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Oromummaa Unchained Ethnic Apartheid and Territorial Expansion in Ethiopia

Oromummaa  _ Ethnic Apartheid _ Ethiopia
Image credit : Project Jurisprudence

Girma Berhanu (Professor)

Introduction

In recent weeks, international media outlets have given a good deal of attention to the massacres in Western Wollega, Ethiopia.[1] Barely two weeks after more than one thousand Amhara citizens were butchered in Tole Kebebe (Gimbi district in Wollega region), a new report on the massacre of civilians emerged – once again, the victims were mostly ethnic Amharas and targeted as such. This latest round of ethnic cleansing happened in Mechara Lemlem Kebele, located in the same region.[2]

As the world is focused on Ukraine, a genocide is taking place in Ethiopia. Mass killings targeting ethnic Amharas have been taking place since the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power four years ago[3]. All the reports indicated the government’s failure to protect its citizens which makes the tragic situation more horrendous. Because of the recurring threats and attacks on civilians, the number of displaced people is staggering. Thousands of displaced families continue to suffer under brutal circumstances. Moreover, and sadly, those who are committing the massive crimes have not been brought to justice. The culture of impunity is prevalent! These massive atrocious crimes which is well underway during the past four years against mainly the Amhara people and members of other ethnic groups could have been prevented had it not been for the Ethiopian government’s indifference and a certain level of complicity between Government officials, security members and the armed group(s).

The purpose of this paper is not to detail the genocidal crimes which are well and alive in current Ethiopia[4]. The reader is advised to read my latest work on that with a title Ethiopia: Mass-Atrocities, Genocide In Oromia Region Against Amhara People July 2, 2022[5]. The concern in this paper is the Ethnic apartheid system and the expansionist greed by the Oromo officials that is in place under this new regime as a continuation of the previous regime’s policy. This structural discrimination is conducted within the Oromo nationalists’ main agenda, Oromummaa[6]. ‘Oromummaa is a complex and dynamic national and global project. As a national project and the central ideology of the Oromo national movement, Oromummaa enables Oromos to retrieve their cultural memories, assess the consequences of the purported “Ethiopian colonialism”, give voice to their collective grievances, mobilize diverse cultural resources, interlink Oromo personal, interpersonal, and collective relationships, and assists in the development of Oromo-centric political strategies and tactics that can mobilize the nation for collective action empowering the people for liberation’[7]. Although the adherents claim that Oromummaa requires that the Oromo national movement be inclusive of all persons[8], operating in a democratic fashion, it is in fact a dominating, aggressive and excluding process aimed at dismantling Ethiopia. Abuse of power and control tactics are rampant. Underneath this grisly reality lies an appalling cycle of hate-politics that has been deployed against the Ethiopian people and in particular the Amhara people and is currently permeating the social, political, and cultural facets of the country. On June 30, 2022, the United Nations Human Rights Council held an Interactive dialogue on the oral briefing of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia. More than four thousand five hundred people were arrested in the Amhara region by the end of May. And it was CAP Liberté de Conscience together with Human Rights Without Frontiers that alerted the Council, the Member States and the Commission’s Experts on this specific issue suffered by Amhara civilians, including prominent journalists and human rights activists.

