A Closer Look into Jawar Mohammed’s Assessment By Rosa Abadir
This week, I read the article posted on Addis Voice Website under the title “The ‘new’ OLF program: much ado about nothing” written by Jawar Mohammed a young vibrant person whom I have the biggest respect due to his articulation & marvelous communication skills as well as enormous effort to be a voice for the voiceless million Ethiopians. However, in this short reaction I would like respectfully disagree with you on a certain major failures of your portion that are the core pillars for the struggle particularly for supporters in abroad. Your reaction towards the new OLF political dogma modification of dropping secession with distortion and unjustified accusation is understand why you are in such extreme agony trying to find an exit from the house of lie you were been lied and trapped for so long. Moreover, your underestimation for both OLF led by Brigadier General Kemmal Gelchu and G7 is unfounded and imprudent. Undeniably, you are entitled to your views with no boundaries; however I have also the right to encounter your schismatic and unwarranted statements that has neither a truth nor advantage unless it keeps those few Oromo’s who want to remain in blind political arena as well as in unfeasible non-tangible empty fantasy. Surly, I can’t force you the truth as the truth shouldn’t be forced on people, but it should be available to people who need it. In fact, I don’t have the monopoly on the truth, however I feel like I’m obliged to correct some of the visible defects that I noticed on your piece. Unquestionably, there is no any individuals or group who is not affected directly or indirectly by the TPLF ethno-fascist rulers’ tribally prejudiced agenda, so instead of splitting words and spend our valuable energy to repair our minor difference it would be advisable to focus toward the common enemy which is killing us as well as our country.
Let me put a couple of your outrageous long statements for clarifications. You stated that “The buzz on both ends of the political divide about OLF dropping ‘secessionism’ and embracing ‘Ethiopianism’ is equally misleading. The Oromo movement, particularly one led by the OLF, had never foreclosed on the possibility of resolving the Oromo question within the existing Ethiopian state structure. The OLF program, through all of its amendments from the time of founding to now, left the door open for both options: reforming Ethiopia and establishing an independent Oromia.” Seemingly, you are trying to divert the core concerns of the Oromo’s people struggle by undermining the long and strenuous struggle and portray the question of Oromo as if it’s merely the question of secession, while the fundamental demands of the vast majority of Oromo’s including & excluding OLF members is very identical to non-Oromo Ethiopians and is a question of justice, freedom and democracy. In addition, you blindly slammed the door as you miraculously represented as if the major demands of Oromo’s will not be resolved separately from the question of secessionism. However, unlike to what you untruthfully claimed democracy without equal participation in the political process is unworkable, so irrespective of some biased, prejudice and emotion driven individuals like you, the long and vigorous struggle of Oromo’s is to make sure that everyone has equal right to form and join autonomous associations, including political associations, such as political parties, and interest groups. Hence, the struggle has been to facilitate for every citizen the right to vote in the elections, right to freedom of expression, particularly political expression, including criticism of the officials, the conduct of the government. Indeed, as we clearly observed that many Oromo’s have already identified the core problem and don’t want to buy your failed political path despite trying to sail under false colors, and portray the old OLF secession dogma as the vanguard of democracy and justice.
Another deficiency of you is that “Unfortunately, neither the OLF faction nor Ginbot 7 has tangible operational capabilities. Both parties are diaspora-based with little to no organizational visibility on the ground. They lack organizational strength and a feasible strategy to build one. The leaders themselves are not willing to directly engage in the conflict and are resigned to waging a long-distance war.” Obviously, it would be far too easy to simply denounce the upcoming potential unity of these groups and pointing out fingers without having an alternative solution. Your polemic statement is not only untrue but apparently undermine as well as insulting the intelligence of large number of Ethiopians who are a member and supporters of OLF & G7. Indeed, this is the same baseless accusation that comes from G7 & OLF rivals, but the truth is that both organizations shouldn’t publicly announce what kind of ground works that they are undertaking in Ethiopia due to the fact that they have their own political strategy where it’s too early and inappropriate to predict the fate & the outcomes of these organization now using cynic thoughts. I barely understand your concern and agree that there would be always a possibility of lack of capability in every political group, and giving early warning and encouraging those members to refrain from a complete failure is very vital, however, your approach was wrong, as it focused more on undermining of the initial efforts instead of providing the intended message with cogent argument in order help to strengthen the unity message. Anyhow, your accusation of on both OLF & G7 and defaming if they are a tool of the enemy seems absurd, because the same accusation is spread by the TPLF gangsters, as well as by some worthless EPRP, MEAD and anti-unity forces and seemingly you are sharing the same deliberate misguided political schema.
