Bariisa is back!

We are not sleep walkers any more - by Hadi Kanku

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.

-Walt Whitman, Song of myself

The convulsive seizures that is shaking now the Abyssinian empire of Ethiopia is triggered by the plight of the Oromo nation and other oppressed peoples of Ethiopia for over a century. It is a story of constant repression and exploitation by extremely arrogant and brutal political and military elites. I cannot find right words and sentences to describe the brutality of the Ethiopian regimes. The question as to how they managed to get away with it up to now is mind boggling? It is not only by brute force. It is also by psychological warfare and manipulations. These manipulations have worked so well that most of the Abyssinian elites have convinced themselves that Oromos are sleep walkers each going his/her own way, incapable of standing together at once firmly in an organized manner..

Against this background, Ethiopia is presented to the outside world as one country. Internally distinctions, hierarchies and disparities are created and fostered between the Abyssinian minority regarded and treated as the guardians of the country- the empire- and the non Abyssinian majority marginalized and treated with suspicion as potential enemies working with “enemy nations” determined to destroy Ethiopia.

The present regime is also raising this image and metaphor when it accuses Egypt as standing behind the mass protest. References to the genocide in Rwanda by Abay Tsehaye serve the same purpose. This is an old pattern and syndrome that served Abyssinia very well.

The muddy waters of Ethiopian politics underwent a serious change in 1991 when Tigrayans, a tiny minority within Abyssinian minority itself, seized power from the Amharas who monopolized it till then. At the beginning they did promise a new chapter in Ethiopian history, using sophisticated revolutionary vocabulary. This is not the first time that we saw in Ethiopia that the mouthing of logical terminology would not guarantee logical development. But many of us, including myself, were taken in.

The Tigrayans have made the waters muddier by raising hopes and aspirations and then sabotaging them in broad day light in an extremely selfish manner characteristic of the Abyssinian elites. They have become the owners of the entire empire with Amharas relegated to the second position. That was the position the Tigrayans held up to 1991. Will they accept that position again of their own free accord.? Never.

Jawar Mohammed wants us to believe that the Amharas have learned their lessons and are in the process of changing their ways. Nothing is farther from truth. It shows only both his lack of confidence in the struggle of ordinary people for justice and his personal ambition. The Amhara elites are determined to abolish whatever the Oromos and others have gained so far in their long struggle and even the semblances of concessions the Tigrayans have made. They are determined to drop even the theoretical right of peoples to self determination which the TPLF was forced to accept, and the administrative machinery it created. If the Oromo people persist in their struggle for liberations from the Abyssinian domination, as they should, the Amhara elites will drop all their pretensions and join the Tigrayans in the fight. The power struggle between the two will melt away as the Oromo struggle for freedom, in whatever form, from the Abyssinian hegemony intensifies. The high time of Amharized Oromos and their footmen is over. Yet the Amharas still want us to renounce our strategic aim of liberation. The core issue is their bid for supremacy in Ethiopia. No tactical considerations can make them budge from their inbuilt standards of political behaviour and their strategic view of Ethiopia. They are singing their usual mantras as ever. Their " big picture leaders" seem determined to ignore Oromo national identity no matter what happens.

Perhaps the most ludicrous and, at least for me, embarrassing, episode is that many Oromos are buying the excuses of Jawar Mohammed whatever they may be. Psychological explanations are plausible but are not helpful in real terms. Let us talk of tactical considerations only when they do not contradict our strategic aims. We do not need to play tactics with our strategic vision, if we have any at all. I have learned this the bitter way even on a personal level when I allowed myself to work within OPDO in the beginning. We would pay a heavy price not only in the distant future but even immediately. If our cause is just, we need no excuses in the name of tactical consideration.. We are struggling for our basic human rights. We are not empire builders. We are their victims. The height of human folly is shocking. I have no patience with Oromos who praise and identify with Abyssinian wars whether in Eritrea or Adowa, especially at this time, as Prof. Eziekel Gebissa has done recently in his answers to BBN host Sadik Ahmed. The antidote: Oromia is an Abyssinian colony. Full stop. Our right to self-determination is inalienable. This can mean full independence. Only Oromo people can decide it and they will decide it sooner or later no matter what the Oromo apologists for Ethioipia want. Their time is running out. Human love for justice cannot be ignored indefinitely. It is like some irrepressible flower or corn that breaks out of hard stones of human cruelty. We will never be sleep walkers again.