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Self-Rule: How Decentralized Power, Not Democracy, Will Shape the 21st Century. #Oromia September 30, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Development & Change, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, National Self- Determination, Oromians Protests, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromummaa, Self determination, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia.
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People wave flags symbolizing Catalonia's independence during a demonstration in Catalonia, Spain, on September 11, 2014.

There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. People can no longer be cheated (for long) out of their legitimate aspirations for self-rule.

With all the world’s terrain claimed, one’s gain (of independence) must equal another’s loss (of territorial integrity). Borders can therefore either change violently, or can be softened through devolution.

The map of the world is in perpetual flux, with territories splintering and combining in various configurations. North and South Yemen merged in 1990; Czechoslovakia divorced in 1993. South Sudan seceded in 2011; now there’s talk of North and South Korea reunifying along the model of East and West Germany. The fundamental search for more coherent political entities can bring turbulence, but not always violence.

The Scottish precedent is a harbinger of neither global chaos nor the end of multi-national harmony. In fact, devolution’s dialectical opposite is aggregation. The world may splinter, but it also comes together in new combinations such as the European Union, which ultimately absorbs all the continent’s micro-states into a truly multinational federation. Witness the Balkans, where two decades on from the bloody wars of Yugoslavia’s dissolution, all its former republics have become or are candidates for EU membership. If the world wants to see global solidarity of nations, the tribes may need to win first.

http://www.defenseone.com/threats/2014/09/how-decentralized-power-not-democracy-will-shape-21st-century/95255/

How Decentralized Power, Not Democracy, Will Shape the 21st Century

By Parag Khanna @ The Atlantic, 26 September 2014

 

Last week, the world’s most globe-spanning empire until the mid-20th century let its fate be decided by 3.6 million voters in Scotland. While Great Britain narrowly salvaged its nominal unity, the episode offered an important reminder: The 21st century’s strongest political force is not democracy but devolution.

Before the vote was cast, British Prime Minister David Cameron and his team were so worried by voter sentiment swinging toward Scottish independence that they promised a raft of additional powers to Edinburgh (and Wales and Northern Ireland) such as the right to set its own tax rates—granting even more concessions than Scotland’s own parliament had demanded. Scotland won before it lost. Furthermore, what it won it will never give back, and what it lost it can try to win again later. England, meanwhile, feels ever more like the center of a Devolved Kingdom rather than a united one.

Devolution—meaning the decentralization of power—is the geopolitical equivalent of the second law of thermodynamics: inexorable, universal entropy. Today’s nationalism and tribalism across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East represent the continued push for either greater autonomy within states or total independence from what some view as legacy colonial structures. Whether these movements are for devolution, federalism, or secession, they all to varying degrees advocate the same thing: greater self-rule.

In addition to the traditional forces of anti-colonialism and ethnic grievance, the newer realities of weak and over-populated states, struggles to control natural resources, accelerated economic competition, and even the rise of big data and climate change all point to more devolution in the future rather than less. Surprisingly, this could be a good thing, both for America and the world.

* * *

Woodrow Wilson brought his fierce anti-colonialism to the Paris Peace Conference after World War I, insisting on national self-determination as one of his famous “Fourteen Points.” But stubborn Western Europeans held on to their imperial possessions until World War II bankrupted them. The dismantling of the British and French empires over the course of the 20th century gave birth to more than 75 new countries within four decades. Decolonization was followed by the collapse of the Soviet Union, which created 15 independent states. All told, the jackhammer of devolution has more than tripled the number of countries around the world, from the 51 original member states of the United Nations to its 193 members today.

Strangely, international law as enshrined in the UN Charter appears to work against these trends, strongly privileging state borders as they are as if to freeze the world map in time. But to paraphrase Victor Hugo, there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. People can no longer be cheated (for long) out of their legitimate aspirations for self-rule.

Devolution helps to sensibly reorganize large and unwieldy post-colonial states. Take the example of India, where more than 60 years of independence have brought little development to peripheral and rural states in the east and northeast of the country. Rather than fostering economic growth outside the capital, New Delhi’s priority instead has been imposing either the Hindi (Mahatma Gandhi’s preference) or English languages across the country. But such malign neglect has only stoked devolutionary pressures. Since 1947, the number of states in the Indian federation has doubled, with the 29th (Telangana) created earlier this year. As state boundaries better conform to ethnic and linguistic boundaries, provincial units can focus more on their internal growth, rather than on having to defend themselves against the center. Notice how the second-largest contributor to Indian GDP besides Mumbai’s Maharashtra state is Tamil Nadu, the state that is geographically farthest from notoriously corrupt New Delhi.

Another accelerant of devolution is ubiquitous data. Much as modern nation-states seem to have lost their monopoly on armed forces, so too has evaporated their dominance of information flows and narratives. Call it the triumph of transparency: Whether through free media, leaks, hacks, democracy, or legal pressure, people increasingly know how their countries are run—and crucially how their money is spent. This March, participants in a nonbinding online referendum in Venice overwhelmingly supported an unofficial “declaration of independence” from Italy. The reason? Venice pays 70 billion euros in taxes per year, but receives only a fraction back in fiscal transfers, meaning support from the capital.

Catalonia, with its unique language and centuries of cultural traditions, made similar calculations with respect to Madrid and is set to vote on independence in November. Spain and Italy’s constitutions forbid secession, but to avoid severe internal unrest beyond that which has already beset them since the financial crisis, both governments will likely grant more autonomy to these important provinces. Ultimately, these upstart—or start-up—regions want the “devo-max” deal the Basques of northern Spain have: complete fiscal autonomy with no taxes paid to the capital.

Even global warming can drive devolution: As Greenland’s ice sheet melts, its 60,000 Inuit have greater access to abundant and valuable reserves of resources such as uranium and natural gas. This creates an incentive for Greenlanders to hoard the potential windfall rather than send it to Copenhagen, which has retained some governing authority over the island since Denmark seized and colonized Greenland nearly three centuries ago. The 2021 date proposed for a Greenland independence vote provides an eerie parallel to Scotland’s referendum, which took place roughly 300 years after that country joined the United Kingdom. Unlike Scotland, however, Greenland’s vote for independence wouldn’t even be close. Make way for another seat at the UN.

* * *

Shrill warnings against devolution ignore the evidence that it is also a logical consequence of connectivity. In the days before Scotland’s independence referendum, Gordon Brown, the Scotland-born former British prime minister, made a passionate appeal to his countrymen to choose unity over independence. Scotland’s “quarrel should be with globalization, rather than England,” he said. But on whose terms should that tug-of-war for jobs be waged? Smaller states and smaller economies have less of a margin for error when it comes to their own survival. Would Scotland have outsourced its manufacturing base to Asia in the way that far-off London capitalists so enthusiastically did? Would Scotland, as politicians in London warned, really have been unable to establish its own currency within 18 months? As even the anti-independence Economist noted, 28 new central banks have been created in the past 25 years; Estonia set up its own central bank and currency in a week. A connected world—the result of Brown’s bogeyman of ‘globalization’—has turned such bureaucratic hurdles into commoditized tasks.

The more cities and provinces attain quality infrastructure—courtesy of investment from their own governments and foreigners—the more they can leverage these new capacities. In America, fiscal federalism is a crucial driver of economic dynamism. For example, Texas has made itself the most business-friendly state in the country by minimizing regulations and keeping taxes low; it now boastsan $8.8 billion surplus. California also experiments at the state level with immigration and greenhouse-gas emissions reduction policies that are best suited to its own needs and goals. Oil-rich British Columbia and gas-and-mineral-rich Western Australia have their own resource wealth funds that have propelled infrastructure investment and growth in cities such as Vancouver and Perth first, before a share of the profits is sent to the distant capitals Ottawa and Canberra.

In Europe, devolution has become a healthy form of competitive arbitrage—a perpetual negotiation to get maximum freedoms from under-performing national governments so that over-performing provinces can get on with their own priorities. An independence movement is brewing in Sardinia, for instance, that would see the already autonomous Italian island sell itself to landlocked (and far better governed) Switzerland as a maritime canton.

Can all devolution be handled so peacefully? With all the world’s terrain claimed, one’s gain (of independence) must equal another’s loss (of territorial integrity). Borders can therefore either change violently, or can be softened through devolution. Devolution is why the Basques and Quebecois are at peace today. To attempt to stem the pro-Russian rebel tide in Ukraine, the parliament in Kiev last week granted self-rule to the eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk as a gesture to keep them within the Ukrainian orbit. Devolution today is thus not just a force of tribalism but a tool of peacemaking.

This kind of thinking will be necessary for remapping the Middle East as the century-old Sykes-Picot map of the region crumbles. The near-total dissolution of the Arab political cartography embodies the most severe entropy, fragmentation, and disorder. Today only the oil-rich micro-states of the Persian Gulf such as Qatar and the UAE have purchased long-term security. But we do not yet know what will replace the current Syria and Iraq—to say nothing of the Islamic State’s plans for Jordan, Lebanon, and beyond.

Yet if one rule of counterinsurgency is to find, protect, and build stable enclaves, that is also a bottom-up approach to replacing Arab colonial cartography with a more legitimate order based on smaller and more coherent islands of stability. Rather than artificial nations, the future Middle East order will likely consist of robust tribal states like Israel and Kurdistan, and urban commercial centers with mixed populations that will protect themselves and their trade routes.

Perhaps a world of smaller states would bring globalization more into balance, with each state maintaining the necessary production and jobs essential for social stability, even if not optimizing global comparative advantage. A world of smaller states might also be a more peaceful one as well, with none able to survive without importing food and goods from others. Such a world would embody the principle of anti-fragility that the author Nassim Taleb advocates: too small to fail.

The map of the world is in perpetual flux, with territories splintering and combining in various configurations. North and South Yemen merged in 1990; Czechoslovakia divorced in 1993. South Sudan seceded in 2011; now there’s talk of North and South Korea reunifying along the model of East and West Germany. The fundamental search for more coherent political entities can bring turbulence, but not always violence.

