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Friday, December 16, 2005

Press Release - Human rights

Press Release - Human rights - 15-12-2005 - 16:35
Human rights in Ethiopia, Tibet and Hong Kong, and Russia
MEPs voted in favour of three resolutions on the human rights situation in Tibet and Hong Kong, human rights issue in Russia and the new NGO legislation and the situation in Ethiopia and the new border conflict.
MEPs condemn violence in Ethiopia.

In adopting a joint resolution on the situation in Ethiopia with 93 votes in favour, 0 against and 1 abstention, MEPs condemn the violence, the use of disproportionate means of repression by the armed forces and the mass arrests. The House calls on the Ethiopian Government to immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners and journalists and fulfil its obligations with respect to human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law. Parliament calls on the Ethiopian Government to disclose the total number of persons detained throughout the country, to allow visits by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and to allow all the detainees access to their families, legal counsel and any medical care that their health situation may require. MEPs call on the Ethiopian Government to fully respect the fundamental principles of press freedom, put an end to the state media monopoly and allow the independent press to function by returning confiscated property. The House calls for the immediate establishment of an independent international commission of inquiry, optimally under UN responsibility, to investigate the human rights abuses and to identify and bring to justice those responsible.

MEPs consider that, despite the political dialogue between the EU and the Ethiopian Government under Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement, the latter has failed to fulfil its obligations with respect to human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law. The House calls on the Commission and the Council to take a coordinated stance in line with Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement. Parliament also calls on the Commission and the Council to consider targeted sanctions against members of the Ethiopian Government if the current human rights situation is not significantly improved. The House calls on the Council and the Commission to channel humanitarian aid for the population of Ethiopia primarily through NGOs and UN specialised agencies in order to provide direct assistance to the population. Parliament also calls for a resumption of the process of reform and improvement of democratic institutions, which includes a serious and international examination of the results of the parliamentary elections held in May. Finally, MEPs call on the African Union, whose head office is in Ethiopia, to take a clear stance, proving its determination to bring democracy forward in Africa, especially in Ethiopia.

Situation in Tibet and Hong Kong

In adopting a joint resolution on the situation in Tibet and in Hong Kong, MEPs demand that the Government of the PRC clarify the circumstances of the death of the young Tibetan Monk Ngawang Jangchub during the 'patriotic education' session in October 2005. The House is deeply concerned about the state of health of the five monks arrested on 23 November 2005 at Drepung Monastery. Parliament urges the Government of the PRC to immediately release them from their imprisonment in the Public Security Bureau Detention Centres. MEPs call on the Government of the PRC to provide all the information available concerning their detention conditions with reference, in particular, to the allegations of torture and the possible arrest of more people. The House urges the Government to suspend the blockade of Drepung Monastery in Lhasa immediately. MEPs also urge the Chinese authorities to cease the 'patriotic education' campaign, to react in a proportionate manner to non-violent protests and not to undermine human rights by the use of physical violence against them.

MEPs calls once more on the Government of the PRC to improve the conditions of imprisonment in its jails, to cease and abolish torture of detainees, as well as stopping the continued violation of the human rights of the Tibetan people and other minorities and ensuring that it respects international standards of human rights and humanitarian law. The House calls on the Council and the Member States to maintain the EU embargo on trade in arms with the PRC and not to weaken the existing limitation of such arms sales. MEPs call on the Government of the PRC to continue the dialogue with the representatives of the Dalai Lama. Finally, the House urges the Conference of Presidents to invite his Holiness the Dalai Lama to address the European Parliament during 2006.

Hong Kong

MEPs recall that the Basic Law provides for Hong Kong's Chief Executive ultimately to be elected by universal suffrage. Parliament Calls on the authorities of Hong Kong to:

- set a timetable for universal suffrage acceptable to all democratic parties and the public,
- abolish the appointment system in the District Council,
- replace corporate voting by individual voting for functional constituencies of the Legislative Council,
- broaden the electorate of the Election Committee;

Finally, the House looks forward to seeing the Chief Executive and all members of the Legislative Council elected by means of an electoral system based on the principles of a multi-party democracy, accountability of the government to the legislature and genuinely effective governance which will confer a clear benefit on all the people of Hong Kong.


In adopting a resolution on human rights in Russia and the new NGO legislation, MEPs underline the importance of non-governmental organisations to a stable and democratic civil society which is built not only on principles such as the rule of law and freedom of speech but also on the ability of citizens to associate freely. THe House expresses therefore its great concern about the draft law on amendments to Russian federal legislation on non-profit organisations and public associations and calls for the new legislation to comply with the norms and standards of the Council of Europe.

