Victory always follows unity, even in the dictionary
By Ephrem Madebo
It is a shame and it is a dreadful indignity to submit our right, freedom, and our country to the few timid. If we Ethiopians have any boundless resource, it is our unrealized potential!
The political fallout of the last four years and its consequences, such as the sudden crack in the opposition camp has left many Ethiopians in the dark looking an answer for the question – Oh my God! What in the hell did go wrong? For those who started the long journey well aware of the daunting path, there was no a single justifiable answer; hence they gathered the pieces of the crack, put it together, and continued the journey. Yet, for many of us, the past four years were times of perplexity and political hibernation. In general, for millions of Ethiopians who witnessed the genesis of a new era [in May 2005], the past four years have been times of hope and despondency, elevation and degradation, agony and short lived ecstasy. Today, the key question is not what happened four years ago, but what can and what should we do in the next four years. Don’t take me wrong, I’m not telling you to ignore yesterday. All I’m saying is let’s not allow our paralysis of yesterday rule over our analysis of tomorrow.
Thanks to our fathers and forefathers, the name Ethiopia has for long been synonymous with national pride and valor. For all of us, especially, for those of us who reside outside Ethiopia, this national pride has been our last hiding banner where we all sought refuge from television screens that showed Ethiopian hunger and from the cover pages that read “Ethiopia the Poorest Nation on Earth”. Today, our problems are not just hunger and poverty. In a matter of days, the land that bears the precious blood of our ancestors will no more be ours. Our mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers do not have a tiny fraction of the rights that we enjoy here in our adopted land. Ethiopia is as old as the word democracy itself, but thanks to the villains from ‘Dedebit’, Ethiopians have never tasted the fruits of democracy. Should this continue unabated and unchallenged? Well, it goes without saying that your answer as a reader is no, but “no” by itself has never been good enough. Some of us said no almost 50 years ago, some 30 years, and many of us 15 to 25 years ago. It is evident that no matter how toned our “no” was; it has been fruitless with out a coordinated action! It is imperative to know that strong words, opinions, and reactions are very important to our struggle, but without action they waste our time and ruin our soul.
In the last 18 years, in spite of our magnitude and superior cause, we as a society have been despised, ridiculed, and considered inconsequential. We have been called “Tooth less lions” and “Paper Tigers”. For how long do we allow this humiliation and suffering to continue? Where is our anger? Where is our rage? Where is our determination to be free? Where is the courage to say “enough is enough”, and where is the wisdom and the strength to vigorously follow our vision and live the life we imagined? It is very difficult to understand why our anger and teeth gnashing can’t grow into a rage! When our patience is taken for fear, and when our farsightedness is mistaken for ignorance, rage should be our source of energy that gives us the strength to overcome the bad guys. Make no mistake, rage is necessary to heal a nation that suffers from wounds inflicted by home made enemies. Our struggle for freedom and democracy lacks emotional reactions. Trust me, emotional reactions are not inherently bad, wrong, rude, or immature. They can often add valuable context to our struggle and give us the momentum when we think we are dozed off.
Over the past two decades many Ethiopians have increasingly been concerned over the human rights conditions of their people and the territorial integrity of their country. In particular, millions of Ethiopians have shown a grave concern on the ever worsening conditions of the country’s north western border with Sudan. During the last 18 years, a plethora of human rights activists, journalists, concerned citizens, academicians, foreign governments and international organizations have issued calls to action highlighting the dramatically deteriorating human rights conditions of the Ethiopian people. Today, after two decades of national and international outcry, human right conditions in Ethiopia are one of the worst in the world, and the challenges to overcome them have become accelerated and more acute.
How do we overcome these challenges? All in all, what should we do to free our people from the bondage of the TPLF gangs? There are so many things that we need to do, and the very first of all is, the willingness to sacrifice what we are for what we want to become. If we truly love our country, then we must understand that love always involves responsibility and sacrifice. Our country Ethiopia is a large nation where there are different stakeholders who have conflicting interests. In spite of size and past political history, we must treat every stakeholder equally and make sure that their voices are heard. We must be willing to compromise on our differences, and work collectively in areas of common interest. Most of us share a culture where compromise is usually a sign of weakness, or an admission of defeat. Actually, compromise is the art of coming together, and the science of avoiding conflicts. When we compromise we bend a little, but we fit in; without compromise, we break apart, and we stand alone. Remember, to move the sprit of a nation, we should first move our own sprit. Let’s move our sprit and shake off the ghosts of fear!
If there is anything so fundamental and anything so important that warrants a “do or die” urgency, it must be the unity of the Ethiopian opposition groups. This unity is not just between groups and parties; it should be with and within the different organized stakeholders and ordinary citizens. If the beauty of democracy that we fought for years means anything to us, and if we want to free our people from the ethnocratic rule of one man, we must utterly free our mind from the solo attitude of yesterday and start a collective journey with a collective sense of purpose. It is true that we have the option to do some things separately or individually, but still unity is not an option for any conscious Ethiopian that understands the calamitous circumstances of our mother land. Yes, we have the right to choose among alternatives, but we have to realize that our choice is not always the right choice. The day before yesterday, yesterday, and even today we chose a solitary journey, but we got no where. What about tomorrow? Well, we have neither the option, nor the ability to fix the mistakes of yesterday. But, if we are ready to make the right choice today, freedom and justice for our people are just a choice away. That choice is unity!!!
