Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oromiya voices against conquest, collaboration, neutrality, and silence

By Leenjiso Horo

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful determined citizens can change the world; it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead

1. General Introductory Remarks

This paper is written for those Oromo nationals, for those nationals who do not know about the Oromo struggle, its purpose, and its problems, for those nationals who do not want to know about it: the indifferent spectators; for those nationals who know little about it, and for those nationals who know everything about it, but choose to seek personal self-interest at the compromise of Oromo national struggle. And it is also written for the Oromo generation yet unborn, the generation that may ask questions to known and understand about us, the generations before it. Again as a reminder, it is also for those nationals who have been carrying the burden
of Oromo national liberation struggle. All in all, this paper is about the conquest of Oromiya, the Oromo struggle, the problems, and the change sought.

Every struggle is for a change, a change for social, political or otherwise. A struggle against colonial occupation is a struggle for a political change, a change from status of colonial subject to status of free and independent people. This paper highlights the essence of the Oromo struggle for independence along with the crime of conquest and occupation of Oromiya. As well as the dangers of collaboration, neutrality, and silence and the betrayal and propaganda of the revisionist Oromo nationals. It also draws some lessons from the collaborators shown up in other societies and compares that experience with the past and the present political situations in Oromiya. In the process, the paper fosters the spirit of Oromoness: truth, unity and exposes lies and deceptions in the struggle. All in all, this article is written with George Santayana's immortal warning in mind: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to relieve it.

History is full of changes. Changes in many directions: social, political, science, medicine, art, music and et cetera. Change is the law of nature; so everything changes; nothing stays constant for all times. That is why the change from colonialism to independence is inevitable. And every change, political or otherwise, begins in Margaret Mead's words with “a small group of thoughtful, determined citizens." It is such a group that “can change the world" and "it is the only thing that ever has", she observed. Indeed, it is such a highly motivated, thoughtful,
conscious, and visionary group that can truly galvanize the whole population to bring about the sought change. The logic of this implies that the engine of change is the people, the organized people. That is the conscious and organized force. To this effect, the first basic Marxist-Leninist doctrine states that "uniting the broad masses is a decisive guarantee for the victory of the

The interest of this paper is with a political change, a political struggle for a change. This is what the Oromo struggle is all about. In the recorded history, no political change had ever been made easily, smoothly, painlessly, peacefully, and without inconvenience. So, political change had never happened easily in the past; it will never happen now, and will not happen in the future. The reason is plain and simple to understand. Here is why. As Newton's Law of Force reminds us, "for every action there is equal and opposite reaction." That is, for every force, there
is opposite force acting against it. It goes without saying then for every revolution, there is counterrevolution. And for every national liberation struggle, there is counter national liberation struggle. Hence capitulationists, opportunists, and revisionists are opponents of national liberation struggle; they resist, counter, and hinder national liberation struggle. And hence they are opponent of liberation. Since colonial occupation, the Oromo struggle has been facing such
opponents. The origin of the opponents are and have been both from within and from
without. While the colonial regime and its foreign sponsors are the external opponents of the Oromo national struggle, its local Oromo alliances are the internal one.

2. The conquest and occupation

Empires by their very nature and characteristics were and still are both in opposition to, in contradiction and in conflict with freedom, independence, and sovereignty of nations. Empires were formed through bloody and brutal conquest of sovereign and independent nations and nationalities. Ethiopia, for example, is such an empire. This empire, the Ethiopian empire, was formed through bloody conquest of nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa, Oromiya included. In the conquest of Oromiya, Emperor Menelik II of Abyssinia created hell on earth for Oromo. He massacred Oromo men, women, and children. In that war of conquest, many Oromo had been shot and many had been literally butchered with knives and axes and their
bodies were disfigured. Their fingers, arms, legs, and heads were separated lying around everywhere in a heap. Pregnant women with their unborn were slaughtered. The living women's breasts were hacked off with knives. And the living men's eyes were gouged out; their limbs were emasculated and mutilated. Today, the piles of mutilated and disfigured skeletons of his Oromo victims stand as a living witness at Aannolee and Calanqo. Moreover, villages across Oromiya were razed to the ground. It was in this way, the Abyssinian ruler, Emperor Menelik II, formed Ethiopia. And so, Ethiopia is an empire. Hence the Ethiopian empire, as all empires before it, was created by force and ever since has been controlled and administered by brute use
of force. With this, the successive empire rulers undermined the political, social, legal, and moral structures of the societies that were conquered and fall under them.

Moreover, with occupation the Oromo people were deprived of their national sovereignty. And ever since they have been denied of their right to self determination as a distinct people; Oromiya and its people were torn apart. The Oromo people lost their rights to their country and land. The entire Oromiya was divided into administrative regions as into Provinces (Teqilay Gizats), Provinces into counties (Awuraajas), and Counties into districts (woredas) of empire of
Ethiopia. Abyssinian legal system was imposed on the conquered nations. In Oromiya, system of "ballabbat" or landowning class was created and erected to destroy the Gada system, its institutions, its laws, and the leadership of the Oromo people. As a result, the Oromo have become a nation without state, without institutions, and has been without leadership ever since. In their place, the colonial administration created local chieftains (balabbats or qoroo) as a leadership for every tribe on the basis of tribal setting for the purpose of tax collection and to discourage resisting the occupation. They were created to enforce laws and order of the empire
in their areas. Indeed, they were integral part of security apparatus of the empire. Hence since occupation, Oromiya has been under the successive administration of colonial bureaucrats along with their native Oromo collaborators. This has left Oromo generations with no point of institutional memory and reference to fight for. For the Oromo generation of today, our history has became events of the past, distant past and blurred. Particularly for Abyssinianized Oromo nationals, it has no attraction. But our history is not a muted history, but living history. The problems the Oromo political organizations have been facing today arouse from this. As consequence, most nationals could not pass immediate local appeal and so unable to politically connect themselves to the nation, the history, the country and its struggle. Individuals with Abyssinians political outlook, political attitude and appeal have been at the organizational hierarchy of Oromo political organizations. As a result, there has been and is a continued struggle within leadership and within members of the organizations between the nationalists and the bureaucratized and politically Abyssinianized Oromo Abyssinian lackeys. The consequence of this is the fragmentation of nationals and stagnation of national struggle.