Human rights in Russia

MEPs hope that the Russian legislators will:

(a) provide a clear definition of unacceptable political activities which may not be financed from foreign sources, (b) establish that a decision of a judicial and not a supervisory authority is the only ground for dissolution of NGOs and NPOs, (c) choose not to introduce the requirement of permanent residence for non-nationals as well as the age requirement, (d) ensure the right of non-nationals to establish NGOs in Russia and participate in their work, (e) ease the proposed powers of supervision by the authorities over NGOs, particularly as regards the requirements of financial accountability for resources supplied by foreign sponsors.

Parliament appeals to the Russian Duma to take the necessary time to review and improve the amendments in the light of the recommendations made in the Presidential review, the Council of Europe Provisional Opinion and this Resolution. The House calls on the State Duma to start a broad consultation process involving all the democratic components of Russian civil society in order to find ways to genuinely encourage, support and consolidate the setting-up of NGOs. MEPs call on the incoming Austrian and Finnish Presidencies to raise the issues of respect for democracy and human rights at the next EU-Russia summits, to give the EU-Russia human rights dialogue a more prominent role and to further involve the European Parliament in this process. The House calls on the Russian authorities to cease politically motivated harassment of NGOs, especially those observing the situation in Chechnya such as the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society. Finally, MEPs call on the Council and the Commission to enhance their support for civil society in Russia and to increase allocations for promoting human rights.


REF.: 20051215IPR03789

Thursday, December 15, 2005

TPLF, another word for cruelty

Alamaayyo Garbaa is a handicapped, but exceptionally gifted Addis Ababa University (AAU) student. Among his peers he was known as curious for knowledge, never bothered by his physical limitations, full of charming tributes and smiles that were so telling of his bright future.

Alamaayyo was arrested by Tigrean security officers in 2001 while attending class at AAU and jailed in Akaki, a small town just south of Finfinne (Addis Ababa), I n a large prison ground where hundreds of political prisoners are kept. Alamaayyo was tortured extensively over the last four years, and shot to death in his prison cell.


Similarly, Morkotaa Eddoosaa, also a University student, was jailed in the same prison for four years, tortured, and left to suffer without medical assistance. He died as a result of excessive bleeding.
The Oromo people have endured countless brutalities in the hands of successive Ethiopian dictators. This current cruelty of the TPLF against the Oromo people appears to be fiercely vicious than those in the past because it targets the best Oromo minds.


In the past 14 years, the Oromo people have lost more intellectuals and entrepreneurs in the hands of the TPLF forces than ever before. Many have left Oromia, and those who live in the neighbouring countries are targeted even while living in exile. This is why many observers believe that TPLF’s atrocities border with a campaign of genocide. It lives no option for Oromos but defend their people by all means necessary.

As in the past, we ask all concerned organizations and governments to impress their good offices upon the Ethiopian government to stop mass massacre, and thereby thwart what appears to be another Rwanda in the making.
Alamaayyo Grbaa / Morkotaa Eddoosaa








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Oromo Liberation Front ,
External Information Division ,
Foreign Relations Department
December 15, 2005

Monday, December 12, 2005

Dear Folfs

Dear Folks!

May the Almighty Waaqayyoo Bless you all and help you in your struggle to get back the freedom man has taken away from you. Fight on in every direction.

The fight is not only by gun. Your pens can fight injustice. Your religion can fight it.
Your words can do so. Your money can make the service to justice. Even your silence does a lot as it did to kick out the colonial rulers out of India, smashed down the mighty power of America during the civil rights movement (remember the power of silence under Martin Luther king, Ms. Rosa Parks, etc.). I mean for those who reserve from using force to do away with injustice, they have other options to rather than sitting idle and see brothers and sister, mothers and fathers killed.
Dear folks, the world has taught us a great deal of experiences. One thing it did most is that "There is no free lucnch. And justice and freedom do not come freely even in democracy."Knowledge, rational strategy and tactic, wealth, life, etc. have to be spent.
However, there are different ways of going to achieve freedom and justice denied to an individual, groups, communities, and a a nation like the Oromos. However, going different ways to get to the same end does not create enemity between those who strive to achieve something for the common good of the people. But that different ways the liberators go to achieve liberation and justice should not be in a way that makes you subject to the enemy and threaten the safety and well being of your people. I would mention the experience of the African Americans' struggle, the case of Booker T. Washington Vs. W. E. B. DUBois, Marcus Garvey, and others. Their different strategies of struggling against the racial discrimination and their civil liberties tried to divide them and their people. But that finally pulled the people and the leaders together and towards realizing one common enemy, one common goal, and for one common people. Why not the Oromos?
The Oromians, after realizing the gradges between individual and political organizations, have realized that there is no other way to liberation and achieving of justice than by rallying under one banner, one goal, organization (with different forms), and support from each citizen. That is why today the sacrifice of the radicals, those who were born in the oppressive system, lived and saw the oppressive system are giving their lives to bring about a just system not only for their people but for the enemy too.

