WELCOME TO OROMONET

The Home of Oromo Views & headline News from the Horn of Africa

Gabcast! Gotoota Oromo Haa Yaadannu. #17 - Wallee.






Sunday, December 31, 2006

Resolution of the OLF National Council

December 28, 2006 - The National Council of the Oromo Liberation Front held its 2nd regular meeting from December 23 –28, 2006. After conducting a thorough deliberation on all pertinent issues facing the organization and the just struggle of the Oromo as well as all other people in Ethiopia and the region, it concluded its meeting by passing the following resolution. 1. The Council noted the conspicuous and qualitative improvements in the performance of the organization witnessed over the last two years. It finds that our struggle has entered a new and decisive phase. The Council adopted new action plans to overcome discernable challenges that remain in a few key areas. 2. The peaceful resolution of the Oromo question has been our long-standing policy and the desire of our people. However, our genuine effort for peace has been blocked by the continuing intransigence of the TPLF regime. Rather than seeking a political solution to the just demands of the Oromo people and the worsening political crisis, the regime declared war on OLF and the Oromo people through its rubber stamp Parliament on its session of December, 2006. The OLF and the Oromo people are therefore left with no option but to defend against the TPLF aggression. Consequently, the Council calls on its members, supporters and the entire Oromo people to redouble their efforts and work tirelessly to mobilize and rally all material and human resources for their just struggle for freedom. In this regard, the Council would like to remind all concerned that the TPLF regime and it alone is responsible for the consequences.3. For more than a century the Oromo people have been subjected to political domination, social subjugation and economic exploitation by succeeding repressive Ethiopian regimes. For decades our people have been engaged in a protracted struggle against these injustices. The ongoing peaceful resistance all over Oromia have shaken the political basis of the TPLF regime and further demonstrated the unshakable commitment of our people to free itself from the tyranny. The Council noted the selfless and vanguard role of students, teachers, youth, farmers and business people in spearheading the nation-wide peaceful uprising. We call upon our people at home and abroad to stand in unison and rally behind the OLF and intensify the struggle in a coordinated and efficient manner until the right of the Oromo people for self-determination is realized.4. The TPLF regime is perpetrating gross violations of political and civil rights in Ethiopia today. Thousands are languishing in the prisons. Many have been detained for a long period of time without charge or trial. Some have been summarily executed. The rule of law and due process of law are routinely undermined. In sum, arbitrary and repressive rule have become the norm. The Council condemns these cruel and inhuman acts and calls on all the people in Ethiopia to intensify their struggle to win freedom for all political prisoners.5. In addition, the TPLF regime is instigating inter-communal and inter-religious conflict in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. The Council calls up on the Oromo people and other peoples in Ethiopia and the region to continue to demonstrate peaceful co-existence and tolerance and not to be drawn into this malicious TPLF-instigated discord.6. Due to the worsening human rights situation and the suppression of political, civil and social rights, many judges, parliamentarians, diplomats and other high-ranking officials, have taken the bold step of dissociating themselves from the regime and joining the camp of the struggle for freedom after realizing the impossibility of advancing and guarding the interest of the people within the system. In particular the courageous action taken by hundreds of Oromos in the Ethiopian army organized under the heroic leadership of senior military officers to abandon the regime and join the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) is historic and unparalleled in the tortuous history of our people. Whilst applauding this historical undertaking, the Council calls upon Oromos who are serving in the TPLF regime to join the just struggle and defend their people.7. Since the collapse of the central Somali government in 1991, several attempts at national reconciliation have been made. However, these efforts to reconstruct the Somali state have yet to bear fruit. The continuous interference of the TPLF regime remains the major obstacle for reconciliation of the Somali people and the restoration of the Somali state. The Council believes the way out of the current deadlock is dialogue between Somali forces and the cessation of foreign interference in Somali affairs. 8. The Council commends the effort of the OLF leadership in forming a broad-based Alliance that coordinates and expedites the struggle for freedom and democracy in Ethiopia. It is the belief of the Council that the formation of the Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD) is a milestone in the political developments in Ethiopia. The Alliance provides a viable alternative to the failed and disastrous policies of the TPLF regime that is taking the country and the region on a course of destruction. Accordingly while instructing the OLF Executive Committee to persevere in its commendable efforts in implementing the Founding Agreement and the action plans of the Alliance, we call on all political forces in Ethiopia to join the Alliance and bring about a speedy end to the suffering of the people in Ethiopia and the worsening political crisis. Victory to the Oromo People!National CouncilOromo Liberation FrontDecember 28, 2006

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

AJC asks who are these people meles is "using" to fight his war?

