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12:54 pm - Sunday May 19, 2019

My perception of and reflection on the state of Ethiopia  ( Achamyeleh Tamiru)

My perception of and reflection on the state of Ethiopia 
Achamyeleh Tamiru
I. A reality check
1. A substantial number of OLF inclined Oromos today do not consider themselves as an Ethiopian. OLF supremacists, whom we patronize today, have successfully decoupled a substantial number of Oromos from the rest of Ethiopia. These decoupled Oromos and other Ethiopians, for all practical purpose, are on completely different pages. We do not understand each other anymore. We have no common language or concept of a country. It is no more possible to reason with OLF inclined Oromos (because they do not consider themselves Ethiopian anymore).
You cannot question the rationality of the so-called “Oromo question”. If you do, you are an enemy. We may occupy the same space but we do not live in the same dimension. That was what Eritreans did for decades before they openly declar  they are not Ethiopians anymore. Many of them lived a double life; few remained “Ethiopian” until they  squeezed Ethiopia dry and useless.  Even fewer choose to have nothing to do with Eritrean nationalism to the end. And we had no clue (or pretended not to have) about the transformation that was taking place. We chose to patronize.
The Eritreans, who were residing  in the different parts of Ethiopia, have  lived better life compared to the majority of Ethiopians  have left Ethiopia long before they throw us out from the territory they claimed as their own. Did it benefit them? No. I don’t think they thought about it that far. In the same manner, OLF inclined Oromos have left Ethiopia for some time now. And they are waiting their to throw out the rest of Ethiopians from “their land”  the same way the Eritreans did. It is only a natural progression. The slogan <Oromia for the Oromos> and the “Kegna” of everything is an “unflinching” manifestation of this. That is not good for the rest of Ethiopians and whether it would be beneficial for the Oromos can only be inferred from previous experience of Eritrea.
2. Whether it is right or wrong, Weyyane’s constitution has awarded thec Oromos most of the fertile land and resources of Ethiopia that the Oromo Abba Gada’s havec grab by evicting and killing the indigenous people with an option to opt out from Ethiopia. Their next move will be easy as the success of a quarter of a century social engineering experiment has created  OLF inclined youth whose politics is the hate their father’s land, Ethiopia, to the bottom of their testicles. The rest of us who live in their  “Oromia” are  at best unwanted guests and irritants , and at worst are invaders and are there illegally. This was the promise OLF inclined Oromos have been living for more than two decades. And they feel they have no need to be Ethiopian. If I have all of the above at the expense of all others, I would do the same too. And this present delibrate lawnlessness, eviction and displacement of non-Oromos from their Oromia is the wish of OLF inclined Oromos to realize their  promise land.
3. The OLFists were not struggling to stop the eviction of Oromo farmers from their land. In fact the Oromos farmers have been evicted from their land by the  OLF made land policy the of the Derg. I didn’t have any objection as far as the Addis Master plan is concerned. I supported it. But I DIDN’T support its full implementation until before the land policy is changed. This is because the only viable and permanent solution to save the farmers from displacement and lose of their land is to privatize the land as  land should be a private property. Once land is privatized, all iniquities will be rectified; there will no be evacuation of farmers.
But the perceived “expansion” (in reality it is not even an expansion; it is an economic integration that could happen with any foreign country) of Addis Ababa to Oromo “majority”  parts of the country  is tantamount to invasion of “their country” for the significant number of OLF inclined Oromos. They did not protest when TPLF was about to give Ethiopian land to Sudan nor when OPDO officials’ literality sell Oromo farmers land in Nathret, Jima and other town in what is called the state of Oromia. They did not come out en masse when we lost our sea outlet either. Because they are convinced that these things have nothing to do with them.
