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On the Question of Nationalities in Ethiopia

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This article was written by Walleligne Mekonnen and published in the magazine called STRUGGLE; it’s probably the most famous article in Ethiopian politics. It was written while Walleligne Mekonnen was a fourth year political science (Arts IV) student at the then Haile-Selassie I University (HSIU) in 1969. The article is reprinted here for academic discussion purpose.

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By Walleligne Mekonnen
Arts IV, HSIU – Nov. 17, 1969

The main purpose of this article is to provoke discussions on the “sacred”, yet very important issue of this country-the Question of Nationalities. The article as it was prepared for a special occasion (where detailed analysis was due time and other inconveniences impossible) suffers from generalizations and inadequate analysis. But I still feel it is not mediocre for a beginning. I expect my readers to avoid the temptation of snatching phrases out of their context and capitalizing on them. Instead every point raised here should be examined in the light of the whole analysis.

We have reached a new stage in the development of the student movement, a level where Socialism as a student ideology has been taken for granted, and reaction with all its window dressing is on the defensive. The contradictory forces are no more revolution versus reform, but correct scientific Socialism versus perversion and fadism.

The Socialist forces in the student movement till now have found it very risky and inconvenient to bring into the open certain fundamental questions because of their fear of being misunderstood. One of the delicate issues which has not yet been resolved up to now is the Question of Nationalities-some people call it ridiculously tribalism-but I prefer to call it nationalism. Panel discussions, articles in STRUGGLE and occasional speakers, clandestine leaflets and even tete-a-tete groups have not really delved into it seriously. Of course there was indeed the fear that it may alienate certain segments of the student population and as well the fear that the government may take advantage of an honest discussion to discredit the revolutionary student movement.

Starting from last year, a small minority began to discuss this delicate issue for the most part in secluded places. Discussions, even private, leak out and because they were not brought into the open they normally led to backbiting, misunderstanding and grossly exaggerated rumours. I think students are mature enough to face reality even if they are very sensitive. And the only solution to this degeneration, as witnessed from some perverted leaflets running amock [amok] these two weeks, is open discussion.

What are the Ethiopian peoples composed of? I stress on the word peoples because sociologically speaking, at this stage, Ethiopia is not really one nation. It is made up of a dozen nationalities with their own languages, ways of dressing, history, social organization and territorial entity. And what else is a nation? It is not made of a people with a particular tongue, particular ways of dressing, particular history, particular social and economic organization? Then, may I conclude that, in Ethiopia, there is the Oromo Nation, the Tigrai Nation, the Amhara Nation, the Gurage Nation, the Sidama Nation, the Wellamo [Wolayta] Nation, the Adere [Harari] Nation, and however much you may not like it, the Somali Nation.

This is the true picture of Ethiopia. There is, of course, the fake Ethiopian Nationalism advanced by the ruling class, and unwillingly accepted and even propagated by innocent fellow travelers.

What is this fake Nationalism? Is it not simply Amhara and to a certain extent Amhara-Tigre supremacy? Ask anybody what Ethiopian culture is? Ask anybody what Ethiopian language is? Ask anybody what Ethiopian music is? Ask anybody what the “national dress” is? It is either Amhara or Amhara-Tigre!!

To be a “genuine Ethiopian” one has to speak Amharic, to listen to Amharic music, to accept the Amhara-Tigre religion, Orthodox Christianity and to wear the Amhara-Tigre Shamma in international conferences. In some cases to be an “Ethiopian”, you will even have to change your name. In short to be an Ethiopian, you will have to wear an Amhara mask (to use Fanon’s expression). Start asserting your national identity and you are automatically a tribalist, that is if you are not blessed to be born an Amhara. According to the constitution you will need Amharic to go to school, to get a job, to read books (however few) and even to listen to the news on Radio “Ethiopia” unless you are a Somali or an Eritrean in Asmara for obvious reasons.

To anybody who has got a nodding acquaintenance with Marxism, culture is nothing more than the super-structure of an economic basis. So cultural domination always presupposes economic subjugation. A clear example of economic subjugation would be the Amhara and to a certain extent Tigrai Neftegna system in the South and the Amhara-Tigre Coalition in the urban areas. The usual pseudo-refutation of this analysis is the reference to the large Amhara andd Tigrai masses wallowing in poverty in the countryside. For that matter during the heydays of British imperialism a large mass of British Workers had to live under inhuman conditions.

Another popular counter argument is that there are two or three ministers of non-amhara-Tigre Nationality in the Cabinet, one or two generals in the army, one or two governors and a dozen balabats in the countryside. But out and out imperialists like the British used to rule their colonies mainly by enlisting the support of tribal chiefs, who were much more rich than the average citizen of the British Metropolis. The fact that (Houphet) Boigne and Senghor were members of the French National Assembly and the fact that they were even ministers did not reduce an iota of Senegalese and Ivory Coast [Ivoirians] loss of political independence.

