Oduu Haaraya

The Transitional de jure New Ethiopia As de facto Great Oromia

Since the prompt response I gave to one ethiopianist Oromo, who tried to persuade us, the Oromo nationalists, so that we accept Ethiopia and Ethiopiawinet (Ethiopian nationalism) at the cost of Oromia and Oromummaa (Oromian nationalism), http://gadaa.com/oduu/20052/2013/05/31/why-not-greater-oromia-instead-of-ethiopia-a-response-to-dr-fikre-tolassas-open-letter/ , I do recieve several protest and few support letters from some Oromo nationalists per e-mail. One of the reasons raised by those who oppose the concept of Great Oromia is that the goal of the federalist Oromo, i.e ‘democratic genuine federation of New Ethiopia’, can not be the same as an integrative Great Oromia I suggested, but “it will be the continuation of the existing Ethiopian empire”. I personally do believe that Golden Oromia within the womb of a New Ethiopia, as planned by the federalists, is only a transitional solution on the way either to an indispensable transformation of the New Ethiopia to de jure integrative Great Oromia or to the natural inevitable birth of an independent Golden Oromia. But yet the transitional de jure New Ethiopia can be considered as de facto Great Oromia, if the Oromo community from now on start to call it as such without waiting for permission and recoginition from any sort of authority as well as if we really succeed in making Afaan Oromo the working language of this future transitional true federation. In this short opinion, I will try to show how using Afaan Oromo at this transitional level can make de jure New Ethiopia be the same as de facto Great Oromia.

It is clear that only the Abyssinian elites and few culturally and linguistically Abyssinized elites from the other nations are against the future de jure New Ethiopia / de facto Great Oromia, also known as genuine “ethnic” federalism. This future de facto Great Oromia is actually the best compromise solution for all nations in the region in order to live together – the same as achieving both national autonomy and regional integration. The position of the Abyssinian elites regarding the New Ethiopia / Great Oromia and self-determination made them to be not suitable to cooperate with the elites of the other nations against the TPLF regime. The Abyssinian elites do promote unconditional unitary Ethiopian at the cost of national self-determination, which they also put as a precondition for the possible alliance to be forged, especially between the Abyssinian democratic forces and the Oromian freedom fighters. Some Oromo nationalists tend to accept this precondition, only if the Abyssinian elites also may accept one Oromo’s precondition, i.e making Afaan Oromo the only working language of the federation, instead of Amharinya. They say: let’s try to persuade them to accept Afaan Oromo as the working language in a common house, New Ethiopia / Great Oromia, as a test. Will the Abyssinian elites then stay to be pro-Ethiopian unity and anti-ethnicity, even if Amharinya will be demoted to only a local language of the Amhara region and if Afaan Oromo will be promoted to be the only working language of the new Ethiopian federation? I am sure they will not! In case they will continue to be pro-Ethiopiawinet and pro-unity, also under this situation, as they seem to believe now, let’s then try this new version of Ethiopiawinet with only Afaan Oromo, instead of with Amharinya.

After observing the imposition of Amharinya at the cost of Afaan Oromo in the past more than one century, I just couldn’t help, but think about the main mistake some of the empire leaders of Oromo origin like Ob. Qusee Dinagde and Ob. Gobena Daacee, who are adored by the ethiopianists as the builders of the Ethiopian empire, did commit. That worst mistake was the fact that they accepted and allowed Amharinya to be the only national language of the empire they did forge, of course at the cost of Afaan Oromo. Being Oromo, if they could have managed to promote Afaan Oromo as the national language of the Ethiopian empire, now the Oromo were not the ones, who should have fight for self-determination, but the others. The whole of Finfinne’s “high class society” and the other “modern” peoples in the empire would have spoken Afaan Oromo as well as the whole diaspora Ethiopians now would have spoken Afaan Oromo, even all would have claimed to be Ethiopian with the content of Oromummaa (Oromo nationalistm), but not Abeshanet (Abyssinian nationalism); to be an Ethiopian in this sense is almost equivalent to be an Oromo, not an Amhara as it is till now.

