OMN: Turtii Professor Mararaa Guddinaa wojji taasifame

OMN: Turtii Professor Mararaa Guddinaa wojji taasifame

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  1. Ya Oromo

    Listen up! The game is over! Many among the Oromo elite have ‘bought’ into the hope of “reforming & transforming” Ethiopia, at least, during the last fifty years. These ‘Oromos,’ as the “educated” bridge between the Empire and the Oromo people, have tried to pacify the Oromo people into accepting their relationship to the armed Amahara Nefxagna Settler State as subjects, servants, and tenants. Guess what? It HAS NOT WORKED! IT HAS NOT WORKED WITH MEISON, THE OPDO, OR THE ODP! IT IS NOT WORKING RIGHT NOW WITH ABIYOT AKA ABIY AHMED & HIS PROSPERITY PARTY! IT WILL NOT WORK TOMORROW EITHER, NO MATTER WHICH ORGANIZATION IS GOING TO SPEARHEAD THE EFFORT!

    In the following few pages, one of our brilliant Oromo writers who published a Series of essays Called ‘The Kindling Point,” under the pen name of H. Q. Loltu, addressed this same failed idea of ‘reforming’ an Empire, some forty years ago! With hardly noticeable substitution of names, dates, and minor details, I am sure you are going to gain some insight as to why ETHIOPIA CAN NOT BE REFORMED! FOR THE MISERY OF THE PEOPLE IN THE ETHIOPIAN EMPIRE TO END, “ETHIOPIA AS WE HAVE KNOWN IT MUST CEASE TO EXIST.”
    The Last sentence is a verbatim quote from H.Q. Loltu!

    Enjoy!

    The Kindling Point #6
    “ON THE QUESTION OF REFORMING AN EMPIRE”
    By Hordhoofa Q. Loltu
    April, 1985

    “The media attention to the famine situation in Ethiopia has caused many people,
    even total strangers to the area, to talk about or write articles about their ideas for what would be necessary to bring peace and prosperity to the region. During the last two or three weeks I have read everything I could find, watched interviews with the experts on television, and had conversations with a lot of different kinds of people about what they think should happen to end the suffering in Ethiopia.

    It is not too surprising that everyone’s solution perfectly fits his or her interest.

    1) The Military Junta and its supporters say, “If there could be a decisive military victory, then the regime could turn its full attention to solving the problems of the country. All that is needed is more time and more billions of dollars worth of arms. The only reason that there has not been a satisfactory military conclusion is that the 3 billion dollars in armaments was not yet enough for bringing the ‘final solution.’

    2) People involved in international humanitarian and relief aid agencies say, “Give more aid! Give aid until the people are self-sufficient and can stand on their own two feet. But do not ask us how they are going to be able to get there, because that is not our area.[of expertise] We are not in development or politics, and becoming self-sufficient involves too much politics, planning, and spending. As long as the salaries that we receive for our ‘selfless’ assistance work are large enough to maintain a high living standard at home when the trouble is over, we will be there with bandages, butter oil, and protein supplement biscuits.”

    3) Representatives of intergovernmental institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund that finance and advise on economic development, say,
    “More economic development and expert advice is what is needed, especially high-yielding variety seeds, some of the remarkable new fertilizers developed from petroleum, the latest technology (appropriate, of course) and programming that requires a few years of consultation from an expert counterpart either from the West or trained in one of the West’s top institutions of higher learning.”

    4) Politicians, administrators and bureaucrats in countries that have not supported this government say, “The entire problem in Ethiopia is its new superpower alignment! If only this regime could only realize the terrible mistake it made to switch its alliance to the U.S.S.R., and decide to transfer its superpower allegiance back to the West right away, all sins could be forgotten and things could be shaped up in a reasonable period of time. All that is needed is ‘proper’ political advice and the West’s technical help instead of the East’s.”

    5) Intellectuals, academics and various potential candidates for a new bureaucracy say, “The entire problem in Ethiopia is a problem of mismanagement! If this regime were only replaced by a new administration functioning in place of the current bureaucracy, then the resources and potential of ‘our country’ could be made to blossom.It is our turn to go into the Ministerial Offices and try our recipe for managing this situation. If we had our chance, everything could be saved and our frustration would be ended! Anyone who opposes this Mengistu government should be called ‘progressive’ and counted as an ally, because he can help to put us in control.”

