I should most definitely start this out by mentioning the creator of the heavens, the earth and everything in between; In the name of Allah, most Beneficent and the most Merciful.
My name is Abdie Elyas Makadin; I am a 15 year old high school senior and just like every other child in America I knew not much about politics or what happens beyond my school and home. But, all that has changed after I visited Kenya during the holidays.
I was expecting to have fun and relax. But, relatives I met there and what they have been through all their lives in Ogaden and in Dadab Refugee Camp through their stories were something that forced me to write this piece and inform the world about their plight.
Relatives in Dadab Refugee Camp
Dadab Refugee Camp is the largest refugee camp in the world. It is located in Kenya and it is home to hundreds of thousands of Ogadenis, many of who are my own relatives. According to Human Rights Watch - Ogadenis fled the Ogaden after the Ethiopian government either killed, raped, jailed or tortured them and burned their houses, all while starving them of food and medication - same ordeal shared with me by my relatives during my stay in Kenya.
The plight of Ogadenis
Because of a major drought, millions of Ogadenis are starving. There is also a counter insurgency that has been going on for many years now where the people have risen up against the marginalization and the brutal military occupation tactics of the Ethiopian regime.Ethiopia has kicked the Red Cross and the Doctors Without Borders and other aid agencies out of the Ogaden and is blocking food aid to the millions starving Ogadenis.
For me to mention Ethiopia's tools of destruction and ways of torture through the scars of these refugees may even seem obscene to word. The genocide in Ogaden is like a never-ending fiasco. Needless to say, the media says nothing about it. Ogadenis are suffering as you read this and the outside world never renders or says a word.
It is a reality that the world chose to ignore, because, the same country that has been committing these grave atrocities against innocent civilians in Ogaden, that is Ethiopia, is the largest recipient of Western aid in Africa, receiving about seven billion a year.
This is a Western funded genocide in the Ogaden that is being completely ignored by the Western media and the Western governments, even though they know all about it. And that saddens me, because I'm a Westerner myself.
Illegal oil exploration in Ogaden at the expense of human rights
And then, there is Africa Oil Corp., a Canadian oil company that has chosen to explore oil in Ogaden at the expense of human rights and pay Ethiopia blood money. With these kind of actions, I wonder if all the things I was taught about democracy, Western civilization and human rights were all nothing, but false.
What can be done to stop the genocide in Ogaden?
It is sad that I was taught that my country, America is the defender of humanity and liberator of the oppressed peoples all over the world, yet it funds the genocidal regime in Ethiopia that commits all these atrocities against innocent civilians in Ogaden.
I ask of my dear president, Mr. Obama to intervene and help put an end to Ethiopia's genocide in Ogaden. I ask of him to take action and stop funding this tyrannical regime that has been committing atrocities for so long and bring justice and freedom to this region that has hardly ever seen peace.
If my country, America is with the oppressed and not the oppressor and the promises of my president were real, then surely now is the time to prove it!
The author, Abdie E. Makadin can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org