Oromo Fundamentalism: The Septic Abortion of Ethnic Politics.
Zelalem Attlee (MD, MHCM, DrPH)
September 20, 2018
The grave danger that is looming in Ethiopia at the present time is primarily perpetuated by mafia type racist organizations and individuals. Based on the racist/ethnicist foundation provided by TPLF, the numero uno of the mafia organizations, 27 years ago now we have new ethnic regions designated as “regional states” which are acting like independent “countries” and throughout the last 27 years the states of Oromia, Somali, Gambela and Benshangul have been carrying out ethnic cleansing and genocides on other ethnic groups that were claimed “not belonging” to those new geographic ethnic entities. The worst atrocities have been carried out by dark organizations operating in those regional states by being backed up by the TPLF organization, and the most outstanding of all were the extremist Oromo organizations IFLO and OLF, which are sister organizations carrying the same cessationist slogan of succeeding a dream region called Oromia that extends all the way down to Kenya, Somalia to the south, and also included Addis Ababa and most parts of northern provinces of Ethiopia.
A number of key dark figures have pushed this agenda by killing innocent people within the premises of this region. Rough estimates of those killed, imprisoned and displaced throughout the last 27 EPRDF years and during the 17 years of the dergue time was about in the highs of millions of people, mostly belonging to Amhara, Eritrea, and guraghe tribes which were not accounted by international and national human right groups. The key figures who led these atrocities included Jara Aba Geda “the butcher of Hararghe”, OLF leaders like Lencho Leta, Abiyu Geleta, Gelassa Dilbo, Dawd Ibsa, and Oromo fundamentalists such as Hizkiel Gabissa, Jawar Mohammed, Tsegaye Ararsa and many others. Lately the most prominent of all, that became prominent in bird-dogging this agenda is Jawar Mohammed, who is an Oromo fundamentalist, handling the youth league and their media OMN, together with Tsegaye Ararsa, and Hizkiel Gabissa.
But who are these individuals and what are their tactics that led to the breakup of EPRDF and its main Oromo wing OPDO, and led to the claiming of Addis Ababa as the main Oromo capital that “only” belonged to Oromos while Addis Ababa has a history of more than 500 years, and is a melting pot for all the 86 Ethiopian tribes, and African and European nationals.
1. The individuals
At this time I want to focus on Jawar Mohammed as he is the prominent figure that came through this havoc. Jawar mohammed is an empty vessel outside of his political life, who came out of nowhere from the fringes of the periphery in the Arsi province from a lower class. He idolized the butcher of Hararghe when he was a child, and he joined the EPRDF when the TPLF led EPRDF came to power and reaped some of the benefits that trickled from the TPLF such as scholarships which became his gateway to the outside world. He never lived in Addis Ababa except for some 8 months for processing his scholarship to Singapore. After passing to the United States Jawar got deeply involved the extremist Oromo fundamentalism which is the spinoff of OLF’s ideology, a known terrorist organization. As a protagonist of Oromo fundamentalism Jawar became a key person to organize a youth gangster organization with its troops called Qero, he established the Oromo media networks through the funding of Egypt, fundamentalist Oromo and Islamic elites, and the backup of the West. He was solely responsible for the activism of extreme views through this media and mobilizing naïve “Oromo” youth and getting them involved in massive killings as we speak. He is also wearing the Islamism hat so that he would also pursue Islamic fundamentalism in the Muslim wing of the Oromo population and opened a leeway for religious warfare in the current Oromia region. Due to the increasing rate of loss of life in the Oromia region and currently in Addis Ababa the name Jawar has now become synonymous with evil. What many often forget, however, is that Jawar and similarly the OLF organization were not only coldblooded tyrants but especially Jawar was also a brilliant persuader of Oromo men. OLF and IFLO leaders oversaw the deaths of millions of people, including the near extermination of the Amhara tribe from the current Oromia while maintaining the full support of the Oromo people. The entire Oromo population was certainly not as heartless and cruel as Jawar was, so it stands to reason that Jawar must have been a masterful propagandist in order to persuade the Oromos that his and OLF‟s policies were necessary and just. Jawar had previously used his persuasiveness to further himself in the OLF organization and to gain supporters, but it was not until he had ‘differences’ with current OLF leadership that he was able to establish and become prominent in the Oromo media Network that his persuasive style was fully manifested. Jawar‟s persuasive method was built upon the foundation of treating the Oromo people as a group, rather than as individuals. Jawar strategized and worked on the premises that the receptivity of the broad Oromo masses as very limited, he belittled the Oromo‟s populations‟ intelligence as miniscule, and he once mentioned the Oromo communities’ power of forgetting as enormous and he used this assumption to chase his agenda. In consequence of these facts, he strategized that all effective propaganda should be limited to very few points and must build up on these ethnic oppression, language and power slogans until the last member of the Oromo public understands what he want them to deduce. In his mind as soon as he sacrificed these catchphrases and tried to appear multifaceted, he assumed the effect would piddle away, because the crowd can neither digest nor retain the material offered. He totally underestimated the depth of knowledge and the historical role of the Oromo people in their country, their intelligence, and their commitment to Ethiopia.
