Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Oromo Separatism on the Decline

By Fikru Helebo

Back in the early 90s, when email was still considered a novel communication medium, there was an Ethiopian email discussion list called EEDN that served as the first meeting place for Ethiopians on the Internet. The list was a hotbed of lively, though sometimes vitriolic, political discussions about Ethiopia. I participated in the discussions, but my participation was limited to occasional replies on threads started by others. There were plenty of contributors to the list who initiated discussions on various topics and one of them was an Oromo separatist from Wollaga who used the name "Makobili".

Makobili was passionate about Oromo issues and his contributions on EEDN were mostly characterized by a scathing, though largely appropriate and deserved, criticisms of the Amhara and Tigrean ruling classes of the last 140 years. Although Makobili tried hard to make a case for his views, his separatist arguments were apparent and did not win him much support. My take on Makobili was that he was an ideologue whose main interest in the discussions was to re-define the political relationship between Amharas and Tigrayans (whom he refered to as Abyssinians) on the one hand and Oromos and other southerners on the other just solely on the basis of Ethiopian history which, for him, begins with the conquest of the Ethiopian south by Minilik II.

One day in 1992, in an attempt to bolster his arguments, Makobili decided to use the issue of slavery in Ethiopia in one of his postings by putting the blame for slavery in Ethiopia exclusively on Amharas and Tigrayans. I do not recall whether Makobili raised the slavery issue himself or he used a thread that was started by someone else, but I vividly remember that he was making his case in a forceful way. Needless to say, I was bothered by Makobili's assertion and I decided to contact him privately to find out if he really believed in what he was writing. Makobili promptly replied to my query and said that he did believe in his assertion.

I was surprised by Makobili's admission. To my surprise, he added something else in his reply which startled me even more and remains etched in my memory till this day. Makobili informed me that I was too naive to understand the objective of his missives on EEDN. He said that his objective in the discussions on EEDN was not to have a give-and-take type discussion, which assumes that we all have something to learn from the discussions but, rather, his sole objective was to project an "Oromo" world view which will act as a counterbalance to that of the "Abyssinian" world view. In other words, what he was essentially trying to do was to plant further seeds of division between Amharas and Tigreans on the one hand and Oromos and other southerners on the other, instead of trying to build a bridge of understanding among them.

Presto! If there is such a thing as a Road to Damascus moment in politics, that was it for me. I admit, up until that time, I was too innocent to believe in the best of intentions of all Ethiopians in the discussion list where, I thought, each one of us were attempting to shed light on the complex issues that have kept Ethiopia in the dark ages for far too long. Unfortunately for Makobili, and fortunately for me, what that email reply of Makobili managed to do was turn me into a skeptic, albeit a well-meaning one (I have since become more discerning of what I read and I have learned to read between the lines). I wish everybody was straightforward and more reflective in their writings. Unfortunately, that is not the world we live in.

From Makobili's point of view, separating the Oromo from Ethiopia is the only way to correct the injustices of the past, and he is willing to throw away all the progress that has been made since the fall of the monarchy in 1974 in addressing the injustices just to achieve his singular goal of an independent Oromoland. I would have given Makobili a pass if the injustices of the past were only committed by the Amhara and Tigrean ruling classes. The truth, however, is that the ruling classes of most, if not all, ethnic groups in Ethiopia have committed injustices of one degree or another. For example, the Oromo ruling class used their Gada system to conquer the Hadiya people. Not only did they conquer the Hadiya, they forced the Hadiya to assimilate and loose their identity. I know this doesn't bother Makobili (sorry you would need a Google account to view this link) and he probably doesn't consider the conquest of the Hadiya by the Oromo an injustice.

So, "what is the point of this story about an obscure separatist named Makobili?", you may be asking yourself. Well, the point is that the separatist ideas that Makobili has been propagandizing all these years seem to be coming apart at the seams in the last few months as evidenced by the unravelling of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), where Makobili is a behind-the-scene power player. The Woyane regime has taken a note of this development and is working hard to take advantage of the situation by employing a multi-pronged strategy to decapitate the OLF by: 1) stepping up its harassment of independent-minded Oromo political activists, 2) increasing its military and propaganda efforts against the OLF, and 3) luring older and perhaps disillusioned former leaders of the OLF to its den to neutralize their influence.

While the decline of Oromo separatism is, in my view, a positive development, the fact that the Woyane regime is using this opportunity to intensify its persecution of innocent Oromos is extremely troubling and, unfortunately, it may end up strengthening the separatists within the OLF. People like Makobili probably want to see this happen and they will not, for sure, admit that their own mis-adventure is contributing to the suffering of innocent Oromos. This is to be expected, but I sincerely hope that they will soon start re-thinking their separatist position which, in all likelihood, will never be realized as there are so many forces arrayed against them. On the other hand, Ethiopians who believe in building bridges among the various ethnic communities of Ethiopia should stop being by-standers and be proactive in reaching out to Oromo separatists like Makobili and other separatist groups.

What I mean by reaching out is conducting an honest but principled dialogue with the separatists at the grassroots level. It is preferable to start such dialogue at a personal level in a coffee shop or at a dinner table where people are most comfortable. Political organizations should also do their own reaching out, but I do not put much stock on them at this time since the credibility of the political classes in conducting such a dialogue is at an all time low. The likes of Makobili, who are very successful in their own professional lives and have constructed an artificial wall of separation between themselves and the larger Ethiopian Diaspora community may not be open to such a dialogue, but we don't loose anything for trying. The first step in such a reach out is to educate yourself about the views of the separatists. These separatists have produced voluminous literature in the last couple of decades which reveal the strengths and weaknesses in their arguments in favor of separation, and it is your responsibility to understand their perspective before you reach out to them. Besides, they are as much, if not more, versed in your point of view and you need to be well armed with incisive ideas and have the willingness to see and appreciate their point of view. If you really want to see a united, just, peaceful, democratic and prosperous Ethiopia, you will do that. Good luck!


Anonymous said...

theis is not the time to talk about the oromo separatisem it is the time in my view to condmen the 'TPLF'lead regime in ethiopia who is engaged in a distruaction of inocent oromo speaking ethiopians for no apparent reason.the woyanes comited many dispeakable crime againest the ethiopia people this has to be the topic must raised as moment,one must not to forgot tplf led regime is the one who introduced ethnic based politics in the first place.you talking about the oromo separatist,but you faild to mention the TPLF the main separetist group in ethiopiawho are still in front of you,let me ask you this very simple question have you ever heard of any thing the'TPLF'DISMANTEL IT'S ORGANIZATION THE ANSWER WILL BE I WILL ANSWER IT FOR YOU NO NO NO.

enset said...

Of course, condemning the Woyane regime goes without saying and I take no back seat to any one in that department! But, some of the blame for the suffering of innocent Oromos also rests on the shoulders of the separatists. I think this time arround the separatist need to reflect on what they have done so far, and then join the rest of Ethiopians to fight the Woyane regime together for the expressed objective of building a united and just Ethiopia for all.

doctorphilic said...

Hi Enset, first of all I am an Oromo (if that helps) and usually I do not respond to comments as most writers of Ethiopian Origin are either self-serving opportunists or hypocrites.

But I agree with some of your analysis. First of all, you approached the issue of Oromos from multiple perspective and you seem to have an interest in actually understanding the intricacies of the subject as supposed to being blinded by your preconceived notions of whatever Ethiopia means to you.

As someone who suffered under the Dergue and as an enlightened student, I must say I have mixed feelings about Ethiopia. Sure, I would like to have a situation where Oromos can live in peace with other tribes. And there is nothing wrong with having a prosperous nation and also the idea of unity in diversity.

But let me ask you some practical questions. Imagine you are an Oromo and some Amhara elites still can not tolerate the idea of multiculturalism (as shown by the fact that Oromo language was banned under Haile Sellase and still it is not one of the official language despite being spoken by more than at least 30 million people).

As an intellectual and as a pragmatist, it would be hard for me to appreciate the idea of cultural supremacy (in the past the Amharas and now to a lesser degree the Tigres). My family members fought for Oromo cause and back then the sole purpose was to have independent nation and I guarantee millions of Oromos still believe in this line of argument. But I think people in Ethiopia have to come up with ways to co-exist mutually and contribute to the welfare of the country.

But unless genuine efforts are made by the status quo (ie Amharas and Tigres), people like Oromos will continue to ask questions of separation and it is a question worthy of debate. If you want to continue with this conversation let me know and I am willing to take it to the next level. but thanks for your comment!

Anonymous said...

Enset, the wise leader Makobili is not the kind of person you redicule as such.Makobili is the guy who lead the Macaa oromos to defend their land against Absinya(abesha) in 16th century.You said Oromos objective can not realized since many forces are on their way. But the fact is that, when Oromo raises no power in that empire will stop it. The last day is not yet but it is near not far and you will witnessed in you eye .You cpmplain Oromos for assimilating Hadyas, what about the Abashas who sold them like chaina Toys.whoever enslave mentaly cannot be free for life.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with this post of Enset perhaps for first time. If Tigryans fought to have a free nation while they had been part of history perhaps founders and rulers of the country called Abyssinia, I don't see any reason why Oromo who were humiliated as nation yet the bigger one in the country couldn't see the free nation course with any means possible. Hadn't been OLF was the weakest party in its vision as well as strategy I was the first one to join OLF since the day I saw my relatives who were happen to hadya suffered by woyane during 200 election. I would have said more, let leave it open...

I myself am young Kambata, I still believe independent south serves better than the complicated Ethiopia, whose failure is more practical than its success. Hadiyaa or perhaps the whole south for sure suffered by ormo expansion. But does Minlik reverse hadiyas right or will make it worth? My argument in politics is a matter of own interest and from hadiyas perhaps south's one as well as oromos one living with northerners is much painful than living as independent nation.

If Oromo separatist are weakening as per your claim it is bad for south first then Oromo second be within Ethiopia or without Ethiopia. Should Oromo be strong south will be strong. Should Oromo is going to make independence by bloody fighting then south will be free without blood. If Oromo is going to slave, south will be double slave, I hope you will get some point for future.

enset said...

Hi doctorphilic,

Yes, it helps to know you are an Oromo and sad to know that you are one of those who suffered by an Ethiopian regime for being who you are. I appreciate your willingness to dialogue and I'll take you up on your offer.

I completely understand your mixed feelings about the Ethiopia of today. If I were an Oromo, my feelings about Ethiopia would probably be very similar to yours. I also do understand why some Oromos like Makobili think that separation is the best solution (you can get a clearer view his arguments from second link I gave in the article). I respect his idea on this matter, but I consider it an idea that is not only practical but also a dangerous one (I can expound on that if it is not clear or obvious).

Regarding the feeling of cultural supremacy by the Amhara/Tigre, my take is the same as yours. I also agree with your take on Afan-Oromo not yet being an official national language in Ethiopia. You can read my take on it in the comments section of on an article I wrote some time ago about "Ethiopian Naming System". I think the fact that the resistance to making Afan-Oromo comes only from some Amharas should say something about the progress that has been made in Ethiopia since 1974 in moving Ethiopia towards a truly multi-cultural society. Afan-Oromo should have been made a national language a long time ago, but I am sure it will happen in the future. I will predict here and now that the Woyane regime may do it soon! But that should be seen for what it is, as a way to consolidate it grip on power in Ethiopia, and nothing more.

BTW, I am using the name Makobili, instead of his real name, because this was his preferred pseudonym through out the 90s. Makobili is/was the owner of Oromo-Net discussion list and also runs at least one Oromo web site.

