Some fifty years ago few Oromo youth initiated freedom movement that laid down the national Kaayyoo and paid heavy sacrifices but registered significant achievements. The movement is now taken over by legitimate owners, the Oromo people, making the road to its goal shorter than ever. Thus Oromo liberation movement that started rolling almost five decades ago has now accelerated its speed and is shaking the empire system from its roots. The August 6 grand people’s assembly that took place with exemplary discipline in over 200 urban centers including Finfinnee, defying brutal enemy war machine gallantly with crossed hands, is a witness of maturity and viability of Oromo liberation movement. All the assembled carried placards with slogan “Oromiyaa belongs to the Oromo” and demanded for the occupation army to leave Oromiyaa. Oromo plight has started to be taken seriously because of the persistence efforts made by Oromo revolutionaries. The march towards freedom will continue with more vigor. Crossing the hands is a symbol of peaceful intention showing the world that they are not aggressive or expansionist.
Nonviolent and armed struggle are two methods of struggle universally known. This time Oromo protest has chosen the first; many supported it full heart while there are those that have reservations. There is no country that achieved result only with nonviolent struggle. In India there were armed resistances. (Quit India and INA) in addition to Gandhi’s method; In US there were others (Malcom X and the Panthers) opposite Martin Luther king. One side has contributed to success of the other. In Oromiyaa there is OLA opposite to the present peaceful protest and there is no guarantee that more violent struggles are not reactivated if killing the unarmed continues. The Ethiopian government is slaying unarmed children that marched to express their opinion peacefully. It is a time for all Oromo to be in rage and expose and condemn TPLF’s crimes by supporting the protestors. All might have difference of opinion but praising the martyrs and encouraging the remaining heroes have priority over individual preferences and debating on the mode of struggle.
The enemy is identified as TPLF not EPRDF. Except for TPLF all other member organization of EPRDF are taken as fake or make-believe ones by all others. Why didn’t non TPLF members feel ashamed when taken as minions of the Tigrawayi? For how long would they shame themselves and the society from which they sprouted before they could claim their legitimate position? Though they do all the dirty jobs of massacring their people for TPLF, they had never been considered as equals with TPLF but as its running dogs. Can they ever say enough is enough for all that despised them and roar with lion’s heart of their people? Galtuu! Gimgamaa will be after you at all times so that you don’t become over due in their system. Sooner or later you are going to be humiliated and eliminated by a dying organization. Therefore why not die fighting against slavery and injustice with your own people? TPLF is a weak organization led by corrupt individuals not that TPLF youth that fought its way to power long ago; its days in power are now numbered.
The latest mass uprisings are a no confidence vote for the so called government of Oromiyaa and rejection of colonial rule by TPLF. In all places they flew high the resistance flag which scares all Oromo enemies because of what it signifies. Waaqaa willing it will fly over Finfinnee, the bellybutton of Oromiyaa soon. There is no Oromiyaa without Finfinnee and Finfinnee without Oromiyaa is stinky stagnant pond. Those that want to separate Finfinnee from Oromiyaa are those who don’t realize the stench. The initial resistance movement started with clear declaration of relations between Oromiyaa and Ethiopia. The two as separate entities can live side by side in peace and harmony, respecting each other’s rights. No one of them has moral or legal justification to claim owning the other. Forces in open conflict with TPLF are now colonies and Amaaraa people. All have started to declare solidarity for each other’s struggle putting more pressure on TPLF. But that should not be mistaken as implying rolling back old colonial relations, which is already dead. New political relations could be formed only based on freely expressed will of all peoples.
Oromo had never been taken as equal beings with their colonizers. This should not be considered as strange if it reoccurs now. Many, never to be forgotten treacherous instances have passed in their history. Looking back to the life and death of the great General Goobana Daaccee in comparison to his peers from the Amaaraa like Daargee, Waldagorgis, Tasammaa and others is only an example among many. Similar practices are observed even to this day. Despite that, some decadent Oromo activists are failing to learn lessons from their past. They try to misguide the youth by being examples of confusion rather than clarity; vacillation rather than commitment; hesitation rather than determination; and submission rather than rebellion; dependency rather independence. That led to lack of critical understanding of issues in every public forum. Clapping of hands and standing ovation for all side shows lack of principle.
The disparity between treatment of Oromo protest and Amaaraa protest are also rooted in history. The regime had disarmed the Oromo all that was left from past regimes. But Habashaa were not disarmed. Ethiopian laws, be them those concerning culture, language, administration of justice or land holding system or human dignity has never seen Abyssinia and Oromiyaa with one eye. There are those who try to compare apple and orange concerning these disparities. Oromiyaa is a colony to be exploited mercilessly and oppressed for the purpose. Amaaraa are the people that supplied leadership for vanguards of colonial campaign. To be politically correct, Oromo activists must try to compare Amaaraa with Tigrawayi from the colonizing group and Oromo with peoples in the colonized group. Otherwise it leads to blaming the people for own lack of understanding the nature of the empire state. Just like Oromiyaa and Amaaraa are different countries objectives of their struggle are also different. Their similarities may be that they are struggling simultaneously against abuse from the same source. Their difference is that Oromo is struggling for sovereignty and independence lost long ago; Amaaraa are fighting against trespassing and marginalization.
