Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
The critical events at Obala, Northern Ogaden, and the successful operation carried out by the ONLF, bring the West in front of a most challenging predicament: either adjust the African policy on Humanist and Democratic principles and concepts and put an end to the most loathed tyrannical regime of fake ‘Ethiopia’ or support it and see Islamic terrorism expand throughout Africa like mushrooms.
Ogaden: a Glorious part of African History
The West cannot afford to be ignorant of the historical truth as regards the Horn of Africa region. All the Western fears, misconceptions and erroneous policies are based precisely on ignorance, and mass media mendacity. Few pieces of correct analysis, pertinent reports and news have reached the Western audience about Ogaden. Yet, the world press is flooded with venomous articles against the Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, as result of his land reform that deprived some local colonials from the big money they used to make. A recently published comical article under the title “Robert Mugabe, man or monster?“ is to be found here: http://www.economist.com/daily/diary/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9061584 .
The World press must re-focus on what is more essential as violation of Human Rights, and stop working for the interest of some restricted groups of power. Mugabe is not as cruel and bestial as Meles Zenawi, the thuggish Abyssinian tyrant.
People in the West ignore that tyrannical, anachronistic and dysfunctional Abyssinia (falsely re-baptized ‘Ethiopia’) has no right to occupy Ogaden, was never accepted as country by the Ogadenis, and consequently does not have any right to exploit the natural resources of a foreign country.
Ogaden was for millennia a passageway between Africa’s East coast and the Abyssinian plateau; through the Periplus of the Red Sea, a text written approximately before 1930 years by an Alexandrian Egyptian captain and merchant, we know details about the navigation alongside the African Red Sea coast, through the Bab al Mandeb straits, and further on until the Cap of Spices (Akroterion Aromaton – present day Cap Guardafui) and down to Rhapta, in the area of today’s Dar es Salam in Tanzania. Since the sailors had to arrange everything in a way to sail according to the direction of monsoons, sometimes they had to wait many long months in these faraway places; this was the main reason for the development of the trans-African caravan routes through the region of Ogaden.
In the same way Ogaden was a land between Azania (Eastern coast of Africa, Somalia to Tanzania) and Axumite Abyssinia and Meroitic Ethiopia in the Antiquity, today’s Ogadenis are in the middle of many struggles for National Independence. In the Eastern confines of Ogaden, Somalis seek to get rid of the barbaric Amhara / Tigray invaders; in Ogaden’s Western borders, Afars, Oromos, and Sidamas fight to kick out the same murderers who have been ruling these vast lands for more than a century, only to guarantee underdevelopment, starvation, poverty, torture and misery.
Abdurrahman Mahdi is an excellent Ogadeni scholar who contributed an illuminating chapter of Modern Ogaden Concise History under the title “The Ogaden Past and Present” in the collective volume “Arrested Development in Ethiopia - Essays on Underdevelopment, Democracy and Self-Determination” edited by Seyoum Hameso and Mohammed Hassen (The Red Sea Press Inc., Trenton, New Jersey, 2006); we re-publish here a few illuminating paragraphs that shed light of major historical developments that occurred in 20th century Ogaden. We recommend the excellent publication to all Western readers, and decision-makers, who share the agony of African peoples for Freedom, Human Dignity, Respect for Human Rights, Democracy and Tolerance.
Abdurrahman Mahdi on the Ogaden Past and Present
“The Ogaden Somali territory lies between Oromia to the west, Afar to the northwest, the Republic of Djibouti to the north, Kenya to the south and the Somali Republic to the East. The Ogaden people are agro-pastoralists and they speak Somali language.
The Ogaden Somali people were independent and powerful until European colonial powers came to Africa and started arming the Abyssinian chiefs in the north. Using the arms and expertise provided by the colonialists, the Abyssinians captured Harar in 1887 and started raiding villages in that area, killing men and selling women and children as slaves. From their base in Harar, the Abyssinians invaded the region of Ogaden.
The Ogaden Somalis vehemently resisted the encroachment of the Abyssinian expansionists and succeeded in halting their advance. Even though the Abyssinian military campaign to conquer the rest of the Somali territory failed, the colonial powers recognized its claim over the Ogaden Somali land and signed treaties with them.
