Yonas Biru, PhD
Since the Fano uprising, the Boy King’s God-like Omnipotence and Satanic Malevolence have been successfully challenged. Consequently, Oromummaa’s mass eviction and mass murder policies of ethnic cleansing have waned to a significant degree.
The inauguration of Ethiopia’s modern army during emperor Menilik as a national holiday, and the launching of “the Great Ethiopian Narrative” are examples of Oromummaa’s retreat. However, there is no logical reason to assume the Oromummaa cult theology will not resume its 16th century bloodletting enterprise if the Fano movement is halted by choice or force.
A closer examination of current realities reveals painful undercurrents that the government and the Fano enterprise must come to terms with. The government must reconcile itself with the fact that stalling or slowing Fano’s military advances is neither a military victory nor a political solution to the crisis. It must also come to terms that the use of drones and thanks against Fano fighters and civilian targets will certainly not bring the Fano enterprise to its knees. To the contrary, the indiscriminate killings of civilians will galvanize the people and draw even the most reluctant Amhara into the war theatre. Another harsh reality to the government is that the Boy King has lost his trustworthiness, owing to his betrayal of everyone who has trusted him, his pathological tendency to dispense bold lie, and most of all his lack of human sympathy. Any attempt at a negotiated peace accord that does not take these three factors into consideration is akin to a unilateral surrender.
On its part, the Fano ecosystem including its diaspora support base needs to accept two fundamental points. First, in and of itself, having morally, legally, and politically justified cause for an armed uprising does not lead to a political victory. Second, military strength is a necessary condition for political victory, not a sufficient one. Fano needs to come to terms that its military advance is undermined by the lack of an inclusive political architecture with a robust political strategy and a viable endgame along with a flexible roadmap.
In sum, the current war between the government and Fano signifies a grim situation characterized by a glaring mismatch between desired outcomes and hard realities.
On the one hand, the government’s war is not guided by a military strategy or political logic. Rather, it is driven by a narcissist Boy King who relies on fake evangelist prophets who assure him of a divine victory. He feels certain that with an unlimited number of Oromo soldiers and a divine intervention victory is his. On the other hand, the sad reality is that Fano’s Military offensive appears to have stalled or at the very least lost its initial momentum. This is attributable to the fact that the military uprising
is conducted in a political vacuum. This phenomenon can be encapsuled in one line: The hermitized Amhara intellectual class has failed to produce political icons and opinion leaders from its ranks. Sadly, the political leadership vacuum is filled by “ቼ በለው” singing and “እከደከድየ” dancing part revered and part hallucinating comical sidekicks.
Put in the vernacular, the war is fought between a government that is in a cult-like trance sleepwalking into an endless war and an Amhara uprising that lacks political technology and theology to realize its full potential to score a definitive political victory. The consequence of a protracted war between such forces is devastating for the nation.
Fano must come to the realization that dragging a high-intensity war indefinitely is existential to the Amhara tribal land in terms of humanitarian suffering and economic destruction. The worst thing Fano can do is to overestimate its military power and underestimate the need for a political organ. Fano is likely to fall prey to such thoughts if it allows extremist forces to influence its movement.
The dynamics interaction of such a reality in the face of a reckless juvenile king is highly likely to degenerate into a destructive state of entropic chaos from which neither the government nor the Fano enterprise can emerge as a strategic winner.
The Boy king cannot be expected to submit to reason, logic or justice. Getting out of the spiraling crisis is on the shoulders of Fano and carrying this burden requires building it strength and forcing the Boy King to submit to reason. In this regard, Fanos success depends on its ability to fend off political extremists who are hovering inside and outside of its enterprise. The sooner it repulses such characters, the sooner it will achieve its full potential.
The purpose of this article is to help bring Fano’s political and military spheres into an alignment and show a path for a strategic political and military victory.
What Does Political and Military Victory Mean?
The question is: What does political and military victory mean in terms of changing the status quo?
The Fano enterprise needs to define its strategic political and military end goals. Is it a change of government that involves abolishing the Oromo-PP led political leadership? If so, what is involved? Unseating the Prime Minster or also dissolving the Parliament and overhauling the constitution?
Is a change of governance (not a change of government) acceptable, if institutional forces build robust political powerbases to assert their democratic rights and reign in the Boy King’s God-like omnipotence and satanic malevolence? Regardless of the choice of the end goal, what are the guardrails to avoid a civil war or a protracted endless war?
The substance of these questions is not restricted to abstract legal or political parameters.
Above all, these are strategic question that have inherent bearing on the success of achieving
Fano’s desired goal of removing Oromummaa’s savagery from the nation’s political landscape.
In defining its end goal, Fano must be mindful that is has a legitimate right to defend itself and determine how the Amhara tribal land is governed. One thing it does not have is a legitimate authority to unilaterally determine the constitutional and institutional nature of the nation’s governance architecture.
It is time for the Fano enterprise to pause, reflect, retrospect and take a midcourse correction where needed to bring its political end goal and military means into balance. Such a pivot is an absolute necessity to thwart its diminishing chances of success and align its trajectory to its strategic political goal. Why is this an absolute necessity?