Are they not the same people he has been terrorizing for years? Are they not the same people whom he has silenced by bullets? -
December 12, 2006 -
The current news in Ethiopia is that Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia is declaring war on Somalia. He warns that war with Somalia is imminent—that the terrorists are coming to Ethiopia and are providing arms to the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and to the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF). Meles says Ethiopia must respond with military force against all three groups: the Council of Islamic Courts, the OLF and the ONLF. He speaks as if he is attacking Islamic terrorists or those who supply guns to “Islamic terrorists” in the OLF and ONLF, but many question his motives.
Instead, many Ethiopians strongly oppose this war and suspect the prime minister of using our young Ethiopian men and women to fight in a war, not for Ethiopia, but for his own political survival. They question the facts.
For instance, if Meles is actually fighting against Islamic terrorist strongholds, why does he partner with Omar al-Bashir of the Sudan, a country where terrorists have been known to seek safe harbor and where the Constitution of the country is based on Sharia law? If Meles is fighting against those who supply guns to the OLF and the ONLF, why is he not fighting against Eritrea, a known supplier of arms to Ethiopian resistance groups? If he is fighting against terrorism, why does he not change from being a terrorist of his own people?
This leads to the question, who are these people Meles is “using” to fight his war? Are they not the same people he has been terrorizing for years? Are they not the same people whom he has silenced by bullets? After turning Ethiopia into a police state, how can he ask young people to give up their lives for such a brutal regime? Perhaps these young people are those outside his own group of EPRDF loyalists, making them expendable, merely instruments of his own purposes.
Just look at Ethiopian websites to see how prevalent is the opinion amongst Ethiopians that this is not a war for Ethiopia, but another attempt by Meles to divert attention from his own political crisis. It is a demonstration of how desperate he is to save himself from the death of his own failing regime. This is not a government elected by the people, but yet Meles now wants to “use” these very same people. He denied the people of Ethiopia their rights to a fair election in 2005 when without basis, he self-proclaimed the EPRDF as the winners. He is now using their young people to fight a war where they may lose their lives.
Why should they fight “his fight for survival” when his survival means more of the same oppression and brutality to the people of Ethiopia? How outrageous! It testifies to the moral vacuum that exists within the government! There is great reason to question fighting against those “on the outside” when we Ethiopians are suffering so much because of the “EPRDF terrorists in our midst.” How many in our larger Ethiopian family are now locked up in prison? How many have been massacred, tortured or have starved to death when it could have been prevented? Do we have freedom, liberty or the rule of law? Do our children have the benefit of an education? Are Ethiopians better off than when the Derg was in power—or than we were five years ago?
A second essential question to ask is, do we have a legitimate right to enter Somalia and attack them? How would most countries react if thousands of troops were sent across an international border? Yet, this is allegedly what Meles has done in Somalia. Meles admitted to sending some military advisors, but denied sending thousands of Ethiopian troops into Somalia. However, who can trust Meles? A later UN report indicated there were 8000 Ethiopian defense troops in Somalia. No wonder Somalis are angry! What he is doing is provoking a war with our neighbors that could have long-lasting and devastating results to all of us.
To ever justify a war, the reasons must be very strong. What are we fighting for?
In Canada, the United States and other free societies, people are willing to defend the maintenance of the freedoms and liberties they find so precious, but will fighting this war prevent our own family members from being detained, tortured or killed with the end resulting on freedom for Ethiopia?
Instead, Ethiopia has deteriorating politically, economically and socially. Development and the infrastructure have regressed or have been destroyed by EPRDF defense troops in many areas like much the case in Gambella. Meager attempts in the past towards democracy building have degenerated even further and Ethiopia has become a totalitarian state.
We are dying of HIV, malaria, dysentery and starvation. We are at the bottom of almost every index, including amongst our African brothers and sisters, yet this regime advances an elitist and proud attitude over other Africans-- for what reason?
Meles sounds the alarm that the terrorists are coming, but why do we think we can believe this government? If there were a real threat to Ethiopia, why should we trust that the EPRDF will really address it and actually stop terrorism from coming to Ethiopia (that is, terrorism from outsiders)?
Muslims, Christians and Jews in Ethiopia have enjoyed amicable relations for years, but Meles appears to want to create the threat of religious division as a legitimate basis for this new war. But, he has had to again put his blood-stained gloves on to try to make his case. There are new allegations that Meles has “fomented and staged” religious conflict to do it[1] and then called on his “religious” pro-government loyalists to support him even against the people of faith in their own community of believers!
This occurred in September and October of this year in the Oromia region where reports to the Anuak Justice Council (AJC) from witnesses on the ground testified that EPRDF defense troops, accompanied by militia groups, were secretly involved in the slaughter of Christians, instead of the new emergence of “radical Muslims” in Ethiopia as reported in the international press. We have heard that Muslims in other areas were killed, but we have no current information as to whether EPRDF troops were involved; however, we do have reports from witnesses that EPRDF defense troops were encouraging Christians to retaliate against Muslims.
The AJC put out a press release warning Ethiopians to avoid falling into this potential trap meant to establish a reason for keeping Meles in power. Now this “staged and EPRDF fomented violence” is being used as a basis for declaring war on Somalia! To further this outrageous deceit, Elias Redman, the vice president of the Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council (EIASC) was quoted in a recent article [2] where he blamed 500 extremists who he said had been trained in Somalia. He reports to Agence France-Presse in an interview in Addis Ababa, “There is a small minority [of Islamic fundamentalists] in Ethiopia, not more than 500 fanatics, but trained in Somalia and very active.” The author of the article indicates that Mr. Elias and his organization support the war with Somalia.
Who is Elias Redman? He is Sheik Elias Redman who was one of the two judges out of eight on the Commission of Inquiry who voted no—essentially supporting that the EPRDF government of Meles did not use excessive violence during the peaceful student rally protesting the outcome of the national election of 2005 where 193 unarmed Ethiopians were shot dead by EPRDF security forces. Others on the Commission, like Judge Woldemichael Meshesha, Judge Frehiwot Samuel and Ato Mituku Teshome, had to flee for their lives into exile for following their consciences and voting for truth. Sheik Redman and Dr. Mekonnen Disasa were the only two who supported Meles.
Why should he be believed now as he has turned his back on the Ethiopian people? How can a religious leader lead when he is allegedly under the control of the government? This can happen in any faith and with any leaders willing to compromise their beliefs out of fear or for other unknown reasons. Yet, he is right when by default, he talks about the overwhelming religious tolerance of others in Ethiopia towards each other.
The following is an example of such good relations as recently told to the AJC. One Ethiopian man recently told us about his experience with religious tolerance in the North part of Ethiopia in 1981. When he visited, he wanted to attend the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, but was told that a key was needed to open the church. Because the head of the church was out of the area, they would have to go to Muhammad, the head of the local mosque, for the key. The two leaders had so much trust and respect for each other that despite their differences of belief, one could help out the other when the other was away. This is the history of religious tolerance in Ethiopia.
In addition, Meles claims that Ethiopia is a Christian nation, but its people are at least half Muslim. It appears as if he is manipulating the facts and circumstances for his own self-interests, ultimately attempting to divide the two religious and betraying both as a result. With one hand, Meles is said to be promoting Islamic Wahabism throughout Ethiopia through his close association with people like Sheik Al-Moudi while with the other hand, he allegedly is willing to fight for a “less radical” Islamic government in Somalia.
It is understandable if this is all very confusing. To simplify, it appears that Meles is on the side that will most help him hang onto power. Due to the cycle of famine and political mismanagement, corruption Ethiopia has become a “donee,” country, to influence with huge amounts of world resources from donor countries enabling it to play the bloody and victim-filled game of how to destroy or be destroyed. This is opportunism at its worst.
It is a dangerous war of trickery and if it is successful, the ongoing issues of the widespread human rights abuses, the sabotage of the democratic process and the imprisonment of the opposition leaders and thousands of other political prisoners throughout the country will disappear. None of these issues were given hardly any importance in the international news media, but now, as the crisis between Ethiopia and Somalia is gathering much interest, it will be sure to overpower these other important issues directly affecting Ethiopians.
Meles, and others supporting him, should be aware that once a war is started with Somalia, it will ignite the tensions in the Horn of Africa and be difficult to control. It may set off equally tense problems within Ethiopia because fewer and fewer Ethiopians are willing to sit by and do anything as their “un-elected leader” forces them into a war that is unjustifiable. Many Ethiopians and Somalis will be killed needlessly.
Negotiation and other less invasive alternatives should be tried, tried and tried again. Ethiopia is in such a mess themselves, how can they help another country improve that is also struggling with the desire for freedom, liberty and the rule of law? It is the blind leading the blind. If one looks historically at the background of Meles and his loyal EPRDF supporters, one will see a pattern of immoral acts committed to gain and maintain power and control. Many lives of human beings were lost in the process with little apparent regard for their worth, but with much calculation as to how to avoid responsibility for it.
For example, when the EPRDF government troops killed the Anuak in Gambella in December of 2003, they blamed others for it, as they did not want to ruin their image. For such heartless perpetrators of human rights crimes, the EPRDF is extremely sensitive to how they appear to others; after all, it could threaten the affections of those handing out the money.
Another more recent example of such government perpetrated violence, followed by a subsequent cover-up, is that of the killing of 193 protestors following the election by the EPRDF government in June and November. After agreeing to an investigation into the killings due to international pressure, a board of commission was appointed to investigate the killings.
According to recent testimony from the above-mentioned judges, who sought asylum due to threats against them, they exposed that Meles had instructed the commission that they should use the example of the Anuak massacred, Gambella investigative report (a white-washed report) as the model of how they should complete their own investigation into whether the government used excessive force.
When the report was leaked that the government used excessive force and that government security forces had killed 193 people, almost simultaneously, as previously referred to, there were reports in the news regarding the religious conflict in Oromia. The timing appeared to be used as a way to divert attention away from the report and to secure new support from the west for the War on Terror.
After the judges testified before the US Congress and exposed the facts that Meles had indeed used excessive violence, Meles almost immediately announced that a war with Somalia was imminent. It appears he was highly embarrassed because he had appointed the board himself and eight out of ten of them had opposed him, refusing to adopt his “spin” on the violence, despite high levels of pressure. This kind of attitude of self-protection by any means, even to the extent of taking others’ lives, not only has to change for Meles, but for all Ethiopians who are seeking real change for their country and for Africans wanting the same for the continent. Our leaders get into power and refuse to leave. In their attempts to hang on to power, they forget about the dignity and worth of other human beings and trample on the rights and lives of others.
In every society there are people who are willing to take a stand for truth and right and those eight on the Commission of Inquiry, who stood up against the pressure, are some of those. They are heroes—champions of humanity. The government harassed, threatened and attempted to bribe them out of their moral convictions, but they did not succeed. They chose to follow their consciences. It is so encouraging and inspiring seeing such people who love the truth to the point they are willing to sacrifice so much.
If Meles really understood that some day he will ultimately be held accountable before God, he might not have insisted on a false report like given by the Gambella Commission of Inquiry, or cited it to be used by the Inquiry Commission as a “good” example to emulate. If he knew that life is given by God and could be taken by God at any time; that we have only a short time here on earth to accomplish what God wants us to do and then to face judgment for an eternity, he may not have been so quick to hide the injustice, oppression and suffering he is inflicting on the weak and powerless.
Each of us must choose how to use our lives and if we miss God’s real purposes for us, which always include loving, caring, nurturing others as ourselves, we can end up inflicting hatred, pain and suffering on others. We must consider that the luxury we seek, should not come at the expense of others who want to feed and care for their loved ones and themselves. We should live as if we could face such judgment tomorrow. Yet we need good examples and leadership, but where is it?
Our souls are exploding with eagerness for guidance from our political leaders, but nothing is coming out from them except for infighting within and between groups. Instead it is a time to join together to fight against the evil system that Meles leads, but as we fight, he is laughing at our dilemma.
We are constantly responding to some new action by the EPRDF government, like the declaration of war against Somalia. We are on the defensive instead of being pro-active with our own agenda that has unified backing. While the Kinijit is fighting like two elephants against each other, we are the grass that is being pushed down upon in-between the two of them.
Ninety-five percent of the Ethiopians involved in the Diaspora were jolted to involvement because of the millions coming out for the rally, election and post-election protests. They saw that the people of Ethiopia were ready for change. When the protestors were shot in June and November their passion to help deepened. However, when the opposition leaders were imprisoned, the movement lost its direction and some of its fire, but now that the leaders are divided, many are losing their hope. As this continues, those unwilling to pick sides may go back to their apartments and disappear again. This would be a tremendous loss for all of us and a victory for our adversary.
Yes, some of the fighting may ultimately refine each side and give more integrity to the organization, but it is taking precious time and we are losing casualties along the way. We must stop giving Meles reason to celebrate. Keep in mind, if our leaders are not leading in the direction you believe is right, speak up and sound the alarm so we do not go down together. We are at the side of the river and must cross, but we have to get in the right canoe. The river is full of crocodiles so be sure the one who is to give you a ride to the other side knows how to paddle or you both might drown. We can hold our leaders accountable, making sure they “know how to paddle” until we can all find our way to the other side of the river without being eaten by the crocodiles. But, it is very important—do not give up on the wrong side of the river. We must keep working.
For the sake of the country, we must put aside some of our differences and start caring about people in different groups outside our own such as the people of Ogaden who are under much difficulty now that the focus is on Somalia. It will have a tremendous impact on the region. Right now, less is going on with the Anuak in Gambella, partly because so many troops are in Ogaden, but now the EPRDF is looking for 1400 young Anuak men who survived the massacre to go fight for Meles! Meles will kill the Anuak either way.
At the same time that we should be caring more about some of the groups in most jeopardy, we should also be doing more ourselves to correct the situation rather than expecting the US, Canada, UK or other western countries to solve our problems. We must take ownership of the problems facing Ethiopians, as we are the primary stakeholders in our own country. However, we cannot be so focused on our fear, especially in the Diaspora. Those outside Ethiopia frequently say that are afraid to speak up here in the west, fearing that they will not be allowed to go back to Ethiopia. But we should ask, what country will we have to go back to if this oppression and injustice continues to go on and we do nothing to stop it?
Those in the Diaspora must do as much as they can, but the real work of pursuing freedom must come from those actually living in Ethiopia. Remember the millions who came out to rally for change and the many more millions that came out to vote. Remember those who died protesting the hijacking of the election. The challenges are great, but not unattainable.
We have examples in our history. When the Italians invaded Ethiopia, Ethiopians did not wait for outsiders to come to help. They used whatever tools they had available and eventually succeeded. A major obstacle to us now is the loss of unity and a sense of powerlessness that predominates our thinking.
Remember the Biblical verse where Jesus says, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”[3] We are called to persist boldly in prayer and to “not give up.”[4] Recently, a parliamentarian from South Africa shared with members of the AJC that before apartheid fell in South Africa, 70,000 people had come out to a stadium and had prayed for change. She was convinced that it created a miracle for South Africa where truth and reconciliation hearings replaced violence and killing. It enabled a wounded people and society to join together through confession, repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation. It made it possible for South Africa to move on and flourish in a way that probably would never have happened otherwise.
Right now, we urgently need people who will not give up despite the odds. We must be pro-active rather than defensive or passive. What we have seen is this: Meles does something and Ethiopians react. It is about time that we do something and put Meles in the position of reacting. We must join together, not only against a system that needs a major change, but also for the change of our thinking that must take place to ensure that it promotes more than just a superficial political change.
We must be rid of the thinking that supports an uncaring attitude about others outside our groups. Until we can care enough about others—until we are willing to protect them from harm and until we grieve for them during their losses, we will remain stuck in a social system built to fail.
For instance, our precious Tigrayan children of today and tomorrow should not suffer because of Meles. Their Tigrayan families may be holding back their support of ousting Meles because they are afraid that should he fall, other Ethiopians, with hate-filled hearts against Meles, would recklessly seek revenge on any Tigrayan without regard to guilt or innocence. That would be evil! It would be an outrage against God and humanity and a horrible shame to our nation. We would become the new Meles’ of the future! May God forbid that we would take on the role of the destroyers of our own people and nation—the Hitlers of Ethiopia!
We must seek justice and accountability for the guilty instead of seeking ethnic vengeance. Ethnically based vengeance or privilege to the harm of others is the kind of tribalistic thinking that is cursing us and so many others in Africa. If we call ourselves members of a civil society, we must reject this thinking and stop it in whatever way is possible. Instead, we must love the rule of law and establish justice that is fair and equitable for all people in Ethiopia. Because we know we are imperfect people, we must protect ourselves from ourselves. That protection must have truth as its foundations so that our laws are based on that truth. For example, until our government develops laws to protect the weak from the strong and implements such laws fairly, we will continue to use and abuse fellow human beings.
Yet, a strong legal foundation cannot compensate for a lack of moral conviction and discipline in a society. Societies that are most free and flourishing are those where its individual members are ruled first by his or her conscience, affecting their daily relationships around them. As this becomes a widespread value throughout the society, a society is transformed.
Without such a moral, Ethiopia can have the best Constitution in the world, but still miserably fail unless the Ethiopian people grasp how important it is to examine one’s own life with God’s view of it in mind rather than our own limited view. This view allows the same freedoms to anyone, regardless of their values, beliefs and individual attributes.
If Meles really understood that he is not here forever would he do the same? Would his desperate search for self-importance and self-fulfillment at the expense of others be worth it once on his deathbed? Would he have really accomplished anything? Does he have a transforming faith in God? He will have to answer those questions himself, but so must we for ourselves.
We must ask ourselves why we have been given the gift of life and how can we use it in a way that is honoring to our Creator? The life you have is not yours, but has been handed to you by God. Would our families who brought us into this world, believe we accomplished anything if we used our life to kill, torture and oppress the children of other people?
We must apply these principles to people outside our families, clans, villages and ethnic and religious groups. God created them also and we should not look down on His creation but instead show love, care and respect towards others no matter what their race, religion, ethnic background, gender, age or educational background.
We must give up thinking that “my tribe is best” or that light skinned is better than dark-skinned or that women can be mistreated and abused because they are physically weaker. We are not as good of people as we think. We must destroy the thinking that is destroying us individually, as families, ethnic groups and as Ethiopians, as Africans and as human beings.
We should consider what our purposes might be and pursue them even if they do not bring fame, power or riches. The rewards of the simple life, lived well, may be far greater than the life lived in the public eye, with much public attention, esteem and wealth. It may be the life lived caring for others around each of us, in simple ways that may be most honoring to God as long as we seek His purposes first.
In our culture, oftentimes we have taken “tribal” positions where once we disagree with someone, we make it into a disagreement with another human being rather than with the idea or philosophy of that person. What has frequently resulted is the stirring up of anger between the other person’s “tribe” and your own. Rather than debate the idea, the person and the person’s “tribe” is rejected or attacked—sometimes in revenge with the loss of lives. Each “tribe” covers up for its own members and applies the law inequitably towards those outside their groups. Some of our political leaders think democracy should only apply to them and not outsiders from their group.
This is why the opposition leaders are locked up. Meles liked democracy for himself and “his tribe only.” We must also learn how to lose. Knowing how to accept losing is an extremely important part of getting along in this world.
All of this thinking must change if we are to become a civil society, respecting each other and learning from each other. The way we think is the way we are. Unless we re-examine our ideas and discard the bad ones, we will not succeed and will continue to traumatize other human beings. We will be held accountable some day for that.
People need to ask themselves these questions early in life and regularly thereafter, especially people in powerful positions who can make life better or worse for others. We Ethiopians are in a position where we are balancing on a dangerous precipice of war. We should evaluate whether the factual basis for this war is propaganda meant to prolong a brutal regime or whether there is actual danger facing Ethiopia.
Right now the “Meles tribe” is in power rather than Ethiopians. This does not include most Tigrayans, but a favored few—the rest are intimidated, controlled or in secret opposition. By lies, cover-up, harassment, threats and oppression, this small favored group has maintained their position and benefits, which are many. Until we Ethiopians refuse to replace the “Meles tribe” with another “tribe”, we are dangerous to each other! Unless we replace our tribal thinking with broader acceptance of Ethiopians as human beings, not emphasizing our ethnicity, we will never be free and ready for liberation. We need someone who is a human being first and then an Ethiopian.
A Meles “look alike,” with simply another face, is not freedom. It is not what we need. We need a moral transformation. We need to value human life outside our groups as we do in our own groups. Until then, let our suffering and pain become our teachers until we learn well the lessons of being human from God’s perspective.
In the meantime, let us try to solve our problems in our own country without inflicting harm on others. The Somali people must also rise up to take action for what they want as a people. If they desire freedom, liberty and the rule of law, it cannot be based on tribalistic thinking like we have in Ethiopia or it is doomed to fail.
May Ethiopians, Somalis, Eritreans, Sudanese, and others in the Horn and throughout Africa, be freed from the bondage and destruction caused by our own thinking. God has a long history of releasing people from bondage and slavery. May God show us how to do it without killing each other!
=========================================For additional information, please contact:The Director of International Advocacy:Phone (306) 933-4346E-mail: advocacy@anuakjustice.org
http://www.anuakjustice.org/061212WhoFightsMelesWar.htm