Generally, what I mentioned above are not new things, but the magnitude and brutality of the recent past incidents are unmatched by any standard. I was driven to write this paper because of a number of injustices or apartheid like measures isolating most Ethiopians in order to benefit citizens of Oromo ethnicity. One major engagement by the government is to change the demography of Addis Ababa, by illegally evicting non-Oromos and allowing the Oromos to populate the city. The Addis Ababa City Administration has recently decided to transfer the over 21,000 illegally held condominium houses to the rightful beneficiaries in a lottery draw. The city administration recently recovered 21,695 condominium houses which were distributed in fraud to people who were not on the waiting list[9].There had been questions about the illegal and fraudulent condo transfer process in the city in the past. And it is something that many looked at from the trajectory of ethnic politics and determination (on the party of radical ethnic politicians who are in power) to alter the demography of Addis Ababa[10]. A professor of Economics commented in a group discussion that “I’m pretty sure that these scandals are just symptoms of bigger and systemic ones”. A high positioned person has just informed me that 44 billion birr infrastructure spending in one year in the Oromia region vs almost nothing in Amhara region. A source at the National Bank also told me two years ago: in order to finance agriculture mechanization, Amhara region was given $22 million hard currency while Oromo region was given $600 million. A doctor from Ethiopia who has his own speciality clinic and is a professor also informed us that he was invited to Turkey by a pharmaceutical company, with all expenses paid. A welcome treat, we may say, but even here the toxicity of ethnic politics showed its hand: every non-Oromo doctor got $200 from Central Bank of Ethiopia, whereas those with proven Oromo identity got $2000, with some particular beneficiaries receiving a whopping $15,000. Ethiopia may be poor, but there is plenty of money to pass around when it comes to indulging in ethnic-based clientelism.

Of course, there is plenty of dressing up behind such rampant mismanagement, with the government spending increasing amounts of time justifying its misdeeds and while it proceeds to normalize such blatant aspects of ethnic-based clientelism. Workplace, employment, and appointments are areas where the problem manifests itself most vividly. For instance, we now see advertisements by government authorities in which almost all the potential candidates are taken from a single college, which happens to have a student body of mostly Oromo students. The same pattern is observed in appointments to civil and military positions, with the peculiarity that the higher the responsibility, the narrower the Oromo-base of appointees. Residents of Addis Ababa have now been told that “one needs to know two languages to be employed in the capital city”. Despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of citizens go about their lives in Amharic, and despite the fact that most residents of Addis Ababa simply can’t speak Oromiffa, it is now considered a must to gain meaningful employment in the city administration.

The overall situation is critical. The country has been engulfed by protests and clashes on a continuous basis because of the injustices of the above nature. The general unrest and dismay by the general public is an accumulation of years of frustration from other ethnic groups who claim they have been marginalized by the brutal Ethiopia’s governing coalition apparatus, Prosperity Party which is dominated by the party from the Oromo region. The general public, and in particular the major ethnic group the Amharas have been almost effectively excluded from the country’s political process and economic development. At the time of writing this article a lot of confusion has emerged as to who is actually leading the country. The state machinery is full of contradictions, dirty tricks and underhand activities and machinations in political and government affairs. Many informed observers characterize the behavior and action of the Abiy government as malicious and contemptible. The current clashes and tensions expose the underlying issues that are structural, political, and economic inequalities between the regions in Ethiopia. Since seizing power in 2018, the Oromo controlled Ethiopian regime has maintained monopolies over economic and political power and has therefore dominated all other nationalities and ethnic groups. It is this refusal to share genuine political power and wealth on the part of the Oromo dominated party that is causing protests and tensions throughout the country, and a potential collapse of the system.

Propaganda, Distortion and Deception

The primary modus operandi of the new power holders is to do things through quiet persuasion, a distinct pattern or method of operation that indicates a coordinated systemic and persistent and well-rehearsed lies and deception. As the President of the Oromia region stated, “our modus operandi is confuse or convince”. So the idea is if you’re ever feeling down about your ability to influence others, just remember: ‘if you can’t convince them, confuse them’[11]. It worked for Harry S. Truman. And it just might work for you, too. We do not know the accuracy of the quotation being said by Truman. Mr. Shimelis, the president of the Oromia region might have heard about this trick. What the person or his group did not understand is that Confusion can be a very effective technique when trying to get somebody to see things your way, but as with anything else, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. If you cause too much confusion, as the new rulers do, people will catch on and see right through your attempts to manipulate them. Now most Ethiopians have understood that dirty trick.