Also many thanks to Gadaa.com for seeing the merit in my article and posting it on their web site.


Anonymous said...

doctorphilic wrote he is not commenting about cmments made by others and yet called those who are expressing their view self serving,opportunist,or hypocrites what a writr he is.if he is what he said is he,he wouldn't have use this words.it seems to me he just want to divert the real issue what is facing our country.the real issue today is that the TPLF LED REGIME IN ETHIOPIA JUST TO GIVE YOU LITTKE IN SIGHT.he wrote as a person who sufferd under the dergue whether that is true or not he is the only one who knows one thing again to remind him is that the dergue is long gone for the last 17 years the TPLF IS IN POWER NOT THE DERGUE.you can talk about the current brutal regime who kill inoccent ethiopians to stay in power by any means nececery instead of trying to divert the issue that matter orsently as no one live in the past.

Dhugumaa Jaldeessoo said...

"Oromo separatism on the decline?" This seems a laphable hallucianation. My "ethiopian" friend Fikru to me is far from real world. For one, you should not just throw an assumption (which is possibly your dream) out of the blue sky. You will have to collect some data and and prove your conjucture. After all, you are not an Oromo, how do you know what is in many Oromos' minds? Secondly, the term "separatism" is never used by Oromos. We use the term "bilisummaa" or "walabummmaa" which means freedom. Freedom is simply the God given right of people to live under the system they choose. The right to form their own government. The right to decide on their own affair.

By the way, do you speak Afan-Oromo? If so, I challenge you to visit some of the Oromo Paltalk discussion rooms and throw this idea of yours and you will see how your idea "separatism on the decline" is recieved by those in the room. These are a good model of random selection (if you know some statistics) and certainly it will give you some idea whether you are "pragmatic" or hallucinating. Otherwise, your thrown phrase becomes just like the amharic saying: "Jib yemayawqaw agar hedo qurbet antifuliny ale".

Dugumaa Jaldeessoo said...

Sorry, the Amharic saying was:"Jib yemayawuqut agar hedo qurbat anxifuliny ale"

enset said...

Hi Dhugumaa,

I do not know where to begin, but I will start by saying thanks for taking the time to comment. You may want to ridicule my views all you want, but I respect yours, even if I disagree with them, and I only request that you reciprocate. This begins with respecting my Ethiopian identity.

I wish I spoke Afan-Oromo, but I don't. I accept that this condition will put me in a bit of a disadvantage in undertanding the intricacies of Oromo culture and politics. In addition to that, I am not an Oromo, although a part of my ancestry includes Jimma Oromo. But do you seriously believe that I lack the tools and information I need to conjecture that Oromo separatism is on the decline just because I am not an Oromo and do not speak the Oromo language? If I understood your Amharic proverb and the tone of your message correctly, this is what you are suggesting.

You can call Makobili's idea of an independent Oromoland by whatever name you want. In the final analysis, it is a separatist idea and it is now safe to assume that this idea has already seen its heyday day among Oromos. Like-minded people like you can gather around in paltalk rooms and praise one another ad infinitum, but the trajectory of history clearly points to an Oromo nation that is an integral part of the Ethiopian state. Whether or not you want to be a part of it, that is entirely up to you.

Speaking of paltalk, I have never been in one and I do not encourage people to use it for political dialogue. It is only good for like-minded politicians.


Daandii said...

I do respect your Ethiopian identity. But the question is do you respect mine? I am an Oromo. I don't want to be Ethiopian. Do you respect that or you would like to call me an "Ethiopian Oromo" or "Oromos of Ethiopian orign"? You see, here where we disagree. You want to give me a tag, an "Ethiopian" tag, without my desire.

My thought towards the rest of your opinion is that they are yours. You said "we can safely say this, say that". As an Oromo I can tell you that the bilisummaa issue is not a like-minded issue in Oromo politics. As diverse as we are, we disagree on many issues, but NOT on bilisummaa. I rcall when Eritreans were also called like-minded Shaebians, but when the day of referendom came they voted for Independence 99%. So, I should tell you that you are talking about something which is only in your mind and not in our mind. The last thing we Oromos want is to be called "Ethiopians".
You said Paltalk is a place where like-people meet. Well, I agree. But usually others (such as you) also show up to challenge them. How about this? Did you ever go to meetings of Oromo community abroad? Why is it not there is single Ethiopian Flag on those meetings or demonestrations? It is plain and simple: Oromos DO NOT WANT IT!! I am an Oromo, so I don't want it. I do respect those Ethiopians who are obssessed by it, but I don't like it. Simply because it is a symbol of subjugation for us.
Can you leave us alone and mind your own business please?
Thank you.

doctorphilic said...

First all,I would like to thank everyone who cared enough to respond to the question of "Oromo Separatism" as articulated by Fikru. In my last comment, I did not say anything of substance but since I see a good gesture from the author of the segment, I would take this opportunity to Chime in.

"Anonymous" fairly albeit prematurely questioned why I said I dis-regard comments by some writes as I believed they are intended as self-serving etc. To be clear, here I am talking about people who are not interested in ideas and dialogue. In particular, the so called Habeshas (Amhara or Tigre Elites) would dismiss any discussion of Oromo altogether and this is not healthy for them and for the rest of Ethiopian Empire.
That is why I do not find them particularly engaging when it comes to discussing issues facing people in Ethiopia and Oromos in particular.

Having said that, I responded to Fikru because he presented his argument in a way that should invite debates. That is I agree with his tone/style of writing but I disagree with some of his stances.

For instance, "Dhugumaa Jaldeessos" reiterated what I suggested in my previous post. Which is to say that millions of Oromos could or would vote for independence given the chance. Fikru's assumption is that Oromo's idea of separation is waning just because some Oromo Elites within the OLF decided to breakup.

This is where this argument does not stand a chance. First of all, I am sad to say that the current OLF leadership is as far removed from the interests of Oromos as Fikru is removed from the realities in Ethiopia.

Power is in the hands of the people so if millions of Oromos demand independence, then no one can deny them that legitimate right. What people like Fikru or those moderates interested in creating peace and prosperity in Ethiopia should do is to approach this matter delicately. The question of Oromo destiny in Ethiopian Empire is is not black and white.

Personally, I have already mentioned that my family suffered brutal killings under dergue. One family member who is left from those killed by Dergue was also taken out by Woyane (TPLF).

The reason I present this information is to show the brutality of the system in Ethiopia and this partly explains why millions of Oromos are fed up with the kind of Ethiopia that is engaged in this kind of injustice. But still I have genuine interest in solving the problems facing Oromos and others in Ethiopia.

I just have issues with Amhara or Tigre elites who try to impose cultural, political and economic hegemonies in the 21st century. We have tried Amhara's way and we have finally Tried Tigre's way. Perhaps it is time to experiment with Oromos way. Another viable alternative to come up with a real coalition of people from different background that can move the country forward.

By the way, I do not think Kinjit (CUD) was diverse. It is just a bunch of Amhara elites packaged in the name of democracy and in fact Kinjit'S programs are radical than TPLF's when it comes to Oromos. Let us keep the debate going and please refrain from name calling --for such is not a an etiquette of the civilized! Galatoma, thanks!

Anonymous said...

it is healthy to engage in constructive idea facing ethiopia today,and to exchenge views in a way that is open up our scop of what shall be done to change this thinking of ethnicisem our country is enough to accomedate all walks of life ethiopians.it semms to me it is a lack of vision that is missing from our society is any one has a dought our unity is our sterength i would like to hear from any one who can give some in put on this.

Anonymous said...

Hi Fikru,
What promted me to write this short comment is the other side of the story that nobody seems to care. I am half Oromo and half Amhara. I speak both languages. There are several million people like me in Ethiopia who are proud of their herritages but also longing for the day to come when Oromos, Amharas, Sidamas, Tigres, Gurages and all the others unite for the common purpose of making Ethiopia a better place to love for all.

Dhugumaa Jaldeessoo said...

Daandii=Dhugumaa Jaldeessoo, in one of my previous posts. Apologize.

Anonymous said...

« Oromoland », "bilisummaa"

This is simply "Lam alegn besemay wettetonem alay"!! + 40 years of struggle for nothing….

« cultural supremacy »………..

first be proud of our culture! Today, no one imposed on us to eat injera, to speak Amharic/Tigrigna or to name our child Teddy, Betty ….. etc.!

Rather than dwelling on past wounds, it is better to be open to new relationships & join Ethiopians who are willing to do their part through peaceful struggle or through a war activity in the Ethiopian desert…for democracy and freedom in Ethiopia!

part of the Obama’s race speech seems helpful

“I have asserted a firm conviction - a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the [Ethiopian] people - that working together we can move beyond some of our old [ancestral]wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.
For the [“Oppressed Ethiopian People”], that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of [Ethiopian] life. But it also means binding our particular grievances - for freedom, democracy, health care, better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Ethiopians --.”

enset said...


Thank you for respecting my identity. I also do respect your wish to be Oromo and not Ethiopian. However, Oromos inhabit a space in a state called Ethiopia, like it or not, and therefore I will consider all Oromos in Ethiopia to be Ethiopians until your movement succeeds to create a separate state for Oromos. Furthermore, I believe it is impossible to envision the future of Ethiopia without Oromos at the center and I am afraid your wish for me to leave the Oromos alone is not a realistic one and I can't afford to do that. For good or bad, your people and mine people destiny is irreversibly intertwined and there is no going back. The only realistic question for me is: how do/can we all improve upon the existing political, cultural and economic institutions of Ethiopia to turn Ethiopia into a just and equitable country which gives all its peoples an equal chance to succeed and live life to the fullest. Your example of Eritrea is not really worth spending time on as I do not think it helps to make your case.


Dhugumaa Jaldeessoo said...

Anonymous (but the latest anonymous I guess)
There is not much I disagree with you in principle, including Obama's speach except that you injected here and there your "Ethiopian" tag. Did Obama speak about Ethiopia? Opperessed people or ..we the people, in your lense is only the "Ethiopian people". Ethiopia is an Empire. Just like many empires before her she will disolve at the end of the day. Personally, I have no problem living with others with respect, dignity, justice, democracy, and freedom. But that is "Lam aleny besemay........" as you said.
Yes, we struggled for 40+ years. It was not for nothing though. Now a new qubee generation is on the rise as a fruit of our sacrifice. They will stand on our gains and move to the final destiny.
The struggle for freedom, justice, and democracy will continue until all people in the Empire, including Oromos are liberated from the Wayyaanee mafia group and people are able to determine their fate.

Anonymous said...

This is an interesting conversation. Thank you Fikru.

What is missing though is the voice of majority Oromo who want to live peaceably with other Ethiopians. I do understand the reason for the resentment. I also understand we cannot live in the past. All Ethiopians are poverty-stricken; all were once upon a time subjugated by others. What we need to work hard at is to realize greater democratization [which will mean making Afaan Oromo another of the official languages, etc.] We should realize that nothing is going to be the same anymore for Oromos or Hadiya, etc.

The voices I hear in this conversation are those of few Oromo leaders and do not necessarily represent those of other Oromo leaders; nor are the arguments well-reasoned or thought out. They all tend to be emotionally-charged.

Moreover, it serves no purpose to engage in a circular dialogue or inject poison when all we want to put across could be done rather in a civil way.

If I had my way, the first thing I would advise is for Oromo leaders to distance themselves from Eritrea and tone down a separatist agenda. Secondly, Oromo groups need to come together with a common theme and strategy.