Therefore, my point is this. There is no either or in today's Oromo struggle. One question, one answer and one people to go for it. We have learnt through out the decades that our enemies do nothing for us whether we liberalize our stand, compromise our people's demands, or so. But in order to strengthen our unity and struggle let me quote the following from my readings. P. Alinsky say, tactics mean doing what you can with what you have.
Saul Alinsky has the following 13 models he calls RULES FOR RADICAL:- The rules for power tactics, Used by those leading liberation struggle in their communities:
1. Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
2. Never go outside the experience of your people.
3. But whenever possible go outside the experience of your enemy.
4. Make the enemy live upto their own book of rules.
5. Ridicule is mans most potent weapon.
6. Good tactic to fight the enemy is the one that your people enjoy.
7. A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
8. Keep the pressure on with different tactics and actions.
9. The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
10. The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain
a constant pressure upon the opposition.
11. If you push hard a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its
counterside.
12. The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

Add this Black Value System called Nguzo Saba, created by Maulana Karenga on September 7, 1965 in USA: Is it worth sharing with Oromos who value their struggle, their heros and heroess and their people?
The Seven principles of the Afro-centric guzo Saba (Black values) are:
1. Umoja (Unity): To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation
and race.
2. Kujichagulia (Self-determination): To defoiner ourselves, name ourselves,
create our selves and speak for ourselves instead of being defined, named,
created.
3. Ujima (Collective work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our
community together and make our sister's and brother's problems our problems
and to solve them together.
4. Ujama (Cooperative econmomics): To build and maintain our own stores,
shops, and other businesses and profit from them together.
5. Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of
our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
6. Kuumba (creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in
order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
7. Imani (Faith): To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our
teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

These principles and Afrocentric values may help individuals adjust to the overall system.
Are they worth sharing? If yes send out .


Sincerely,

Abdi.

Comments on Clapham’s Comments on the Ethiopian crisis and on Henze’s Comments on Comments, both dated November 14, 2005

Comments on Clapham’s Comments on the Ethiopian crisis and on Henze’s Comments on Comments, both dated November 14, 2005

Kallacha Dubbi
December 11, 2005
The place to start trying to understand a writer’s motif is always with the message of the writer himself. Critics merely expose the gaps left by the author. The author himself explains why he allies with this or that political group. In the case of Christopher Clapham and Paul Henze, these gaps are glaring. The best way to show such gaps in writings of Western scholars is to use their own style:
Clapham and Henze
Clapham and Henze have now been scholarly ambassadors of Amharas and Tigreans (respectively) for decades, at a cost to other Ethiopian ethnic groups. Amharas and Tigreans have ruled Ethiopia for more than a century, and currently the Tigrean led TPLF party is in power. Critical analysis and objectivity of an observing scholar is both consequence of, and a requirement for ethical responsibility and fairness, and in the case of the two scholars should allow them exercise their academic objectivism. However, even the very mention of Oromo or any southern ethnic group was so consistently excluded by the two orthodox writers while repeatedly promoting their favorite groups. Loyalty to political and ethnic dominion is neither a consequence of, nor a requirement for democratic governance, and Ethiopia is no exception.
The extreme narrowness of the authors’ ethnic views. Both authors have never been able to rid themselves of the sense that they are essentially, and more of, Amhara and Tigrean supporters than objective scholars. Though they have served leap-service to democracy, their versions and definitions systematically excluded speaking for the rights of the majority of the oppressed people of Ethiopia, shielding the ruling ethnic classes alone.
The failure to develop honest political capacity with views that cherish true democracy, to evenhandedly support local political views. Both Clapham and Henze, at least outside Amhara and Tigrean scholarly camps, have never been able, or indeed have never been allowed, to develop into effective political thinkers whose ethnically cornered scholarly focus could exercise any autonomous authority, or expressed on behalf of the academic communities that they claim to represent. The extraordinarily static and loyal support in virtually all their writings to the ruling ethnic supremacists, originating from their prejudiced views, has reflected their feebleness. Both have no intimate knowledge of the politics of the country while any who sought to give them the other side of the story was ignored in case he presented any threat to their settled political loyalty. Once genuine discussions came with an open-minded scholar, and the two scholars needed an in-depth knowledge to muster scholarly support, that challenging scholar was avoided.
By reducing Ethiopian ethnic federalism, a partial but sweet success of a long and bloody struggle of the oppressed people, as an attempt to replicate the failed nationality policies of the USSR, and hinting that this is also a view of Ethiopian nationalists “by no means restricted to Amharas”, Clapham, for example, clearly shows where his heart lies – hell with ethnic equality. He wrote as if deeply concerned about the lack of democratization in Ethiopia, but at the same time retained his bad taste about ethnic equality. Clapham then found himself caught between two stools for the sake of Amharas, as did Henze for the sake of the Tigreans. Ethiopia’s gravest problem, ethnic inequality is merely mentioned as “representatives of historically disadvantaged nationalities (notably the Oromo)” – the only time the very word Oromo was mentioned in Clapham’s long essay, amazingly none in Henze’s, see table below – so telling.