You also added that “It might be the case that, in order to become a dominant voice in its envisioned coalition, Ginbot 7, despite the rhetoric, prefers to have a weaker OLF faction than a united front. But this is a serious strategic blunder.” Again, your visionless conclusion about the relationship between G7 & OLF is laughable as you first categorized the OLF led by Brigadier General Kemal Gelchu as a weak organization without providing us any sufficient evidence about the strength of the other OLF factions except uttering your own unjustified wistful calculation and secondly you concluded that G7 prefers to alley with the weaker OLF where your accusation is baseless and not supported by any facts. However, you sound like you are driven by emotion instead of reason and logic as a result you rushed out only to vent your own frustration that is not reinforced by any facts and yet apparently this shows that you are trapped in the same empty blaming game bucket. But, accusing and blackmailing these groups who doesn’t share your dogma seems baseless and imprudent. Instead it seems that your judgment is biased by your own toxic ideology and it’s obvious from your writing that you are on denial sticking with liars like glue by accusing some group based on factious unjustified stories, but those who originally brainwashed you were crafty liars unfortunately they stripped your mind adequately along with other gullible Oromo’s who are still screaming day in and day out about Minilik & Amahra while they are currently being eaten by TPLF beasts. For that factor, genuine Ethiopians should be happy to see collaboration among different opposition groups, because such coordinated struggle shorten the life span of the TPLF gangs who are using divide and rule as the main political instrument. Definitely, unlike to your underestimation, the G7’s approach and endeavor to work with other Ethiopian ethnic based organizations and accept their autonomous right seems wise and of course makes the democratic process very smooth and hopeful. Without doubt, what you’ve said is a complete contradictory to what particularly both OLF & G7 are going for. Despite to your’s and others narrowly based and ideologically intoxicated ethnic chiefs, it’s evident that G7 stands for unity based on equality, democracy and social justice for all regardless.
Aside from the struggle against TPLF by OLF, I think at the same time it’s not a bizarre anymore to anyone that majority of the Oromo population went through different periods of clash against OLF some biased and arrogant leaders and members. The saddest part is that even today some of the Oromo politicians are still fixated to Amygdala politics (based on what happened in the past) and blame Amhara, while their house is plundered by the TPLF gangs. Seemingly, they are unable to see the reality behind the curtain and identify the sheep in wolves clothing character of TPLF gangs. I admit the fact that, you have a way better understanding than me in regards to politics. But, politics based on what happened in the past and with the intention of revenge does not help, but instead it multiplies the enemy. Therefore, you should promote & encourage the Oromo politicians as well as the naïve followers to reevaluate their dogma in order to know that the current Amhara people are not responsible for what had happened hundred years ago, but what should matter it what is happening today instead of repeating the same detested motto and expecting different result. For that matter, the recent release of OLF statement led by B.G. Kemmal Gelchu is a huge gear shift and deserve the most outstanding credit, as it positioned the fundamental concrete foundation to be a crucial remedy for the current problem yet this is the very beginning not the end. Surely, this is not going to be a task for only a few OLF leaders, members & supporters, instead everyone including you and I should be a part of this in order to see the profitable result. Otherwise, pointing fingers to others in order to avoid your own responsibility is impolitic and should be condemn by all of us.