Don't forget there is a sizable Oromo minority that is intermarried into other groups. Also remember there are idea leaders such as Fikru who are more interested in and advocate for a just society. If you need to achieve any thing of significance the first thing to do is not to create many enemies or scare people away.

There are millions [mostly illiterate and poor] within every ethnic group who don't care about the nonesense we discuss here. For these the major concern is how to make it through the day.

Meles and his group realized early on how disorganized we are and capitalized on it big time. Even Oromo leaders have today slowly but surely shifted their conversation and strategies from those in the early 90s.

In the end, we should not be afraid to admit failure or fail to be practical. After all, what we need is equality, peace, and justice to prevail.

Dima said...

Hi Fikru,

Post what ever you dream or desire, but independent Oromia will happen sooner or later. Just closely follow what is going on man. killing or mistreating innocent people, will not collapse OLF. I advice you towork first for people of the south, rather than serving others.

I am living with one guy from Debub. I never expected such thinking from people of the south. he wants to act like Amahara. I didnot sayanythin to him, but later one day I met One Amahara guy and asked me about my roomate, he said "is this Welamo" I told him i have no idea. yemilushin besemash, gebiya balwetash. this is for you!!

you have to know that Amahara when he ants to use, he appreciates you, when you oppose him, he will bring that stupid word which you donot like. please serve your people before serving others. you already mentally slave, I don't what you gonna do.

Daandii said...

Anonymous said: "If I had my way, the first thing I would advise is for Oromo leaders to distance themselves from Eritrea and tone down a separatist agenda".

1) Distance themselves from Eritrea.
We have one thing in common with Eritreans: a common enemy, which is TPLF. Other than that we have nothing in common. But why should we be scared of them? We need friendship with everyone, including Amharas and Tigres. We hate those who try to impose their wish on us. We are free to decide what kind of government we want. If this makes any body "our enemy", then be it, he is our enemy.

2) "Tone down a separatist ajenda"?
First of all, to repeat myself again, there is nothing called "separatist ajenda". What OLF and other leaders persue is SELF-DETERMINATION OF THE OROMO PEOPLE as stated in the UN charter. No one human being on the planet has the right to determine the destiny of the Oromo people, except the Oromo people themselves through legal referendom, and except God, of course.

Whether the Oromo people decide to form an independent Oromia or choose to live in peace, diginity, democracy, and justice, dependes on how the Habesha elites behave. We want no more shawada of Amhara elites or Qoraxa of the Wayyaanees.

Yes, peace and justice shall prevail in the end.

Anonymous said...

First of all, the notion of "oromo separatism is declining" is an absurd assertion disillusioned by the Abyssinians. Our nationalism is all time high, oromos from all walks of life are coming together under the banner of "independent oromia state or death" and this Abyssinian thinks separatism is declining? I have no idea where you getting your statistic from, but where i come from and all my communities believe in nothing less than independent oromia state. Our struggle for independent oromia will continue until our land is fully liberated and this the belief that all oromians harbor until the day the die. The degrading and enslavement of millions in that fake empire will never be repeated under disguise of democracy, peace, and equality.

For the subjugated and oppressed nation of 40 million oromos, and nationalities to be free at last, the empire must be dismantled. Two kings can not co-exist, thus oromos will never trust or even consider to co-exist with Abyssinians. Talking about making afan oromo a national language and other a little appeasement will never take us off course which is independent oromia state. You can sit here and utter your facade dilution, but the fact is we are well on our way to make the dream of 40 million strong oromo nation come true.

We can always reason with civilized nations and nationalities, but never with Abyssinians who still in 21st century thinks/act like they are superior to all human kind, when in fact the are the most uncivilized and uninformed humans ever walked earth. We have tried and re-tried for over 100 years and come to the final conclusion that the oromo problem can only be solved by oromos under oromian flag and with in independent oromian state. I strongly believe Abyssinians should leave oromo issues/cause to the oromos and let us determine our own fate. There is nothing to be scared of here maybe actually the oromian independence may actually will help east Africa very well if not the whole Africa.

I also believe it's in the best interest of the Abyssinians to help the oromos in their quest for independence other than standing in our way and trying hard to impede our struggle from advancing. By becoming too resistant and suborn, Abyssinians will not benefit anything, but rather cause chaos which might create hostility and too much blood shed. The last thing that empire need at this point is heavy causality and too much life lost when we can actually make a smooth transition to our respective independent countries peacefully. Thus i urge all Abyssinians to be helpful rather than become an enemy to 40 million strong oromo nation which they can not afford/able to resist. Whether you the Abyssinian like it or not our destiny will be determined by us and we will not seek blessing/permission from any one.

The sun of freedom/independence will shine all over oromia by any means necessary. Please refrain from falling a victim to un stoppable freedom fighter of oromos as you can not and will not able to stop them.
Advise your people to get out of oromos way and retreat to your own corner in one piece. Don't be dinner to Haynes and vultures. May God help us all in this process.

Ephrem Madebo said...

Anonymous (12/04/2008 11:17 PM),

You asked Fikru where he is getting his statistics, I wonder where you got yours when you said “oromos from all walks of life are coming together under the banner of "independent oromia state or death" Did you get this view from Platalk? Assumption? House meetings in the Diaspora? Did you do a survey? Or where? I'm sure your opinion was shaped by popular views just like Fikru's. The Oromos are as diverse as Ethiopia it self and the question of secession does not have the same weight among all of the Oromos. In fact, this could be justified by the recent rift among the OLF leadership. There is no question that all of the Oromos want democracy, justice, and their human right respected, so do all other Ethiopians. I don’t want to go deep in to your mind and speculate on what you wanted to covey when you said “For the subjugated and oppressed nation of 40 million oromos, and nationalities to be free at last, the empire must be dismantled” Does this mean dismantle Ethiopia and form a better union? Or, dismantle Ethiopia and let every piece go its own way? If you are with the latter, you are elitist and all you want is a politically independent Oromia, just like Eritrea under EPLF. If you are for a better and equal union then I share your view and we have no difference. I hail from one of the southern minority ethnic groups which suffered no less and no more than the Oromos. I do believe the problem in Ethiopia could be solved when the Oromos, Amharas, Tigreans, Kembatas etc sit together equally and write a binding social contract. Dismantling Ethiopia does not solve the problem of the Oromos and other nationalities that suffered the same way the Oroms suffered. What do you think?

Dhugumaa Jaldeessoo said...

Ephrem Madebo,

I hope you don't mind me intruding into your response to Anonymous....
I need to raise few points.
1) The current rift in OLF is not on the question of whether we Oromos need independent or not. It is some other adminstrative and techinical stuff (I don't want to get into this).

2) You said right when you said we base our opinion on "popular view". But as an Oromo who communicate deep from the heart with Oromos in diaspora and at Home, there is no indication or view whatsoever, that shows desire for independence "declining" as claimed. No single paper has been produced by Oromo intelectuals that says the goal of independence should be dropped. Unless you count Fikre Tolessa as an Oromo, of course (Whether he is an Oromo or not he has been advocating for Ethiopia from the start). As I said earlier, NO SINGLE OROMO wants the Ethiopian flag. In the diaspora Oromos have their own soccer teams and other sport activities diffrent from "Ethiopians".

3) If you are a Southerner as you said (I would assume you are the real Ephrem Madebo), then it is not surprising that you have a somewhat moderate view than other so called "Ethiopian Elites". I can understand you when you said "dismantle the empire and then unite" or "form a more perfect union" as says Obama. I am not sure those "Ethiopian Elites" will agree with you. You asked "Does that mean dismantle Ethiopia and let every piece go its own way?" Well, here is the problem in your argument. You are nobody to "let every piece go its own way". No body asks for your "blessing" or "permission". Don't attempt to see the very end of the tunnel from thousands of miles. Nobody knows what way things go after dismantling the empire. So far "dismantling" itself has not been easy. And it won't be easy. More rough road is yet ahead.

I say let the ultimate decision be given to the people who deserve to be heard. I believe that is the only way out of this mess created by Emperor Minilik II and sustained by King of Kings Haile Sellassie, Comrade Mengistu H/Mariam, and the current Butcher Meles Zenawi.


enset said...

Interesting discussion. I appreciate your thoughtful comments. I have cleaned up some of the comments, and please try to make the comments as readable as possible (no unnecessary CAPS, etc). I will come back with my closing thought on the discussions this weekend.


kula12 said...

I wanted to thanks everyone for airing your views in this regard don't expect positive comment from Enset concerning Oromos and southerners matters, as the name itself reflects the identity and ideology don't look at Oromos and other oppressed peoples’ case in Ethiopian empire from Enset point of view and don't agree on separatism and wish this word replaced by freedom struggle. Separatism are those who try separate historically same people but we don't belong to Abyssinia unfortunately they occupied the southerns and managed to erase our identity through assimilation. Inciting oppressed people against each other is long time policy of Abyssinians and thier successive leaders as a result any form of fight between Hadiya,Oromo, Somalis and others is free from contaminated hands of these dictators. i thinks Meles his TPLF as a modern dictators they just legalise the divide and rule policy of their forefathers. As occupied people Oromos are fighting for freedom of self determination but separation, the problem is Amhara and tigre they don't have enough space in their mind to accommodate this reality. without accepting the truth and unity in diversity calling for unity is void.

Ephrem Madebo said...

Dhugumaa Jaldeessoo,

I don't see much of a difference between your and my views regarding what Ethiopia should be in the future. I don't care for what other Ethiopian elites would say as long as I say what should be said to free the people of Ethiopia. Our struggle should be to free our people not only from Woyane, but from all future oppressors. I don't have a hidden agenda; all I need is equal justice, freedom, and democracy to every current and future breathing soul in Ethiopia. I don't even care if I don't see what I fight for because I’ve seen it here.
There is something that I share with Fikru. The tone of the OLF has changed in the last few years. I remember, for many years, the OLF leaders never tolerated non-Oromo Ethiopians. Main stream Ethiopians never considered OLF as a viable political entity either. In the last two or three years ,as we all have witnessed, the Oromo issue is being discussed by many like it has never been, and the OLF leaders appear in many public discussion forums and discuss Oromo issues with Non-Oromo Ethiopians. Did I get this right?

Anonymous said...

I really did not want to engage in this debate too deep, but let me make final comment based on what this person is asking. First of, i suspect all this hoopla about "oromo separatism is on decline" is come about because of recent OLF shake up. I guarantee you the shake up is meant to strengthen OLF not to weaken it. Some old guards who has been trained by Abyssinians wanted some spot light in the very regime/empire that has commited genocide against oromos and others for over 100 years. They think they are getting too old and their time is running out to wait for oromo independence, thus they simply opt to take short cut and start negotiating with abyssinians just to fulfill their personal need and ego.

This by any means does not mean "oromo separatism is on decline" which by the way totally mis-phrased.I would actually call this reform of oromo national struggle, since we are actually weeding out the bad apples from the good ones. We have been independent nation way before 1882 until short after ward occupied by the abyssinians supported by the European weapons. We are not trying to separate our selves, but rather trying to eject the occupiers of our nation by any means necessary. I wanted to make this perfectly as clear as possible, because some people who happen to be illiterate about history or mis-informed might think oromos have always been part of Abyssinia, which is totally inaccurate. We the oromos don't have anything in common with abyssinians. We proudly have our own country, language, culture, history, and religion which by the way called "waqeffana". We don't have any desire to occupy or enslave any one, but clearly struggling to re-claim what has been taking from us by force.

