April 04, 2010

Two Approachs in Dealing with the Gridlock of Oromo Liberation Movement

Two Approachs in Dealing with the Gridlock of Oromo Liberation Movement

In my last article I apealled to Oromo websites to try to help in fixing the gridlock in our liberation movement. Thanks Waaq-oromo, it seems that we are practicing increasingly "ilaa fi ilaamee" (reasoning with each other according to Oromo tradition) to solve our problems. The longing and pushing for tokkummaa qabsaa'otaa (unity of Oromo activists) from the majority of Oromo in a walk of life was expressed in many different ways: in articles, music, poems, theaters..etc. We did this for we know that this tokkummaa is the alpha and omega for the success of our struggle for bilisummaa (freedom). So we loudly did speak, put our politicians under pressure and we tried to persuade them to forge tokkummaa for bilisummaa (unity for freedom).

As a response to this demand of Oromo grass root, our polity reacted in different ways in the last 10 years, for instance formation of ULFO, merger to COPLF, coalition of OFC, merger in to OLF-KY, now recently merger of ULFO and the best current news about OLF being on the process to re-unification. These are very encouraging news for Oromo friends and of course it is a blow to our foes.

Such a move of Oromo liberation forces towards tokkummaa caused also differenent reactions from individuals, websites and institutions. We heard, read and saw those who applauded the move and we also could register some of them critisizing such move. Interesting opposition to such call for tokkummaa came from a renowned Oromo friend Professor Megalommatis in his article posted on a website of Oromo parlamentatrians now living in exil: http://www.oromoparliamentarians.org/En ... ia%203.htm

The main point of his critcism is directed to one of my articles with the title: "If united, we can make a difference even in the Horn", which is published on Gadaa.com, http://gadaa.com/oduu/?p=3046 . The main critical response of the Professor is as follows:

"...This "unity" or "union" is truly the Oromos´ last need and concern. Diffusing the idea that today´s Oromos need to unite in order to achieve liberation is an effort to avert this development. National liberation and revolution do not need "union" in order to be materialized; what is needed is dynamics and all its parts..."

Prof Megalommatis argues that dynamics must be given a priority to unity/tokkummaa. Regarding what dynamics is, he explains it as follows:

"...Identity preservation is the supreme right of every person and nation. At the practical level, if a nation has not achieved self-determination, this means rightful revolution and secession. These two words are based on one reality: Dynamics. The creation of Oromo Liberation Dynamics:

Only the dynamics of a concept (of a plan, of an act) can generate a revolution and impose irrevocable defeat on the cruel forces of the barbaric Abyssinian oppressors. Certainly, the nature of the dynamics differs according to place and time. Dynamics is based on a) well calculated force, b) determined performers, and c) premeditated, well planned actions.

Dynamics may at times involve mass (large populations), but this is secondary and posterior; force, well-calculated force, is all that matters. This means that a small group of five (5) Oromos, who are all publicly unknown, but have developed a liberation plan involving well calculated force, their own determination, and premeditated, well planned actions, can achieve much more than thousands of Oromos participating in the existing, but already proven as ineffective, liberation fronts and movements.

Dynamics does not need the agreement of numerous participants who are mostly a liability, instead of being an asset. There is no need for analyses, considerations, discussions and deliberations. Dynamics is produced by few people, one thought, absolute determination, and the correct plan.

But the rightful decision to launch this dynamics is a totally free process that belongs to everyone. There is nothing in the world to prevent any Oromo from launching a dynamics of destruction of the criminal state "Ethiopia". Every law in the colonial tyranny is rubbish; every ruler and administrator is a gangster; they have no value; they cannot be counted as human beings. Oromo independence dynamics imposes their earlier extermination. And this is the Right of every Revolution; this is the way America was liberated, Mexico achieved independence, and Brazil came to exist..."