From 1896 to 1948 Abyssinia (renaming itself Ethiopia) waged a constant war of conquest against the Somalis but failed in gaining any further foothold in the Ogaden. In 1935, Italy invaded Abyssinia and captured it along with the
Ogaden and the territories of other nations in the area. In 1941, the British defeated Italy in the region, and administered the Ogaden for eight years until it transferred part of the Ogaden (Jigjiga area) to Ethiopia for the first time. The other parts were transferred in 1954 and 1956. Ethiopia then gained control over the Ogaden without the knowledge or the consent of the Ogaden Somali people. From then onwards, successive Ethiopian regimes mercilessly suppressed the Ogaden people and whenever the liberation movements seriously weakened and threatened Ethiopian colonialism, a foreign power directly intervened to re-establish the colonial rule over the Ogaden.”
Tyrannical, alien Abyssinia has no right to exploit Ogaden’s natural resources.
From the aforementioned it becomes clear that never did the Ogadenis express a wish to participate in the country whereby they have been forced to belong; there was never a minimum form of democratic consecration, referendum, legitimate multipartite elections, free debates, elected representatives’ speeches, to validate and sanctify the present situation.
Invaded by successive European colonizers, the Ogadenis were never asked about their choice, probably because it was always known beforehand. They wished to organize their society autonomously and independently as they had done before the arrival of the Italians and the British.
As a matter of fact, the Abyssinian tyrants have the option to only leave Ogaden free; as long as they do not realize that the sooner the better, Abyssinian oppressors will be dealt in the same way as Nazis throughout Europe during WW II, as British in 1770s America, or French in 1950s Algeria.
The legitimate representative of the Ogadenis, the ONLF, repeatedly offered the Abyssinian tyrants the chance of open talks in another country in order to avoid massive and dynamic reaction measures that would cause many casualties; as the Tigray tyrants rejected to discuss, the ONLF enters a new stage of struggle for independent Ogaden. The only loser in this case is expected to be the ailing and deeply resented Abyssinian regime.
Ogaden will teach Europe, the US, and China an unprecedented lesson
The present situation can be therefore described as unacceptable foreign occupation, and therefore it will be dealt as such; if the US does not apply the same measures as in Iraq and Kuwait during the First Gulf War, the US will be a loser, and none else. When all the Ogadenis march to Harar to unify Muslim Africa’s Holiest Shrine with their country, it will be too late for the Abyssinian gangsters and their American supporters. And when the US proves to be unable to keep Iraq in order, it is very unwise for any administration to ally themselves with loathsome dictators whose days are numbered.
Inhuman, Colonial Europe will soon understand that there is a reason to repent for the crimes perpetrated in Africa; you cannot embark of anti-slavery crusades that end up in enslaving countries. And in the same way, England will accept Scotland to secede, all the free, democratic countries of the world have to impose through a UN resolution a referendum for Ogaden independence.
The Chinese condemned the attack and said it was working for the release of the Chinese citizens taken hostage in the assault. It is well known indeed that the Chinese government and state-owned companies have strengtheened their positions throughout Africa over the past years. Their commitment has nothing to do with Africa’s real needs for development and progress; it is mainly geared to secure resources needed to power industry at home.
The Chinese materialistic approach consists in an alien element in Africa; Africans do not need any sort of cooperation with dictatorial governments that consolidate the African tyrannies and strip the African peoples from their natural resources.
China has no right to complain!
Bullets Fly in a Forgotten Land Ogadenia Separatists fight Ethiopia - By Jonathan Alpeyrie.. READ...
By giving credit to the comical Chinese statement, one would be led to the assumption that the Chinese workers killed in Obala are victims of a terrorist attack. As Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said “The Chinese government strongly condemns this atrocious armed attack, mourns for the Chinese and Ethiopian victims and expresses deep sympathies to their families and those injured in the attack”. The nine Chinese killed were working for the Zhongyuan Petroleum Exploration Bureau, a division of Sinopec, China’s largest refiner and petrochemicals producer, which has an overseas-listed subsidiary. The Chinese company was subcontracted by Petronas, the Malaysian company.
Yet, the ONLF had repeatedly warned foreign governments to abstain from the exploitation of Ogaden’s natural resources and more particularly the Oil; the ONLF had advised all the companies involved to leave Ogaden. The Chinese had enough time to pack and go, but probably did not give the correct credibility to the ONLF warnings. However, continuing their policy of absolute and provocatively inhuman immorality, they prefered to keep their state employees there, and it is the notorious and repugnant Chinese greediness that should be held responsible for the Chinese casualties.