Thus, the Scottish precedent is a harbinger of neither global chaos nor the end of multi-national harmony. In fact, devolution’s dialectical opposite is aggregation. The world may splinter, but it also comes together in new combinations such as the European Union, which ultimately absorbs all the continent’s micro-states into a truly multinational federation. Witness the Balkans, where two decades on from the bloody wars of Yugoslavia’s dissolution, all its former republics have become or are candidates for EU membership. If the world wants to see global solidarity of nations, the tribes may need to win first. Read @http://www.defenseone.com/threats/2014/09/how-decentralized-power-not-democracy-will-shape-21st-century/95255/

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Dissent and Donor-funded displacement. #Oromia #Ethiopia September 26, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Aid to Africa, Amane Badhaso, Colonizing Structure, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Human Rights Watch on Human Rights Violations Against Oromo People by TPLF Ethiopia, Jen & Josh (Ijoollee Amboo), Land Grabs in Oromia, No to land grabs in Oromia, No to the Addis Ababa Master Plan, NO to the Evictions of Oromo Nationals from Finfinnee (Central Oromia), Oromia wide Oromo Universtiy students Protested Addis Ababa Expansion Master Plan, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Protests, Oromo Protests in Ambo, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Oromo University students and their national demands, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, UK Aid Should Respect Rights.
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“The Ethiopian government is routinely using access to aid as a weapon to control people and crush dissent,” Rona Peligal, Africa director at Human Rights Watch, was quoted in a 2010 Globe and Mail article as saying: “If you don’t play the ruling party’s game, you get shut out. Yet foreign donors are rewarding this behaviour with ever-larger sums of development aid.” 

The New Master Plan for Addis Ababa outlines a development scheme that would yet again push people off their land with the help of donor dollars.

http://www.thepanelonline.com/blog/dissent-and-donor-funded-displacement

 

 

Dissent and Donor-funded displacement

by Erin Byrnes*

 

 

Thousands of ethnic Oromo students in Ethiopia organized non-violent protests this spring, triggering a government reaction that has left an untold number dead and pushed hundreds of students underground.

The protests began in early April in response to The Integrated Development Master Plan, the municipal government’s strategy for the next 25 years of urban growth. Over the following week, the movement spread to eight universities and attracted as many as 25,000 protesters.

The Master Plan is contentious for a number of reasons. Addis Ababa is one of the fastest growing cities in Africa. The new Master Plan facilitates the extension of its boundaries into the Oromo Region, annexing towns that border the capital city. In Ethiopia, regional and administrative divisions are based on ethnic affiliation.; The protesters view this expansion of the Amharic city as a threat to Oromo culture and a precursor to a large-scale eviction of farmers.  Some commentators have also noted that through the expansion of Addis Ababa, Oromia Region could itself become Balkanized.

In a country with a history of violent displacements under the auspices of development, the protesters have many grim precedents to justify their concerns. The history of government repression, mass disappearances and killings illustrates that those people willing to risk their lives by protesting understand what is at stake.


Picture

Photo courtesy of Erin Byrnes

Oromia Region and the other eight regional entities in Ethiopia were formed after the overthrow of the brutal Mengistu regime, which was responsible for the killing, torture and disappearances of tens of thousands of people, including many students. The transitional government instituted a system of ethnic federalism, creating nine ethnic-based regional states and two federally administered city-states, Addis Ababa and the eastern city of Dire Dawa. While this may have created a space for each group, it did not create the room for the type of dialogue that bridges larger divisions. These decentralization measures have included provisions for some degree of self-government for Addis Ababa. With the expansion of Addis, the historically marginalized Oromo people worry they would see their land and livelihood swallowed by the spread of the capital city.

The reaction to the student protests was swift and severe; Local and international media reported on the killing of unarmed students by government forces and images of the dead, detained, and tortured began to surface through social media platforms.

A government communiqué credits security forces with restoring peace and writes off any legitimate basis for the protests: “the forces behind the chaos were forces that have past violent history and which controlled through media inside and outside the country to manipulate the question of students for their evil purposes.”

In this statement, written in Amharic and linked by Al Jazeera, the government acknowledges that 11 people died and notes that at least 70 people were injured as a result of a bomb blast at one of the universities. However, witnesses reported that many more students had been killed, with one person telling BBC that in the early days of the protest, security forces had already killed 47 people, the majority in one brutal crackdown following a protest in late April.

Dissent can be a capital offense in Ethiopia. When protesters questioned the results of the 2005 election, security forces massacred 193 people and injured 763. The judge who filed the independent report fled to Europe after refusing to change the information and receiving death threats.


Picture

Photo courtesy of Erin Byrnes

Access to information and freedom of expression are restricted throughout state-owned and controlled media. In the 2014 World Press Freedom Index, Ethiopia comes in at a pitiful 143, followed closely by the Russian Federation, the Philippines and Iraq. There is systematic intimidation of journalists, a high degree of surveillance and it is not uncommon for those who question or criticize the government to be arrested and silenced.  Nine bloggers arrested on April 25, and 26, were charged with terrorism in July.

“Ethiopia is not known to investigate politically motivated killings and torture of its critics carried out by the federal security forces. As such, there has been no official investigation into the killings, torture and unlawful detention of hundreds of Oromo students who were caught in the latest security dragnet,” said Mohammed Ademo, a journalist at Al Jazeera America and founder and editor of Oromo publication, OPride (Interviewed over email July 22, 2014). He said that with the limited access of independent NGOs, there may never be an inquiry into these incidents and that without any deviation from the practice of the past two decades, the federal security forces will continue to enjoy total impunity.

The Ethiopian constitution guarantees freedom of information and peaceful public assembly, but the reality is that anti-terrorism laws subsume any human rights protections and criminalize dissent. Any criticism of the state may be interpreted as an attempt to destabilize the country and a blog or the petty vandalism of government property can lead to terrorism charges which are punishable by death. Without a clear definition of what terrorism is, any dissent could be seen as a direct assault on the state and without restraints on security forces countering this undefined menace, the consequences have been all too predictable.

On May 6, 2014, during the second week of protests, the government of Ethiopia came before the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for the Universal Period Review (UPR) of their human rights record. The UPR is a peer-review process where member states can make corrective recommendations to the country under review. 119 governments made statements, many urging Ethiopia to address security forces abuses, the forced resettlement of farmers and pastoralists, restrictions on civil society and disappearances and torture in detention facilities. While it is at the discretion of the government to accept or reject recommendations, civil society groups can lobby for their implementation. The international community can also influence the Ethiopian government through its development aid. Annual revenues in Ethiopia topped $6.7 billion in 2013, but almost half of that came in the form of donor dollars. In 2012, the total official development assistance (ODA) received was 3,261,320,000.

In light of human rights abuses and the apparent politicization of aid, countries that provide development aid are being compelled to assess their own role in supporting Ethiopia. Often these abuses relate to displacement and government brutality. On July 14, the UK High Court ruled that the UK Department for International Development (DFID) was not compliant with its own human rights policy and that the case necessitated a full judicial review. The case originated with a farmer from Western Ethiopia now living as a refugee, who alleges that DFID didn’t properly investigate human rights abuses related to the government’s resettlement program. This version of villagization started in 2010. In 2012, Human Rights Watch released evidence of forced displacements without compensation, arbitrary detentions and mistreatment. International condemnation of Ethiopia, however, is tempered by international commendations. As the seat of the African Union, Addis Ababa is a diplomatic capital, enjoying significant economic growth. Ethiopia’s GDP ranks 24th in the world with 7% real growth, down slightly from 11.4 % in 2011 and 8.5% in 2012. But per capita GDP still remains pitifully low at $1,300 USD in 2013, placing the people of Ethiopia at the other end of the spectrum with a rank of 211. While the divisions of an authoritarian country may be cause for concern among donor countries, Ethiopian’s alliance with the West on security issues may further complicate the willingness of donor governments to criticize Ethiopia’s human rights record .


PicturePhoto courtesy of Erin Byrnes

In an Al Jazeera America article, Ademo notes that Ethiopia maintains a somewhat stable presence in a region torn apart by endemic conflicts and serves as “a key ally in the U.S. war on terror,” receiving “more than $400 million in annual bilateral aid from the US.” He goes on to highlight that, while the American State Department has documented atrocious human rights abuses, no measures have been taken by Washington to monitor or encourage human rights practice. The Christian Science Monitor also notes that no American aid cuts or formal censures have resulted from this shoddy record.

Canada is Ethiopia’s third largest bilateral country donor, supplying $207.64 million in 2011-2012 with aims to increase food security, agricultural growth and sustainable economic growth. In regard to development and humanitarian aid, the Canadian government notes, “Interventions also recognize the importance of advancing democracy and human rights to ensure that Ethiopia’s development progress is inclusive and sustainable.”

Ethiopia is also a Canadian Country of Focus, meaning that it made the cut when the development agency narrowed aid spending by selecting countries they decided would most benefit from foreign aid. Considering Ethiopia’s human rights record,  some commentators have alleged that Canadian foreign aid to Ethiopia violates the principles of the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act by providing aid that is not “consistent with international human rights standards”. Some would argue that this is consistent with the history of Canadian aid to Ethiopia.

It has been 30 years since the famine that, televised by CBC news cameras, came to epitomize the myth of a continent, besieged by bad luck and in need of philanthropy and pop stars. Now most accounts place the blame not on a drought but on the military and social control policies of the ruling junta. During the reign of the Derg, food aid was channeled to the military to buy food and guns, while the domestic solution, a forced resettlement process, divided donor countries and prominent non-governmental organizations. Canada stood on the wrong side of history, providing support for a program in which as many as 100,000 people were killed in transit or due to disease and starvation in the resettlement camps.

The villagization scheme can be considered a new iteration of that resettlement program, as again researchers have documented that indigenous peoples were being forcibly expelled from their land, severing access to food and health care while subjecting people to security force abuses. The villigization scheme is being undertaken in the interest of leasing the land to foreign investors for large-scale farms. In 2012, Human Rights Watch encouraged Canada and other donor countries to use their influence to encourage Ethiopia to comply with international human rights law.

While the Canadian International Development Agency, now the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), did demand an inquiry and corrective measures, the Ethiopian Government continues to operate with impunity and maintain donor darling status. Human Rights Watch notes that development schemes, partially funded through foreign assistance, may displace indigenous communities whose consultation is not sought and who receive no compensation.