Of course the economic and cultural subjugation by the Amharas and their junior partners the Tigres is a historical accident. Amharas are not dominant because of inherent imperialist tendencies. The Oromos could have done it, the Wellamos [Wolaytas] could have done it and history proves they tried to do so. But that is not an excuse for the perpetuation of this situation. The immediate question is we must declare a stop to it. And we must build a genuine national- state.

And what is this genuine national-state? It is a state in which all nationalities participate equally in state affairs, it is a state where every nationality is given equal opportunity to preserve and develop its language, its music and its history. It is a state where Amharas, Tigres, Oromos, Aderes [Harari], Somalis, Wollamos [Wolaytas], Gurages, etc. are treated equally. It is a state where no nation dominates another nation be it economically or culturally.

And how do we achieve this genuine democratic and egalitarian state?

Can we do it through military? No!! A military coup is nothing more but a change of personalities. It may be a bit more liberal than the existing regime but it can never resolve the contradiction between either classes or nationalities. The Neway brothers and Tadesse Birus could not have done it. Talking about Mengistu and Tadesse, one cannot fail to remember the reaction that the Mengistus coup though a family one and at that by a sector of Shoa Amharas (with few exceptions, of course among the Workeneh) was very popular just because it was staged by “Ethiopians”-Amharas. With Tadesse, it was automatically a tribalist uprising. Why? Tadesse an Oromo cannot stage a nationalist coup but Oromo Supremacist.

I am not equivocal in condemning coups, but the Tadesse coup had at least one significant quality and a very important one too. It gave our Oromo Brothers and Sisters self-respect. And self-respect is an important pre-requisite for any mass-based revolution. Even the so-called revolutionaries who scoffed at the coup just like the mass of the student body, could not comprehend this quality. You can clearly see in this instance the power of the Amhara-Tigre supremacist [supremacist] feelings. They clearly proved that they were nothing more than the products of government propaganda on this question.

Can the Eritrean Liberation Front and the Bale armed struggle achieve our goal? Not with their present aims and set-up.

Both these movements are exclusive in character, led by the local Bourgeoisie in the first instance and the local feudal lords in the second. They do not have international outlook, which is essential for our goal. They are perfectly right in declaring that there is national oppression. We do not quarrel with them on this score. But their intention is to stop there. They do not try to expand their struggles to the other nationalities. They do not attempt to make a broad-based assault on the foundations of the existing regime. They deliberately try to forget the connection of their local ruling classes with the national oppression. In short these movements are not led by peasants and workers. Therefore, they are not Socialists; it would only be a change of masters for the masses. But for the Socialists the welfare of the masses comes first.

The same can be said for the Gojjam uprising. But I would like to take this opportunity once again to show how much Amhara supremacism [supremacism] is taken for granted in this Campus.

To applaud the ELF is a sin. If anything favorable is written out, it is automatically refuted by both USUAA and NUEUS. But the Gojjam affair was different. Support for it was practically a show of identity to the so-called revolutionaries.

Mind you, I am just saying that these movements are not lasting solutions for our goal-the set-up of a genuine Nationalist Socialist State. I am all for them, the ELF, the Bale movements, the Gojjam uprising, to the extent that they have challenged and weakened the existing regime, and have created areas of discontent to be harnessed later on by a genuine Socialist revolution.

One thing again is certain. I do not oppose these movements just because they are secessionists. There is nothing wrong with secessionism as such. For that matter secession is much better than nationally oppressive government. I quote Lenin, “…People resort to secession only when national oppression and national antagonisms make joint life absolutely intolerable and hinder any and all economic intercourse. In that case the interests of the freedom of the class struggle will be best served by Secession. I would also like to quote the resolution on the question of nationalities from the London International Socialist Congress of 1896 attended, supported and adopted by the Bolsheviks who brought about the October revolution, “This Congress declares that it stands for the full right of all nations to self-determination and expresses its sympathy for the workers and peasants of every country now suffering under the yoke of military, national or other absolutism.”

As long as secession is led by the peasants and workers and believes in its internationalist obligation, it is not only to be supported but also militarily assisted. It is pure backwardness and selfishness to ask a people to be partners in being exploited till you can catch up. We should never dwell on the subject of secession, but whether it is progressive or reactionary. A Socialist Eritrea and Bale would give a great impetus to the revolution in the country and could form an egalitarian and democratic basis for re-unification.

