Applying Core Chemistry Of the Oromo National Liberation Struggle To Be Successful
By Fayyis Oromia*
Thanks to the recently observed alarming uncertain situation in the Abyssinian empire, I think the debates and discussions in the Oromo national liberation camp is, slowly, but surely, coming to the beneficial result. The current tendency of Oromo nationalists to stop the infighting and to start understanding each other is an encouraging development. Especially, the step taken by the group called Oromo Dialogue Forum (ODF) to be against negative propaganda directed at any part of the Oromo national liberation movement is the groundbreaking phenomenon to stop the senseless pseudo-conflicts we have had till now. We have to repeatedly remember the unproductive conflicts we have already had in order to learn from our mistakes. We can be sure that we have learned from experience, only if we don’t repeat the same mistake we committed in the past. Here, we can mention, as examples, the conflicts between IFLO and OLF, which had cost many precious lives; the split of the OLF-QC from the OLF-SG; the separation of the OLF-JJ and the OLF-SG – as well as the new discord between the ODF and the OLF; all these political frictions were the cause for an unnecessary lose of our talent, energy and time, which we could have invested on the national liberation struggle.
When we look at the cause of these conflicts, they seem to be based on the misinterpretations of certain reconcilable discords of different approaches as irreconcilable conflicts. Surprisingly, some Oromo freedom fighters have not yet grasped this reality, even though they have been active participants in the national liberation struggle almost for the last about 40 years. The mantra of ‘Ethiopian democratization’ vs. ‘Oromian liberation’ as two conflicting goals is still prayed by such people from our national liberation camp and, of course, this pseudo-conflict is highly instrumentalized by the real foes of the Oromo national liberation movement – who want to see this discord be converted to a deadly conflict in the Oromo national liberation bloc. But, the fact on the ground is, as I have repeatedly tried to clarify, that the two approaches are complementary, not contradictory, to each other.
To undo the still existing confusion, regarding the misidentification of foes and friends in our struggle for Oromo’s freedom/bilisummaa and for Oromia’s independence/walabummaa, let me use the following formula as the chemistry of our struggle, even if such formula may not work in soft sciences like that of politics. The chemistry regarding foes vs. friends:
(OE in AE <-----or-----> OO in AE) of ACF <===VS===> OLF with (OA in EU <-----&-----> OI in AU)
The meanings of the acronyms are:
- OE = Oromian Extinction, as the goal of the Amhara colonizing elites;
- AE = Abyssinian Empire, as it is existing since the end of the nineteenth century;
- OO = Oromian Occupation, as it is now under the Tigrean colonizer elites;
- ACF stands for Abyssinian Colonial forces, which want to realize either Oromian extinction or Oromian occupation;
- OLF (Oromian Liberation Forces), including those which want to have ‘Oromian autonomy within Ethiopian union’ as the prelude to independence and those which want to push directly for ‘Oromian independence within African union;’
- OA = Oromian Autonomy, EU = Ethiopian Union, OI = Oromian Independence, and AU = African Union.
According to this formula, the two groups in the Abyssinian colonial bloc (those which wish to re-achieve Oromian extinction and those which want to keep the status quo of Oromian occupation) are the foes we have to fight against with no compromise; whereas the two groups in the Oromian national liberation camp are rivals, but not enemies, to each other (having reconcilable approaches and complementary objectives). Furthermore, it is important to look at the difference between the still existing Abyssinian empire and the possible future emerging Ethiopian union (even though I think this union can exist only as a transitional solution towards the lasting solution, i.e. towards the indispensable and inevitable Oromian independence). In the Abyssinian empire, there was/is neither bilisummaa Oromoo nor walabummaa Oromiyaa; but in the future transitional Ethiopian union, we do expect both Oromo freedom and Oromian autonomy on the national liberation journey towards Oromian independence, because of the fact that such an autonomy is a very good prelude to our highly wished national independence. That is why I do consider the conflict between those who want to first realize Oromian autonomy as a short-term goal towards the long-term goal of independence, and those who wish to directly achieve Oromian independence as artificial.
As far as I am concerned, both wings of the OLF (the faction, which wants autonomy as a prelude to independence, and the groups, which wish independence without any transitional autonomy) can foster tokkummaa (unity) of purpose in order to fight our archenemies in unison, and leave the decision on the two possible goals for the future Oromo public verdict per referendum, which we can exercise when the appropriate time will come. Additionally, it is not wrong if one or both of these groups foster tumsa (alliance) with the opposition groups of the Abyssinian forces, just for the sake of weakening and winning the powerful incumbent colonial force in Finfinne palace. I know that some Oromo nationalists are vehemently against such tumsa, but the logic behind the importance of this move is based on the confidence of the Oromo forces to achieve an Oromian autonomy with or without the help of such alliance, and on the fact that there is an implicit acceptance of the near future inevitable self-rule of Oromo in Oromia by certain Abyssinian opposition forces. It is not bad if we can use these forces in order to materialize the better genuine Oromian autonomy in comparison to the present fake federation.
Specially now, at the time of uncertainty in the camp of the Woyane, such tokkummaa and tumsa are mandatory. It is already said, “strike while the iron is hot.” Let’s use this moment and shake the fascist and racist regime, because any sort of destabilizing the empire is advantageous for the Oromo national liberation movement. We can think about the tactic of using a carrot and a stick (shankoora fi shimala) in fighting against the colonizers. As we have observed till now, ‘Oromian autonomy within Ethiopian union’ is the shankoora, which at least the currently desperate Abyssinian opposition forces like to hear from the OLF. That is why we saw an euphoria in their bloc as one OLF faction announced the amendment of its program (opted for struggling to achieve autonomy within Ethiopia by abandoning a further move for independence). As a legitimate reaction to this euphoria, the other OLF groups started to stress the uncompromising direct push for an ‘Oromian independence within African union;’ this is, of course, like the use of shimala in order to show the colonizers how determined the Oromo freedom fighters are to never give up the march towards the end goal of bilisummaa Oromoo and walabummaa Oromiyaa. I think, both the shankoora and the shimala are necessary, but we only need to use them in appropriate situations with a right timing.
