Taking the oath of Addooyyee had a process. First they test each other under different occasions and become friends. After a long period they raise this friendship to the level of Addooyyee. In presences of witnesses they cut a grass called addooyyee and split it into two together each holding the other end. Then they kiss on the chicks and the ceremony is over. From then on they abstain from calling each other by name except “Addooyyee”.
Once upon a time there were two friends, Caaltuu and Meetii, one in Southern Oromiyaa and the other in the west. They grew far apart collecting fire wood, fetching water with clay pots on their backs or hubboo (big gourd) on their hips and going to learn in a distant schools. They both had made their own dibbee (drum) with clay bowl covered with springbok skin and smeared with hiddii (solanum). They have both gone to traditional night dances and holiday songs in their respective places. Though apart they had very identical type of upbringing. They both had child hood Addooyyee and michuu.
They both were brought up observing their mothers and their mothers’ peers’ way of life. They were not happy the way those women were treated by men and the clandestine life they led not to get hurt. Women used to suppress expressing their feelings in public. Even body language expression was not appreciated. They cannot show their love or hate, their laughter or cry, their walking and talking had to be measured, in short they are restricted from doing most things that men were free to express. They answer questions rather than initiate discussions. Their stride must be very short that they should not raise their legs to cross a walking stick let alone jump over a ditch.
Even if they don’t love their husbands they cannot say it out. Only the exceptional run away. Many times they keep unrecognized secret lovers. But they cannot keep it secret from children that sneak into their private life. From the way they flirt the children understand that that was their inner feeling which is suppressed in public. Both girls had ridiculed those women for being so submissive and docile. Both of them were reprimanded by their mothers for their bad mouths. But the girls despised their mothers’ clandestine way and tell their disgust to their face. They even blackmail them by threatening to tell their secrets to daddy if they stand on their way.
Traditionally women can keep lovers from men allowed by customary law. But after colonization the introduction of new religions and ethos had taken those practices as adultery. In olden times adultery was committed when a woman loves out side permissible circles. Except incest men’s sexual relations were never considered to be adulterous.
Both girls grew up being told that the way women and men lived were ordained by Waaq and no one has the right to question, it is safuu. But that was not acceptable to the girls. Waaqaa is kind hearted and will do nothing to demean a part of human population. The girls didn’t want to inherit that part of women history. All their efforts were to change it. They were seen by their mothers and neighbors as deviants that could bring curse on the family. Because of their age the girl couldn’t understand why victims of abuses passively tolerate while conditions were so unbearable.
The girls failed to understand that it needed awareness to differentiate between what is man made and natural. The oppressor, be it domestic or external, uses myths and force to impose its will on victims. The girls didn’t understand how to present the question and rally the womenfolk. They were always confrontational and that would only increase the tension between the two genders. As for their personal interest the girls were ready to pay any cost. That brought shame to those women that brought them up.
At age thirteen the girls completed elementary school and had to leave for the nearest big town where they could find junior high school. One went from Shebel to Dambii Dolloo and the other from Jabasaree to Nageellee. They were both put with aunts. With that they were forced to leave their childhood environment and all the settings. They now joined urban social circles. They both came under style orientation different from their villages. Trouser wearing and mini skirts were appearing on coquettish teenagers.
These were girls who were prone to knew things even back home. The aunts they were living with were firm in their control than their own parents. They hated them but had no choice other than to obey rules. The schools were also not as lenient as the local ones. Like their mothers they had to go underground to do what they admired. But their academic achievements were outstanding.
When they went back home for vacations they came with new styles which they collected behind the watchful eyes of their guardians. For the parents they were the guardians that set them loose. And were looking forward for the day they could complain. Their mothers were afraid that they were too provocative for a young man to peacefully pass by them. The fathers felt indignation, how dare would girls show in public their body parts and call for eyes to follow them? Why are they tarnishing the good name of the family and defame their fathers’ name?
The attitude and reprimand of parents didn’t bother them much. The so called fathers name that all members of society had on their tongues are of no significance for these weird girls. As long as they follow their lessons properly all other considerations were secondary for them. The rest they felt was personal matter. They now read and speak two foreign languages Amharic and English. Their information is no more limited to their localities like their mothers. They are now part of the international community. So they share the fads and fashion that continuously keep on changing.
That was a beginning of phasing out of old ways. The revolution of 1974 speeded it up. The revolution attacked the basis of class formation. A new class of colonial elites was sprouting from within the decay of the old one. Supporters and opposition to the revolution were constantly clashing. National liberation fronts were being formed. That led to forced conscription to militia to counter any movement against the junta that was heading the revolution. That was to affect the ratio of male to female demography. As a result husbands are not coming forth even if parents wanted to give their hands away and solve the pending problem of discipline.
Over and above the effect of war the new propaganda machine was putting wage between genders by stressing the triple oppression status of women. The full arm of the state was promised to free the womenfolk. Many woman and most cadres took this literally. The males became helpless. Any comment or objection would land them in anti-revolution camp. They became silent observers when a discipline they built over generations was crumbling. Some women even tried to change roles and boss the family. They went beyond asking for equality inviting dysfunction to family setup.
Gandaa (hamlets) turned to be administrative unit of the system. By it the arm of government reached directly where it never had been. It served policing rather than bringing benefits to the people. It was used for brainwashing, informing, recruiting youth for war militia, and transmitting party orders.
Singing and dancing tropes were formed to use children for the propaganda machine. They were called kinet (art /artist) and performed not only on their Gandaa stages but even beyond. They sometimes spend the night at the Gandaa. Under aged girls and boys intermingled freely. Those who didn’t know the implication enjoyed the freedom from parental control.
Party thugs took advantage of this war situation and abused the sanctity of family life. Under the pretext of Red Terror many abused girls were murdered as anti-revolution to cover-up the misdeeds. Many were forced to abort pregnancy repeatedly. It enriched quack doctors. Though many lost their lives in the process no body was held accountable. The epidemic of abortion spread to all corners of the land.
Only the fortunate escaped for it seemed that there was no girl spared from performing sexual activity by force if not consensually. Virginity from a girl was expected at all times. But during those it has become a joking matter. When some one asked another if the girl was a virgin the other reply was “no”, no one can any more be virgin; it seems the municipality has a standing order to clear them.
