October 18, 2009

Medrek Is The Midpoint Solution Vs AFD The Endpoint Solution!

Medrek Is The Midpoint Solution Vs AFD The Endpoint Solution!

Fayyis Oromia

Slowly, political elites in the Ethiopian empire are coming to their senses. The formation of MEDREK (the Forum for Democracy and Dialogue, also known as FDD) is the second breakthrough next to the attempt done in forging and consolidating AFD (the Alliance for Freedom and Democracy). Thanks to the farsighted OLF leaders and the Ex-CUD representatives in Diaspora, who started this innovative spirit of coming together for common benefit, the hitherto quasi irreconcilable Amhara elites and Oromo elites started to approach each other. Civilized mentality started to rule the political game between the two groups. I don’t need to discuss about AFD here for a lot has been said and written about it at the time of its formation.

But, let me put my opinion on Medrek on paper in short and compare it with AFD with respect to their implication on the Oromo liberation movement. To tell the truth, Medrek is the best compromise solution, but not optimal solution, Ethiopian elites achieved to forge till now. To make my readers understand what I mean, let me classify Ethiopian elites into four:

- those who advocate for Unity of Assimilated Nations. Most of them being Amhara elites who still nostalgically wish to reverse the political move in the country to the pre-1991 situation; this group just wants to have a unitary Ethiopia; of course, with Amharinya as the only national language whereas the “right of other nations to develop their culture and language is respected” as they usually like to write in their programmes. Here belongs as an example – AEUP and EPRP.

- those who want to maintain the Union of Oppressed Nations as the status quo is now. I don’t need to explain further for it is obvious, and TPLF is the mastermind of this situation. This is simply a union formed and kept by military force.

- those who demand for the Union of Autonomous Nations in the Ethiopian context with relatively strong federal government, but based not necessarily on force, rather to be formed by predetermination i.e a union by elite consensus or based on the will of the involved elites. I think MEDREK is the example to achieve this.

- those who do fight for the liberation of their respective nations, but still have not excluded the possibility of Union of Independent Nations – which is almost the union similar to EU (European Union). This group strives for a possible union of free nations based on self-determination of the public, not by the will of only the polity. OLF and ONLF are the classical examples!
Now, when we do compare the four groups, the positions of the first and the fourth seem to be irreconcilable. The first group being obsolete can not accommodate the fourth. Let alone the fourth, this first group is against the second and the third as we do still observe. The second group is the fascist oppressor at the moment, which we all need to fight. I think the third position, i.e. the position of MEDREK is the compromise solution – which the first group (mostly Amhara forces) and the fourth group (dominated by Oromo fronts) can accept as a common ground to make an alliance and fight against the common enemy aka against the fascist regime we all seem to hate.

So let’s come to our senses and celebrate MEDREK as the best compromise solution all national groups in the country could forge at the moment. Otherwise, we will stay to be the victims of divide-and-rule played by Weyane, where it demonizes Amharas as “centralist chauvinists” and accuses Oromos as “narrow secessionists”, and it has made them to fight with each other as well as where it beat them turn by turn. In short, the above four groups can be described as:

- The ruling fascists who want to maintain a Union of Oppressed Nations! and
- The three opposition groups:
* the far rights, who want to have a Unity of Assimilated Nations!
* the middle position of Medrek as a compromise, a Union of Autonomous Nations!
* the far lefts, who want to achieve a Union of Independent Nations!

Clear is that some Amhara elites still advocate and write in support of the far right position by opposing the democratic Kilil-federation, which is actually the best compromise solution for the opposition groups from unity forces and liberation fronts to come together by forging alliances to fight against Weyane. What is the solution from these pro unity elites’ point of view? Neglect liberation fronts and others who vehemently oppose their far right position? Interestingly, people like Prof. Mesfin and some other scholars lastly showed their true color by opposing Medrek and by crying for “anti-kilil” position. Such fool elites still have not comprehended that democratic Kilil-federation is still supported by the majority of Oromo groups. It is clear that the far right positioned Amhara elites want to get rid of Kilil whereas Oromo elites want it to be real and democratic!
The two main political positions in the opposition, i.e. the position of the Amhara pro-democracy forces (unconditional unity) vs. the position of the Oromo pro-liberty fronts (union based on free will aka conditional union) should be discussed and debated before attempting to forge any alliance against the ruling party. I think groups in Medrek have done the discussion. They agreed on the unconditional unity as a common goal. Here it seems the “multinational” parties like UDJ got their will asserted. “National” parties like OFDM and OPC seem to have given in. It is not even yet clear whether UDJ has accepted as a compromise (in principle) the Kilil-federation, which is preferred by Oromo parties. According to one radio interview given by Vice Chairman of UDJ, Gizachew Shiferraw, his party still opposes such federation, and he wants that the public decide on the type of future federation.

