Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ali Bira & Kemer Yousuf: Traitors or Nationalists?

By Gurraacho Silgaa

Ali Bira and Kemer Yousuf need no introduction to Oromo communities around the world. Living in exile for over two decades, they have both been compared to Maria Makeba of South Africa for stirring hopes of freedom with their music among millions in Oromia and beyond. Music being a central part of the Oromo struggle against past and current oppressive Ethiopian regimes, Ali and Kemer acted as constant reminders of the events in their homeland.

But unlike Maria Makeba, these icons of the Oromo nation have decided to reconcile with their people’s enemy – the Ethiopian regime – before the freedom they once sung for and raised hope about among the Oromo arrived.

Ali decided to reconcile with the TPLF government in September 2005 following Ethiopian elections in the same year and while the world was in the middle of condemning the TPLF government for stealing elections by intimidating, detaining and murdering hundreds Oromos and others.

Kemer followed suite three years later and flew back to perform in Finfinnee (Addis Abeba) a couple of days ago (November 2008) hot on the heels of mass arrests, “disappearances” and mistreatment of Oromo nationals (Read Amnesty Intenational Urgent Action Request Here) including his popular fellow singer Zerhun Wedajo whose where about is unknown.

Much has been said on and off the Internet about Ali Bira’s and Kemer Yousuf’s visits to Ethiopia to perform there. To my knowledge, not since Leencoo Lataa’s visit to Ethiopia (purportedly to have Ibsa Gutema released from TPLF dungeon) has any Oromo’s visit there generated such a heated debate among our people. Opponents have painted them as traitors and sell-outs. The old adage “everyone can be bought” is heard a lot in reference to the two singers. Supporters, on the other hand, see no issues or concerns with what they have done and argue that their critics’ concerns are misplaced.

Why such a controversy over two singers’ visits to, and performance in, their home land?

No serious person can dispute Ali’s quasi-legendary status when it comes to Oromo music. That he got Oromo music going when the going was tough needs no reminding for any serious observer of Oromo cultural renaissance. Neither is Kemer’s stature as a popular and very much loved Oromo singer is contested by anyone I know. Ali’s and Kemer’s love for the Oromo language and music is beyond dispute. That much is known and beyond debate as far as I am concerned.

Ali Bira had won some ethnic music award, along with other African singers in Canada, in or around 1996. The awards were given out to the winners by ambassadors (to Canada) of their respective native countries. Ali is said to have refused to receive it from the then Ethiopian ambassador, and was given the award by the then mayor of Toronto. I have checked out this story with brothers living in Toronto who confirmed it as accurate.

Rumor has it that Kemer Yousuf was offered hundreds of thousands of dollars by the TPLF government on various occasions to return to, and perform in, Ethiopia which he rebuffed bluntly, often disdainfully. It is said that he refused to succumb to financial enticements by the powers that be in Ethiopia mindful of the political benefit the current rulers of the country would rip from his appearance there.

That was then and this is now.

Inconsistent with their prior abhorrence for the current rulers of the country (and their cronies – the OPDO), Ali and Kemer decided to return to Ethiopia and perform for their former enemies. After having successfully resisted TPLF advances for many years, Ali succumbed in 2005 and Kemer in November 2008.

The official reason for Ali’s performance there was for inauguration of “Gada Convention Center” in Adaamaa, Oromia. Kemer’s official reason for doing so, according to the Toronto Star, is "The system changed, the people changed, I changed," However, no mention of whether the system he condemned for the last seventeen years changed for better or for worse. As Oromo politicians in the country, the likes of Bulcha Damaksa and Marara Gudina attest, the Oromo situation has worsened even further over the last decade under the current Ethiopian regime. Regardless, “the central government [of Ethiopia] is helping to arrange a six-concert homecoming tour [for Kemer] that opens Dec. 7 at the East African country's largest indoor venue – Addis Ababa's 20,000-seat Millennium Hall.” And Kemer is taking advantage of it to make some bucks. Read Here

The central issue, however, is whether Ali’s and Kemer’s performances there, particularly at these critical times for the rulers of that country, impacts (positively or negatively) on the Oromo struggle for liberation and/or life expectance of the regime. It is this issue that needs to be addressed. This is not without reason. It is because of Ali’s prominence, reputation and the legendary status conferred on him by many. Although he is not considered a legend, the same goes for Kemer Yousuf. As a consequence, their fans hold them to a higher standard. Needless to say, it is fair to scrutinize public figures more closely than the average person.

This is not about Ali or Kemer the person per se. It is about Ali Bira or Kemer Yousuf the public figures and the role models for many. It is about all Oromo public figures – politicians and non-politicians alike – and how their association with enemies of the Oromo people impacts on the Oromo struggle for liberation.

After having rebuffed Wayyannee’s approach for many years, why have Ali and Kemer changed their minds at these particular times – in 2005 when TPLF and OPDO were fighting for their very lives and today when mass arrests of Oromo nationals is a daily occurrences? Why have they stopped feeling their people’s pain and suffering? In the case of Kemer, where is the solidarity with his “disappeared” fellow Oromo singer Zerhun Wedajo and the many Oromo nationals suffering in TPLF prisons at the present time? If they were so desperate to see their aging parents, as they both claim, why did they not slip in and out of the country quietly? In fact, Kemer was offered an all expenses paid rendezvous with his parents in the Middle East by Oromo nationalists which he refused to accept. Were they so desperate for money that they decided to perform for enemies of their people, or do they not consider OPDO and TPLF enemies of their people anymore? If the later, what has changed? Why would OPDO (TPLF) pay so much to have Ali and Kemer perform for them? Will their performance there contribute to prolonging or shortening the life of this regime which has wrecked havoc on the Oromo people for the last seventeen years? How much Oromo support will their popularity gain (lose) the TPLF government? What message does their performing for OPDO/TPLF send to our people back home and in the Diaspora – particularly to those who view them as role models? Will it encourage them to carry on the fight, or it will give them that “things are changing for the better” feeling and fool them in to relaxing their guards? It is these and other similar legitimate questions that propelled many compatriots in to this debate. I don’t believe any of their critics hate them but would like to know whether these larger than life personalities in Oromo music have sold their people’s struggle for liberation for a few bucks.

