Oromai (an Eritrean Tigrinya word meaning ‘it is pointless’, borrowed from the Italian oramai) is an Amharic-language novel, published in 1983. It was written by an Oromo novelist – Be’alu Girma. The novel presents a cynical account on the Red Star Campaign of the Derg military junta. The book was published by the Kuraz Publishing Agency in Finfinne. In spite of a government ban on the book, it became widely read and famous. It shows an almost accurate and compelling account of the events surrounding the failure of this campaign. The Red Star Campaign had been declared by Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam in a speech in Asmara on January 25, 1982. In his speech Mengistu called for the crushing of ‘secessionist bandits’. The campaign was supposed to focus both on military means as well as supporting reconstruction in the affected areas. The government sent some 120,000 troops to participate in the campaign, making it the largest military offensive of the Derg
in the Eritrean war. The author Be’alu Girma, had been invited by Mengistu to work as propaganda chief in the Red Star Campaign. He had assumed the position believing in the goals of the campaign. However, he came to feel that the ideals of the campaign had been corrupted by militaristic mindsets. Once the campaign had been abruptly called off, Be’alu Girma began writing Oromai based on the events of the campaign. Whilst the official propaganda lauded the Red Star Campaign as a success, Be’alu Girma considered it a failure.
It seems that the current bravado of Abay Tsehaye is similar to that of Mengistu H/Mariam’s speech, signaling Oromai of the Tigrean Nafxanya’s (the TN’s) wish to subjugate the Oromo nation, just as the Derg tried to Eritreans. It is now a right time for the Oromo people in particular, and for all the oppressed nations in general, including the mass in Agaw-Midir, to see the Oromai nature of the TN’s action against the Oromo and Oromia. We are now at the crossroad to get rid of the TN and move forward towards liberty of citizens and nations as well as to multinational democracy, including self-rule of nations. Simply put, we are on verge of dismantling the empire’s system of domination in order to build a genuine union of free nations. Few years ago, a certain blogger came up with an interesting topic: “an Oromo Obama: the Audacity to Reinvent Oromia (formerly Ethiopia as defined here:
I want to say here, any Oromo “Obama,” who may ignore the existence, decolonization and freedom of Biyya-Oromo is doomed to fail. The only country, which might have a chance to survive, is the one based on a free Biyya-Oromo and on the free will of the Oromo people. Thinking otherwise and still preaching a democratic unitary Ethiopia, where Biyya-Oromo will be dismantled or dominated, is an obsolete mindset of the “modern” descendants of the old Nafxenya and that of the currently ruling TN. The only way of democratization which can be accepted by a certain Oromo Obama is a multinational democracy based on the self-determination of Biyya-Oromo. It is only after/with the self-determination of the oppressed nations in the region, including the Agaw, Afar, Ogaden, Oromo, Sidama, Anyuwak, Benishangul, etc., that a true democratization of the region, be it in a from of Oromian union or otherwise, can take root. Trying to democratize an empire is simply
a self-deception just as it was during the past Teferi Mekonnen’s “aristocratic democracy,” Mengistu H/Mariam’s “autocratic democracy” and the present Meles Zenawi’s vision – “ethnocratic democracy.” We can just talk about this buzz word democracy, but we continue to suffer further under tyranny. The elites in that empire, specially the Habesha elites, should come to their sense and smell the coffee. The era of deceiving the Oromo people and other oppressed nations with the sham democratization of Oromia (Biyya-Kush) is almost over.
That is why it is now the time for calling ALL oppressed nations to rise up against the worst EVIL (the ruling TN) in the region. No question that the devil in the Horn of Africa now is this regime of the TN. All nations in the region have this one common enemy; nations in the current empire and even the neighboring nations like Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia should have certain de facto alliance against these common foe. I think the “multinational” forces of freedom and democracy starting to cooperate with the national liberation fronts is a new version of alliance yet to be fostered. A possible alliance of the “illegal” forces in addition to the alliance at home by default or by design will definitely be the beginning of the end for the evil of the Horn. One of the best sentences said by opposition leaders until now was: “Weyanewoch iyekefafelun yalut, kenesu bilxinet yetenesa sayihon, kenya monyinet yetenesa newu”. This wise assertion is a nice
call for the alliance of all against tyranny in order to struggle together, having the following two phases:
– first phase to achieve our freedom from TN’s tyranny or from its system of domination, i.e. decolonization.
Here, we see that decolonization of nations like the Oromo and that of the whole country, Oromia, comes prior to democratization. Decolonization is the very good prerequisite for democratization. Other way round, theoretically, democratization of the whole Oromia can be a very good means for decolonization of Biyya-Oromo. But thinking to democratize an empire (the status quo) is a pipe dream. Now, we are in the first phase, where ALL need to cooperate for freedom from the TN’s lording/looting and; thereafter, in the second phase, we all can compete for power in the future genuine union of free nations in a democratic way. So, it is now a time for opposition democratic parties and liberation fronts, including both the “legals” and the “illegals”, to come to their sense, after the past 24 years of misguided move. I wish all of them agree on one common ground, i.e. on one common purpose: free nations within Oromian (Kushland’s) union. It is
encouraging that we do observe Habesha dominated organizations talking that they are fighting first for freedom from the TN and then foster a possible multinational and multiparty democracy. There are four groups of politicians in the empire regarding this common purpose:
– the TN, who claims to have achieved both national autonomy for all nations in the empire and forged a federation (unity) based on the “free will” of these “autonomous” nations.
