Fayyis Oromia, 17 Oct. 2009 — Slowly political elites in Ethiopian empire are coming to their sense. The formation of MEDREK is the second break through next to the attempt done in forging and consolidating AFD. Thanks to the far sighted OLF leaders and the Ex-CUD representatives in diaspora, who started this innovative spirit of coming together for common benefit, the hitherto quasi irreconciallable Amhara elites and Oromo elites started to approach each other. Civilized mentality started to rule the political game between the two groups. I don’t need to discuss about AFD here for a lot has been said and written about it at the time of its formation.
But let me put my opinion on Medrek on paper in short and compare it with AFD in respect to their implication on Oromo liberation movement. To tell the truth, Medrek is the best compromise solution, but not optimal solution, Ethiopian elites achieved to forge till now. To make my readers understand what I mean, let me classify Ethiopian elites in to four:
– those advocating for Unity of Assimilated Nations. Most of them being Amhara elites who still nostaligically wish to reverse the political move in the country to the pre 1991 situation, this group just wants to have a unitary Ethiopia, of course with Amharinya as the only national language, whereas the “right of other nations to develop their culture and language is respected” as they usually like to write in their programmes. Here belongs as an example AEUP and EPRP.
– those who want to maintain the Union of Opressed Nations as the status quo is now. I don’t need to explain further for it is obvious and TPLF is the mastermind of this situation. This is simply a union formed and kept by military force.
– those who demand for the Union of Autonomous Nations in Ethiopian context with relatively strong federal government, but based not necessarily on force, rather to be formed by predetermination i.e a union by elite consensus or based on the will of the involved elites. I think MEDREK is the example to achieve this.
– those who do fight for liberation of their respective nations, but still didn’t exclude the possibility of Union of Independent Nations which is almost the union similar to EU (European Union). This group strives for a possible union of free nations based on self-determination of the public, not by will of only the polity. OLF and ONLF are the classical examples!
Now when we do compare the four groups, the positions of the first and the fourth seem to be irreconciallable. The first group being obsolete can not accomodate the fourth. Leave alone the fourth, this group is against the second and the third as we do still observe. The second group is the fascist oppressor at the moment, which we all need to fight. I think the third position, i.e the position of MEDREK is the compromise solution which the first group (mostly Amhara forces) and the fourth group (dominated by Oromo fronts) can accept as a common ground to make an alliance and fight against the common enemy aka against the fascist regime we all seem to hate.
So let’s come to our sense and celebrate MEDREK as the best compromise solution all national groups in the country could forge at the moment. Otherwise we will stay to be the victims of devide and rule played by Weyane, where it demonized Amharas as “centeralist chauvinists” and accused Oromos as “narrow secessionists” and made them to fight each other as well as where it beat them turn by turn. In short, the above four groups can be described as:
– The rulling fascist who want to maintain a Union of Oppressed Nations! and
– The three opposition groups:
* the far rights, who want to have a Unity of Assimilated Nations!
* the middle position of Medrek as a compromise, a Union of Autonomous Nations!
* the far lefts, who want to achieve a Union of Independent Nations!
Clear is that still some Amhara elites advocate and write in support of the far right position by opposing the democratic Kilil-fedreation, which is actually the best compromise solution for the opposition groups from unity forces and liberation fronts to come together by forging alliances to fight against Weyane. What is the solution from these pro unity elites’ point of view? Neglect liberation fronts and others who vehemently oppose their far right position? Interestingly people like prof. Mesifin and some other scholars lastly showed their true colour by opposing Medrek and by crying for “anti-kilil” position. Such fool Amhara elites still didn’t comprehend that democratic Kilil-federation is still supported by the majority of Oromo groups. It is clear that the far right positioned Amhara elites want to get rid of Kilil, whereas Oromo elites want it to be real and democratic!
