Reminiscing facts about Oromiyaa

This is not to respond to outrageous distortions going around in chauvinist camps that have distaste for non-Habashaa peoples and nostalgia for feudal-colonial past. It is to point to the open minded as to whom the Oromo are and how they see themselves in the context of Africa and the Horn. There is nothing new in what is going to be presented but the truth must be reminded over and over to keep the atmosphere constantly clear. There are some individuals and groups that are brain washed by bed time stories constructed to inculcate false grandeur when their minds were tender. Story tellers deafened during era of king of kings indoctrinated children with baseless information they were also indoctrinated with such as “their ancestors were once upon a time the rulers of all Horn of Africa” until Oromo came. Similarly they grew up being told that Oromo have no claim to land they hold now for they settled coming from unknown destination in the 16th century and displacing or assimilating the original dwellers by force. On the contrary observing Oromo culture tradition, religion, feature etc. there are the knowledgeable that suspect most peoples around eastern Africa might have originated from Oromo. But parasites that grew on them have told their children that still live echoing that that Oromo are boggy men that came from across the ocean. These stories finally end as history.  Most history on the Oromo were written by foreigners who naively trusted their sources; mercenaries who were paid to distort it, local opportunists and simpletons that are brought up in a maliciously setup environment. Their sources are poisoned. Henceforth Oromo will not accept conclusions reached and data collected from them.

Habashaa elites blame aliens like Yoodiit, Grany and Oromoo for destroying their civilization. What these wars might have destroyed were churches and mountain top thatched wooden structures with no special skill wasted on them. Like all their history records these are also shrouded with false information and myth.  To sift the truth from the assumed requires a time when this group of rulers are not in the helm to influence the outcome. We have already started to see the symptoms. Wars of the 16th century were conducted in retaliation of continuous intrusion of Habashaa forces into their south and east and occupation of territories.  The mission was partly accomplished by punishing them for their aggressive nature and regaining some of lost territories until they were lost to the Scramble of Africa. The looted treasures Grany got his hands on could be a regrettable loss of unearned wealth. But the facts show wealth built on looting can be sustained only if the capacity to plunder is sustainable. In the 16th century the king and group were disabled by two strong armies limiting their area of foraging to Abyssinia. They could no more raid Oromiyaa and the South to come back with cattle, gold, silver, ivory, civet, grain, timber and slave. The caves and mountain tops disguised as monasteries no more have looters’ treasure to stash. Habashaa property and lives destroyed by those Abyssinian groups if not greater will not be less than those blamed on the alien warriors.

During those periods Habashaa kings did not have permanent headquarters. They lived roaming the land plundering villages like outlaws. Tents and tukuls of those raider kings might have been burned. Even if magnificent palaces of kings or church edifices were burned then they are not things to lament about in this century. As for history they have enough documentation of the period in the manner they would like thanks to their daftaraa.  Whatever happened then or what is being fabricated now is about thing of the past. It cannot solve our present problem. Oral provocations create only conflict not peace. Oromo love peace. They all know that even their Oromo lackeys are not afraid of conflict. Hence, trying to understand one another could save the volatile situation from further aggravating.

In the 1960s some Habashaa group realized this line of thought is no more convincing with so much counter information revealed. Just like their “hue and cry” of “Christian island” being surrounded, time has also made this one obsolete. So they designed presentation of the issue in such a way that their imperial objectives are not affected.  They introduce the theory of class struggle in which they will be the leaders and faked recognizing the right of nations and nationalities to self-determination to hoodwink the naive. When that failed they relapsed into their old feudal thinking. No education and no political experience could cleanse them from nostalgia for their good old days. Their contempt for the colonized peoples and inability to change the course of history is making them bizarre in their approach to any discourse. They are unable to separate daydream from reality.

