THE CONSOLIDATION OF OROMO SUPPORT
By: Koree Tokkummaa
29 December 2016
Over three months ago, a lady came up with an initiative on "#Oromo Protests Support Group" to go beyond mere exchange of information and urged the participants to organize a teleconference for a deliberation on what concrete measures need to be taken in support of the victims of tyranny in Oromia. Three participants volunteered to prepare a proposal and schedule a teleconference call. The group expanded over time and the scope of the project widened from the initial intent to come up with a proposal for the chat group into a grander scale of pressing for national dialogue on the role of the Diaspora among the Oromo audience at large. Compiling this proposal took much longer than was initially anticipated. The fast changing situations forced us to repeatedly re-evaluate and reconstruct the proposal. Significant activities by other groups have transpired since this group embarked on this mission. After a long deliberation on whether to move on or take time to see the outcomes of the Atlanta Conference and the few more on the making, the group decided to move on and go public on its proposals.
I. INTRODUCTION: This proposal attempts to articulate on the visions of the Oromo national struggle, assess political trends in Ethiopia, and lays out practical proposals that need to be implemented to sustain the movement currently facing strong challenges from multiple quarters. A look at political conditions in Ethiopia indicates a stormy situation which may get worse before it gets better. The intensity of the current and looming dangers underscores the indispensable need for the enhancement of Oromo institutional capacity in order to overcome the formidable challenges the nation encounters and to be better prepared to cope up with the worse dangers hovering over the horizon. With these assessments as a backdrop, concrete proposals are forwarded for evaluations to map future courses of action.
II. BACKGROUND: Oromia is under siege in a state of war with TPLF-dominated minority regime for over 12 months. Undeclared wars against the Oromo nation have been going on since its colonization and its eventual forceful incorporation into the Ethiopian Empire. What is different in the last 12 months is that the war escalated to naked genocide and blatant ethnic cleansing. The Oromo has witnessed the rises and falls of enemy forces in the course of the last century. The most consistent and most deadly of its enemies,however, have been the traitors among its own ranks. No nation in history has subdued another nation or sustained its subjugation without the collaboration of traitors among the vanquished. Oromo traitors fall under two major categories: those who openly side with the enemy and fight against Oromo national interests and those who camouflage themselves within the Oromo resistance movements and cripple it from within. The former ones are relatively easy to identify and fend off but the internal foes are hard to decipher and are most lethal. the history of the Oromo liberation movement is full of shameful episodes of deep wounds inflicted on the movement by crafty internal foes. The main source of the strength of those “others” who take turns to subjugate us, besides their collaborators among us, is our own organizational weakness which comes from our chronic lack of unity which, in turn, is predominantly caused by those who tirelessly sow seeds of discord to keep the nation divided. There will be no end to Oromo torments so long as the nation fails to wake up to the simple fact that the movement gets nowhere if it is left to be handled the failed old way. The nation needs to master its courage to boldly confront its past weaknesses in order to help it devise a credible new strategy. Luckily, it is not too late to work for and earn national redemption.
The current Oromo resistance, which ignited at Gincii in November 2015 and quickly engulfed the entire Oromia, exposed, among other things, the inherent inability of the Oromo political factions to lead the movement. It became evident that there is no militarily strong, seasoned, disciplined and cohesive body that was ready to provide the much-needed direction and material backing to the movement. The Qeerroo/youth movement assumed the leadership role to fill the vacuum and, as a consequence, the center of leadership shifted from diaspora to the home base. We believe this fundamental paradigm shift in the center of leadership of the Oromo struggle has profoundly transformed the dynamics in the relationships between the Oromo in Diaspora and the home-based movement. Under current circumstances, we believe the primary duty of the Oromo in diaspora needs to be a SUPPORT ROLE as a mouthpiece to the home-based movement and as its source of inspiration and material assistances. In such times of severe Oromo trials and tribulations, the Oromo in diaspora needs to concentrate on its support role with an undivided attention, re-evaluate its perceptions about the relations among the Oromo as individuals and as communities, re-invent its mission, and formulate its courses of action in support of the victims of genocide in Oromia. This is in addition to its crucial role as an international mouthpiece to the movement to help it win international recognition and diplomatic support.
