By Ahmed Abdi
In the West Midlands of UK,Birmingham,over one hundred OYSU-members aged between 15-24 from London,Manchester,Leeds, and many other parts of the country attended in a conference that attracted the title of “Unveil the Genocide in Ogaden region” on Saturday.
As Social media plays a big role for our lives,and the lives of global youth,OYSU-UK managed to reach out their follow members around the country through twitter,face-book and advertising by using posters.
At least fifteen OYSU-members from Great Britain mostly young women participated in mobilizing people to attend an event that took two months or so to organize.
Despite all-born in Europe and have never seen Ogaden Region,these young women and young men shared and displayed the act of horrible stories that they are hearing from their homeland,Ogaden Region.
Endless stories such as gang-raping,torturing,extra-judicial killing,widespread arresting,looting,displacing villagers,confiscating livestock by the Ethiopian Army and its allied notorious Liyu Police militia that is common in Ethiopian occupied-Ogaden Region.
The Ogaden, an old Italian and British colony borders Djibouti,Oromia, Kenya and Somalia and many of its residents are ethnic Somali Muslims,which later became under Ethiopian colony when Great Britain secretly handed over to Ethiopia in 1954 a decision rejected by the Ogaden Somali population who have since fought for full independence.
In 1977-78,Somalia involved in the Ogaden war but abandoned when it faced more challenges from its domestic oppositions.
Birmingham resident,Juweyria Ali,19,has invested her time in the OYSU- event to make it happen and kept updating me for the last couple of weeks.She is very delighted when a large number of people including the Ogaden Community from United Kingdom that willing to expose the army brutality in Ogaden region attended,for the result of her blessed hard-work.
“After long-nights of sleepless our efforts ended in success,thanks to God,the change must start from ourselves first,therefore with talent and energy plus education these young educators can save the World ,God’s will.What we need is to put things in action i.e more work and less talk”,saidMiss Amal Abdi Iley, one of organizing committee members.
3-year-old OYSU that gained the attention of the media only recently set up its own divisions in the very remote areas, they come up with their own system: more dynamic and organized way of human interaction, according OYSU executive officials the top has to reach out down the line all over the globe through Skype,phone calls and any other means is very crucial.
“Our work is not only allegiance to my country but religious duty as well”, said Abdi Jamal Abdullahi Mohammed, The Information Secretary of OYSU in an email response.
Some of the attendees that I talked with via face-book shared with me their experience about the Saturday event that dubbed “Unveil the Hidden Genocide in Ogaden” one of these people is Leyla Hassan who hinted how Jigjiga was not ready to host Ethiopian guests.
“My emotion is too high,the words are too far limited and I could not find words to express my feelings because the event comes after Ethiopia held grossly unfair and unwanted so-called “The Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities People’s Day” in Jigjiga which we disappointed by the fact the burden brought by the guests for a city already suffering lack of water supplies and inadequate accommodations,OYSU-event that took place on Saturday gave us hope to continue the fight against injustice”,said Leyla Hassan,24 year-old London resident and OYSU-member that invited to participate in the “unveil genocide event”.
The majority of the 8-10 million population are ethnic Somalis whose Ogaadeni clan ties extend to major parts of Somalia and Kenya.According,a comment from Somalilandpress visitor whom introduced himself as Jamal,the more they continue oppressing the Somali people in the Somali region of Ethiopia, the more resentment towards Ethiopia among the Somali ethnics around the world. Such resentment will continue infuriating the Somali ethnics in everywhere.
“Political solution is only viable when the right to self-determination be granted to the Somali people of the Ogaden since it is (Ogaden Conflict) one of the long-standing conflicts of Africa and has been the epicenter of horn of Africa conflict”,said Abdi-Aziz Ali,US-based OYSU foreign secretary.
Ethiopia which is the poorest nation on the planet at the same time has the largest military in Africa has been waging a bloody battle with ONLF and has been increasing its military and presence in the ogaden region time after time believing that it can defeat ONLF militarily and the group’s Army wing would fade away quietly,but due to lack of knowledge of the terrain the military’s no chance of winning brings more frustration to Addis Ababa,what’s reality truly biting!
The Ethiopian government forcibly recruited young men aged between 15-25 from Ogaden region mostly street children that drink alcohol,sniff glue and don’t spare a single soul even a member of his own family,be it a person accused of being an ONLF supporters or not.
People in the Ogaden region say,when they saw that they (Liyu Police) does not save their crops and their lives,”illegal drug or heroin are injected in the Liyu police militias right after their 6-months training completion that made them unconscious for their actions”. But a former Liyu police defector,Captain Hassan Aafo,who notified that he narrowly escaped suicide during his fight against ONLF believes during differently.
“The political system of the Ethiopian appointed administration itself is, and until it is changed nothing good can be expected”,Said Captain Hassan.
As for ONLF, which its number grows, “there is no big and small but there is only power,and the real power is not material but spirit,as the group tells its die-hard supporters say (Itoobiya waa laan gabi ka lu’lata) which means the dissolution and the collapse of Ethiopia is near and/or “Itoobiya waa qori xar galay”, which can be translated, “Ethiopia is a tiger paper”.
The group believes that it can gain the Ogaden Independence through army struggle as the case of Eritrea or through dialogue for holding UN backed referendum as the case of South Sudan which many people knowing Ethiopian plots have no good faith of it or a little hope.
Eritrea and South Sudan inspired Somali people of Ogaden region and they believe that they can follow the same fate of these nations hoping to be the newest country of Africa sometime to come.
Eritrea which has the toughest army in Africa won its independence after a hard fought 30-year-struggle against Ethiopian occupation.
The occupied-Ogaden region has been experiencing over so many years of suffering from excessive Ethiopian regimes that leave no stone unturned to oppress the Somali population of Ogaden region to refrain from demanding secession.
“It’s necessary to find a way to stop it because the Ogaden people have been suppressed and violated for long enough. Youth for human rights wish for the Ogaden people over the holiday period.”,’A civilization without insanity,without criminals and without wars,were the able can prosper and the honest beings can have rights,and were man is free to rise to greater heights quoting this wisdom from L. Ron Hubbard’s best-selling book titled “Dianetics” said, Maurithus Meiring, a sympathetic South African activist from Pretoria and the Director of Public affairs of the Youth for Human Rights.
OYSU leadership and members of OYSU are working hard to make a positive change since its mission is clear to so many The Question is does the OYSU’s energy and effort will continue as it is started for the years to come or until it achieves its goal? Time will tell.
I think,OYSU is a torch we as Somalis from Ogaden region must carry,however, the level of effort required to make known the Ogaden genocide to the rest of the World is too far limited even though the Ogaden Somali Community in South Africa has filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC), urging an investigation into the actions of the Ethiopian government against the Ogaden people.
The move did not proceeded but Swedish Persecutors are investigating a shocking footage containing 100-hours of filmed-evidence smuggled out Abdullahi Hussein,a former civil servant that defected to Sweden.
The investigation began after a lawyer at the International Commission of Jurist, Stellan Gärde, handed over the films to Swedish Prosecutors.