Ginbot 7 and Dr. Berhanu Nega’s hostility toward Oromo cause

By Geresu Tufa | February 8, 2012 |

The naked hostility of Ginbot 7 and significant sections of the Amhara elite against the Oromo national liberation struggle came to the surface over the last month.

Their radio stations, television broadcasters, writers, paltalk rooms, bloggers, websites and social media pages opened a war of attrition on the Oromo Liberation Front, Oromo activists and the Oromo people at large. All in unison took the offensive on laughable grounds. The intensity was deafening; the repetition was monotonous; the relay was wide and the substance was empty.

As the saying goes, “old habits die hard”. Certainly, such malicious coverage was carried out in accordance with their old racist adage: “minim atamentu ye-Gallan goffere inkuan be-wejigira yisheshal be-weree”. Consumed within such racist obsession, they entertained their own illusion; celebrated a non-existent victory; propagated a non-convened congress; applauded an unfounded change of program. An article, titled “the Integrity of Public Writing” authored by Ephrem Madebo signifies the epitome of such hasty mania.

The recent land mark program change decision by one of the OLF factions has created a political wave that rocked political actors, civic society leaders and everyday Ethiopians from San Francesco to London, from Norway to Down Under and in all localities of Ethiopia.

It is clear from this statement of Ginbot 7’s leader, the media frenzy includes a mental fabrication of “the landmark program change” and the subsequent manufacturing of “political wave” that exposed the sinister motive G7 and all those who joined the mass hysteria have toward Oromo national question.

Although this hostility surfaced in recent weeks, it has longstanding genesis. To understand the incessant hostility, it suffices to look into stated policies, rhetoric and stances of the former Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) leaders and one of its offspring, Ginbot 7.

  1. During the Ethio-Eritrean war, at a meeting organized to celebrate “Operation Sunset” victory, named “Unity after Victory” held inside Addis Ababa University’s Lidet Hall, on March 1, 1999, following the “regaining of Badme”, Dr. Berhanu, one of the three panelists and a moderator of the meeting, stated:

the regain of Badme should not be considered a final victory. It should be taken as scoring the first goal. If we are to ensure the existence of Ethiopia, OLF should be eliminated. In order to do so, we ought to further pursue on the dismantling of Shabia that backs the OLF.

Such blatant animosity was revealed at the presence of thousands of university students (including this writer) and staff, invited guests, journalists, and other panelists like Dr. Gebru Mersha from Department of Political Science and International Relations, and  Dr. Tetemke Mehari from School of Pharmacy. On another public assembly held at National Lottery Hall on April 8, 2001 to discuss ‘Academic Freedom and Human Rights’, Professor Mesfin Woldemariam and Dr. Berhanu went out of topic and indulged in vilifying the Oromo national question, the Oromo people and their leaders.

The duo attacked demands of Oromo people from two different angles. Professor Mesfin argued the Oromo question is a question raised only by petty bourgeois that were sent to Sweden and Germany and educated by missionaries. He continued, “some people affirm that the Oromo national question has popular support” and he stressed, “even if it is supported by the people, the people themselves can be wrong.”

Dr. Berhanu seconded and validated Professor Mesfin’s views that people can commit an act of folly. He then illustrated his point using two examples.  First, he used Socrates’ unfortunate death to show how people, throughout history, have been wrong. He said that Socrates was a known philosopher, educator and ahead of his time in teaching the Greek youth. But, the Greeks who were skeptical of his teachings and ideas poisoned him to death. For his second example, Dr. Berhanu used Jewish people’s rejection of Jesus Christ as Messiah. He concluded that in both cases, the peoples’ acts were flawed; and so is Oromo people’s quest for freedom.

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