Oromo Struggle is Struggle of all the Oppressed
Oromo people are among four African peoples that have the largest population (over 30 million). All the peoples of Africa were colonized and fell under aliens flags. It was then that Oromiyaa was occupied to fall under the green yellow and red flag of a neighbor called Abyssinia, which was agent of overseas aliens. Since abuses against them were committed carrying this flag, there will be no peace untill it is removed away. What made Habasha different from those that came from overseas is its being in the neighborhood and it’s having black skin color. What makes it similar with them is it’s being armed with weapons and expertise from imperialist countries of Europe and Russia. Its being a member of the coalition to partition countries of the horn and agreeing on border lines there, is another similarity. Even though Ethiopian clerics tried to twist this truth to distort history they were not successful. The question now is not of history but of who is now asking to get back the rights unjustly lost to occupation? That Oromiyaa was under occupation for more than a century is obvious. But it has not been like now, under direct military rule with undeclared Marshall Law. The make believe civilian ruling agents of EPRDF (the OPDO) no more pretend to administer the region.
Oromo individuals had largely contributed to the occupation of Oromiyaa and grandeur of Ethiopian Empire. There was nothing strange about that, for there is no colonized country that did not contribute man power to armies of colonizers. The Allied powers had used soldiers from The Sudan Belgium Congo and and other colonies to chase out Italian forces. In the same way, that Italy had used fighters from Libya, Eritrea and Somalia in its wars with Ethiopian empire is only a recent history. Those individuals did not represent their countries but were either forced or hired to do the job. That was how Oromo nationals were rounded up by force not saying Ethiopia or death as some wanted to present, to participate in colonial wars against Oromiyaa, Ogden, Tigray and Eritrea,. Around this writer’s birth place, quota of minimum one person for one house was laid down to march to Maycawu under colonial warlord. Though they had shown great valor at all engagemenst they participated in, as a nation they had fallen not for lack of courage but formidable preparation.
Oromo had never lived under Itophiyaa willingly. As a nation they have history, language, territory and culture different from them. Because they had greater population than them, it is unlikely to say they voluntarily submitted to minority. It is clear that they remained occupied to this day with power of the gun. Court advisors to Habasha government want abuses and rule by terror committed against Oromo to remain hidden. They want to cover up that Habashaa kings cut Oromo limbs and hanged them on their necks; threw them down cliffs in mass; cut tongues that they cannot call for prayers (izan); cut arms and breasts to hang from road side tree so that passersby can see and submit from terror and so many genocidal opperetions like those at Calanqoo Calii, Sibuu and Buunnoo. Habasha persons that are heir to those criminal governments and their opportunist historians have to know that they failed in erasing those from Oromo memories despite over a century’s efforts. They failed to transform the victims brought together by the gun to their own image. Such crime did not cease but continued to this day. The Oromo do not expect colonial intellectuals to write their history for them but will write it themselves whenever they get the opportunity. As not to forget, Oromo heroes and heroines fallen by injustice as well as the injustice and perpetrators, building memorial statues will continue.
It is long since Oromo people started to ask for their liberation. They want like all colonized people their right to national self determination to be realized. The region cannot get peace until this demand gets positive response. The powers did not show interest to harm done to the peoples except maintain all together for advantage of influencing for their own benefits. In the same manner Africa leaders are not showing interest in resolving ethnic and nationality problems inherited from colonizers. To govern they rely on foreign powers than on the will of their own peoples. These governments of Africa formed a union and have agreed to respect colonial heritage. Because most of them are authoritarians they are buddies. Instead of developing their own language they even use languages of former colonial masters. Only Ethiopia uses its own language because it is a colonial power. It had also been forcing the colonies to use its language. There are its colonial elites that willingly declined, even when the right to use their language was regained.
Africa cannot be free unless built upwards from component peoples. So far power is imposed from above downwards following colonial models even after their countries were declared independent. Ethiopia is ever authoritarian, let alone colonies, their own people do not expect to share power. If African people could participate in governance they could create an unmovable foundation for future union of Africa based on people’ will. Oromiyaa has vision to be member of such a union. But it understands the need for revolutionary movement to liberate minds that lived under domination for so long. It is only a liberated mind that can bring about revolutionary change not opportunist waverers and quitors. They are such that identify with and admire values of the enemy and rally to prevent it from falling like some Oromo activists. They will never be successful but remain stupefied.