– the descendants of the old Nafxenya, who do reject national freedom of nations in the empire and who do long for Ethiopian unity (an euphemism to keep the empire with its system of domination intact), by which they mean Habeshanized unitary Ethiopia.
– the organizations, which seem to struggle for establishing a union of free nations in the whole country – Oromia. I think this was the vision of the Oromo liberation movement from the very beginning – to achieve both Biyya-Oromo’s freedom and, if possible, based on the free will of the concerned nations, to forge Oromian union (integration of Biyya-Kush).
I hope the first group will be compelled to stop their deception; and fortunately, those in the second group are seeming to lose their mass base. Those liberators and politicians in the third group need to come to their sense and join the fourth group, for the current momentum is in favour of the later, and it is becoming clear that Biyya-Oromo’s independence and Biyya-Kush’s union are not exclusive to each other per se. Based on public verdict of the Oromo, an independence of Biyya-Oromo can be respected within or without the union. I do think those fronts and parties with common purpose of national freedom within a union must forge a new inclusive alliance, not only at home like Medrek, but also in Diaspora in order to get rid of the TN. It is only such clear vision and mission of all nations in the empire which can give birth to the Oromo Obama for the coming true union. There is no Oromo Obama to administer the currently apartheid and enslaving
empire; as Mandela administered the post apartheid democratic South Africa, and as Obama was elected in the post slavery democratic United States of America, a certain Oromo Obama can emerge and administer only in a democratic union of free nations on the grave of the hitherto domination system of the empire. Are we ready for such a union to be build on the grave of the empire?
I would like to suggest to Habesha “democrats,” who want to instrumentalize Oromo, as they did to Adde Birtukan Midhagsa, to just stop beating around the bush and to recognize the right of Biyya-Oromo to exist and to be emancipated. If they take such step and be ready for the possible union on the stable rock of a free democratic Biyya-Oromo, I am sure that not only one Oromo Obama, but hundreds can rise up against any sort of injustice in the country, we call it Oromia or otherwise. Let us all learn to decolonize (free from the TN) the nation-states like Agaw-Midir, Afarland, Biyya-Oromo and Ogaden through a cooperated and coordinated move of the existing freedom fighters of oppressed nations. The possible upcoming genuine Oromo Obama is not the one who sings the song of unitary Ethiopia at the expense of Biyya-Oromo’s freedom, but the one who struggles for both Biyya-Oromo’s freedom and Biyya-Kush’s (Oromian) union. Oromo people’s problem is not
about giving birth to such Mandela or Obama, but the problem of not seeing any Frederik Willem de Klerk and Helen Suzman from TN elites in particular and from Habesha elites in general. Is there anyone of them, who can think, talk and walk like Helen Suzman of South Africa? Is there any political leader from the TN elites, who is ready to act like de Klerk? When we starts to see the de Klerk’s and the Suzman’s from their camp as well as when the time comes that enough Habesha politicians accept and respect the right of Biyya-Oromo to exist and to be emancipated, then it will be really Oromai what the tyrants in Oromia are doing, and it will be the time for the Oromo Obama’s coming and growing out of the liberated nation.
One of the signs of TN’s Oromai actions in Oromia is Abay Tsehaye’s attempt to intimidate the Oromo nation on the eve of his regime’s destabilization related to the imminent public uprising related to the already programmed vote rigging during the upcoming fake election. Sure is that, be it happen during the sham election or thereafter, the Oromo people are already determined to make Oromai the system of domination in Biyya-Oromo in particular, and in the whole Biyya-Kush (Oromia) in general. All democratic forces and all freedom fighters, who do have such a vision and mission of making ‘Oromai the TN’s activity in Oromia’ should now come together and organize the upcoming potential public uprising against the tyrannical rule. It is now evident that the cadres of the TN are making much noise to persuade the genuine opposition parties like Medrek to boycott the sham election in order to hinder the possibility of further exposing their already programmed
vote rigging and to inhibit the chance of initiating the public uprising following the rigging. I personally recommend not to boycott, but all anti-TN forces to be ready for the possible public uprising. I hope that all oppressed citizens and nations rise up and proof Oromai of the TN’s tyranny as well as its system of domination in Oromia, be it during the upcoming sham election or thereafter in the near future. FDG (Fincila Diddaa Garbummaa = peaceful uprising against tyranny) must be intensified. To ignite this revolution, all Oromo nationals and others in Diaspora should be ready to support the genuine anti-TN parties in Oromia, who are taking part in the “election”. Surely, the TN’s lording and looting in Oromia is Oromai; it is the matter of time to see the fruits. May Waaqa help us!