We fled but could not escape

It is long since the Oromo rebelled and started to defend itself against colonial harsh rule Enemy cruelty continued increasing by folds since it started organizing and strengthening it resistance. Political suppression and economic plunder imposed on the nation denied the youth to live in peace. Imprisonment, torture and killings started to get out of bounds. As a result when they could not live in their country in peace they started to seek for solutions. Many in different countries started to organize means of escape and transportation clandestinely to benefit from such human mishaps. For survival of their line relatives started to collect aid and give provision for their loved ones. They were many that crossed boundary of the empire by paying whatever it cost. Closing their eyes they flocked to escape from abuse in their country without knowing what might wait for them on the other end. Their aim was first to reach countries like Kenya, South Africa; Arab countries through Djibouti and Somalia; and Europe through Sudan and North African countries. Very few reached the desired destination, many perished in route.

Those that went to Kenya hoped the UN would resettle them in Western countries. Because of the great influx of refugees to Kenya resettlement started to drag and take much time. As a result many left and headed through dangerous routes to South Africa. Before reaching there that many were eaten by wild animals, drowned in waters, abused, imprisoned etc was told periodically. Because the Sudan route had the same peril similar incidents beheld those that took that way to reach Libya and Egypt. Many of those that tried to reach Israel through Egypt were slain in the desert and their internal organs sold as spare parts were also heard. Those that reached Libya during Gadhafi’s era though discriminated and despised by individuals they were able to work for their living until they reach their intended destination. Many that went to Somalia were followed by Wayyaanee were killed and it took back to its country those spared only to subject them to suffering. In particular those that fled to Puntland other than being handed over to Wayyaanee observed indifferently when hate groups burned with fire Oromo nationals that went to them for protection.

Promising to help them escape from Wayyaanee and Puntland unobserved, they loaded them on unworthy boat to Yemen after charging exorbitant amount of money but many were drowned on the way without a trace. Similar ventures did not stop; preferring to try their chance even under risk of drowning than to continuing living the Oromo way. And more catastrophes are taking place than previous times. Boats that carry immigrants from Libya to Europe are also facing similar danger with those of Yemen again and again.

These days shocking news are reaching from South Africa and Libya. What happened in South Africa emanated from hatred for refugees from other parts of Africa and from Asia. Many homes and shops belonging to those immigrants were looted and burnt down and several immigrant lives were lost. Unemployment rate in that country is said to be well above 24%. It is said, the people complain about the immigrants stealing their jobs. That many South Africans lived scattered all over Africa only yesterday during apartheid era is already forgotten. For a country praised as a powerhouse of African economy to reach a level where it cannot control the fury of its own people seems to be an indicator of bad times ahead for Africa and the world. For immigrants of Oromo and other peoples of the empire that amounts to jumping from fire to land only in boiling caldron.

The killing of their strong man and destruction of the system he built might have given benefit for those that destroyed it; as for Libya it did not become a country since. The man had forcefully brought tribes with different interest under one rule. With his demise all were dismantled and started shooting at each other from their bunker. Now, it has advanced beyond that and become a land where fanatic groups like ISIS and Al-Qaida are making efforts to implement their policies. Nothing positive but only negative is taking place. The reported slaying of Christians from Ethiopia is difficult to understand what it benefits and who might be behind it. One will not perform such atrocity without return. Slaying poor travelers who flee their country unable to live in peace affect only those left at home, parents, siblings, and relatives not anybody they complain about. This action has infuriated many peace loving people around the world. The Oromo are both Christians as well as Muslims. For this reason they all are equally affected by those slain and those awaiting their turns to be slaughtered. Because Oromo are numerous they are found in all mishaps.

In Yemen too, many Oromo nationals are cornered lacking a place to run to and an opening to escape through. When Arabs on Arabs and Yemeni tribes on Yemeni show cruelty it will not be difficult to imagine what could happen when it comes to aliens. What can be done for now and what about for tomorrow? To start brainstorming fast is now. Starting from when the Yemeni run away from colonizers until they got independence the Oromo had hosted them with love and care. They have married from and into them. That remained only memory of yesteryears. Many Oromo shared their faith but that did not reward them with preferential treatment. Oromo youth that run to them for protection, found themselves in boundless difficulty. Relations with Saudi and Djibouti were similar. But they have given back their Muslim co-religious even during the Darg, to a government that had denied existence of God. That shows that national interest of a country supersedes having common faith and being in-laws. The Oromo be them Waaqeffataa, Muslim or Christians have no one to depend on except each other. In common, they have country, history culture and tradition. No one will be expected for the rescue if not each other.

Above it is tried to touch on some of the happenings. When such disaster befalls our nationals the remaining should have deliberated on it and came out with decision that could serve as a solution. The Oromo have many political, economic and social organizations that had been there for long. But they are unable to break out of different entanglements and help each other. They ought to discuss in groups in a manner convenient to them as to what would be better. In particular much is expected from political organizations. More hope is placed on them to coordinate and deploy the force the nation could generate in order to protect Oromo interest and reach for those in difficulty. But they themselves seem to need being rescued. Delaying until they are out of depression is to sanction further calamity.

In particular if Oromo nationals out of their country get organized for help and rescue, it could be a panacea for what is happening now, for possible catastrophe to come and for the continuing of Oromummaa in foreign land. Instead of running up and down in search of water and branches to extinguish fire, it is better to make borehole ready before hand. One that has organization can reach wherever one wants be it through land or the sky. In general it is one who is determined to take necessary risk that achieves something. Peace and freedom cannot be achieved without daring to take risk.

The root cause for problems of nationals that flee their country is colonial system led by dictators. Killings, exile, hunger and terror cannot go away from the people unless this cause is uprooted. A country less person has nowhere to appeal or no one to sympathize with him/her. His/her death cannot move feelings even equal to that for a fly. That is why one is slain kneeling; left in a burning house; thrown from a boat to become feed for fishes; and one is loaded on broken boat and left to his destiny. To be free from such a debacle the root cause has to be uprooted; that demands to get organized swiftly. Today those who are fleeing are subjected to suffering. Tomorrow it will be the turn of those that think they have escaped the sufferings and are relaxing. The world is shaking, it is difficult to predict where it is heading.

But those that are on first line of vulnerability are those that settled last. To search for a way out for those who are in trouble today amounts to preparing for whatever might happen on one tomorrow. Therefore time of awakening for immigrants is now. Let those that selfishness and narrowness closed their eyes wakeup and keep them open and reexamine themselves. Time to choose between alternatives of being spared or getting destroyed together will not be far off. Encouraging those we have to come to their senses, let us build our capabilities more to get stronger. Running tears is of no solution for problems one is in. The first attempt we make towards a solution is what gives hope. For this reason for Oromo Communities and Oromo NGOs in the world, to start coordinating each other’s efforts in the field of their operation is now.

This must be the time when Oromummaa come out and unite all. Unless short term plan is drawn to rescue nationals from problems at home and in foreign land, all are on the verge of perishing. This will not be a lasting solution. The system that caused their fleeing and abuse has to get uprooted. Otherwise many youngsters are going to face similar problems all over again. Those that can flee the country are the strong and productive. Those that are spared death and imprisonment are little ones and old people who are easily abused and have no energy for production. The sorrow and the suffering that befell are on all Oromo. However the grieving is greater on parents, siblings and close relatives. All Oromo are expected to remain strong and help them overcome their grief. Their blood will not remain unavenged; it will not be far off when its primary cause shall be destroyed.

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
April 2015

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