As we repeatedly heard from certain leaders of the Oromo Democratic Front (ODF), they are open and ready to work with the three camps of anti-Woyane opposition forces (with the pro-independence, pro-federation and pro-unity camps) and where possible forge more efficient alliance, some what sounding like an EDF (Ethiopian Democratic Front), which can competently struggle against the TPLF lead EPRDF’s system of domination. We then may ask: When is the right timing? What did we learn from the hitherto failed alliances? How far can the envisioned alliance be inclusive? … etc. No wonder if many such questions can be raised. Anyways, there is no doubt that a well coordinated cooperation of the three blocs based on the common denominator of freedom from Woyane’s tyranny and democracy after getting rid of the tyranny is mandatory.
We all do know that the Abyssinian empire’s colonial or domination history, which started at the end of the nineteenth century together with the European colonizers’ scramble for Africa, has not yet come to an end. Europeans could formally give up their colonies, though they still do indirectly control and influence every political, economical and social life of their respective colonies, because of the liberation struggles by the colonized nations and the support these subjugated nations got from the socialist bloc during the Cold War. The only black de facto participant of the Berlin conference on the scramble for Africa, i.e. the black colonizer Abyssinia, is still enjoying the status quo, just due to the neglection from the so called international community regarding the dominated nations in the empire in general and concerning the Oromo nation in particular.
Despite this neglection, the empire’s oppressed peoples being guided by their liberation movements, even including the masses of the two Abyssinian nations being led by the very few democratically thinking Habesha elites, did struggle against all forms of domination, injustice and tyranny. They struggled together against the European colonizers like at the Adwa Battle and against the Italian occupation during the World War II, against the feudal monarchy as shown during the Students’ Movement, and against the communist military regime; of course, this struggle is still going on against the present fascist apartheid administration of the TPLF.
Unfortunately, this fascist administration could rule for the last more than twenty years, especially by using the divide-and-rule method. It could divide the opposition against its rule into three main blocs: the left oriented pro-independence liberators, including all liberation fronts of the oppressed nations – particularly the Oromo, the middle positioned democratic federalists such as the ODF and the right oriented pro-unity patriots, which comprises of all forces emphasizing the unconditional unity of the empire. The elites in these three blocs of the opposition couldn’t forge a lasting formal or informal alliance against the fascists for the fact that it is easy to polarize them and make them fight against each other. The ruling administration is always busy producing certain very antagonizing articles and dispatching cadres being camouflaged as either the pro-independence liberators fighting against the pro-unity patriots, or the vice versa.
It is because of such activities that the hitherto formed alliances like the AFD could fail and the existing alliances like the MEDREK as well as the XIMIRET are not as effective as intended. All individuals and organizations opposing the fascist apartheid regime should yet develop a common ground to cooperate and to tackle the regime’s divide-and-rule machination. I think after many years of debate and discussion, they are getting the common ground, i.e. the two-phase struggle: the first phase of liberation from fascism, and the second phase of democratization. Talking now, being under the apartheid rule, about the democratization process is simply self-deception to say the least. Some organizations got this fact earlier during the election in 1992, and the others realized it lately, and the election in 2010 being the final evidence for the fact that any attempt of democratization under the fascist regime is a pipe dream. If at all, democratization process can be used as a means to get rid of the tyrannic regime, not as an end of the process under such regime.
Interesting is now to observe that even the oppressed people of the Amhara and their democratic leaders have started to taste what it means to live under domination; even few of them have started to call the present fascistic domination as Tigrean internal colonization. Note that Tigreans under the domination of the Amhara elites till 1991 felt the same. This recent political process among the currently oppressed Amhara people and the movement of even the very few reasonable Tigreans against this Woyane fascism are encouraging developments. Peoples in the empire in general, and politicians of each nation in the empire in particular, seem to pass through a sort of political evolution.
When we do observe the politics of the empire, we may face it or evade it, but the question of nations and nationalities is the major conflict area. All peoples and politicians in the empire, except the tyrants, do agree on the neccesity of the political values like democracy, freedom, human rights, justice, good governance, etc., but the hitherto dominating Habesha elites are not ready to agree with the Oromo and the other oppressed nations on the question of national freedom of each people in the empire. That is why I do suggest to all concerned politicians to have a look into the political evolution, which is regarding mainly the Oromo people, but which can also be applied to other nations. We like it or not, all Oromo individuals and Oromo institutions do pass through a certain political evolution process, from level one to level five of the following:
– the first level of the evolution is that of those who do support the unitary Abyssinian colonial empire as the Oromo and others in the Habesha dominated organizations like the Ginbot-7 and UDJ are doing. They do deny the existence of Golden Oromia, but cry only about imiye Ethiopia.
– the second level of those acting like the OPDO, who do claim to be Oromo and believe in the existence of Golden Oromia, but do accept and adore the Abyssinian colonial rule over the occupied Golden Oromia.
– the fourth level of those acting like the OLF and the ULFO and do claim the unconditional Golden Oromian independence in a form of an independent Gadaa Republic, disregarding the possibility for a union of independent nations.
– the fifth level of those searching to foster the Great Oromian union, i.e. a union of independent nations in the Horn for common economical benefit, which brings all sections of the Oromo people in the Horn together.
