Revolution that “exploded” in the Ethiopian empire in 1974 occurred after grievances against the emperor reached the highest intolerable point by all peoples in particular by the Oromo. It was essentially Oromo revolution because as a colonial people they were the most oppressed because of their land, resources and numbers. All necessary ingredients for rebellion were there including committed and determined revolutionaries. There were also pretentious ones involved in it with the purpose of redirecting the outcome to avert possible negative consequences against fundaments of colonial system. They supported the revolution only as long as it served the role of safety valve to release hot air before the boiler bursts affecting all the structural foundation around it. Elites of the motherland neither were willing nor ready to free the colonies or allow them equal participation in ruling the empire. Neither did they give proportional leadership representation in their political Organizations. They rather employed the “galtuu” (minion) for sabotage.
We have said it several times and again we have to repeat that Oromo national revolutionaries demanded for full freedom from oppression and colonization with their unquestionable free will .This position was made public by first issue of Bakkalcha Oromo, organ of the front. There it was stated that all existing political organizations were Nafxanyaa organizations and do not reflect Oromo interest. Then all had the courage to challenge the enemy despite being surrounded by fire. Oromo liberation movement started at different places and in different times by Oromo youth organized in cells and branches until they drew a common program and bylaws and declared the OLF. The name OLF (Oromo Liberation Front) is coined not because of the time’s fad but after revolutionaries debated and consensus was reached on total independence and establishing people’s democratic republic Oromiyaa.
For any small or big nationality to form a national liberation front is not fun. This being the truth some unexpected figures may try to distort history of the OLF to fit their mission whatever it may be. They betrayed the objectives or kaayyoo of Oromo struggle that majority of founders believed in and the Oromo people have continued to die for. For their role of setting the fire and turning back there will come a time when they will be called to answer. Paradoxically, those were the ones that branded Goobana Daaccee as quisling and Oromo in AESM and EPRP as “Red Goobanaa”, for the similar devious act like theirs. One may be entitled to shift political positions; though trying to distort history of the struggle to fit those missions is disgraceful. Our past is beyond our ability to erase and sever from our present, for it has become spirit and lives beyond the grave narrating all about us. To regret ones past is to wish to have been miscarried, not to repeat it in more shameful way.
During the days of OLF formation, the elites of the motherland were organized into antagonistic seeming parties that absorbed many Oromo youth into their organizations but with little influence in them. Most of those elites cooperated with the Darg except for those organized under EPRP and EDU. The empire state was founded and led by Habasha elites to advance their peoples’ interests. This foundation and its core objective had never changed since. That is why whoever comes to power remained loyal to that objective. All wanted to make sure maintaining the colonies as they were. So did their surrogate with iron hands, the Darg, sabotaging the revolution turning it into fiasco of pseudo-communists. That is why it be land proclamation or declaration of federalism by its successor did not change Oromiyaa’s colonial status. That is why gallant Oromo youth are waging relentless struggle determined to change that status and liberate their beloved country.
Oromo liberation movement was born out of that oppressive condition that led to a revolutionary bang. Though majority joined it to sacrifice for the cause of the Oromo people, here too as in the empire, there were some with sinister motives pretending to be revolutionary nationalists. Those are the ones overwhelmed by self-interest; those attached to foreign agents; those that rallied for clannish alliance not casual; and those that do not have stamina for a long haul or risky challenges; those that are highly flexible when temptation comes and the pathological liars and pretenders. Of course, we do not forget those that have nostalgia for colonial way of life, its cultural and social activities, its flirtatious entertainments, the days when they used to stop still abruptly with the sound of a bugle heard signaling the hoisting or taking down the colonial green yellow and red colors. Surely such will decorate their homes with it. Differences of outlook can be tolerated in relations within own camp not relation with the enemy. To such the people must be able to say enough is enough, “you are either with us or with our enemies”. Tolerating such pretentious swindlers existing in one’s camp, reaching ones goal can become a dream.
