The concept embedded in the article of Mr. Natenael Feleke (http://www.mereja.com/amharic/48078) gave me courage to further ask on the way out of crises of Ethiopian Empire for better common future and to suggest possible option from my perspective. Mr. Natenael summarized the reality of present politics in the Empire and compared it with some similar previous experiences from historical recodes to hint us on the way forward to remain under the umbrella of Ethiopia. In fact, I believe, Mr. Natenale’s short article is underpinning concept which should be enriched by elites from Oromo, Abyssinian and Southern Nations and Nationalities to make the Ethiopia our safe heaven. The failure to do so, for reasons beyond shadow of doubt, will only yield disintegration of the Empire in its former natural components. Needless to mention that a nation do have its own right to decide its destination what so ever favorable or unfavorable the ground may be to move toward its goal. For example, Oromo could dedicate itself to regain independent Oromia subjugated in tier by Abyssinian colonizers. The liberation could take place whatever the present impeding reality might be. The question is probably how to reduce cost of achieving the goal to freedom of leaving in its own native father land. Alternatively, the issue is of how to optimize the gain from bitter struggle without compromising the ultimate goal to exist as an Oromo might come to fore. The question of optimizing the gain from bitter struggle may necessitate the co-struggle of Oromo with Abyssinian (Amhara and including Tigre) and Southern Nation and Nationalities against the current tyranny TPLF government. However, who is ready to sustain the idea of co-struggle for common better future? Obviously, Oromo heroes such as OLF have had initially documented their clear goal (http://www.oromoliberationfront.org/OLFPolicies.htm) even before four decades. The ultimate goal set by Oromo leadership coupled with ongoing civil Oromo disobedience of tyranny government is promising the achievement of freedom for Oromo and Southern Nation and Nationalities to exist free on their own native country. The model of the struggle of Oromo with southern allies (such as Peoples’ Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (PAFD) representing Benishangul, Gambella, Ogadenia, Oromia and Sidama) predicts TPLF is short lived and colonial hegemony is to end soon.
On the other hand, to the knowledge of this author, clarity of objective is lacking from fellow Amahara and no sound voice is heard from toward Tigre nationals against the TPLF. The author is not certain that the Tigre nationals are not demanding the Republic of Tigrai as contained in long standing and yet active TPLF’s manifesto document. The author’s uncertainty has to do with officially reset boundary of Tigai, the accumulation of wealth at the hands of Tigre elites, the retaliation policy of TPLF on ordinary Amhara citizens to the extent of injecting hormones of reproductive failure which could be interpreted as genocide and the designing of chaos in the central and southern part of Ethiopian Empire by TPLF are few among many in the list.
What confounded the author’s understanding of the ultimate objective of struggle of Amhara nation is lack of clear answers to the following basic two questions. 1. Are Amhara armed and non-violent organizations struggling to regain their predecessors colonial hegemony for the Ethiopian Empire or what do they mean by Ethiopian unity provided they don’t even want to hear Afaan Oromo as one of the possible official language in the Empire? The author hardly gets bizarre answers from fellow Amhara elites on this issue for that they institutively hope united Ethiopian Empire which only speaks Amharic, exercises Amhara culture and religion, etc where Amhara rules the empire to make sure that such interest may not be reversed. If this is not the case, the author is interested to know how Amhara organization under the name Amhara or Ethiopia prefix/suffix want to see Ethiopia remain united in terms of the inborn rights of nations and nationalities of Ethiopia on their own native father land.
2. Are Amhara organizations, civic societies and the people really ready to overthrow TPLF and come up with democratic government in Ethiopia? The author shares part of facts used as a basis of the analysis by Mr. Natinael on this issue. However, this article tries to consider from different angle why Amhara is considered one of the key potential role players in determining the destiny of Ethiopian Empire. From the point of view of upcoming facts and surfacing hidden information, the traditional expression that Amhara nation is the 2nd largest populous seems uncertain. The implication of this being one of the possible causes of the reluctance of some members Amhara nation to immediately ally with intensified Oromo struggle for freedom from TPLF’s rule. The author expects fact based clear answer on this issue from legitimate body.
It is not uncommon to read that Tigre, Amhara and Oromo nations are key and significant players of Ethiopian politics. Such notions emanate from conjecture that the Tigre nation is controlling Ethiopian government power via TPLF and Agazi colonial force, and the latter two are majority nations. Arguments related to Tigre (TPLF) and Oromo nation seems undeniable while presenting Amhara nation as the second largest populous nation is becoming uncertain. This author assumes that significant role of Amhara nation as one of the main players in the Ethiopian politics seem to wrap in their role to establish the Empire by Menellik II (the conqueror line of Judah). The traditional view that considers Amhara nation as the 2nd majority should be judged against the following factors.
1. To which part of Ethiopian Empire is Amhara nation native and what is the number Amhara’s in that part of the Empire? Before some hidden facts were coming up to surface the reality, Gonder, parts of Wello, parts of Shewa (Debre Berhan Awraja) and Gojjam provinces of present Amhara region were considered native Amhara lands and that the people are speaking Amharic as mother tongue. However, there is now self identification of nationalities in that region as members of non-Amhara nations. For instance, people of western part of Gonder are claiming that they are Kemant (excluding the Felasha – Israeli in Diaspora), Wolkait is under dispute to be called Tigre or Amhara, parts of north Gonder and Wello formerly presumed Amhara seem to link themselves as Agaw, southern Gonder bordering lake Tana and northern part of West Gojjam are whispering that they are Weito, western part of East Gojjam has already been established as land of Agew, Shinasha and many others. Which further worsens the matter is that many places in Gojjam (like Yelmana Densa, Mecca, Liban, Jarso etc) are attracting investigation if they really are Amhara’s native land. To hint some of the complains, there was a document addressed to late Meles Zenawi, the then president of TG of Ethiopia and Mr. Gelassa Dilbo, the then chairman of OLF as main stakeholder of TG soon after the fall of Amhara junta. The document asks the then key leaders in Ethiopian politics to recognize them (the kingdom of Gojjam) as non-Amhara state who have had the city named Felegetsion as capital of the State. The application document complained that the people of Gojjam were given bad connotation of evil (buda) by Amhara and hence that they don’t belong to Amhara nation.