At present, for the Abyssinian elites to come to their senses and comprehend why we did say so, let’s look at the following fact in short. Most Abyssinian elites nowadays think they are pro-Ethiopiawinet and anti-“ethnicity” and with that they do think that they do have a moral upper-hand over the others, who “promote ethnic politics”. For them to develop another view, let’s demote Amharinya to the local language of only the Amhara region and promote Afaan Oromo to the only federal language. Until now, just based on the fact that Amharinya being the federal language, they used to talk about Ethiopiawinet, which in essence means actually Amharanet (Amhara nationalism) for they know how the Amharanization is still going on. If we change the role of the two languages, I am sure the Oromo nationals will start to value Ethiopiawinet, which will be equivalent to Oromummaa and they will denounce “ethnicity”. Then surely the Amhara elites will start to defend themselves from the possible Oromonization and will denounce Ethiopiawinet with only Afaan Oromo as the federal language and they surely will be automatically pro-“ethnicity”. So, we can see how simple it is to be a moralist without understanding the mechanism behind all what we do believe.

The Oromo nationals in this sense just asked the Abyssinian elites to accept Afaan Oromo as the only federal language for the sake of neutralizing their attempt of maintaining and talking about unitary Ethiopia with Amharinya as the only working language of the federation and with that the Abyssinian elites are making the Amharanization process as something normal to be accepted and lived by all nations in the region. Of course few of the Abyssinian elites demand that the public decide on the issue, which language should be the future federal working language. But, to ask the public decision on the future federal working language, we first need to ask the public what type of sovereignty they want to foster. The future free nations have to either say YES or NO to the possible union. Why doesn’t the democracy of the Abyssinian elites, which we heared in their rhetoric up to now, include this decision? Some of these Habesha elites accuse the Oromo elites as if we do have grudge against Meles and Minilik. The resentment of the Oromo elites against these two leaders is fact, but not only that; unfortunately almost all the currently living Abyssinian elites want to perpetuate the same policy of Meles or Minilik with a pretext of Ethiopian unity, thus the opposition of the Oromo nationalists is against also such modern Melesites and Minilikites.

Furthermore, some Abyssinian elites do cry foul about a possible future Oromo hegemony just because of the fact that the Oromo elites are demanding Afaan Oromo be one of the future federal languages. Those Oromo elites, who make such a demand, are not actually the promoters of an Oromo hegemony, but just to show the Abyssinina elites how the reverse of the effort to dominate the Oromo further can be painful to the Abyssinian elites, the Oromo elites say: “if Abyssinian elites want unitary Ethiopia, then they should see also what it looks like to be under the theoretical future Oromo domination replacing their own domination”. In general, why do the Abyssinian elites talk and preach democracy, whereas at the same time they do exclude the right of the public to decide on its destiny per referendum, i.e having national self-determination? If they have to think democratically as they usually claim to do, then they need to know that there is no a half-baked democracy.

Some Oromo elites do argue that one of the main conflict factors in the empire is the language factor. If the Abyssinian elites do disagree with this premise, then let’s try it practically: just demote Amharinya to only the Amhara region and promote Afaan Oromo to the only working language of the federation. Surely, the Oromo will then accept the unconditional unity with Ethiopiawinet, which the Amhara elites do demand and they will denounce “ethnicity” as well may tend to reject the right of nations to self-determination. Hopefully, the Abyssinian elites will then be ready to influence all their relatives to learn Afaan Oromo without any objection. If so, then the Oromo elites will be very happy if the Abyssinian elites would not prefer to fight for their national self-determination, but only struggle for democracy, unity, justice, equality, peace and prosperity. Looking back to the history of the empire and trying to judge the status quo, all the elites of the nations in the empire do have their own interpretation of the history. Thus, preferable to such quarell on history is an orientation to the future and ask the question: what options regarding a solution for the language conflict do we have if we want to live together in de jure New Ethiopia / de facto Great Oromia? Here are five possiblities:

1) union of free nations based on self-determination, all nations having their own languages in their respective national areas and using English as a common language;
2) union in a de jure New Ethiopia / de facto Great Oromia with Afaan Oromo as the only federal woking language;
3) Ethiopian union / Great Oromia with five major languages (Afaan Oromo, Amharinya, Af Somaal, Tigrinya and English) as the federal working languages;
4) union with two major languages (Afaan Oromo and Amharinya) as the federal languages; and
5) union with Amharinya as the only federal language (similar to the status quo which should be changed by any means as far as the Oromo are concerned)

When we look at the reality on the ground, the pro-democracy Abyssinian elites seem to prefer the fourth option. Even such Abyssinian elites started to see the fact that the fifth option is the already the failed project. Several Oromo elites do suggest the first option of free nations as the best solution. But, if the Abyssinian elites do reject self-determination of nations and persist on having unconditional Ethiopian unity, then let them test the second option so that they can understand what it means to be called “an Ethiopian” in such a condition, which actually means in reality an Oromian, in contrast to the status quo where an Ethiopian means an Abyssinian. Thus, the New Ethiopia with Afaan Oromo as a working federal language, despite the possible competition with Amharinya, is the same as de facto Great Oromia because of the fact that Oromummaa will be the main content of the union. If the Abyssinian elites reject the second option, it is then expected from them, as educated gentle people, to have an empathy for the Oromo elites, who are rejecting the fifth option, instead of vilifying such Oromo elites as “exclusionists”, as they do repeatedly accuse. Why should the Oromo elites be considered as exclusionists for the sake of demanding this role exchange of the two languages, whereas the Abyssinian elites are seen as inclusive, eventhough they are propagating the exclusive fifth option? To avoid such a language conflict, then of course, it is also possible to opt for the third option in order to be more inclusive and integrative.

Now, it is natural for us to ask, why did the TPLF promote Amharinya at the cost of Afaan Oromo in the last 22 years. The answer is clear: the TPLF wants that the conflict between the two BIG nations will continue, so that it can rule further easily. It is fact on the ground that the historical conflict between the Amhara and the Oromo is highly exploited by the Woyane in order to hinder a possible public uprising in unison against their rule. Just because of the language privilege they had, the Amhara elites are still seen as oppressive by almost all oppressed nations in the empire, including by the Oromo, even though the Amharas, nowadays, are as oppressed and exploited as the other nations by the ruling regime. The TPLF could have solved this language conflict between Amharinya and Afaan Oromo by making either both of them the working languages of the federation or by limiting both of them to their respective states and making only English as the working language of the federation.

As we do choose certain language for a common communication between the different autonomous nations, we need to consider its economical expediency and its international usage. Till now, all the nations in the Ethiopian empire were obliged to learn Amharinya as the national language, because of the domination by the Abyssinians, who promoted Amharinya to the only federal language and still tend to endorse it. Actually clear is why they do this preference; it is simply because of the political and economical advantage they do get. Here is one example to be taken in to consideration: the Amhara elites usually try to promote unconditional unitary Ethiopia just because of the reason that they know what an advantage they do have as far as Amharinya is the working language of the empire, i.e the melting of all nations in the empire towards being Ethiopian, which is equivalent to an identity change into being Amhara. This process of assimilating people behind the mask of Ethiopiawinet is the main intention behind their manic craving for unitary Ethiopian state. Accordingly, they do oppose the suggested future genuine “ethnic” federation just for it undermines their language domination and for the melting process will be stopped.

