Beware of Mad Dogs

The Oromo people had been struggling for their freedom since they were victimized by “The Scramble for Africa” in the 19th century. Effect of Berlin Conference of 1884-85 is still on their heels. Now the more they are cornered the more they are fighting back the enemy. This time the question is not only the question of national liberation but more of continuing to exist as a people.  For the last more than a hundred years the enemy had kneaded them hard to destroy all the characteristics of a nation but for the roots in strong civilization. Their political, economic and social cultures were almost gone. The population was reduced to half and still culling to reduce their numbers is going on. Only memories of the ancient past and their language remained to remind them to ask who they were. They found it and started to reclaim it back. That was how the struggle for liberation in which thousands of gallant Oromo daughters and sons paid the ultimate sacrifice begun.  The Oromo are peace loving people. There is no extremism in their blood otherwise fifty million people would not have been kicked around by a group from six million. To say otherwise is a distortion of history.

The atrocities being committed by the Ethiopian government are now starting to get ears from many corners, though those that matter, governments and big media still prefer silence. Genocide is blooming under their eyes but temporary national interest is making them see the other way like they did to Ruanda.  Otherwise there is no part of Oromiyaa where mass murder is not taking place even today. It should be shame for humanity that mass grave used by the present and past regimes discovered at Hammaarressa in this month of June 2014 did not attract the media like the smaller ones in oil rich countries.  Students are being suspended frequently from universities and training centers and even schools, with the objective of silencing and subduing the Oromo. From this a lesson is to be learned, it is said even “Waaqaa helps those that help themselves”. It seems that this was realized that Oromo nationals throughout the world rose in unison to make  the plight of their compatriots that are falling like autumn leaves is heard all over the world.  

Among the various Oromo organizations and communities, which were divided for unknown reasons, many have now realized their errors and started to come together to rescue the fatherland.  Unless they are vigilant enough to protect their new found unity mad dogs running around will contaminate their efforts.   They have to say no to any provocation from any camp. It needs courage, magnanimity and understanding to build trust needed for progress after so many trying years of staying apart with negative attitude for each other and different ways of doing things. Community organizations are social organizations not political parties. Their role is to bring Oromo of all political outlooks, creeds, genders and regions together for social and cultural activities. They have to serve all without discrimination or any sort of favoritism. Oromummaa is the common factor they have to emphasize.  By nature their agenda is local. On the other hand political organizations are formed by those that entertain similar political outlook their agenda is national agenda. Their objective is to empower the nation politically. To achieve their end goal they organize and lead nationwide struggle.

Social and political organizations are not rivals but have different roles to play. Mass movements and uprising need political organization to coordinate their efforts and create a sustainable struggle that can fulfil their aspirations. Community organizations could help in articulating national grievances and try to get sympathy and support for the national cause from local authorities and humanitarian organizations. They can also help in cultural and linguistic developments and raise funds to support national struggle for development and liberation. If they can stand bigger than personal interests and concentrate only on national cause there will be nothing they cannot contribute. If one faces obstacle when going to one’s home one will not quit one’s home for that but find a way around or will remove the obstacle rather than remaining in the limbo. The same must be true to reach a set goal. No personal or group relation should be greater than national interest to distract one from the long march.   Among those coming together, after so many years of schism are two factions of OLF. Both claimed for over ten years to be the genuine OLF until they realized people recognize them if only they stand as one for there could be only one OLF in nature.   

This year 2014 has to be marked as Oromo unity year. People from all corners of Oromiyaa rose to claim their rights over their land and as human beings. Many lost their lives leaving martyrs that no national could forget until the cause for their sacrifice is achieved. The two factions of Oromo Liberation Front started peace talks many years ago. That it was concluded this year is another surprising coincidence. Oromo communities in the diaspora reached spontaneous consensus to stand for their compatriots back home. It is indeed a historic year. It changed the chapter in Oromo history throwing the enemy berserk like a rabid dog.  Oromo activists have to keep the momentum never to make the enemy relax.

