A Reply to Jawar’s Reply – Messay Kebede

September 24th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

I would like to thank Jawar Siraj Mohammed for the civility with which he engaged my article, “The OLF: Ideological or Leadership Bankruptcy?” Many Oromo responded to the article with emotional outcries and personal attacks, thereby displaying not only their alarming deficiency in sound arguments, but also their refusal to even discuss the issue. Some even went to the extent of saying that the Oromo issue is none of my business, as though Oromia had already become a foreign country. The happy contrast is that Jawar argues and wants to show that what failed the Oromo is not the ideology but the leadership. Since his sober and argued reply denotes an opening to dialogue, I reciprocate with an even higher longing for a rapprochement.

Jawar’s arguments are as follows: (1) there is no ideological bankruptcy since the large majority of the Oromo people supports the nationalist agenda of the OLF. (2) It is not true to say that the OLF operates in geographical conditions that are inimical to armed insurgency. (3) The success of the TPLF and EPLF highlights the importance of leadership. (4) The failure of the EPRP was due less to ideology than to strategic mistakes of its leadership.

What we get from these factual arguments is that “ideology does not play much role in determining the failure and success of an insurgency.” Jawar adds that, so long as an insurgency is not strong enough, it cannot consider reformist options, for it is suicidal for an organization to give up its mobilizing ideology. In other words, the Oromo nationalist or secessionist agenda should be preserved until the movement is strong enough to reform itself. Let me examine one by one these arguments.

Who Wants Secession?

Is it true to say that the Oromo people supports the secessionist agenda of the OLF? For that matter, let us extend the issue and ask whether the Eritrean people has supported the secessionist goal of the EPLF and whether the Tigrean people has agreed to the secession of Eritrea and the fragmentation of Ethiopia along ethnic lines. If both movements led to dictatorial regimes, is it not because the so-called popular support was actually imposed on the people they claim to represent? True, both Eritreans and Tigreans wanted self-rule, but it is one thing to fight against centralization and quite another to advocate secession. The latter is none other than a resurgence of the elitism of the 60s when Western-educated Ethiopians usurped the right to speak in the name of the people.

The only way by which Jawar can convince himself and other Ethiopians about the popular support for secession is through the implementation of a free and fair democratic process that begins by making serious reforms. If, after a time of power-sharing and democratic relationships, the Oromo people still expresses the desire to secede, only then can we speak of popular support. But all theoreticians, including ethnonationalists, know that in a truly democratic setup secession is unlikely. Put otherwise, what Jawar presents as a fact is not yet a fact; it is an elitist manipulation that uses past mistreatments to justify partition.
I add that if the Oromo had really wanted to separate from the rest of the country, no force on earth could have stopped them. Then, what is Jawar’s hurry? Let democracy sets in and you will have what you want if the grievances are still real. Incidentally, Jawar accepts that the OLF does not own the monopoly of representing the Oromo people, since he accuses me of “categorizing all Oromos under one ideology and under one organization.” Another mishap is when he calls my position “centrist,” even though all the books and articles I have written on Ethiopia unravel centralization as the main reason for Ethiopia’s failure to modernize.

Comparing Apples with Oranges

I leave out Jawar’s assumption that the OLF operates in conditions conducive for insurgency because it cannot be decided by people who write from America. However, there remains the issue of finding a neighboring country that provides political and military assistances, especially, that can serve as a shelter. In his reply, Jawar completely overlooked a detrimental outcome that he had vigorously and correctly denounced in his first article, to wit, the growing subordination of the OLF to the Eritrean regime. Yet the ideology of secession which, of course, leads to the choice of armed struggle, is responsible for the subordination.

Once it is said that the OLF has appropriate geographical conditions, the question is why it is still failing. Jawar’s answer is unequivocal: the severe shortcomings of the leadership. He uses a comparative approach to prove his point, namely, the military success of the TPLF and EPLF against the Derg. Unfortunately, the comparison is defective from various angels. One cannot compare the secession of Eritrea with that of Oromia. Not only different historical and geographical reasons intervene, but also minority groups, as was the case with Eritrea, have often no other option that the threat of secession.

When it comes to Oromia, we are presented with the unheard case of a group that wants to secede, even though it claims to be the largest ethnic group of the country. It is the unfeasibility of the case that derives me to speak of ideological bankruptcy. In the records of history, majority groups have defended the nation so that secession has always been the ideology of overpowered peoples. That is why I spoke of “self-mutilation” in that a group is degraded into thinking and acting like a desperate minority group. The Oromo need an ideology that is commensurate with their potential. Only then can they emerge victorious.

Who is the Winner?

As to the TPLF, its success should be taken with a grain of salt in light of the fact that Tigray is historically and culturally one of the cornerstones of Ethiopia. As such, any ideology that supports the breakup of Ethiopia is contrary to the historical role and identity of Tigrean people. That is why every time I hear about the victory of the TPLF’s insurgency, I cannot contain my perplexity. If the success of the TPLF depended on the secession of Eritrea, then I do not see where the victory is. Mengistu Haile Mariam could have also stayed in power by letting Eritrea go. Such an outcome would have been considered, not as a victory, but as a defeat. Moreover, how is the fragmentation of Ethiopia along ethnic lines an expression of victory? When Ethiopia is diminished and put in a condition close to disintegration––which is the only way by which an anti-Ethiopian Tigrean clique can dominate the country––I do not shout victory for the Tigrean people.

In place of victory, I see defeat, as no amount of military prowess will remove the bare fact of Ethiopia as a landlocked country. What was the main source of Ethiopia’s weakness and isolation in the past, that is, since the control of the Red Sea by Muslim forces, is back again thanks to the TPLF. Some years ago I posted an article in which I asked Ethiopians to let Assab go because it would only mean continuous war against Eritrea. I argued that the best option is to work toward the return of Eritrea through some form of federal arrangement. The TPLF government is now fully experiencing the huge impediment of being landlocked. The ethnic paradigm and victory at all costs, even by sacrificing Eritrea, combined to bring disaster and despair on Ethiopia. In light of these monstrous costs, is “victory” really a proper term?

