Amhara’s Assimilative Ethiopia is Dead, Tegaru’s Apartheid Ethiopia is Dying and Oromo’s Accomodative Ethiopia is Deal!
This is fact on the ground, which all of us should swallow! No turn back, the freedom train is moving on. Ethiopia will either be transformed to de facto Great Oromia of Leencoo Lataa through democratization process, or it will disintegrate and give birth to Gadaa Oromia of Caalaa Lataa! The choice will be made by all stakeholder nations and nationalities in the country!
Habesha elites know this fact that democratizing Ethiopia is tantamount to transforming to Oromia very well and Oromo elites should try to understand it. That is why Habesha elites give only lip service to democracy, for they really can see what that means. Some Oromo elites didn’t yet get it; accordingly they vehemently oppose “democratizatzion of the empire”. But, truth is that democratic Ethiopia is de facto Oromia; i.e bigger Oromia than the one planned by OLF. Since the prompt response I once gave to one ethiopianist Oromo, who tried to persuade Oromo nationalists so that we accept Ethiopia and Ethiopiawinet (in a sense of Ethiopian nationalism = Abesha nationalism) at cost of Oromia and Oromummaa (Oromo nationalism), I recieved several protest and few support letters from Oromo nationals per e-mail. One of the reasons raised by those who oppose the concept of Great Oromia is that the goal of federalist Oromo, i.e ‘democratic genuine federation of Ethiopia’, can not be same as Great Oromia I suggested, but “it will be a continuation of the existing Abyssinian empire”.
I personally do believe that Oromia within womb of Ethiopia, as planned by federalists, is only transitional solution on the way towards either an indispensable transformation of Ethiopia to de jure integrative Great Oromia or natural inevitable birth of an independent Gadaa Oromia. But yet even the future transitional democratic Ethiopia can be considered as de facto Great Oromia, if Oromo community from now on start to call it as such, without waiting for permission and recoginition from any sort of authority as well as if we really succeed in making Afaan Oromo a working language of the future true federation. In this essay, I will try to show how using Afaan Oromo can make democratic Ethiopia be de facto Oromia.
It is clear, only Abyssinian elites and few culturally and linguistically Habeshanized elites from other nations are against such Oromia (future accomodative Ethiopia) with genuine ethnic federalism or internal self-determination of nations. This Oromia is actually the best compromise solution for all nations in the region in order to live together – achieving both national autonomy and regional integration. The position of Abyssinian elites regarding self-determination made them be not suitable to cooperate with elites of other nations against TPLF regime. Abyssinian elites do promote unconditional unitary Ethiopia at cost of self-determination, which they also put as a precondition for possible alliance, especially between Abyssinian democratic forces and Oromian freedom fighters. Some Oromo nationalists tend to accept this precondition, only if Abyssinian elites also may accept one Oromo’s precondition, i.e Afaan Oromo as only working language of the federation, instead of Amharinya. They say: let’s try to persuade Habesha elites to accept Afaan Oromo as working language in a common house, Great Oromia (accomodative Ethiopia), as a test. Will Abyssinian elites then continue as pro unity and anti-ethnicity, even if Amharinya will be demoted to only a local language of Amhara region and if Afaan Oromo will be promoted to the only working language of the federation? I am sure they will not! In case they continue to be pro-unity, also under this situation, as they seem to believe now, let’s then try this new version of democratic Ethiopiawinet = de facto Oromiawinet with only Afaan Oromo, instead of Amharinya.
