A national dialogue or nationwide community dialogue is often promoted as the most productive path when a society is divided by beliefs, experiences, desires and destinies. In the case of Ethiopia, a national dialogue does not have the capacity to bridge the divides that exist in perceptions of history and its impact on current power and societal dynamics. However, a nationwide community dialogue convened in a sovereign Oromia republic could see this divide finally healed. I argue so for three key reasons.
The term freedom has assumed an interesting ambiguity in relation to Oromia and the Oromo struggle. Certainly, there is a common understanding that it encompasses freedom from abuse of human rights, state sponsored violence, and general oppression, but in what context? Whether an empire, a communist state, or a multinational federation, Ethiopia has time and again failed to respect the lives of most groups who inhabit the country. Erasure of people who do not fit the Abyssinian paradigm has been a staple pursuit of Ethiopia since the empire was founded. The assassination of beloved Oromo artist and activist Haacaaluu Hundeessaa triggered a fresh iteration of this pursuit, which has placed the people of Oromia in a severe crisis.