Their critics are concerned that (1) Their onetime heroes appear to have sold their souls to enemies of their people for the opportunity to earn some bucks (2) Their performing for OPDO/Wayyaanee will contribute to prolonging the life of the regime (3) Their association with OPDO/Wayyaanee will send the wrong message to those who look up to them as their role model – if it is ok for Ali and Kemer to perform for the enemy of our people then why is it wrong to support OPDO/TPLF? (4) Their performing for OPDO/Wayyanee has the potential of demoralizing, or setting a bad example for, other Oromo artists - inside and outside the country – engaged in agitating our people to fight to the end through their music.

I share these concerns with their critics.

Mr. G. Silgaa may be reached at

Have your say!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Asmara Group of OLF signs agreement to accept Ethiopian constitution

In its Nov. 14, 2008 broadcast, VOA reported that the Asmara Group of OLF has signed agreement to accept the Ethiopian constitution.

Quoting Obbo Ittafaa Goobana, the leader of a group of elders mediating between TPLF and the Asmara group of OLF, VOA revealed that the said agreement was signed in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in January 2008.

VOA also reported that Obbo Daud Ibsaa and Obbo Tamam Yusuf signed the agreement on behalf of the Asmara Group of OLF.

Listen to VOA report HERE

Related postings:

Melles to [the Asmara Group of] OLF: Leave Asmara or No Talks
Beware of Mediator Bias and Mediation as a Tactic: A word to the Wise

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Capitulationists' surrender agreement and its nemesis

Blogger's Note: Obbo Leenjisoo's capacity for critically analysis never ceases to amaze me. In this article, he sets out "to tell the politics of Oromo opportunists and the ways and the means they are using to divide the Oromo nationals within the Oromo national struggle. The introduction of localism into Oromo national politics, in the Oromo national struggle, is a means to divide the Oromo people and their nationalists." He goes after what he considers to be the truth single mindedly and offers his readers a tour of what transpired within the OLF over the last seven years.

Capitulationists' surrender agreement and its nemesis
By Leenjisoo Horo

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
- George Orwell

Almost every Oromo now recognize the problem within Oromo national struggle. And yet, there are great disparities in understanding the origin of this problem and the means though which this problem was disseminated to the larger public. To begin with, the problem originated from the Asmara group’s surrender agreement. The agreement was followed by capitulation, surrender, and betrayal. These were followed with campaign of disinformation, active misinformation, lies, fabrications, deceptions, and make-believe so as to mislead those low information Oromo nationals to turn them against their people’s struggle.

First and foremost, the terms capitulation and surrender agreement need to be defined. In a simple term capitulation is surrender. And surrender agreement is an agreement, or a treaty, or an accord to surrender oneself and/or ones moral code and political position; it is an agreement of surrender of political sovereignty of ones country and its people. Having surrendered, the capitulationists collaborate or cooperate with the enemy of their country against their own country and people. The opportunists are the breeding ground for capitulationsts and they are the first candidates to capitulate. They always peep through the windows of opportunities to see if there is any opportunity to benefit them, the opportunities that may interest them are position or money or both. And they are always ready and willing to capitulate at anytime convenient to them, to grab any opportunity that may arise. Indeed, they have no feeling for nationalism and patriotism. As history of national struggles have proven time and again, the opportunists have no regard either for hopes and aspirations of their people or for independence or for the laws of history of national struggle.

The purpose of this article is to tell the politics of Oromo opportunists and the ways and the means they are using to divide the Oromo nationals within the Oromo national struggle. The introduction of localism into Oromo national politics, in the Oromo national struggle, is a means to divide the Oromo people and their nationalists. This is old and obsolete political method and now renewed by the Asmara group. Hence this article focuses on the Asmara group, its politics of localism, and its political impact on the low information groups and finally its political and organizational nemesis. That is its split. It is to this, this article turns next.

The Oromo opportunists are example of what are described in the introductory paragraph of this article. Hence, the major problem the Oromo people have been facing throughout history of their occupation and since their struggle for independence has been the problem of capitulationists. The Oromo capitulationists wish the Oromo people to remain prisoners in their own country and governed down to the village levels by the conquering Abyssinian army and its local collaborators of Oromo descent. The local collaborators are the opportunists. The political position they have taken for so long has slowly brought them to their recent political and organizational nemesis and hastened their demise; to their final ruin from within themselves. They ruined themselves by splitting on regional basis.

As Oromo history teaches us, under Gada system of government, Oromo nation rose to a great height as powerful and respected nation. Then it fell from that height as its leaders divided and local chiefs were established in various regions of Oromiyaa in the late 16th-century. And the division was followed by the conquest of Oromiyaa. And the conqueror created chieftains, the collaborators that have been helping it to govern the conquered Oromiyaa. Under rule of the colonizer and its collaborators, the Oromo people faced humiliation and disrespect. With the formation of Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and with the heroic sacrifices it has made and still making, the nation’s sense of greatness returned and rose once again. The OLF has brought to the nation the torch of struggle for liberty, freedom, and independence. It has instilled a sense of patriotism in the new generation of the Oromo youth. And it has instilled among the youth, the absolute certainty of the final victory of the Oromo struggle. With its sacrifice, it has brought the struggle for independence of Oromiyaa as the center of unbroken promise. Its heroes and heroines, those who sacrificed their precious lives in this struggle, had fought with valor and dignity until the end. And with its uncompromising belief in independence of Oromiyaa, it has become bedrock of the Oromo struggle by keeping the flame of struggle burning. Out of this struggle a New Oromiyaa was borne and the nation rediscovered itself after over a century of occupation. Consequently, the nation began demanding loudly and clearly the establishment of free and democratic independent Oromiyaa. This is a new beginning. It opened a new chapter in the struggle for the independence of Oromiyaa. With this, Abyssinian created and local collaborators enforced old “divisive spirit” seemed to be dead and buried. Now the nation has new spirit: the spirit of unity. Hence, with this spirit of unity they are ready and willing to reclaim their lost greatness in their struggle, in their unity. Anything contrary to this spirit will be doomed to failure.

