Multinationalism is the Backbone of Unity
Worku Burayu (PhD), November 18, 2018
Summary: Let’s have determination and harmonization to discuss the real issues and to find the tangible solutions to form a more perfect unity by willingness and love and to institute justice, encourage the general prosperity, and assured the blessings of liberty to future and ourselves.
Dear reader, I usually write articles in my second language but not that I know it better than anyone. I wanted, those who thought that they are the only who know Ethiopia and exceptionally created for Ethiopian unity better than everyone, to read and recognize they are most of the time, the problem creator to that country. They write or talk accusing others without even knowing the deep root of what they are talking about. They are always first in blaming others but lagging behind in practicing harmony between themselves and others. Here is the situation in Ethiopia: Everyone, to one degree or another, feels misrepresented to Ethiopian system whether in the past or in the present situation. No matter what political line you are believing in, every people who are talking about the present situation in Ethiopia speak with a resentment, bitter anger, or a resigned hopelessness, about “how the ‘other side’ is going to boil things up worse than they already are.” Remarkably enough with this kind of polarization of who is to blame, I think everyone agrees that circumstances in Ethiopia are far out of thwack.
From unity by force side: We are TOLD in well-crafted speeches, what a Unity is about, how you should think of it; and of course, as the ONLY solution. Regardless of whose propaganda you digest the most easily, let alone who you are already inclined to agree with, those messages still are be pretty narrow and shallow. Unfortunately, we have lost touch with reality when it comes to ethnic or unity information. On the one hand, the unity sides are too busy to pay attentions about the nations and nationalities issues, the true nature of multinational federalism or to its solutions. But not too busy to write and follow the Facebook, surf the Internet, watching TV that incite conflicts among the nations and nationalities. On the other hand, they say they want more accurate, relevant, and verifiable information presented to the people. Yet, we live in a time when only negligible fragments of factual information, unembellished by any spin-doctoring are revealed to us in the public or private medias in Ethiopia. For instance, some of the TV channels misinformed us the “killings of several ethnic groups as it caused and spread by one ethnic group, e.g., the case in Burayu town on September 15 & 16, 2018.” Though not surprising, ESAT and Ethiopian public TV (EBC) broadcasted by repeating the same untruthful information. Qana TV further disseminated the unproven information. No detail information was provided to their audience including the causes and effect of the occurrence. It was not the information to the people, it has been the propaganda to incite conflicts among ethnic groups and wanted us to convince that ethnic federalism is not working. It was pre-arrangement to prepare their false propaganda video like it was prepared in 1992 (the Bedenno case). The machinery of their political skill is wholly intended to pacify people with messages that are easy to digest cracks, and therefore are intentionally misleading. But we the overwhelming public allow those crude and mind dampening communications to be served on the plate of social arena. Fact checking and follow-up research to get facts for ourselves is supposed to be done to the “unbiased” press. We have to stop believing anything said must be true especially if they have pictures with them. We have heard and seen couple of times the saying that have pictures of others to incite ethnic conflicts in Ethiopia.
