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Oromia Today

Independent Voice of Oromia

Peaceful protests in Oromia and Ethiopia: Can you spot the difference?

Source: https://www.oromoliberationfront.net (OLF)

By: Falmata Biya

The Ethiopian empire remains split between the north and south - the northerners are citizens and the southerners are colonial subjects. The above two recent photos clearly demonstrate the bitter reality of Ethiopia – an empire that has been built on naked racism. The Tigre-Amhara coalition never accepted the Oromo and the rest as fellow citizens deserving equal respect or protection.

Just in case you have not spotted the difference between the above two pictures, the photographic exhibit on the left shows innocent Oromo people shot dead by the murderous racist Ethiopian regime for taking part in peaceful rallies across Oromia. The picture on the right shows Ethiopian citizens enjoying their rights of demonstrating in Gondar, Amhara state.

What is more, the natives of Gondar demonstrated carrying the flag of Arbanyoch-Ginbot 7, a political party condemned by the TPLF regime. The Gondar demonstrators demand a sizable part of Tigray region, Wolqaiti Tsagade, to be returned to Gondar – threatening the territorial integrity of Tigray. It is well documented that Tigray usurped the fertile farmlands of Humera, and Wolqaiti Tsegade from Gondar as soon as TPLF controlled power in Finfinnee in 1991, for obvious economic reasons.

Few days before the Gondar demonstration, some armed farmers marched on the town of Gondar and forcefully freed a military man who was under arrest. It was also reported that the armed men also allegedly killed members of the regime’s security forces. All these however did not provoke the TPLF regime into the kind of fits of rage and mass murder they have been perpetrating on daily basis in Oromia over the past 9 months.

People in Gondar have so far held at least a couple of mass rallies demonstrating against the TPLF regime. There are no shooting or mass arrest in Gondar, unlike Oromia where thousands have been shot dead by Agazi special force and tens of thousands have been arrested, and unknown number of innocent Oromo are languishing in secrete Nazi-style concentration camps.

Unlike the people of Gondar province, the people of Oromia are not demanding an inch of land from Tigray. The Oromo demand nothing more than what the regime itself has acknowledged to be Oromia. The Oromo people have not raised the OLF flag, that is until now. As I am writing this short reflection, the Oromo people are waking up to the morning of what is said to be a D-Day – Oromia-wide protest called for 6 August 2016.

Not only there seems to be a national consensus for Oromo to descend on Finfinne, their capital city, tomorrow for the big day, but to rally under the OLF flag. Until now the Oromo people have tried their best not to give the enemy a pretext to shoot them as there is no doubt the regime would massacre them and claim they shot at OLF supporters. The Oromo restraint has not stopped the TPLF from conducting mass distraction and genocide against them. Now that the TPLF did not fire on demonstrators waving Arbanyochi-Ginbot 7 flag in Gondar, will it also tolerate the Oromo people waving the OLF flag?

The primary purpose of the state is protection of its citizens. Well, Ethiopia always safeguards the wellbeing of the Amhara and Tigray, never the Oromo. For the Ethiopian empire the Oromo are prime enemy deserving to be exterminated. We have seen this over the past 2 years in particular. For instance, pregnant mothers shot dead and thrown to the hyenas, children as young as 6 murdered, university students killed and grandmothers jailed for no apparent crime other than being Oromo (Because I am Oromo, see AI report https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/afr25/006/2014/en/)

I dread what will transpire tomorrow if what we have been told is true and the Oromo have decided to support the call for nation-wide demonstration. One of two things can happen. The first and likeliest scenario is that the regime continues selectively targeting the Oromo people and this will anger the majority of the Oromo and leads to total war and collapse of the system. The alternative is for the regime to respect the Oromo people as it respected the Amhara and listens to what the Oromo have to say. If the regime chose to do the later then there can be a possibility of some sort of reasonable way forward as to how to peacefully resolve the 130 years old conflict between Oromia and Ethiopia.

There are some who say that the Amhara people are organizing themselves to follow the Oromo example and initiate an Amhara state-wide protest. It is better late than never. It took the Amhara people 25 years to wake up to the danger the Tigre elite poses to the peace and security of the region. The Oromo have been resisting the TPLF for the past 25 years, spearheaded by students. Amhara university students never joined Oromo students in 2000, 2004, 2010 and 2015/16 when the Oromo students held demonstration in different university campuses. It is not for the first time that the TPLF used life bullets and grenades against Oromo students, including even primary school pupils. It is TPLF’s modus operandi – state terrorism.

Now that the Amhara are also protesting how the racist TPLF regime responds to this challenge remains to be seen. For the Oromo, there is no going back. It is the Oromo D-Day and no option but to march forward in unison and see what happens. Go forth and fight for your freedom. They say, ‘it is better to die on your feet rather than living on your knees’. Liberty never comes cheap.

Oromia shall be free!

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