My question to the Professor is, why does he tries to equate tokkummaa with lack of dynamics or with inaction or with apathy? Can't we have tokkummaa with dynamics? Why is tokkummaa seen as a vice rather than as a virtue, which can help to achieve Oromo people's right to self-determination? I personally advocate not for inactive tokkummaa, but for a very dynamic and very efficient one. Does this make me delusional as the Professor or his apparently Oromo assistant tried to describe me?

Despite such notions against tokkummaa Oromo, we heard and read a lot of voices rejoicing because of the current move of our politicians in both OLF and ULFO towards tokkummaa for bilisummaa. Leaving the responses from different individuals and institutions for Oromo readers to judge themselves, I would like to concentrate on the response from and the approach taken by two Oromo websites (Gadaa.com and Bilisummaa.com), which can be an example for the two ways of our dealing with the issue. Here, I do want to concentrate on only their recent action, which they undertook after the OACC conference.

Gadaa.com's approach is summarized under the title it gave for the whole discussion: "ilaa fi ilaame", and it is characterized by the emphasis the website gave for promoting tokkummaa, which is mainly expressed in the subtitle "coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success." Its whole publications are solution oriented, which really is a nice help to promote our effort in fixing the gridlock.

On the contrary, Bilisummaa.com's approach is on emphasizing the percieved or the real conflict between the two "contradictory" camps in Oromo liberation movement: the "conflict" between the "pro Ethiopian democratization" and the "pro Oromian decolonization" Oromo nationalists. Its whole approach is summarized in the cynical comment written in Afaan Oromo as follows:

"Yaanni yeroo dheeraaf mooraa qabsoo jeequu fi shakkiin qabsaawoota adda facaasuu dhaan, dhaabni dhaaba dhaluu fi walirratti duuluu malee, diina/nyaapha ajjeesee Oromoo garaa qabbaneessuu dadhabe, kunoo yeroo ammaa ifa tti fi ummata tti as bahee mata duree miidiyaa/sabaahimaa Oromoo tahee jira jedhu..Falmii hegeree Oromoo irratti VOA sagantaa Afaan Oromoo Dr, Asafaa Jaalataa fi Luba Gammachiis jiddu tti taasise.."

Not only this cynical comment, but there are also pictures of Oromo politicians posted being devided in to two: in Oromia's map and in Ethiopia's map to "show" or to suggest that those in the Oromia map are the "true Oromo nationalists" and those in the Ethiopia map are the "false Oromo nationalists who are Ethiopianists".

As far as I am concerned, those put in the Ethiopian map are not Ethiopianists per se. Oromo Ethiopianists are only those who don't accept and believe in the right of Oromia to exist, be it in a form of Oromian autonomy in Ethiopian context or as Oromian independence with or without a union of nations in the region. Oromo nationalists who are compelled or convinced to talk about only Oromian autonomy, "disregarding" Oromian complete independence, are true Oromianists just like those who are now in a position to say a spade is a spade and demand independence by any means. The only difference between the two camps of Oromo nationalists (Oromianists) depicted by Bilisummaa.com is the difference of view on the possible outcome of Oromo's right to self-determination (outcome in a form of Oromian autonomy in Ethiopian context vs Oromian independence without a union vs Oromian independence with a union of nations in the region).

The approachs of the two websites are the classical examples for the approachs of different Oromo individuals and institutions we do now observe in our community. Gadaa.com is an example for those who already registered where our problems are, but concentrate in walking, talking and writing mainly solution oriented. Such individuals and institutions are more productive in helping to fix the gridlock.

Bilisummaa.com is on the contrary an example for those who just rotate around talking and writing about the problem and who are too cynical to suggest a solution. Such individuals and institutions are more parts of the problem rather than being parts of the solution. They creat more disunity than leading to unity. The question to be answered is: are they doing it unintentionally as "stu*pid Oromo" or intentionally being part of our "smart foe"?

For those Oromo or our friends who are part of the problem unintentionally, I just would like to remind them two wise proverbs. Psychologists say "talking and writing only about problems produces more problems, whereas talking and writing solutions produces more solutions"; in the Bible it is written "we are not ignorant of the work of our foe (devil), but we don't want to preach its work". The parallel of the two wise sayings are that the work of any foe is producing and propagating problems, which we should register, but need not preach. Who is wise in this respect? Bilisummaa.com or Gadaa.com?

