Award-winning musician The Weeknd announced Sunday he is donating $1 million to provide meals to Ethiopians who have been displaced and affected by the current conflict in the country’s northernmost region of Tigray.
The Beauty Behind the Madness singer’s generous gesture is in partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme. Taking to his Instagram, the 31-year-old expressed his sadness over what was happening to innocent civilians who have been caught up in the deadly conflict.
“My heart breaks for my people of Ethiopia as innocent civilians ranging from small children to the elderly are being senselessly murdered and entire villages are being displaced out of fear and destruction,” he posted. “I will be donating $1 million to provide 2 million meals through the United Nations World Food Program and encourage those who can to please give as well.”
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Real name Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, the After Hours singer was born in Canada to immigrant parents from Ethiopia. And his recent donation adds up to a slew of other philanthropic gestures he has undertaken over the years. Just last year, he donated $1 million to assist with coronavirus relief efforts and another $300,000 to organizations focused on racial equality, The Guardian reported. He also donated $300,000 to people who were affected by the Beirut explosion.
About the Tigray conflict
Ethiopia’s communications since the altercations began on November 4 appear to recognize that the country is fighting both a war of guns and identity. The TPLF has been Tigray’s regional government since the last decade of the 20th century and it is seen as the political organization encapsulating Tigrayan identity.
The region of Tigray, a vast hilly and arid area, is named after the Tigrinya-speaking Tigray people, Ethiopia’s fourth-largest ethnic group who are less than 10% of the country’s people.
In spite of the relatively small number of Tigrayans in the country, the TPLF has shaped post-Cold War Ethiopia more than any other political organization in the country.
In 1991, the militant group-cum political party led a coalition of militias and movements to overthrow the communist People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. After that, the group was part of governing coalitions, and at a point produced a prime minister in the late Meles Zenawi.
Due to disagreements with Abiy Ahmed’s Progress Party in 2019, the TPLF left his governing coalition.