    These proposed solutions all have two things in common: 1) They are all extremely self-serving. For all, Ethiopia is a mirror they can hold up to themselves to see their ambitions and opportunity. 2) None of them address or take any steps to solve the central problem that has brought Ethiopia to the disaster we see. They are all proposing reform of one kind or another.

    I, for one, am against reform to solve the problems of an empire. No reform can be good enough. The United States had all the opportunity it needed during the Haile Selassie years to reform Ethiopia in any direction it chose, but at the end, hundreds of thousands of people were literally starving to death. The
    Soviet Union has tried its formula during the past decade. It has become extremely clear that theirs is also a disastrous failure. Now millions of people are literally starving to death. Things are simply not working and it is going to take more than time to make matters improve. Ethiopia’s present course of action–to grab as much as possible from both sides of the East-West confrontation with promises to both is proving to be the worst option of all for the people. Until the basic diagnosis of the disease that Ethiopia is suffering from is recognized by any of the groups I have just mentioned, nothing they do will even help, let alone cure the country of its agonizing misery. They can merely stretch out the suffering. Only with a clear diagnosis can the proper steps be taken by anyone to bring health to the region and its people. I believe, however, that if they recognize a correct diagnosis, most of these groups could contribute in some way to a proper healing. But not until then.

    The nations in the Ethiopian empire are suffering from a parasite attached to them, a tapeworm–the tapeworm of a colonial ruling elite. Take the case of the Oromo nation. This tapeworm invaded the living system of the highly productive Oromo Nation and began to suck all the nutrients necessary for life away from the vital organism without contributing anything to the survival of the host. After its invasion, this tapeworm set up points of sucking all products away from the Oromo people for its own and others’ consumption.

    Almost everything that has kept Ethiopia afloat throughout the history of this empire since the invasion and conquest has come from Oromia–gold,coffee, ivory, skins, and even the slaves. (The slaves that Ethiopia was famous for were certainly not Abyssinians, but captured and sold by Abyssinians from the colonial areas such as Oromia.) If you go down a list of everything that has been exported as Ethiopian, and then look at a map of where that product comes from, you will see that the items come from Oromia. This tapeworm established itself through winding roads that linked garrison posts, trade centers, and customs points to the emperor’s palace, and through the railroads, to Europe and beyond. These posts became the points where the Neftennas drew the lifeblood out of the Oromo nation and became fat at the expense of the people who were made into tenants and slaves to feed them. But the parasite produced nothing on its own. The more help this colonial tapeworm got from outside, the more it grew fat and tried to improve its method of bleeding the producers, not improve the life of the conquered people.

    You simply cannot nurse a person back to health who has a tapeworm in his gut. A tapeworm like any parasite survives only by drawing the life away from another. THat is its nature. It cannot survive in any other fashion. The relationship between a tapeworm and its host is the perfect example of an antagonistic relationship. You CANNOT reconcile a parasite with the one that it lives off of. It can only live by taking from another. Unless the victim is made free of that parasite, nothing that is done for it can contribute to its survival. The more assistance or food that goes to the victim ignoring the problem, the fatter the tapeworm gets, the sooner the body dies.

    This is the true nature of the relationship between the parts of the Ethiopian Empire. It is a situation that CANNOT be reformed. Everything done for the victim, even if it is done with the best intention, will make the situation worse in the long term.

    Let me add a footnote here. When I think of the generous, well-intentioned humanitarian aid being sent by the public in Europe and the U.S. to help the famine victims in Ethiopia, it distresses me. It is exactly like feeding someone with a tapeworm in his gut. All the food in the world cannot cure him until his real problem is acknowledged. For school children to send their lunch money and old people on public assistance to sacrifice to feed a parasite unknowingly, is an outrage!

    Until a proper relationship is established and a proper foundation is laid, there is no chance that even the most elaborate program or inputs could benefit the people who are suffering. Most of the assistance will make the parasitic groups fatter and cause the people to suffer more in the long run. I remember reading about the introduction of motor cars into the Arab World when oil was discovered there. It seemed logical to bring automobiles to where the gas was produced. But there was no local system for refining and delivering gasoline through service stations, there were no road system laid down, there were no repair facilities. The Sheiks who acquired the Cadillacs and the Mercedes could only get around in them by forcing the peasants to carry the cars around the streets for them on their backs.