Ideology and the Choice of Means

I am confused by Jawar’s statement that “ideology does not determine the failure and success of an insurgency.” How can it be so when we know that strategic choices are dependent on ideological inspirations? The OLF and EPLF opted for guerrilla warfare because of their secessionist ideology. Consequently, they allied with forces opposed to Ethiopia and refused to work with Ethiopia’s progressive forces. Likewise, to associate with the EPLF, the TPLF had to invent the ideology of Tigray as a nation and adopt ethnic references as the highest norms of political struggle. This ideological orientation explains why it could not ally with the EPRP and other progressive forces. Instead, it went in the direction of helping Eritrea to become independent in exchange for military and political support. You cannot explain the TPLF’s “victory” without its alliance with, nay, its subordination to the EPLF. In short, vision commands strategy as well as the degree of commitment.

To explain the defeat of the EPRP by the failure of its leadership is correct, provided it is added that the leadership failed because of ideological extremism. The choice of urban guerrilla struggle, which is believed to be the main blunder of the organization, is not separable from the slogans demanding a people’s government and socialism. If the EPRP had focused on democratic struggles for freedom of association and expression and for the establishment of a national government of reconciliation, etc., it would not have embarked on the wrong path of urban guerrilla. Contrary to Jawar’s statement, at that time, people, including the bureaucratic elites, the peasantry, the workers, and the Amhara population, expressed democratic demands as opposed to the socialist ideology of students and intellectuals. The EPRP and other leftist movements fought for the control of the state in order to impose their vision on the society. The Derg foiled the project and adopted socialism, not because it was forced to do so by the civilian left, as some authors claim, but because socialism exactly fitted its dictatorial interests.

The debate over the primacy of the national question over class interest in the Ethiopian student movement is the typical ideological battle that led to the formation of the TPLF and the OLF. According to the Stalinist vision, the liberation of the ethnic group has precedence over the consideration of unity with other groups. The detrimental consequence of this reasoning fully transpires in today’s Ethiopia, since the vibrant student movement in Ethiopia is now practically dead, undermined as it is by the dividing impact of ethnic ideology. This death is a palpable proof of how deeply ideology can be paralyzing. My message to Jawar is thus clear: what keeps you in chains is the diatribe against Amhara, Abyssinians and the correlated discourse on the Ethiopian colonization of the Oromo, which discourse undermines the gestation of common goals and actions.

Here and there Jawar’s reply seems to suggest that self-determination and secession are used for their mobilizing power rather than their intrinsic merit. He writes: “just because an ideology makes it simple to mobilize support, it does not mean it should be adapted without careful and rational evaluation of its short term and long term impact after liberation.” A merely tactical purpose diminishes the mobilizing power: not only does the secessionist ideology divide people, but also a tactical usage means that the leaders do not really believe in the ideology they are preaching. If that is the case, weigh the for and against, and it becomes clear that the best option is to simply drop the ideology.

But neither Jawar nor the leaders of the OLF are willing to drop the ideology. Why? Because it would allow extremist groups to rise and marginalize the present leadership. This is the inevitable price for cultivating and spreading for such a long time a divisive ideology. At one point a situation is created where it becomes impossible to reverse course. All the more reason for allying now with Ethiopia’s moderate and progressive forces, for only the engagement of the country in the path of resolute democratization can block the rise of extremist groups.

  1. Zelalem
    | #1

    This is a well crafted, brilliant article. Thank you very much and congratulations Dr. Messay for sharing your thoughts for us. I’m very happy with Jawar’s response too. I think what is expected from fellow Ethiopians is such kind of respect in dialogs despite differences. The conversations between this two gentlemen are exemplary and thoughtful in this respect, and so crucial to the future Ethiopia.

    There is one question which I have been asking myself and my friends time and again; why our Oromo brothers and sisters raise the issue of succession while the rest of the world has been seeking and working hard towards unity. Consider what has been happening in Europe and other parts of the world. This does not mean that my fellow Oromos did not have any grievances in the past. No one forgets the past but it is not time for revenge. I do not want to revenge any fellow Ethiopian considering what my forefathers did in the past. I am not accountable to history but it is my sincere interest for me and my children to live in peace in a country called Ethiopia.

    The way forward should aspire for building a democratic country called Ethiopia where the right and freedom of each and every citizen is respected. For that to happen sooner, the alignment of the Oromo people is very important. Let us not waste time! Lets act together now!

  2. se
    | #2

    You chavonist you still don’t understand your made-up chavonism is no more …..

  3. Wogen
    | #3

    I am really proud of both Jawar Siraj Mohammed and Dr. Messay. Good people, intellectual. I am amhara the son of poor farmer from Gojam and your discussion makes me love both of you, becouse sometimes I feel confused when i am inulted for the bad deed of ethiopian monarchs or elites that included oromo, guraga, tigry. Amhara is insulted what Mengistu had done even if Mengistu is Oromo. Why Amhara is not blaming OROMOS what mengist had done….I do not know…may be Amhara look at it as Ethiopia’s misfortune

    anyway,you got it, Dr. messay, for the first time when you say, “The ethnic paradigm and victory at all costs, even by sacrificing Eritrea, combined to bring disaster and despair on Ethiopia. In light of these monstrous costs, is “victory” really a proper term?”

  4. Wellega was called Damot
    | #4

    Jawar Mohammed? Is he? she? or it?

    Is he that the one motivated with nightmares to spread false and wrong stories and history about Ethiopian using Oromo as a cover in order to create a Muslim nation in Ethiopia? He is to be found with his garbage and myths stories in blog where Muslims are around. Does he know about the Tsunami type of mass Galla migration to Ethiopia using the bad legacy of the Ahmed Gragn (Arabs and Ottomans agent) Islamic war against Christians? Does he know where was the main front line to that war? It was south of Nazret the place called Shembra Bora.
    Does he also know all the Habesha people including the Sidamas, Hadias, kembatas, welaitas, Guragees, Aderes(Adaris), Adals, Amharas, Tiges and the likes came together 500 years a go with 250 thousands solders and fought that Satanic messenger Islamic barbaric in Shembera Bora?

    Does he also know that the Galla Migration to the Ethiopian low as well as highlands able to succeed because of that war (1529-1543) happened months after the death of the powerful Habesha Queen Eleni who followed Negus….
    This Habesha queen was very much respected by Ethiopians and feared the same way her predecessors where by foreign enemies. That is why, after her death, the Arabs and Ottomans attacked Ethiopia from that direction and they succeed. Debre Berehan was at the time the seat of the Monarch.