Sometimes the tiresome journey of freedom may burden us with the dire forces of hopelessness and helplessness; and such a burden is agonizing if we are struggling in our daily life. Sometimes we can be disappointed at people around us, sometimes death may claim the life of our comrades, and sometimes the pace of the struggle against tyranny may diminish our patience, however, in spite of all these adversities, we should never loose hope in our country, for hope is the only force that gathers our spirit for a new beginning. Even when we are confronted with seemingly hopeless situations, let’s hope that peace freedom, and justice will be the norms of our nation. Let’s all live in this hope and live for this hope. For the Ethiopian people, hope is more than just a democratic government; it is mending many broken hearts and healing many tortured minds.
As much as we love dialogues and as deeply as we are engaged in party politics; it is perplexing that we often are so committed to our own position and fail to consider the position of others. We also fail to reason out why we are holding this position, and whether such a position is likely to achieve our interest. Often, one of the parties defines its objectives in terms of negotiable interests while the other defines in terms must accept “Bible” like creeds that are not usually considered negotiable. Such disagreements make a resolution very hard to obtain. In general, obstinacy, lack of listening and the attitude of “My way or the highway” have always been the chronic diseases of our political establishment. Read the rest under: http://www.enset-blogspot.comAnonymous
Ob Ephrem Madebo,
I do appreciate your effort to keep the Empire intact? It is not bad to preach about Unity. As I understood from your hitherto writings, you are both religious and poletician. This is very dangerous combination. I advice you to leave one and persue the other. Here is the problem: as a poletician, you persue the interest of the group you do support, e.g Abyssinians' interst to keep the empire against Oromians' interest to dismantle the empire and build a Union. As a religious, you are morally obliged to think inclusive, trying to satisfy both rivals, which will bring you in to difficult position. Can you see the difference between Empire and Union?!
Abyssinians use the euphemy Unity to mean keeping their Empire intact. Did you as one of the Southerner (from oppressed nation) grasp this intrigue? Just to put it in short: Empire is "Unity per force" and Union is "Unity per free will". If you are the believer of the second one, then you also risk that "the free will" can lead to Independence of nations instead of to the unconditional Unity you seem to cry for.
In summary here is the difference between the pre-modern unity and the post-modern union. I don't remember his name, but certain English scholar classified countries in the world in to three:
- pre-modern chaotic states like the artificial constructs in Africa, such as the Empire you seem to love,
- modern nation-states like some mono-national-states in Asia and Latine America and
- post-modern UNION of free nations like those in European union.
So, you see that African nations including the Empire you seem to love are kept as pre-modern due to the arrangement of European colonies, being perpetuated by AU-dictators, who are dedicated not to change it. Leaving the artificial nations in the Horn (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somaliland, Somalia and Kenya) behind, we need to forge natural nation-states like Eritigrai, Amhara, Afar, Oromia, Somalia...etc to be transformed from our present position (pre-modern) through modern status to the post-modern situation Europeans them selves are enjoying now!!!!
Please, just give your opinion if you mean the pre-modern Unity or the post-modern Union of Independent Nations (UIN), when you preach about Ethiopian Unity!! Ephrem Madebo
“Empire is "Unity per force" and Union is "Unity per free will"”
It is this kind of hair splitting that got us in trouble and left us exposed for the TPLF bandits. All Ethiopians (individually and as a group) are living in a “hell” the TPLF regime created. From the experience of the past 18 years, it has really been difficult to beat these bandits individually. By the way where were you when the OLF was a partner of this regime in 1991 and 1992? For you it’s OK as long as the group you support is in power at the cost of others. My question is not who is power, my question is – Is the party in power elected or mandated by the people? Is every one and everything under the law? Is the human right of subjects respected and protected by law? If the answer to all these questions is yes, I give my life for the Establishment of larger Ethiopia, than your inferior idea that makes Ethiopia like the ancient Greek city-states that never flourished to greatness despite the existence of superior Greek thinkers. Are u saying a religious man can’t stand for his country, or can’t be a politician? Please double wash your mode of thought. My call was for a unity against the TPLF regime and use that unity to form the Ethiopia that we all want. How can I call for a unity by force? For that matter unity by force is not called or advocated for, it is imposed. I am not blind or that senseless to go from the pool to the ocean when I don’t even know how to swim. To me, the Oromo problem is the same as the problem of the south and the solution is not that different. The destiny of the Oromo people is decided by the Oromo people who live in Ethiopia and are Ethiopians. It is not and it will not be decided by street chatter elites here in the US and Europe. My call for unity is totally different from your notion of creating mini states that don’t even or can't stand by themselves. What is the benefit of establishing Oromo, Eritigray, Amhara etc when we can have a strong federal Ethiopia in which every federal state administers it self just like Virginia, California, Maryland, etc do. Anonymous, please learn from the great minds that kept the union here in the US and look how it benefited them. Your call to create a number of small states is a very small idea. As long as we write a constitution that binds us harmoniously and as long as we obey the constitution, the Ethiopia that embraces all of its nationalities is a much better idea that your unacceptable call for smallness! Your concepts of “Abyssinians” and Empire are too low for me to comment! I’ve moved away from this kind of thinking. My greatest worry is the future, not the past. Anonymous
Ob E. Madebo,
thanks for the reply. You just showed your poletician face, nothing from the religious side is to be seen. Just short comments on your reply:
- Don't misunderstand my position. I am not a representative of OLF, but a simple private person who tries to think independently. There can be certain views of mine which may be the same to that of OLF, but not always. OLF on power is not my goal. My goal is Self-determination of Oromos which can lead to an Independent Republic Of Oromia or to a Union of Independent nations in the empire. I know you reject the first, but may accept the second END goal.
- You want larger Ethiopia than the "inferior mini states". I am not against the larger Ethiopia, if it is based on the free will of Oromos, which can be expresed per referendum. But I fear you advocate the UNCONDITIONAL Unity of the Imiye, you just heard from Northern Ethiopians (I do avoid the word Abyssinia for it is "below" your level to talk about it).