To come back to our central question: How can we form a genuine egalitarian national-state? It is clear that we can achieve this goal only through violence, through revolutionary armed struggle. But we must always guard ourselves against the pseudo-nationalist propaganda of the regime. The revolution can start anywhere. It can even be secessionist to begin with, as long as led by the progressive forces-the peasants and the workers, and has the final aim the liberation of the Ethiopian Mass with due consideration to the economic and cultural independence of all the nationalities. It is the duty of every revolutionary to question whether a movement is Socialist or reactionary not whether a movement is secessionist or not. In the long run Socialism is internationalism and a Socialist movement will never remain secessionist for good.

To quote Lenin again, “From their daily experience the masses know perfectly well the value of geographical and economic ties and the advantages of a big market and a big state.” From this point of view of the struggle as well, a regime like ours harassed from corners is bound to collapse in a relatively short period of time. But when the degree of consciousness of the various nationalities is at different levels, it is not only the right but the duty of the most conscious nationality to first liberate itself and then assist others in the struggle for total liberation. Is that not true of Korea? We do support this movement, don’t we? Then, what is this talk of tribalism, secessionism, etc…..?

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Wallelign Mekonnen Kassa was born on March 22, 1945 in Debresina Woreda, Wollo, Ethiopia.

In 1965, he joined the Haile-Selassie I University and studied political science. He was one of the devoted university students who struggled to emancipate the Ethiopian workers and peasants from tyranny. Wallelign and his comrades were imprisoned by the Ethiopian government and released after five months. Wallelign was suspended from university by the administration.

The articles he wrote include, “The Question of Nationalities in Ethiopia”, which states the national repression and the solution for this problem, “Le Awaju Awaj”, an article in response to the emperor’s address in the radio regarding the university students, “Ye Azinaraw Eseregan” (Prisoner’s Azinara ) and “Message to Professor Afework Gebereyesus”.

Walelign acquired the love for his country from an early age, and he dedicated his life to Ethiopia until the moment he was assassinated, December 9, 1972.

Biography from WalilegnForDemocracia.com


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25 Comments

  1. Lencha Aniya:

    June 27, 2010 @ 12:40 pm

    Here is a true Amhara who believed in Oromo independence. Why are Northern Oromos having a hard time believing in free Oromia? Something intriguing, isn’t it? We are still under occupation because of Shawa, Walo, Arsi and Amharinized Oromos acting as if they can care for the rest of us under occupation. If it’s for Hararghe, Oromia would have never been under any occupation. We fight them all for our freedom!

    I’m surprised to read this article. I never knew true Amhara intellect cared for Oromo independence and would write in such a way it could capture and perhaps solve the longest problem that have engulfed the Continent of Africa. The question of Nation and nationality and their right to session.

  2. Gamachu:

    June 27, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

    It is fascinating to read this article. it showed me how, despite the then limited access to information, deeply knowledgeable and farsighted those old generation were as compared to the shallow and sometimes shockingly utter ignorant current generations of so called educated Ethiopians. Any one serious about bringing about peace, stability and prosperity to Ethiopia ought to read this article first.

    Gamachu

  3. Boona:

    June 27, 2010 @ 3:21 pm

    He was a far-sighted intellectual. There aren’t many left who declare cross-ethnic boundaries to stand for true democracy.

  4. Walelign My Hero:

    June 27, 2010 @ 6:27 pm

    The most surprisingly timeless article. Especially, the most relevant part of the article to today’s Woyane counter-argument that having Abadula Gemeda, Kumsa Demeksa and the rest of the OPDO goons equals freedom and liberation to the rest of OROMO. Look how Walelign refuted that kind of counter-argument back then:

    “Another popular counter argument is that there are two or three ministers of non-amhara-Tigre Nationality in the Cabinet, one or two generals in the army, one or two governors and a dozen balabats in the countryside. But out and out imperialists like the British used to rule their colonies mainly by enlisting the support of tribal chiefs, who were much more rich than the average citizen of the British Metropolis. The fact that (Houphet) Boigne and Senghor were members of the French National Assembly and the fact that they were even ministers did not reduce an iota of Senegalese and Ivory Coast [Ivoirians] loss of political independence.”

    Back then, it was the few Oromo or other “Non-Amhara-Tigre” (as he called them) in the Cabinet and the military who were presented as an example that there was equal representation in the monarchy for all peoples of Ethiopia. Now, it’s the OPDO goons like Abadula, Kumsa Demeksa and the rest of them OPDO who are given as examples of “equal representation” in the federal system that still gets controlled by TPLF, the old time “junior partners,” as Walelign identified them.

    The fact TPLF-controlled OPDO roams around in Oromia will not bring an iota of freedom and independence to OROMIA. Period!