The assumption of some how oromos will accept fake Abyssinia and live with TPLF/CUD is some what delusional. There is nothing that will stop as short of independent oromia, considering the fact that years of sacrifice that have been made by our brave men and women is just to make our independence a reality. Thus, we can not turn back and settle for less no matter what the Abyssinians or the whole world say. I am pretty sure most oromos would be glad to live with oppressed people of the south, but never the brutal TPLF/CUD, which lead me to say our viable option at this point has to be secession. As i have stated in my previous post, we never trust or even consider sharing the same country with abyssinians. It's in the best interest of all stock holders in that empire to facilitate the secession of the oromos. With the secession of oromos will come the eradication of starvation, poverty, disease, and total out of control destitution. I am sure that will benefit every one including the abyssinians, because we would like to be a good neighbors. I totally believe the problem of that empire can only be solved when oromos go their separate way and become a good neighbors with others.

I have been asked where i have gotten my statistics from? as to how many oromos would like to see independent oromia? well as an active young oromo, i have been to so many oromo conventions in diaspora, and also went back home and did my own un-scientific survey and come to conclusion that at least 90% of oromos would like to see independent oromia. To my surprise even the OPDOS if given a chance will not hasitate to opt for indepenendent oromia. People keep repeating again and again in time that the problem of all opporessed people in that empire is the lack of democracy, equality, and justice, however, in our case we are saying our beloved land oromia has been taken from us and we must take it back. We have lost our country, identity, culture, diginty, and most of all human right. We must get it all back not piece by piece, and we only would like to have what is ours. We don't have any desire to venture into any bodies terotory or violet any ones right. We only want to re-claim what has been taken from us.

In cnclusion, we are not here to please or appease any one, but ourselves. We also don't seek any blessing or permission from any one on this earth to determine our fate. Our issues should be left to us to determine the course of action. Only oromos know and understand what as have occured to them in the past 120 years, thus us the oromos can only have the last say. If we wish to be independent, then we will be independnet when the time comes, and that can only be determined by us. We respect all humans and view all humans as eqaul. We don't have any desire to occupy or enslave any one, but any one who stand in our way to impede our quest for independence will be dealt with accordingly.
Have a great day/night
Loltuu Ooromo

Dessalegn said...


It goes without saying - your prescription for empathy and dialogue is right on.

And I also agree that, in general, there is less antipathy between Oromo nationalists and others, both in Ethiopia and in the diaspora, than there used to be. Today, a 'mainstream' Ethiopian politician like, say Berhanu Nega, can get away with making overtures to the OLF. This was once unthinkable. I think this is a result of a general (minor) maturation in especially diaspora politics. People are _slightly_ more able to entertain other points of view. Kinijit's party policies are a good example. While a 'unity' party, it was quite ready to leave language issues to the regions. Again, unthinkable a decade ago.

All this being said, I don't know about the evidence for your main assertion that support for Oromo separatism is on the decline. I mean, it's never been measured. It remains difficult to tell how much of the separatist cause is a response to the general oppression of living under dictatorship, and how much is a result of ethnic alienation.

It's my guess that in a free election today, if it decided to participate, the OLF would sweep Oromia. But for the reasons above, one cannot automatically call that a separatist vote!

Would the OLF have swept Oromia in 1991? I don't think so.

EPRDF rule, typically of minority rule, as been one of maintaining delicate balances. They've encouraged ethnic nationalism, just enough to take advantage of the resulting divisions, but not enough to result in instability and loss of power. On one hand, they've co-opted lots of 'soft nationalists', weakening the separatist movement, but on the other, they've played up ethnicity, strengthening ethnic identity and parochialism.

But since 2000, but especially since 2005, the EPRDF pendulum has swung firmly towards playing down ethnic nationality and encouraging 'Ethiopian nationalism'. They've seen that indulging their petty ideologies and hatreds threatens their power and have adjusted, and like all politicians, power is the bottom line.

In response, some of the 'soft nationalists' left the EPRDF, but I think they've made back more than enough with all the goodies that party membership brings.

So in the end, I still don't know whether ethnic separation sentiments are declining today. Seems to me things could go either way, but that from all sides, there is an improvement in maturation.

Dhugumaa Jaldeessoo said...

Ephrem Madebo,

As you very well put it, there is very little difference between me and you. You are right, when you said: "...like never seen, the OLF leaders appear in many public discussion forums and discuss Oromo issues with Non-Oromo Ethiopians". Many OLF leaders have learned their lessons the hard way (although there are still some with extreme views). Many of them, as young men, when they began the struggle, they thought "the shortest distance between between two points is always a straight line". They have seen that in politics it is not necessarily that way. They have now learned that they have to take the struggle for freedom, democracy and justice to all oppressed people; that Oromo freedom itself will be successful if all subjugated peopleincluding those who call themselves Ethiopians are embaraced. As you said, we need to discuss Oromo issues with all those who can listen to us. Who sypathise with us.

It is ok if you agree with Fikru about the core point he raised. But I have to tell you that the very title of Fikru's message has a negative tone. He calls us "separatists", and he wrongly asserts what he named "separatism" (and we call Freedom or bilisummaa) is "decilining". Sorry to say this, but to me it is annoying and deeply disturbing, especially when delibrate defamation of our struggle for justice and God given right, comes from a fellow suthern ally, with whom we shared the agony of subjugation, degradation, and dehumanization.

We Oromos have no ambition whatsoever to subjugate or do harm to any one. Any genuine human being should support our struggle. Whether we choose to form an independent state or live with other people in harmony is purely upto us; can not be imposed on us by any one. But I am confident that at the end of the day we will form a voluntary "perfect union" with southerners. With the Habashas? ... I don't see it happening. Things are getting more and more ugly to a point that trusting each other became an impossiblity already. But I could be wrong, of course.

For us Oromos, one thing is not negotiable, namely: THE ULTIMATE DECISION CAN ONLY BE GIVEN BY THE OROMO PEOPLE. No body, not OLF leaders, not Meles Zenawi, not Habesha Elites, not Fikru, can determine the destiny of the Oromos, period.


Anonymous said...

I also disagree with labeling Oromo nationalism as separatist. A separatist group is more like Northern from Southern Tigray. Oromo was a separate nation until 120 years ago, which is a relatively short period of time in our history.

The call for one Ethiopia is nothing new. Each incoming regime such as Haile S., Dergue or TPLF have been saying the same thing. To many Oromo, it is just another ploy in maintaining power over Oromo and many southern nations. These regimes are also using it to control their respective ethnic groups.

If we look at the immense poverty of Ethiopia, you will notice it is clearly man made. These incoming regimes invest heavily on suppressing people through military, social and economic means. If each nation were independent, then the region would have greater chance of peaceful coexistence. Coexistence will come when we each can define our economic contributions to the region without external force. Maybe one nation exports manufacturing as others focus on Information Technology and Research. While Oromo are subjected to Ethiopian rule, we are limited in reaching our economic potential as a nation.A key reason is the ruling ethnic power limits Southern nations (Oromo included) entry and participation in the economic and social process. As such, the Southern regions are left in poverty.
If you want to prove to the Southern nations that you believe in "One nation," then
-build clean water supply
-build more schools
-encourage your fellow Ethiopians to embrace Southern nationalities as colleagues and warrant equal status and compensation. This is easy to do when we are all immigrants, but a different story in Ethiopia.

I can safely say, the leadership of the "one Ethiopia" concept dismiss the needs of Southern Nations especially those who are Amhara and Tigray. Having said that, I can not see Oromo Nationilism as being separatist but rather a return to a nation meeting the needs of it's people.
Maliif Egnaa

etopia said...

Dear Friends,

It is my earnest belief that the Oromos have legitimate questions of democracy, good-governance and equitable use of resources and that any government that doesn’t address these and other needs of the Oromos (who are a majority) would fail to bring peace, stability and economic development in Ethiopia.

I have questions that I never found answers for, however. I wish anyone of you would educate me on this (I posted these same questions in another forum but couldn’t find an answer). Please note that these are not accusations, they are questions:

1. No question that there has been and there is a problem of good governance in Ethiopia. The basic question that no one seems to have answered is, "what is the proof that these problems that we face CURRENTLY are as a result of PAST injustices, invasions and so forth committed 100s of years ago?" You can say, you want to address past injustices merely for serving justice, that is one thing, but asserting that our CURRENT economic, social and political problems are CAUSED by the injustices committed 100s years ago needs proof. This is very very important because it would amount to saying that all the problems (economic, social and political (questions of democracy, good governance etc)) will be solved once the Oromos form their own state. Again, is there any warrantee to make such a statement? (The current state of affairs in Eritrea may point us to the answers, I guess).

2. Why is it important to go back and claim land taken by previous invaders? I for one, am no historian but suspect that many nations took their current form out of the same struggle for land some hundreds years ago. (I don’t imagine there were 195 countries in the world some thousands or even hundreds of years ago). If at all it is important to go back in history, how far back should we go?

3. Should it matter how nations were formed as far as all the citizens in that nation are currently given equal treatment. Shouldn’t we open our hearts to love and unity based on common human values? (Note: I am asking this question, assuming that we will build a democratic and prosperious Ethiopia if all of us work towards that; I am not by any means implying that we have such a state currently).

4. Finally and more importantly, how many of us are willing and able to discuss and analyze these issues with no hate to other nationalities in our hearts. Hate is that repulsion that you feel when you think of associating yourself with someone from another ethnic group. It hinders the mind of thinking rationally. It is distructive. Shouldn’t we, thus, first liberate ourselves from hate? How sure are we that WE DO NOT HATE? (I am saying this to people on all sides of this issue.)

May God open our hearts to the greatest liberator of all- LOVE.

doctorphilic said...

Dear all,

Everyone should be commended for taking the time to reflect on this post. My comments are in response to "etopia".

Specifically, I want to focus on question 1, which etopia posited as, "what is the proof that these problems that we face CURRENTLY are as a result of PAST injustices, invasions and so forth committed 100s of years ago?"

I think this is a legitimate question that needs to be answered. As an Oromo, I can point to specific examples. For the sake of clarity, I will use recent historical example since we need experts and historians to dig up information on the past Ethiopian regimes and their records.

Recently, the TPLF government uprooted the cotton factory from the city of Dire Dawa and exported it to Tigray. Thousands of Dire residents including Oromos, Amharas, and Somalis lost their jobs.

Now, this is a classic example of why regimes that rule Ethiopia in the name of Unity end up catering to their tribes sometimes in flagrant ways (as the TPLF example shows) and others in subtle ways.

In terms of the correlation between injustice and economic, social or political deprivations, we can also look at the the of the west. I am not implying Ethiopia is anywhere near the west. But the fact that most western countries are prosperous shows that it is because of their good governance. It is a fact that needs no prof that "government by people for the people" will lead to a society that is creative and more or less harmonious. Western governments despite being successful are still not perfect governments (as USA was a great democracy while still being engaged in Jim Crow Laws).

My point is that just because Oromos are in power, it does not mean that everyone will be prosperous or happy. What it means is they will have more control over their resources and their ways of life. If Oromos fail to use their resources or their position of power properly then they have no one but themselves to blame. As of now, we have had Oromo puppets like OPDO but there has never been a legitimate Oromo government "by the people for the people".

You brought out the example of Eritrea. First of all, for what we know Eritrea despite being advanced due to Italian influence, is no where near Oromia both in terms of resource and human capital. So, Eritreans enjoyed their freedom but two waves dashed their hopes: 1) Bad leadership, and 2) Lack of enormous resources to build their infrastructures and create a viable society. But, make no mistake though. If you talk to Eritreans, they might not like their state of condition but they are mostly happy to have achieved their independence.