However, recently a new campaign to stifle and undo this unity has been unleashed by Oromo capitulationists with the purpose and intent to weaken, undermine and finally divide Oromo nationals and the nation itself on regional basis. Now there is a new attempt by these capitulationists to resurrect the already dead and buried colonial created divisive spirit to bring it to life so as to sow it within and among the Oromo nationals to divide them. The victims of this sinister scheme are uninformed and under informed Oromo nationals. These are low information groups that can easily be mislead and easily become followers. Such groups’ loyalty is to individuals rather than to the nation and its cause. Here one does not have to have the gift of a prophet to foresee or foretell as to where these divisive and dishonorable political tactics of polarization, of factionalization, of fragmentation, and of regionalization would lead the nation, if it is not averted as quickly as possible. Blind faith in bad leaders and blindly following such bad leaders is mortally and politically dangerous to a nation. We should not allow ourselves to become so blind that we miss the forest for the trees. That is, we should not allow ourselves to become blind that we miss Oromiyaa, the big picture, for petty localism. In this regard, the recently unfolding drama within the Asmara group should not be shocking to us. This was expected a long time ago. So it is not surprising. The clique is now reaping its own fruits, the fruits it has sown; its fruits being the betrayal of Oromo struggle and the division of Oromo nationals. Hence, it is proper to piece together the political portrait of the group. The group is a personification of surrender and an embodiment of defeatism, malaise, and of division. For years the group committed crimes against the Oromo national struggle and against the unity of the Oromo nationalists. Now its crime is haunting and biting it. Here is its political portrait:

In 1998, for the first time in Oromo history Shanee (also now known as the Asmara group) signed a surrender agreement with TPLF accepting the disarming of the Oromo Liberation army (OLA) the renunciation of armed struggle or the use of force in Oromo national self-defense and accepting Ethiopian empire’s colonial constitution in an attempt to undermine the OLF and thwart its struggle and Oromiyaa itself.

In 1999, this clique illegally took over the leadership of the OLF. Having taken over the organization, it left Oromiyaa for Eritrea from where it has been assaulting the OLF, and the unity of its members, and of the Oromo people.

In 2001, Shanee raced away from the Oromo struggle. In that race, it promoted the “Agenda for Peace” as its political platform. Having taken this option, it split from the OLF while fraudulently and deceitfully calling itself the OLF only to confuse the people. The split was on political line. That means there were two wings in the OLF with two political trends. One wing held a political trend, “Agenda for Peace” which later came to be known as “Democratization of Ethiopia”. And the other wing held the original idea with which it commenced the struggle. That is, it advocated for active armed struggle and active political resistance for the realization of national liberation, independence, and sovereignty. In the nutshell, the split in the year 2001was over whether to liberate Oromiyaa on the one hand, or democratize the Ethiopian colonial empire, on the other.

In 2002, with advice and support of foreign country, Shanee launched armed attack on the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) in the Southern Command. And that attack was supported by foreign mercenaries and shaded the blood of the freedom fighters. Not only this, it divided the OLA.

In 2003, at its congress in Asmara, Eritrea, the group passed resolution calling for the death of Oromo nationalists who were the founders of the OLF and who led and still leading this struggle. The reason was simple; they rejected the “Agenda for Peace” and refused to abandon Kaayoo Bilisummaa. What Shanee and its supporters have failed to understand is that resisting, opposing, rejecting, exposing, and fighting harmful ideas to national interest is the highest form of patriotism.

In 2004, the clique solicited Norwegian Foreign Ministry to sponsor conference to seek ways and means of rejuvenating negotiation for reconciliation with the colonial regime of Meles Zenawi. That resulted in Berger Conference. This conference became a springboard for the ideas of changing the OLF’s political program.

In 2005, it told the world that it had a dream. That dream was the democratization of Ethiopia. In a hope of the fulfillment of its dream, it raced to join Abyssinian political organizations. Having accomplished this, it changed the political program of OLF. With the change of the program and with the joining of Abyssinian political organizations, it elevated its “Agenda for Peace” to its dream, to the dream of democratization of Ethiopia. The idea of democratization of Ethiopia dominated the thinking of the more privileged sectors under successive Abyssinian regimes as the former Dargi’s cadres and its party members and the former members of Baalabbaats and Qoroos under Emperor Haile Sillassie and those collaborators with Meles Zenawi regime. With this, it made a complete and final break with the OLF and with the nation.

In 2006, this splinter group formally joined the anti Oromo independent Abyssinian political organizations, namely the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) and Ethiopian People’s Patriotic Forces (EPPF). With that, it formed Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD). The purpose of AFD was to roll back the achievement so far the Oromo have registered and to suffocate their struggle for independence. The alliance is directed exclusively against Oromiyaa and its people.

In 2007, with the advice and support of AFD, the Asmara group filed a lawsuit against the officials, and the active members of the OLF alleging that they were members only in the past but not now. Further, it alleged that these officials and active members are now “passing themselves off as members of the OLF”. It asked the court to stop these members from using the name of the OLF, its emblems, and its flag and not to organize meetings by the name of OLF. What the Asmara group failed to understand is that the Oromo struggle is a historic struggle; the OLF is a historic organization and its true founders are historic leaders. For these, such decision cannot be made by any court but only by the eternal court of history of our people and by the opinion of our people who are yearning for independence, freedom, dignity, honor and social justice.

Furthermore, the group also presented the name OLF to the court as business entity, not as political organization. As a result it claimed, because of the defendants “passing themselves off as members of the OLF”, the Asmara group alleged to have suffered a “loss of goodwill, loss of donors, loss of members, and loss of reputation”. It is clear that its use of the name of the OLF has been in pursuit of financial interest. In addition, it also alleged to have developed its goodwill, its donors base, its reputation, and its members at high financial cost to itself. Here again the group miserably failed to understand that the OLF is and has been a political organization not a business entity and it developed its goodwill, its reputation, and earned respectability not by power of money, but by the power of its ideas, by the sacrifice it had made and by the national cause it firmly and unwaveringly stood by, and by its resolve to pay any sacrifice demanded of it, and by its commitment and determination to continue the national struggle until final victory. The Asmara group’s pernicious attack on the OLF officials and active members was to cripple and then dismantle the organization.

In 2008, Shanee begin to race to the bottom. In that race, it split into two. That was its nemesis, the nemesis that began eating it from within itself since 2001. After the death of AFD, the Asmara group convinced itself, as we have seen; the only option left to it to weaken, to suffocate, and to undermine the Oromo struggle is to factionalize the Oromo nationals on the basis of Oromiyaa’s regional diversities. Hence to effectuate this, both groups introduced regionalism in the national struggle to shipwreck our national unity on the shoals of our geographical diversity. Both groups perfectly understood that the undermining of national unity undermines the national struggle. This is their mission.

