Everyone fabricates their own extremist. In the 1990s, when OLF’s demands posed a threat to TPLF’s hegemonic aspirations, it created OPDO and called OLF extremist. It was the beginning of co-optation through an elaborate system of clientele and patronage. OPDO became the good Oromo and OLF its other.
In the 2000s, the Ethiopianist elite started to mimic the TPLF by trying to ‘domesticate’ ONC as their favored Oromo partner. In their circle, ONC became the good Oromo, the alternative to OLF, until at least it became OFC. For them, the OLF was ONC’s extremist other.
In the 2010s (and to date), as a more assertive OPDO became a threat to TPLF’s hegemonic aspirations, TPLF couldn’t find another Oromo ‘other’ to point to. To them, OPDO became the extremist other. In other words, OPDO became OLF. (In more recent days, the Qeerroo became the real extremist and the monstrous other.)
In the Ethiopianist camp, the increasing success of online activists and youthful grassroots Oromo social movements caused agitation as they became a more audible voice than their partners in ONC /OFC. They thus sought another partner to work with by deeming the youth and the social media activists ‘extremists.’ This marked the birth of Jawar as the symbol and flag bearer of the new ‘extremists.’
In search of a domesticated Oromo partner, they went to self-proclaimed ‘Oromo Ethiopians’ who are bent on vilifying anything and everything Oromo. The search for the good Oromo evolved into becoming openly anti-Oromo.
Then came the Lemma moment. The Ethiopianist nationalist camp that forever bashed ethno-nationalist self-organization suddenly ignored its vow conveniently and went along to sing the praises of Lemma and Abiy (and their OPDO) as the new Ethiopian Moses and Joshua, respectively. This is ironic because they are actually falling for the more nationalist OPDO (that even TPLF found extremist) while they abhorred the more servile OPDO of yesteryears.
Many have pointed out that this wholesale embracing of Lemma and Abiy’s OPDO is a result of the context. The context is nothing but the palpable Ethiopianist anxiety that power may fall into the hands of the Qeerroo (or their spokesperson, Jawar Mohammed) in the event that the regime collapses. The Ethiopianist fear had for long been its own fabricated ‘extremist’ other. This new ‘extremists,’ they say, are Jawar and ‘his associates.’ It’s another irony that the latter are often derided in Oromo circles as die hard Ethiopianists who seek a transfigured Ethiopia that has room for all oppressed peoples who are so far on the margins.
When one day, in 2017/18, the Ethiopianists woke up from their nightmare (in which the Qeerro, Jawar, and OMN are the villain protagonists), they found an Oromo talking fondly (albeit tactically and strategically) about Ethiopia. Last month, they found in Abiy Ahmed an Oromo that drops the word Ethiopia everywhere (36 times in 25 minutes) and gets away with anything.
Unknown to them, the repressed may have just returned, and may have done so with vengeance.
They are now trying to find an ‘extremist’ other in ordinary mortals like yours truly.
And I laugh. I laugh at the fact that they don’t even notice how the “extremist” others they have long been fabricating are taking over the polity.
I laugh because our Ethiopianist adversaries are still blind to the fact that they themselves have become their own fabricated others, and how in their support of these new ‘others,’ they are actually vindicating the claims of the “extremists”.
All the same, the Oromo nationalist should be happy as he alone has the last laugh. In fact, it may as well be that he is already having his last laugh.
#NoWeareNotExtremists #EthiopianistsRZExtremists #UrExtremistsRinPower