On this Hero/Heroine Day 15/22 it is proper to reexamine from questions raised what they died for. Before going into their question let as examine who are the Oromo? Oromo is a nation. A nation is community of people claiming common root, cohesive with common history, common language, culture and having one country in common it says is mine that came down maintaining its integrity for survival as a group. This integrity was challenged by Amaaraa nafxanyaa colonial group whose integrity was achieved by disintegrating others. It is a group with which one cannot reason out for they have no capacity for reasoning. In nut shell Oromo struggle is for survival as a group believing that no other group has a right to deny its survival. The Oromo are the most populous nation in East Africa and are said to be the third in Africa. Imperialists that launched the phenomenon known as “The Scramble for Africa” coopted the kingdom of Abyssinia as their partner though not in Berlin Conference (1884-1885). And they helped it with ideas and war materiel to colonize kingdoms and republics to its south. Oromiyaa was colonized then. Abyssinia was officially registered as Ethiopia during the time of emperor Haile Sillaasee (1931-1974). Oromo as a people, have never willingly been part of Ethiopia. The Abyssinians have committed the same crime that white colonizers committed on other Africans. They subjected them to inhuman treatment and plundered their resources and monopolized their land.
The Abyssinians like white colonizers claimed they had civilizing mission though in some cases they were inferior to the colonized. The only superiority they have was fire power product of imperialists technological advancement. It was unique and misleading to be a colonizer with black skin, underdeveloped and from African soil. It is often told it was never colonized without qualifying the part they are talking about, for major part of empire Ethiopia is under colonial rule for more than a century. Now PP is leading the Amaaraa bureaucracy and so the arch enemy of the Oromo people. That bureaucracy can be trusted only after it is dismantled and replaced by new democratic structure or structures. Oromo have their own language, democratic political system known as Gadaa, and monotheist religion out of which only the language is salvaged so far. They have definite territory rich in natural resources and had laws to protect them. The Oromo are ardent believers of rule of law and strict in its implementation. Effect of over a century of brainwashing to make them subhuman manifested fifty years ago have now diminished with political consciousness.
After fall of their political system, many political deviants were created. Because of that people were denied legal and ethical control over their members. Therefore, we see opportunists sniffing around to sell themselves instead of joining the liberation struggle. The Oromo were not prepared to handle such situation and became victims of circumstances. The enemy is continuing to wear them down by self-attrition; fighting Oromo with Oromo. Top military leaders Oromo by blood are leading war against their Oromo siblings. They seem to have turned their stomach as the thinking faculty replacing their brain. Otherwise, it is safuu (bad omen) for Oromo to kill Oromo. Unless such situation is changed the large majority population could be reduced to minority and freedom could be far off but not inevitable. Peoples under the empire have been intermarrying and interbreeding. This is not unique to them; in history intermingling of any type has never led to abandonment of one’s sovereignty. Political relations are not determined by affinity gained by intermarriage but justice it provides and interest it protects. Intermarriage and interbreeding did not hinder the Amaaraa from publicly condemning Oromummaa. All empires were built with labor of serfs, slaves and the colonized. The role Oromo played was not different from that. With their blood and sweat they have kept Amaaraa political system in power for over a hundred years. Keeping that in mind, let us see Oromo questions.
Despite clear declaration entered into OLF 1976 political program and its subsequent amendments third parties continue to ask, what do the Oromo want? That is because of the equivocal presentation of Oromo question to third parties by some of the leaders that sent doubt to all, if that nation knows what it wants. Asking independence or secession those leaders think are not politically correct, so they started to distort the genuine question by telling others that it is only fashion or fad of the era. That might have been true for them but their peers did not understand it that way. Such lack of commitment and wavering seems to be one of major causes of delayed victory. When Oromo started politically toddling under the leadership of OLF the first thing it uttered was founding “Independent democratic people’s republic Oromiyaa”. This was the fundamental question which is not yet answered in adulthood. It delayed not because it was unrealistic but because half-hearted reactionary actors that lack commensurate determination and commitment for the job were part of the leadership of the struggle. This came to light in later days. The strategy of the struggle is still “Independence”. Roads that take there may differ but they have to be guide by Oromummaa.