The war whose outcome would make no difference for Jabaasaree and Innaango had nonetheless destabilized the social life of respective communities even before it ended. The out of proportion blown up malicious propaganda about women’s rights when added to this had made the situation more sever. The silent women started to raise head up. They were always called for meetings to discuss woman issue or to prepare provision for soldiers in the war front. There were cases where husbands of charming women were killed for their wives and cars.
It was under that situation that the two girls finished high school with flying colors. They were stars in Gandaa kinet. That won them the favor of party bosses and both got scholarships and left for Uussaar People’s Republic, a satellite of the Soviet Union. Their going away saved the parents from further possible embarrassment which they cannot protect themselves from. Many parents who didn’t get the chance envied them.
Despite its virtue, as parents, to see off a child to a destination they could not even imagine was painful. The girls’ educational success was a source of pride for all family members but to reunite in life and enjoy together the happiness it might accrue was uncertain from the direction the world was heading.
The two girls were assigned to Belambullee University, College of Technology where they were going to meet for the first time. The moment they met they clicked. The country was a country of atheists. You are evaluated by your performance not by your spiritual tendencies. No intelligent design, no church, no Abbaa Muudaa or Abbaa Sabaa or Abbaa Irranaa, no Shanchi Gayii no safuu; you are left to your own intellect. They were told the origin of all things is matter. They have no other origin for Waaqaa except in matter. That fitted the girls’ rebellious nature.
Caaltuu and Meetii became as free as a Waaqaa itself. They both came from families that prophesied alien religion. But the girls are proud to call themselves “Waaqeffataa”. It saved them from several restrictions that their parents’ religions imposed on them. Now they are far away and have no fear of antagonizing parents and relatives. There was no safuu. Their conscience was the only arbiter.
Every weekend they roamed around night clubs making new boy friends. Their color and slender structure aroused much curiosity in an all white and heavily built society. The two slim girls never stuck with one in anticipation of meeting one of their own in lives ahead.
While discussing sex Meetii asked if Caaltuu had undergone dhagna qabaa/ kittaana (circumcision) or as it is now properly called, genital mutilation? Oh yaa! How can a girl escape it replied Caaltuu? All houses of girls are qeeraa (abattoirs). I have promised my self that this tradition will not pass to my daughter if at all I have one. I have also promised to join in the campaign against genital mutilation. What about you said Caaltuu to Meetii?
My father was once in an area around Abbayyaa (Blue Nile) where they didn’t have that tradition. Then he was not married. So I think he had enjoyed the company of their women. My mother told me that he said no blade will touch my child’s body. We had argument she said, because I didn’t want neighbors say bad things about you. I also now feel it has affected your character. You are overactive, I believe, because of that I am only waiting for him to go away, and then I will cut it from the root. Before she does that the revolution came. She was no more interested in it, probably afraid of how it might be interpreted. So I have it in tact. I am sorry for you.
I envy you said Caaltuu. I have to pretend to arose myself. It needed great effort and great boy to have orgasm. I can see why our women act like dead log while those from the area you said are romantic. I wonder how that small piece of flesh makes the difference.
They continued the discussion with “safe sex”. You know that promiscuous girl I showed you last time said Meetii to Caaltuu. I told her to take precaution and practice safe sex. She asked me if I have heard a saying, “who likes eating unpeeled banana”? Had nature made the foreskin to stay as it was it would not have allowed its content to breakout for performance. Why should you try to impose artificial sheath to cover it? I tried to reason out with her but she was adamantly opposed to the suggestion. Now I heard she was diagnosed with HIV AIDS and gonorrhea.
Yaa Waaqayyoo, safuu said Caaltuu; how many would have she contaminated so far? Be careful lest that erectile of yours could blind you. Let me ask you something said Caaltuu; were you using protection when you were back at home? Meetii replied no, but I kept only one boy whom I have faith in. Even if I wanted I didn’t know that such a thing existed. Then Caaltuu asked her if she had ever been pregnant.
Meetii then said do you know coree or tochee? It is a skin boring warm. Every one who goes into the forest cannot avoid it. Every evening you would see some one heating that area with umber to force her out. Pregnancy was like that a girl rarely missed it. Thanks to dressers from hospitals they clandestinely pull it out. We have learned secrecy from our mothers.
Caaltuu told her that she doesn’t remember coree but we have buujalee (jigger). It also digs into the skin of toes and lays cinii (nit). Every body had safety pin to pull her out during evenings in most cases. Your analogy fits me. In my area it had almost become like buujalee. But you don’t use safety pins but quack doctors’ pincers. Legally abortion is crime. For this reason it was done clandestinely. There were many who lost their lives in the process. Had it been legalized how many lives of brilliant girls could have been saved. It is government of men who cares as long as boys don’t get pregnant?
Through discussion both girls came to learn that they had almost identical experience in their lives. With time they became very intimate and never seen apart from each other. They danced and drunk together. They studied in the same study room. Finally they performed the addooyyee ritual and took an oath not to call each other by name. There was no addooyyee grass in that area but they used one they found easily and agreed to call it addooyyee.
Every body who heard them calling each other by strange name was surprised. Some girls asked them what it meant. When they told them the story many liked it and asked them to help them perform the ritual and oath. That was how the institution of addooyyee took root in Belambullee University.
Both country girls now got urbanized and learned so many tricks from urban girls and boys. They never wasted a week end without enjoyment. Back home, however outspoken they might have been, they never drunk beverage other than bulbulaa or aranchaataa (soft drink from orange). Bulbulaa is honey dissolved in water. Now they drunk hard liquor like scotch, araqee (arrack), vodka, five star cognacs and all types of drinks they could lay hands on.
After six years of training they were supposed to go home. But the condition in their country was not promising for safe and comfortable life. They are now adapted to affluent life. They have tub water, internal latrine, bug free bed and regulated service institutions which were non existence in their villages. The way home became gloomy in all aspects, social, economic and political. Except for the guilty conscious that disturbed them after drinks they would like to have nothing to do with their people back home.