After observing the imposition of Amharinya at cost of Afaan Oromo in the past more than one century, I just couldn’t help, but think about main mistake some of the empire leaders from Oromo origin like Ob. Qusee Dinagde & Ob. Gobena Daacee, who are adored by Ethiopianists as builders of the empire, did commit. Their worst mistake was the acceptance of Amharinya as only national language of the empire they did forge, of course at cost of Afaan Oromo. Being Oromo, if they could have managed to promote Afaan Oromo to national language of the empire, now Oromos were not the ones, who should fight for self-determination, but 0others. Whole of Finfinne’s “high class society” and other “modern” peoples in the empire would have spoken Afaan Oromo as well as the whole diaspora Ethiopians now would have spoken Afaan Oromo, even all would have claimed to be Ethiopian with the content of Oromummaa (Oromo nationalistm), but not Habeshanet (Abyssinian nationalism); to be an Ethiopian = Oromian in this sense, of course, almost equivalent to be an Oromo, not an Amhara as it is till now.
At present, for Abyssinian elites to come to their sense and comprehend why we did say so, let’s look at the following fact in short. Most Abyssinian elites nowadays think they are pro-Ethiopiawinet and anti-ethnicity and they think that they do have a moral upper-hand over others, who “promote ethnic politics”. For them to develop another view, let’s demote Amharinya to local language of only Amhara region and promote Afaan Oromo to the only federal language. Until now, just based on fact that Amharinya is the only federal language, they used to talk about Ethiopiawinet, which in essence means actually Amharanet (Amhara nationalism) for they know how Amharanization is still going on. If we change role of the two languages, I am sure Oromo nationals will start to value Ethiopiawinet, which will be equivalent to Oromummaa and, of course, they will denounce ethnicity. Then, surely Amhara elites will start to defend themselves from the possible Oromonization and will denounce Ethiopiawinet with only Afaan Oromo as federal language and they surely will automatically be pro-ethnicity. So, we can see how simple it is to be moralist without understanding the mechanism behind all what we do believe.
Oromo nationals in this sense just asked Abyssinian elites to accept Afaan Oromo as only federal language for the sake of neutralizing their attempt of maintaining and talking about Ethiopian unity with Amharinya as only working language of the federation and, Abyssinian elites are making Amharanization process as something normal to be accepted and lived by all nations in the region. Of course, few Abyssinian elites demand the public to decide on the issue: which language should be future federal working language. But, to ask for public decision on the future federal working language, we first need to ask the public what type of sovereignty they want to foster. The future free nations have to either say YES or NO to the possible union. Why doesn’t democracy of Abyssinian elites, which we observed in their rhetoric up to now, include this decision? Some of these Habesha elites accuse the Oromo as if we do have grudge against Minilik. The resentment of Oromo elites against Meles and Minilik is fact, but not only that; unfortunately almost all currently living Abyssinian elites want to perpetuate same policy of Meles or Minilik with a pretext of Ethiopian unity, thus our opposition is against also such modern Melesites and Minilikites.
Furthermore, some Abyssinian elites do cry foul about a possible future Oromo hegemony just because of the fact that Oromo elites are demanding Afaan Oromo be one of the future federal languages. Those Oromo elites, who make such demand, are not actually promoters of Oromo hegemony, but just to show Abyssinian elites how reverse of the effort to dominate Oromos further can be painful to Abyssinian elites, the Oromo elites say: “if Abyssinian elites want Ethiopian unity (one common house), then they should see also what it looks like to be under the theoretical future Oromo domination replacing their own domination”. In general, why do Abyssinina elites talk and preach democracy, whereas at the same time they do exclude right of the public to decide on its destiny per referendum – national self-determination? If they have to think democratically as they usually claim to do, then they need to know that there is no half-baked democracy.
