The Needs of the Time: Supporting the struggle from an Exilic Position–What can we do? (Looking in from Outside)
Tsegaye R Ararssa(PHD)
(Remarks prepared for delivery on OMN’s 3rd Anniversary events in Melbourne and Perth, Australia)
Thank you all for coming. Thank you for inviting me. Thanks more for the opportunity to share some of my thoughts with you on this august occasion.
Let me start with the question on the mind of most of us these days. It seems to me that the question most of us are often thinking of nowadays is this: What is Next? What is the pressing need of the time? What is to be done now? What are the needs of the time?
What is most needed, of course, is clear thinking. More than anything else, and more than any other time in our history, what we need now is a clear vision. The role of intellectuals, poets, and all others who work in the (re)production of knowledge and culture, is to help society achieve a measure of clarity of vision. I, as a legal academic—as a member of the category of people called “society’s paid thinkers”—take it as my responsibility to raise some questions that can help us think clearly about our present predicament and our future prospects.
My Objective in my talk today is identifying the pressing needs of the time and what we can do, in concrete terms, to meet those needs. In so doing, I will focus on our task as exilic voices, as voices of those who are looking in from outside. Before I start to speak about the needs of the time in broad and specific terms, one after the other, I will first pay attention to the time we are living in and point us to the contradictions it is riddled with as a season of hope and a season of despair both at once. This talk is very practical in orientation. It can be read as a little political sermon on the basic do’s and don’t’s of the day. As such, there is an ethical urge to it. It highlights the imperative, inter alia, of: a) discipline and rigor in our associational life; b) living with the other, or of living with differences; c) building national (and state) institutions; and d) of responsibility to build coalitions (i.e., a ‘coalition of the oppressed’, mainly from the Southern half of Ethiopia).
II. THE TIMES: Simultaneity of Contrasting Developments
Recently, I attended a meeting chaired by a very very prominent Oromo political leader who is a very remote, and unwitting, mentor to me. He started his speech, rightly I think, by quoting from an old Victorian novel by Charles Dickens. The book he quoted from was, of course, A Tale of Two Cities, the opening lines of which go as follows:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
He used it epigrammatically to emphasize that ours is an age of palpable contradictions, an age in which, we, as Oromos, are faced with developments that suggest both doom and bloom at a time. I think his observation was right.
In deed for us, these are the best of times. And these are the worst of times. As we all know, these are times of protest. These are times of blatant repression. These are times of revolution. These are also times of stagnation, regression, and reactionary retaliation. These are times of continuous resistance to a regime that has no political scruples. These are also times of endless series of manoeuvres to manipulate the public’s grievances and redeploy them to the advantages of the regime.
These are times of contrasting developments emerging side by side. These are the days of the Qerroo. But these are the days of Abay Tsehayes and Sebhat Negas. These are the days of Qubee Generation. But these are also the days in which the Ethiopian Ministry of Education (MoE) is tampering with the Qubee alphabet.
These are the days of gaaffii abbaa biyyummaa. But these are also the days of massive dispossession through the instrumentality of the Master Plan, the industrial parks, and real estate developments—all of which resulted in a mass eviction of historic proportion. These are the days of nation-building. But these are also times of TPLF-induced invasions from all sides of Oromia.
These are times of coming together as Oromos to stand together in defence of what is naturally our own. But these are also days of mass migration to worlds unknown, across the deserts (including the Sahara), across the seas (such as the Mediterranean and the Red Sea), across the oceans (such as the Indian) and beyond.
These are days of popular unity. But these are also days of political party disunity.
Undoubtedly, though, these are unique times. These are times of continuous contestations. These are times of progressive resistance. These are days when resistance has engulfed the entire Oromo nation. These are times when politics has become a daily meal, a staple, for Oromos of all walks of life. In short, these are times when politics has become almost a way of life for the Oromo mass. These are times when the struggle has become larger and greater than political parties, political leaders, and individual activists. These are times when to be an Oromo in itself is already political.
These are tough times. These are demanding times. These are times that demand political discernment. The times demand towering leadership just as they demand clarity of vision and strength of conviction. These are times when we need action—simple, ordinary, but concrete action—just as we need adequate articulation of the aspirations of the Oromo nation.
