Mallas Taklee, a militant student of Hayila Sillaasee University met his demise in the hands of the Darg at the same time with Oromo martyrs Taaddasaa Birruu and Haayiluu Raggaasaa. Students of history of the time to which ever nationality or internationality they belong will find him in the same chronological archive with those Oromo giants. Mallas Taklee was executed in 1975 for bomb blasts of terrorist nature in Finfinnee. Laggasaa Zeenaawi adopted his comrade’s name for his own nom de guerre. This writer saw Mallas Taklee a day before he was arrested, a day or more after a bomb rocked the Municipality of Finfinnee and Waabee Shebelle Hotel. On that day a telephone call from someone around the University told that police were at the main campus, Mallas overheard and was nervous. Then the reason was not known. Some days later it was told he was arrested. Perhaps persons he had contact with might have had hands in the blasts. Around the day of execution people had over heard him from inside passing prison vehicle shouting that he was innocent. Despite that he was denied justice and butchered. Laggasaa kept his name above the grave and continued the terrorist acts Mallas was accused of, with vengeance and more vigor against the people of Finfinnee and beyond. He washed in blood for twenty year without taking into accounts what he might have done in the battle fields of Tigray before he captured Finfinnee.
It is not possible in absolute terms to say that Laggasaa did not have hand in the terrorist act of Mallas’s day. Perhaps Mallas was executed not for committing the crime but for not exposing the culprits. After snatching power from those that killed Mallas, Laggasaa did not eulogize a comrade that gave him the good luck of his name. Why did he dissociate himself in peace time? Why no memorial for him? That raises the doubt if Laggasaa was not coconspirator in the blasts. In addition his hanker for terror since he came to power reflects his inner brutality. He was a serial mass murderer. He did not stop killing until he dropped to the ground by mysterious force. He died before he erased the Oromo from Oromiyaa. His “ekeraa” is going to remain in Oromiyaa haunted by souls that fell victims to his terrorist acts.
“Emperor” Mallas killed uncountable people of the oppressed nationalities of Oromo, Sidamaa, Somali, Mazhangir, Gambeela etc and terrorized their population with vengeance. He volunteered in global anti terrorist campaigns not to eradicate terrorism but to satisfy his lust for killings. He won praise for his lust from unexpected quarters and individuals on his funeral day. They eulogized him as their right hand man and their most brilliant agent. Yes he was; that was what all peoples of Ethiopian empire believed. No body has taken him as their own except foreigners and the zombies that used to buzz around him.
Mallas’s kin are fortunate that he died in office and got state funeral. Out of six of his predecessors only one innocent woman got the opportunity to be buried like him. No one of them was more brutal than him. Mallas is now dead. He cannot defend himself. Otherwise he could not have tolerated the abuse to his cadaver. They all know him and were terrorized by his simple leering. Now they got the chance to use him as a commercial piece. By that they think they can legitimize continuation of his autocratic rule. But there are the coded things he left without clues for deciphering. Even in death he will not give up what he held dear so that he remains above them at all times.
Mallas will remain too big for power mongers he left behind. By exaggerating his achievement they have not realized that they are putting in doubt own capabilities. They are reaffirming the long held opinion that they were only robots at his service for twenty years. Let alone after death, to govern that country further could have been difficult had he been alive. He had exhausted all the tricks to keep the bubble from bursting and was taking the downward slide like all dictators before him. The people are fedup of dictatorship and the life of destitution he and his EPRDF/TPLF subjected them to. The thugs need to invent new ones if they want to fool the people for some time to come, however short it may be.
Mallas might have more positive contributions than his predecessors. But the peoples of Ethiopia remember him and his Party more for deceit, treachery, hunger, disease, killings, torture, and imprisonment, disappearances, banishments, dislocations and so many human right abuses. They also remember him for his greed and insatiate appetite for material wealth. Under past regimes even though their lands were given to gun wielders Oromo were not so much displaced from their homestead. Mallas left no piece for them, kicked them out of it and gave it to oversea wealthy companies and domestic go betweens in the name of development, development for Party overlords. He expanded the city and leased Oromo land to who ever paid the highest. Graves were dugout and the land given to “investors” disrespecting even the dead. His reign was the reign of grabbers, grabbers that had no ethical or moral standards in their behavior. They grab any thing they come across as long as they can turn it into cash.