There is a mismatch in the forces behind the government and Fano. The government has enormous advantage over firepower, including such weapons as drones, missiles, and tanks. Fano’s power is the people. This means its primary powerbase demands on political support not only in its tribal land but also outside of it locally and internationally. Its military operation cannot exist in a political vacuum. Only a high-octant idiot would argue Fano’s political objective and strategy are known and well developed.
“መነሻችን አማራ መድረሻችን ኢትዮጵያ” is a clever slogan fit for a bumper sticker. It is not a substitute for a strategic political manifesto. I have written several articles on this issue. I will not reiterate the details here. Readers interested in a strategic approach can see two of my articles titled “The Fano Manifesto” and “Fano’s Success Depends on Accepting Eskinder is Not the Eleventh Commandment.”
The Mismatch Between Fano’s Military and Political Parameters
Fano’s military wing has registered phenomenal milestones in a short span of time. Its political challenges are attributable to two factors. First, extremist forces led by Shaleka Dawit, and some diaspora groups represent serious threats to it. Yesterday, I was talking to a prominent Ethiopian journalist who told me many people express different views about the Shaleka group in private discussions and public discourses.
In private, they raise concern and even express aversion toward the Shaleka and his nominal boss Eskinder. But when they are on camera, they change their tone and tenor.
This takes us to the second factors that is saddling the Fano enterprise, namely the Amhara intellectual class that has failed to develop a robust political strategy that can simultaneously serve as a leverage for Fano’s military endeavor and use Fano’s military success as a leverage for its political end goal. The intellectual classes’ failure stems from two sources.
First, it is afraid of an avalanche of ad hominem attacks by extremist groupies of Shaleka Dawit’s clan. I know first-hand what it means to be a victim of Ethio-360’s hoots of disdain. It appears that their intellectual dwarfism is overcompensated by their towering and impressive skill of turning ተራ ስድብ into rhythmic and artistic PR and as a sledgehammer to silence dissenting voices.
For reason only Habtamu Ayalew can understand my wife and children were not spared. I was not affected by his verbal attacks until my wife caught a wind of it and started lamenting about my self-inflicted violation of Ethiopia’s ከብረ ነክ cultural theology. “ፖለቲካ ውስጥ ስትገባ ክብርህን ትራሽ አንደወረወርክ እንዴት አይገባህም። ተሰድበህ አታሰድበን,” she pleaded.
My experience helps understand why the Amhara intellectual class avoids a head on collision with the Amhara extremist idiots. Their power to silence dissenting views cannot be taken lightly. Over the last six or so months the Amhara and Ethiopianist intellectual colony has organized three conferences: (1) making Geez an African language; (2) the need to overhaul the constitution; and (3) the systemic falsification of Ethiopia’s history.
These are all safe topics to delve into without inviting the wrath of Ethio-360, but they do not address the most critical issues of the day. In recent days, one of the topics raised on the Global Ethiopian Discussion Forum was Ethiopian donkeys. The moderator of the global forum posted the following:
“I urge all members of this forum to stand against the slaughter of donkeys for export. We must advocate for sustainable and ethical practices that honor our economic needs, cultural heritage, and religious values. Let us raise our voices to protect these vital members of our society and uphold the principles we cherish.”
A prominent member of the forum found the issue important enough to respond as follows:
“The Ethiopian donkey is beaten mercilessly for not moving fast despite being overloaded, not to mention a shoulder with an open sore. Aside from being a violation of animal rights, this odious practice crosses over into the violation of human rights (like corporal punishment of children). It desensitizes us about gratuitous violence against the weak and the meek. I say the expression exercise of democratic values must begin with the humane treatment of our donkeys!”
Whoever said Ethiopian intellectuals are boring does not know a thing about how rib-tickling funny they are. In their views, the urgent issue at this juncture in Ethiopia’s fast procession to a frightening cliff is first observing the democratic rights and humane treatment of donkeys. To borrow a fitting American political lexicon, this is funny as fuck. Now you know the disconnect between the Fano military and political space. Stay tuned for another safe conference on donkey democracy.
For more discussion see my three articles titled” (1) Ethiopia in an Existential Crisis Without a Leader, But This, Too, Shall Pass; (2) How Long is Amhara to be Betrayed by its Hermitized Intellectual Class; and (3) How Hermitized and Tribalized Ethiopian Intellectual Class Deny Ethiopia Global Opportunities.
Jumpstarting Fano’s Momentum
Fano is the last hope for Ethiopia both in terms of abolishing Oromummaa’s threat and laying a foundation for a transformative change. But this requires stepping up its political game. This, in turn, requires freeing its intellectual colony from the bondage of a hermitized ከብረ ነክ cultural theology and nudging it to stand up against the mighty idiotic extremist clowns. There is no two ways about it. Only then can we uplift our discussions and conferences from the safe havens of donkey and Geez politics to the rough terrines of human rights politics without fear, favor or prejudice.