They chose the comfort of the first world rather than struggling to change life in the third world. So they defected to the United States of America. To go there they took different routs. For this reason they were settled on far apart south and east cost at different times. They never tried to contact each other but made different friends in their new surrounding.
Meetii married and had children while Caaltuu was still single. One day Caaltuu had gone to the south cost for a conference and vacation. She didn’t know that Meetii was around there until they met accidentally while window shopping. Caaltuu started to examine and size her unnoticed. She made sure that she was looking at somebody she knew. It was Meetii beyond doubt.
Hay! Meetii, could it be true that it is you whom I am looking at? She hugged her with all her might. Slowly sister, I can’t stand your pressure. You are still as strong as a young girl. She pushed her to arms length and started to examine her face. You are still slimming, what happened? You don’t have enough to eat? Or did modern gurus convince you bone without meat is better? By the way, why have you called me by name, she asked after a pause. Didn’t we take an oath for life? Am I not your addooyyee any more Meetii inquired still holding her away?
I am sorry, I thought you will appreciate that I even recognized you said Caaltuu. You look like snow man where did that muddhii kaniisa (beep waist) go? You don’t like “you” the original. Look at your eyebrows they look like unkempt soccer field. You couldn’t afford makeup for your face? Your lips and your eyelashes are repulsive. Your hair, my God, what happened to you look at me my kinky is smoother than yours which used to be enviable.
I am a busy corporate woman said Caaltuu boastfully. Wearing make ups, attending official and private meetings, reporting to the boss, going to night classes, doing gym workouts to keep up appearance and seeking enjoyment are taking out my life. My memory is occupied in rearranging this routine. That is how I forgot what I used to call you, baby!
It was only when I feel lonely and had no one closer to me to share my concerns with that you come to my mind. Otherwise I could say I have almost forgotten you. I am sorry my dearest Addooyyee said Caaltuu and then Meetii stopped keeping her at a distance and they put their chicks together and made kissing sounds with their lips, careful not to rubout Caaltuu’s makeup. Then they hugged intimately.
You are still smart addooyyee said Meetii. You are flamboyant, you seem as if the whole world is under your feet while poor me I fail victim to my emotions and bogged down with a husband and so many children. Yet I am thankful to the Lord. It is surprising we both have busy life but mine is about rearing children not corporate meetings or social gatherings.
Yet I don’t forget that I call you addooyyee. Even when occasion arises to tell about student life and your name needs mentioning I refer to you as addooyyee and never tell any one by your name. For me it is a taboo. Otherwise I am now, thanks are to the Lord, a mother and all my thoughts are about my children. Make ups are things of the past. I will no more be a billboard to chemicals. I am at peace with the Lord since I opened my heart to him. I have also a loving husband I suppose.
The children occupy all the spare time I have. No thinking about friend, mother, father and siblings. I even remember my husband when he comes and lies by my side. You come to mind when I am depressed, when I want to go out of my self and run away and hide in a crowd. Remember, you were my sanctuary? I have told you about the strength of my faith in the lord yet as human seeking his creation’s comfort is necessary for faith to take root.
Any ways if we have time we shall come back to that; how are you, have the children nagaa, and how are your relatives, asked Caaltuu.
Everybody is nagaa and healthy said Meetii. No one has problem, thanks the Lord. But still the lose of my father is burning me inside. He was my role model you know. He was kind hearted but courageous. He was the one who implanted in me the love for my people. Despite the harassment in school by teachers and students I have kept my name because of him. He loved my name and would change it for nothing. So do I. Any ways how are you?
Just as you see I am joyous and vibrant answered Caaltuu. I feel I am my own sovereign. That is the way I want to appear; there is no value to cry over fallen breast bud. You might have heard of people who were killed by the enemy and their corps was eaten by hyena. One of them is Obboo, my elder brother, with whom I had few times to spend in life.
He had been a freedom fighter all his life since he was sixteen. He had no formal education. He learned reading and writing our language in the field. No professor or doctor had given me such a deep insight into our people’s life more than he did in few months. Since then I have faith in our peasants that they will one day free themselves while these so called bunch of elite debate over trifles.
He died in a situation where a little backup could have saved him. When I think of him I feel I betrayed him at every turn. I went to school. I didn’t go back to share his burden. That really bothered me when I am idle or drunk. That is when I stop thinking with my belly. His mother who is my step mother, I heard died of TB because she had no one to take her for treatment. Antibiotic could have saved her. The sacrifice some families are paying becomes too much while many gave only lip service.
I wonder when some stop thinking that the burden to struggle is limited to the selected few. Still others dare to condemn same family members for joining the struggle. Especially we in the Diaspora make big deal of receipt for ten dollars we contribute occasionally while others need no receipts when they give their flesh and blood for the liberation of their people.
Who cares for the disabled war and prison veterans? They are only the immediate family members who bear the burden that struggling for national cause imposes. When are the rest of us going to share the burden? Helping victims of the struggle should not have been the concern of only their immediate family.
Then, Meetii said I am sorry for the fallen heroes and heroines. I don’t mean that those involved are expecting the help of any one. They have done it for the Kaayyoo the eternal cause of their people. Such comments and discussions have no end. Let us go back to real life; you said you were joyous, what is the source of that joy. Caaltuu replied number one I rarely complain about personal life, it is going on as I make it. Number two at the moment, I am feeling elated because my sister gave birth to a cute little girl. The third is too big for you to swallow.
Does getting a girl makes one that happy, inquired Meetii? Caaltuu was furious as usual on matters concerning feminine rights. What did you say addooyyee? Are you still having contempt for your gender, asked Caaltuu with anger. What did males do so far to change our lives? Nothing. Now it is either struggle for equal status or taking the leadership that is required of us. That is what makes me happy whenever our kinds are born to boost our numbers. The era of Akko Manooyee has to be revived.
Thank you for the lecture. Congratulations for getting a niece. What big news is the third to be that big for my guts asked Meetii? Did you conquer a lad who would submit to your authority? Who is this lucky gay? Are you going to be his Manooyee in men’s world?
You always dream about a boy. There are greater things in life. You have only to be patient and wait to know about them, remarked Caaltuu. As for your Manooyee question it is not my private concern but we all have to stand against the conspirators. Either I or you don’t work with me like it does with you. I believe in equality of both genders no one should permanently be above the other but permit equal opportunity.