Needless to say, when Abyssinia colonized Oromiya, it made every attempt, until recent years, to Abyssinianize its conquest. Hence the conquest of Oromiya meant that the Oromo language no longer the primary language for Oromo people. Even though, the Oromos could not be prevented from speaking it, but as a subject of Abyssinia, it was Amharic that was to be Oromo's primary tongue. In Oromiya, the Abyssinian language was made the language of the courtroom, schools, bureaucracy, media and etc. If you do not speak Amharic, you cannot be hired at any level in the empire. Oromo language was presented as unintelligible language, as "birds" language. The objective was to discourage the Oromo children from speaking it. The
Abyssinian cultures, meaning the Amhara and Tigrean cultures were imposed upon the colonized nations and nationalities. That is, the colonized people had to sing Abyssinian song. They had to listen to Abyssinian music, dance the Abyssinians way of dancing, and greet each other in Abyssinian language, either in Amharic or Tigrean language. All in all, the conquest was Abyssinianized.

Furthermore, the successive Abyssinian rulers tried to obliterate the Oromo past and their history. They distorted the Oromo history. In that, Oromo were presented as a people without history. The Oromo children, instead of studying, learning, and knowing their own Oromo history had been told and forced to study, to learn and to know the Amhara and Tigrean history, their heroes and heroines. Again instead of having pride, in being Oromo, the Oromo youths had been told and forced to take pride in being Ethiopian. These are the tragedies that are still haunting the Oromo national’s to-date. Today, the recalcitrant intellectuals, the profiteers, and
those who pursue narrow individual interests are the hangers-on on Abyssinian culture, on its identity and attitude. It is these recalcitrant groups that are bombarding the Oromo youths with the political propaganda of democratization of Ethiopian empire. It is only with the restoration of Oromo independence, this tragedy of occupation, the Ethiopian colonialism, one of the cruelest crimes of the last quarter of the nineteenth-century, will have to be rectified. It can only
be rectified with the independence of Oromiya.

----------------------To be continued--------------------------------

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The OLF Congratulates the People of Southern Sudan for Choosing Independence

The decisive verdict of the people of southern Sudan, voting for independence of their country, is inspiration to the Oromo people. The birth of a new southern Sudan is a huge positive step forward for the Horn of Africa and the rest of the world.

As we congratulate Southern Sudan, we would like to call upon some Oromo political organisations deluded in their belief that national independence is impossible in the era of globalisation to wake up and join us in pushing our just cause for liberation of Oromia to its rightful conclusion in victory.
Read more from the source:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Which Model for the Oromo Struggle: The Recent Arab Uprising, the Former Eastern Block or the South Sudanese?

By Samuel Guutuu

It feels like 1989 in the Arab world. The end of the cold war in 1989 ushered in the revolt in Eastern Europe and finally the fall of the Berlin wall.

2011 ushered in the Arab revolt. The general public led by the middle class in the Arab world seems to have become angry at the lack of progress that has held them back despite their oil wealth. The pervasive corruption that has limited opportunities for the millions who cannot find work has enraged the Arab world from Tunisia to Egypt, to Jordan, to Yemen and the list goes on. Political turmoil is creeping around Arab streets one after another. Is the game over for despotic Arab leaders? Only time will tell.

The driver and the inspiration for the overthrow of communist regimes in 1989, and now Arab leaders, is a call for democracy, freedom, economic opportunity and representative government.

However, there is one notable difference between the uprisings in the former eastern block and the Arab world today. The revolt in the former was not only for, and did not only result in creation of, democracies but also liberation and independence of many nations under alien domination. The notable difference here lays in the fact that we know of no nation seeking liberation from alien domination or independent state in the Arab sphere at least at this time.
On the other hand, the people of South Sudan fought war of liberation for independent state for the past 55 years which finally came to a successful conclusion. They have just announced an overwhelming vote for independence. A new nation is being born on the other side of the western borders of Oromia. The OLF has been conducting a similar war of independence for the past 40 years. The Oromo are struggling against Abyssinian colonial rule akin to the South Sudanese war against Arab rule imposed on them.

It is interesting to read suggestions by some quarters that something like the Arab revolution should be attempted in Ethiopia. While it is natural to wish and try to emulate a successful endeavour, to be led by wish alone is a recipe for failure and even disaster. The importance of taking in to account the similarities and differences in subjective and objective conditions of these societies cannot be over emphasized.