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Testimony of Dr. Shigut Geleta, Foreign Relation Officer of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) for Europe Regional Zone

Testimony of Dr. Shigut Geleta, Foreign Relation Officer of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) for Europe Regional Zone, at the Irish Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, Sub-Committee on Human Rights of the Irish Parliament (December 6, 2006), Dublin, Ireland. -

Mr Chairman,
Honourable Deputies and Senators,
Esteemed Defenders of Human Rights, -

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me begin by saying that I am extremely honoured for this opportunity to address before you about the plight of the Oromo people, the policy of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) as well as the general human rights and the security situation in Ethiopia and the Horn.

Please allow me to say a word or two, by way of introduction, about the Oromo people. The Oromo accounts for close to 50% of the population in Ethiopia. Prior to being incorporated into the modern Ethiopian state in the last quarter of the 19th century, the Oromos lived in freedom under a uniquely democratic and indigenous institution called the Gada system. Under such a system, which is a replica of the evolving theory of deliberative democracy, the Oromos democratically administered themselves, elected their leaders and enacted laws through their representatives. After the occupation, such Oromo institutions were dismantled and replaced with a hierarchical and dehumanizing system. Ever since then successive regimes subjected the Oromo to domination, subjugation, exploitation. This is how a majority became marginalized.

I am narrating this not to dwell on the past but to show the genesis and birth of the OLF over 30 years ago to end this misery and injustice. With the fall of the imperial regime, we hoped the hierarchical structures rooted in a history of conquest and domination will be levelled out and that our people’s existence as second-class citizens would come to end. It did not. Under the Dergue domination and the hierarchical ordering of communities continued in the form of socialism and totalitarianism. OLF had to continue its struggle through other means.

In 1991, the collective efforts of the liberation forces ended the era of the Dergue. We stepped forward to reconfigure Ethiopia as the common homeland of all its diverse nations and nationalities. We took a risk to usher in a new era of democracy and freedom. Our optimism was once again quickly dashed. The ruling party failed to live up to its promises. It violated our agreement to introduce genuine democracy, install the superiority of the rule of law, restructure the centralized state administration by devolving power to the grassroots, so that each nation and nationality administer its affairs. Instead it pursued the policy of monopolizing power and domination continued in the name of pseudo democracy and federalism. As a result we were forced once again to go underground and resort to armed struggle--- with a hefty price.

We however continued to explore opportunities for just peace even after the abortion of the Transitional arrangement. We participated in different bilateral and multilateral talks with different stakeholders to peacefully resolve all outstanding issues. Our good faith participation in the many attempts to broker a just settlement with the assistance of the US, Germany and Norway attests to our ceaseless search for peace.

The peoples of Ethiopia had dreamt and were promised that the post-Mengistu era would be an era of equality, peace, and of civil liberty. Instead torture, extra-judicial killings, disappearances, detention without warrants, overruling decisions of courts, snatching democratically won elections, harassment of the Free Press and civil society have reigned.
The May 2005 elections were a landmark. Of course Oromos did not have much of a choice. Despite this shortcoming, it demonstrated that EPRDF cannot rule as in the past without resorting to ever-increasing draconian measures, and resorting to draconian measures they have.