Furthermore, both are one and the same in their political position; both are Ethiopianists deep down in the marrow of their bones. But to confuse the public both groups superficially shout “Oromo, Oromia” without actually believing in the Oromo question, in the Oromiyaa independence. The split was based over who best loves Ethiopia and over who is most trusted to democratize Ethiopia and over who is better determined to send Oromo men, women, and children to die and to shade their blood for the democratization of Ethiopia.

As a consequence of this capitulation agreement and heinous divisive political campaign of the capitulationists, many Oromo nationals in Diaspora fell by the way side; their confidence in the national struggle was eroded and their conviction of struggle for the independence of Oromiyaa withered away. As a result, some left active struggle and became inactive, some crossed over to join the colonial regime and its local agents, the OPDO (the prisoners of war). And others suffered loss of self-direction, disillusioned, withdrew to themselves, and sunk into despair and became aloof from the national struggle. And still, many others simply fell into deep silence and retreated to the sidelines, to their corners and turned a deaf ear to the national call while those who engineered this crisis, the diehard Ethiopianists, are still campaigning against the Oromo struggle, against the OLF, and against independence of Oromiyaa. Ironically, it is this later group that split now. In other words, the two groups talk about unity, but in practice and in their actions both work for division, for split, and in general for disunity.

Reviewing Political position of the Asmara group serves as a prelude to what has to come next. The political position it has taken has been the pointer to its political nemesis, to its political and organizational ruin and decay. To begin with, both splitting groups do not have political difference. The split was over egoism. Egoism took a form of regionalism or geography as a cover to hide the purpose of its split. Both are pro-Ethiopian empire. “Abu Biya Abba Jobir, the OLF representative in the US, has contacted the promoters of All Party Conference, promising them”, Indian Ocean Newsletter issue of September 9, 2002 report began, ” that ‘now its internal crisis has been mastered’” and that “he would participate in the coming unity meetings.” He made this statement shortly after, his group i.e. the Asmara group launched armed attack with the support of foreign mercenaries against the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) operating in Southern part of Oromiyaa. Following this, in 2005, Leencoo Baatii, the then spokesperson of Shanee (the Asmara group) boasted in jubilation after the formation of AFD declaring, “AFD will enter Addis Ababa with victory to free Ethiopia from Wayyaanee. The victory will come not in years, not in months, not in weeks, but in days”. And yet his AFD died in the womb before it even saw day light and besides this, both Asmara groups are still marking the time shouting “AFD!”, “AFD!” In reality, AFD does not exist. As a result, the gospel of Ethiopian democratization is on the waning. Despite this fact, its ghost still exists in Shanee’s (both Asmara groups’) mind. Continuing to advocate for “unity of Ethiopia”, Leencoo Baatii went on Habasha’s radio in Washington, DC for interview. In that interview he made this statement, “OLF will work with Kinijit and other opposition parties to build a democratic, united Ethiopia.” By what means his Asmara Group wants to unite Ethiopia? By sword? Or by bullet? Or by both? The sword, bullets, prison, torture were not new to the Oromo people. In 2006, Hassen Hussein, the then foreign representative of the Asmara group (Shanee) who replaced Abbaabiyya Abba Jobir, speaking in Amharic language to the Abyssinian gathering in Boston, MA, told his audience, “Maan naw kamaan laay natsaa yemiwota? Inya andi hizib nan. Yeminiffalligow dimokrasii bichaa naw.” Literally translated the phrase means: who is to be liberated from whom. We are one and the same people. What we want is only democracy. And what he meant was Oromiyaa is an integral part of Ethiopia. His statement is a call the very existence of the Oromo nation into question.

This was confirmed by Obbo Leencoo Baatii, the current spokesperson of Gen. Kamal Gelchu’s Asmara group, and Dr. Bayan Asoba, the current spokesman of Obbo Dawud Ibsaa’s Asmara group on Voice of America (VOA) Radio interviewed by Aaddee Jaalannee Gammadaa on August 4, 2008. To the question posed by Aaddee Jaalannee, as to if there is any political difference between the two factions, Obbo Leencoo Baatii responded in Oromiffaa “Garaagarummaan ilaalchaa hinjiru”. Literally it means there is no difference in their outlook either in ideological or political outlook. In that interview, both Bayaan Asoba and Leencoo Baatii told the interviewer, “We do not have political differences”. Hence if there is no political difference, there is no justification for the split. Its split was simply on egoism. Hence, it is the individuals’ ego trip that has become the driving force for the group’s split.

The Asmara Group and its empty slogans

Since 2001, the Asmara Group has been deafening the public with the slogans of “negotiation” and “fighting”. The name Asmara Group should be understood to mean both splinter groups. These slogans are intended to mislead the public. But they are empty slogans. Now it is time to unmask the true meaning of what is meant by these slogans.

In purely political term, the Asmara Group’s “negotiation” is a negotiation to become a partner in governing Ethiopia. To this effect, on August 8, 2007, Dawud Ibsaa, the Chairman of the group, told The Horn of Africa Journalist Association, “The OLF wants to participate in the political process as a party or as a political organization” in Ethiopia. It is clear; Shanee’s negotiation is for legalization of its group as legal opposition party in the Ethiopian empire and to make Oromiyaa an integral part of Ethiopia, denying it its independence; its destiny and its rightful place in history.

Negotiation by itself is not a problem. The problem is, what is to be negotiated and what is not to be negotiated. In politics there are nonnegotiable and negotiable issues. For instance, since Oromiyaa is a colony, its independence is nonnegotiable. Independence of Oromiyaa is a unilateral right of the Oromo people; and only the Oromo people unilaterally decide upon its own independence and upon its own destiny. Hence independence of Oromiyaa cannot be put on a table for discussion with any entity under any condition or circumstance. Again as a member of a colonized nation, it is irrational and a national betrayal to negotiate to become a legal opposition partner in the colonial administration. This is political defeatism; and indeed defeatism is hard to acknowledge. The Asmara Group failed to acknowledge its failure and its defeat. And in fact, it takes its failure for success and its defeat for victory. On the other hand, issues as border conflicts or disputes are negotiable and treaty and trade agreements are negotiable. The OLF believes that in the war of national liberation, the war has to be won on battlefield, on arenas of diplomacy, and of politics. As a national liberation organization, the OLF does not ask or beg the colonizer for independence of Oromiyaa; instead it fights to conquer it, to capture it, to seize it, and to grab it. And so the time has come to conquer our independence instead of asking for it, the time has come to capture our independence instead of negotiating for surrendering it, the time has come to seize our rights instead of beg for them, and the time has come to unconditionally grab our independence instead of stretching our hands begging for it. This is a universal truth in the national struggle. And this has been the policy of the OLF since its inception. With this in mind, OLF went into negotiation with the colonial regime in 1992 in Asmara, in 1994 at Carter Center, Atlanta; and in 1995 in Washington, DC under the auspicious of U.S. Congressional Task Force. The negotiations or discussions the OLF held with the colonizer at the time were not to discuss the destiny and the independence of Oromiyaa with the colonizer, nor to discuss to become a legal opposition party in Ethiopia, nor to ask or beg for independence but the OLF presented for negotiation or discussion the removal of colonial administration, its bureaucracy, its military, its police force, and its security apparatus from Oromiyaa. Had the colonizer accepted these conditions the OLF laid out the means and mechanism of how to facilitate for the colonizer to peacefully and orderly leave Oromiyaa. This should not be confused with the “negotiations” of the Asmara Group, the negotiation to surrender.