The similarities are obvious for the careful observer: a dictatorial regime, sky high inflation, lack of freedom etc … These similarities have been discussed to death by those who wish for the same upheaval in Ethiopia as, say, in Tunisia. However, there are important differences to be considered here which all opposition groups and commentators can ignore only to the detriment of the peoples of the empire.
The main differences between Tunisia/Egypt (North Africa) and Ethiopia are many folds.

The first is, unlike in the Tunisia/Egypt case, there is an obvious lack of a sizable middle class to lead an urban based street protest to challenge the dictator in Ethiopia. Tunisia’s “per capita income is almost double that of Morocco and Egypt. It's higher than Algeria's, …” Ben Ali ran a police state where the people simply "shut up and consumed" for years which in the process created a sizable middle class. No such middle class exists in the Ethiopian empire to lead and sustain such a resistance.

The second is that Ethiopia is an empire, albeit backward and lethal in its subjugation of not only action but thought. As all empires before it, in order to perpetuate its existence, Ethiopia keeps a tight leash on the use of the rudimentary communications infrastructure in the country. Access to communications media such as cell phones, Facebook, Twitter.and other social networking media that have been used in Tunisia/Egypt is concentrated in the hands of the regime’s supporters besides being monitored and tightly controlled not only during a time of turmoil but at all times.

Thirdly, Ethiopia has no national army to speak of in the first place but an ethnic (Tigrean) army whose loyalty lies with its ethnic base and whose neutrality in an event of a popular upheaval cannot be counted on. This assertion is based not on assumptions but on experiences gained during past popular uprisings in the empire under the current regime.
If the Amhara, the group that considers itself to be archetypal Ethiopian, in addition to Tigray, manages to gather their effort in organizing urban revolt akin to their attempt in the 2005, the striking difference between the Egyptian security forces and the Tigray dominated Ethiopian security forces will become obvious to those who suggest a Tunisian style revolt will succeed in the Ethiopian empire. The former is a national force and the latter is a security force of a nation called Tigray currently colonizing the rest. The Egyptian military is a national army and ordinary residents of Cairo can mount the tanks and talk to their own boys in uniform. Try that to the Agazi force and you will see the difference. It is not that the Agazi are naturally different but they are from Tigray and do not even speak your language. Their national interest which they are given order to protect is not similar to, say, the Oromo national interest or anyone else’s for that matter.

Unlike in the Arab countries, it would be difficult to organize the peoples alongside economic class in the Ethiopian empire. While monopolizing the economy, income disparities, lack of opportunities, and lack of freedom of various sorts are part of the grievance against the regime in Ethiopia they by no means affect all nations and nationalities in that empire equally. While the people whose ethnic brethren are in power (Tigreans) have been benefiting from the status quo, other peoples bore the brunt of the regime’s attack. To maintain the status quo, it is likely that the Tigray people, who currently have the state on their side, will side with the regime thereby changing a popular upheaval against the regime to a conflict between peoples. For a serious analyst of today’s Ethiopia and TPLF psychology, such a scenario is not only possible but inevitability.

For nations like the Oromo who are not only under colony but under the rule of a despot like Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, the comparison between the uprisings in Tunisia/Egypt and Ethiopia is tempting but wrong. Arab societies are not in revolt against a system imposed on them from outside while the opposite is true for colonized nations like the Oromo in the Ethiopian context. The Arab revolt is a popular uprising to change the system within one nation/state in their respective nations for they consider themselves citizens of the same state. That is not the case for the peoples, nations and nationalities languishing in the Ethiopian empire also dubbed “prison of nations.”

The matter of whether the Oromo should be inspired by the South Sudan success, the Arab revolution or the Eastern European model needs to be answered.

The fact remains that the Ethiopian state is neither Federal, nor Democratic nor a Republic. It is a dying empire. Given the above concerns and the Oromo long term experience with the past two major Ethiopian revolutions both OLF and the Oromo people should model their struggle on the proven method that guarantees freedom and human emancipation from the ugliest system of slavery. The Oromo are well advised to follow the example of South Sudan for their struggle closely mirrors and calls for similar outcome as that of the South Sudanese. Just in case the Ethiopians (Amahara and Tigray) rose against their rulers, the Oromo should use that opportunity to organize and bolster their chance for liberation and independent Oromia just like others did in the former Yugoslavia and the USSR.

Monday, February 14, 2011

From Tunisia to Where?

By Ibsaa Guutama
The abuse of power has led a Tunisian citizen, Bouazizi to burn himself. The despair that led to that citizen’s demise was in the feelings of majority Tunisians. They all rose against the dictator Ben Ali before they were forced to burn themselves like their compatriot. The Middle Eastern countries that have the same problem learned from Tunisia how to sacrifice for their rights. They rose in unison to tell their rulers enough was enough. Whether they achieved their goal now or not, they have shown the world that the sovereign is the people, not the gun wielder. It is not foreign interest, but the national need. These uprisings may be sabotaged for the moment, but the struggle can never be stopped.

Popular uprisings are like epidemic they pass from country to country. The panacea is respect for peoples and individual rights, the rule of law and democratic governance. Where these lack, people learn lessons from those that have dared to challenge the abusers. The possibility of decease being transmitted immediately or after a break is very high. Patience usually wears out though the level of tolerance may vary. This we have learned from world movements of the 60s.