    What’s more, today’s “junior partners” in G7, for example, refuse to accept the rights of nations and nationalities, and turn around to accuse TPLF of filling all the military ranks in the defense forces by “Tigreans.” So, they want to see a sprinkle of Oromo here and there in the military before they proclaim equality of nations and nationalities — basically, they want to regress to the counter-argument Walelign pointed out in his timeless article. If G7 gets back to power, they’ll restart using the counter-argument pointed out in Walelign’s article after demolishing TPLF’s current argument of fake federalism.

  5. ONLF 4 Life:

    June 27, 2010 @ 7:35 pm

    Oromos need to wake up, as an Ogaden Somali I am 100 percent confident that we will achieve an independent Western Somali Republic, and ONLF has proven its capapilities to the international communites, habeshis are not going to give u freedom, u need to fight for freedom in order to obtain it….
    Long Live ONLF…

  6. Hundahore:

    June 27, 2010 @ 8:45 pm

    Walelign My Hero,
    you put it very well! The Unitarist Patriots like G-7 and UDJ need yet a lot to learn. As far as Oromo nation is concerned, the least we want to achieve is Oromian Autonomy within Ethiopian UNION (the goal of OFC) and the best we need to achieve is Oromian Independence within African UNION (the goal of OLF). Any thing short of this two goals is unacceptable. The Hegemonic Fascists aka Weyane are there only temporarily as long as they do have force and fraud as their only instruments to rule further. All the Unitarist Patriots like AEUP, EDP, EPPF, EPRP, G-7 and UDJ have to give up their obsolete thinking and accept Oromian Autonomy with in Ethiopian UNION in order to forge a sort of alliance with Oromo Federalists to get rid of the Hegemonic Fascists.

  7. me:

    June 27, 2010 @ 3:17 pm

    I read this article,
    You know what? We love our country!!! But it is not fair to raise the issue that was hot in the 1960′s.
    This days every one can exercise his/her language, dressing,…the only limiting factor is your confidence level.
    I know Amhara’s and Tigreans were exercising it since long time ( they get the confidence from ancient ruling classes), the wolyta’s, Guragie’s, Harari’s etc.. have also being exercising it as far as I know. Now the Oromos should be confident enough to exercise it. It is you who is responsible to introduce your dressing style, and language, culture,… not anyone else. But most of you expect some kind of regulation or proclamation from the government to announce about the Oromo’s dressing or language,….don’t expect it. Show us your nice culture, speak your language profoundly and if the public likes it, we will also speak your language, and be part of your culture.
    It is only love and care that wins!! otherwise, just by blaming others for not having a well known culture in the country doesn’t solve the problem. The same problem exists in almost all countries in the world but they solved it in a modern way, they don’t blame each other.
    REMEMBER HOW THE RULING PARTY’S IN THE 1950′S AND 1940′S WERE DOING ALL OVER THE WORLD!!
    Now we are much modern than that, so stop blaming others and advertise your language and culture to others in a brotherly way. Don’t force the other people accept it through proclamation/ or regulation through parliament, this won’t work.

    Only love and care wins!!!

  8. Walelign My Hero:

    June 27, 2010 @ 9:28 pm

    Hundahore,

    Here are more timeless points raised by Walelign:

    He predicted a military coup would not work (mind you, he died in 1972, two years before the Derg military junta came to power to unleash terror in the name of “ONE ETHIOPIA OR DEATH”):

    “Can we do it through military? No!! A military coup is nothing more but a change of personalities. It may be a bit more liberal than the existing regime but it can never resolve the contradiction between either classes or nationalities.”

    He also said:

    “It is pure backwardness and selfishness to ask a people to be partners in being exploited till you can catch up.”

    This should have been a wake-up call for OPDO’s and Oromos serving the TPLF regime now. Oromos should never be partners in “being exploited.”

  9. Birraa:

    June 27, 2010 @ 10:07 pm

    The saddest part, the Horn region is still meshed with the same fundamental problem after over 30 years since Walelign wrote the honest and courageous article that truly diagnosed the core problem of Ethiopia. Had people like Walelign controlled the political machinery in the Horn of Africa, the people of the region would have settled the fundamental problems of the region (the question of nations and nationalities) peacefully.

    Alas, the Horn region has never been lucky. The weirdos like Mengistu Hailemariam, Meles Zenawi and Isias Aferwki are the ones who have been in power. They are all bone-head dictators who don’t think in terms of the long-term peaceful co-existence of the people in the Horn region. People of the Horn region have been destined to suffer under these dictators an abated for over 3 decades after the Walelign likes honesty and courageously described the national oppressive tragedy of Ethiopia. Even today extremely very few have such courage and honesty in Ethiopian politics.

    May Walelign R.I.P.

