By Fayyis Oromia
One of the critics was based on the Gadaa.com’s comment, which the publisher put in the front page of the website: “Get Fayyis’ized, Paradigm Shift Happens.” People understood this as if my position is a “paradigm shift” from the “kaayyoo ganamaa = original goal.” I personally think it is good to get “Fayyis’ized,” but for whom is the paradigm shift suggested? If that was meant for the unitarists, hegemonists and even for federalists to make a shift of their paradigm towards the lasting solution proposed by the unionists, that is fine. As far as I am concerned, the end-goal expressed as ULN (Union of Liberated Nations), is inclusive to the “kaayyoo ganamaa” aka bilisummaa Oromo and walabummaa Oromia. Without national bilisummaa and territorial walabummaa as prerequisites, there will not be any genuine union of nations in the region. So, for Oromo freedom fighters, there is no necessity of a paradigm shift, but a need for far-sightedness to be inclusive in a possible regional union, instead of thinking and talking about only a national liberation.
Then, there was a question whether G-7 was a unitarist, federalist or a unionist. Some Oromo individuals think that till now the move of the organization is somewhere between unitarists and federalists just like that of UDJ. Here I can agree with the comment. Time will tell us whether these two araada organizations really are federalists, let alone unionists. Leave alone such Amhara-oriented parties, actually when we look at the conflict between the states like Somaliland and Puntland or the still existing conflict between Abyssinia and Oromia, we just think that a union of independent nations envisioned by some of us goodhearted people is a very far goal. It suggests that we now better concentrate on the liberation struggle of nations at hand, not on the far-fetched union of nations. I personally did not forget that there was national territorial liberation in a form of walabummaa between the stages of federation of nations (pre-walabummaa union) and union of liberated nations (post-walabummaa union). In my last article, it was taken as if this was already understood. It is fact that Oromo nationalists do first struggle for Oromian national liberation and then discuss about regional union, be it that of transforming the Ethiopian empire (union per force) to Ethiopian union (union per free will) or forging the union of nations in the Horn of Africa.
When we look back at the hitherto alliances forged by Oromo liberation movements, Medrek is a federalist, ULFO is a liberationist & AFD is a unionist in a true sense. Oromo people need all of them. We have to support Medrek to come to our next mid-goal (federation). We need tokkummaa for bilisummaa (unity for liberty) of all Oromo liberation movements, like the vision of the ex-ULFO and the goal of the future only one OLF, to secure the very much needed bilisummaa Oromo and walabummaa Oromia. Then, for the very end-goal, we should foster AFD-like unionist alliance to promote a union of all liberated nations in the Horn for our common benefit. To understand what I wrote in my last articles, we should take into consideration the level at which the three very important Oromo organizations do move. OFC as a federalist party wants to realize Oromian autonomy in the Ethiopian context; OLF as a liberation front wants to achieve both freedom of the Oromo people and sovereignty of the Oromo land; AFD as a supranational alliance of the organizations in the region wants to struggle for a union of all the liberated nations in the region. Only if we see how the cascading of this Oromo move is leading us to accomplish our Oromo cultural, economic and political interest, then is it possible to comprehend what I have tried to put in my hitherto essays.
Well, I forgot liberationists in my last article. Then, the cascade/spectrum of the politician in the empire (when put in line) is as follows:
- Unitarists (past oriented)
- Hegemonists (present rulers)
- Federalists (short-goal oriented)
- Liberationists (middle-goal oriented) &
- Unionists (end-goal oriented)
To describe the LIBERATIONISTS: they are not satisfied with only federal arrangement of the federalists, but they want to achieve in addition to freedom of nations like freedom of Oromo people (bilisummaa) also a sovereignty of national areas, like sovereignty of Oromo land (walabummaa). According to them, a union of nations can only be imagined after achieving their goal of both national freedom and national territorial sovereignty. As an example, only free Oromo people and sovereign Oromo-land can forge a union with other liberated nations in the region. Then, we can say that it is not abnormal to see Oromo individuals rallying behind the unitarist Amhara parties, the hegemonist Tigaru organization, the federalist Oromo parties, the liberationist Oromo fronts and the the unionist Oromo organizations. Let’s just register this fact, teach those Oromo individuals rallying behind the unitarists as well as the hegemonists to stop their madness and then move on to achieve the three consecutive goals we envisioned aka federation, liberation and a lasting union – one after another.
According to the line of the liberation journey I described till now, it is as follows: from the past unitary empire —— through the present occupied Oromia —— first to Oromian autonomy —— then to Oromian national independence —— and at last to a regional union of liberated nations in the Horn. My hitherto writings seem to be confusing for I sometimes emphasized the true Ethiopian federation to realize Oromian autonomy; sometimes stressed bilisummaa Oromo and walabummaa Oromia to secure the independence on which we all Oromo seem to make no compromise; and, of course, as I did in my last article, sometimes I used to talk about the regional union of independent (liberated) nations. Only those who understand this line of thinking can comprehend my opinions. Let us forget the past-oriented momentarily-powerless Habesha unitarists, but fight against the presently ruling powerful Habesha hegemonists and let us concentrate on the Oromo movement in our future journey. Here, according to the line I put above, there are three Oromo forces: the autonomists (federalists) who want to be satisfied with Oromian autonomy in the Ethiopian context, e.g OFC; the sovereignists (liberationists) stressing to build only independent republic of Oromia, e.g OLF-KY, COPLF, FIDO and OLF-QC; the unionists, who do want to move beyond independence and forge a union of independent nations (these groups are ready to give away certain part of our sovereignty for the sake of common benefit just like EU member states did), e.g is OLF-SG, which is still striving to rebuild AFD. My hitherto job was to show that these three kaayyoo’s are not contradictory, but they are like three cities to be liberated one after another on our liberation journey. I gave the metaphor of the liberation journey from Djibouti (Garbummaa) to Finnfinne (lucrative Bilisummaa): Oromian autonomy is like liberating Diredhawa; achieving only Oromian independence is like liberating Adaama; and fostering Oromian national independence with a regional union of independent nations in the Horn is like liberating Finfinne (the most advantageous form of our sovereignty). With this help, I hoped that all Oromos in the walk of life could move together first to Diredhawa, then together to Adaama and lastly together to Finfinne.