I personally want to believe that journalists of Bilisummaa.com are genuine Oromo, who do have the unproductive approach unintentionally. But we should be aware of the fact that the "smart" Weyane cadres also do use the same approach of producing and propagating conflicts, divisions and schisms between Oromo nationalists, of course intentionally. For instance, Weyane cadres' current main mission in the cyber world is to polarize:

- Pro "Ethiopian democratization" Oromo nationalists vs pro "Oromian decolonization" Oromo nationalists
- "Duad OLF vs Kemal OLF vs Dhugaasa OLF"
- Phenxee Oromo vs Waaqeffataa Oromo vs Islam Oromo vs Orthodox Oromo
- Wollaggaa Oromo vs Arsi Oromo vs Harar Oromo vs Shoa Oromo
- "stu*pid OLF leaders" vs "poor followers"
- Oromo progressive new generation vs Oromo "reactionary" old generation....etc

Of course we should make it possible for Weyane cadres to write, what we genuine Oromos detest, for writing what ever they want is part of their human right. But we have to have them always in check. Fact on the ground is that, those people "quarrelling" in cyber world to "show" us how the Oromo nation is "devided" and how we all are "fighting among our selves" are mostly not genuine Oromo. Weyane cadres' duties (duty of foes) are defined by an American republican as follows: "Any time you get your opponents to fight amongst themselves, that's a good day". Accordingly, I think the maneuver of these cadres has worked till now.

As an example, typical action of Weyane cadres in Oromo websites and forums is that they write a lot of pro Oromo phrases first, just then to demonize at the end one of the Oromo groups based on region, politics and religion. Or they go further and discuss about the "weakness" of Oromo individual scholars, leaders or about the issue of the untimely "nefxenya Amharas vs free Oromia", as if they are concerned for the independence of Oromia. Their contribution against the currently ruling dictatorial regime is very minimal. This is their subtle way to sow a discord among the Oromo groups. Such approach is a good marker to identify the "smart foes". No genuine and conscious Oromo on earth does such thing at this particular time, when Oromo nationalists are moving towards forging tokkummaa for bilisummaa and when they are concentrating on fighting the current enemy with power.
Coming back to the comparison of the two websites, actually I wanted to compare them not to discredit the whole job of Bilisummaa.com, which has done a lot of good jobs and not to idealize Gadaa.com, which can have its own deficiencies. My intention here is to help Oromo nationalists to differentiate between the constructive and destructive approachs of all Oromo individuals, websites and institutions towards the way of fixing the gridlock, be it they are doing it intentionally or unintentionally. Otherwise, I am happy about the current development of tokummaa in the camp of Oromo liberation movement in general.

It is encouraging when we do look at the recent development in and between our liberation fronts. Now the smart Gadaa people seem to move in four karaa’s (ways) from the status quo (garbummaa = slavery) to our kaayyoo-Oromo (Oromo-goal), i.e to bilisummaa (freedom), abbaabiyummaa (sovereignity) and hiree-murtefannaa (self-determination) being led by the OLF mindset, which is moving in all the four groups. The four karaa’s followed by the four currently consolidated groups are:

- Karaa ULFO: which is using all inclusive way of struggle, mainly emphasizing armed struggle, to achieve the unspecific kaayyoo-Oromo like bilisummaa, abbaabiyummaa and hiree-murtefannaa with the specific outcome, i.e bilisummaa Oromo and walabummaa Oromia (Oromo freedom and Oromian independence)

- Karaa O-SG (Shanee Gumii): also using all inclusive way, this group is mainly stronger than the other groups in diplomacy, to achieve also hiree-murtefannaa, abbaabiyummaa and bilisummaa followed by referendum on: partial walabummaa within a union vs complete walabummaa without a union vs complete walabummaa with a union of independent nations in the region.

