Inclusive Revolution in Ethiopia is the Best Way to Get Rid of TPLF!
Ethiopia is now under the very brutal rule of the fascist and racist TPLF. Above all, the TPLF regime is targeting Oromo people and our resources as well as Amhara people and their land. In order to subdue (“likki le masgebat”) these two big nations and to continue its ongoing exploitation, the leader of TPLF, Abay Tsehaye, once showed his arrogant bravado. I actually re-wrote this opinion being motivated by one OFC’s statement regarding one of its past election campaigns, where it wrote: “Our plan is to use the opportunity to mobilize millions for next round of the struggle. To this end, we have already ordered three million leaflets among others. We call upon all to join us in the all-round struggle of our peoples for freedom and democracy.” What a well-formulated mission! Now, I modified my idea a bit just to air my opinion also regarding an intimidating message from the leader of TPLF.
It is clear that we had “election” ritual in Ethiopia; no one with sound mind expects fair and free election, but the process can be used for mobilization of oppressed nations and help an inclusive revolution be sparked. Yet, we like it or not, there is a big ‘elephant in the room,’ which we all tend to evade, but the TPLF effectively exploits; i.e. the conflict: ‘pro-integration’ Amhara elites Vs. ‘pro-independence’ Oromo elites. This conflict is still the main area of fear hindering cooperation in upcoming possible inclusive revolution against the TPLF regime. The pro-integration elites do dream and wish that the whole Ethiopian peoples share their vision, and pro-independence elites also want that pro-integration elites come to their sense and struggle for freedom of their respective people from TPLF colonization, so that such free peoples can live in the future as good neighbors to each other. Both blocs just express their respective wish, and they do consider as if their point of view is the only truth on ground, but TPLF knows very well that these two camps are not yet in a position to trust each other; its cadres do exploit this situation to hinder the Tsunami of inclusive revolution from erupting against the regime in Tulluu Daalatti palace.
I personally do see that now it can be the right and suitable time for an inclusive revolution against the dictators in Ethiopia. Almost all citizens and nations in the country are now calling for inclusive revolution as the best instrument to get rid of the oppressive regime. That is why TPLF is now doing everything under the sky to prevent us from revolting in unison. We know that, as long as TPLF is in power, we all will suffer, not only as refugees in Diaspora, but also as slaves at home in Ethiopia. Unfortunately, it seems that the face-off between the two opposition camps is yet to be a hindrance for an inclusive revolution. It seems that the face-off is a very good historical advantage/opportunity, which the TPLF got to rule over Ethiopia without any serious challenge, and this problem has not gotten an appropriate solution. The TPLF survives and thrives mainly by dividing and polarizing elites of the two blocs as well as by sowing fear among/between them. We do still hear/read that both camps do live with a strong mistrust to each other, so that they seem to prefer TPLF’s further rule or prefer not to allow each other the possibility of taking over power.
Despite this self-sabotage of the two camps, I think a well coordinated nonviolent popular uprising) of the Oromo people in cooperation with that of other nations in that country is still the best way of struggle to get rid of TPLF. Actually, Oromo people do have nothing to lose, if the expected inclusive revolution starts. One thing beside many, in favor of Oromo liberation movement, is the fact that TPLF will leave Finfinne palace, only after securing its goal – an independence of Tigrai. With such a move of TPLF, Oromia’s chance to get its independence is high. Because of this reason, both pro-integration conservatives and the Western protectors of the country do not want to see TPLF being cornered. They surely know that cornering TPLF is almost tantamount to disintegrating the existing Ethiopian state. That is why, it is not Oromo people, but firstly, TPLF itself; secondly, the colonial-minded conservative elites; and thirdly, their Western handlers, who do fear an emergence of an inclusive revolution in Ethiopia. Thus, the democratic pro-unity forces pushing for revolution is not as such dangerous for Oromo liberation movement. Even if not Oromia’s independence per referendum, we can achieve its autonomy within a multinational Ethiopian (Kushland’s) union as a result of an inclusive revolution. But, I believe Oromo's best interest will be respected more in an integrated democratic Ethiopia. Future accomodative Ethiopia (not past assimilative Ethiopia) serves interest of Oromo more thant that of Abesha.
