Wednesday December 16th 2016
By Muhammed Umar.
The Oromo struggle is a just one. The Oromo struggle is a noble and sacred one, certainly worth dying for, if need be. The Oromo people are not struggling to dominate others or to impose their culture or language on others. We are simply struggling to be seen as and treated as equals in Ethiopia. We do not want preferential treatment nor do we expect it. The Oromo people have been denied even the most basic of human rights in Ethiopia and it’s been this way since the inception of the modern Ethiopian state towards the end of the 19th century.
What the Oromos want is equal representation in all aspects of Ethiopian society. From the military to the financial sectors to the intelligence services that strive to keep Ethiopia safe from terror or enemies: the Oromo deserve and want equal representation. Ironically, the Oromo are the backbone of Ethiopia both from economic and military viewpoints, but they are still marginalized and oppressed in their own land. The state of Oromia contributes at least 50% of the national GDP and the majority of the arable land that feeds Ethiopia is within Oromia. The Oromo also make up at least a third of the armed forces in Ethiopia and many of them are among the most patriotic Ethiopians out there. So, it’s needless to say that the Oromo are indeed a large component of what makes Ethiopia Ethiopia and it wouldn’t be an overstatement to suggest that Ethiopia would not exist without their resources, land or manpower.
The Addis Ababa master plan, which was devised without the consent ofthe farmers and Oromo people who reside in and around the lands, is what led to Oromo students rising up en masse to protest. They are not terrorists, they are unarmed students protesting on behalf of the voiceless and oppressed Oromo farmers who simply want to make a living and take care of their families; as they’ve been doing for decades upon decades. If the Oromo attempted to displace Tigrayan farmers from lands traditionally belonging to them, we all know what the response would be: fierce resistance and fighting; so why is it okay when the Tigrayan led regime does it to Oromo farmers? Why the double standards when it concerns Oromo land and affairs?
If the TPLF does not desist from its targeting of Oromos who are simply asking for their human rights, then who knows where it can go from here. An oppressed nation like the Oromo may have no choice but to resort to a protracted armed struggle to liberate their exploited land and people from the Tigrayan elites. All peaceful forms of protest and ways to address grievances have been met with brute force and live bullets, even women and children have not spared. If an armed uprising occurs in Oromia, the bread-basket of Ethiopia, it will have severe consequences that no Ethiopian from east to west, will be spared from.
No-one, including the Oromo and Tigrayan people respectively, will benefit from another cycle of war in Ethiopia. Our parents and family members know the consequences of war all too well and Ethiopia itself has a history of war. I myself am a son of refugees who left Ethiopia to escape from the brutal civil war that raged from 1974 to 1991. The question is: Will the TPLF heed these warnings or will they depend on brute military force to solve issues, as usual?