The need for Oromo nationalists’ unity to end Tigrayan genocide of Oromo people
By Leenjiso Horo
The Oromo people have united more than ever before from width and breath of Oromia to end the colonial occupation in order to restore their full national sovereignty and independence. In unity, they have raised their flag over Oromia. This is done with so much sacrifice in the lives of their youths, children, men and women, aged and young. The objective of this struggle is to establish a free, sovereign, independent democratic republic of Oromia.
Going forward by looking back: the rise of the Oromo people in unity
Today, the Oromo people have united more than ever before bypassing the divided Oromo political organizations. What is unequivocally clear is that our people have shown what the unity is to those who have failed to understand the national unity and its importance. They have united from east to west; from south to north and the center. The cities, towns, villages and the countryside across Oromia are all united into a single whole against the enemy as one nation; as one people. The fact is, the world is forced to see this upsurge of our people against the Tigrayan fascist regime in central, southern, northern, eastern and western regions of Oromia rising like a tsunami, like a mighty storm, like a hurricane that no power on earth, how great it is, can stop it. Indeed, in unity, our people are trembling the enemy from its foundation.
History has shown time and again that no enemy has ever defeated the united Oromo people in any battlefield and has never been. It is only the Oromo people that can defeat themselves by being not united. But the Oromo people have never failed to unite. Looking back in history, Menelik II of Abyssinia did not defeat Oromo. But, it was the Oromo leadership that defeated itself by failing to unite to fight together. Hence, Oromia has been occupied because of the Oromo political leaders’ disunity. Again, TPLF has never defeated the Oromo people. It was the Oromo political leadership that defeated itself by its failure to unite and fight the enemy. Throughout the history of their occupation to date, the Oromo people as a collective people have never failed to unite and never accepted or recognized or legitimized Ethiopian authority over Oromia. The Oromo people regard it illegal and illegitimate colonial administration. Hence since occupation to-date, it was the Oromo leadership that accepted the authority and legitimacy of Ethiopian colonial rulers. It is the Oromo leadership that failed the Oromo people.
Since occupation to-date, the Oromo political leadership has continued seeking alliance with outside powers. It looks to external forces, to aliens, for any problem, instead of looking to their own people. The plain truth is, the leadership tends to listen to outside powers rather than the Oromo people. This is still going on. When the external powers tell them to lay down arms, they lay down. When they are told to abandon armed struggle, they abandon. When they are told to encamp the liberation army, they encamp. These are facts. The encampment of the OLA in 1992, the formation of AFD in 2006 and now the formation of PAFD in 2015 are all the examples and results of looking for and listening to the external powers rather than to the Oromo people. They are still repeating this vicious circle that began a century ago. In truth, we can never get away from the question of why the Oromo political leadership since the last quarter of 19th-century to-date tends to listen to outside forces rather than listening to their own people. The reason is simple, if one follows the pattern. The Oromo political leadership stands at crossroads between outside powers and the Oromo people. The external powers have tremendous influence over this leadership more than the Oromo nationalists and the Oromo people. This has become the major obstacle, especially at this junction of national liberation struggle. No national leadership to lead the struggle. Worshipping external powers is not a character of national leadership.
Having tired of this incompetence of the leadership, now the Oromo people have taken their destiny on their hands. They have taken the leadership of this struggle. So, the struggle goes on. Now, the leadership has to decide whether it is willing to walk by their people the long, difficult and hard road to freedom and independence or remain tied to external powers through the umbilical cord of sugar-coated negotiation or “Transitional government of Ethiopia” which are euphuism to maintain the territorial integrity of Ethiopia. The real problem is this, the Oromo nationalists and the Oromo people, have failed to remove such leadership from the position of leadership. That is, we have failed to learn lessons of history. To put in the Russian historian Vasily Kyluchesky words: “History teaches nothing; it only punishes for not learning its lessons.” Indeed, what is clear is that we have completely failed to learn lesson of history. And for this, history is punishing us. The time is long overdue to learn our lessons of history. It is time to listen to the Oromo people instead of external powers. Now, our people are risen to the occasion to fight the enemy in order to restore their lost sovereignty and independence. It is time for the Oromo political organizations to unite and join their people in the battlefield for the national liberation and independence. Right persons must be elected to a right positon. As it is clear by now, the election of Dawud Ibsa in 1999 to lead the OLF and the Oromo struggle was a mistake of epic proportions and will undoubtedly be viewed as one of the biggest political mistakes in the history of Oromia. His leadership is a total failure. His leadership completely failed the OLF as an organization, as evidenced by the formation of then AFD in 2006 and now PAFD in 2015; by abandonment of the objective of the OLF; by engineering the splits after splits of the OLF; by burning down the bridge of unification that was built in Berlin Agreement in June 2014, by his absence from the country, the Oromo Liberation Army, and struggle since he assumed the position of chairmanship of the OLF and by his leadership’s unresponsiveness to the ravage and destruction of Oromia and its people by the Tigran fascist rime.