The problem activists in the Horn have is the difficulty to overcome own ego. Habasha elites are in the state of denial of all historic facts in the region. Instead of limiting themselves to Abyssinia they want to own the land, people and resources of their colonies. They even refuse to accept colonial status of countries their forebears occupied during the Scramble for Africa. Up to 1974 their leaders recognize those countries as “Qinyi Gizaatoch” or “Gaallaa Mareet”, which means “Colonies”. No land in Abyssinia is called by that reference. Rulers since then avoided the term but did not want to change the ingredients that made them to be called colonies. When colonies ask to be independent from the empire, they tell of their worry about problems those colonies would have concerning interdependence of years, religion, persons of mixed races, language and boundaries if they secede from the empire. They also raise irrelevant issues that history does not entitle them to rights because they did not having central government at the time of occupation. They see things in prism of their own experience forgetting Oromo as different people from them as they are, had different political system. Oromo Odaas and Gadaa system had more cohesion than “Era of Princes”. It would have been better if they try to correct shortcomings within their ethos and political thought and come out with positive solutions. The colonies will find solution for their own political shortcomings if any.
Some elites from the colonies still lack self-realization. Despite higher education more than a century of colonial brainwashing had left them confused and devoid of self-confidence with impaired judgement. They lack consistency and so are unreliable. When their peers on the other side build the case of their nation presenting false and twisted information, there are Oromo intellectuals that are shy to present the true story and the pains their compatriots are subjected to despite tremendous supporting evidences. They don’t even dare to tell the difference between the true Ethiopia of ancient times and this Ethiopia claiming to be that Ethiopia. Because of this, present history of the region is distorted and so is Oromo history and interest with it. The suffering Oromiyaa is daily undergoing is even shocking to aliens. On the other hand what is too boggling to the mind is when some nationals are indifferent when their siblings are being butchered, the elderly are thrown out of their homes, and women are raped without distinction of age. Those rather participate in campaigns misleading and distorting the objectives of Oromo struggle pretending to be sympathetic to what is going on in their native land. Usually such are found among pre-qubee generations. They want to appear as members of the Oromo community but their days are mostly spent in enemy circles where they are pampered and feel more comfortable.
Human consciousness is no more where it was in the last century. That is true for the Horn of Africa as well. The era when Abyssinia alone had exposure to the other world is now over. There is rarely a village that is not reached by cellphone. The present government cannot put itself ahead of the peoples in advanced information technology. The access to technology of information had made the masses to understand the tug of war between global interests. If a group has to survive as a people it will not abandon its struggle however frightening that tug of war of greed and hegemony may seem. Oromiyaa as periphery of the Middle East knows its proximity to the flame of regionalists and extremists. It has survived thousands of years it will also survive the presently posing calamity. Tigray and Amhara had come down in history ruling Abyssinia in turns not with consent but by force. They ruled the colonies with similar collaboration and heavy hand helped by external powers. It was the Tigrawayi emperor Yohaanis IV that permitted the Amaara king to colonize Oromiyaa. But Yohaanis’s death in war was not avenged by that Amhara king. The Amhara chief rather discarded his will and monopolized the Habashaa Crown.
The present Tigraawway rebel came with fury to take vengeance on Shawaan rulers that betrayed their trust. It changed all the codes they had in common and approached slyly with newly coined ones that reflect aspirations of peoples of the colonies. As a minority that was to legitimize its position over the empire not to solve colonial question. Though it was condemned by the other for introducing the federal system, that system did not materialize. Federation as instrument of peace and democracy is known for more than six centuries and faking it cannot serve its historic intent and purpose.
