By Oumar Hussein | June 18, 2013
Many commentators either have misunderstood or misquoted Jawar Mohammed. He plainly stated that the Oromo Struggle and the Ethiopian Muslim Protest complementary to one another. He said clearly the two don’t contradict each other. Islam had been weak following its introduction in the northern parts of Ethiopia. As it gradually had penetrated into Oromo Land, the Raaba Doori, the military force of the Gadaa System, defended it. And Islam became part of daily life for many people in Biyya Oromoo/Oromia. It is, therefore, impossible to separate Islam and oromummaa since they have been interwoven. They are two sides of a coin. Even Mahatma Gandhi, one of the fathers of a non-violence movement remarked “those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is.”
It is well known in Oromo politics, these days, to mischaracterize someone for having a different view point. There are so many comments posted last week on this website and still being posted. Most of these comments label Jawar Mohammed is Islamist, extremist, terrorist, not nationalist, sell out…et cetera. None of these character assassinations is true. They are just writing for the sake of writing. What is wrong for muslims protesting against the Ethiopian government for interfering in their religion affair? The Amharas are also protesting against the government for interfering in their religion affair. Does that erode their identity? Does that make them extremist? No. What is, then, a big deal about us? In today’s Ethiopia praying five times automatically makes you an extremist. Most of the comments are rubbish and unfounded. The comments can be categorized into three groups.
The first group misunderstood the whole message of the speech. This group just picks one word or phrase and trying to give different meanings. Talking about Islam, for instance, means extremist for them or not saboona. They are easily manipulated by others. They are shallow individuals. The second group seems those who work for the existing repressive Ethiopian government. And they are spreading lies among the people to confuse them purposely. This is how they earn their living. As Gandhi put it “there are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”The third group is the OLF ‘leaders,’ members, and supporters. This group knows nothing except hairsplitting and philandering, womanizing. Our Oromo people have been humiliated, tortured, killed and evicted from their ancestral land on broad daylight. The OLF leaders, however, have been doing nothing for the last 22 solid years. They took refuge in Asmara, their master’s capital, Eritrea. At times, they come out on youtube draped with OLF flag and say Bilisummaa is around the corner! Gadaan Gadaa Jijjirammaati! The only thing they are good at is character assassination. That is their creed of envy and ignorance. Jawar, keep it up. There is a good opportunity to fight the Ethiopian government now. The OLF, however, is unable to exploit it. As Winston Churchill said “a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” They are not willing to learn from what happened in Tunisia and Egypt. What Julius Nyerere once remarked was right: “A nation that doesn’t learn from others is nothing but a nation of idiots.” I don’t understand what the OLF leader is waiting for. Perhaps, it is waiting for the supernatural power to interfere. The late Chinua Achebe also said “People say that if you find water rising up to your ankle, that’s the time to do something about, not when it’s around your neck.” The so called leaders, members and supporters of OLF, instead, engaged in saying Jawar is this and that.
In general, there are no such things as oromummaa first and religion is second. Oromummaa and Islam are like flesh and blood. You cannot separate one from the other. Our body is lifeless without flesh and blood. The South African saying “when you shoot a zebra in the black stripe, the white dies too” describes it best.