Thomas C. Mountain
As the UN famine warning center issues urgent reports that millions of Ethiopians are once again starving in the Somali populated Ogaden the International Committee of the Red Cross publishes a statement that the Ethiopian government has denied the Red Cross an operating permit to carry out relief work in the region. Blocking the Red Cross from relief work somewhere is almost unheard of yet when it comes to Ethiopia, headed by the G-20 “statesman” Meles Zenawi, this is business as usual.
For the past four years all aid agencies, including the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders and UN relief agencies have been blocked by the Ethiopian military from feeding starving people in Ogadenia. Millions of starving people, maybe as many as 6 million, though no can can say for sure because…no one is allowed into the region.
Why is this? Why is there no outcry against this enormous crime against humanity, the blocking of food aid to millions of starving people?
The answer lies at the doorstep of those “humanitarian interventionists”, the western countries and their puppets in the U.N. who pump billions of dollars a year into propping up the Meles Zenawi regime in Ethiopia. Ethiopia has for several years now surpassed Egypt as the largest recipient of cash from the west in the entire continent of Africa. While the exact amount is hidden deep inside the opaque reports gathering dust in the offices of the international financial cartels, the IMF reported that in 2010 Ethiopia’s import bill was $8.7 billion while it exported only $1.7 billion. $7 billion a year, in direct cash grants, loans that are inevitably forgiven (the bulk of so called African debt relief) or various methods involving financial chicanery, the bill has to be paid or the west knows all to well how quickly their East African henchman Meles Zenawi’s followers will abandon him. If Meles Zenawi goes, who will be the western enforcer in East Africa, the one who does the dirty work so the west can show the world how clean its hands really are?
Drought, famine and an increasingly brutal counterinsurgency carried out by the Ethiopian military, the largest in Africa, the people of the Ogaden are forgotten by the world, thanks in no small part to the western media as well as the “human rights” corporations. In one moment of desperation I sent an e-mail about this to a reporter for the L.A. Times based in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa , only to receive a reply that they could not cover this matter due to “access and logistic difficulties”. At least they cant say they didn’t know.
Yet in all this darkness there is light, for the people of Ogadenia have been increasingly effective in armed self defense, and have begun to go on the offensive against the Ethiopian military and their local paramilitary death squads. Still, it remains far beyond the means of the several thousand fighters in the Ogaden National Liberation Front to feed millions of their people, all the while fighting some very desperate battles against their western armed and funded enemies in the Ethiopian military.
The Horn of Africa has been one of, if not the most, war and starvation plagued regions in the world, and these ongoing calamities can all be traced back to the western overlords footing the bill.
The west, especially the Obama White House may pretend ignorance of this crime, but the fact remains that a senior Obama advisor, Gayle Smith, in her pre-Obama opposition to George Bush day job at the so called Enough Project wrote about this back in 2007 and 2008.
So the powers that be know, all to well, that they are directly responsible for the forced starvation of millions, but don’t expect any action from them. The mandate of the leaders of the western “democracies” is not to save lives, far from it, it is to protect their empire. So what does it matter if their capos in East Africa cause hundreds of thousands, maybe a million people to die of starvation?
International Law is really the Law of the Jungle, where only the strong survive, and the long suffering people of the Ethiopian Ogaden are the latest victims. The people of the the Ogaden have little choice but to fight for their lives, at least until the gangster, genocidal regime of Meles Zenawi is sent packing, with Meles fleeing to his palace in London and his ill gotten billions. Until then don’t expect anything better than crocodile tears from the “humanitarian interventionists” in the west.
Thomas C. Mountain is the only independent western journalist in the Horn of Africa, living and reporting from Eritrea since 2006. In a previous life he was the publisher on the Ambedkar Journal on Apartheid in India. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org