Writing about Oromo plight day in and day out may be boring to those who are not affected. But Oromo nationalists and peace-loving democrats should never stop telling that story until the predicament goes away. Many lies are being fabricated daily to detract Oromo from struggle for freedom and the world from sympathizing them. The main issue being question of human and national right, they want to present collateral damages they purposely aggravate to be given priority attention. Orthodox churches and Mosques may be burned down instigated by unknown culprits to set people of a county that had lived together peacefully for generations against each other. To build those churches and Mosques they all had helped each other with money, skill and material. They have no reason to burn what they have sweated for. They complain the burning as if those sacred buildings belong to one nationality alone. In Oromiyaa there are more Oromo Orthodox Christians than any other ethnic group. Customarily all Orthodox Christians are considered Amaarized because they pray and preach in that language and their association was more with their church fellows than their nationals of other faiths. Despite changing times and development political consciousness the Amaraa wanted things to remain as they were. Individuals have the right to travel and settle anywhere they like. This is not contestable, but they have to abide by law of the nation they find themselves in. Any individual or group that violates this right is accountable to the law. Each people are sovereign in their own territory. That is what they do not want to hear because they are still in colonizers mentality. They dream of individual right over riding nations right. There we part.
The Orthodox Church must speak Amharic or Gi’iiz no other language is tolerated. By suppressing Oromo awareness, they think they can continue taking advantage of the economy. When a single Amaaraa Orthodox follower is killed protests are ignited throughout the world. But when an Oromo Orthodox pastor, Phexiros Tasfayee teaching in Afaan Oromo was killed in Sabbataa, by haters no word was heard for they all are behind such killings. When six hundred Gumus life are killed and are buried in mass grave no one of them complained etc. The struggle is not between nationalities but oppressor and the oppressed over the economy. All the lucrative monasteries and churches are in Oromiyaa. Better they are abandoned by Oromo laity than being denied free hand and serving in them with their language, Amharic. What they fail to understand is that Oromiyaa is an independent state. Only those that Oromo permit can serve in her. In Oromiyaa individuals may commit crime against each other but planned ethnic cleansing as they allege never happened for Oromo culture does not allow it. Unless we distinguish quarrels between individuals and those among nations it will not be good for regional peace.
In the present case the old oppressor wants to get back using settlers as a pretext. They do not care how many of them will be harmed to satisfy their greed for domination. Federal system accepted by majority nations, nationalities and people is opposed by Amaaraa ruling class and high clergies who are dreaming the return of Nafxanyaa colonial system. Those got ally in the incumbent administration, with own mission and ambition and instigating for genocidal war for their dream to be realized. They blackmail it calling, “bala taraa” (taking turn for Oromo) and to prove himself to them, he has to commit genocide on own people. The Oromo want to be free from all forms of domination, political economic social and religious. If we want political or religious union we have to negotiate on equal terms. Oromo do not want Government or Church that come with force that reminds them their horrible past. That is what we want to tell over and over to be rescued from perishing as a nation.
As peace loving as they are the Oromo tried several times to get answers to their questions of concern with peaceful struggles. But they fell on deaf ears. Instead of responding to their questions in sincerity, Ethiopian colonizers think they can mobilize world public opinion against them by calling Oromo engaged in liberation struggle extremist, divisive, tribalist, terrorist etc. denying their being different people from them that want to be free. And not realizing their own greed, which are well known to the world public. for others’ wealth, their own chauvinism and the genocide they are committing against the Oromo and others in collaboration with those in power, Any Oromo demanding for rights will be only in their curse list, while those that submitted to their dictates, their running dogs are praised. Therefore, Oromo are left without choice other than struggling with all means available to them for their freedom.
