By Ahmed Abdi,
INJUSTICE in the end produces independence. whoever coined this phrase is right. Ogadenia people are bleeding because they demand independence from Ethiopian occupation.
Ethiopia does not provide quality education, proper health care, rule of law and a respect for human rights in the Ogaden region. Instead, the Somali people of Ogadenia state are considered as second class citizens on their own soil.
The BBC’s Elizabeth Blunt, who had a rare access to the region once reported:
“An elderly goat herder, beside himself with indignation, launching a diatribe in front of a senior local official. He had lost two sons, he said, fighting for Ethiopia against Eritrea. And now the soldiers come to his village, chase everyone out and burn their houses, and then have the effrontery to tell him he is not a true Ethiopian.”
The Somali people in Ogadenia realized that the Ethiopian government is denying them every basic right that a human soul needed to survive including clean water, sanitation and schooling except to few individuals who spy on their relatives and abide by its ethnic cleansing policy in the region.
New York Times reporter Jeffrey Gentlemen once conducted an interview with one Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) fighter that joined the struggle five years ago and asked why he joined ONLF.
“I could not sit back and watch when I realized that no education, no health services, no development, and children don’t go to school. I knew there were problems.”
The Somali people in Ogadenia State, who have long been exploited by the successive Ethiopian regimes starting from Menelik II, Emperor Haile Selassie, Mengistu Haile Mariam and Meles Zenawi. The people of Ogaden do not share language, religion, ethnicity and culture with abyssinia (Ethiopia) highlanders.
The Abyssinian highlanders from Tigray and Amhara have been stationed and patrolling more than 30 military garrisons in Ogadenia state as part of their continued occupation.
According to right groups like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Genocide Watch, the Ethiopian military and its allied Liyu police militia have killed, detained, tortured and raped thousands of Somali Ogadenia and commit war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Ethiopian government also banned the international media and aid agencies to enter the Somali region of Ogaden to cover up its human right abuses.
It is a well documented fact that as part of its counterinsurgency campaign, the army and its Liyu Police militias slaughtered hundreds of villagers like animals as it happened recently in many villages in the Ogadenia state.
Ethiopia has been marginalizing the entire 8-10 million Somali Muslims in the Ogaden ever since it took over the territory from the British colonizers in 1954. The Ethiopian government exploits the natural resources of the region and imposed “Gibbir” on people, land and livestock. (Gibbir is understood as a form of “tax” forcefully collected from the non-Abyssinian populations)
The oppression that existed in Shinile, Jigjiga, Dagahbur, Fiiq, Wardher, Korahe, Gode, Afder and Liban has forced the people to think on their own in order to choose their own fate of self-determination. If Ogadenia is given everything, there is no other option rather than full Independence.
Moreover, the example of Eritrea offers hope to many Somalis that the lasting peace and prosperity can happen only after full independence.
Eritrea, which owns the strongest army in Africa won its independence after a hard fought 30-year-struggle against Abyssinian (Ethiopian) occupation.
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