4. At the moment many “unity advocate” Oromo politicians and personalities are already abandoning the “unity camp”  and warming up to the Oromo supremacists. Mr. Bekele Gerba and people like Merera Gudina are early examples that saw the inevitable power shift and positioned themselves accordingly even though they are not only an Oromo elite but also part of the very selected Ethiopian elite society according to most  sympathetic Ethiopianists. As recently as last month the young politician Yonatan Teresa Regassa (of Semayawi party) who changed his middle name from Tesfaye to Teresa, and Bedru Adem of Ethiopian Democratic League leader and CUD secretary general are finding out that the unity camp is not where one can be confidently build his/her future. I don’t blame them. All this is happening because the rest of Ethiopians are not bold enough to  make their claims by giving up being appologetic both in speech and in ways of being.
The Ethiopianists want a united Ethiopia where all of its citizens are free and equal because that is the only condition peace can prevail in that part of Africa. As long as ethnic based political discourse is the main driving force, there will be endless conflict that will weaken us all, to become a pry to all kinds of unruly characters within and without the Ethiopian border. The current ongoing political crisis in Ethiopia is about land. It is about “Oromo land”. We know that because they said so loud and clear. We know that because all other conditions were there before the two year long Oromo Protest begun and did not raise so much anger. By the way, even by the standard of Weyyane’s constitution, the notion of “Oromo land” or the slogan of “Finfine belongs to the Oromo” does not hold water. Because, article 40 sub article 3 of the constitution says the following: “The right to own rural and urban land as well as natural resources belongs only to the state and the people. Land is an inalienable common property of the nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia”.
Lets face it. At the moment, after the fall of TPLF, the probability that Ethiopia will continue to exist is getting close to nil. That is because there is no counter balance for the pressure the Oromo nationalists are putting up. In fact, I would dare to say as of today the existence of Ethiopia as a country is much more appealing to TPLF than the Oromo nationalists. Something that people do not want to contemplate is that in the upcoming so-called election if it doesn’t result in the selection of Abiy Ahmed, the imposter, as a prime minister, it will be the end of Ethiopia. TPLF made sure that Ethiopia would not exist after it. I doubt very much Oromos will win either. There will not be any winner. And the only way to avoid this calamity (if it is not too late already) is by facing the truth. Not by hiding behind nice words and patronizing the imposter who is Ethiopia by the day and extreme than OLF by the night. When Abiy is talking of beautifying Sheger, what is in his mind is not beautifying  Addis Abeba as  the capital city of Ethiopia  but his Finfine of  the center of Oromia.
As there were Eritreans who foresaw the danger of secession, there are Ethiopianist Oromos who know OLF is working against the interest of Oromos. These are the people who shoulder most of the burden and the first victims of the OLF massacre because they rejected that ethnic politics and breaking up of Ethiopia is a dead end road for all of us.
I know many Eritreans who were estranged from their community because they would not fallow the craze of Eritrean nationalism. I know an old Eritrean man who did not want to have anything to do with two of his children because they decided not to be Ethiopian. The irony of it is Meles Zenawi shipped him to Eritrea because he did not like his “eye color”. One of the children, a daughter who become super Eritrean overnight and went to Eritrea at the wake of their victory slipped back to Ethiopia and today she tries to live her life masking her Eritrean identity as much as possible. Her father cried himself to death in Asmara for loosing Ethiopia. For me these are the people I need to fight for as long as there is a drop of strength in me.
II. What is the “take home” lesson we have to learn from the past one year rule of the imposter?
What needs more analysis is the bigger picture. Why is it that Ethiopia has the largest number of liberation movements in the world? Why is it that we remain stuck in this archaic ideology when the world and Africa have already moved away from this and are on another level? We are not a country with the largest number of ethnic groups nor do we have oppressed ethnic groups before the protest groups of the 60’s and 70’s organized  themselves along ethic libration lines.
