Open Letter to Mr. Beyene Asmare of US

To Mr Bbeyene Asmare, Chairperson of the recently established political institution-Gondar Unity-to suppress the kemant identity and self-rule quest!

Dear Beyene:

How are you doing? Hope you are doing well and this letter may find you where you are. I am one of your close relatives in terms of blood tie. I am also one of the kemant self-rule activists at home, Ethiopia. Currently, we all know that the kemant issue is the most burning issue in the northern hemisphere of Ethiopia. I have tried to listen and examine the merits of the concern you, very limited in number, kemant diaspora along with Amhara opposing groups are raising. First of all, I really appreciate and accept diversity of ideas for the development of democracy in our country, Ethiopia. This is to mean that I really appreciate the different concern you have brought into the public debate–No Self-Government Right to Kemant People!

You established a kind of political institution (Gondar Unity) and are working tirelessly to achieve that different goal. You are using Esat media as institution to disseminate your different agenda to the rest of the world. I have no such blind opposition against what you are doing now. But, I have just some reflections:

1) Do you really believe in kemant identity? Are you confident enough to assert your real identity by any means? I think I listened you carefully when you mention that you are kemant and confident enough by that identity during discussions convened through mobile phone conferences along with the Self-Rule Coordinating Committee and Esat TV & Radio programmes. At the same time, I listened you carefully when you said that “you don’t like to see the self-governance of kemant people at any cost and that you don’t bother about the replenishment of Kemantney language at all.” Do you think without full respect of self-governance of kemant people that you will be proud of your identity? Do you think without respecting and learning kemantney language and culture that you will be confident by kemant identity? This is really a paradox!

2) The basic reasons for denying kemant self-rule seem to lie on the pretext that self-governance of kemant people means being an instrument of TPLF for destroying the ever existing Unity of Gondar and then for achieving the pre-planned motive of TPLF for territorial expansion by oppressing the Amhara commnity. I think this overlapping issue should be seen separately from the self-governance issue of kemant people. There are tangible historical (from past to present history of kemant) evidences to show grave and miserable identity and autonomy suppression against kemant people committed by the Amhara ruling class and deep-rooted derogatory perceptions, speeches and events have been occurring or being occurred presently against the very identity of kemant people by the innocent Amhara-carriers. Innocent Amhara-carriers are those Amharas (huge number) who erroneously believe that since kemants are born from wood, then it is legitimate for Amharas to own kemants as their properties (wood). As owners, they aspire to have all powers over kemants (they can determine the existence of the very name-kemant in the official records of Ethiopia; they can determine the existence of the very features of kemant identity-language, religion, culture; they can determine the land (territory) where kemant people live on; they can determine the political, social and economic freedom of kemant people in general) in the sense that feudalistic political system is still working against democratic political system in Amhara region. If a genuine person examines critically, the allegation that the self-governance quest of kemant people is TPLF- driven is totally wrong and again as Ambassador Zemene Kassegn confirmed “It is again a despise or frown upon kemant people.” Do you think the kemant identity and self-rule quest will only reach at this stage by the only insistence of TPLF? Of course, among those political parties, both in and out of the country, TPLF may be positive supporter of the kemant identity and self-rule constitutional quest. It can do that. We need assistance from any individuals, organizations, and governments of any kind to achieve our objectives–full autonomy. TPLF, as political organization, may be good supporter of our movement since it well understands what identity oppression means. Nevertheless, it should be noted that, as far as my knowledge is concerned, there are also members of TPLF who are against our self-rule quest. There are persons from Tigray people who are opponents of this self-rule quest. The same is true for other Ethiopians including the majority of Amharas. Surprisingly, the same is true for kemants themselves including you. What matters is the degree and the number of support and supporters respectively. The point is that the motive of territorial expansion of TPLF towards south could not be justified by historical overlap of kemant self-rule quest.

3) If there is reasonable fear of territorial expansion of TPLF against the very interest of Amhara people, I think the concern should be the concern of all peoples living in the region including kemants, not the concern of only Amharas. The Amhara region should first clean the dirty of its internal environment before pointing its fingers towards cleaning the external dirty environment. Which means that the ANDM-led Amhara people and the opposing diaspora on behalf of Amhara should cooperate and act timely to fully recognize and respect the autonomy of other oppressed peoples including kemants within the region before blaming the aspire of TPLF for territorial expansion against the very legitimate political and economic interest of all peoples in Amahara region within the current framework of state structure in Ethiopia.

4) If you are the real concerned guys of kemant community at large, which mode of governance is better to secure the interest of kemants along with other fellow Ethiopians? Beyond crying for the erroneously perceived Disunity of Gondar Province through self-determination of kemant people, we all kemants, in or abroad, are expected to think over the political system by which our people will be more beneficial along with its identity autonomy within the Ethiopian polity.