Jawar, I am optimistic that you are not one of those naïve OLF sympathizers who want to remain in the dark as they still restlessly screaming purposefully or mistakenly with the intention to unearth Minilik and his cabinet in order to face justice, what they are doing right now is unwise and damages the popular struggle and endangers the survival of their own people and will hurt their own future dream, i.e. flourishing justice, freedom and democracy for the generation to come. The truth is that we cannot change the past, or change the fact that people acted in a certain way, but we should use the past to guide us in order to understand the present and foresee the future. The past is over, so we should not clutch tightly as if it solves our present problem. Thus, the remaining Oromo politicians should understand this simple fact and instead of focusing to the ghost of Minilik and intend to revenge the current Amhara the crime nothing to do with it, they should focus on the TPLF gangs who are sucking their blood and eating their flesh, and forced them to wretched of poverty in the mid of plenty. The Amhara’s on the other hand also should remove the biased attitude about Oromo and the new coordinated struggle against the common enemy (the TPLF gangs). They should automatically stop & drop their filthy rotten politics to regain their power interest in the name of Ethiopian unity. Truly, I have said it many times that especially the current so called anti-unity forces who are titling themselves “Unity Forces” that are a combination of EPRP, MEAD and other self-claimed members and supporters should end uttering their disliked failed fake unity agenda and should either come forward to join the new coordinated struggle or follow their own path without verbally attacking others. They should recognize that having wished the unity of Ethiopia without recognizing the autonomous of every ethnic group seems inappropriate and apparently causes more damage to the popular struggle than benefiting it. They should not confuse narrow nationalism to the autonomous right of every ethnic group, as narrow nationalism is a politics of hate. They should swallow the fact that democracy without respecting the self-governing of different part of the society, or ethnic groups could not be feasible. Therefore, whether we like it or not, there is no vicious enemy to both as well as other Ethiopian tribes more than the TPLF gangs. There is no crueler than those who are deliberately starving the people to fill their pocket and fund their extravagant life style. Therefore, the so called “Unity Forces” should accept that fact that the OLF question should be addressed properly and have acceptable resolution instead of trying to ignore it as if it is not a political issue.
Finally, in my opinion the bold move by OLF, G7 and others to form alliance is very encouraging not only to organization members, but also to the general public, and at the same time it will emasculate the divide and rule tactic of TPLF gangs. The different groups deciding to coordinate their struggle is not political suicide as you and some other individuals portrayed and assumed,, but a smart move to challenge the well-armed tribal gang, otherwise without it, it would be considered as if they are trying to clamp with one hand and of course they would be eaten by ravenous wolf (TPLF gangs) turn by turn. And yet there is only two choices we have, either accept slavery and live our life with shame and disgrace or fight back and reclaim our dignity and pride. In my opinion, of course the new courageous step taken by the OLF sends shock in the TPLF gangsters’ camp and on the other side it is a boost on the popular struggle. Despite to your groundless conclusion, the OLF led by B.G. Kemal Gelchu not only understood the important of coordinated struggle, but also realized that the Oromo people problem is not solved separately without having solved the problem of other Ethiopians. There is no question that the OLF’s decision to coordinate its struggle with other Ethiopians is a big blow to the TPLF gangsters. Apparently, nothing makes happy Ethiopians more than seeing their fellow citizens understand each other and mange to organize their struggle against the common enemy, the TPLF thugs. Whether you like it or not, the ground fact is that the future of the Oromo youth is not different to the future of either Amhara, or Gurage or other Ethiopian tribes’ youth including the Tigreans; their future is in danger and of course the TPLF gangs who make life intolerable and dreadful are responsible. So, regardless what yours’ loud and senseless discouraging noise as well as deceiving article, the OLF decision is historical and inspiring. Removing TPLF from power is the most decisive and should be given priority more than anything else, so after that we should deal with other problems based on the seriousness the problem. TPLF is deliberately creating as well as inflicting hate among Ethiopian tribes, otherwise it would not survive without dividing as well as weaken our power, so we should not fall in its trap by playing its part of divide and rule political schema. Therefore, Mr. Jawar, in our side we should also show our willingness to work with them, instead of failing on TPLF’s divide and rule trap. We have common enemy (TPLF gangs), so we should be able to coordinate our struggle instead of splitting words and widen the bridge among us. Apparently, we have spent so many times degrading each other as “Ante Amahra vs. Ante Oromo” and it would not important to continue as such, because if we do so the enemy would benefit more than anyone of us. I hope you wouldn’t deny that the TPLF gangsters are number one enemy to the people of Ethiopia, so instead of focusing on the acute problem, which could kill you on the spot, you seem divert your attention to tackle the chronic problem, which could have been dealt in the future.
“The past is a ghost, the future a dream, and all we ever have is now.” Bill Cosby
• TPLF: Tigrean’s People Liberation Front
• EPRP: Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party
• MEAD: A term used to refer All Ethiopians Unity Party (AEUP) led by Ato Hailu Shawel
• G7: Ginbot 7 Movement For Justice Freedom & Democracy
• OLF: Oromo Liberation Front