This is one of the reasons that TPLF cadres are nowadays very busy to hinder an inclusive revolution from taking place in the country by using manipulation of the difference between diverse peoples, as their instrument of division and polarization. If the scare tactics, which they try to use, hinder an inclusive revolution, the only option the oppressed peoples yet do have is the anti-colonial armed struggle, on which we have to concentrate and invest most, even though it is a very difficult job, given the little support we do have from the international community. For an inclusive revolution possibly not to take place, unfortunately, pro-independence freedom fighters (i.e. Oromo, Ogaden, Sidama … liberation forces) and pro-integration freedom fighters (i.e. the Agaw-Amhara, Gurage, Harari … patriotic forces) are still mistrusting each other. Both camps want to secure direction of the move in their respective way after freedom from TPLF. The first bloc wants no reversal of the already achieved victory of limited cultural autonomy on the way towards national independence (self-determination), whereas the second bloc wants to be sure that Ethiopia’s territorial integrity stays intact, and possibly, the process will be reversed back to unitary state.
But, why should these people worry now too much about the situation after the revolution? Is the caution regarding unity from the pro-integration freedom fighters so different from the scare tactics used by TPLF cadres? These cadres go to pro-independence forums and tell that the “worse will come; pro-integration Amhara elites will take over, and an independent Oromia will never be realized, if you push for the revolution;” and then, they go to pro-integration forums and talk “take care, the worse will come; OLF can take over and it will be end of the united Ethiopia, if you make a revolution.” It is the fact on the ground that both Ethiopia and Oromia are actually taken hostage by the TPLF. Whenever the pro-independence force is stronger, TPLF threaten with the possibility of dismantling Oromia; and whenever pro-integration force is stronger, they threaten with dismembering Ethiopia.
TPLF uses opportunity of such division among the opposition to threaten both camps of freedom fighters. If an inclusive revolution really should happen, the two blocs need to be bold enough to take risk of losing their ideals after the revolution and to live with a compromise solution. That means, the pro-independence bloc should be ready to lose, for instance, the possibility of achieving an independent Oromia, and the pro-integration camp should be ready to risk their long-term goal of fostering unitary Ethiopia. Otherwise, in short, TPLF is really lucky; there will never be any inclusive revolution under such condition of division between freedom fighters; and the chance to get rid of TPLF through election is, as we know, very minimal; then, armed struggle will be the only option left. In case both public uprising and armed struggle against TPLF are not effective, should we not prepare ourselves to be ruled by TPLF for the next one century? Not to allow TPLF to rule us for such a long time, we need to know and tackle the methods it uses, specially its scare tactics. In short, the scare tactics, which TPLF cadres nowadays use are – “if an inclusive revolution erupts:
– pro-integration Amhara elites can take over the movement and dismantle Oromia;
– pro-independence Oromo elites will be in power and dismember Ethiopia;
– the TPLF army will massacre civilians;
– there can be a mayhem against Tigrinya-speakers, like that of Rwanda;
– there will be absolute chaos and civil war among different ethnies; etc”
Are freedom fighters from both blocs ready to deal with these scare tactics of TPLF? Can they agree on the middle ground: freedom and referendum (self-determination of citizens and nations)? Those, who just fight for unconditional independence of nations, must cool down and accept public verdict, as well as those, who now struggle for unconditional integration, should also learn to be moderates and accept public verdicts. Both camps must agree on first getting freedom from TPLF, and then democratically decide for either independence or integration per referendum (independence or integration based on public verdicts). We like it or not, all peoples in that region should be free, regardless of their decisions for political independence or for political integration. The political free will of peoples in the country is what matters most at the end.
Unfortunately, there are still some nationals in both pro-integration and pro-independence camps – who yet could not see the common convergent short-term goal of both sides, i.e. ‘freedom from TPLF.’ They do concentrate only on their divergent long-term goals: independent state vs. integrated country. Fortunately, few smart nationalists from both sides are now emerging and trying to forge an alliance, by default or by design, in order to achieve their convergent common short-term goal and then to decide on their respective long-term goals through public verdict. The dictators are too far from accepting and respecting the free will of their respective public as a final verdict; they preach democracy, but are not yet ready to practice it. We hope these few smart and genuinely democratic nationalists in both camps – who try to practice what they do preach, will prevail to cooperate and make TPLF’s tyranny history. Those who want to achieve either ‘independent state’ or ‘integrated country’ per public referendum are the truely democratic nationals from both sides.