The conflict between Amaaraa and Tigrawayi is traditional; one has to accept supremacy of the other whenever defeated and participate in a subordinate position. Minilik’s moving on his knees in front of Yohannis IV carrying a heavy rock on his back begging for mercy from him is an instance for this. The objectives of cruelty against fellow Habashaa are different and so equal treatment is not to be expected by Oromo. History of their struggle, traditional, moral and religious codes makes Habashaa relations unique. Conflicts had never been solved peaceful but by force for they are ever authoritarians. For this reason TPLF could use all arsenals in its depot to suppress any Amaaraa threat. If what is done to Oromiyaa is repeated in Amaaraa they must watch out TPLF is the cruelest enemy. It punishes not only the present generation but also the next one by culling children who are brilliant in their classes and young men that have potentials to provide leadership to their people. That was not new for the Oromo for all colonial regimes did that.
TPLF is operating with two options; one is to rule the empire as long as it can and the other is to form independent Tigray Tigriny Republic. For the later to annex Wolqayit and the surrounding fertile lands Gondar claims are indispensable. Grudge of feudal past might have also caused the conflict. Referendum could be suggested as possibility for conflict resolution; but TPLF has administered Wolqayit since coming to power and could have settled more Tigaaruu putting Gondoree at disadvantage. Therefore the traditional way to settle scores they started seems the only solution to get back Wolqayit, if they believe it worth the sacrifice.
Oromo struggle is now at a critical point. All those that have interest in Oromiyaa are trying to sabotage it through flattery, deception and open war. Among Oromo elites there are ones that do not understand severity of the situation but see things only from their self-aggrandizement. For this reason they are seen trying to trick and push the youth to colonizers trap. Such distorters are now mushrooming in an amazing rate. Their difference with OPDO is the choice between Habashaa masters. They are feeble minded opportunist saboteurs that run away when their people are on the threshold of victory. Whichever side they join their fate will not be better than Goobanaa’s if not worse; they may end as simple mercenaries. In both Amaaraa and Oromo movements they are losers and opportunist Nafxanyaa and Oromo elites that are making the most cacophony. Oromo can defend themselves from outsiders. They are the insiders that had been obstacle to their freedom and development by inviting enemies from the region and from across the sea.
Baqqala Garbaa and his comrades as well as Oromo that died in thousands and millions that are languishing in prisons and refugee camps are not suffering to hogtie the Oromo and sell them to their colonizers. It is for freedom. It is only the Oromo people that decide on own fate by using the universally recognized right of nations to national self-determination. That is the first and only destination towards which all Oromo organizations worthy of the name have to work. That demands independent Oromo national organizations; though everyone has the right to choose sides it should not be at betrayal of comrades and disadvantage of the nation. Any political relation with aliens that does not have clear national mandate remains individual relation as disgusting as TPLF PDOS.
It is a cardinal principle of Oromo tradition that no right of any human being should be abused. The Amaaraa are protesting against the harm they felt is being inflicted on them by their cousins, the Tigrawayi. They have historically common codes of operation though reneged by TPLF. Therefore the abuse they are protesting for has to be seen in that context. TPLF has of course betrayed them. The Oromo sympathize with them because they are fellow human beings and neighbors. Commotions should not be taken as a chance to create confusion and obscure our focus. Oromiyaa is fighting for independence from empire system the Habashaa created in unison. Because the two components of Habashaa leadership clashed on interest, the kaayyoo of Oromo liberation is not going to change. Because Habashaa media said, “Oromo Ethiopians”, the identity and demand of Oromo and their struggle will not change by strike of a magic wand. For Oromoo and Amaaraa creating understanding, to bring peace and calm for their people is beneficial rather than troubling each other with false history. They are facing a more genocidal enemy than they previously know. So better find a way of tackling together and discuss later how to live as good neighbors. This is to be done people to people not by unelected stray individuals. But neither Oromo nor Amaaraa freedom can be brought up for negotiation.
Oromo protest reflects Oromo aspirations that is why it did not carrying any other symbol except banner with two red borders. As once an Amaaraa person commented, “It has nothing that smells Ethiopian”. Would media or Oromo collaborators’ pungent smelling perfume change the odor? Come what may Oromiyaa has refused to be dominated again. Such deafness to listen to Oromo demands would only aggravate the volatile situation in the region. It does not seem Gondoree masses are shading their blood for lost Nafxanyaa Empire but for their own denied rights, freedom and land. Placard held showed compassion of the people but using it as propaganda tool could distort its message.
The Oromo protest is a part of the liberation struggle. Everyone that stands for justice and peace can support Oromo protest as fellow human beings not as “fellow Ethiopians”. The Oromo need no chauvinist advice on what and how to handle their struggle or be intimidated by their hullabaloo. People fighting for their freedom can cooperate for exchange of information about the common enemy and other matters. But they should not try to meddle in each other’s affairs. Oromiyaans are in rage; any misunderstanding could lead away. Therefore all those who want to form smooth relations, must recognize and respect Oromo rights to own identity as they respect theirs. Unless problems gripping the Ethiopian empire are solved peacefully and amicably, turmoil hoovering over the region can be uncontrollable. Approaching it in good faith by all concerned alone could avert it. Every people have a country that needs consolidation and development. They are those that perform this aspect democratically that can push for pan-Africanism or Horn unity.
For Oromo elites in alien camps and still uphold Oromummaa (if that is possible?), to create solemn understanding on basic elements or safuu of Oromummaa may help. Then only, could there be a distinguishing thread between them and others during the liberation struggle. Wherever they are, there must be certain values that emanates from Oromummaa to be religiously adhered to. The youth that are dying and maiming are crying “Oromiyaa for the Oromo!” not Oromiyaa for anybody else? The truth should not be hidden under demagoguery or distorted to fit alien interest. However multiple our obstacles may be we shall overcome with determination. First the Oromo have to be empowered to decide on their destiny with their free will to enjoy tranquil democratic life. That is the mission of the liberation movement. That is the objective of youth protest. Let us not steer others stew when ours is burning. Long live free Oromiyaa!
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!