In the finest Reconstitution tradition of bringing you the stories the MSM loses on its way to cover whoever Lindsay Lohan ran over with her Escalade this week, let me introduce you to our “tur” fighting partners in Ethiopia.
You’ll see a lot of things you recognize immediately in this story. Things like starvation, murder, rape, and general brutality. But this time it isn’t the Commies of the “Live Aid” era that is to blame for the carnage. This time, it’s the US equipped and backed Ethiopian Army that is starving whoever they can’t shoot, hang, rape, or burn to death.
The US has historically been really good at picking the wrong side of a dispute, but I don’t think that we’ve ever been as good at it as we are in this era. The Islamic Courts movement that took power in Somalia was draconian, but compared to the Ethiopians they were almost saintly. However, these days the Ethiopians are our bestest buddies, so the misery endured by their victims just doesn’t warrant the kind of coverage the MSM gave Ethiopia way back when. You remember-when Bob Geldof pinpricked the conscience of the world and spurred the haves to actually give a damn about the have-nots, if only for a little while.
The abomination occurring in the Ogaden is worse than the most horrible Osama scenarios dreamed up by the American lunatic right, but we hear absolutely nothing about it. Why? Because these murderous bastards are OUR murderous bastards, and in ChimpyWorld (where the MSM also lives, for the most part,) that’s what matters. You can be a murderous tyrant as long as you pay lip service to the moronic monkey and act as his proxy when he wants you to do something for him. The Ethiopian Army amounts to Blackwater on a gargantuan scale, and the results are proportionate to the size of the menace.
I now return you to your regularly scheduled MSM dose of OJ Simpson pablum. Big news on Britney on the hour!
The Ethiopian government is starving and killing its own people in the remote eastern Ogaden region, according to refugees, who describe a terrifying four-month crackdown in which security forces have sealed off villages, torched homes and businesses, commandeered food and water sources, and beaten, raped or executed anyone who resists.
Hundreds of civilians already may have been killed in the crackdown on a separatist movement known as the Ogaden National Liberation Front, according to interviews with dozens of Ogadenis who’ve gathered in a steadily growing refugee camp in this steamy port city 300 miles from the Ethiopian border.
“They strangled my wife with a rope,” said Ahmed Mohammed Abdi, a 35-year-old farmer from Degehabur province, who came home one day this month to see his wife’s body lying by the door, his 1-month-old son still suckling at her breast. That night, he fled into the bush and began a seven-day trek to the relative safety of northern Somalia.
“If you come and try to identify the dead body, the soldiers will beat you also,” said the wiry, wide-eyed Abdi. “I was afraid to be killed, so I ran away.”
A top aide to Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi rejected the allegations. The government has barred reporters and international relief groups from most of the region, a vast desert that stretches from the central Ethiopian highlands to the border with Somalia.
In July, Ethiopia expelled the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross from the Ogaden, accusing its workers of aiding the rebels. Last week, the aid agency Doctors Without Borders said it also had been denied access, and it warned of a major humanitarian crisis.
Some aid workers worry that the Ogaden could become a second Darfur, referring to the Sudanese government crackdown on insurgents in that country’s Darfur region, which the United States has labeled genocide. In this instance, the United States has come out in support of Ethiopia, one of its most important African allies in the war on terrorism.
The U.S. has helped train Ethiopia’s military — one of the largest and best equipped in Africa — and backed its recent invasion of Somalia to topple a fundamentalist Islamic regime there. Last week, after visiting one town in the Ogaden, Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer condemned the rebels and said reports of military atrocities were unsubstantiated.
“We urge any and every government to respect human rights and to try and avoid civilian casualties,” Frazer said, “but that’s difficult in dealing with an insurgency.”
The accounts given by dozens of refugees in Bossasso this week paint a grim picture: Ethiopian forces burning or blockading scores of towns and villages in a strategy seemingly aimed at starving the population, which widely supports the insurgency.
Since June, soldiers have confiscated food and medicine from shops, stolen camels and livestock and blocked people from using water wells, refugees said. Few commercial trucks have been allowed in, and relief workers say that food and humanitarian aid also has been stopped for most of the summer.
The people, mainly ethnic Somali nomads and farmers, are surviving on the meat and milk of their remaining goats.
“They burned down my house,” said Fatima Abdi Mohammed, a 40-year-old mother of six from a village near the eastern town of Warder. When she tried to protest, soldiers beat her with the handles of daggers, she said.
“There is no water, no food, no health services. If people leave to fetch water with camels, they are killed or beaten.”
Many refugees said women in their villages had been raped. Khadar Sherif Ahmed, 22, a villager from Degehabur, said he’d watched security forces storm a mosque and fatally stab five people — the oldest an 80-year-old man, the youngest a child of 8.
Bereket Simon, a senior aide to Prime Minister Zenawi, denied that soldiers were abusing or killing civilians.
“We are singling out the terrorists. We know how to deal with insurgents,” he said. “This army is well trained, and they know their mission.”
Earlier this month, Ethiopian forces escorted a U.N. fact-finding mission through parts of the Ogaden, but the team wasn’t allowed to visit areas that refugees described as the worst affected.