OLF is Oromo, Oromo is OLF
Oromo liberation movement originated from pain oppression caused to Oromo society. At a period when poverty, illiteracy, ignorance and physical and psychological abuse reached an intolerable level in Oromia social movements to ameliorate them started to show up and political grievances started to simmer. Among the social movements the greatest was Maccaa and Tuulamaa Self Help Association (MTA). It brought together many brilliant and experienced minds with vision. More than what its name shows MTA is known for helping the Oromo to start opening their eyes and see the situation in which they find themselves. The colonizer did not feel secured with the movement that it banned and imprisoned the leaders. Two among them, Taaddasa Birruu and Maammoo Mazamir were condemned to death though Taaddasaa’s was commuted later, to be fulfilled only by the succeeding colonial regime. Political consciousness has developed more than those days. Though the degree of oppression did not positively change, preparation and chance of overthrowing it has improved a lot.
During the same period there was a great political movement among the youth of the world. In the empire the Ethiopian student movement was the outspoken. In both MTA and the student movement, Oromo youth were members. Those were the ones that were able for the first time to found a pan Oromo political movement. This movement at the end became Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). Many of its founders made the ultimate sacrifice for their people, country and freedom. No organization has so far equalled the OLF in contributions to the cause of the Oromo nation. Before the advent of OLF one hardly refers to oneself as Oromo or dare to speak Afaan Oromo in public. The vernacular revolution, which resulted in the Qubee Generation that has now become the pride of the nation, is one of the uncontested achievements of the OLF. As long as this generation is there the national kaayyoo will have someone to inherit it, irrespective of the cracking in the original OLF. Thus, as a vanguard harbinger of Oromo people’s bright future, OLF has become a household name for the oppressed nation. The people are its only judges and jury.
The OLF vowed to found an “Independent Democratic Republic Oromia” be it through armed struggle or peaceful means. That vow is what it is associated with. That is why it has won the hearts and minds of the whole people. This national goal of forming an independent republic is what is referred to as the original Kaayyoo. If this kaayyoo is distorted or changed the Organization cannot be that OLF which the Oromo took to their hearts though revisionist may say otherwise. Nowadays organization or organizations under that name are manifesting pretensions, distortions and wavering that their legitimacy and credibility has become doubtful. People, especially the revolutionary youth, are not ready to give up on the name and objective of this august organization for which numerous heroes and heroines gave their lives but they can forego leaders and members that try to derail the kaayyoo. Their adoption of the red green red banner with the sun and odaa at the center and five pointed star above the Odaa introduced by OLF symbolizing national resistance and scattering and letting it fly throughout the world shows that determination.
Any genuine Oromo should not attack this vanguard Organization that was built with sweat, bone and blood of their siblings for the sake of shallow political expediency. If there is anything Oromo enemies hate it is the name OLF. OLF dismantled all they wanted to make out of the Oromo with force and deceit for over a century. The present enemy regime listed it as terrorist in its laws to wipe out the question of Oromo liberation once and for all. Because of such a policy no Oromo however submissive one may be can escape from suspicion of being OLF, let alone a proud independent thinking Oromo national; OLF and Oromo have become synonymous. No constitutional provision or joining legal organization can save an Oromo national from being seen as member of the OLF. Thus, for Oromo nationals, attacking the OLF is like joining the enemy and helping it against oneself and in devouring Oromia as it wished.
Those in discord with the OLF “leaders” and functionaries have to direct their wrath to them not to this icon of the nation. OLF belongs to the people; it is the spirit of the nation. To degrade it is to degrade Oromo history. Consider OLF as a priceless Oromo national instrument. This instrument could at one time fall into wrong hands. For any one that prophesies the liberation of Oromia, trying to destroy the instrument, rather than disabling those hands is naiveté and political backwardness. Every Oromo organization exists because OLF existed. The name Oromo came to international attention because OLF sacrificed for it. Because it sprouted from the inner feelings of the oppressed people the enemy and those with a mission to destroying it are not successful for half a century and will never be. There were times when a group went to court to get patent on OLF and all its paraphernalia and to stop another group of Oromo activists from using the OLF name and its logo had American justice system not stopped them nobody would have known what they would do with it. Still many may continue insulting their compatriot’s intelligence thinking they are the smartest and can hide their motives. The Oromo say, “We know advancing movement of pumpkin vine” ridiculing such assumptions.
The founding fathers named it “Front” and drew a program that suits all Oromo nationals irrespective of their entertaining different world outlook so that everyone can equally participate in struggle for independence. It was intended to be people’s front not monopoly of a faction. That is how an independent national organization not affiliated to or patronized by any foreign power or specific ideology was formed. It is thus being independent of any camp, which is not liked by all those that have interest in Oromia. OLF constitution provides for periodically elected democratic leadership as well as the Nation’s Kora session to be called every two years. But left a loophole not specifying how many times a person could stand for election. Kora’s session also started to depend on leadership whim. That gave rise to crude authoritarianism creating unhealthy environs. In Oromo tradition the term of office for leadership group is eight years without possibility of re-election. Those who were supposed to adopt that clung to the office not to let it go.
