Drought and famine have overtaken Ogaden, situated in the Horn of Africa. Eight children are dying every day as a result. But is there more than lack of food and water responsible for their deaths? Why hasn’t the territory “Ogaden” become a household name in our vocabulary?

—- Some history and politics to help you form your own opinions to these questions.

Ogaden is a territory of the Somali Regional State in Ethiopia. Its people are primarily ethnic Somali and Muslim. The Government in Ethiopia is Christian. Colonial powers left their footprints in this area beginning with Italy in 1880, followed by Great Britain in 1896, then ceded to the Christian Kingdom of Abyssinia in 1897, reverting back to Italy in 1935-42, and back to Abyssina/Ethiopia in 1942-48. Following World War II, the area became part of a power play between the United States and Soviet Union.

One of the Facebook Groups I belong to is IHRC “International Human Rights Commission.” Prior to reading a member’s post on the topic, I knew very little. The following film trailer “OGADEN: THE IGNORED GENOCIDE” moved me to write this blog. I encourage you to watch it.

Recent undercover reportage by “BBC Newsnight” and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism evidences an Ethiopian Government that is withholding food, aid, fertilizer and seed to farmers in Ogaden. Both the United States and Great Britain are large foreign aid donors.

According to the BBC report, “Western donors including Britain – which is the third largest donor to Ethiopia – stand accused of turning a blind eye by continuing to provide aid money despite being warned about the abuses. The aid in question is long-term development aid, not the emergency aid provided in response to the current drought in Ethiopia and its neighbours in the Horn of Africa.”

Ogaden people are allegedly being punished, brutalized, ostracized, and tortured for failure to vote for the ruling party, which Prime Minister Meles Zenawi leads. A media and humanitarian aid blockade to the territory has been imposed. Crimes against humanity, rape and torture have been reported.

To me, this points to genocide. Would the West be speaking out more for the Ogaden victims if they were Christian? Would they support Prime Minister Zenawi’s Government if the tables were reversed and he were Muslim?

Don’t let the wool be pulled over your eyes. SAY “NO” to GENOCIDE! DON”T LET IT HAPPEN AGAIN! “Silence” is truth’s worst enemy. Don’t be its victim.

By, Susan Sacirbey

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