by Sara Isaias
Since the Tigray People Liberation Front ( TPLF) launched its reckless and disastrous attack on military bases of the Ethiopian Northern Command in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, what has become all too clear is the biased and somewhat racist coverage of the incident by the western press. It has become abundantly clear that those posing as ‘journalists’ are engaged in a smear campaign against Eritrea and Ethiopia in an apparent attempt to revive the fortunes of the TPLF, in a blatant attempt to destabilise the Horn of Africa region.
A good example of this is the New York Times article entitled Ethiopia’s War Leads to Ethnic Cleansing in Tigray Region, U.S. Report Says dated 26th February 2021. If ever there was an article that epitomised the racist attitude of western journalist towards Africa, if ever there was an article that served as a prime example of the laziness of western journalist, if ever there was an article that typified the utter disregard that western journalist have for the truth, this is it.
Declan Walsh, the Chief African Correspondent for the New York times, in the article that he penned, made no attempt to report the truth. Starting from the title the article is awash with untruths emanating from the rather restricted imagination of the writer. Despite claiming to have based the report on a supposed US government report, there are no links to this phantom report nor are there any traces of this report anywhere. The Chief correspondent then goes to claim, ‘Mr. Abiy launched the Tigray campaign on Nov. 4 following months of tension with the regional ruling party’. What Mr Declan has conveniently omitted and turned a blind too, is the glaring fact that PM Abiy had been forced to take the action that he did, because the TPLF had attacked Ethiopian army bases in the dead of the night in what they referred to as Anticipatory Self Defence’. No government worth its salt anywhere in the World, would have tolerated such an attack on its forces, but to the lazy ‘journalists’ like Declan Walsh, it is far more important to push the biased stereotype of African governments, than to report the facts on the ground.
In another obvious show of his ignorance, Mr Declan Walsh of the New York Times goes on to claim that the Amnesty report states that Eritrean forces had carried out a ten day killing spree, had he read the report, he would have known that the Amnesty report itself says that the alleged massacre had happened on 28th and 29th November 2020 and bodies were buried on the 30th November 2020.
Another display of how western journalist have no appetite for the truth, is shown by the fact that a Reuters report dated 29th November 2020, had carried a claim by the leader of the TPLF that they had taken control of the city — on the very day that 800 or so people were supposedly massacred at the Axum St Mary’s church by Eritrean soldiers according to Amnesty International. But, not a single western journalist has had the temerity and professionalism to question Amnesty International about this blatant disparity in the report. Instead, western media like the New York Times, have chosen to endorse without question, a report by Amnesty International that has more holes in it than a piece of Swiss cheese. The reason behind this is the uncomfortable fact that western media will always take the word of another western organisation — no matter how wrong it may be — over the word of a black African government.
For far too long western media have claimed monopoly of the truth when in fact they have continuously peddled in untruths and misinformation about African countries and other Third World Nations. Who can forget the role that western media played in the attack on Iraq, Libya and the cover up of atrocities being committed on Palestinians in Gaza by Israeli forces.
As Africans, we should no longer tolerate the lies spewed out by western journalists with an arrogance and impunity that emanates from their belief of being somewhat superior to Africans. It is time to hold these organisations accountable by challenging them with facts, before they do anymore damage with the lies and disinformation they unscrupulously spread.