The Hollow Rally of the Oromo community in Saint Paul, Minnesota

The Rally in Saint Paul, Minnesota: Was It a Support for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the Reform, and Democracy or a Denunciation of the Amhara Nationalism and Bala Adara Council?

By Barroo Goobee, Friday 19, 2019

The diaspora Oromo community in Minnesota in conjunction with few Ogaden Somali, Afar, and Gambela communities held a mass rally on July 11, 2019 in Saint Paul, MN.  The rally was purported to be in support of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the reform, and democracy.  However, judging by the flags, photos, banners, and slogans, and by the ultra-patriotism displayed, the rally was a bizarre and exposes the occasion as has nothing to do with the support of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the reform, and democracy.  Rather, the Minnesota mass rally has everything to do with denunciation of the groups, particularly the groups that the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP) perceives as a threat -the Amhara Nationalism and the Bala Adara council.

The first conspicuous thing I noticed about the rally was the display of Ethiopian flags, a horizontal tricolor of green, yellow, and red with the national emblem superimposed at the center.  This phenomenon by itself is an anomaly because the groups that staged the rally were not normally known for their Ethiopian patriotism or the love for the Ethiopian flag. In fact, whenever these groups staged a rally or a demonstration in the past, they hitherto gave allegiance to Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) by displayed the OLF and the Abbaa Gadaa flags.  So, the question one might ask is that what purpose did the participants of the rally wanted to achieve by draping themselves in controversial Ethiopian flags and display of sanctimonious patriotism.

The answer is simple. The rally was organized to undermine the Amhara nationalism akin to the Queeros, wrapping themselves with similar flags, attempted to disrupt the Bala Adara press conference a couple weeks ago. This point will be clearer if one pays a close attention to the similarities of the two events. The Qeeros were insisting that the Ethiopian flag with the emblem at the center was the true Ethiopian flag, a clear objection to the plain red, white and green flag preferred by Eskinder Nega and other Amhara nationalists.

Similarly, by wrapping themselves with Ethiopian flags that have emblem in the center, the participants of the rally wanted to undermine what is perceived as the emerging Amhara nationalism by rejecting the traditional flag.   Since the flag with the emblem is accepted by EPDRF as the symbol of the ethnic federalism and stands to represent both the diversity and unity of the country and since the Amhara nationalism is antithetical to the current federal arrangement, the main objective of the rally was to send a clear message, to those who are against the ethnic federal system, that the current federal arrangement is here to stay.  Another objective of the rally was a tit for tat to the  Amhara nationalist rally, in opposition to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, a few weeks earlier in Saint Paul, MN and to respond to disparaging remarks made  against the Oromos in that rally.

Yet another salient point that gives credence to the rally’s main objective of encountering the Amhara nationalism is the display of Dr. Ambachew Mekonnen’s and Gen. Saere Mekonnen’s photos at the rally.  Even though Dr. Abiy’s photo was used to give the rally some semblance of supporting the prime minister, the use of Dr. Ambatches Makonnen and General Saere Mokennen were noticeably used for political expediency to counter once again what the groups and ODP view as the rise of Amhara nationalism.

Currently, there is a widely held belief by ODP and TPLF members that the assassinations of Dr. Ambachew and General Mokonen were the corollary of the rise of Amhara nationalism.  Furthermore, there is a narrative by these groups including Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to spin what transpired in Bahir Dar last month as an attempt of coup d’état.  Therefore, the use of these photos at the rally as buttressed by the press release statement at the conclusion of the rally was to drive these points home.  To be frank, such use of the fallen hero’s photos is self-serving and repugnant.

Lastly, The use of Tekele Uma’s, a deputy mayor of Addis Ababa’s, photo was clearly intended to attack Eskinder Nega and the Baladara Council. Among the slogans used to attack Eskinder Nega and the Bala Adara Council are as follows:

  1. Tekele Uma is our mayor!
  2. Finfinnee cannot not be ruled by vagabonds!
  3. The Bala Dara council is a criminal entity and must close its office and leave the city at once. If not, the council and the council only is responsible for what might ensue!
  4. The Queeros blood was not spilled for The Bala Adara Council!

It is hard to believe how such visceral pronouncements can be construed as support to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmad, the reform and democracy. It is also hard to fathom why the rally denounce Eskinder and the Bala Adara council when the participant of the rally themselves were herd saying the same thing regarding the ownership of Addis Ababa.  They were chanting that Ethiopia belongs to the more than 84 nations and nationalities. Likewise, they were saying that Finfinnee or Addis Ababa is the capital city belonging to the nations and nationalities in Ethiopia.

For these reasons, I found that the attacks on the Bala Adara were unwarranted and antithetical to the democratic rights of a citizen to the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, or the right to petition the government to redress of grievances.  As far I am concerned, Eskinder Nega and the Bala Adara council are within the bound of their democratic rights when they advocate the Mayor and city administrators of Addis Ababa should be elected by the residents of the city and not appointed by the federal Government.

In summary, notwithstanding the professed support for Abiy Ahmed, reform, and democracy, the rally seemed odd considering the display of ultra-patriotism with affectation of denouncing the Amhara nationalism and the Bala Adara council. Attacking citizens for expressing their political views and exercising their democratic rights is undemocratic and contravenes the current reform process and the efforts of the Prime Minister Ahmed.  Also, failure to raise the issues central to the reform and democracy undermines the rally as authentic and independently organized by the diaspora community. Given Addisu Arega’s, Head of ODP secretariat, recent attack against Eskinde Nega and the Bala Adara council, one can surmise the nexus between the Minnesota rally and OPD’s role in organizing the rally.  My guess is that ODP representatives in the Ethiopian General Consulate office in Minnesota are the culprit behind organizing the rally with the help of Oromo community leaders benefitted from land grab and long suspected to be the agents of OPDO/ODP.

Barroo Goobee


  1. Ato Barroo Goobee,

    A brief scan through your piece of writing exposes where you stand and how you try to muddle up phrases such as “citizens’ rights”, ” democracy “, ” patriotism “, “rights to peaceful assembly “, etc., in order to hide your true motives. Like all writings and complaints aired by the so called “Amhara”, Pseudo-Ethiopian “lunatic fringes, you attemt to spice your hidden motives by contradicting yourself. You project yourself as the defender of democracy while, on the other hand, you are against the Ethiopian communities’ democratic rights to demonstrate against the gangs troubling Addis Ababa/Finfinne and the “Amhara” savages who roam the country spilling the blood of innocent Ethiopians. For your information, in any democratic country, hatemonger gangsters such as Eskinder Nega are closely monitored and their illegal organizations such as the so called “Addis Ababa Caretaker Council” are being banned and closed down for public safety reasons. As for the National Amhara Movement/NaAM, its leadership must try to go extra length and learn how genuine nationalism works. By adopting expansionist agendas and becoming ultra-nationalists, they are alienating and endangering the Amhara people’s peaceful coexistence with their fellow Ethiopians (other ethnic groups).

    When are those trading in the name of the Amhara people abandon deceptive politics? When are they going to man up and stand for the truth?


  2. Now Tegaru need to establish our own election board institution that will immediately hold a referendum for Tigrai’s secession from Ethiopia .

    If we wait for the Federal government’s election board to hold Tigrai’s referendum , Tegaru is bound to suffer for many many years to come until the Federal government holds our referendum .
    Tigrai cannot wait !

  3. Any form of supports for ruling EPRDF committed crimes against humanity in the past 28 years is insane
    particularly at these times adp odp or opdo and adp become the ruling coalition continuing genocides against Sidama people ,Oromo kafa people and others in attemp to reinforce the defeated apartheid rule of one ethnicity of amahara hegemony of one l;language and one ethnic group in power.Abiyu is just a puppet and in reality its the return of apartheid genocide system in Ethiopia.Which forced everyone to have Amharic name or get killed and everywhere renamed in Amharic names .
    The continuation of genocides against diversities in ethiopia will only cleanse Ethiopia from World map as a country or most ethnic groups or majorities of the people get wiped out except the puppets like Abiyu of opdo an d the Amhara ethnic group making coup against each other sometimes but all united to continue genocides against others.

  4. All results of the investigation so far are suggesting there was no “coup” except a fight that seemed to represent a “coup” ,while the real cause was just a fight over a woman named Desta Assefa , she was General Asaminew Tsige’s legal wife .

    The whole thing reminded many of the investigators, the late Kinfe Gebremedhin’s fight over Azeb Mesfin.

  5. My views on the current political situation in Oromia
    A. Oromo Political Delusion: “a false belief ‘’ that Oromo people won the politics of the country and misinformed the existing political reality of oromo people like sustained arbitrary detention, killings, looting ,displacement that has been carried on majority of Oromo people by OPDO political tools.
    B. Oromo Political Illusion :is a false popular participation ,false popular control by the people, and false notion of collective problem-solving of social problems ,false fulfills the need that all oromo people have for meaning ,importance ,effectiveness and security, leading them to surrender themselves all the more to politicized OPDO controlled state and technicized system. This is the situation where all oromo Values are cast in OPDO political form, and all hopes are directed toward OPDO political solutions, believed to be on the verge of realization where OPDO politics becomes the “supreme religion of the Oromo People, “Propagating its “myth of the solution “for all social problems, despite the inability of OPDO’s politics to deal with good and evil, friend and enemy or the meanings and qualities of freedom and justices
    C. Oromo Political Confusion :A state or situation in which many oromo don’t understand while things are worsened by OPDO but mistakenly thinking that OPDO is doing wonderful things for Oromo.( please refer back to the cause of oromo struggle like questions of justice, fairness, equality, Democracy, self-determination )

  6. Barroo Goobee
    Monday July 22, 2019
    Dear Obboo Olana Abbalichie:
    Your response to my article is fallacious on so many levels. Your response was solely based on emotions and erroneous assumptions. First, in salutation the use of “Ato Barroo Goobee” is inappropriate and made based on erroneous assumption rather than on fact. “Ato” is a title used when one addresses an Amhara man or less so when one addresses another person in Amharic. On the other hand, when an Oromo person is addressing an Oromo man, the proper salutation is Obboo, not Ato. Besides, the use Obboo is now becoming a practice even when some non-Oromos, for example some Amharas, address an Oromo person.
    Since I am as much an Oromo as you are, Oromo etiquette dictates that you address me as Obboo. By incorrectly assuming that I am an Amhara and addressing me as Ato, you are not only violating the Oromo etiquette but also committing a logical fallacy.
    Second, in response to my letter, you said that I projected myself as the defender of democracy while, on the other hand, I was against the Ethiopian communities’ democratic rights to demonstrate against the gangs troubling Addis Ababa/Finfinne and the “Amhara” savages who roam the country spilling the blood of innocent Ethiopians.”
    Your allegation that I am against the Ethiopian Communities’ democratic rights to demonstrate is baseless and unfounded. Nowhere in my writing had I mentioned “Ethiopian Community “nor did I objected to any groups rights to exercise their democratic rights. Besides, the main group that organized the rally referred to themselves as Oromo community, not as “Ethiopian Community”. Also the title of my article reads “The Hollow Rally of the Oromo community in Saint Paul, Minnesota.” Therefore, such baseless allegations arises from careless reading, briefly scanning as you prefer to say, of my article resulting in your being disingenuous in misrepresentation of the gist of my article. The gist of my article is to point out the rally was about denouncing Amhara nationalism, Eskinder Nega, and the Bala Adara council.
    Third, to make your point, you wrote:
    “For your information, in any democratic country, hatemonger gangsters such as Eskinder Nega are closely monitored and their illegal organizations such as the so called “Addis Ababa Caretaker Council” are being banned and closed down for public safety reasons.”
    To understand what you wrote, I put your argument in syllogism form as follows:
    Major premise: A democratic country closely monitors hate monger gangsters, banns, and
    closes down their illegal organizations
    Minor premise: Ethiopian is a democratic country
    Conclusion: Therefore, Ethiopian closely monitors hate monger gangsters, banns and close
    down their illegal organizations

    I found it hard to accept your argument because it is not sound and valid. Ethiopia is not a democratic country. For a country to be a democratic country, there must be a democratically elected government of the country. Here is a dictionary definition of a democratic government. A democratic government is a government by the people especially rule of the majority. A government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.
    Currently Ethiopia does not have a government the fits this definition. So your nonsensical assertions that Ethiopian government is a democratic government and defending its action based on this assertion erodes your credibility as fair, open-minded and trustworthy responder.
    Barroo Goobee

  7. Well done, Ato Barroo Goobee! You, at least, managed to check the dictionary to look up for the meaning of “democracy”. That is a positive step toward starting to learn the complex concept, ” democracy”. Keep it up!


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