2. The consideration of Amharic speaker as Amhara nation needs justification. In many of the past census in Ethiopia, any individual Amharic speaker was encouraged to register as an Amhara for the purpose of the census. I remember the case happen to myself. Despite I am Oromo, born in West Oromia, who was freshman student at AAU, the census officer encouraged me to register as an Amhara tempting me that I would get better option in my career if I do so. The courage of the officer was simply emanated from that fact that my name is in Amharic never minded I speak broken Amharic. That was reality I witnessed. In fact I took the courage was speculative and hence registered as just I am. On the other hand, it is rare event, if any, that any Amhara living in Oromia and speaking Afaan Oromo registers as an Oromo.
3. The default assumption to equate Amhara mixed bloods speaking Amharic as an Amhara needs thorough analysis based on viable data. Many of those individuals who group themselves in forces claiming to stand for Ethiopian unity often try to tell us they have Oromo blood. But, one can institutively guess that none of them had been registered as an Oromo in any of previous census in Ethiopia. Not only in the lasted Amhara hegemony but also under TPLF’s rule, most of such blood mixes are considered member of Amhara nation for the purpose of census probably adding on the doubtful figure of Amhara nation. In fact, political marriage especially between Amhara and Oromo was encouraged by state in Ethiopia which was intended to yield Abyssinian assimilation with Oromo and Southern Nations and Nationalities for the purpose of Ethiopian politics. Certainly, most of such products of mixed marriage are now serving even the TPLF government as they were designed by Amhara rulers. But from the point of view of census, can these individuals be considered Amhara or to the other part of the blood mix? One thing seems promising to solve the dilemma related to this issue. No more political marriage was designed by TPLF hegemony in Oromia and SNNPR. And the past design is also getting purified in to either of its blood component for the last 25 years. This means that, biologically, as the progeny of the mixed blood parent chooses its partner, its descendants are getting purified following the pure blood line of the parent after third filial generation. Hence, no more such blood mixes will be political issue nor mislead on the number of Amhara nation.
Hence, they idea of presenting Amhara nation as a second largest population in Ethiopia as an evidence to show its significance in the Empire’s political game must be supported by realistic census data and carefully examined.
Regardless of our perception on the aforementioned issues, Mr. Natinael’s short article urges us to explore ways of co-existence in hospitable Ethiopia for all nations and nationalities by getting rid of TPLF rule. Toward this, Oromo intensified its struggle against colonial power to regain its independent country Oromia. The train of Oromo struggle is loading many citizens pro-independence struggle or unloading the unsuitable ones. It is becoming vivid that freedom lover sons of Southern Nation and Nationalities are unshaken allies with heroes of Oromo and is jointly marching toward their goal. However, the author feels it is hardly possible to neglect the potential impact of Amhara nation on this march not necessarily because of their presumed majority but certainly for diplomatic and bureaucratic role built by virtue of their previous hegemony. Consequently, the current reality dictates the Amhara nation to be either on the side of freedom lovers for common future benefit or attempt to keep TPLF government on power what so ever oppression the nation receives under TPLF rule.
In fact such choice is neither an easy to guess nor consistent as both sides (Oromo and allies Vs TPLF) hope to attract this nation to itself. The decision remains at the hand of Amhara nation. Critically, it worth raising cause and effect of the two possible interests of Amhara elites rooted in native Amhara region and those brought up in Oromia and SNNPR. Practical evidences in Oromia and Finfinnee show that the latter categories of Amhara elite are accumulated in these parts of the Empire and that they are the best cliques of TPLF rule. Because, this category of Amhara elite think that they are beneficiaries of residual wealth of booty looted wealth of TPLF and that their parents can be deported from Oromia and SNNPR if not for TPLF’s existence in power. The second category of Amhara elites (along with Amhara nation per se) are those either dwelling in native Amhara region or rooted there but now might be anywhere in the world possibly choose to bring the issue of their family’s future in to fore and assert the importance common struggle to overthrow the TPLF government. The likely reason for this is that their families are the ones suffering at the heavy-handed rule of TPLF. Moreover, in the worst scenario of secession, they could think better to remain good neighbors than leading the situation to hostility forever. Listing some of the famous elites in both categories is beyond the scope of this short note. However, it is good to leave you this thoughtful joke related to the issue based on the deportation of Eritreans by TPLF. Eritreans were asked to leave from SNNPR during the regional presidency of Abate K. Mr. Abate gave instruction to his rank and file officers to clear Tigre speaking individuals from his state. Once the deported individuals were at AA, the late Meles Z. new some of them were Tigre and asked Abate why he sent Tigres out of SNNPR. Abate replied to Meles saying “you sort them”.
Therefore, it the intention of this author to tell fellow Amharas that no Oromo is evil enough not to differentiate false friends (rather true enemies) and strategic collaborators, the basis of which our common fate will rest on. The implication of my thought being that you critically think to clear wishy-washy approach or uncertainty in the goal to be pursued a consequence of which haze on your decision with whom you will ally. Needless to tell you that the shivering governance of TPLF only waiting just for oral warning that they should resign power once we make sure you collaborate with freedom lovers. Setting the structure of government which will host every nation and citizen in the future common Ethiopia is not a big deal once trust will be build and every nation clears the dirty TPLF from its own native father land.