Sunday, March 14, 2010

Normal life of an Ogadeni

"Many wonder what the “normal” life of an Ogadeni is like. I wouldn’t exactly use the word normal to describe the life of my people. They are incessantly oppressed, transgressed, and suppressed. My brothers and sisters in Ogadenia are limited in what they can say or do. The Ethiopian regime tries so hard to silence the people, but so far they have been unsuccessful in doing so. One cannot silence a people who were born to be poets and writers, and that is exactly what my people are. While the Ethiopian regime tries to silence the people with their guns and missiles, my people respond with their way of speech, their pens and their books. The normal life of an Ogadeni is a constant struggle. Women, men and children alike strive to reach their essential goal - FREEDOM. Amidst the confusion and chaos that goes on there, parents still try to get their children to school. The only protection a child has against the guns that fly by so fast are his books and pens that he carries so delicately in his small hands. Much of my people die from starvation, malnutrition, and lack of basic necessities of life such as water, food, and medical aid. The daily life of an Ogadeni involves being murdered, massacred, imprisoned, buried/burned alive, and being cut off from anything that a human survives on.
A sorrowful father looked down into his hands as he carried his daughter who died from hunger. His eyes were downcast, his tears poured as he placed his daughter into the dark grave that was to consume her. While he thought of how he could manage the rest of his children, another woman sat in jail to await her turn of being electrocuted. A daily task she had prepared herself for. As this woman’s tears started to run along her cheeks, a mother begged her enemy to let her be for the sake of her children. But she was not spared and as she passed away not knowing what wrong she had done, her kids looked into her eyes sobbing and not knowing what to do. And as this woman breathed her last, another innocent man was tracked down and killed in his house. But wait, it doesn’t end there because than another woman was massacred so horrifically, stripped off her clothing, beaten and bruised and eventually raped by more than a dozen men in front of the towns men to show what a powerful person is capable of doing. Sadly she passed away before she could get her younger siblings whom were orphaned to a safer destination, which is what she had come to do. But we must understand, these atrocities are incessant and don’t have an ending to it. The life of the Ogadenis back home also affects those of us whom are so far away. We yearn for our homeland, yet we cannot go back even if we become billionaires for fear of being persecuted, imprisoned, massacred and murdered. The Ogaden people have fled from war into refugee camps near by to search for any possible means of survival. Ogaden houses are burnt down even to the last piece of structure that there is. It’s not much of a “normal” life you see. It’s a game of warfare, it’s a test to see who is going to survive today or not. We have become the prey and the predators have not had enough to prey on yet or so they think. But you see, the daily life of my people is a struggle - we hope and pray for a better day, but the reality that our people live in is beyond what our minds can grasp. Being an Ogadeni causes a painful reality for many. Being who my people are has its price. Being suspended from roofs upside down, gang raped, beaten, brutally murdered, burned/buried alive, electrocuted, being hanged, being shot to death, and of course their corpse rotting in the middle of a market.
Did I forget to mention that the “normal” life of an Ogadeni involves praying constantly to be relieved of these painful atrocities, keeping hope alive, continuously thanking God for the life He has given us so that we may better ourselves, and praying that one day our freedom will be granted to us. Did I mention, that aside from how much atrocities we go through we still uphold ourselves and our dignity. We still hold firm to our faith, and we still hope for a better and brighter future. How’s that for a “normal” life? I am sure that of my people is beyond normal but we’ve still got hope, and as time progresses our generations will continue to be beautiful roses amidst a barren desert."
“When the world pushes you to your knees, you’re in the perfect position to pray”.

- Nimo Abdi Warfa
Copyright © 2010

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