The two main political positions in the opposition, i.e the position of the Amhara pro-democracy forces (unconditional unity) vs the position of the Oromo pro-liberty fronts (union based on free will aka conditional union) should be discussed and debated before attempting to forge any alliance against the ruling party. I think groups in Medrek have done the discussion. They agreed on the unconditional unity as a common goal. Here it seems the “multinational” parties like UDJ got their will asserted. “national” parties like OFDM and OPC seem to have given in. Even it is not yet clear, whether UDJ have accepted as a compromise in principle the Kilil-federation, which is prefered by Oromo parties. According to one radio interview given by vice chairman of UDJ, Gizachew Shiferraw, his party still opposes such federation and he wants that the public decide on the type of future federation.
It is clear that Amhara pro-democracy forces like UDJ are advocators of geography based federalism in contrast to a language based federalism (“ethnic federalism”), which is preferred by most of the freedom fighters like OLF. Implimentation of geograqphy based federation is the second, next to securing the unconditional unity, what UDJ wanted to achieve in Medrek. So it seems that UDJ has got what it intended to achieve: §39 is rejected and if Medrek wins the next election, the issue of the type of federation will be decided by the public verdict. UDJ really played a smart politics. To secure the unconditional unity, it applied the method of CONSENSUS between the involved parties. To achieve the type of federation it wants, it demands an other method aka REFERENDUM. Actually fair is when in both decisions either consensus or referendum is applied. That means either they should have left the question of unity also for referendum or they should have arrived a required consensus also on accepting Kilil-federation.
Here it seems the federalist Oromo parties in Medrek lost in the compromise solution. They didn’t insist to achieve the right of Oromo nation to self-determination and even they compromised the further existence of Oromia because of the fact that if geography based federation wins in the required referendum, Oromia will be dismantled. This acceptance of unconditional Ethiopian unity by federalist Oromo parties in Medrek is like a weak man making a compromise on his own wife, who is being raped daily by a neighbour bully. If a certain bully from a neighbour goes in to some body’s hause and rape daily the wife of his helpless neighbour infront of her husband, the helpless man can only beg the bully to reduce the rape action to help his wife get less pain. If the bully agrees to come every other day instead of every day, that is the success for the helpless man. That is what Oromo parties in Medrek did achieve by not insisting on the right of Oromo nation to self-determination, but just only accepting the demand of Abeshas for unconditional Ethiopian unity. They are simply helpless vis a vis the well armoured Abesha domination forces.
Regarding the implication of the the two hitherto alliances (Medrek and AFD) on Oromo libaration movement, we can only discuss theoretically. Medrek without any consensus on keeping Kilil-federalism is a backward step for Oromo liberation movement. I am sure if Oromo parties in this alliance don’t give clear answer for this question, they should expect that Oromo people will stick to OPDO rather than experimenting with them on the fate of Oromia. If it is clear that Medrek is to advance such federalism and if the difference with that of Weyane is only the question of democracy as Dr Merera told in VoA, then it will be clear that Oromo people will support them to achieve a true and democratic Kilil-federation, getting rid of the present fake one. Achieving autonomous and democratic Oromia in a federated Ethiopia is the midpoint goal on the journey to our endpoint goal aka self-determination. Then we can be sure that Medrek is really the midpoint solution to our liberation problem.
That is why I dare to say Ethiopian elites by forging Medrek (if Kilil-federation is part of its programm) could only achieve midpoint solution to the complex problem of the empire. To come to the endpoint solution, they still need an alliance like AFD, which seems to have made self-determination of nations the common ground of the agreement. Without a democratic right of all nations in the region including self-determination, there will never be a lasting solution. With consensus on unconditional unity like what Medrek did, we can only postpone the end result, but never avoid or hinder the question of nations to self-determination which will be raised again and again and again….till they get it.
Coming specifically to the question of Oromo people, it is not bad if we move from the status quo and achieve our midpoint goal with the help of Medrek, but Abesha elites should not fool themselves that it would be the endpoint solution for Oromo question. As far as Oromo is concerned, the only lasting union is the one based on the self-determination of Oromo public, not the union based on the predetermination by Oromo elites like those in OFDM and OPC now tried to do. That is why I do advice those opposition groups in diaspora like G-7, OLF, ONLF, EPPF, TPDM, EPRP…..etc to face the reality on the ground and forge an alliance based on the solid ground aka to achieve a union based on self-detrermination of nations, which is an optimal and the endpoint solution, not only a temporary compromise solution like that of Medrek.
The writer can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org