Exposing Elephants

The more we delve into WHY all the drama is happening in #Ethiopia, it become obvious that there are irreconcilable difference.

One of the biggest reasons that peace is never near is that two major groups hold land claims to large chunks of land, based on recent and sometimes ancient history. And when you look at the root cause, the boundaries of the birth place of modern Ethiopia- which I draw to the areas now called Shoa, Welega, and Arsi are lands that have been populated by both Amhara and Oromo over the centuries. Often swapping hands, as land does through these major groups, which has been to the detriment of minority groups that once occupied these lands before mass assimilation from both opposing forces.

To be more specific, the Amhara elite, which calls itself the Ethiopian unity forces, claims that Ethiopia has historically been the homeland of Amhara and that all people have been subjects to Amhara. This group deeply believes that Oromo occupied the hereditary land of Amhara in the 16th century. The basic premise of Amhara scholars is that the Oromos should leave the ancestral lands of Amhara, namely Shoa, Welega, and Arsi.

Oromo scholars, on the other hand, say that present-day Ethiopia is historically the land of Cush (Oromo) and that Semitic groups crossed from the Arabian Peninsula and took the Cushitic ancestral land albeit some 3000 years back.

The common denominator of both groups is that they do not recognize other Cushitic language/ethnic group minorities as the rightful owners of the land (from approx. 9000 years back) or do they even acknowledge their past historical existence and significance in the Horn of Africa. And over the last 400 years, these groups, although recognised have been engulfed into the folds of either Amhara or Oromo cultural dominance. Additionally, it is completely ignored that the original OroMara unity in these areas gave birth to both Menelik and Haile Selassie. Instead of dealing with the ugly reality that many want to wipe away, the innocent people are pit against each other. These groups of people unrelated to this centrefold region are sent to war for two nations, Ethiopia and Oromia. The inhabitants of northern and western Amhara region, western, southern and far eastern Oromia are sent to battle to oppose those in the centre birth place of “Ethiopia” essentially dying for an identity recently acquired (in most parts) as both the Ethiopian and Oromo nation fight for control of land!

Tigray is the only community that posed a challenge to the supremacy of both groups in the semi-ancient and recent past. And yet now, when fighting for survival there are people still determined to either re-write history, place blame on pre-war TPLF, not acknowledge the existence of other EPRDF actors, blame Tigray for all, whilst ignoring the major elephants in the room.. (all mentioned above)

To the credit though of a large number of progressive Oromo scholars, they have demonstrated their belief in the equality of nations and ownership of the land. It is these conflicting views that have plunged Ethiopia into an unrelenting civil war.

How long will people dwell on the past? Ignore the existence of others? Try to re-write history to just one up each other on the land titles claims?

How long will these elephants continue to grow without any full honest look at history?

As is reality with most of things, the truth is somewhere in the middle, between the extremes of both ideas and often in the hands of the minorities, whose voices have been completely forgotten!

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