Of course, maize of obstacles faced from different interests cannot be denied. We can see among them many that do not believe in Oromummaa, those that cherish dependence, mimics and pretenders. However, with tremendous sacrifices of the few progressives who were politically more consciousness and clinged to the Kaayyoo significant achievements were registered. Among the big achievements were Oromummaa being taken by new generation as an outlook of Oromo struggle and territory of Oromiyaa state partly recognized by new Ethiopian rulers with Oromo sovereignty over it. Lifting of restrictions on Oromo language and culture was another achievement. Because the government recognized the right of nations to national self-determination up to and including independence in its constitution, though they did not participate in promulgating it, they also postponed their demand for independence for trial period; giving opportunity for trying federalism first. Independence is the natural right of a nation that is not negotiable.
There are many Oromo that are ready to give up their right to be independent and remain in empire Ethiopia without any precondition even if that means being subservient to Ethiopians. Such attitude does not seem to come from free thinking but from lack of self-confidence or not understanding exclusiveness of Ethiopian political system. For some Oromiyaa will be too small for power they envy when it is possible to compete for the empire even if that means renouncing Oromummaa. For others it is fear of getting out of dependency. Now Kaayyoo laid down by pioneers of the political struggle seems to be abandoned except by Oromo Liberation Army (WBO/OLA). Many Oromo organizations and individuals have changed strategy of the struggle by registering to compete for the colonial government power. There is no difference between them and OPDO except the way they were created and OPDO being tested in practice. Differences they claim of being unitary or federalist are not as Oromo but as Ethiopians. Anyone that takes over imperial bureaucracy cannot be expected to be different with the system remaining the same. The pioneers vowed to dismantle that system and found republic Oromiyaa that can decide freely on how to fare in years ahead.
The abused are Oromo. Their abuse is different from that of Ethiopians in that they are ruled under different laws, of the colonizer and the colonized. Their land holding system, their freedom to use their culture, language and exercising their human and political and civil rights were far apart. Despite the many changes forced by Oromo struggle there are many disparities which are not yet equalized. When it should have been the abuser that has to apologize, instead the victims are seen begging for inclusion. When asked they do not dare to tell differences they have with Ethiopians, that they are colonizer and colonized, oppressed and oppressor. They start with premise accepting they are all Ethiopians because the brainwashing that made them subservient to Ethiopians have remained stuck in their brains. They trust their captors more that their siblings in resistance struggle. On the other
hand, the enemy will never take them as equal partner because it takes them as nemesis whose relations will only destroy them.
Amaaraa are now in deep identity crisis. They are made up of mostly different assimilated peoples that when the time comes trace and go back to their origin. When Minilik invaded the southern nations, he first subjugated Amharic speaking peoples of the north and rallied them as Amaaraa except those from Tigray which was suzerain of the invasion. Building the nafxanyaa system was not enough with those, but added from all conquered nation and tied Orthodox thread on their neck that made them Amaaraa. Now one can see that Amaaraa group could exist only if it maintains superior power. There is no land Amaaraa could claim its own except those of members composing it and lands it colonized. If all are free to join in federal system, Amaaraa is going to dissolve into its component parts. That is why Oromo organizations are refused into their system unless they renounce their original nationhood.
Oromo are prone to Pan-Africanism and it is order of their culture and tradition to work for strong democratic African union (AU). Therefore, Oromo organizations have first to work on unity between them. Partnership with aliens could come when Oromiyaa stands by itself. Oromo being forced into the Ethiopian set does not make them more affined to those than others outside it. Oromo nationalist believe that choosing partners depends on free will. There is no reason why Oromo should choose Amaaraa over Kikuyu, Dinka, Tutsi or Masai. Before forming union with anyone it will be better to be self-reliant in order to create a viable and balanced union. Slave has to first be freed before forming association with the master. That is why Ethiopianist Oromo are not successful in their venture, it rather destroyed many prominent revolutionaries. Therefore, they should realize that they could empower Oromo on their own country only by own blood and sweat. For Oromo that want to be free and independent Ethiopia is no more an idea to die for.
