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Oromo Uprising: Danger and Opportunity – Messay Kebede

abebe GelawRegarding the present situation of unrest in Oromo towns and villages, many activists and observers repeatedly ask the question of knowing why other regions of Ethiopia where the discontent is no less general, especially the Amhara region, are not joining the ongoing protest.  The consensus is that, unless the uprising extends to other regions, including Addis Ababa and other major towns, the TPLF will have no difficulty in crushing the Oromo protests. Generalized uprising is the sine qua non of success. The TPLF perfectly knows this.
That is why we see here and there attempts to divide ethnic groups, notably to incite clashes between the two major Amhara and Oromo ethnic groups. Confrontations between these two groups are a sure way for the TPLF to disable definitively the Oromo rebellion. Even though the game of setting the two ethnic groups against each other is a very dangerous one in that it can easily deteriorate into a mutually destructive and uncontrollable civil war from which Ethiopia will never recover, the TPLF is quite willing to take such a risk to protect its hegemonic power in Ethiopia. Its motto being death to Ethiopia if the TPLF does not rule it, it is ready to plunge the country into a terrible war that will benefit no one, including Tigreans whom it claims to represent.
What this means is that unity of all ethnic groups is by far the best alternative for everybody. Inter-ethnic divisions can only lead to two equally detestable alternatives. Either the TPLF will crush the Oromo uprising and remain in power indefinitely, given that another situation of uprising will be unlikely for a long time; or it will see no other way to defeat the Oromo uprising than to incite ethnic clashes, thereby precipitating the whole country into a dangerous and unpredictable path. Clearly, the situation offers unity and solidarity of all ethnic groups as the only and safest way to remove a common enemy.
Awareness of the looming danger and of the unique opportunity to put an end to a hideous dictatorial and divisive rule should give opposition leaders the courage to come out in favor of unity and solidarity. Oromo political leaders and activists, including those of the OLF, should openly state that the uprising is not only about Oromo land, Oromo peasants, and Oromia, but that it is also a democratic movement that includes and speaks for other ethnic groups as well. With few exceptions, the word “Ethiopia” is not mentioned even once in the numerous declarations made by Oromo leaders and activists. The Oromo leadership must understand that there is no point for other ethnic groups to rise and support the uprising if the whole concept of a common country is removed from the political horizon. Without unity, the removal presages chaos, which is enough to stifle the will to show solidarity with the Oromo revolt.
On the other hand, the Amhara and other ethnic groups must understand that their non-participation in the ongoing uprising can only give the Oromo the impression that they are abandoned to the repressive madness of the TPLF. Unless there is some demonstration of solidarity, the Oromo will increasingly feel alienated and betrayed to the great delight of the Woyanne. I hasten to add that the lack of solidarity will seal the fate of all other ethnic groups, since a victorious TPLF means the further tightening of its power and, hence, the worsening of repression and exploitation on other groups.  The choice for them is either solidarity or a reinforced TPLF dictatorial rule.
Whichever way we look at the present situation, it presents the two faces of danger and opportunity. The danger lies in the exclusive ethnic interpretation of the Oromo uprising; opportunity appears when the uprising is directed toward a democratic and all-inclusive movement. Ethiopians have all the reason in the world to engage in the path of unity and solidarity: it avoids the danger because it is a win-win for everybody. It is high time for leaders to step up and work to bring about an inclusive movement, for all interests converge when they look toward Ethiopia.

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  1. I am an Oromo and an ardent supporter of the OLF as well. I see the dualities of Danger and opportunity also. the Danger emanates from the feeling that the Oromos are left alone mainly because of the mistrust other non-Oromo Ethiopians are espousing towards the Oromo people. In fact, you yourself (Messay) had superbly manifested the mistrust by simply refraining (I am sure intentionally) from calling that Geopolitical entity known as Oromia. You rather used Oromo for both the people and the region. You see how volatile our history of Ethiopianess is? That where the problem lies. For decades the non-Oromo elites had and still harbor the chronic problem of recognizing OLF as part of the Ethiopian realty. They rather bent on demonizing it as an evil act of Oromo intellectuals without taking into account how Oromos perceive OLF since it officially appeared on the Ethiopian political scene in july of 1991. Regardless of its organizational strength or weakness, merits or demerits, cohesiveness or otherwise…. it has become the covenant of the Oromo peoples’ aspiration for freedom and justice for generations to come. The generation that is rocking streets of the dusty towns in oromia and beyond was born after the OLF left the Transitional charter in 1992. You may ask, Oromo Freedom from who? Not from the individual Amhara, per se but from the dominion known as Amhara that has become the polictical system of the ethiopian state. Of course, i do not dare to lecture a man that has been lecturing others for over three decades. If I say, Oromos are humble by nature, you cannot disagree with me because you have lived it. You have Oromo neighbors, oromo friends, Oromo coworkers. Oromo students and so on. Simply put, you cannot claim Ethiopianness unless you really persuade your heart to know the oromo people very well. By saying so, I am not trying to attack you. No, rather it is to the contrary. if you believe that we can all seize this moment as an opportunity, deal with the inevitable, which is dealing with the OLF. Because the Oromo people and the OLF are two sides of the same coin. Beware, there will be no dichotomy between OLF/Oromo vs. TPLF/Tigray. I assure you dealing with OLF in civility will save all of us including those who are chopping us in pieces, even. And also do not be fooled, the current uprising in Oromia is not that sporadic and spontaneous. It is well structured and focused. OLF is the driving for be it for the demise or for the salvation of the Oromo people and others. The outcome is always dictated by how OLF is going to be treated by our non-Oromo ethiopians. by the way, OLF has sent a clear message in the Amharic language yesterday. The call up on all freedom seeking citizens of Ethiopia. As I have said we are huble and we are inclusive by nature, we are gifted people when it comes to handling our neighbors and friends with love and respect. We respect an Amhara, a Gurage, a tigree, a welayita……..the list goes on. Simply deal with the Ethiopian realty with civility and OLF is one of those major realities. Thank you sir!!

  2. I personally denounce OLF call for all ethiopian to join so called oromo protest because olf was one of the main destabilizing force in Ethiopia after tplf occupation force ,why most so called oromo elites a peal to all ethiopian to join them their protest while they was repeatedgy cherishing the killing and eviction of amharas from oromo dominated land of ethiopa ,!,,
    So jawarists, olf and it’s secretly hidden surrogate OPPO elements are the main driving force behind the recent mass protest,,so there is no reason for we ethiopian joining your irrational cause,,olf didn’t have moral ground to apeal we Ethiopians because olf is one of the most wanted terrorist organization after tplf who will be facing justice for the killing of several thousands amharas and the displacement of hundred thousand ,,,no future political negotiations will save olf and tplf from complete neutralization of this terror alien , ,
    Long live ethiopia
    Death to tplf,,olf,,jawarists . .

  3. kkkkkk..lemin ke ewnat insheshalen gin? addis abeba ye oromia maret wust aydelachim eyalk naw? Tayituna minilik simatu ye oromo hisb alnebarem alk?
    la manim minim silamatchemir lante minim masredat ayasfeligim

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