NB: In this opinion, Oromia is the formerly Ethiopia as defined here: http://finfinnetribune.com/
already ordered three million leaflets among others. We call upon all to join us in the all-round struggle of our people for freedom and democracy.” What a well formulated mission!
Now we are nearing the next “election” ritual in Oromia; no one with sound mind expects fair and free election, but the process can be used for mobilization of the oppressed nations and help a revolution be sparked. Yet, we like it or not, there is a big ‘elephant in the room hindering this eruption,’ which we all tend to evade, but the Tigirinya-speaking Neo-Nafxanya (the NN) effectively exploits; i.e. the conflict: ‘pro-unity Habeshanized Agaw elites Vs. pro-independence non-Habeshanized Oromo elites’. This conflict is still the main area of fear hindering cooperation in the upcoming possible revolution against the NN regime. The pro-unity Agaw elites do dream and wish that the Oromo people share their vision, and the pro-independence Oromo elites also want that the Agaw elites come to their sense and struggle for the freedom of Agaw people from the NN colonization including independence of the Agaw-Midir, so that they can live in the future as
a good neighbor of an independent Oromo state. Both blocs just express their respective wish, and they do consider as if their point of view is the only reality on the ground, but the NN knows very well that these two communities are not yet in a position to trust each other; its cadres do exploit this situation to hinder the Tsunami of revolution from erupting against their bosses in Tulluu Daalatti palace.
I personally do see that now it can be the right and suitable time for the revolution against the dictator in Oromia. Almost all citizens and nations in the country are now calling for the revolution as the best instrument to get rid of the oppressive regime. That is why the NN is now doing everything under the sky to prevent us from revolting. We know that, as long as the NN is in power, we all will suffer not only as refugees in diaspora, but also as slaves at home in Oromia. Unfortunately, it seems that the ‘Agaw elites vs. Oromo elites’ face-off is yet to be a hindrance for the revolution, i.e. it is a hindrance to the necessary change of the tyrant regime. It seems that the face-off is a very good historical advantage/opportunity, which the NN got to rule over Oromia without any serious challenge and this problem didn’t get an appropriate solution. The NN survives and thrives mainly by dividing and polarizing ‘Agaw elites vs. Oromo elites’
as well as by sowing a fear and mistrust among/between them. We do still hear/read that both camps do live under a fear and mistrust of each other, so that they seem to prefer NN’s further rule or prefer not to allow each other the possibility of taking over power.
Despite this self-sabotage of the two camps, I think a well coordinated FDG (fincila diddaa garbummaa = non-violent popular uprising) of the Oromo people in cooperation with that of the other nations in that country is still the best way of a struggle to get rid of the NN. Actually, the Oromo people do have nothing to lose, if the expected revolution starts. One thing beside many, in favor of the Oromo liberation movement, is the fact that the NN will leave Finfinne palace, only after securing its goal – after securing an independence of Tigrai. With such move of the NN, Oromo region’s chance to get its independence is high. Because of this reason, both the Agaw conservatives and the Western protectors of the country do not want to see the NN being cornered. They surely know that cornering the NN is almost tantamount to disintegrating the existing state. That is why, it is not the Oromo people, but firstly the NN itself, secondly the colonial-minded
Habeshanized conservative elites, and thirdly their Western handlers, who do fear an emergence of the revolution in Oromia. Thus, the democratic Agaw forces pushing for the revolution are not as such dangerous for the Oromo liberation movement. Even if not Oromo region’s independence per referendum, we can achieve Oromo region’s autonomy within Oromian union, i.e. we can achieve the national freedom of the Oromo people as a result of the revolution.
This is one of the reasons that the NN cadres are nowadays very busy to hinder the revolution from taking place in the country by using their manipulation of the difference between the diverse peoples, as their instrument of division and polarization. If the scare tactics, which they try to use, hinder the revolution, the only option the oppressed people do have is the anti-colonial armed struggle, on which we have to concentrate and invest most, even though it is a very difficult job, given the little support we do have from the international community. For the revolution possibly not to take place, unfortunately the pro-independence freedom fighters (the Oromo, Ogaden, Sidama … liberation forces) and the pro-unity freedom fighters (the Agaw, Gurage, Harari … patriotic forces) are still mistrusting each other. Both camps want to secure the direction of the move after freedom from the NN. The first bloc wants no reversal of the already achieved
victory of a limited cultural autonomy on the way towards national independence (self-determination), whereas the second bloc wants to be sure that the country’s territorial integrity stays intact and possibly the process will be reversed back to the unitary state.