What is it you want to make greater than getting a life companion, asked Meetii? Don’t try to tell me that your comrades got some success here and there. We have been hearing about that when conferences near. I didn’t mean to tease you, but I don’t take that as a reason to remain spinster. That is why I am interested about a boy. As for the equality question I am a believer and so I go by the Book.
Don’t worry about the boy replied Caaltuu. I will tell you when the time comes. To satisfy your curiosity, I have laid an eye on a boy you have never seen but you will be envious I am sure the moment you see him. By the way, what are you up to for us? How many children have you reared for us so far?
These days I don’t even know their numbers; their upbringing is breaking my back, remarked Meetii. And about the envy Meetii said, what are you talking about, do you want to rub salt on old wounds? And she cackled.
It doesn’t matter said Caaltuu, forget the after booth wounds. When did we go to hospital for it? About your children, let them be as many as the stars, some may be spared to be shields for their people. Meetii cut her short and said, encourage me like that since you are not tired politicking. If you don’t make one of your own I will give you one of the girls for adoption. Come let us talk over coffee, I will invite you.
You tell me about the number of your children and want to invite me coffee, do you want them go without milk, Addooyyee said Caaltuu. If you don’t expect something more expensive I can still afford your coffee and snack remarked Meetii. As for the adoption I don’t need it, replied Caaltuu. For me every Oromoo child is mine. I have to think about all not about one who can carry my individual name.
So, by extension all your children, to my consideration, are mine there is no need to adopt one of them in particular. I don’t care even if the father is not Oromo. Since I have taken them as mine I have to continue the struggle for the cause my comrades had fallen for. All children must have the right to play, get access to food, health facility and education. Elementary education must be compulsory. State has the duty to enable those who cannot afford by providing all necessary facilities and materials.
Having said that Caaltuu continued, don’t bother about the coffee and snack, I can afford any thing; take me to the best café or restaurant you know. Then Meetii told her that she doesn’t drink any other coffee except coffee al Oromiyaa.
Shame said Caaltuu, who invited you to Eritrean coffee (then it was rumored Eritrea was exporting Oromiyaa coffee)? Meetii then commented, you have already given up on your resources, why do you care if anybody calls it by own name. For nostalgia of the past it would be enough if you get the opportunity to sniff the aroma of coffee oromica.
Good Addooyyee, you are already becoming a political animal. With a little dialogue you will bring out all you have reserved for a day like this. Now as you said we are left only with the imagined aroma of our country, the name, the resources and the identity all is on its way to phase-out. I think you have spiritual revelation.
Come on said Meetii, innuendoes have no place here, is coffee an excuse or you have abstained from other things; I mean your known favorites?
Addooyyee said Caaltuu; didn’t you hear the saying, “Damma daamuun qabatanii biyyoo nyaatu” (under the pretext of ground honey one eats soil)? We didn’t drink coffee we used to sell it. We sipped other things. I remember our coffee in Booddaa at the outskirt of Shebel. Thousands of sacks used to be loaded to be transported to Dambii Dolloo. With trickles from that we drink Scotch or katikaala (domestic arrack) or moollisoo as you call it.
And now sister, asked Meetii? Caaltuu then tried to call to Meetii’s memory things of college days. Don’t you recall those things for which we used to be blamed for? The bottom ups we made with “sifoo” or “nazdaroova” slogan?
Sorry said Meetii, I don’t want to remember that madness. You can say what ever you wish but nowadays I have abstained from those things that tempt the flesh. I have now peace with the lord. I live according to his commandments.
What! Caaltuu exclaimed with pitched voice. Do you swear this on the name of Abbaa Caffee?
Truly you are not changed remarked Meetii. Since when did you abandon Dilaa and started to swear on Abbaa Caffee?
I didn’t change out of fear and insecurity of worldly life like you, asserted Caaltuu. Instead of using your brain to solve problems you try to hide behind fogs. And you don’t have consideration and respect for the Ayyaanaa of your forefathers. You are suffering from paranoia and inferiority complex as psychologist call. As to the two clergies they both prophesy the same thing, where did you hear that they are antagonistic?
You could as well benefit like me if you cleanse your self from old soiled habits, remarked Meetii. What does pride in forefathers Ayyaanaa help if it doesn’t produce for you international recognition. My faith brothers are now all over the world not limited in Shebel corner. Do you want those sorcerers to pass for priests?
Yes said Caaltuu. Call them sorcerers or by other names those are mine. They are there because I willed them. They are the priests of my faith. They are not imposed on me by foreigners like yours. Aliens tell you to revere their ways not your original way which is my way. Your way is evil for them. They tell you don’t worship alien God. From what you said you have condemned Waaqaa as alien. How can you claim to support liberation of your people when you condemn their faith as alien?
Don’t you see the conflict within you? Are you really interested in people that don’t follow your way? Are you intending to rally your international brothers in faith to subdue your real brethren? Believe me any one who has doubt of obbolummaa Oromo (Oromo brotherhood) across faiths cannot claim to love that nation. Secular state has no alternative in our case. Watch out, you are confused in matters of principle. You didn’t get the Kaayyoo into your bones.
Stop calling our Ayyaanaa evil spirit; there is no word for evil in our language for we didn’t have one. Satan the embodiment of all evils is what your brothers brought with them. Have you heard of an equivalent Ayyaanaa in your folklore? Humans can be kind or cruel, not Ayyaanaas. Ayyaanaas by nature are kind but may be provoked to anger making them unleash their wrath. We are normal balanced society unlike people across the sea. Their Ayyaanaa reflect their inner feeling towards other human beings. That is why they think in terms of evil person and evil Ayyaanaa.
Another thing we have to understand is the difference between culture and religion. In my understanding one is worldly and the other spiritual practice respectively. Culture is the minimum standard of life and values, we as a people developed and lived by them without needing interpretation by any one. It is a way of life of a people gained through knowledge, experience and practice. The way we dress, the way we dine the way we entertain or express our feelings, our songs and dances and our tradition are all parts of our culture. Fashion and fads come and go but the basic culture stays. Religion is the way we understand the nature of God and worship him. It is our spiritual life.