The propaganda and distortion campaign must be exposed and investigated in order for citizens to understand the dangerous nature of the manipulations that cost the nation and citizens considerably. Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist[12]. We have recognized the manipulation of representations at work. These representations may take spoken, written, pictorial or musical form. Most common ones are written and spoken. Some of them just blatant lies and extremely embarrassing, such as the new discourses of elevating one ethnic group above another on fake narratives. As part of the propaganda mechanism, concerns over disinformation, fake news and grievance politics by ethnic-nationalist groups such as the TPLF and OLF including the government have intensified in recent years. Policymakers, researchers, and observers worry that these groups team up with notorious Western journalists to spread false narratives and disseminate rumors in order to shape international opinion and, by extension, government policies. The available evidence suggests that the strategic effects of disinformation are real in the Ethiopian case. Fake news, hate speech and misinformation is creeping through all social media platforms and regular media outlets. Adherents of the Oromummaa ideology are in particular aggressive in that regard as we have witnessed in the past few months. With more and more people relying on social media as a source of news, there are legitimate concerns that such content could influence audiences unable to distinguish truth from fact or news from propaganda. This “infodemic,” as Dustin Carnahan calls it, puts misleading information front and center —adding fuel to politically contentious fires and escalating social issues to the level of crises. Instead of being places where people stay connected and share the details of their lives, modern media/social media platforms are increasingly being used as sources of information. In our case the promotion of ethnic hatred and discord between groups.

These are some of the techniques the government and the Oromummaa supporters use actively: Ad hominem attacking one’s opponent, as opposed to attacking their arguments. The imprisonment and mistreatment of journalists and human right activists is a good example. Ad nauseam, tireless repetition of an idea, especially a simple slogan, that is repeated enough times, may begin to be taken as the truth. This approach is more effective alongside the propagandist limiting or controlling the media. The Medemer agenda advanced by the prime minister; labelling Ethiopia as colonizer; the politics of victimization; False narratives. The other most common characteristic of the regime is Agenda setting. Agenda setting means the “ability [of the news media] to influence the importance placed on the topics of the public agenda”[13]. If a news item is covered frequently and prominently, the audience will regard the issue as more important. The news about the Nile dam’s construction or tree plantation or alleged conflicts with neighboring states.  In a country in which millions of people live in fear of being butchered in yet another weekly round of mass-killings, the prime minister prefers to open new parks and plants trees or talk nonsense, while visiting large scale farms, about what Ethiopians should eat, recommending bread and banana instead of the nation’s standing dish Injera and Wot! None of these are policies, but simple photo-ops of the sort Hollywood celebrities indulge in. The Prime Minister, in this sense, seems to live in parallel world of fiction.

The prime minister is expert on deception and agenda setting! Facing stiff opposition from the fallen elites,and having betrayed the millions who trusted him with impossible promises, it would seem that massacres here and there could be ignored in order to keep up with the illusion that Ethiopia was thriving under his wise rule. As the mass killings and ethnic cleansing intensified across the country, the thousands of casualties could just as easily be brushed aside. He had enough problems on his table and grieving families were not about to get on his way. Part of this denial is due to Abiy Ahmed’s awkward friendships. Some of his closest aides, such as his right-hand man Shimelis Abdissa, have indulged in ethnic hate speech with gusto. In the current context, the ‘wrong ethnic label’ means that you live in Oromia but are not Oromo, or that you live in Tigray and are not Tigrayan, or that you live in Benishangul-Gumuz and are not part of an ‘indigenous’ group. In Oromia region, militias have been terrorizing anyone who is not Oromo with the code-word ‘Neftegna’, or settler, and gruesome death awaits those who are singled out. The figures are staggering hundreds are killed in a sudden raids on villages, stabbed and disemboweled, teased and humiliated by their killers[14]. Their gruesome exploits are captured on film, the benefits of the mobile phone era. The similarities with Rwanda are too glaring to ignore: the language in use, the killing patterns, even the crude weapons.