OLF’s support for independence of Oromia is where the conflict with the Abyssinian political forces lie. Even that Eritrean current leader who rescued Oromo activists from then chaotic situation in Somalia in 1998, does not support independence of Oromia is a public secret. To expect from someone that doesn’t support independent Oromia to support an organization that advocates for independence without a proviso is unlikely. Staying in that country indefinitely by itself has clouded with suspicion the relation between some activists and the general public. The general lack of transparency around the leadership over years has also caused dissensions and stagnation in the organization. Western powers that helped the formation of the Ethiopian empire also still stand with their creation despite human rights abuses that include genocide. The Oromo requires independence to develop their resources and live in peace and happiness. As a people, whatever obstacle may be put in their ways to stop the struggle for survival and human dignity will be suicidal. Oromo do not want to commit suicide.
Instability of OLF is caused by holes created in it from different directions and by undetermined wavering leaders. Despite that the Oromo people have shown for years their loyalty to it. The current protest movement that was started by Oromo youth and shook the empire has its demands rooted in OLF program that most of them reflect Oromo national kaayyoo as forwarded “ORIGINALLY” by that program. Its success will partly depend on the movement’s ability to keep external infiltrators at bay and cutting in the bud internal treachery. Given correct tactics and determination no one can stop them. Slogan like “We struggle while learning” is more realistic than “Education after victory”. Oromo have no choice except keeping the momentum steadfast if they have not to relapse into servitude for more centuries. There is no way better than that of OLF that comes with freedom, prosperity, dignity and honor for the Oromo.
Ambitious undemocratic politicians must be watched out for they could provoke minor differences for their own personal advantage jeopardizing the lofty national cause as they have done in the past. Activists dedicated to the national cause have to beware that they are not operating in vacuum. There will always be those who are out to sabotage their unity by provoking discord by differences like education, clan, tribe, region, religion, class etc. Such activists are expected to be more intelligent and vigilant than the saboteurs.
The societal structure of Oromia which was guided by the Gadaa democratic system is never told to have created problem for the nation. It was built upwards from balbala through warraa, qomoo, gosa moieties to nation. Oromo political strength stood at the highest institution. The lower tiers are where the spirit of the nation develops; they are cradles of tomorrow’s national leaders. That societal structure had also helped the ancients as one of the methods of checks and balances in political administration as well. Though from history we know that those will phase out with urbanization, there is no reason why they are not reconsidered in good faith till then. However they should not be over exaggerated as to affect national unity and strength at such a period when the enemy and the nation are at each other’s necks for and against the status quo. Such exaggerations of those politically not awakened and conceitedness of politicians is among others for the causes of OLF decadence.
The way youth movements of the old and the present started, gave hope for overcoming similar possible obstacles to Oromo national liberation movement. The old ones used crude methods that the present generation cannot imagine. The present ones that came at a time when information technology is at a high level have more chances of communication and information exchange than their elders. That is why their movement that in particular started in November 2015 is affecting the thinking of the surrounding. There are no more thinking obstacles in terms of time and distance but in dedication and quickness in thinking. Now they can rise in efficient and effective ways as one body uniting all Oromo even more than their 16th century ancestors, let alone their 20th century predecessors. That is partly why they are feared and brutally countered as the last effort to save TPLF interest from crumbling. This is the time when all-inclusive Oromo leadership, new OLF can be born from those that have risen in all corners of Oromia.
TPLF interest covers wider than that it has in Oromia. It includes the so far identified and not identified but not exploited natural resources of other colonial states. If defeated by Oromo protesters it is going to lose access to those resources, for which it is drawing a sophisticated design. Without control over those resources its mercenary army lead by Tigrawayi officers is going to disintegrate fast. Foreign aid alone has moral and capability limitations in financing its genocidal ventures any more. So the fight against Oromo protest movement is as well the fight to protect those TPLF interests. Thus Oromo youth struggle against TPLF is part of struggle of the oppressed minority neighbors fighting to survive from extinction. Oromo youth has to gather all strength to fight back not only the enemy but own divisive elements. We have shown that colonial government does not trust any Oromo to be a loyal partner. That is why it defined OLF is Oromo, Oromo is OLF and OLF is a terrorist. That means for TPLF all Oromo are terrorists. This being the reality, it amounts to strengthening enemy hand against the nation to agitate against OLF to be shunned by nationals because of self-centeredness and misguided behaviors of some actors. TPLF is an opportunist that does not tolerate other opportunists. We the Oromo, however opportunistic we may be we are from the same tree; we cannot fall far apart from each other unless picked by predators. We should not run away from our original kaayyoo. Kaayyoo is about the future. The status quo and our past are challenging us. We have to advance the kaayyoo and reconstruct future independent Oromia that can speak for itself. To succeed, sincerity, transparency and commitment to the cause are imperative in all our dealings. Long live OLF! Let the Kaayyoo blossom!
Honor and glory for the fallen heroines and heroes; liberty equality and freedom for the living and nagaa and araaraa for the Ayyaanaa of our fore parents!