- I totally agree with the Unity against Weyane. But this form of unity is the MEANSE to get rid off the dictator, which is very different from the Unity of the empire as an END to fight for.
- You wrote "The destiny of the Oromo people is decided by the Oromo people who live in Ethiopia and are Ethiopians." Do you really beleive in what you wrote here? Are you ready to leave the decision on Oromo destiney for Oromos? Then what if the very Oromos you mentioned decide against the unity you cry for and opt to build the "inferior ancient Greek like mini State of Oromia"?
- Again interesting to read you parroting the same ideology the North Ethiopians (again I avoid Abyssinians for your convenience) are praying. They are trying to instrumentalize the present American poletics in order to push for their unity mantra, which is again an euphemy for keeping the empire. You say as American Union is saved, we will struggle to save Ethiopian Union. Can't your "intellectual" grasp the difference between the two "Unions"? America is the land of immigrants being melted together to take the American identity speaking only English. Do you want the native "Ethiopian" nationalities be melted to take such uniformity and speak only Amharic? I don't think you accept this, if at least one Kambata cell in your brain is alive, not dead!
- Last but not least, sorry for bothering you with my "small" ideas and hopefully you will keep further your "diginity" not to come down as "low" as I am! Just at the end, don't forget the cause of Arrogance is almost always an Ignorance!! Ephrem Madebo
If you are for the free will of the Oromo people [which I don't at all oppose], then I am for the free will of Ethiopians including the Oromos. I am for the set,you are for the subset. If you and me sit down and draw a Venn diagram, I am sure we will draw a good compromised Venn diagram of Ethiopia, given the people accept our proposal at will. I don't impose anything on people, I always honor the decision of people, no matter what! Anonymous
Ob E. Madebo,
thanks again! Then we do have no problem with each other! As far as I know Ginbot-7, the organization you do belong to, preaches UNCONDITIONAL Ethiopian Unity, which doesn't fit to the goal for which Oromos and other oppressed people fight aka Self-determination of nations! As I said, I am not against Ethiopian UNION based on free will of all nations, but I am against foced Unity of any kind, which disregards the free will of nations like Oromo. If your Ginbot-7 wants a Unity of purpose with OLF, I suggest that it accepts Self-determination of nations as a common denominator, instead of praying the unconditional Unity mantra!! Anonymous
Dear Ob Ephrem Madebo,
thanks for your call for UNITY! I here understasnd that you are calling for Unity as a MEANSE to get rid of the brutal dictator Weyane. I do accept it. Here is my concern. Unity of whom against Weyane?? As I understood till now, Ethiopian poletics is kept in balance due to a fighting trio:
1) the governing Weyane, TPLF, EPRDF or Tigrai Domination Forces.
2) the so called "Unity forcses", who do fight to keep the empire intact, bring back Amhara glory, use different tactics in the name of democracy, but their message is simple and clear: save the Imiye from disintegration. I am not sure if your organization Ginbot-7 belongs here.
3) freeodm fighters of all oppressed nations in the empire, who first want to be liberated from System of domination before trying to talk about Unity. For this group Ethiopian Union must be only the result of Self-Determination of all nations in the empire.
Now when you talk about Unity against Weyane, do you mean unity of all poletical and civic organizations in the 2nd bloc? Or do you also want to include those in the 3rd block? As I understood from the rhetoric of G-7 leaders till now, you already put a precondition for the Unity to be forged against the 1st bloc aka Weyane: i.e accepting Ethiopian Unity!! With this precondition you seem to exclude those in the 3rd bloc such as OLF, ONLF SLF...etc, who want to achieve a Self-determination for their respective nations.
In order to include the 3rd bloc in to the unity you cry for against Weyane, you need to change this precondition and try to find a common denominator with the 3rd bloc. I think the only common denominator can be acceptance of Self-Determination of nations. If you are a democrat in practice as you and your friends in G-7 preach day and night, I hope you accept this. Nations should decide on their own destiny, be it for Independence or for a Union based on free will. Does your rhetoric about democracy include such demand of peoples to decide on their destiney?