We as individuals had adopted different religions from across the sea. In some case alien cultures were introduced with the religion by those who brought it. For this reason separating both has been difficult for some of us. That is why we see our own compatriots despising our own culture that had come developing from time immemorial.
Aliens boldly call us, the children of Waaq, pagans or faithless infidels, aramanee. But they use the name “Waaq” as the holiest of the holy. They believe that he is the sole creator heaven and earth when they lecture to Oromo laity. Then from where did they bring the attribute they give us from. Waaq is our creator the culmination of all our Ayyaanaas. Why is it alien when with us and kin when with them?
Waaq is one it is the black Oromo creator either they should declare that he is the same as their God or stop using its name to confuse the masses. Compatriots should give their Waaq what is his and join hands to develop what is our common heritage. We should not be obliged to develop other cultures at the determent of ours. Those who love the name Waaq should also respect its people’s way of life rather than trying to erode the expressions of their identity.
Take some religious songs like Protestant hymns and Baaroo Sheek Huseen were they not original Waaqeffataa faarsaas. Doesn’t it mean both recognize the sanctity of these songs when they adopted them? Or did they think they snatched them away and faked them as their own. We have double standards in our judgments that needed reassessment.
Those for whom love and hate is intertwined for the Oromo way want to preserve certain aspects of it by adopting it into hymn of their faith. Instead of transplanting it why wouldn’t they nourish it where it sprouted? These are persons who lack clear vision of Oromoness. Internationalism of their faith pulls them beyond the national boundary that they want to satisfy the need of aliens and that of compatriots. But this will be taken as wavering by both sides.
Let me stop this here. Let us both forget spiritual tirade and talk about how we shall entertain ourselves today said Caaltuu. Today I am not going to leave you alone. There will be no taboo no cleanliness. We shall both make the best out of our time and get soiled if at all there is such a thing. Some times it is good to give culture shock.
Let my lord forgive you responded Meetii; don’t ever think about it. Please don’t take me the evil way while saying there is no evil. Please don’t overburden me with theories. Temptation it is said comes in form of friends. Don’t ever try to divert me from the righteous way for Lord’s sake.
Are you still talking in terms of lord Balaambaras asked Caaltuu? Then Meetii reminded her that she is not talking about lord Balaambaras. I knew only Balaambaras as your lord, said Caaltuu.
Let the lord forgive you prayed Meetii. I am a witness to the birth, crucifixion, rise and assumption of the son of God. That is what I am telling you. That is my only lord. Balaambaras didn’t survive from a land proclamation, how could you think I still pay attention to him?
Surprising, remarked Caaltuu. Your maiden discovery was never heard. Since when did you discover this line of thought? I have observed since we met that you are dotting each phrase you utter with “praise thee the lord” thing like pastor Tolaa. My silence didn’t mean consent to your silly remarks. Even if lord Balaambaras is gone lord Guwad (Comrade) has replaced him. Do you think the replacement would be more humane?
Are you running away from him for life after death? Can you escape from him as long as your poor relatives remain under his mercy? From what I see you are too docile to stand against him yet you keep on irritating lord Guwad and make him harm innocent people while you live in safety of a distance. How many followers of heavenly lord had Guwad sent away to heaven or prison since he came?
You are highly literate said Caaltuu tapping on Meetii’s shoulder; go and read the basic document on the subject rather than repeating what sectarian cadres propagate. The end result of extremism is only frustration. You better keep your natural balance girl! As women and members of an oppressed nation we can’t afford extremism. It is also not in our national social geneses. For this reason we will not be good at it. Nation of the brave has neither the arrogance nor docility in its external relation. We are people of balanced temperament. Don’t try to interpret the patience of your own people for cowardice as your spiritual brethren do.
Caaltuu continued by saying all our activities, political, social or religious must be weighed against their contribution towards our liberation and independence. This is our land, this is our home, and this is the common factor that cements us together as a people. Our history, our country and our language are our common bondage. Let us work to strengthen them, then only can we have the freedom to practice our individual or group spirituality.
You know our differences. Why don’t you keep your faith to yourself for it is not our common frame of reference? You really offend me when you dot every sentence you utter with slogans of your religion. Keep that to communication between your faith brothers. I am not only your political sister but also your addooyyee. Therefore we have enough common grounds and no need to import concepts from your other relations into our discussions.
For me it must be the time we remember and praise our heroines and heroes. It has to be the time when we plan and act on the ways and means of advancing the causes for which they have sacrificed. If not at least it has to be the time we entertain ourselves in a worldly manner.
Oromo girls remember their father mothers and relatives dead and alive during their wedding season. At least advise your sisters in faith that this was a noble and holy practice. You have shit on them all your infanthood, you have depleted their meager wealth your whole girlhood.
Don’t cry during your wedding; dance and make merry that is what all peoples of Waaqaa love. Make it a time when boys and girls enjoy each others company not calling sympathy from heaven. In short at least call the name of your parents and all those who made your youthful life comfortable and praise and thank them. That was what your God meant when he commanded you “honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your god is giving you”.
At the moment we shall be flesh until Waaq wills and we turn into Ayyaanaa or soil. So let us leave theology for clergies and go and find coffee for our flesh. If you commit any sin in the process you will confess to your priest tomorrow said Caaltuu teasing Meetii. If my people do any thing Waaq will punish them there and then. If not he will not keep vengeance, it overlooked all their faults. No confession to be made. Help me that I do no harm so as to provoke its wrath and you become burdened with carrying my corpse to the morgue.
Meetii was delighted by the honesty of her friend. She was convinced that her secret is still safe with her as it used to be. She put away all her pretensions and said to Caaltuu; let your mouth be smeared with honey. It was missing you that made my life boring. I wanted escape route and landed in preparation for after life. It is at times good to forget every thing and live in spiritual world that takes all worldly life as futile. Though one prays “don’t lead us to temptation” spiritual life is full of temptation and deceit.
That was what my brothers and sisters in faith revealed to me. And now my addooyyee in flesh will help me revisit the human way, remarked Meetii. Hence forth I shall remain critical and balanced. Meetii took out her cell phone and called home to tell her husband she was not coming and is in good hands.