In terms of my personal opinion, I think issues of Oromos centers around the question of legitimacy. I think if Oromia were to break away from Ethiopia, the Empire would cease to exist as we know it. So, this would be a serious concern for other people. But denying the Oromo question does not address the problem too.

I think Oromos would be happy to live within the larger Ethiopia given they are granted some sort of genuine autonomy (cultural, economic and political). This could be achieved and Emiye Ethiopia will remain as is.

But if we continue along the old lines of the Lion of Judah and now the "Golden Race" of Tigray, then the nation of Ethiopia could go down in flames that would mark one of the most tragic events in this troubled nation of Ethiopia. But if we truly work together, I think Oromos and other people can create a viable country that is conducive to all humanity.

Ephrem Madebo said...

Dhugumaa Jaldeessoo,
I have always supported and will continue supporting the struggle of the Oromo people to be free from injustice and dehumanization. The people of the South and the Oromos are the ones that paid the ultimate price in Feudal Ethiopia; they are who lost their culture, language, and identity. All people that live in the territory that we all call Ethiopia will benefit if we can create a nation of equals where we all have the same and equal voice in the national, regional and local decision making process. I am a person who believes that my benefit will be much larger if the Oromos are with me when we create a strong mother Ethiopia that will see her children equally. I don’t think the Ormos are against the notion of building a strong nation where they administer themselves. No question that Ethiopia’s past was ugly, and no matter what we do we can’t make the past look like good unless we fool ourselves. But, the future is in our own hands, it is at the hands of the Oromos, Amharas, Sidamas, Kembatas, Tigreans, Guraghes etc. Before we come to a conclusion of saying that nothing could be done with the Amharas, lets sit together and repeatedly try to build the Ethiopia that we all like.

Anonymous said...

Why can't we settle what the people of that country want by placing the country under the UN auspces say for 2 or 3 years and live with the outcome wich ever way it is decided by referendum .

Ephrem Madebo said...


Why can't we let the People of Ethiopia solve their problem? Do you think the UN is better, do you think we are not given the opportunity, or you think we are incapable of solving our problem? Whether HIS, Mengistu, or the current dictator, Ethiopians never had a regime ready to solve the age old problem of the country. The main reason is that those who fight for justice and freedom in Ethiopia had their individual agenda; none of them had/have a national agenda of living in harmony. EPRP was full of self-centered elites, the Amhara elite worked hard to get back to the old glory time, TPLF's Ethiopia is centered around the political and economic dominance of the Tigray elite, the OLF fought for 35 years to create one Oromia state. Where is Ethiopia? What do peasants in Oromia, Tigray, Sidama, Amhara region, Ogaden, Kembata, etc want? Do they have needs that contradict or significantly differ? No! The differences and the contradictions are at the elite level. By acting or by failing to act, it is the elite that perpetuated the problem of Ethiopians. The elite have tried its way, now it is time to try the people way. Ethiopia will be the land of justice, freedom, and democracy only when the Oromos, Tigreans, Sidamas, Amharas, Somalis (and all other nationalities) come to a big round table representing themselves and only themselves. As people we are capable le of doing this, we don’t need to be bailed out by the UN! Look at the history of the UN- When did it do a good job of creating a nation? How can we trust others before we trust ourselves?

Anonymous said...


I have been reading your articles on EEDN and others over the last many years. I may have responded one way or another on several of your articles.
This time you took the situation of the OLF, TPLF's attempt to exploit the development within OLF and tried to make a point which you must bhave been dreaming about for a long time. How ironic is it that TPLF's desire and your's as regards to the OLF are congruent.
Your analysis of Oromo politics has always been dismissive similar to many Amhara political elites. For your information, the weakness of Oromo people's struggle has nothing to do with your casual analysis, but extreme weakness and ineptitude of the leadership. Oromo youth and elites have been demanding for a more activist form of resistance than what we have been witnessing for the last decades. It is their indecisiveness and waffling that have allowed the TPLF and people like you to over analyze our position vis a vis Ethiopia.
At the end, past and present injustices are going to be the driving force for people's desire to be free and it only takes determined leadership and conscious society to take that desire to the end.
There is written ample evidence about Oromos tolerance of all others in historical terms (even when they have fought and defeated others) and the Hadya, I believe, is no different.

Democracy said...

Selam Ato Ephrem Madebo, first thank you for being realistic, intellectually capable and to your honesty. I believe you and people like you would have emerged to lead our people if the communication forum was open where people can hear one and all with out going through liberation fronts of one kind or another or tyrants, racists and robbers of many kind.

I believe a few interest groups are spinning the complex relationship of the Ethiopian family out of control for what ever reason yet to be reviled for lack of the non existence free press and public forum to know who is who. Thank God to the cyber space, that we never contributed a penny to develop came along to save us by-passing tyrants of one kind or another to bring people together to discuss issues and neutralized tyrants and potential tyrants who agitate a confined audience they monopolize as their own, interestingly almost always through victimization.

Given being and continue to be victim of one group or another, the issue for me has always been more a serious of questions for the so called liberation front, party, the self appointed leaders of one group or another who are taking it up on themselves to be representative of one group or another with out being scrutinized who they are, who finance them and who voted them to represent the people they claim to lead to unknown destination.

Theses groups, what I call lord of victimization are rampant, more so since TPLF, the master of victimization came to the sense. Believe me, beyond the familiar and vocal groups there are 100s of them who make a living out of victimization.

The question remains, if victimization is the bench mark of liberation, we are guaranteed to have a 100s of mini liberated nations run by tyrants of one kind or another. I wish it stop there, more victim will come out of the many new nations to create more independent nations, not to mention gender, religion,and others retailers of victimization will come along for more liberation, conflict, revenge and bloodletting. Where does it stops?

Sir, personally I am sick and tired of the whole thing of the peddlers who want to make me victim and victimizer not to mention have no appetite for those, especially those who social engineer the complex interaction of Ethiopians in economics, social, political issues taking their queue from TPLF, EPLF,OLF, ONLF and the rest. But there is a fundamental issue for me that I would not let go, should I abandon one Ethiopian or another for self appointed groups just because they claim them as their own? It is an affirmative NO. What I want to ask the self appointed leaders of all kind is, can we at least agree to let the people to speak for themselves by providing them the democratic space they deserve? Surprisingly, the self appointed leaders are no where to be seen to let the people speak. I wonder why we still entertain these groups as representing any one but themselves.

The struggle for democracy is not only to dislodge the tyrant who rules us; it is a whole lot more. Until we scrutinize the self appointed leaders in public to answer the burning questions, my experience tells me they are identical to the ruling party of TPLF who victimize us all.

God bless you for beginning the securitization process, let those who claim they are leaders of one Ethiopian or another tell us what they are going to do to our people they claim to liberate, I hope not what EPLF is doing to the “Eritrians” who are no longer our people?

Let our people speak for themsleves

Anonymous said...

That is exactly my point.If you think given a choice the Oromos will opt to stay with the current arrangement then why not take the UN option.The idea that some how the problem with Ethiopia is the creation of elites does not simply correspond with reality.
Mr.Madebo! you know as well as I do, it is the intellectuals of the respective gruops that articulate the issues of the societies they think are opressed and present the way out.That is the reality in every country.That is why the poor peasnt sends his sons and daughter to school in addition to other things.The peasnts with all due respect because of his or her life experince will not be able to deal with complex issues and be able to see the way out of his her situation. That is exactly why the opressor group tries to create this artficial divide between the peasant and the sons and daughers who are fighting on their behalf. That argument is not new. The white colonialists used it against freedom fighters and we all know what happend and this time it is not going to be any different. It is not going to work.You see one can not generate a productive debate if one starts from dishonest point of vew.We either debate on the issues honestly or we are not going to have any debate.The way Isee it there is no debate.It is the other side telling the Oromos who they are or what they should be.The other side meaning the non Oromos and that is not the way to have a discussion with us.

enset said...

Hi Folks,

Thanks for engaging in the dialogue. A few points to help clarify the purpose of the article.

1. I do not equate Oromo nationalism with either Oromo separatism or the OLF. Rather, I see Oromo separatism, which I contend is in decline, as an extreme manifestation of Oromo nationalism. Oromo nationalism, if it is guided by farsighted leaders, is actually a thriving phenomenon and has a good potential to make Ethiopia a better country. Same argument applies equally well for other ethnic groups in Ethipia.

2. I believe the point that doctorphilic made about the impact of Oromo separatism on others goes to the crux of the matter. He said: "I think if Oromia were to break away from Ethiopia, the Empire would cease to exist as we know it. So, this would be a serious concern for other people." I think this much should be obvious to the separatist. Therefore, it behooves the Oromo separatist to find out the aspirations of the future neighbors of independent Oromoland.

3. It is a mistake to down play or dismiss the current schism within the OLF as merely "adminstrative and techinical stuff" as Dhugumaa did. The schism has been brewing for a long time and has the potential to be permanent. My reading of this schism is that it weakens the support level of the separatists within the Oromo communities. But I also agree with Desalegn when he says that "things could go either way".


etopia said...

This is to doctorphilic,

First of all thank you for your response to my previous questions. I am also happy that (like most commentors on this blog) you addressed the issues in a civilized and mature manner.

Having said that, I want to tell you that you started to answer my question very well but I am afriad you trailed off the question at some point. I mean, what I need proof for is simply this statement: "the Oromos are currently poor, have so many social problems and have a serious lack of political freedom because (this is the key word: because) Minilik invaded their land some hundreds of years ago (or something in these lines)". I am sorry if I have trivialized the question but I thought this suggestion needs proof since the whole idea of separatism (freedom) is based on this premise. Or alternatively, you can show me which other premise it is based on.

The examples you pointed out as an evidence for the above premise are I think injustices by the current government and you and I have no disagreement on the injustices commited by the current government. The question of freedom or separatism is not proposed by separatist groups based on current injustices but based on historical grounds (I may be wrong of course).

I also wish you will find the time to answer the remaining questions.

Finally, I have to say I agree with all your analysis except the above. If I had to point out which ideas I agree to in your last post, I would have to repeat the last 5 or so paragraphes because I wouldn't have put them better. Let me just say that I also believe that all ethnic groups can live under one country name called Ethiopia (I am wondering which farmer cares) as far as their individual rights are respected and all ethnic groups are given a level of autonomy to govern themselves and to develop their culture.

Thank you for your time.
(Please excuse my typos)

enset said...

I highly recommend that you read this perspective by an Oromo nationalist blogger: DOUBLE STANDARDS AND A FAULTY PROBLEM DIAGNOSIS. The writer of this article is replying to a recent article by Prof. Asafa Jalata (which you can find at Gadaa.com), and reaches the following conclusions regarding the schism with the OLF:

1) The change in OLF is not a result of a low level of political consciousness as Dr. Jalata alleges but rather a product of years of soul searching and agonizing.
2) The Oromo people and its struggle have produced enough revolutionary intellectuals, but the Shane failed to make effective use of them.
3) Dr. Asefa failed to study the root cause of the change in OLF, which is the ineffectiveness of the leadership to mobilize, organize and lead the Oromo. By so doing Dr. Jalata tried to cover up the colossal failures and weakness of our leaders who have paid great sacrifices but proven unfit to lead the Oromo to victory.
4) The Oromo liberation struggle has stagnated and change is badly needed. The time is ripe for a new generation of leaders reared on the foundations of Oromumma. The recent change in OLF represents this promise and potential.

