The Fanno movement is a spontaneous uprising that took the Amhara tribal land by storm. By its very nature the Fanno movement is nonhierarchical; it is not centralized. It is a protest movement. Its demands are to stop the mass killing, stop the mass forced displacement, stop the mass arrest, and stop targeting Amhara. Let us call this Project A. The Fanno movement is doing excellent in this regard.
The more difficult issue is how to bring about a system that will ensure equality, peace, security, and democracy. Let us call this Project B. This is why the dynamic Fanno movement requires an equally dynamic political architecture with a robust agenda, dynamic strategy, adoptive roadmap, and a clear and viable endgame. The two projects need to go concurrently. This is where the Amhara intellectual class was supposed to rise.
There are 18 major Fanno brigades scattered in Gojam, Gonder, Wello and Shewa. There are many smaller ones across the tribal land. As Fanno grows in number and strength, the need for a dynamic political organ becomes even more critical. In the absence of a broad, robust, unified political organ and politically managed war two detrimental possibilities loom: Civil war with Oromo and warlordism in Amhara. When I say unified, I mean at least on some minimum common agenda.
Today, there are five independent diaspora groups speaking for different sections of Fanno. They are already squabbling. The number and the conflict will grow. There are also conflicts between some Fanno leaders on the ground as to who can or cannot represent them. APF tried to hijack the movement by claiming itself Fanno’s representative.
The Amhara intellectual has failed to establish a forum to bring the Fanno under a broad political umbrella. Rather than being opinion leaders, intellectuals at home and abroad have reduced themselves to be groupies of one group or another. The Global Ethiopian Discussion Forum whose track record on #NoMore, ግፋ በለው position during the TPLF war, on Balderas as a savior of Ethiopia, NAMA, “Ethiopia’s self-sufficient economy” is proving once again it is unable and quite frankly out of its league to build a forum for an intellectual discourse. That is sad.
Dr. Yonas Biru