Those that want to hogtie and present Oromiyaa back to their colonizing institution without changing their identity should have known from their experience that it is impossible. Even the relatively progressive TPLF that accepted the federal system had been accusing others for narrow nationalism instead of ruling according to the federal constitution. It ignored the concept imbedded in Article 39 of the constitution it played major role in constructing. According to it a nation can even push for independence let alone showing nationalist feelings. Whatever happened, happened because of human weakness, selfishness and greed for power and waning of revolutionary stand. Leaving that as history, to bring peace and calmness to the region we can now take the constitution as starting point. That may reconcile Ethiopianists and the independents; peaceful and armed struggle. It could strengthen federalist camp against anti-national self-determination reactionary unitarists. Peaceful struggle should not be an excuse to remain under Ethiopia for it could also serve Oromo unity and liberation. The Oromo say, “If possible, with the hand, if hot with spoon”.
Participation in the colonial system, individuals like the wise and brave freed slaves Qusee and Baalchaa and volunteers like Yilmaa Dheeressaa and Emanuel Abraham, Takkaa Tullu and Dabalaa Dhinsaa, Kumaa Damaqsaa and Junaddin Saaddoo and Abiy Ahmad and Birhaanuu Juulaa at different periods does not amount to Oromo nations willing participation. To take any meaningful action for Oromo as Oromo have to be first self-reliant. Being self-reliant means to be able deciding independently what one wants without any external pressure. Taking national Kaayyoo to the finish mostly requires patience, perseverance, commitment and determination, dialogue and consensus. The Oromo question could get response only when Oromo using their right for national self-determination decide what they want. They have forced changes with their struggle to conditions existing before fifty years. However, because the nafxanyaa colonial bureaucratic system was not dismantled the former colonizer under leadership of PP is bellowing to come back to its previous status.
Abiy claim of being Oromo from Gomma has misled many that his PP government is Oromo. In reality PP is the most anti-Oromo formation since occupation of Oromiyaa. It surpasses all its predecessor in massacring Oromo youth by setting Oromo against Oromo and these days inviting Oromo neighbors like Sidaamaa and Somali to join it in its grand campaign to destroy Oromiyaa and OLA. These are nations that have fallen to Amaaraa occupation at the same time and had been struggling together to be free. Abiy wants them to turn enemies. It doesn’t seem giving them value of fire wood collection, when it collects Oromo youth and throw them into fire for his own power safety. He has dismissed the Oromo question, saying Oromo nationalism only diminishes the nation. He has eyes only for imperial Ethiopia, not for independent democratic republic Oromiyaa. That is why we say anyone be them Oromo or others occupying the colonial bureaucracy cannot see or act differently from what is founder intended it for. Unless dismantled it shapes them not vis versa.
Present descendant of Amaaraa nafxanyaa do not believe Oromiyaa as occupied territory but belonging to their forefathers. Even their emperors did not go that far. They are so naive that they do not know Adaamaa and Bushooftuu were native names changed by their last emperor to Nazareth and Dabrazayit. They are adopted from villages in Palestine. They make so many mistakes misled by propaganda meant to brainwash their victims. It is partly this distorted understanding of their own history that prompt them to invade or claim others’ land. Unless they come to their sense fast, they are only endangering their existence as a nation. At certain point in history, they were able to fool the Oromo people that their god they call Taabot (tabernacles) was a living spirit. It can rain and also can refuse moving, they claim, until its demands are fulfilled. It is ridiculous even to imagine for hand curved wooden object to rain from the sky only in Oromiyaa not Ethiopia. To try continuing this line of propaganda is outrageous and an insult to Oromo intelligence. It has to stop before costing lives. It must be noted that clerics are desecrating a sacred icon and dishonoring the church.