The overwhelming majority of our population has rejected the ruling party. However, the regime continues to trample upon their yearnings for freedom and democracy using its military and security apparatus. It kills, displaces, detains and tortures anyone who dissents with impunity. The judiciary is turned into a kangaroo court. Opponents are detained on tramped up charges and denied their days in court. The rubber-stamp parliament is simply a fa├žade to create an appearance of representation.

Human rights violations are prevalent in Oromia and have been so during the last 15 years. In the Qalitti prison itself where senior Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) leaders are unjustly held, there are over 300 Oromo prisoners. They have been rotting in there for years without due process of law, without any international scrutiny. Upwards of 30,000 Oromo prisoners of conscience are detained throughout Oromia. Leaders of Matcha and Tulama, the longest surviving Oromo NGO and a symbol of our tortuous struggle for freedom and democracy continue to be detained for years. They did not commit any offence. They are held in prison in utter disregard of court orders. Several Oromo students were/are killed, detained, and arbitrarily suspended or dismissed from universities. The repression is not limited to the Oromo alone, although I must admit it is where the most horrific violations take place and mostly away from the spotlight. No population group in Ethiopia is spared this ordeal. In fact as the regime gets more insecure, paranoid about its slipping grip on power, repression has become a knee-jerk reaction.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Oromo and the other people in Ethiopia believed in Western pronouncements about respect for human rights, democracy, good governance, and accountability. But the silence as these ideals are flagrantly violated is regrettably testing this belief. We are told that the West does not have the leverage. How does this square with the truth when the regime survives with Western money? After last year’s broad daylight killings we had hoped, the west would review this policy of not looking tyranny in the eye but rather rewarding it.

We are encouraged by recent criticism of the violations of human rights and the deficit of freedom and democracy in Ethiopia by the Irish government. And I hope this hearing would mark a watershed.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please allow me now to briefly elaborate on my organization’s guiding principles. Until recently OLF has restricted itself to advocating the democratic rights of the Oromo people. We have done this in order to allay the suspicions of those who might think we are aspiring to dominate Ethiopia on the backs of the huge size of our constituency.

We are still committed to enabling our people to exercise its inalienable right to self-government, to ending its subject status. But given its huge democracy and central location, the Oromo bears great and special responsibility in creating the conditions for democracy and stability. It is in our self-interest to champion democracy and freedom for all. Oromo nationalism has reached a new stage in its phenomenal development. As a majority population, while the Oromo cannot expect freedom and democracy as a gift from others, it has to work with others to usher in a new era of not only freedom and democracy but also stability.

It is in this spirit that OLF took a key role in the formation of the Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD). AFD brings together the major Ethiopian opposition parties and liberation organizations. Its birth has created hope that a new beginning is possible. By bringing together the cross section of the society across the divides, AFD and its inclusive vision have offered a real alternative to the regime on power.

Given the extraordinary situation, only the convening of an all-inclusive conference can remove the underlying causes of the crisis in Ethiopia. AFD has called for such a dialogue, which the ruling party is rejecting. Instead it is taking ill-conceived military adventures. The declaration of war on Somalia is meant to deflect attention from the deteriorating situation at home. In an unprecedented it has also declared war on the opposition. This is would only make the situation worse. It would cause regional instability. It would sour relations between religious groups.

Ethiopia is at a dangerous turning point again. Sensing insecurity and instability, senior commanders, diplomats, high officials and judges are defecting. The political space is closed than ever before. There are thousands of political prisoners. Repression and severe restriction on civil liberties is creating an explosive situation. The crisis will get worse unless the regime heeds the call for dialogue. However, for this to happen, Europe and the US have to stop handling the ruling party and the Prime Minister with a kid’s glove. I hope this hearing will be a catalyst for the start of a process culminating in a change of policy on Ethiopia.

Thank you.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Somalia War, a cover for genocide against the Oromos

By Siddise Abamagal -
Dec 4, 2006 — The current development in the Horn seems to be eclipsing the Oromo people’s quest for freedom, justice, democracy and self determination. This is exactly what the Zenawi minority regime has been planning for years. It is an open secret that Oromos have been the major victims of this regime. Oromo political forces, haven been the main opponents and challengers of the Tigrain People Liberation Front (TPLF) misrule. The rise of Oromo nationalism combined with awareness about the increasing human rights abuses and lootings of the Oromian resources by TPLF-managed companies are posing serious challenges to the dictatorial regime of Meles Zenawi. At a time when the Oromo plight and their struggle for justice are gaining international recognition, the regime is seeking various methods to continue unleashing its anti-Oromo policies by diverting the attention of the international community.
In 2004, when prominent human right groups such is Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch produced detailed reports about the gross human rights violations against Oromos, the regime, instead of addressing those concerns, changed focus to the election which Oromos know from the outset that it would be a sham election which the regime would not only rig it but also identify its main opponents among the citizens. In the run up for the 1992 election, the regime purposely excluded the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), the vanguard Oromo political force, knowing that OLF could win the election in a land slide victory in Oromia. The same method has been applied during the 2005 election. Since OLF was declared "illegal", it could not participate in the election. To over shadow the plight of Oromo people, the regime allowed smaller and new political parties to participate. Strangely enough, to give a semblance of free and democratic election, the regime allowed these new parties to gain access to government owned media. By doing so, it was able to temporarily dupe the world and peace loving Ethiopians that Ethiopia is entering a new era. However, the Zenawi failed to understand that it was rejected by Ethiopian people until the residents of Finfinne (Addis Ababa), on May 8, 2005, marched to show their support to opposition parties and their preparedness to oust him through ballot.
Having caught up red handed while cheating the vote, Zenawi unleashed his secret weapon against those who were peacefully demanding their vote to be respected. An elected Oromo member of the parliament Tasfaye Adane was killed in broad day light by government security forces. The entire leadership of the opposition parties, mainly from the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), were put in prison and charged with treason and genocide. The entire free press in the country has been silenced and journalists have been jailed. His Western friends who once praised him of being one of the "African new generations of democrats" were forced to see the true nature of Zenawi’s regime.
Now a year and half after the election, the regime is trying to come with a new cover up to unleash new wave of genocide against the Oromo dissents. For those who are following the development, hundreds of Oromo members of the army were compelled to defect and several othe rs including high ranking Oromo military and police officers were sacked and replaced by those who are less competent to speak against the regime. Hundreds of Oromo soldiers, led by Brig. General Kemal Gelchu, Brig. General Hailu Gonfa, Colonel Gammachu Ayana, Colonel Ababa Garesu and many other high ranking officers have defected to OLF after realizing the unwavering anti-Oromo, anti-democratic and dictatorial stand of the regime. The commander of Ethiopian air force, the only remaining senior Oromo military official, General Alemishet Degife and army Brig General Kumera have been sacked. Military sources close to the regime disclosed that at least 41 Oromo members of the military above the ranks of major, including General Aloo, have been sacked and immediately put under detention. The regime has forced prominent Oromo lawyers, such us judge Tashale Abara to exile so that they cannot defend the rights of their people in the court of law. It has also threatened to death Oromo members of parliament such as Dr Getachew Jigii who fled the country leaving their constituency without representation. Any potential Oromo within the country who can be a potential treat is eliminated one by one. Now the regime is ready, the preparations over. This time around it declared "an illegal, immoral and senseless war" against Somalia as Tadesse Tadele wrote few days back. Such a declaration of war was also simultaneously made against OLF and Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF).
The TPLF’s rubber stamp parliament has approved Zenawi’s war declaration. This should no come as a surprise because those MPs were not elected by the people, they were rather appointed by Zenawi since the election was deemed null and void. Almost each and every MPs who belong to opposition parties had condemned and opposed the war and as a result has been accused of been enemy of the state. Zenawi’s declaration of war on OLF and other armed groups under legal pretext is nothing other than trying to give his planned genocide a legal cover up.
Therefore in the upcoming weeks and months we will be witnessing a nationwide campaign of arrest and killing against Oromos. While officially telling the world it evades Somalia to fight terrorism, Zenawi will unleash it lethal force against Oromos whom it view as the worst threat to its authoritarian rule. The major victims of this brand-new genocide will be those Oromo nationalists within the army, students and scholars. A high raking Oromo who is serving TPLF security has disclosed that the government has been planning to murder some leaders of "Oromo People Democratic Organization (OPDO), the brain child of TPLF, and blame it on OLF. In addition to that, the regime will continue detonating explosive in several crowded Oromian towns to terrorize and murder Oromo civilians. The goal is not only to eliminate those OPDO members who sympathize with the Oromo cause but also to mislead the world in to labeling OLF as terrorist group.
It is sad to see that the international community is turning a blind eye on Zenawi’s preparation to turn the Horn in to a complete chaos. It is a shame for the United States of America to try to side with this regime’s war on Somalia. This regime has misinformed and misled the US into supporting Somali warlords in the name of war on terror. While US poured millions of dollars to Zenawi’s account which he used to finance his meddling militia, the Somali people are being betrayed in their effort to once again re-unify their country. The Union of Islamic Courts is a byproduct of the misguided US policy in the horn and the frustration of Somali people against the blood-sucking warlords organized by Zenawi and financed by America. Hence, the US should revisit its policy on the Horn. It should stop financing Zenawi’s regime that has murdered 15- 20,000 Oromos in the past 15 years, according to the Oromia Supreme Court president who recently fled the country. The US should engage the UIC in dialogue for the betterment of the Somali people and for long term peace and stability. They should be careful not to create another Iraq in the Horn.
Zenawi’s declaration of war should be seen not only against that of the Somali people, but also against all people in the region including Ethiopians, Kenyans, Eritrean, and Sudanese. The Oromos cannot be a part of this regime’s war against our Somali neighbors and condemn it earnestly.
* The author is a Public Policy student and lives in North America. She can be reached at sabagalo@gmail.com

Monday, December 04, 2006

Meles Zenawi – East Africa’s Saddam Hussein or Ossama Bin Laden’s puppet?

Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis -
Orientalist, Assyriologist, Egyptologist, Iranologist, and Islamologist, Historian, Political Scientist, Dr. Megalommatis, 49, is the author of 12 books, dozens of scholarly articles, hundreds of encyclopedia entries, and thousands of articles. He speaks, reads and writes more than 15, modern and ancient, languages. He refuted Greek nationalism, supported Martin Bernal’s Black Athena, and rejected the Greco-Romano-centric version of History. He pleaded for the European History by J. B. Duroselle, and defended the rights of the Turkish, Pomak, Macedonian, Vlachian, Arvanitic, Latin Catholic, and Jewish minorities of Greece, asking for the international recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Born Christian Orthodox, he adhered to Islam when 36, devoted to ideas of Muhyieldin Ibn al Arabi. Greek citizen of Turkish origin, Prof. Megalommatis studied and/or worked in Turkey, Greece, France, England, Belgium, Germany, Syria, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Egypt and Russia, and carried out research trips throughout the Middle East, Northeastern Africa and Central Asia. His career extended from Research & Education, Journalism, Publications, Photography, and Translation to Website Development, Human Rights Advocacy, Marketing, Sales & Brokerage. He traveled in more than 80 countries in 5 continents. He defends the Right of Aramaeans, Oromos, Berbers, and Beja to National Independence, demands international recognition for Somaliland, and denounces Islamic Terrorism.
Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
December 4, 2006
********
Meles Zenawi – Eastern Africa’s Saddam Hussein or Bin Laden’s puppet?
In an earlier article, we stressed the subtlety of the Horn of Africa issues; by letting an anachronistic and murderous coalition of Amhara and Tigray Monophysitic rulers further tyrannize both, the Amhara and Tigray Muslims and the (Christian, Muslim, and Animist) Afars, Oromos, Ogadenis, and Sidamas, the West signs the warranty certificate for an Islamic Terror Volcano Explosion of incommensurable dimensions and ominous impact on global developments.
By Prof. Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
The combination of disproportionate elimination from the decision making and miserable underdevelopment due to mistrust and ethnic hatred is an alarming factor in the Horn of Africa politics. When the Oromos (42%), the Ogadenis (10%), the Sidamas and other Southerners (10%), and the multi-split Afars (8%), who are dispersed among three states, namely Abyssinia, Djibouti, and Eritrea, face inhuman oppression and absolute alienation within their own historical lands that have been colonized by the Amhara Kingdom before 110 years (or even more recently), the despair and the desolation run high. Anyone, especially the Islamic Courts of Somalia and Ossama bin Laden, can capitalize on this and by promising an alternative gain momentum.
Amharas and Tigrays (20% and 12% of the population respectively) cannot be left atop of this cemetery of peoples that has been fallaciously named ‘Ethiopia’ (instead of the correct name ‘Abyssinia’) in order to show a resemblance of Kushitic African culture.
With the proportion of Muslim populations among Amhara and Tigray increasing (by now reaching approximately 40 – 45%), and with the character of the abominable oppression being double, religious (Monophysitic Christian against Muslims, Catholic and Protestant Christians, and Animists) and national (Amhara and Tigray over all the rest), the representativeness of the bogus-elected parliament and government runs at levels as low as 10 to 15% of the entire population. One could call Zeles Menawi the Saddam Hussein of the Horn of Africa.
Mad dog Zeles Menawi declares war – debacle according to the OLF statement!
A war between tyrannical bogus-Ethiopia and the Somali Islamists can introduce East Africa to an Ossama bin Laden inferno that will cause a devastating domino effect throughout Africa.
Americans should meditate on the terrible mistakes of the past; when the Iraqi mad dog Saddam Hussein declared his war on Iran’s Ayatullah Khomeini few would expect such a nefarious outcome! It is therefore high time to think for miscalculations and machinations like this are going to bring the Western world to its knees.
As a matter of fact, the unrepresentative bogus-Ethiopian parliament ratified a declaration of war of Somalia and Eritrea on November 30. In an overtly provocative way, Zenawi’s pseudo-parliament declared war also against the Oromo Liberation Front, demonstrating that the ‘Ethiopian’ government’s acts are directed against its own people and the largest ethnic group of that country.
In a statement, the OLF stipulates that “this reckless decision would undoubtedly lead to chaos in the Horn of Africa” and attributes the responsibility for the forthcoming ‘debacle’ to the Ethiopian regime exclusively.
Ogaden between the Abyssinian tyranny (called Ethiopia) and Somalia
To attack the Somali Islamists, the constantly deserted (by soldiers belonging to the oppressed ethnic groups) Abyssinian army will have to cross the great historical land of Ogaden that was traditionally called ‘Abyssinian Somalia’.
Ogaden was for millennia a transit area between the historical coast of Azania (eastern coast of today’s Somalia, plus the Kenyan and the Tanzanian coasts) and the Abyssinian plateau where Axum (near Makele in today’s Tigray province of Abyssinia) formed the traditional Abyssinian kingdom. According to the Periplus of the Red Sea, East African trade (goods from India, Indochina, Indonesia and East Africa) was at times transported (not onboard alongside the coast until the Bab al Mandeb straits and through the Red Sea up to Egypt but) overland to Axum and then to Meroe (in today’s Sudan which is the historical ‘Ethiopia’ of the Ancient Greco-Roman authors) to continue on the great fluvial passageway that was the Nile. Axum and the Other Berberia (as was the name of the kingdom that was ruling the area of today’s Somaliland – the north of the defunct united Somalia) never ruled the area of Ogaden. Only recently, following the colonial expansion of England, France and Italy, and the end of WW II, the Amhara kingdom expanded in Ogaden, and imposed successively its royal – communist – pseudo-republican terror there.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

War on Somalia to Divert attention from Ethiopian unrest

By Qeerransoo Biyyaa* -
Dec 1, 2006 — At this moment Ethiopia is at its peak in poverty and political turmoil. The government is unable to control disease outbreaks or it just does not care. For instance cholera has wiped out hundreds of people in South and South East. In other parts of the country seeing a depressing scene of humans dying on hospital concrete floors is common. Malaria and HIV/AIDs wiping millions non-stop. There are not adequate medical doctors nor are there medical supply for the diseases to be treated at hospitals and local clinics. We are going back to a period that looks like when Mohammed Amin through his photography revealed to the world about the existence of a grinding poverty in Ethiopia.
People are hardly able to afford to move from place to place using public and private transportation. The prices of both long distance and short distance transportation has doubled everywhere except in Meles Zenawi’s Tigray.
Besides these horribly indescribable difficult living situations, there is a growing protest to political and economic oppression by a greater majority of the Ethiopian population. Government security forces are on everyone’s doorstep every morning you walk out and every evening you walk in. If you are suspected of having affiliation with opposition, you are gone. That is both in urban and rural areas. Where protests are very strong in Oromia and other parts of the country, people are tortured in their own houses. They will make people lie down on the ground and walk over their chest several times until they faint. They also tie water or some objects to male’s genital organs. Rapes are widespread. Specially the Agazi force and federal police do that. This force is purely from ethnically Tigrian tribe from top officials to ordinary soldiers. It is a force loyal to the Meles Zenawi regime. They do terrorise people and interrupt their activities. They do sometimes loot money from private houses and business people to discourage them in their work.
Zenawi has no legitimate fears of threat from Somalia as he claims. Rather he is going to war with Somalia because mainly he wants to divert the attentions of the rest of the world from the problems that are cooking within Ethiopia because of injustices. That is why I have started my views with the deteriorating political, social and economic situations within Ethiopia. That is a very important understanding to tell why Meles Zenawi is declaring war on Somalia. If Zenawi goes to war with Somalia, he will hide his internal bad records from the west. Also it is perhaps one of the best ways for him to do some business with the United States of America and make billions of US dollars to keep him in power. But I am not sure if he will be able to regain a long lost western description of “One of the new breeds of African Democrats”.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Declaration of war will not lead to security but rather spark more chaos in the Horn

Statement by the Oromo Liberation Front -

The Ethiopian parliament on its session of November 30, 2006 ratified a declaration of war on Somalia and Eritrea. Most surprisingly it took the unprecedented step of declaring war on the Oromo Liberation Front as well in the face of fierce resistance from the loyal opposition on the grounds that this would be an extraordinary act of criminalizing political demand. This reckless decision would undoubtedly lead to chaos in the Horn of Africa. The OLF would like to let it be known to all concerned that the Ethiopian regime and it alone, bears full responsibility for this debacle that has no historical precedent.

The EPRDF thrives on violence and cannot exist without war. Its belligerence emanates from a deep sense of internal insecurity born of its minority status and total rejection by the populace. That is why it has been terrorizing the peoples in Ethiopia to vainly gain their submission. After massacring innocent civilians in Oromia without any offense and filming the gruesome crime, the Ethiopian regime tried to blame it on the OLF. It mowed down civilians in Sidama, Shakka-Mejengir and Gambella with impunity. It shot and killed unarmed peaceful demonstrators in the capital in broad daylight and blamed it on the opposition. It shamelessly went on to sabotage the investigation of the incident to prevent the truth from coming out and avoid its culpability.

Moreover, there is no neighboring country that escaped TPLF/EPRDF’s belligerence. In an undeclared war on the Sudan from 1995 to 1997 the Ethiopian regime invaded and occupied the key border towns of Kurmuk and Gizan. It repeatedly deployed its troops against Kenya causing extensive killing, abduction and looting and in the process plunging the northern region of Kenya into pandemonium. From 1998-2000 the regime also went into a senseless war with Eritrea in which over 120,000 conscripts were sacrificed.