Now, it is time for the Oromo patriotic forces, nationalists, and revolutionaries to unite unconditionally to stand with their people and fight along with them to restore independence and sovereignty, end the legacy of colonial occupation and colonial military presence, and build a unified democratic revolutionary national leadership. In this unity, we have only one mission: Independence of Oromia. It is a monolithic objective goal that our people have been pursuing for over a century. Oromia being a colonized country, this objective goal is incontrovertible, indisputable, and inviolable. The Oromo patriotic forces and the nationalists need to join the struggle at this historic juncture which our people are going through as a unifying national force, expressing their higher national interests, national desire and embodying in practice national unity for national sovereignty and independence.
Our forms of struggle: Nonviolence unarmed struggle and armed struggle
In our struggle we have two forms of struggles. One is non-violence unarmed struggle. This is a legal and peaceful forms of struggle in claiming for liberation from colonial and foreign domination. Another form of struggle is armed struggle. This is a right to use force in the struggle for liberation from colonial and foreign domination. In the war of national liberation struggle both nonviolence resistance and armed struggle can go on simultaneously. One does not contradict the other. For over a century, the world has been told to believe that the Oromo do not exist except Ethiopians. Now, the Oromo people in turn unanimously telling the same world; listen, we do exist. We are Oromo in the Horn of Africa. Our country is Oromia not Ethiopia. We are the majority in the Horn of Africa. It is us, Oromo who are arrested, tortured, killed, maimed, disappeared, and evicted from our land by the successive Ethiopian empire rulers. Now, Oromo are telling the world both through non-violent unarmed liberation resistance and armed liberation struggle. The world communities are now beginning to listen to them.
The problem has been raised by the Oromo pro Ethiopian empire democratization or pro establishment of “Transitional government of empire of Ethiopia.” This group say independence through “democratization” of Ethiopian empire. This is a false claim. Empire has never been democratized nor federalized nor has transitional government ever formed with the creators of an empire. This group argues in the era of globalization armed struggle is made obsolete and internationally has no acceptance. This is again a false claim. What is true is that armed struggle for liberation is also internationally recognized legal form of struggle for the people’s under foreign occupation. Here is a quote from United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/33/24 of 29 November 1978:
UN “Reaffirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples’ for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, particularly armed struggle;”
Again, the General Assembly Resolution A/RES/3246 (XXIX) of 29 November 1974 also states as:
UN “Reaffirms the legitimacy of the peoples’ struggle for liberation form colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation by all available means, including armed struggle “
Mahatma Gandhi, the symbol of nonviolent struggle and a person who led India to independence through non-violent struggle supported an armed struggle in the absence of favorable condition. Here his words: “I do believe that where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence. … I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honour than that she would, in a cowardly manner, become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonour” (emphasis added).
Again, Gandhi had to say this in regard to submission to enemy:
“Though violence is not lawful, when it is offered in self-defence or for the defence of the defenceless, it is an act of bravery far better than cowardly submission. The latter [submission] befits neither man nor woman. Under violence, there are many stages and varieties of bravery. Every man must judge this for himself. No other person can or has the right” (Emphasis added).
Hence, armed struggle from non-violent standpoint and from the international community point of view is legal and supported. It is, therefore, clear that armed struggle is permissible and legal form of struggle supported by both non-violent groups and international community. Hence, it is time to join either non-violent unarmed national liberation struggle or the armed national liberation struggle. Take responsibility to join either of them instead of screaming in vain about establishing “transitional government of Ethiopia.”
