Oppressing one Oromo group is oppressing all other Oromo

Though traditional Political structure of Oromo seemed decentralized their loyalty to Gadaa democratic system was undoubtful. However, when struggling to heal cracks from different causes external enemy invaded and not only made an end to it but also enslaved the people. Because Gadaa system they had in their thought seem modern confederal system there was no problem in adjusting to Ethiopian federal constitution. It was such a system that aliens broke and occupied and forbade them never to meet. It divided, stripped them of birth rights and enslaved them. Up to revolution of 1974 dictators changed hands and kept on torturing them. Though system of administration might have been modified there is no change in objective of Ethiopian empire state, it remains colonial and autocratic. The state and Ethiopian Orthodox Tawaahido Church shared same history of colonization and oppression and exploitation that ensued. Orthodox churches were built on Oromo land with Oromo labor and resources and costs of maintenance they paid. Priesthood in Oromiyaa served as employment for Amaaraa/Ethiopia. Despite all these burdens Oromo maintained their language and memory of their past. Together they struggled and paid a lot to be free. That is why they cannot afford standing by when one Oromo is attacked by aliens. They have learned from the past what that costed them.

Tithes from Oromiyaa also maintained Orthodox Churches in the empire. That was why the old Synod said, creation of the new Synod amounts to cutting our blood vessel. They have managed for over a century sucking Oromo blood with minimum effort. Most priests hardly read and write. That was why their spiritual guidance was more of superstition than intellect based. For this reason, the church could not stand challenges that came with rising political consciousness of the masses and pressure of modern education. In 1991 function of state was transformed legally from unitary to federation. Church and state were constitutionally separated. The federal constitution guarantees each federated sate the use of own language for work and education and power of the central government was limited. Oromiyaa even shifted its alphabet to a Latin based. This denied sole Amharic speakers, jobs from administrator to case writer, which were their monopoly. If the church continues to live in yesteryears more hardship is awaiting it ahead.

On the other hand, the Church services in Oromiyaa continued to be given only in Geez and Amharic. That means Church jobs were left monopoly of Amharic speakers. The present internal conflict was result of clandestinely simmering grievances. Three Oromo Archbishops, Abuna Sawiros, Abuna Eustatheos and Abuna Zena Markos’ declared forming new Oromiyaa, nations and nationalities Synod. That coincided with PM Abiy’s defending his authority against thereat from same Amaaraa group in and out of Church. PM did not react to the Oromo bishops’ case but passed in silence; if silence means consent, he could be blamed. Does help given them by Oromiyaa state has relation with him? Oromiyaa administration has no choice than supporting them because they are Oromo and have rights to say on Orthodox religious affairs in Oromiyaa than aliens that excommunicated them. Ethiopia is no more a unitary government that is manipulated from the center. Federated states have autonomy. PM called leaders of old Synod and probably reprimanded them that more could come if they do not behave. They obeyed and postponed worldwide demonstration they called. Finally, his adversaries lost and he won for the time being.

The inequal treatment in Church service reported by the bishops filled Oromo nationals with indignation. The cause became no more that of Oromo clergies alone but of all Oromo. Abiy who is staunch Ethiopianist did not like that trend. He ordered them to the negotiation table. He arbitrated in favor of the Old Synod true to his

statements “Orthodox aager naat” (Orthodox is a country). This may lull them for the time but cannot buy him their heart abandoning their objective of removing him. Oromo Archbishops’ major achievement, appointment of 27 Oromiyaa and nation and nationalities monks to different dioceses as episcopate was rejected. It threatened his slogan, “Ethiopia atfarsim” (Ethiopia will not be demolished). It was obvious that schism in the church will have effect on structure and function of the empire state he is restoring. Whatever agreements the three Archbishops signed; destiny of the new Synod is in the hands of Oromo nationals. It may not be easy to interfere in Oromo internal affairs of Oromiyaa under the guise of religion. Taking away clergies people had been waiting for years will not also be that simple. Any seeming positive action by Abiy for the Oromo is only tactical, until he uses them for evil intentions. How he came to power deceiving, and many others since can be cited. He will rue for abandoning his people and joining their enemies. They are only the principled not the waverers that can understand the pros and cons of Abiy’s maneuvers.