5) According to my opinion, as you reiterate it, the recognition of kemant autonomy could never be a cause for disunity of gondar province. To the opposite, Gondar Unity will be reestablished and enriched since there will not be a system of oppression on the basis of identity in the future. We can say that the previous unity was pseudo-unity of Gondar (this is also true for Amhara people at large). It is very difficult to say that there is strong psychological popular unity among the so called Amhara people (among the North-South Gondar, East-West Gojjam, South-North Wollo, North Shoa and other parts). This is because of the historical trauma that goes to narrate against the true ethnic identities of all peoples. (Please consult the works of Professor Mesfin Woldemariam in this regard just to know the reason why.) Those wrong perceptions and believes that went for centuries against the very identity of kemant in North Gondar shall be eradicated through public debate and knowledge dissemination after official recognition of Kemant with its full autonomy like that of its fellow Ethiopians!

6) It seems you are in favor of and doing for the old-fashioned approach for state or nation-building process generally in the world and particularly in Ethiopia. Creating a kind of state through assimilation process (choosing one dominant identity, language, religion and culture over others) is not currently working theory. Diversity with unity or accommodation theory is the fashion of state-building process in Ethiopia today. Do you think by destroying the kemant identity as a whole (since you said let kemantney language die) and making the whole people assimilated to the pseudo-identity-amhara that you can create a nation called Ethiopia? Is this assimilative approach workable for other Ethiopian nations (Tigreans, Oromos, Afars, Somalis, Agaws and others) just to avoid the problem of discrimination?

7) This is enough for today. But, l want to remind you one thing just to save your good name in the future. When you establish an opposing institution like Gondar Unity and make yourself available for media interview (like politically biased Esat), you should take care for not committing irreversible historical popular mistake—No Self-Determination for Kemants Only! No more educating kemantney language! It is not the kemant people themselves who raised the self-rule issue! It is TPLF that is leading the game!

With best regards,

Tilahun Jember
North Gondar, Ethiopia
March 15, 2015

Posted in Agaw Kemant | 4 Comments

Power Shutdown and Jamming on Agaw Democratic Party’s Election 2015 Transmission

Agaw Democratic Party/AgDP was not able to broadcast its election 2015 message on March 4, 2015. The National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) allocated for AgDP two TV schedules, each consists of 15-minutes. The first schedule was March 4, 2015 (Yekatit 26) on Amara TV immediately after 6:00 pm news. However, before five minutes of the party’s transmission, electric power was shutdown throughout Awi Province/Zone. The same thing happened also in four Gondar Zone districts, including Chilga County.

The power was available in the cities of Bair Dar and Gondar, but was too difficult to hear due to jamming. The party’s chairperson lodged compliant with a regional parties joint forum and NEBE. The forum characterized the move as a criminal act and condemned, but the NEBE has not taken any measures. The party’s members and supporters urged the party leadership appeal to the NEBE for an alternative broadcast schedule. In related news, a person who sent message to wlka in an anonymous condition claimed the power distribution in Ankesha-Gugusa woreda, one of Awi districts has been off since one month, but he added power disruption on March 4, 2015 in the other districts an active political sabotage not a technical problem.

The lately received report from Gondar City indicates that Mr. Muluken Wagnw a party member from Layarmachiho is in detention for the last 6-days. Zonal officials claimed National Election Board of Ethiopia’s law does not work in Gondar. He has been detained while he was giving out the party’s election manifesto.

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Agaw Democratic Party Withdraws its Nominee for Parliament for 2015 Election at Constituency of Bahir Dar City

A reliable source from Regional Election Board Branch Office sent message to wlka anonymously. On the 12th of February, the party’s Chairperson, Mr. Andualem Tilahun, sent a fax message to Bahir Dar City Election Board Secretariat requesting the cancelation of its only candidate in Bahir Dar City constituency who was Mr. Wasihun Mulaw. The candidate also made the similar correspondence with the city board. The city board was reluctant to accept the request till the official memorandum was sent from the secretariat. The contender was the party’s nominee for parliament/House of Representatives for May Election 2015.
Another source stated cancelation created different reactions. Some saw it as defeat before “shot” and others considered as a tactical decision since there are other four parties registered for constituency, which makes the winning chance slim. Some people speculate the action has been taken probably to increase other parties’ winning chance for some sort of expectations in the future.

