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Home Opinion The Ogaden: A Century Old Tragedy Exacerbated by ‘Global Conspiracy of Silence.’

The Ogaden: A Century Old Tragedy Exacerbated by ‘Global Conspiracy of Silence.’

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The First Annual Conference on the Ogaden Tragedy held by the Canadian Center for Ogaden Research and Advocacy (CANCORA) in Toronto, Ontario.

Title: The Ogaden: A Century Old Tragedy Exacerbated by ‘Global Conspiracy of Silence.’
Date: 09th July 2012
Place: Toronto, Ontario

The world community is well informed about the human suffering in the Ogaden, yet nothing has been done for more than a century to put a stop to this human tragedy. The British Consul for what was then the British Somali Protectorate reported in 1892 that ““A large Abyssinian expedition has returned from the Ogaden bringing with them as booty thousands of camels and cattle and property of all descriptions. I hear from other sources that they have devastated the people…”  As seen from the quote by its Consul, the British Empire knew full well what Abyssinia was doing in Ogaden. Yet only five years later when the report was filed, the British Empire gave the region away to Abyssinia, as a bounty, in what is commonly termed in the literature as the treaty of 1897.

Almost a century later, the Human Rights Watch, HRW, reported in 2008 the same things that the British Consul had reported in 1892. In its report, HRW concluded that the “[Western] donors should act to stop the crimes against humanity”  that the Ethiopian army has committed in the Ogaden. Yet again the world community had adopted what one HRW representative had correctly termed as a ‘global conspiracy of silence’ instead of putting the brakes to the human rights abuses in the Ogaden.

The aim of the first annual conference on the Ogaden is to explore the root causes of this ‘global conspiracy of silence’ when it comes to the Ogaden issue. The conference would solely focus on the following five main themes:

Religion: Does the fact that the Ethiopian, predominantly Christians, and the Ogadens, mainly Muslims, play a role in the global community’s silence on the Ogaden tragedy?

Race: Could race play a role in contributing to this global silence?

Geopolitics: Is it simply the geopolitics of the region why the world is silent about the Ogaden tragedy?
Propaganda: Could it be possible that Abyssinian/Ethiopian propaganda simply found a receptive audience in the West hence why there is such silence?

Economics: Had economics trumped all the other cards and contributed to ‘conspiracy of silence’ on the Ogaden issue?

All scholars are invited to submit presentation proposals on any of the five themes of the conference. Would be presenters are requested to send a one page abstract which should include a working title, the author’s discipline and field, address, institutional affiliation- if there is any, and e-mail address to the conference secretariat before April 30th. The deadline for the complete paper is June 1st.

Geshekter, C.L. (1985). Anti-Colonialism and Class Formation: The Eastern Horn of Africa before 1950. The International Journal of African Historical Studies, 18(1), 1-32.

Conference Secretariat
Canadian Center for Ogaden Research and Advocacy (CANCORA)
Toronto, Ontario
Site: www.cancora.org
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Tel: 416 550 6653
Last Updated ( Friday, 13 April 2012 12:56 )  

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