Or are you just naive poleticians from Southern Ethiopia, being instrumentalized to fullfill the intention of Northern Ethiopians aka Abyssinians, who want to maintain their domination at any cost? I hope you people from the South will think and act independently from the hitherto oppressors from the North. Ephrem Madebo
If you are looking for a smooth dialogue, please use a language that favors dialogue. Who do you think you are to tell me what I am? I am not just a Southerner; I am a 100% Ethiopian from the South. Ps respects my right to be who I am, and let me be me. You have your idea of self determination, or independence for every nation, I don’t. Trust me this is not being undemocratic, it is a choice. If you call my choice a bad choice, it’s ok, because in a democracy, I have the right to have a bad choice. The problem is that you are not allowing me to have my own choice. In your argument, I am a Northern programmed southerner as long as I don’t buy your idea. This is undemocratic! I respect your stand; you respect mine, and let’s argue on the pro and cons of our stand. Don’t you think I as a Southerner have the right to love the same Ethiopia that the Amharas love and consider Amharas as my fellow country people? You need to differentiate between the Amhara people and the Amahara elite. For that matter I don’t see any difference between the Oromo, Amhara, and Tigray elite. They all see things only from their point of view. That is why Ethiopians suffer! You have repeatedly insulted me for nothing but my choice. Where is the democracy that you repeatedly use to defend your stand? Don’t I have that same democratic right? Argue ideas and stop attaching adjectives on the name of others. A person that attacks personalities instead of ideas has neither ideas nor personality. Anonymous
Ob E Madebo,
thanks! Now you sound reasonable, not arrogant as you started. After deflating that position, we can now argue on issues instead of on individual personalities. I do respect your right to have that position, but you are the one who started by villifying my position to be "small ideas" and "below your standard". You see for every action there is equal and opposite reaction, that is the law of physics which may apply also to poletics. From now on let's argue on the feasibility of your position (UNCONDITIONAL Unity) vs my position (UNION based on free will). Agree?? Ephrem Madebo
Unconditional unity is not my stand, what is unconditional unity anyhow? My idea it is not something that I impose on people, it is something I preach. “Keep together" Federalism has been my stand for a long time. Here in the US, if it declares independence, California will be the 8th or 9th largest economy in the world, but Californians believe they are better off in the Union. Even Virginians who once fought hard to break away now believe they are better off in the union. The "keep together" federation that I advocate will create Federal Ethiopia where each federal state is formed based on many factors (historical ties, language and culture similarities, geographical proximity, development potential, and level of economic development etc). Each state must govern itself without any influence from the federal government. If we have a democratic system that we all agree with, as long as the individual and group rights of all citizens are respected, and if we make the law above everything, what is the use of declaring independence and establishing mini states when we can have one strong country? Yes, you can tell me that this should be the choice of the people. Yes, it should be, but we have the responsibilty to teach people what is good for them. Anonymous
Ob. E. Madebo,
thanks again, I can now clearly see your position better. You are advocator of REGION-based federalism in contrast to NATION-based federalism, which most Oromos including the pro-independent Oromos prefer. It is good that you are not for UNCONDITIONAL Unity, which Abyssinians die for. It is your right to preach and teach your faith, but at the last live according to public verdict.
Now it seems that we do agree on the necessity of the debate: R-federalism vs N-federalism. You are for the first one and I am for the second. As "democrats", we can live accepting the winner per public verdict. Now the question to you is: can you extend this philosophy of deciding on which type of federation based on public verdit also to the arguement: Independence vs Union, to decide on which type of sovereignity people can have? Can you imagine that the public can also decide on this issue per referendum (public verdict)? Or doesn't your democracy rhetoric include this option, just as pro Unconditional unity Abeshas do? Can you accept and live, if certain public decide for Independence? Or you go to the forest and fight for the Union you want to see? Ephrem Madebo
In a democracy, everything is decided by the people, but this decision could take a variety of forms. In some cases it could take the form of referendum, sometimes it could happen in the form of parliamentary votes. My vital point of argument is that before decisions are made, we have the responsibility to teach or tell people the pro and cons of their decision. People may be brainwashed by interest groups and may decided against their own interest. Imagine; Americans have voted for Bush twice. The greatest problem with nation independence is that the possibility of standing alone in the current international and regional economic order. I hail from a small nationality and my nationality benefits from living under the same umbrella with the Oromos, Amaharas, Tegreans etc. This is true for many of the southern nations and nationalities. As long as the form of union that binds people together is healthy and progressive, each member of the union is better off with the union than doing it individually. If this is true, what is the benefit of independence? Don’t tell me it is the people’s choice; tell me why people should make such a choice? Anonymous
thanks again! Don't understand me that I am against Union. I am for it, if it is based on free will. My question to you is just as we accepted the principle of public verdic on decision regarding N-Federalism vs R-Federalism, can you just in principle accept that people also can/should decide regarding the type of sovereignity they want to have aka Independence or Union?
Concerning the benefit/cost discussion, we of course can try to convince the public that the majority accept our wish. You preach and teach the advantage of Union and some body or group preachs and teachs the importance of Independence. At last the public should decide which to prefer. It is simply wrong to think that people decide against their own interest. If they did mistakenly like Americans chose Bush, let it be. That is also part of democracy! Do you want that some group should have raised and avoided this choice of Bush or like Meles Zenawi take away the victory and declare him self the winner? Informing the public before the decision is some thing, but just taking away this possibility of decision is undemocratic.
So coming back to my point, there is no half backed democracy. Either we accept it as it is, including the right of nations to self-determination or we just stop acting like pop of democracy and condemn those who are undemocratic, for we know that we are also the same if we get the chance to be in power. If people reject such simple right of nations, being in a position of oppostiion, imagine what they can do if they got power: they may do worse than what Meles is doing.Ephrem Madebo
I did not simply say people decide against their own interest. This is what I said:
“People may be brainwashed by interest groups and may decided against their own interest”
This is true. For example, here in the US the Evangelical interest group has plaid a crucial role in electing and reelecting Bush. This is in the US, anything could happen in Ethiopia.
You said: “It is simply wrong to think that people decide against their own interest. If they did mistakenly like Americans chose Bush, let it be. That is also part of democracy” The first part of your statement contradicts the last part.
Why don’t we do this, you are for union though you didn’t tell me why you prefer Independence over federation. I am for Federation. Both of us believe in the will of the people. Yet, there are others who advocate for unconditional unity. If you and me have the right to go to the people and preach our idea, why don’t those who advocate for unconditional unity get the same chance that you and me love to have. If everything is decided by the people, why don’t we all preach our idea and the people decided what they love. Freedom is respected mutually; no one is free until all are free. At last, what I want to say is that before we talk about the freedom of others; let’s first respect the freedom of those who oppose us.Anonymous
nice discussion! That people may be brain washed by interest groups is the reality we have to live with. You and I do also have our interest and we want to convince people that our position is right. Why should we call it brain wash instead of calling it convincing. It is about influencing people, be it this way or that way. Evangelicals were successfull with Bush and now quasi-Socialists are successfull with Obama. Where is brain washing? It is about convincing the majority. The one who won the hearts and minds of the majority was the victor.
