Section 3.  Regarding the press release of KIL’s political wing.


Recently, Kinijitian friends alerted me to a 1993 book that promoted ethnic-centered politics. I read part of it from a website (http://www.ethiolion.com/news/ANDARGATCHEWs%20WISDOM%20INTRODUCTION.pdf), including Chapter 1 which the author had warned was not easy to accept.  The book had simply promoted TPLF/EPRDF propaganda of how the Shewan Amhara, beginning with Menelik, conquered and created the current Ethiopian geography and citizenry, presumably, against their will to remain Ethiopians. It presented the achievements of Ethiopians over the centuries as though it was a figment of the imagination of the Shewan Amhara. It concocted a theory for forming a nation by holding referenda of the people and lamented how such was not done in the past to found Ethiopia. It asserted that Ethiopia cannot be called a nation for such appellation will contradict the existence of nations and nationalities of different cultures within it. Apparently, the existence of nations and nationalities will wither away if referenda were given to the people.  Not only did the book exhibit political immaturity it also showed a lacked of knowledge of the history of Ethiopia.  The southern regions were part of Ethiopia for centuries prior to the advent of Menelik.  Visitations of the region including ancient Innary (now partly of southern Welega) were made in the first Solomonic Dynasty in the 10th Century AD.  The Restored Solomonic Dynasty, under Emperor Amde Tsion the Great in the 14th century had marched to the south many times including to stop and to control slave trade to regions across the Red Sea. His grand children and their soldiers including those from Mereb Mellash (now Eritrea) had marched across the length and breadth of Ethiopia, including to the tip of Somalia by the Indian Ocean. In those days people of the south did not speak Afan Oromo, as the presence of such a language has not been recorded in Ethiopian history.  People of Afan Oromo speech that might have migrated northward likely did so in small numbers and assimilated the local language and culture and the people were not noticeable. However, Ethiopian history has recorded that large waves of people that spoke Afan Oromo had migrated northward in the 16th century, beginning in the wake of the Islamic Jihad waged against the Christian Kingdom by Ahmed Garn (Imam Ahmad Ibn Ibrahim al-Gazi), and supported by the super power of that era, the Ottoman Empire (http://aboutethiopia.com/snap5.htm).  The folks that spoke Afan Oromo had killed many of the ancient southern Ethiopians. However they did not wipe them out completely. The Afan Oromo language propagated over the languages of some of the ancient Ethiopians of the south.  Some other ancient Ethiopians of the south, such as the Wolayeta and Hadiya to mention only a few, had retained their own languages despite the propagation of Afan Oromo.  Propagation of language over previous ones makes it difficult to distinguish the ethnic origins of Ethiopians, or which ones are ancient Ethiopians and which others are immigrants.  The easiest to say is that southern people that speak Afan Oromo are ancient Ethiopians many of whom spoke this language as a result of the propagation of language over those of their forebears, and due to heavy intermarriage of people (http://aboutethiopia.com/Propagationoflanguage.htm).  Clearly, the fabric of Ethiopian history and the geography of Ethiopia is not a figment of the imagination of the Shewan Amhara nor did it result from the conquest of the Shewan Amhara as the propaganda of EPLF, TPLF/EPRDF, OLF, and the author of the 1993 book would indicate.  What Ethiopian leaders of the last couple centuries until the reign of Mr. Zenawi did was struggle to protect Ethiopians from colonization by Europeans and from fragmentation.


I had commented about the 1993 book to a small group of Kinijitians who brought it to my attention.  Subsequently, a friend called to inform me that the author of the book, Ato Andargatchew Tsege, had repudiated this aspect of his work and has changed his views.  If so, that is very good for him to do. My point here is not to attack or to impugn the character of any person as it is to take their work as an object of investigation or inquiry.  Let alone Ato Anadrgatchew who is not yet a supreme leader, with a following that reveres him and his achievements, I have no intention to impugn the characters of Ahmed Gran of Zeila or his nephew (Amir Nur) of the walled city of Harrar .  These gentlemen are heroes to the Adare and the Somali though viewed from the larger picture of Ethiopian history their contributions were destructive and so they may be regarded as villains.  Yet, no point is achieved by considering the Adare or the Somali as oppressor nations because of the role of individuals from their midst who became heroes to many of them.  Likewise, in the 18th century, B’lata Mikael Sehul of Adwa had killed the governor of that region and had made himself Ras Mikeal, which later resulted in him being summoned to Gonder to serve as a viceroy of a young emperor (http://aboutethiopia.com/tse6.html).  Ras Mikael killed two emperors before he was forcibly evicted from power in Gonder, a condition that began the seventy years of the era of princes (Zemen Mesafint), which Emperor Tewodros countered and arrested.  Another person from Adwa, Mr. Zenawi, not only removed governors of Adwa and Tigrey but also of Ethiopia.  His main contributions included giving coastal and maritime Ethiopia away to a rebel-group of Asmara, and making the rest of Ethiopia a landlocked region that is divided into ethnic-based homelands. Both Ras Mikael and Mr. Zenawi are heroes to the Tigreyan at large and the Adwan in particular.  However, when viewed on a larger picture of Ethiopian history they are destructive elements and as such they may be regarded as villains.  Yet, there is no point in impugning the character of these individuals or labeling the Tigrey as an oppressor nation.  Contributions of individuals, the good, the bad and the ugly should be examined as objects of inquiry without such effort being viewed as character assassination, or as an affront to the ethnic origins of the contributors.  I hope that I have expounded enough on the point that although the names of people are mentioned to identify their contributions my emphasis is on the contributions and not the character of the contributors. I also wish all to know that what I am doing is not intended to get me friends or enemies. I do not work to appease friends or to displease them.  What I write may please or displease some in some of its parts, or people may be pleased or displeased in its entirety. That is the right of the reader.   My effort is to share the story of Ethiopia as fairly as I can fathom it.