His apologizers tell that there is economic growth since he took over power. Such growth remains on the books of economists. It is a growth of opportunity for foreign interest to penetrate African markets not real growth that helps Ethiopian peoples. For that they try to sell Mallas as a benevolent, “world class mind” leader and the friend of the West, who left a legacy to be emulated. They refuse to see that he was drifting to a more paying East. He sent out his militia to fight terrorism. In that venture thousands of Oromo youth were unaccounted for. Their bodies were consumed by desert scavengers. The families were not told their where about, let alone compensating them for loses. He made them eat their hirmii (forbidden food) contrary to traditions. For the Oromo it is bad omen to consume any thing before being told the death of loved ones that is publicly known. What ever Mallas was credited for were loses for freedom loving peoples of the Ethiopian empire. There was no any convincing reason for US to take side in the affairs the empire; a side responsible for all types of human rights violation and innumerable human blood on its hand. Its diplomat’s excessive praise for such heartless individual on his funeral amounts to playing down the plight of the oppressed peoples and victims of genocide committed by him in Water, Looqqee, Teepii, Gambeela and other places. That was unethical, undemocratic and inhuman. During Clinton era the same diplomat praised people that mock at democracy as “new democratic breed” and accused OLF as war mongers.
As witnesses for love people had for Mallas, the weaklings have tried to drive out people to get photographed crying for him. Even the homeless and patients at the hospitals were not spared. They went out and cried for their benevolent “father”. They all acted as if programmed from same center in their wailing. Such events are not new for the peoples of the empire. They have seen the funerals of the daughter, sons and wife of Emperor Hayila Sillaasee long, long ago. Peasants who had even not heard their existence were driven out to cry and mourn them for a long period of time. The difference is that the present mourners from all parts of the empire used same phrases while those of the old cried in any way they liked.
Why would any one lament for his tormenter? They are only those who do not believe in the freedom of choice and expression that force people to act against their will. In his speech to thank those that mourned for Mallas the Deputy Prime Minister even mentioned “the honorable homeless” on equal level as all other Ethiopian entities like the “honorable Ethiopian peoples”. Is homelessness a planned part of the much told about booming economy? By whose standard is homelessness “honorable”? Is he still mocking on destitute police drove out from different nooks to march for mourning their dead leader? Was it not enough that they made them praise Mallas for allowing them be homeless in press interviews? What is more inhuman, humiliating and abusive than the Mallas obituary? Mass homelessness in Ethiopia is the result of bad governance. It is caused by the policy of concentrating wealth in the hand of ruling elites and their cohorts at the expense of toiling masses.
Mallas may not be gallant in the battle field according to some but he had effectively surfed over the tides and led his group to victory. The ideals for which many laid down their lives were forgotten no sooner than they captured Finfinnee. Those who opposed were disgracefully thrown out and only the opportunists were left to fawn for Mallas. Those are the ones that are now begging for his corpse to mask them. The nations and nationalities on which these running dogs are preparing to continue prey upon are not yet ready to reverse the situation. So the gang of seven has the time it needs to launch new offensive from where Mallas left.
EPRDF was “created” by organizations designated in the name of different nations and nationalities. It is expected that fear implanted in minds of individuals in those organizations will be uprooted by Mallas’s death. Mallas’s spell is disrupted. Most of those who are there at present are not those who were brought into the organization as captives. As a result it is possible that there could be ones that care for their identity and honor. Since those are numerically in the majority analysts say they could defy TPLF’s dominance and form alliance to replace it by which they choose. It is when doing this that a wonderful drama is expected to be staged. It is projected that TPLF will not leave power without a fight. In general this could bring to the downfall of EPRDF. And for those who splashed in human blood that could be seen as committing suicide. For this reason it is better to watch seriously how it unfolds.