III. WHAT CAN THE OROMO DIASPORA DO?
But what are the times demanding from us? What is it that we have to do in concrete terms? What is to be done now in real time? What can the diaspora do?
From our position of exile (as people ‘born of catastrophe’), what the Oromo diaspora can do is limited. It is vital to understand, and express, that our role is limited (by distance and by all that comes along with it). However, there are so many things we can do. Below, I will quickly highlight the things we can do.
What we need to do include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. To Help. To Assist. Central to the role of the diaspora is to be there for those fighting at home by offering a present help. Our task is assistance. Modesty is a virtue we need to practice in our relations with the folks conducting the resistance at home. We don’t know as much as they do or as much as we think we do. We need to avoid the attitude that we have the power to make or break the struggle. Be modest vis-à-vis the stellar performance of those who lead the resistance against all odds. Stop grand standing. Remember who you are: you are mere helpers, not doers. Your role is to be there for those who are doing the struggle at home. To be a witness. To present the absent. To expose the suffering. To be a voice.
2. Coordinate. Owing to the relative freedom that the Oromos in the diaspora enjoy, one of the arenas at which we can be useful is coordination of endeavours. Needless to say, there are many initiatives Oromos are taking in many areas of work (such as relief, diplomacy, advocacy, lobbying, campaigning, mobilizations, etc). We need to coordinate these initiatives. At the very least, we do well if we do not duplicate efforts, or subvert others, unwittingly, from doing what they are doing. Interdependence is a necessity because we are all limited in what we can do and achieve by ourselves. (For example, as activists, we don’t compete with parties, nor hate them. We don’t. We are actually nothing without them. We use every party, including the OPDO, in order for us to win something for the people. Our work is about putting pressures on parties, including, and primarily, those in government.
Remember: your opponents like to say two things about you as Oromos: a. you are divided. b. you are too incoherent. (This description of the Oromo is most recently echoed in conjectures made even in supposedly scholarly writings such as that of Clapham 2017). The reason is that too often, we fail to coordinate our activities. More often than not, we are found standing on our own compatriot’s ways almost wanting to subvert their goals.
3. Empower. Our most important contribution is to empower the public. The best way to counteract the regime’s measures of disempowerment (legal, political, military, and economic) is to empower the public through various ways, the most outstanding of which is of course, economic and informational. The practical way to do this is by offering financial help wherever it is needed. It is through rescue measures, measures to feed those who don’t have food, pay rents for those who have no place to live in,or to sponsor those who are in the middle of nowhere after having left the country. Resistance is costly. Engaging in an extended series of resistance leaves us bleeding as a nation. A bleeding nation is bound to live under the imperative of mobilizing some sort of relief activities. Performing relief support, therefore, is the task of the Oromo diaspora at this juncture as this is the only means of sustaining the struggle.
4. Build a new set of institutions, processes, and discourses. Taking advantage of the relative freedom that the Oromo diaspora have, it is imperative that we apply ourselves to the task of building a new set of institutions, processes, and discourses to sustain the struggle and to prepare for the state- and nation-building to come beyond the resistance. This is particularly important in the light of the fact that independent Oromo institutions are virtually banned in Ethiopia. New economic, political, socio-cultural institutions are needed. New processes (democratic, egalitarian, transparent, and accountable) are equally needed. New languages (i.e., new political grammars, new slogans, and new articulations) are needed. New political vernaculars are needed. New expressions and new concepts are needed. We need to produce new ways of imagining a different wold, a new world, a “new heaven and earth.” We need to find new ways of portraying the utopia we desire. In building a new set of institutions, processes, and discourse, in effect, we build a state; we build a nation. In order to build a nation, we build a shared imagination. We build a sense and a vision of common destiny.
IV.THE PRESSING NEEDS OF THE TIME
The question I started out with was: what are the pressing needs of the time? In this section, I will focus on just four key things we need to do urgently. These needs of the time are drawn from my own personal, if participant, observations of the trends around the resistance and the interactions I have with countless Oromos both from home and in the diaspora. The four things we need to do are: 1) to Organize, Organize, and Organize; b) to learn to live with our differences; 3) to build and strengthen (national) institutions; and ) to build coalitions with other political forces in Ethiopia, preferably to build a ‘coalition of the oppressed’. What do each of these things mean to us? I will now turn to elaborating on them as briefly as possible.
Organize, Organize, Organize!