    Because of the war destroyed the central govt, created Zemene mesafint, killed the citizens with many numbers, forced others to leave their area, there was nobody to stand for Ethiopia/area as one strong force at the time, this situation became the best opportunity to the Galla Nomads from Northern kenya and the Corner of bale(Borena) where their entire life was dependent on herding animals the same way we see today in northern Kenya and deep southern Ethiopia. They were savage warriors between each other based on clans, sub clans and against any tribe even worst than what we see today with some tribes in the Deep South and north Kenya. You can imagine how savage they could be 500 years a go. The main reason to their savage conflict was Grassland and water to their animal. They had no settled life and they where always on the move from place to place where the grass and water is. That is way they attacked with cruelty and no human filling at all against the them relatively civilized and farming Ethiopian people. It took them 300 years of cruelty to occupy the Ethiopian best land. Land Grabbing with crime was the nature and way of life to the galas for centuries. Because of this nature and way of life is done the galla migration in Ethiopia.

    The Galla Migration took about 300 years. It is between about 1550-1850. Read the book called Yegalla Tarik written in 1595 in the southern part of Ethiopia. The sidamas were/are the first and worst Galla Migration victims. However all Ethiopian Ethnic groups were/are badly affected by the massive Galla Migration. The first Entoto Mariam church was built in 1365 and was burned down during the Gran war as many christian/habesha histories were damaged/destroyed by that war. There was no any galla person back then in the area at that time.

    It is important to say that All gallas can be oromos but all oromos are not Gallas as because of the cruel and inhuman galla Migration; many Habeshas were massacred, abandoned their ancestry land and the rest forced to accept the galla way of life. That is why in the oromo we see today many with the typical habesha faces despite Pure Galla was looking exactly the Turkana, Boren and the likes in Northern Kenya and deep southern Ethiopia.

    Having said that, we have to find the right and common ground to live as a nation together. Oromo, oromia and the likes is a junky Joke. From where is this name came from? Before the Dergue renamed it with this new name as they were demanded thinking Oromo is sounding like Roman Empire (Immigrants). Or they think it was the right name to them knowing Gypsies (Sequins) in Europe are demanding to be called Roma people as they are immigrants in Europe. My be stupidity could be the reason why they came up with this kind name which is nowhere to be found in the international anthropologist book before 1974.

    No one Ethiopian person is stupid. We all Ethiopians and the world know exactly about the barbaric nomadic Galla Migration to Ethiopia since the 16 century. Demanding a kind of separate state in Ethiopia will never ever happen. It has no historical, legal and international values. If you don’t like the way we live together, leave. You came in without invitation and by force, and you are free to go. We will not accuse you in the international criminal court.

    How are you going to create a place called oromia (the place of Immigrants) where in the oromo you have

    29 clans, thousands sub clans and tens thousands sub sub clan.
    The different among the Oromos is very much clear and bigger than the difference between other Ethiopians. If the oromos are counted as one Ethnic group, for Sure for instance Tigres and Amharas are truly be seen as one Ethnic group. They are from the same parent born thousands years a go and ever since are living together. Naturally, they look the same, they eat the same food, they drink the same traditional drink, they use the same music instruments, they used the same Alphabet for thousands years, they dress the same; they have the same tradition, custom, habit, behaviour, faith and everything they have and they are is the same. Amharic and Tigrigna are the children of Geez. Blacks are speaking English, but they are not English people. Meaning language is nothing but an instrument to communicate. There are Ethiopians who don’t speak any Ethiopian language, but they are still Ethiopians. Only the above mentioned are the ones deciding about the difference and similarities between tribes and ethnics. For these reasons the oromo must have at least three distinct Ethnic groups. If not, we have to count the Amharas, Tigres and the others Ethiopian ethnic groups as one Ethnic group. The different between them is minor comparing with in the oromo.

    In the oromo you have 55% Muslims. 37% Christians and 8% animates. In the illegally and wrongly created so called Kilil oromia(the place of the immigrants) are living all Ethnic groups numbering more than 70. According to the reliable sources (not the fake sensor motivated by shit politics), 37% people living in Oromia are not oromos.
    After the unlawful and illegal Kilil in Ethiopia, 95% disputed areas in Ethiopia are in the oromia. There are numbers of disputed lands with the Sidamas, the Ogadens, the Gambelas, the Beshangulles, the nationalities and the Entire shewa and its surrounding with the Amharas.

    I have to stop here. Because there is no way to mentioned all reasons why the idea of oromia and the likes is wrong and myts that will never ever happen. Somalia has 5 clans; they have the same tradition, custom, language and 100% muslims. Yet, look at them. They managed to have own state ever only for less that 30 years. Since independent till the end of siadbare. Do you think, oromia will be a state even for a day even if the rest of the Ethiopian people accepts the never be accepted?

    Dream strait and get a life. We Ethiopians will never allow an illegal state to be created illegally. Our history is our guide. Come with this direction. Being a kind of thief, cheater, layer and the likes will never give you something which not yours.

    We have Ethiopia. We have to behave normally to benefit Ethiopia in order to have good life for each of us and give the best foundation to all Ethiopians. You have to find another useful hobby. Writing this kind garbage is a bad hobby. Individuals like Jawar must be stupid and have no the right and best way to lead their life. They are spending their life with ideas like this will never ever materialised but shame and affecting their own life.

    Just laugh at them. They have no idea about the other side of real and deep feeling about the whole issue.

  5. woygud
    | #5


    “I am amhara the son of poor farmer from Gojam”

    Is your father became a poor person because of having a silly and stupid son like you?

    Gojam? You are not from that place. Farmers in Gojam are not poor anymore. They are/will use their precious wealth, which is abandoned fresh water and nice climate to produce anything they want throughout the year.

    You are living poor and you will die poor. Get a life. Change your chicken head and wake up and stand up to function as a human being rather than complaining about your father being a poor person and admiring others that are writing something you have no idea what really it is.

    Don’t be like your fathers destituted sheep, cows and other domestic animals that look sick and poor like you father does.

    Individuals like you make me vomit. Parasites and insects like you are trying to associate with something in this case you are an amhara and Gojame. What is your contribution for/with it. Is it being valueless for yourself and complaining including your father being poor and admiring others including that are enemies? You are silly. Rats like you being among us are affecting us while benefiting others.