Then, we may ask: at which levels of the Oromo political evolution are the Oromo people and politicians as well as the peoples and polities of the other nations moving? It is clear that a lot of Amhara elites move at the first level, the majority of Tegaru elites at the second level, and most of those from the other peoples taking differentially the levels from the third to the fifth. Despite these differences, the recent call of few leaders of the ODF for an alliance in a form of a possible EDF is a nice take. The ODF and the OLF themselves seem to be flexibly moving between the third, the fourth and the fifth levels of the Oromo political evolution based on the timing of the geopolitical situation of the region. These Oromo organizations are, at the end of the day, good promoters of the Great Oromian union (the name based on the biological origin of the majority in the area) = Horn union (the name based on the geographical origin) = Kush union (the name given by the Jews) = Kas union/Nubian Union (according to the old Egypt) = Ethiopian union (a designation by the Greeks). It is because of this attempt of the ODF-OLF line in promoting both the national independence of the Oromo and the regional union of the Horn that some Oromo scholars have started to talk about a “paradigm shift,” and even a few Habesha oriented scholars are now trying to join this line. It is not bad that at last few of the leaders of the Habesha-dominated unitarist parties are trying to be ready to engage the Oromo nationalists.
But what do certain people mean by the “paradigm shift”? Shift of Kaayyoo/goal or shift of Karaa/way to the Kaayyoo? At which levels of the Oromo political evolution are these nationalists moving? How many of the Oromo individuals, who are taking part in Oromo politics and the Oromo institutions, do have completed the political evolution process given above? I know there are some who have already completed the evolution, but tactically make the rhetoric of the lower levels or move back to the lower position. But yet, there are some who are still convinced to live and to move at the lower level of the Oromo political evolution. Which one of the positions, be it compelled or convinced, is the position of the Oromo politicians in general? From those living and moving at lower levels, the position of the compelled ones is to be considered as the lower level taken as tactical goal because of the compelling situation and the convinced ones are just accepting the lower levels as strategical goal based on their political conviction.
Even though we consider the hitherto steps taken by the OLF to foster an alliance against the apartheid regime as a nice measures, I still recommend that Oromo liberation forces first try to promote their own unity – the imperative unity of purpose. After such possible unity, it is more easy and politically expedient if we form and strengthen the necessary coalition with the freedom forces of the other oppressed nations as well even if we can forge an alliance with the forces of the Abyssinian democrats as just now seems to be planned by the ODF. But, whenever we try to form a coalition with the other liberation forces of the oppressed nations and foster an alliance with the democratic forces of the Abyssinian nations, we should be conscious enough that our Oromo’s reservation, i.e. our minimal demand, our bottom line or our tactical Kaayyoo is “a Golden Oromian autonomy within Great Oromian union”; that we know our Oromo’s goal, interest, i.e. with what we will be satisfied or our CORE-Kaayyoo is “a Golden Oromian independence in a form of Gadaa republic”; and that we consider our Oromo’s target or position, i.e. the best, the optimal, the maximum we could possibly attain or our strategical Kaayyoo is “a Great Oromian (Horn) union of independent nations.”
Taking all these facts into consideration, it seems that now is the right time for the genuine opposition forces against the fascist regime to forge the suggested Ethiopian Democratic Front (EDF). No question that all these forces do agree on the liberation of all citizens and nations in the empire from tyranny. This move as a first phase does contradict with no political program of them. So, no one of them is compelled to change its program in order to foster such an alliance. But, I know the political programs of the three opposition blocs do contradict each other specially on the final types of sovereignty they want to achieve for their respective nations or for the empire during the second phase – in the phase of democratization. The pro-independence forces want to finally achieve a union of independent nations in the Horn, the federalists want a union of autonomous nations in the future New Ethiopia/Great Oromia, and the pro-unity forces want to achieve Ethiopian unity devoid of national autonomy or national independence of each nation in the empire.
I think this difference of the the three blocs must be left for the public verdict in the second phase, i.e. during the phase of democratization after the liberation from fascism, apartheid and tyranny. After liberation, the alliance should be in agreement to establish democratic institutions and facilitate for citizens and nations to decide democratically on the types of sovereignty all nations in the empire should have. An independence of any nation without a public verdict is like an amputation of a limb, an autonomy within a federation without public verdict is bantustanization, and unity without public verdict is like a colonial amalgamation killing the identities of nations. So, any individual or organization who preaches freedom and democracy (like almost all in the opposition are doing now) should be ready to accept and respect such public verdicts. If not, they will only replace the tyranny of the Tigrean elites with the tyranny of either the Amhara elites, or the Oromo elites or with tyranny of the elites from the other nations in the empire.
If we want to have a lasting solution for that cursed region and to prosper together, there is no other way preferable to this move of liberation and democratization. I am sure that only the ruling tyrants and the tyrants who want to replace them are against this move. The genuine and matured democrats should be ready to accept and respect the decisions of the peoples during the democratization phase, be it that the public verdicts will lead to a peaceful separation like that of Czech republic and Slovakia, or to a peaceful unification like that of East Germany and West Germany. The alternative to this civilized and modern way of achieving national independence and regional union is the cycle of replacing one dictator of one nation dominating the other nations by another dictator of another nation at gunpoint as the Abyssinian elites of the Amhara and the Tegaru used to do. This alternative is, of course, the prolongation of the misery and poverty for all citizens and nations in the Horn. It is up to us to choose either the first way of liberation and democratization or the alternative way, which will lead us to further colonization and domination.
If we choose the way of liberation and democratization, then I think now is a good time for the further formation of a more effective alliance to fight against the tormenting fascist rulers and to move forward. Now is the time, when almost all opposition groups have understood that the tyrants are not ready to give up power only per ballot, to allow any sort of freedom for citizens and nations in the empire, or to be open for the necessary democratization process. That is why it is now a right timing to initiate the formation of an inclusive alliance against the evil of the region and challenge it in a form of a coordinated civil disobedience, armed struggle and public uprising. All genuinely democratic and pro-freedom opposition groups will have no better timing than now to come together, and to seek a lasting solution for the most troubled part of the globe. Wake up all, it is not bad timing. Thus the step to be taken by the ODF in a direction of fostering a sort of EDF is right. May Rabbi/Waaqa help the alliance be more efficient than the previously formed, but failed, alliances!