Posted in Agaw Kemant | 2 Comments

Two Men Abducted by Security on 2015 Election Related Issue in Awi, Ethiopia

Dangla district, Chara (01 Kebele), Jan 17: Two men, Mr. Getachew Alehegn and Mr. Yohannes Gedebu abducted and place in truck (vehicle) and then taken to an destination by two security men. Both men reportedly involved agitation residents do not elect the ruling party. They are currently believed to be Agaw Democratic Party’s supporters and were previously members of All Ethiopian Unity Organization.
Yesterday January 18, the houses of both men were searched while they were under detention. Residents reached by wlka’s informant said, this is the ruling party’ tactic to silence the people as the election approaches, otherwise they are innocent hard working people. In related news, a source in Bahir Dar informed wlka’s informant that ANDM, AgDP and other opposition parties would form a common forum to create a conducive/good environment for election.

Posted in Agaw Kemant | 1 Comment

AgDP Central Committee Issues Statement on Current Situation in Kemant, Gondar

Agaw Democratic Party/AgDP’s Central Committee at its regular session (on Nov. 15) at the town of Zege, Lake Tana, discussed the current turmoil in North Gondar, Kemant Province. It received a report on more than 100 school closure throughout the province in the past two weeks. On the other hand, it learned that some of schools have been reopened since Wednesday, but other remained close. The party expressed its concerned on the deteriorating situation and asked all involved parties to refrain from any act of violence. At the end of the session it has issued the following statements:
1. The current school closure is resulted from the government’s lack of due respect for its constitution. If the government has respect for the country’s constitution, it could treat the Kemant people, or Agaws in general on an equal basis and the Kemant’s constitutional quest for self-rule could have been guaranteed under Article 39. The party called on the government to stop percussion and address the Kemant’s demand without delay.
2. The communiqué stated that Kemant people have waged peaceful resistance for the past decay and they need to pursue only peaceful struggle to achieve their goals.
3. The communiqué stressed the murder of an unarmed citizen, Mr. Tegenawu Wolelawu and others, whoever is unacceptable. The party demanded an independent investigation and due justice including adequate compensation for the family members of the victims.
Finally, the communiqué demanded for equal treatment and justice to all citizens.

Posted in Agaw Kemant | 2 Comments

Call for Support for Continuity of wlka

Peaceful political struggle without media is entirely unthinkable. For the past 3-years, the Agaw people’s struggle, specially, Kemant’s struggle for self-rule and equality that took the attentions of many people could not happen at all without wlka. Indeed, wlka has done its professional responsibility as the online press media. Now days, it is facing enormous challenges for its continuity as the forum and provision of compatible services in the dramatically changing world. There are two major parameters wlka has encountered, financial and personnel who have to provide voluntary services indefinitely. At this point, there are only two unpleasant choices, either strengthen the existing media and pursue the resistance for liberty and constitutional rights, or give up, surrender to the oppressors and live in second class citizenship. If the choice is the former, the following measures must be taken for wlka’s effective continuity:
1. It has to be updated including domain modification and hardware upgrading on its base, to uphold its security and functional capacity.
2. Be able to pay transport and allowance for an informant who travels to field to collect first hand evidence.
Certainty, financial commitment is required to execute the project:

  • $6,790 for the system upgrading and enhancement including backup capability for offline availability;
  • $3,386 for allowance and transport cost for the informants per year;
  • $510 for contingency in the case of emergency for immediate life support. If any thing, like automobile accident happens on the informant while in the field;
  • TOTAL of $US 10,686 only.
  • You are kindly requested to support financially the project as you are keen to the liberty of the oppressed people. Also, share this information with those who have no access to the website. Then, please take initiatives and setup a steering committee that can collect fund from the country you are living. Then, communicate wlka in the same way, you send your articles and comments for publication. Leave your full address including e-mail, phone number with country code and name of city. Then, wlka will contact you for a further action. Thanks!

    Posted in Agaw Kemant | 3 Comments

    Regional Council Discloses Authorization of One fifth of Kemant Area for Self-Rule

    March 13, 2015 Amara Regional Council at Its Regular meeting disclosed authorization of Kemants’s self-rule in one fifth of the contested terrirotry. Two counties, Chilga and Layarmachiho are subject to the decion among nine counties that quested for self-rule, including Metema, Wogera, Gondar Zuria, Quara and Dempya. Close observers say the concil’s decion has little impact on the Kemant’s struggle. Kemants immediately asked question, what about other Kemant areas located ajacently. The decision is seen as a tactic to divide and weaken Kemants. Even Mr. Ayalew Abate, the council’s speaker admitted prior to the official decion Kemant’s likely rejection. Mr. Ayalew speaking his senior cadres before session said, “we know that Kemants will not accept the arrangement, but we have opened a new game for dispute”.
    It can be recalled that in July 2013, the same counil denied the existence of Kemant people in Gondar, but now it accepted the existence, but with the short of full self-administration.