Number of mentions of nine key words in two papers

Related to:

Words in writing
In Chris Clapham’s “Comments on the Ethiopian crisis”
In Paul Henze’s “Comments on Comments”

Total

Tigray
Meles
9
2

78 times
Tigray
7
2
TPLF/EPRDF
35
23

Amhara
Hailu
0
1

31 times
Amhara
5
2
CUD
6
17

Oromo
Daud
0
0

4 times
Oromo
1
0
OLF
2
1


Both Clapham and Henze, indeed, have never sought to operate as open and objective scholars. One striking indicator of this has been their virtual boycott of any and all Oromo meetings and conferences. This is consistent with all Amhara scholars who live in ritual seclusion: they are virtually never seen at Southern or Oromo meetings, or engage in any public way with other Ethiopians – in striking contrast to their accessibility to each other and their ability to sparkle on an international stage. While several Oromo meetings, conferences, and major occasions were conducted in or near cities where the two scholars reside, they have remained immured in their narrow offices protecting their one dimensional orthodox ideas.
The style of arriving at sweeping inferences about important political conclusions relevant to Ethiopia by the two scholars has been equally opaque. They retained their style from their advising and consulting years serving the Ethiopian regimes and as such, they retained all the instincts of serving and advising a regime, a sure antithesis to scholarly independent thought process, in which objectivism is not impacted by interest of any type. The clearest examples are their publications spanning over decades, always with little reference to other Ethiopian ethnic populations.
The rise of Oromo scholarship gravely weakened both internal and external scholarly ambassadorship of Amhara and Tigrean dominance; even though the total sum of partisan scholarship is still dominant. This dominance is now deeply threatened; it also has repercussions on other scholars, notably because several North American and European scholars and leading politicians are now recognizing the root problem of the Ethiopian war and poverty as ethnic domination.
Though cultural recognition has been better than under Mengistu (which would not be difficult), major issues remained, many of which could be ascribed to the tacit support leading western countries and scholars rendered to the regime. The double-standards some of the western scholars demonstrated and the artificial distinction between African and Western democracies inhibited advances in political pluralism. The blind support or objection to some of the political intricacies has proven to be very damaging to Ethiopian democratic dreams. For example Clapham’s sympathy for the privatization of land, sounding innocuous from the cover, is an indirect support for Amhara or Tigrean economic dominance on top of a prevailing ethnic political dominance. This of course is to serve Clapham’s masked call for a political home-run in favor of his favorite group. A scholar advocating land privatization in an inequitable political setup is beyond my imagination. The intent is to allow the powerful leadership grab all the best lands.
For several years, it has been clear that the two scholars have been deeply alienated from the realities of Ethiopian politics. Despite developments in Oromo and Diaspora politics, the European Parliament, US State Department, and a number of scholars that remained objective defying the pressure of Ethiopian government, the Clapham and Henze remain stagnant backwaters, and Oromo mainstream thinkers have ignored them. Most Oromos, so far as I can judge, have been passive towards the favoritism of the two at best, resentful at worst.
The two writers’ attitudes towards human rights abuses by Ethiopian regimes have often been extremely irresponsible. One would think that the death of hundreds and thousands of innocent civilians including students, the indefinite closure of Addis Ababa University, the largest teaching and research institute in the country, the mass-massacres in Gambella, etc. would be important enough issues to at least deserve a mention. Instead, the authors chose self-serving topics such as land privatization or how long it takes to open business in Ethiopia.
In fairness, let me take just a few examples from Clapham’s writings to show how misleading his writing is. Henze’s pro-Trigrean writing is easy to deduct and needs no further disclosing.