  10. Ogina:

    June 27, 2010 @ 10:08 pm

    Gamachu,
    the ignorantly arrogant current Habesha elites can not learn from this visionary young person of his era! The current Habesha elites can only be compelled by the struggle of oppressed nations for their liberty.

    Walelign My Hero,
    well said! What this young man wrote is really timeless! Both the hegemonist Agew-Tigrean elites in power and the unitarist Agew-Amhara elites who want to replace them need to study it 3000x/d, if they can really grasp what this young man wrote in his era.

  11. Lewux:

    June 27, 2010 @ 4:17 pm

    Waleliny Mekonen from Wallo, probably of Wallo Oromo origin, did marveleous and non-dying work on the question of nations in the region called Ethiopia which now consists of the semetized Agew nation (Agew-Tigrean and Agew-Amhara), the still cushitic Oromo (including the amharinized Oromo living in north Shoa, east Wallo and south Gojjam), the cushitic Somali and the cushitic Sidama (which includes national groups like Gedeo, Hadiya, Kambata and Alaba whose languages are almost 75% intelligible and common). Wallelign’s thesis is the base for the future UNION of independent Kas-nations (Cush-nations). Kas is the ancient Egyptian name for Cush. We know that Ka is the name given to the almighty God by this anscient Cush peoples. So we can see that Kas means the “people of Ka” = the elected people of Ka = of Waa-ka-ayyoo = of Waaqaayyoo! Walleling intuitively could see that these different nations of Kas can have there legitimate nation-states and then foster a Kas-UNION of these sovereign states.

    Gadaa.com,
    galatoomi for re-publishing this marveleous thinking of the young university student of his era!

  12. Dejenie A. Lakew:

    June 28, 2010 @ 4:08 am

    Few points to look at so that similar mistakes of huge costs should not be done to our country again.

    First: The writer is more of a nursery and sympathizer of feelings of a college political science student than a mature, wise and learnt politician who was aware of global politics that understood where the world was and the directions in which mankind should be moving. He expressed his sympathy to those who were not speaking Amharic but using the language to learn, do business, etc. , not from the reasons of social, economic and political complications that he observed because of that, but just from what he read from books and pamphlets of socialism which were so popular and fashionable at the time in countries with different ethnicities- which socialists called them nationalities, but proven wrong and deadly to the fabrics of our society. He tried to cut concepts from books of Lenin and the Bolsheviks and apply to his local peasant problems in which both have no commonalities at all. It did look like a badly trained technician wanted to use a rocket engine to a car, simply because both use the same name engine, but will lead to a catastrophe. It is true that socialism is a very sexist socio-political philosophy with multitudes of jargons that are appealing to senses and lips to illiterate majority than reality and to a thinking person. In fact recently, China leaders proposed and ordered to not to use jargons of socialist movement times which are full of sensations than reality that benefit their societies.

    Second: as a good student, he showed a non-patriotic but true observations -by saying the secessionist movement is not good as such and he did not like it- even questioned the silliness of secession at his last remarks, because he said, it did not support and help other nationalists to get freedom and join the union of free nationalities. It is in fact, he said, secession is a change of masters instead, for the peasants in Eritrea or other nationalities. He was absolutely correct here when it comes to actions of separatists which is proven to be true and seen in Eritrea today. From his article, his total scheme was to built Ethiopia — “liberated nation” as a union of free nationalities who helped each other in their freedom — which was not bad at all. One can observe that the student was a sincere free and open minded person who wishes good for all people but failed to see the complications of world politics and sinister intensions of others who he was sympathizing- he was one of those students who fought and died sympathizing wrong school dinner friends to a wrong political end of his country.

    Think the replica of the student some 300 years ago here in America where all different nations of Europe came and settled and wrote their own text books in their own languages and formed separate societies precisely as the student described based on his read from socialism books. Then America would have been 50 countries by now or at least a continent of countries with replica of those countries from Europe of different languages. But the leaders were mature, wise and thinkers who do not use their sensations to make political and social decisions of a grand consequence and determined to create an ever seen strong and powerful one nation which they called it America that is indivisible, they said under God who speak one language and has one flag that protects rights of all its citizens at any cost. Their one state formation is learned from the Bible-that to weaken societies and disperse them, the Bible says, make them speak different languages. The contra positive of this statement is : to make societies strong and grow without bound, make them speak one language.
    Therefore, they refused to use any compromise and loophole that will create obstacles to their grand ambitions: They learnt what the existence and use of different languages will bring to their grand ambition of creating a formidable one country on the face of the earth. They did not compromise their noble and grotesque ideas and did not use sympathy for political end, who had visions for their citizens hundreds and thousands of years from then, who did not want to write daily manuals of living for local settlements who spoke particular languages of Europe. These are the things what visionary leaders of grandeur statue should think and do for their societies.

