When I was a university student some years back, I and one of my friends were sitting in a bus and looking through the window a nice city we were touring, and accidentally we saw one of our teachers (lecturers) walking. This lecturer was a bit elderly, with light coloured skin, had bald head till the back side and with full beard. My funny friend just watched and asked me, whether the teacher was walking forward or backward. Because of his bald head and full beard on his chin, we couldn’t differentiate his face from the back of his head. That was very funny indeed, so both of us laughed. Since then, this episode remained to be a joke among our circle of friends. As I read Negasso’s decision to join the “multi-national” UDJ instead of the national party OFC, I just remembered this joke and laughed at the measure taken by the ex-president. A question came to my mind was: is this backward or forward political move?
To look at the political career of the ex-president, first he was an OLF activist who used to believe in liberating Oromia from the Abyssinian colonialism; then he joined OPDO believing in ethnic federalism; after he left OPDO, I heard him demanding Oromo’s right to self-determination per referendum; now he joined a party which rejects the right of Oromo nation to self-determination and which even wants to dismantle Oromia with a pre-text of preferring xeqilaigizat-federalism in contrast to the kilil-federalism, which is supported by the Oromo people. Is this move a backward or a forward move for one Oromo intellectual, who wrote his dissertation on the Oromo history and who used to struggle for the right of the Oromo in the past 40 years?
No question the Oromo liberation movement is getting momentum, slowly but surely, so that many stakeholders in the region are in a big worry (firstly, Habesha elites; secondly, the Western allies of Habesha elites who used to support them in suppressing the Oromo; and thirdly, few elites of the small nationalities in the empire, who are mistakenly in fear of Oromo’s “future domination”). These anti-Bilisummaa (anti-freedom) forces are now doing every thing under the sky to inhibit and hinder the Oromo liberation’s forward movement. One of the “modern and 21st century” move to hinder Oromo from achieving Bilisummaa (freedom of) Oromo and Walabummaa (sovereignty of) Oromia is playing the game of the fake democratization of Ethiopia.
The opponents of the Oromo liberation movement know very well that genuine democratization of Ethiopia is the best MEANS to achieve the END of the Oromo liberation movement, that is why they only give lip service, but never allow it to happen. Conservative and old-mode (faaraa) Amhara elites with the mind of the 20th-century Nefxenya (rule using nefx or gun) already showed their alliance with the 21st Nefxenya TPLF now in power through the Zenawi-Shawel-handshake. The smart and modern (araadaa) em>Nefxenyas of both Habesha nations are re-organizing themselves in UDJ and G-7. That is why I am not surprised by the raised handshake of Siye Abraha with Gizachew Shiferraw, but the raised handshake of Negasso Gidada with Gizachew Shiferraw made me to be sad and at the same time to laugh, that is the ambivalence of emotion I had. Fact on the ground is that araadaa way or faaraa way, all the handshakes are about saving the empire! The faaraa Nefxenyas try to keep the empire with old method like talking about the “history” that Debteraa Bahirey and Aleqaa Taye wrote about Ethiopia and by demanding directly to dismantle Oromia. The araadas use totally other methods, for example, to reduce the danger of dismantling the empire domination system, which is coming from Oromo, they use the following theories as postmodern approaches now applied to fight against Oromo’s right to self-determination in order to save the empire from disintegration:
- “All Ethiopians including Tigrayans are Oromo, so the Oromo liberation in a form of Oromian autonomy or Oromian independence is not necessary”, this is the theory constantly preached by Habesha elites in different forums and PalTalks.
- “Oromos, as a majority, can rule Ethiopia, so let’s fight for democracy together, no need of the Oromo liberation movement”, this is an approach of the modern Habesha movement which tries to instrumentalize Oromo individuals like Birtukan Midhagsa, now joined by Negasso Gidada.
- “Every body in Ethiopia is blended with Oromo, so Ethiopia is Oromia and Ethiopian empire is in reality an Oromo empire”, Siye Abraha’s approach belongs here based on the speech he made as he toured North America.
- “Let’s focus on the development of Oromia; the majority of Oromo people need more food rather than freedom”, TPLF and its puppets in OPDO do approach this way to divert attention of the Oromo from struggle for liberation and to pacify Oromo.
- “Oromo need unconditional national independence without regional union, but OLF is the first enemy who abandoned this goal; so first let’s focus on bashing, cursing, demonizing, discrediting and vilifying OLF, specially its hitherto leaders”, Weyane cadres acting as the radical pro-Oromian-independence Oromo tried this method to divide and destroy the vanguard liberation front.
Be it they are faaraa or araadaa, till now there is no Amhara party, which came to the middle ground to accept and respect kilil-(”ethnic”)-federalism as a compromise solution for the conflict between the pro-unitarity Amhara elites and pro-independence Oromo elites. By the way, I personally don’t believe that there is any “multi-national (hibre-biher)” party in Ethiopian empire. One of the fake and fiction stories we are hearing from Ethiopia nowadays is that people try to divide political parties in that empire in to “ethnic based” and “hibre-biher”. All Amhara parties like AEUP, CUDP, EDP, EDUM, EPPF, EPRP, G-7, UDJ and UEDF-diaspora try to sell themselves as all inclusive political parties. And, they try to vilify others like OFC, SEPDC, OLF, ONLF, SLF, etc as “narrow minded national (ye biher)” organizations. For their justification, they try to show us that, for instance, UDJ is led by people from many different nationalities.