Another favorable slogan of the Asmara Group is the slogan “fight”. The group has already signed an agreement to disarm and to disband the OLA and to struggle to unify and democratize Ethiopia. So one may ask the following questions: Fight what? Fight for what? And fight for whom? For those who objectively followed the Asmara Group’s political line, the answers to these questions are crystal clear. It is obvious the group fights anti colonial resistance forces. For instance, in 2002, it fought the OLA and still trying to undermine it. And recently it has engaged in pernicious politics of factionalizing the Oromo nationals on regional basis, in the Diaspora, so as to divide them and weaken the national unity. Its fight is for Ethiopia, for its status quo and for its democratization. Its fight is to strengthen and perpetuate the Abyssinian rule over occupied territories, including Oromiyaa. In this case, both groups want to send Oromo children to war to fight to democratize the empire. In this case, fighting the OLF is part of strengthening forces of Ethiopian democratization. Again accepting Ethiopian democratization is a fight against independence of Oromiyaa. Here many Oromo nationals have failed to ask questions as to why Oromos should die for Ethiopia. Should Oromo people have to raise their children to die for Ethiopian democratization? We should not forget a lesson of history. On behalf of Ethiopian empire, many Oromo children perished in the Korean War of 1950s, in Congo conflict of 1960s. They perished in the conflict between Somalia and Ethiopia in 1960s under Haile Sillassie, in 1970s under Mengistu Hayle Mariam, and in 2008 under Meles Zenawi regimes. In Eritrea under the three successive Abyssinian regimes namely under Haile Sillassie regime, Mengistu Hayle Mariam regime, and under Meles Zenawi regimes, many Oromo children were sent to war front and many perished, many were maimed. Haile Sillassie even offered to America the Ethiopian Army to fight along with America in the jungles of Vietnam. As if these are not enough, now the so-called “a movement for change”, the new faction of Shanee, is promising to send Oromo men, women, and children to fight and die to bring about the democratization of Ethiopia.

It is on the regional basis, the Asmara group has recently collapsed and split into its own making, into village politics, tearing each other apart from inside out. Consequently, it has now descended into chaos. Now the two turned their campaign to tear apart Oromo nationals so as to undermine unity of our people and their social fabric. Since 2001, both groups have been walking together shoulder-to-shoulder as comrades progressively and imperceptibly sliding downhill on the slippery slope of political bankruptcy to its lowest depths. Now they are deep in the bottom and descent into the chaos. Ever since its surrender agreement of 1998, Shanee has been destined to dig the grave to bury the struggle for Oromiyaa independence. Now after their split both factions have resorted to the old, time proven method of geographically polarizing, factionalizing, and fragmenting the nationals as a means to weaken, suffocate, and undermine national unity and the struggle for independence of Oromiyaa. Any attempt to factionalize Oromo nationals on regional basis is a violation of the inviolable sanctity of Oromiyaa: its geography, its people, its history, and its unity and oneness. In this sinister plan, both factions are using those uninformed, under informed, ill-informed and those doubters and skeptic Oromo nationals who doubt about the success of the Oromo national struggle and those curmudgeons, the acculturated, and assimilated Oromo nationals who can easily get upset and despair at seeing Oromo unity. Most of these individuals are those who lived in comforts and conveniences of life serving the successive Ethiopian colonial rulers. Their wish is for the return of that system. Hence, the singing of Ethiopian democratization by both Asmara factions since 2001 to-date is in the fulfillment of this wish.

Their political platform of Ethiopia democratization, their wish-dream, is incompatible with the platform of independence of Oromiyaa. The two political lines are unbridgeable. That means the two concepts are irreconcilable and any attempt to reconcile them is doomed to fail and such attempt is a misguided one. The unification and democratization of an empire has been rejected by the living history. It is for this, the new splinter group has received overwhelming support from Abyssinian civic and political organizations and individuals and the Oromo capitulationists, the pro-Ethiopian empire individuals.

Attack on Oromiyaa

The attack Oromiyaa is facing now is not new. It did not start with the Asmara group, nor will it end with it, as long as Oromiyaa remains in the Ethiopian empire. The attack began by Gobanaa Daaccee and his associates over a century ago; the Asmara group’s attack is only the continuation of that. In this case, the Asmara group has been determined since 1998 to change Oromiyaa’s political climate to the level of extremly dangerous height of political fragmentation of the nation along local and regional lines so as to undo the struggle for its independence. Its recent split on the regional basis and pumping regional passions among the low information Oromo nationals is the clear evidence that both groups want to change Oromiyaa into a land of political polarization, of sharp political divides among Oromiyaa regions, among Oromo nationals, and setting a stage for future conflict after independence. Such politics of introduction of regionalism, as a part of divide, in the national struggle is an attempt to throw the nation back into darkness.

All in all, Oromiyaa is at war with two forces. On the one hand, it is at war with the occupier, the colonial force. And on the other, it is at war with the capitulationists, the local forces that have recently become a divisionist. The pernicious ideas and information given by this divisionist group is intended to become toxic to the Oromo unity and to its body politics. This is a group that slide into divisionist political campaign. Recently, this capitulationist group has undertaken all possible means of seducing and poisoning the minds of uninformed, under informed, and less informed Oromo nationals so as to divide them on regional basis. The looming danger is already underway. This danger is aimed at destroying Oromiyaa, the Oromo nation, and its struggle for independence.