Now, let us return to the issue of the KIL Press Release, dated Sene 23, 1998 (http://www.ethiomedia.com/carepress/kil_pr1.pdf). I first knew of it because a friend alerted me to listen to a 7/1/06 Tensae Radio broadcast. As I listened to the broadcast I was astounded as to how close that the KIL press release sounded similar to the thinking exposed in the 1993 book. I then read the KIL press release on EMF.  I could not believe that Kinijit would be providing such a press release regarding the sovereignty of Ethiopia.  The KIL PR cited examples of provinces of other countries that attempted secession though there were no session clauses in the constitutions of those countries and argued that having or deleting article 39 of the Ethiopian constitution is irrelevant.  The KIL PR stressed that Kinijit’s belief on the issue of sovereignty of Ethiopia is so unshakable that it will not bring it for discussion with other parties. The inevitable inference that one derives from the PR is that yet unexplained powers will hold the sovereignty of Ethiopia inviolable, and that parties with whom kinijit forged an alliance are not worthy of holding discussing with them in good faith on this issue. Moreover, the PR neither gives evidence nor does it indicate the steps Kinijit would take to ascertain the inviolability of the sovereignty of Ethiopia. Similar to the work in the 1993 book and the TPLF/EPRDF propaganda the PR simply states what the KIL believes or does not believe as though such would be a line of evidence to support its positions.  Let me cite two cases as examples to demonstrate this point by using page 4 of the PR. 


Case 1: It was stated that, in a national conference that would be conducted democratically, Kinijt believes that it will become a winner for a second time to protect the inviolability of the sovereignty of Ethiopia. Presumably, the KIL assume that their statements are self evident. They use the word democracy repeatedly as though the word conveys the same meaning to all. If in the national conference that they plan to hold there will be seventy ethnic-centered parties and one or two pan-Ethiopian parties, and if each member of the conference will have equal weight of votes, what guarantee do they have that they will win any votes or that they will even be given sufficient time to make their views heard?  Have they ever pondered the significance of giving appropriate weight (perhaps prorated by the number of individuals in the parties) to the votes that component parties should be assigned in the determination of issues within their alliance and in a national conference that they wish to form?  Even more importantly, unless Mr. Zenawi is willing to loose his army, what guarantee do they have that the results of holding a second national conference will be different from the first one that the TPLF organized in 1991 (http://aboutethiopia.com/5Ed.htm), or that the TPLF will allow the votes of the people to be respected?


Case 2: Here is another of the unsubstantiated statements made by the PR.  It was stated that if democratic processes are established Kinijt believes that even those parties which seek secession will try to work to protect the sovereignty of Ethiopia. This is an astonishing belief that might cause the rank and file of Kinijt not to be vigilant and work for unity and the respect of sovereignty of Ethiopia by pursuing tangible and knowable means instead of seeking answers by faith. Indeed, it is possible that the OLF may not have realistic secessionist claims.  Yet causing OLF to engage in discussions of the sovereignty issue could enrich the fervor of the discussions and the value of the conclusions.  It might cause them to think outside the box of their “bold proposal at forming alliance” aimed only at revering the geography of Oromia that the TPLF had crated for them. The home for the Oromo Ethiopian, as for any other Ethiopian, must not be limited to a homeland that the TPLF had created; it should be the whole of Ethiopia .  Regardless of the domicile of an Ethiopian he or she must be entitled to the development of their culture.


As the Ethiopia saying has it “alebabasew bi’arsu be’arem yemelalesu.”  Kinijit should learn from wisdom distilled from years of experiences of Ethiopians and captured in the saying mention above.  Kinijt should seize the moment and use the unique opportunity offered to it by history to engage the ethnic-centered parties in its alliance on issues involving sovereignty.  Most of the ethnic-centered parties have some grievances about one or the other aspect of Ethiopian history, but certainly not against Kinijit. These ethnic-centered parties should be given opportunities to air their grievances, and to learn that the past has long gone and their real issues are cultural, which they should develop to their hearts desire. Kinijit should engage in discussions, perhaps by holding panel discussions among learned people, and assemble methods and ways by means of which Ethiopians will have an ability to guarantee that their votes will be respected.


HG: 7/4/06.