By Biraanu Gammachu
March 4, 2014
OLF’s presentation of Oromo as non-Ethiopia was completely wrong. Ethiopia is significantly a making of Oromo. De-making Ethiopia amounts to De- making Oromo. Independent Republic Oromia is therefore not within a substantive Oromo worldview; at best it’s an artistic culture. Functioning Ethiopia which is a warranty for sustainable solidarity and tradable interaction in inter-Oromo and/or intra-Oromo is one missing.
For any realistic [and rational] change Functioning Ethiopia has been a point of gravity unlike separatist OLF. So subtly it has been advancing its inverse function [Malfunctioning Ethiopia]. Implicitly, it is all about E – T – H – I – O – P – I – A and only interested in the middle letter ‘O’, virtually trashing the rest. This position has been unequivocally reflected in its sundry statements, public speeches and local affiliated electronic tabloids. Imagine given such unhelpful stance how will it enjoy an attention from non-Oromos? How can someone entrust one who destroys his own making? It is then not only a source of tension but also a liability for Functioning Ethiopia.
Customizing it …
OLF came into existence about four decades ago. Today we have virtually different environment, different imagination, different audience, different need, and different means of conflict resolution. So what it chartered then is incompatible with present-day developments. The young generation has totally different world view and perspective. We bet OLF is in false association with the young generation or at best it’s futilely imposing itself.
Customizing OLF is thus an important matter over due to refresh its relevance to Ethiopia’s political demand or even to ensure its claimed Oromo-centric flag bearer-ship. However, the cluster is decreasingly knowledge-intensive, and hence hardly convinced of an internal predictable change. Interfacing Marxist and Communist world view it profoundly disincentives knowledge-based driven political enterprise alternate to blind and customary revolutionary convictions. It has been alarmingly drifting away from crucial intellectual resources. Actually, its geographic location is also another factor. It is possibly a discouraging environment for it to appreciate venturing different course. For instance, since it was doctored to move to Asmara OLF had delivered at best as an information unit/desk under security apparatus and has been meeting other political interests to the regime in Asmara towards Ethiopia. It has been simply a ‘stool-pigeon’ of the Red Sea State and an object of the No Peace No War game with the regime in Ethiopia. Equally important, its tools of operations, structure and personality loyalist elements are in sum change resistant giving rises to hopelessness, mistrust, in-fight and demobilization within the group with a spillover effect. The paradox is customizing OLF is a far-fetching subject but customary OLF is definitely dead.
Did not create healthy political society but few who hate …
Unlike significant number of Oromo’s imagination, substantial media archives, public discourses and critical assessment about its nature and practice tell us beyond reasonable doubt that OLF is sadly little more than a collection of unrefined and less realistic political narrative, disjoined and pseudo liberators but hatred and vengeance against Amhara. Amhara [Habesha] as a social group is simply the beginning and the end of its narrative. For that reason, it kicked-off a retributive nationalism which is a function of vengeance, ethnic sentiment and hatred. This is the main common denominator which has been shaping an identity of OLF. In an endeavor to expand, continue and consolidate its social base young Oromos at school, college and university has been the main soft target and their interaction with other social back ground almost exclusively from Tigre and Amhara has been deliberately sabotaged. This insidiously has been un-harmonizing togetherness, mutual inter-social interaction, tolerance and humanity among young Ethiopians or the people at large. Further, it has been not only a criminal act of disrupting their future life but also it has been dislocating them from developing critical thinking about their country at large beyond colors.
Down the road OLF did not manage to create viable political society but very few sections of its target populous who sentimentally identify themselves against Amhara and Ethiopia which is simply wrong to any healthy political enterprise. Arguably, OLF is now at a point where neither taming nor changing its infamous agenda can work out minus risking its identity. The stalemate calls for competent and timely leadership to help it move beyond such a threadbare an eye for an eye business.
It must repay change price …
Earlier on there is not reliable and clear secondary documentation, ‘the 1976 OLF revised political program’ accounts too much to Marxist ideology both as a means and end in itself for OLF chartered struggle. The political narrative further on impeached its alleged western made and backed ‘Imperialist Ethiopia’ and thus as an outcome bided for its total disintegration. One of the 2004 was clearly made for taming the preceding narratives but it sat between two stools. Subtly, in the whole process Amhara as a social group was animated to have bedeviled and unwittingly equated to Ethiopia. Here’s where the group unable to skin-off the political dynamics potentially risking social fundamentalism and abhorrently overlooked substantive culture of Oromo. That unhealthy political view was not meaningfully converged for good to date among the group in charge though significant aborted efforts are made. During the infamous 1991 transition where people of Ethiopia could have entered genuinely new beginning having given their back to wrong past, OLF must have brushed off its disintegration agenda alternate to democratic Ethiopia through ethnic federalism. It did not respect the handout political participation and positions during ‘the charter’ thus it set off for military struggle. In a similar vein, ‘Tigre’ as a social group should have been picked in place of Amhara as they are in charge of the current Ethiopia at least post the charter. However, fixated OLF did not meaningfully move beyond such unhealthy politics, and still darting wrong target.