    Posted in Agaw Kemant | 1 Comment

    Ethnic Cleansing against Kemant People: Genesis of Agaw People Suffering

    By Mizigena A

    From the start of Christianity introduction to Ethiopia, the North Western Cushitic Agaw people was suffering from multidimensional socio-economic prospective (such as religion, politics, social, economic, culture and language) for over 1600 years. With the rising and expansion of Christianity in the fourth century, the majority of Agaw were forced to accept Christianity following the conversion of the two Agaw king brothers, Aezana and saezana and received Christian name as Aberha and Atsibeha. Those who resisted and adhered to their original and former belief (Judaism and paganism) fled from North to South and South-East direction along Tekeze River and settled in Gondar and around Gondar and Lasta and gradually to North Shewa, Jemma and Abay rivers and beyond.
    The Agaw population who resisted for centuries long the state religion after conversion of majority had been divided into smaller enclaves (Awi, Kementy, Himita, Blen, Alien/Falasha and more others). As a result, they got exposed for further religious and, economic and social oppression as Christianity chased them behind. In between, however, the Agaw people were enjoying their golden time during Zagwe Dynasty for about 400 years, until 1270. But after the pseudo Solomonid dynasty took power from Zagwe, the fate of Agaw people changed from bad to worse.
    The first incidence in this process was forcefully receiving religiously constructed identity by abandoning their true Agawness. This process (forceful conversion from Agaw identity to Amharization continued until the late 20th century and even continues to this day. Those who resisted not to become Christian (Amhara) were denied of property rights. As a result, basic assets such as land and other resources that measure the wealth status of rural households in particular were concentrated in the hands of royal family members, provincial governors, Orthodox Church, military officials, and their respective descendants in the form ownership system called of rist and gult. Land was used as one of main instruments to convert traditional and Old Testament (Oriet) religion followers to Orthodox Christian. The fate for non adherents was to be evacuated from their land and exercise their original religion by emigrating far beyond the conquerors’ territorial jurisdiction. The Agaw people in general and the Kemant and Felasha (black-Jewish ) in particular were suppressed by the then King Yishak (who ruled from 1413-1444) and ordered either to be converted to Christianity or persecuted. This state and religion combined conspiracy made most people to remain poor and finally leading them to move to mountainous and rugged geographic areas as a last resort. The existing settlement of Himita and Kemant people is the live example of the past injustice to these people. The worst was what had happened to Bete-Israel tribes. They were totally evacuated from their land and made to be dispersed to different directions within Gondar and Tigray provinces. In the end, their exodus from their homeland to State of Israel was the result of deep rooted religious and tribal marginalization persecution and suffering induced by their neighbor and the then local government.

    Continuation of Past Injustice Legacy upon Kemant

    Though Ethiopia is home to more than 80 different ethnic, linguistic and religious communities, Ethiopians were categorized unofficially into first and second level citizens until the so called Solomonid dynasty was avoided by the Military Dergue in 1974. Until this time, the larger segments of Ethiopians were scarcely visible both nationally and internationally. One people, one language one culture and one religion were the main manifestations of feudal regime. People were not officially allowed to exercise their religion and speak their language; different derogatory terms affixed to each ethnic’s name; and their languages were substituted by Amharic. Kemant people were the main target for conversion in the North-Western part of Ethiopia next to Falasha and were prosecuted to abandon their religion, language and identity. Of, course majority of them had accepted Christianity and abandoned their language forcibly and called themselves Amhara in order to retain their land holding.
    The paradox, however, was that to become Christian and speaking the same language (Amharic) had not protected the people from receiving unfair treatment from those who were converted earlier and other ethnics who took the governorship position. Even central government sponsor wars were declared against Kemant by local warlords and province governors in different time during emperor H/Selesie.
    Even today, the anguishes of Kemants never have halted in the federalism system where every nation, nationality and people in Ethiopia:
    • Has the right to speak, to write and develop, its own language, to develop and promote its culture and to preserve its history;
    • Has the right to a full measure self government which includes the right to establish institution of governments in the territory it inhabits and to equitable representation in state and federal government.
    Though the larger parts of ethnics in Ethiopia have been recognized as a unique people, Kemant is still annexed with Amharic speaking people against the spirit of the constitution.
    The quest for identity recognition and internal self administration has been pending for unnecessary over lengthy period. The Amhara Regional State Parliament has decided against the quest nullifying the constitution endorsed by the regional parliament itself in 2014.
    Currently unofficial war has been declared against Kemant people. This war is being organized by violent groups who secretly serving the anti peace political organizations. This unofficial political group in the name of Amhara People Unity whose objective is to overthrow the constitution and to change the federal system by all means and reinstate the past oppressive regime upon Ethiopians. They claim, their veiled agenda is unity, but the bottom line is a group who preaches for the entire nation unity never organize itself under the name of “Amhara people Unity.”
    This kind of illegal movement started after the federation council accepted the appeal of Kemant and recommended the regional government to reconsider Kemant’s identity and self administration quest. Following this decision, with the technical and financial support from the Diasporas have been organized in different woredas of North Gondar Zone to displace Kemant people including government employees and farmers living in and adjacent to Amharic speaking people.
    The gangs considered their action as a means to frustrate Kemant and thereby quit up the quest and shift to decide to live annexed until the dooms day. However, their attempt is only for vain. Of course, the gangs themselves and their master know that very well kemant never flinch until the independence is declared.
    Let me support with the actual figure what the gangs did to Kemant:
    The following people farmers and government employees (teachers, health workers, development agents and other residents) have been displaced in three districts (Woredas)
    * Chilga ———150 people from all groups
    * Quara———-100 people from all groups
    * Lay armachiho———- 270 (200 residents, 70 government employees)
    * Total ————— 420 people
    If we include the property damages sustained by the gang group, estimated about 1 million birr properties were stolen and destructed in the three woredas.
    300 heads of light armed gang group were tried to intrude and invade Tikl Dingay Town by around Jan 19/2015 but the gang was easily encircled and their attempt was aborted before fulfilling their evil mission. This gang group confessed that they received direction from zonal and woreda official.