Jawar and the Oromo fanatics recognized that if the Oromo people had a group mentality they would be much more receptive to ideologies similar to what OLF had previously pursued as an ideology and propaganda. To reinforce this mindset in the Oromo people, the Oromo fundamentalists held events that required mass participation which did not invite individuality. Anyone who did not openly participate or share the emotion of the rest of the crowd was easily identified and dealt with by either the crowd itself or by qero personnel. One did not even have to be resistant or cause a disturbance to be viewed as subversive; indifference alone was enough to infuriate the crowd. Jawar and the Oromo fanatics tried to direct their ego ideals to the primary mass of qeros and instilled fear and a master-servant relationship in the crowd. They reinforced the psychotic Oromia as a country castle in the sky, and presented themselves as strong and powerful while they were absolutely weak, and fragile. So what did Jawar do?… he continuously made speeches on social media which were highly dramatic, with high tones and yelling, and waving of his hands and if need be by wearing traditional costumes. He used excessive use of Oromo fundamentalist symbols, provocative songs, hired people who present themselves as lone speakers on the social media to augment the propaganda by throwing profanities at communities outside his Oromo premise especially on Amharas. He also used word games to ameliorate his image as an intellectual, in order to convince his supporters that what he proposes would be the ultimate solution to his Oromo problem. He dissed individuals that posed a threat to his egomaniac ideals, and reinforced these ideals by creating a dilemma and confusion by manufacturing false historical scripture, by labeling the threatening party as someone unethical, and by doubling up on the false rhetoric as “this will never happen again”. The other tactic Jawar and his cronies used in their speeches was that convincing their audience that the rest of Ethiopia thought of Oromos as inferior, and second-class citizens. This angered the Qero crowd, who had been comprehensively indoctrinated to believe that they were the master tribe. Jawar and the Oromo elites produced and manufactured documents strengthening this rhetoric and through continuous propaganda they reached to a point of convincing the Oromo youth that these documents were existing and have been used by previous Ethiopian regimes. He built his idea of Ethiopianism by backing the TPLF-made story of the Amhara expansionism, and that has been the justification for the loss of million lives of Amharic speaking citizens in many of the provinces/zones of the current Oromia.