There is also very little accountability in the new administration. Accountability is an elusive concept, but understanding where it originates can help citizens find ways to hold governments accountable. In the narrowest sense, accountability refers to the obligation to give an account of one’s action to particular individuals, groups, or organizations.  This does not happen in Abiy Ahmed’s regime, where government forces are complicit in mass-killings and nothing is said about it. When asked about these atrocities, he brushes off the question with a chillingly indifferent answer: “I am not a militia or police who has control over the activities of district or village level activities”. In late 2020, as yet another mass-killing was reported in which hundreds of men, women and children were locked in a school hall and machine-gunned to death, Abiy Ahmed decided to dress up as a police officer in the streets of Addis Ababa and surprise unexpected drivers, who were then given his personal well-wishes for the Christmas holiday. It was another cute publicity stunt, made all the more disgusting by the fact that he said not a word about the massacre. As Ethiopia descends into hell, one is forced to wonder whether his political acting is part of a sophisticated strategy of genocide denial or simply the result of inept and weak political leadership. There is no easy answer.

Abiy Ahmed’s initial popularity can be characterized as a ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ in which the majority of the Ethiopian population is a ‘hostage’. Their irrational attachment to their abuser is perplexing: many do not want to believe that they are being deceived by his political personas. Deception as a political strategy of Oromummaa has become pervasive in Ethiopia because of the range of institutions now involved in the manipulation of information. These institutions include media, academia, think tanks, and intelligence services. Furthermore, the emergence of internet-based digital communication creates new opportunities for powerful actors in Abiy’s regime to manipulate beliefs and conduct. These developments raise profound questions with respect to the health of our democracies and peaceful coexistence, and accordingly, the study of propaganda and deception in current Ethiopia needs to become far more central and mainstream than has been the case to date.

In connection with this centralized deception strategy, what is most alarming is Self-propaganda. It is a form of propaganda that refers to the act of an individual convincing themselves of something, no matter how irrational that idea may be.[15] It is pervasive in Ethiopia especially among so called educated. Self-propaganda makes it easier for individuals to justify their own actions as well as the actions of their associates. A good example is Amhara intellectuals advancing the interests of the regime. Self-propaganda works oftentimes to lessen the cognitive dissonance felt by individuals when their personal actions or the actions of their government do not line up with their moral beliefs. Many I talked to, I mean the elites, still believe in the prime minister and his administration. They do not want to accept that they are being deceived and that they are tools to promote the fascistic Oromummaa ideology! I can list their names but for ethical reasons I do not reveal their names. Self-propaganda is a type of self-deception. Self-propaganda can have a negative impact on those who perpetuate the beliefs created by using self- propaganda.[16]

Appeal to fear is also the regime’s other feature, seeking to build support by instilling anxieties and panic in the general population, for example, Joseph Goebbels exploited Theodore Kaufman’s Germany Must Perish! to claim that the Allies sought the extermination of the German people. The current propaganda and demonizing campaign against the Fano[17], an influential armed militia, is a good example. The Fanos are feared groups of fighters, not because they fight for glory but to save their people from annihilation. They are the embodiment of Amhara spirit and defendant of Ethiopia throughout history. Even the government sees them with suspicion fearing the potential force of the movement in unifying Ethiopia and protecting the Amharas who are in a precarious situation due to the endless succession of genocidal acts committed against them. They endured sabotage and unfair treatment by some corners of the army and local governments. In spite of attacks from every side, Fano has grown in strength and confidence and become a formidable force to be reckoned with.

