Habasha myth and peoples’ liberation
In olden times it is customary for rulers to claim mystic origins different from their people. Such origins have some divine trait to justify limitless power for the man at the head, the king. That was how the Solomonic dynast of Abyssinia was told to have been created by a book composed in Egypt, called “Kibira Nagast”. It claims for Habasha kings an origin that traces to King Solomon of Israel. A son was born from out of wedlock romance between the king and the Queen of Sheba when she came to visit him from somewhere in the South as told. Queen of Sheba is known only through religious books of the Middle East and there is no history book that mentions her or her exact country. That is why she is claimed by Arabs and African alike. Even then her committing adultery with King Solomon and having a son was not mentioned in the religious books. That is why many believe that Minilik I was a creation of the Coptic Church to have permanent influence on Habashaa Kings and never existed as presented. His name started to appear in the said document, Kibra Nagast, for the first time. Thus everything surrounding him and his mother is myth told over and over by generations of Habashaa clerics known as daftaraa.
The myth had served the Habashaa ruling clique to rule over their people with fear of the heavenly and iron fist. The people are never citizens with full rights over their individual life and national affairs. They were subjects that pay tributes and serve the rulers without question. The clerics play great role in cramming down the myth and the possible supernatural retribution if doubted into the minds of the masses making them believe that it would be sin to disobey the rulers, in particular the king. In the last four centuries Habashaa power was never transferred peacefully. Kings were overthrown by individuals that declare themselves kings. Except for those daredevils there were rare mass movements to overthrow the kings for they are under the fear of divine retribution. Even movement like that in Goojjam in 1960s targeted the Governor General Tsahayuu Inqusillaasee’s harsh rule not the Emperor.
The kings were presented as demigod throughout their history until the over throw of Emperor Haile Sillaasee. With the last emperor a saturation point was reached where people started doubting the sinfulness of rebellion against injustice. In earlier times the chief priest from Alexandria can condemn the rebellion or untie the people from allegiance to the king. That was what the church did to Iyyaasuu; it untied the people from allegiance to him. To over throw the last emperor no priest interference was required because the chief priest was also under threat for it was not individual rebellion but mass revolution that came to change the setup of the monarchical rule. That be as it may the reverence for those holding power still persists among the Habashaa masses. It is a bone deep ethos that does not easily get erased.
Through the years prior to that many changes have taken place. Many independent nations were annexed to Habashaa kingdom by force. Except for the land holding system, all autocratic vices of governance were transplanted to the colonies. The world’s technology and needs have started to grow in leaps and bounds. Africa was divided among alien colonizers. The world had carried out two world wars. These have prompted the demand for liberation and freedom by oppressed and colonized peoples of the world. But still they are the sly elites that dominate the political fields in Habashaa land. Power is yet far off from the people. It would have been advantageous for all oppressed peoples of the empire had the Habasha people asserted their right to be governed by those they truly elect. However waiting until they do that or fighting for them to achieve democratic rule cannot be a precondition for others to be free. To negotiate with a democratic state about freedom would have been easier than dealing with bunches of undemocratic dictators. For development, regional understanding and proper governance of the Horn of Africa the existence of democratic states can be the only warranty.
Unable to cop up with the new situation the emperor has to give way. Though the major role for the change was played by the colonies, power did not go to them for they were not organized. The occupation army took over and filled offices with new class. Some members of the old ruling class took individual actions opposing the change. But they were easily crushed because the oppressed sided with the junta. The remaining landed gentry were easily cajoled to get in line and pledge allegiance to the new order. The new rulers asserted that the source of power is not Devine but the people. But “One Ethiopia or Death” slogan was adopted assuring Darg’s loyalty to the empire state reassuring the Habasha people. Thus at least formally the Solomonic legend was mostly demystified. The new regime and its left leaning cohorts echoed after Mao Zedong that “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” making their heritage more clear. They are going to impose their rule with power of the gun alone unlike the ancient Nafxanyaa that used the gun plus the Cross. The same principle is adhered to down to the present day.
The Darg was forced out of power in the same way it came, by the power of the gun. For those that replaced them just like their predecessors, negotiation for the dissolution and sanctity of the empire was off the table. For the colonies nothing short of its destruction could answer their question. But a make believe policy that recognize peoples’ rights was put into a charter. The traditional power sharing practice between the two major Habashaa groups, Amaaraa and Tigrawayi was not respected. Tigray went alone to exploit the colonies for benefit of individual rulers and fringe benefit of their region. The causes that led to over throw of the different Habashaa regimes are not yet addressed. Material deprivation of the masses in the mother country is still continuing except for the especial advantage Tigray got at the expense of others. Amaaraa elites have turned blind eye to their people’s plight while focusing on how to snatch away Oromiyaa from their cousins.