But, why should these people worry too much about the situation after the revolution? Is the caution regarding the unity, which is lamented by the pro-unity freedom fighters, different from the scare tactics used by the NN cadres? The NN cadres go to Oromo forums and tell us the “worse will come; Agaw elites will take over, and an independent Oromo state will never be realized, if you push for the revolution;” and then, they go to Agaw forums and tell them “take care, the worse will come; OLF can take over and it will be end of the united country, if you make a revolution.” It is the fact on the ground that Oromia is actually taken hostage by the NN. Whenever the Oromo force is stronger, the NN threaten with the possibility of dismantling Oromo region; and whenever Agaw force is stronger, they threaten with dismembering the whole country – Oromia.
The NN uses the opportunity of such division among the opposition to threaten both camps of the freedom fighters. If the revolution really should happen, the two camps of the freedom fighters need to be bold enough to take risk of losing their ideals after the revolution and live with compromise solution. That means, the first bloc should be ready to lose, for instance the possibility of achieving an independent Oromo state and the second camp should be ready to risk their long-term goal of fostering unitary country. Otherwise, in short, the NN is really lucky, there will never be any revolution under such condition of division between the freedom fighters; and the chance to get rid of the NN through election is, as we know, very minimal; then armed struggle will be the only option left. In case both public uprising and armed struggle against the NN are not effective, should we not prepare ourselves to be ruled by the NN for the next one century? Not to
allow the NN to rule us for such a long time, we need to know and tackle the methods it uses, specially its scare tactics. In short the scare tactics, which the NN cadres nowadays do use are – if revolution errupts:
“- Agaw elites can take over the movement and dismantle Oromo region;
– Oromo elites will be in power and dismember the country;
– the NN army will massacre the civillians;
– there can be a mayhem against the Tigrinya-speakers, like that of Ruanda;
– there will be absolute chaos and civil war among different ethnies”
Are the freedom fighters from both blocs (from the pro-independence freedom fighters and from the pro-unity freedom fighters) ready to deal with this scare tactics of the NN? Can they agree on the middle ground: freedom and referendum (on self-determination of citizens and nations)? Those freedom fighters, who just fight for unconditional independence of nations, must cool down and accept the public verdict, as well as those freedom fighters, who now struggle for the unconditional unity, also should learn to be moderates and accept the public verdict. Both camps must agree on first getting freedom from the NN, and then democratically decide for either independence or unity per referendum; i.e. only the democratic independence or the democratic unity (independence or unity based on public verdict) can be a lasting solution. We like it or not, all peoples in that region should be free, regardless of their decision for the political independence or for the
political union. The political will of the peoples in the country/region is what matters at the end.
Unfortunately, there are still some blind nationalists in both the Agaw camp and the Oromo camp, who yet couldn’t see the common convergent short-term goal of the two big nations, i.e. ‘freedom from the NN.’ Such blind nationalists do concentrate only on their divergent long-term goals: independent Oromo state (Oromo elites’ goal) vs. united country (Agaw elites’ goal). Fortunately, few smart nationalists from both the Agaw bloc and the Oromo camp are now trying to forge an alliance by default or by design in order to achieve their convergent common short-term goal and then to decide on their respective long-term goals through public verdict. The blind ones are too far from accepting and respecting the will of their respective public as a final verdict. The blind nationalists do preach democracy, but they are not yet ready to practice what they do preach. We hope the few smart and genuinely democratic nationalists in both camps, who try to
practice what they do preach, will prevail to cooperate and make the NN’s tyranny history. Here, we also can call the blind nationalists as dictatorial nationalists. Those who want to achieve either ‘independent state’ or ‘united country’ per public referendum are the democratic Oromo nationalists and the democratic Agaw nationalists, respectively. The others, who just want to achieve their long-term goal without a public verdict, are purely dictators, who can talk about freedom and democracy, but not willing to walk the talk.