Ethnic apartheid and Internal Colonialism

The system may be characterized as an embodiment of Ethnic apartheid manifested in the form of Internal Colonialism. Internal colonization should not be confused with the annexation of territories by economically and militarily advanced nation. Internal colonization[18] is a theory that seeks to explain how persistent and pervasive inequality and domination in all aspects of life are maintained in a society when there is not necessarily a foreign power ruling. An internal colony — in this case the rest of Ethiopia excluding the Oromo region — produces wealth for the benefit of those areas most closely associated with the regime, its allies, and the ethnic constituency the rulers claim to represent. So, it is a form of colonialism originating from within a country. The theory of internal colonization looks at how we produce our own forms of racial/ethnic domination within a society. Therefore, the “internal colonies,” the regions within a country, are subdued by their own government or ruling elite. Different racial and ethnic groups are subject to forms of oppression forced on them by a dominant group in society, in our case the TPLF in the past currently Oromo Prosperty Party/OPDO (see Howe, 2002[19]; Wolpe, 1975[20]). In other words, other than seeing the ethnic inequality as merely an individual action or event, it can be viewed as deeply engrained in the society and originating from within a country in the form of ethnic apartheid. It is not an external process. The Colonies are spaces governed by what Partha Chatterjee calls “the rule of difference”[21]. This difference surpasses sole economic exploitation as professed by some theorists. Instead, colonies are sites of multifaceted exploitative structures in various domains, including economy, politics, culture, sexuality, and religion. There are significant amounts of data that support this scenario from the present Ethiopia. The Oromo elites are busy with a large-scale plan to create structural political and economic inequalities between regions within Ethiopia. Besides, in their avaricious expansionism, guided by Oromuma, one major attack occurred last year in the Amhara region, Ataye, Kara Kore Kemissie, and Showa Robit – with large numbers of causalities and displacements. Towns are destroyed. The attacks were conducted by the Oromo Liberation Front and assisted by Oromia state security and paramilitary forces. In this regard, the government has failed in its most fundamental duty to protect the safety of citizens.

Ethnic apartheid: In this paper I am not going to delve into the theorization of the concept. My ambition is just to show that the trend in current Ethiopia is to cement ethnic apartheid by creating a false narrative, a new history and differential power. Aklog Birara (July 28, 2019) accurately captured the consequences of grand lies, ignorance, misinformation, and false narratives on and targeted attack against the Amhara ethnic group. The Ethiopian left and ethnic-nationalists —in particular the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF/TPLF)[renamed Prosperity Party] and the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) propagated Amhara “chauvinism, oppression of nations, nationalities and peoples,” exploitation and cruelty for half a century. The fact remains that after the fall of Emperor Haile Sellassie’s Government in 1974, the Amharas have not been in the picture of ruling Ethiopia, not to mention the TPLF ethnic apartheid era. This utterly absurd and false narrative was imposed on school children who have now reached the age of maturity hating, suspecting and denigrating, in some cases killing and of course arresting and jailing the Amharas. The Amharas are not the enemy. Haile M. Larebo[22] in his letter “My response to Oromo Intellectuals for their Misrepresentation of, and attack on, Ethiopian History rightly noted “….My final advice to these ‘educated’ individuals is that, instead of fabricating lies for your own political agenda, you should work for the full empowerment of every Ethiopian, immaterial of his/her ethnic origin, religion, or language, birth or background. That is what education is about. The enemies of Ethiopia are poverty, illiteracy, disease, and ignorance, and NOT Emperor Menelik or your imagined Amhara. Instead of wasting your time in fruitless and useless politicking, dividing people, you should instead invest your time in hard work with aim to alleviating our people’s misery and mortality rate[23].

Ethnic Identity and Ethnic Manipulation: Collective Guilt Versus Individual Responsibility

Both the Tigrayan tribalists and extreme Oromo nationalists took the anti-Amhara sentiment and anti-Ethiopianism literally and made the Amhara people and devout Ethiopians (pan Ethiopianism) its primary enemy. Hatred, immoral characterization, and unfounded narratives have been used as tools to advance the disintegration of the country. Concerted effort is needed to combat this false and distorted information. My analysis shows that ignorance, sinister motives, low moral intelligence, self-aggrandizement (inferiority complex) and conscientious stupidity are the common denominators to or attributes of all these ardent ethno nationalists. Worrisome in all this is that neither the architects of Oromummaa nor its base in Oromia seem to get the point that Ethiopians no longer accept any form of chauvinism and exclusive privilege on the basis of Oromo identity at the expense of the rest of Ethiopia. The way forward for Oromos to reverse hate, and save themselves, is by making an informed choice between supporting Ethiopians’ quest for freedom from Oromummaa mentality, parochial perspective, and its brutal repression.

