In Memory of Heroism

Watching when the 45th anniversary of Tigraaway’s struggle is celebrated in great pomp one cannot help bringing to mind Oromo martyrs. One cannot help admiring the determination of those gallant sons and daughters in giving their lives to cause of one’s nation rather than living to witness the shame, humiliation and the betrayals of those lofty ideals. They have taken the honorable road. The ugliest thing is stamping on other peoples’ rights. Though their organization concluded the struggle victoriously, it did not fulfill their vision. It was infiltrated and monopolized by anti-peoples, corrupted and anti-democracy elements. The crimes committed by TPLF as head to EPRDF should not be a cause to undermine the sacrifices of those brave selfless youths. The interview before their death given by a group from among them that were captured by Darg in Jirruu is a testimony for their bravery and vison. The political situation in empire Ethiopia today is the design of TPLF/EPRDF. For that reason, when we praise heroes and heroines of the struggle, we cannot pass without mentioning the mess it left behind. Those that have courage give appreciation for those that have “habboo”.

The replacement of TPLF by OPDO didn’t help the Oromo achieve better free country, peace and freedom. Because creation, growth and orientation of EPRDF members and affiliated organizations was Ethiopianist, nationalism that overthrew TPLF was a temporary phenomenon. That is why the metamorphosis it underwent so far did not fundamentally show change. It still wants to impose on them Ethiopianism, against which they rebelled fifty years ago. TPLF made all pay ransom when it came to Ethiopian power. Though the Oromo lost more than any group in the conflict in human life and resources from Ethiopian and their own wars they got no compensation or consolation from any quarter. Rather they are being knocked down not to raise their heads. When Tigraaway are celebrating their anniversary, Oromo had all reason to envy them. Tigraaway could celebrate the memory of their dead because they have secured their country. They got shelter during bad season because they have country. Had the Oromo had also free country they could have remembered their million martyrs with great pomp. Had that been the case, alien government of EPRDF or PP that replaced it should not have threatened and frightened them. In own country they could have freely engaged in merry making and performed different dances as they like; they could have spent the night inside and outside without fear of hyaena devouring them. Oromiyaa now, is de facto extension of the Ethiopian unitary government and is not an autonomous federated state but same old they have bad memory for. All the commotions and stage managements conducted in Amharic nowadays, is not to answer Oromo question but only a bubble that one cannot cling to and so needs precaution.

Now survival of oromiyaa as a country is under question. Oromo boundaries are drawn by blood of their fathers not by Ethiopian government. They are those that want to deny Oromiyaa being Oromo country only think otherwise. Unless Dr. Abiy adjusts to that concept his favored Ethiopia may not survive. Give Ethiopia for Ethiopians and leave Oromiyaa to decide on her own destiny peacefully. Some are presenting distorted view that peoples’ rights will limit individual freedoms. What they want is to go in and out freely without consent of owners of the country as they used to do during Nafxanyaa colonial period. Now they are raising questions as to why they are giving up the country for the owners, why they have to abide by their laws and why are they are forced to work in their language? Oromo claim sovereignty over their land. For this reason, anyone that wants to live in Oromiyaa have to live according to its laws. Those that raise such issues are not interested in in academic discussion about group and individual rights in society in general. But they raise it in protest against freedom of Ethiopian colonies. These colonies are sovereign states. They are the ones that give to federal government whatever sovereign power it will have not vis versa for it has no right to give. Federal government is there only to coordinate customarily known matters of common interest to the federated states.

Those that made the constitution did not mean what they said but to buy time until they stabilize their power. On the other hand, those it was made to fool took it seriously and fought in its defense. They have vowed not

to let it go and revert to old imperial system. The federation has two governments whose powers are given by the constitution. The federal and state governments. To say there is only one government is culture of unitary states. It is being fanned by those that want to turn the wheel of history backwards. Colonial government and its recruits have no legal or ethical right to tell nations and nationalities about their identity.

The Habashaa want to say that their empire which is only hundred fifty years old, to have been made and dropped from the sky for them. They are not accepting that people occupied by force has rebelled and uprooted that empire, which they are clinging to like ticks. Remaining of some hair roots might have given them false hope that it would sprout again. Fallen log and fallen breast are similar, they can never rise again. They could have learned much had they studied history of the past fifty years. It is being yelled in Amharic to present collections about unity. The idea behind that is denial of sovereignty of Oromo on the fatherland. That is why Oromo’s Qeerroo, knowledgeable, leaders, and Oromoo organization are being badmouthed in public. That is of no benefit for development and freedom and survival of peoples of Africa and the black race. The Oromo say, “You don’t remain with dirty hands and as in the past”. Past colonialist and new ones are coming back to Africa with neo-colonialism. Unless Africans hold hands and standup against them and protect their resources aliens are going to take it over. Globalization is a modern term for neo-colonialism. This time it will be self-destruction for anyone to intend collaborating with them and trying to reinstate neo Nafxanyaa system on southern people this time.

