How can we adjust to the new situation?

The 1960s were periods of revolution. More than its devastating effect on the old order, revolution made participants (revolutionaries) over hyper. Everybody wanted to act and act immediately. One either supports the revolution or is against it; there was no middle ground. Lovers of the old order had no choice but to join and wait for a time to defect. Revolution at certain stage was equated with communism. That was wrong. There were left right and centrist individuals that wanted fundamental change; they wanted liberation for all. They wanted the rule of law and respect for human rights that includes people and individual rights. The revolution in Ethiopian empire whose immediate cause was Oromo peasants uprising supported by Ethiopian students was usurped by armed forces that later declared itself communist. Most Ethiopian student leaders at that time had Marxist-Leninist orientation. Because they were vocal and violent no one dared to stand on their way though it was also political fashion of world youth then.

The Oromo student movement of the time had its root in Ethiopian student movement and Maccaa and Tuulamaa movement which later developed into pan Oromo social organization. The Oromo student movement was instrumental in the formation of Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). Its members were all assumed nationalists and stood for independence of Oromiyaa. OLF was no doubt a revolutionary organization that stood for the total dismantling of the Ethiopian colonial empire. Some as learned later on, did not join it because of its objective but to avoid joining the communist camps. They wanted the empire with all its imperial legacies. Unfortunately that seemed to have been thrown into dust bins of history. That is what they want to dig out and belong to.

The Oromo Liberation Front thus was composed of activists with different world outlook. It was miraculous that with such obstacles it was able to register many achievements. Not only those achievements, the tumultuous reception it received from the Oromo people when it returned to Finfinnee in 1991 was unprecedented. All sung the “kaawoon deebitee” (return of grace) song or felt the return of the lost honor and glory. Therefore when the Oromo people exalt the name OLF, it is not referring to any particular individual but that honor and glory. That reception deceived many to claim all they saw. But the “kaawoo” was not in them but in the original OLF program. That hurt many and they left the organization with grudge. All that came from far off wanted the new resistance flag with two ends red and cadres to take back. It is that flag they were marching with today, carrying in their protest demonstration.

OLF and many other organizations formed in names of nations and nationalities participated in forming what was called Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE), which some jokingly called it Tigre Government of Ethiopia, which was not far off from the truth. The major partner TPLF/EPRDF cheated all and threw them out of the coalition. All leaders that came from the Eastern front Galaasaa Dilboo, Guutamaa Hawaas, and Nadhii Gammadaa left for their former base. These were the only ones that the East sent to Finfinnee. Those of the Western Front ended up in foreign land. It was later decided that the Secretary General leaves for overseas because of health concern and also to give him chance to look for help for the Organization. The role of the later martyred Mullis Abbaa Gadaa in escorting him to the sea port is unforgettable.

The western front was disseminated early and many of the fighters were driven to concentration camps in different parts of Oromiyaa. Some leaders’ deaths were not announced. The east resisted for a long time and lost leaders like Burussoo and Guutamaa and several others. It too came to an end around 1998. From Politburo members Dhugaasaa and Abbaa Biyyaa Roobaa survived the carnage. After so many years of overdue, the Secretary General found a venue to call for an Extraordinary National Kora. With that new member already in cahoots with some of old politburo members were elected. The very old refused to attain the Kora and were not elected. But like in Gadaa tradition they were moved to chair of honor of the Yuba stage yet they were not satisfied. They expected to be elected in absentia. In them the coup d’état makers got formidable allies. It was from then that a new OLF started to develop within the old one, an OLF with Ethiopianist agenda. Accordingly they wanted to use the name OLF with different objective. But they failed to understand the true OLF, the people’s spirit; the OLF earned the love of Oromo people because of the kaayyoo embedded in its political program. Without it, it is no more OLF. That is why it did not follow them to exile but remained in the hearts and minds of the Oromo people.

