Hopes from New Phase of Oromo Struggle

The last twenty years will be remembered as a period when Oromoo liberation movement activists were engaged in tearing down their organization without reservation. It was a period of physical and psychological internecine wars. The enemy rejoiced while friends were heartbroken watching activists demeaning themselves down to parochialism and turning to mean and uncultivated manners of attack. Struggle with external enemy was forgotten; internal ones were alleged but not properly identified. All they could do was regrouping into factions that further started to multiply like amoeba.  It was a period of madness where “safuu” was totally forgotten. That period may be remembered for the lessons of distraction but hopefully never repeated. If there were engineers to it they did not succeed in wiping out the independence movement, which is now back on track thanks to determined revolutionaries. Now the past is gone, a new phase in the struggle is ushered in giving hope for a better future and despair for evil wishers. For whatever reason, it is hoped that Oromo will never again be distracted from struggle.

 Simultaneously Oromo people are accelerating the national struggle giving it new dimension and speed. Frustration of unfulfilled hopes and humiliations in the hands of aliens is fuming it to what could be uncontrollable. This has to remind us the outcomes of Ethiopian student movement and Maccaa and Tuulama Association (MT) in the 1960s among others.  Students provided voice to the voiceless down trodden. They challenged the aristocratic regime and exposed its follies. They shook it from its base and destabilized it but because of lack of organized political leadership the fruit of their struggle was usurped by a populist military junta. The MT was a mass movement without organized political leadership and was easily dismantled by the colonizer though the OLF later sprouted out of it. Now too unless effective political leadership is provided on the spot the current movement’s fate would be no different from the examples given. OLF’s starting to put its house in order after chaotic years is giving a glimpse of hope and it is also expected that all with same political outlook will join hands to push forward the original kaayyoo.

Before going into general issues of current Oromo struggle this writer would like to congratulate members of the National council of OLF (NCO) for their success in mending the fractured organization and giving guidance for its continued strength. The National council as the highest authority of the organization below National Congress has the duty and responsibility of putting new life and new way of thinking into OLF during this new phase of the liberation movement.   Most if not all human organizations are now employing up to date methods of operation for their daily activities. All organizations are in competition for survival. OLF as one among them is required to reinvigorate itself if the struggle to rescue the nation from perishing has to survive the harsh realities of life. Members of the NCO are accountable for any wrong under their watch. It will be possible for them to direct and supervise proper functioning of the organization if only they establish their Head Quarters in Oromiyaa. Members are expected to have equal opportunity of participation in activities of their organization and access to information necessary to perform their duties effectively.

OLF was born out of an integrated social movement, MT, an organization that pointed the way out for the Oromo for self-realization; out of selfless youth movement that exposed the oppressive and corrupt nature of the aristocratic empire and world revolutionary movements of the sixties that gave hope to the colonized, women and minority groups.  All those together have raised consciousness of the oppressed majority. An organization born into that situation cannot be expected other than being courageous and sagacious. Over the years OLF has proved itself to be that. Such organization can be effective if led by persons that can assure the defense and security of the nation and their organization. For that courage, commitment and determination with revolutionary zeal is necessary. All time self-updating and vigilance can save from backwardness, organizational secrets and leadership debacle.   

The OLF for the first time in history of Oromo struggle came out with a political program that mapped out the line of struggle and its end goal. It was certain that the population is going to involve in such undertaking intentionally or emotionally. It needed only common sense that such involvement was going to demand huge sacrifices. Those that turned the wheel may quit but those ground by the wheel have no return. Therefore sincere nationalists that started the wheel cannot shun the responsibility for whatever has happened.  Trying to rewrite the history of the nation and its political movement to justify ones change of mind is only belittling oneself and irresponsibility. 

Oromo have fought devastating wars but never heard of cruelty to people they conquered.  But conquered Oromo in service of their masters might have done what their masters ordered them to perfection.  To blame Oromiyaa for that is preposterous. Thousands of colonial people for example like Indians and Sudanese have been mobilized to fight British wars against others and their own people.  No Indian or Sudanese intellectual is heard blaming their own nations for that involvement. To hear from an Oromo such a disgraceful statement will only be” safuu” (illegal and unethical) by Oromo standard. Such issues are supposed to be discussed among peers if they have educational benefit not to incriminate a people demanding its right with the aim of gaining acceptability elsewhere is bad omen.

With the recent massacre of Oromo youth we are entering into a new chapter of our struggle.  The massacre is not to restore law and order or was it spontaneous. It was planned with goals to be attained. To deny Oromoo nation the leadership required for emancipation, all colonial regimes have come killing those they think have the potential to lead national resistance and suppressing its upcoming generation.  This time enemy action has opened the eyes of Oromo nationals all over the world that they all rose at the same time spontaneously. They are infuriated by unjustifiable enemy repression on their country and its youthful population.  Such spontaneous movement is sure to turn into a formidable support to the resistance movement already in place.