Oromiyaa land is heritage of Oromo people and does not belong to any government or institution. Any unlawful grab will not be left without consequence. A time will come soon to rue for present cacophony about Taabot raining, land return, returning to height etc. This government that is helping them will not be there forever; it will fall or change positions. The land that is now exposed to grabbing had come being protected from time immemorial by own blood and sweat. Hence, it is only the naïve that thinks he could remain on what he invaded today. Land and the sky are highly respected in Oromo culture and religion.
The empire is in huge colorless war. On the one hand peoples of the old empire like Agawu and Qimaant that do not want to continue in the old way are demanding for self-determination. They are against Amaaraa dominance. PP has coordinated forces of Amaaraa, Eritrea, Somalia and others from overseas creating great havoc and destruction to wipe out Tigray, a member of the federation and one of the founders of the old kingdom. Though defeated in the battle PP is suffocating Tigaaruu, blocking the roads and subjecting them to abject hunger and decease. As a result, old Ethiopia is in civil war. People of the South that were colonies are rising to complete their drive to freedom and independence. Therefore, the empire is in turmoil with civil and liberation wars. Oromiyaa is in liberation movement for fifty years. All the fifty years it had been fighting with aliens and internal reactionaries. Oromo runaways had made more damage to the struggle than external forces. Solving this is overdue. It is a chronic disease at least from Minilik’s time. Those contaminated even take it as country building, forgetting they are destroying their nation’s and building only for the alien. Once they build their own, they can build even for Africa.
TPLF/EPRDF had harmed the Oromo with those that have changed their names to PP and are in power now. They are bad and misguided products, Frankenstein Monster. Without them TPLF could not have harmed Oromo to that extent. Now Tigraaway are being more devastated than Oromiyaa by these that betrayed them. Now paradoxically they have common enemy with the Oromo and so is proper to uproot them together. Both can hopefully settle
peacefully accounts they had between them later. PP and allies had been waging war with big force on Oromiyaa for the last three years. Now they are vowing to make the last trial with more huge force. This is also a crucial moment for the Oromo to make the last drive to their goal. So far so good, the enemy is being bitten at every turn. The enemy is now at its weakest point; it is said, “Hammer while the iron is hot”. Oromiyaa belongs to all Oromo. Many that are proud of Oromummaa are paying the ultimate price. The rest who are sparing their lives have at least to sacrifice from what they need for living. Giving only when one has excess when liberation fighters are making the ultimate sacrifice puts one’s Oromummaa under question. Consistent contribution however small it may be means a lot to what liberation fighters need to keep alive and fight. It means, instead of gathering tree fruits and leaves, bassoo and medicine, instead of bare foot exposed to thorn, shoes. Sacrifice is for freedom; charity is for personal psychological satisfaction. Foregoing necessity of life to help the struggle is sharing the pain of freedom fighters, so patriotic.
So far when PP could not face the OLA, it goes into villages and massacre innocent unarmed people. If those participating in this are Oromo, it would be wise for them to realize that they have father, mother and siblings before raising their hands on other Oromo. If OLA could make agreements of alliance with other oppressed peoples as it did with TDF it could help in bringing peace faster. In particular peoples of the south with whom they have fallen are natural allies to rise together. Petty differences have to be resolved before they jeopardize these natural relations. World powers are worried about breaking up of their union member, old Ethiopia rather than giving attention to agony of the many nations nationalities and peoples victimized by her. Those that enjoyed life or wealth under empire Ethiopia are ones that worry about its disintegration. For Oromo it was what they died for and so dream realized. Whatever happens old Ethiopians will not return to previous status. A new order is breaking out in this part of Africa. For this reason, adjusting their policy to the new order may be imperative. They have to accept the will of the peoples in whatever way they construct their region. The move being taken by US America to curb crime against humanity is commendable. All the false cries of genocide against Amaaraa by Oromiyaans and the true ones by Eritrea, Ethiopia and Amaaraa against Tigraaway and others will get the final rest. That is why they are opposing HR 6600 and S.3199.
