“We don’t know if they’re dead or alive:” Arlington community creates art to raise awareness for violence in Tigray

Virginia

ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — One year after fighting erupted in Tigray back in November 2020, the Arlington community is coming together to tell the stories of those suffering in the Ethiopian region.

Artwork lines the walls at a new exhibit, entitled “Call it a Genocide,” created by non-partisan group 24 Hours for Tigray and local youth groups in the Washington Metropolitan area.

Organizers of the event say the mission is to educate the local community about the violence occurring in Ethiopia.

“This exhibition displays the 10 stages of genocide, that was put out by the United Nations, as well as the Genocide Watch,” said Kokob Gebregziabher, logistic coordinator for the exhibit. “Each of those stages gives you an example alongside the victims’ stories.”

Little is known about the military campaign launched by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed that occurred in Tigray on Nov. 4. Now, a year later, participants of the exhibit say they are searching for answers.

“There was a communication blackout, and all we saw was that there was a war waged on the people of Tigray,” said Gebregziabher. “For me personally, I have not heard from my family for a year now…Most of us here, we don’t know if they’re dead or alive”

The exhibit serves as a small step towards the hope of seeing their families again.

Stories like Gebregziabher’s are one of many. The faces and stories of people who have survived, and those who have died, line the walls of the exhibit.

“We wish that we could put everybody’s story because there are thousands of people that are killed or survived in these horrific stories. Please be a voice for the voiceless, be on our side,” said Gebregziabher.

“Call it a Genocide” is a moving exhibition and will be coming to many different states across the United States. Learn more here.

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