Chaos has reigned in Somalia during the last 16 years. The international community and neighboring countries have made several attempts to resolve the impasse in Somalia and end the unmitigated suffering of the people. Kenya, Yemen, Egypt and Djibouti have at various times made concerted efforts to deal with the situation in Somalia. None of these efforts succeeded in turning the condition around. As these repeated failures testify the search for the resolution of the intractable Somali problem from outside and by outsiders has not and cannot bear fruit. In fact, the outcome of all past foreign interventions, even humanitarian ones, ended up exacerbating rather than helping the situation. Such sobering experience should have cautioned the TPLF/EPRDF and its benefactors from undertaking a new futile military campaign in Somalia.

Before the limbs broken by the previous Ethio-Eritrean war have healed, before the blood that flowed like a mighty river have dried up, before the villages ruined by the mayhem revived back into their vibrant life, and before families distressed by the loss of their loved ones have been able to overcome their grief, it is regrettable for the Ethiopian regime to declare another war on Eritrea. The Ethiopian regime is once again spoiling to spill more blood while dodging acceptance of the international ruling that should have put an end to the nagging conflict. As a result our youth, our future and hope, are going to perish, once again used as cannon fodder and mine sweepers. Thus this is an action that need not only be condemned but also valiantly and fiercely resisted. This is not a sane action but rather a crazy escapade of a deranged regime desperate to cling on to power by deflecting attention from its mounting troubles at home.

No country takes the unprecedented and outrageous step of having its parliament declare war to deal with, by military means, a political problem between an aggrieved population and a government, which purports to rule it. The Ethiopian Parliament endorsed the regime’s declaration of war on the OLF while fully cognizant that OLF is engaged in struggling against a highly repressive and dictatorial system. OLF believes the measure taken by the parliament is a crime unforgivable in history. Those in the parliament who opposed this hideous act and voted against it have commendably discharged their historical responsibility.

The OLF began resisting the repressive policies of successive Ethiopian regimes long before the current forces in Somalia, on which the regime declared war, even came to the scene. The cause of the Oromo struggle is noble. Ending the repression, subjugation, and marginalization of the Oromo and charting a future founded on freedom and democracy is its cherished goal. It is anchored on respect for the right to self-determination, a right recognized by international law. The declaration of war on OLF, while fully aware that it is engaged in a political struggle to attain this just right, is thus an abominable and unforgivable crime against the Oromo people.

Dear compatriots of the indomitable Oromo nation!!
The Ethiopian parliament that ought to have stood for the respect of your rights so flagrantly being violated has instead openly declared war on you. This would open the doors to hell and is an ominous menace to you and all other peoples. Hence we urge you to rally from corner to corner to frustrate this war of aggression--- a war financed with your resources and staffed with your dear children. It is therefore doubly incumbent on you to defeat this unjust war to spare yourself and others the prospect of seeing thousands of lives and property devastated, the dream of the new generation for a more peaceful and dignified life smothered. This is not a case where you can afford to stay on the sidelines. It is not a danger that you can dismiss as nothing of your concern. We have to all hold hands with all the peoples in Ethiopia and the region to overcome an aggression imposed on all of us by a bloodthirsty regime that worships war and abhors peace.

Finally, we appeal to the international community, governments, international organizations and all freedom and peace loving people of the world to help stop in the bud this ominous specter of devastation before it engulfs the region. We want to be on record to state that unless the dogs of war in Ethiopia are halted, the future of this already troubled region might go up in flames.
Victory to the Oromo People!!
Oromo Liberation Front
November 30, 2006

Declaration of war will not lead to security but rather spark more chaos in the Horn

Statement by the Oromo Liberation Front

The Ethiopian parliament on its session of November 30, 2006 ratified a declaration of war on Somalia and Eritrea. Most surprisingly it took the unprecedented step of declaring war on the Oromo Liberation Front as well in the face of fierce resistance from the loyal opposition on the grounds that this would be an extraordinary act of criminalizing political demand. This reckless decision would undoubtedly lead to chaos in the Horn of Africa. The OLF would like to let it be known to all concerned that the Ethiopian regime and it alone, bears full responsibility for this debacle that has no historical precedent.

The EPRDF thrives on violence and cannot exist without war. Its belligerence emanates from a deep sense of internal insecurity born of its minority status and total rejection by the populace. That is why it has been terrorizing the peoples in Ethiopia to vainly gain their submission. After massacring innocent civilians in Oromia without any offense and filming the gruesome crime, the Ethiopian regime tried to blame it on the OLF. It mowed down civilians in Sidama, Shakka-Mejengir and Gambella with impunity. It shot and killed unarmed peaceful demonstrators in the capital in broad daylight and blamed it on the opposition. It shamelessly went on to sabotage the investigation of the incident to prevent the truth from coming out and avoid its culpability.

Moreover, there is no neighboring country that escaped TPLF/EPRDF’s belligerence. In an undeclared war on the Sudan from 1995 to 1997 the Ethiopian regime invaded and occupied the key border towns of Kurmuk and Gizan. It repeatedly deployed its troops against Kenya causing extensive killing, abduction and looting and in the process plunging the northern region of Kenya into pandemonium. From 1998-2000 the regime also went into a senseless war with Eritrea in which over 120,000 conscripts were sacrificed.

Chaos has reigned in Somalia during the last 16 years. The international community and neighboring countries have made several attempts to resolve the impasse in Somalia and end the unmitigated suffering of the people. Kenya, Yemen, Egypt and Djibouti have at various times made concerted efforts to deal with the situation in Somalia. None of these efforts succeeded in turning the condition around. As these repeated failures testify the search for the resolution of the intractable Somali problem from outside and by outsiders has not and cannot bear fruit. In fact, the outcome of all past foreign interventions, even humanitarian ones, ended up exacerbating rather than helping the situation. Such sobering experience should have cautioned the TPLF/EPRDF and its benefactors from undertaking a new futile military campaign in Somalia.

Before the limbs broken by the previous Ethio-Eritrean war have healed, before the blood that flowed like a mighty river have dried up, before the villages ruined by the mayhem revived back into their vibrant life, and before families distressed by the loss of their loved ones have been able to overcome their grief, it is regrettable for the Ethiopian regime to declare another war on Eritrea. The Ethiopian regime is once again spoiling to spill more blood while dodging acceptance of the international ruling that should have put an end to the nagging conflict. As a result our youth, our future and hope, are going to perish, once again used as cannon fodder and mine sweepers. Thus this is an action that need not only be condemned but also valiantly and fiercely resisted. This is not a sane action but rather a crazy escapade of a deranged regime desperate to cling on to power by deflecting attention from its mounting troubles at home.

No country takes the unprecedented and outrageous step of having its parliament declare war to deal with, by military means, a political problem between an aggrieved population and a government, which purports to rule it. The Ethiopian Parliament endorsed the regime’s declaration of war on the OLF while fully cognizant that OLF is engaged in struggling against a highly repressive and dictatorial system. OLF believes the measure taken by the parliament is a crime unforgivable in history. Those in the parliament who opposed this hideous act and voted against it have commendably discharged their historical responsibility.

The OLF began resisting the repressive policies of successive Ethiopian regimes long before the current forces in Somalia, on which the regime declared war, even came to the scene. The cause of the Oromo struggle is noble. Ending the repression, subjugation, and marginalization of the Oromo and charting a future founded on freedom and democracy is its cherished goal. It is anchored on respect for the right to self-determination, a right recognized by international law. The declaration of war on OLF, while fully aware that it is engaged in a political struggle to attain this just right, is thus an abominable and unforgivable crime against the Oromo people.

Dear compatriots of the indomitable Oromo nation!!
The Ethiopian parliament that ought to have stood for the respect of your rights so flagrantly being violated has instead openly declared war on you. This would open the doors to hell and is an ominous menace to you and all other peoples. Hence we urge you to rally from corner to corner to frustrate this war of aggression--- a war financed with your resources and staffed with your dear children. It is therefore doubly incumbent on you to defeat this unjust war to spare yourself and others the prospect of seeing thousands of lives and property devastated, the dream of the new generation for a more peaceful and dignified life smothered. This is not a case where you can afford to stay on the sidelines. It is not a danger that you can dismiss as nothing of your concern. We have to all hold hands with all the peoples in Ethiopia and the region to overcome an aggression imposed on all of us by a bloodthirsty regime that worships war and abhors peace.

Finally, we appeal to the international community, governments, international organizations and all freedom and peace loving people of the world to help stop in the bud this ominous specter of devastation before it engulfs the region. We want to be on record to state that unless the dogs of war in Ethiopia are halted, the future of this already troubled region might go up in flames.
Victory to the Oromo People!!
Oromo Liberation Front
November 30, 2006

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Ethiopia's War with Somalia: a gimmick to divert attention ...

