On Using Ethiopia’s other ‘others’ to Silence the Oromo and to Degrade their Quest for Justice

Tsegaye Ararssa, (27 May at 17:10 )

For some people, the urge to trivialize the Oromo demand for justice makes them “liberation fighters” for the other “others” of Ethiopia. They recklessly mention names of people whose existence they never knew, at the sounds whose names they have endless laughter.

They mention people whose names are otherwise the stuff out of which Amharic comedies are made. They mention these names just so they can talk about them as victims of various Oromo groups.

They talk about the rights of the people they don’t even know in order to disavow responsibility for the injustice they perpetrate on the Oromo they know.

Let them do the rights talk alright. I just wonder why it took them so long to even recognize that there are such peoples as these: the Burji, the Donga, the Bodi, the Bahre-worq Mesmes, the Danta-DobamKinchichila, etc; or to recognize even that there are people like the Kembata, Hadiya, Sidama, Gedeo, Tambaro, Yem, Menjo, etc closer to the center, the people whose produce we consume.

They often talk about these peoples’ suffering and displacement under the Oromo since the 16thc. I just wonder why it took them so long to rescue these people from the “Oromo onslaught”. I also wonder what Amdetsion (14th c), or Zarayacob (15th c) were doing in those corners way before the alleged Oromo expansion. If they are so worried about the rights of these other peoples, why didn’t they liberate them when their kings were in power for all the centuries before 1991? Why don’t they fight for their freedom from the EPRDF’s oppression now? Why do they use these names just when they seek to silence the Oromo?

I want to pledge publicly to relinquish all and any of the Oromo quest for justice if these Ethiopianist elites start to fight for the rights of these ‘other’ peoples. What they do for the empowerment of these groups will naturally empower the Oromo. But of course, they won’t.

Theirs is a tactic of denial and disavowal of responsibility.

Theirs is an indulgence in hypocrisy par excellence.

In a debate on the AA Master Plan recently, one scholar asks me about what happens to the Kembata and Hadiya the Oromo displaced in the 16th century if we respect the Oromo right of ownership over the city, or at least, implement the so-called special interest Oromos have over Addis Ababa. He worries about the hypothetical past to avoid the problem presenting itself right before his eyes. He sought to hide behind a hypothetical academic question in order to evade a real and pressing question demanding an answer right here and now.

You can’t be more absurd.

You mention the ‘plight’–real or imaginary–of peoples whose names have long been otherized (long pushed into obscurity by your own imperial discourse), but you refuse to see the plight of those that are in your midst.

And you drop these names–that sound exotic to you–if only to build a discourse that seeks to rationalize the Oromo suffering in the here and now.

You can’t be more hypocritical.

You can’t be blinder–morally, ethically, and politically.