  6. Borsamo Harqa
    | #6

    The OLF should review its policies, overall programs and modernize itself to be a credible partner in the struggle for democracy, freedom and justice. The failure and weakness of the OLF lie in its ideology of adherence to the outdated Stalinist ideology of the right to secede. The Oromos have played a central and key role in creating and shaping the present day Ethiopia and the issue of secession does not serve their interests. They are Ethiopians and will remain so like their fellow countrymen with their rights accepted and respected. The elite manipulating legitimate public grievances to achieve their sinister goals of separating the Oromo Ethiopians from the other Ethiopians and seize power should be rejected. Such an elite does not have any democratic or popular agenda other than imposing their wills on others. We can learn much from the EPLF and TPLF elites who have turned out to be as or even more brutal and repressive than the regime they have overthrown. As the foster child of the EPLF, the OLF will not be any different or democratic than the EPLF and TPLF.

  7. Muktar Seid.
    | #7

    Professor Mesay is enlightening the Oromo elite who are detached from the present reality in Ethiopia and the world. The die-hard members of the OLF are brainwashed and blinded by a defunct and obsolte Marxist ideology and can not engage themselves in any civil and decent dialogue.
    They are hollow and make only noises like an empty container made of tin. The OLF attempted an ill fated insurgency in the early 90`s when it was sharing some power with the TPLF. Since the insurgency was not even widespread in the region the OLF claims to represent, it has failed. The TPLF was able to route out the the OLF forces easily since the Ormos did not take part in the insurgency. However, the OLF in partnership with the TPLF carried out massacres against unarmed innocent civilians labelled as Amhara colonizers. The cunning and organizationally strong TPLF lured the OLF into accomplishing the former`s agenda of ethnic cleansing and killings. After having used the OLF for his anti-Amhara agenda, Meles Zenawi moved against and routed it from the ethnic enclave of oromia. The fiasco and utter failure of the OLF have remained to be the source of humiliation and exacerbated the lack of confidence or feeling of inferiority among themembers of the OLF.
    The failure of OLF`s armed insurgency is to be blamed on the lack of broad support for the secessionist goal of the front among the people its claims to represent. The EPLF trainers and military advisers of the OLF also speak of the lack of discipline and motivation in the rank and file of the OLF fighters.
    Release Birtukan and all other prisoners of conscience in Ethiopia!!!

  8. Guest
    | #8

    Well explained Dr Messay. OLF hasn’t succeded due to its extremist agenda of secession. Its hateful and exclusionary political tactics has also paved the way for rival organisations including OPDO which has become an effective arm of TPLF to control Oromia. OPDO claims to stand for most of the political demands of the Oromo people depriving OLF of any sensational mobilising political agenda except ‘secession’. I believe that partly explains OLF’s obstinate upholding of ‘independent Oromia’. The leaders of OLF are afraid of losing their organisational identity without the secession agenda as a number of Oromo-based political organisation has already entered in to the politcal market.

  9. Babu
    | #9

    Wellega is called damot….well….on what planet are you living? “Old habit die hard”…you still live in adream world…soon you will be dust and dirt…never to amount to anything.
    Dr. Messay, defended his position well and this is how polemics and exchange of ideas should be conducted. Yours smell from the feudal and military era of our country. We have passed that and whether you like it or nor Oromia and the Oromo people are real and here…no matter in whatever shape and color or name the forces of struggle come…the end goal is freedom, equality and justice for the Oromo people.
    The aim should be to fight on all fronts to bring about a democratic governance to all the people…including to your habesha people.

  10. Tekelakel
    | #10

    If the major objective of the Oromo political organizations is to liberate their people by session or other means they would have done it years ago. After 50 years of “struggle” Why they are not able to liberate a single part of their area? Eretria & Tigre they hate Amhara but they did not have plan to eliminate it – they plan to free (Eritria) or put what they hate under their feet (Tigre). The problem with Oromo political organization is they put more of their power first to revenge Amhara to extent of eliminating it from the earth. Which this is totally impossible. Unless they concentrate in librating their people rather than revenging they will live with the same status as they are now.

  11. Mr.Think
    | #11

    What Mr
    the reason such a confusion exist about Ethiopia and the current problems is that Ethiopia is territory that has not achieved a nationhood. Ethiopia still operates as an empire, with no vision. The northern people especially do not understand how Ethiopia came about and its mode of operandi this is way Mr. Massay is fail to understand what the people of south are raising especially Oromos. The fact remains that northern people of Ethiopian worship the state of Ethiopia, without question for them Ethiopia is state that emanated from the bible and so no matter what happens whether their condition improve or not the do not approach Ethiopia’s problem for intellectual point of view. And I would ask Mr. Massay to educate the northern people to question what they have got for Ethiopia so their mind can become conducive to democracy and progressive thought? That should be the beginning.

  12. Abebe
    | #12

    You are presenting yourself as an expert of Ethiopian and Eritrean history when you know nothing about Eritrean people’s struggle. There is no struggle without a well organized people and clearly expressed ideology. Both are missing within Oromia.

  13. Wogen
    | #13


    Thick head and chatterer Woygud, My father is of course a poor from gojam and if you are jealous of the fruitfulness of the land sorry I cannot help you …he is anyways is poor 1) because he has never thought of greed and 2) tyrants has never given him chance to get it.
    By the way, if you could not believe he is from Gojam and poor. I do not think you can believe and accept your moron head this truth, but my grandfather died during ethio italian war and my father himself was a militia during Ethio and Somalia war.
    Let me tell you in short, from the time of immemorial my ancestors have fought to keep you free from slavery. You would stay slave forever otherwise and you are not thankful…because you haven’t been a slave because of my ancestors…thick head!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Jawar and Messay are my heroes so are Gobena, Balcha and Abidissa…….you tells me to hate Mesay and jawar….no I am not ignorant like you…. I love them…. They are brilliant not thick head like you…chatter

  14. jatinain
    | #14

    @Wellega was called Damot
    YOU told the truth,
    If the galas want to live in peace with others they do so
    but if secession is going to be their motto they better pack up and
    leave to where they came from which is norther kenya because they
    don’t have any owner ship to the land they are immigrants.