In front of our own eyes, our country is seized, raped and lands are taken in the name just development, which gave no recognition to our people but recognition only to the right of might. Under this condition, Our people are put under the atrocious sufferings, being persecuted for political convictions and evicted from their lands and exposed to poverty, hunger and starvation. Hence, under this irredeemably evil and demonic fascist regime our people life is made worse than death itself. Who will ever forget the shootings which killed so many of Oromo youths, children, elderly, men and women? Who will ever forget the slaughter of unborn in the wombs of their mothers with the mothers? Who will ever forget the concentration camps into which are mercilessly thrown hundreds of thousands Oromo nationals who rejected and no longer wished to submit to the Tigrayan fascist regime of injustice, dehumanization, oppression and exploitation used as a tool of its domination? Who will ever forget the eviction of over two million Oromo nationals from their own lands so as to distribute their lands among the Tigrayan new settlers and other aliens? The fact is, this Tigrayan fascist regime is conducting a twin wars: a war of robbery and a war of genocide-the secret wars against Oromia and the Oromo people. Hence, under this fascist regime Oromia is in danger as a country so Oromo are in danger as a people. We must stop these wars. We can only stop them in unity. It is only the Oromo nationalists’ unity to stop this twin wars of robbery and genocide. This unity is also the key to the success of the Oromo struggle for liberation. Here, Stewart Parnell’s call to the Irish nationalists in 1879 for their unity is still valid and applicable to the Oromo nationalists. His words read: “It is no use relying on the external power….You must only rely upon your own determination….Help yourselves by standing together…strengthen those amongst yourselves who are weak…, band yourselves together, organize yourselves…fight and you must win.” Hence, the Oromo struggle needs the unity of Oromo patriotic, nationalists, and revolutionary forces to intensify armed struggle to liberate Oromia. In this case, Napoleon Bonaparte has to say this: ‘That which has been overthrown by force can be re-established only by force.” History has proven this to be true. Hence, the overthrown sovereignty and independence of Oromia by force, can only be restored by force.
Alliance formation with non-Oromo political organizations
Alliance formation involves organizations that have similar interests; similar or shared beliefs. That is, it is the organizations which share common beliefs or goals that form alliances. Historically alliances are formed in reaction to a foreign threat, increasingly, nations and organizations use alliances as proactive tools to overcome the threats against them.
The formation of PAFD contradicts this criterion. The goal of the OLF is not to establish “Transitional government of Ethiopia” with a fascist regime that is committing genocide against the Oromo people. PAFD’s interest and goal is to from “Transitional government of Ethiopia. Hence, the Oromo people and the OLF do not have a shared belief with PAFD as with AFD before it. Hence, it is time to forget about AFD and PAFD. This is unprincipled alliance and it must be dissolved or withdrawn from. We do not see any nationality or nation in the Ethiopian empire that firmly, unconditionally and openly standing with the Oromo people as the Oromo are under genocide and as Oromo youths, children, men and women and as Oromo women with babies at their arms have been murdered and as the unborn children in their mothers’ wombs with their mothers have been slaughtered. Here what is clear is, while the Oromo people are facing this danger, we do not see nations and nationalities in the Ethiopian empire standing should-to-should in mourning, sympathy, solidarity, and friendship with the Oromo people carrying placards in the streets echoing: “We Are All Oromo”, and “This is a genocide on all of us.” We do not see such a solidarity. There is no organized or spontaneous opposition to this genocide against the Oromo people from nations and nationalities in the Ethiopian empire. Instead of showing solidarity with the Oromo people, they called upon the genocidist fascist regime to “establish Transitional government of Ethiopia.” It is not long ago, to forget the attacks on Paris and New York. When Paris was attack on November 13, 2015, the whole world communities stood in solidarity with the people of France saying “We are all French!, We are Parisians!”, “This is an attack on all of us!” Again in September 11, 2001, when New York was attacked, the world communities stood with America people echoing “We all are Americans!”, “We all are New Yorkers!” “This is an attack on all of us!” But in the case of Oromo genocide by the Tigrayan regime, let alone the world communities at large but even those nations and nationalities who live side by side with Oromo people, sharing the Oromo resources including living in Oromia among the Oromo people did not show such solidarity. The sad thing is all of them called upon the fascist rime that has been committing genocide on the Oromo people to form “Transitional government of Ethiopia” with. The saddest of all sad is, there are some Oromo political leaders who have joined in calling upon the genocidist of their people to establish “Transitional government of Ethiopia” with.