I didn' tell you why I do prefer Union of Independent Nations (UIN) over a simple R-Federation, for we are not discussing now which is beneficial. We are now discussing on the principle of dealing with each other. After settling this issue and agreeing on the principle of democracy (convince once position, allow the public to vote and then accept the verdict), we can start to debate/argue. Now we are not in that position.
Advocating for Unity as you do and fighting for UNCONDITIONAL Unity is not the same. For people like you, who struggle for unity, there is the same chance I (advocator of UNION) do have. Our freedom is mutually respected. Those advocating unconditional Unity are not taken away of their freedom to do the same, but they did take our freedom by advocating their position. When they say "be Ethiopia Andinet laay annideraderim!", they are sending the message: "you either accept this Andinet or we will deal with you". They didn't say, we advocate for Unity and then let the public decide. Their approach is arrogant, dictatorial and uncompromising! How can you give some one who took away your freedom, his own freedom? To such people, we also say: "be Oromia netsannet laay annideraderim". Now how can two group who say "annideraderim" deal with each other democratically? The only solution is BULLET, as we used to do till now.
Till now the pro-unconditional unity force won for the last 150 years and "united" us by force. We call it colonization, for it is not a Union based on our free will. The same group is now braging to continue the status quo at gun point. That is why they are not open for the lasting solution you and I are trying to find, but stay to be the cause for our misery in that region. So I am not against the freedom of those who oppose my position, but I am against those who took away my freedom and again want to keep this status quo!!!Anonymous
Dear Ob. E. Madebo,
just a last question to you! Do you see any possibility and any common denominator for an eventual alliance between bloc2 and bloc3 against Weyane's camp? I suggested that the only common denominator is ACCEPTANCE of Nations' right to self-determination. You didn't comment on this. Also you just kept quite on many specific questions I raised. Are you convinced by all I said or are they all "below your standard" not to comment on them? Fayyis
As I do see, there are four opposition poletical groups in Ethiopia now a days:
1- on the extreme right are Ethio-nationalists, most of them being Amharas, who want to see Ethiopia with uniformily amharanized one people. Parties advocating this position seem to be AEUP, EPPF and EPRP (non-democratic).
2- in the middle right are Region-Based-Federalists like Ato E. Madebo, who do advocate for democratic federal Ethiopia, where there is no visible danger for future distintegation, for national areas like Oromia will be dismantled. Here belongs G-7, UDG, EPRP (Democratic)
3- in middle left are Nation-Based-Federalists usually known as ethnic federalists, who want to see autonomous nations like Oromia determining their fate in their national area, the group which includes parties like ATSD 8Arena), OFC (Oromo federalists), SEDC of Prof Beyene, SDFC of Somali (who are now making democratic dialog under FDD)
4- on extreme left are Ethno-nationalists, who want to see a sovereign, independent republics of their national areas like Gadaa Republic of Oromia. Here belongs ONLF and ULFO.
Interestingly the position of OLF is some where between 3rd and 4th i.e Self-determination of Oromo people per referendum which can lead either to Nation-Based-Federation (usually called Union of Independent Nations) or to Independent Gadaa Republic of Oromia. Now coming to the call of Unity by Ob. E Madebo, I think it is the unity of the 2nd and 3rd groups, who can agree on establishing federal democratic Ethiopia per public verdict to decide on Nation-Based-Federation vs Region-Based-Federation. OLF can be part of this unity, if it prefers the Union more than the Independence. The 1st and 4th groups exclude them selves automatically due to their extreme postion. Ephrem Madebo
Let me be frank and put my call for unity in perspective. I do believe Ethiopia is bleeding in every aspect of life, and this bleeding got to stop. Who stops it? There is no single party or group that can take TPLF alone and make Ethiopia a free place (not at least in the short run). Therefore, the different forces that work against TPLF should start working together to show this bloody regime that there is a force good enough to replace it by all means possible. Here the objective must not be just ousting TPLF. We should also agree on how things go after TPLF , to me this is very important because we just can’t keep on fighting regimes all our life. As Fayis put it clearly, I do support the formation of federal Ethiopia where every federal zone freely administers its zone with no intervention from the federal government. The federal government should be there for defense, foreign relations and for all matters that involve more than federal zone. One of the reasons that I support region based federalism is that most nations and nationalities of Ethiopia are small and their development potential will be hampered by size, population size, and availability of resources. All in all, parties and groups who agree on what future Ethiopia should look like can forge unity to crash the TPLF regime. I can always work with these people. Indeed, right, or left, it is prohibitively difficult to work with the extremists, the only real blow for the right and left extreme is the unity of the progressive forces who believe in give and take! Fayyis
Ob E Madebo,
your position is cristal clear. The question not yet answered is: how would you deal with those supporting Nation-Based-Federalism, not your Region-Based-Federalism? To bring your cases to the public and then live according to the verdict, or you isolate them just like you seem to do with right and left extremists? I am sure that at least 95% Oromos are supporters of N-B-Federalism. There may be about 5% Oromos, who are Ethiopianists, rallying behind UDJ and G7M to support your R-B-Federalism!! Regarding Oromo Liberation movement, now a days there are three tendencies:
- Ethiopianist Oromos rallying behind UDJ/G7M seem to claim that Ethiopia belongs to Oromos and say we have to fight for freedom of all Ethiopians from any sort of domination, exploitation and subjugation. They advocate for Afaan Oromo to be a working language of federal government as it is a language of majority. This group of Oromos are very smart to claim Oromos' right in a very deplomatic way.
