(Let us not tire to tell everybody repeatedly that we are not who they want us to be but who we tell them we are)
Oromo is one of the branches of Kuusaa or Kush. Kuusaa, as the oldest cradles of human civilization is known to have existed along the Abbayyaa River valley. Today some of the missing links between that civilization and Oromo civilization can be traced in some Oromo intellectual and material culture. Astrological methods of Oromo Ayyaantuu and the stone pillars used by ancient Kuusaa (Namoratunga in Turkaanaa land, Kenya and Nabata Playa in Nubia) can be good evidence of the connections. For the Oromo the Kushite connection reminds them of where to turn in the long journey ahead, the long way they travelled in history, the glories they enjoyed, the denials, treachery and hostility they encountered. However aliens want to place the Oromo in some local corners or imaginary places across oceans and seas it would be difficult for them to hide this Kushitic connection. That is why Oromummaa is being a threat to Habashaa mysticism and shameful act of their collaborators, the galtuu.
If we follow the Kushitic language map we see that it extends from the Mediterranean in the north to Khoisan land in the south. There are over twenty four Kushitic groups in this area. Oromo is the largest with over forty million strong populations. Oromo movements to the south have left footprints throughout the eastern half of Africa from north to south. There were ancient Oromo (Oromdur) left behind from southward migration of part of the population. Those were subdued and taken over by Habashaa and Adel forces until well-organized Oromo army returned and rescued them in the 16th century. Doobbaa in the north can be cited as example. Allied Habasha and Portuguese forces and those of the Adel couldn’t stand in front of the Gadaa Army. Oromo got back most of the land it lost.
Oromo are one of the ancient monotheist people. The Qaalluu institution headed by a Qaalluu (Priest) was respected because of the spiritual guidance it gives the Oromo people. The shrine of the Paramount Qaalluu was a destination for pilgrimage of the believer in traditional religion as is Jerusalem for Christians and Jews and Mecca for Moslems. The two let alone a third older religion is not tolerant for each other. To their delight the pilgrimage was banned by colonialists. After the ban fake versions of the Qaalluu institution worshiping strange ayyaanaa (spirits) cropped up encouraged by the colonizer that call them demons, ayyaanaas Oromo never knew. Many Oromo were proselytized into Middle Eastern religions turning their back against equally monotheist traditional religion. Of those, Sunni Islam and Coptic Christianity were the major ones. Today, in addition to traditional religion (Waaqeffannaa) there are several sects in Oromiyaa. Future politics should not interfere in religious affairs if true to Gadaa political tradition. Hence all faiths prophesied by Oromiyaans become national institutions and deserve equal protection of the law and equal treatment as well. For the sake of harmony between faith groups and strengthening of Oromummaa and wellbeing of the nation, any independent Oromo political governance has no alternative other than remaining secular as it used to be under Gadaa system.
Under the Gadaa system any military campaign was led by a General appointed by the political leadership. This General was called Abbaa Duulaa meaning father or owner of the campaign. In the 16th century many Abbaa Duulaa were appointed to lead military campaigns in different directions. Though they rescued “Oromdur” and saved and secured the territory Oromiyaa with gallantry and great sacrifice they have also contributed to the weakening of the Gadaa system. The farther they went away from the center, lack of communication, difficult terrains, and influence of other cultures they passed by, temptation of power etc. made it difficult for them to return. Instead some started acting autocratically. For some time all sent delegations to Odaa Nabee every eight years.
After sometimes relation with Odaa Nabee was severed. Eventually Oromiyaa was divided among several Abbaa Duulaa most of who started to call themselves Mootii, imitating kingdoms around them. Examples are the five states beyond Gibee River. That was it seems how authority of Gadaa system in many regions started to wane. It took them a long time to realize that divided they were vulnerable to external attack. Many Mootii and Abbaa Gadaa driven by Oromummaa started to get connected. An example is “The Western Oromo Confederation”. But before it materialized the Habashaa came out of a similar condition they call “Era of the Princes” and started siding one against the other and occupied all. Gadaa as a political system was brought to a halt by the occupier at the end of the 19th century.
This giant of Africa fell under a nation less than half population size of its own. The major cause for it was lack of internal harmony and national unity. Superior fire power and military advisors from abroad has also contributed to their defeat. The role of Oromo collaborators at every stage of the resistance war cannot also be undermined. No region could have been occupied without them. Even today Oromiyaa is not absolved from that curse. Many from unexpected quarters are still flocking to it to prolong the occupation. The enemy got access to rich resources of Oromiyaa like gold, ivory, slaves etc. That bought it foreign cooperation and more modern weaponry and other materials.
Thus Oromiyaa lost her land, independence, labor and significant number of her people. The whole country was reduced to serfdom. The enemy dismantled the political, social and economic fabrics of Oromo society. Practicing its culture, language and tradition was forbidden. Great psychological war was conducted to make people suffer inferiority complex and get ashamed of being Oromo. Such proud great people, inventor of Gadaa democratic system, member of great Kushitic civilization was reduced to second rate human being. Present Habashaa generation know it in that condition and never believed its claims. Propaganda that dehumanized the oppressed had instilled false superiority and blinded them.
Oromo groups are siblings that trace their origin to the same ancestry. The types of abuse perpetrated on them emanated from policies originating from the same headquarter that subjected them to the similar devastation and agony. As mucha as they enjoyed freedom and independence together they also went under similar most bitter and humiliating experience at the same time. However much it tried to inflict pain and humiliation and suck all that was in their memory, the enemy was unable to erase Oromummaa and their basic belief in freedom from minds of the many. Their glorious Gadaa past, the role their ancestors played in shaping African civilization remained stack in their memory. Oromummaa popped up once again to bind the nation together. They started to say no to colonialism, no to subjugation and no to slavery and serfdom. They are saying no to all agent provocateurs and the galtuu scattered among them and are taking appropriate measures to expose them.
