A beautiful event took place at Splendor Amsterdam last week. The event which included music, testimonies and information, panel discussion and traditional Tigrayan dances brought Dutch musicians, journalists, people from relevant government organizations, civil society representatives, Dutch friends of Tigray and the Tigrayan diaspora community together. Many found the event informative, inspiring and even healing. The event was also livestreamed.
Some audience reactions
Below are some reactions from people who attended in person or watched the event live.
- This is so beautiful I could cry
- Amazing! Tigray Anthem (ዘይንድይቦ ጎቦ ዘይንሰግሮ ሩባ) by Dutch Musicians at Splendor Amsterdam Alarm Bell for Tigray
- This is a wonderful event that should be repeated in every country/city.
- “wonderful job guys! Tigray needs more of this! what happened in Tigray is beyond words! Justice for a lasting peace!
- Thank you @Splendor Amsterdam for such an amazing awareness and music program.
- This is one of the best events I’ve seen on #TigrayGenocide. I hope it continues.
- Amazing job guys! Superb!
- Incredibly outstanding and truly healing event at Splendor Amsterdam
- So wonderful indeed!
- From Facebook Inbox:
- You showed that international solidarity still exists, that art, science and advocacy goes together. Well done Comrade!
- From a member of the dance group
- ‘I truly want to thank you, for involving me in such a beautiful event. Thankyou for your trust, i can look back at it with a big smile.’
- I saw the event from start to end. It was really incredible!
- Thank you very much for showing humanity!! To feel seen and heard is a big gift you can give to human beings!
- I get a feling to day, that Tigray and our people Tegaru are not forgotten .. thanks to al of you
- Wow I Don’t Even know what I have to say, Cause This Special Event for Tigray is not only Brought me Happiness but Also hope, A hope Of Justice for Tigray, Cause “late Of Justice is Injustice”
- Thank You Very Much Indeed For The Organisators of This Special Event, Prof, Alex De Waal, Prof Mirjam Van Reisen As well as of Course for Our Beloved Hero Brother Gebrekristos as well. May God Bless You All
The event has got some coverage. Dimtsi Weyane Tigray has presented many parts of the event both in its Tigrinya and Amharic programs [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Jan Willem has also been interviewed by Haarlems Dagblad on the context of the event and Tigray.
The recording of the entire event can be watched here.
The event started off with Dutch musicians playing the Tigray struggle anthem. The theme of the anthem is that despite seemingly insurmountable challenges and adversities, atrocities and brutalities, the just struggle of the Tigrayan people will eventually prevail. Some of its lines are:
“There is no mountain we don’t climb in the quest to prevail],
there is no river we don’t cross
people are our source of power
we won’t be conquered, we will prevail”
The theme of the event was for people to speak, sing and for Tigray in order to be a voice because when people speak in unison against genocide, against injustice they can stop it. It is only fitting that the event started off with the Tigray anthem that also says people are power.
Following that, an introduction by Jan Willem Baljet, who is the one that, upon hearing about Tigray Genocide, took the initiative to organize the event, personal story and background information by Gebrekirstos G. Gebremeskel and a testimony by Girmay followed.
After that, Belgian-Namibian singer-songwriter, guitarist and musicologist Shishani Vranckx, better known as Shishani, sang a freedom song. Before the her song, she also spoke shortly in an emotional and moving manner.
Then it was time for a panel discussion where experts on stage and on online engaged with questions regarding Tigray Genocide, justice and what should be done. Panelists were Alex de Waal, Mirjam van Reisen, Jan Nyssen, Gebrekirstos Gebremeskel. The discussion was moderated by Marie-Jose Grotenhuis.
Before questions and answers, there came was music. Dutch musicians played a rendition of Raza Raya’s Asli song. The arrangement was by Tatiana Rosa. It was beautiful.
Then it was time for dance by a group from Tegaru Youth Holland. They did a superb job, bringing the audience close to the Tigrayan culture. For many, these were new dances.
Finally there was Martine Fondse’s “For Tigray” song. Martin said about the song “it has anger in it, it has sadness, it has a little bit of hope in it.”
After this, there was time for people to stay, drink and network.
Bring Tigray to your cities and communities
The diaspora Tigrayan community has been busy in speaking about Tigray genocide. But it is mostly online or in the form of rallies. I believe it is about time that we also use other means and platforms.
I hope this event inspires Tigrayans to take their online advocacy for Tigray to their cities and local communities. We need to venture out to new people and communities and use other platforms and means of advocacy.
As the Tigray struggle anthem with which the event started off said, people are power. If enough people can speak, sing, make noise and show solidarity with the people of Tigray, the Tigrayan people can be heard, their suffering and extermination ended and justice delivered.