Only if Amaara elites accept demands based on 20th century model cannot be met by any peoples. Their priority should have been solving rising internal problems of their own region. They should also accept that all nations, nationalities and people who were their colonies are equal to them and their country is theirs not Amaaraa’s anymore. Amaaraa settled among those peoples belong there and have no legal ties with Amaaraa region. All other regions in which Amaaraa are found are not answerable to Amaaraa region just like Lebanon or Yemen. If they have problems, they have to struggle to solve it according to law of that land. Trying to alienate them from those they live with will be dangerous for them.
With all disadvantages of hidden colonialism Oromo were able to organized a pan Oromo organization, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). Their colonizer, Abyssinia was a partner of European imperialists from 14th century to the Scramble for Africa and beyond. Therefore, it is not hard to imagine against whom a landlocked nation, Oromo without access to modern technology had come fighting. Now time has relatively changed, unless they are indolent on themselves, they can never be enslaved again. There are two Ethiopia in history; one is Kush civilization that existed more than 3000 years ago. The other is Abyssinia which took the name last century. The first name all blacks share. Habashaa lied to their children that they were the first and we see them inflating themselves not knowing their real size. If self-promotion is wanted that Oromo had great role in the first one, evidences are observable in Gadaa practices and symbols. But that cannot relief from present predicament. The relief comes only by recognizing the differences of peoples aggregated by force under Ethiopian empire and find ways for how to help each other during worse or better times in the region.
Organization built for the first time in their name in unison by all Oromo since the great campaign that started from Madda Walaabuu centuries ago is OLF alone. This being scary to the enemies, it filled friends with unextinguishable hope for independence. OLF was formed at a time when offspring of nafxanyaa bragged in public without shy that Oromiyaa is their colony. Now they are even daring enough to claim it was their territory from time immemorial but occupied by foreign invaders, meaning Oromo. Oromo claim there is no people more indigenous to Africa than them. As if bones of Oromo fore parents were not broken and their blood spilt in defense of their country they bragged of the country, Oromiyaa which their forefathers spilt their blood and broken their bones and passed to them. To force Oromo, accept this, their fathers brainwashed Oromo youth to take their culture, history and language as their own. For this enough to listen to school songs during times of the emperor. This people that loved peace, had civilized culture and practiced democratic governance was humiliated and big shame befell it. OLF rebelled against this and took to the mountains when some of them were driven to prisons and others to the gallows.
OLF stood for freedom of this historic people whose land, resources, and honor had been taken away from them and turned to serfs and dehumanized for the last more than a century. To destroy them the enemy had called them names, launched and is launching open and undercover propaganda to make them hated. In
the past when OLF was three to distinguish, that led by Daawud Ibsaa was designated as Shanee. That is now history. PP is now taking that out of archives and stick it to all those it abhors. Whatever they hate is what Oromo favor. Officers of defense and police not knowing the secret they propagate depicting it as a horned monster. Enemies of the nation now use “Shanee” to mean Oromo. Anyone who is Oromoo, unless one is a quisling siding with the enemy has to reserve oneself from killing Oromo in that name. Whether OLF is called Shanee or ONAG they cannot get it out of the hearts of people that dream freedom and are longing to see independent Oromiyaa. There is no money not spent and threatening and frightening not tried to get it out and erase it. The enemy has bought and tempted some with office and recruitment. Our enemies got advantage, not having better stamina and knowledge but because of such ones. That is why OLF became stunted and confused before reaching its goal. Now it will rise never to relapse again.
It is only if they adhere to the initial Kaayyoo laid down by OLF that Oromo can get assurance of own separate identity from their neighbors and peaceful life. Oromo respect human rights not because international law said so, but because it is their culture. They used to take people from different roots that found themselves among them planned or accidentally as their own. There are no witnesses for this more than those among them. They are more Oromiyaan than Amaaraa or any other nations that claim them. They may be instigated to doubt Oromo intentions by those that want to reestablish nafxanyaa system over Oromiyaa. So far there was no complaint among majority of settlers with nafxanyaa ancestry. Oromo will also not betray their culture and change their attitude towards them for that sake, for Oromummaa is more an outlook than ethnicity. An outside force traces descent only until it gets chance to get in, otherwise it spares no one when it comes to plundering.