Based on this view, this group is dismayed to witness the unabashed scramble among Oromo splinter groups to claim the ownership of Qeerroo movement and mold it into their respective narrow group interests. The embarrassing frenzy seems to have emanated from two erroneous notions : one is that the high degree of transformation in the objective and subjective conditions in Oromia as the consequence of the Qeerroo movement is lost to too many of us in diaspora. The overall level of oromo consciousness has leaped so high in so short time that the bewildered diaspora appears to be lagging too far behind. The other misconception is that many of us were carried away by the delusion that the regime can crumble any day soon. This came from not knowing the enemy well enough and is based on the false hope that an unarmed resistance is enough to chase away a formidable tyrant like the TPLF from power. It was both sad and theatrical gamble on the lives of our innocent kins who put their lives at risk. For instance, we believe the contestable official claim by OLF/Shanee chairman that the group has been behind the resistance movement from its beginning to-date is morally irresponsible, politically reckless and strategically a gross blunder. The declaration provided the TPLF regime with a free license to detain and/or murder the Oromo youth at will by justifying its murderous acts with the declared OLF admission. It supplied TPLF with justification to the regime’s claims that the Qeerroo movement is not the consequence of legitimate Oromo national grievances but is a destructive local arm of a group officially branded by the regime as a terrorist.
We are also deeply concerned about the activities of some groups that try to divert the attention of the Oromo in diaspora from focusing on the provisioning of sustained material assistance for the needy victims back home to untimely issues. It is evident that there is an overall decline in support efforts due to diversion of Oromo collective attention to "charter", "pre-constitution" and other intellectual gymnastics at a time when comprehensive support rallies should have intensified in view of the escalating TPLF repression. This is a luxury only intellectuals in the safe haven of diaspora can afford. The struggle barely started and a "charter" is a distant dream compared to the immediate needs that beg for immediate attention. A recent revelation that atrocities in TPLF prisons continued and hundreds of prisoners were killed for protesting against the deprivation of drinking water to 6000 prisoners in Xolle/”xollay” passed unnoticed by the media and Oromo diaspora at large perhaps as a consequence of the diversion of diaspora attention away from developments in Oromia. At such a critical time when the Oromo nation is openly targeted for ethnic cleansing and a heavily armed tyrant minority regime is tightening its grips on an unarmed majority, the only "charter" the nation should focus on should be a charter of self-defense to repel genocide. We are all aware that the desperate TPLF regime is doing whatever is humanly possible to quell the movement/s both within the country and in diaspora. Thus, the primary objective of this group is to urge concerned Oromo individuals to first set themselves free from the crippling chains of petty interests based on region, religion, past organizational affiliations and egocentric motives and contribute whatever is in their power to facilitate for an international conference to deeply and candidly evaluate the current situations and define concrete steps that need to be taken to help the movement reach its ultimate destiny. We will get to the details below.
III. OBJECTIVES OF THE MOVEMENT: What are the ultimate goals of the Oromo national movement? (caution: this is only an attempt to objectively reflect on some of the major issues raised by the political camps to justify their stands and doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinions of this group.)
There are two distinct views:
1) There are those who believe the major root cause to the Oromo national grievances is deep-rooted repressive political culture and the solution to Oromo plight is to build a democratic Ethiopia wherein individual rights are fully respected and equality among nations and nationalities are honored. This camp urges the Oromo movement to coordinate its struggle with that of other Ethiopians to attain its vision. Whether “other" peoples of Ethiopia are ready to embrace the Oromo as an equal partner and respect such arrangements and as to who represents the Oromo interests in the events that the current regime is irreversibly weakened and chaos reigns are not fully articulated. Major proponents of this camp are those who advocate for a “wider political space” within the current political arrangements, skeptics who seriously doubt the Oromo is capable of waging a sustained united struggle to assert its rights, and some who believe that an Oromo is an Ethiopian first. The shared core values include:
a) The conviction that a united Ethiopia renders better basis for faster development than a smaller Republic of Oromia
b) The belief that, in this era of globalization, an independence movement anywhere in the world is doomed to failure.
c) The notion that Ethiopian peoples are not only so mixed in blood and culture that distinctions in nationality origin are blurred but also the common heritage built over the decades has fostered their common identity. Thus, some view Oromo national liberation struggle not as an embodiment of legitimate aspiration of an oppressed nation but as an invention by restless minds and power mongers among the Oromo intelligentsia.
d) An anticipation of insurmountably fierce resistance specially from Abyssinians if Oromo independence movement gains momentum. Thus, they argue, Oromo movement for independence will lead to endless bloodshed in vain as there is no chance Abyssinians as well as the rest of Ethiopians will ever let it happen.