    Why Kemant People Never have Tried to Give Response to this Act?

    It is very simple. The objective of this gang and their sponsors are doing this to deflect the direction of the legal quest of Kemant and become beneficiaries of this civil conflict. But here everyone should be aware that if the regional and federal government remains silent, equivalent response will be given to the gang group in time.
    What the gang groups have not realized is that the two peoples (Amhara and Qemant) never will go into civil conflict with the trash conspiracy of self interested gang group. We know that Amhara and Kemant co-exist for time immemorial and will continue to leave peacefully.
    Kemant people strongly believe that unity with diversity where all nation, nationality and people enjoy equal rights. It is only when this happen Ethiopian unity will be ensured. Otherwise, if we preach pseudo-unity, it won’t last long and will not be effective. Those who love the unity of Ethiopia, I beg you to love Ethiopians, to respect their culture, religion and language without any discrimination.

    Posted in Agaw Kemant | 4 Comments

    Can Two Biggest Nations, Oromo and Agaw, Cooperate Against System of Domination in Oromia (aka Formerly Ethiopia)?

    by Fayyis Oromia

    Few years ago, the well-known historian Prof. Laphiso Delebo disclosed the presence of 23 million Agaw in Oromia (aka Ethiopia). That means the Agaw are the second biggest nation, next to the Oromo (most of them nowadays being Amharinya-speakers and Tigirinya-speakers); if this figure is true, where are they living now? In Axum, Adwa, Tembien, Abergele, Welqayit, Tsegede, Enderta, Adigrat, Semien, Quara, Metema, Lasta, Wag, Awi,…. etc? In general, are they not the owners of the most areas of Tigrai, part of Gondar, half of Gojjam and the whole Lasta? Illustrative Map:

    There is a very troubling question in minds of many people from Oromia (aka formerly ‘Ethiopia’: ), which didn’t get adequate answer till now: why was it easy for the Tigirinya-speaking Neo-Nafxanya (the NN) to rule over the Oromians since 1991? Why even may it be easier for this group to dominate all nations in Oromia for further many decades? I think, it is mainly because of the misguided elites of the two big nations – the Oromo and the Agaw. Note that here, Nafxanya is defined as a force of a certain nation being led by its warlords to invade, exploit and oppress neighbouring nations by using nefx (gun).

    For the last 24 years, the NN managed to corner both the Amharinya-speaking Agaw, who are the majority in the so-called multinational organizations, and the Oromo elites, most of whom are the proponents of nations’ right to self-determination, because of their struggle for the unconditional unitary country and the unconditional independence of the Oromo state, respectively. The NN could reserve the ideological middle ground, i.e. a union of free nations or the language-based federalism, as its own position, and accuse the Agaw elites as centralists and the Oromo nationalists as separatists. I did appreciate the position of the visionary leaders from these two big nations, who repeatedly tried to foster an alliance against the NN; especially in 2006 they tried to take a necessary step to tackle the NN’s tactic of divide and rule. The historical face-off between the Habeshanized and the non-Habeshanized Cushites was a unique historical advantage for the NN to perpetuate its rule limitlessly. That is why the hitherto dialogue between the Agaw forces and the Oromo fronts was a good start, even though it was described by the NN leaders as a marriage between fire and straw (isat ina ciid). Unfortunately, the forged alliances didn’t last long, and the elites of these two big nations are not yet in a position to cooperate. It is really pity that these elites still live in a conflict against each other. The effect of their inability to solve the conflict is, of course, the ongoing subjugation of all nations in Oromia (aka ‘Ethiopia’) by the NN.

