Somaliland sun- Ethiopia is multi ethnic nation, to name a few Afar, Amhara, Gurage, Oromo, Somali and Tigre. From emperor Menelik up until Derg led by Mangistu Haile Mariam, Ethiopia was ruled by a single Ethnic group Amhara, the national language has been Amharic. Schools were taught in Amharic from K-6TH grade and from 7th grade-12th grade schools were taught in English while Amharic was taught as a language and literature, which all non Amhara ethnic groups had resented and had no choice but to learn.
Before the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selase in 1974 by the brutal socialist Derg military government led by Mangistu Haile Mariam. EPRP, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party, Marxist Leninist was already in the works, a movement created in 1972 by students,teachers intellectuals, workers and farmers, from all walks of Ethiopians ethnic groups aimed to change what it called the feudal system of Emperor Haile Selase to Socialist system for the workers party, an inclusive system which would satisfy all ethnic groups.
In 1975 after the Derg military government consolidated the power from every corner of the country and declared a revolutionary struggle against all Derg oppositions primarily EPRP which declared its goals and program in 1975 to overthrow the Derg regime.The struggle continued and the Derg regime continued cracking down on students, teachers and workers suspected members of EPRP.
As the struggle continued against the Derg regime, EPRP leadership split from an ideological movement to ethnic rivalry and mistrust among multi ethnic groups like Amhara, Tigre and Oromo etc. which led to the formation of TPLF in 1975, joining forces against the Derg, like OLF, Oromo Liberation Front formed in 1973, WSLF, Western Somali Liberation Front found in 1975, ELF and EDU pro western group formed in London in 1974.
In 1977 when Ethio/Somalia war broke out and Siad Barre sent his troops to Ethiopia, in the name of WSLF to battle Ethiopian troops, after he disbanded WSLF, Mangistu Haile Mariam used the slogan ” let’s finish our internal enemy to defeat our external enemy” meaning Somalia and began the ” Red Terror” campaign against EPRP and any suspected sympathizers of WSFL, TPLF, ELF, EDU and OLF inside Ethiopian cities and rural areas, which led 1977-1978 massacre, torture and the arrest of thousands of Ethiopian students, teachers and workers from all walks of Ethiopian ethnic groups accused of being EPRP, the killing and arrest of thousands of Somalis, Oromos, Tigres, Eritreans and Amharas accused of Supporting, WSLF, OLF, TPLF, ELF and EDU.
After the Ethio/Somalia war ended in 1978 which benefited Mangistu for crackingdown on his internal enemies, also benefited Barre to kill elite Somalia military officials he feared the most in Somaliland after the war ended. which led to the formation of rebel groups, like SNM, SSDF and USC based in Ethiopia against Barre, while the Derg opposition, TPLF, ELF and OLF continued their assault against Derg regime, which led to the ouster of both Mangistu and Barre in 1991.
In 1991 after the ouster of Mangistu Haile Mariam by TPLFof Tigray who suffered the most under the Derg, TPLF formed a coalitions with other rebel groups like, OLF, EPDM and other opposition groups of Mangistu and formed EPRDF the current ruling party led by late Meles Zinawi which brought peace and remarkable development to Ethiopia since it took power. EPRDF adopted the ethnic Federalism to empower each ethnic group and each ethnic group/nationality to have sense of belonging to the country after hundred years of one ethnic domination and rule.
Each Ethiopian ethnic group/nationalities like Somali, Amhara, Oromo, Tigre and Gurage etc. elects its local state government where most of them are enjoying and each nationalities have the luxury to use its language, practice its religion and preserve its culture and traditions. Except the Ethiopian Somali region where the local state is run/high jacked by a group of Ogaden clan, former OLF/current Liyu Police and former Siad Barre military officers who target non Ogaden clans, by killing, torturing and displacing.
Even thought EPRDF has its short comings, for not monitoring local states behavior like Somali state, Ahmara state etc. lack of good governance and transparency, and no government in the world is hundred percent perfect. Correcting, fixing and helping the system/EPRDF is the best option to keep Ethiopia intact by inviting opostion leaders. Destabilizing Ethiopia is not the interest of any opposition or ethnic group, when ethnic rivalry and animosity has been a norm for centuries whether its based on religion, race, ethnicity or discrimination.
Imagine destabilized Ethiopia let alone ethnic group vs. ethnic group , the Ethiopian Somali clans will have to turn their guns against each other, Ogaden susb-clans vs. Ogaden subclans/ONLF supporters and non suppoters, Isaaq vs Ogaden, Ogaden vs Habar-Gidir and Ogaden vs Issa just because of what Abdi Omar of Jigjiga created using former ONLF/Liyu Police to kill non Ogaden clans.
Imagine an open season war between Christian Oromos and Muslim Ormos, an open season border conflict between Ormos and Somalis, an unending border dispute between Oromo and Amharas, an unending conflict between Amhara and Tigre, open war between Afar and Issa reaching and affecting Djibouti stability, Ethiopia becoming a play ground for Al-shabaab and religion extremist, the affect of Ethiopian instability to its neighbors Somaliland, Djibouti and Puntland.
Somalia has been a failed state for twenty five years because of clan conflict and mistrust among Somali Clans, imagine how long would it take to stabilize Ethiopia of eighty different languages at each others throat.
Mohamud Aden Samatar