From this incident much can be learned; Oromo readiness to come out for the rescue of an Oromo group in distress irrespective of its religion, region or gosaa. That means subjective and objective situation are ready for advanced Oromo revolution. Though the constitution assumes that Oromiyaa is an autonomous state, it has never been since that recognition. It has been under indirect rule by colonial central government. Even from little tactical support Oromiyaa state gave to the new Synod, it is not hard to imagine what a genuine Oromo government could have done. The incident also exposed evil side of the Church. To solve problems from the schism the Church called for extraordinary general assembly of Synod members and scheduled for some days of meditations and prayer. But its vindictiveness over took it and excommunicated the three Archbishops and the newly 27 episcopates anointed by them before end of the prayers. By any civilized democratic and just standard hearing should have been given to defendants, in this case to the archbishops and episcopates before any judgment is passed. The Church was expected to be more than this.

Knowing the enemy helps avoid spontaneity and laydown strategy and tactics of dealing with it. Oromo enemy is the Ethiopian empire state now headed by PP. PP is headed by Abiy. PP has killed and divided more Oromo in the last four years than any of its predecessors. It is still killing; no hour is passed without Oromo nationals being killed extrajudicially, Amaaraa region forces collaborating. Because policy of genocide is directed from the center no corrective measures were taken to wrongs done. No genuine Oromo can forgive the massacre of Karrayyuu Gadaa fathers and so many other grueling alien deeds. Thousands are in prison without due process of law for years and daily being imprisoned the same way. The “Holly fathers” that fill the air with cacophony when one of their kind is killed, raised no voice for genocide against the Oromo. Because it is believed that only leveling Oromo numbers with them will give them prosperity, peace, and security.

Despite all these atrocities against the Oromo there are still those that dare say this is Oromoo government. We have seen what it means when a government exclusively dominated by one nation when Amaaraa and Tigraaway were in power. They massacred Oromo not their own people. They appointed their own people to key positions not Oromo or others. Nafxanyaa riff raffs harass the Oromo as if they have taken turn in governance. Oromo Gobana echo the same thing to distract Oromo from struggling to empower Oromo regain lost independence. Oromiyaa relations with all its neighbors shall be determined only after the Oromo are free to exercise their right to national self-determination. No theorizing otherwise can resolve the colonial reality. The colonial empire can never belong to others except to Amaaraa. That is why constitution promulgated without demolishing the empire state did not work. Courageously accept that Oromiyaa is not Ethiopia, and that it is a victim of 19th century colonization and the incumbent government is not Oromo. Give chance to every people to freely express how they want their future to be organized. Then only can one resolve pending

problem of the region. That is what is meant by “The right of nations to national self-determination up to and including independence”.

The Oromo Church incident also showed how vacillators can easily forget all that happened to their people. They have started praising Oromo PP, killer of their kin because some leaders have exchanged seeming bold words with Amaaraa PP. But PP by nature is spilled milk cannot be collected back to be used by peoples it assumes their names. Even for its makers it has turned Frankenstein monster, only dismantling it serves good. As for individuals, Ethiopianist Oromo involved in it only the negotiation table or repenting and joining Oromo struggle that can rehabilitate them. Abiy is now struggling to restore Minilik’s grand empire. He is loyal to the Amaaraa colonizer state not to Oromiyaa. Minilik’s praise in Church services enriches his commitment. Oromiyaa needs to be liberated from both oppressors. No federal institution, church or otherwise must have upper hand in Oromiyaa more than what was legally agreed upon. Tawahido must maintains its universality and neutrality to world powers. True to evangelism it must give service in several languages and free itself from colonial mentality and monopoly of a group. If not, it cannot blame others for divisiveness. Orthodox should not be “a country” but a religion even to those that have no country. Any religion in Oromiyaa has to operate according to law of the land.

Oromo consciousness is not where it was fifty years ago. Since then, it has been tried to lull Oromo outburst not to genuinely solve colonial question. Liberation struggle that has been on for fifty years is now at the high peak. Independence of Oromiyaa is insight. Nationals have vowed “one Oromo for all, all Oromo for one.” No injustice to any Oromo group political, social, or economic by aliens is tolerated anymore. Some Abbaa Gadaa, elderly and religious fathers from opportunism or in good faith are heard echoing tactical peace call government is making for liberation fighters. If they are genuine let them first ask the government bring killers of Karrayyuu Abbaa Gadaas to justice. Restore land of Karrayyuu taken by their Amaaraa neighbors. Let it release Oromo illegally imprisoned. Let it announce forbidding its massagers from extrajudicial killings. These are crimes committed against Oromo individuals and groups with knowledge and green light of the government. Then the call may be trusted. Bellowing of the enemy cannot stop Pan-Oromo march to independence and freedom. 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!

Ibsaa Guutama

March 2023