What are the main roots of our problems? Is it internal or external ?
Internal in its sense of “within Ethiopia” and “within Oromo” and external in sense of the influence of international politics on our struggle. Why is it that when almost all nations of Africa ,Asia ,and Latin America have got rid of their colonizers, we Oromos are still under Abyssinian colonialist? Surely the British Empire was much stronger than Abyssinia yesterday or today, but many nations of Asia and Africa have, along a go, thrown the yoke of colonialism off their shoulders. Without any doubt, Russia, even as it stands today, is much stronger than both the Amhara and Tigriyan dynasties lumped together. But chechniyans have heroically confronted the Russians and have beaten them. Russians are superior to the Chechniyans not only militarily ,technolonogically,but by their sheer number too. The Russian population of about 300 million, is many hundred folds than that of the hechniyans,still the chechniyans determined to be free,have done miracle. They have defeated the superior Russians and have obtained their freedom.
What about the Oromos, whose population is many dozen fold that of the Abyssinians or Tigriyans? Why couldn’t the Oromo send the Abyssinian home, where they came from? Why is it that the few thousand Abyssinian soldier or Tigriyan soldiers jail Oromos in thousands in their own homeland,Oromiya? Are the Oromo so cowardish that they do not fight determined to attain freedom or die? Why were all our past movements destined to defeat, to doom? Where do the problems lie? Although the analysis of this problem needs a deep historical knowledge, a detail political assessment, this topic will give you the views of as an Oromo individual not well versed in politics and Historical studies. The problem seems to be both internal (within Ethiopia and within Oromo) and External (international politics, and the influence of the world power on our internal struggle).
Assessing the past, it will try also to view this same problem in context of the present world order-a world in hands of superpower, America, in context of the so called “American interest in the region “ a fact which can be never be neglected, but considered without selling out our Oromo interest, and without jeopardizing our image in context of this new order. This will subdivide to this discussion into the following points: Do we Oromo really need “Bilisummaa”(freedom)? That is: Is there really an issue to fight for, in the form of freedom from COLONIZATION? Think, we Oromos are divided on this crucial issue. Are we so beaten ,our hearts so broken that we can be never raise our hands again ? Do we lack a proud history which the Abyssinians have and is this the cause of our lagging behind. The lack of trust between Oromo political Organization. Are we unable to find real Allies, both internationally and internally? These topics will try to dwell on each point.
Let begin with the first one that some Oromos might be bewildered by the simple question of “ Do we really need freedom? Freedom from what? What is nature of Oromo- Abyssinian relation ? Is our quest for freedom from Abyssinian Colonialist just a “MYTH” we Oromos have created out of the thin air,or is it really a historically justified quest? Is the assimilation of Oromia, the Afar, the Somali people, and all Southern nationalities, the Bani Shangul and others, just an inevitable historical consequence of “Nation building “ through which the whole world passed? This will raise question because there are many among Oromos who accept “Ethiopia” as a historical reality that we have to live with.
They also believe (although they are terrified to openly say it loud to the Oromo people) that the problem of Oromo is the problem of “DEMOCRACY”. If the whole of Ethiopian is democratized the Oromo problem, and with it the problem of all nationalities, will be solved.
This group advocates that the Oromo should look for solutions of their problems within the context of “ Ethiopia “, true, a metamorphosed Ethiopia, DEMOCRATASED, and the equitable participation of all nations and nationalities in the affairs of the country guarantied. This group, in their real hearts, never accept the concept of “BILISUMMAA” in its full essence, that is, the formation of a Free Oromo STATE recognized by whole world as Eritrea, for example. They never had , and ( have???? ) The heart that is determined to accept the BREAKDOWN of the Ethiopian empire. For them this is TOO MUCH .
Although this group fears to explain to simple Oromo mass, this “CLIQUE” of intellectuals, see the following “DANGER” in the quest of the Oromo people for a free state. They ask the following legitimate questions. If the Oromo is to form a free state ,then the Sidama is to have free state.
So is Walayita. So is Afar. So is the Bani Shangul. Dangerous enough, the Somali people under Abyssinian yoke of colonization might choose to join Somali proper, A dangerous notion of disintegrating a “BIBLICAL ETHIOPIA”, THE CHRISTIAN ISLAND IN THE MIDST OF ISLAMIC OCEAN “. How many new sates? How many new “COUNTRIES” will be appealing to the United Nations for recognition? Can we convince America, who is interested in stable blocks to deal with in political, economical, strategic and social affairs, in such a DISINTEGRATION and mushrooming of the new countries? We can, Oromos ,therefore sell out question of “ BILISUMMAA” to the whole world community ? The answer of this closed circle of intellectuals to this question is a blatant “NO”.
They cannot fight for BILISUMMAA. This SUICIDAL. It is inconceivable. It is a much weaker argument even when compared with Tigray politics of Decentralized Federal Ethiopia. The world will never accept and support our question of BILISUMMAA”. This is why a “HIDDEN” strategy of changing the whole strategy of our struggle and matching it to the new world order was circulating in the past. Why hide crucial issues from the Oromo people? So this closed group says “ Let us put our Oromo question in a more palatable and acceptable form. The Democratization of Ethiopia”.
