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Thursday, 24 May 2007

Mohamed Derir's slip of the tongue

Tedla Asfaw

Mohamed Derir, a member of fake parliament and a minister of culture speech on the sleepy parliament last week awoke Ato Bulcha when the minister labeled Oromiffa as a lesser language than other Ethiopian languages that is used by the Eritrean regime for propaganda.

The OlF media accused Mohamed Derir of insulting Oromo's culture and language by treating Oromiffa as a lesser language and it compared it with Emperor Menelik's alleged instruction which said do not kill anyone even if he or she is an" Oromo " and the reprimanding of " Ababa" Tesfaye the host of children's program in Ethiopian TV.

The OLF media has also instructed nationalists to take the necessary action against Mohamed Derir, a Somali, if he did not apologize publicly.

In a country where freedom of speech and writing is stifled such irresponsible words by people like Mohamed Derir will bring unnecessary tension between Oromos and Somalis from which only the regime benefits.

The prejudice we might have towards our fellow citizens can only be addressed if we take
responsibility for our words and apologize and bringing about Emperor Menelik's alleged instruction is unfortunate.

Such allegations by Tamrat Layene, former prime minister who is now languishing in jail who is known for instigating and accusing Menelik for the Somalis and Oromos population in Harar was part of divide and rule and the OLF media should be careful not to fall on to that trap.

I support the call by the OLF radio for apology from Ato Mohamed Derir for insulting the Oromo people and however I disagree with the " historical " comaprison 200 years ago.