  15. jatinain
    | #15

    they plan to free (Eritria) or put what they hate under their feet

    | #16

    i hate a diatribe comment let alone entertained by it. Equitably fall into shameful consciousness either in politics or layman’s affair invites undesirable consequences. Elites who entertain or pushed by the wave of ethnic witty-gritty are not only a product of a retard process of evolution but also are first born children of a selfish interest. Because of these facts, they don’t resemble their own roots. OLF, EPLF, TPLF, ONLF and all other liberation fronts for-runners are awkward due to their latent and fixated hatred. They can’t think in the present for their mind is reflecting the remote past, they can’t progress for they are not-cognizant of social facts beyond think-thank school of thoughts. If they thought of the intrinsic nature of our society, they would remain respectful to the interest of the majority. Just because these interest groups fashion themselves after or espouse a Eurocentric ideology, it doesn’t necessarily gives them a mandate to represent others. SOCIETY’S PSYCHO-SOCIAL, AND SPIRITUAL BELIEF SYSTEM MUST BE HONORED AND RESPECTED BEFORE INTERJECTING THE VERY NOTION OF IDEOLOGY TO THE STRUGGLE. Bravo! Dr. Mesay.

  17. Kulfo
    | #17

    Dear Dr. Messay;

    Thanks for sharing your perspectives. I like the way you approached this delicate issue, but I’m not fully satisfied with it.

    I belong to Oromo in my father’s side and to Amhara in my mother’s side. When the issue of succession and self determination come in to the limelight in 1991/2, I was a senior student at AAU, sidist killo. As I belong to the two major ethnic groups, I had had the keen interest to listen to both sides, undeterred by biases and prejudice.
    I had witnessed extensive discussions (often mixed with passion and bitter emotions) among the Amhara and Oromo students in dormitories and lounges. After graduation, I joined the Alemaya University as a graduate Assistant. Surprisingly, the ethno-political divide I saw at Alemaya was astoundingly bitter. For various reasons, I had the chance to visit some rural areas of Hararghe and the animosity I saw from Rural Oromos were Amharas were beyond my wildest imagination. This is, of course, widely different from what I witnessed in Selalie area, where my grandfather and uncles live.

    I’m not good at politics, but I could observe one undeniable fact. Almost all Oromos I encountered in the past have one common belief, which is in favor of the secession. On the contrary, almost all my Amhara friends and Amhara scholars are against such belief.
    Here are my questions:

    1.Do you think that such polarized views would disappear once a democratic government is in place? My fear is the other way round.
    2. Why do you think there are no Oromo scholars in support of Unity? Don’t you think the issue is deeper than your observation?



  18. Arba Minch
    | #18

    Mr Think,

    You wrote:

    “The northern people especially do not understand how Ethiopia came about and its mode of operandi this is way Mr. Massay is fail to understand what the people of south are raising especially Oromos.”

    Do (Back then) the Gallas now the Oromos understand about the feeling of the people of the south? More than 95% the Ethiopian Ethnic groups are living in in the south. As the Galla Migration since the 16-century is well known and recorded, the oromo case in the south must be a separate issue. Read and listen what the people are saying about the southern part of the habesha people History (mainly the Sidamas, Guragees, kembatas, hadias, welitas, kefagnas (keffichos), and many others and get facts about the Galla migration and its devastated influence on them ever since.

    Don’t try even for a second associating the Oromos with the aboriginal Ethiopians living in the south. First leave the entire Sidamo including shashemene, Dila and many other areas to the Sidamas. Kefa to the Keffichos and others who forced to abandoned their land towards the southern boarder in the 1830+ to escape from the Abajifar invasion with gruesome massacre.
    Arusi (Arash), Shewa and wellega (Damot) to the Amharas and others as it was their ancestry land before the Nomadic mass Galla Migration. Harar to the Hararis, Adals and Afars and so on.

  19. Damot
    | #19

    Attention to all Ethiopian
    Agazi woyane, such as Arba Minch are fully engaged in sawing hatred to provoke war among our people. I ask all matured people to comment appropriately in respectful manner. If you’re not careful Ethiopia will sink into unimaginable!!!!

  20. Mr.Think
    | #20

    Arba Minch

    Arba Minch you must be one of those indoctrinated individual either that have migrated to the south or sellout from the south. Where did exactly the Oromo migrated from? Why don’t you enlighten us. What is funny is the the norther were the once that claimed to be from difference land, such as from Yemen, hence the word Abash which means derivative. Than they claimed to be sematic that have direct link with Israel. When they are in America they do not consider themselves Black. The Norther are under identity crisis. This is way they have never produced a tangible leader that transforms the North people life or the south, although they have been in power for the last 200 years. What the north people should do is question if their value are being addressed by these self-appointed elites that claim to represent them. The so called leader have done more damage to north people than the south if we speak the facts. The Norther people must join the South people in demanding that Ethiopia sees them as citizens not as subjects. What is good for the south is good for the north.

  21. W/Giorgis
    | #21


    “I’m not good at politics, but I could observe one undeniable fact. Almost all Oromos I encountered in the past have one common belief, which is in favor of the secession.”

    It is easy to see you have more personalities. The one you wrote here about who you are and the other you have in mind, you are not telling us but you know to whom. The one you have it in mind is taking you always to so called all Oromos that are in favour of the secession. Are you sure, all oromos are in favour of secession? This is telling clearly with what kind of oromos you are associating. That means you are for real one of them while writing here as if you are not. Do I smell here the Islamic terrorist wing of OLF and the likes shit idea? Don’t shit yourself here.

    95% of Oromos have no idea about your writing here that sounds like an amateur fiction story has nothing to reflect the reality.

    Why are you concentrating only about the Amharas while Ethiopia has 80 Ethnic groups? There is no one who is 100% committed and ready to sacrify for the security and unity of Ethiopia more than the southern nations and nationalities, Gambela and Beshanguls. Why don’t you talk about them? Are you afraid that they will demand their ancestry land from the oromos that are occupying it since 16 century after their mass immigration in to the Ethiopian territory? When you are saying about the Amhara, are you also saying about the rest of Ethiopians including the Tgrians, Guragees, Sidamas, kembatas, hadias, wolitas and the likes?
    Because in universities and elsewhere, these people are like one and always together having the same and non compromise promises and commitment about the unity, security and prosperity of Ethiopia.

    I’m not sure about you being once a University student and latter on in Alemaya..?