Anonymous said...

Etopia wrote:

“Why is it important to go back and claim land taken by previous invaders? I for one, am no historian but suspect that many nations took their current form out of the same struggle for land some hundreds years ago.”

That is right! My advice to those who claim the “oromoland”, “Somaliland”, “sidamaland” etc: read the history of Early Modern France and see the similarities with Ethiopian history!


“In the mid 15th century, France was significantly smaller than it is today!

The late 15th, 16th and 17th centuries would see France undergo a massive territorial expansion and an attempt to better integrate its provinces into an administrative whole. During this period, France expanded to nearly its modern territorial extent through the acquisition of Picardy, Burgundy, Anjou, Maine, Provence, Brittany, Franche-Comté, French Flanders, Navarre, Roussillon, the Duchy of Lorraine, Alsace and Corsica.

Linguistically, the differences in France were extreme. Before the Renaissance, the language spoken in the north of France was a collection of different dialects called Oïl languages. By the 16th century there had developed a standardised form of French (called Middle French) which would be the basis of the standardised "modern" French of the 17th and 18th century. (In 1539, with the Ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts, Francis I of France made French alone the language for legal and juridical acts.) Nevertheless, in 1790, perhaps 50% of the French population did not speak or understand standard French.

France would not become a linguistically unified country until the end of the 19th century “

Democracy said...

As I expected, in a typical Ethiopian tradition i.e. leavening the wound unintended until it become chronic and not to offend any one, you continue to reinforce the radical view of separatist and ignored the right of the confined audience to be heard in the democratic process. A typical Ethiopian complains until dawn and start all over again tomorrow with the same thing.
The ‘Ethiopian’ experience teach us, from the little idir to national institutions, we identify with one group, party, association, religion and create a leader/s who treat us like children and expect “him/them” to show us the way and allow him/them to render us useless to think for ourselves. Fear is the main course, fear of God, fear of “them” even fear of the wild animals who would come and eat us alive are used for submission for having opinion, not even expressing them, for disagreeing, let alone to be defiant, for thinking let alone act on it, even choosing what we would like to eat is considered undermining the power of the “big boss”,… questioning authority, not to mention asking the hard question is a crime that can cause even death.
I know the bull I hear ‘you can not paint all Ethiopians in one brush,’ rightly so, but I have not seen any who evolved out of it to show me there is a better way to do it so that we can follow.
Ato Mandebo we are in a critical juncture in human history where we are left behind so far even if we try to catch up under the right condition it is almost impossible to do so. Every new technology and science invented we use it for distraction lead by intellectuals tyrants of not our choosing, so far.
At the mean time, contrary to the conventional wisdom of the intellectuals who lead separatist, freedom fighters, power mongers, racist pigs who caused us so much pain and suffering still treat us like children and refuse to give us our God given voice to choice. Is it too much to ask?
I believe you are an enlightened man by looking at most of your writing, but not immune from the trapping of control and power as any human being reinforced by your own upbringing and the ‘Ethiopian’ experience. But what you fail to do is to face the problem head on and bring out the devil out of each of us and deal with it. Baby seating the symptoms than dealing with the cause is the single most troubling issues we are facing as peoples and a nation.
The expectation was the learned “men” (mind you not women since they have no voice at all but reduced to their traditional role) would lead us the way and it turned out not only they could not do it but got it worst, much worst. Instead of sorting it out they engorge in conflicts, accusation and war mongering and want us to follow them in to hell.
The victim as victimizer and vise versa
Every body is a victim these days but do not want to hear he is a victimizer in his own right. The only thing lacking is power. But the little power given is a good indication what to come when theses people reach the power they desire by ‘all means necessary’. I leave you with a good example of an incidence on my self, not to mention there are hundreds here and in Ethiopia I can sight you where there are no recourses and urge you to look beyond the talk and use your valuable resources i.e. time for the bigger cause.
I was asked to join a working committee and demanded the rule of law we work under, since there was none, I agreed to participate in drafting the rule. In the course of the process and the hard questions need to be answered, a group of self appointed tyrants who ruled by impunity could not handle the erosion of their little power they rewarded themselves closing on them. Mind you, this is a working committee of supposedly an organization, and all individuals are educated, one with a PHD.
All of a sudden I was accused of “conspiring to over throw them” in writing. Puzzled by the sham of the accusation and wondering how did they came up with it and what I should do, I wrote a letter to the organization higher ups and copy for all concerned to have due processes, noting materialized. I began thinking what if these tyrants got to the big power they aim for and imagined seating in some dark prison wondering when and how I get out as many of our people are. The beast in us is here the future is drawn now.
With that I leave you to wonder what needs to be done. The beast within TPLF is causing crime against our people like others before him. If we could not restrain it now with rule of law collectively we have not seen any thing yet what is coming. No one, not separatist, lords of one thing or another, nor freedom fighters and the rest will save us but the rule of law of the people, by the people for the people. No human being should be allowed to have absolute power; it should start right now here. Let us not waist time for another tyrant to show up. Do not even think to categorize me in any group, I am free and fearful of tyrants next to me.

Anonymous said...

I am glad Frances' history and the question of reclaiming lost land was brought into our discussion. If we assert that one does not have a right to seek independence, then we essentially are telling all of Africa that resisting European colonization was the wrong choice. Kenya should have stayed under the democracy of British rule, Ivory Coast under France etc....

Ethiopian monarchies have essentially done the same as European colonizers 120+ years ago (expansion to gain resources). Menelik and successive Ethiopian Kings/dictators expanded on European tactics by trying to eliminate Southern people’s language, culture and social being.

If Oromia became free, Ethiopia will be a smaller nation but not cease to exist. Those who strongly feel they are Ethiopian will remain (Amhara, Tigray etc..).

As we know, history repeats so dismissing past occurrences will only allow for continuation of the innocent suffering. Do you not recall in the 80's that it was TPLF making the same overtures of “One Ethiopia?” The TPLF emphasized the need to jointly defeat the Tyranny of Mengistu. The previous dictator simply replaced by something in kind or worst.

In my opinion, we are not addressing the underlining issues. The issues include:

-Accountability for Crimes: Ethiopia as a society has never made attempts to correct the crimes committed (in the past or present) against the non-ruling ethnic people.

-Cultural Differences: Southern nations have a very different culture from Semitic north. To co-exist under one nation, the region has to learn and appreciate the respective cultures. Southern nations were forced to learn Amhara culture (and displace their own), while Amhara and Tigray mainly dismissed/marginalized southern nations.

-Oromo Traditional Democracy: Will Amhara and Tigray people learn, accept and appreciate Oromo Gada system and (other Southern nation’s systems) or continue to dismiss it? Only few non-Oromo such as Asmarom Legesse presented interest through their research on the Gada system.

-Oromo Elected to Leadership: In a true democracy, Oromo would win a majority in Parliament and various leadership positions. Are Amhara and Tigray willing to accept this or only up until Meles Zenawi is overthrown?

I feel that Oromia has the right to seek independence. Anything short will only continue the suffering of many and subsequently delay progress in the region.

Maliif Egnaa

Anonymous said...

I also read France got its name from Franks a germanic tribe who settled in France by conquering the original celtic speaking people. What is similar between Franks and the Oromos who conquered large swath of land to the north in Ethiopia and in Kenya is that the Franks like the Oromos also assimilated to the culture of the people they have conquered. The same way Oromos have become farmers than pastoralists, and also have become Orthodox Christians, Moslems, Amharic speaking, Tigrigna speaking (Rayas in Tigre) in the north or swahili speaking in the South, the Franks have become romance language speakers as opposed to germanic language, settled to become farmers and have taken the customs & traditions of their conquered subjects.
My point, the same way germanic people have shaped what we know as France today, Oromos have made Ethiopia. This is not unique to France, and Ethiopia. What is modern day India, without its glorious history of Mughal rulers who were Moslems from present day Afghanistan & Central Asia.
Whether u like or not, there were in the past and there will always be Oromos like me who believe they are Ethiopians and are proud of their heritage in shaping the modern day Ethiopia. Has there been suffering by Oromos and Southerners particularly since Menelik? Of course there was even after the fall of the feudal system and it is getting worse under Legesse Zenawi who crowned himself as liberator of ethnic minorities from Amhara domination. OLF separatists, believe me neither Tigrayans or Eritreans who you have considered as friends or sympathetic to your cause in the past or currently are better than tribalist Amharas when it comes to their attitude toward Oromos and Southerners. I know it from my Tigrean/Eritrean relatives' attitude toward my Oromo relatives .
Shame on these intellectuals who are trying to draw similarity with Eritrea by recycling discredited colonial theories copied from textbook of Eritrean racists. Eritreans problem with Ethiopia was because they consider themselves sophisticated and europeanised refusing to be ruled by those they consider backward & primitive "ADGI (Ahya)" Ethiopians. BTW, what they consider ADGI are those living South of Mereb including their own kin Tigrayans, the Amharic speaking population, Oromos, Gurages & other Southern nationalities. You try to tell us these racist pigs are friends to Oromo people and its grievances than the larger Ethiopian populace who have suffered similarly from poverty, ignorance and dictatorial rules.
Like United State's history, Ethiopia's history was not without its fault particularly to some parts of its populace. However imperfect I am proud of my Ethiopian heritage, and the contribution of Oromos, Gurages, Tigrayans, Amharic speaking people etc.. made toward this rich heritage.

Anonymous said...

Meles and the Eritrean tyrant used the burning issue within Ethiopia (lack of democracy, Amhara assumed supremacy and right to govern, concomitant poverty) to jump to the leadership. They had sacrificed a lot of life in their acsendancy to power.Others have not been as risk takers as these groups and thus were not able to become a strong influence in the political dynamics of Ethiopia. Whether we like it or not, whether we accept it or not, these has been the driving force of politics in Ethiopia. The moment "others" realize that their existence as worthy of human beings with vakues and respect, the TPLF, the unionists and separatists will realize that it is only when they are ready to uproot the cause of our differences can we live in peace. Till then every body is trying to cash in with one group or another.
Fikru is doing the same.

Anonymous said...

People you have to know that it is not the Amharas nor the Tigreans who used a system called "Geda" to grab land owned by ill prpared nationalities, it is the Oromos who used "Gada" as a means and travelled as far as north and stole the land from the native people. If they want "separation" THEY have to leave our land.This view has nothing to do with the adhoc government it is an independent opinion by group that are fedup of listening every intrest group coming out and bad mouthing the Amharas.

Anonymous said...

You mean like you going back to Arabian peninsula?The last time I checked it was to the East of Ethiopia.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous who claim things have been always the same in Ethiopia and we should live with it failed to inform us that TPLF is a different animal all together. From its very inception it never claim to be Ethiopian, never wanted to rule Ethiopia and never concern to protect Ethiopia, making itself an occupying force by default. In fact it did every thing it can to undermine every thing Ethiopian on behalf of EPLF.

This new reinvented TPLF is a coup out or simply to do its unfinished plan. No where in the world a criminal enterprise like TPLF who committed so many heinous crime against the people of Ethiopia and her sovereignty can claim it is business as usual. That should be clear for one and all of the regime's apologists and others who think its mission is what it says to buy time than what it does.

Who ever thinks what the regime planned for us is sustainable should be warned that, whether we like it or not we will live together long after this distractive force faded out of our distance memory.

OM said...

