In Solidarity with Oromo Students.
Professor Mohammed Abbajebel Tahiro
Heavy handed crackdown by federal government forces and Oromia police, under the supervision of Tigrean chieftains, has become a familiar scene in the Oromo quest for justice. TPLF leaders understood they had to rule with an iron fist or they would not last very long. They did not survive 25 years by playing boy scouts. They know their days are numbered and they will do everything in their power to buy more time, there by inflicting greater wound on the Oromo nation.
As I have said on numerous occasions, TPLF and some Tigrean elites have been conspiring against the Oromo people for decades. Oromia has become a spoil of war that can be exploited without any guilt or shame. Any Oromo who stands in the way is eliminated without mercy. This is the kind of enemy the Oromo people are facing.
Now, TPLF has transitioned from economic exploitation to the reengineering of the demographic makeup of the country. Master Plan and economic development have become buzz words for ethnic marginalization. Oromo students are ahead of the curve on this. They can take TPLF officials to school on shrewdness, except TPLF’s shrewdness is a fall back on guns. Oromo students interviewed by OMN, Oromo TV, and the VOA demonstrated true statesmanship. They are intelligent, articulate, and determined. They have put government spokespeople to shame.
Oromo political parties operating “legally” in Ethiopia should stand with Oromo students. The Master Plan is unconstitutional even according to the constitution governing the country now. Oromo political parties cannot and should not negotiate for better terms of “land sale” or compensation on behalf of thousands of illegally evicted Oromos. Ancestral land taken illegally should be given back to the original owner, period. Yes, others may have built houses or businesses on misappropriated lad; that is the government’s problem.
Token negotiation on Oromo land sends the wrong message. First, it demonstrates lack of willingness to take a firm stand on an issue as important as land. If there is anything one would stand and fight for, this is it. Once you start negotiating with the government on behalf of evicted land owners, it is a slippery slope. Here is the alternative, how about demanding illegally expropriated land be returned to the original owners? This is not about whether or not the government will acquiesce to the people’s demands; it’s all about Oromo political organizations and what they stand for.
Second, negotiating for better terms of “land sale” will reduce the issue of land, identity, culture, language, etc…down to money; and that’s dangerous. If any party does that, it is, inadvertently, signing off on the Master Plan. I’m confident all Oromos will stand united against this existential threat.
Finally, many Oromos were injured, many more jailed, and some reportedly killed in the latest outbreak of state sponsored violence. I urge Oromos to stand by each other, demand jailed students be released, nurse your wounded, and bury your dead. Never forget, all of this is done to you on your own land.
To non-Oromos who have been conditioned to believe the persecution of the Oromo people can only be a good thing for “Ethiopia,” you will be disabused of that belief, in due time, by non-other than TPLF. I have yet to hear any non-Oromo “Ethiopian” voice their disapproval of this industrial scale human rights violation perpetrated by the TPLF regime.
Professor Mohammed Abbajebel Tahiro