Some Oromo elites do argue that one of the main conflict factors in the empire is language factor. If Abyssinian elites do disagree with this premise, then let’s try it practically: just demote Amharinya to only Amhara region and promote Afaan Oromo to only language of the federation. Surely, the Oromo will then accept unconditional unity with Ethiopiawinet and they will denounce “ethnicity”, as well they may tend to reject right of nations to self-determination. Hopefully, Abyssinian elites will then be ready to influence all their relatives to learn Afaan Oromo without any objection. If so, then Oromo elites will be very happy if Abyssinian elitess would not prefer to fight for their national self-determination, but only struggle for democracy, unity, justice, equality, peace and prosperity. Looking back to history of the empire and trying to judge the status quo, all elites of nations in the empire do have their own interpretation of history. Thus, preferable to such quarell on history is an orientation to the future and ask thope question: what options regarding solution for the language conflict do we have if we want to live together in the future Oromian (Ethiopian) union? Here are five possiblities:
1) Union of free peoplens in Oromia (Ethiopia) based on self-determination, all nations having their own languages in their respective national areas and using English as a common language
2) Union in a new federal Oromia (Ethiopia) with Afaan Oromo as the only federal woking language
3) Union with five major languages (Afaan Oromo, Amharinya, Af Somaal, Tigrinya and English) as the federal working languages
4) Union with two major languages (Afaan Oromo and Amharinya) as the federal languages and
5) Union with Amharinya as the only federal language (similar to the status quo)
When we look at reality on the ground, pro-democracy Abyssinian elites seem to prefer fourth option. Even such Abyssinian elites started to see the fact that fifth option is the already failed project. Several Oromo elites do suggest first option of free nations as the best solution. But, if Abyssinian elites do reject self-determination of nations and persist on having unconditional Ethiopian unity, then let them test the second option so they can understand what it means to be called “ an Ethiopian” in such a condition, which actually means an Oromian, in contrast to the status quo where Ethiopian means Abyssinian. Thus, Ethiopia with Afaan Oromo as a working federal language, despite the possible competition with Amharinya, is same as de facto Oromia because Oromummaa will be main content of the union. If Abyssinian elites reject the second option, it is then expected from them to have an empathy for Oromo elites, who are rejecting the fifth option, instead of vilifying such Oromo elites as “exclusionists”. Why should Oromo elites be considered as exclusionists for the sake of demanding this role exchange of the two languages, whereas Abyssinian elites are seen as inclusive, eventhough they are propagating the exclusive fifth option? To avoid such language conflict, of course, it is also possible to opt for the third option in order to be more inclusive and integrative.
Now, it is natural for us to ask, why did TPLF promote Amharinya at cost of Afaan Oromo in the last 27 years. The answer is clear: TPLF wants that the conflict between the two big nations will continue, so it can rule further easily. The historical conflict between Amharas and the Oromo is highly exploited by TPLF in order to hinder a possible public uprising in unison against their rule. Just because of language privilage they had, Amhara elites are still seen as oppressive by almost all oppressed nations in the empire, including by the Oromo, even though Amharas, nowadays, are as oppressed and exploited as other nations by the ruling regime. TPLF could have solved this language conflict between Amharinya and Afaan Oromo by making both of them working languages of the federation or limiting both of them to their respective regions and using only English as working language of the federation.
When we do choose certain language for common communication between different autonomous nations, we need to consider its economical expediency and its international usage. Till now, all nations in the empire were obliged to learn Amharinya as national language, because of domination by Abyssinians, who accepted Amharinya as the only federal language and still tend to endorse. Actually, clear is why they do this preference; it is simply because of the political and economical advantage they do get. Here is one example to be taken in to consideration: Amhara elites usually try to promote unconditional Ethiopian unity just because they know what an advantage they do have as far as Amharinya is the working language of the empire, i.e melting of all nations in the empire towards being Ethiopian, which is equivalent to an identity change into being Amhara. This process of assimilating people behind the mask of Ethiopiawinet is the main intention behind their manic craving for unitary Ethiopian state. Accordingly, they oppose the suggested future genuine “ethnic” federation just for it undermines their language domination and for the melting process will be stopped.
