On Matters of the Region

“Protecting oneself from COVID 19 is protecting all!”

“The existence of common cause is essential to stand against enemies in unison”.

A region is an area designated for a purpose. They can be imagined as a concentric circle one within the other. Oromiyaa, Ethiopian colonies in the South, Ethiopian empire, Horn of Africa, Africa can be considered as regions within regions. The nearer to each other the more interdependent they are with each other. However, any disorder in one affects the other, though different in degree. Regions in Abbayyaa or the Blue Nile basin are interdependent because of the Abbayyaa river and its tributaries. Denying water to Sudan and Egypt, Ethiopian empire cannot live in peace. Opposing water use by Oromiyaa and Ethiopia Sudan and Egypt cannot expect to get smooth flow of water to them from those regions. They all have to share fairly what nature have provided them. It is their peaceful and understanding relations that could help in maintaining stable water level in this era of global warming. All have to share the burden. If all start to think as one African region, they could together consider wellbeing of their common river, how to fairly share it and keep its volume and flow stable. Let us accept that Abbayyaa is a gift from nature for all of us.

Regions in the Ethiopian empire share more amenities than with the larger region that includes upper Nile. Any disturbance in any part of the empire affects all nations and nationalities and peoples in it. Therefore, all have interest to guard it together. This can be jeopardized only by one trying to get more advantage over the other politically, economically or socially. All have their individual region to look after and their common super region to protect for the common good as Africans. Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopian empire have the obligation to keep African problems in Africa. At the same time, they should not forget that there is an ancient African nation, Oromo whom decision on the Nile could affect its interest. Ignoring it would be ignoring the elephant in the room.

Water is gift of nature that we all share. Most tributaries of Abbayyaa originate in southern region of the empire, mostly in Oromiyaa (60%). Therefore, Oromo are not less, if not more concerned about it than Ethiopians and others whose streams contribute to it. But historical sour relations between them are not yet formally resolved. Their land, resources and political rights are not restored to them. Their political, economic and social role and freedom in the federal system is not well defined. Still the federation shows no difference from Old Ethiopia’s Nafxanyaa system. Power and instructions flow down from Amharic speakers in Finfinnee. Governors of Oromiyaa state are members of Ethiopian political organization.

The Oromo are deprived of their political and economic rights. In all the wars Ethiopia conducted in the past, Oromo individuals were conscripted into it by force. The Oromo as a people had never participated in the decision making. When narrating about those wars they are presented as if all peoples of the empire rose together against external enemy. That is a big lie. The Oromo and other colonies had no land, no wealth and no common outlook to fight for in the Ethiopian empire. Individual captives and conscripts and in later days hirelings have participated mostly by force. To stand together the present imbalanced relations have to change. Through their struggle oppressed people have regained most of the rights lost to colonization. With some traces of Nafxanyaa colonial system of old Ethiopia remaining the struggle for freedom did not cease yet. The offer by Oromo, for forming a union of the willing based on principle of equality and freedom is on the table. But those with nostalgia for glory of the past they heard about could not sit for it. It is only voluntary union based common interest that could make them rise together to defend it.

Now the Grand Renaissance Dam over the Abbayyaa is a reality. But the Oromo as a people with more interest in the water were not consulted on creating the dam. It is becoming an international issue before inter-empire conflicts are resolved. For Oromiyaa to be a full-fledged participant in consequences of the “GRD” right self-governance provided by the constitution has to be respected. That requires representatives elected by fair and free election. They are such representatives that have to participate in forming the federal government that could handle regional affair like the dam. So far, many dams were built on rivers of Oromiyaa

but Oromo are the least beneficiaries. They cannot see the GRD go the same way. All in the region have to benefit in proportion to their contribution. That is why we say internal conflicts have to be resolved fast so that it makes a difference in defending common interest be it the dam or other matters. Interest of the rulers and Amharic speakers’ Ethiopian nationalism alone can no more mobilize nations and nationalities that see no benefit from the outcome. Any patriotic sacrifice is for benefit of one’s nation on earth not for personal reward in eternal life. Therefore, old autocratic system must leave place for new union of the equal and the free to defend their region and interest in unison. Resolving internal conflict comes first before confronting an enemy with forced fighters. When one has a purpose to die for, agitation will not be essential.