It is clear that Amhara pro-democracy forces, such as UDJ, are advocates of geography-based federalism in contrast to a language-based federalism (”ethnic federalism”), which is preferred by most of the freedom fighters, such as OLF. Implementation of geography-based federation is the second, next to securing the unconditional unity, what UDJ wanted to achieve in Medrek. So it seems that UDJ has gotten what it intended to achieve: Article-39 is rejected and if Medrek wins the next election, the issue of the type of federation will be decided by the public verdict. UDJ really plays smart politics. To secure the unconditional unity, it applied the method of CONSENSUS between the involved parties. To achieve the type of federation it wants, it demands other method aka REFERENDUM. Actually fair is when in both decisions, either consensus or referendum, are applied. That means either they should have left the question of unity also for referendum or they should have arrived at a required consensus as well on accepting Kilil-federation.

Here, it seems the federalist Oromo parties in Medrek have lost in the compromise solution. They have not insisted to achieve the right of the Oromo nation to self-determination, and even they have compromised the further existence of Oromia because of the fact that if geography-based federation wins in the required referendum, Oromia will be dismantled. This acceptance of unconditional Ethiopian unity by federalist Oromo parties in Medrek is like a weak man making a compromise on his own wife, who is being abused daily by his bully neighbour. If a certain bully from a neighbour goes into somebody’s house and abuses daily the wife of his helpless neighbour in front of her husband, the helpless man can only beg the bully to reduce the abuse to help his wife get less pain. If the bully agrees to come every other day instead of every day, that is the success for the helpless man. That is what Oromo parties in Medrek have achieved by not insisting on the right of the Oromo nation to self-determination, but just only accepting the demand of Abesha politicians for unconditional Ethiopian unity. They are simply helpless vis-a-vis the well armoured Abesha domination forces.
Regarding the implication of the the two hitherto alliances (Medrek and AFD) on the Oromo liberation movement, we can only discuss theoretically. Medrek, without any consensus on keeping Kilil-federalism, is a backward step for the Oromo liberation movement. I am sure if Oromo parties in this alliance do not give clear answer for this question, they should expect that the Oromo people will stick to OPDO rather than experimenting with them on the fate of Oromia. If it is clear that Medrek is to advance such federalism and if the difference with that of Weyane is only the question of democracy as Dr. Merera told in VOA, then it will be clear that the Oromo people will support them to achieve a true and democratic Kilil-federation, getting rid of the present fake one. Achieving autonomous and democratic Oromia in a federated Ethiopia is the midpoint goal on the journey to our endpoint goal aka self-determination. Then, we can be sure that Medrek is really the midpoint solution to our liberation problem.

That is why I dare say Ethiopian elites, by forging Medrek (if Kilil-federation is part of its programme), could only achieve midpoint solution to the complex problem of the empire. To come to the endpoint solution, they still need an alliance like AFD, which seems to have made self-determination of nations the common ground of the agreement. Without a democratic right of all nations in the region, including self-determination, there will never be a lasting solution. With consensus on unconditional unity like what Medrek did, we can only postpone the end result, but never avoid or hinder the question of nations to self-determination which will be raised again and again and again … till they get it.

Coming specifically to the question of the Oromo people, it is not bad if we move from the status quo and achieve our midpoint goal with the help of Medrek, but Abesha elites should not fool themselves that it would be the endpoint solution for Oromo question. As far as Oromo is concerned, the only lasting union is the one based on the self-determination of Oromo public, not the union based on the predetermination by Oromo elites like those in OFDM and OPC now being tried to be done. That is why I do advise those opposition groups in Diaspora, such as G-7, OLF, ONLF, EPPF, TPDM, EPRP … etc, to face the reality on the ground and forge an alliance based on the solid ground aka to achieve a union based on self-determination of nations, which is an optimal and the endpoint solution, not only a temporary compromise solution like that of Medrek.


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