Because the Oromo desired unity, freedom and independence OLF was born. What was required from OLF was to establish free and independents democratic republic Oromiyaa. But it was also ruled that a new union of the willing can be formed by those that respect each other’s interest on the basis of equality, peace and freedom. But Amharic speakers seem not prepared to give positive answer to the offer. They are rather presenting themselves as if they have especial right on Oromiyaa. That they did not replace the Tigraaway is burning them. Though they know deep in their heart that Dr. Abiy’s government is not showing partiality for the Oromo they are showing their hatred for the Oromo accusing them of being oppressors in turn. The Oromo view all African peoples as brothers/sisters. Except for attributes of neighborhood they have no particular favor for them. They can face truth only if they could see all relations in that way. Therefore, it is better to work towards unity starting from region upward to all Africa. Ethiopianism cannot be something to be imposed by force. Let alone name, living together demands willingness of all parts. It is strong Oromummaa that can strengthen Africa.

If Habashaa’s old Ethiopia has done anything good it is for the Ethiopians. Therefore, it is better to ask oneself as to who the audience are, before pouring praises. For good or worse it is better to let each other know the truth and make corrections where needed. For example, rather than presenting that Oromo participated in Ethiopian wars were emotionally charged it would be correct to say they were forced to march as underlings carrying loads and as shields to cool down enemy bullets by marching Infront of their elite forces. In particular lying will only discredited one when the truth has living witness and is also available in writing. These days criticisms about unity, extremism, divisiveness, are being thrown around in Amharic.

It must be realized that braying from one side with one language only contributes to take apart than unite. True democrats encourage discussion and do not brag of imposing their ideas on others. If they have idea to impart even if it is insult, they better transmit it in others languages as well. Is saying Ethiopia will be dismantled not code word for Oromiyaa is going out of our hands? Oromiyaa being free does not hurt the majority, it will rather have positive contribution. What hurts people is when true identities of human beings are denied. Why are only Amharic speakers so upset when hearing about Oromo, like Oromo media, Oromo church etc.? Why do they hate Oromoo being free from slavery for it also means freedom for them? They have nothing to lose but their selfishness and chauvinism. Making agreements could seal many holes. Therefore, it is

better to find ways for creating understanding for the willingness to live together based on freedom and equality.

That Oromiyaa and Ethiopia are equal countries must be shown verbally as well as practically. Otherwise problems created by Nafxanyaa system are not going to get solution. The Oromo question is question of self-determination and independence. It was hoped that the present transitional program would make conclusion to Oromo struggle by facilitating transition towards replacing the empire system by a new union. All have struggled to bring peace to the region by being free from oppression of Old Ethiopia and have registered significant achievements. The present change is the byproduct of that. It is the combined struggle of peoples of the empire in and out that uprooted the TPLF from EPRDF. Whatever change there is, it was brought by that measure. Levels of contributions could be different. If it is required to praise a group in particular, the four years Oromo Qeerroo Protest and the sacrifices they made will put them in the forefront. That created the transitional government; that caused the return of political organizations in exile and that released patriots from prison etc. They were the causes for all contributions.

Therefore, by taking the constitution that formed the federal system as their own they have shown their intention to live together based on voluntary union in equality and freedom. Let alone in this Horn of Africa region whatever happens to any country of Africa have effect on all of us. Until we resolve conflicts between ourselves, mistrust among us could harm our collective security. Therefore, to think in common for our region resolving problems between us fast is imperative. Whether we unite or go apart the region belongs to all of us and we have to protect and care for together for our common advantage. Therefore, to be good neighbors is not luxury but necessity. We ought to put rein on our selfishness and arrogance.

The role of government of change is not to give continuity to old Ethiopian system or to bring fundamental change but to see to it that the constitution and laws are respected. In principle, new state and government structures that does not reflect Nafxanyaa colonial system have to be formed. For this, Constituent Assembly formed from all nations and nationalities has to convene. This assembly has to review the structure and function of the federation or draft a new constitution and present it for referendum by all nations and nationalities before the election. The transitional government will not be expected to issue new policies but continue daily routine of administration. Otherwise it will rather be restoration of old Nafxanyaa system not change. If Dr. Abiy and the government it leads instead of facilitating the desire youths have for freedom and happiness but try to replace it by their own thoughts it will be going face on against strong tornado. Nobody can survive from it. There is Oromo saying, “Save us said the cockroach sinking is buttermilk”. Honor and praise for sacrificed heroes and heroines of Tigray libration, condolences for their relatives. Oromiyaan haa jiraattu!

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 2020

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