Nowadays, many elites with like minds from the Ethiopian empire are dreaming of the day when the Habashaa rises against Mallas, who is as dictator as Ben Ali or leaders of other countries that are following Tunisia’s example. The Diaspora is echoing these events wishing the epidemic of uprising to reach their country. These elites want to set fire at home from an arena where they will not directly burn by it. They are calling the people to follow North African example. The situation of their people is known to be worse than their North African brethren. But they are either waiting for Wayyaanee to fall entangled in its own mischief or their saviors come from overseas like their last emperor to rescue them. The Emperor’s model of transplanting rulers seems obsolete for the time. The discontent and expectation of uprising had been there before the explosion in Tunisia. Why the drumbeat now? They tried and failed to take by ballot box the power Mallas earned by sweat and blood. Insurrection will also face the same hurdle unless they are more prepared than before.

Years has passed since the Oromo had risen against the colonizer demanding for their rights. Popular insurrections are inevitable when both objective and subjective situations are congruent; not by inducing rebellion of the enslaved before the situation is ripe. Otherwise, it will be empowering the powerless adversary. The Oromo people had no worst situation as the present. They are being dislocated from their ancestral grounds; they are daily being harassed, poisoned, tortured, disappeared, imprisoned and killed. Their demand for the right to national self-determination is still being joked at. Oromiyaa still lags behind in organization. Nobody knows when the situation will explode. Therefore, to get self-reliantly prepared before it happens is imperative.

The OLF is a liberation front. Its goal is to dismantle the Empire state and form an independent republic of Oromiyaa. No equivocation on this issue will serve the purpose of peace and mutual understanding with Ethiopian organizations. The goal of the Ethiopian opposition is to overthrow Mallas and replace him as leaders of the empire. Their goal thus is irreconcilable with that of OLF unless they openly recognize Oromo’s stated rights. It will be irresponsible to call upon the people to rise against Mallas from a distance. The caller must be ready to shape the outcome and live with the people in order to share any backfire. As for alliance with Oromo, show better offer than the incumbent, then OLF will be all ears. Otherwise, the old lady has said long, long ago, “Maal haa baasuuf dhama raasuu?” (To produce what do they churn whey?).

Honor and glory for the fallen heroines and heroes; liberty, equality and freedom for the living, and nagaa and araaraa for the Ayyaanaa of our fore parents!

Ibsaa Guutama

February 2011
Ibsaa Guutama is a member of the generation that drew the first Political program of the OLF.

“Dhama raasuun maal haa baasuufii?”

Ibsaa Guutamatiin*

Roorroon mirgaa, nambiyyaa Tuunisiyaa Bouazizi akka of gubu tolche. Abdii kutannaan badiisa nambiyyaa sanaatti geese Tunisiyootaa wayyaba keessas ture. Utuu akkuma lammii saanii sanaa of gubuu irra hin ga’in abbaa hirree Been Aliitt fincilani. biyyooti Baha Gidduu rakkina walfakkaataa qaban mirgaf wareegamuun akka jiru Tunisiyaa irra arganii sosso’uu eegalan. Gaha jechuun gaha jechuu akka tahe beksisuuf tokkummaan mootummaa saaniiti ka’anii. Akeeka saanii fiixaan baasanis hin baasinis moo’ummaan kan ummataa malee kan abbaa qawwee akka hin taane addunyaati agarsiisaniiru. Dhimma halagaa osoo hin tahin olhaanaan fedha ummataa akka tahe muldhisan. Fincilli kun yeroof hankaaksamuu ni dandaha, qabsicha garuu hambisuun matumaa hin yaadamu.

Fincilli ummataa akka golfaa biyyaa biyyati darbaa jedhama. Qorichi saa ulfina mirga ummataa fi abba tokkee, seeraan bula fi bulcha demokratawe. Bakka sun hanqatett namooti kanneen roorisaa diduu uggan irra barnota argatu. Ammuma yk bubbulee dhibeen waliti dadarbuun hin oolu. Hammam akki danda’an adda adda hatahu malee obsi dhumuun waan hin oollee. Sochooti Addunyaa 60mootaa kan nu huubachiisanii darbani.

Si’ana gurguddoon empayera Itiyophiyaa yaadaan walfakii Mallasaa akka Alii fi hoogganoota itt fincilame biraa roorisaa ta’ett Habashaan yoom ka’u jedhanii abjootu. Kun caalaa alati qiliwissaa jira. Gurguddoon sun ofii suduudaan bakka hin gubanne jiraataa biyyaan akka Afrikaa kaabaa ka’i jedhu. Ummati saanii tarii obbolaa saanii Kaaba Afrikaa jiran irra hala hamaa keessa jiru taha. Garuu gartokkon Wayyaaneen dira’inuma seetiin of xaxxee kuftii yoo eegan gara biraan fayyisooti saanii akkuma nugusa saanii dhumaa deebi’anii nu baraaru jedhanii abdatu. Fakmishoon bulchoota habaqaluu kan yeroon itt darbe fakkaata. Balfii fi fincilli eegamuun, dhoowaa Tunisiyaa duras ture. Amma kan dibbee rukichiisuu fide maalii? Sanduqa irbaan ango Mallasaan dafqaa fi dhiigaan argate fudhachuu yaalanii dadhabani; ka’i ummataas yoo kan dur caalaa qophaawan tahe malee danqaraan sana gadii isa hin eegu.