“The Ethiopian government is routinely using access to aid as a weapon to control people and crush dissent,” Rona Peligal, Africa director at Human Rights Watch, was quoted in a 2010 Globe and Mail article as saying: “If you don’t play the ruling party’s game, you get shut out. Yet foreign donors are rewarding this behaviour with ever-larger sums of development aid.”

The New Master Plan for Addis Ababa outlines a development scheme that would yet again push people off their land with the help of donor dollars. As Ethiopia’s students languish in prisons, as the allegations of torture and extrajudicial killings mount, and as restrictions on information continue to support government impunity, Canadians need to look closely at what counts as development and whether bricks or bullets are being used to achieve it.

*Erin Byrnes is a multimedia journalist based out of East Africa. She has reported from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, and the Democratic Republic of Congo for publications such as Agence France-Presse, France24, New Internationalist Magazine, The Economist and TechPresident. She has a Masters degree in Journalism from Ryerson University, a B.A. Honours in Cultural Anthropology from Concordia University and a D.E.C. in North South studies. Get in touch via twitter at @mariebyrnes

 

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Oromia: New voices, New narratives, New futures Imagined at New World Summit September 23, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Colonizing Structure, Development & Change, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, National Self- Determination, Oromia, Oromia at The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO), Oromian Voices, Oromo Nation, State of Oromia.
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Dr. Shigut Geleta speaks atmThe New World Summit-Brussels Stateless Stateshigut1shigut3

 

“Once power is seen as a circle and not a pyramid, individuals can reimagine the possible. Once individuals and communities realize that “no one will give us our rights”, new opportunities for cooperation, solidarity and consent can be envisioned, for there is “no freedom in isolation”.”

http://unpo.org/article/17541

 

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) took part in the 4th New World Summit (NWS), entitled “Stateless State”, which was organised in the Royal Flemish Theatre of Brussels between 19 and 21 September 2014. The NWS was conceptualized as an attempt to combine art, performance and politics hosting organizations that currently find themselves unrepresented, unacknowledged or excluded from democratic processes due to various, but interconnected geopolitical, economic and political interests. The NWS provided an emancipatory space of innovative aspirations. The central question addressed by the speakers, respondants and the audience was whether the current concept of the ‘State’ is still capable of protecting the people’s right to self-determination in the 21st century.  

During the summit, numerous stateless political organizations gathered to discuss the meaning, potential and obstacles that the concept of the ‘State’ carries, starting from their own unique experiences and perspectives and applying this view to the world in general.

Impassioned speakers spoke about aggressive nationalism and how it feeds exclusion and inequality, and together they found solidarity across the structurally different forms of oppressions they all face and continually resist. They questioned, examined and reimagined ‘self-determination’ and ‘independence’ in the free and expressive space of the NWS. They recognized that artistic thought is crucial for changing systems of oppression, boundaries and power.

Notable political representatives and activists considered how to reinstate the power back to the people, or rather, to include the marginalized and unrepresented ‘Stateless States’. Through dialogue and discussions, the NWS participants shared their experiences of transgressing man-made boundaries and recreating spaces of freedom. Times of crisis were seen as opportunities for change and the audience was urged to co-create new communities by using “a collective vision”, as well as employing the power and rights already protected by international and domestic law (although so rarely used in practice).

The first panel, “Oppressive State“, aimed to explore the ‘State’ as an oppressive construct that relies on processes of exclusion and artificial creation of a homogenous community of people, through the denial of historical and cultural elements that could contest it. Speakers of the first panel, Ms Rebiya Kadeer (President of the World Uyghur Congress), Mr Karim Abdian (Ahwazi-Arab Alliance) and Martin Gustav Dentlinger (Captain of the Rehoboth Baster Community) looked at how this happens concretely through the repression of the peoples or communities that do not identify themselves as part of the national community and seek recognition of their civil rights, self-governance and in some cases even independence.

The second panel, “Progressive State”, with contributions from Mr Josu Juaristi (Basque journalist and Member of the European Parliament), Ms Coni Ledesma (National Democratic Front of the Philippines) and Ms Rebecca Gomperts (founder and director of Women on Waves and Women on Web) explored the dynamics of the internationalist progressive struggles for individual self-determination, by developing movements across ‘borders’ as a step towards the articulation of a progressive internationalist commons, for example, though the creation of a parallel State, which includes women, gay and transgender communities as fighters and equals.

The third panel entitled “Global State”, Mr Nasser Boladai (Baluchistan People’s Party), Ms Ayda Karimli (Southern Azerbaijan Alliance) and Mr Adem Uzum (Kurdistan National Congress) tried to analyse the relationship between the State and globalisation, building solidarity beyond the State and a network of parallel States, and how the dialectic between the struggle for self-determination and common survival shapes regional movements.

The fourth panel looked at “New States” to understand which elements really characterize the concept in the 21st century and to what extent a ‘State’ can exist and function without formal international recognition. Mr Moussa Ag Assarid (National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad), Mr Simon P. Sapioper(Minister of Foreign Affairs of the National Government of the Republic of West Papua) and Mr Mohamoud Abdi Daar (Republic of Somaliland in Brussels), and a representative from the Women for Independence took the floor and introduced their claims to independence and liberation, coupled with the consequences of widespread unrecognition.

The last panel, entitled “Stateless State”, Ms Jonsdottir (Icelandic Pirate Party, spokesperson of Wikileaks) addressed the role of digital democratisation in developing post-statist models of democracy and the effects of the digital revolution on stateless internationalism. Ms Dilar Dirik, an activist of the Kurdish Women’s Movement, was the event’s last speaker. She explained how her movement fights for the liberation of the Kurds from State oppression, but also for the liberation of women from patriarchal shackles. For her movement, and for Democratic Confederalism (as an alternative to a nation-State solution), self-sustainability holds the key via 3 pillars: gender equality, radical grassroots democracy and ecology. For any sceptics in the room, she presented how this is not just a utopia, but a reality already implemented by Kurds; crossing borders to protect each other from common threats (such as IS), establishing autonomous organizations etc. She sees the concept of the ‘State’ as a replication of patriarchy, which must challanged with a strong commitment to gender equality as a prerequisite to freedom and democracy.

Once power is seen as a circle and not a pyramid, individuals can reimagine the possible. Once individuals and communities realize that “no one will give us our rights“, new opportunities for cooperation, solidarity and consent can be envisioned, for there is “no freedom in isolation“.

Read more @http://unpo.org/article/17541

 

A Criminal State: The Blacklisting of the Oromo Liberation Struggle for Freedom and Democracy

By Dr. Shigut Geleta*, Oromia’s Representatives at the 4th New World  Summit

The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) is a political and militant organization that fights for the self-determination of the Oromo people against Ethiopian rule. As a result of the struggle that began after the Ethiopian colonization of Oromia in the late 19th century, the OLF was formed as a secular, military organization that ousted Emperor Haile Selassie during the Marxist-Leninist revolution in 1974. The OLF has also fought the subsequent Derg military regime (1974-1991) in coalition with other military nationalist organizations, such as the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) and the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). When the thirty-year civil war finally led to the toppling of the Derg regime in 1991 and the independence of Eritrea, the OLF participated in the mainly TPLF’s dominated Transitional Government of Ethiopia. As the TPLF consolidated its grip on power and continued to negate the political autonomy of the Oromo, the OLF left the Transitional Government in June 1992, which leads to a violent backlash against the Oromo population. Currently, despite being a democracy in theory, both the military regime as well as the political and economical sphere is dominated by the Tigrayan minority. As a consequence, other oppressed ethnicities such as the Ogaden and the Oromo continue their military and political struggle for self-determination. Following Ethiopia’s adoption of the restrictive Anti-Terrorism Proclamation in 2009, the OLF was blacklisted as a terrorist organization along with the ONLF and the Ginbot 7 movement, which lead to large-scale arrests and prosecution of prominent members of these groups, including parliament members and candidates.

This lecture addressed the manner in which blacklisting a political movement as ‘terrorist’ functions as an ideological cover-up of the enforced administrative construct of the Ethiopian state. Apart from the Oromo, who represent the largest ethnic group in the country, many other peoples struggle for independence from the contested state. At what level can we argue that the state of Ethiopia even exists, when its main legitimacy seems to be based on its capacity to suppress the very political majorities that constitute it? The blacklisting of a people’s history thus becomes a way of evading confrontation with the criminal dimensions of the state itself.

*Dr. Shigut Geleta is Head of the Oromo Liberation Front’s (OLF) Diplomatic Division.

Source: Extracted from Brochure of the summit

http://qeerroo.org/2014/09/22/views-and-news-from-the-4th-new-world-summit-of-stateless-states/

THEORIZING WAAQEFFANNAA: OROMIA’S INDIGENOUS AFRICAN RELIGION AND ITS CAPACITY AND POTENTIAL IN PEACEMAKING September 21, 2014

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OTHEORIZING WAAQEFFANNAA: OROMIA’S INDIGENOUS AFRICAN RELIGION AND ITS CAPACITY AND POTENTIAL IN PEACEMAKINGThe article is Originally published by OromoPress @http://oromopress.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/theorizing-waaqeffannaa-oromias.htmlSee  also Fulbaana/September 18, 2014 · Finfinne Tribune | Gadaa.comhttp://gadaa.net/FinfinneTribune/2014/09/oromopress-theorizing-waaqeffannaa-oromias-indigenous-african-religion-and-its-capacity-and-potential-in-peacemaking/

In most of Africa, indigenous African religions have been pushed to the margin because of a number of factors. The implied and open relegation of indigenous African religions to the levels of inferiority and inconsequentiality in world affairs by colonial powers and post-colonial contemporary African states not only undermines and stereotypes the examination of the unique contributions of these religions to peacemaking, but also discards with them unique mythologies, values, laws, cultures and meaning-making systems. I argue that applying North American conflict resolution models, without considering African religious values that existed for many millennia before the arrival of world religions, will be an enormous hindrance to building lasting peace from the bottom-up in the vastly rural and agrarian Africa that is still steeped in traditions and rituals.