For instance, now it is important to be part of the currently ongoing protest by the Muslim community in Ethiopia through emphasizing the importance of a union of all nations after getting rid of the dictatorial regime. The Oromo people have nothing to fear for there is nothing to lose if the empire will be destabilized or if we even opt to live in a union with the other nations as far as the system of domination will be abolished. On the contrary, the Abyssinian elites (both from the incumbent and the opposition) are in a great panic not to see the empire dismembered. They definitely know that every step taken towards Ethiopian democratization is almost tantamount to a move in a direction of Oromian decolonization. A million dollar question is yet: can our Oromo national liberation forces use the current opportunity in the empire or are we going to miss the chance as we did, for instance, in the years 1974 and 1991? If we don’t want to lose in the struggle or miss this conductive and favorable situation, then we need to engage the enemy at the core of the power struggle, i.e. in Finfinne palace. Moving away from this central area of the conflict, as the mistakes done by ME’ISON (1977) and by the OLF (1992), only prolongs our national misery.
Above all, we have to take note that the international handlers of the Abyssinian elites know how to systematically kill any opposition or rebel force against their servants. One of the methods they used till now is giving the challenging individuals and groups a sort of asylum recognition or academic scholarship just in order to remove their engagement from the center or core of power struggle, and reduce the anti-regime movement to a less efficient battle to be waged from far away or from abroad. It is important to remember, as an example, how the Muslim-led ELF forces in Eritrea were dismantled and given asylum in the Western world for the sake of replacing them with the Christian dominated EPLF, which were kept and supported to struggle at home for they could better serve the interest of the Christian West and even East, despite the Cold War at that time. Also in Ethiopia, we have seen how the OLF leaders were driven into exile (1992), how CUD leaders were granted asylum after their victory in the 2005 election, and how MEDREK leaders were given scholarship at the time of an emerging revolution like that of the Arab spring (2010). Are these removal of the prominent anti-Woyane individuals or freedom fighters from the center at home not calculated by the foreign masters of the present regime?
Anyways, the best way to tackle this currently incumbent direct and proxy Abyssinian colonizers being promoted by the global power players is the coordinated anti-Woyane struggle in unison by firstly forging the imperative tokkummaa of all Oromo nationalists parallel to the andinet/unity of the Amhara (“multinational”) groups, and then by secondly fostering the necessary tumsa between these liberation (Oromo) and opposition (Amhara) blocs against the regime. The main struggle should take place at home near the Finfinne palace, which can involve even the OPDO and the ANDM against the dictatorially dominant and hegemonist TPLF. All the movements in the diaspora need to be considered as the diplomatic activities of the support groups in a sense of behaving as ambassadors and financial sources for the common cause of freedom from the Woyane tyrants. Regarding the specific Oromo people’s kaayyoo/objective, I think both our foes and our friends should know the real chemistry of the Oromo national liberation struggle for no one on the planet can hinder the great Gadaa nation from achieving our bilisummaa and walabummaa, be it in a form of ‘Oromian autonomy within Ethiopian union’ or in a further move towards ‘Oromian independence within African union.’
If the logical relationship of the two objectives (autonomy and independence) is clear as I tried to describe here, then it is absurd that we do observe Oromo nationalists, who do have the revolutionary approach to realize Oromian independence, still opposing and vilifying the others, who are following the evolutionary approach (wanting to use Oromian autonomy as a transitional solution on the way to the final goal of Oromian independence). Such nationalists can be compared to a certain Oromo individual living in a refugee camp in Kenya and wanting to immigrate to Washington, but refusing to accept when a certain friend or relative of him tries to help by getting a transit visa to London, from where he can easily fly further to Washington. The Oromo nation now living under garbummaa/colony, but some of our nationalists opposing an attempt of realizing an ‘Oromian autonomy within Ethiopian union’ as a transit, yet wishing a direct achievement of an ‘Oromian independence within African union’ is like the ridiculous refusal of the above mentioned refugee not to fly from the camp in Kenya to London on the way to Washington, but waiting only for a direct flight to his final destiny, even though he suffers from all sorts of inhuman way of life in the camp.
In short, the Oromo people do now have an opportunity either to use the evolutionary approach and achieve a genuine ‘Oromian autonomy within Ethiopian union’ as a transitional solution or apply the revolutionary approach and dismantle the colonial system to directly realize our goal of nation building in a form of ‘Oromian independence within African union,’ but yet the common sense advises us that the two approaches can be used alternatively for the same purpose. The fact that different Oromo national liberation organizations are opting for one of the approaches should not be the cause of conflict and discord in the camp of our national liberation movement. Knowing that the enemy uses this pseudo-conflict to divide and destroy us, we have to take hid of any manipulation so that we avoid falling into the trap of our foes. Materializing the well known Oromo people’s proverb, “walii galan, alaa galan,” which has almost the same meaning to “united we stand, divided we fall,” is crucially important for our success. Mr. Manoel de Almeida, a Jesuit priest who visited Ethiopia in the 1620s, also once stated: “if God had not blinded them (the Oromo) and willed that certain groups among them should be at war with one another constantly, there would not have been an inch of land in the empire, on which they were not the masters.” Just registering this reality in our minds, let’s pray that Rabbi/Waaqa help us look at the importance of our tokkummaa for bilisummaa (unity for freedom), if we really don’t want to miss the current opportunity of getting our national freedom, be it in one form or the other.
* Fayyis Oromia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.