OLF was formed from youth from different world outlooks, different education level, different faiths, different regions, different tribes. The enemy tried and is trying to make them clash based on all those differences. Though it might have been able to fool some weak Oromo, majority remained together. All that were present on the founding of OLF had unequivocally agreed on a minimum program and that was “founding a democratic people’s republic Oromiyaa”. Airing different views came only after 1991, influenced by foreign ideas. When we love OLF it has to be from the earlier Kaayyoo it laid down not because of members and leaders so far sacrificed or those acting at present. Oromo believed individuals that led them in turns, not believed in them. But they highly respect them. They are their heroes as long as they abided by their constitution and laws. Those that cause crisis to OLF are not only enemies alone but also how its officers handled themselves have no simple role. For this reason, unless it carries on fundamental revolutionary change it cannot return to image worshiped by the people. Therefore, now wise leadership is required. All involved in the struggle has to be invited to Kora Sabaa (National Congress) and together close the old file and deliberate in good faith and without distinction, on how to proceed next.
Had members, in particular leaders of OLF made soul search, that their performance was not of the quality fitting to their nation; leading not according to the law but their whim there by erasing rule of law; with character that narrow down the mind, developed what could be considered as chauvinism and selfishness; not giving a comrade respect, love and benefit of the doubt different from a non-comrade; giving priority to own interest relegating matter of the struggle to second place; not following up and rescuing comrades in dire need etc. they could have made self-criticism for diverting from the standard initially set by OLF. Abandoning that, they pushed themselves and the organization towards precipices. All these happened for lack of will, capability, and readiness to face campaigns going around the world and conspiracy being spined. Unless that is corrected
Though negatively stated from youth radical views that also seem self-promotion effort, Jawar Mohamad’s criticism years ago should have been taken as a wakeup call. And the progress he made in advancing Oromo struggle almost single handed should have also served as a lesson. Jawar is a young man with sharp mind he can adjust himself to where Oromummaa directs him. What about the oldies? Instead of pulling him towards itself OLF has shifted towards him with envy concerning relation with Ethiopia. This is a time when Ethiopianists have taken over the political stage. Political stage in which nations have no independent voice in it cannot give assurance for demanded freedom. Bunches of ambitious politicians are wrestling for empire Ethiopia’s power. Oromiyaa and those that were Ethiopian colonies cannot be free unless the empire is dismantled. Ethiopianist fear of collapse of the state and government. Collapse of colonial state will usher only rebirth of free national nations. Therefore, if that is the only possibility it is a better alternative to slavery.
In this period when they are conducting struggle for independence and freedom Oromo require no other party. It could be enough if OLF were repaired and strengthened. What have been dividing Oromo revolutionaries since the 60s is considering Oromiyaa as self-reliant country on one hand and seeing her as inseparable part of Ethiopia on the other. Though, its main objective was independence of Oromiyaa, OLF program has given considerations for both positions. It is only independent Oromiyaa that can negotiate with neighbors with equality and free will as to continue living together under democratic setting or otherwise. It is never heard under normal circumstances, when slave negotiated with his master for own freedom. Therefore, getting the right of national self-determination recognized by left and right has to be given priority. One cannot say struggling to democratize Ethiopia does not have risk; but because it does not seem as dangerous as that of independence there are those who incline towards that. But since Abyssinians see all movements that deprive their supremacy with one eye, it would be better if we are not fooled and take line on one side.
OLF program has laid down for those that wanted to democratize Ethiopia, the possibility of “political union with other nations on the basis of equality, respect for mutual interest and the principles of voluntary association.” Therefore, first is to enable Oromo determine their destiny and others come next for they are not Oromo priority. It seemed that all that were engaged in liberation struggle up to 1991 were committed to that. It is self-doubt and wavering generated later within themselves that started creating crisis in Oromo organization and national unity. Forgetting all about Kaayyoo, everyone started giving priority to self-aggrandizement and so engaged in devising all possible means to that end. With that OLF was tarnished. After 1991 those that were scattered over nafxanyaa organizations and beaten by the Darg, with lessons from OLF experience started to form organizations in Oromo names. But they did not change from background they came from, Ethiopianism.