The first question to this group is “Why do you try to hide such important issues from the owner of history, the bearer of all calamities, the Oromo nation ? Do you think that a few intellectuals can decide the fate of such a big nation as the Oromo people? We see this as a big sin in Oromo history and warn against such political mischief in the future. Let us add the views of the question of whether we should fight for “ BILISUMMAA ” or the “ DEMOCRATISATION of Ethiopia ”. Some shroud politicians, nowadays, have such a twisted argument so that their goal of sustaining the Ethiopian Empire will be fulfilled. They say that no political party has the right to decide what the people want. We cannot say that the Oromo people want BILISUMMAA.
We only fight for the right of people for self-determination. Let the Oromo people be given the right to decide. If the Oromo people wants to live in HARMONY ( what type of harmony with the Tigriyans and Amhara who are determined to subjugate us for ever ) with other nations of Ethiopian Empire let it be. If the Oromo people want to be free let it decide so. We as political parties can never say out that we fight for “ BILISUMMAA, A FREE OROMO STATE “. We say then remove the designation “LIBERATION” “BILISUMMAA” from your names. We can make this call to all political Organizations who are so cowardish that they are terrified to mention BILISUMMAA as their political goal.
Surprisingly, of all those Oromo political parties that say that they are fighting for the rights of the Oromo people there is NONE which doesn’t have suffix “LF” “BO”, that is, liberation front, Bilisummaa Oromoo. Then why twist things, why mischief, why ambiguity in setting goals. Let pass this idea. As an empire build on brutal military might, there is no sin for the Ethiopian empire to DISINTEGRATE, to CRUMBLE and fall and be removed from the world arena, may be reduced to its former state, ABYSSINIA. There is no wrong in the formation of many new countries.
The west itself allows this where necessary. Look at what is happening in front of our own eyes in BALKANS. Bosniya, Coretia and now Kossovo are on the verge of forming new countries. Quebec in Canada has the right to secede at any time the majority of its people are ready to vote for an independent state. As far as the size and stability is concerned you can take Djabouti, our neighbor, which has survived as a strong independent state. You can see many examples. By the way, Israel, with few million people, is an artificially recreated state. Then what is wrong with SIDAMA forming its own free country,Walayita, the Afar, Bani Shangul, doing the same? Who decided that the present status of states is the perfect one? So our quest for “BILISUMMAA “. It a legitimate historical question for which the hearts of millions of Oromos yearn. Oromo politics based on Bilisummaa is not a weak politics in front of any maneuver from the clever Abyssinians.
Unity with the oppressed people of Sidama ,Afar ,Somali and others, even at this early stage of our struggle is necessary . Creation of a UNITED FEDERAL state with them can also not be excluded from our strategy. Our geographical scatter ( distribution ),where other nationalities are interspersed between big blocks of Oromo population ,might even favor this concept. “ DEMOCRATISATION” of the Ethiopian Empire, with the Amhara and Tigriyans included in the equation is formula, which goes against all past historical fact.
This being the views, any political organization that really believes that “ Democratization “ of Ethiopia is plausible, can put this concept forward openly and try to convince the Oromo people. Playing gampling card“Diimtuu Guraattii” as has been played for the last quarter of the century is a historical sin. We have paid dear and are going to pay even greater dearer. So let us be and clear to our people. No hidden agendas. Are we really a beaten and broken people with no proud history so that we can never raise our heads again?
This is the justification some political give to the question “ why could the EPLF and TPLF achieve their goal (more than its goal in the case of the TPLF). Whereas the Oromo are still far from their goal? These politicians say that the Tigriyans and the Eritreans had proud history and have more confidence than the Oromos. Some Eritrean repeatedly the same concept in our discourse with us. Asked probably why you Oromos are too broken to really stand up and fight for your freedom? You know, a Tigre individual can spend one thousand Birr to regain his own 5 Birr. He fights for the PRINCIPLE. What is wrong “Oromo “?
There might be some truth in fact that Oromo people might have been traumatized by subsequent cruel Abyssinian subjugation, but historical occasions have shown that given the right conditions the Oromo can stand and revenge. It can be crash the Abyssinians. It is only a determined leadership that guides him through the difficult and long journey to “BILISUMMAA “ which is lacking. By the way, proud history by itself is not a guarantee for the success of a nation.
The ancient civilization of the Americans has vanished with only few traces it’s being there long a go. Its people are almost being eradicated from the earth’s surface dominated by other nations who have immigrated from EUROPE. Is not the Jimma Abbaa Jifar Kingdom, the Kingdom of Wallaggaa, our proud history . Isn’t our Gada system where Oromos crashed every obstacle on their way a witness of our past proud history?
The lack of proud history is not justification of our failures. It is a strong leadership, and convenient historical events, such as the one that exists just now, which will change the balance of history and make us successful. If the seed of the desire and determination to be “Free “is planted in the heart of Oromo people, it is only a matter of time and the appearance of such convenient historical conditions which will change the balance in our favor. It is not suicidal if the goal is not achieved in 19992,but in 2000,but it is suicidal to disseminate hopelessness by rejecting BILISUMMAA and advocating the Democratization of Ethiopia.