The audience roared when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed addressed the people of Tigray in April 2018. Delivered in Tigrigna, hardly any statement went by without a deafening applause. The joy was genuine and heartfelt. Here was an Oromo soldier who took the time to learn Tigrigna, and here was a leader who visited Tigray soon after he assumed power. This young man promised the world to an otherwise anxious Tigrayan people — and they were delighted.

Abiy opened his speech by acknowledging regional leaders, freedom fighters and citizens. “Tigray is the origin of Ethiopia,” he said. “Tigray is home of…

Helen Solomon

I write about Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa

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