In 2006 encouraging news surfaced; OLF and its sister front ONLF together with other Ethiopian political groups initiated AFD (Alliance for Freedom and Democracy) against the late ethnocentric Meles Zenawi’s regime (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/5005980.stm). It was a timely show-ground for equally desolate political signatories to the alliance. Hopes were refreshed for newly sound target – realization of functioning Ethiopia where coordination and cooperation, compassion and solidarity, common destiny and humanity are collectively a driving force of change. From OLF side it was clearly a negotiated rejection of long held infertile political position – Independent Oromia. It was a significant build-up and expectation from the youth. Unfortunately, mainly due to structural, strategic and leadership crises the alliance did not fruit at all. The price dividend was high from OLF side, as it compromised its habitual position and given its thorny conservative critics.
The leadership neither contained internal shocks following the stagnated alliance, nor delivered promises. Apparently waning in dismay it has not yet recollected itself, and had no power to bargain any alliance – internal or external. Therefore, this round a repayment price is not for dealing in for change but for self-change if there will be one.
Still at defensive …
Unwholesome nationalism has been oozing among OLF cadres and OLF affiliated Oromo public – it is a terrible social and political infectious disease escaped from OLF leadership (mostly awful in Diaspora) thus shuttering any immediate hope for it to reshape the struggle. Its failure of managing its internal affair is at a heavy cost of accommodating external interests.
Implicitly there has been growing uncertainty within OLF attributed to both internal and external circumstances. That is to say the cluster is irresolute and largely incapacitated of exploiting internal problems and external pressures to its own favor on its own term. In addition to unwittingly forgone opportunities it’s left to wait for paternalistic circumstances to raft it to its own end. Equally, the variation of the group from its initial picture is almost insignificant. The leadership deliberately denied the struggle leeway to stand to fit into ever- appealing realities and nurture potential minds to this effect. Thus it can be concluded that the group still resonates within defensive width far from commanding internal and/or external environment at least reasonably.
It is simply off the market…
Exclusive ethnicity (which amounts to social-fanaticism) has never been healthy political enterprise in an endeavor to stability, peace and security and development at a smaller or a larger political geography which are meaningfully achieved through collective action. It is highly engaged in producing and reproducing un-togetherness, hatred and sentiment grossly undermining the benefits gained looking at the picture. Few core, fanatic and pseudo-armed Oromo group leaders have hardly imagined dancing beyond illusive past and personality cult. The local or global political, economic, environmental and social trend dictates the rational need for harmony, peaceful-coexistence, tolerance and mutual interdependence. Therefore, for relatively resultant healthy society and healthy environment to be achieved humanity, love, tolerance, justice, freedom and democracy should be at the forefront of our aspiration towards social change.
The world is moving. There are more futures to become present and there are more presents to become past. There is nothing as such we call history is repeating itself unless otherwise the history makers remained constant.
Beyond reasonable doubt we are convinced that no human history had perfect past in any part of our planet Earth so do people in Ethiopia. No past could twist to be a future nor does a future exclude the past in absolute terms. Our future could tangent the past but it should be with different curve. In order to mutually benefit from the dynamic, we must work together to evolve from less perfect towards more perfect social interaction. Then we would be able to leave behind more predictable social, political and economic interactions.
In conclusion, however bad we could think the previous regimes are, they in fact credibly, at least on one perspective, entrenched unflinching psychological and physical attachment to Ethiopia. Building on such a good aspects and embracing collective actions towards the failures are the missing life-line. Conversely, the group’s sensational hunt for an absolute unassembled Ethiopia so far did not come true. However, the cluster is just continually taken away by an oblivious of article 39 – an impious element of the current regime’s constitution in Ethiopia. At all, at its current nature and practice OLF is simply nowhere neither to contribute well nor to undermine geographic, political, emotional and economic Ethiopia.
My call …
Safe to leave making assertions on how far OLF succeeded without scientific investigation but its failure does not need so and it is as big as a mountain. Well it is still history but History of Failure. Regrettably, things did not work out at all for the Front of No and it has been living as the principal object of EPLF (Mr. Isaias) /TPLF (Mr. Meles) History. The most painful fact of it is that it continued to cajole its claimed subject – Oromo. Dear OLF leaders the failure is no more secrete and it is ours so join the stakeholders with facts and we seek solutions together.
My fellow youth you should be able to imagine an environment beyond the casket – liberators are also wrong doers. You must demand leaders on the real ground; after all it’s about our tomorrow. Cognizant to Ethiopia’s internal and external context insurgence induced power, as usual, did not win dictators and their philosophy once and for all; it rather widens opportunities for the new breeds to be crowned. Ethiopian people are a living witness and we have drawn enough lessons from track-record of regime changes in Post feudal Ethiopia and in a larger postcolonial Africa. Realities of an ethnocentric regime in Ethiopia dictate preference of concerted and inclusive evolutionary approach for social transformation to unpredictable and exclusive revolution. Furthermore, geo-economic, geo-politics, collective security, and proliferation of science and technology have been perverting violence means to political power making rebellion less cost effective.
Historic Ethiopia in mind, let’s blame no particular social group as a sole liability to an injustice or oppression but our less accommodative and less tolerant institute of governance [social, political, economic and environmental interaction] induced by our collective or individual behavior and attitude. Our past is our collective history; no group is exclusively free of blame because everyone must have something to account for it. Therefore, the war should be not on social/ethnic or class manifestations but importantly on behaviors and attitudes that habitually embeds and institutes our thinking. Reactions against wrong tongues and actions are mainly emotional, unsustainable and quick fixes, then [w]e have to work to together to change our mindset.
We [People of Ethiopia] shall continue as a Whole. Tolerance, Respect, Dialogue, Compassion, Humanity, Forgiveness and Togetherness should be the order of the process.
The author can be reach at firstname.lastname@example.org