Now if we say the original OLF still exists would be fooling ourselves. During exile few revolutionaries were able to cling to the original Kaayyoo and made those who were inclined towards democratization of Ethiopia to think twice before abandoning the Kaayyoo. Some remained cautious while others jumped on band wagon of democratizing Ethiopia. But coming back home had deceived them much. Though OLF in name, they are registered as Ethiopian parties. Both them and OPDO are referred to as Ethiopian opposition. If not for nominal pride of history, they have no difference under present conditions. Rather most freedom fighters who were in exile and those engaged in armed struggle when they came to town dislocated from their background, know nobody and had no savings. After bringing the struggle to this level because of disability they do not know where to turn. They reached here after majority of them were sacrificed but Colonel Abiy criticizes them several times as those who do not die themselves but push others children to death. Therefore, at such old age they have fallen into hands of government that have no consideration for what others say and doesn’t like them. However, it is said that “honor and chair one protects under oneself”. What they should realize is that
they did not come home with trophy, for this reason they are losers. Therefore, it is advisable if they can be reserved from doing things that could tarnish their honor further.
OPDO the organization, because it was formed by Ethiopians for their own purpose it doesn’t have sibling compassion for old nationalists. Oromo nationals in it may want to make it Oromo but it’s made is stronger that their commitment; that is why we see them completely Ethiopianized or wavering. Because the structure remained the same, being PP didn’t bring any change, it rather Ethiopianized it more. Aliens still do not like them with that name. They blame all wrongs done by themselves, as done by “ONAG, Shanee” that includes all Oromo. The name has terror it sends to enemy camp. To be feared like the name it is essential for the people to get reorganized anew. Now what is required is not new idea but translating what one has into action promptly. Crowding only weakens not strengthen Oromo institution. Help in resources, capability, and knowledge Oromo can contribute for their struggle will get divided among competitors. Therefore, to move under one front till victory has advantage.
Elderlies running Oromo organizations have accountability and responsibility to Oromummaa. They have to consolidate all Oromo forces, resources and capabilities and march together until the desired goal is reached. Organization that held idea of independence and brought us so far is OLF. Strengthening OLF is strengthening Kaayyoo of freedom. Since it is long known no especial promotion is required. Therefore, let us all remaining from generation of “Fidal” and the generation of “Qubee” together march for one Kaayyoo, one banner under one front. Otherwise the Qubee generation has to find solution before Kaayyoo is completely sold out. The correct way is the earlier way of OLF. Tactics might change but Kaayyoo of freedom and independence is a religion. OLF will struggle in all possible ways to regain lost honor and freedom for the people. To try peaceful struggle, it built ICHAT with other groups from the colonies and deployed armed fighters to the mountains. Because the peaceful became impossible it focused more on the armed one. When Eritrea and Tigray became liberated background history and chance became obstacles for OLF. If it proceeds cleansing itself from that, victory will not be far off. All that captures Ethiopian power or that rebels against it is with the purpose of monopolizing benefits from colonies in particular Oromiyaa. To stand against that, first strong organization and unity of Oromo forces and next cooperation of oppressed peoples are essential.
Unless Oromo are prepared to fend off conspiracy and genocide going on against their struggle with strong organization and united forces they are going to get scattered as a nation and losing all they say are ours will not be far off. Measures the enemy are taking concerning Finfinnee is harbinger of what in general are going to befall Oromiyaa. For Finfinnee to be controlled by the enemy means dissecting Oromiyaa into two. It means like Western Alliance taking on part of Berlin after WW II, cutting main German town into two for more than half a century. That became a foothold from where they could break East Germany (GDR). Oromiyaa will not get even that opportunity. It will be scattered and become area where nafxanyaa system hopefuls frolic in. That is what they are thinking but let Waaqaa not think like them.