There is a remarkable resemblance between Oromummaa and Fascism. Although fascist parties and movements differed significantly from one another, they had many characteristics in common, including extreme militaristic nationalism, contempt for electoral democracy and political and cultural liberalism, a belief in natural social hierarchy and the rule of elites, and the desire to create a Volksgemeinschaft (German: “people’s community”)[24], in which individual interests would be subordinated to the good of the nation.”[Fascism is] based on an ethnic division between ‘us’ and ‘them’, an extreme ethno-nationalism. It’s based on nostalgia for a mythic past, typically in which members of the chosen ethnic group had an empire – and it represents the present as loss of that great empire, that natural standpoint in which members of this ethnic group dominated their environment militarily, politically, and culturally”[25]. The corollary of that belief was the idea that anything that might impede national unity had to be gotten rid of, and violently. In fact, violence was seen as beneficial to society. The Oromos need to weigh this matter with accuracy as to which one is in the long-term interest of the Oromos.

Ethiopian scholars including Prof. Haile Larebo, Achamyelhe Tamru and Dr. Beza Assefa have exposed the nature of Oromo nationalism and olfism (onegawint) which is founded on barbaric genocide and ethnic cleansing against all people considered non-original Oromo particularly AMHARAs.This savage cultural heritage is well documented by the Portuguese Jesuit cleric Paez who wrote in 1621of ” Gallas[26] slaughtering children, girls, pregnant women and old folks”[27]! Actually, the Gada system, which is highly militaristic and excludes women completely, was designed to subjugate non-Oromo people by using shocking genocidal homicide to silence them into servile submission[28]! Today this primitive form of savagery is being practised by the OPDO/OLF dominated genocidal Abiy regime, which as represented by Abiy, has had the temerity to say,” if you touch my power a hundred thousand people could die per day! “ and ” I will plant seedlings to create shade for the massacred!” So, the Abiy Ahmed genocidal regime will never stop unless confronted by an equal or greater force for it is a deeply held cultural belief on the part of the 200-odd people now in power! Besides, the damage has already been done and there is no looking back as far as they are concerned! So expect more of the same in the next few years!

We should be very straightforward in our critique of both colonial powers, fake historians and missionaries for racializing Amhara vs. others categories in Ethiopia, thus hardening previously fluid lines and introducing a tribal discourse[29]. For instance, ‘Europeans created Hutu-Tutsi tensions if not the categories themselves. The ideological roots of Rwanda’s postcolonial ethnic bloodletting stemmed not from primordial ethnic hatreds but from colonial manipulations between 1900 and 1960. Second, the key factor in this colonial manipulation was the catholic missionaries’ racializing of the Hutu-Tutsi distinction. In turning flexible social categories into immutable racial identities, Rwanda’s catholic leaders ensured the long-term division of Banyarwanda society along a Hutu-Tutsi tribal axis. Missionaries, colonial officials, and Rwandan elites all became locked in a dualistic political imagination of “Hutu” and “Tutsi.” (p. 173).[30]Can we learn from history?

All this government orchestrated propaganda and a culture of belittling other ethnic groups will backfire. We should learn from history! The colonial changes to ethnic identity have been explored from the political, sociological, and psychological perspectives. Ethnic manipulation manifested itself beyond the personal and internal spheres. Divide-and-rule strategies and discourses of superiority have dangerous consequences sooner or later. A number of Ethiopian scholars I interviewed informally told me that the discourses in the power corridor, in some government affiliated social media and among adherent supporters of the regime, are characterized by a steady stream of derogatory remarks about the Amhara people and members of other ethnic groups.

Clearly the responsibility lies with the Oromo elites. Fearon and Laitin (2000)[31] found considerable evidence linking strategic aspects of ethnic identity construction to violence and more limited evidence implicating discursive systems. The most common narrative in these texts analyzed by the authors has largescale ethnic violence provoked by elites, often motivated by intra-ethnic conflicts. Followers follow, despite the costs, out of increased fear of thugs and armies “let go” by elites (both the other side’s and their “own”) and often in pursuit of local grievances that may have little ethnic component. Several other mechanisms are also discussed, including the role of discursive systems in conditioning publics for violence and the role of violent efforts to enforce “everyday primordialism” by policing supposedly primordial ethnic boundaries (Ibid).