Then the question to be asked by other nations now is: can pro-democracy Abyssinian forces choose to settle for the alternative of using language of all nations at their respective national areas or should they be compelled to accept this right of other nations as an alternative to the conservative Abyssinian elites’ refusal of recognizing such a union based on self-determination? I know that TPLF will accept even an alternative – separation of nations – to build their own independent states as soon as they sense a possible lose of power in Tulluu Daalattii palace. To compel Abyssinian forces to accept a union based on national self-determination, we just have to demote Amharinya to be used only in Amhara region and promote Afaan Oromo to the only federal language, as I put it above. Through this role exchange between the two languages, they will see that Ethiopiawinet will not be equivalent to Amharanet (as it is now), but it will be same to Oromummaa. In such scenario of Oromummaa being equivalent to Ethiopiawinet (de facto Oromiawinet), Oromo elites will definitely start to be pro-Ethiopiawinet as well as against ethnicity and then Abyssinian elites will surely begin to defend their identity by opting for self-determination of Abyssinian people, so that they will support ethnicity and reject Ethiopiawinet with the content of Oromummaa. In this way, Abyssinian elites can comprehend what it means to struggle for a national independence within or without regional union.
The ongoing attempt of Abyssinian elites to make both Afaan Oromo and Amharinya the working federal languages of future union is disadvantageous for other smaller nations in the empire. Abyssinian elites opted to this alternative just to make Amharinya again the working language of all regions including Gadaa Oromia, the option they don’t have now. As far as the Oromo are concerned, Afaan Oromo being federal working language is not bad, so long Amharinya will not be imposed on Oromo region, but Amharinya should be working language of only Amhara region and, of course it can be that of the federation besides Afaan Oromo. For other nations in the empire, this may mean to learn four languages, instead of the present only three. But, these nations need to learn only two languages: their own mother tongue and an international language – English. Why should their children be obliged to learn Afaan Oromo and Amharinya and be stressed with such additional useless languages, whereas Amhara children learn only Amharinya and English, being free from such stress. So, my suggestion is that all children from all nations in the future union should have this privilege given to Amhara children: learn only their respective national language and English as an international language.
If Abyssinian elites come to their sense and accept the common ground for all nations, i.e the future genuine ethnic federalism, it would have been very easy to forge an effective alliance of Abyssinian democratic forces and Oromo freedom fighters against the dictatorial TPLF regime. Just to clear the confusion produced by the hitherto articles on similar topics, other names used for genuine ethnic federalism are: multi-national federation, new federal democratic country, de jure Ethiopia = de facto Oromia, language-based federalism, internal self-determination, national autonomy with regional union, self rule and shared rule, national self determination with multi-national democracy, unity with liberty, union of autonomous nations, United States of Nations, autonomous nations in federated country, national autonomy in an integrated region (e.g autonomous Oromia in an integrated Ethiopia)… etc. In short, the best instrument to compel Abyssinian elites so they can accept and respect this compromise solution and to make them recognize the right of nations to self-determination, is to demote Amharinya to local language and promote Afaan Oromo to federal language.
Last but not least, such democtratized Ethiopia (de facto Oromia) being a known objective of federalist Oromo nationals, I tend to accept it only as transitional solution for the political arrangement after getting rid of the present Abyssinian empire. This Ethiopia is transition to either de jure, not only de facto, Great Oromia, in case all future free nations of the empire will agree and accept the name change from Ethiopia to Oromia, or else the birth of an independent Gadaa Oromia is inevitable. I think an integrative Great Oromia, where freedom of citizens and nations will be respected, where democracy will be rule of the game, where Afaan Oromo will be primary working language of the union and where Odaa, as symbol of Gadaa democracy will be central part of future federation’s flag, can be very good alternative solution to the noble cause of an independent Gadaa Oromia. May Waaqa help us all accept future accomodative Ethiopia (de facto Oromia) as a transitional solution towards either an independent Gadaa Oromia or an integrative Great Oromia. No turn back to Amhara’s assimilative Ethiopia and no life support for the gasping Tegaru’s apartheid Ethiopia, but we can look forward to realize Oromo’s accomodative Ethiopia.