2018 New Year Message from OLF Chairman Galasa Dilbo
Dear Comrades and Compatriots,
New Year is a time for taking stock and reflection on our successes and failures. It is a time for remembering those
who have fallen in the national resistance against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) led fascistic killings
and maiming of thousands of innocent civilians in Oromia. It is a time when we strengthen our solidarity with those
who were displaced from their homes and are languishing in refugee camps without protection.
In 2017, our nation has endured 10-month long state of emergency during which hundreds were murdered and
thousands were imprisoned, tortured and exiled. During the second half of the year, the Ogaden Somali
paramilitary forces called Liyu Polis (Special Police), supported by TPLF, invaded large areas of our land in the
east and southeast, murdered hundreds of Oromos and raped Oromo women. As the result, more than 600,000
Oromos have been displaced from their homes and are suffering in refugee camps in their own country. Because
of an ethnic cleansing conducted by the President of the Ethiopia Somali Regional State, Abdi Mohamud Omar,
over 150,000 Oromo residents were robbed of their property and evicted from the region in October this year and
are sheltered in camps in Oromia and supported by the Oromo people.
Today, Oromia is under siege from all corners, from Wallo in the north to Borana in the south, not to mention the
open war in Hararghe, Bale, Guji and Borana zones. In all these zones and elsewhere, our people are resisting
the invasion bravely and have scored incredible victories against heavily armed Liyu Polis and the security forces
of the TPLF regime, teaching them unforgettable lessons. In particular, it was inspiring to see Oromo women who,
carrying babies on their back and guns in their hands, were defending their families against the Liyu Polis who
have been invading their villages and killing their menfolk, raping their daughters and sisters, and looting their
property routinely. This, among others, makes 2017 an extraordinary year in the history of the Oromo nation. It is
with pride that I take this occasion and say our proud nation has shown, once again, its resolve and unity in the
face of an increasingly violent enemy.
The three-year long Oromo resistance against the TPLF not only emboldened the other regions but also exposed
fissures in the TPLF machinery. Subordinate organisations working with the TPLF have also showed efforts to
appease both their maker, the TPLF, and the people at the same time. Only time will tell if these dependent
organisations can liberate themselves from the TPLF and join the freedom camp. The US, EU and other
superpowers have also taken notice of the Oromo movement for liberation and some seem to have started
considering another transitional arrangement to repair and sustain the unstainable empire state, and guarantee
regional peace and stability.
We appreciate the international community’s concern for peace and security in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.
However, for us, peace and stability go hand in hand with the freedom of our nation and liberating our homeland.
To start with, we cannot expect peace while hundreds of thousands of our people are perishing in concentration
camps and prisons. We believe, a people without freedom cannot deliver peace and security for themselves or
others. Therefore, we are working for and looking forward to a time when Oromia will control her own destiny,
when, as independent nation, we will have sovereignty over our economy, defence, security, the natural
environment, and the future of our children and of the generations to come. We believe an independent state of
Oromia is a guarantee rather than a liability for the peace and prosperity the Horn of Africa region is so badly in
need of. Therefore, we believe that the Oromo nation should save itself first to help others to save themselves
and contribute to sustainable peace and security in the region.
To Oromo who may wonder about where we are heading and what the future holds for us, I want to reassure this:
we are on the right track. The TPLF regime is crumbling under the pressure from the Oromo uprising. The Oromo
unity is at its strongest than ever. More than ever before, the vast majority of our people have come to understand
that the surest way of guaranteeing the survival of their nation is independence. Consequently, the young and old
are ready to pay the ultimate sacrifice for that purpose. This does not mean there are no challenges. Indeed, there
are some groups who dream to highjack the victories of our people for their own political advancement and keep
the Oromo nation chained in the ‘prison house of nations’ to use a political scientist’s designation of the Ethiopian
state. However, I must say that as long as we adhere to the OLF political programme, we will tackle serious
challenges that may lie ahead.
In addition to what I have said above, we must ensure, first and foremost that all independent Oromo political
organisations leave behind their differences and come together to form a single strong camp of Oromo
independence. Secondly, whilst building a strong unity of Oromo political forces the OLF needs strengthening in
terms of manpower and other necessary resources. Thirdly, we must read and reread our history. We lost the
opportunity to free ourselves first at the time of the fall of Emperor Haile Selassie, and secondly at the time of the
demise of the Dergue. We must avoid a similar mistake when the TPLF regime collapses sooner or later.
Our struggle is a just struggle. As a nation, we are doing what we can to regain our human dignity and what is best
for our children’s future. We are optimistic to achieve these goals because we are making tangible progress. In
2017, the OLF continued successfully restoring the organisation, linked up the structures inside and outside
Oromia, built bridges with other independent Oromo liberation entities, held a number of successful public
consultations with our communities in the diaspora, and developed diplomatic ties in the spirit of solidarity. All this
must continue at a solid pace during 2018.
Finally, I say, rest assured that OLF is strengthened and looks toward the future with great optimism.
A Happy New Year to you all.
Oromia shall be free
1st January 2018