“… the economic liberalism of the CUD, in opposition to the persisting Marxist attitudes of the EPRDF regime”

I have no sympathy for EPRDF, and I have no less misgiving about Meles’ ethnic dictatorship than Clapham. But the adjective “Marxist” here is simply thrown to Clapham’s arguments to make sufficient contrast in promoting “CUD as liberal.” This is the nature of the conflict between Clapham and Henze’s, both are on false grounds, the first Amharist Machiavellian, the later passionately Tigrean.

In another, more unsettling example, Clapham writes: “I have detected no explicit attempt to mobilise religion as a source of political support (though a ‘nationalist’ party like CUD must inevitably be associated in some degree with Christianity and especially the Orthodox church). “

One has to be an expert in the Ethiopian politics to read into this outright deceitful statement and that is where the danger lies. Most ordinary readers would assume a non-Ethiopian observer like Clapham, a scholar of his caliber at that could be objective. Terribly wrong! 1) CUD is not a nationalist party; it is an Amhara chauvinist party as has been well presented by many writers including Asafa Jalata. 2) It does mobilize extensive support from Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Most meetings and fundraising projects are conducted in churches, and recently there was even a serious debate among church officials to exclude opposition parishioners. 3) I consider his declaration that “CUD must inevitably be associated in some degree with Christianity” as outright rude, offensive, irresponsible, and horsy politics. It exploits the mood of the times by suggesting what should be done rather than telling what was factually done. There is no way Clapham could have gathered the religious denomination of CUD members. Ethiopia has more Moslems than Christians, and the reference to “nationalist” party gives no basis to assume any nationalist party is Christian dominated. Clapham came up with such regrettable conclusion by knowing that CUD is an Amhara chauvinist party in his mind, a “liberal” party in his pen.

It is too much to get into every line of Clapham’s cunning arguments. Let us just call it totally Machiavellian. In short, Clapham and Henze have now reached a state at which it is almost impossible to imagine them winning Oromo sympathy, even more so while continuing to demonstrate partisan politics. They have been able to retain a semblance of scholarly authority only because of that deference that Abyssinian scholars show to their “ferenj” supporters backed by political interest defending years of committed views. Their scholarly vulnerability has now been revealed.


Ethiopia, an objective discourse

However traumatic the sequence of the recent events had been for Meles, the euphoria of the 1991 victory over the Durg provided a momentum, an emotional sustenance which escorted him thus far - for 14 years. But no Ethiopian political observer shall deny that Meles is facing a serious combination of challenges – scattered combats of the OLF however inconsistent or innocuous they may seem, followed by the recent elections signaling that majority of the population prefer any change to the settled domination of the TPLF. So we saw a sudden rise of Amhara determination and will-power although it could still be made inconsequential by Meles’ military superiority. As a result I see only two developments, much fewer than those listed in Clapham’s comments:

I. The TPLF will shop and pick a partner from among independent Oromo or Amhara blocks to partly diffuse the rising pressure which could culminate into at least a political nuisance down the road, if not now. This should be seen as prudence Meles is capable of adopting in order to extend his political subsistence.
II. The TPLF/EPRDF will commit to no power sharing and continue ruling with ironclad in the absence of a contending power or until the country is made ungovernable by the rising pressure -, painful enough to change the course of history per 1974, wherever such pressures may come from.

Any other likelihood is less probable by large margins. These two scenarios leave the will and power to manipulate the outcome of any electons or negotiations in Ethiopia largely in the hands of the TPLF mainly because the opposition may own the momentum, but not the military power. However, owning the momentum may or may not resolve into political gain. I believe Oromos have in fact owned such momentum since 1991, but have not yet gathered its political yield. Here are some more reasons why the TPLF still holds the key to Menelik’s palace:

The Tigrean population is conditioned to believing the TPLF is invincible against any internal military encounter. Over the last 14 years we have witnessed the creation of a new myth of yet unknown lifespan replace another Abyssinian invincibility myth propagated by the Durg whose collapse was unthinkable up until its final days. The quality and self portrait of these myths have suffered a blow by the rising national movements, prime among these the struggle of the Oromo people. However declining the relevance of the myth may be, it has nonetheless offered a moving target for the Oromo and Southern struggles. The immediate aftermath of such invincibility propaganda following TPLF’s defeat that should come sooner or later remains to be one of Ethiopia’s greatest unknowns of the last few decades. Whether Meles will be able to protect a losing Tigray or provide an acceptable explanation of its defeat, there is a symmetry that should be expected from the Durg’s loss and the history of the country: the humiliated will rise and the risen will fall, and we may observe a recycled potent political value and the same policies of famine and war. And the Paul Henzes can delay this crude truth, but they can’t stop it.
The TPLF’s moral has been boosted by the military success of the EPRDF over Eritrea for which the TPLF took a larger share of the credit, and also by the military excursions to Kenyan, Sudanese, and Somali territories that were left uncontested. It did so under a pretext of combating terrorism, a claim that served the west to ignore TPLF’s international foul play. Clapham now even admits that it is likely for the TPLF to wage a border war against Eritrea in order to thwart attention from internal turmoil. Here he threw a punch against Tigray to bolster Amharas.
An important aspect of the Ethiopian military is that, as a result of the discharged Durg army, the country lost its growing national army diversity, leaving 80-90% of the top key officers in the army as Tigreans when Tigray represents only about 8% of the Ethiopian ethnic diversity. Thus, democratization of the military has been reversed by decades, while the political awareness made a considerable leap during the same decades. The situation leaves no serious threat to the TPLF except a possible internal challenge from within the TPLF ranks, a sudden surge of the OLF’s capacity, or a new front of the Amhara which I personally see as likely. But the civic opposition is growing as stated above and the opposition is gaining more momentum. This paradox between a growing political awareness of the civic population on one hand and the military hopelessness at the national power pack on the other hand characterizes Ethiopia’s political landscape of TPLF’s dominion. The civic and the military camps are in clear and sharp contradictions, interlocked by nationality and ethnic interests. I have the impression that this known fact is concealed by both writers.
Few internal scuffles and minor skirmishes here and there aside, the TPLF has not been tested militarily from within Ethiopia since 1992, and there is no immediate military threat if it chooses to suppress all and any rivals by sheer military force. Several specifics in the opposition camps are to blame for this situation. Lack of unity comes to mind as one of the reasons. Some in fact believe that the purging of Seye’s splinter group from the TPLF few years ago consolidated Meles’ power eliminating the only possible challenge from within the TPLF.
International donors are not going to interfere in Ethiopia’s affairs to a degree where they force Meles’ resignation, and expectations of mainstream Oromo or Ethiopian politicians in this regard has often been painfully naive. At times when such inputs come to rescue, they often come in such a destructive mode instead, as that of Clapham and Henze. The need to suppress this exaggerated expectation marks the only reason I list this point as the fifth.

In the backdrop of this colorless picture of the Ethiopian politics of the day, any political group posing to seriously challenge the TPLF has to do so with TPLF’s permission and remain at the mercy of the same as long as the TPLF is in charge of the military and the security. Here, one may think and hope that popular revolt of the 1974 type could do the trick. Well, such revolt was initiated few times over the last few years by AAU students including Oromos, and CUD even coined a taxi drivers’ general strike, copycat of the 1974 revolution which was also started by taxi drivers – so naive. All were suppressed easily as much by their own internal contradictions as by TPLF’s overwhelming power. Even if such revolt catches fire, I believe no benefit will come out of such popular urban revolt for the Oromo and the South because urban uprising will primarily favor the Amhara, not the Oromo. Also for this reason, any urban movement is unlikely to have Oromo support, a setting which may reestablish the TPLF as the dominant power then. The lack of a political settlement in the country favors the status quo, and based on what the Amhara politicians are brewing for the Oromos, I see no hope for peace d├ętente between the Amhara and Oromo camps. The problem with this tripartite front formation is that, an Amhara-Tigre unity is just as likely as Oromo-Tigre unity, although the Amharas may not be ready to give up their ambition to dominate the empire, and their recent successes only renewed their imperial appetite. The probability of Oromo-Tigre unity has therefore a slightly higher edge than the Amhara-Tigre unity, but this assumption should have little influence on Oromo political posturing for negotiations.

