the capital of Addis Ababa, being exposed to other, more peaceful ways of living, I realised what I had missed. My commitment to human rights goes back to those times.”

In the past two years, over 600.000 people have died in the war on Tigray. Millions more are displaced. “I am Tigrayan. My family is a living example of the victims of war. The current war is genocidal in nature and the most devastating I have witnessed so far.”

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