To fight for ones right is not an assault on peace loving peoples or is it transnational. Oromiyaa is a territory occupied by force. It is never a part of any country in the neighborhood. Even the Habashaa hero that conquered Oromiyaa for them recognized it as a separate entity. Had Oromiyaa been even a part of any country, could that be a cause to deny her right to national self-determination, which is an internationally recognized human right? There is nothing to justify continuation of illegal occupation of a national territory of another and abuse of over a century, by people that has different history, culture, language and psychological makeup. Emotionally charged tirades only aggravate animosity and cannot change the facts.  The solution is to size oneself to own territory and live in peace and harmony with ones neighbors and the world.

Contrary to orientations of disciples of old daftaraa (cleric) the Oromo have a different history to tell. They belong to the Cushitic language group, a group that is rooted in the eastern part of Africa to the west of the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.  They are people with proud African civilization and a political system which those disciples fail to understand because it is too sophisticated and far different from the monarchic and Coptic systems they were socialized into.   The Oromo had lived from Mediterranean Sea to the equator. That was why Habashaa king was advised to claim up to Lake Victoria in the scramble for Africa. It is said that Oromo’s reference to “utubaa janjaro” (the pillar of janjaro) in their blessings indicate their knowledge of Mount Kilimanjaro. They lived in the zone as builders, writers, rulers, herders, farmers, miners, well diggers etc. Today they are limited to their base, Oromiyaa.

In Oromiyaa there are few people that live among the Oromo belonging to different ethnic groups. Among them are remnants of the occupation army and the horde that flocked with them usually referred to in general as Nafxanyaa. Except for those whom daftaraa disciples poisoned their minds most of these considered themselves as Oromiyaans and lived in harmony with the Oromo. Oromo have no problem with them as long as they are satisfied to live as commoners and do not serve colonial interest. Because their ancestors migrated under the colonial army, they speak Amharic and most of them are Christian and they consider themselves as Habashaa. In reality they could have originated in other ethnic groups and recruited into the kings’ army. That being as it may, it is up to them to trace their ethnic origin, for others they are ethnically what they consider themselves to be. But since they have no recognized home or land else where they belong to where they find themselves. That is where they have rights and duties to defend where they are, in this case Oromiyaa, as members of that community. To fight on the side of the Ethiopian empire against that community is to fight against their own interest. Therefore to choose whichever side they want is up to them. All the rules of heroism and quislings apply to them as they apply to all Oromiyaans.

The Oromo are peace loving people. Their ethical norm “safuu” guides them in all their human relations. All forms of oppression and injustice are opposed by them vehemently. Accusing them for the things they do not entertain emanates from malevolence rooted in ignorance. Instead of helping in development of their home land some Habashaa elites waste their time in trying to regain control of Oromiyaa. That is why they set up conditions that put those following them meekly in harm’s way and accuse others for possible backlash caused from natural reaction. If that fails they will not stop crying “foul!” even at the belch of their babies. Out of numerous counties in Oromiyaa they got only two places, Baddannoo and Arbaguugguu to accuse Oromo activists for. They heard but did not verify about so called atrocities committed at those spots. It is not yet independently verified as to who provoked and who killed who. For the Oromo the Arbaguugguu incident was provoked by the chauvinists who share more responsibility for lives lost. On all sides if what happened was based on national policy or local spontaneous events needs to be verified.  And it should have been treated as such rather than using it for political benefit as opposed to concern for human life. Time will shame such culprits.

Baddannoo incident was staged by the rulers to marginalize the OLF. As far as the Oromo is concerned Baddannoo was OLF liberated area where all ethnic groups lived in harmony before it was over taken by TPLF. OLF on its arrival at Baddannoo run all inclusive election for town government without discrimination based on ethnicity which for that time would have been justified. If they approach

present problems with the slogan “aramanee” (brutal heathen) coined by their ancestors to rally the uninformed, they are denying posterity the building of trust required among neighbors.  Among TPLF reported deaths at Baddannoo there were Oromo. Some reported dead were alive and those exhibited were fresh corps which should have created a grain of doubt in the minds of the accusers if OLF that has left the area earlier could have done it? Therefore it is wise to verify facts before coining another malicious hateful propaganda. The Oromo are as we mentioned, people bound by safuu. Their fight is with the armed occupier not unarmed innocent individuals. Therefore they would like for any atrocity to be investigated before tarnishing their good name.