Contributing to a range of negative stereotypes about African religions (example, uncivilized, barbaric and conflict-generating) is the fact that many of them have been orally transmitted from generation to generation and lack written major holy books unlike the world religions. The purpose of this paper is to shift attention from common misconceptions about African religions to a productive examination of the constructive roles they can be made to play.

I will focus on the case of Waaqeffannaa, an Oromo indigenous religion of East Africa, and its core values and laws. It will be significant to examine Waaqeffannaa’s complex concepts, such as concept and view of Waaqaa (God), Eebba (prayers and blessings), safuu (the place of all things and beings in the cosmic and social order), issues related to cubbuu (sin) and other religious and ritual practices. Although there is no holy book forWaaqeffannaa thus far, I will obtain my data from published ethnographic books, journal articles, periodicals, relevant reports and press releases. The interactions between Waaqeffannaa and other organized religions, such as Christianity and Islam, will be examined in context.

The paper will seek answers to three related questions:

What are the contributions or lack thereof orally transmitted values and laws of Waaqeffannaa to peacemaking and relationship-building? If there are any contributions, how can they be compared to other forms of conflict resolution? What will be the role of Waaqeffannaa in peacemaking in the ever changing global and local contexts of religious diversity and difference?

The Concept of God in Waaqeffannaa’s Monotheistic System

In order to examine the hermeneutic advantages and disadvantages of Waaqeffannaa and compare it to modern or Western conflict resolution methods, it is essential to examine the concept of God (Waaqaa) in the religion in its own right. There is a consensus among researchers and observers of Waaqeffannaa—the most prominent of whom are pre-colonial European missionaries, explorers and anthropologists and local religious leaders and scholars—that Waaqeffannaa is one of the ancient indigenous African monotheistic religions.[1] The Oromo, the Cushitic African people of Ethiopia, among whom this religion emerged and developed, call their one God Waaqaa or more intimately and endearingly Waaqayyoo (good God). It is difficult to capture with one definition the complexity of the ways in which the followers of this religion (Waaqeffataas) relate to God and make sense of God (not gendered) is hard to capture just with one definition. The question of ways of understanding and relating to God is a question of Waaqeffannaa’s worldview that is indigenous and unique, in some ways, and thus, different from ways in which followers of major world religions understand and relate to God.

While monotheism is a key similarity it shares with Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Waaqeffannaa has the following worldview of its own:

We believe in God who created us. We believe in Him (sic) in a natural way … We believe in God because we can see what God has done and what he does: he makes rains and the rains grow greenery, and crops that we consume. He lets the sun shine. So believing in him is instinctive and inbuilt. It is as natural as the desire we have for food and drink, and as natural as the reproduction of living things. We go to the nature, the nature that He created: mountains and rivers to praise and appreciate Him impressed by His works … [2]

This contemporary declaration of the faith centers on nature and creation that can be pragmatically seen and experienced in daily life. There is no mention of “heaven” and “hell” here. Concerning the followers’ perceptions of the residence of God, Bartels writes, “They do not visualize Waaqaa(sic) existing outside this world in time or space … In this sense Waaqaa is as much of this world as the vault of the sky.”[3] Bokku concurs with Bartels findings that God exists among people on earth, but Bokku makes a radically different claim as follows: “Waaqeffataas don’t [sic] believe in after life. They don’t believe that God would come in the future to judge people and send the righteous to heaven and the sinful to hell. God is with us always.”[4] Bokku’s claims can be controversial because in much of the literature I reviewed, I found that the question of “after life” is either overlooked or ambiguously treated, except in the work of Father De Salviac whose much older field research (1901) explicitly states the existence of the belief in life after death among Waaqeffataas in eastern Oromia as follows:

They acknowledge three places destined to receive the souls after death. The paradise, which they call: the ‘Happiness of God’,Ayyaana Waaqaa; or the: ‘Response of God’, Bayanacha Waaqaa; or even Jenneta Waaqaa; ‘Paradise of God’, is reserved for the just who go there to enjoy the company and infinite blessings of the Lord … they say of death ‘That he passed on to Waaqaa;’ – ‘That he entered into Waaqaa,’ – ‘That he went to his eternal house with Waaqaa’.[5]

Reference to life after death, punishments and rewards in hell and heaven respectively are very rare features of the religion. Nonetheless, the argument that De Salviac makes about the existence of the belief in life after death in Oromo society is enough to make Bokku and other writers’ denial of the existence of “life after death” contested and curious. The issue of justice and how people relate to each other may hold for every writer. The question of relationships between peoples, and nature and justice will be treated in later sections for safuu.

Waaqeffataas generally view and worship Waaqaa based on their amazement with the ingenious works of Waaqaa’s hands that they experience and find them overwhelming to comprehend and explain. Even family prayers around the hearth contains many such instances: “UNIQUE AND SO GREAT GOD SUPPORT WITHOUT PILLAR THE DOME OF THE BLUE SKY.”[6]

Waaqeffataas view the earth as one of the major ingenious works of God. The earth is viewed inseparably from God. The image that followers of this religion have of the relationship between Waaqaa and the Earth “comes close to that of a human couple”[7]: ‘the earth is Waaqaa’s wife—Lafa niti Waaqaa,’[8] According to Bartels, there are four manifestations of the close connection between Waaqaa and the earth in four spheres of theWaaqeffannaa religious life:[9]

  1. Blessings

May the Waaqaa and the earth help you.

May Waaqaa and the earth cause you to grow up (a blessing for children.) …

  1. Curses

Be not blessed either by Waaqaa or the earth.

May Waaqaa and the earth burn [make dry] your kidneys and your womb (the curse is addressed to a woman).

  1. Oaths

The man who takes the oath breaks a dry stick, saying:

‘May the earth on which I walk and Waaqaa beneath whom I walk do the same to me, if I have done such and such a thing.’

  1. Rituals

There are rituals of slaughtering a bull or sheep for Waaqaa and making libation (dhibayyuu) under a tree for the earth.[10]

Waaqeffannaa rituals honor both God and the earth. Followers of the religion seem to take cue from God Himself, who created the earth, to inform their ways of relating to Waaqaa and earth (lafa). Evidence that suggests a relationship based on fears, intimidations or punishment between God and persons is less prevalent than those that are mostly based on respect for God, one another and for the earth. Waaqeffataas embrace and celebrate the egalitarian view of God and the diversity of names people call God. Despite some differences among people, research points to followers’ similar attitudes towards God. “… it has become clear that their attitude towards him [sic] is not only inspired by awe but also marked by familiarity and even, from time to time, by lack of respect. In his despair, a man may claim: ‘Waaqaa does not exist!’”[11] This just showsWaaqeffataas have a more liberal relationship with God. It does not mean that they are less pious as there is enough evidence to suggest many magnificent examples of humility, piety and obedience.

The question of Waaqeffataas’ acknowledgement of the oneness of God and the multiple names various religions call Him does not only show the openness of the concept of God to various interpretations, but it also shows the religion’s acceptance of religious diversity. It is easier to engage in interfaith or other conflict resolution activities when such an acknowledgement is extant than when religions claim “my way or the highway.” The ways some prayers are rendered testify to this progressive values of Waaqeffannaa: “O Black God who created the dark sky and the clean waters, who is one but called by multitudes of names, who has no competitor, the omniscient, the omnipotent, the omnipresent, who is eternal and ever powerful, whose power can never decline.”[12] Because of the view of God described here, Waaqeffataas believe that God is patient and that it is not in His nature to become angry if people believe in other things abandoning Him. Bokku holds the Waaqeffannaa God is too self-confident to be angered into punishing people who do not obey or defect to other religions.[13]

Prayers and Blessings

Boran society sometimes appears to float on a river of prayers and blessings…

Paul T. Baxter.[14]

Common to private, collective and family prayers is the focus of Oromo/Waaqeffataas’ prayers on the material conditions and well-beings of the self, the family and the group. Prayers mediate conditions of people to God so he can intervene and alter their current conditions.[15] The faithful pray for peace, health, deliverance from wrongdoing and harmful sprits and things, human and livestock fertility, growth of babies (little ones), long life for adults, for the goodness of the inside and the outside, rain, harvest and development, inter alia.

The Waaqeffannaa prayer is barely about inheriting the kingdom of heaven nor is it about seeking the help of God in a battle against Satan and sin. Evidence suggests that the concept of Devil/Satan does not exist in Waaqeffannaa while spirits that cause all kinds of suffering and misfortune or harm (ayyaana hamaa) are believed to exist.[16] Instances of talk about Devils by Waaqeffataas are generally understood as the borrowing of a religious vocabulary from the adjacent/co-existing major faiths, such as Christianity and Islam. For instance, Waaqeffataa pray to God to prevent them from wrongdoing and errors committed in ignorance. The religion has no room for addressing anxieties and fears arising from the imaginary realm of the devil/evil. For instance, words used in prayers include, “Prevent us from wrongdoing …” (dogogora nu oolchi). In terms of how people experience and understand misfortunes and fortunes (good things) Oromo proverbs capture the peoples’ dependence on Waaqaa. Indeed, the proverbs below indicate how Waaqaa is perceived as the source of good and bad things that happen in real life:[17]

A house that is built by Waaqaa will be completed.

It is Waaqaa who brings hunger;

It is Waaqaa who brings a full stomach.

The one Waaqaa clothes will not go naked.

Who trusts on Waaqaa will not lack anything.

Man wishes, Waaqaa fulfills.

Waaqaa is there [therefore] the sun rises.

It is Waaqaa who makes a person sick;

It is Waaqaa who restores him to health.

Waaqaa is never in a hurry;

But he is always there at the proper time.

There are standard prayers that have been codified in oral tradition and bequeathed down to generations. The codification of prayers, rituals and ceremonies in oral traditions serve the purpose of making Oromo worships definite and unarbitrary. The question of precise transmissions of spoken messages are always up for debates as there are obviously some room for improvisation and modification as the word of mouth (message) travels through time and space. I believe that the improvisation aspect of oral narratives will add an interesting dimension of dynamism to the hermeneutics of Waaqeffannaa.