2. Creating a new identity
The name Oromo was not even the original name of the tribe. This name was bestowed upon the Oromos by a German missionary Krapff who was spying Ethiopia for the European kings at the time prior to the Berlin Conference. The Oromo tribe as we know it now has migrated from the current Kenyan border to the northern and western parts of Ethiopia through multiple invasions and occupations parallel with the Ahmed Gragn invasion. This migration happened in multiple phases and it started around 1522 and ended in mid-1700s. By 1750 the Oromo tribe has wiped out the original inhabitants of Southern, central, western and northern parts of Ethiopia and had assimilated with the main stream northern Ethiopian communities and kingdoms of the then Ethiopia. The Oromo migration and occupation has been responsible for the complete extinction of tribes such as The Gafat, Mia and Damot tribes and has been responsible for the colonial style imposition of forced identification of the surviving tribes in the occupied areas as Oromos. The mechanism of the Oromo occupation had its distinct features of invasion, raping, looting wealth, assimilation and integration. During the integration phase they change the names of towns, mountains, places so that they would lose their original identity, and force the communities to abide by their cultural laws, and speak the Oromo language. The Oromo migration and occupation is solely responsible for ushering the era of “Zemene Mesafint”, which resulted in a nationwide anarchy and gangsterism that lasted for about 86 years (from 1769-1855). Since then the Oromos have been ruling Ethiopia at different times and have participated in the modern history of Ethiopia till the end of the Dergue era. During the dergue time the Oromo fanatics established and infiltrated organizations like MEISON, ECHIAT, and later in ESEPA (WPE) where the main leadership and almost 90% of all the lower governance structures were led by Oromo elites and fanatics. They were responsible for the death of the non-Oromo EPRP majority during red terror. Most of the time these Oromo led parties were populated with Oromo fundamentalist members that have double membership in other organizations like OLF or IFLO. This style of infiltration by Oromo fanatics has led them to acculturate plausible deniability, whenever they do atrocities , they will hide in the cloak of the ruling or the other party and still conduct their bloody agenda. At the present time the EPRDF branch OPDO has been infiltrated by oromo fundamentalists and they participated in the qero movement and that resulted in the coup de etat of the TPLF leadership.
The rise of the TPLF-led EPRDF brought in a new modus operandi of divide and rule by fabricating false historical data, revisionism and eliminationism leading to the current ethnic-based governance which is currently taking Ethiopia to the brink of civil war. The key question is who is Oromo? What is the criteria to be identified as Oromo? Is it through genetic screening? Geographical identification? Or identification by affiliation or inclination? Or is it through fear? The way I see it, since there is no genetic screening-based census, being an Oromo is related to a self-identification exercise of a certain community by living in a certain geographic area for generations. This can mean due to the infinite north-south and East-West migrations of Ethiopians from all of Ethiopia‟s corners and getting settled in any given geographic area in the past 1000 years, has led them to be able to speak the area‟s language, to espouse the culture and to convert into the area‟s religious practices. This phenomenon is also true to all former 14 provinces of Ethiopia. An Eritrean who settled in haraghe in the early 1900‟s will have his great grandchildren speaking Oromiffa, Somali, Harari, Tigrigna, and Amharic languages all at the same time. During the TPLF-led EPRDF era, new ethnic based maps and governance structure was instituted, dividing the whole country in to ethnically segregated regions, and this led to subsequent ethnic cleansing wars within the regions by rebel groups such as OLF, IFLO, and ONLF.
The other important fallacy of the EPRDF era was the manipulation of census and statistical indicators in order to justify its political agenda. Because of the manipulation of these statistical figures we have inflated ethnic population distribution, along with the dismantling and displacement of the inhabitants that lived in more than 300 urban and peri-urban towns and rural villages. Since the rise of EPRDF Oromia has been the seat of ethnic cleansing, genocide, xenophobia, and inhuman atrocities in the local communities. To this day, the perpetrators have never been tried, and they still continue to push their agenda as if nothing has happened. The most interesting issue in the current Oromo politics is that they still stick to their historical modus operandi of invasion, raping, looting wealth, assimilation and integration. At the present time this is what they are focused on as far as major towns such as Addis Ababa, DireDawa, Dessie and Jimma are concerned. The current riots in Addis Ababa are highly linked to this historical practice. The blackball historical Oromo invade and conquer operation is wearing a makeup of historical eliminationism in order to justify that these economically vibrant cities and their wealth can be claimed as part of Oromia. Addis Ababa has never been finfine according to the current eliminationist history of OLF. Berera (the Current Addis Ababa) was a city under the district of Wereb from the time of Dawit I 1380-1413 to Libne dingil 1418-1540.Wereb was a an affluent Christian district. This has been accounted in the book Futuh al Habesha , Richard Pankhrust , Marco Vigano, and Pastor Daniel who recorded the accounts of Berera.