From the ethnic federalism standpoint: (1) Homogeneity in language, religion, culture and nations couldn’t create union or make unity in Somalia. In multinational, multicultural, and multi-religion country like Ethiopia, multinational democracy unites us not divide us, (2) liberty, democracy, equality and diversity are the back bone of the unity, and (3) discussing about the real issue and abolishing hopelessness and the politics of hate from the entire country’s sphere can unite us. The real issues must be discussed, addressed properly, and tangible solution must be discovered. As one of our known anthropologists, Professor Gemechu Megersa recently pointed out perfectly, when he had an opportunity to discuss about Oromo’s with Chris Smith (R-NJ), an American congressman, “Oromo has been a problem for Ethiopia and Ethiopia has been a problem for Oromo.” Chris Smith is the author of the House-passed H.Res.128 on April 10, 2018, the legislation which condemned human rights abuses in Ethiopia and outlined a number of reforms that Ethiopia must take to promote peace and democracy. As I understood it, Professor Megersa’s assertion is not to exaggerate the problem Ethiopia is facing now. It is to indicate that the issue of Oromo is real, and this issue must be understood and addressed properly, by all stakeholders, whether it is a government body, political organizations or activists or the countries who have relations and impact with that country. The issue of ethnic federalism and unity by force in Ethiopia is a real problem that must be discussed frankly in a transparent way at all levels of societies. Such discussion will open opportunities that unite us. I can add one more: As many of the audiences gathered in Amhara Regional State, on one of the activist’s meeting to discuss about Ethiopian unity, we heard that people of Amhara are ready to organize themselves as Amhara. A young man claimed that “people are dying as Amhara, every problem happened on them as Amhara, not as Ethiopian.” That young man, as an Ethiopian, he joined the Ginbot-7 Patriotic front guerrilla fighter until his departure from their camp after knowing the false propaganda and promise of the so called Ginbo-7 is not to his belief. He finally, decided to came back and organized as Amhara to protect the interest of Amhara and Ethiopia as the same time. You need not be bad Amhara or bad Oromo to be good Ethiopian. Good Amhara with his own liberty on his own motherland is a good Ethiopian. Good Oromo with his own liberty on his own fatherland is a good Ethiopian. As the same time, you need not be deprived of your land and freedom to be good Ethiopians. Of course, there are some who predetermined with closed mind, not to hear about ethnic federalism, particularly about Oromo, the Oromo-phobic individuals. But, it is not smart way to response to evils in evil approach. If you do that you are already caught into their trap. They wanted you to go to their low level. That means, rather than being part of the solution finders you will be exacerbated the situation in Ethiopia and you yourself become another problem creator.
I saw many comments against Oromo journalists working in unity preaching media such as ESAT, complaining why they don’t leave the ESAT media. Let be fair, professional journalism has very few sympathizers, but has many criticizers. Don’t complain how an individual chooses his/her own path to strive or track his/her livelihood. Be aware that the element of democracy starts that individuals have right to pursue their liberty. Is ESAT credibility have impact on their future carrier path? absolutely, whether it is negative or positive. BBC categorization of ESAT amongst the third hate preacher TV in Africa is a big blow for ESAT and the employee working in ESAT. This does not mean every individual have the same responsibility in what has happened. Let me tell you this, in my opinion “ESAT Dhimmaa Keenya” discussed by Bafqaadu Morodaa and his guests is unbiased professional program. I have watched the “ESAT Dhimmaa Keenya,” I know most of my friends thought I am crazy. Maybe, I am. For me, next to VOA Afaan Oromo, their discussion has been one of the teaching models that anybody with open mind can learn what a balance and fair professional journalism is. For example, watch the discussion made between Bafqaadu Morodaa and Dhaabasaa Waqjiraa on Friday, October 5th, 2018; or Bafqaadu Morodaa and Magarsa Bona on November 12, 2018.
Since many of the societies already understood on the real problems of Ethiopia, my concern is “What is the solution to fix it?” What are the real underlying reasons that the unity by force side is angry and afraid? Personally, I don’t believe for a moment that the real reason only lies in fear of ethnic federalism. I believe that they are angry at their feelings of powerlessness and emptiness. There is a great deal of energy that a person locks into place when they must actively deny a fact that they eager do not want to believe. It is easy to feel anger from that perspectives. When the rash hold onto those politics falls into exhaustion, then hopelessness and alienation take root. In hopelessness, no one negotiates, no one respects others because they themselves feel so powerless and thereby must “cut the other person down to size.” The probable solution from that perspective is to have a strong institution “that enforce what’s right,” to wipe out not only multinationalism concept but also people who have the idea of ethnic federalism from Ethiopia’s land. Power imposed over someone else is the essence of the authoritarianism. It is the exact opposite of a democratic way of life.
Let leave the judgement and choice from the two scenarios (unity by force and multinationalism) for the people, and submit ourselves to the “WE THE PEOPLE.” Unfortunately, so much of what is really relevant to our continued success of the present change experiment to exercise the free will of the people and trustworthy self-determination is not being discussed in the country. Most of us divert our attention and blaming others by saying “they are the problem or problem creator rather than focusing on a solution.” Let synchronize our energy to discuss the real issues and to find the tangible solutions. I believe, diversity unite us not divide us and multinationalism is the backbone of unity, the unity in our willingness and love.