De Salviac praises the endurance of Waaqeffannaa for many millennia in spite of the oral mode of transmission. De Salviac aptly critiques the West for generally believing that the sole sources of “valid” or “authentic” knowledge are written texts (books) as follows: “We, accustomed to the cycle of knowledge by turning pale over the books, our careless memory resting on the permanence of typography, we hardly take into account the power of tradition, which sufficed, for centuries, for the civilization of many peoples. With the Oromo, religious and secular traditions are formulated in thousands of short sentences …”[18]

What I understand from De Salviac is that Western or modern industrialized societies privilege written knowledge. His critique is on tangent because preference for written and formal communication in the West will certainly shape intervention policy-making, official diplomacy and the attitudes of interveners towards indigenous cultures. Third party interveners with fixed or rigid approaches are not only likely to disrespect and shun local knowledge systems, but they are also likely to impose rigid and unproductive conflict resolution processes developed in the context of limited civilizations.

One can only anticipate the stiff resistance that locals are likely to put up against Western models in today’s Africa where there is an increasing awareness about the importance of self-reliance and going back to the roots in order to solve indigenous problems. The true superficiality of strict Western models of dialogue, mediation, problem-solving workshop can be revealed by observing how in most of Africa’s peripheries cut of modern laws, bureaucracies and infrastructures, people thrive on the strong indigenous knowledge systems. This is how most conflicts are resolved and how people do communal work in either irrigating the land or protecting the environment. In the contexts of corrupt and partisan politics, these efforts by local people to overcome the daily challenges must be given credit because some of them are providing themselves important social services that that their governments have failed to provide them. In any effort of conflict resolution or peacemaking in such dire circumstances, it is imperative to bring local knowers (the wise men and women) into the sphere of diplomacy and peacemaking.

Prayers, sometimes synonymously called blessings or benedictions, in the form of litany and chants are integral parts of indigenous communities. Every communal activity whether it is weddings, funerals or dances and music begins with blessings or prayers. Eebba is aimed moderating the way people relate to each other at certain venues and beyond. They are about building constructive relationships even in times of wars. Here are some examples of Oromo prayers/blessings of different periods and crowds’ responses.

Pre-colonial prayers[19]:

Ya Waaq, have pity on us;              Yes, yes, have pity on us

Ya Waaq, bless us;                          Yes, yes, bless us.

Ya Waaq give us happy days;             Yes, yes, happy days.

Ya Waaq in our discussions inspire us;  Yes, yes, inspire us.

Ya Waaq in our counsel give us light;            Yes, yes, give us light.

Ya Waaq bring back rebellious son to his father; Yes, yes, bring back.

Ya Waaq bring back unruly son to his mother;   Yes, yes, bring back.

Ya Waaq to good man give cows;                  Yes, yes, give.

Ya Waaq preserve our house from ruin;                     Yes, yes preserve.

Contemporary prayers:[20]

Yes! Yes! Yes!

God of Nature and of Creations;

Waaqaa who created the Haroo Walaabuu (lake)[21];

Waaqaa who let us spend the night in peace;

Let us spend the day in peace;

Prevent us from entering into fatal errors;

Guard us against straying from the right path;

Guard us against mistakes/wrongdoings;

May the Creator we pray to hear us!

May Waaqaa guard us against the harmful!

May Waaqaa bring good things our way!

May children (the little ones) grow up!

May the grown-ups live longer!

May the ignorant know!

May experts/the wise last!

May Kormaa (uncustrated bull) reproduce!

May pregnancies stay healthy and hold!

Let Him keep away harmful things!

Gadaa (social system) is the system of rain and peace!

The year is the year of abundance/development and full stomach.

These contemporary prayers cited from the Waaqeffannaa magazine are powerful. They are usually used in order to open any public/communal gatherings secular and spiritual. This is how things are called to order. The religious prayers give authority or credibility to whatever event that is to take place. At the center of this messaging is reaching the hearts and minds of parties to an event by cleansing the air of any hard feelings and ensuring that the heart and minds are softened and ready for the secular or non secular events and exchanges that will proceed from that.

Historically, Oromos made ecumenical pilgrimages to holy sites of Abbaa Muudaa, Spiritual Father,[22] in order to receive blessings for them and to bring back blessings into their communities with them. Blessings are still considered serious religious activities that serve as glues of social life. Spiritual Fathers can give blessings to people on a range of personal and communal matters: such as long life, being alive, more property and wealth, peace in the household, on productions (calves, children, crops).

I have not come across modern mediation, negotiation or other third party intervention processes that start with prayers. Obviously, if blessings are not built into the processes, an attempt at conflict resolution in African societies, such as the Oromo, will be in vain. In the first place, people will not recognize what is not authorized and endorsed by their own knowledge system. Most importantly, empowering and funding Abbaa Mudaas or elders to engage in conflict resolution is likely to be accepted and bear fruit because of the tremendous reputations these people wield in society. They are highly regarded in society and leaving them out of official processes simply works against peace.

In Waaqeffannaa, one sees from the content of the payers and blessings above that most of them take on the nature of what Gopin succinctly characterizes as “Premordial prosocial moral/spiritual values.”[23] Although many of the conflicts in Ethiopia (Africa) are not religiously driven, the application of religious values will have a huge impact on conflicts driven by ethnicity, nationalisms and competition over resources and power. People listen when one reaches out and talks to them at their own level. Gopin provides a detailed critique of why current modern conflict resolution approaches fail to understand the importance of using prosocial religious values in the context of the Arab/Israel conflict in the Middle East, but his appraisal also holds true for the Horn of Africa region, where the volatility and intractability of conflicts are comparable to the ones in the Middle East. Among the important reasons Gopin cites are the West’s refusal to recognize non-Western models and knowledge systems. Gopin articulates the consequences of modern cultures failure to reckon with indigenous religious and cultural systems as follows:

As religion becomes more important in the lives of hundreds of millions of people, the political power generated by this commitment will either lead to a more peaceful world or to a more violent world, depending on how that power is utilized … Methods of peacemaking that continue to focus only on political and intellectual elites or that fail to address the broadest possible range of religious believers are leading to systematic and potentially catastrophic diplomatic failures in key areas of the world … [24]

Survival through Religious Diversification and Rituals

It is accurate that Waaqeffannaa and similar Africa indigenous religions are being reincarnated and are slowly starting to become explicitly important in the lives of so many people. Religious traditions, including those from indigenous religions, form the bedrock of the values of those Africans who converted to Christianity and Islam. Often these values moderate the foreign values associated with the cultures from which these major religions originated. It is not just the Waaqeffataas who only follow the indigenous religion, but a swathe peoples seem to have accepted double or triple religious lives. They shuttle between various religious and cultural values in their daily decision-makings so as to adapt to changing socio-economic circumstances. Pointing to the loose nature of individual’s and group’s negotiations between multiple religious identities, Aguilar[25] presents a case of the importance of “religious diversification for survival” among the Kenyan Boran/Oromo in northern Kenya. Aguilar provides the best illustration for survival and adaptation by accepting diverse religious values. He cites how Muslim and Waaqeffaannaa parents send their children to Catholic schools in northern Kenya and that the children do perfectly well shuttling between religious worldviews without facing physical dangers.[26] The same religious rituals performed by followers of Waaqeffannaa form the cores of the rituals and daily cultural practices of the followers of Islam and Christianity, as a mechanism of preserving and transmitting their identity. For instance, some of the religious traditions and rituals kept by Oromo communities who converted to major religions in north Kenya include similar types of blessings, prayers, and peacemaking through rituals of coffee beans-slaughtering and symbolic prayers.[27] These subtle practices of syncretism not only form the core identity of Oromo in north Kenya and connect them to the mainland (Oromia-Ethiopia), but they also play stabilizing roles in a families and communities there.[28]

The phenomenon of syncretism/ “religious diversification” serves as a survival strategy where minority communities cut off into another country from the mainstream because of colonial map-making try to cope with the alien majority they are swallowed up by. The case of Kenyan Oromos imitating the Waaqeffannaa values of the mainland is an example of such an essential survival strategy. Aguilar puts this as, “It is clear that the strategy of diversification provides the household (and a manyatta [place of settlement]) with security should something happen to either of the herds.”[29]

It is no accident that somebody whom an outsider may perceive as a follower of one religion is actually found at the crossroads of multiple religious values. It takes a deeper look to discern such subtle and significant dynamics. For an intervener who has no interest or who is not patient to take time and learn, the subtlety of the power of tradition will ever remain inaccessible. Because one has no access to the right cultural tools, the very people he/she trying to reach and help will become inaccessible and unresponsive, especially if one attempts to impose some ivory-tower (imported) conflict resolution framework or process on local situations. People have been handling their affairs everyday for centuries independently of outsiders. To assume that they somehow do not or their methods are not in par with modern approaches will defeat the purpose of thinking to help others in the first place.

Safuu in Peacemaking and Social Harmony

This section analyzes the role of Safuu as one of the key elements of Waaqeffannaa. Safuu is a prosocial variable that needs a deeper analysis to see its roles in indigenous peacebuilding. Safuu is a broad concept that governs relationship in and between families, communities, national groups and relationship between people and nature and things.

Bartels provides a nuanced anthropological definition of the term Safuu:[30]

Saffu is a fundamental and all-pervading concept in the Matcha’s [Oromo] life. It implies that all things have a place of their own in the cosmic and social order, and that they should keep this place. Their place is conditioned by the specific ayana [good spirit] each of them has received from Waaqaa. Every creature, and especially man, has to act according to its own ayana and to respect the others’ ayana. Saffu implies both rights and duties. In the people’s eyes wisdom is ‘knowing saffu and abide [sic] by it.’

Gemetchu Megerssa, a leading Oromo anthropologist and former research assistant to Lambert Bartels, probably influenced by Bartels himself, states that safuu is one of the key founding concepts in Oromo culture and Waaqeffannaa tradition.[31] Bartels’ definition is more encapsulating, while it shares one central common feature with Megerssa’s definition, “… the concept of saffu(mutual relationship between elements of the social and cosmic orders) which maintains practice obligatory [sic] through ethical conduct.” They both agree that safuu governs relationships between people and people, and people and nature, but Megersa introduces a newer and more specific idea of safuu as “an ethical conduct.”