Ethiopia’s War with Somalia: a gimmick to divert attention from Ethiopia’s internal political tension and human rights abuses. By Abdi Galgalo*
- With the World focused on an imminent all-out civil war looming in Iraq and the Middle East at large, the warlords in the horn of Africa are gearing up to show the world the mother of all civil wars. Totally consumed by the Middle East crisis, the world has turned away from the Somalia crisis, an unfortunate development taken by Ethiopian government as a green signal to begin its adventure in Somalia. The U.S. is half-attentively pushing for a U.N draft resolution to allow foreign troops including Ethiopia’s in Somali, a recipe that may provide the full momentum for a grandiose disaster in the region.
The Union of Islamic Court (UIC) that has now controlled most of Somalia has brought unprecedented peace and stability to the Somali people after 15 years of mayhem. Despite its apparent success, the UIC has neither been supported nor has the weak interim government been encouraged to work with UIC to bring permanent stability in Somalia. The reason is simply that the West’s policy in Somalia is predominated by their Islam-paranoia. Meles regime is effectively exploiting this paranoia and has been distorting the reality to make the West believe that the UIC poses threat of terrorism. What Meles desires to get out of creating fear is to be elevated to the status of policing/caretaker of the horn region, for which he anticipates support from the West that gives him the capacity to extend the horizon of its tyranny beyond the borders of Ethiopia.
The tyranny under which the peoples of Ethiopia and the Oromo people in particular, are living defies the imagination. The brutal dictator of Ethiopia has gained notoriety for his violent suppression of dissenting voices, and the regime has been directly responsible to the genocide of the Anuaks, the Oromos, and other nations and nationalities of Ethiopia. This genocide is still ongoing. The minority regime of Meles Zenawi has managed to pull the wool over the West’s eyes while he was busy committing these atrocities. Genocide Watch and other widely-respected international NGOs have documented the genocide committed against the Anuak people of Ethiopia in 2003 by uniformed soldiers of the Ethiopian Defense Force[1]. On the 2001’s World Conference against Racism, the genocide of Oromos and other people was also brought to the world’s attention by the Oromia Support Group[2][3]. Other NGOs have also produced similar alerts[4],[5].
The menace of the regime on the Oromo people has also been committed on the Sovereign territories of neighboring countries. The regime of Meles Zenawi is accustomed to violating the sovereignty of Ethiopia’s neighbors and uses its military power to intimidate neighboring governments into no reaction. It has been reported by various media that Ethiopian defense force has made frequent incursions since 1992 into Somalia and Kenya in pursuit of Oromo refugees that the regime alleges to be members and sympathizers of the Oromo Liberation Front (O.L.F) - a politico-military movement that enjoys support from the vast majority of Oromos. The Meles’ regime has cowed the Kenyan government to be complacent to the Ethiopian troop’s abuse of Kenyan citizens and in many instances, the Kenyan government has indeed cooperated in the rounding up and mistreatment of Oromo refugees in Kenya as well as Kenyans of Oromo descent. The Meles’ regime has gone as far as running the Kenyan court that was hearing the cases of Oromos. This testifies to the extremely aggressive nature of the Ethiopian regime in dealing with real or perceived dissidents that has clearly taken a form of ethnic cleansing. The regimes’ tyranny knows no national boundaries!
The Ethiopia’s interference in the Somali’s affair may come as news to those who have never known the existence of a terrorizing regime in Ethiopia. After denying for so long the eyewitness accounts on the presence of Ethiopian troops inside Somalia, Meles Zenawi has recently acknowledged the presence of his troops in Somalia. His own sham parliament members were as oblivious as the rest of the world to this activity of Ethiopian troops. In his usual and blatant way, Meles zenawi, without consulting the parliament, has single handedly declared that his regime has finished preparation for official war with Somalia’s UIC.
The war-cry of Meles Zenawi is nothing but a gimmick to divert the attention of the Ethiopian public and international community from the real internal political tensions to an outside deliberately created problem. After falling from grace, the Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is facing immense resistance both at home and internationally for its continual atrocities against the peoples of Ethiopia. With an increasing unpopularity in the West, the Meles is desperately seeking a cause that makes him the West’s lap-dog in order to receive the support he needs to thrive as a tyrant.
The fact of the matter is there is no tangible evidence that implicate the UIC as a threat to Ethiopia and the rest of the world. The UIC has given ample time for the world to realize their sincerity to bring peace and stability to Somalia. In a bid to show off their achievement, the UIC has recently invited U.S. authorities to visit the capital Mogadishu. Such a genuine gesture has been ignored and the U.S. backed U.N resolution is being drafted as we speak to lend ‘legitimacy’ to Meles’ regime invasion of Somalia to prop up the weak interim government. This news came few days after the Ethiopian regime declared its readiness to engage the UIC militarily. It seems that Meles Zenawi has once again succeeded in duping the West! Meles is not your average dictator- he also knows how to sucker the West.
The U.S., the U.N. and all concerned parties should be awakened to the fact the Meles Zenawi is deliberately trying to create chaos in the region hoping to emerge as a stabilizing force. When his undemocratic nature is unveiled, Meles is frantically trying to jump on the “war on terror” bandwagon by fabricating fear. This appears to be his last token to draw off cash from the West to finance further massacre of the peoples of Ethiopia, and his main targets-the Oromos. This will undoubtedly prolong the anguish of Ethiopians, the Somalis, and all the people in the region. At a time when the policies of the West is being resented by people in the Middle East, the last thing the West should be doing now is creating more regions that are desperate and resentful. After failing gravely in the Middle East, the West should finally wise up on how they deal with troubled regions where tyrannical regimes have taken hold of peoples’ lives.
* Abdi Galgalo is a graduate student in life sciences and can be reached at galgalo@gmail.com.
References:
[1] http://www.genocidewatch.org/THE%20ANUAK%20OF%20ETHIOPIA.htm

[2]http://www.unhchr.ch/huridocda/huridoca.nsf/70ef163b25b2333fc1256991004de370/57082ac3ca58b6a1c1256ae7004c61a4?OpenDocument

[3]Oromia Support Group is based in the U.K, and is led by a pioneering Oromo human right activist Dr. Trevor True. http://oromo.org/

[4] For a comprehensive Human Right’s Watch report on the suppression of dissent in Oromia: http://hrw.org/reports/2005/ethiopia0505/ethiopia0505.pdf

[5] For a miscellaneous documents on the human right abuse directed against Oromos: http://www.unpo.org/reports.php?member_id=61&category_id=4&page=1

Breaking News: Meles declares war on Somalia, Eritrea and the OLF and ONLF

EthioTribune Staff Writer
November 30, 2006 -


The government-owned Ethiopian Radio-Television Agency just reported that the rubber-stamp EPRDF parliament has passed a resolution declaring war on its enemies. A declaration of war on UIC in Somalia is not surprising considering there have already been indications to this effect. The declaration of war on Eritrea, however, comes as a total surprise. Even more astonishing is the declaration of war on the OLF and ONLF, which confirms the already prevailing impression that this regime cannot distinguish political dissent from external challenges.

311 members of the parliament voted for the resolution while 99 opposed and 16 obtained. All members of the opposition in parliament not only voted against the resolution but also vociferously opposed it during the debate. Opposition leaders, mainly Dr. Marara, Dr. Beyene and Mr. Bulcha, particularly opposed the inclusion of the regime’s political opponents such as OLF and ONLF in the declaration of war.

The opposition, both those in the political process and outside, have unanimously condemned the declaration as an ill-conceived adventure by the ruling party. In a statement issued yesterday the Alliance for Freedom and Democracy, which brings together major Ethiopian opposition parties and liberation organizations, said: ¨The international community should not pour fuel on an already complicated situation in Somalia by giving the green light to the Ethiopian dictator to take a poor country into a costly war with its neighbour igniting a larger and devastating regional conflict.¨

The statement went on to state: ¨At a highly volatile historical juncture when relations between the world’s major religions are increasingly getting sour throughout the world, at a time when there is a widespread sentiment and perception in the Muslim world that the Western World is becoming increasingly Islamophobic, Ethiopia’s tyrant is about to plunge the already volatile Horn of Africa region into total chaos by militarily interfering in Somalia.¨’

The Coalition for Unity and Democracy for its part also declared that this is not the people’s war but an act of aggression by the tyrannical regime of Meles Zenawi. The CUD warned that the only way to resolve the problem in Somalia is through dialogue and the participation of the international community rather than aggression by TPLF.

The Ogaden National Liberation Front in its statement condemned the declaration. It went on to indicate that it sympathized with the suffering people of Somalia in their difficult struggle to overcome unprovoked aggression by the Ethiopian dictator.

It is to be noted that the senseless Ethio-Eritrean war of 1998-2000 caused the death of upwards of 120,000. Analysts fear that the current conundrum could ignite a larger and deadly regional war engulfing Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea and other countries.

The situation in the Horn of Africa has been deteriorating at an alarming speed lately.

EthioTribune will continue to follow the situation and provide periodic updates.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

ONLF Statement on Events Unfolding in Somalia

Nov 28, 2006 - There has been much written about the events unfolding in Somalia with frequent mention ofthe Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) and speculations on our position with regards to the events unfolding in Somalia. Hence, we would like to take this opportunity to clarify to the international community and members of the media our principled position on the Somali civil war and Ethiopia's involvement in that country's internal affairs.First, the ONLF categorically denies assertions by the TPLF led regime in Ethiopia and members of the media that ONLF military personnel are in Somalia. As a matter of principle the ONLF has never been and does not intend to be a party to the conflict in Somalia. We wish to affirm that the scope of our military operations is and will continue to be limited to Ogaden and Ethiopia. We further wish to make clear that the Ogaden cause in not a territorial disputebetween Somalia and Ethiopia but rather a legitimate struggle for the self-determination of the Somali people of OgadenSecondly, the ONLF strongly cautions the international community against permitting an Ethiopian invasion of Somalia as that would have dire consequences for the entire region. An Ethiopian invasion of Somalia will trigger a catastrophic regional war with massive lossof life and continued instability in the Horn of Africa for years to come.Thirdly, the ONLF wishes to affirm that we will not allow our territory to be used as a launching pad for an Ethiopian invasion of Somalia without stiff resistance from our armed forces.Fourthly, the ONLF bears witness to the fact that the TPLF led regime is in continuous breach of the arms embargo placed on Somalia and has been since the inception of the embargo. The current Ethiopian regime has clearly been the primary obstacle to the peaceful settlement of the Somali conflict for over a decade by actively interfering in the internal affairs of Somalia by arming various actions, training their militias and undermining through diplomatic maneuversnearly all attempts at a peaceful settlement between conflicting parties.In This time of increasing tensions in the Horn of Africa, the ONLF wishes to confirm that the people of Ogaden stand in strong solidarity with the people of Somalia to reclaim their sovereignty and achieve a lasting peace free of foreign influence and manipulation.Despite the Ethiopian regimes policy of deliberately undermining peace in Somalia, the ONLF urges all parties in Somalia to solve their differences through dialogue and recognize that they are at the threshold of a crucial decision that will usher in a period of sovereignty or foreign domination for Somalia depending on the choices they make.The ONLF will continue to support and encourage every legitimate effort to provide all necessary assistance to the Somali people so that they can fully grasp their political future into their own hands and move toward a peaceful, prosperous and democratic future built by Somalis and for Somalis.Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF)