Moreover one must understand; Oromiyaa will never be destroyed from without, by outside forces. The danger to it will only come from within. That is, it will only be destroyed from within, by its own citizens, by those who betray the national cause and allied with the enemy, with the colonizer. In this case, one may ask a question as to why do OPDO exists? The answer to this question is very simple: to support the colonial regime to maintain the empire and to fight the Oromo nationalists. OPDO is an instrument of oppression in the hands of the colonizer. It maintains colonial law and order in Oromiyaa. It serves the colonial regime as civilian police, as undercover agents, as security and military force in Oromiyaa. On the other hand, the Asmara Group has been going on dividing the Oromo nationals on the regional basis in the Diaspora to weaken Oromo unity. Today, as always, when illegal search and seizures, torture and outright murder of Oromo people has become commonplace and when the Oromo people have lost their civil rights in Oromiyaa, the Asmara Group by the name of “Elders” held a meeting with the colonial regime in Hague, Netherlands on October 2008, to discuss and chart the ways and means for joining the regime in the empire. Its purpose is to accomplish what OPDO was unable to accomplish. That is, the Asmara Group wants to divide the Oromo people, as it has divided the Oromo nationals in the Diaspora. Both OPDO and the Asmara Group stand on the same political line and guided by the same political principle: unity and democratization of the empire. In its unholy campaign, the Asmara Group sees the fragmentation of Oromo nationals into regional factions, if it happens, as its passport to allow it to join the colonial regime and become partner of OPDO to suppress the Oromo people and to undercut the struggle for the independence of Oromiyaa.

Again, Oromiyaa will never be weakened by outside forces, but only by inside forces, by the forces within, the forces of its own citizens. The outside force only plays the role of facilitating the condition that enables those who want to do evil things to their own people and country. The skeleton of dangers is laid out in the preceding paragraphs. The introduction of regionalizing the Oromo political struggle so as to divide the Oromo nation and attempting to factionalize and to fragment the Oromo nationals on the basis of the locations they were born in and the locations they live in are deadly weapon. Such is an attempt now undertaken by internal forces to lay waste to Oromiyaa, to ruin it, and to undo the Oromo unity so as to destroy the nation, and to cripple its struggle for liberation. It is, therefore dangerous, dishonest, and self-serving to use Oromiyaa’s regions as a means to divide the Oromo nationals for selfish political purposes. In the following section attempt is made to explain reasons for politics of regionalism or localism and the danger of it to the national unity and to national struggle.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Attack on national character and the Oromo experience

Blogger's Note: This is truly a piece worth reading. Whether you agree with him or not, Leenjisoo helps readers work through - with penetrating insight I should add - the current split in the [Asmara Group] of OLF and one of the most stubborn problems plaguing contemporary Oromo Diaspora politics.

Attack on national character and the Oromo experience

By Leenjisoo Horoo

Nation and national character

Throughout history of colonization, after conquest and occupation of a nation, the colonizer opens a new war frontier. The new war is a war against the national character of an occupied nation. The following paragraphs attempts to explain the concept of national character and its importance.

First of all, to understand the concept of national character we need to describe, define, and explain as to what it is and what it means. Before that, it is important to understand what is meant by the term nation. Generally, scholars agree that a nation is a people united by bond of origin sharing common heritage, and by its customs and character. Jean-Jacques Rousseau defines nation as a sovereign political body; a union of citizens created by the social contract. Baron de Montesquieu defines it as a collectivity sharing common customs, morals, history and temperament. And Joseph Stalin defined it as a historically evolved, stable community of language, territory, economic, and psychological makeup manifested in a community of culture. And a nation is shaped and strengthened by its civic and national political institutions.

It is from this definition, nations draw their national character. The question to be asked is as to what national character means and as to what it constitutes. Opinion varies among scholars. However, general agreement is that it is an attitude as to how a people thinks and believes. And it is how a people looks at itself, sees itself, and perceives itself as an entity; as an organic whole. The characteristics it reflects to the outside world and the characteristics that world nations recognize about a nation. It is, therefore, a political identity and social value. Hence it is a collective mentality of the members of a nation; it is collectively a distinctive set of psychological make up of members of a society; it is a sense of belonging to a nation and hence it gives a sense of obligation to ones nation and its country. It is oftentimes defined as “the spirit of a nation”, but not as spirit of tribes, or clan or region or religion. In fact, the tribes, the clans, the region, and religion should reflect the spirit of the nation, its national character, and its social and political philosophy. That is, national character is a feeling of pride in being a member of a nation. For example, a feeling of pride in being an Oromo is a national character. It is feeling of pride in the name Oromo, in their history, in their cultural tradition, in their institutions, and in Oromiyaa itself. It is this character that distinguishes one nation from the others. And indeed, it is this character that distinguishes Oromo nation from the rest of nations. In this case, it is generally agreed, among scholars, that national character consists of and is grounded on unique combination of factors as geography, land and climate, and historical facts, maxim of government, cultural and spiritual tradition, morals and mores, the habits of thought and behavior, temperament and manners, ethos and pathos, and interrelation and interdependence of a nation. It welds all elements existing within a nation into an organic whole, into a single nation as a single entity. It is for this that it is oftentimes said that each nation has its own distinctive national character that distinguishes it from other nations. It is this distinctive national character that Jean-Jacque Rousseau regarded as the basis of national consciousness and patriotism and which according to him are the foundation of sovereignty and of a free government.

Furthermore, national character stands as a resistance against foreign occupation. It promotes, enhances, sustains, and preserves nationalism and patriotism that strengthens national identity and national pride which are defenses against foreign occupation. It also helps a nation to rationalize their national resistance, national struggle, and national uprisings against foreign occupation. It not only rationalizes a national resistance, but it also legitimizes military action and political and diplomatic steps undertaken in support of the national struggle. That means national character is in the service of nationalism and patriotism. Hence, national character is a powerful weapon of resistance a nation can possess in its fight against alien occupation.

The Oromo experience

As aforementioned, a nation of strong national character resists and fights foreign domination and occupation. And such nation maintains its unity, its national identity, and its national pride. That is, a nation that preserves its national character cannot be permanently occupied, subjugated, exploited and maintained as a colonial subject by colonial power. Colonial authority understands this power of national character. It is for this, a colonial power fights against the national character of a colonized nation or nations. Colonial power fights national character of a colonized nation on myriads of ways. First, what the colonizer does in its fight against colonized peoples is that it demobilizes, terrorizes, represses, marginalizes, curtails free movement, dehumanizes, despises, and then manipulates them. Second, it balkanizes the occupied country and disperses its population. And third, it creates collaborators in the occupied territory to help it in exploitation of human and natural resources. These are not new to the Oromo people.

