What is your citizenship? Oromian or Ethiopian?
By Rundassa Asheetee Hundee
Since the Oromo heroic battle against he Tigre colonial rule erupted in 2014, we’ve got groups that run around to produce certain political document that they say will serve as a constitution of the new Ethiopia they are going to build. But these men seem to forget about the Declaration of the Independence of Oromia to which countless Oromos gave their lives for. While the Declaration of Independent Oromia idea constitutes a clear manifesto of CITIZENSHIP to Oromia, the document that these men are trying to produce demands certain rights for the Oromo people within empire Ethiopia. But the question is, can empire Ethiopia adequately entertain human freedom?
Do those who jump from one thing to the other based on every changing situation have themoral and belief essential to produce principled document?
The interest and the common goal that drove millions of Oromians to participate in 2014-2016 liberation movement was never about improving the Oromo lives within empire Ethiopian context, nor it was about good governance. Rather they fought so that the Tigre colonizing forces would leave Oromia and blood was spilled everywhere as a result. The Oromo people took this decisive action after exhausting all the options they were told to try, which was exercising the voting rights that the Oromo Federalist Party, Oromo National Congress, ODF and the OPDO preached to them for 25 years. They have tried to vote in the fake national and local elections following the counsel of these men but that process only made the Tigreans the true authorities of the empire. Even after fighting bitterly for this worthy cause, the Oromo people are forced to pay for all properties that the TPLF spies set fire on and also continue paying taxes and fees in accordance with the Tigre colonial laws. Such has been a special rights and obligations the Oromo people were given and now the question still remain whether or not we are willing to work hard, pay taxes, uphold the notion that the Tigreans are the supreme leaders of empire Ethiopia and live accordingly.
It is here where answering a question as to seeking certain freedom as Ethiopians or becoming the CITIZENS of Oromia and take full responsibility and make own decisions becomes very crucial.
For the past 25 years, the Tigre colonist made sure that they remain to be the supreme rulers of empire Ethiopia by turning everyone against one another and then balanced out the situation. After doing so for 25 years, and after the term democracy lost meaning to the people concerned, the Tigreans came up with different strategy that will give them 25 more years time to remain as rulers of the empire. Unaware that the Tigreans had been concocting new ways of finding out who is most active in organizing the process of removing them from power, millions of Oromians and Amharas led to rise being carefully guided by the TPLF spies. Through such clever means of isolating their enemy from friend, now the Tigreans have killed the most active and brilliant individuals and jailed those who are known as leaders.
What is obvious here is that those who come to power in empire Ethiopia will always try to control everything. They do this because they don’t know how to improve their own moral values, and such deceptive and cruel political culture can’t allow people to participate in their own civic affairs and discuss on matters freely and make decisions. Understanding this reality, the founders of the Oromo Liberation Movement believed that it is ONLY in free and independent Oromia where the Oromo people can exercise true freedom fundamental for their rights. They believed that only CITIZENSHIP to Oromia can provide meaning and purpose to our relationships as people who share common hopes, common assurance over the sojourn of Ethiopian citizenship that so often fraught us with pain and sorrow.
When our CITIZENSHIP to Oromia is respected as a fundamental right, we can write the laws that can give everyone a space they need to live their deepest beliefs freely and openly. Although nothing is absolute, it is possible to protect life, property and infringements upon the rights of others. By having nondiscrimination laws, we can respect and protect everyone’s views on religion, sub cultures, and economic interests. Even if Oromia is not free yet, we can write our own constitution today and start exercising how to protect the core elements of freedom and rights such as the freedom to express political and religious beliefs in word and writing. Most importantly, we can exercise what it means to not to interfere in unfair and misleading political, religious, localist politics that seem to consume our time and resources. To do so, we must set priorities on what’s core to us and what is less vital. That means, we have to decide whether we want to be the citizens Ethiopia or the citizens of Oromia.