Habasha people had never lived according to their will. Its government was one that came with force and exited in the same way. What was common for the ruling class was the Orthodox Church and crown called “Zawud”. Myths were formed for those in foreign lands. The root of the Church was in Egypt’s Copt. Up until the reign of Kings of Kings Haila Sillaasee its Patriarch used to come from there. According to the then existing law one third of Habasha land was under the Patriarch. The king was also anointed and crowned by him. Therefore it means both spiritual and temporal powers were invested by foreigners. The Monarch also tried to tie his/her blood line to King Solomon of Judah. The people had no choice except accepting these institutions that claim foreign origin. Since it was told that things happened with will of God to doubt that could amount to doubting God’s power. At times, individuals rebel and if they win they get anointed and claim the same foreign source for legitimacy and so elect of God. And they never mention their people as having any relation with their power. With myth they numb the people and force them to remain loyal to them.
In this way Habasha elites made themselves separate from the people and lived oppressing them. Propaganda that passed from generation to generation without interruption, brain washed the people in such a way that no education can erase it out to this day. The people have never known freedom and so cannot reflect it from their memory. They have to meekly obey who so ever comes to power. This is the problem with Habasha elites even after the monarchy was gone. They still think in the same old way and keep on rehersing false history formed for propaganda purpose. In particular those who finished their lessons in traditional religious schools, however long they crummed modern education, they are unable to get rid of falsehood stuffed into them as kids.
By such pumped up fake arrogance they want detract people that fell under them a hundred years ago. They never took their numbers into concideration since they took themselves as the wise and them as the ignoramus. They used to brag “One Habashaa can drive thousands of them”. They did not realize that it was the gun not them that was driving. They forgot that they heard the word “wanne” (stamina) from Oromo. Oromo people are tolerant. Measures they take depend on possible consequences. They take hardship to give the enemy a chance of changing, until they have little distance left from death. But the enemy refused to change and continued with oppression and contempt. That threatened their survival and so they are forced to make surprise move. After exhausting all effort for peace they moved to show colonizers determination and commitment they never dreamt of. It was after that, though with grudge, that they started to say Oromo have the truth. The Oromo were blamed as narrow and secessionist. But now they are talking on their behalf that “Oromo did not say we will secede”. When they recognized ridiculing do not serve they are trying to win by flattery. But “What do Oromo want”? is not yet asked. No need, because there are Oromo that are out to humiliate Oromo more than them by ethiopianizing the struggle for which Oromo youth is paying heavy sacrifice.
Oromo population is greater than all minorities of the colonies combined. It is estimated hat around eighty languages are being spoken in the empire. Most ethnic groups that spoke those languages are counted only in thousands. Few are in hundreds. They could not develop since the colonizer eradicated or enslaved half of their population. Because most of them were marginalized and denied opportunity for education their life did not change from what they were before occupation. These days because their forests, which are part of their life, are being cleared and their land is being sold to the affluent, they are forced to leave space for sugar cane and other plantations. Tigreans are said to be given priority not the displaced natives even for jobs created by that venture. Rivers they used for fishing, irrigating the few plants they needed and other purposes are being harnessed for electric power and also being polluted by different chemicals from plantations. Their being evicted and chased out to inhospitable areas is exposing them to more harm. As ethnic groups they are being threatened by extinction. They are in a situation where they need protection and help from larger neighbors and the world. Otherwise TPLF is going to isolate and erase them in the name of development.
Oromiyaa is the biggest among the colonies. It is the one that supplies the colonizer with natural resources, produces and human power in great amounts. The colonizer suppresses peoples in the region, its own peoples included with manpower it harvests from there; one example is OPDO. It is from occupied Oromiyaa that Habasha government extracts in greater numbers, the stick that it threatens others with. At this moment the colonizer is destroying Oromiyaa with such folks. Oromo have inherited democratic culture. They do not have tradition of oppressing; they have also “Safuu” ethical rules for not abusing the weak. The adage “One that abuses destitute never gets rich” reveals that. Their independence will hold back sticks for dictators and strengthens the camp of those that favor freedom and equality.
From this Oromo tradition one can say liberation of Oromiyaa will be liberation for all peoples including those of the colonizers. Oromo believe keeping natural balance. Let alone human beings, plants and crawling animals have laws not to be harmed without reason. Therefore there is no one better than the Oromo that can help minority ethnic groups survive from extinction, their human rights to be respected and their rights on ancestral land realized. They have also similar problem. The Oromo look at all its neighbors as human beings not as decorations. They have vision that all contribute according to one’s ability and live together with peace and happiness by developing their surroundings.