    Disregarding the past and present criminal ruling class in Oromia (formerly ‘Ethiopia’), actually both the Agaw and the Oromo peoples were victims of the European colonizers. The main conflict and imbalance of power between the Habeshanized Cushites and the non-Habeshanized ones started at the end of 19th century, at which time the Europeans had their program of Scramble for Africa. It was said that the French colonizers used to move horizontal between Dakar and Djibouti, whereas the British colonizers’ move was vertical between Cape Town and Cairo. The two forces were about to confront each other in the Horn of Africa. To avoid the confrontation, the colonizers had to do their usual manipulation in Africa: choose one ethnic group as “superior,” and use it to suppress the others which they consider as “inferior.” They told the Habeshanized Cushites that they were “culturally superiors and they must civilize the inferior animist” Oromo and other nations. They provided weapons and helped the Habeshanized Cushites (aka the Amhara) by giving military advice; thus, they controlled indirectly the area without confronting each other. With such manipulation, both the Agaw and the Oromo nations became victims. Even though the rulers of the country were servants of the European colonizers, both the Agaw and the Oromo peoples always lacked freedom since then.

    Nowadays, the Tigirinya-speaking NNs are the neo-servants of the Western neo-colonizers, who are instrumentalized to suppress the Oromo, the Amharinya-speaking Agaw and the other oppressed nations. For they are in almost the same situation, there is nothing which can hinder the alliance of the Agaw democratic forces and the Oromo pro-liberty fronts to fight in unison for our freedom, but still there are practical problems, which have to be addressed. The elites from both sides yet need to learn how to tone down their respective striving for mere “unconditional unity” and mere “unconditional independence without union.” The Agaw forces pushing for unconditional unity makes the Oromo to be skeptical for we know what the Agaw elites want to achieve with this pretext. At the same time, the attempt of some Oromo elites to achieve independence of the Oromo national area – without giving any chance for a union and without valuing its benefit – makes the Agaw forces to panic for they fear a sort of discrimination in the future free Oromo region. Such move of both camps is counter-productive in the struggle for freedom. The NN manipulates this difference between the elites of the two big nations in order to create more discord and take advantage of their conflict. To deal with such mischief of the NN, very important now for the elites of the two nations is to concentrate on the common agenda: freedom and democracy. If both sides come to their senses and rally behind these two ideals, a free Oromo state and a free Agaw state in an integrated Oromia (aka ‘Ethiopia’) as a compromise solution can be fulfilled. This is possible if all nations in the Empire will be free from the ongoing tyranny, killing, and looting under the NN rule and in case they decide to foster a union named Oromia. Above all, the victims from the two big nations need to wake up and say in unison – NO to the status quo under the fascist regime!

    For the durable alliance of the two forces against the NN, by default or by design, to be realized, I do endorse the common goal – union of free nations as a result of self-determination exercised by each nation. Till now, it was very difficult to get such a common purpose, hence unity of purpose was impossible. The Oromo elites argue that the Oromo must get first our national independence by any means, and then build a union based on free will. Some Agaw forces argue that “the so called Habesha are simply the converted and assimilated Cushites, who are speaking Amharinya and Tigrinya; so the Oromo don’t have to separate from their own people, but should bring these Habeshanized Cushites back to their lost root, and, of course, then have a leading role in the politics of the country.” The mistrust between the Agaw and the Oromo elites is a God-given opportunity that the NNs are enjoying to rule over the country as long as they can. Unless the elites of these two big nations come to terms and cooperate, all nations in the Empire have to settle for the rule of the NN, not only for few years, but possibly for many decades. For the necessary cooperation, union of free nations as a result of their respective self-determination and even union, including others in the Horn (based on free will), can be taken as the noble cause for which we all can fight together. Not accepting this model means unconditional separations of independent nations as the alternative.