Obviously, being the CITIZEN of Oromia allows us to get involved politically and socially to both defend every citizen’s freedom and to make appropriate compromises to ensure peace and fairness. If one’s essential core is to have freedom being Ethiopia’s citizen, albite facing the risk to remain peripheral to own affairs, it is important to understand that one is taking away the right to defend what is essential to him/her. Most importantly, it is important to know that there are nonnegotiable things such as “freedoms” that define the core of Oromo liberty: freedom of belief; freedoms related to our Oromo world view, and freedom to express beliefs to another willing listener, and freedoms related to the internal Oromo, such as the establishment of Oromo doctrine, the selection and regulation of local economy, and the determination of membership criteria as to who has access to Oromia’s Gold and other mineral deposits including all natural resources.
Oromia has it’s own traditional beliefs that regulate marriage, family matters, war, and conflict. Oromia also has professional counselors, teachers, lawyers, doctors, and any other category of occupation to whom the government of Oromia grants licenses so that they all could establish a nonprofit, religious, political, economic development etc. By living under the Tigreans authority, the Oromians are abandoning all these things and their standards and accept other’s standards that only favors the colonizing forces.
Knowing that Ethiopia only preserves the freedoms of the colonizers to rape the Oromo resources, kill the Oromo people the same way a hunter would kill a Deer, only having our own free space can guarantee us the freedom to live in peace as tolerant societies do, of course all these things should be exercised today even when we are under slavery. Notwithstanding the many additional concerns affecting us today, writing the constitution by which the CITIZENS of Oromia can be governed is vital to our ability to exercise general academic rights. Since only it is a good institution that can address individual or groups concerns, feelings, fears, and expectations that are represented among us with respect to our citizenship to Oromia, our efforts and responsibilities in the sphere of our creativity must begin today not after Oromia is liberated.
While both being the CITIZEN of Ethiopia and Oromia may fundamentally feels the same thing to those who don’t understand what “ Oromo” really means, the emphasis and rationale behind seeing Ethiopia and Oromia’s institutions as same is quite a mistake because both entities affairs and practices are entirely different as explained above. Each entities have their priorities, interests goals and agendas, i.e, each strives for and largely to achieve their primary motivations that are significantly different.
I know that many Ethiopianists argue that the Oromo people can and should play special role in bring democracy to empire Ethiopia. However, looking at the Amharic speaking people’s behavioral patterns and the selfishness of the hungry Tigreans who are selling the entire country to satisfy their selfish ends only forces the Oromo people to seek a complete freedom from the empire so that we the oromians can preserve the heritage of our oromo knowledge that history has washed to the colonizers feet right now.
The weakness from which the diaspora Oromo suffer from mostly comes from lack of devotion to the idea behind free Oromia and the majority inability to understand the meaning of CITIZENSHIP. Most tiresome is the fact that many of these people confuse between knowledge and tradition, thus miss the meaning of foundational principles that infuse inquiry, creativity, and research in the most open and free learning and inquiring environments. For that reason, they are scared to even entertain what it means to be a CITIZEN of Oromia vs. the citizen of Ethiopia.
For me what is real frustrating is that people who lack firm belief and foundational principles think of themselves as quite pragmatic in their commitment to preparing the new generation of Oromia to assume freedom from empire Ethiopia. To justify their confusion, they often talk about the vast and rapidly changing world pushing aside the concept what it means to be firmly anchored in an enduring Oromo values. it is one thing to adapt skills and information in order to take advantage of the changing world economy but it is another matter to confuse between professionalism, identity, culture and the right to claim CITIZENSHIP the Oromia and join the rapidly transforming world economy and trade with others.
Whether they are half or quarter Oromo or Amhara, showing loyalty to the empire that lives at the cost of human life is unfair the least to say. Others those who express love for the ill empire just because they have accumulated wealth in the process of working and living under empire Ethiopia’s corrupt system must understand that acquiring wealth and human freedom are entirely separate matters. For us the Oromians, freedom means is to be able to live according to the essential principles that being a CITIZEN of Oromia offers.
Of course, taken at face value, it is easy to derive such logical argument that it is possible to assume the Ethiopian citizenship as long as there is a good institution. However, thinking along this line could be a pure disregard of the consequence of the ongoing, and the continuing power corruption practiced by the mafia team from Tigrai. What is more logical and true is that there is mutual understanding, mutual edification or enlargement, and thereby mutual joy in having a free country of our own and proudly say “ I am from Oromia!”
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