Let me make it clear in regard to alliance. The OLF does not oppose alliance as such. It has a long fraternal relationship with the colonized nations and nationalities. So, in principle the OLF supports forming alliance with them. At the same time, it believes that alliance must grow out of struggle. With this, it supports a voluntary and honest alliance of the peoples of the empire that have similar political objective with the Oromo people but not for establishing “Transitional government of Ethiopia.” The saddest and standing fact is this, PAFD called upon the genocidist regime to form “Transitional government of Ethiopia” with. Hence, there is no utility for the OLF to be members of PAFD. The question is as to what is the moral story of forming alliance with the organizations whose political interest is to establish “Transitional government of empire” which contradicts the objective of the Oromo struggle. This is clearly not in interest of the Oromo people and of the OLF. Hence, such a call for the formation of “Transitional government of Ethiopia” is incompatible and in contradiction with the political objective of the OLF. On the contrary to the PAFD’s political positon, here is what the OLF political program has to say in Oromo language (Oromiffaa):
V. Sagantaa Qabsoo (A. Akeeka Siyaasaa): Hundeen akeeka qabsoo kanaa mirga hiree murteeffannaa ummata Oromoo argamsiisuuf sirna Impaayera Itoophiyaa diiguudhaan, Oromia kolonii, hacuuccaa fi saaminsa jelaa bilisa baasuun mootummaa walaba Oromia dhaabee iggitii itti godhuu dha. Kunis kan mirkanaawu mirga qabutti dhimma bahee ummatni Oromoo mootummaa walaba isaa labsachuu yookaan ummatoota biraa wajjin tokkummaa politiikaa haaraa ijaarrachuuf murtii kennatuun ta’a (Political Program of 1998, V. Sagantaa Qabsoo, A. Akeeka Siyaasaa).
Roughly translated as: The fundamental objective of this struggle is the realization of the right of national self-determination for the Oromo people by dismantling the Ethiopian empire system, by liberating Oromia from colonization, oppression, and exploitation and by establishing and guarantying the independent state of Oromia. This can only be realized when the Oromo nation uses its right in declaring its own independent government of Oromia, or decide to establish a new political unity with other nations (author’s translation).
In the end, it is time for the Oromo patriotic forces, nationalists and revolutionaries to immediately unite to dismantle the genocidal fascist Tigrayan colonialist regime. Without doubt, the united forces of the Oromo nationals can defeat and eliminate this predatory, murderous and barbarous fascist TPLF from Oromia without outside help. Today, as it is clear to all, the Tigrayan fascist regime is threatening the very existence of Oromo as a nation and Oromia as an integral country. In order to avert this, it is time for the Oromo political organizations to urgently and immediately unite to save their people from annihilation and their country from disintegration. It is no secret that the Oromo have no friends. They have no body on their side except themselves. For this, in this war of national liberation struggle of ours, we have to rely mainly on our own efforts. Our struggle is based on self-reliance- reliance on our own efforts, on our own human and natural resources, on the creative power of the Oromo nationalists, patriotic forces, and revolutionaries and of the entire Oromo nation. The Oromo people are a great, patriotic, and heroic people. They do not pin their hopes on the lackeys of the colonial regime for liberation and independence. Therefore, the time has come to recognize the false prophets of federalization of empire- those leaders of disunity, rattle shaking, and the political unfit leaders with split tongues. Empire federalization or empire democratization or establishing “Transitional government of Ethiopia” are not the solution to the Oromo problem. In fact, they are new schemes in which unsuspecting victims are influenced to accept as a solution. Primarily, these schemes are ideologies directly aimed at the neutralization, disruption, misdirection and/or division of the Oromo nationalists, revolutionaries, patriotic forces and the Oromo people in order to maintain Ethiopian empire. Those Oromo nationals who have been misled to walk on these dishonorable footsteps of those preachers of empire federalization or empire democratization or establishing “Transitional government of Ethiopia” or with whatever their mask is labeled with, should reject to walk on these roads. For to walk on such dishonorable footsteps of those preachers would be to dishonor the memories of fallen Oromo heroes and heroines in this war of national liberation struggle. On the contrary, in our unity, we honor the glorious history of our freedom fighters who had fallen in this war of national liberation struggle. Today, because of them, we stand tall and proud. The Oromo people are united in the remembrance of those heroes and heroines who fought with determination, grace, faithful, diligence, courage and bravery to liberate Oromia. In unity, our people are displaying their inherently unstoppable great power. It is, therefore, time for all Oromo nationals to follow the suit. Here, unity must be based on clear objective goal and clear mission. That is, unity must be based on the total independence of Oromia.
Oromia Shall Be Free!