Crackdown on recent students movement left Ethiopians in a state of shock. Nothing can justify, targeted, arbitrary and brutal killings.
Besides the tragic nature of the killings and the sense of shock, what do we make of it? On face value and on the part of TPLF government, it simply seem to be an act of intimidation by flexing its tyrannical muscles. Yet, in light of the political nature of TPLF, it would be tantamount to naivety to think that TPLF is unaware that the death of civilians and students on that magnitude, in fact what Ethiopia witnessed in 2005 was worse, is likely to foster radicalism. The thing is the ruling party seem to like the sense of ethnic based radicalism in so far as it is not out of control and measured for it is in the interest of the power game of TPLF.
In fact, radicalizing ethnic sentiment has turned out to be alternative playing card for TPLF against possible rising pan-Ethiopian movement for democracy and justice.
In a sense, the magnitude of the recent movement in Oromigna speaking part of Ethiopia has a lot to do with TPLF’s political actions. No question radical “Oromo activists” from the diaspora and those inside Ethiopia who are disguised as OPDO, which is a member of the sham coalition, and elsewhere in the country have a role in the making of the recent movement. I am suspicious that the tragic recent killings might have been taken even as a political opportunity for the radical group. I am thinking so because I very much doubt the basis of rationality of the radical groups.
If you happened to see a picture of “Oromo Activists” holding Egyptian flag along side what appears to be de facto “Oromia” flag in the diaspora (OLF’s flag) and fail to see the layers of interested parties in the project of “Oromia” in its radical form, then you are probably misunderstanding what the recent movement across universities in South, South East and South Western Ethiopia is all about.
The group driving this movement would not hesitate, I bet, to form alliance with any party so long as it is against Ethiopia – a country under the military and economic grip of TPLF. Of course, the image of Ethiopia (they don’t even refer to it as Ethiopia; it’s Abyssinia for them) they are mobilizing with and projecting to their supporters is imperial, expansionist and colonialist.
When Ethiopia was playing Zambia in the last African Cup of Nations, “Oromo Activists” residing in South Africa had the “opportunity” to hoist a flag to which they are barely related to-Zambian flag and support Team Zambia. If the Zambians happened to know that these people are actually from Ethiopia, would they have any other terminology other than foolish? For the radical ethnocentric political elites , the support to Team Zambia was meant reflect the radical agenda of “Oromo Activists” which is hating Ethiopia ; anything Ethiopian – past, present and future is supposed to be hated – a thinking pattern that informs their rationality ; a rationality hard to understand without coining a lower form of category for the notion of “bounded rationality.”
Understandably, erstwhile “Oromo activism” in the cyber world and the very radical political messages they have been propagating is more revealing than the picture and soccer stories cited above. Hate against Ethiopia is much like a norm and political wisdom among radical Oromo elites and politicians.
Ironically, at the very pinnacle of events, political processes, military campaigns,history of assimilation and cultural developments of Ethiopia in the past ,at least starting the 16th century, was to a great extent related to Oromigna speaking Ethiopians. As a matter of fact, my own biological father, who amazed me with his narrative of adventurous merchant life and his multiple of marriages with Amharic speakers, is an Oromo. I had the opportunity to spend about two and half months in South Western Ethiopia- visited towns and rural parts of Illubabor. I do not speak Oromigna but the respect and adoration I got in Illubabor as “Mucha gash Dagne” is distinctly Ethiopian. It does not relate to the project of hate – which is given a cover of a movement for justice. Because I do not speak Oromigna, my father was talking to me in Amharic which I would not think radicals would do. No question he would have laughed at them. (Continue on next page)