With deliberation that required many years of wisdom and patience, nationalists who believed in a strong OLF are able to overcome obstacles laid down in front of them and reach understanding. That is courage beyond comparison. Let us salute all OLF activists for putting back Kaayyoo on the path of revival and salvage their organization. At a time when confusion reigned and despair set in to Oromo nationalists, a morale uplifting memorandum came out – filling despair with hope, and confusion with clarity. Misunderstanding between “QC” and “Shanee” was on interpretation of the kaayyoo. Both accused each other for the betrayal of the cause, and did much harm to each other and the struggle. Among these were individuals who had given all the prime parts of their lives for the liberation of Oromiyaa. The crack between them gave a chance for subversive elements, and enemy lackeys to infiltrate and divide them. Their objective is to dismantle and make irrelevant the only organization that has won confidence of the Oromo people. They abhor the very concept of independence and oneness of Oromiyaa. Now those who still uphold the independence and freedom of Oromiyaa and Oromiyaan have unequivocally made their stand clear. As said, “The first blow is half the battle.” From here, patriots hope the leaders will spring forward and tackle the real national problem. They have taken the first great stride, what remains is technical.
As a concerned Oromo Abdii Boruu frequently reminds his readers to let one try to look backward and see what was erred to come to the mess the struggle is in now. Those errors should not be repeated again. OLF is a political organization of volunteers; volunteers who have to pass through testing hurdles to join it. All those who join it on that standard should have a forum to express themselves and make their voices heard. The mass supporters, community organizations, and all religious and civic societies must also be integrated into the information system of the movement to liberate their country. Strong organization is one that can protect itself from infiltration while striving for victory. During the time of Abbaa Gadaa, Oromo held their meetings in the open air under the odaa tree. Then, they had laws and traditions and “safuu” that every national was obliged to respect. Now, they are operating from inside enemy camp and that openness cannot be expected. We have to bear with the situation and limit our demands for information on those areas that do not expose the struggle to unnecessary quarters. The enemy knows no safuu, it needs to be approached in its own way.
All those who went to colonial schools had learned in Amharic classes the parable of a monkey. A monkey came out of a forest pricked all over the body with thorns. When asked which one should be plucked for her first, her reply was that of her seat (butt). If she can have a seat she could prioritize the rest by herself. The Oromo is also asking the same – first to have a seat, a country. From there, other relations will follow at own time and own pace. The recently issued memorandum has cleared the so far existing confusion as to “what the OLF wants.” Those who are against the independence of Oromiyaa should not be allowed to build their nests inside the OLF camp again for they are like cuckoo, the brood parasite. Any Oromo has the right to independently or dependently organize and canvas to sell their program. Trying to interfere in the smooth functioning of the OLF will be considered as a mission to fulfill other’s assignment. Oromo have “safuu,” the boundaries that are sacred for the nation to be trespassed in dealing with each other irrespective of animosity. If we are Oromo, wherever we are, ethical standards of the nation must be maintained towards each other. That will be the mark of being an Oromo or not.
It is not peculiar to Oromo to have differences of opinion among individuals or groups. Contribution of OLF in bringing together nationals from different backgrounds, beliefs and regions from sixties onward cannot be forgotten. By that, the Oromo youth was able to march together and defended their kaayyoo with their blood. Still they need that spirit. An organization does not operate in a vacuum. Interference should be expected from all corners, internal or external. Personal or group interests need to be sacrificed for the benefit of the liberation of the common country today. Unless one tastes hardship at present, they will not be enjoying individual rights and liberties tomorrow might bestow. For whatever, to be politically conscious is essential. Only the conscious can defend ones rights. Otherwise, saboteurs will try to create doubt on the noble principles for which one stands.
If the present generation depends only on its experience in all its relations and decision-makings, there could be error in judgment. They should give a role for imagination to view what life may look like in the years ahead. Then only could they consolidate aspirations of the past, the present and the future generation, in short, kaayyoo of the nation. For this reason, the understanding that is reached now must start working towards the future while maturely taking proper care of the present. The hope of the Oromo nation lies in a strong future generation, a future generation that did not experience the type of slavery and vacillations that its forerunners experienced. Oromo revolutionaries are guided by a vision – a vision for peaceful region, continent and the world. Above all, a clear vision for an independent republic of Oromiyaa, where its citizens live in happiness and tranquility – respected as human beings. They are not interested to cross borders, conquer the conquerors for payback to what they did unto them. They only want their country and freedom back.
Many experts and laureates try to overlook the agony in which the Oromo finds themselves, and demand from them to give priority for strengthening the empire. There are many Oromo groups that stoop for such demands. In them, those experts have already good clients. So, they need to strengthen those rather than bothering the ones who look at history differently. There is also no need for empire hopefuls to brand Oromo patriots with different adjectives. Why are these anti-Oromo elements after the victims leaving aside the victors? Oromo are not acting as victims, but are victims of circumstance in real terms. They are not crying for mercy, but to express the just cause of their struggle. It is to warn the oppressor that there could be consequences for which they will blame themselves alone. Why should anybody raise quislings and mercenaries from the grave as if they had done anything honorable for the Oromo? Having Oromo blood does not make one a respectable Oromo. We can list the wrong doings of those quislings and galtuu, but culture forbids us to tarnish the dead. It is the sacrifice one makes for freedom and independence of the nation that counts to be adored. The Oromo nation has choices in front of it; to live as an independent nation or continue to live under colonial dictates. If they adhere to their Gadaa tradition, they will choose the first; if they choose to be looked upon as slaves for eternity, they will choose the second. The choice is theirs, and they do not need suggestions from outsiders and their clients.
Oromo nationalists had once again shamed those who said OLF and the Kaayyoo are dead. The aspiration of freedom never dies. Despair and betrayals have so far slowed progress towards the final goal, but could never stop it. Let the skirmishes and the bickering that had consumed Oromo time of last decade come to an end. Let building trust, that was eroded by internally- and externally-pumped propaganda and rumors, start to be rebuilt. There is only one Oromiyaa to which all who claim to be Oromians belong. The Oromo love all peoples of Africa, the Horn and the world. Their belief emanates from their great love for peace, tranquility, freedom and equality that they inherited from their Gadaa democratic culture. Let no segment of Oromiyaa feel marginalized in contributing to the liberation of their country. Hayila Sillasee’s foreign based model of struggle is not fit for OLF. Let the struggle head to where the oppression is. Let us salute once again all OLF activists for their courage in bringing the struggle to this level. Let nothing stand on their way in forgetting and forgiving the past, and move forward. Kaayyoo is starting to revive.
Honor and glory for the fallen heroines and heroes; liberty equality and freedom for the living and nagaa and araaraa for the Ayyaanaa of our fore parents!
* Ibsaa Guutama is a member of the generation that drew the first Political program of the OLF.