Let’s just try to imagine a very big letter ‘Y’ and distinguish four points on the letter (bottom, middle junction, left top, and right top). Then, let’s see that the bottom is the status quo of Ethiopian politics, where the constituencies of both camps are under tyranny of TPLF; the middle junction is a point for freedom from tyranny; the left top is point of national independence; and the right top is point for regional integration. Then, let’s look that this letter ‘Y’ is a figure to illustrate the route of our liberation journey for both camps, from their present common situation, towards their short-term and long-term goals. Can we percieve that these two camps do have a possibility to move from the bottom (point of tyranny) to the middle junction (point of freedom) together? It is our common route of journey towards common converging short-term goal. Then will come the two diverging routes towards two different and diverging long-term goals of the two blocs: left top (independence) and right top (integration).
Now, if we could imagine this route of common journey adequately, it is not hard to comprehend that we need alliance of the two to move from status quo of tyranny under TPLF to the point of freedom from TPLF, but not necessarily, to move together to right top or to left top. After achieving our freedom from TPLF’s rule in unison, it is up to the peoples in Ethiopia to decide, through referendum, which direction to move further: to the left top or to the right top. If, for instance, Oromo majority will choose to move to the right top, then Oromo elites’ long-term goal will be similar to that of the pro-integration Amhara elites. Otherwise, if the Oromo majority will choose to move to the left top, no one can hinder the Oromo nation from achieving Oromia's independence. Just concentrating on the struggle for freedom from TPLF’s rule, I think there are three main possible ways of struggle:
– Armed Struggle, which was the method of choice for the OLF and other liberation fronts;
– Popular Uprising, which is not yet tried in a well-coordinated and inclusive way, but now seems to be the best option; and
– Electoral Struggle, which was the way chosen by OFC and other democratic federalists, despite the undemocratic nature of TPLF.
From these three ways of struggles for freedom, we have seen that both armed struggle and electoral struggle are not yet successful. Armed struggle is too slow because of limited support from the so-called international community; and electoral struggle has failed due to undemocratic nature of the brutal rulers. The option of popular uprising had been tried separately by only Oromo students during the years 2001–2017, and by pro-integration urbanites after “election” 2005.
Because of such uncoordinated and uncooperative moves of elites from different nations in the country, especially, due to polarization of pro-independence Oromo elites and pro-integration Amhara elites, the hitherto fragmented popular uprisings have not been successful. But, in the future, it seems that there is a hope for a possible cooperation against the dictatorial TPLF – which can lead us to a successful inclusive uprising and also which can be a quicker means leading to our freedom. I think a combination of the above three ways of struggles, in an optimally calculated and planned manner, is the best method, which can lead us to freedom and democracy. That is why TPLF cadres nowadays do anything under the sun to hinder the fire an inclusive revolution from igniting in Ethiopia and, of course, the “smart” Afan Oromo-speaking/writing TPLF messengers are trying to do this job among the Oromo, both in the cyberworld and in the real community, just as the Amharinya-speaking/writing ones are doing the same job among Amharinyaa-speaking community.
If the revolutionaries in both liberation camps seriously want an inclusive revolution to erupt against the brutal TPLF regime, then their evading, shelving or undermining of ‘an elephant in the room’ is not the solution. The elites in both blocs should be realistic and pragmatic to face the main and the real problem. None of the two blocs can cheat or outmaneuver the other side; they have to be able to come up with a compromise solution. I personally believe that popular free will of each nation is alpha and omega of both freedom and democracy – which almost all sides do preach, but very few of them seem to be ready to practice. The elites on the two sides should learn to prepare themselves for fate of the country based on such public verdicts per referendum. If they are smart enough, they would settle for multinational federal union either based on polity consensus or as a result of popular referendum; otherwise, they should accept and respect the possible peaceful separation of nation-states. The alternative for the anti-sovereignty forces, particularly for TPLF and its leader, Debretsion, is to sing like president Al-bashir of Sudan, when the time comes: “welcome to a neighboring nation of South Sudan.” Of course, unfortunately Al-bashir did that after sacrificing about 2 million Sudan citizens, and I hope Debretsion will not repeat this mistake. May Waaqa help us all understand this fact on the ground and respect freedom and democracy as our common values!
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