Another leading expert on Waaqeffannaa, Bokku quotes Bartels directly and extends the concept of Safuu to broad areas of “morality”, “norm” and “laws” that govern social and ecological order.[32] Bokku states his extended definition building on Bartels: “Safuu is the understanding of differences and appreciation of differences for the peaceful coexistence of all natural things.” For Bokkuu, as opposed to man-made laws “safuu is not subject to change.” He concludes that safuu as laws of nature is necessary for the “smooth operation of life”, which is harmony. Everyone invokes the notions that Safuu owes its authority over social relationship because it derives from the will or the spirit of God (ayyaanaa). Thus, experts agree that Safuuis one of the fundamental principles of Oromo culture that governs relationships and keeps society together.

In Waaqeffannaa in particular and Oromo culture in general, it is believed that “breaking safuu would cause some sort of trouble.”[33] Breaking safuulaws is seen as committing sin. The consequences of breaking various categories of safuu are understood as generating unhappy reactions from God. In Waaqeffannaa when someone sins, God turns His back on him/her. The meaning behind this is that if one misses the face of God, it means that one lacks ayyana (a guardian, blessings or will of God). This core law encourages people to maintain friendly relationships between themselves and with nature. Safuu is a law of rights and obligations. Since Safuu is not something in people, but something between them, it is assumed to promote collective harmony. Paying attention to the concept of “sin” in the meaning system of Waaqeffannaa is important because it comes from the Oromo word, “‘balleessuu’, which actually means ‘to destroy, to damage, to spoil’”[34]

When one engages in destructive activities one is considered to be destroying, damaging, and spoiling relationships between at least three parties: God, creation (nature) and other human beings. In Oromo life, not damaging relationship between oneself and creations is given more importance than not damaging relationship between human and God.[35]

The Dynamisms of the Indigenous Faith System

It is hard to understand how one can be effective in conflict resolution in Africa without having at least the working knowledge of important key principles governing all-rounded relationships, such as safuu. Religious values of Waaqeffannaa may not require so much hermeneutic transformation because they already exist in pro-social form. Keeping natural and social orders is already a stringent requirement on top of acceptance for differences of any sort.

In Waaqeffannaa, destroying (for example killing humans in conflict) is prohibited by the religion’s laws. Those who violate traditional laws and destroy anything will face alienation and banning from God as well as from fellows humans. They are denied opportunities to sit and eat at a table with family members and others; they become social outcasts. My evidence does not suggest any anti-social principles/laws in the Waaqeffannaaworldview so far. Even some of the curses that are put on people have the goal of ensuring social harmony and can be viewed positively. If I had come across anything that says, “if you kill your enemy or someone, God will reward you with heaven or sainthood or some other rewards,” I would have paused and thought, this is a justification for war and destruction that needs to be hermetically transformed. Transformation may be due if violence is made into something sacred. In my opinion the values of this religion particularly those about safuu are poised to play important peacebuilding and relationship-building roles at least in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.

One can think of the lack of written scriptures (there are oral ‘scriptures’) for African religion as both advantages and disadvantages. In terms of the creativity and improvisation of transmissions of oral values/laws, the lack of written scriptures is an advantage because followers or leaders of indigenous religions will have the ability to interpret the concepts in ways that meet the physical and spiritual needs of their time. But that can also be a disadvantage since some lament that African could not have converted to Christianity and Islam if they had written scriptures and transformed their religions into organized faith systems.[36]

The question of whether Africans had concepts of God or not or whether they were ‘pagan hordes’ as the colonialists viewed them is now an outdated and irrelevant question because a number of scholars have produced research revealing that indeed Africans had believed in one God even before the advent of Middle Eastern religions.[37] Mbiti’s findings are credible because he stayed in Africa for 15 years and conducted studies on about 300 African communities and their belief systems.

Because indigenous African religions, including Waaqeffannaa, lack written scriptures, culturally biased scholars who judge everything according to Western standards may think religions, such as Waaqeffannaa, are inferior, static and things of the past. In rebuttal, one can respond to that arguing that oral mode of transmission makes African religions dynamic, ever-changing and ever-adapting to social changes even after some converted to other faiths. This happens because African religions do not punish defections and because their religious leaders are less likely to make claims to the permanence of specific oral texts or think of the values/traditions of their religion as the only “Truth” to die for.

About the locus of the existence of African religions, Mbiti writes, “Religion in African societies is written not on paper but in people’s heart, minds, oral history, rituals, and religious personages like the priests, rainmakers, official elders … African religions have neither founders nor reformers.”[38]Mbiti’s notion of the lack of founders and reformers can be contested because it could be that founders and reformers might have existed millennia ago and simply no written records were kept about them. The key point here is that words of mouth are dynamic. The best way to reach the hearts and minds of the vast peoples of rural Africa should be through oral traditions and spoken language. The prevalent practice by third party interveners shows an opposite tendency of bureaucratizing everything and transmitting messages via the written medium (forms and documents) through the agency of “rational professionals”.

Authors caution against viewing Waaqeffannaa religious traditions as part of a static tradition of the past[39], and encourage us to view them as dynamic traditions that are continually changing based on wider experiences that are part of their present. Aguilar is succinct about the advantages of the dynamism of Waaqeffannaa’s hermeneutics: “… traditions are transmitted, never as static forms but as changeable manifestations of an Oromo religion [Waaqeffannaa] that interacts [sic] with other traditions and other ethnic groups, and therefore becomes capable of reshaping society itself.”[40]

Lessons for Conflict Resolution

The values and laws of Waaqeffannaa identified and analyzed in this research suggest the importance of recognizing African indigenous religious systems and the prosocial contributions of their values and laws to conflict resolution.

I deliberately tried not to impose a theoretical framework over my analysis although my approach was influenced by hermeneutics.[41] Engaging in peacemaking in indigenous African communities requires the use of what Gopin, drawing on Lederach, calls “elicitive and cross-cultural methods.”[42] Concepts such as safuu, the Waaqeffannaa worldview, prayers, blessings, harmony are predominantly about building relationships between people and people, and them and nature. The most effective way of arriving at these principles and using them in interventions is to do one’s best to involve indigenous peoples, religious leaders, elders and parties to conflict and to elicit from them the best practices they have evolved over centuries in peacemaking.

Indigenous African religions are caught up in multipronged challenges, such as lack of recognition from interveners, states and richer and more organized religions despite their prevalence and appeal to many African communities. Established conflict resolution methods, such as mediation, negotiation, facilitation, problem-solving workshop and dialogue, are often too Western, rationalistic, elitist and foreign to accommodate other grassroots approaches to peacemaking, such as obeying safuu. If we look at official mediation, for instance, we find the reliance on rigid processes and professionals as its main features. Such formal stages may include collecting data, building hypothesis about a conflict, searching for theories, selecting theory, making intervention, and verifying and nullifying hypothesis.[43] It is not necessarily bad to prepare for mediation in stages, but when everything is prefigured, there is a danger of learning very little on the field while doing the intervention itself. In most rationalistic conflict resolution methods listed above, the immediate settlement of conflict is desired. This may turn out to be a shortcoming because long-term relationship-building and peacemaking, which is the hallmark of indigenous systems, are and sidelined.

Limitation of the Indigenous Religion

The most important limitation of many African indigenous religious values and traditions, including Waaqeffannaa, is that the practice of peacemaking is inbound to groups in which these traditions originated. There are also perceptions and tendencies to associate the good prosocial aspects of religious principles this religion with ethno-nationalist competitions of the day, and therefore, to readily dismiss them as unrepresentative of the whole. A much productive approach, however, is to see the commonalities of multiple African religious traditions and to take key principles from each of them and combine them in order to make everyone feel good about their faiths. There is so much to learn from this culture if one is willing to follow the elicitive path to conflict resolution.

The second obvious limitation is the lack of written scriptures and the challenges of accessing oral scriptures for outsiders due to language barriers, but which can still be overcome with translators and interpreters.

Thirdly, African indigenous religions have not been given the places they deserve in some continental interfaith organizations whose member religions tend to be organized and rich major religions. For instances, the United Religious Initiative (URI) Africa chapter, an international faith network that operates in 25 African countries, professes that it aims to look for solutions to Africa’s challenges at community levels in the areas of corruption, human rights violation, poverty and HIV/AIDs[44], but unfortunately no indigenous African religious tradition from any community is represented by such an important organization. The network carries it activities in Africa through major faiths, such as Christianity and Islam. Another domestic (Ethiopian) interfaith network, Interfaith Peace-building Initiative (IPI), a member of the URI, has no indigenous Ethiopian religions (Waaqeffannaaincluded) as its members.

The problem with URI and IPI is not only a simplistic and envious question of who is represented or who is not, but it appears that the mentioned interfaith networks have been systematically coopted and used to advance the interests of the Ethiopian state since Ambassador Mussie Hailu is serving simultaneously as the Regional Director of URI and the Board Chair of IPI.[45] The more intractable and absurd aspect of IPI is that it is an interfaith organization as far as the major religions are concerned, but the founders and its leaders are members of a single ethno-national group who are publicly known to lean toward the ruling party from the same group. This is a clear negative messaging to others in Ethiopia where the issues of ethnicity are sensitive. To be sure, it is possible to have an interfaith organization with wonderful goals like IPI, but with ethno-nationalist ideological agenda at same time. That will do more to keep peoples apart than bring them together.

Despite its growing popularity in Oromiya regional state, the most populous in Ethiopia, Waaqeffannaa’s attempts to transform itself into an organized religion have failed many times so far because the Ethiopian state has first denied and then revoked the license of the group citing that its leaders sympathize with the Oromo Liberation Front[46], a secular rebel group in conflict with the government on the question of autonomy and self- determination for Oromiya.

Conclusion

Waaqeffannaa’s pro-social principles, laws and values did and will contribute to building constructive relationships between communities. In addition to improving human relations, laws, such as safuu, that emphasize the need to maintain good relationship with nature, can be extended and used in areas of environmental conflict resolution, specially where climate change is threatening pastoralist and agrarian communities in many observable ways today.

I explored and discussed the ways in which the egalitarian but respectful views of God by Waaqeffataas can be helpful in curbing extremist tendencies. Neither oral scriptures of the religion nor its leaders condone acts of violence as something leading to rewards or sainthood. Prayers and blessings function as authoritative moderators and they can be used in opening and closing any intervention efforts. Waaqeffannaa is a very pragmatic religion whose most themes are linked to and earthbound to the material conditions of people. Therefore, people in conflict may have the same questions they want answered through prayers to be answered through interventions.

