August 13, 2007

Oromo Refugees in Cairo – forgotten by all

Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis

Getting out of the Hell of bogus-‘Ethiopia’ is not an easy story; it takes much money or great despair, and is achieved through many ways leading to a great number of destinations.

Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti have been primary choices due to both, the propinquity and the existence of Oromo communities; the latter is mostly true for Kenya, another typical, artificial entity of the colonial heritage; Kenya’s Northeastern province is quasi-exclusively inhabited by Oromos and Somalis, and has been erratically added to England’s colonial fabrication ‘Kenya’. There are many Oromo Kenyan nationals and with them Oromo refugees escaped from Abyssinia have a lot to share. There is a numerous Oromo refugee community in Kenya, and Oromos from Abyssinia are easily given refugee status by the UNHCR.

Another destination, less frequented, is Yemen; Eritrea would not be an easy choice because of the long date war between Eritrea and Abyssinia, which makes the borders almost impossible to cross. Djibouti is the usual transit territory for these cases, as Somaliland’s good relations with the Addis Ababa based Tigray tribal tyranny make of the non recognized country a rather suspicious and untrustworthy territory for Oromos, and even more so for Ogadenis.

Sudan and Egypt are another destination customarily chosen by great numbers of Oromos, as well as other oppressed ethnic groups of Africa’s Morgue ‘Ethiopia’. It is not a necessarily easy case; crossing as most do from Asosa (capital of the Benishangul province of Abyssinia) to Ad Damazin (capital of the An Nil Al Azraq / Blue Nile province of Sudan) is a very difficult enterprise, a real adventure. Climatologically different, Sudan, particularly the Nubian North, is unbearably hot for Oromos who are accustomed to fresher and more humid, mountainous environment.

For those who do not settle in Khartoum, the difficult desert track that from Debba continues alongside the Nile up to the extreme North, Wadi Halfa, and thence to Egypt, is the way to reach Egypt.

Then, the real surprise starts, as Cairo has nothing in common with Nairobi. The capital of Egypt is the least African capital of the continent, and is definitely closer to Damascus, Jerusalem, Amman and Baghdad than to Khartoum. Modern Arabic is totally unknown in Abyssinia, and scarcely spoken in Eritrea. The treatment by the UNHCR is also very different.

Problems of the Oromo Community in Cairo

The Oromo Refugee Community in Cairo is not recognized by the UNHCR thus far, and this creates the first problem. The Oromo refugees in Cairo would get maximum profit of the services and assistance accorded to refugees if recognized as an independent refugee community. It is essential that one dissociates them from the so-called Ethiopian refugees, who are almost exclusively Amhara, who are unable to stand the Tigray based minority rule of the cruel tyrant Zenawi.

Second, and more serious problem is the unfair treatment applied to almost all the Oromo refugees in Cairo by the UNHCR. It has become customary for the UNHCR to turn down and inconsiderately file Oromo applications for refugee status. In this way, Oromo refugees in Cairo are exposed to insecurity, and in case they are found without papers they can be detained in Egyptian jails for too long.

The unrecognized Oromo Refugee Community in Cairo has established its website in which one can read ( their appeal to the UN and international bodies, Embassies, Humanitarian Associations and NGOs to help save two prisoners who have been left for too long in Cairo jails as having no papers. If these Oromo refugees are granted the refugee status, they will be immediately free.

We find necessary at this point to re-publish an excerpt from the Appeal published in the Oromo refugee website:

“The two Oromos were caught in their ways to saving their lives, and are still suffering in the prison they run away from.

Shagga Dibu – he served in prison for one year without any trial; he was interviewed by UNHCR office twice, but is still pleading to all Humanitarian offices to be freed. We are crystal clear that if he is sent back home, his fate is death or life imprisonment.

Zakir Abba Sambe Abba Waji – he served in prison for one year with out any trial, he was caught in the border from Libya when he attempted to enter Egypt. His bag contained a big amount of money, and it was confiscated; he is mentally draining. If he returns to where he fled from, he will automatically face grave consequences”.

Third, although they have got promises on behalf of Humanitarian Associations and NGOs, the Oromo Refugees in Cairo still have no place to meet, no place to organize Afaan Oromo courses for the analphabets among the refugees, no place to organize cultural events. Only recently, they managed to perform at the Cairo Opera where they had the opportunity to offer Egyptian audience a first snapshot of Oromo culture – something totally excluded from the agenda of the disreputable tyranny’s embassy at Cairo that pursues a gravely racist and discriminatory diplomacy, identifying the falsely re-baptized as ‘Ethiopia’ country with the alien, Semitic Abyssinian culture (that reflects 10% of the country’s population).

Fourth, Cairo has become the terrain of perpetuating Abyssinia’s century-long conflicts between Amharas and Oromos; as the Tigray dominated severely unrepresentative tyranny is most loathed by Amharas as well, many Amharas escape through Sudan to Egypt, where they would not be offered refugee status if admitting their Amhara identity. They say therefore lies that are disastrously believed by the UNHCR and various humanitarian organizations.

On the insubstantial ground that there are some Oromos in Finfinne (falsely and tyrannically renamed by the Amharas and the Tigrays only as Addis Ababa), who either because of being the offspring of mixed marriages or due to undesired cultural assimilation do not speak Afaan Oromo but only Amharic, the UNHCR should not end up offering more support to the tyrants than the tyrannized.

Issues pertaining to refugee status determination should therefore be fully reconsidered and vigorously de-ideologized. The best solution lies in arranging a special session between UNHCR representatives and delegates of various Oromo political parties, fronts, organizations, and cultural associations and academies to redefine the subject.

We strongly believe the UNHCR’s primary task is to reopen and review all the files of the Oromo refugees in Cairo, positively addressing their demands, and actively offering them refugee status as soon as possible. As the issue is multifaceted, we will soon come up with more insightful.

American Chronicle

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you!!!! 1000 times!!!