June 26, 2011

The Genocide of Ogaden

Only a few people who read the title knows what this is about. We all know that genocide is one of the worst horrors that occurs in the world. Deliberate killing of an ethnic group. Ogaden is totally unknown to most readers.

Yet here is one of the worst disasters happening. People are deliberately stoked by food and drink to finally die in inhumane conditions. It is happening in front of our eyes and the cruelty gets worse by the day.

Denan is a refugee camp in the Ogaden area, in Ethiopia, an area mainly inhabited by people of Somali origin. Once a colony of Italy and later given,by the English to Somalia. Ogaden became the battlefield the many wars in the area between Somalia and Ethiopia. The people of Ogaden were not welcome in both countries. They are trapped between  two nations. Officially the area belongs  to Ethiopia but they have completely closed down the area and refuse  aid workers and their organisations in the area with  terrible consequences for the refugees.

The situation in Denan refugee camps is distressing. There is drought, no food and water and no medical care. The medications available for the 7000 refugees are on a small table. Each day new families arrive in the camp. Strongly dehydrated and skinny to the bone. Families leave their home area with five children but arrive at the camp with three children.De walking journey can take up to 20 days over a wide flat and  dusty area where the heat is extreme. In every village they pass by  they beg for food and water.

A journalist from CNN managed to arrive in the camp and filmed to horrible scene. See video. He gave his food and water to a woman who could not sit independently anymore of hunger and thirst. Nearby is a food depot with a few bags of grain, but the large water reservoirs are empty. The remaining grain is for new arrivals who had nothing to eat for days. Once settled in the camp there is nothing anymore, parents watch how their children die. One by one.

Every day at the end of the afternoon the men dig a new grave just outside the camp for the new victims who did not survive the day. And they know their turn will come soon as well and who is going to give them a decent burial?

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