Suffice to say about the dead and those that are wishing his grace to rub on them. The political situation in the horn is volatile and that of the empire seems no less bad. Chaos and spontaneous uprising benefits only those who are prepared enough to make use of them. So what can those who had been struggling for their rights so far against aggression and occupation do? At best what they can do is set their houses in order and be prepared to defend the oppressed and dehumanized population from further abuses and undue exploitations. At worst they can keep on lamenting until some one could come and deliver them. But that is unthinkable. That model had expired with Winston Churchill and Hayila Sillaasee. The Oromo like one elderly professor said must make Oromiyaa ungovernable. That is what activist should aim at until the enemy comes down to a negotiation table or is disseminated.
First and foremost Oromo activists should start looking at themselves Oromo like. Socialization and education they went under are those that implant alien culture into their minds. Such brainwashing had taken root for generations and needs conscious effort to uproot them and replace with Oromo ways of viewing the world. Oromo philosophy of life and social and political structure are different from those of Eastern or Western civilization. It is African and Cushitic. The Gadaa system is the culmination of its consolidated world outlook. It is there that activists should look for common grounds in their struggle. They have to mark the boundary which should not be trespassed in relations within themselves and those with aliens. Safuu and laguu served that purpose during the days of their ancestors. Still these are principles that could guide modern Oromo society if rejuvenated. Then only can the Oromo start looking at themselves in Oromo manners. Now they have no consolidated outlook. Because they are trying to look at each other, the self, and the world with different socialization systems put in them by different quarters their outlooks are jumbled up. They lack common basis for looking at the same thing since they abandoned the Gadaa system.
Interrelations of Oromo social and political structures, ethical and esthetic standards, how differences were tolerated and utilized, techniques of conducting relations and the love for peace, araaraa, justice and courage has to be learned from the past. Unless differences are recognized and put in their proper zone they can be sources of unnecessary bickering and sluggishness. It gives chance for simple tones to jeopardize the big picture. Their forefathers had laid down the ideal goal of society its kaayyoo and mapped out solutions for possible discords. To go back to them can reinvigorate Oromummaa in a modern setting. To be free and independent, love of country and people had to be manifested with out reservation.
Freedom needs sacrifice not verbosity. If one has a better way to get it realized one has to come forward with concrete suggestion not blaming those who spent time in the field. The other possibility is to go and do it for oneself. As a philosopher said “It is the shoe wearer not the maker that knows where it pricks”. Those already in the field of struggle know problems that are creating obstacle for their progress. So criticism of the uninformed may not help them to overcome it. Liberation movements every where suffer from lack of fund, manpower, material, knowhow, enemy infiltrations, fatigue and internal strife. Any one with positive thinking should go and help them in areas they have difficulties where one thinks have solution for them.
Liberation movements are in general voluntary organizations. They are composed of nationalists that enlist in them willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice; nationalists that are always ready to find solution not to fan shortcomings. If volunteers do not go to organizations their ranks will remain with aging people. Each generation have to blame oneself for not joining and rejuvenating them rather than blaming the elderly for not passing power to the young. They are members that elect leadership. It is one who joined and showed commitment and determination of the highest order that is elected by comrades. Nowadays why young people are not enrolling in mass is a thing to be researched. To go on accusing custodians of continuity of the struggle is to demand from them to give up the national kaayyoo for which many laid down their lives. Therefore one has to be able to see beyond own feelings and search for ways and means of advancing the national cause. Let wisdom and sincerity prevail.
Mallas Taklee remains a martyr for standing against injustice of his time. The person that adopted his name seems to be the real wanted bomber. He lived terrorizing the Oromo and all his opponents for two decades until death halted him. Even his corpse had exposed many to shame. Crying for any dead is known to be from emotional feelings. But this time people were forced to cry for a person they did not know or for one who have for twenty years affected their lives negatively. They were all turned into parrots that echo words put into their mouth. No one is everlasting. When the time comes all those that abused the sacred dignity of human being will answer for what ever they did today. Darg’s and the Emperor’s henchmen are evidence for this. It is humiliating for humanity to send of a dictator that lived his whole adult life terrorizing and spilling blood of the innocent and freedom loving with pomp. The struggle for national liberation will continue until peoples regain lost rights. The dead is no more harmful but his legacy of repressions, torture and plunder has yet to be put to rest.