I found my lost addooyyee she told him. He immediately understood the implication for she had been telling him about her several times. He was happy for her and hoped that the addooyyee would influence her to stop crying at every prayer session.
After that both friends went to Abbaa Araadaa Café cackling. Caaltuu beckoned the waiter with her hand and ordered snack and a bottle of foreign kaatikaalaa called vodka. They pored the liquor into caps, raised it and after saying “sifoo” (cheers) they bottomed it up. Other customers of the Café brought for them bottles and together raising their cups they said in the common language “Zaa Naashe zdaaroove” (sifoo)! Together they bottomed up at one gulp as was customary. Then they blessed and left them alone.
The two girls sat down and continued with the drink reminiscing about the past. They now have more bottles than what they bought. They both were getting high slowly. “My flesh belongs to this earth, why did I trouble her so much”, said Meetii all of a sadden thinking loud.
Caaltuu responded promptly, they made you believe that you will die soon! Oh! Addooyyee, this world is our home let us make the best out of her every minute we stay in her she remarked, and both Addooyees left for a night club.
On their way Meetii remarked that that was what she liked from having an addooyyee, you can pour out all in your stomach (heart) and confide in each other. So far I have run away from responsibility for my people, stated Meetii with regret. I have tried to convince my self that it no more bothered me. But deep inside I feel emptiness. I am now a citizen of a great country in the world. But that identity is not enough to make me a full person. Oh daddy! I have forgotten you! She cried and started sobbing. When ever she recognizes a wrong done she feels of having defiled her father’s name.
You know, continued Meetii after the pause, around here we had a strong community organization. Members had never felt the difference in region and religion. But all of a sudden that difference crept in no body exactly could tell how. Some started to raise their voices and condemn others as Gandaa centered divisive. Hate and suspicion started to spread.
Especially you remember those boys who used to claim being fire eating communists and exposed our compatriots as narrow nationalist and reported them to the security? They now pretend to be hardliner nationalists.
Their targets are all who knew them then and liberation struggle heroes. They accuse them of being Gandaa centered (parochial), family centered and kittillayyoo diinaa (lackeys of the enemy). They are following the saying “Kan nama beektu duutee haa badduu” (let those who knew one die and perish). Now they are in different camps but with the same objective, to defame all who stood on their way to destroy Oromo unity.
Paradoxically their sympathizers are only from their own region. They had joined opposed splinter groups as foot soldiers and had already risen to leadership position. One has worked to get his group accept the legitimacy of Habashaa constitution. The other is working to prove that all who came from certain region are evil. This was to spread doubt about the sincerity of so many nationalists who labor day and night for the unity and liberation of Oromiyaa. He presented himself as the only nationalist and man of knowledge.
You know me; I had been fighting against divisive elements. Now I didn’t know how to hold my ground against such irrational horde. So I withdrew from all activities. Self proclaimed cadres of the liberation movement have the greatest role in dismantling any Oromo based union be it secular or religious. Because of the division created in our church many little minded believers had joined Habashaa evangelists rather than standing their ground and fighting for our unity.
It is a curse addooyyee said Meetii. It was when I was under such confused state that somebody stretched her hand and showed me where I could hide. She read to me the symptoms of the end of the world. It was convincing. I wished it came sooner. I hoped I may not fail there as I failed in worldly struggle. I also accepted their teaching that since life is short preparation for everlasting life should precede all other activities in this world.
There was a boy I so much loved. The new attack on Oromoo unity and integrity interfered with our personal relations. That has partly influenced my running away from worldly life. My mother is a Boran and my father is from Guduruu. I am born in Galaanaa Gujii then in Boranaa region. Where do they want to place me? Unfortunately for them, I am a proud Oromo; I will not be regionalized by their malice.
I spent my high school years in Nageellee which was then the capital of Boranaa. Now Gujii and Boranaa are separate regions and Nageellee is in Gujii. Regions are not our own making. The colonizer demarcates them at will. Can we take region as our identity? Would a Boran tribesman in Gujii region disclaim his tribe and identify himself as Gujii. Can a Jimmaa girl call herself Iluttii, Daarimittii or Buunnittii because the colonizer said I have named you Iluu?
What stupid do they think of us? We are Oromo. Region is structure created by the enemy for its own administrative convenience there by dividing us. And it should not be the source of our pride. Or should it create a rift between us? That is the design of snitches to play us into the hands of our enemy. Oromiyaa is our common father land. Our priority should be liberating it. The citizens of independent Oromiyaa will create administrative structure that suits them after victory.
Whether one is with them or not these Diaspora based buffoons are good for nothing. They are bringing the regional element to fulfill the mission they took from our historic enemy. The country to be liberated doesn’t lie abroad. It is there and it is on where it lies that one has to focus. For now all the rank and file is here leaving the country to the enemy to roam freely from corner to corner.
Did you hear addooyyee about the invasion on the study association? I don’t want to hear it again said Caaltuu cutting short Meetii’s comment. It has first to go back into the hall; we should not wash our dirty linen in the street again. You can continue with other things if you wish.
I am sorry it was not to offend your feeling. I feel guilty conscious for abandoning my people so long. I chose working for the comfort of my self and my children, over the well being of those who gave me the chance to open my eyes, continued Meetii. The schools I went to are part of their sufferings. It has benefited their enemy or the individuals who went through them. They were physically involved in building them and are now paying taxes to maintain them.
So far they see no appropriate return for their labor and money. Rather their effort has produced those who are now turning against them. It is the learned, great hayyuus that are leading in dismantling us. They don’t leave us united even in small groups like family, churches, civic association, and community organizations of all sorts.
They tarnish the good name of nationals with good standing simply for airing opinion against their suspicious performances. They are agents of arrogant establishments and so don’t believe in democratic debates to solve differences.
Don’t you suspect certain underhand activities addooyyee? It is my gut feelings that there is a power doing experiment with our organizations. That power is studying how to disorganize the organized and how to keep away numbers from organizing. Our own hayyuus are hired to conduct this experiment. In that case these learned me are only doing what they are paid for. To make things easier for them they identify with one of the groups in conflict, conflict they themselves helped to create.