- Federalist Oromos like those rallying behind OFC (OFDM/OPC) are supporters of N-B-Federation, want to see Oromia having its autonomy and limited sovereignity. They say every other region can be devided to forge R-B-Federalism if it wants, but not Oromia. They look at your way of federation (region based) as a plot to dismantle Oromia. That is why I say: can you get support of this group?
- Oromianist Oromos include all Oromos rallying behind their different Liberation fronts, specially behind OLF and they want to achieve a self-determination of Oromia leading to Independence or Union based on the out come of referendum among Oromos.
That is why I tend to say: your call for Unity seems to be a call only for Region-Based-Federalists like UDJ, G7M, EPRP, diaspora UEDF, EDP and may be AEUP, excluding those in a Forum for Democratic Dialog (FDD) and all Liberation Fronts. Do you think with only such unity, you can achieve the goal you want?Ephrem Madebo
I’m a strong supporter of making Afan Ormom the other official language of Ethiopia. The idea of two official languages in a country is not strange (English and French in Canada). Look what the TPLF bandits are doing-They are doing all they can to make Tigrigna a very important language in Ethiopia. I have no problem of seeing Tigrigna as an important language, but it shouldn’t happen at the expense of others. The Sidmas outnumber the Tigreans, therefore, the Sidama language must be given more weight than Tigrigna in Ethiopia. But we don’t see this happening.
My call for unity includes everybody that has stake in Ethiopia, one of them; in fact, the largest of them is OLF. My call for unity is not the kind of “Antem tew-Antem tew” and let’s work together unity. For me the future is very important than the past. Therefore, it is very important that at least at the principle and framework level, we should have similar understanding and agreement of what Ethiopia means for us, or we should at least fully agree on what we do and how we go after TPLF. Just unity without fully agreeing on the fundamental factors that bind us together is a recipe for disaster [like Angola]. We must agree on the very important things before we say that we are united. As much as I love some of the ideas that you so far brought to the forum, I’m disappointed with your usage of numbers. I’m a number person and I take them seriously. How do you know that 95% Oromos are supporters of N-B-Federalism? You may say most and "most" itself is open for any kind of argument. I have already articulated why I am against nation based federalism. By the way, it is also possible to have asymmetric federalism, or allow nation based federalism for some and region based federalism for others. Constitutionally, the different federal units have the same status, but some may have more autonomy than others. When people agree everything is possible. However, when people are allowed to organize in a pure ethnic basis, the emphasis will be on self and everything will be localized which diminishes the national unity and oneness against any outside interference. For, example, here in the US a Virginian enjoys more of the broader American identity, fully understanding, respecting, and loving his Virginian heritage. Any US subject first speaks his American citizenship and then everything else follows. Imagine, if the USA was built on the basis of ethnicity, or nationality, today, we would have seen a weaker America where the French, the Italians, the British, the Irish, Germans etc would have their federal states more loyal to their individual roots than the Union. During the Second World War, there were a large number of American soldiers that joined the Germans because of their German background. Did I make myself clear? Fayyis
thanks! Your assertion is very clear. I see your call is for all stake holders. I hope the far right Ethio-nationalists, who want to stablish Ethiopia with Region Based Federalism (Oromos take this as a pre-text to dismantle Oromia) and the far left Ethno-nationalists, who want to liberate their respective national area (Ethiopianists percieve this as a way to dismember Ethiopia) give up their extreme position and make a compromise to join the Federalists, who want to establish a democratic Ethiopia with Nation Based Federalism or with the asyymetric federalism you suggested. To be clear, neither the vision to dismantle Oromia nor the intention to dismember Ethiopia can lead to the unity you call. So I hope you can bring all stake holders to rally behind this common goal of building Nation Based Federation as a compromise solution!!! Regardi8ng the numbers, I just made my imperical guess based on the view of peoples in Oromo community I know well. Ephrem Madebo
What is the difference between dismembering and dismantling Ethiopia? I don’t know why you classify dismembering and dismantling in different classifications! I don’t like these words and I will never work with these people unless they change their objective. I am for freedom and justice for all people, and I do believe as long as we have the type of democratic system, freedom, and justice for all in Ethiopia, there is absolutely no reason to go our individual way. The current Ethiopian constitution allows self determination up to secession. Does this mean every nation or nationality can break away anytime it wants to and for any reason? If you say yes for this question, then the polity Ethiopia is unstable polity which could come to an end at any time when the ethno biased elites drive their people. I will rather die than seeing this evil happening to a country that I love the most. Look this is how I think, and I really don’t care if you call me democratic or undemocratic. For me the first thing is to have a country or a place that I call mine. Once I make sure that I have a country then I want my country to be democratic. I will fight and I also raise my kids to fight those whose objective is to dismantle Ethiopia. To me Ethiopia comes before anything else! We have many options to make Ethiopia a country of equal for all, good place to live, prosperous and a land of justice. I don’t know why we keep on talking on the dismantling option which to me is not an option! You said the 95% statistical information you used was “Empirical guess”. If it is a guess how can it be empirical? Empirical data is the outcome of some kind of experiment. Yours is dead at arrival, it is a guess. If you want to convince me please do so with a supported fact, not with a guessed number that goes up for things you stand for and goes down for things you oppose! Fayyis
You didn't read what I wrote rightly, or you just subconsciously didn't want to understand me. I am talking about dismantling OROMIA and dismembering Ethiopia. Now go back and read what I wrote, it then makes sense to you.
That you are against dismembering Ethiopia is clear. Again clear is that you do support DISMANTLING Oromia with pretext of establishing Region Based Federalism instead of Nation Based Federalism, where Oromia exists as autonomous region.
