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‘Are you Oromo First or Ethiopian First?’

By Awol Allo | The GulelePost via The Glasgow Legal Theory

That was the question put to Jawar Mohamed by Al Jazeera’s The Stream co-host Femi Oki. Jawar’s response—‘I am an Oromo first’, and that ‘Ethiopia is imposed on me’—raised a political tsunami that provides us with a unique and revealing insight into the moral parochialism and ethical deadlock that pervades our political imagination. Many moved too quick and jumped too fast- seeking to obliterate the political stature of the man they lauded as ‘progressive’ and ‘visionary’ not long ago. Their love affair with Jawar came to a sudden halt with his declaration of loyalty to his ethnic subjectivity, as opposed to his Ethiopian subjectivity. Their objection was not merely against Jawar’s specific claims but a concern with why the ‘Oromo’ question, and why at this time.

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