    Till now, certain steps have been taken by the Oromo elites to forge the common ground with the Agaw forces just to discredit the NN in the Oromian [aka formerly ‘Ethiopian’] political history. The short sighted NNs, who are good at winning battles, but can never win the war, thought that they can control the Oromo struggle. Actually the oppressive actions of the NN boosted the struggle, for it is getting even more Oromo support. Further interesting is the fact that the Oromo elites in a long run could take away the card, which the NN needed for further existence in Oromia. They did this with two very important steps: 1. in 1992 they denied the NN a sort of legitimacy it desperately needed in Oromia; thus the NN became the eternal enemy of the Oromo people; the TPLF could have made the OLF its partner and would have enjoyed support of all Oromo, but it formed the OPDO and made itself alien to the Oromo; 2. in 2006 the formation of an alliance with the “multinational” Agaw parties dismissed (at least temporarily) the very important instrument the NN used to rule over the Oromians – i.e. antagonizing the Agaw forces as “centeralist chauvinists” and the Oromo fighters as “narrow separatists.” Unfortunately, being in the polarizing trap of the NN, these two groups couldn’t persistently struggle in unison against the tyrants. Now, the time should come, when this instrument starts to die slowly, but surely, and the NN be under attack from both the Agaw and the Oromo nations. Take it only 1 year or as long as 10 years, the NN should pass away like the Derg. After losing power, the NN will be remembered in Oromia as the German Naizi is now; the future Tigrinya-speaking generation will definitely distance itself from the NN and be ashamed of its history just like the people of Germany are doing.

    In order to understand what the Agaw elites do advocate, let’s look at the difference between unity, empire and union. Putting the difference in short, empire is always established “per force” and union results “per free will.” If the Agaw forces are the believers of the second premise, they, of course, risk that the free will of people can lead to an independence of nations without a union, not to their wished unconditional unity. Concerning the difference between unity and union, the first is pre-modern, whereas the second is post-modern. A certain British scholar classified countries in the world in to three: 1- pre-modern chaotic states like the artificial constructs/countries of Africa; 2- modern nation-states like some mono-national-states in Asia and Latine America; 3- post-modern union of free nations like those in the European Union. The Agaw elites need to see that African nations, including those in the Empire, are kept as pre-modern due to the arrangement made by the European colonizers, and this situation is now perpetuated by the AU [African Union] dictators. Africans need to leave these artificial nations behind and forge natural nation-states, if we want to be transformed from our present pre-modern position, passing through the stage of modern status to the post-modern condition like an independent Oromo state and an independent Agaw state in an Oromian [aka formerly ‘Ethiopian’] union – the most beneficial status which the Europeans themselves are enjoying.

    Some Agaw elites, at least theoretically, do believe that the destiny of the Oromo should be decided by only the Oromo people. The question to be asked is: what will happen if the Oromo decide against the unity which the Agaw want and opt to build an independent Oromo state without a union? Do the Agaw accept and move on, or will they fight against the decision? They also should have a clear position on the type of unity they want to forge: union based on free will, or unity based on forced wish? Those who do advocate unity by force have their own argument; especially, it is interesting to hear them trying to instrumentalize the present American politics. They narrate “just as American union was saved by force, we will struggle to save our union.” Can’t they grasp the difference between the two “unions”? America is the land of immigrants melted together to accept the American identity and speak only English. Do they want all the native nationalities in Oromia [aka formerly ‘Ethiopia’] be melted to have such uniformity and speak only Amharinya? Why do they forget that even they are the worst victims of such assimilative melting, so they lost their Agaw identity and chose to hide behind the mask of Ethiopiawinet with the content of Habeshawinet. As far as I know, even the most liberal Agaw movements advocate unconditional unity, which is not the goal of the Oromo nationalists and not the wish of other oppressed peoples. If the Agaw elites want a unity of purpose with the Oromo fighters and get rid of the NN, I would like to repeat that they accept a union based on self-determination of nations as a common denominator, instead of pushing for unconditional unity.

    As I understood till now, Oromian [aka formerly ‘Ethiopian’] politics is kept in balance due to the struggle between the following three blocs: 1- the bloc of the governing NN force; 2- the bloc of the so called unity forces dominated by Agaw elites; 3- the bloc of all oppressed nations, which do first want to be liberated from the system of domination before fostering a union. When the Agaw elites talk about alliance against the NN, do they mean alliance of only political and civic organizations in the second bloc, or do they also want to include those in the third block? I think, they already put a precondition for the alliance to be forged: accept unity unconditionally! With this precondition, they seem to exclude those in the third bloc. If they want to include the third bloc in to the alliance against the NN, they need to change this precondition and try to find a common denominator with the third bloc: nations have to decide on their own destiny based on free will, be it for an independence within a union or for an independence without a union. Does their rhetoric about democracy include such demand of peoples to decide on their destiny? I hope, at least the democratic Agaw elites will start to think and act independently from the chauvinist conservatives.