Just as you seem to love Ethiopia, we suspect that you hate to see Oromia existing. Am I right? You now started to act like those, who cry and pray for UNCONDITIONAL Unity, which puts you in the extreme right position. This position is almost the same to the position of those whom you seem to hate, to those who want unconditional Independence of Oromia. You seem to be the one with no compromise, which makes you to be part of the problem, not part of the solution.
Regarding the percentage I gave, empirical is not only the evidence we collect per experimant, but also per observation and experience. You need to live among Oromo community to observe and experience that at least 95% Oromos are for the existence of Oromia, be it as part of the Nation Based Federation or as Independent Gadaa Republic. Here is the definition for the word: "The word empirical denotes information gained by means of observation, experience, or experiment, as opposed to theoretical. A central concept in science and the scientific method is that all evidence must be empirical, or empirically based, that is, dependent on evidence or consequences that are observable by the senses." Ephrem Madebo
Please read all the comments I made and then understand what I am against and what I stand for. I have never shown a tendency of rejecting the victories the Oromo people achieved with the establishment of Oromia. A united Ethiopia doesn't mean dismantling Oromia, in fact, it could come with the Oromia intact, or with other forms that the Oromos and others stakeholders agree. Remember, there are many people whose geographical location may put them in the current Oromia [OLF] map. I am not for dismantling Oromia, I am strongly against dismantling Ethiopia! I do believe the fate of these people will be decided by themselves and this could affect many things. Please go above and read the comments I made on symmetric and asymmetric federalism. If it helps let’s see what Abraham Lincoln said on keeping the Union:
"If I could save the Union without freeing any slaves, I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it, and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also so that"
Lincoln’s objective was to save the Union, not to either save or destroy slavery. Lincoln used his constitutional powers to issue the Emancipation Proclamation that freed the slaves in the rebellious states. He did not issue it on the Border States which were still part of the Union but had slaves. He did this to keep the Border States from seceding from the Union. Did the decision of Lincoln have a lasting damage on the Union or Americans? No, in fact, Lincoln is one of the most adored president among whites and blacks. America would have been a much different country had Lincoln allowed secession. In fact, it wouldn’t have been America. Do you think any of the federal states of the US demand secession? I don’t think they do because they know they are much better off in the union than an independent nation. Can we forge a union of Ethiopia where all groups, nations and nationalities think that they are better off in the union than in any other form of existence? I think so. It is up to us and it is in our hands! Anonymous
one Anonymous told you above: "...Again interesting to read you parroting the same ideology the North Ethiopians (again I avoid Abyssinians for your convenience) are praying. They are trying to instrumentalize the present American poletics in order to push for their unity mantra, which is again an euphemy for keeping the empire. You say as American Union is saved, we will struggle to save Ethiopian Union. Can't your "intellectual" brain grasp the difference between the two "Unions"? America is the land of immigrants being melted together to take the American identity speaking only English. Do you want the native "Ethiopian" nationalities be melted to take such uniformity and speak only Amharic? I don't think you accept this, if at least one Kambata cell in your brain is alive, not dead!..." Ephrem Madebo
The English language to the American Union was a choice and a decision made by the Congress. Unless you have a self made disease that makes you live in seclusion, we Ethiopians have many languages and we can make any one, two, or three of those languages our official language. I am a person who prefers to be hated for what I am than to be cherished for what I am not, I am a relentless defender of Ethiopian unity first, then democracy. Ethiopian unity is something that all Ethiopians must fight for and work for, but we can’t work or fight together when we hate each other. Leave alone on the complex issues of Ethiopia; we need to respect each other to share a Starbuck coffee table and chat. What future Ethiopia should or must look like is not up to the Oromo, Amahara, Tigray, or the Sidamas as individual groups, it’s up to all Ethiopians. Trust me, unlike the manufactured statistically biased numbers of the Diaspora indicate; things in Ethiopia are very different. The will and dream of the Amharas, the Oromos, Kembatas, Tigreans etc is not different from each other. The only visible difference is the hate triggered difference between the self-centered sick elites of each group. The greatest impediment that keeps Ethiopians in a vicious circle of poverty and oppression is that there are some who are infected with a disease of the past and are deliberately avoiding themselves from being cured by the medicine of the future. These people who are sick by choice are blocking the forward movement of Ethiopia. For these hate infested minds, no choice is a choice, and no idea is good. As long as these people are concerned hate is the only good thing. Since good is never equated to hate in the real world, sharing the world with these people is a painful experience. Let’s all remember that our past is full of burden, however, hate is the greatest burden of all to bear, therefore, hate injures the hater more than it injures the hated. Those who are sick by choice and those who hate, they may drag our progress, but ultimately they will perish, not as a result of our wrath, but as the result of self inflicted wounds. These people remind me the hilarious saying “Yagbubish embi –Yawtubish embi” Anonymous
you cursed all who refused to say YES to your Unity mantra, which is an euphemy of keeping the empire intact, propagated by your masters from the North, you of course being a soft-ware just progrmmed by the Northerners. Of course as the saying goes: ke phaaphaasu, qeesu: the priest acting more than the pop! Believe me, every body opposing the mantra of unconditional unity is not as bad as you think! I now can conclude that G7M is simply an ARAADA version of the notorious chauvinists being lead by abeshanized Southerners! This arrogant stand of "my way or high way" doesn't promot the unity you cry for. The only viable unity will come from the free will of nations through self-determination. Otherwise you peaple can cry and pray as long as you want, you can never win the hearts and minds of Oromos and all other self-concsious oppressed nations (excluding the mental slaves who are already acting to be more Abesha than the native Abeshas). Anonymous
as I read your opinion, you want to see Unity, but your approach doesn't promote unity. You have already taken side. Some one mentioned above about 3 poletical blocs:
- the bloc of the governing "revolutionary democrats"
- the bloc of "the UNCONDITIONAL unity forces", whom you belong and
- the bloc of liberation fronts, who advocate for UNION as a result of self-determination.