e) A deep-seated fear that,in the unlikely events that a movement for the independence of Oromia succeeds, it cannot win international support and/or eventual diplomatic recognition.
f) This camp takes the geographical position of Oromia State as a crucial weak link on the question of the Oromo quest for independence. Eritrea, for instance, was on the periphery and Ogadenia is on the fringes within the context of the current Ethiopian boundary. Oromia, however, is the heartland of the Ethiopian Empire. Thus, the camp argues, it is impossible to carve out an independent Oromia by tearing away the heartland of Ethiopia.
g) Significant majority of members of this camp tend to strongly believe in non-violent method of struggle to achieve their goals.
In general, it appears this camp is fragmented into independent factions whose differences are based more on factors other than differences in political persuasion. Recent history in Ethiopia has shown that peaceful method of struggle can crack windows for resistance and the home-based groups which identifies itself with this camp have provided a forum for the youth and others to galvanize their struggles especially during “election” campaigns. On the other hand, they have clearly demonstrated that although peaceful struggle against tyrants can pave the way for other forms of struggle, it can’t bring about fundamental changes under repressive systems.
2) The second camp believes the Oromo is under colonialism and the national struggle needs to be anti-colonial with the strategic goal of the establishment of an independent Republic of Oromia. Independent Oromia shall negotiate with its neighbors near and far on the nature and levels of its co-existence. Arguments for independence include:
a) Incompatibility between the Oromo and Abyssinian political cultures: There had never been a time in the known history of Abyssinia, at least as of the 10th century, when transfer of power was peaceful whereas power transfer among the Oromo had been smooth and orderly based on the procedures enshrined in the Gada traditional laws.
b) Abyssinian history is full of chronicles of endless wars either against their neighbors for subjugation and plunder or among themselves for supremacy. The Oromo values 'Nagaa" which is a much deeper philosophical concept of equilibrium in cosmos and of harmony in the universe than mere absence of conflicts. Besides, the Oromo is accommodative to non-Oromos and has some long-established humane social mechanisms like “Gudifachchaa” in its cultural practices. Abyssinians have never been peaceful neighbors in their known history due to their tendency to dominate and live off others, and there is no indication they even recognize-let alone mend- their inherent compulsive urge for the domination of others. Thus, they argue, the Oromo is better off as an independent Abyssinian neighbor than staying under a perpetual struggle with the insatiable Abyssinian appetite for domination.
c) In spite of its numerical advantage, the Oromo has been subjected to ruthless plunder and other similar forms of injustices imposed on colonial subjects everywhere. Liberation is the only way out of Abyssinian colonial hegemony.
d) Issues of inter-marriage the other camp cited are private arrangements between two persons and should not be confused with the identity and collective rights of a nation to self determination.
e) As to the “fierce” Abyssinian opposition to independent Oromia, this camp believes it is inevitable as Abyssinians view Oromia and the Southern regions as their exclusive backyard green pasture to graze at will. But the determining factor on the level of the “fierceness” of such an opposition is not how passionate Abyssinians are to retain Oromia under the Ethiopian fold but on how well organized and resolute the Oromo nation shall eventually be able to fulfill its aspirations. “Ethiopian territorial integrity” need not be the primary worry to an Oromo if it is at the cost of Oromo national dignity and interests. The camp contends that the loud noises the neftenya elements were making over the decades against the independence of Eritrea didn’t deter Eritreans from their struggle and the Neftenyas learned to live with it after the fact. They are even noisier now against a perceived independence of Oromia and will ultimately learn to acknowledge it if the Oromo nation decides to make it happen. The camp proponents warn that every Oromo worthy of the name should bear in mind that No Oromo should be apologetic to anyone for seeking its inalienable right to self-determination.
f) The international community factor, according to the advocates of this stand, is vital and deserves serious attention. However, they note that every nation has “no permanent friends nor permanent enemies but only permanent interests” as the saying goes. Thus, the ultimate verdict of the international community on this issue shall depend not on their compassion for any involved party but on the degree of the actual power balance between the contending parties.
g) On the geographic factor, this camp argues that Oromia was a neighbor to Abyssinia before its forceful incorporation into the Empire and Ethiopia was formed only a little over a century ago. The Oromo has co-existed with Abyssinia for centuries before the invention of Ethiopia and each can learn to live as neighbors again if need be.
h) This camp digs deep into statistics to make its case:
How would The Republic of Oromia fare in Africa and globally if it were to be independent today?
area/size of Oromia: 284,538 km2 or 109,861 sq. mile population est: 41 million
RANK OF OROMIA
IN THE WORLD
(based on Wikipedia lists of African countries and dependent territories by population and list of world sovereign states and dependencies by area.)