Then colonizer makes for the colonized people impossible to interact as a community of people, as individuals, and as a group or groups. It limits the colonized people access to means of communication as printed media, as Radio, telephones, and limits access to the means of transportation as Roads and etc. It limits access to education to deprive them modern skills and knowledge. Hence the interaction was non-existent. In this way, it controls the flow of information and ideas among people and limits movements of the people within and among colonized region. These are used as a means to weaken the bond between them, weaken their interaction, interdependence, and to loosen up the interconnectedness of the colonized people and hence to weaken their sense of national character and national unity. In so doing, the colonizer limits the colonized people to their respective little domain. That is, they are limited to their localities, the localities that are informationally and physically disconnected from each other. This limits the colonized people to their respective localities and that makes the loss of the national character of those localities. Once a national character is lost, in turn it causes the loss of national unity. The loss of national unity causes a loss of national identity and national pride as a nation. Following these, the colonizer dismantles the traditional cultural, traditional religious, traditional political and civic institutions. In Africa, the European colonizers accomplished these through African Chiefs and in Oromiyaa, the Abyssinians accomplished through Baalabbaats, Qoroos, Darg’s party cadres and party members and other opportunists. Using them, the colonizer artificially creates local character, local identity, and local pride to supplant national character, national identity, and national pride. With the support of these groups, the colonizer promotes and encourages local differences. These were what Europeans had done to African people and Ethiopian regime having been perpetually doing to the Oromo people since occupation.

In this process many Oromo individuals have lost the Oromo identity and totally absorbed into Ethiopian identity. Some were absorbed simply into local identity. Some of them are absorbed in the mix of Habasha and the artificially created local identity. Then the colonizer encouraged them to glorify local character. As the old generation passes away, the new generations that followed it take the colonial created local characters as normal and natural. And Hence, localism became their identity and pride. In this case, their primary frame of reference becomes local or regional. Their politics becomes local in origin, in thinking, in practice, and in orientation. In this case, such groups become selective in what they want to hear, to see, and to believe and talk. Oftentimes, they base their arguments on illogical talking points accompanying with lies, fabrications, and misleading statements disregarding facts, logic, and common sense. These are the crowds who never take time to comprehensively think over issues. Instead, they react to their momentary impulses on issues in their discourse. They loose the grip of the national picture. At this stage, localism, villagism, regionalism, or provincialism becomes antithetical to nationalism and patriotism. Hence regional character comes into conflict with national character. This leads to division among nationals on regional basis. This has been the aim, the objective of the colonizer. Its policy is to create artificial differences and inject these differences in body politics of the colonized nation. It is on the basis of these that Asmara group (also known as Shanee) split. Its split is not based on political line or ideological outlook but on egoism and regionalism became scapegoat for egoism. Hence the driving force of the Asmara group’s split was egoism. It has nothing to do with Oromo struggle. Hence its friction, its collision, its difference, and hence its split is not over political difference or political line, but it was over who is best suited to serve the empire and its colonial rulers. Regionalism, localism, and villagism are their springboard upon which to mobilize the low information denominators in the diaspora. Suffice to say that both have identical political position before and after the so-called split. Indeed, both are pro-Ethiopian empire democratization. Both are Ethiopianist. Both are more Ethiopianist than the Ethiopians themselves. Hence, the Oromo nationalists should not distinguish one faction from the other; both are one and the same.

Moreover, both groups are conspirators; they have been conspiring against the struggle for independence for so long. They have been lying about the Oromo struggle to the international community. In this case, both Asmara groups have been twisting the Oromo struggle for independence of Oromiyaa as a struggle for the democratization of Ethiopia. These conspirators continued to maintain their relation with Abyssinia in conspiring against the Oromo struggle to-date. Having failed to stop or destroy or dismantle the Oromo struggle, then they schemed and designed a new way. The new way the group found is how to divide Oromo on regional, or village or provincial basis. After having split, both are now concentrating their efforts on trying to artificially create dissention, suspicion, mistrust, and then stir up such heinous campaigns among Oromo nationals so as to divide them along geographical basis. Now both groups are mobilizing one region against the other. The leaders of conspirators are continuing to operate to unleash their dirty tricks, the tricks of how to divide the nation from behind the scene sitting in the corners, in the dark shadow and from their snake pit of hole. Some of the leaders and followers of these conspirators are those men and women who were created by Emperor Haile Sillassie and his regime to help him to maintain the empire. And some are the Darg’s products; Darg’s cadres and Party members who were condemning the Oromo nationalists during Darg era as the “enemy of Ethiopian unity” raising their left hands with clenched fists and foam in the corner of their mouths, shouting “Down with narrow nationalism” and others are those who profited under TPLF regime, the former members of the TPLF’s prisoners - former OPDO members. The leaders of the two groups are men and women who have been indoctrinated with Ethiopianism and their members and followers are fanatical Ethiopianists, though they were born to Oromo families. Indeed, it is impossible to find any member of these two factional groups that can be trusted to fight against Ethiopian colonialism. And it is impossible to trust both groups with Oromo unity, with the struggle for the independence of Oromiyaa, and with the unity of the Oromo nationalists.

In addition, the control of the flow of ideas, information, source of knowledge, and movement of people disconnects that particular people from the rest of the world and hence from the events taking place in the world. The absence of these creates a society of low information. This was what Abyssinians had done to the colonized peoples in the Ethiopian empire. In fact, under the successive Ethiopian empire rulers, the Oromo people were reduced to a low information society. Case in point, in 1930s, 40s, 50s, and 60s, when Africans, Asians, Latin Americans, and peoples of Caribbean Islands were struggling against European colonialists, the Oromo people were in the dark. They did not know about those struggles. The reason is simply information was hidden from them. In this way, they were kept outside the world, in terms of information. In the 1970s, when a few educated Oromo nationalists formed the OLF and commenced the struggle, it was immediately infiltrated by local pro-Ethiopian empire Oromo nationals. Today, those infiltrators are using the low information section within Oromo nationals in the diasporas to divide Oromo on the basis of region so as to undermine Oromo struggle and their unity. Hence, what we have to understand is that we are still a society of low information. In general people of low information have a tendency of factionalizing themselves into localism. Once regionalism or localism overtakes national unity, nationalism and patriotism become absent and hence national character. This leads to the division. Hence, the division into faction based clan or region of today’s Oromo organizations is a reflection of this. At least we understand one thing. That is the Oromo militant nationalists are in the minority. Hence in the opinion of this writer, the cure to this localism is development of militancy and nationalism. It is only when militant nationalists are in majority that localism or regionalism disappear.

