Much had been said by many scholars and writers about the moving force of Oromo liberation movement, Oromummaa. Oromummaa is a passionate manifestation of patriotism for liberation, peace, equality and independence of Oromiya. It is rooted in love of country, people, glorious common history, culture, tradition, myth, language and common ancestry. It is the way Oromo see themselves in relation to human community in general. It originated from oppression they were subjected to from the same source and the challenges it presented to them as a distinct group of human society. Oromummaa is a world outlook of liberation that takes all human beings as equals not any group as superior to any other. The primary cause for the liberation movement is losing country, freedom, national pride, and human dignity to an alien force. Continuous repression has sent the people in general into slumber after being relegated to second class human beings in their own country. Affluent communities were turned destitute robbed of all they had. Oromo movements for reversing that are constantly under multifaceted assail.
But though scattered, resistance against occupation by individual and groups never ceased from day one of the occupation, and does not seem to stop before liberation. That had helped the gradual awakening of the nation and the rise of Oromummaa the moving engine for later days Oromo revolution. The raison d’être of Oromo Liberation Front is to gear Oromummaa towards the total liberation of Oromiyaa. Minor glitches has occurred here and there in the course of the struggle and are still occurring but cannot stop the fight for justice.
The Oromo has endured several calamities among which the massacres at Maqadallaa, Northern Walloo, Aannolee, Raayyaa, Gujii and Water etc. by succeeding regimes can be cited. Those and sequences of crimes as well as administratively keeping the Oromo apart were not able to hinder the development of Oromummaa. The shared humiliating life under colonialism and traces of common historical heritage and the common language that survived century of destruction among others became the uniting factors.
No colonial elite had ever protested against injustice perpetrated against the Oromo people. On the other hand when Oromo rose in rebellion many started to blame the victims and call them names. They tried to stunt it but failed. Unashamedly they expected the Oromo to help them in their internal power struggle. Nowadays no self respecting Oromo will give that service. The dream of true Oromoo is the realization of its goal, national kaayyoo, where life of freedom, abundance, peace and happiness shall be realized again. The role of political organizations is to harness the spirit of Oromummaa towards that end. Weakness of organizations, infiltrations and sabotages will not stop the people from their dream.
The vanguard organization had been temporarily pushed into a dangerous position mostly by its own folly. But it is still living and vibrant. It is not a horse tied outside lager or mead pub that any rogue passerby can steal for joyride. A politically conscious people cannot be fooled by a make believe rider. Therefore true nationalists should not make much fuss out of such events. They have rather to work towards building their capacity, however long it may take, to advance the cause which they had vowed to take to the finish.
One may hear drums and trumpets being sounded extravagantly in camps of losers that think a quitter from nationalist camp could save them from further being plunged into the dustbin of history. The OLF had made it known long ago that it is ready to join hands with neighboring organizations for a better future on the basis of justice, mutual respect, common understanding and equality. They should have adjusted their stand and taken the offer not shun it. So far there are no multinational parties that take into consideration the particular position of the Oromo people for they still suffer from nostalgia for past regal empire system. Whether one comes as an Oromo, Habashaa etc to maintain the empire state the Oromo question for independence would still remain the same. National liberation organizations that ally with so called multinational organizations aspiring to maintain status quo do not seem in their right mind. The Oromo asks “What to produce do you churn whey?” Much could be learned from this simple question.
For the OLF an Oromo is any one whose both or one of the parents are Oromo by birth. An Oromian on the other hand is any one born or adopted into Oromiyaa and is willing to bear the rights and duties it entails. Therefore all Oromiyaans irrespective of their ethnic background are expected to join or support the resistance. The Oromo is compassionate and had a democratic tradition of respecting rights of species in general let alone that of a fellow human being. So far successive regimes have done harmful things to them. They may not be expected to forget those for there are lessons to be learned from them. But it is not in Oromo demeanor to use the pretext for vengeance even if time had not suppressed the pain. Yet, it is natural to expect peaceful disengagement and good neighborliness after that.
The recent declaration of military officers that recently defected from Ethiopia to test the OLF did not come as a surprise. They only revealed more loyalty to the Habashaa tricolor than Oromo Abbaa odaa. Whatever they stated was the direct reflection of an experience opposite to Oromo aspirations for freedom and independence. They are not the first and will not be the last runaways to take this position. As individuals or groups no body can deny them that right.
There could be foot dragging and wavering of a pack from unforeseen situations or opportunism. But that cannot justify a segment to take a degrading decision by forming faction that could have negative impact on the national movement. It is said “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” Factions rarely are viable to take over the main stream other than becoming public nuisance since in general they cannot distinguish between minor and bigger conflicts.
Be it as it may the officers should be told that their political right as Ethiopians on Oromo issue ends where Oromo question for national liberations begins. It is unfortunate that these much awaited young Oromo chose a pro-colonial anti-Oromummaa road once again. For Oromo the relation of Ethiopia and Oromiyaa is a long concluded debate, their changing stand does not add substance to the debate but may swell the ranks of Oromo enemies in alien camps. They certainly know they left the nationalist camp and did not take it with them except for the name label on the gate. But the stigma of being saboteurs or double-dealers could follow them till death.
The primary cause for the liberation movement is losing country, freedom, national pride, and human dignity to an alien force. Affluent communities were turned destitute robbed of all they had. Oromo movements for reversing that are constantly under assail. The OLF and other national organizations that uphold the kaayyoo may need some days for damage control from recent events. But be there organization or not the movement they set rolling four decades ago had developed into unstoppable machine fueled by strong national feeling, Oromummaa. Betrayals by individuals, groups or organizations may cause slight glitch but cannot cool it down until the planned goal, the national kaayyoo is achieved. Readiness of organizations would enhance the discipline and the speed of arriving at the goal. The veil is removed. Choices are now clear. Select where you belong, regroup and beat the road to your set goal with like minds. Harry, do not waver! This could be an opportune time use it. The struggle for independence will continue until the Oromo question gets proper and just response. A well organized liberation struggle and the spirit of Oromummaa will save the nation’s unity and identity from later day detractors.
Long Live Free Oromiyaa!!
Down with Colonial forces and their lackeys!!
Honor and glory for the fallen heroines and heroes; liberty equality and freedom for the living and nagaa and araaraa for the Ayyaanaa of our fore parents!
Ibsaa Guutama is a member of the generation that drew the first Political program of the OLF.