No More Ethiocenteralist Amhara and Ethnoseparatist Oromo?
The political spectrum in Ethiopia (Great Oromia) seems to be concentrated at the middle. Both the Derg style ethiofascists and the Woyane type ethnofascists have lost influence never to come back. At last, freedom fighters including both ethiofederalists and ethnofederalists won the struggle. Ethiocenteralists, who wished to forge unitary Ethiopia, already gave up their goal and moved to the middle left position of ethiofederalists. Similarly, ethnoseparatists nowadays seem to accept the middle right vision of ethnofederalists. In short, there are only two camps of opposition against the incumbent administration of Dr. Abiy, who seems to entertain both ideologies (ethiofederalism and ethnofederalism.) Oromos prefer either of the two types of federalisms based on the sort of Sovereignty they wish for Oromia according to the version of Oromo history they have in mind.
When we want to look at Oromo’s history, we just need to consider and ask the question: “who wrote it?”. Are they Abesha elites, who used to tell us that we came out of River? Some Oromo nationalists, who tell us that we are from Mada Walabu and we have been colonized by Abyssinians? Certain “modern” historians, who do write that we are related to Meroe of north Sudan, and the name Ethiopia actually belongs to the Oromo of Cush, not to the Abesha?. Did the Oromo “migrate” from south towards north or were we pushed from north (Meroe) towards south?
I personally would like to leave history to historians. But, I am not too naive not to recognize that the Oromo were and are indigenous people in the Horn of Africa, and were pushed by Christian Europeans and Muslim Arabs as well Turks from different directions and squeezed to our present national area. Additionally, the Oromo, being originally Waaqeffataas, tried to resist the big religions, and we preserved ourselves as the Oromo in our current geographical region. Let me raise certain questions: are the Christianized and Habeshanized Amharas and Tigrayans biological Oromo or are they derivatives of other Cushitic nations like the Agew? Are the Islamized i.e Arabanized Afars and Somalis also biological Oromo? I do ask these questions for there are certain historians who do consider Oromo as a stem for almost all other Cushitic nations in the Horn.
Unfortunately, all the above groups narrate their versions of past Oromo history in order to instrumentalize it for justification of their versions of future Oromo destiny, i.e what they wish and want to achieve for the Oromo in the future:
– Abesha elites narrate that the Oromo are new comers (immigrants) from somewhere (Madagascar, the River, and so on) just to justify their theory that “most parts of Oromia originally belonged to Abyssina”, so that it is legitimate to have the future unity of the empire at the cost of Oromo liberation.
– Pro independent Gadaa Oromia fronts narrate that Oromia was not part of Abyssinia, but became colony of Abysinian rulers in the end of 19th century, so that it would be legitimate to fight against colonialism and to separate Oromia from Abyssinia.
– Those, who do argue with “post-modern facts” that Oromo is stem for even Tigrayans and Somalis, who are culturally changed, but biological Oromo, try to tell us that we all belong to Cushitic nations.This includs the Habeshanized ones like Tigrai, Amhara, Gurage, Silxe, Argoba and Harari – who are originally Oromo or Agew. With this theory, they want to suggest that the Horn of Africa is in reality Cushland, to whose unity the Oromo should dedicate ourselves.
As far as I am concerned, I do believe that the third version is the most probable truth. But, considering development of the various nations into speaking different languages (theory of ethnogenesis), I would like to accept that all language groups do deserve their national autonomy in the future union of all Cush peoples in the Horn.
Other very important factors to be given attention in Oromo history are its Gadaa system (indigenous democracy) and its Waaqeffanna religion, which is the preserved representative of all African religions (monotheistic belief in one God). The Gadaa system must be modernized and used in the areas it will be accepted as a home-grown African version of democracy, instead of importing the non-functional Western democracy, which usually is difficult to be exercised in Africa. Reviving Waagqeffanna in Oromia means a Renaissance of African religions asserting itself against the three major imposed religions – Christianity, Islam and Judaism, which used to demonize African religion as the work of Satan.
This way or that way, the reality on the ground now is that the Oromo used to be under the yoke of national occupation/colonization/oppression. We, the Oromo, are struggled to free ourselves from such domination. Our spiritual organization, the OLF, the mindset we all freedom loving Oromo do have, is still moving in every level to realize our emancipation. I think this liberation spirit moves now at three levels:
– at the level of the ruling party ODP to keep the status quo of a limited cultural autonomy i.e to hinder the backward move to the status we were in till 1991. During this pre-1991 time, there were no Oromia as a state, no use of Afaan Oromo and even no limited cultural rights, which we do have now.
