A Criminal State: The Blacklisting of the Oromo Liberation Struggle for Freedom and Democracy
Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)
Abdirahman Mahdi (Ogaden National Liberation Front) on behalf of Shigut Geleta
Chaired by: Jan Goossens (Royal Flemish Theater, Brussels)
Respondent: Moussa Ag Assarid (National Liberation Movement of Azawad)
Abdirahman Mahdi is the European representative of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF). He spoke on behalf of Shigut Geleta, Head of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) Diplomatic Division. The ONLF and the OLF both fight for self-determination of respectively the Oromo and Ogaden populations of Ethiopia, currently controlled by a minority rule of the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front. In their struggle against this regime, the ONLF and OLF work closely together.
This lecture addresses among other things the manner in which blacklisting a political movement as ‘terrorist’ functions as an ideological cover-up of the enforced administrative construct of the Ethiopian state. Apart from the Oromo, who represent the largest ethnic group in the country, many other peoples struggle for independence from the contested state such as the Ogaden. At what level can we argue that the state of Ethiopia even exists, when its main legitimacy seems to be based on its capacity to suppress the very political majorities that constitute it? The blacklisting of a people’s history thus becomes a way of evading confrontation with the criminal dimensions of the state itself.
The New World Summit: Stateless State took place at the Royal Flemish Theater in Brussels, Belgium, 19-21 September 2014.