Elites of all nations and nationalities so far support the replacement of empire built by Nafxanyaa feudal system by federal one. Only Amharic speaking Nafxanyaa system hopeful elites are disgruntled by it. They want to bring back old Ethiopia rule with strong unitary central government in which they play the major role. That is delaying inter-regional solidarity and understanding. Many insulting adjectives like “zaranyaa”, divisive, tribal federalism etc. are thrown at federalists. Some even use derogatory discriminatory racist references. These must be defeated and brought in line or possible unity of the region could be under questions. Despite all the abuses done on them for more than a century, many that were struggling for independence in the last fifty years had forgiven and showed willingness to live together with their tormentors. But there are still those that are not willing to repent.

The Oromo have sacrificed the most to bring about the so-called change. That enabled the supposedly progressive elements in the ruling coalition, used to be known as “Team Lammaa” to take over power as a transitional authority. Its mission was assumed to facilitate the smooth transfer of power to peoples’ representatives elected by fair and free election. They were not supposed to facilitate for their own transformation into permanent rulers of the empire. All those that were partners in the oppressive rule that caused revolutionary upheaval bringing about the change, are now getting reorganized into a new party to reinstitute themselves. There is Oromo saying, “When asked why did wife divorced came back, someone answered, to collect whatever remained”. Most are coming back to coverup their crimes and plunder whatever is left. From the way they are coming back they cannot be democratic or peaceful. They have already began muffling information, forbidding assembly, putting obstacle to movements, perform extra judicial killings, and unlawful arrest and imprisonment. Taking that as a chance Nafxanyaa system hopefuls are also ready to blend in and destroy the federal system.

The present political atmosphere indicates that the empire is not going to go away easily. Political actors who it was hoped to bring about change have no clear outlook, are confused, wavering and lack commitment and determination. Some of them have slave mentality which see things only through spectacles given them by their past masters. On the other hand, we see peoples highly politically conscious with clear demands determined to take their destiny into their hands, waiting for patriotic leadership committed to their cause. The struggle now is between coalition of corrupt EPRDF remnants and Nafxanyaa colonial system hopefuls and peoples yearning for equality, democracy, freedom and stable peaceful life. The empire will disintegrate into its component parts without union of equals to replace it unless peoples’ side wins. If they do not get partners to form a union with, the Oromo will go for their Independent Democratic People’s Republic Oromiyaa they struggled for, for years. If Africans are left to sort out their differences, they could come out with a solution fitting all.

The above did not take the present world situation into consideration but it is hoped to be memorandum for the past. The world is being contaminated by plague called COVID 19. It is difficult to imagine who will at the end survive and be able to do what? It has already started to show what it can do on political, economic and social activities of human beings. It will not be easy to think the problem unusually and unplanned retreating of parents and children to home. It will be hard to imagine the consequences of being

tired of each other, shortage of movement space, unknown end of the quarantine, feeling of imprisonment and impact on human mind of the whole phenomenon. It is obvious that the wise will learn a lesson out of it, while the fool may pass before understanding about it at all. Human beings’ power, wealth and knowledge could not hinder this catastrophe from occurring. It may get solution after paying tremendous sacrifices. But relations will not remain as they were. For this reason, it is also wise to prepare for the after mass. Some areas in Africa may be hit hard because of shortage of information for lack of communication facility or sanction put on them by leaders. The later will be considered genocide. That could escalate the catastrophe coming by the decease.

The world and our people have experience with many plagues. In many of them there were times when one could not burry one’s death, it was told. Because of fear of transmitting the present plague to each other people have started to avoid going to burials, mourning, and visiting the sick. Instead of waiting for it dying with fear it is better trying to understand its nature and preparing to protect ourselves collected. Therefore, to periodical look for updates and follow advices of health professionals and also use own intelligence is essential. It must be known that there is a possibility that the way we think, live and do things could change after this virus whether we like it or not. Therefore, let us try to correct whatever we did wrong before it is too late and we go down with it. Let us wish for minimum causality when it is over. How much our loses may be let the remaining shine on earth. Corona virus is an enemy that discriminates nobody because of age, gender, race, nationality or creed and defending oneself from it is defending all. In the same way there should be a common cause to stand against other enemies as well. Therefore, only a union formed based on will and giving equal service for all without discrimination can mobilize nations and nationalities to stand against enemies together when they have common interest to defend. COVID 19, rather than habit of shunning each other, may pass making us realize all we have is each other than we thought. Oromiyaan haa jiraattu!

Protecting oneself from COVID 19 is protecting all!

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

March 2020

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