For them it is an experiment that could be lucrative if successful. For us it is like the saying “ijoollee taphaa billaachaa nafaa” (for the butterfly it is a matter of life for children chasing them it is a game).
Those who do this, I bet, are people who have a problem of upbringing and knew no social norms. Dirree people call these “iyaal assuq” and those of Dambii call them “ijoollee lafa gabaa” in both cases it means street boys, those who had gone astray from the norms of safuu. The nationalist role they play is only pretense to cover up their character and the mission they undertook, studying how to disorganize the organized. The outcome helps not only the institution that hired them but also their ideological friends in enemy camps. Tell me addooyyee if these were my biases.
As for me I have told you addooyyee I have started to prepare for life after death leaving them in living hell until you came and poisoned me. Forgive me Addooyyee I am only joking. But I believed my choice was better than those who chose to turn to bottles for comfort. We both are runaways but mine gives a chance for longer life even if one wanted to change ones mind. Our similarity is that we both didn’t want to give our people false hope.
I understand that I have also betrayed your trust by giving up on the ideals we together espoused. As members of a dependent nation we have dreamt and hoped for independence of our country. As women we have stood against gender discrimination.
I didn’t forget what we agreed upon but my ego swayed me. With addooyyee you fear neither sin nor punishment. I have gone astray before the end is in sight continued Meetii. I am not afraid to repent in front of my addooyyee and take a solemn oath again to keep my words. That is the virtue of addooyyee, asserted Meetii.
Meetii then started to sob again saying, “ah yaa maqaa abbaa koo”, (ah my fathers name) and begged Caaltuu not to take it as if the remorse was from drunkenness. Then she paused a little and asked “are you my pastor or why did I confess to you?
At least for now I am assuming the position of your pastor said Caaltuu. She continued and advised her not to mention about drunkenness. We have drunk but that doesn’t blur our vision. Spirits kick out only what is hidden in us. Probably you have brought out today what you planned for tomorrow. So don’t worry about that said Caaltuu with a tone of sincerity. Don’t be apologetic for what you have chosen to do but be true to yourself and the Ayyaanaa of your father.
It is not appropriate Caaltuu continued, to run away from the battle field while the fight is on. We have to hold our ground against snitches who disguise themselves as nationalist and work for the enemy. We are struggling for our rights which if successful would deprive the enemy the privilege it so far enjoyed with our resources. To fight them is to fight the enemy. Oromo had never gained any honor when it was divided. This is the truth that no body could deny. Which Oromoo tribe, region or denomination had recorded victory for the nation or for itself before the advent of OLF?
Together we have gained a lot. At least no body calls us Gaallaa now without consequences said Caaltuu. Together we have forced our country to be on world map. Together we have regained the use of our language and qubee for education and administration. Together we have forced the colonizer to include in its law the recognition of our right to national self determination.
Together we have marched against injustice at home and in the great avenues of the world. We can now assert being Oromo in broad daylight without looking over our shoulders. Our unity has shown us much more possibilities. It alone can guarantee us a bright future. If we are divided the future would be grim. To lose what we have so far achieved is a possibility that should be seriously addressed. No Oromoo region, religion, group or individual stand better chance than the other. Separately they would be easy prey for aliens together the can form the most formidable force in the region.
The cadres of doom want to divide us because that is the mission they are given from those who would be offended by our victory. These cadres had a smeared background. It is our indifference that encouraged them continue disguised. They thought they had outsmarted us by their flexibility in changing positions. We have to show them that we are still those hardened revolutionaries who destroyed the camp under which they took shelter.
They are measuring us with those who fell for their machinations and who now have lost the stamina to continue the struggle. They don’t know we are different. If they know our determination to continue the fight they will think twice before affecting Oromoo cause. We have to show the world that we are not a cell of the empire but a nation by our own right. We have also to show that we know what we want; we are trustworthy and meant what we say.
The cadres of doom should not be allowed to use lamb’s wool over their wolfish body and mislead our people. It must be exposed that they advance two contradictory policies, one beneath and the other above the surface. The one beneath allows them, the reactionary elite, to blend into the colonial system and lead a comfortable life. The one on the surface is for fooling the masses and rally them in their support until they negotiate for the first.
The line being advanced underneath sometimes come to the surface to create enough suspicion that something sinister is going on. This trickle of the underneath policy had finally started to ooze over long time to prove to the negotiating party that there is no hidden agenda in their dealing. They have now reached a level where they are confident they can sway the feeling of their people as they liked. They only have to tell them they are changing tactics and get away with changing the basic strategy for which thousands were sacrificed. Unfortunately for them there are conscious groups to below the whistle warning the existence of possible treachery.
So my dear addooyyee if we have erred yesterday we have today to correct ourselves. Those who have joined the adversary camp in good faith had already come back and many had paid the ultimate sacrifice for their people’s cause. The courageous have no problem to say “I was wrong”. Many are now prominent members of the struggle. The pass between enemy and nationalist camp is always full with traffic of people who change their minds (and snitches as well) from both camps. To sift as to who is who remains the responsibility of true nationalists.
For me Caaltuu those who have openly sided with the enemy, the maxxannee are more honorable than the cowardly who hide their true motif but work towards the same end. They are trying to outwit both the maxxannee and the nationalists to get favor from the colonizer by fooling it saying they are the nearest lot to the heart of the people.
They have hooked their tail to alien establishments clandestinely and are like what an English playwright said, “Serpent under an innocent flower” ambushing to sting un-expecting gardener. People are not sugarcane you can’t bite and taste. They have to prove themselves that they are not the serpent. Then only can they win trust of true nationalists.
But let us guard ourselves said Caaltuu, lest we become pub heroines whose memory works only under stimulants. I believe pleasure loving can be addictive. Addicted person cannot plan ones life let alone advance peoples’ cause. This Epicureanism of ours doesn’t carry us towards the goal we are advocating for. Therefore it is time for us to say good bye for drinks and other pleasures we seek so earnestly. We have to get addicted to Oromo cause. Then only can we dare to go against all odds and snatch our freedom from the hands of the colonizer.
