February 04, 2016
Such an objection is for me quite disturbing. The most important complaint of the Oromo is that the Ethiopian discourse has always marginalized their contribution and identity in favor of a unilateral assimilation that favored Amhara and Tigreans. The demand that Oromo protesters turn their issues into a national or Ethiopian cause seems to repeat the past practice. Following the inescapable reality of the political fragmentation of the country, the Oromo rose up for their own cause, sacrificed their life, and now they are told that they should transfer their heroic deeds to the larger Ethiopian entity even though that entity remained aloof! I want to remind that most of the young Oromo protesters have no idea of Ethiopia as a unitary nation: as the established political system forces them to do, they see Ethiopia as a collection of different nations. Just as Kenyans are not expected to fight for Ethiopians, so too it is not surprising if the Oromo present their demands in terms of Oromo concerns.