OLF is now going to be one if everything goes as planned. The National Council from both factions is going to meet for the first time to discuss and promulgate the unifying document. So far it seems basic understandings are reached. But as told, the National Council as the highest body representing the National Congress has to deliberate and give its final approval that will enable the two factions to operate as one body. Whether all of them are going to the meeting or send representative is not yet sure though several suggestions and speculations are going around. They cannot be blamed not to release details to protect the gathering from unessential elements. In this process that some points may not be debated should not be expected. The national council is not rubberstamp of any one but an authority by itself.  However documents presented are said to have been browsed by both National Councils. What is going to be done now is to seat together and give it the final touch as one body not as separate factions.  

One cannot expect a uniformity of thought in the organization or in Oromoo society or a rubber stamp membership when it comes to issues in general. But one thing is certain there is consensus when it comes to unity of the Oromo nation and their vanguard organization. In democracy everyone is free to express ones opinion but is duty bound to abide by majority decision. Oromoo have long tradition of native democracy. The issue now is not about mortal individuals and groups but about the immortal spirit of the nation. All that is happening now is part of history of the nation and it will go on irrespective of individual idiosyncrasy. The responsibility of every national is seeing to it that facts go down without distortion to satisfy individual egos.

OLF is the spirit of the nation. After a month it is going to turn new leaf. That is why the enemy wants to destroy it before that happens. This is an organization that remained true to the original Kaayyoo (principled objective) that gained the liberation movement legitimacy.  Therefore for the enemy it is only destruction of this organization that could assure its dominance in the Horn. Without a firm grasp over Oromiyaa no one could think to dominate the Horn. Branding OLF as a TERRORIST it paved a way to silence the Oromo people in cold blood excusing all as OLF the “terrorist”. Terrorism is what most systems in the world condemn. And so campaign against it gets critical support from a few but unconditional support from most big powers.

 It seems as if there is belief of more return from destruction of Oromiyaa, in land, mines and manpower than from protection of human rights. That probably is why mass murder of Oromoo people and baseless allegation against OLF is ignored. The enemy is not leaving alone any promising intelligent young Oromo. He or she should either join their party, selling her or his conscience or must be killed or imprisoned. These are trying options. That is why Oromo that want to live with their conscience are running to unknown destinations to survive the onslaught.  That is why there is constant flow of refugees to neighboring countries where they thought they were safe but it is not always.

 All regimes that ruled the Empire state had been busy destroying all persons that could possibly provide leadership to the nation.  This time the speed, efficiency and effectiveness at which that is done exceeds all past records.  The Oromoo people are being pushed to a corner for destruction. Let alone such a great people the minutest worm will not give up its life and freedom without fight back. That is what the Oromo are doing at this moment. They are standing their grounds against multifaceted attack from several directions. It is up to Oromo activists to give leadership to the ongoing mass uprisings if the nation has to be saved from extinction. There is now an opportunity to set ones home in order.

All old walls built for group self-defense have to be dismantled and all inclusive outlooks developed. National interest has to take precedent over personal or cliquish interests. The right to national self-determination is the birth right of the Oromo people. It is up to them to choose the type of political system that suits them. The role of political organizations is not to sabotage this right but to canvas for the system they support. The OLF has made it clear that it stands for independence, so campaigns for that to be realized.  It is to be understood that to reach to this level did not come without sweating. Nerves were rocked, blood spilt, bones broken and resources depleted and time and energy consumed. OLF was trying to move with many that were not true to the idea of independence. As a result there were failures and betrayals more than successes on its way. 

The past is gone and all bad habits and practices related to it have to be discarded and a new beginning ushered in. Every activist is responsible for sickness of the past. No one can point fingers to the others as the only culprits. In both factions of the OLF there are revolutionaries that are tested in struggle and cadres that had played great roles in raising national political awareness. Therefore there is no winner and looser because of peace settlement. Both only won pride for the Oromo people. It has to be written down without distortion if it may serve the coming generation not to repeat mistakes done but use the strong points to enrich their own. For the organization turning new leaf should not mean overhauling the old beyond a transitional short time but turning new in reality. Now an honest revolutionary new beginning has to be put in motion. The youth (Raabaa and Doorii) have to come forward and assume responsibility.  It is time to consider Gadaa model of leadership formation. No machination can stop people’s struggle for emancipation. With strong and determined leadership the struggle will never be frustrated. Stay collected, there are many tasks ahead. Beware of mad dogs, good luck!

Honor and glory for the fallen heroines and heroes; liberty equality and freedom for the living and nagaa and araaraa for the Ayyaanaa of our fore parents!

Ibsaa Guutama
June 2014

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *