Tale of three cities- Washington D.C., California, and Twin Cities: Winners and Losers
By Abba Ormaa, August 3, 2018
The winners are:
Qeerroo/Qarree, PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed, The Oromo community in the Twin cities, The Oromo People at large and the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), and Oromo Media Network (OMN).
The losers are:
Vision Ethiopia, Ethiopian Community in Washington D.C., ESAT, and Dr. Lemma Megersa.
First let us look at the winners:
- Qeerroo/Qarree: (Qeerroo refers to Oromo youth boys and Qarree refers to the girls): We all agree that the Qeerroo/Qarree movement is the engine of this change and it came at the expense of their blood, lost limbs, lost eyes, and lost livelihoods. Target center reassured them that their fallen heroes and heroines brothers and sisters are not forgotten by the Oromo people –the cause of their struggle. I hope Dr. Abiy makes a habit of starting his rallies by a moment of silence for those who paid the ultimate price.
- PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed: Whether one agrees with him or not, Abiy showed his good understanding of history, the complexity and challenges of the realities on the ground. He portrayed himself as someone well prepared with clarity of thoughts to where he wants to take the country and as someone that any of us can associate with. He was not intimidated by Vison Ethiopia’s narrow interest gatherings and he laid down fundamental policies in their face regarding the current Federal arrangement, languages, and the question of Nations and Nationalities. He told the gatherings like any other constitutions, the constitution has its own mechanism to amend. By that he shot down their dream of crafting their narrow “constitution”. Rumors has it that they even submitted a draft constitution. Second, he unequivocal told them that 49% of the populations speak their local language and changing the current arrangement is counterproductive. Third, the question of Nations and Nationalities is something that has taken root and legitimate reason for almost half a century and cannot be erased at a stroke of a pen. In short he reminded them to be realistic and leave their old empire building dream behind.In Minnesota, he took open questions from citizens. The questions were not pre-screed unlike the other places and responded with an easy and substantively. Whenever a pushback was needed, he did not hesitate to pushback, a rare quality in a leader. He spoke in Amharic and in Afaan Oromo for questions at easy. When necessary, he used both Afaan Oromo and Amharic. He entertained every question and responded kindly and thoughtfully. He was not rattled by anything may be except the chaos and disorganization in D.C.Dr. Abiy’s clarity of purpose and depth makes me wonder if he was the architect of the so called “Team Lemma” from the start.Some people took issue with the way he spoke about OLF and Dawud Ibsa, the chairman of the Oromo Liberation Front. I don’t believe there was any bad intention. It was a matter of making sure that he is on the same page with the audiences as to which OLF they are referring to. Take it easy folks!
- The Oromo community in the twin cities and the Organizers: Simple put they showed how to organize a rally that is all inclusive and orderly. They made the Oromo people back home and elsewhere proud by showing that the Oromo people are democratic and fair. The Oromo people’s National struggle is not to hurt anyone but to regain the lost freedom and justice and the struggle is not just for Oromo, it is for all Nations and Nationalities in the Ethiopia Empire. The PM and his delegates will remember Minnesota than California and Washington D.C. for long time to come. The PM already used it as an example of inclusiveness. Simply put, they made the Oromo Nation proud! Kudos to them.
- The Oromo people at large and The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF): Anyone who watched the Target Center can attest to this. The Oromo Liberation Front has the heart and minds of the Oromo people. OLF’s struggle is Oromo people’s struggle. Every Qeerroo who marched for freedom and justice, every OLF fighter who signed to die for the Oromo cause are vindicated once again.
- Oromo Media Network (OMN): OMN did a masterful job over all transmitting the programs. I am not a big fan of OMN over all. On this one they nailed it! I am glad they are here to stay. At one point it had around 250,000 views on Facebook. A number ESAT wishes to have!
- Finally Workneh Gebeyehu wins by not saying anything and showing respect and by being happy.
- Vision Ethiopia: This is a collection of old guards who do not understand or do not want to understand the pain and sufferings of the Oromo people under their failed philosophy of “One Ethiopia, One language, and one language”. They organized the Dinner and Discussion forum behind closed door and brought together hand-picked organizations and individual with the same failed out dated policy of the past. It was boring and repetitive. It lacked organic nature as the question and the people who asked the question where pre-selected. The PM was not impressed by their questions and organizations. He even commented the obvious one; luck of a single woman in their lineup. A total failure. I am sure they have a thing or two to learn from the Minnesota group, the Oromo people.
- Ethiopian Community in Washington D.C.: They were let down by their organizers and also by their unruliness at the convention center. They showed their intolerance when they screamed and shut down the whole program and forced the PM to get up and grab the mic. It was shameful. The one thing they will remember is the chaos.
- ESAT: ESAT caught twice in two weeks lying and making up false stories. To regain credibility, they should fire individual(s) involved in these two episodes and change the editorial board.First on July 18, 2018 ESAT broadcasted a heavily doctored video showing an imaginable cruelty from other country with a voice over of Oromo youth as if the Oromo youth committed this heinous crime against humanity. It is shameful to listen when one of the panelist (he does not deserve for his name to be include here) they did this and that to our “brothers”. Make no mistake ESAT knew exactly what they are doing. They told us that the verified and blah blah …. It makes one wonder whether ESAT is working to destabilize Ethiopia or oar trying to instigating conflict against the Oromo people. Their apology was too little and too late. They already did the damage.Second, everyone in the audience at the D.C. rally witnessed the chaos at the convention center. The Ambassador was not allowed to utter a single word. But, once again ESAT doctored the clip and portrayed completely a different atmosphere as if the Ambassador spoke and invited Dr. Abiy to the stage, a complete fabrication. Now everyone in the audience will be questioning every story they do whether it is true or a fabrication as usual. SAD! I feel bad for some of the good journalists there to be associated with such a corrupt organization.
- Lemma Megersa: In my opinion the biggest loser of the delegation is Dr. Lemma Megersa. Lemma Megersa is the President of Oromia regional state. The Official language of Oromia is Afaan Oromo and 75% of the audience at the Target center was Oromo. Why in the world he thought that he can address in Amharic? There is nothing wrong with speaking Amharic but he does not work for the federal government, he works for the Oromia State. He could have addressed in Afaan Oromo, and then comment in Amharic. Think of Dr. Gedu Andargachew, President of Amhara regional State, addressing an audience of 75% Amhara in Afaan Oromo! The other point here is Lemma did not seem to be enjoying his presence in the Twin Cities. The whole time his body language says everything. One wonders what ticked him off? My guess is that the flag that greeted him from the airport to his stay for most part is the Oromo Liberation Front Flag which is a symbol of Oromo and the Oromo people’s National struggle for justice and freedom. Throughout Oromia that is what people carry at rallies, flying high at town and city squares. May be the only difference is he did not expect to be hit by it away from home. Again Minnesota is called Little Oromia for reason. He will also definitely feel back clash from his own OPDO and the Oromo people when he gets back home. He has some explaining to do back home. May be it is the case that his staunch opposition to the idea of the Oromo Liberation Front will change now. For whatever reason, Dr. Lemma Megersa did not feel comfortable and the PM Dr. Abiy’s repeated assurance of his leadership of the so called “Team Lemma” might be an indication of something to come.
My educated guess is Dr. Lemma is on his way out of Oromia to the Federal government!
Finally California was a good show but not memorable like Washington D.C. (the worst) and Minnesota (the best).
What a week!
The struggle must continue until freedom and justice is achieved!