    I have been there. There was/is no such thing you are describing. There were/are still only few rat oromos who are fuelled by/ with lies about the oromo history by individuals like you and islamists OLF and others in the name of “O”. First learn and accept yourself about your history in Ethiopia. Then teach the rat oromos with galla mentality the truth rather than coming with fiction stories telling about your history. Your history and story are all fictions. The truth is clear and known. Except the OLF and Islamic terrorist agents, All Ethiopians in universities and elsewhere are associating, living and doing things together. Only few oromos with the Galla mentality are isolating themselves from others and they demand to have their own which is laughable and will never happen. .

    The Oromos are the 16 century Tsunami types of Galla Migration from the Corner of Balie to the low as well as highlands of Ethiopia occupying it with massacre and cruelty. This is the only fact and truth. Stop, writing and telling a fiction story to be your history. Have some Dignity telling the truth about yourself.

    Which Oromo (Mecha and Tulema, Guji, Arisi- negele or Borena) and which clan out of the 29 Oromo clans are demanding for secession? Make it clear. The difference between the oromos with many direction is much more than the difference between the rest of the Ethiopian Ethnic groups.

    Ethiopia has 80 Ethnic groups. The southern nations and nationalities (about 60 Ethnic groups) are and will be the front runners to keep Ethiopia safe and unite. That is why, the next PM minister and other key positions will be handed to those coming from that part of Ethiopia. Do you know the position of other Ethnic groups towards with the Galla mentality of Oromos that are thinking to have a state in Ethiopia after they occupied the land which is not their at all?

    By the way:

    The vast majority of so called oromos in shewa, and in the rest of highlands of Ethiopia are not the Galla descendents. These are the Aboriginal Ethiopians forced to accept the Galla way of life and after generations past, the have lost their own identity. Look at their face and look and compare them with the real oromo that have Galla descendent and those in the deep southern oromos. Therefore the vast majority of Oromos today are not from the Galla descendents. They are not immigrants to the area. Meaning they are not oromos( Immigrant).. That is why they are living in peace and harmony with the rest of the Ethiopian people. Those in the south with sick Islamic ideology oromos with galla mentality will never infect them. They are true and committed Ethiopians. They are in the front to confront any Ethiopian enemy.

    Stop saying all Oromos. Oromo itself is divided with many clans, Sub clans, and sub sub clans, Ethnics, Traditions, cultures, habits and many ways in pieces. Therefore, your so called secession idea is a myths has no historical, legal and anything that would support it. Smell the coffee. This is the reality and the truth.

  22. Negus Nebne Dengel
    | #22

    “Oromos I encountered in the past have one common belief, which is in favor of the secession”

    Let them believe in a myths satanic faith they have suffering with hate, lies and crimes doctrine that would affect themselves badly. Why are you encountering only these kinds of Individuals? Are you one of them? If I’m you, I would avoid them forever and confront them with reality and the truth that they are wrong.

    It is like the Germans that are the majority Ethnic group in USA demanding their out state in USA saying “it is their Ancestry land even before the Indians were ” The same thing the immigrants in Canada, central and South America, Australia and New Zeeland some ethnic groups are demanding their separate states saying “they were there before the aboriginals are,”

    Why in USA people are speaking English while the majority Ethnic group are Germans? Why in Mexico and elsewhere people are speaking Spanish while the Spanish (white) are there only 7% of the population? It is the same thing in Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela and elsewhere. Why very big countries like Brazil, Angola and Mozambique are speaking Portuguese while Portuguese people are very small in numbers? Why English is became the very important language to the world to communicate instead of Chinese and the likes as the English people are numbering very little figure? It is because of the circumstances and historical facts. It is because of choosing the best to make the society peaceful, healthy, wealthy and unite.

    But, our new comers(oromos) don’t get it. Because of they never had responsibility and deep feeling towards Ethiopia, they are intending doing anything they want (Most of the time with satanic wish and idea). Changing the name of the place, changing their ethnic name and changing is became the substitution of their century old natural way of life which is being Nomadic. They don’t like to accept, adopt and accept something which was/is there.

    Here I’m saying about the very minority satanic and Nomadic Gallas pretending as oromos The vast majority Oromos are victims of these Bastards trading in the name of oromo and most of them are living in abroad/exile with no meaningful life but spreading hate and translation of bad nightmare back home to affect the innocent Ethiopian people that is living for century together with peace, respect and happiness.

    Starting from our neighbours:

    Before colonization, the Entire horn of Africa and some parts of east Africa was called Abyssinia. Colonization is the one created all nations in Africa, Middle East, Asia, North and South America, Australia and elsewhere. That is why in the horn of Africa we Got today Somaliland as an English colony, Puntland as protectorate. Somalia as an Italian colony. The reason why Eritrea is demanding to be a separate state with boarder demarcation(that will never happen before the Ethiopia seacoast right is protected as before the federation agreement it was clearly stated and left rest because of the federalism agreement), is because of she was about 40 years an Italian colony. Why Kenya and many nations became separate states while many Ethnic groups are living with each state is because each of them were recognized by league of nation as separate colonial boarders.

    Why is South Sudan demanding separation is because of the North and southern Sudanese boarder was demarcated in 1905 and the southern part was an English colony associating it with Kenya and Uganda and North Sudan was predominantly under Egypt while its foreign matter was under British. The British gave South Sudan to the North in 1956 during independent with agreement with Egypt to have 100% right and control on the Nile thinking the Nile was coming only from South Sudan while up to 95% Nile water In Egypt back then and today is coming from the Ethiopian Highlands.
    Darfur had separate status during the colonial Time. That is why they are demanding separate states despite there are many Ethnic groups are living there.

    The reason why west Sahara is demanding a separate sate from Morocco, is that because it was a Spanish colony while Morocco was a France colony and known as separate colony in the league of nation. There are hundreds legal and historical reasons why some are demanding own separate states and others not. .

    Tell me one fact and real reason why the Oromos must have own state? What was their status during the League of nation era? What was their status during the creation of UN and ever since? Even the name oromo(new comers, immigrants) came in picture since 1974. Why many races, Ethnic groups, different religions, traditions and customs are living in one state while they know it could be fine if each of them have own nation the same way as the oromos are demanding out of the blue. It is about the legal, Historical and right issues. If not, we could see 1000 states in India, 1000 states in USA, 500 states in Sudan, 600 in Nigeria, 700 states in D.Congo, 120 in Tanzania, 250 in Cameroun, 100 states in Ghana, many states in Egypt and so on.