– at the level of OFC, the opposition movement which tries to achieve a genuine autonomy for Oromia within federal Ethiopia, of course Oromia as the national state being liberated from the TPLF looting and lording as well as from the servant mentality of certain Oromo elites in ODP.
– at the level of OLF-proper to lead us to a complete liberation. I do include all free Oromo organizations to be part and parcel of this level of Oromo liberation movement.
Leaving the study of our history to historians, we need to agree on our future destiny. Our destiny is to be determined by liberation movement, which has to yet consolidate our freedom and realize sovereignty of Oromia, be in a form an independent Gadaa Oromia or an integrative Great Oromia. We need to determine our fate and be owner of our land. To this end, we need to discern our own wish from the wish of our colonizers. We know that Abesha elites want that we unconditionally accept their agenda – territorial integrity of the country. This is the precondition they always put even when forging an alliance with Oromo political organizations against the fascist TPLF. But, the Oromo, should clearly articulate that our desire is to foster our national self-determination which can result to autonomous Oromia within union of free peoples in the Horn or to independent Oromia without the aspired union. There will be no compromise on our freedom from the system of domination, which is the key common goal towards our destiny.
To forge our end-goal of Ethiopia and/or Oromia after freedom, we need to synchronize our move with the international and continental developments. Now, it is historical fact that Africa is developing gradually towards a federal arrangement – the United State of Africa. Gadaa Oromianists’ objective then is to foster a State of Oromia in a United States of Africa, Finfinne being the capital of both Africa and Oromia. ( https://fayyisoromia.wordpress.com/2016 ... d-robales/ ) We hope that Abesha elites come to their sense and accept this endeavor so that we will have Tigrai state, Amhara state, Ogaden state, Oromia state, and so on in a United States of Africa. At the time Abesha elites accept this common aim, then all of us can be partners to foster it for common benefit. It is the acceptance of this common goal which may help to promote the needed cooperation of pro-democracy Abesha forces like the AG7 with the pro-liberty Oromo fronts like the OLF against the fascistic TPLF.
No question, the optimal way to the above goal is the very much desired unity of Oromo political organizations for liberation. The current main obstacle on the way to our goal is the TPLF. To get complete rid of this fascistic looting force, the following factors are necessary as chronologically put, based on their importance:
– 1st, we need unity of all Oromo organizations to consolidate freedom of Oromo people.
– 2nd, we can forge a coalition with all oppressed nations who can move with us till our end.
– 3rd, we can have an alliance with Abesha democratic forces (of course, not with dictatorial forces), that, at least, respect freedom of Oromo people, even though they do oppose our effort to establish sovereignty of Oromia. The dictatorial Abesha forces accept and respect neither freedom of the Oromo nor sovereignty of Oromia.
We can move with the pro-democracy Abesha froces a half way to our goal. To be clear, this half way can be a United States of Ethiopia (genuine language based federation of Ethiopia). A culturally, economically and politically federated nations in Ethiopia can be a precursor for the genuine integration of all African nations. This seems to be the goal of all politicians who forged Medrek at home. So, I would like to recommend “USE” (the United States of Ethiopia) as a common denominator for the unity forces of Abesha like G-7 and the liberty forces of Oromo like the OLF – also as a uniting mechanism against the common enemy – the fascist TPLF. Then, it would not be necessary to disintegrate the already integrated nations of the empire in order to foster sovereign Oromia in the future United States of Africa. The modern and enlightened elites of Amharas, Tigrayans, Ogadenis, Afars, Gurages, Welayitas, Hadiyas, Kambatas, Kafas, Sidamas, Oromos, Gambellas, Benishanguls, and so on can come together and transform the status quo of the empire through building United States of Ethiopia as a very good base for the United States of Africa.
I think, that is why both ethiocenteralists and ethnoseparatists moved to middle of the spectrum. The ethiofederalists are trying to build big organization by merging the existing ones like AG7, Semayawi, EDP and Andinet. Ethnofederalists are stronger, but still fragmented (Medrek, PAFD, etc). The chance ethiofederalists have to change the existing formal ethnofederation is minimal. It looks as if the future competition will be between the ruling ethnofederalist (EPRDF) and other ethnofederalists (e.g an alliance of Medrek and PAFD). May Waaqa show us, who will be good for all nations and peoples in Ethiopia (Great Oromia)
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