I have always had a soft heart to Bekele Gerba. It was not only his charm, I admired his commitment to peaceful struggle. His words, since his previous arrest, were carefully selected to stand for Oromo people without the need of offending others. Today, I read about his latest Afaan Oromo speech in US (translated into Amharic) contrary to the speeches of Bekele I know. I wished this to be ‘fake news’ but different translations sounded the same. This breaks my faith in him; I’m shocked.
I could have tolerated his statment that reads, “while Oromo sons are languishing in jail labelled as ‘terrorists’, those who were armed to fight them yesterday have a photo with them in palace”, because most important issue is stressing the need for the release of political prisoners. But, it is hardly possible for me to justify this: “the struggle our sons paid sacrifices for has benefited aliens”. Really, “aliens” are other people to the Oromo. I have known Bekele as an Oromo Nationalist, but not as this much excluding others. And, I thought the struggle was not all about being invited in palace and having a photograph with the PM. In fact, for the very first time ever than before, many Oromos felt deep belonging to the Ethiopian state and ownership to the victory that seemingly is leading to democratic reform. Defying others’ suspecion, Oromos have saved Ethiopia from the threat of disintegration. However, Bekele put that card out again, in the name of Oromo people. My question is why Bekele, why now?
Maybe, Bekele is pressured too much. OPDO won the hearts of the mass and to win the mass back, as a leader of OFC, Bekele may have thought it is necessary to be more nationalist and more partial to Oromo people than any other group. But, I don’t think this is what he fought for. And, I hope he will correct his words or explain what he meant. I just hope…