The potential and capacity of the religion in national or regional peacemaking is promising if it be recognized and the multi-pronged obstacles in its way are removed.

=======================================

References

Abu-Nimer, Mohammed. Nonviolence and Peace Building in Islam: Theory and Practice. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2003.

Aguilar, Mario I. The Politics of God in East Africa: Oromo Ritual and Religion. Trenton, N.J.: The Red Sea Press, 2009.

Appleby, Scott R. “Retrieving the Missing Dimension of Statecraft: Religious Faith in the Service of Peacebuilding.” In Faith-Based Diplomacy: Trumping Realpolitik, ed. Douglas Johnston, 2003. Oxford: OUP.

____ The Ambivalence of the Sacred: Religion, Violence and Reconciliation. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2000.

Bartels, Lambert. Oromo Religion: Myths and Rites of the Western Oromo of Ethiopia-An Attempt to Understand. Berlin: Dietrich Reamer Verlag, 1983.

Bokku, Dirribi Demissie. Oromo Wisdom in Black Civilization. Finfinne, Ethiopia: Finfinne Printing & Publishing S.C., 2011.

De Salviac, Martial. An Ancient People: Great African Nation: the Oromo. Translation from the 1901 original French edition by Ayalew Kanno. Paris, the French Academy, 2005.

Douglas, Johnston. Faith-Based Diplomacy: Trumping Realpolitik. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Gopin, Marc. Between Eden and Armageddon: The Future of World Religions, Violence and Peacemaking. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

____ Holy War, Holy Peace: How Religion Can Bring Peace to the Middle East. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Megerssa, Gemetchu. “Oromumma: Tradition, Consciousness and Identity.” In Being and Becoming Oromo: Historical and Anthropological Enquiries, Edited by P.T.W. Baxter, Jan Hultin and Alessandro Triulzi. Lawrenceville, N.J.: The Red Sea Press, 1996.

Montville, Joseph V. “Psychoanalytic Enlightenment and the Greening of Diplomacy.” In The Psychodynamics of International Relationships, Eds. Vamik D. Volkan, Demetrios A. Julius, and Joseph V. Montville. Lexington Mass.: Lexington Books (1990-1991): 177-192.

Moore, Christopher W. The Mediation Process: Practical Strategies for Resolving Conflict. 3rd Ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003.

MTA. Waaqeffannaa: Ayyaana Irreechaa Birraa, 2010.Vol. V. No. 1. Finfinnee: MTA, 2010. (trans. Waaqeffannaa: Thanksgiving Holiday of Fall 2010.)

Sandole, Dennis J.D. “Paradigm, Theories, and Metaphors in Conflict and Conflict Resolution: Coherence or Confusion?” In Conflict Resolution Theory and Practice, Ed., Dennis Sandole. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, (1993): 3-24.

Stenger, Mary Ann. “Gadamer’s Hermeneutics as a Model for Cross-Cultural Understanding and Truth in Religion.” In Religious Pluralism and Truth: Essays on Cross-Cultural Philosophy of Religion, Ed., Thomas Dean. New York: State University of New York Press, (1995): 151-168.

Volkan, Vamik D. “Psychological Processes in Unofficial Diplomacy Meetings.” In The Psychodynamics of International Relationships, Eds. Vamik D. Volkan, Demetrios A. Julius, and Joseph V. Montville. Lexington Mass.: Lexington Books (1990-1991): 207-219.

=======================================

Footnotes

[1] De Salviac, 1901:43; Bartels, 1983:89; Bokku, 2011: 54). The two previous books on Oromo religion (now named Waaqeffannaa) by European missionaries are widely regarded as authoritative secular scholarly sources closest to the source ever to be published on an indigenous African religion of antiquity. Bokku adds his own recent perspectives on the religion and revises his predecessors’ perspectives without altering the essence of their work.

[2] Bokku, 2011:54.

[3] Bartels, 1983:91.

[4] Bokku,2011:73.

[5] De Selviac, 1901;155.

[6] De Selviac, 1901:173, emphasis in the original.

[7] Bartels, 1983:108

[8] Haberland 1963 in Bartels, 1983:108.

[9] Bartels, 1983:108-109.

[10] Bartels, 1983: 109.

[11] Bartels, 1983;107

[12] Bokku, 2011: 66. The quote was an English translation the author provides from the Afaan Oromoo (Oromo language) version, which runs:“Gurraacha garaa garbaa, leemmoo garaa taliilaa, tokkicha maqaa dhibbaa, guddicha hiriyaa hinqabne, kan waan hundaa beeku, kan waan hundaa gochuu danda’u, kan bakka maraa jiru, kan hinkufine, kan hinduuneefi kan hincabne.”

[13] see footnote number 11.

[14] P.T.W. Baxter, Age, Generation and Time, 155 in Aguilar, 2009:13).

[15] De Salviac, 1901:153, 163; Bartels, 1983:96; Bokku, 2011:66-67; Megerssa, 1996:92-103.

[16] De Salviac, 1983:120; Bokku, 2011: 67.

[17] Bartels, 1983:95.

[18] De Salviac

[19] De Salviac, 1901:163.

[20] Translated by me from Afaan Oromoo into English from the Waaqeffannaa magazine, p i.

[21] Haroo Walaabuu is considered the origin of Oromo community and the source of all walking humans on earth. It plays an important symbolic/mythic role in standard prayers. Water bodies are considered sources of life.

[22] De Salviac, 1901:177.

[23] Gopin, 2000:84.

[24] Gopin, 2000:35.

[25] Aguilar, 2009:13-32.

[26] Aguilar, 2009:28.

[27] See footnote 24

[28] Augilar, 2009:

[29] Ibid., p.27.

[30] Bartels, 1983:170.

[31] Megersa, 1996:96-97.

[32] Bokku, 2011:75.

[33] See footnote 31.

[34] Bartels, 1983:339, Bokku, 2011:76.

[35] Bartels, 1983:339.

[36] Bokku, 2011: 61.

[37] Mbiti, 1992:29.

[38] Mbiti, 1992:4.

[39] Megerssa, 1996:98; Aguilar, 2009:5.

[40] Aguilar, 2009:5

[41] Stenger, 1995.

[42] Gopin, 2000:60-61.

[43] Moore,2003:66

[44] URI. “Purposes and Activities.” http://www.uri.org/cooperation_circles/explore_cooperation_circles/region/africa

[45] IPI Ethiopia. http://www.ipiethiopia.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=111&Itemid=110

[46] U.S. Department of State on Religious Freedom in Ethiopia, 2010: 4.

Ethiopia: Prevalence of undernourishment &the state of food insecurity (in 2012-2014 FAO World Report) September 21, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa and debt, Africa Rising, African Poor, Ethiopia & World Press Index 2014, Ethiopia the least competitive in the Global Competitiveness Index, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Food Production, Free development vs authoritarian model, Genocidal Master plan of Ethiopia, Illicit financial outflows from Ethiopia, Poverty, The extents and dimensions of poverty in Ethiopia, The Global Innovation Index, The State of Food Insecurity in Ethiopia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, US-Africa Summit, Youth Unemployment.
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OSOFI2014

The absolute number of hungry people—which takes into account both progress against hunger and population growth—fell in most regions. The exceptions were Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, and West Asia.

 

 

The 2014  FAO’s report which is published in September  indicates that while Sub-Saharan Africa is the worst of all regions in prevalence of undernourishment and  food insecurity, Ethiopia (ranking no.1) is the worst of all African countries as 32 .9 million people are suffering from chronic undernourishment and food insecurity. Which means Ethiopia  has one of the highest levels of food insecurity in the world, in which more than 35%  of its total population is chronically undernourished.

Ethiopia  is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking 173 of the 187 countries in the 2013 Human Development Index.See @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Human_Development_Index

 

 

FAO in its key findings reports that:  overall, the results confirm that developing countries have made significant progress in improving food security and nutrition, but that progress has been uneven across both regions and food security dimensions. Food availability remains a major element of food insecurity in the poorer regions of the world, notably sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Southern Asia, where progress has been relatively limited. Access to food has improved fast and significantly in countries that have experienced rapid overall economic progress, notably in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia.Access has also improved in Southern Asia and Latin America, but only in countries with adequate safety nets and other forms of social protection. By contrast, access is still a challenge in Sub Saharan Africa, where income growth has been sluggish, poverty rates have remained high  and rural infrastructure remains limited and has often deteriorated.

 

According to the new report, many developing countries have made significant progress in improving food security and nutrition, but this progress has been uneven across both regions and dimensions of food security. Large  challenges remain in the area of food utilization. Despite considerable improvements over the last two decades, stunting, underweight and micronutrient deficiencies remain stubbornly high, even where availability and access no longer pose problems. At the same time, access to food remains an important challenge for many developing countries, even if significant progress has been made over the last two decades, due to income growth and poverty reduction in many countries.Food availability has also improved considerably over the past two decades, with more food available than ever and international food price volatility before. This increase is reflected in the improved adequacy of dietary energy and higher average supplies of protein. Of the four dimensions, the least progress has been made in stability, reflecting the effects of growing political instability.Overall, the analyses reveal positive trends, but it also masks important divergences across various sub- regions. The  two sub- regions that have made the least headway are sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, with almost all indicators still pointing to low levels of food security.On the other hand, Eastern (including South Eastern) Asia and Latin America have made the most progress in improving food security, with Eastern Asia experiencing rapid progress on all four dimensions over the past two decades.The greatest food security challenges overall remain in sub-Saharan Africa, which has seen particularly slow progress in improving access to food, with sluggish income growth, high poverty rates and poor infrastructure, which hampers physical and distributional access. Food availability remains low, even though energy and protein supplies have improved. Food utilization remains a major concern, as indicated by the high anthropometric prevalence of stunted and underweight children under five years of age. Limited progress has been made in improving access to safe drinking-water and providing adequate sanitation facilities, while the region continues to face challenges in improving dietary quality and diversity, particularly for the poor. The stability of food supplies has deteriorated, mainly owing to political instability, war and civil strife.

