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

Saturday, January 21, 2006

A note to CUD leadership and the neo-chauvinists from a concerned Oromo.Part VI

We have all the reasons on earth not to trust you. You and your fathers have been betraying our innocent elites who trusted and carried you across the turbulent river. Oromo heroes and founders of Ethiopia - people like Gobana Dache, Habteghiorgis Dinagde, and lately Haile Fida are few among the hundreds of thousands of your preys. They trusted you and carried you to cross the river but you stung them.

Unlike the scorpion above you were "smart" enough or "lucky" that it is the Oromos who perished while you continue exploiting us the remainders. It was during the idget behibret zemecha when at one of the meetings we had with peasants from Arsi, a peasant group leader, complaining about the slow disarmament pace of feudal landlords, told the crowd the following anecdote: a woman shouted for help saying that a snake "entered" her. The neighbors came to rescue her and yet she continued crying "snake" "snake" but the neighbors could not see any. Where is the snake? they asked. It has gone she replied.

Then why are you still shouting snake? they asked. "The snake now knows the way and I am afraid that it will come back again" she concluded. Now you know why we continue to be worried about your political agenda. We suffered a lot under your fathers and grand-fathers ruling system and we don't want to see it recurred. We still bare the wounds and scars from that regime and because you are the by-product of that repressive system, we rightly shouted and continue to shout "look, the neftagnas are coming back". Because you already know "the way" it is very easy for you to return and continue depriving us of our fundamental right of nations to self-determination. Now tell us one good reason that would have convinced us to support you? Your political Manifesto did not make an effort to deal with an Oromo issue. Only now that you have realized that you are not supported by the Oromo people you started looking for an Oromo whose name ends with "sa" and of course you found woizero. Midek "sa" to give your organization a look of multi-ethnicity. But the problem is dear friends, now we are too conscious about every move you make and we know exactly what you wanted to achieve by doing so. You did it for long time but not anymore.

Your method of "appeasing" other ethnic groups seem not to change from what it used to be during the reign of Haile Selassie. You targeted and included one individual from a non-Amhara ethnic group and then attempt to attract the support from this "privileged" group. Your selection of Ms. Midek"sa" as a "running mate" is a true reflection of that modus operandus but believe me it won't help you to win the hearts and minds of the Oromos. To the contrary, it showed your disregard to our concern that you can still continue with business as usual by including one "sa" in your ranks and files and then claim that you are representing all groups in Ethiopia. There was Yilma Deres"sa" in the king's cabinet as well but that did not reflect a true representation of the Oromos in the nation's affairs. Choosing running mates during elections is quite normal. It is also normal that aspiring leaders chose running mates based on their added value. Al Gore selected Liberman as his running mate because the later had an influence on the Jewish community. But your selection of Ms. Midek"sa" definitely will not have any impact whatsoever on the attitudes of the Oromos towards your political agenda. As a "political party" composed of the "elites", you were supposed to be smart enough to comprehend that. We the oppressed nations and nationalities do not share your view that the unity of Ethiopia should be maintained at all cost. We give priority to the unity of Ethiopians. But you, as your name rightly suggests, are telling us to first ensure the "Unity" of the nation and then we can talk about the problems of the nations and nationalities. Sorry friends, we the oppressed people are telling you the opposite - let us first talk about the equality of the shareholders in that stock and only then we can talk about the form and context of that common house.

We the Oromos are for the unity of our country not because you wanted us to do so but because we profoundly believe in it. After all, this is a country which is built with blood and bones or our Oromo heroes. Unlike your fathers and fore-fathers who were known only to exploit her, by displacing millions of the people of the South thus bringing misery to our country, the Oromos never displaced any Abyssinian. They honestly died for her independence and unity of and equality among her people. While you the Amharas were boycotting the formation of a Transitional Government in 1991, the Oromos, as led by OLF, fully participated in the re-building of a post-Derg democratic Ethiopia. You refused to participate in that process simply because you were not at the driving seat and for you Ethiopia should be led only by you - the Amharas. As usual, you came from nowhere and pose yourself as vanguard and custodian of her unity equating yourself using an Oromo proverb to an outsider who wept louder than the bereaved. If you consider that today Ethiopia is more divided than before, I can challenge you and argue that you are totally wrong. The unity you are talking about was a fake one which undermined the freedom of other nations and nationalities for example the Oromos. The Oromos were forced to compromise their feeling and hide their identity to secure their place in the society especially in public/civil service areas and this is not a sign of unity. It is like a family in remote villages of Ethiopia where one hardly talks about the abusive nature of most husbands because women were not provided with a forum where they would have brought their case for redress. And yet, we talk about a family unity in these villages as if there is no abuse taking place. But as soon as some of the women especially in the rural areas start invoking their rights to equality, we (the men) usually begin condemning them not necessarily because they infringed upon anyone's rights but simply because they demanded their right to be equal.