This writer speaks as if he represents the Oromo because he is a believer in spirit of Gadaa democracy and independence; he is talking about those that believe same not about sigabaa (outcast) and colonizer lovers. The vanguard of Oromo liberation movement, OLF has officially stated this vision of theirs in its amended programs of 1976 and 1998. The kaayyoo that OLF follows is the kaayyoo of independence for the country and freedom for the people. OLF is struggling for founding independent Democratic Republic Oromiyaa. For this reason it supports the right of nations to national self-determination as recognized by international laws. It is only the Oromo people that determine their Destiney not any one including OLF. The OLF does not claim to have the right or the law for it but as an organization (party) it will present to the people what it believes in. Because the people believe in OLF, they are giving it unreserved support. Leadership can get crooked and betray the kaayyoo. When we talk about the belief and love of the people, we meant the original kaayyoo for which heroes and heroines laid down their lives. OLF leadership can have acceptance as long as it did not turn away from that correct line. No one can take away or distort people’s kaayyoo.
National leaders have to make their official stand clear to third parties. It should not be forgotten that thousands are paying heavy sacrifices for that. To say someone may not like such stand and falter can result in losing credibility from all sides. In the first place one has to have objective principle. An objective principle requires determination to pay whatever it costs. Secondly one that has objective should not waver out of shyness. One should make all efforts until the end goal is achieved and should never quit. There are those that say, world powers don’t like this and they don’t like that, as if world powers are going to fight for their liberation. The powers don’t fight for anybody; but they don’t like when objectives of anyone affect their interest. Therefore there is nothing to worry about as long as one doesn’t trespass others boundary. As theirs is interest, the other ones is interest also. In order to avoid one taking imbalanced advantage over the other solution should be found through communication. It is known that the Oromo people have a long history of independence. To be independent or live under one administration or as good neighbors by mutual understanding, they believe is their natural right. This is a principle for which one sacrifices not abandon from shyness.
An empire was superimposed over Oromiyaa around a century and half. Those that built the empire did so by denying Oromiyaa its natural rights and resources. The country and people became property that they can dispose off at will. For that a structure reflecting it was built. Propaganda that dehumanizes and brainwash the people was released for all those years. There are even among those that started resistance movement that suffer from slave mentality unable to liberate themselves. They are trying to save empire kicking for its death by sacrificing convalescing Oromiyaa on it. Oromo youth are being obstacle for their success. As a result they are expressing their worries with sadness more than the Habasha, saying, “Actions of those youth can destroy our country Ethiopia” in a tone known as “more Catholic than the Pope”. In what seems recoded message all try to praise Oromo protesters promising to try to reach on their behalf where their voices are not reaching. In reality they meant “We will try to help those who are not supposed to reach you reach you”. From relations they are forming recently and their declared policy it does not seem they care the least if Oromo struggle is wrecked to save Ethiopian Empire. Let Mercy of Waaq be on them!
We have said that Habasha people have no condition of freedom in their memory. Its rulers have come down for millenniums telling it that they are the ones that know for it representing God. As a result when at present its neighbor Oromiyaa rebelled for freedom and is shaking the government from its foundation, rising for their freedom did not cross their minds. They are only those that want to replace the government that are creating cacophony. They wanted to fan the clash between Amara and Qimant but it didn’t serve them. Though they hoped the Wolqayit tragedy could be an issue the other Amaaraa like Saayintee, Manzee, Goojjamees etc did not rise for alliance. They did not also mind about Oromiyaa for it is secured by their rulers. Because elites wanted to scratch where it did not itch they have no positive response. But Oromo from Raayyaa to Booran, Begii to Baabbillee rose like bees whose hive were disturbed warning let any one touch our Buraayyuu, our Sabbata, our Cillimoo etc. That became the immediate cause to rise and march in common for all harm inflicted on them so far. Henceforth there will be no other detour until independence.
Having a government in power in their name seems to make Habashaa people silent despite daily abuses by TPLF. They change allegiance only if they assure it was overthrown. This revealed one with feeling of superiority without having a cover for one’s butt and another that is humble with no reservation to claim its rights. Otherwise Oromo struggle could have been a great opportunity for freedom from years of suffering and liberation from dictators. Their elites tell them to be proud of Kaasaa Haayiluu, Kaasaa Merca, Adaal and Tafarii. Those are persons that gathered and burned people with fire and those that cut limbs, tongues, hands and breasts. The present one is commiting no less crime than them. If the the previous ones are glorified as heroes there is no reason why the present one condemned as vilain. For the Oromo all are man-eating enemies. They condemn the previous ones and will pay all it costs to chase out the present one from Oromiyaa. It would be difficult to tust those that did not stop condoning deeds of butcher rulers.
