Fri. 10 February 2023 – 19:30
Jan Willem Baljet

Alarm Bell for Tigray (LIVE & STREAM)

The humanitarian tragedy in Tigray, Ethiopia. Will the peace deal end the genocide?

One evening in Splendor, baritone Jan Willem Baljet, one of the musicians of the Splendor collective, comes across a unique event at Splendor: a group of people from Ethiopia, Prof. Alex de Waal and Splendor colleague Anne K. having a meeting about what they said was a genocidal war in Tigray, Ethiopia. “Why have I never heard about this before?” asks Jan Willem, upon hearing more from Anne. Anne's partner, Tigrayan Gebrekirstos Gebremeskel, gives him more explanation about the war, the situation of Tigray and Tigrayans. Jan Willem decides to do something about it. That is the starting point for this awareness creation event with information, talks and music.

Alarm Bell for Tigray

The humanitarian tragedy in Tigray, Ethiopia.
Will the peace deal end the genocide?

In Tigray, a region in the north of Ethiopia, a horrific war has been going on for the past two years. Carpet bombings, rampant rape, ethnic cleansing, massive displacement, starvation, interment have been used to commit a genocide. The situation has been described by the UN as “the worst humanitarian crisis in modern history”. Despite the fact that in two years close to a million people have been killed (from a population of 6 million people), one hears very little about it. That is partially due to the Ethiopian government imposing a communications blackout and blockading the region since November 2020. All basic services (banking, telecom, electricity, transport, etc) have also been shut down. Even humanitarian and medical aid is being weaponized; journalists and NGOs are barred from entering the region.

On 2 November 2022, the Ethiopian Government and the Tigray forces signed a Permanent Cessation of Hostilities. The agreement includes the protection of civilians, restoration of services, unfettered humanitarian access and withdrawal of foreign and ethnic forces. Despite some improvements in restoring some services and humanitarian access in some areas, the people of Tigray largely remain still blockaded with many getting no aid, and with foreign and ethnic forces massacring, displacing and raping them, and looting their properties.

At the initiative of some Splendor musicians, a Tigray event will be held, especially for journalists, politicians and other interested parties. A panel with Alex de Waal, Mirjam van Reisen, Jan Nyssen and Gebrekirstos Gebremeskel, together with a number of Splendor musicians, will draw attention to and try to break the silence about the atrocities committed against a population forgotten by the world.

Panel: Alex de Waal (online), Mirjam van Reisen, Jan Nyssen, Gebrekirstos G. Gebremeskel
Musical intermezzi: Martin Fondse, Ties Mellema, Shishani, Anne La Berge, Hessel Moeselaar, Oene van Geel, Michael Moore, Peter Prommel, Tatiana Rosa and Marco Baronchelli

Alex de Waal is executive director of the World Peace Foundation, Research Professor at the Fletcher School of Global Affairs, Tufts University, and Professorial Fellow at the London School of Economics. He has worked on the Horn of Africa and on humanitarian issues since the 1980s as a researcher and practitioner. He initiated the UN Commission on HIV/AIDS and Governance in Africa and was director of the AIDS, Security and Conflict Initiative and was a senior advisor to the African Union High Level Panel on Sudan and South Sudan. De Waal has written many books and many articles. Since the start of the Tigray War, he has written and published several articles and spoken in many media and platforms.

Prof. dr. Mirjam van Reisen holds the Chair International Relations, Innovation and Care at Tilburg University and the Chair FAIR Data Science at LUMC. She is an international expert on Eritrea and the Horn. She has recently published the book 'Enslaved' on the situation of Eritreans who are trafficked in Libya. She is the coordinator of the international research group Globalisation, Accessibility, Innovation and Care (GAIC). She investigates Digital Black Holes in which people are not able to communicate on their situation, on which she recently wrote the book Enslaved.

Jan Nyssen is a Professor of Geography at Ghent University in Belgium. He has carried out research in Ethiopia since 1994. Since the Tigray war, he has been an important voice through his research and appearances in media and academic platforms.

Gebrekirstos G. Gebremeskel is the founder and chief editor of tghat.com and mermru.com. He is a researcher based in the Netherlands and his research focuses on the intersection of Information Retrieval/Recommender Systems and society. Gebrekirstos writes and speaks in several platforms and events, and appears on local and international media including Al Jazeera and the BBC to offer analysis and views on the Tigray war, Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.


If you would like to attend this event, please send an email to anne@splendoramsterdam.com, with subject 'Tigray', and please let us know the name(s), telephone number(s) and email address(es) of attendee(s).

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