Curiously, we are a nation with ethnic groups that are more linked and integrated by blood, history and culture than any country in Africa. Why are we then obsessed with secession and ethnic federation? Nations are built on a history of conquest and rivalry. Today’s powerful countries are the outcomes of such history. But they are beyond it now. They are not stuck in time. When it comes to Ethiopia, it has not been founded by conquring other’s land. The South march of Meneik II has not been to conqure other’s land. He marched to the south in search of his siblings and other Ethiopians who have been separated from the rest of the  north by the Gragn War and the following Abba Geda  lead conquest of much of the fertile  south. So, the ethnic libration fronts such as OLF have no ground to claim that they have been conqured while their Abba Gedas are  the once who have  conquered much of the south by evicting and enslaving  the natives.
Strangely, it is those who conqured much  of Ethiopia who are promoting secession, making of ethic homeland and  ethnic federation while those who have  been evicted and  assimilated em masse  by the OLFists forefathers  have not asked the Oromos to leave their father’s land.  There is no country in the world where ethnic federation is implemented where it is tried it has failed. This subject needs a little deeper study since it has to do with the contemporary history of Ethiopia particularly with the birth of Ethiopian student movement. For me, the Ethiopian student’s movement was a movement used as a Trojan horse to justify the secession of Eritrea. The naive student movement was used, manipulated and eventually made it possible for Eritrea to secede. It did not stop there but the same people who used the fake Leninist slogan of up to including secession, inscribed it in their constitution so that we continue fighting each other; as manifested in the Qero movement of the last few weeks and that of the Sidama that has been there for years.
Eritrea is in trouble and most of the Eritreans regret their decision. Have we learned lessons? Of course NOT! Ethnic politicians never learn from experience; they want to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. For every ruler, Ethiopia’s last 44 years history begins in earnest the day he assumes power. But in the midst of all this there are those with sanity and wisdom.
We can win only if we work hard against all odds to make sanity and reason prevail. Our people need leaders not imposters like Abiy Ahmed. All the struggles we have had in the past have not been used to good terms because we lack leadership. Our people should follow honest leaders. We have to work hard to get those leaders. It might not be an easy task but can be done because there are no options.
There are three hopes I can see out there. One is Eskindir Nega’s route. His decision to form the Balderas on the ground has exhilarated many Ethiopians who believe that the current state of Ethiopia is the scourge of mankind. The struggle under his leadership should be supported by all peace loving Ethiopians and the model should be replicted in the provinces of Ethiopia.
The second hope is the “slight shift” by few nocturnal ethno-centric forces from their long hold extreme left position to the center of the left. This group includes all those racial forces that are now atoning their “sins”. To be more explicit, it seems to me that unlike fanatic Oromo nationalists, few Ethiopianist Oromo intellectuals such as Bulcha Demeksa and Senai Like  have learned more (and hence get convinced) that (or know eventually that) it is not feasible to have independent Oromia. I think they have learned that the case of the state of “Oromia” is quite different from the case of Eritrea. Eritrea had a history without Ethiopia, though short. It had a recognized defined boundary. With “Oromia “it is NOT! Nonetheless, since they are not the majority to win the minds of secessionist nationalist lords, the eminent disaster that I have explained can’t be thwarted because we have few Rigid Ethio-centric views among the Oromo intellectuals. Even though I believe that it is not the shortage of characters with good causes that is useful to thwart the eminent danger, but lets not forget, eminent danger also lies in the villain individual characters and the consequences of their choices and actions in a situation divulged disingenuously to hoodwinked actualities.
But I believe that there is a better way forward without civil war. While I’m writing this, I sense that there is a far more serious danger lurking than what we see on the surface reminding the tone and form of the present Qero led anarchy . I have had this fear in the past too. By the way, I have written a couple of pieces on the same subject in Amharic. I also feel that extremists who are planning to put their agenda in the forefront have diluted the genuine quest of Oromo farmers who have been evicted from their land by the OLF made land policy.
The third hope I have in mind is Amhara National Movment, NAMA. Of all ethnic groups and most Ethiopianist parties that have been created over the last 44 years, NAMA is the only movment that I know that hasn’t rejected Ethiopia’s past, doesn’t work to create an ethnic state and born out of a real cause. If NAMA works hard to rally Amharas around the real cause of Amhara and embrace the sothern  Ethiopianists and work together with all other real Ethiopianist forces, it can serve as a catalyst to bring Ethiopia out of the OLF and TPLF exteremists made crisis.