In general, nationalists must come to clear understanding of the game the two sides are playing. The objective of the two groups is clear. It is the democratization of Ethiopia in the name of liberation. Both groups are Trojan horses. Catering to the Trojan horses is dangerous to spirit of national struggle, to the unity of nationalists, and to the struggle for independence of Oromiyaa. You know very well Shanee has been supported by Abyssinians for so long in its fight against Oromiyaa independence. Now with the split of the group, the Abyssinian political and civic organizations divided among themselves in support of one or the other. However, the overwhelming majority shifted their support to the so-called “movement for change”. As one perfectly knows both groups have been negotiating with colonial regime at the time when our people were hunted down, seized and arrested, tortured, and killed everywhere at anytime at their homes, in streets, in market places, at their work, in towns and in cities, in country and in villages, at Galma Waqqeffataa, at Churches and Mosques by the same colonial regime. This is a regime that burned down the Oromiyaa forests to ashes. Still both are in close touch with the regime that have been ganging the Oromo school children into prison cells and torturing them.

The so-called change and “movement for change”

Recently the Diaspora Oromo nationals have been bombarded with the slogans “change” and “a movement for change”. These slogans were adopted by the splinter Asmara group. As the political slogans “change” and “changing the page” were first used in 2007 by Senator Barack Obama of State of Illinois in his bid to the presidency of the United States. What he meant by the change is to reverse current American political, economic, military, diplomatic, and health policies under President George Bush. And by “changing the page” he meant to abandon the old domestic and foreign polices and embark on a new course, in a new direction. The concepts are in use ever since 2007.

The splinter Asmara group, though adopted the slogans, however, it did not define or explain as to what it meant by the slogans “change” and by “a movement for change”. So in the absence of their exact definition, one may ask questions: Change? What change? And if there is a change at all, change from where to where? The Asmara group does not say. It only says change! One can again pose questions as: What does the splinter Asmara group want to abandon? And what does it want to adopt in its place? Again it does not say. If the meaning of the term change is sought, it means replacing one thing by another or abandoning one thing to take up another. In any change, there is a bad change and there is a good change. In political terms, change means to abandon the previously held political position for another one. That is to take a distinctively different political position or a political line, or a political view from the position or view one held before. For instance, in 2001 the Asmara group took a distinctively different political line from the position it held before. That change was from political position of the independence of Oromiyaa to the political position of democratization of Ethiopia. That was a change; a grandiose change; a complete turn around. It is a complete conversion. However, it was a bad change.

As aforementioned, the two groups have already told us that they do not have political differences. That means there is no change in the splinter Asmara group’s political position or political stand. It is still Ethiopianist. So, no one understands as to what change the group is talking about. If by change the group meant dividing Oromo nationals on regional basis. introducing politics of regionalism into Oromo national struggle as both groups are doing now, then one can understand that. In this case, what the group meant by a change is a change from unity to disunity. Without question, this is a change. But it is a bad change; an ignominious change; a discreditable change. Such a change is against Oromo interests. That is, against their unity and their struggle for independence. Again, if by change the group meant to sacrifice Oromo children for the “unity of Ethiopia” or for “democratization of Ethiopia” as it is advocating since its split and before, again one can understand that too. It is also a change. But it is a bad change; a bad politics. It is an absolute obscene; an archaic politics. Such is a politics of doom and gloom. All in all, it is a change to ruin our national unity.

Hence it follows from this that “a movement for change” means seeking alliance building, and organizing that alliance for joint mobilizations, for joint actions, and for joint campaigns, formulating strategies and tactics, developing visions and alternatives to achieve ones political goal. After having abandoned the struggle for the independence of Oromiyaa, the Asmara group sought Abyssinians alliance and organized itself with them into Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD) to achieve its political goal; its political goal being the democratization of Ethiopia. The point is clear that the so-much talked split is bogus, deceptive and false; unreal, it is simply a planned design to fool and then divide the Oromo nationals on regional basis. The slogans “change” and “a movement for change” are thrown at the people only to confuse, to fool, and to mislead them. If the slogans “change” and “a movement for change” mean anything at all it is that they mean nothing at all. They are simply empty shells. The group had shouted the same slogans when it split from the OLF in 2001. In face, both have the same political line, the same political view, and the same political position then and now. Hence the so-called “movement for change” is actually a movement for democratization of Ethiopia. Its purpose is to strengthen and perpetuate the colonial rule over colonial Oromiyaa and the rest of the colonized nations and nationalities in the empire. So both groups are one and the same. It is widely observed that both groups are now banking on regionalism, localism, and provincialism to divide the Oromo nationals. Both groups talk about unity. But in practice, both campaign to factionalize and divide the nation. What a naked hypocrisy! Indeed, this naked hypocrisy now lies unveiled before our own very eyes. It is a travesty, cowardly, and dishonorable to plunge a nation and its nationalists into regional factions and it is equally cowardly, shameful, deceitful, and dishonorable to lend support to any of these groups. History will never absolve those who engage in such activities.

Ironically enough, in the twist, there are Oromo groups now catering to support this group. That is, the colonizer and the members of colonized nation are falling in line to support the same pro-colonizer group: the Ethiopian democratization group. This is an irony. It is a reverse of what national struggle is all about. It is important to understand that whatever chance the Asmara group might have had to come back to the fold of OLF dissipated long ago with its launching of armed attack on the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) with the support of foreign mercenaries and with its abrogation of the OLF’s political program in adopting the political platform of Ethiopian empire democratization. And now it is on a mission of dividing the nation. The group collectively has made an irreparable breach with the organization and the nation. It is a foolishly amateurish politics to throw support behind any of these groups. There is no logic and common sense to it. One has to uphold with clear conscience what one stands for and believe in. In the national struggle, the revolutionaries, the nationalists, and the patriots do not support what the enemy supports. As it is oftentimes said, those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it. This seems to be true, in this case.

Leenjiso Horo

November 2008



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