  13. Kuulani:

    June 28, 2010 @ 1:45 pm

    Aite Dejene,
    you made a big effort of writing these all “words’ salad” just to convoy one simple message: i.e to forge UNITARY Ethiopia similar to USA (one country, one nation, one people, one language and one flag under one Igzi’abher). Igzi’abiher of you Abyssininas litterally means GOD ruling over nation. You just ignored to see the similarity of the Horn region (call it Ethiopia if you want) more with Europe than with USA. All the different language groups who went from Europe to America are immigrants, who can not claim certain territory for thier respective language for they didn’t have that in America, but they all language groups were living mixed and intermingled in all part of USA after exterminating the native red Indians. At last they settled to choose one language as their common medium of communication and called their NEW country USA.

    Can you imagine the whole Europe with all its intact native nations do the same? If you think this is impossible, then you better give up your unitary mantra also regarding the nations of the Horn. Suitable arrangement for the Horn is like that of EU (European Union) or the TRUE Killil Federation as a compromise solution for the conflict between the Unionist native nations who do have EU as their role model and the Unitarist imigrants like you who do have USA as a role model.

    Otherwise, if you want to insist unconditionally on forging Unitary Ethiopia with only one language, let’s make Afaan Oromo the national language replacing Amharinya. Do you agree? Or your chauvinist heart will be very angry just by reading this demand? If you agree to make Afaan Oromo the only national language as English is in Amerrica, you are wellcome and I will be with your project of Unitary country similar to your idol USA.

    You see, you being in 21st century and being no more ONLY a student like Wallelign was, but may be a PHD holder, you yet really need to be born again to have the intelligence level of that young vissionary student! Your mantra about unitary Imiye made you blind not to differentiate the reality of the native nations in the Horn from the reality of the imigrants’ nation called USAmerica. May be your historical back ground as an immigrat first from Abyssinia to Oromia (Finfinne) and now from Oromia to USA made you think just like the immigrant Americans, not as native nations of the Horn or native nations of Europe. Let Igzi’abiher help you to open your mind and look at the difference.

    Last, but not least, using the example of the bibilical Babylon story about differences of language just showed how mature you are in anthropology. The student just was very brilliant to comprehend the reality that you the “mature politician, who did understand the global politics” couldn’t see clearly. You want the whole world speak only one language (probabily only Ge’ez)! How ridiculous is your cognitive process! Wake up and smell the coffee on the real ground: biodiversity of plants and linguistic diversity of Human being is the God-given blessing, not a curse as you would like to portray. Your ancestors made a mistake by not being able to exterminate native nations of the Horn and then call your NEW country Ethiopia with only your one language. How pity!

  14. Birraa:

    June 28, 2010 @ 10:44 pm

    Ato Dejenie likes lack the honesty and courage Walelign had. They prefer to deny reality on the ground. They believe that if the deny the reality for a long period, it will wither away some day. As much as much possible, they live on creating confusions and misleading to defy the ugly reality in Ethiopia. Kuulani has effectively addressed the dubious and misleading attempt of comparing the USA’s and Ethiopia’s perspective. Ethiopia is more like a former Yugoslavia than the USA. And we know how the former Yugoslavia ended up.

    Just for a record, even English was not pushed into the throat of the USA immigrants at the beginning. The official language of the USA was decided by a vote. English language barely beat the German language to be the official language of the USA.

  15. Mesber:

    June 28, 2010 @ 5:59 pm

    Councious members of the socities come up with newer ideas and analysis. This is what Wallelign did and left us with. His work is not beyond critic but accurately reflected the prevailing conditions for non-Amhara and tigrean nations and nationalities.
    This is history and history for learning from and forge ahead with renewed plans and efforts. Learning and knowledge is to bring about change in oneself and in the society. We seem not to have learned from history and we have been repeating the same mistakes. There is no reason today why any oromo or group of Oromos cannot engage in areas of language, economics, environmental, etc issues legally in Oromiyaa and Ethiopia. Why it has to always be about political power? Why some are more interested to usurp political power by all means necessary? What will they do to address the disparities and the prevailing poverty, homelessness, deprevation, etc?
    Today, in contrast to Wallelign time, we have Oromiyaa with clear borders, Afaan Oromo as our national language, Radio and TV stations that broadcast to accross Oromiyaa, Caffee Oromiyaa, magalata oromiyaa, etc and all these are things we can work on and perfect them. I am not saying there are no problems but the conditions today are a lot more favourable for Oromos to progress than during the Wallelign time.
    In the end what will bring change is work and work requires sacrifices of time, resources and talent.