I have read books on extremism (such as “Strength in What Remains” book by Tracy kidder, a story of a in search of a new life after surviving a civil war and genocide in Rwanda) and based on what has happened in other places the conditions for such things to happen seem to be fertile in Ethiopia too. So we have to be cautious if we don’t want to play with fire. Once that lawlessness is unleashed there is no way back. We will be like Syria, with a complex conflict of ethnicity, religion and politics and foreign agenda leading to a proxy war. That is why the silent Ethiopianists, from all ethnic groups,  should break their silence and work hard in tamdem with tall  pro-Ethiopian forces  such as Balderas and NAMA on what could possibly unite us and remind the leaders what could lie ahead of we don’t. That there is no winner as long as we are divided. We will drain each other only to become a pry to outside forces. It is important to let the Oromo people and the Oromo nationalists know that they would never achieve their dream. The fact of the matter is that modern  Ethiopia has been reinvented by the majority of Amhara and Oromos fathers and this  was the natural equilibrium that our society can achieve. The only thing we should do must have been shifting the natual equilibrium by adding elements that have the power of  building a democratic and free society. The problem most people are afraid to state is this truth.
As I write this, I also feel that the issues I raised and the solutions I suggested above may never be taken as a serious remedy. Different people will have different opinion on why we find ourselves in this predicament. And just as well. Because we may need to raise the questions all the time so that we learn from history but we do not need to answer them fully. We can explore history and debate about it but what the future should look like is being answered as we speak.
The Kinijit movment and the OLF lead protest as powerful as they were failed miserably to tranform Ethiopia. These are events we can work with to analyze the root cause of the problem in our society. These are our own designs and our failures. So we can have a better insight to the problem. Civilizations and Societies reach their peaks and decline. Probably that is what is happening to us. The geopolitics and proximity to a hostile Arab world play a role. I often ask myself how Harvard and Oxford graduate Eritreans could make such stupid mistake and work against their own interest by supporting EPLF? Actually an entire population can go crazy. The Eritrean “liberators” succeeded in making the Eritreans crazy by cutting off Eritreans from the rest of Ethiopians through different mechanisms. The Oromo nationalists have been doing the same thing. As I said above, they have cut off much of the Oromo population and are building psychological, linguistic and physical walls. Of course it is true OLF and OPDO could not do that without the help of TPLF and EPLF.
Few things that I learned in the past one year;
1. Ethiopian elites haven’t taken its lesson yet.
2. What we see today, the “destruction” that is being caused by OLF in tamdem with Abiy is an anomaly in the larger context. The same thing has happened over the last 44 years. Clearly we did not take lesson from that history.
3. Unless the same natural force that brought Ethiopia together after almost 80 years of civil war is triggered to reestablish the natural equilibrium by bringing Ethiopia back to where it was at Menilik’s and Gebona times,  turmoil will ensue and our fate will be vicious and unprecedented downfall, mutual annihilation and a disgracefull end of Ethiopia fuled by abject poverty and famine, driven by tribalism, cruelty blinded by hatred and vegeance.
Probably the time span and the manner by which Ethiopia and probably the entire region will come together will not be the same but at some point as long as there are living and breathing people it will happen. The difference now is that information flows relatively freely and people will have better opportunity to get informed and make choices which should make the job of unity forces easier. A choice, whatever it is, made by an informed people would always lead to that equilibrium.
I took a broad time span deliberating with myself and I come to the conclusion that things always have natural pattern. If you could not see the pattern in certain time frame, then you have to widen the scope and from that understanding you can refocus you attention to the time in question. So, the win-win solution is to push a common cause that takes us to the thriving frontier of the natural equilibrium. This is not even enough to stay at the optimum. The ever-lasting solution is to make the natural equilibrium a permanent steady state by building democratic and free society.
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