It may be of interest to note that 9 African states have a population of under a million, another 6 have under 2 million and 12 more have under 10 million which means 27/58 have a population of under 10 million. only 8 states in Africa other than Oromia have a population of over 40 million. Canada ranks 38th and South Sudan is 75th in the world by population compared to Oromia at 33rd. Based on these statistics, advocates of this camp argue that there can't be any compelling reason to dismiss Oromo aspiration for independent statehood if other arrangements fail to satisfy its legitimate interests.
The tasks facing this group are complex and the implications of its vision are far-reaching. It appears that this camp is not adequately organized and the objectives and the road map to its objectives are not fully articulated. Currently, it seems it is being out-maneuvered by the other camp and its voice seems to be drowned /"overshadowed" by the louder noises from the other camp. This hibernation has emboldened the other camp so much that An Oromo scholar had the audacity to even dismiss the very notion that aspirations for independence exists among the Oromo. He asserted it is”a settled issue that needs no further explanation”. This camp may need to clarify its stand and get more organized if it intends to avoid being “overshadowed”. In spite of the enormity of the tasks this camp embraces, there are no logical grounds to believe that its professed mission is unattainable if the necessary organizational and material conditions are satisfied.
There is no reliable research done on this issue to determine what percentage of the Oromo population is in favor of which camp. Intuitive speculations are mixed and may fluctuate depending on the political temperature at a given time.
Under current circumstances, both camps need to acknowledge that the final verdict on the choice between independence and federal arrangements should be left to the Oromo people to decide.
It is becoming increasingly evident that the fate of the bitter Oromo resistance movement is at a crossroads: one option is that the movement shall be hijacked by those who aspire for “political space” in cooperation with the current regime and with tacit backing of the international powers and thereby abort the current movement . The grand schemes by these elements may include attempts to appease the Oromo nation through cosmetic "changes"- like recognition of Afaan Oromo as a Federal language, acknowledging "special interests of Oromia " on Finfinnee, and the release of political prisoners. The desperate regime is vigorously engaged in undercover diplomatic maneuvers to this end both at home and in diaspora.. Any diversionary setback to the ongoing movement can potentially undermine the iron will of the resistance forces and license the regime to consolidate its power base to last indefinitely. To avoid this disaster is the duty of every concerned Oromo anywhere.
The other alternative course is that the movement shall overcome the hurdles put up by the regime and its paid cohorts and stand in unison to escalate to a higher phase by whatever means and at whatever costs. The primary duty of such a resistance need to be to unwaveringly commit itself to dismantling TPLF dictatorship and marching towards genuine justice and dignity. Tactical as well as fraternal co-operation with oppressed peoples in the Empire and with progressive peace-loving forces everywhere need to be one of the key factors on this Oromo march to liberation.
IV. Political Trends in Ethiopia: What does the future hold for Ethiopia in general and for Oromia in particular?
In spite of the fact that predictions on political trends are tricky, we venture to speculate on possible scenarios as follows: (It is important to mention that these assessments were made over two months ago and the speculations were based on the political mood of the time.)
a) Coup D’état- Some elements including Western powers may contemplate military take over as a possible option to avert prospects of further bloodshed and unrest. It is an unlikely option in view of the fact that the current defense forces were TPLF fighters who replaced the disbanded defense force of the former Dergue regime. The chances to pit the army dominated by high-ranking TPLF officers against the regime is slim. The consequences, if it miraculously happens, could be further turmoil and intensified resistance by many of the current opposition groups.
b) Provisional Caretaker Government backed by international powers comprising of federalist Oromo elements in and out of the country, Amhara-dominated multi-national movements, and possibly the EPRDF. Consequences: it may create rift among the Amhara between the conservatives who wish to revive the old Amhara domination of "one-country-one-language-one religion" and the enlightened neftenya elements who would be willing to negotiate on what some would deem as fundamental Oromo demands so long as the Amharas secure the reign of power. It may also intensify the existing rift between Oromo elements who advocate for independent Oromia and those who envision a democratic Oromia under the Ethiopian federal flag. The inclusion of EPRDF in the arrangements will create further complications as TPLF brutality and genocidal killings witnessed over the last several months alone have left behind a widely felt deep scar no political massage can heal in a foreseeable future. The overwhelmingly popular demand of the day is not to reconcile with and reform the current regime but to uproot it for good.