Oromoon koloneeffataa irra mirga saa falmachuutt erga ka’ee tureera. Yeroo wanti halle (haala waattahisaa fi yaattahisa) wal qixxaatu fincilli ummataa waan hin oolle; garuu osoo haalli hin bilchaatin kan garbooman ciniinfachiisuu yaaluun miti. Kana malee hamajaajii aangoo hin qabne aangessuu ta’a. Oromoon haala amma jiru caalaa hamaan itti hin dhufu. Araddaa akaakilee saanii irra buqqa’a jiru; guyyuu kurkurfamaa, hadhaan faalamaa, guraaramaa, dhabamaa, hidhamaa, fi ajjeefamaa jiraatu. Gaaffiin saanii mirga sabummaa ofii ofiin murteeffachuu ammallee itt ga’isamaa jira. Ammayyuu jaarmaan duubati harkifataa jiru. Haalichi yoom akka dhoowu hin beekamu. Kanaaf of danda’oo ta’anii eeggachuun dirqii dha.

ABOn adda bilisummaati. Kaayyoon saa finnaa empayeraa diigee republic Oromiyaa ijaaruu dha. Qabattee kana irratt dubbii wal jala dabarsuun dhimma nagaa fi qayabannoo dhaabota Itiyoopiyaa waliin qabaatamu hin gargaaru. Dhugaatu gargaaraa ulfinas nama kennisiisa. Akeeki mormitoota Itiyoophiyaa Mallasaa fonqolchanii akka hogganoota empayerichaatti bakka saa bu’uudha. Kanaaf akeeki saanii yoo mirga Oromoo dhihaatan beekaniif malee Kaayyoo ABO waliin faallaa dha.

Halaalaa Mallasaatt ka’aa jedhanii waamicha gochuun abbaawummaa dhabuu dha. Kan waamu itt baha ka’ichaa dhandhoonuuf qophee ta’uun nama gidduti argamee kan duubati dhuka’u yoo jiraate hirmachuun dha. Waa’ee tumsa Oromoo waliinii ilaalchisee bu’aa wayyaa kan aangoo irra jiru caalaa agarsiifnaa jennaan ABOn gurra qeensuu hin dhiisu.. Sana malee akka jaartittiin jette “Dhama raasuun maal haa baasuufii?”

Ulfinaa fi surraan gootota kufaniif; walabummaa, walqixxummaa fi bilisummaan kan hafaniif; nagaa fi araarri Ayyaana abboolii fi ayyoliif haa ta’u!

* Ibsaa Guutama
Guraandhala 2011
Ibsaa Guutama miseensa dhaloota saganta ABO isa jalqabaa baasan keessaa tokkoo.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Obama: US to recognize Southern Sudan

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama says the United States intends to formally recognize Southern Sudan as a sovereign, independent state in July.

Obama made the announcement Monday in a statement congratulating the people of Southern Sudan for "a successful and inspiring" referendum.

Election officials said Monday that more than 98 percent of ballots in the Jan. 9 vote were for independence. That means South Sudan will become the world's newest country in July.

Obama said that after decades of conflict the image of millions of southern Sudanese voters deciding their own future was an inspiration to the world. He also said it's another step forward in Africa's long journey toward justice and democracy.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

The United States said Monday it is reviewing its designation of Sudan as a sponsor of terrorism after the African nation accepted the outcome of an independence referendum by South Sudan.

Election officials said Monday that more than 98 percent of ballots in the Jan. 9 vote were in favor of independence, meaning South Sudan will become the world's newest country in July.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton commended the Sudan government for accepting the outcome.

She said in a statement that the designation will be lifted if Sudan does not support terrorism for the preceding six months and provides assurance it will not do so in future. It must also fully implement a 2005 peace agreement that ended a two-decade civil war between the north and south that killed more than 2 million people.

"We look forward to working with southern leaders as they undertake the tremendous amount of work to prepare for independence in July and ensure the creation of two viable states living alongside each other in peace," Clinton said.

The mainly Christian south and mainly Muslim north must still negotiate citizenship rights, oil rights and border demarcation. Virtually all of southern Sudan's budget comes from oil revenue, and the north wants to maintain fuel supplies from the south.

Sudan's President Omar Al-Bashir, who has been indicted for war crimes in the western Sudan region of Darfur, on Monday backed the vote results and said he wanted to be the first to congratulate the south on its new state.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told a news conference in Washington that the government of Sudan has made clear that it wants normal relations with the United States.

He said the U.S. was willing to lift the terror designation if Sudan met the requirements of U.S. law.

Sudan has been on the U.S. list of states that sponsor terrorism since 1993.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Egypt in Crisis, Self-governed Cairo, and the Emergence of Egypt?s Civil Society

Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis

In an earlier article published under the title ??The Collapse of the Mubarak Regime and the Re-birth of Egypt?? (amongst others:, I expanded on the underlying reasons of the present moment upheaval.

It is true that under the Mubarak regime Egypt was run exactly opposite to what most of the Egyptians would have wished their country to be ruled. But it would be very simplistic to automatically establish a divide of the type ??Civil, democratic society supporters vs. an autocratic regime??.

1. Fragmented, Outdated Opposition, Political Myths, Western Mass Media

It is clear that the political oppression, which took the form of elimination of parties from the political arena and of preservation of political parties as a mausoleum-like caricature, triggered the socio-political fragmentation and the theoretical compartmentalization that the ruling regime wanted to create as a means of consolidation of the National Democratic Part (NDP) in the power.