The Southern peoples that are colonized as the Oromo had never been free from the killing hands of the Wayyaanee. For example in Hadiyyaa and Kambaataa region concerning elections; genocide on Sidaamaa at Loqqee, on Shako and Mazhangir at Teepii, Nilotic around Oomoo and Gambela etc is still going on. Oromo tasted such genocide for many rounds. However it has now risen to make an end to it. It could have flow and ebb but the revolution wil neve stall. The persivernce of the Oromo will give hope for minorities that are now facing extinction. Oromo liberation struggle is expected to be struggle that opens the way to freedom for all oppressed. Its fall could hurt the whole surrounding. But its success will bring peace and tranquility to the region. What should be known is that Wayyaanee never take into consideration population and territory size when it comes to looting. Building PDO for plundering shows that it will not leave any nationality unless it bites them to the bone. With wrong perceptions some may try to push their people to ally with their enemies and hurt the Oromo; neighbors that lived and worked with them know the generosity and kind heartness of the Oromo nation.
Wayyaanee had rallied many youngsters for struggle in the name of the people. When Revolutionaries that marched under it, found out it was changing the objectives of their struggle, they opposed it only to find many of them purged. The army that it now maintains is not that revolutionary one fighting for a cause but for wages. Therefore Wayyaanee is not that revolutionary democratic Organization committed to the people as when it was in the field, but an authoritarian fascistic organization. It is one that has narrowed down human rights more than its predecessors in preparation for plundering. It has come for twenty five years changing tactics of looting. Part of its model is that of Habashaa governments who had more information than the people they ruled. These days there is no such monopoly on information and it is not possible to lie. Its lies are exposed daily for which it is losing credibility fast. The inability of Wayyaanee to suppress Oromo students protest or to come out with a peaceful solution shows that it had stagnated in time. Since Mallas left them, the leaders do not seem to have one head, but it doesn’t seem even if they have heads, they will think with them at all. Today the world needs leaders that use their heads to maintain peace and stability.
Even the wealthy that flocked from the surrounding and abroad to help TPLF in dislocating Oromo from their homes and plundering their resources are now packing and looking the way out. They came in the first place, without knowing that Wayyaanee has clay feet. Secondly with contempt for the Oromo they ventured into Oromiyaa for immoral act. It is hoped now they have got a lesson that could serve them for the whole of their future life. Those folks that came from Tigray and became millionaires overnight are taking out whatever they can across the sea leaving banks with debts. One who lost trust cannot rule peacefully over a people. We have seen from fall of the Darg that when the army gains awareness guns will become like bunches of fire woods to be carried. Symptoms show that it does not seem far off.
Oversea powers are buying life for Wayyaanee. Those powers are doing that not because they have special love for it but because it has no moral or religious inhibition to protect their interest. It has nobody to fall back to, but them. To support such a group is their standing traditional policy. Wayyaanee present itself as the only partner that can prevent terrorist from cropping up. The Oromo people, Christians, Muslims, or Waaqeffataa have no extremists. They are people that have the ability in all aspects to prevent the birth or taking shelter of evil persons from other areas in their country. To play that role powers need not hunt for minority in that country. The oppressed majority can paralyze Wayyaanee; for this reason it would be better if they could reexamine their so called tradition. Relations they have with Habashaa for long years had made them even not to take into consideration Oromo’s existence. Because that started during the era of imperialism there is no reason why it should not change this time when technological development is advancing and the world is said to be aiming to be one global village. Oromo are refusing to be ruled by minority. Even if they do not ally with Oromo, let them not conspire to make minority continue to dominate Oromiyaa.
Habasha government had never defeated the Oromo at a battle field without foreign help. That it is able to continue occupying Oromiyaa because of continued similar help have supporting evidences. Examples are the uniform, arms and means of transport used by soldiers killing Oromo protesters. Any help will not stop the oppressed from fighting for their rights. When a level where dying and living are equal is reached, desperation could lead to daring death itself. Today Oromo have reached that level. They are trying to regain their lost rights by peaceful struggle. Activists that do not believe in that are encouraging the people to continue in their effort though preserving their rights to armed struggle. Be it as it may, there is no return to the previous position. There is no solution short of independence for oppression they suffered. The region is being destabilized. For that also independence of Oromiyaa is a panacea. Peaceful life, rule of law, equality of human beings etc are their culture. Not only peoples of the colonies but also the peoples of Ethiopia will be freed by independence of Oromiyaa. When that happens Oromo persons serving as sticks for the oppressor will end. If the sticks drop from their hands there shall be no oppressors. Oromo have the culture to make peace and reconciliation and to lead foreign relations according to international laws. They are the most productive, knowledgeable and courageous people in that region but conveniently ignored. Protecting the natural environment is something they got as heritage from ancestors. For this reason they are people that have understanding and capability to maintain good international relations with countries of the world. When they will be accepted as independent people will not be far off. The struggle shall continue, victory is obvious !
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 forefathers!