The most challenging dilemma such a “transitional” arrangement would face will be as to what to do with the Tigrean-dominated military and security apparatuses. Leaving it in the hands of the TPLF amounts to the extension of the current repressive order and replacing them is a daunting task far beyond the capabilities of potential political groups seeking accommodation. Other consequences may include temporary relief from daily public harassment by TPLF forces. Unpredictably volatile political environment may ensue if the composition of such a provisional government fails to rally significant public support.
c) TPLF Retreats to Tigray and Declares "Tigray-Tigrign" Independent State likely establishing some form of close ties with Eritrea. It should be borne in mind that the primary source of the contradictions between TPLF and Eritrea is over the control of resources in Oromia and other southern regions. If the exploitive relations with these regions is eliminated from the equation, they have more in common that unite them than what divides them. Consequences: turmoil, destructions, civil war in the rest of Ethiopia, and chances of further disintegrations. Tigreans may encounter border conflicts with Afar and Amhara regions.
d) TPLF Destroys whatever it can and withers away into thin air. Unforeseen new circumstances may force the regime to suddenly collapse and TPLF leadership may disband in disarray. Consequences: chaos, possible vengeful mob attacks on Tigreans. Turmoils that can spill over to neighboring states and cause regional unrest.
e) Emergence of well-organized and resolute national movements seeking independent states. e.g., Oromia, Ogadenia, Afar etc
Consequences: possible defection of non-Tigrean Federal army to their respective national movements, protracted wars, disintegration. Division among the respective surrogate xPDOs into those who support the insurrections and those who remain loyal to their original inventors.
f) TPLF Clings to power by shifting its strategy from token gestures of public appeasement and deceits to reliance on brute repression.
Consequences: anti-Tigrean sentiments may intensify. National liberation movements may gain more moral legitimacy and get stronger. It may encourage better coordination between non-Tigrean resistance groups with different ideological persuasions and conflicting goals. Risk of large-scale genocide and ethnocide targeting Tigreans and by armed Tigrean death squads predominantly targeting perceived dissenters of Oromo and Amhara origins. Civil unrest and possible influx in number of Ethiopian refugees.
g) Some people may have wished for quick tangible results like regime change and their faith in the movement could erode as the sacrifices mount and the results fail to satisfy their heightened expectations in a time period they hoped for. This may lead to a growing public frustration and weaken the movements allowing TPLF to retain power.
Consequences: TPLF’s self-esteem heightens and it will unleash vengeful atrocities against real or perceived dissenters. This creates a challenging environment to liberation movements. Home-based movements may recoil and lose their impetus to confront the aggravated repression by the TPLF regime. It may take generations to revive and reorganize resistance movements to any significant scale.
What should the role of the Diaspora Oromos be at this critical juncture in the history of the nation?
Henceforth, the meaningful role of the Oromo in Diaspora needs to be that of a support role as an international mouthpiece to the movement and as a source of inspirations and material assistance to the home-based movement.
V. Why A Support Role And Why a Conference?
Why a support role?
Oromo national liberation movement missed many opportunities and suffered huge setbacks in the last few decades. One of the most significant lost opportunities was the transitional period immediately after the fall of the Dergue regime.The OLF participation in the Transitional Government opened up new doors that could lead to significant advances towards liberation but was quickly slammed shut largely due to the inaction of the front and partially due to the costly blunders committed by the OLF leadership. The consequences were disastrous: The front was kicked out of the Provisional Government and its leaders were ultimately chased out of country. Thousands of gallant Oromo fighters perished in the hands of the TPLF-EPLF joint forces. Thousands more were maimed and/or detained by the TPLF regime.
Hundreds of thousands were forced to disperse across the globe as refugees and tens of thousands died young in deserts and on seas while attempting to flee from TPLF tyranny. The OLF never recovered from the disaster. The diminished and humiliated movement was further crippled by mutilating into multiple heads. Breakaways from the mother organization splintered into further pieces and breakaways suffered more breakaways. Each broken piece got weaker over time. Some individuals were primary forces behind the disintegration and some were active members of all the factions at one time or another. Multiple unsuccessful efforts were made to mend the broken pieces into one whole and miserably failed for at least three reasons: 1st, we suspect that not enough efforts were made to address the fundamental reasons that set them apart in the first place and to seek lasting resolutions thereof. 2nd, The initiatives for reconciliation may have not originated from the concerned factions. Likely, they were pressured to engage with each other by well-meant neutral elders. It appears that mechanical “Unity” among fragments was given precedence over the unity solidly based on clear principles. Lastly, some ugly incidents that transpired between some of the factions after the fragmentations may have hindered the desired unity.
