Friday, August 17

Blood for Oil?

I wonder if the Government’s field trip to the Ogeden has anything to do with the sudden increased interest in the region by multi-national oil companies?

It seems the recent ONLF attack on the Chinese petroleum company and widespread reports of human rights abuses and war crimes committed by government forces in the region have served to pique foreign interest in regional oil exploration, with more than one large international company quietly negotiating the preliminary stages of such a project at present.

It is clear that the government is doing everything in their power to suppress and deny the truth, at great cost to the civilians there, but I wonder--do such multinationals stand to benefit more from reports by the likes of NY Times’ Jeffrey Gettlemen , or the carefully supervised output of BBC’s Elizabeth Blunt?

If a ‘stable local environment in which to conduct exploration operations’ is what they are seeking, does that mean they stand in silent (or even direct financial) support of the severe regional government brutality?

Friday, August 10

Media Field Trip to the Ogeden

Just heard that the government is organizing a trip for foreign correspondents to the Ogeden region. And thus begins their latest disinformation campaign...

I wonder who will have the courage to ask what happened to the men (since tortured and murdered by government forces) interviewed for the Times article?

(I also wonder if they will invite NY Times stringer Will Connors along? Oh wait! He was essentially EXPELLED last month for helping to expose the atrocities occuring there.
Only beneign journalists allowed, I suppose.

Thursday, August 9

Oppression: Here, There and Everywhere

I am extremely concerned about what is happening in the Ogeden region. Even from within the country, it is difficult to obtain concrete information, which generally means things are far worse than we know. However, it is clear the Ethiopian government is once again demonstrating their appalling preference for violence, destruction of property and aid restriction as a means of applying political pressure.

The truly terrifying thing is, while today the focus may be on the Ogeden, such reports could just as easily apply to most other regions in the country.

When I was last in Awasa, for example, I shown file after file of those in the SNNP region who had suffered similar human rights abuses over the past two years: murders (mostly students, shot in the head or from behind), horrific pictures of torture victims, houses and property ransacked, destroyed and burned, and a list of NGOs that had been shut down and their aid channels blocked, effectively causing a concentrated, federally-inflicted (and therefore unreported) famine.

Most of these victims brave enough to come forward and report these crimes to human rights organizations were unable to read or write, and confirmed their statements only with a thumbprint. Yet they are speaking out (at great personal risk) nonetheless. They are among millions of nameless victims who continue to suffer at the hands of the EPRDF regime, and are the ones to whom we must listen.

There are hundreds of thousands of us—both here and abroad—who are aware and claim to care about this all-encompassing oppression; and so, only a simple question remains:
What are we going to do about it?

(In my opinion, now is hardly the time for bitter party politics, and internal corruption and division; far too much is at stake. Instead, now is the time to focus on what unites us all—the desire to see a free and prosperous Ethiopia—and act immediately and accordingly.)

And so I ask again—What are we going to do about it?

Monday, August 6

Coming Soon

Hello. I am still around and will be back blogging again next week.

I agree with Ethio-Zagol--now is the time for genuine dialogue, for solutions and unity. I hope that this site can also be a forum for such discussion.