The fallen Amhara elites have no formula closest to the Tigrawayi to rally the colonies around them. They waste their times condemning what even those that have more concern about issues overlooked, like ethnic federalism, Albanian socialism, dictatorship etc. They still argue against principle enshrined in UN Charter, rights of nations to national self-determination of the colonies as divisive and dismantler. They have been raising legal and historical points on it starting from era of the emperor but they failed to get it through. However they are very aggressive and try to silence any voice against Ethiopia. They are blind to inequalities between nationalities however obvious it may be for the necked eye. They want all to call themselves Ethiopians while all the privileges of being Ethiopian go only to them.
Their Habashaa only led political organizations are claimed to be multinational. Such obvious lies among other things are what deny them trust from others. The slogans and values they express are mostly humiliating for proud Oromo. Their heroes are those like Teedros, Yohannis and Minilik that have ordered the amputation of Oromo farmers, and expect the Oromo to hail those with them. For Oromo they are Habashaa and their heroes are nothing but man eating butchers. They don’t feel the pain the Oromo feel when those butchers are praised in public. To be partners in any negotiation they have first to understand the pain they are causing them since their occupation. They have to stop provoking anger and hate and apologize for wrongs done and is still being done in their name. They also have to know Oromummaa or Oromoo identity is not negotiable.
In the world there is no country with pure race, religion or ethnicity. So is also Oromiyaa. That doesn’t deny them sovereignty over their territory. The Oromo have never taken any human being or religion to be superior to the other. With Oromo everyone that happened to be in Oromiyaa lived harmoniously and will continue to live in the same way for that is their infallible cultural principle. As for boundaries traditional peoples have come recognizing each other’s boundaries before the introduction of Mapping Institute. In the future those that have boundary questions from each other will solve in a way amicable for all of them. That is not a difficult issue; what is difficult is recognizing that Ethiopia is composed of the colonizer and the colonized and the right of the colonized to be free and for Habasha elites to stop pretending to be what they are not, representatives of the colonies as they are for their own people.
Always raising empty endearing words about Ethiopia and ranting over media and public gathering cannot change her true nature of being a colonial empire nor can it buy love for her from those that still feel the pain of being treated as sub humans for generations, for being non Habashaa? In olden days they were able to hide identity of individuals and use them as authentic Habashaa. Those were totally assimilated into their system. These days they want to brand themselves as multinational by using those assimilado. In Oromo culture it is a taboo to expose “guddifachaa” child’s biological background. Ones the Amaara take it as guddifacha it is not reclaimable though they may sympathize with those Wayyaanee persecutes for having Oromo DNA.
The Tigrawayi accepted the empire of being only one hundred years old and recognized the right of secession for those occupied within that period; but before it was realized they introduced federalism without the declared will of the colonies. It is only free nations with expressed free will that can opt for federation or other system not those under occupation. This one is not different from the control Raas Damissoo had over Kumsaa Morodaa, Nigusee Faantaa over Abiyyuu Galata or Zallaqaa Bayyana over Lammaa Guutama. That is why it is not working differently; the colonizer has still the upper hand in the so called “federal state”. Recognition of the right of nations to national self-determination started way ahead of the peace of Westphalia in Europe by different peoples that were fed up with oppression by stronger nations. The formation of national states after the Industrial Revolution cannot be seen differently from right of national self-determination. Woodrow Wilson of US, the Russian Revolution and finally the UN didn’t originate it but only declared it as political and legal principle.
Lamenting wrongly as if the concept of self-determination is a Wayyaanee copy paste from Marshal Stalin emanates either from insincerity or ignorance. That precedent might have helped when searching for a solution to an existing abuse but it did not create the abuse itself. From whichever camp a noble idea comes as long as it serves our purpose there is no rational to abstain. Oromiyaa has to be free from all hitherto existing abuses. First independence of Oromiyaa from colonial rule has to be recognized, and then only can the suggestion for federal or unitary state or good neighborliness be forwarded. If violent means is suggested for settling the issue no one is afraid to say “bring it on” but that cannot be a panacea. Oromo’s traditional preference has always been for “nagaa”, peaceful resolution of conflicts.