That is what addooyyee is about said Meetii, we have understood each other from deep down. But can one teach old dog a new trick as faranjii said? For how many years did we say that? Which of our vows did we fulfill? Didn’t we become what they call “paper tigers”? Anyways don’t bulge out those eyes on me; your loaded suggestion is acceptable to me.
Let us rest this here and say like our mothers “Haa bultu dubbiin” (let discussion rest overnight). It is said “qunceen ganama jiite hin cittuu” (withe soaked in the morning doesn’t break). Let us continue the matter concerning our country in the morning as we usually did and make our vow clearer.
Preserve your sarcasm for tomorrow. I have no time for it now. Before I forget said Caaltuu, I want you to know that there is consensus to start debating about woman question in all Oromo forums. Women had been second class human beings in many traditional societies. Even the Oromo which were known for their egalitarian stance and the rule of law were not much different in this aspect.
Things are changing fast that even modern Argaa Dhageettiis (historians) couldn’t grasp them. They think it is only boys who remain in their fathers’ home while girls go with their husbands. Therefore they cannot get elected to lead their fathers’ clans. Therefore they cannot inherit their fathers. The memory of Manooyee has also negative influence to this day. Be it with their husbands or fathers they have no right. They are creatures with no territory so, no state.
Now the basis for fathers’ home is changed. Change in the mode of production had forced people to go out and look for jobs. Even some may permanently settle there bidding farewell to father’s home. Farming of any sort cannot support the growing on farm mouths these days. Grazing land has shrunk as a result of population growth and alien occupation. Draught is threatening the world because of defect in what they call ozone layer. By it the agrarian society is under threat of phasing out.
The extended family relations are also giving way to nuclear family. Individualism is taking over societal concern. For that reason our socio-political structure is being threatened. Traditionally woman belonged to the first husband. Nowadays colonial law recognizes divorce and remarriage. I remember a woman’s saying in my district in support of this. Muggii is the sit of colonial officials including judges. Shebel was a fledgling urban center.
The woman run away from her husband and said “Muggiin geenyaan hudduu dhirsaa Shebel geenyaan Xilfiin hidhaa” (If I reach Muggii who cares about husband, when I reach Shebel I shall wear skirt with embroidered stripes”). She is referring to possibility of divorce at Muggii and opening brothel at Shebel. It was a declaration of freedom from family life.
That is why any relation based on traditional family law has to be revised. Boys and girls together have to look for ways and means of smoothly transiting our system to technological era on equal footing. Systems in all parts of the world are wooing us through the internet and other means of communication. The world has now shrunk that old tools can’t serve to protect our cultural identity. We have to device new ones so that something of us remains to go down generations.
To that end the old Aadaa Seera Oromoo concerning political power has to be amended. Women should be given equal opportunity in the new Gadaa process. At dabbalee stage (toddlers) they all can have similar training. From then to raabaa (political office) stage they can follow parallel courses in physical training and military activities except in formal education. For formal education they can go to the same school. At raabaa or leadership forum they both can participate in electing representatives and being elected to offices.
We were among leaders of the world in democratic practices. We have to keep that spirit and erase any discriminatory law from our heera (constitution). The first must be inclusion of girls in all political economic and social activities. It must be recognized that women are different from men in some aspects but not inferior by any aspect. The second is protection for rights of minority social groups. We hope this problem will be resolved smoothly. We have to forget and forgive all that happened after the Kandakee (Candace) Akkoo Manooyee.
In principle Caaltuu said, Gadaa law recognizes five points which are equal for all. These can be presented as follows
These are ancient Gadaa principles. Though the non exclusiveness was with men in mind it doesn’t explicitly exclude women. Waaqaa willing the first Caffee after independence shall be a Caffee of all citizens irrespective of class, gender or creed, elected in fair and free setting. Preparations for that have to start from now.
This has to be carried out side by side with revitalizing a pan Oromo liberation front that struggles for free and independent republic of Oromiyaa. I can’t wait to see Haadha Bokkuu-Siiqqee addressing Gumii Nabee as Haadha Gadaa. She will hold both staves together to show unity of the nation and equality of genders. Nothing is impossible. Our great law givers had shown us the way to handle changing times.
Girls born to certain Gadaa groups used to be abandoned. But when the time came the law givers abolished that practice from the land. So many deep rooted traditions were changed by law; so, why not the status of women? It needs only forward looking progressive Gadaa leaders. You can now continue with your suggestion addooyyee said Caaltuu.
Thank you for updating me on such great issue; you don’t know how proud I am of you for your consistency on woman issue even after eying a boy. For now said Meetii, let us together say long live the institution of addooyyee loudly in this crowded square and give our witness for this ancient institution. Let these foreigners wonder what this drunken bunch makes noise about.
They will think it is the drink that intoxicated us. They don’t know the shame in which we live. We claim so many things from great population, rich history to democratic tradition. But we are subjected to misery by a group that is not handful. Isn’t it addooyyee asked Meetii stammering? Or is it the unfulfilled personal ambitions and promises?
Shout addooyyee; let the source of dissatisfaction be any thing, shout above your voice, iyyi iyya dabarsi (send out hue and cry) for addooyyee and the father land! After that we will hurry and kick out the night for ourselves.
Then together they shouted five times “Dhaabi Addooyyee haa lalisu” (Long Live Addooyyee Institution)! Biyyi Abbaa yaa jiratu (Long live the Father Land)! And all heads in the crowd turned towards them. Then they repeated in Russian, the working language of that republic, “Doolgaasiroochzhai sluuzhbii Roodina!” the crowd reverberated after them in bittersweet memory of their own suppressed nationalism.
All the time, they were clinging to each other so as not to fall when throwing their fists into the air. Addooyyee! Caaltuu called out as if she was far away from her, standing in front of her and raising her hands bent at the elbow and her fingers apart. Her teeth were shining, her mouth open and her eyes bulging out.
Injifanno (victory)! We did it! There is no more satisfaction than to give witness in international venue about what you have come cherishing for generations, remarked Caaltuu grabbing Meetii with that hanging hand. She then firmly held her addooyyee to her side their heads touching; with one hand of each across each other’s backs and the other holding bags hanging from their shoulders they moved towards the club staggering, that was what they called hurrying!