Then the question to be asked by the other nations now is: can the pro-democracy Abyssinian forces choose to settle for using the language of all nations at their respective national areas or should they be compelled to accept this right of other nations as an alternative to the conservative Abyssinian elites’ refusal of recognizing such a union based on self-determination? I know that the Woyane will accept even a separation of nations to build their own independent states as soon as they sense the possible lose of power in Finfinnee palace. To compel the Abyssinian forces to accept a union based on the national self-determination, we just have to demote Amharinya to be used only in Amhara region and promote Afaan Oromo to be the federal language, as I put it above. Through this measure of role exchange between the two languages, they will see that Ethiopiawinet will not be equivalent to Amharanet (as it is now), but it will be the same to Oromummaa. In such a scenario of Oromummaa being equivalent to Ethiopiawinet, the Oromo elites will definitely start to be pro-Ethiopiawinet as well as against “ethnicity” and then the Abyssinian elites will surely begin to defend their identity by opting for self-determination of the Abyssinian people, so that they will start to support “ethnicity” and reject Ethiopiawinet with the content of Oromummaa. This way, the Abyssinian elites can comprehend what it means to struggle for a national independence with or without a regional union.

The ongoing attempt of the Abyssinian elites to make both Afaan Oromo and Amharinya the working federal languages of the future New Ethiopia is disadvantageous for the other smaller nations in the empire. The Abyssinian elites opted to this alternative just to make Amharinya again the working language of all regions including Oromia, the option they don’t have now. As far as the Oromo are concerned, Afaan Oromo being the federal working language is not bad, so long Amharinya will not be imposed on Oromia, but Amharinya should be the working language of only Amhara region and, of course it can be that of the federation besides Afaan Oromo. For the other nations in the empire, this may mean to learn four languages, instead of the present only three. But, I do argue that these nations need to learn only two languages: their own mother tongue and an international language – English. Why should their children be obliged to learn Afaan Oromo as well as Amharinya and be stressed with such additional useless languages, whereas the Amhara children learn only Amharinya and English, being free from such stress. So, my suggestion is that all children from all nations in the future new union should have the privilege given to the Amhara children: learn only their respective national language and English as an international language.

If the Abyssinian elites come to their sense and accept the common ground for all nations, the future de jure New Ethiopia / de facto Great Oromia, it would have been very easy to forge an effective alliance of the Abyssinian democratic forces and the Oromo freedom fighters against the dictatorial TPLF regime. Just to clear the confusion produced by the hitherto articles on similar topics, the other names used for the genuine “ethnic” federalism are: multi-national federation, new federal democratic Ethiopia, de jure New Ethiopia = de facto Great Oromia, language-based federalism, internal self-determination, national autonomy with regional union, self rule and shared rule, national self determination with multi-national democracy, unity with liberty, union of autonomous nations, United States of Ethiopia, autonomous nations in federated Ethiopia, national autonomy in an integrated region (e.g autonomous Oromia in an integrated Ethiopia) etc. In short, the best instrument to compel the Abyssinian elites so that they can accept and respect the compromise solution – New Ethiopia / Great Oromia and to make them recognize the right of nations to self-determination is to demote Amharinya to local language and promote Afaan Oromo to federal language.

Last but not least, such de jure New Ethiopia / de facto Great Oromia being the known objective of the federalist Oromo nationals, I tend to accept it only as a transitional solution for the political status after getting rid of the present Abyssinian empire. This anticipated New Ethiopia is the transition to either de jure, not only de facto, integrative Great Oromia, in case all the future free nations of the current empire will agree and accept the name change from Ethiopia to Oromia, or else the birth of an independent Golden Oromia is inevitable. I think such an integrative Great Oromia, where freedom of citizens and nations will be respected, where democracy will be the rule of the political game, where Afaan Oromo will be the primary working language of the union and where Odaa, as the symbol of the Gadaa democracy as well as the sign of victory, will be the central part of the future federation’s flag, can be the very good alternative solution to the noble cause of an independent Golden Oromia. May Rabbi/Waaqa help us all accept the future de jure New Ethiopia / de facto Great Oromia as a transitional solution towards either an independent Golden Oromia or an integrative de jure Great Oromia.


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