Maccaa and Tuulama Association (MTA) in the sixties and OLF in the seventies and after were manifestations of the defiant Oromummaa. They said no to ignorance and alien rule and rallied Oromo people from corner to corner. Development projects were launched but the enemy cut them short. That led to determination to get organized and resist colonial subjugation. For the first time in Oromo colonial history a political program for liberation was drawn and the struggle was set by the youth of those days. Oromummaa was the leading ideology at heart. This can be attested by the steps Oromo hero Taaddasa Birruu took at Dheeraa, Arsii. Arsii who played hosts to MTA then are mostly Muslims. Taaddasa is staunch Coptic Christian. According to tradition of the area Muslims and Orthodox Christians don’t eat animal slain by the other. But on that historic day Taaddasa called on his compatriots to eat together saying the ox died to save them all. All responded positively and dined on meat from the same ox as told. Those Oromo nationalists showed that Oromummaa is greater than smaller groups they belonged to and mounds created by aliens to divide them. That was a blow to authors of that practice and a lesson to narrow minded divisive elements in Oromo society.
Oromo have never stopped their push for unity. The recent student movement to stand against injustice and humiliation that rallied all schools and university students in Oromiyaa is standing witness. The movements being made among Oromo diaspora communities of several continents is another encouraging sign. Here in America the successful formation of Oromo Communities Association of North America (OCA-NA) is one of the great examples of a drive towards unity against so many odds. Now the Oromo has started to think the difference standing together could mean for benefit of the fatherland and intellectual and material development of Oromo families in diaspora. That Oromo from Oromiyaa are going to multiply as refugees in diaspora and that their exodus is going to take long is almost certain. Therefore it is high time that they plan for survival of Oromummaa in diaspora before it is too late to save generations from identity crisis. It is a process that could possibly strengthen the national kaayyoo of Oromummaa and requires to be handled vigilantly with care and wisdom.
After so many years of separation no one should say we do not have differences formed during those years. The worst thing is when such differences are maliciously exaggerated to affect unity of a group. Rather, differences should be used to add to the strength of the common good. We are fighting the enemy not because of its natural differences with us but for oppression and abuses it committed against us and its refusal to recognize us for what we are and what we claim as ours. Differences between Oromo groups are not antagonistic. A sincere “ilaa fi ilaamee” session could resolve it but for those deeply committed to serve the enemy.
Oromummaa demands believing in Gadaa democratic political principles. Gadaa is not based on race; this can be seen from their system of naturalizing peoples and individuals into the system through methods referred to as “Luka Kennaa, Moggaasa, Guddifacha and Luba Baasaa”. Therefore it will be a mistake for any Oromo activist to insert the question of blood as the sole determinant into the struggle. Oromummaa should rather be understood as common adherence to Gadaa democratic heritage, common belief in equality of races, common ancient history of great civilizations and origin, modern history of struggle and sacrifices, common economic life, common territory, common culture, common language and common aspiration for freedom, independence and justice. Oromummaa as a political ideology is not a dogma; it is a phenomenon that is ever developing with overall human progress. Hence all organizations with Oromo names have to understand and adjust their move with this.
Oromummaa has now become the guide to free and independent democratic Republic Oromiyaa. This was not achieved without cost. Unknown numbers were sacrificed to reach this level. Still, the does not see determination of Oromo youth never to submit. Rather by muffling them it is trying to scratch old wound and add pepper to it than addressing their concern. It is afraid of losing Oromiyaa’s rich resources. They have accumulated enough for them and their grandchildren the want to plunder more for their great grandchildren. The fear of vengeance is another cause that made them remain stick to their guns. Oromo prefer “nagaa and araaraa” (peace and tranquility) to revenge. But if the enemy decides to continue with its abuse the resulting rage could be uncontrollable. In history Oromo used violent means only to counter violence against their interest. They are patient and tolerant not cowards. If pushed to the corner they can be as violent as the thunderbolt. The enemy is not aware that it is now walking on clay boots and a little push can put it out of balance send it to a fall it could never rise from. Only a little courage and a little selflessness are required on part of the victims.
Oromiyaa is thus historically interconnected with the ancient Kushitic civilization. As branch of this civilization it had introduced many tools of political social and economic significance. But it is not yet able to fully transcend traditional society. That be as it may, today there is no Oromo that does not claim Oromummaa (being Oromo). But claiming it is not enough, one has to have commitment and determination to see it flourish even if it demands the ultimate sacrifice. Oromummaa was defined by the same writer in Gubirmans Publishing website as “∙∙∙ a passionate manifestation of patriotism for liberation, peace, equality and independence of Oromiyaa.” It is an emotional as well as rational attachment to the nation. Oromo nation is people (tribes, clans, and families), land (region, district, province and neighborhoods) and the natural environment. Oromummaa is the love of all in totality. If one hates or rejects any one or part of these and claim Oromummaa, he/she is an actor not the character that Oromummaa is deep in his/her bones. It is only Oromummaa that can guarantee an Oromo individual to be considered as respectable bone fide human being. Collaborating with the enemy that is committing genocide against own people had only caused humiliation and death for all that went before. Collaboration is a psychological decease in which victims identify with and defend the occupier and so need treatment. Oromummaa is the only remedy from such a phenomenon. Forward with Oromummaa for freedom, independence and human dignity! Viva Oromiyaa!
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!