  16. Obssan:

    June 29, 2010 @ 1:36 pm

    Aite Mesber,
    I can see you advertising the “good opportunity” we Oromo do have under the present brutal rule of the Tigrean HCM (Hegemonist Colonial Movement) with the British type of colonization (allow subjects to use their language at lower level), which overtook power from tha Amhara UCM (Unitarist Colonial Movement with the French style of colonization (possibly assimilate all the subjects) in the year 1991. Interesting that you do tell us that Oromo now is in ” a better condittion”, of course if you are not the the servant (slave) of the Master colonizer!

    You like it or not, Oromo people are not yet free from the brute of colonialism. We are still fighting to achieve at least Oromian Autonomy within Ethiopian Union by transforming the colonial Ethiopian Empire to the democratic Ethiopian UNION of free nations (the vision of OFC) or at best to achieve Oromian Independence within African Union (the vision of OLF). Till now the colonizers could sow a discord between Oromo FDM (Federalist Democratic Movement) and Oromo ULM (Unionist Liberation Movement) by portraying as if there is irreconcilable conflict between the two movements. Thanks to some Oromo nationalists, now we do know that OFC’s Kaayyoo is a prelude to the OLF’s Kaayyoo. We, as a nation are starting to march together towards Bilisummaa! Is this painful or pleasant for you?

  17. Abebaw:

    June 29, 2010 @ 2:58 pm

    This is really good piece, had there been genuine engagement and discussion between different ethnics in Ethiopia, things could have been solved. would you please post an article by Ibsa Gutema, Ityopyawi Man New? Who is an Ethiopian?

  18. Mesber:

    June 29, 2010 @ 9:06 pm

    Aite Obssan!
    Since you chose to address my comment in your own ways, thus I will try to respond as well.
    I am not sure if you got the core ideas of my comment, however reading yours showed me the usual amorphous talk and writing. It has been the the norm for some political agitators to condemn anything and everything that is deviant from their talking point and indoctinations. What I and others are looking for is a workable and concrete action plan by the so called LFs. The legally functioning parties in the country are doing their best to advance the rights of the oromo people and I support their agenda for greater democratic rights for all peoples of the region and as well as to the Oromo people.
    The issue, Aite Obssan, for diaspora Oromos and the supporters of LFs is not what we wish or desire but what are we doing to achieve the Billissumma we seek. There was ULFO early on to help facilitate the work, the grand daddy of all LFs refused to cooperate, rather see itself split into smaller factions. This lead to inertia we have been going through for over a decade.there were wasted material, human and other resources. Not only that any person or group that does not tow the line of the grand daddy’s kaayo is put to character assassination and defamation, etc.
    Aite Obssa, please understand one thing, that is, no one has monopoly on Oromo Liberation movement. We need to do away with this kind of mentality and embrace our commonalities.

  19. Nate:

    June 30, 2010 @ 4:19 am

    Just for the record

    America does not have official or national language or never had or will. English just a working or business language adapted by the people not imposed. Is it dominant? Yes but not imposed. People in American have choices to learn, broadcast/transmit information in any language they wish. In fact, in the big metropolis government publish vital information particularly for immigrant community in their own language and vote in their own language.

  20. Obssan:

    June 30, 2010 @ 1:02 pm

    Aite Mesber,
    I think this website is not the same to the Weyane sponsored website of “Oromiya regional government”, where you are very active. Your being active there and your demonization and denigeration of the vanguard Oromo Liberation Front as “grand daddy”, which is the same rhetoric to that of your boss Meles Zenawi, who designated OLF as “idme-xegeb” are the remarkable signs for the fact that you are one of the real Aites or their slave-serevant! Go on and make your futile old song and ololaa on OLF, for the fact that this vanguard front is and will be the beloved one in the hearts and minds of all Oromo. Read this MERDO and go to sit LEQSO, so that we can come to comfort you. You and your master with your British style Hegemonist Colonial Force (HCF) have allowed that the oppressed nations in the Empire can dance their culture and use their language in lower level in comparison to your rival French type Unitarist Colonial Forces (UCF) of Agew-Amhara elites, who do reject this minimal rights of oppressed nations and want to assimilate ALL into Amharinya speaking pool. But this doesn’t make you a better colonialist for you are the most brutal when it comes to the basic human right. Otherwise why you and your masters cried against the possibility of Afaan Oromo to be the working language of the Empire you are now ruling?