Recapping the five points listed above offers three hard realities:

a) I believe that all political dilemmas of Ethiopia curtailing issues of democratization in TPLF’s era are direct legacies of the deliberate and calculated evacuation of the Durg army. This is the first reality of Ethiopia’s political power balance today. This is shaped by the chemistry of the conflict among Ethiopian political spheres.

b) The squabble between the Amhara and Tigrean political establishments is for political dominance. This means the risks are also limited to political leadership since neither of the two aims at cultural domination of the other. The Oromo struggle for self determination distinguishes itself from power struggle since it inculcates self determination and deAmharization of the Oromo culture. This adds a relevant dimension to Oromo political calculations and risk analysis. The Amharas may or may not opt for armed struggle because they already determine their “self”, and in fact strife to determine even Oromo’s on behalf of the Oromos. So the table around which all sit and negotiate has different weight for all the stakeholders, the South and the Oromos having the most to gain or loose at the table. This second reality dictates the strategy along which political settlements must be accepted or rejected. As the bottom line, it is all a risk analysis in a land and country where the South and the Oromos have lost all or most of the risks they have taken for the sake of peace. This adds a third dimension to the Ethiopian realities.

c) The level of intrigues within the Ethiopian pretensions evidence that the Amharas and Tigreans are not ready for true and honest peace dialogue. The scenario is further complicated by high-powered foreign scholars who take odd sides encouraging despair, discouraging fair discourse, and tipping the balance of fair debate in favor of their favorite teams. Encouraged by such provisions, CUD, the leading Amhara organization even denies and defies article 39 of the constitution that recognizes the rights of nationalities and ethnic groups in Ethiopia. It is also busy crafting its own OPDO, electing a young Oromo woman as its deputy chair to continue sabotaging Oromo interests. How can Oromo mainstream politics trust this continued machination? This is a third reality of the Ethiopian politics. I see no transparent goodwill, no encouraging scenarios, and no decline of jingo-politics in Ethiopia. Whatever came as good for Oromo is here as a strategic value for Abyssinians to stay in power. They can not be trusted before they demonstrate trustworthy behaviors.


OLF and recent elections

In their long notes, the two writers made a big fuss about the May 2005 elections which were staged dramas for international consumption – a fact very well-known to our scholars, after all they are “Ethiopianists.” Clapham even reports about Prof. Pausewang’s deportation from Ethiopia for refusing to close his eyes to the corruptions and cookbooks of the election process. Such is the fate of an honest scholar. Ed Keller, a respected Prof from UCLA was deported in 1992 for visiting OLF’s office, Bonnie Holcomb was denied entry after being nominated as an observer, Truman is persona non grata, and hundreds of others are banned, but Henze enjoys open door to Ethiopian foreign offices so that he can praise elections doomed sham by all standards.

OLF did not participate in the elections after reading what was to come, and we today see indeed to have come. There were serious obstacles put to work to preclude participation of any organization with popular support posing a serious treat to EPRDF’s political domination. For example, there were three unreasonable conditions placed in front of the OLF for its participation in the election process. The first of the three conditions laid down by the TPLF to allow the OLF to participate in the elections was for the OLF to abandon the armed struggle. Given the three scenarios above, valid then as now, add the five reasons why Meles holds the key to Menelik’s palace to these scenarios, it is a suicide for the OLF then and now to abandon armed struggle for any verbal Abyssinian promise to respect Oromo self-determination. Foreign states and supper power “guarantees” have betrayed Oromos many times, and the only guarantee Oromos have is their own commitment. Therefore, in my view, given the several aborted peace initiatives and the degree of intrigues hanging over the empire, the only guarantee that secures Oromo rights for Oromo children if not for the current generation, is having an Oromo army that guards the interests of the Oromo people. An Oromo army is the only true light at the end of the tunnel. A tired democratization process in Ethiopia is not a reliable option for Oromo self determination; it submits Oromos to Abyssinian political machination dooming Oromo fate to their compassion.

The Oromo struggle should no more target diplomatic upper-hand as a primary, this is another trap laid by the Claphams and Henzes. Ofter all Oromos had such upper hand for 14 years. I believe Oromos need more visibility via armed struggle and organizational network.


In conclusion

True, no one has, and should have, monopoly on scholarship. Clapham and Henze are welcome to contribute to the knowledge base of Ethiopia. In fact, Oromo tradition beautifully accommodates diverse ideas be they from Oromos or non-Oromos. Most of the educated blue-collar population of Ethiopia comes from the two ethnic groups who dominated Ethiopia’s politics for over a century. As a result, there is an imbalance in the number of the educated, favoring the Amharas and the Tigreans. Scholars such as Clapham and Henze were invited by governments dominated by the two ethnic groups. While many invited international scholars maintained scholarly objectivity, some of the westerners created vested interests of their own, financial – through advising, marriage, or just personal friendship. Some still maintain close contacts with Ethiopian regimes. Some are invited to Ethiopia for lucrative consulting jobs. I am not aware of the role of both Clapham and Henze in the current Ethiopian regime. But I can tell, based on their writings, that they have not exhibited objectivity in their observations. By so being, they have attenuated the preexisting imbalance in Ethiopian scholarly debate in favor of the dominating ethnic groups. Writers and political activists, placed both culturally and physically so far from the impacts of the political solution they propose, should be extra careful in their activism which could be a matter of life and death for millions. I am disappointed to note that Clapham and Henze distorted facts and objectivism in Ethiopian politics and demonstrated recklessness in their analyses. Scholars of this caliber could suggest that Ethiopia, a country that Clapham counts as complex, uses its ethnic diversity to check and balance political power and establish a democratic and just government liked and trusted at least by majority of its citizens. What happened to the scholarly tradition of defending the wicked and the truth?