    This same thing is being planned and is happening today in Ethiopia in another form under the reform program put forward by the government and economic consultants for “increased agricultural development and resettlement to eliminate famine.” Huge State farms and resettlement sites are being introduced which are designed to use modern equipment and improved technology. It may seem logical to bring large agricultural programs to an area suffering with large food shortages. But the labor is to come from unwilling local people who have to be threatened to leave their homes and farms to move to state farms, famine victims who are given no alternative to starvation, and people who are rounded up in the city streets without warning and trucked out to the site. Setting up a state farm or resettlement in an area where no roads, services, or any improvement exist (except those designed for better exploitation), is like sending a Mercedes to a country without petrol, repair garages, or highways–the work load to be carried by the peasants and increase their sweat and suffering.

    These projects aimed at reform through economic improvement are nothing more than status symbols for a parasitic colonial government; they do not function. They are being imposed on the country by force, without any foundation prepared for them. They are showpieces being carried on the backs of slave laborers, and they are not harmless status symbols either. Their very existence swells the Ethiopian tapeworm (the bureaucracy). It makes it fatter and increases its ability to suck more of the lifeblood from the producing peasants. Peasants have to leave their homes and farms to enter these places. There they are more victimized than ever before.

    The Ethiopian colonial system is structured to live off of the resources of the colonies. That relationship has only one cure. (I do not know what the cure for a tapeworm is called in English, but in [Afaan] Oromo we call it ‘heeto.’) That cure is a national liberation struggle. It cuts off that parasitic relation by attacking the colonial system itself until it dries up and is discarded. This cure brings health and nutrients directly to the suffering victim. In order for health and prosperity to come to that area, the Ethiopian colonial system itself has to be destroyed. That does not mean destroying the individual persons who are involved in it and benefiting from it (the neftennas and their supporters), it means eliminating the relationship. Those individuals inside the colonial system are then forced by the realities to abandon it and to enter into a different one, one which is a productive contributor to the community of nations in its own righ. When this happens the cure will be complete.

    Reform is an attempt to improve the social and political conditions inside a system of government without a radical change to the structure. Since anything that goes to the root is considered to be radical, I guess I am forced in this case to be radical. When a fatal disease which requires radical steps is diagnosed for a patient, the family is forced to endorse them in order to save a person. There comes a time to recognize that treating one part or one symptom of a problem at a time will not be enough. In this case, more arms, more aid, more advice, more programs, new faces in the offices, etc., are being proposed. But none of these will solve the problem; they will only make the situation worse.
    I am completely convinced that anything less than a restructuring of the entire relationship among the parts of the Ethiopian empire will only make the problem worse in the long run. Ethiopia as we have known it must cease to exist.

    This solution requires that the Amharas and other neftennas have to construct a different way of relating to the Oromos (and other people in the empire, for that matter). They are going to have to deal with those nations that occupy the Horn of Africa with them as their neighbors and fellows and not as tenants and slaves. Amharas are going to have to identify themselves as such and start to find ways of functioning as a productive organic unit. For them to deny the domination and bloodshed now and refuse to acknowledge the source of the problem will only stand in the way of good neighborliness in the future.

    One thing is absolutely certain. No peaceful, workable solution can be found to the dilemma of disaster in the Ethiopian empire that does not directly address the Oromo position and correct it. The Abyssinians who came as neftennas are unwanted, uninvited dinner guests who have stayed too long feeding off of the Oromos and not contributing anything to the survival of their hosts.

    Hordhoofa Q. Loltu

    • Wow! I almost missed this post! Once again, Loltu correctly assesses an issue afflicting the Ethiopian Empire! I found it remarkable that the essay still makes perfect sense, after almost forty years, by simply substituting, here & there, some names and minor details in the body of the text!

      Thank you for re-publishing this piece Aba Solan! By the way,I downloaded the two pieces you have posted so far, this piece & #5. If it is not too much to ask, Can you post the #s and corresponding titles of the essays you have, here on KIchuu? I am going to see if I can unearth some microfiche copies at some of the bigger libraries around.

      Looking forward to reading some more of your comments and Loltu’s work!