The same people that accused Oromo activist for so few deaths justified the mass massacre over all Oromiyaa by Minilik as something noble for formation of the empire. They are still telling us they will kill us to maintain their hegemony. They do not even realize that it is the backlash of those massacres that is now rocking their empire. Their error emanates from the political socialization they were subjected to as kids. Like all colonial masters they justified their abuses with their civilizing mission. They are expecting gratitude for that not protests. To the contrary Oromiyaa was more advanced than the Habashaa at that time in farming, animal breeding, metallurgy, pottery, masonry, tannery, weaving, forging, handicrafts etc. and democratic governance. Only one that has advanced technology can claim to be in a position to civilize. Even that does not justify abuse. For sure they had a crude alphabet which did not go beyond the palace and church gates. That is to their credit but it took them a hundred years to produce 5% literates in the whole empire. Therefore the rhetoric of “civilizing mission” does not hold water. The backwardness is no mistake of the great Habashaa people but the elite that had kept them in darkness to dominate them and are committing crimes against the neighbors in their name. They are still continuing in that trend to keep peoples apart.

Every nation and nationality has its own country and everlasting neighborhood. Let alone the neighborhood all countries around the globe are interdependent. Such interdependences are expected to be mutual and no one should be subservient or master to the others. Peaceful democratic countries that abide by the rule of law can take their relations to higher level on their own will. It is only not recognizing the sovereign right of a people on their own land that can lead to conflict. Oromiyaa had never joined the Habashaa Empire from her own will. Oromo individuals and groups have served the Habashaa state starting not later than the 14th century. But they served in their individual or group capacity not representing the nation. They were “ashkar” loyal servants, serving with or without remunerations. Even today there are ashkar disguised as parties with Oromo label on their back. That could be a glitch in liberation movement of the nation but cannot stop the drive to form an Independent Democratic Republic Oromiyaa. The Oromo have existed independently from time immemorial as sovereign as any sovereign people could be with their own set of laws and ethos under Gadaa democratic system.

Many facts about Oromiyaa were suppressed and sealed by the colonizers and their conspirators. Now the world is changing. Even the technologically highly developed country in the world cannot for certain keep its secrets absolutely sealed let alone the underdeveloped empire. Whatever so

far remained in darkness about the Oromo, their civilization, their societal structures, political and scientific endeavors are now out for everyone to know. Habashaa elites and Ethiopianists are now at lose for they could no more be the gate to knowledge of that region.  Their sources and their reference materials are now under question. Even their concept of human rights is based on norms in the kings laws “Kibra Nagast” originated in Coptic Egypt. Most Ethiopianists are too old to adjust to the change. They cannot also bear the shame of glossing over criminal acts of Habashaa colonizers that are now forcing their ways out.

The Oromo were forbidden for over a hundred years to use their language in public but now they can learn, write, read and speak it anywhere thanks to sacrifices of their heroes and heroines. The amount of literature, arts, researches and different written and audiovisual materials that had been produced in the past twenty years is witness to how much was denied to the world by keeping the wisdom of such grand people suppressed. Efforts of Oromo nationals to reach their compatriots through various media using the internet are indicators of their awakening. The Afaan movement reflects hope. The direct beaming of information to Oromiyaa through airwaves as of this year is a great achievement by young Oromo. Many have said “kudos!” to Madda Walaabuu Media Foundation and Oromiyaa Media network. Visionaries have started to envisage free democratic Oromiyaa where all citizens irrespective of nationality, ethnic group, gender and creed shall live in peace and happiness under the rule of law.  No one can give assurance for better life than children of Warra Abbaa Gadaa.

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!

March 2014

Ibsaa Guutama

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