OLF the effigy in exile, started to break apart for the spirit was not in it. The pieces gave themselves names and started to claim being Oromo organizations. In reality most were not organizations but collection of individuals. They might have in them genuine nationalists that had great contribution in the struggle for liberation of the fatherland. After the emergency Kora OLF major split occurred into organizations claiming the same name. People called them TA and Shanee to distinguish them. TA remained with the old program for independence unchanged; while Shane modified it in 2004 to fit into Ethiopianist policy. After some time Shanee faced another split which called itself OLF but KY Jijjiirama attached.

Abroad all took bashing each other verbally as a major job. They have all abandoned the cause for which they say they were formed. The breaking up into groups did not only weaken the OLF but was poisonous for unity and smooth relation of the community. Some politicians used every means, region, clan and religion to rally support for their part, in particular against QC. Had it not been for the present movement of students and peasants the division could have found its way to the home front. What politicians fail to understand was that it will be difficult to pull back what one has unleashed. And that no societal group can score advantage over the other for even individuals have string to pull when shove comes to push. Oromo Gadaa culture also does not allow any unwise and degrading political practice.

To the “organizations’” credit some had tried to reintegrate but the broken parts are refusing to fit again. No expertise could fix them, because selfishness, greed, dependence and arrogance stood on their way. Now starting 2014, testing periods set in exploding in November 2015. The people have taken over the responsibility of liberating themselves. They no more wait to be lead from far off. OLF is theirs, they can use it as they like; it is the guiding spirit in their struggle. All politicians in diaspora, unless they go and taste the brunt of the revolution with the people, they will remain irrelevant in the diaspora as political organizations. Going back and participating in the protest with no string attached is the only way of adjusting to new situation and call oneself political organization worthy of the name.

Oromo nationals in the diaspora have already started clicking with the home movements. Rallies and fund raisings are getting organized. Public meetings and many political activities are taking place at different levels. The media are reflecting pulses of the nation. In short all are showing a good trend to adjust to the new situation. Everybody is busy with home affairs. Our politicians are at disarray. They are calling for unity of Oromo diaspora organizations to have EZ pass to the people’s movement and do what they did to OLF. They are even calling for alliance of Ethiopian political organizations to help them save the empire. Any position needs commitment and determination. If ones mission is to fight for Ethiopian unity let one go forth without wavering. Vacillating could one day leave opportunity hunters as losers on all sides. Nationalists without sinister motives will sit back and leave things to work out in their own way rather than meddling in trend they have already abandoned unless the want to play spoil sport.

Those Ethiopian organizations are also in the same boat with them. They are missing Oromiyaa not their own country that they take for granted. If they were concerned about their homeland this was the time to call to rise and stand with Oromo people and chase out Wayyaanee from power. Because they can never be democrats and revolutionaries, the Oromo factor is holding them back in favor of Wayyaanee. Amaara land is a historic country whose peoples had never enjoyed real freedom and equality. Their political organizations are only talking about clashes with Qimant around Gondar, boarder issue with Sudan and complaint of Amaara people in Wolqayit Xagadee, as if the whole Amaaraa nation at present does not have more grave grievances to express. Amaaraa in general did not show furry for Wolqayit and boundary issues except the politicians. On the other hand the Oromo were triggered by lose of Buraayyuu and Sabbata. Politicians probably ignored Wolqayit because it is a problem in their back yard to which they could come later; while that of Oromiyaa for them is the most worrying one. Like TPLF they don’t want to let it go? On that they exposed their concurrence with TPLF. Their nation is less concerned about colonies than humiliation it received in the hands of TPLF. Why won’t they emphasize that? It is all about economic interest of elites not patriotism as claimed. They want Oromo to bleed and give them Oromiyaa on silver plate.

The Wayyaanee has started to emphasize their habitual allegation of calling Oromo terrorists and devils. They are also accusing demonstrators of creating discord between ethnic and religious groups. They wished that happened. Unfortunately protesters are Oromo with safuu culture of the Gadaa system. No one will be attacked because of not belonging to the area or not participating in the protest. Even Wayyaanee tried to instigate that to happen, but failed. People who are struggling should vigilantly guard their turf so that Wayyaanee or other group may not try to use the same trick. The Oromo prophesy different faiths. That has never been an issue for Oromummaa. When it comes to Oromo national interest and rights they emphasize being Oromo First. To try to divide Oromo on religious lines, saying jihadist, extremist and narrow nationalists, is an insult to this great nation. The right to worship whatever they like is their fundamental right. No religious group has the right to blame or comment about the other for what one is. If there are wrong doings it is the nation that takes responsibility to get them corrected. That is excuse they are preparing to attack their own loyal opposition for they could not believe their own eyes that people could lead themselves.