Abdurrahman Mahdi, spokesman for the Ogaden liberation fighters, said the deaths followed a battle between their fighters and Ethiopian soldiers protecting the exploration site. Any civilians killed – including the Chinese – were in the crossfire, he said. He added that the ONLF had taken five Chinese workers alive, and would be in touch with the International Red Cross to return them. “It is very unfortunate. But we don’t allow anybody to drill on our land without our permission. The Ethiopians do not control the Ogaden and we have warned the Chinese that we will not allow them to drill there. They want our wealth without our consent,” he said by phone. (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/6a509d5a-f264-11db-a454-000b5df10621.html)
Being more verbose about the negative character of the Chinese presence in the African continent, whereby the Chinese support bloodthirsty dictators and tyrannical regimes, like those of Abyssinia, Nigeria and Sudan, the spokesman for the Ogaden liberation fighters said: “The Chinese used to be more populist,” the spokesman added, “but now they are turning into colonialists themselves. First there were the Russians, then the Americans, now it is them.”
It was perhaps high time to speak about Eastern Turkestan, Inner Mongolia, and Tibet!
West’s tactics of demonizing the ‘Other’ risks exposing ONLF to Islamist embrace
The consequences of the Obala attack are far reaching, and go beyond China’s economic interests. The vicinity of Somalia and the parallel character of the fight of ONLF and the Islamic Courts of Justice, the common cultural and religious backgrounds, and the shared rejection of the loathsome and barbaric relic of Abyssinia can very soon become a bridge. Through this bridge, the Fire of Demand for Justice will spread out allover Africa.
America has very little time to react; still the US can meet success in separating the ONLF from the African branches of Al Qaeda. This will not happen without sacrifices. Viewing things arrogantly and from far will not help; on the contrary, it will destroy the last chances.
America must realize the terrible position in which the country finds itself; American diplomats must deploy efforts to win with them the OLNF, and other liberation fronts of the oppressed peoples of Abyssinia, Sudan, Algeria, etc. Part of the US plans has to be forgotten as unrealistic an non possible anymore.
The US must commit itself to the shaping of new borders throughout Africa.
The US must demand the immediate removal of the Abyssinian army from Somalia.
The US must recognize Somaliland and Puntland immediately.
The US must recognize the rights of Afars, Ogadenis, Oromos and Sidamas to independence.
The US must get militarily involved in Ogaden and Oromia, sending a few thousands of soldiers to coordinate with the armed forces of the liberation forces. Why was it is easy to send so many thousands of troops to Iraq where the indigenous peoples had not asked in their majority the US to interfere, and it would be difficult to send a few thousands of soldiers to regions where the US is highly respected and loved?
The US must officially recognize Afar land, Ogaden, and Oromo – Sidama Ethiopia as independent countries. Furthermore, the American administration should provide equipment, infrastructure and administrative skills.
Demilitarized Tigray and Amhara states must be quarantined, until they are no threat anymore for the peace and the democratic rule of many peoples of the Horn of Africa. These measures will avert the impending cooperation of many organizations, Muslim or not, with the invisible hand of al Qaeda in Africa,
Picture: ONLF fighters (from the website http://www.onlf.org/)
May 5, 2007, 00:46
bombing of Somalia took place while the World Social
Forum was underway in Kenya and three days before a
large anti-war action in Washington, January 27.
Nunu Kidane, network coordinator for Priority Africa
Network (PAN) was present in Nairobi, and after
returning home asked out loud how 'to explain the
silence of the US peace movement on Somalia?'
Writing in the San Francisco community newspaper Bay
View, she suggested one reason I think valid:
'Perhaps US-based organizations don't have the
proper analytical framework from which to understand
the significance of the Horn of Africa region.
Perhaps it is because Somalia is largely seen as a
country with no government and in perpetual chaos,
with 'fundamental Islamic' forces not deserving of
defense against the military attacks by US in search
of 'terrorists'.' To that I would add: the major
U.S. media's role in the lead up to the invasion and
the suffering now taking place in the Horn of
Africa. 'The carnage and suffering in Somalia may be
the worst in more than a decade -- but you'd hardly
know it from your nightly news,' wrote Andrew
Cawthorne from Nairobi for Reuters last week. Amy
Goodman's Democracy Now recently examined ABC's,
NBC's and CBS's coverage of Somalia in the evening
newscasts since the invasion. ABC and NBC had not
mentioned the war at all. CBS mentioned the war
once, dedicating a whole three sentences to it.
This, despite the fact that there have been more
casualties in this war than in the recent fighting
in Lebanon. READ MORE....