On Barara (Breternitz &Pankhurst, 2009) state the following:
A dominating feature of Ethiopian royal tradition was the constant
change of the king‟s residence of which we have a better understanding
only as of the beginning of this millennium.2 However, “moving capitals”
and a number of prominent royal settlements existed, especially in Shoa,
which formed – next to Amhara – the center of the Ethiopian kingdoms of
the 13th to early 16th Century.3 One of them, Barara, a settlement in south
-east Shoa, appears to have been a capital for close on a century, but
remains one of the country‟s least known – and most enigmatic – of towns, despite its obvious function as political and economic center of 15th and early 16th century Ethiopia. However, having been destroyed by the Adäl conqueror Amir Ahmed ibn Ibrahim, better known as Grañ, the Left-Handed, in the first
half of the 16th century, the city as well as the whole of south Shoa was later inhabited by migrating Oromo, as a result of which knowledge of Barara as well as of the other historic places in south Shoa was lost (p. 209-249).
There has never been an originality in the current nomenclature of the Oromo elites on the issue of Addis Ababa and many other provinces. It is part of a power mongering game they are playing to further occupy and oppress the broad masses of Ethiopia. However, the focus of the current Oromo fundamentalists is Addis Ababa right now. By occupying Addis Ababa, they can both directly and systematically loot all the wealth of the city, displace the population, and split Oromia from the rest of the country.
3. The pre requisites of a revolution
The grand plan to split Oromia has started a long time ago. There have been so much genocidal activities in Oromia by IFLO and OLF for 44 years. These killings have never been fully addressed and the Amharic speaking victims‟ plights has been curtailed by the policies of EPRDF for long. The recent massacre of Burayu, at the outskirts of Addis, in which 58 innocent men, women and children have perished in broad day light, is one of the tips of the iceberg in the concatenation of the OLF genocide activities in Ethiopia. Since Dr. Abiy Ahmed has taken the PM office there had been 15 hot spots in Oromia alone where there were massive ethnic cleansing activities in the country. In this mix the Oromia police has been a hidden participant in the genocidal activities by protecting the Qero who are killing innocent victims. There is so much to look into when addressing the Oromo fundamentalism.
At the present time the need and the pre requisites of revolution have been fulfilled to save the nation. However, the revolution should start in Addis Ababa, as it is a strategically important city that defines Addis abebawiyan, and furthermore it is the key to unite the rest of Ethiopia. The fall of Addis Ababa in to the hands of the qero, or OLF, or tyrants like Jawar, Hizkiel, Tsegaye, or Dawd Ibsa would ultimately result in a bloody civil war, an endless oppression, and finally to the disintegration of Ethiopia as we know it. The people of Addis Ababa have to organize in a structured fashion to chase out the Oromo fanatics first from Addis Ababa, then from the whole Ethiopia. The support structure of OLF, OMN, and similar hard core racist organizations has to be dismantled, and these tyrants should be tried and be imprisoned for the rest of their lives with the charge of treason. For the 1000th time we have proved that Oromo fundamentalism is the septic abortion of Ethiopia‟s current ethnic politics. We have seen time and time again the ultimate failure of Ethnic politics throughout the last 27 years. The future is grim for Addis Ababawiyan and Ethiopians per se. A bloody coup de etat is also a possibility since groups like OLF and ONLF are around. A strong resolve and a forceful action are needed to stop the dissemination of this deadly infection.
Barara, the Royal City of 15th and Early 16th Century (Ethiopia). Medieval and Other Early Settlements Between Wechecha Range and Mt Yerer: Results from a Recent Survey : Richard Pankhurst, Annales d’Éthiopie Année 2009 24 pp. 209-249 OROMO FUNDAMENTALISM: THE SEPTIC ABORTION OF ETHNIC 12