The socio-political fragmentation and the regime-propagated myths prevented most of the Egyptians from seeing their country, their identity, their vocation, their country?s position in the area, and the entire world in terms of reality. In this regard, one must specify that Modern Islamism and Pan-Arabism are colonially fabricated theories and socio-behavioural systems, first elaborated in the Orientalist ateliers of the Anglo-French colonial academia and later projected onto the targeted nations in order to help the colonial powers smoothly embed their policies without major opposition.

The Western mass media diffused worldwide an altered image of the Egyptian reality, thus helping the regime myths remain intact in Egypt, and the global public opinion stay in mysteries. In many aspects, the Mubarak regime was catastrophic for the Western interests, contributing to the rightful radicalization of middle and lower social layers. This situation is not exclusively Egyptian and typifies many different countries all over the world. Consequently, Egypt serves as an excellent example of how not to rule a country.

This was clearly shown on Friday, 28 January 2011, when the police stations were burnt throughout the country, and in many cases this was done by exasperated police officers who hated themselves for having undeservedly executed immoral and unpopular orders of their superiors. What happened is something that most of the Egyptians would have considered as absolutely impossible a few weeks earlier. In some cases, even the house of the local police head was set in fire.

This shows that the regime was not as strong as many had thought it to be. Another point of despair for the terminating Mubarak regime is the fact that the outright majority of the Egyptians demonstrated a great sense of civic duty, totally isolated the pro-Mubarak protesters, and successfully reduced the extent of the pillage.

2. Looting, and the Emergence of Egyptian Civic Sense

Many asserted that the pillage was carried out by the policemen themselves; this is really an outrageous lie; it may eventually be due to ignorance of a modern state?s structure. In every modern state, there is a para-state organization. Most of the Organized Crime (another term to describe the same scheme) is run by people who hold important positions in the government, the police, the national security, the secret services, the army, the academia (notably selected professors of Law and Medicine), and the circle of business. The aforementioned does not imply either independent structure or regular function with offices and employees.

The structure of the Organized Crime is parasitical, and it could not be otherwise. There is a hierarchy with orders given from the top to the correct subordinates per case, but all the members hold other, officially known, positions that they duly and effectively utilize for the needs of their para-state organization, and of their interests in it. As it happens with secret societies, the members? loyalty is first given to the Organized Crime.

In the case of the Egyptian insurgence, the looting of some shops (notably Carrefour Maadi), apartments, and the Egyptian Museum must be credited to the Organized Crime. However bad and sad it may be, it triggered - as I already said - a great sense of civic duty among Egyptians. With the disappearance of the police, simple people took the neighbourhood?s security in their own hands, closing several streets and creating an effective traffic network across Cairo that became the city of 100000 control posts.

This common effort brought together neighbours who had never spoken to one another or even had not known each other. At the control points, there were variably people of all ages, demanding the identity card and the driving license of each car/taxi driver. This occurred the whole day long on Saturday, 29th of January, and to lesser extent on Sunday, 30th of January, and Monday 31st of January. Beyond that term, the controls were effectuated only during the curfew, which on some days (Tuesday 1st of February) started at 15:00 and ended at 8:00, to be later loosened to 19:00 - 6:00!

3. Cairo under Curfew

The Egyptian concept of curfew is deeply humane; in other cases, violation of curfew means risking being shot dead. This was never the case in Egypt; simply you had to accept to stop every 500 meters (in some cases 150 m and in few cases 2 km) in front of the control people of the area, talk with them, and show to them your identification documents.

At times, the control people were very friendly, understanding that the process may have been really embarrassing for a driver. At any point of main road, one could find a taxi every 5 or 20 minutes until as late as 23:00.

The coordination among the control groups was great, and at times, drivers were given passwords to utter to the people of the next control stop, which meant that there they would avoid being systematically controlled; thus, the entire process was somewhat facilitated. For a person with my experience, who may have crossed various districts and highways throughout Cairo by taxi for seven consecutive evenings, there was compassion, understanding, fairness, and trust.

With the emergence of the army as a top key element of traffic security (mainly on Thursday 3rd of February), loyalty was added to the aforementioned traits.

4. Talking to Youngsters in Charge

To offer a personal example, in the evening of Thursday, 3rd of February, I picked up a taxi at 21:15 in the Autostrad highway nearby Maadi to go to Abbassia; practically speaking, this means a movement from Cairo?s south-eastern suburb to the easternmost confines of the central part of the city.

The taxi driver decided to avoid the (shorter and faster under normal conditions) Autostrad highway, and cross poorer districts like Bassetin and Sayeda Ayesha, hoping to find there fewer control stops. At a certain moment, we came upon a group of youngsters who thought that I was one of the friends of Gamal Mubarak who either already left the country or are hiding in order not to be arrested.

Since these youngsters were not convinced in the nervous discussion that ensued, they asked my papers, which I presented to them in order to prove that I was not an Egyptian. They could not believe that a person with Greek passport would cross such a poor area whereby many Islamic era tombs have been occupied by homeless and duly transformed into houses for the living. Quasi-automatically, a crowd of no less than 50 people surrounded the taxi, rendering the taxi driver very nervous, as he knew that their worry was unjustified. Angrily, they ordered him not to speak, and this was what I advised him to do immediately.

They then checked my handbag, handed it over to me, and took my passport and ??carnet?? (employee identification card) for meticulous control; after an early examination, they kept the two documents, asking the taxi driver to follow their own car. That was the moment one should not panic, and having not worried at all, I managed to calm down my taxi driver. I was anticipating the development that I will further narrate. As we moved, I came to notice that behind us no less than ten (10) motorbikes followed to accompany my taxi, carrying two or even three youngsters each.