Those of us, who do have a cognitive ability to imagine something in an abstract way, let’s just try to imagine a very big letter ‘Y’ and try to distinguish four points on the letter (the bottom, the middle junction, the left top, and the right top). Then, let’s imagine that the bottom is the status-quo of Oromian politics, where both the Agaw and the Oromo nations are under the tyranny of the NN; the middle junction is a point for freedom of both nations from the tyranny; the left top is the point of national independence; and the right top is the point for federal unity. Then, let’s imagine that this letter ‘Y’ is a figure to illustrate the route of the liberation journey for both the currently oppressed Agaw nation and the Oromo nation from the tyranny, from their present common situation, towards their short-term and long-term goals. Can we imagine that these two oppressed nations do have a possibility to move from the bottom (point of
tyranny) to the middle junction (point of freedom) together? This is our common route of the journey towards the common converging short-term goal. Then will come the two diverging routes towards the two different and diverging long-term goals of the elites of the two nations: the left top (independence, which is the long-term goal of Oromo) and right top (unity, i.e. the long-term goal of Agaw).
Now, if we could imagine this route of common journey adequately, it is not hard to comprehend that we need the alliance of the Agaw and the Oromo (an all-inclusive alliance) to move from the status-quo of tyranny under the NN to the point of freedom from the NN, but not necessarily to move together to the right top or not together to the left top. After achieving our freedom from NN’s rule in unison, it is up to the Oromian public to decide, through referendum, which direction to move further: to the left top or to the right top. If, for instance, the Oromo majority will choose to move to the right top, then Oromo elites’ long-term goal will be similar to that of the Agaw elites. Otherwise, if the Oromo majority will choose to move to the left top, no one can hinder the Oromo nation from achieving this Oromo region’s independence. Just concentrating on the struggle for freedom from NN’s rule, I think there are, in general, three main possible ways
of struggle leading us to freedom:
– Armed struggle, which was the the method of choice for the OLF and for the other liberation fronts,
– Popular uprising, which is not yet tried in a well-coordinated way, but now seems to be the best option, and
– Electoral struggle, which was the way chosen by the OFC and by the other democratic federalists, despite the undemocratic nature of the NN in particular, and that of the Habeshanized rulers of the the country in general.
From these three ways of struggles for freedom, we have seen that both the armed struggle and the electoral struggle were not yet successful. The armed struggle is too slow because of the limited support from the so-called international community; and the electoral struggle failed due to the undemocratic nature of the brutal rulers. The option of the popular uprising was tried separately by only Oromo students during the years 2000 – 2014, and mostly by Agaw urbanites after the “election” in the year 2005.
Because of such uncoordinated and uncooperative moves of the elites from different nations in the country, especially due to the polarization of the Agaw elites and the Oromo elites, the hitherto fragmented popular uprisings were not successful. But in the future, it seems that there is a hope for a possible cooperation against the dictatorial NN, which can lead to a successful uprising and also which can be a quicker means leading us to our freedom. I think combination of the above three ways of struggles, in an optimally calculated and planned manner, is the best method, which can lead us to freedom and democracy. That is why NN cadres nowadays do anything under the sun to hinder this fire of revolution from igniting in Oromia and, of course, the “smart” Afaan Oromo-speaking/writing NN messengers are trying to do this job among the Oromo, both in the cyberworld and in the real community, just as the Amharinyaa-speaking ones are doing the same job
among the Agaw (the Amharinyaa-speaking community).
If the revolutionaries in both liberation camps seriously want a revolution to erupt against the brutal NN regime, then their evading, shelving or undermining of the ‘elephant in the room’ is not the solution. The elites in both blocs should be realistic and pragmatic to face the main and the real problem. None of the two blocs can cheat or outmaneuver the other side; they have to be able to come up with a compromise solution. I personally believe that the the popular will of each nation is the alpha and omega of both freedom and democracy, which almost all sides do preach, but very few of them seem to be ready to practice. Especially, the elites of the two big nations (from the Agaw and the Oromo) should learn to prepare themselves for the fate of the country based on such public verdicts per referendum. If they are smart enough, they would settle for Oromian union either based on polity consensus or as the result of a popular referendum; otherwise,
they should accept the possible peaceful separation of Agaw-Midir and Biyya-Oromo (i.e. accept national independence of both Agaw and Oromo regions as two independent states to live as very good neighbors, just like that of Czech Republic and Slovakia). The other alternative for the anti-sovereignty forces is, of course, to sing like president Al-bashir of Sudan, when the time comes: “welcome to a neighboring nation of South Sudan;” of course, unfortunately he did that after sacrificing about 2 million Sudan citizens. May Waaqa help us all understand this fact on the ground, which is still determining the moves of both our common foe (the NN) and that of the two anti-NN camps!