By Yemeretal Y.
I read your letter written to the intention of the new Oromo political organization, ODF, with great interest and emotion. I am not geek enough to comment on the historical facts and deeds of our ancestors you described, but I felt in it a message of great value formulated to all Ethiopians including the members of ODF. A message of optimism in a positive mindset for a restart of a future democratic and all inclusive Ethiopian society. A proposal to create with the Oromo organizations the conditions for a frank and constructive dialogue which could accelerate the fall of the current destructive regime.
We, Ethiopians are facing a great challenge of building a solid political system where all ethnic groups are participants on the same level of liberty and equality. Our hope has been crashed many times in our recent history by being confiscated by greedy individuals for power. That is why an approach based on a genuine dialogue is salutary before more troublesome period comes. I have been pleased to read your instructive and appeasing letter.
Our ancestors have made their best, even sacrificing themselves to build a nation, using the tools available at their times. All agree that, compared to other societies of the same time, Ethiopia occupied a respectful place. In your letter you tried to make people understand that Ethiopia is not the result of the intelligence and deeds of a sole dominating ethnic group of the country but the cooperation of the diverse populations composing it. That is why Ethiopia’s people are today by far mostly, if not all, composed of mixed population. I understood that the purpose of your paper is not to justify the past but to take the opportunity of ODF’s new declaration, to call for cooperation, rejecting any divisive stand based on ethnical ideology.
The recent declaration of ODF had provided relief to some Ethiopians, including myself, who were till now repelled by the OLF separatist narratives. It had triggered more desire to go forward and strive for the betterment of our collective well being and identity. Identity is not only the cultural assets one has inherited from his parents but also the results of one’s past and current common achievements as a member of a society. The Oromo people have been part of the Ethiopian society for centuries as one of the main participant in the building and safeguarding modern Ethiopia. Many of the Oromo people are proud of this contribution to their country, and as many Ethiopians, eager to enhance the current condition of the country to a level of a credible and equalitarian country. But, some of them, because of their suffering and frustrated feelings during the previous times governments have become embittered, hardliner and have let grown hatred towards their own history and erase it from their memory. They have also elaborate arguments and a system of thoughts to justify their radical stand forgetting at the same time how difficult, risky and long it is to build a nation, conducting sometimes a whole population and generations to despair and even self-destruction.
I have also read some of the responses your letter generated, including the one sent by the main recipient, full of threat, contempt and bad will to cooperate. I even found pitiful to see a whole development of a counter argumentation based on how to spell a name of Oromo origin when the invitation for a dialogue concerns the future of a country! Since this kind of disappointing response emanates from an executive of a political front, I would be tempted to say that we are here in front of an organization of a low level of democratic tradition. Is it reflecting the stand of ODF? If it is the case I hardly reconcile the recent declaration of ODF and its members’ conviction on Ethiopian affairs. The OLF coloration is still there recalling its classic resentment discourse towards Ethiopian identity. Is it a strategic posture that ODF displays to get more credibility and popularity which is cruelly lacking as of today? Has he become aware that the scarcity of its followers among the wise and great people of Oromo is its rejection of the Ethiopian identity? I think a genuine renewal in line with our time and our youth and a rejection of such a locked system of thoughts, closed to any reconciliation, peace and wealth sharing is a vital move.
I read also the claim formulated by one of the activists detailing the pre-conditions of being part of Ethiopia. But building a common heritage is not negotiating the best portion for itself, whether one represents a big or small part of the society. It is to find together a way to ensure equality and justice for all. I see therefore the need to ODF to give more clarity and truth on its behaviour, to demonstrate a will of genuine partnership with other Ethiopian democratic movements if he wants that the people he pretends to represent gives him the place he deserves as a main component of the Ethiopian nation.
The current political system in Ethiopia is creating much despair and frustration within the people and such conditions constitute a favourable ground for radicalization. Extremist organizations flourish and as a consequence the chance for the implementation of a democratic society decreases. In the name of the Oromo and as the main component of the Ethiopian population, it would have been the best time to thwart the cynical plan of the Woyane by coming together with all other democratic political forces and strive to bring a great contribution for the betterment of this glorious ancient country and gain a profound respectability in the heart of all Ethiopians. It is the very time to stop planning the destruction of its own country, under the pretext of decolonization, an offshoot concept of a light version of history, with the false hope of being free and happy alone while our common ancestors have shed their blood to try to keep it safe for centuries.
Let us settle down and consider carefully our rich and glorious common history and give credit to our genuine native historians instead of those specialists in geopolitics. May God help all of us to save ourselves and find out the path leading to a bright future Ethiopia deserves.