Finally we reached the major traffic control point at the entrance of the Citadel, which was ensured by the military. Tanks, armoured vehicles and many soldiers were deployed around. There, the end of the trouble would occur; the youngsters handed over my papers to the head of the military, and disappeared, having carried an act that fully represents a feeling of loyalty and attachment to the army. Under similar circumstances, this was indeed the best thing for them to do. The military apologized to me because of the curfew and the ?trouble?, asked my destination, and handed over my papers back to me. We then proceeded to my destination, crossing numerous control points with fewer youngsters...

5. Isolation of the pro-Mubarak Protesters

Another indication of the great sense of civic duty shared by most of the Egyptians is the fact they totally isolated the pro-Mubarak protesters. Here again, it became a matter of passionate debate among Egyptians whether the pro-Mubarak manifesting crowd were real NDP members or police officers or even paid servants, who performed their spectacle after getting 50 LE or 100 LE each. Again here, one should replace the term ??police officers?? with ?? Organized Crime?? to be correct; but it would be highly unlikely that the latter may be involved in anything unrelated to money.

On the other hand, the assumption that people would go risking their lives for just 10 or 20 US $ (the equivalent of the above suggested prices in Egyptian pounds) is rather misplaced. If we assume that there were 10000 (ten thousand) pro-Mubarak protesters in Down Town Cairo - and I really don?t believe that this figure is wrong -, this would mean anything between 100000 and 200000 US $ as total operation cost. If we multiply this amount by five (5), which implies a total amount of US $ 1 million; the amount is minimal, if what is at stake is a 3-decade long presidential tenure. However, it does not make any sense to have ready supporters, eager to act and protest, and pay money instead, even though the amount sees to be minimal for the huge property made by the Mubarak family alone over the past decades.

It is true that the terminating president Mubarak does have many followers; of course, this expression is quite relative. ??Many followers?? does not mean 25% of the total population of the country, but with Egypt totalling ca. 82 million people, a meagre 5% represents already 4 million people across the country, and proportionally speaking, ca. 600000 - 700000 people in Cairo.

In my earlier article (as per above), I specified that ??Egypt?s socioeconomic elite was very small?? and that they ??totalled at the most ca. 200000 people??, adding that ??the Mubarak regime made it possible for the socio-economic elite to live as per Western standards ...., and simply put in jail those who with action or flagrant public speech threatened the continuation of the said social order??. In doing so, through the consecutive governments and administrations over the past three decades, Mubarak turned his NDP into a tool of social penetration and political support.

Many simple people, belonging to either the middle or the lower classes, found in the NDP membership a successful way to eliminate bureaucratic barriers in launching a business, obtain remarkable favours, and last but not least, find a job position that would otherwise be an impossible dream.

In this regard, NDP deputies managed to acquire a political clientele on whom they bestowed considerable socio-professional and economic privileges. These have been the typical NDP supporters; these were the pro-Mubarak voters in the last presidential and parliamentary elections whereby the abstention was extraordinarily high. And it is only normal for an Egyptian to surmise that the NDP supporters are more numerous in Manoufia and in Al Minya, provinces where the terminating president Mubarak and his wife respectively originate from.

This aforementioned is enough to elucidate the identity of the last week?s pro-Mubarak protesters; they were not paid thugs, as irrelevant Western mass media intentionally propagated in order to fabricate the fake and distorted image of the factoid that they were ordered to diffuse.

They were simple people who evidently did not want to lose their small benefits and privileges at the local level of a neighbourhood or at the professional level, e.g. their position in Egypt?s huge and dysfunctional public sector.

The fact that they were very few in demonstrating and fighting against the regime opponents does not say much; the anti-Mubarak protesters were also few - for a country of more than 80 million people. The reason for which the bulk of the existing supporters of the Mubarak regime did not show up in the events is the traditional Egyptian self-restrain and the overwhelming desire to limit the upheaval in a short and anodyne period of transition.

What happened to Egypt over the past 12 days? Was it a popular insurgence? Was it a real revolution? Was it a machinated fake rebellion? Could it have been avoided? To these questions, I will answer extensively in several forthcoming articles.

As a matter of fact, Mubarak?s mistakes must now be avoided by others in many parts of the world - to the benefit of all those who, wishing for the best, can bring forth a far worse socio-political situation without even imagining it.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Oromo Refugees out cry for help amid turmoil in Egypt

by Abdulkadir Gumi

"Amidst the chaos of demonstration and violence in Egypt, I am currently in a secret residence and living in a deep tension, nightmare and do not know where to go to save my life as many other Oromo refugees activist claims that Ethiopian agents can get an opportunity to kill us in cold-blood to violate the right to live in this lawless country"

Oromo proverbs saying, "When two bulls fight, the grass suffers". The grass here is a refugee who have no where to go/stay or speak to, as all humanitarian offices were shut down including UNHCR office at the country where poor, rich and powerful duel for political supremacy and political turmoil is going on . Here the proverb is used to describe two people who were politically motivated citizens/or and leaders whose disputes and divisions end up hurting innocent and powerless people (Refugees).

As witnessed by world Egypt since 25 January 2011, it would be extremely myopic for anyone to imagine that refugees are not vulnerable, the situation that the tension that has rocked Egypt since the demonstration denouncing the legitimacy of the government of Egypt and expressing there grievances. The nationwide series of protest rallies called by opposition ended in violence.