The fact that women are liberated and continue fighting for their equality with men and freedom from oppression does not mean that there is less love relationship in the family nor an increase in the rate of divorce. To bring a practical example, the inclusion of Articles 666 in our old Civil Code and Articles 77 - 80 in the Revised Family Law of Ethiopia which guaranteed the right to a divorce did not result in the increase of divorce rate in our society. To the contrary, it strengthened family unity and cohesion because the unity is based on equality which catered for genuine love between the couples and a safety net for the women to count on just in case the husband becomes abusive. I hope you have no problem with it! For some reasons it seems to me that you are not really fighting for the Unity of Ethiopia but to restore the Amhara ruling system. Otherwise, how can you explain your behavior when in 1991 instead of joining the OLF, TPLF and others in preparing the ground for a true democracy to prevail in Ethiopia you opted to form an exclusive ethnic Amhara party (AAPO) whose agenda is not the unity of Ethiopians but rather a very narrow alleged "interest of the Amharas"? It surprised us all because facts on the ground suggest that compared to other ethnic groups in the country the Amharas were the least hurt by the Derg and as a matter of fact by any of the previous regimes including EPRDF. When situation permitted both TPLF and OLF dropped their secessionist agenda and agreed to form a Transitional government with the sole intention of maintaining Ethiopian unity. But you went the opposite way and formed your AAPO and did not want to take part in the TG. What the TG actually did was, it allowed the oppressed people to enjoy their fundamental rights on the same footing with others without infringing on the rights of the others including the Amharas. The fact that the Oromos were granted the right to use their language definitely strengthened their belief that they are the Ethiopians and of course it did not have any negative impact on the Amharas. You seem to worry about the "unity of the nation" apparently because of the inclusion of the rights of nations to self-determination in the London Charter text of which appeared in the Negarit Gazeta No.1 of 22 July 1991. I don't think you really understood what was meant by that stipulation because the Charter does not indicate anything which may pose a threat to the unity of Ethiopia. By participating in the Transitional Government, both TPLF and OLF committed themselves to ensure the equality and freedom of our people from oppression and lay solid foundations for Ethiopian unity.

The intentions of TPLF and OLF were fully reflected in the London Charter and they seem to have no problem with this arrangement even if it meant to be within One Ethiopia. But you seem to have problem with the wording itself that nations/nationalities were granted the right to administer their own affair. I don't understand why ethnic Amharas who always pose to be the defenders of Ethiopian Unity in this case failed to participate in the process of cementing that unity. It seems to me that you are not in favor of the mentioning the word "self-determination" but for the oppressed people it is a guarantee to live in love and peace and equality with other Ethiopians. Do you think that the inclusion of such an Article and its actual implementation on the ground created division within Ethiopians? Do you think that there is more ground now for disintegration than what it was under Mengistu or Haileselassie? For me, there is more in what is unifying us now than in what separating us and that seem to be the reason why OLF came to be part of the formation of Democratic Ethiopia in 1991. Indeed you are irritated to see other languages competing with and in the case of Oromiya even totally displacing Amharic. Every time the word Qubee or afaan Oromo is mentioned in the course of formal discussions, I could not help but see my fellow Amharas feeling uncomfortable. An old woman is always uneasy when dry bones are mentioned in a proverb goes an Oromo saying. You are terrified and unnecessarily so by seeing the once perceived "unified" nation is "disintegrating" in to regions. Wake up guys! The world has gone so far and you still think like your feudal fathers and grandfathers. Recognizing the rights of nations to self determination or granting regional self-administration should not be seen as dividing a nation. The Netherlands have 12 provinces each with their own independent flags while they all believe in one common Dutch flag. They do so because their right to exercise a regional self-rule is recognized in the first place and they don't feel that one group is dominating the other. The same is true for Switzerland. So take it easy and try to be open-minded. Free your minds from this outdated mentality of being "superior" to other nations in Ethiopia. You are representing just one of the minority ethnic groups in Ethiopia and no more no less.

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