    The so called orommo secession is a foolish and rubbish idea deserve nothing. Secession from what and to go where? What is the legal, historical and right issue? It is coming from valueless and hopeless few individuals and they must be isolated and shut up their shit mouth with the truth. They are standing on the air with out roots and they will be fallen down when we confront them with the truth. They are too Ignorant have no idea about their own history but all lies and fiction thinking this way they can go away in their way. However that will never happen in a million year. If they don’t like the way we live together in Ethiopia, they cal leave. The guest time is over. We have to face the truth and facts about our country history and people.

  23. Ahadu
    | #23

    Arba minch you are either tigre or ertrean with your destructive and fabricated reality your type of peoples have been trying to mislead ethiopians in your tiny intellect the last 18 years that makes you a laughing stock among all ethiopians there is an amharic proverb (JORO LEBALEBETU BAED NEW OR YMILUSHEN BALSEMASH GEBEYA BALWETASH)WHICH IS BOTH APPLIED FOR YOU VERY STRONGLY) you are in ethiopia only cos of your gun not to pay un necessary sacrifies but when the time comes you will vanished like a dust

  24. Kulfo
    | #24

    In response to my comment posted on Sept 26, “W/Giorgis” and “Negus Neble Dingil” (are they one and the same person?) have reacted in a rudest way.

    Let me clarify some of the issues:

    - You asked me: “Are you sure, all Oromos are in favor of secession?
    • I never said so. What I said was “from the Oromos I encountered in the past”. Please read carefully before jumping in to keyboard. One basic problem PC worriers is that there is little or no time to listen and read carefully. By the way, why haven’t you reacted when I said my Amhara friends are in favor of unity? Why not you asked me if all Amharas have such feeling? Is it taken for granted? If so, you are unknowingly conforming with some of my observation.

    - You asked: “Why are you concentrating only about the Amharas while Ethiopia has 80 Ethnic groups?”.
    • I know them and belong to them. I talk about what I know. You must realize that of all ethnic groups in Ethiopia, it is the Amhara and Oromo who are the major ones, who are currently engaged in argument on the issue of secession (which is the subject of Dr Messay’s article.

    - You asked: “95% of Oromos have no idea about your writing here that sounds like an amateur fiction story has nothing to reflect the reality”
    • What kind of statistics is it? When did you conduct such estimate, and what kind of technique you used to boldly say like that?

    - You asked: “Why don’t you talk about them (Gambela, Benshangul)?
    • I never heard such complaints from my friends in those regions. It is only from my Amhara friends those worries are coming.

    - You said : “When you are saying about the Amhara, are you also saying about the rest of Ethiopians including the Tgrians, Guragees, Sidamas, kembatas, hadias, wolitas and the likes?”
    • When I say “Amhara”, it is only “Amhara”. Nothing more, nothing less.
    • By the way, It is only from my Guragie friends I hear some form of agreement with the Amhara’s big agenda “Unity”. There rest doesn’t share your idea. Do you think Somalis, Adares, Wolaitas, Gambelas are arch supporters of “unity” or centrist philosophy? I don’t think so. Please go to any demonstration organized by the Diaspora (who are free to express their opinion) and tell me how many Somalis, Oromos, Sidamas, Wolaita’s, do take part. You may not like it, but it is a fact.

    - You said: “I’m not sure about you being once a University student and latter on in Alemaya..?”
    • This confusion is common among people who didn’t get the chance or the caliber to join tertiary education. I was a student at AAU. Upon graduation with distinction, the then Higher Education Commission recruited me to teach at then Alemaya (Haremaya) University. “Graduate Assistant” is an academic rank given to fresh BA/BSc graduates.

    - You said: “I have been there (Alemaya). There was/is no such thing you are describing.
    • Wow. You must be a liar. I’m not going to outline the frequency and magnitude of Oromo-Amhara conflicts in that campus. This is because, I can’t enumerate them all. I would like to tell you that, it is the only higher institution where OLF and EPRDF fought within campus. It is the only campus where the army spends most of the time within the campus on a standby basis.

    - You asked me: “Which Oromo (Mecha and Tulema, Guji, Arisi- negele or Borena) and which clan out of the 29 Oromo clans are demanding for secession? Make it clear”.
    • Why not you tell me if you have that information. My opinion was based only on my friends’ opinion, and some Oromos I encountered in Hararghe and Showa. Why are you confused this much? It is a simple fact, not a rocket science!

    - You said “The vast majority of so called Oromos in shewa, and in the rest of highlands of Ethiopia are not the Galla descendents.”
    • First of all I’m ashamed of your derogatory terms. But it is a blind conclusion. As I stated before, the Oromos I encountered in Showa are moderate. This could be due to three reasons: 1. Some of them are intermarried to Amharas, so that they might have gradually bonded with the Amharas ( the case in point is my parents). 2. They are not marginalized like that of the southern and southeastern Oromos in the previous governments. 3. The religion factor: which is Orthodox Christian shared with the Amhara brothers. On the contrary, Oromos in the South and Southeast are dominated by Muslim religion, and that might have widened the wedge between the central government and themselves.

    At this juncture, I would like to add that:

    • It is not only the lack of democracy that derives Oromos to secession or support for OLF. The reason why many of the Oromo elite are not in favor of unity is only because they have been harassed, intimidated, ridiculed and systematically mistreated by many of the Amhara collogues. This problem has significantly disappeared since 1991/92 within Ethiopia, but most of the Diaspora community, who is fossilized in archaic and outdated thinking, is still lingering in this sick mentality.

    • From my personal observation, especially during the Derg time, students from Oromoia were not free to talk in their own tong even at their own dormitories. They were labeled “narrow” only to communicate with fellow Oromo. Don’t you think this things wedge a rift with the Amharas?

    • I remember to have heard many Ethiopian Diaspora and some chauvinistic persons vigorously opposing when VOA decided to launch its transmission via Oromiffa and Tigrigna language, in addition to Amharic language. What would be the impact of this mentality on the mindset of Oromos?