There were two types of debates by intellectuals during the time of the monarchy. One is that asserted Ethiopia is a nation; there are no nationalities in Ethiopia but tribes. The other was that there are nations and nationalities in the Ethiopian empire but subdued by force. Those debates were concluded as irrelevant for the revolution laid it bare as starting from wrong premise by assuming Ethiopia was not a colonizer. Some reactionary elites sniffed a seeming fissure in the ranks of Oromo activists and want to go back and reopen the closed file all over again. They did not see the major side that Oromo stand on independence is getting stronger day by day. It cannot be reversed by colonial hopefuls or their Ethiopianist apologists. Here we are interested to lay down how issues will be handled by independent Oromiyaa. Those who want to keep the empire intact raise issues like language problem, question of territory, weakening African ability in competition with non-African civilizations and others, as problems if Oromiyaa chose the path of independence. As for language the Oromo respect own language and do not take any language to be superior to theirs. With same principle they don’t take others language as inferior to any ones.
As for territorial issue some Habasha elites still continue to dispute if Oromo had any claim in this region. They still entertain the myth created after the Scramble for Africa by their colonial forebears. They have to erase that from their minds if they want to play a role in progress of the region. As for Africans forming a front against neocolonialists the Oromo believe in voluntary union of peoples of Africa to defend interest of the continent. The option for union should not necessarily be with Ethiopia or should it be to exclude it. What is being said is Habasha has no exclusive right to boss over peoples of the Horn. Only mutual respect for each other’s right is acceptable as a solution. The 3000 or more year’s history of Ethiopia they claim is the history of black people spearheaded by Nubian civilization.
Therefore the Habashaa have to stop lying to themselves and the world. Their historians have to accept that Candace, and Pharaohs had more relations to the Kushitic Oromo than the Sabian. This is just for the record and has no bearing on Africa’s present problems. Then only can they find their true level among communities of nations and or peoples. They have own great proud history to tell and there is no reason why they are immersed in plagiarism. To teach their offspring that they were ones up on a time one among great colonial powers and civilizations is better than lying that the empire was awarded them eternally. For their children to know about the Oromo, referring them to the great Kushitic civilization in the eastern segment of Africa from Mediterranean to the equator and people that introduced the Gadaa democratic system is sufficient as not to distort history by referring to the ancient Habashaa clerics Abbaa Bahiree or Halaqaa Taayyee or recent masters of distortion.
Even if some people want to distort the history of Oromo struggle and nation, they cannot stop the Oromo from their targeted goal. Peoples of the region have more to gain in creating understanding than being negatively charged against each other. It is fact that no one can take ones country away from this region. Therefore generations are going to live in it for eternity. So it will be senseless to subject the people to eternal pain and chaos for group benefits. If politicians stop being mean and instigate trouble, each people has separate identities, separate habitats, separate history and culture, separate languages and separate interests to develop and live in peace. Recognizing these for each other could narrow the outlook gap between them. To live in peace and harmony one should not be superior to the other. Once they establish mutual respect for each other’s aspirations and interests there will be no limit to what they benefit from each other. They may even go to higher levels of union by forming confederations, federations and even unitary states by their own free will in the whole continent. But first they have to accept for the other to live in peace and as equals and in happiness like for oneself and also accept independence from each other and its realization as of right. There is nothing to worry from independent Republic Oromiyaa; Habashaa experience that when one is independent the other should be dependent is not a universal truth. If one can live as citizen crossing seas and oceans; why not in Oromiyaa if there is no hangover of contempt from last century? Valueless ranting doesn’t bring peace, doesn’t bring democracy or stability nor neither it brings prosperity and freedom from hunger or establish the rule of law. It only leads to chaos, authoritarianism, inequality, servitude, poverty, famine and bloodletting. Then why don’t rethink and avoid the pitfalls that have been making the region miserable? Let peace, calm and wisdom prevail!
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 forefathers!