The phenomenon of collective responsibility also known as collective guilt is highly a contentious matter in the Ethiopian context. Are the Oromos responsible for the actions of OPDO/Oromo Prosperity/OLF; by tolerating, ignoring, or harboring them, or actively collaborating in these actions? The practice of blaming the Jews for Jesus’ death is the longest example of collective responsibility. In this case, the blame was cast not only on the Jews of the time but upon successive generations. This comes from Matthew 27:25-66 New International Version (NIV) 25: “All the people answered, ‘His blood is on us and on our children!'”. This collectivist idea that groups of humans can bear guilt above and beyond the guilt of individual members, and hence individuals hold responsibility for what other members of their group have done, even if they themselves didn’t do this, is problematic in my view. However, at least a symbolic resistance or some form of manifestation is morally expected from the Oromo people and their civil societies because the crime is being committed in their names. If they do not ally with oppressed segments of the Ethiopian population, history will judge them. One expects some form of dissent or disagreement with the methods, goals, and policies of the political party and government.

Finally, this is a wakeup call for the Oromos as these are matters of very real and growing concern to people living in Ethiopia and beyond. Nonetheless, all Oromos should not be held collectively responsible for the crimes of their elites; however, they have a moral responsibility. The key components of the basic notion of moral responsibility, as David Risser[32] accurately captured, are deeply rooted in the fabric of every society and are constitutive of social life. Without some conception of moral responsibility, no amount of imaginative insight will render a society recognizable as a human society. While there is broad, often tacit, agreement regarding the basic model of moral responsibility as it applies to individuals, there is considerable debate about how this notion might be applied to groups and their members. The key components of the basic notion of moral responsibility, as David Risser accurately captured, are deeply rooted in the fabric of every society and are constitutive of social life. Without some conception of moral responsibility, no amount of imaginative insight will render a society recognizable as a human society. While there is broad, often tacit, agreement regarding the basic model of moral responsibility as it applies to individuals, there is considerable debate about how this notion might be applied to groups and their members.

Girma Berhanu teaches at the Department of Education and Special Education, University of Gothenburg

References


[1] https://borkena.com/2022/07/04/ethiopia-amhara-qelem-wollega-hundreds-massacred-in-fresh-attack/

[2] Ethiopia: ‘Horrific’ massacre of 400 ethnic Amhara must be investigated immediately | Amnesty International UK

[3] https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/07/18/ethiopian-genocide-commands-attention/ (The Ethiopian genocide commands attention by Tewodros Abebe, July 18, 2022 

[4] Atnafu, B. (2018). Ethnic cleansing in Ethiopia. Peace Research, 77-104.

[5] https://www.eurasiareview.com/02072022-ethiopia-mass-atrocities-genocide-in-oromia-region-against-amhara-people-oped/

[6] Jalata, Asafa, “Oromummaa: National Identity and Politics of Liberation” (2010). Sociology Publications and Other Works. http://trace.tennessee.edu/utk_socopubs/13

[7] Ibid p.2.

[8] https://theconversation.com/ethiopias-other-conflict-whats-driving-the-violence-in-oromia-187035 (By Asafa Jalata: Professor of Sociology and Global and Africana Studies, University of Tennessee. July 20, 2022 2.56pm BST

[9] Addis Ababa City Administration To Transfer Over 21,000 Illegally Held Condominium Houses In A Lottery Draw | Zehabesha Ethiopian News, Opinions, Videos, And More…

[10] Addis Ababa Administration admits corruption with recent condo distribution (borkena.com)

[11] If you can’t convince them, confuse them. Harry S Truman – StoryTick. (https://storytick.com/if-you-cant-convince-them-confuse-them-harry-s-truman/)

[12] Garth Jowett, Victoria O’Donnell (2006), Propaganda and Persuasion (in German), SAGE

[13] McCombs, M; Reynolds, A (2002). “News influence on our pictures of the world”. Media Effects: Advances in Theory and Research: 11–28.