      • Hello Irkoo!
        I will post the titles of “The Kindling Point” and their corresponding numbers in the Series asap…It won’t take me more than two days, I hope. I am pretty old, so, bear with me, I do not move as fast as I used to when I was a young buck…LOL

        See you on Kichuu’s Pages!

  2. Irkoo,
    As promised, here is the list of Loltu’s essays I have. I am missing 3 issues in the series, unfortunately. I tell you what though: I have been re-reading all of his writings AND I am absolutely amazed at how applicable most of his insights into our struggle for freedom are today, almost forty years after he penned his first essay. We Oromos ARE blessed with ENORMOUS capabilities AND we NEED to put them to work in SERVICE of our own people!

    Did you hear the GREAT NEWS about the formation of the JOINT COMMAND OF ALL OLA FORCES? I am sure you have! I will have somethings I will be saying about it soon! As I have said somewhere here on Kichuu’s pages in the past, I feel blessed to have lived long enough to KNOW, AND MOST LIKELY WITNESS, the birth of an INDEPENDENT and SOVEREIGN OROMO REPUBLIC! Even if I do not get to see it personally, for there are bound to be set backs as in ALL liberation wars,
    I know I will leave this planet with a HUGE SMILE on my face when my day comes, KNOWING FULL WELL THAT THE BIRTH OF AN INDEPENDENT & SOVEREIGN OROMO REPUBLIC IS SIMPLY A QUESTION OF WHEN, NOT IF!!!

    ONWARD AND FORWARD WITH OUR OLA SONS AND DAUGHTERS!

    Here are the titles and the corresponding numbers of “The Kindling Point,” along with when the essays were published.

    Note: “The Kindling Point” repeats above the title of all the articles through the Series. Example, See#2 & #3 below. I did not want to keep typing the same thing over and over again, so I have left this header out on numbers 4-38.

    Number Title Month & Year published

    #1 “The Kindling Point.” November, 1984

    #2 “The Kindling Point#2”
    “On Drought & Resettlement” December, !984

    “The Kindling Point#3”
    #3 “On the Meaning of “Ethiopian” ” January, 1985

    #4 “On the Power of Phrases” February, 1985

    #5 “On Unity and Fragmentation” March, 1985

    #6 “On the Question of Reforming an Empire” April, 1985

    #7 “On the Future of the Amharas” June, 1985

    #8 “On Adding Insult to Injury: Adulis on the National Question”
    August, 1985

    #9 “On the Politics Of August” October, 1985

    #10 “On the Lumpen Militariat in the Palace” December, 1985

    #11 “On Deliberate Defections from the Dergue” February, 1986

    #12 “On Villagization” March, 1986

    #13 “On Thinking the Situation is Different” April, 1986

    #14 “On Mourning the Loss of 100,000” June, 1986

    #15 “On Regionalism” July, 1986

    #16 “On Marriage as an Exit from Politics” October, 1986

    #17 “On Restlessness” December, 1986

    #18 “On The Hilton’s Eye View of Ethiopia” March, 1987

    #19 “On the Villagization of Intellectuals” May, 1987

    #20 “On Religion and Liberation” July, 1987

    #21 “On the TPLF’s Demon: the ‘New TPLF” on the Oromo Question”
    August, 1987

    #22 “On Eritrea’s Battle with a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing”
    April, 1988

    #23 Sadly, I do not have a copy of this article!

    #24 “On Marxism and the National Question:”
    “Beyond Marx and Lenin” August, 1988

    #25 “On Negotiation” August, 1989

    #26 “On Democracy” March, 1990

    #27 “On the London Tea Party and its Aftermath” June, 1991

    #28 “On the Role of the Oromo in Diaspora” June,1991
    Note: Only time Loltu issued 2 articles
    in one month

    #29 “On the Limits of Tactical Alliance” September, 1991

    #30 “The Oromo’s Immediate Task” October, 1991

    #31 “On the Politics of Mapping Oromia” January, 1992

    #32 “On the OLF Statement of February, 1992” February, 1992

    #33 “On the EPRDF: Armed Bandits in Oromia” April, 1992

    #34 “On the Ethiopian Experiment in Democracy” June, 1992

    #35 “On Applying the Lessons of the Past Year” July, 1992

    #36 & #37 I do not have copies of these two essays.

    #38 “On the Question of Leadership” November, 1993

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