I have had some intense discussions recently with people who claim to have supported the ONLF in the past but are now condemning the plausibility of the armed struggle to gain freedom in Ogaden.

The premise of their argument revolves around the notion that says let us try other methods, such as peaceful means to achieve our goals.

However, when I confronted them with hard facts and how impossible it is to achieve even basic human rights in this way, let alone freedom, they often reply: “We have not tried this strategy before. Why not give it a try now?” It is a lie. We have tried it in 1994 when the ONLF took part in the elections of that year and we have learned a hard lesson since then.

But rational arguments are not what the naysayers are interested in. They will rather “turn-the-other-cheek” with every blow they receive from the enemy. Since they’ve given up, their tired argument is “surrender” by other means.

I like to tease these people sometimes by telling them to request from the Ethiopian regime, since they’ve ‘taken peace’ as they say, to stop the illegal mass arrests, the rampant torture, rape and killings. But they reply, as long as there is the armed conflict in Ogaden, we can do nothing.  Unfortunately they have no guarantee that these violations will stop if the ONLF lays down its weapons.

I believe these violations will increase and even be more severe if we surrender. The highlanders will settle in our fertile lands and takeover. They will drill the oil out and become more stronger and leave us without any defenses. We will be reduced to silent spectators without voice and power.

 May I remind those who pretend to be “moral cops” to remember that tactics based solely on morality can only succeed when you are dealing with people who are moral or a system that is moral and not with psychopathic killers like Meles Zenawi and his servant Abdi Iley. How can someone with the knowledge that the blood of Ogaden people is dripping from the hands of these men still have the audacity to ask why ONLF wants to destroy injustice with the gun?

The critics of ONLF who pander to this line of thinking like to bring into the discussion Gandhi’s non violence concept as a solution to our problem. They overemphasize the importance of ‘peace’ and ‘development’ over justice and freedom.

It would be a sweet victory if we gained our freedom by doing what the civil rights movements did back in the days in America, singing ‘we shall overcome, some day’ while tripping and swaying along arm-in-arm, play guitars with “I have a dream” speeches. Who wouldn’t want to take this easy route to success? If ONLF could bring about recognition and respect for our people by peaceful means, we could not have travelled this long, hard and bitter road. Alas! they tried it in 1994 and learned from it.

Everybody would like to reach his objectives peacefully. But I’m also a realist. The only people inEthiopiawho are asked to be nonviolent are the minorities, the ones who are oppressed and exploited; the ones who are mistreated and who face injustice daily.

Finally, I would like to leave you with this quote from the famous political thinker Thomas Paine by which he describes the hard and difficult road to freedom: “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.”  

I say no to injustice. I say no to oppression.  I say yes to freedom, to justice, honor and dignity. Power in defense of freedom is greater than power on behalf of tyranny. History will one day have its say, and it will not be the fake history they teach inAddis Ababa. It will be a history emancipated from colonialism and its puppets. History of glory and dignity.

Let us listen to wisdom of Thomas Paine and the other revolutionaries and accept that there is no easy walk to freedom. Free Ogaden!




1 Comment

  1. mucuud Husein says:

    what an article. that is so true and I never doubt that it is gonna be more brutal if we don’t be aware of it. But unfortunately, a portion of our people understand it.


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