By far the most important, most urgent, most pressing need of the time is organizing ourselves. As you may have all observed, the resistance that started in 2014 (known variously as #Oromoprotests and #OromoRevolution) has given us a fully mobilized population. Grassroots activism, the (conventional) media (such as the OMN), and the social media, have all played a key role in the work of mobilization. But the resistance needs to be harnessed. It should be given an organizational shape. For this, we need to be organized, even beyond organizations. Otherwise, any populist (individual or party)—even the OPDO—can ride high on it and ultimately subvert the goals so many have sacrificed their lives, limbs, liberties, and livelihoods for. It is important to remember that the OPDO—and its makers, the TPLF—survive and thrive on the disingenuous manipulation of the widespread public grievances to their own advantage.
In simple terms, to organize means: a) to set clear goals, to identify and give a coherent shape to all the Oromo demands with a view to establishing consensus; b) to prioritize, to select our battles, to know the battles we have to lose—if need be—in order to win the war; c) to plan ahead, to act with a foresight and with a sense of anticipation for all eventualities; d) to identify tools, resources, forces, and advantages we have and to know who or what is needed where; e) to allocate resources (money, labor, skills, and materials); f) to execute plans with a sense of commitment and accountability.
To organize means to have a rigor in our work and discipline in our practices. Simple acts in the way we carry out duties indicate how (dis)organized we are. Mundane examples include: punctuality; starting and finishing meetings on time; making sure that minutes of meetings are kept and deposited in an orderly fashion; keeping institutional memory of events, activities, and use of finances; preparing handover notes and briefing memos when there is a transfer of power and responsibility; keeping all lines of accountability (within institutions and to the general public); keeping office secrets; professionalism; etc.
It is these examples of personal organization that translate into institutional organizations. It is these simple acts of discipline in our associational life that we take into our institutional lives. In whatever we do, we need to demonstrate commitment, rigor, discipline, and excellence.
Learn to Live with Differences!
As we organize ourselves, we also need to be sensitive to, and live with, our differences. While Oromos of all walks of life have a shared history of oppression under the Ethiopian settler colonial empire, not all of them have the SAME experience of oppression. To that extent, there are differences among us. Depending on the specific kind of oppression we experienced and the reaction thereof, we have different ways of conducting resistance. For example, we differ in our mode of engagement with the Ethiopian empire. (Some Oromos are thus legitimately ambivalent about what to do with what would become the ‘rump’ Ethiopian state in the event that Oromo are separated from Ethiopia. There are those who seek to rehabilitate the empire through works of democratic redemption. And there are those who are less optimistic about Ethiopia. There are those who see a part of themselves–in however disfigured form—in the Ethiopian empire they have helped build in historical times and are currently engaging with critically. There are also those who see themselves only as the ultimate other of the Ethiopian state, which state built itself on the back of the Oromo, as it were, with ‘the logic of elimination’ targeting the Oromo as a people. There are also those who see self-determination of the Oromo as a way of forming their own state and having their right to a dignified political life. After all, “stateless persons,” as these people seem to maintain, following tack of Hannah Arendt, “have no rights.” There are also those who see the self-same right of self-determination as a way of resolving the Ethiopian dilemma by empowering people to decide putatively (to become or unbecome Ethiopian) and (re-)found the polity on a consensual basis. This vision of self-determination as a moment of political transfiguration is also noted in the tenor of the political program of some of our political parties.)
Consequently, we, as Oromos, are bound to live with differences in political orientation. (This is in addition to differences relative to region, religion, and cultural orientation.) It is therefore critical that we face and live with our differences. We are a large population of 40-45 million strong. We are a great nation. The greatness is because, not in spite of, our political differences. It would be dishonest to claim that all the differences in our lived experiences of oppression and the reaction thereof is reflected and represented only by one political party. The time for one orthodox, vanguard, political party to lead all Oromos to liberation is long gone. To the extent that there are multiple ways of engaging with and resisting the Ethiopian oppression, there are bound to be multiple political actors to conduct resistance. Our politics must reflect our diversity and take account of the multiple and textured ways of resisting empire.