As for the colonies their resources are busy building infrastructure of Tigray. Roads, electric power, health facilities, defense force etc are mushrooming. Education facilities that produce future leaders for the empire with exclusive curriculum are said to be flourishing in Tigray alone. For the colonies nothing significant was done. Even plans for infrastructure development started by the emperor are not completed. The previous regimes, including the Italians built roads to the colonies so that as much resources and services as possible are sifted out. From that Oromiyaa had some trickled benefits though incomparable to what colonial masters gained from it. The present ones added nothing to it to deny the indigenous smooth access to information and market. As long as they have power over the market they can force low prices on products and higher communication and transport cost locally. That gives them monopoly over movement of wealth of the colonies. The policy that allowed for land grabbing has brought in voracious groups that may side with Wayyaanee in defense of their investment, there by prolonging the subjugation of Oromiyaa and its neighbors with possible fast extinction of some minorities already on the verge.
Habashaa rulers have managed their own people with unending terror. The conquest of new land might have relieved the age old internal tension. Able bodied men were given the opportunity to share in the colonial spoils. They were infatuated by their new gains, power, land, hunting grounds, vegetation, water, gold and other natural resources and above all free labor. The rulers and their followers were guided by intuition not knowledge. They took for granted the new land and never went back to alleviate the agony of those who are still suffering under brutal rule of petty chiefs they left behind. They feed the people only with false hopes and grandeur and fame they brought for them internationally. Those are the Nafxanyaa parasites that had been reaping without sawing for over a century. It never clicks their minds that a time will come that they will be demanded to hand over to the owners all their loots. When that time arrives they know they have nowhere to go and no one to turn to. Whatever they had looted will return to the legitimate owners from wherever they were stashed. This they know and it is its nightmare that is driving them crazy terrorists in order to live a day more.
Despite the myth’s falling apart conspirators are trying to patch them together. They mix up history of ancient Kush (Nuubiyaa) cited by Greek historians and the religious books of the Middle East, with that of recent Abyssinia to confuse world public opinion. Still Ethiopia’s colonial nature is being suppressed by dishonest writers, politicians and diplomats. They tell of Ethiopia maintaining her independence untouched by “The Scramble for Africa”. But they do not tell of which Ethiopia they are talking. If they are talking of Abyssinia, that may be true. Abyssinia had participated in the Scramble for Africa. It is only racist mind that denies this. Free countries like Afar, Ogaadeeniyaa, Wala’ita, Sidaamaa, Kaficho, Oromiyaa and all the counties south of Habashaa land were colonized then with support of other colonizer buddies. Now is the time to write the true history of the region of which Habashaa is one among the many. This truth must be a part of freedom fighters manual. One has to know the driving force behind the enemy that makes it selflessly greedy and brutal. Now Ethiopian empire has become good only for history books for it cannot keep one people subservient to another anymore.
Descendants of the first “Nafxanyaa” in Oromiyaa were the most privileged members of the society distinctly different from the indigenous people around them. They were owners of land and most of the wealth it produced. That land based economic wealth came to an end with land proclamation of 1975. But their umbilical cord with the empire state was not totally severed. Most were still trusted more than the oppressed for which the revolution claimed to come. But still they were hard hit by the revolution in general terms. That be as it may, the colonial state cannot escape the responsibility by changing its name and ideology, not descendents of the first Nafxanyaa. It is the one that has to apologize and redressed all harms done. As for the descendants no one can deny them being an Oromiyaan if they desire so. But if they are still the bragging types by the broken bones and spilt blood of their forebears in the process of colonization it could be considered “rubbing salt on a wound”. But for those that stand for justice and equality there is nothing to fear from independent free Oromiyaa. Because they were born in Oromiyaa for most of them there is no other country to claim or better relations they could depend on. To support free Oromiyaa or continuation of the empire is their individual choice.
The problem in which descendant of the first Nafxanyaa find themselves in, needs to be addressed by liberation activists. Given from what they were told at bed side story or as indoctrination at schools, any change in the status quo can be freighting for they were not told about Oromo accommodativeness at the same time. Throughout their lives they had been seeing Oromo the dehumanized and timid not the real one. The real one is not vengeful but brave and passionate; to make peace is the arena of the brave and true offspring of the Gadaa fathers.
It must be understood that the sacrifices the oppressed made are not to oppress others in turn. It is to bring peace, freedom and happiness for all Oromiyaans irrespective of ethnicity or past records. Descendants of the first Nafxanyaa are being hammered from left and right by false history and gruesome consequences if the colonies were freed. That is daily reinforced by continuous propaganda of those that are not personally affected but have something to gain from chaos that may ensue. The struggle for liberation is not based on ethnicity. It is the demand for, liberation from alien domination, justice, freedom and equality. The Nafxanyaa descendant may be answerable for their own folly like all Oromiyaans not for their forefathers. As for ethnicity of the Nafxanyaa for many of them it is all a myth that their forefathers were made to accept of being Amaaraa, whether they were recruited from Abyssinia or Oromiyaa. Purposely they have made Amaaraa synonymous with Orthodox Christianity to which most gun wielders are proselytized, to keep Oromo Nafxanyaa apart from the Waaqeffataa and Muslim indigenous. It is up to them to verify if racism has anything to do with the Oromo question and even if they were real Habashaa before they are thrown to fright by made up ethnic cleansing scarecrow.