As the consequence of these fragmentations and decay, The high expectations back home that the Oromo movement in Diaspora would someday come back and lead the nation to liberation was dashed. Frustrated with the unfulfilled hope for the liberating Messiah from abroad and tired of the day to day humiliations in the hands of the tyrant TPLF regime, the home front instigated a movement spearheaded by the youth/Qeerroo and assumed the leadership of the Oromo movement. The Oromo youth- supported by all sectors of the Oromo society- reclaimed Oromo national pride in a short span of time through its immense sacrifices. The call of the day, therefore, is for Oromo in diaspora to get hand-in-hands and support the home-based resistance.
Why a CONFERENCE??
Given the absence of established channel to reliably manage support activities, there is a dire need for an institution that coordinates and strengthens diaspora support efforts for home based movement. Such an institution can win the trust of individuals and aid organizations if it is built from bottom upwards with a clear mandate to legally collect and distribute resources. A conference is one means for interested individuals to formally establish such an institution and define its roles and its standard procedures. The institution may also take up related diaspora activities like networking with the home-based movement as well as strengthening solidarity among the diaspora community members.It can take mandates to strengthen institution building, reach out to Oromos and other sources for financial and other material assistances and carry out tasks specified and mandated by the conference. The fundamental necessity for a conference, therefore, is to provide legal and moral legitimacy to collective Oromo support efforts, coordinate such efforts, and deliberate on vital issues related to current conditions in Oromia,
VI. PROPOSALS: the conference may focus on the following areas of interest:
1) Deliberate on fundamental issues related to the on-going tyranny and genocide in Oromia and build consensus on what needs to be done,
2) Establish task forces responsible for specific areas of activity. Such tasks may include foreign relations, civic education, cultural affairs, relief, women affairs, audit, youth activities, legal services and other tasks deemed essential by the conference.
3)Devise centralized channels of fundraising and support delivery mechanisms. One form of fundraising could be to introduce WAMO (Waadaa Abdii Misooma Oromummaa) wherein individuals pledge one US dollar a day for the activities of Oromummaa.
Such activities of Oromummaa, besides direct humanitarian and other forms of support to the home-based movement, can be to strengthen Oromo institutional capacity and support social activities, further strengthen media networks, establish vital agencies like an Oromo printing press, music and video studios, produce English and Oromo language teaching materials for Oromo students back home and abroad, collect and distribute sport items to schools in Oromia,organize annual global Oromo get-together weekend, recognition of the shining stars among us, etc are some of the tasks this organization can be mandated to pursue. The list of possible tasks are endless so long as there are resources.
4) Deliberate on the cause to the evident marginalization of women in Oromo national struggle and devise ways of enhancing women participation on all levels of Oromo activities.
5) Deliberate on and adapt a draft constitution and bylaws governing the support institution.
6) Explore means of establishing international Oromo Communities union from local levels to state/regional levels. State level coordinating bodies can come together and form continental committees which, in turn, form global union.
7) Form regional chapters to coordinate activities of the institution in their respective areas
8) Reflect on whether the Ethiopianist and Oromo independence camps need to articulate on their respective political stands and define their points of departures. What are the merits and demerits of acknowledging the differences and getting organized under two consolidated camps without tripping over each other? Are there common grounds where both camps can cooperate?
9) Deliberate on what guiding principles need to govern Oromo political relationships with Abyssinian and other movements in Ethiopia and assess current and projected agreements some groups have committed themselves into in the name of the Oromo nation.
10) Articulate on how diaspora can enhance its diplomatic efforts to new levels.
VII. CONCLUDING REMARKS: The need for an inclusive Oromo Conference lingered in many minds especially since the inherent organizational weakness of the Oromo movement is widely acknowledged. In February 2016, Duresso Maati proposed for a conference in an article on (www,ayyaantuu.net/iyya-bilisummaa-2.) The idea failed to materialize for two reasons: the proposer simply threw the ideas to float in the air hoping that someone somewhere will pick up and implement it. No attempt was made on his part to put his vision to test. Secondly, no one else bothered to snatch the idea from the air and implement it. Gadaa.com even declined to print it. The ideas briefly floated and withered away largely unnoticed. It could have been a good start to build a foundation to foster better cooperation and understanding among the Oromo diaspora had it been explored.