    The two positions, i.e. the position of the Agaw forces (unconditional unity) vs. the position of the Oromo fronts (union based on free will), should be discussed and debated further. Even when nations give their vote to independence within a union, yet it is mandatory to decide secondly on which type of federal arrangement. The Agaw forces are advocators of the geography-based federalism in contrast to the language-based federalism, which is preferred by most of the freedom fighters. As “democrats,” all of them have to live by accepting the winner per the public verdict. But, can they extend this principle of referendum to the argument: independence within a union vs. independence without a union? As I heard and read till now, some Agaw elites didn’t even decide on the issue regarding which type of federation to support. Concerning the benefit-cost discussion in cmparing the two types of sovereignty, all the stakeholders, of course, can try to convince the public before voting. Regarding the Oromo people, both types of federations are not bad, as long as all nations agree to name the union – ‘Oromia'; otherwise, the language-based federation is the minimal acceptable solution. Optimally, the Agaw elites can advertise for the advantage of unity and the Oromo fronts preach about the importance of independence, then live according to the public verdict. Alternatively, of course, the compromise and the common ground for both groups can only be national freedom within a regional union, which may be supported by both sides; the alliance of both forces together can try to convince the public about the importance and benefit of this common goal – a union of free nations (Union State of Oromia).

    Yet, interesting to observe is that some Agaw elites fear “the fact that peoples can be brainwashed and vote against their own interest.” What a concern! It is simply wrong to think that peoples decide against their own interest. If they even do mistakenly vote against their own interest like the “Americans elected Mr. Bush,” let it be. That is also part of democracy. During elections, informing the public before coming to a decision is good; taking away such a possibility of the decision making process from people is undemocratic. Why should we call it brainwashing, instead of “convincing”? It is, after all, about influencing people. In America, the evangelicals were convinced and were successful with Mr. Bush and the quasi-socialists were successful with Mr. Obama. Where is brainwashing? It is about convincing the majority; the ones who won the hearts and minds of the majority were the victors. In the free and fair competition, for the Agaw forces – which struggle for unity, there is the same chance to that of the Oromo fronts (advocators of a union). Their freedom of choice must be mutually respected. Regarding the dictatorial unifiers, who advocate unconditional unity without the option for a public verdict, it should be known that they deny freedom of the Oromo and other nations. For example, when they say “be andinet lay anideraderim!” – they send a message: “you either accept this andinet or we will deal with you.” They don’t dare to say, “we advocate for unity and then let the public decide.” Their approach is arrogant, dictatorial and uncompromising! To such people, the Oromo fronts also should say: “be netsanet lay anideraderim.” Now how can the two groups who do say “anideraderim” deal with each other democratically? The only solution for such dictatorial mentality will be bullet, as it has been. Up to now, the dictatorial forces won for the last 150 years and they “united us” by force. The Oromo nationals call this as colonization, for it is not a union based on free will. Some with similar dictatorial ideology, like the NN, now want to continue the status quo at gun point. Hopefully, the democratic Agaw elites will do the business otherwise.

    I think an alliance of all anti-NN forces, by default or by design, is still the best way to come to the position of self-determination for the Agaw, the Oromo and the other nations as well as to promote the democratization and integration of the future union of all nations in the region (a national freedom within a regional union). The result will be a free Oromo state, a free Agaw state and other nations’ free states within an integrated Oromian [aka formerly ‘Ethiopian’] union. But, can the two big nations yet cooperate for such a compromising solution or should we allow the NNs to play their card of divide-and-rule? The win-win solution suggested here is not just fancy, but fact, which can be realized. In summary, I would like to say: no empire in history has ever changed through reforms. For a democratic Agaw state and an Oromo state in a union of nations to be realized, the Empire’s system of domination must end and an Oromian [aka formerly ‘Ethiopian’] union be forged. Sovereignty of Oromians [aka formerly ‘Ethiopians’] over their country should be promoted; all nations – big or small – need to have an equal right to national self-determination. It is only if they are free that they can decide on their destiny. At the end of the day, even many more nations in the Horn can join the union voluntarily. There should be no nation to decide on the fate of the others, as the Habesha elites (the Habeshanized Cushites) did till today. The same is true for all nations in the whole Africa; there is a possibility for the United Sate of Africa to be established in a long run based on the free will of its entire nations and peoples. Even the Habesha mass, who have never had a say in their lives, will get the opportunity to exercise their own self-determination and elect leaders of their own choice freely. As long as national domination persists, the struggle for liberation will continue. That is why I would like to say the solution for the current problem in the whole Oromia [aka formerly ‘Ethiopia’] is the cooperation of the Agaw pro-democracy forces, the Oromo freedom fighters and the other nations on a common denominator of fostering a genuine language-based federalism (the Union State of Oromia [aka formerly ‘Ethiopia’]). May Waaqa help, especially, the elites of the two big nations to come to our senses!


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