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?