The kaayyoo (independence oriented objective principle) around which the Oromo came rallying is firm, strong and indomitable.  That is why OLF the vanguard of national struggle, be it strong or weak, is loved and supported unconditionally for upholding the national kaayyoo. Its members have to realize that it is not their person but the kaayyoo that makes people live whoever they love. That love and support stay only as long as its members respect and uphold the kaayyoo without modification. Tactics would change but the set goal remains as long as that name OLF exists. What some Oromo activists fail to realize, the enemy realizes what is there in the name. That is why it attaches such adjectives as “terrorist” and goes after it to destroy raising the stake to international level. OLF means Oromo and Oromo have become synonymous with OLF.  One cannot escape the catastrophe that comes with the name however one swears abandoning OLF and the kaayyoo or dislikes it for one reason or other.  

Oromo Liberation Front, as the name indicates is a front formed by groups and individuals with different outlooks.  All had agreed on the cause of the struggle and the set goal of establishing Independent Republic Oromiyaa. The difference in outlook was supposed to be practiced after liberation not during resistance. There were many liberation struggles throughout the world and OLF was not the only one. To mention few examples of countries of operation, Eritrea, Tigray, Sudan, Guinea Bissau, Zimbabwe,  South Africa, India, China, Vietnam and Cuba. In all their organizations were based in countries they vowed to liberate. Even at heights of pressure on the resistance focused on them, some leaders might have dodged attack and stayed away from their position underground or in foreign countries delegating authority for short period.  It will be difficult to justify headquarters of an organization indefinitely staying away from home.  Even the exiled Ethiopian royal family moved its Headquarters to Goree and appointed a regent before it left for exile that took it five years. The HQ was abolished by the victors and the king was disconnected had it not been for the British who superimposed him over the patriots and the country it flee. Under some sort of disarray it might be justified for some to slip out until it was possible to regroup to save the organization from obliteration. But this cannot be waited ad infinitum.  Any delay has to be clear to members and supporters in order for them to take part in the solution the fastest possible, to nib in the bud wild allegations and rumors.  

The country that needs liberation is Oromiyaa. Essential manpower and most other resources are all there. It is there that future leaders can be cultivated and brought forth to take responsibility. Nationals at home are the ones that are experiencing the brunt of colonialism every passing moment. Therefore it would be advisable to think over and over and think wisely about it. The diaspora in general has a role to play in the national struggle. As citizens and residents they have obligation to their adopting country. As members of an ethnic group they have a lot to contribute to posterity they have DNA connection to. Some may not be expected to go back and live in a third world country after testing the comfort of affluent society. Therefore it will be in order to consider all the different aspects and pick a realistic role for oneself.  Those born to Oromo parents in foreign land may hold their parent nation contemptibly for being subjugated by a fraction of their numbers and may even get ashamed of their origin from lack of information.

This question had been mind boggling for so many. It is said “The first below is half the battle”. It was the first below and the burden loaded on it after that numbed the nation. Some possible factors for the defeat and remaining under subjugation could be pointed out. After Odaa Nabee tribes founded their own small states and Oromo power was divided. Even then they were stronger than contemporary Habashaa state individually. One factor for defeat initially was not the population size but the access this minority got to modern fire power. The enemy had never dared to cross the line and stay when they had similar weapons. The other factor is the uninterrupted material, skill and diplomatic support it got from world powers by long service it provided and still providing them as an agent. The third factors are Oromo captives, mercenaries, vacillators and minions and traitors that the enemy was able to mobilize and use their labor and knowledge against their own nation. Had such Oromo nationals not been in its service the enemy could not have found its way to Oromiyaa. It could not have also got access to national secretes. This is a factor if not greater, not less harmful than all the others. This is what patriots failed to get solution for so far. It must as well be under stood that to get political consciousness and come out of an almost slave like status and form a resistance movement was the most difficult part of the struggle.  Foreign born Oromo should be encouraged to dig deep into historical past of their forebears to take informed stand. Efforts must be made that they go back home as relatives not as colonizers

The Oromo are now outlining a new chapter in their struggle. Nationals for independence of Oromiyaa are grateful to all the patriots that kept the kaayyoo alive under difficult situations. The speed and demands of the new phase are greater than those so far experienced. All capabilities that modern technology produced need to be utilized to cope with developments. Oromo youth has to be mobilized to take its proper responsibility. An era has peoples of varying ages. All have roles to play as long as their brain works normally. Wisdom comes with experience and cannot be sacrificed for generational ambitions. The Oromo had a system of structuring society that can be emulated by all generations. For any group to take over the rein of an organization requires membership and accepting possible sacrifices. One rises to leadership if one wins confidence of the involved peers. Any criticism or condemnation of the involved requires coming up with better and viable alternative not irrelevant personal biases.  A spontaneous popular movement has to be provided with effective political leadership to be viable. All the ingredients are ready and with commitment, determination and decisiveness added, there is a world to win. Long live Oromiyaa! Long live the struggle for independence!

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
July 2014
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