Monday, November 27, 2006

211 Ethiopians on hunger strike at UNHCR Gate in Khartoum

100, 000 Sudanese pound (around $50 dollars) fines for being in Sudan illegally. The Sudanese authorities deported so far no less than 500 Ethiopian via Metema. There are unconfirmed reports the Oromo origin Ethiopians are taken to Demazine province bordring Benshangul area. The reason of taken the Oromo origin Ethiopians to Demezine is not yet established. (Read more...)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Interview: "I believe that we have to prepare, and if things turn worse and we have to…

Dr. Negasso Gidada, former president of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

"I believe that we have to prepare, and if things turn worse and we have to … declare war, the parliament should deliberate on it according to the constitution"Dr. Negasso Gidada, former president of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is now a member of the Ethiopian parliament as an independent. When last Thursday the ruling party whip in parliament, Ato Shiferaw Jarso, proposed the adjournment motion for giving the government the green light to go to war with the Union of Islamic courts (UIC) of Somalia, if and when the situation demands, Dr. Negasso opposed on the ground that the request and the way it was proposed to parliament violated the constitution.

Dr. Negasso talked to Bruck Shewareged on the motion and the implication for Ethiopia's security, should war break out. Excerpts:

Some parliamentarians warned on Thursday that the adjournment motion for preparation for possible war with Somalia's Islamic Courts Union could be misinterpreted for virtual declaration of war. How did you understand it? Is it a clear-cut case for you?

Recently, we see intensive propaganda on TV with respect to Somalia. There are many announcements, interviews with experts and so on. Given this and the announcement on TV on Wednesday that the PM would be addressing parliament, I sensed that something was coming. But that is not a problem for me. What bothers me is this: What is the content of this motion? The content is, "since they (Somalis) declared war against us, let us declare war in return."

The government made it clear that it will not enter the war immediately but it will deliver "proportional response" when it deems it necessary. Well, one way or another, it is war. If you put it another way, they are saying, "we are prepared for war. If it comes, we will enter the war. For this to happen, give us a free hand."

Do you interpret it as asking parliament to declare war?

Yes, that is the interpretation. If parliament gives consent to their demand to enter war whenever they see it fit, this amounts to a declaration of war.

During the debate over the motion, you objected to it on the ground that it violated the constitution. Where is the violation?

Article 55(9) of the constitution says that parliament declares war when the Council of Ministers proposes the passing of a law for such a measure. There are procedures for this. First, the council must come up with draft proposal. There are also other considerations such as new security measures or state of emergency. And from time to time, the progress of the war must be reported to parliament whose responsibility also includes whether everything is being carried out according to the law.

What the government is requesting is that since it takes time for the motion to go through all the committees, parliament should grant the go-ahead immediately.

If we respect the constitution, we should not give any place for precedence, ie, we shouldn't bypass the requirements or procedures laid out by the law of the land.

When you see who proposed the motion, it did not come from the council of ministers. It was proposed by the ruling party's parliamentary whip, Ato Shiferaw Jarso. This is where the problem lies with respect to the constitution.

Every country has the right to defend itself. But if there is aggression and we have to respond, it must be done according to the constitution. We shouldn't just give the government a free hand to handle the situation and set a bad precedent.

There was one example of such a precedent. After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the US, President Bush declared war on terrorism. And when the US invaded Iraq together with what they call the "Coalition of the willing," Ethiopia allowed its air space to be used by the coalition forces because we joined the coalition without the knowledge of parliament. This includes, for instance, the entering of the coalition's forces into Ethiopia for medication or other purposes.

This is a matter of our sovereignty. Either directly or indirectly we entered the war.

Another case is the warlords in Somalia. Up to June, the US and Ethiopia were allegedly involved in banding the warlords together and assisting them supposedly to contain terrorists. That amounts to joining the US war on terror.

In essence, are you saying that the Ethiopian government entered a war without a declaration by parliament?

Yes, it has already entered into a war. Again, recently the prime minister openly stated that we are technically at war. This is wrong. We just can't go to war by bypassing what the constitution requires. We shouldn't do it again. We must respect the constitutional order. This is a breach of the constitution.

Last Thursday, the PM told parliament repeatedly that we are at war with the Islamists even though we didn't respond. In your opinion, does the present situation constitute a war-like situation? And does it warrant the parliament to declare war?

Well, four reasons were given to justify it as a war. The first one is that they declared jihad on Ethiopia. But when they declared jihad on Ethiopia, they qualified it to have meant only on Ethiopian soldiers who entered Somalia. As for their declaring jihad on Ethiopia, I don't know: it could be a matter of interpretation.

Did they really declare jihad against Ethiopia and crossed the border? Is that the fact? I don't think so. As comparison, if you take the conflict with Eritrea, that country, in fact, crossed the border and took control of parts of our territory. But we don't see similar situation this time around.

The other thing that amazes me is that Ethiopia is under repeated attack from the Somali forces and that we are absorbing those attacks according to the prime minister. If that is the truth, then why did the government keep silent? An emergency session of the parliament should have been called and the problem must have been dealt with.

The second reason given is that the Islamic Courts are assisting and sending here anti-Ethiopia forces. This was not clearly explained. What kind of anti-Ethiopia forces are these. Are they snicking in Somali or foreign jihadists into Ethiopia? Or are they supporting and sending other local opposition forces such as the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF)? These local opposition forces have long existed. Did they train and send fresh forces during the summer? Despite this, I believe that going to the extent of declaring war ought to be reconsidered. I don't think there is a situation currently which forces us to go to war. I see a problem with the request forwarded to parliament to give the green light.

But the way I see it, the motion is almost through as parties, in essence, agreed to pass it with consensus?

Well, Prof. Beyene of the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF) said that since his party did not deliberate on the motion, they may vote against it and their intention can be misunderstood. So they ask for more time for deliberation. Then it was decided that party representatives in parliament can iron out the final statement. My hope is that the motion will not end up in dragging us into war.

I believe that we have to prepare, and if things turn worse and we have to declare war, the parliament should deliberate on it according to the constitution. If the motion is passed in its present form which may put us in the middle of war directly or indirectly, then the parties are mistaken. When we say "consensus" in parliament, it practically refers to the decision made by parties. Those individual MPs like me do not have a voice. But as for me, if it doesn't follow the correct procedure, I will oppose it.

According to recent UN report, 8-9 countries are supporting the Islamic Courts. And if war breaks out between Ethiopia and the Islamic Courts, what would be the consequences or its implication for Ethiopia's security?

The UN report is not mentioned in our media. Many countries are listed in the report as having been involved in Somalia's crisis. Ethiopia is one. The report says that it sent 6,000-8,000 soldiers to Somalia. There was also the allegation that while Ethiopia officially supports the transitional government, it simultaneously used to assist warlords in Mogadishu. That has a bad implication for me. If we don't get involved properly in Somalia, it will foment the animosity between the two countries given their past conflictual history.

If war breaks out, the problem or threat will not necessarily come from Somalia only. There could be sympathizers here and they could create problems. Nowadays there is the threat of terrorism which you can not stop by military action only. There could be incursions and this is also not something which can be stopped at one stroke. This could put the country in a situation where there is lack of peace permanently.

I believe that if we solve our local problems, we would not give way to outside influence or interference. For instance, there is the persistent question of self-determination amongst the Oromo and Somali people. We must seek a political solution. The people must elect their leaders. The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and ONLF must be approached and their demand addressed. And the self-determination question must be handled. The people must decide that, not the parties. If it is done, then outside forces cannot take advantage of the local problem here.

By the way, the Somali Islamic Forces can raise their question of putting all Somali people under Greater Somalia. They can stick to their illusion as long as they didn't interfere in Ethiopia's affairs. Even they can't decide for the Ethiopian Somalis. Not even Ethiopia Somali political forces can decide the people's fate. Only Ethiopian Somalis can decide about their fate.

Any one can support the Islamic fronts. But if we can address our own problems, the support for Islamic Courts won't have an effect on Ethiopia.

You just discussed reassessing our local policy. But how about our foreign policy. How do we need to realign our regional policy?

Let me be frank. Europe and America have their own interest in the region, ie, securing a safe route for the transportation of oil starting from Suez Canal to the Gulf of Eden. We shouldn't be involved in their interest. We shouldn't burn our finger for the sake of others. In light of this, we need to carefully handle our foreign policy.

Whether Somali people must be administered by Sharia Law or not is none of our business. There are other countries like Saudi Arabia which is administered by Sharia law. And we have a relationship with the Saudis. Whether the Somalis want to be governed by Sharia or not, it must be left to the people. We should only be involved in matters that are pertinent to us.
When there was no central authority or force in Somalia, the UN and AU molded the transitional government. When the Islamic courts began to challenge the authority or legitimacy of the transitional government, these two organization did not go to the extent of supporting it. They are insisting that they need to hold a dialogue and solve their differences. In this case, why should Ethiopia alone insist on assisting the transitional government. Sending troops in the name of "training" might create a problem for us. We need to be very careful. And the thing is that our foreign policy must emanate from our strength locally. And local strength comes when constitutional order is truly observed, democratic society is created and when solve our political problems.

In Ethiopian Reporter Posted on Saturday, November 25 @ 11:32:20 EAT by staff

Map of oromia

Map of oromia