It is disheartening to read that some scholars are so willing to distort the field when all Oromos and the Ethiopian South ask is for a level playing field. I am aware that many Oromos think Clapham and Henze are not equally guilty albeit their style and radically identical ethnic commitment. As I stated above, an ordinary reader would make Henze a far more Tigrean fundamentalist than Clapham an Amhara fundamentalist, and perhaps rightly so. However, reading texts of Clapham and Henze, Clapham sounds more Machiavellian, more calculating in his commitment - perhaps aware of the damage he could cause to his image as a scholar, or perhaps cognizant that he can do better convincing on behalf of the Amhara by posing objective. As a result, he sleekly conceals his taking of sides. His nepotism is not as obvious as Henze’s from the outset. In this he is astonishingly similar to the shrewd Amhara bureaucrats I grew observing. They can do you harm while posturing to be your friends. Whether he learnt this from them, or they captured it from him, it is probably that imperial trait. Henze, on the contrary, is outright open and easy to read, blatantly pro TPLF as passionately as a Tigrean scholar could be. That is why I lumped both together in my rebuttal; ain’t worth the sifting.

Nagaan,
Kallacha Dubbi
December 11, 2005

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Letter - Jimma University Oromo Students

Date: November 11, 2005

To: Federal Democratic republic of Ethiopia
Prime Minister Office
Finfine
From: Jimma University Oromo Students

Issue: Seeking of Constitutional right and expressing Objection
It have been more than a century that the Oromo people are colonized by domestic colonizers, due to some peoples act of treason and power balance. History shows that between 1870 – 1900 the number of the nation decreased form 10 mil to 5 mil. The colonizers have tried all their best to eradicate and suppress the language culture and humanity of the nation even if things ware not here as expected due to the sacrificial struggle for self-defense of the people.

Even in to days so called “Democratic Ethiopia” the answer for people who raised genuine questions of liberation was bullet; thousands have died, disabled and more than 18,000 are still in prison under the guise of OLF supporters. What is more human right watch report released recently before the election can be a good assessment of the regime with regard to the Oromos. The countless effort of the government to disregard the question of the Oromo people is unsuccessful and Ethiopia has no peace, stability and prosperity. After demonstration and discussion on those realities, we Jimma University Oromo students have proposed the following short term and long-term solution on behalf of the Oromo people who is around 40 million.

We hereby ask all responsible bodies to answer our questions and failure to act accordingly may entail risk and the government is responsible for it.
Short-term solution
1. Oromia should be administered by indigenous Oromos. Depose Minase W/Georgies (Aba Dula) and his colleague form power.
2. Finfine and Dire dawa should be accountable for the Oromia regional government as a zone.
3. Free all Mecha and Tulema civic organization leaders and open the office.
4. Free all political prisoners and compensate all kind of victims.
5. Stop firing bullet as a solution to legal real and constitutional questions.
6. As far as Oromos (amounting to half of the Ethiopian populations) are not represented by free Oromo organizations (OLF) the recent election cannot represent us.
7. The agenda of Oromo liberation front is the agenda of Oromos, so don’t try to separate the two.
8. The prime minister should keep his integrity in opening talk with the OLF.
9. Stop fighting on Oromo land
Long term solution
¨ Make effective Art 39 of the FDRE constitution “The right to self determination up to session”
· Conduct referendum
v Answering the question of Oromo is setting the corner stone for the peace and stability of the horn of Africa.

With regards,
Jimma University Oromo Students

C.C
¨ The house of peoples representative
¨ The house of federation
¨ Council of Oromia regional state
¨ Council of Minster’s
¨ Minster of federal affairs
¨ European union parliament
¨ The united nation
¨ The USA embassy
¨ The Norway embassy
¨ The Germany embassy
¨ All concerned body

Map of oromia

Map of oromia