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Rally to Address Inadequate News Reporting in the Horn of Africa

By Abdi Galgalo

Silently, the Horn of Africa has become the Bush Administration’s new “war on terror” franchise. This joint venture of the United States and the terrorist ethnocratic regime of Ethiopia has led many in the region to question the meaning of this “war on terror” and at what and whose cost it is being waged.

Following the horrible incident of September 11, many authoritarian regimes have jumped on the anti-terrorism bandwagon in order to quell domestic political demands and obtain support from the U.S. This includes the repressive regime of Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, which has made incessant attempts to mischaracterize the legitimate struggle of the Oromo people for national self-determination. Despite this effort, the world is increasingly recognizing this legitimate struggle against tyranny, oppression, and marginalization.

When the unpopularity of the Zenawi regime reached its climax in 2006, which coincided with the emergence of strong Islamic militia in Somalia, the regime frantically jumped onto the “war on terror” bandwagon and effectively exploited the Islamophobia of the West in its presentation of Somalia under Islamic courts as terrorists’ heaven. Consequently, in addition to divert attention from its domestic political crises, Zenawi has managed to emerge as a principal beneficiary of the U.S.’s military and political backings.

Since the U.S. backed Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia, the political climate at the Horn of Africa has changed for the worse–Somalia has descended into chaos, and the repression of the Oromo people is intensified and is being perpetrated in the territories of Somalia and Kenya. Oromo refugees are being hunted down in Somalia for bounty and handed over to the invading Ethiopian militia. Some are killed on the spot by Ethiopian military forces and the fates of those who are taken to Ethiopia are unknown.

The heartbreaking pleas of Oromos from Somalia and Ethiopia are heard by fellow Oromos from across the world. In their respective communities, Oromo expatriates have rallied to be voices for their oppressed compatriots. Since Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia, the ethnic cleansing of the Oromo people has become intensified. Sadly, this act of crime against humanity has neither elicited adequate response from the international community, particularly the sponsors of Ethiopia’s invasion, nor received proper media coverage.

In order to address these disconcerting issues, Oromo Youth leaders are organizing a rally at the Nation’s Capital to express their dismay at the lack of response from the international community to these atrocities and the “deafening silence of the mainstream news media surrounding these atrocities.” In its press statement, the International Oromo Youth Association (I.O.Y.A) calls for an immediate cessation of the “harassment, illegal detention, kidnapping, lynching, and cold-blooded murder of Oromo refugees in Somalia” and calls on all peace-loving people to attend the rally.

The rally, which is going to take place on March 31, 2007 at 12pm starting at the State Department in Washington DC, is expected to be attended by many Oromos and non-Oromos from all across North America.

The full text of the press report from the International Oromo Youth Association. Click here.

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