Clear is that you fight against the first bloc, but you make no constructive compromise to build an alliance with the third bloc. With that you already made a big obstacle for unity forces. Intentionally or unintentionally you are against the cause you seem to preach. Sure is that your bloc can not win against both the first and third blocs, who actually do have a potential to build an alliance against you.
Remember your bloc lost the struggle in 2005 not only because of Weyane, but also because of the support you lost from Oromos and other oppressed nations. OFDM, ONC and at last Prof. Beyene abondoned you at the last minute, as they observed the danger CUD might bring by reversing the Nation-Based-Federalism if it comes to power. Again you are doing the same mistake. That is why I dare to say, you are either naive poletician (new convert) or an implant to saboutage the intention of Unitiy forces, for your approach at last leads not to unity!! Anonymous
you qouted what A. Lincon said: "If I could save the Union without freeing any slaves, I would do it"..and then you believed in it and started to live it with out any question. This shows not the fact that Lincon is right, but it shows your personality. You take all what Ferenjs [deleted] at face value and try to live their value. You did it regarding Abeshas and you are doing the same concerning Ferenjs.
I personally don't take all what Ferenjs say and write as important for us. Here Lincon is wrong. He prefered Unity with slavery to the possiblle freedom with out unity and you are now propagating the same idea. You prefer Ethiopian unity with Oromian slavery to the possible Oromian freedom with out Ethiopian unity. How pity!! You want Ethiopian unity with KAMBATA slavery than freedom of Kambata people at any cost. Is there any mental slavery more than this? Shame on you and your friends in G-7 if they also do have the same opinion to you. How can you call your organization is for freedom and democracy, if you believe that Unity with out freedom and democracy is your priority? Ephrem Madebo
There are a large number of Ethiopians including the Oromos who fight for the continuation of the state of Ethiopia. This doesn’t mean these people accept domination of any kind by any group. Peace, freedom, and justice are what people of the the south want [any human being for that matter]; and dismantling Ethiopia does not guarantee or give none of these. According to your analysis, there are the Oromos who are the defector leaders of group 3, and there are the Amharas who are the “de jour” leaders of the people of unity. There is nothing in between. This is as blind as it gets and as arrogant as one could be. Who gave you the mandate to speak for others? Why do you think the only people who advocate Ethiopian unity are the Amharas? Do you know the people of the South chose to have Amharic as their working language when the Oromos opted to make Afan Oromo the language of Oromia? Both choices were choice of the people and both choices are respected as the choice of the people. The people of the South opted for Amharic not because they were Amharanized, they wanted Amharic because they believed Amharic was the language that could serve their common interest. There are many Southerners who believe their interest is protected if they administer themselves in the framework of Ethiopia; in fact, to many small nationalities independence is meaningless. I think it is my right to preach to all Ethiopians that Unity is priority number one. Your right and interest to preach otherwise should not nullify my right. To some, the most important thing is diminishing Ethiopia at any cost, yet to others the most important thing is Ethiopia itself. Evidently, the latter is not the choice of all Ethiopians just like the former is not. These are choices for people; let all of us preach our ideas with full freedom and leave the verdict for the people. Ephrem Madebo
Please do not cherry pick my comment. I quoted Lincoln to show how important Unity was to America at that particular time, however, Lincoln did not just preserve the union, he abolished slavery too. Didn’t he? Yes, he did, but you omitted this part of my comment in your reply. Here is the most important message I wanted to pass when I quoted Abraham Lincoln: We Ethiopians can preserve our being as a country and abolish all forms of oppression and injustice. This is a good lesson from Lincoln! Fayyis
At last you came to your sense. You stopped a buraa kereyu to tell us about saving the union at any cost and you now accept the VERDICT of the people!! You preach your unity, others preach their independence, then let us leave it for the people to decide. That is what we call the right to self-determination. If this is your view, we do have nothing to quarell on. Let the people decide 1st on the type of sovereignity regarding Union vs Independence and then 2ndly after deciding for Union based on free will, people can yet decide on the type of federation we will have: Nation based Fedearation vs Region Based Federation! If this is the view of the bloc of Unity Forces, there is no hinderance for the possible alliance with the bloc of Liberation Fronts against the bloc of the ruling party aka Weyane! If this is our last conclusion, the discussion is really very fruitfull and I do recommend all stake holders read this constructive discussion. Thank you for initiating the discussion!! Ephrem Madebo
I thought we already agreed that everything will be decided by the people. If so, who cares for a bubble that blooms on Thursday and bursts the following Thursday? The fate of the Oromo people and all Ethiopians for that matter will be decided by them and only by them, not by the street chatters of London, Paris, or Stockholm whose dream varies invariably! The number of Oromo liberation fronts and Oromo representatives seems to be out of control, and this simply shows that the Oromo intellectual (liberals, conservatives) have different views of the future of Ethiopia. What I see now is that the number of Oromo liberation fronts has already outnumbered the number of Oromos to be liberated! Fayyis
You wrote: "I thought we already agreed that everything will be decided by the people." I didn't still read that you agreed, for you change your opinion several times! Now it seems to be our last agreement: everything will be decided by the people!! Regarding your attitude on OLF factions, I just leave it for the time to witness, if they are really useless or they will surprise you in your life time. If you see their success in front of your eyes, just remember the name Fayyis, who just told you what might happen. If they fail, good luck to you and your likes!! Other wise I close my case in this thread. Thanks for the discussion!!