There are important issues that deserved to have been raised but are not addressed. Such topics include the controversy over organizational alliance between the Oromo and the Amhara , the abhorrent genocide being perpetrated on our kins in Ogaden, bleedings in Gambella, prospects of Oromo alliances with the Southern Peoples and reflections on the gains of the Oromo movement so far. The international community factor and its implications on the Oromo national struggle is another topic of interest. We hope we will be able address these and other relevant issues.
We are in a critical historical period and a defining moment in the history of the Oromo nation. It is a crucial epoch wherein the destiny of the Oromo nation is hanging on balance and the future of our children and the generations to come is at a stake. Under such intense and defining historical circumstances, it is not only a right but a solemn duty of every Oromo everywhere to pool its intellectual and material resources and support the Oromo resistance prevail over the forces of evil that is threatening not only its livelihood but is determined to exterminate it. The extreme severity of the circumstances demand from us to shift from inflaming internal feuds to focusing on the common enemy. Rage is in the air from all corners. It is time to realize that rage without action is fruitless and tears of self-pity cannot wash away any dirt. We believe this is not the time groups should scramble for leadership of the movement nor for individuals to seek glory. This is a time to do everything in our power to get rid of the devilish regime that indiscriminately kills children, pregnant women, youth, and elders. Oromo movement can’t be allowed to rest before it removes a tyrant regime that burns its children alive in prisons. We need humility and compassion far more than rivalries and recriminations.. Victims of genocide need help to defend themselves and preserve their human dignity. It is time to ponder on why a regime with a power base of 6 million people torments a 41-million strong nation with such impunity and keep it under perpetual humiliation. We are confronted with the choice between looming larger than what seem to divide us and stand up in unison with Oromummaa as our one and only guiding spirit or give up in defeat and resign to perpetual tyranny. Fate provides us with no third choice. we have no illusion that this regime that came to power by bullets shall relinquish it by ballots. The road to freedom is rough, costly, and could take twists and turns. We need principled unity of purpose to end the threats in the 21st century of Tigrean fascism in Oromia, its terrorism, its genocide against our people and the poverty that its hegemony has invited upon us.
Lastly, we earnestly appeal to Oromo communities around the globe, Oromo institutions, interest groups, religious organizations and individuals to deliberate on this suggestion and respond with their opinions within one month at the latest. An exclusive website for this campaign is being organized and will be announced soon. The only agenda behind this proposal is our genuine interest in the establishment of a transparent, accountable and vibrant institution that will serve the best interests of the ongoing Oromo national movement and also endeavor to strengthen harmony among the Oromo in diaspora. To this end,we ask Oromo communities around the globe to shoulder the dual responsibilities of deliberating on this proposal and taking the necessary steps towards the formation of international Oromo Communities Association
We ask community associations, Oromo Self-Help Associations, Women Associations,religious groups, youth groups, and all other institutions as well as individuals to render us all round support in our efforts to conduct the conference. We are neither a party to any partisan group nor are we under the influence of any “invisible” hands. Our one and only agenda is to help in the establishment of an Oromo institution which will serve as a forum for well-meant Oromos in diaspora to pool their intellectual and material resources together and save the current Oromo movement from being another “lost opportunity”. We strongly trust we can do this together and no power can stop us so long as we bond and move on stronger together irrespective of our past and current real or perceived differences. People should be judged by what they believe and practice to-day than by whom they used to affiliate with-except for those who have Oromo blood on their hands.
Organizations and interest groups are neither ends in themselves nor idols but are only convenient means to ends. We have no doubt the Oromo in diaspora shall ultimately stand in unison against the forces of evil in whatever form and march together to a better tomorrow. We have a firm faith that miraculous gains can be achieved if we, as individuals, break away from the chains of self-doubt, embrace Oromummaa as our one and only banner, clean up the toxic atmosphere in our relationships, strive to build on our strengths and correct our weaknesses, accommodate differences in opinions than condemning individuals,set ourselves free from setting selfish interests above the collective aspirations and unite in pursuance of clear objectives with determination and compassion. Dare we try??
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