Hello Enset and others,

I enjoyed the discussion spear-headed by Enset. I would like to give a simple reason why the Oromo people's quest for freedom is far from cooling down as Esnset speculated. That the humiliation and subjugation of the Oromo people has been continuing unabated; that the Tigrean hegemony and cruelty is intensifying “The prisons speak Orominya”. What you Ethiopianists don't understand is that we Oromos want freedom not because we hate unity or Amharas or Tigreans, but due to the fact that the injustices Ethiopian regimes, past and present (Amhara and Tigre ruling elites) did and have been doing to us while wrapping themselves with Ethiopian name and flag. If any nationality wants to disassociate them selves from Ethiopia, you have to blame no one other than your tribal supremacist leaders.

In short you Abyssinians (Tigrean and Amhara elites) don't want us (Oromo and other southern nationalities) to be first class citizens as you are; and we don't want to let ourselves second class citizenship.

But there is one hope to unite Ethiopia for good; and that will happen the day the Ethiopian power/leadership come under the southerners. Because we the southerners believe in fairness and equality of human being; consequently, we let every nation to be first class citizens without letting hegemony of any single group.

So, it is up to you the Abyssinian elites to let the true Ethiopian unity happen; and that is totally and squarely depends on the action of your supremacist tribal leaders and elites... You have been the only beneficiaries from the fake "Ethiopian unity", while we have been the victims of your so called unity. If the status-co Ethiopia disintegrates, we the southerners have nothing to lose.

Some TPLF cadres are recently trying to portray their invented "nations and nationalities days" as proof of equality. That is nothing more than publicity stunt. The power brokers as always are Amhara and Tigre elites; others are only bystanders and cheer-leaders. If you don't believe that, look at the lists of political, military, academic, and economic power holders in the country, and you found more than 90%of them are Amharas and Tigres.

My friend Enset, if you really want Oromo and other "separatists" to disappear, do only one thing. Tell your people on power to bring genuine equality and freedom and to forget their antiquated hegemony and crookedness. Tell them we are in 21st century.

We Oromos and other southerners don't hate any people or unity, but mischievous people and fake unity.


enset said...

Hi OM,

I do not think separatist tendency among the Oromo will disappear; there will always be a gravitation towards that by some. The key question for me is whether or not separatism among the Oromo will be the main driving force behind Oromo nationalism. What we are witnessing right now is that separatism is loosing ground and that is a step in the right direction. My worry is that the Woyane regime will help reverse this trend by intensifying the repression of the Oromo.

I do not know where you got your "more than 90%" figure, but it is certainly true that political power today is monopolized by the Tigre elite. Amhara elite are giving critical support to the regime and elites from Oromo and other groups are also contributing to the Tigre hegemony. But I concur with you when you said: "The power brokers as always are Amhara and Tigre elites; others are only bystanders and cheer-leaders.", and that MUST change, and it must change SOON.

I disagree with you when you said: "there is one hope to unite Ethiopia for good; and that will happen the day the Ethiopian power/leadership come under the southerners." I think this argument defeats the whole argument about unity. What needs to happen in Ethiopia is an establishment of a government that is based on the will of the people -- the rest will take care of itself. Obviously, Oromos and other southerners will be the main beneficiaries of a democratic order in Ethiopia.


Anonymous said...

The drive for Oromo Independence will always be around especially when you have many Amhara and Tigray elites who continually view Oromo culture with disdain.

A clear example is the individual who posted that "the Oromos who used "Gada" as a means and travelled as far as north and stole the land from the native people."

Due to distortive past teaching by so many Amhara and Tigray historians, we do not have accurate detail on Oromo influence in Ethiopian text. In the last 30-40 years, much research has been done and published on Oromo history which counters these false research (Oromo migrated from the Sea???).

Expansion is never something nations should be proud of especially when it is at the expense of other nations. This however does not devalue the Gada system, which is an African instituation of democracy formed 500+ years ago. It is like condeming and turning away from democracy in the US for one President's policy faults.
I still see Oromo masses with desire for independance. Those who the desire is diminishing are either seeking to strengthen there position in OPDO or have given up on a cause many had died for. Seeking independance for Oromos was never "Oromo Separatism." There was never a union to separate from......

Anonymous said...

Does this claim help us to see the change we long for in the coming new year? I hope we will see a change in the coming new year. Change is not bad, but the question is to what or which direction? I know Abeshas need a change towards UNITARY Ethiopia, with no respect for national rights of different nations in the empire. But to their Merdo, the change needed by Oromos is otherwise.

Here is the suggestion from Oromos on the issue how to live in Unity with Abyssinians. The whole message sounds: good GURBITINNAA is better than bad GAABICHAA!

Whenever we read Abeshas crying for unity, we need to ask them: before or after liberty (the mode of question patients ask their doctors)? For Oromos Unity at the cost of our national Liberty is unthinkable. But after being liberated, we can discuss the issue if we think the benefit of unity is more than its challenge!

Otherwise, here is the priority set up we want Abeshas understand. I think, to put things in priority, we need to live in the future together as follows:

1) in good GAABICHAA (symbol for unitary system till 1991), if the marriage is really based on love. As far as I understand, our “marriage” was based on XELEFAA (forced marriage), not on love. That is why the hitherto marriage is rather bad marriage, which definetly will lead to divorce!

2) in good DEBBAALINET (symbol for federalism from 1991 till now), if the “unity” we need is based on free will. As far as I know our hitherto “unity” is a forced unity at gun point, so that it will be lost at gun point!

3) in good GURBITINNAA (symbol for independence longed by oppressed nations), which is better than bad GAABICHAA and bad DEBBAALINET! It is better to live in peace as GOREBET than to fight each other to death by living in one home!

4) If the above three good options fail, the only alternative will be the last: MEGEDAADEL (be devided in clans and kill each other).

It is our all responsibility to avoid this last option and to try to forge one of the first three. I believe the marriage based on love is utopia. Yet optimal solution is UNION based on free will. If these two good options fails, good neighbourhood is better than the bad alternative aka killing each other whereas living in one common home! Can you people crying about YE IMIYE ANDINET agree on this??”

Anonymous said...

It is soviet poletics that is in Decline
Looking at the present-day politics of Ethiopia is not different from the 1970s of Ethiopia, or the 1950 and 60s of Africa, Latin America and Asia when liberation movements and revolutions were the landmarks. Liberation movements were the offshoots and mix of Soviet ideology, so-called ‘anti-imperialist’ movements and some mixed with legitimate struggle against colonialism of the 20th Century, while others making remote claims of conspiracy against what they call the ‘empire’ such as the United States, or Ethiopia for Oromo elites. History confirmed that only a few of those movements were with credible and genuine political goals. Much of the anti-imperialist and liberation movements were bogus movements with men like Mao of China and Mengistu of Ethiopia. While the Soviets gave birth to the most autocratic form of government in Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, their effect in the rest of the developing world was to shape new movements based on the respective social construct. Latin America and most of Asia that secured their independence from colonial powers earlier than Africa, were caught by revolution after revolution for most part of their history after WWII, but usually on ideological basis. Unfortunately political and western media analysis of instability and conflict in much of developing world was excessively associated with explanation rooted in the legacy of colonialism.
Since the end of the cold war, most of the liberation movements died with their ideological source, i.e., the Soviets. Some of them are still active: the FARC of Colombia is one big example. Others transformed themselves or found peaceful ways of achieving their political goals. Zapatista army of Mexico is an example. In some part of Africa and Asia the legacy of the struggle against brutal history of colonialism remain mixed with racial, ethnic or regional problems. Liberation movements against European colonial powers were always a political success, although they may have been in some cases a military defeat. However, according to Gwynne Dyer, the tactics and strategies used against colonial powers were almost invariably failures when used against indigenous regimes. This is exactly due to the nature of soviet-ideology based politics and ‘struggle.’ For such ideology, there must be a class struggle, between oppressed and oppressors. When such tactics are turned against domestic constituencies, it translates into ethnic and religious lines or other associations. That is where, for example, Ethiopia finds itself since the 1970s.
Some of the liberation front, especially the ruling party of Meles Zenawi and Oromo Liberation front named one ethnic group as oppressor and identified the others as the oppressed and created what could be called the endless struggle of class. The worst thing about these politicians is that, learning from the soviets and Chinese, they find the other parties with the same ideologies as their worst enemies. The ardent proponent of communism, Mengistu HaileMariam killed hundreds of thousands of young Ethiopians on the accusation that they are affiliated with other socialist parties known as EPRP, MESON, Tigray Liberation Front, Eritrean Liberation Front, Ogaden Liberation Front etc. Currently, the ruling party led by Meles Zenawi is also doing the same thing against those same parties that are not joining his coalition. Oromo Liberation Front and Ogden Liberation fronts are simply the other side of the ruling EPRDF party. But they stayed outside the government and they are fighting endlessly with their sister party, EPRDF. If the OLF and OLF were to take power it won’t be a surprise to see them taking the same killings and repression as method of government.

What Obama should understand about the next tyrant of Ethiopia is that their cry for justice is a cry for brutality and dictatorship. Oromomen cry loud all over the world in order to get the chance to do exactly what mengistu and meles zenawi did.
It is time now to close the chapter against all soviets and establish the system of law and order that guarantee the autonomy of the individual in Ethiopia to flourish.merkato2020

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doctorphilic said...

Dear Anonymous,

So you are arguing that Oromo cause or movement has been inspired by Soviet ideology and since soviet ideology has been on a decline we should expect the same within Oromo movement.

First of all, this is a very simplistic view of the situation in Ethiopia. Second of all, your analysis is misguided.

Just like in any other society (take America for example), Oromo cause has also been spearheaded by the elites. However, Oromo masses have grave concerns too because whether we like it or not serious injustices have been committed by Amhara elites and now the tigre elites (notice i make the distinction between the elite class and those on the lower ladder).

Oromos as a people have not had the opportunity to rule over Ethiopia so you can not use conjectures to make the case that a legitimate Oromo leader will also kill other tribes just like the Tigre and Amhara leaders killed disproportionately tribes that are not of their own.

However, Ethiopian people in general are not vicious as there is no official civil war (for example---civilians in Ethiopia do not kill each other like Kenya). Instead it is the government that commits the crime.

Interestingly, to come to power in Ethiopia one has to either kill his predecessor or fight in the jungle for 30+ years. This culture of violence has to change. So, for those of you who are scared of Oromos, I say no more because my people are peace loving, and all we want is justice and prosperity, mutual respect and understanding.

If the Amhara and Tigre chauvinists abandon their myopic approach and unfounded egos, Oromos are more than willing to work with other Ethiopians to move this troubled nation forward.

enset said...

Dear doctorphilic,

Glad to hear from you once again. The dialogue between Oromos like you and other Ethiopians needs voices of moderation like and I commend you for taking this dialogue seriously. BTW, I would love to continue this dialogue with you offline, though I would suggest that you do so not anonymously. If you care to take upon my offer, please contact me at the contact email address on the right.

Now, with respect to your comment that "civilians in Ethiopia do not kill each other like Kenya", I have a differing point of view. Yes, we may have not seen the kind of massive bloodletting in Ethiopia by civilians against civilians in cities and towns like we saw in Kenya a year ago, but we surely have seen it in the countryside. The Gedeo-Guji Oromo conflict of 1998 is a case in point. Perhaps this conflict was not seared into our collective memories like the violence in Kenya was probably because it happened in a rural setting and cameras were not there to record the mayhem.

But, I also have to agree with you to a certain extent. We have seen a remarkable maturity by Ethiopians who have so far refused to be provoked into consuming one another. The one year period immediately after the 2005 stolen elections is a prime example of this regard. I hope there will be no more bloodletting in Ethiopia, but I am not very confident that Ethiopians as a people do not have the predilection to not descend into the abyss of a major ethnic strife in the future.