To do first thing first, the struggle started against Master Plan has to be finished. Finfinnee should go back to original size it had during the Emperor. Since the struggle was people’s, the change brough should not be that widen colonial hold. It has to stop where it was until its conclusion. It is that Finfinnee, which the enemy is digging trenches in preparation for the last colonial battle. Oromo need not justify its ownership over Oromiyaa to anyone. Historically, geographically and culturally it is in separable part of Oromiyaa. It was the first spot in colonized Oromiyaa that was turned into garrison town, from where invasion to occupy the South including Oromiyaa was launched. Loss of Finfinnee now means loss of Oromiyaa as then. Therefore, coordinating and uniting capabilities, resources, knowledge and Oromo forces is very urgent.
Unjust imprisonment of members and leaders of Oromo organizations must serve as a waking call against hovering danger. Cajoling and accepting all demands of alien determined to subdue Oromiyaa will not save Oromo offspring from death. To expect justice for Oromo from its courts is naiveite. We have to learn our strength and weakness from leaders sacrificed for the cause and those that were distracted by own ego and surrendered to enemy camp tempted by selfish desire, however we respected and loved them. Leaving cursing each other for treachery for tomorrows law, we ought to focus on how we reached to this level. It is understanding that and correcting ourselves, otherwise to worry about desperation of those leaders may discourage the nation to give up on their Kaayyoo is not knowing who the Oromo are. Conditions that leaders cling and remain on power indefinitely and absence of rule of law should not go on repeating itself on us. We should have been a model to be emulated rather than adopting autocratic governance. It was to avoid that, that early OLF rules provide for Kora Saba to take place every two years. In Oromo political culture, an Oromo group cannot stay in power for more than one eight years term. It is diversion from that, that is providing weapons to bombard OLF, for those who never lifted a finger for defense of the father land and hate IT from envy. The solution is only to prepare oneself with determination and commitment without wavering. It would be better if collections that registered themselves as Ethiopian parties voluntarily drop the Oromo name to take one fitting their Ethiopian role.
OLF founders were adults responsible for their actions. They agitated so many and led them in liberation struggle that involved many battles. Many gave their lives remaining loyal to their nation’s Kaayyoo to the end. Youth sacrificed for the struggle were numberless. Transformation Oromo society achieved by those sacrifices, for those that knew the society before is but a miracle. In matter of those leaders who crossed to camps they used to say have to be abstained from, we live the judgment to their conscience. Those that decided to be street beggars rather than giving their hand, will live with clean conscience and cannot be denied to be heroes of their nation. Genuine OLF, that does not submit to the enemy, accept no dehumanization and undue exploitation by aliens will for sure reorganize itself if possible, openly otherwise underground and rescue its people which are being diminished. Oromiyaa belongs to Oromiyaans was slogan of Oromo youth protest of 2014-2018. That needed to be realized. From ganda to state level political offices should be occupied by freely elected people’s representatives. Civil service administration should be filled with fair competition of professionals. Those that did not come that way cannot speak on behalf of the nation. In Oromiyaa it is the Oromo that provide translation service to aliens that do not speak afaan Oromo, aliens lecturing to Oromo in alien languages is humiliation inherited from colonial period. It amounts to accepting one’s inferiority. Therefore, that should be corrected. Oromo need revived, strong, committed and determined organization that could lead them to victory. That is genuine OLF. Oromo appeal to democratic, peace-loving organizations and peoples of the world to stop Ethiopian government madness has to continue. But nothing will replace Oromo self-reliance in protecting themselves. History of revolution asserts that organized and armed people shall certainly triumph. Let us get organized, armed not only with guns, but also with will power, knowledge and diplomacy. It might delay, but victory is for one that is determined and has truth on one’s side. 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!