  21. Mesber:

    July 2, 2010 @ 8:59 pm

    Obbo Obssan said “Otherwise why you and your masters cried against the possibility of Afaan Oromo to be the working language of the Empire you are now ruling?”end…
    Well if this your only problem, then believe me you do not have to pick a gun for it nor sit in the comfort of your foreign villas and whine about it. The reality is you do not care about anythink that is oromo, but look after your own back and kins. This is what got us to where we are now. The hard liners like you with hate filled propanda will be a morning dew soon. The silent majority of Oromos in diaspora clearly understand where the problem is and are doing their best to correct it and wnat to be part of the the overall solution to the oromo problems while the ultra-nationalist with little to offer in the current situations are grand standing and barking at anyone that does not agree with their agenda of “balehibet irgex” .
    Being in control and controlling are different, and from my reading you want to control everything that has to with Oromo and such mentality has lead you to no where but to the situation you are now. Those who are in control of their actions and behaviours regardless of what others are doing will soon be victoroius. So the lesson is have faith in the Oromo people and the diaspora Oromo to do the right things. Stop being contro freaks. Besides for how long you want to feed us how badly we are oppressed? We need solutions not slogans, not propaganda, nor unnecessary friction .
    This will be my last response….Nagaatti…Garu Afaan Inglizi sirritti barreessita..jabaadhu….yaadaan addaan ta’un kan jiruu garuu nama jibbuni kan biraatti…Waaqayoo onne jaalalaa siyaakennu.

  22. Obssan:

    July 2, 2010 @ 10:29 pm

    Aite Mesber,
    yes you can go back and enjoy your forum on the website of “Oromo national government”. All others you wrote about diaspora Oromo and the “few ultra-nationalist” Oromo is good denial for your health! Enjoy your fantasy and be busy on Firifaari-leqemaa sitting under the feet of your Masters! QBO will move forward, you like it or not!

  23. IMMALTUU:

    July 2, 2010 @ 10:55 pm

    The writer had clearliy articulated the core problem existed in that poor country ever since it came to being. From the get go, the people who have had run the country, did not bother to deal with the problem of nations and nationaliteis,hence,the problem persistsed. If we are really concerned about living in harmony and equality, we all need to think deep and come up with the real solution. The real solution does not come to us as a miracle but from us. We are all know what is good for our respective nation.
    Ulnless the question of nation and nationalities get proper answers in a real way, the problem recycles. Whoever runs that poor country should take this important issue in to account and work with all stake holders to bring peace,unity,harmony and most of all eradicate poverty from all sectors of the society. We all have stake in it and we all are part of the problem if we continue to mock each other.
    Amhara and tigrean elites need to stand up and educate their people about the role their rulers played in inflicting pain on all oppressed nations and nationalities, so that, their people will understand why oromos and others feel the way they feel. Oromos also need to address their resentment in a manner that does not degrade and blame amharas and tigreans for everything that went wrong. It is only then trust will emerge in order to work together for the lasting peace in that unlucky country. For all these to happen, First and formost, habasha emty pride and begotery need stop and understand that not only amharas or tigrean culture, langauge and way of life is significate but invest in uderstanding how important those thing are for others.

  24. Walfidaa:

    July 7, 2010 @ 6:30 pm

    Aite Mesber,
    why do your articles draw much attention of Oromo? Why do you like to write about nations and nationalities, even though you call them tribes or ethnies? Are you in conflict situation like many Oromo? Those Oromo who are still in such conflict didn’t finish their political evolution.

    Here is the Oromo political evolution:
    - from the position of supporting Unitary Abyssinian Empire (UAE) to
    - first acting like OPDO, i.e claim to be Oromo but accept Abyssinian rule over Occupied Oromia (OO),
    - second acting like OFC i.e claim to to be Oromo and demand Oromian Autonomy (OA)at least within Ethiopian UNION,
    - third acting like ULFO and claim unconditional Oromian Independence (OI) in a form of Gadaa Repubic and finally,
    - to the lasting solution of fostering Oromian UNION (OU) planned by AFD, i.e a union of independent nations in the Horn which brings Oromo in the Horn (Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia and Kenia) together.

    I think you are on the beginning of the Oromo politcal evolution (still cry about Unitary Ethiopia). You still need to take four steps to come to the position of the Unionists. Are you ready for that?

  25. Filmataa:

    July 10, 2010 @ 7:52 pm

    Aite Walfidaa,
    Those disillusioned segments of the Ormia people, need to wake up and pursue the only viable route for the true emancipation of their people. It does not make sense to sit and negotiate with a thief who is already in your own main living room robbing, torturing, imprisoning your own children and selling your god given belongings to the higher bidder. He needs to get out of your house first, and then negotiations of all kinds could be facilitated and carried on with the genuine spirit and ground of freedom. Not the other way round. Past histories had proven over and over again that you do not negotiate with robbers, but you kick them out of your home firs. Unless you do that, the robber will leave no stone unturned to remain in your home even if he (the robber) has to fake all principles of governance. That was exactly what happened in “Ethiopia” when the colonial Ethiopian government was faking “Scientific socialism”, and now making Democracy the laughing stock of the world.
    Fimataa