Oromo Refugees and other asylum-seekers in Egypt from different parts of Africa are facing several difficulties and there lives are marked by confusion in Egypt due to sensitive political and security environment. The problems are aggravated by demonstration and political changes that is happening in Egypt this month.

Oromo and other refugees have been living in Egypt for more than two decades because of its stability. The situation is runny while a new wave of conflict in Egypt is changing the political landscape and violence erupts while thousands of Oromo and other refugees are living in Egypt. The fact that ongoing conflict and violence in Egypt will leave refugees in dilemma.

In Egypt a brutal Ethiopia government evicted over 400 Oromo refugees who fled to Egypt to save there lives due to there political reason and many Oromo activist who solely fled for their quest to freedom of expression and speaking against the human rights abuses of the government. The Ethiopian government assigned secret security agents to each Oromo political activist, denying them their right to live peacefully. As the result, these refugees are exposed to lack of other basic human rights.

Oromo and other Refugees has no one protect them as there lives are under threat! An Oromo refugee complained…ANG said."Yesterday I received threatening calls from unknown Egyptian men and currently living in fear with my family.I have been threatened by Ethiopian security agents several times and now more than ever they can get an opportunity to kill me in cold-blood and they can get chance to hire evils arms to make abuse and violate human rights in this lawless country.

"we are psychologically traumatized and we had to stay most of the nights awake. We are both just terrified . Some other terrifying experience is that some people approach our house while I am outside; some just came and knocks the door as if they were selling something or asking for something. When we open the door, they just want to burst in this is just terrible".

"Some refugees, usually women and girls, obtain shelter by working as domestics. Usually they work only for room and board; they are vulnerable to sexual and other exploitation. K a twenty-year-old an Oromo refugee woman explained: "I found a job working as a domestic for a Saudi woman. She had four children and no husband. She gave me food and a place to sleep. I worked from five in the morning until midnight every day. I didn't receive any pay, but food and a sleeping place, when the violence started she left to her country and I left without shelter".

An Oromo female refugee complained…"An Egyptian and two Sudanese men have threatened me after shouting to harass me while I was walking in the market place in Maadi yesterday. I escaped after they forced me to stop, a terrifying moment when they pursued me to my living place, after that threat which is targeting my life. I managed to struggle free, so she went round to call my husband for help, as I do not speak Arabic to ask anyone for help, I don´t not feel safe anymore"

In Egypt, people live in Cairo town where shelter is first priority of living, but Finding money to pay rent is a daily struggle for refugees in Cairo. Monthly rent for a room is between U.S. $100 - $200. In Cairo, most refugees live in crowded rectangular rooms in remote area of Ain shams and hadayek Maadi slums.

A refugee WS said… "Three criminals attacked an Oromo refugee in MAADI area today - one of the defenders was wounded by gunshots. Tell the world that UNHCR has shut down, there are refugees starving, Egyptians refuse in some cases to sell them food, some Egyptians are evicting refugee tenants, because they ran out of money, after UNHCR stopped supplying minimal financial assistant"

Refugee´s main goals of refugees are likely to include:

1. Immediate livelihood and basic needs

2. Physical safety from violence, or threat of violence, or intimidation;

3. Reducing economic vulnerability and food insecurity;

4. Finding a place to settle;

5. Locating lost family members;

In Egypt all refugees are worried about there future and lives. Many especially single girls are exposed to harassment, torture, disappearances and threat to there lives. Unaccounted number of refugees lives in almost other countries of Africa and Iraq. Most refugees have been separated from their families for years ago. Most refugees have no education and where there is no enough access to health facilities.

Sleeping at night is a major problem. Some are lucky and find shelter with friends or family but some even fearing there lives, nightmares and cant sleep due to stress and depression.

In Egypt, Oromo refugees are caught up in violence and conflict; they face deep and chronic problems of insecurity and mental problem. In most cases, the forcibly displaced do not have the resources to move beyond there needs, and they remain internally displaced or move across town to socialize with each other, many of which are facing their own conflict especially Oromo with Other enemy ethnic groups from Ethiopia who were loyal to Ethiopian Embassy in Egypt.

In these rough situation Oromo refugees are facing several challenging security problems created by Ethiopian regimes in Egypt with currently appalling situation. However, to view Oromo refugees as passive victims, waiting for nothing but trouble in and outside Ethiopia, Oromo refugees faces multiple problems in many ways in which they pursue with there livelihoods in harsh security consequences in all there movements.

An Oromo activist who is threatened by unknown calls said, "I have been threatened by Ethiopian security agents several times and now more than ever they can get an opportunity to kill me in cold-blood and they can get chance to hire evil armed gangs to make abuse and violate human rights in this lawless country on me soon"

A Refugees men says, "We unable to access to any offices to report on beatings or other harassment faced by individuals. Even local CBOs leaders are experiencing problems due to lawlessness and fear of anger from local community"

To address these challenges refugees the Humanitarian agencies especially UNHCR must recognize this and seek to address the problems that arise from violation of human rights. Providing counseling, urgent medical assistance and immediate financial assistance refugees.

I am asking the international humanitarian organization especially UNHCR and resettlement countries like USA, CANADA and Australia to see into outcry of Oromo refugees in Cairo and there plights

I urge UNHCR headquarter in Geneva to convince international resettlement countries and organizations to intervene to save stateless refugees desperately living in Egypt.