    • When Oromos started to use their language for court and education, most of the outcry was heard from the Amharas, but not from the other 80 or more ethnic groups of the country? Again, this is another observation I have of. When Dr Messay recommends “Democracy” as a panacea for the problem of secession, does it include the right to use the mother tong? Does it include the right to be administered by its fellow individual? Does it include the proper respect from some chauvinists?

    • In my observation, some individuals and political (centralist) parties believe that some Oromos favor independence only because EPRDF has article 39 in its constitution. Let me tell you one observation: When I talked to one friend of mine from Wollega (I know his strong support for OLF) as to why OLF failed to outshine in the Ethiopian political, he told me something worthy of consideration: As to him, most of the OLF agendas, are directly or indirectly implemented (at least partly) in the Oromia region. He told me, even the OPDO members are internally supporting most agendas of OLF (I also heard that Meles himself has stated that, behind the smokescreen of OPDO, one can easily find OLF).

    • My conclusion is that, as long as some chauvinistic Amharas start to respect Oromos is every respect, loving only the Oromia land resource wouldn’t take us anywhere. Let’s open our hearts. Lets give due respect to religions and cultural differences. Lets accommodate all with good intentions, and there would be more Oromos to fight for the Ethiopian Unity. The current trend, which is ridiculing Oromos and other minorities, would simply drive a wedge to the existing crack.



    | #25


    Take this small reminder as a NOTICE OF LEGAL challenge against you for promoting racism among the Ethiopian People and specially the OROMOS. You may have Thought that no body knows who you are, where you send this racist comment, and even you are well shilded by the WEYANE’s agents or supporters. But if I and my associates detect of similar comment, we have no choice but to seek the information from the Website Administrator under the private information Act of 1974 0f the United State America or Under U.S Federal Rule of Criminal procedure. It may cost us money to bring charge against you in the court of law but TO STOP YOUR MADNESS, I will promiss, if not threat, to cover the attorney fee by my free and professional service.

  26. ባሳምን ዛሬ
    | #26

    ከዕለታት አንድ ቀን ሃገራችን ጠንካራ ብልህ መሪ ,ከዚያም ቀጥሎ ጥሩ ደራሲዎችን ;ታሪክ ፅሃፊዎችን ;ብልህ ኢኮኖሚስቶችን ; እንዲሁም ሌላ ሙያዎች ያላቸውን በተጣራ መልክ ማፍራትዋ አይቀርም : እስከዚያው ድረስ ግን በግምት ውሳኔ መስጠት; በመጥፎ ዳኝነት መኖርን ;ማፍረስና መገንባትን መቀበል ዓለብን :አለበለዚያ ምንም ምርጫ ያለን አይመስለኝም : ሙዚቃዎቻችንና ድራማዎቻችን ላይ ምንም ትኩረት አለመስጠታችን ከማንኛውም አብልጦ እንደጎዳንና ወደ ድንጋይ ዘመን አካባቢ እንደመለሰን ሁኔታዎች ይመሰክራሉ::ክቅዥት ጋር ተመሳሳይነት ያለው ወፈፌ ሙዚቃችንንና ድራማ እየተባሉ መጀመሪያቸውና መጨረሻቸው ጨርሶ መለያ የሌለው ዬእብዶች ጨዋታ ዕትብት እየቀረበልን በገዛ ገንዘባችን ዕንዲህ መጨዋቻ ለመሆን የበቃንበት ምክንያት ,መጥፎው ትምህርታችን ለመሆኑ ምንም ጥርጥር የለኝም :ይህንን እንኻ አርመን ይሄን ሁሉ ዘመን አለማስተካከላችን ,ትምህርታችንን ይገባዋል የሚባል ደረጃ ላይ በጥራት መሰጠት እንዳለበት እያወቁ ለእዚህ ያበቁንን የተረት አርበኞቻችንን (ቂል የሰምና የወርቅ ተረተኞችን) ታሪክ ይታዘባቸዋል

  27. Arba Minch
    | #27


    You are pathetic. Does the truth heart? Where did you find the racist comment? We are talking here about the facts that are well known and recorded. Why don’t you learn to face facts and discuss in a civilised manner to score your point if you have some. What you mentioned here as racist or what ever you call it, was an answer given to Mr, Think. Why don’t you ask him about his an unacceptable comment towards the Entire North. Who give the right to individuals like you to insult the whole region?

    I didn’t mention the well recorded massacre in Assosa including in hospital(1988), Arusi, harar and everything what happened in the name of Ethnic and religion-Against Christians living in the south mainly since 1991 despite all is there and known and well recorded.

    Remind you. The Entire Ethiopian people look the same, behave the same, respect one another and are living together for many many years. Few individuals with evil idea will never ever come between the Ethiopian people. You and I will pass soon or latter, but the Ethiopian people will live together forever, you do like it or not.

    Your blah blah matters nothing. Change your foolish and hate brain. Think positively and live strait and useful life. This is the way gives you something meaningful in life. Be a human being of your century preferring, accepting, adopting and using ideas to fight each other in order to find solution. The gun, machete and the likes period to solve differences need to be over.
    Overacting like you is the kind of ignorant thinks he/she can do anything she want while the reality is too complicated and different. Behave accordingly, boy. If you don’t like my comment, lets come with ideas that are true and facts to convince me and to accept your idea. But, your acts here is looks like centuries back. Instead of confronting my idea with your idea, you are taking it personally and you seem are mad and bad about it. I feel sorry for you living and associating with personality and ability you have. Have you ever visited others blogs? Have you ever read comments there? I’m sure not. you are just an amateur/weak bloger knows nothing to be part of the right blogers. It makes laugh reading your comment with a kind of fret from mentally angry and professionally/humanly empty.

    P.S: If you don’t want or cannot deal with the responses to your idea/behaviour, then don’t provoke/don’t start. As long as you are coming with ideas that are wrong, false, misleading and bad, you will get the right response. The funny thing is that when you get the right response, you freak out and become mad and bad. Get a life, man. There are many useful things to do in life. Mr Think started with lies and bad ideas and I finished it with the truth and fact. If you don’t agree with me, lets tell me your version point by point.

    I’m sure, I don’t have hate towards anybody including you. But the truth, facts and the right things are mine religions. What about you? It is important to behave according to the time which is a modern time and the world is working this way. Fret? Ha ha ha… and Q Q Q… Get a life, boy.

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