It is thus imperative that we avoid claiming monopoly over political truth, political virtue, or political power in Oromia. It is important to remember that not any single one of us have a total monopoly over the ideas and ideals all Oromos aspire for. It is not true that anyone of us have the only ‘correct program or a sense of political righteousness (allowing us to condemn everyone else as traitors). We can’t pretend as if we are a people represented only by one political party. And we can’t wish away our differences. We can’t ignore our diversity. We only need to learn to live with them.
For now, we need to avoid unnecessary conflicts. We are one people with diverse political orientations. And that is good. We need to nurture our plurality. We need to acknowledge our differences. We need to work together on what we agree. But we need to tolerate each other on what we don’t agree. Maybe we don’t need to obsess with unity. (After all, if it didn’t work for Ethiopia, if it was felt to be too oppressive there, maybe it won’t work for us. Let us not forget that unity does not mean uniformity. Perhaps this concept of ‘unity’ is overrated among us.)
Build New Institutions, Processes, and Discourses. Strengthen Old Ones.
Thirdly, we need to build institutions, processes, and discourses that respond effectively to the challenge of new times. These are different times. These are new times. (These are Noah’s times.) They demand new formations. They demand new institutions and new processes. They demand new discourses: new language, new political grammar, new terms of doing politics, new vernacular. Yes, new to us, new to our adversaries (even to the OPDO), and new even to the new generation, the Qubee Generation.
New economic, academic, socio-cultural, media, artistic, and even political institutions are needed. We need to build new economic institutions and new business enterprises. The enterprises need to focus on key economic sectors such as mining, construction, finances, real estates, agriculture, and the service industry. For whatever worth it is, it is also important to enter the publishing industry in order to promote the work of writing, documenting, and archiving our lives. These economic institutions are the only ones that can sustain the people in peace times and the struggle in times of resistance. Economic self-support is the much neglected aspect of the Oromo struggle. Again, it is no accident that even OPDO talks about economic revolution as its key political slogan used to contain the ongoing revolution. If self-sustenance demands building economic institutions, self-reproduction as a people demands that we build academic, intellectual, educational institutions. These institutions are vital not only to generate an Oromo body of knowledge, but to decolonize the Oromo (and the Ethiopian) mind. After all, colonialism is a way of thinking and if it has to be countered, it has to be countered at the level of (decolonial) thinking. The work the Oromo Studies Association (OSA) is doing is superb but it needs to be replicated a hundred times more. Oromia being a nation in resistance—and it being a bleeding nation as a consequence—it is supremely important to build humanitarian/relief, religious, and charity institutions. Such institutions are necessary for self-help. The importance of building media, cultural, artistic (galleries, museums, archives, book publishers) institutions can never be overstated. The imperative of institution-building also includes the need to build or strengthen Oromo civic, human rights institutions, and institutions of democratic accounting. Youth mobilization needs to be prioritized as part of the work needed to enhance youth civic engagement. Our youth in the diaspora seem to be demobilized generally, and we have ourselves to blame for it. Lastly, it is crucial for Oromos to build professional institutions such as that of lawyers, physicians, accountants, economists, diplomats, peace workers, business managers, social workers, psychologists, etc.
Moreover, new inter-institutional networks need to be set up. New ways of doing things must be unleashed. As you might have observed, these new movements couldn’t be contained with old ‘containers.’ You can’t contain new wine in old wineskins. More flexible–if more complex, multivalent, and textured—more mobile and more fluid, processes of doing politics are needed. Faster, responsive, and efficient procedures alone can survive the fast-paced nature of life and politics—even in Ethiopia.
These are days when new discourses are much in demand. We need to go beyond exhausted vocabularies. We need to see beyond jaded slogans such as bilisummaa, walabummaa, qabsoo diddaa gabrumma, etc. It is no accident that even OPDO’s Lammaa Magarsaa uses phrases such as “qabsoo gabrummaa gabaabsuu”. Nor was it an accident that the last military operation of TPLF-OPDO in Oromia in the early 1990s was titled “Duula Bilisummaa-Walqixxummaa.” The generation combatting the TPLF soldiers on the streets of Oromia today have these words for their names already: Bilisee, Bilisummaa, Bilisa-Baanaa, Abdii, Hawwii, Hawweetan, Hawwinee, etc dominates the list of random names you could pick from among them. What was a dream for most of us here in the diaspora is an actuality for most of them today. They want new words with which to name their world, their dreams, and their aspirations. They want new metaphors that ‘transport them from here to there’. They want new slogans. Our intellectuals, poets, artists, singers, writers, religious leaders, need to apply themselves to generate this much needed new language. Our artists and poets—as the prophets of a secular society, or as society’s “unacknowledged legislators”–need to help us dream a new world, “a new heaven and earth.” After all, they are custodians of truth, beauty, and goodness. We need to rehabilitate old slogans. We need to generate new ones with which we can harness the dreams and aspirations of the new generation. In short, we need new lyrics that go into new freedom songs.