The empire was created as part of phenomenon known as “Scramble for Africa” and it is the only trace left behind from that venture. Peace and tranquility are culture for the Oromo and to save guard it, they should never again lay down their arms federated or otherwise. It will only then that viable freedom could be assured and violence against them deterred. There is no reason why Amaaraa and Amaaraa government and pretenders should decide for the Oromo? Oromiyaa is population wise among the top three African nations and not a branch of Ethiopia/Amaaraa. Therefore, if peace and calmness is desired to come to the region:
1. Take Oromiyaa as colony of Ethiopia not yet fully decolonized
2. All alien armed forces have to leave Oromiyaa
3. Nations, nationalities and peoples have to get together and form federal transitional administration to avoid chaos after fall of the empire
4. Provisional Oromiyaa government to be formed by independent Oromo forces
5. Run referendum so that people of Oromiyaa decide on their future using their universally recognized right of national self-determination.
Despite struggling so long and paying tremendous sacrifice in life and material the Oromo had never been asked what they want as a nation. They had been driven for free labor, in fields, mines, roads and wars without their consent. To rub salt on open wound, now that is told as if they did all with their free will as equal partners in building Ethiopia. Oromo struggle for independence and freedom and sovereignty over Oromiyaa is tempting
them to lie instead of showing regret for atrocities they committed in the past. Amaaraa nafxanyaa never thought the Oromo will ever be able to challenge its legitimacy of occupation and did not bother to build the homeland with the plunders of over a century but consumed and stashing the excess in foreign banks for leaders. Now followers could not imagine how to live without the riches of Oromiyaa. That is why they are attacking Oromummaa physically and verbally and working to destabilize Oromiyaa day and night to the verge of disintegrating old Ethiopia proper. Trying to suppress desire of Oromo, the most populous nation in the region to be free will serve no interest except destabilizing the region and eventually the world.
The Red Sea and Indian Ocean are important trade routes. Asian side belongs to Arabs and African side to people considered of Kushitic stalk. On the shores of the African side are Afar and Somalis. In the hinterlands are Abyssinian kingdom, Oromiyaa and other past Abyssinian colonies. The shores were directly or indirectly mostly controlled by oversea colonizers and their hinterland agents. Oromo the largest of the group were made out of political game of the region and so are those around the shores. All the powerful that have interest in the trade routes have made sure the Africans were disabled not to claim ownership of the coasts. That has something to do with Oromo debacle. With superior fire power and modern skills supplied by big powers Oromiyaa was occupied. They were put under the harshest suffering through inhuman means to the extent of being afraid of seeing Ethiopians in the eyes for long time. Still, they take Oromo as then, while Oromo have reasserted themselves to level of the 16th century they have never forgotten. And if Oromo want, no one can stop them.
Present cacophony of the enemy has to be considered only as buzz of fly swarm irritating for the time. New generation of Oromo society has gained more political consciousness than the pioneers to awaken the nation from more than a hundred years slumber; hence forth, no one keep Oromo down. On the other hand, it seems the enemy has gone more than hundred years backwards. Oromo youth had almost dismantled the empire in 2014-2018 had it not been for internal saboteurs. It is hoped the present and following generation of Qeerroo and Qeerrantii will be vigilant enough to safeguard their victory. It is hoped that African side of the Red Sea will be free from any trace of colonial legacy and the true owners will reclaim what naturally belonged to them. The coasts and hinterland are interdependent, gain of one is that of the others. Whatever differences are there will not overshadow the common interest. Oromo are nation that have different history, language, culture and political system different from their colonizers. For this reason, their case has to be placed in proper perspective. That is why they are demanding all traces of colonialism to be erased and they get untainted independence, freedom and sovereignty. That demand should first be responded to before talking about future life and relations with aliens. Oromo by nature are calm and peace loving. But if provoked can get in rage to unimaginable level. Let all that deviated from the norm absolve themselves and return to Safuu land. Oromiyaan haa jiraattu!
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!