[14] None of this matters in the mental realm of Abiy Ahmed. The Many Faces Of Abiy Ahmed Prime Minister Of Ethiopia And Nobel Peace Laureate – OpEd – Eurasia Review. Sunday, July 24, 2022

[15] Gambrill, Eileen (6 March 2006). Critical Thinking in Clinical Practice: Improving the Quality of Judgments and Decisions. John Wiley & Sons. Gambrill, Eileen (20 February 2012). Propaganda in the Helping Professions. Oxford University Press, USA.

[16] Carroll, R. T. (2003). The Skeptic’s dictionary: A collection of strange beliefs, amusing deceptions, and dangerous delusions. Wiley.

[17] A Fano is behind every weapons system in order to accomplish the mission. It is a ‘public soldier’, an Ethiopian son or daughter, who takes an oath to support and defend the lives of Amhara and the Ethiopian nation at large, who stands ready and courageously on point for the nation and who understands the sacrifice involved in being part of a purpose greater than self.

[18] Pinderhughes, Charles (June 2011). Toward a New Theory of Internal Colonialism. Socialism and Democracy. 25: 244.

[19] Howe, S. (2002). Empire: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press.

[20]  Wolpe, Harold (1975). “The Theory of Internal Colonialism: The South African Case”, in I. Oxaal et al., Beyond the Sociology of Development. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

[21] Chatterjee, Partha (1993): The Nation and its Fragments, (Princeton: Princeton University Press), p.19.

[22] My response to Oromo Intellectuals for their Misrepresentation of, and attack on, Ethiopian History. (Professor Haile M. Larebo)

[23] Levine, D. N. (2014). Greater Ethiopia: The evolution of a multiethnic society. University of Chicago Press. (For comparisons)

[24] Norbert Götz. Ungleiche Geschwister: Die Konstruktion von nationalsozialistischer Volksgemeinschaft und schwedischem Volksheim. Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2001; Peter Fritzsche. Life and Death in the Third Reich. President and Fellows of Harvard College, 2008. p. 38.

[25]Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale University and author of “How Fascism Works(opens in new tab)” (Random House, 2020) told All About History(opens in new tab) magazine.

[26] A journal published by the International African Institute suggests it is an Oromo word (adopted by neighbors), for there is a word, gala, meaning ‘wandering’ or ‘to go home’ in their language. The Oromo never called themselves Galla and resist its use because the term is considered derogatory.

[27] Juxon Barton (September 1924), The Origins of the Galla and Somali Tribes, The Journal of the East Africa Natural History Society, No. 19, pages 6–7

[28] Herbert S. Lewis. “A Galla Monarchy: Jimma Abba Jifar, Ethiopia 1830–1932″. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1965.

[29] See Abyssinia: the powder barrel by Roman Procházka, Freiherr von. London, British international news agency [1936?]

[30] Carney, J. J. (2012). Beyond tribalism: the hutu-tutsi question and catholic rhetoric in colonial Rwanda. Journal of Religion in Africa, 42, 172-202.

[31] Fearon, J. D., & Laitin, D. D. (2000). Violence and the social construction of ethnic identity. International organization54(4), 845-877.

[32] Risser, David T., “Power and Collective Responsibility.” Kinesis, vol. 9, no. 1 (1978) pp. 23-33. Risser, David T., “The Social Dimension of Moral Responsibility: Taking Organizations Seriously.” Journal of Social Philoso- phy, vol. 27, no. 1 (1996) pp. 189-207. http://www.iep.utm.edu/collecti/. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (IEP). Collective Moral Responsibility.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. A scholastic narration based on undeniable facts. It brings clarity on the current situation of Ethiopia, how ethno fascists are choking her and how they’re committing genocide on Amharas.

  2. A scholastic narration based on undeniable facts. It brings clarity on the current situation of Ethiopia, how ethno fascists are choking her and how they are committing genocide on Amharas.

  3. There is no difference between oromuma and amaruma if you have free mind and hate towards oromuma will have dangerous consequences.

  4. There is no difference between oromuma and amaruma if we think with fair mind so stop hate on oromo and oromuma which otherwise will have dangerous consequences!!!

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