- Karaa OFC: which is using only diplomatic and political methods (excluding armed struggle) to achieve bilisummaa Oromo and a true Oromian autonomy, i.e partial walabummaa within Ethiopian context.

- Karaa OPDO: here I do mean the karaa of genuine non-criminal Oromo individuals in OPDO, who are trying to use this slave organization in order to keep the hitherto victories of our struggle and who do try to yet gain what ever possible, when the masters (Weyanes) of this slave organization are under pressure from the above three Oromo groups and when the Weyanes be compelled by Oromo people to give up part of their oppression methods. Here it must be clear that the Afaan Oromo speaking Weyanes in OPDO do act against this move of genuine Oromo, so that we can say OPDO as an organization has got two faces (Oromo face and Weyane face).

Interesting is to observe how the OLF mindset is still leading us, despite the division of the structural OLF as an organization. I dare to say that every subboonaa Oromo (Oromo nationalist) is OLF in a true sense, inspite of the different groups he/she belongs to or despite the different karaa’s the groups are taking. As Dr. Merera said, “there are many ways to the heaven” or as Europeans do say, "there are many roads leading to Rome". So these four Oromo ways to bilisummaa are not too many. Oromo nationalists only need to accept and respect the move of each group and the ways they respectively chose. Otherwise, for practical purpose, we need to have always in mind that our liberation struggle can be devided in to two phases:

- first phase is the struggle for bilisummaa in which all the above groups should struggle being cooperated and coordinated using the toofta (tactic) and tarsiimo (strategy) of their choice. It is clear that this unspecific, but indispensible, kaayyoo-Oromo (bilisummaa, abbaabiyummaa and hiree-murtefannaa) is a common goal or common denominator for all the above four groups. To be successfull in this phase, we need an all-inclusive method of struggle.

- second phase is the phase of a competition between the different groups after achieving our bilisummaa, i.e during the necessary referendum in order to convince and make Oromo majority to support and vote for their respective choice of the outcomes of Oromo people's self-determination, be it only Oromian autonomy of OFC as an outcome or only Oromian independence of ULFO as an outcome or a union of independent nations as an outcome. It is clear that achieving bilisummaa in the first phase is the indispensable precondition required for excercising referendum in the second phase. Here in this second phase only using ballot, not bullet, is the method of choice.

Looking at these two phases of our liberation movement, it comes to my mind that OLF-SG's rhetoric of making self-determination as the kaayyoo, for which it struggles, is not wrong at the moment as long as we are still in the first phase. In this phase, this kaayyoo of SG is a common kaayyoo for all the four groups mentioned above. Oromo nationalists in SG need to be specific only in the second phase. After achieving bilisummaa, they should tell Oromo people explicitily which outcome of the self-determination they do advocate (only Oromian autonomy in Ethiopian context or only independent republic of Oromia or a union of independent nations in the region). This is the reason for raising my question to the leaders of Oromo liberation fronts in one of my hitherto articles: "where is the conflict?".

It is clear that ULFO and the two OLF factions who agreed recently to unite (KY and QC) do have no difference on specific kaayyoo. Both groups do struggle for bilisummaa Oromo (Oromo freedom), walabummaa Oromia (Oromian independence) and birmadummaa mootummaa Oromia (sovereignity of Oromia's government). Then, where is the obstacle which is a hinderance for these LFs not to work with SG in this first phase of our struggle? I am sure it is not because of the "difference in kaayyoo" between SG and other LFs which would be a hinderance, but most probably because of their difference in karaa as I tried to show above, so that SG is not yet part of the anounced agreement between the two other factions of OLF.

Anyways, if the other OLF factions and SG can not re-unite because of their percieved or real "difference of Kaayyoo", I just encourage them never dare to attack each other be it in propaganda or in practice, but I would like to appeal that they understand each other better, that they respect their respective karaa and that they cooperate in fighting against our archenemy. I am sure such way of moving together in the future either being re-united or co-operating with each other will be a nightmare for our enemies and it will surely unlock the gridlock as well as accelerate our move to the last victory over the colonization.


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