The imperative of building new institutions points us in the direction of a more important task: that of building the nation. The task of nation-building in its turn demands the double-pronged work of state building and building the nation per se. Thus, we need to: a) prepare to build the infrastructure of a state, or to occupy and assume existing state infrastructures and to transfigure them and set them on a democratic pedestal; and b) create a shared imagination of a common destiny. The nation, it is to be recalled, is “an imagined community” tied to each other mainly through a common vernacular. A shared imagination of common destiny consolidates solidarity among the members of the nation and with like-minded others from other nations. The efforts in the recent past, the Oromo Leaders Convention (OLC) and the Global Gumii Organization (GGO) was a gesture in the direction of bringing Oromo leaders together in order to start thinking about building the nation beyond resistance to the TPLF regime. The Declaration of Values of Oromo Governance and the Oromo Charter of Freedom were attempts at building a political consensus among Oromos of all walks of life by articulating the basic Oromo demands. The attempt to set up Oromo Doplomatic Center (ODAA) and Oromo Humanitarian Relief agency (HIRPHA) was also a similar attempt at institution building as a gesture towards nation-and state-building beyond resistance.
Build a Coalition
The fourth important task of the Oromo diaspora is building a coalition among the various political forces, especially among the peoples of the Ethiopian South. These people, once named the ‘other peoples of Ethiopia,’ have a shared history of occupation, dispossession and oppression, with the Oromo, under the Ethiopian empire. Building a ‘coalition of the oppressed’ among these forces is critical not just for the task of removing the TPLF regime from power but also for building a broader ‘national consensus’ and solidarity among the Ethiopians yet to come. This task climaxes the imperative, for the Oromo, of taking responsibility for ourselves and for our neighbourhood. This responsibility in turn is an act of seeing the world with Oromo eyes and placing oneself comfortably in it. Needless to say, this is simply achieving ‘national’ maturity. And we can’t afford to fail in this.
V. FACNG THE TIMES WITH HOPE AND OPTIMISM: What do we do now in Material Terms?
What does all this mean to us? What are the simple things we need to do in concreter terms? In this section, I turn to this question. In particular, I outline—albeit hastily—the things we need to do as activists, political parties, intellectuals and knowledge producers, media institutions, and business leaders and professionals.
The activists at home are doing a very good job. But we need to say to them: “Don’t look for leaders from abroad. You are the leaders. You are it. Take control of YOUR movement. We will help you. We will be there. We will be a witness. We will not fail you in that regard.”
To the activists outside of the country we say: keep doing what you are best at: “express, articulate, campaign, lobby, advocate, expose regime scandals. Do shame mobilization against the regime. Do this with style. Bring class and professionalism to it. Appeal to the western conscience. Avoid mediocrity. Serve as a channel of communication among activists at various locations and localities. Witness. Be there. Be careful not to assume leadership of the movement. You can’t. Don’t pretend as leaders. Don’t promise too much. Help mobilize. Facilitate organizing. Empower the mass. Be a voice.”
To political parties, the message is simple: “Organize. Organize. Organize! Be present. Lead. Take power. Be there: be present. Everyday. Everywhere. NB: You will be in government someday. You will be the ‘sovereign’ to be present everywhere in the entire territory, always. Learn to be present among the people. Get out of your ‘ascetic’ life of ‘the Leader’. Adapt a style of leadership that the times demand. Reach out to other political forces to build a coalition, especially ‘coalition of the oppressed,’ a coalition of the south.
“Reach out to one another. Stop hostility towards each other. Collaborate on what you agree (and there is so much you agree upon). Tolerate each other on what you don’t agree (And there are only a few things you disagree upon.)
“Remember this simple motto: unity on essentials. Liberty on non-essentials.
“Develop leadership skills. Learn the art of negotiations. Learn the art of compromise. Know what you can give in order to get what you want. Be resourceful. If not, what do you give?
