The unflinching Demand of Addis – its massive land-grabbing of Somali Disteicts is against the UN Convention
Today I watched and listened to the words of anger, desperation, and hopelessness presented by Riyale Hamud in a videotape regarding the senseless killings of Somalis in Ethiopia.
Brother Riyale, a man who commands tremendous respect among Somalis under Ethiopia’s suffocating colonial yoke, is the only person known to me who hails from the western regions (West of Dhurwale) of the Somali Regional State known to have joined ONLF. Because of the lack of action to protect his community, he loudly showed signs of disappointment with respect to the resolve of ONLF to stand by him as he did by them. He also called upon the feeble administration in Jigjiga to protect the civilians of the Somali Regional State.
Very sad!! The powerlessness that Somalis feel today is akin to that of 1956 when Somalis helplessly watched the colonial power of England slice their land to friendly forces such as Ethiopia.
The administration in Jigjiga is feeble and weak to even speak up on behalf of its people. And it is that silence that is pushing Mr. Riyale and others over the cliff. As much as I hate to see again a renewed armed conflict, the lack of action on the part of the administrations in Jigjiga and Addis to protect Somali life may bring that derisive scenario sooner than we think.
In a sense, some districts and many Somali communities are under fire now more than any time. Worse, even the cosmopolitan city of Dire-Dahba could not protect its Somali children; until recently, Somali and Arabic languages were the interchangeable lingua franca in the city; today the Somali is a hunted species.
The agonizing memories of the 2004’s sham plebiscite is still fresh in the Somali region. They are also the cause of the current conflict both in Sitti and Tuli Guuleed, Moyale, Babili, Balbalayti, areas that are experiencing death and mayhem while the administration in Jigjiga is silent. Silent they are because they are working behind the scene, or because the leaders in Jigjiga admit that they are powerless to stop the killing we don’t know yet.
Also, fresh in our collective memory is the many times the late Dr. Abdulmajid Hussein came close to resigning his Ministerial position, because of his worries about the lack of fair arbitrations to resolve the Somalo-Oromo tension. He also loudly complained about the eastward expansion of Oromia at the expense of Somali territory. To dramatize the issue, the late AbdulMajid went to one of the disputed districts (Jinacsani, which lies only 15 miles to the northwest of Jigjiga) with a large entourage and confronted the Ormoia army who were holding the city as their hostage by sheer brute force. This was 1994.
Is Mustafa going to threaten to resign from his post if Addis refuses to head his people’s cry? Or, as long as Abi Ilay is in jail, ESATV keeps inflating news in the Somali region by belittle Somalis, or uttering ad nauseam “xoroyatul qawl,” we are expected to say “hail to the chief” and sing shibirayahow heeso whenever we see Somali diaspora and other celebrities invited to Jigjiga’s palace? That ain’t serve us well.
Like the late Dr. Abdulmajid, in 2003, Abdirashid Dulane also refused to walk away from the claim of Somali districts and reward OPDO. I was with him on one occasion in 2003 when he received a call from Harar’s command center. He stood his ground and refused to write off districts near Babili. I could still hear his words saying: “these are traditional Somali districts and I am not going to give up…” Finally, they removed him from the presidency.
Squeezing Somalis has been going on for some time now. The 1991 map (below) which the Charter of 1990 sanctioned, is now squeezed that the Somali border is at the contested prairie farmlands laying on the outskirts of Jigjiga.
Ethiopia’s open policy the does not halt acts of massacring Somalis willy-nilly and the accompanied land