Anonymous said...

Dear doctorphilic

U still speak of Oromo masses, ethiopian in geenral, oromo people etc. Inter community conflicts are the natural consequences of the illusion of 'masses' defining themselves in certain ideology, as victms, colonised etc and getting it against another massess that also think as victm etc.

U see u do not understand freedom at all. All successful societies have the individual autonomy as their foundations. All successful cultures also have the creative individual at their centre. You may want to talk about the Oromo students in Addis Abeba University that burned books claiming that an oromo music played in the university is not authentic culturally. U and them are dogmatic- hateful of the performer that add species and meaning to culture. Please prove to me if there was any soviet poletics of masses that led to freedom. No there cannot be. Becuase u and many others are only parts of the masses and mistake freedome for lusionary dids u do as part of the masses. There will be time, the individual authonomy will be secured once and for all.

doctorphilic said...

Dear Anonymous,

This is in response to Anonymous who said "U and them are dogmatic- hateful of the performer that add species and meaning to culture." I have no idea what you are talking about here because your comments are not specific and they are off topic.

First of all, I am not aware of Oromo students who burned books because their music was used in university. I never went to Addis Ababa University. Personally,I would be proud of any Ethiopian who respects my culture and there is nothing wrong with that.

You also talked about freedom as individual autonomy. There are lots of western philosophical approaches and schools of thoughts in terms of defining what constitutes freedom. But for the sake of our argument, individuals make up groups.

So, if individuals are free then groups from which individuals originate would also be free. I think you are confusing American individualism with issues of tribes, ethnicity, and cultures of Ethiopia.

On the question of victim-hood,I think you are also blind to reality. I will tell you what---what would you do if your government tells you that you can not speak your mother tongue's language? What would you do if the society supports the dominance of one tribe at the expense of others being oppressed economically, socially, culturally, and politically?

This is what happened to me and other Oromos. I am not complaining but I am saying the elites (you look like one of them) need to recognize the injustices because there is no way we can go back to the status quo. Also, if you are interested in debate and dialogue come up with a more constructive and thoughtful ideas not just emotional reaction.

Anonymous said...

"What would you do if the society supports the dominance of one tribe at the expense of others being oppressed economically, socially, culturally, and politically? " is that by Gobena or aba dula gemeda? One may see the dominance of one interest group over the poletical instiutions and law enforcement mechanisms. it is only the communist that see ethncity. Yes aba dula will imprison the OLF oromo, he hates them and he will do whatever. Yes gobena has killed arusis bc they were resisting his interest group from dominating.

doctorphilic said...

anonymous, just read some history, culture, politics, philosophy (it could be any) and may be we could have a more coherent conversation.. until then, I am afraid you have no clue what you are talking about or whatever u are trying say I could not understand a thing u are saying.

Anonymous said...


ME-Atleast use your own ethinic group to talk about your madness, instead of using the whole south. You know what Neftegna did on us. They degraded our social origion, They called us Wellamo, Dorze.... They denied us education etc..Men, you are a little bitch. You are trying to be spectacular here but I doubt you have no any place. We ( southerner need the following. Here, I can sight what one of the “CUD intellectuals” have said after he heard the Unity Party i.e. (UEDF) decided to join the parliament.

He disgustingly said, “what do you expect from GALA and WELAMO?.

He was directly referring to Prof. Merara (who is an Oromo) and Prof. Beyene (who happens to be from the Southern part of Ethiopia). I assure, but southerners has to work hard to defend their to the extent of having independent country. My friend, We are champansie of Ethiopia. We should work for ourselves by avoid our contact with real our enemies neftegnas. Fuck off Concern southerner

Ephrem Madebo wrote:
Thank you for the bad word. I am what I am, my opinions are formed on my upbringing. Yes, I grew up in the south and I am from the South. No matter what You say I live to oppose the TPLF regime. In fact, I oppose everything that stands in front of my freedom. If you are mad of my writing, trust me you will get mad more. If you think I am a Kinjit member, I am not! I belong to one of the Southern groups. But I value some of the principles that CUD stands for. When you communicate others please don't use bad words, it has no value except telling me that you are uneducated rank and file! Peace un to U!

ME-I am leave you alone. We will continue to be rulled by habashas because of Dumb like you. Think for a minute the Strongest King of Southerners, named Ginito Galito ( Keffa ), Tona ( welyita ) struggled for our fate against Gang Habesha force led by Menlik. Good Luck but read my own political percepition!
TPLF Versus Melaw-Amara

We the people of South should neither denounce nor support the Melaw-Amara/CUD led violence and the resulting TPLF/EPRDF crack down.

The best outcome for oppressed southerners will be a bilaterally fatal confrontation between the two nafxaanyas- Melaw Amara Derijit and TPLF. That will be a golden opportunity to the peoples of south.

**By denouncing the Melaw-Amara led violence, we are helping the TPLF to completely and fatally traumatize the Melaw-Amara which inturn will strengthen the TPLF and make it come out as a sole winner in the game.

**By joining the Melaw-Amara led violence against the TPLF, we are helping the Melaw-Amara to outpower the TPLF and take the steering wheel in the Ethiopian politics.

Both the above outcomes will leave us a single but strong enemy to fight with.

But, if the two enemies have balanced power and they confront in a way fatal to both, we will have two weak enemies. The weaker our enemies get, the stronger we become. Life is all about relativity. We can get stronger either by gaining power or by making our enemies loss power. Let our enemies kill each other and we gain power.

I hate the TPLF. I hate the Melaw-Amara Derijit. But I love both because one is destroying the other. Tigres are trying to use us against Amharas. Amharas are also trying to use us against Tigres. Both for their own good. We should know how to use both for our own good.

Another important point is we have to give an elephant ear to the Amhara "democracy" shenanigan. They have made it abundantly clear that they are against ethnic federalism, will divide south to many tiny states, and get rid of article 39. They also plan to make one national languages THROUGH OUT THE COUNTRY. This all Amhara conspiracy is the worst damage one can cause against the people of south. Its impact will persist for generations and it will severley damage our future struggle in a similar way that Minilik's misdeeds are still affecting our struggle even after 100 years.

There is one more reason why we should vehemently fight the Melaw-Amara. Now that the Amharas are alarmed by the wide spread demand of the nations and nationalities for self determination and by the TPLF's attempts to organize all nationalities against the Amharas, the Amhara nationalism is at its all time high. If they have the grip of power, they will make sure they will do everything to retain it forever. If the TPLF with a constuitency of barely 5% can stay in power this long and still remain strong, one can easily imagine how long the vocal Amharas can rule if they assume power. Remember, it will not be the chauvinist Amhara with the feeling of grandiousity anymore, it will be an alerted, paranoid and overreacting Amhara rule. It will be very very difficult to unseat it. We all should take this seriously.

**TPLF's interest in South is twofold-they are looking for resources to be looted to build Tigray and parliement seats to secure dominance at federal level. Speaking of the interests only, TPLF's interest in South is less harmful than that of Melaw-Amara because the moment we become winners, we can reverse it easily. What makes the TPLF dangerous is it has the military power to fullfill its interests in South thereby killing and prosecuting our people.

**The interest of Melaw-Amara in South is similar to Tigray PLUS they want to rob us of our identity which will have long lasting impacts on our struggle unlike that of TPLF's interest which dies at the same time the TPLF dies. This makes the Melaw-Amara more dangerous than the TPLF. But the lack of military power of the Melaw-Amara to execute its interests makes it less dangerous than the TPLF.

Conclusion- TPLF has less dangerous interests but more power to execute its intersts in South. Melaw-Amara has more dangerous interests but less power to execute its interests in South. The net result makes both the TPLF and Melaw-Amara EQUALLY DANGEROUS ENEMIES of people of south. Therefore we should neither support nor denounce one in favor of the other. We should destroy both in favor of ourselves. You got it chicken head !!Good LuckI dont Wanna be Baria !!

Ephrem Madebo wrote:
I could have talked to you at a higher level. I guess we don't have that much differences. Our difference is that you are not a cultured person. You have such a bad mouth. Please leave me alone and let me be what I am. Don't impose your righteousness on me, save it for your own salvation. I can use the south or what ever I want to. I talk publicly, if you are man enough, put down my ideas publicly. I will rather be intellectually be bulldozed that being called by the ugly words you used. Why don't you challenge me instead of cursing me? Again, thank you for the curse, but please don't send me a message again! You and the American blacks are the same, you sit on your butt and blame the past (white in the case of blacks), (Amahara in your case) for everything that happened. You can't change the past. The past is good to shape the future, lets shape our future


enset said...

This is not a reply to Anonymous of January 30, 2009 2:20:00 AM. I would not dignify him with a reply. However, a free thinking person who is curious as to why I chose the caption "A Southern Perspective on Ethiopian Current Affairs" for Enset blog can go to an article I wrote in 2007 titled The North South Divide and read.


Anonymous said...

"A Southern Perspective on Ethiopian Current Affairs”? This is genuine effort and in fact it will be great to hear from east and south of Ethiopia about the future of the individual autonomy and the right to lead peaceful and productive life unhindered by ideologies and ethnicities; and supported by rule of the law and social order.

But what current affair? Does it mean the fight between various soviet fractures: liberation fronts, and movements? Isn't that too old to be called current affair? What is it Ethiopian about it? Of course with the end of Tamil tigers and the FARC of Colombia, soviets are dying fast allover the world. In Ethiopia they are even in charge. This in no way justifies the nationalists (andenet, ethiopia tikedem etc).

The current affair that may need the perspective of the South, indeed also from the East is how to snatch the politics of Ethiopia from the anti-state soviets and the nationalists: to come to the rescue of the republic (the state and law and order) that support individual freedom, having a say on one’s destiny, entrepreneurial spirit, innovative technologists and free thinkers. No one should be scarified for the nationalist and the anti-state. In fact the South perspective could have anti-scarifies tone, as demanded by the nationalists and the anti-state soviet ideologists if I understood it rightly. May be the rescue of the free individuals that love work and progress may come from the hardworking people in the South (listening to Konso music composed by the Italian Enrico Castelli…)

Wro. Akalu said...


It’s so sad the anonymous advocating for the Oromo people lives so much in the hurts of the past that failed to see the possible future, deeper issues of mistrust.
Reading between the lines of the comments, focused on unfairness of the past keeps the anonymous caught in anger, resentment and grudges.
Hey, life frequently is unfair, but focusing on it only makes you more miserable and distractive.
I know grudge holding is a habit that is hard to break into but possible to let go.
Just my two cents!


Anonymous said...

Hello all,

The struggle for freedom is not an option but it is the obligation for those who are enslaved in the culture and poltics of the North.Before menilik2 Oromoland and other nationalities have their own political system and ruled by their own people. The marginalized southern people, Gambela, oromoes, Ogadenians and others are left without any other option. To bring the freedom which their ancestors enjoyed and self rule politics it takes only fight given the understanding of abasha menatality.120 years old abbyisinian rule will soon end. We will get rid of The burden of being called ethiopian . The fight for freedom is getting intense. Look at what is going on in the east.It is more intense than ever. all the brutal actions that the government taking against the poor nomads will not result in shaking of hands. Dream not to see peaceful ethiopia. we will never give you rest unless our land is rulled by ourself and by our own sytem.that is God given freedom. This marginalization will soon end.

Freedom to the marginalized!