“Remember: You are the last line of defense for our people. You need to have the stick with which to (en)force negotiation. Political leadership may require twisting arms of your adversaries at times. And you need to be doing this where needed.”
INTELLECTUALS, ARTISTS, POETS, SINGERS, WRITERS, RELIGIOUS LEADERS
My message to these is more like a message to oneself. I say: “Yours is truly a labor of love. It is the work of the prophets. We expect you to give us language. Give us imagination to see a different utopia, a different and a better future. Give us metaphors to take us from where we are to where we want to be. Give us tools of developing the self and the nation. Remember: You are forces of influence, not of force or of political power. It is a sacred trust. It is a responsibility that comes with the talent and the vocation that you have. Note: The work of intellectuals, activists, and the media: is also to help set clarity of vision. The work of political parties is to apply/inject strength of conviction. Political will is radiated from political parties and/or armed forces. Know where your influence comes from. And project it well.”
Media has a critical role in the politics of resistance. This is more so in countries where the regime uses its media for propaganda purposes and suppresses all other alternative media outlets. The media gains power and influence from its capacity to tell truth from an alternative vantage point.
Oromos are blessed with several media outlets. OMN, ONN, Oromo TV, and countless radio, print, and electronic media outlets labor daily to carry the Oromo truth out into the world. In so doing, they do their own bit of voicing the plight of their peoples at home. Needless to say, the media’s primary task is to inform and empower our people. It is calling is to humble the powerful and to empower the lowly. More particularly, its task is to expose and shame the regime (part of the task of humbling the powerful). Media outlets such as the Oromia Media Network (OMN) need to go beyond news and interviews. It also needs to stop cosying up to their interviewees and start to challenge their guests, especially the political leaders. They need to reach out to ALL political leaders and demand their views on any particular event that is of interest to Oromos. They need to be watching our leaders. They need to act as real watch dogs. Apart from this, our media need to starting documenting and archiving the struggle. They need to reconstruct and build historical memories and monuments. They need to augment the work of scholars in the battle for (decolonizing) narratives. In short, they need to present the absent and represent (the absent) narrative. They need to re-present (bring back) the Oromo narrative, the Oromo story, in their own domain. And when they do, they need to do it with excellence and professionalism.
Business is the bulwark of a civil society. Our business people need only succeed. My message to them is simple: “Profit. Innovate. Invent. FOR YOURSELVES!!! To succeed should be your national duty. NB. Business knows no borders. In this, it is truly cosmopolitan (the citizen of the world, from the Greek “kosmu, polites”). Penetrate the world around you. Take key economic sectors: mining, construction, real estate, finance, agriculture, service and publishing industry. Go and make money. Save money. Make more money. That is your job, your calling, and your national responsibility! And always, be there as a resource for the struggle. Without you, the struggle is impoverished. An idea is as strong as you could fund it. Freedom has a cost, and a financial cost, too.”
VI. CONCLUSION: TOWARDS NEW ETHICS OF DOING RESISTANCE
My talk today has an ethical urge, almost like a sermon. Four ethical imperatives emerge for the struggle. And these are: a) the ethics of discipline in our associational life, i.e., to organize, organize, and organize, to bring rigor and excellence to the way we do resistance and the way we prepare for the freedom to come; b) the ethics of being with the other, of learning to live with differences; c) the ethic of living with a sense of civic and national duty, ie., the duty of state and nation-building through building viable institutions, processes, and discourses. This is the ethic of living with a heightened imagination of the nation and the utopia to come; and d) the ethic of responsibility and care, i.e., the ethic of building a coalition of the oppressed. This is the imperative of building peace and solidarity beyond the struggle. It signals the need for working towards a genuine consensus via compromise based on truth and justice. It implies seeing others, even our adversaries, redemptively with an eye on the possibility of political co-transfiguration.
Standing as we are at this important juncture in history, at this liminal moment (of the best and the worst of Oromo times), and straddling as we do the space between the highland and lowland peripheries of Ethiopia, these are what we need to do as a matter of urgency and as a matter of the calling of destiny.
My friends, I believe we can do this. In fact, we should do this. And we can do nothing less.
Thank you. Galatooma. Ulfaadhaa. Jiraadhaa. Horaa bulaa!