Here, I think there is no necessity to fool each other. People from other nationalities, who are active in Amhara parties are only hardware (biologically from other nations), but with Amhara software (Amhara mind pursuing to keep Amhara interset). Just look at those in UDJ and G-7: Birtukan Midhegsa is Amhara software in Oromo hardware (she is Amhara in mind and Oromo in blood); Hailu Araya is Amhara in mind and Tigaru in blood; Berihanu Nega is Amhara in mind and Gurage in blood; Muluneh Iyuel is Amhara in mind and Hadiya in blood, etc. Just look at their attempt of stressing to use only Amharinya by all parties, they never dare to use Afaan Oromo even though they try to get the support of Oromo. We can forget the other conservative “hibre-biher” parties like AEUP and EPRP, who talk only about one “Ethiopian people (ye Itiyophiya hizb)”, they never dare to say “Ethiopian peoples (ye Itiyophiya hizbooch)”! But let us all be aware of Amhara software in other’s hardware. Otherwise, I just want to add my observation regarding the form of expression used by two Oromo intelectuals, Merera Gudina and Negasso Gidada, in the last few weeks. They hitherto used to talk about “ye Itiyophiya hizboch” till a journalist from Addis-dimts confronted Merera few weeks back in one of his last interviews. Since then both of them talk only about “ye Itiyophiya hizb”, the expression which is loved by Habesha elites just to confirm their mantra of “only one people” in Ethiopia. To my understanding both expressions are not wrong, it only depends on the context. When they are talking in the context of Ethiopian government Vs Ethiopian people, it is right to use “ye Itiyophia hizb” i.e in relation to only one federal government, but when the discussion is about the right of nations in the empire, using the expression “ye Itiyophiya hizboch” is appropriate. So, I just encourage Oromo politicians to use both expressions depending on the context.
Regarding the move of Oromo nationalists nowadays, I think there is a consensus on the route of the journey to our END. We have to keep the status-quo (a limited cultural autonomy) from any setback; then we have to move together towards true Oromian autonomy, the goal set by OFC; lastly, we have to finish the journey to self-determination per referendum leading to one of the two outcomes (’independent Oromia with a union of nations in the region’ or ‘independent Oromia without such a union’). Besides this, it is good to know that according to my hitherto observation, Abyssinian elites and Oromian elites preach democracy for the sake of two different and opposite ENDs:
- for Abyssinian elites, democratization of Ethiopia is a means for decimation of Oromia into ten pieces. That is why they propagate geography-based or xeqilaigizat-federation on the contrary to the language-based or kilil-federation aka “ethnic” federalism. It is a move towards unitary Ethiopia, melting all nations into Amharic speakers. Is Negasso now preferring this move?
- for Oromians, democratization of Ethiopia is a means for liberation of Oromia from the empire domination system. That is why we want to convert the fake kilil-federation of Weyane to a genuine kilil-federation, which can be the best precondition to move to self-determination of Oromo.
Abyssinian elites theoretically preach democracy, but practically they walk against it. Oromo elites do have no fear from genuine democracy for it can lead us to liberated Oromia. At the same time, we do have no fear from union of nations in the empire or region if it is based on our free will for it is the best way to Oromo’s leadership in the region as Oromo is a biggest and strongest nation of the area. Based on the difference we do have among Oromo people in respect to the two possible outcomes of self-determination per referendum, I think “pro independence without union” Oromo individuals, who do cry foul against “pro independence within a union” Oromo’s dedication to democratize Ethiopia, should stop their lamenting. Democratization of Ethiopia is not the END per se, but the means to the END i.e to the liberation of Oromia. If we perceive it like this, then it is clear to see why Abyssinian elites get panic whenever genuine democratization is getting root in the empire!
Coming back to the raised handshake of Negasso with Gizachew and Siye, let’s look at the possible impact on our liberation movement. Just as Weyane cadres and their web-sites rejoiced and jumped because of the advantage they did get from the handshake between Meles Zenawi & Hailu Shawel, the handshake of Negasso Gidada with Gizachew Shiferraw also made pro-unitarity Amhara elites to sing and jump with joy. Why? Because they perceived it as a triumph of their movement of unitarity over Oromo movement for liberty. To their pleasure, surprisingly Negasso also made an analogy of a chicken in an egg-shell for “national movements,” such as Oromo liberation movement. He just failed to perceive the smart Amhara national movement, which is always covered with “Ethiopian multi-national movement”, in its true nature. Thus, in reality, he just moved from his own egg-shell (Oromo liberation movement) into the other one’s egg-shell (Amhara domination movement). Why did he do this? He already gave the answer himself: because of the “love and popularity” he got from Habesha elites! Interestingly, this is the smart method Habesha elites used till now in order to weaken Oromo nationalists, i.e make them “friends”, give them “love and recognition” as far as they are in line with Habesha elites’ domination move and the same Habesha elites do the opposite (hate, denounce, despise, denigrate, etc) whenever such Oromo elites start to emphasize the importance of Oromo liberation from Habesha elites’ domination.
Anyways, I hope that Oromo individuals in UDJ one day will wake up and smell the coffee. Unless Habesha elites in parties like UDJ and G-7 are ready to accept and respect the God-given and Man-made right of the Oromo people to self-determination, unless they at least decide to recognize the Oromian autonomy in Ethiopian context, no araadaa manipulation of Habesha elites will stop the Oromo people from pushing for the liberation struggle for our desired Kaayyoo (goal). But, for the sake of fighting against fascist Weyane at the moment, I dare to support the move of both Negasso and Siye to strengthen the currently viable opposition aka Medrek. If UDJ in Medrek is for the true kilil-federation, I think Negasso’s current political move is a forward move, but if UDJ continues to prefer xeqilaygizat-federation, which is a pre-text for dismantling Oromia, Negasso just moved politically backward. The only thing that all stakeholders in the empire/region have to have in mind is that they can not fool Oromo people, who do have no other wish and intention except securing our right to self-determination.