As I repeatedly put out, the politics of the empire/region is rotating around the issue of national rights. To me, the conflict in the empire is not about left (socialist) and right (capitalist) based on the policy each party has got regarding the economy. It is also not about the differences of positions based on the merits like democracy, justice, peace, development, security, etc. The main cause of the conflict in the empire is based on the position every individual or organization has got on the ‘right of nations to self-determination.’ That is why I used the above mentioned cascade/spectrum to classify the polity in the empire. I don’t want to describe again what the positions of these groups are, but important is that I want to tell my position explicitly. I AM A UNIONIST. I know that the end-kaayyoo of Oromo nation is self-determination per referendum on the issue: independence with a union vs independence without a union. I personally do prefer independent Oromia with regional union of independent nations, be it the union including or excluding Abyssinia, our hitherto colonizer. That is why I am ready to move with federalist Oromo one step forward, with liberationist Oromo two steps forward and then get to the end-kaayyoo I do want to achieve (independent Oromia with union of free nations in the empire/Horn/region). It is clear I am against unitarists and hegemonists, but I do see at the federalists and liberationists as my co-travelers up to Diredhawa and Adaama, respectively (using the metaphor of the liberation journey). At the end, I would like that they move with me to Finfinne, but if they want to stay in Diredhawa or Adaama, I do respect their position, if and only if they don’t use force to hinder my last move to Finfinne. Of course, Oromo people will determine per referendum, whether we all stay together in Adaama as our capital (achieve only independent Republic of Oromia) or we move further to Finfinne (foster independent Oromia with a union of independent nations in the empire/Horn/region).
Here again, I need to take care that my position may not be confused with being Ethiopianist. I think people need to understand the difference between pre-walabummaa union and post-walabummaa union. The first one is what is said to be a union of federated nations before the independence of nations, which is a union like that of the nations in ex-Soviet and ex-Yugoslavia. The second one is the union like EU (European Union) to which now the ex-members of Soviet and Yugoslavia have become members after getting their independence. So, the union I do support is the union of independent nations in the empire/Horn/region or even union of nations in the whole African continent (post-walabummaa union). Then, the future move of Oromo sovereignty will be first to a union of federated nations (federation = pre-walabummaa union = a move to Diredhawa) —— then to walabummaa Oromia (= a move to Adaama) —— at last a move to union of liberated (independent) nations (post-walabummaa union = a move to Finfinne). If we all Oromo individuals and organizations divide our goal-setting into these three, then there will never be a confusion among us. We all can support together the move of OFC to achieve Oromian autonomy (federation), then we all can support OLF for further move for Oromian independence (liberation), and, of course, at last we can support organizations like AFD to forge a regional union of nations in the Horn for common economical benefit. In such case, I did prefer to be a unionist, the goal of which actually does include federation and liberation as the mid-goals to our end-goal (union of independent nations). So let us forget the past-oriented unitarists, but let’s fight now against the present powerful hegemonists by building, strengthening and coordinating the following three alliances functioning at the three goal-levels described above: OFC’s alliance aka Medrek, who can promote our liberation movement to Diredhawa; OLF (one and only one OLF after a hopeful merger of the present three factions and other liberation movements like COPLF and FIDO) to help us move beyond federation to liberation as a precondition to self-determination per referendum, a move to Adaama; and AFD to lead us to the regional union of liberated nations after independence of each nation in the Horn for our common benefit, a last move to Finfinne.
Then using and coordinating these three alliances/organizations, we can move through the two mid-goals (federation and liberation) to our common end-goal of all free nations in the Horn to build a prosperous common home. Last, but not least, as I already wrote, the issue of ’self-determination of nations’ is the burning one in the empire and the region. To my hitherto readings, all the three politically very active main Oromo organizations (OPDO, OFC and OLF) now started to talk about the necessity of a union of free nations in the region. But where is their difference? Here is it: OPDO’s version of a union lacks both bilisummaa Oromo and walabummaa Oromia. OFC’s version promises bilisummaa Oromo, but lacks walabummaa Oromia. OLF’s version promises both bilisummaa Oromo and walabummaa Oromia. Simply put, there is no Oromo who is against a necessary union of liberated nations in the empire/Horn/region. But all Oromo individuals and organizations do differ in the content of the union they want to materialize. So let’s be ready to move from the present union of nations in the empire which is devoid of both bilisummaa and walabumma, first to the version of OFC, and then to that of OLF! Is this not good idea?