By Eshete Mesganaw
Jawar’s political flair has effectively changed the dynamism of political discourse over the week. It is not only his art of speaking and presentation of ideas in simple and understandable manner his chameleon character is also an amazing gift one would envied him. Rare qualities among Ethiopian politicians are found. Skillful manipulator!
Quintessential interview! It is a bluff to the Amhara Nationalists. The interregnum created by the state of emergency has given Jawar an ample time to reflect on the course of Ethiopian politics. He peer-reviewed his strategies regarding the current situations in Ethiopia and the obstacles for the realization of an “homogeneous” Oromo nation-state.
The Atlanta convention, which some argued have created a problem than a solution, is a turning point for Jawar. Since then he like any one of us was preoccupied in recycling old posts. Neither speaks nor tweets significant issues for much of October and November.
The question is why Jawar has now found the gut to speak? Most surprisingly on the Amhara Nationalism than anything else which is his object of political struggle. Looks sarcastic.
Shocked by London’s solemn declaration and waiting for Atlanta convention to usher another tragic minutes reading aloud that “the convention agreed to form a new state” But later we realized that there would be nothing which could be dreadful than London’s meeting. Much acclaimed as visionary in his sensational comments which generate huge applause from euphoric supporters Jawar slipped out from the Atlanta Convention ingeniously.
What happened then? Unheard before, brave Oromos joined the movement and said we are Ethiopians. Although Ethiopia has a deformed birth and complications in the body politic they’ve assured the public that still the Oromo people can stand in defense of unity. So that Ethiopia would continue to exist and transformed into a nation which represents all and meets the aspiration of all its inhabitants.
Overwhelmed by activists who stood for unity Jawar and cohorts have rescinded their plan for a short-while. His recent appearance in his media is a well prepared talk show to engage Amhara nationalists. A perfect media stint and, no doubt, he has scored well or beyond what he intentionally planed. He bluffed and confused the Amhara nationalists.
As an observer I have my takes from his interview. Let me start from his intentions. Am not an occultist to know his deep harbored intentions or pretend as academicians with huge index of bibliographies, however, by deconstructing what he has been saying so far and using his various several interviews will try to explain what the interview meant to the Amhara nationalists.
1) It is all about seeking a new relevance in Ethiopian politics. The state of emergency to some extent has calmed down the situation in oromiya. The lack of internet access has an adverse impact on social media activism. His visibility and his role as a result was diminished. The state of emergency has pacified most areas including rural areas that are outside of the political orbit. Therefore, the arrest of a prominent politician in the week is even taken as a part of the continued ritual of intimidating Oromos.
Does Jawar has a plan B as a contingency? A plan if the one in Atlanta fails so that he can proceed with much ease by creating and meddling among the Amharas to weaken what is unusually easy to to do. It is not an act of extending help, rather it is a premeditated strategic move to use Amhara as a counter force against the unionist. He has been assaulted by unionist for his divisive role and rebuked for infantile embracing of colonial thesis that presupposes Ethiopia as colonial state that must be dismantled first to give way for the new state of oromiya. So by extending the struggle between the Amhara nationalists and the unionist, at least for a short term, would able to save his agenda from being an easy target by Ethiopianist. In addition, he could avoid being seen as a pro-separatist. But in reality he wants to wage a proxy war against the unionist by using the Amhara nationalists.
On the contrary, he knew that Amhara Nationalism if flourished has to be on the grounds of nostalgia (past glory) and victimhood (sense of marginalization). Jawar has foreseen both elements and its trajectories. The nostalgia would be the greatness of Ethiopia during the previous regimes and marginalization is the genocides committed by the OLF militias. Both in its form creates contradictions with the political forces. Each way could create further rift with the Oromo nationalists. As the two “ethnic” Nationalism often happens to be competing, there would have an action and reaction. Therefore, in short Jawar would easily get the energies that he wants for his movement to propel. If the Amhara nationalism blossoms by default the Oromo nationalism, which has been borne out of the reaction to the former, will automatically and aggressively react. Jawar by playing his game efficiently, at least would get an excuse to respond to criticisms against his pro-separatist nationalism. He will simply say that his movement is a reaction to the Amhara “chauvinist nationalism.” Therefore, he needs a radicalized Amhara Nationalism for his version to exist.
2) The interview set the stage for his coming back with nice melody. He comes like a Santa Claus with an applause and ecstasy. He meticulously used the opportunity to present his well rehearsed discourse with perfect preludes. He won the favor immediately and he saved himself from political oblivions imposed by the command post.
He is also telling indirectly the Oromo youth who have now come to life with the partial release of internet that he was quite busy in dealing, negotiating or cooperating with the Amhara force in strengthening and broadening the struggle. One of the best way telling the qeerro that he is busy in the other camp but not paralyzed by the command post.
3) The other interesting issue is the insurgents fighting the regime in Gonder has been consistently engaging the regime. An earlier interview by Ethsat from Gonder and a video messaged of insurgents shared on YouTube has proved that both forces are collaborating on the ground and are active in the area. The regime also admits there was violent interactions. This sends a cold in his spine that if the two forces collaborated; be it OLF or ODF will have a competitive advantage muster capability that would edged Jawar out of from the revolution and limit him with his remotely directed cyber struggle.
Moreover, most people are questioning the validity of peaceful struggle particularly after Irreecha incident. His struggles has suffered from serious attention deprivation. Particularly, recently the news are dominated by Amhara resistance and that of AG7. The worrisome thing to him is the reportedly working in collaboration of the two. So he is trying to divide the two and remained on the top of the issue as he has been previously.
His war on the unionist calling as utopian is an insult to all of us. Ethiopia was not conceived out of fantasy. Rather it is the melting pot of generations of Ethiopians intermingled through marriages, trades and migrations. Nobody says it was perfect union, but we can together will perfect all the oddities it has.
His matter were confusing when it comes in areas that have tangents between the two groups. If you asked him the future of Addis Ababa and status or rights of residents other than oromos he would say unabashedly “settlers would have only use rights” like any Turkish or Kenyans investing or taking refugee there. We have read on his response to Ermias Legese’s article on the need to have discussions on Addis Ababa.
The model taken for the convention and the charter has political motives. There are better democratic multicultural countries than South Africa. The freedom charter signifies the existence of an economic and socially dominant and an indigenous majority who have been marginalized. It mirrors what he desires to see in Ethiopia.
The idea of internal colonialism which often quoted by the trio Don Quixote (Dr. Tsegaye ) and the Nordic freak Girma Gutema, and their assertions that “unless Ethiopia decolonized there would no be democratizations.” is not a random utterance in FB. It is actually a strategy employed by the trio who have changed the struggle from frontal attack to that of ideology. All debates on the matter related to history has roots in the ideological context of the internal colonial thesis the trios shared.
The Ethiopia that all fights for is not a mere dream. His realist politics is much more stuck on the idea of being a primordial nationalist who day in and out sings old songs recycled from Marxism. Let’s have a genuine discussion on the type and nature of federation that would reflect the true aspirations of all Ethiopians. A federation not designed to perpetuate either minority or majority tyranny but as an embodiment of the sprits of freedom, equality and brotherhood could Solve all our predicaments.
I don’t believe in intellectual exhibitionism. No grandeur for scholarship or desire for polemics over Lockian or Hobbesian social contracts or toiling to reach a synthesized “center” position by extrapolating theories in state formation.
Let’s start on practical issues on which the people from Ambo and Gonder would like to have and share equally. Let’s give the chance for the peasant to decide for themselves. Popular consultations among representatives will give us the answer without any unrealistic postulates and axioms.