By Ahmed Gaandaa
If you knock a door of a house in which two kids are quarreling, you will find them together opening it silently.
The detainment of Abdi Mohamud Omar has triggered widespread demonstrations in Somali State, could turn him in to a hero and definitely will foster national identity and flourish ONLF separatist agenda.
Of course many Somalis hate the former leader but they also intensely hate to see him crying, at least in Addis Ababa. After all he is a Somali guy in the hands of Ethiopia.
ONLF might be militarily weakened by the Ethiopian army and Somali forces, known as Liyou Police (special Police in Amharic), but remained a potent political force with bigger bargaining power.
This time without any military threat but more supporters and sympathizers than ever.
Given the leniency of the current Ethiopian government leadership, the political crisis, the ethnic cleavage, the economic woes, and the infantile foreign policy decisions with which the arch enemies of Ethiopia, namely Egypt and Eritrea, are now thankful to God for the Abiy’s gaffe among others, Somalis have an enormous opportunity for future dissolution from Ethiopia. Difficult but possible.
The recent developments in the region, such as the military occupation, which finally forced the resignation of the regional leader, the continues killing of the non combatant Somalis by Oromo armed militias and the following unwarranted interference of the Federal government in to the regional selection, will turn all the Somali eyes on to the center.
The people of the Somali region in Ethiopia, celebrate for political developments in Mogadishu than in Addis Ababa. They watch Somali Televisions than Ethiopian state TV.
Its an indicative that their land is an extra flesh to the federal Ethiopia and an experimental place for power test. Both Somalis and Ethiopians have this perception in common.
These are new manifestations, different but nonetheless a revival of ethnic nationalism.
ONLF, taking the past experiences and experiments in to account, has now an olive branch to jump-start its political philosophy teachings in the country and outside world.
The obstacles however, remain omnipotent. To change the name or omit the “O” at least might help it provide psychological therapy to the people and repair its damaged image, other wise it can not be marketed.
Thought it is the only credible and organized force, not for everybody, It has a bigger fish to fry than to point fingers to the competitors.
Convincing all clans, which are Ethiopianized by fear and force or by creating internal conflict, to believe in Somali-hood is a yawning cave and will take years.
In conclusion, the detainment of former Somali regional leader, the demise of his administration and the recent dictation from Addis Ababa, will open a window of unity for all walks of Somali life and make them more Somali than ever before.
They are not as fearful as before, if one is already wet they wouldn’t protect themselves from water.
Ethiopian politics by nature, is a bigger, ethnic based, multi-player political game. It appears that Abiy Ahmed, a security guy but political novice, has Somali speaking non Somali who have little or no knowledge about the Somali culture, political advisors.
ONLF and other active political forces, in the region including Abdi’s supporters, if they are smart enough, will similarly apply the dear enemy strategy for Ethiopian government, to avoid confrontation.
ONLF will most likely have its own internal rift over its negotiations with the Ethiopian government, whereby some of its members will opt for self interest over the ideology, and take positions. Nevertheless, that could be a temporary mouth wetting but kneecapping tactic in future.
Ahmed Gaandaa, is a writer, political analyst/commentator and Horn of Africa specialist. Can be reached at: [email protected]
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