No Oromo will be safe unless they join their people in fighting back. There is no use of calling impotent Oromo organizations in diaspora to unite; better go to the operation theatre join the protesters and then talk about organizations. At a convenient venue people’s delegates from all corners of Oromiyaa and the diaspora representing the protestors have to be called to the National Kora. Veterans form diaspora could help in coordination. That would be the first all-inclusive National Kora since the early days of Gadaa. There are persons who in good faith say calling for a National council” abroad could be a solution. From existing experience such a movement ended up being another rival organization with the existing and did not fulfil what it was intended for. But times have changed now let them give it a try if it could have different result. Wayyaanee running dogs are now turning more rabid. Oromiyaa is in great danger for they seem extremely blood thirsty unless stopped in time.

The running dogs’ tone is devoid of any consideration of the basic principle of federalism and their true nature as colonizers is coming forward. What demonstrators demand is what was put down in the Ethiopian Constitution; ownership of their country and sovereignty over it. That is what they were told when federal status was imposed on their country. It is this simple question that the TPLF/EPRDF has to answer. Addressing Oromo issue as if it is still their colony, adds them to all past regimes; no element of democracy or revolution is visible in TPLF as claimed. It is the most fascistic and reactionary group. Therefore its exit is going to be inevitable and dishonorable. As it has come by force it will not go without force. For that people’s power has been ignited. No Habashaa and Habashaa related can stop that because it is not a demand for exploitation of others’ resources like them but of fundamental human and people’s rights. Ethiopia has no legitimate claim what so ever over Oromiyaa.

The blood that flooded in the last four months added to those of recent and past history is meant to free the father land, Oromiyaa. People don’t give their lives unless they are denied more precious things. There is nothing more precious than freedom. That is why millions are facing a brutal enemy armed to the teeth with empty hands. But peaceful struggle has limits when struggling with such an enemy. Therefore, a people that have chosen death over living under present condition, the way to struggle and die must be commensurate with how the counterpart does it. To die raising the hand over the head was a noble deed for those that understand it. That has to stop somewhere; the method has already failed as the world witnesses it. There must at least be protection for peaceful demonstrators.

Whatever the enemy attributes to Oromo peaceful struggle, they have stood their ground for around four months and many more may be in front of them. Oromo protests be them peaceful or violent will continue until occupation force leaves their territory and Oromiyaa land belongs to its people. It is only after that that they can sit down and talk on how to dismantle the empire and live as good neighbors. Oromo politicians that are disoriented by the new happening must think of joining their people in struggle rather than depending on fake remote control. That model has ended with Haayila Sillaasee. Now it is a time of direct participation not when one lies existing relation escape being caught.

If there are those that want to get organized on localities line, it is not what our people want; those who have not heard messages of Oromo youth and peasants being butchered have to listen to them. The time is not one that one regroups oneself saying Waaqeffataa, Muslim and Evangelist but when all Oromo march together with single thought and stand with kids that are dying for their country. Otherwise it will be breaking rotten egg on interest of Oromummaa. Our youth and woman in diaspora have great role for this to be realized. It is at such a critical time that trust is built with different national groups. That could be done by engaging in common tasks of national concern in good faith. The fight for youth and women’s right is part the national struggle. That should be carried out open to all concerned, with all faiths and regions in unison. Our women should not be referred to as Muslim women, Christian woman as Oromo women. To guard unity we got with our blood and heating up the struggle in common from being shredded needs to be patriotic. They can have their separate prayers in Galma, Mosques, Churches, temples etc. That is what our compatriots back home are calling for; and are expecting positive response. If we stand together till the end there is no doubt that victory will be ours. Let us start living in the new revolutionary situation.

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
February 2016

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