Otherwise, to join a group that denies Oromoo having land in Africa would be, denying one’s own identity or self-hatred. It will also be denying Minilik’s claim that is on record of his being “Emperor of Abyssinia and the Oromo countries”. The first Nafxanyaa had destroyed more than half the population, their sovereignty, culture, language, national identity and tradition mercilessly. That is all remembered for its historic value not to affect generations that are not responsible. But anyone that continues with that animosity and contempt for the colonial peoples even under the present situation cannot escape being responsible for condoning criminal actions.
There cannot be peace, stability and development in the region without the rule of law, democracy and freedom. The colonizer has nothing to gain from peace and stability of the region. Rule of law, democracy and freedom for all does not give it exclusive access to resources. Therefore it will not accept the right of nations to national self-determination that includes independence of the colonies which is a democratic right. In addition losing authority for those that abused human rights while in power makes them vulnerable to the wrath of justice. For these reasons it is highly unlikely for it to give up power willingly. Therefore for activists to waver at every turn is no solution, only firm stand could lead to victory. Peoples’ right is not something that one gives to another but is a birth right recognized by Assembly of nations. Today political forces of Oromiyaa are not well organized to enforce their nation’s rights but spontaneous people’s movements for liberation are fast rolling. Whether liberal Oromo or fundamentalist Habasha like it or not, the struggle for independence will never stop. OLF can stand only for independence as its program dictates and for nothing short of that as long as it remains OLF.
The following is UN resolution 3070 of 30, November 1973 for everyone to know:
The General Assembly ∙∙∙
1. Reaffirms the inalienable right of all people under colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation to self-determination, freedom and independence in accordance with General Assembly resolutions 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960, 2649 (XXV) of 30 November 1970 and 2787 (XXVI) of 6 December 1971;
2. Also reaffirms the legitimacy of the peoples' struggle for liberation from colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation by all available means, including armed struggle;
3. Calls upon all States, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and with relevant resolutions of the United Nations, to recognize the right of all peoples to self-determination and independence and to offer moral, material and any other assistance to all peoples struggling for the full exercise of their inalienable right to self-determination and independence;
Frightening the masses with the divine power of kings has already eclipsed. Then all the dirty policies of the kings were covered up under the saying “Kings make no mistake” and they were presented as fountains of justice with no flaws. Now with that myth broken leaders of the empire stand naked and their naked force exposed. They cannot distance themselves from implementation of their oppressive inhuman policies. Rule of law had never been a concern of Habasha rulers though there were traditional redress mechanisms in the ancient ones. The present ones have full control over all mechanism and it is only them that are judges for their actions. Therefore to save the Habasha from abuse of power, peoples of the colonies from dehumanization and extermination they have to go. To be ruled by rude gangsters is sin. Wayyaanee is on its way out soon forced by its own mistakes and corruption. But the question Oromo liberators have to answer is what next?
The cry of “terrorism” for Wayyaanee is one of the methods to get aid and attention from western countries in particular USA. But how long should the tax payer’s money prop a corrupt unsustainable dying system? The truth is there is no terrorism in Ethiopia except for the incumbent government itself. It is to hide its true terrorist nature and win appreciation when it kills and imprisons so many people for being terrorists. Actually they were not terrorists but Oromo; it is terrorizing them not to dare ask for justice. Under the pretext of fighting terrorism they fulfill their objective of keeping the Oromo nation under subjugation with the material and moral support they get. The vanguard political organization Oromo have, the OLF is branded terrorist to smear any dissenting Oromo voice as members of OLF and therefore “terrorist”!
Reports of human right organization had exposed the Ethiopian government of abusing its people in particular the Oromo. Oromo are law abiding peace loving people with democratic tradition. To which ever religion they might belong so far no extremism is observed among the Oromo. All believers understand their place and role within the Oromo national political setting. There Gadaa background seems never forgotten when it comes to maintain peace and conciliation (Nagaa and Araaraa). They were good fighters and good peace makers prior to all indoctrinations. Still they have the stamina to fight and to make peace but for freedom and independence of their country, Oromiyaa, not for “clash of civilization”. Unlike the Habashaa their civilization was known for accommodativeness. No religion or religious sect had ever been considered as second class citizen in Oromiyaa while religious segregation is obvious in Abyssinia from time immemorial as opposed to what they lecture to the world.
That has to be understood as not to be swayed by Wayyaanee smear campaign. The Oromo are victims of Wayyaanee terror not vis-versa. Oromiyaa is the country of the brave. The brave believe in fair play at any time. No violence should be used against the unarmed and there is no terrorizing the not aware innocent civilian. That is the skill Wayyaanee is trained for. That is what it is carrying out on the Oromo and crying of Oromo being “terrorists”. Oromo can be called terrorist only if resisting alien subjugation can be termed so. Be that what it may the Oromo will continue fighting with the occupation army of aliens until their right for national self-determination up to and including independence is realized.
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!