 

 

Prevalence of undernourishment in Africa/ #Ethiopia

Summary of Africa Scorecard on Number of People in State of Undernourishment / Hunger Country Name  and Number of People in State of Undernourishment / Hunger (2012-2014, Millions):- 

1st  Ethiopia  ( 32.9 million)

2nd Tanzania (17.0)

3 Nigeria (11.2)

4 Kenya (10.8)

5 Uganda (9.7)

6 Mozambique (7.2)

7 Zambia (7.0)

8 Madagascar (7.0)

9 Chad (4.5)

10 Zimbabwe (4.5)

11 Rwanda (4.0)

12 Angola (3.9)

13 Malawi (3.6)

14 Burkina Faso (3.5)

15 Ivory Coast (3.0)

16 Senegal (2.4)

17 Cameroon (2.3)

18 Guinea (2.1)

19 Algeria (2.1)

20 Niger 2.0

21 Central Africa Republic (1.7)

22 Sierra Leone (1.6)

23 Morocco (1.5)

24 Benin (1.0)

25 Togo (1.0)

26 Namibia (.9)

27 Botswana (.05)

28 Guinea Bissau (.03)

29 Swaziland (.03)

30 Djibouti (.02)

31. Lesotho (.02)

Data for South Africa, Sao Tome and Principal, Gabon,  Ghana, Mali, Tunisia, Mauritius and Egypt indicate that Prevalence of undernourishment is insignificant or under .01 million. There are no reported data for  some countries such as Libya, Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia, Burundi and Gambia.

Read  more @ The State of Food Insecurity in the World Strengthening the enabling environment
for food security and nutrition http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4030e.pdf

 

 

UN experts urge Ethiopia to stop using anti-terrorism legislation to curb human rights September 19, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Amane Badhaso, Colonizing Structure, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Genocidal Master plan of Ethiopia, Human Rights, Human Rights Watch on Human Rights Violations Against Oromo People by TPLF Ethiopia, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Jen & Josh (Ijoollee Amboo), No to the Addis Ababa Master Plan, NO to the Evictions of Oromo Nationals from Finfinnee (Central Oromia), Oromo, Oromo Protests, Oromo students movement, Oromo students protests, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Oromo University students and their national demands, Stop evicting Oromo people from Cities, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Tyranny.
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O

 

 

 

UN experts urge Ethiopia to stop using anti-terrorism legislation to curb human rights

GENEVA (18 September 2014) – A group of United Nations human rights experts* today urged the Government of Ethiopia to stop misusing anti-terrorism legislation to curb freedoms of expression and association in the country, amid reports that people continue to be detained arbitrarily.

The experts’ call comes on the eve of the consideration by Ethiopia of a series of recommendations made earlier this year by members of the Human Rights Council in a process known as the Universal Periodic Review which applies equally to all 193 UN Members States. These recommendations are aimed at improving the protection and promotion of human rights in the country, including in the context of counter-terrorism measures.

“Two years after we first raised the alarm, we are still receiving numerous reports on how the anti-terrorism law is being used to target journalists, bloggers, human rights defenders and opposition politicians in Ethiopia,” the experts said. “Torture and inhuman treatment in detention are gross violations of fundamental human rights.”

“Confronting terrorism is important, but it has to be done in adherence to international human rights to be effective,” the independent experts stressed. “Anti-terrorism provisions need to be clearly defined in Ethiopian criminal law, and they must not be abused.”

The experts have repeatedly highlighted issues such as unfair trials, with defendants often having no access to a lawyer. “The right to a fair trial, the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to freedom of association continue to be violated by the application of the anti-terrorism law,” they warned.

“We call upon the Government of Ethiopia to free all persons detained arbitrarily under the pretext of countering terrorism,” the experts said. “Let journalists, human rights defenders, political opponents and religious leaders carry out their legitimate work without fear of intimidation and incarceration.”

The human rights experts reiterated their call on the Ethiopian authorities to respect individuals’ fundamental rights and to apply anti-terrorism legislation cautiously and in accordance with Ethiopia’s international human rights obligations.

“We also urge the Government of Ethiopia to respond positively to the outstanding request to visit by the Special Rapporteurs on freedom of peaceful assembly and association, on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and on the situation of human rights defenders,” they concluded.

ENDS

(*) The experts: Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Ben Emmerson; Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai; Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye; Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst; Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriela Knaul; Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan Méndez.

Special Procedures is the largest body of independent experts in the United Nations Human Rights system. Special Procedures is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Currently, there are 38 thematic mandates and 14 mandates related to countries and territories, with 73 mandate holders.

Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
Read @ http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15056&LangID=E

For more information log on to:

Countering terrorism:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Terrorism/Pages/SRTerrorismIndex.aspx
Freedom of assembly:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/AssemblyAssociation/Pages/SRFreedomAssemblyAssociationIndex.aspx
Freedom of expression:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/FreedomOpinion/Pages/OpinionIndex.aspx
Independence of judiciary:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Judiciary/Pages/IDPIndex.aspx
Rights defenders:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/SRHRDefenders/Pages/SRHRDefendersIndex.aspx
Torture and Inhuman treatment:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Torture/SRTorture/Pages/SRTortureIndex.aspx

UN Human Rights, country page – Ethiopia:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/ETIndex.aspx

– See more at:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15056&LangID=E#sthash.V8z65PRy.dpuf

Dispossession of local communities in the name of investment: Large scale public-private partnership (mega-PPPs) in Africa September 18, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, African Poor, Colonizing Structure, Land Grabs in Africa, Land Grabs in Oromia, No to land grabs in Oromia, Poverty, US-Africa Summit.
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Odaa Oromoo

 

 

 

In the context of weak land governance and insecure land tenure (estimates suggest that per cent of rural land in Africa is registered), there is a serious risk that mega-PPPs will lead to the dispossession or expropriation of local communities in the name of investment.

 

Inequality is already significant in Africa. Measurements such as the Gini-coefficient show that inequality on the continent is second only to Latin America in its severity. Land transfers to investors threaten to worsen this inequality by creating ‘agricultural dualism’ between large and small farms. This process will remove already diminishing plots of land from family farmers; while the co-existence of large and small farms has been shown to drive inequality and conflict in other contexts.Also, equitable agricultural development requires diverse forms of support to account for ‘different rural worlds’, including contract oversight for commercial producers, the development of local markets for poorer farmers, and job-creation and social protection for marginal groups.

Mega-PPP projects are unlikely to deliver this type of agenda, instead focussing on wealthier, more ‘commercially viable’ farmers and bigger, politically well-connected companies.

 

 

Not So Mega?

The risky business of large-scale PPPs in African agriculture

By Robin Willoughby, Food and Climate Justice policy adviser at Oxfam GB and leader of Oxfam International’s agricultural investment policy work.

 

 

At a large summit on the future of African agriculture last week, the buzzwords were ‘investment opportunities’, ‘transformation’ and ‘public-private partnerships.’

Despite the worthy aims of the hosts ‘A Green Revolution for Africa (AGRA)’, discussion of poverty, rights, gender or inequality was rather absent from the plenary.

The risks of large scale public-private partnership (mega-PPPs) are enormous, particularly in the areas targeted for investment. Huge land transfers are a core component of the mega-PPP agenda.

Mega-PPP projects are focussing less on the needs of poor small-scale farmers and more on wealthier, more ‘commercially viable’ farmers and bigger, politically well-connected companies.

Last week, I attended a large summit on the future of African agriculture in Addis Ababa, hosted by A Green Revolution for Africa (AGRA).

My participation really made me reflect on the problems of ‘groupthink’ within these types of conference, with each of the participants taking it in turns to stand on the podium and agree with one another more and more vociferously. The buzzwords were ‘investment opportunities’, ‘transformation’ and ‘public-private partnerships.’

This narrative is to be expected at a private sector agri-investment conference – but seems confusing when this type of meet-up is designed by philanthropic organisations to address rural poverty and the widespread challenges in African farming. Despite the worthy aims of AGRA, discussion of poverty, rights, gender or inequality was almost entirely absent from the plenary.

As one of the other participants said to me: “if everything is going so well – why are we all here?”

At the summit, I launched an Oxfam Briefing Paper on large-scale public-private partnerships initiatives, which echoes some of these themes.

The report points out that despite the large amount of hype around mega-PPPs such as the New Alliance for Food Security and NutritionGROW Africa, and numerous growth corridor initiatives – there is very little robust evidence on the proposed benefits of these arrangements, around who bears the risks or who holds the power in decision making.

So where do the risks and benefits lie?

The paper shows that public-private partnerships can play an important role in supporting farmers. For example, smaller-scale initiatives such as micro-credit, weather-index insurance and attempts to link farmers into markets offer useful examples of PPPs – particularly when they are co-designed with end-users and local communities.

Oxfam’s work with consumer goods company Unilever in a targeted partnership called Project Sunrise shows that well-designed partnerships can also be used for innovation and learning.

But the risks of mega-PPPs are enormous, particularly in the areas targeted for investment.

Threats to land rights
Land transfers are a core component of the mega-PPP agenda. The total amount of land pegged for investment within just five countries hosting growth corridor initiatives (Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, Ghana and Burkina Faso) stands at over 750,000 km² – the size of a country such as France or Ukraine.

Not all of this land will be leased to investors, but the initial offering in these countries stands at 12,500 km² (over 1.2 million hectares) – the amount of land currently in agricultural production in Senegal or Zambia.

In the context of weak land governance and insecure land tenure (estimates suggest that per cent of rural land in Africa is registered), there is a serious risk that mega-PPPs will lead to the dispossession or expropriation of local communities in the name of investment.

The pricing of land can also be set at extraordinarily low levels. The GROW Africa initiative advertised land for lease in Mozambique for $1 per hectare per annum over 50 years. This is around 2,000 times cheaper than comparable land in Brazil – raising concerns that African governments are seriously undervaluing their core assets.

Worsening inequality
Inequality is already significant in Africa. Measurements such as the Gini-coefficient show that inequality on the continent is second only to Latin America in its severity.

Land transfers to investors threaten to worsen this inequality by creating ‘agricultural dualism’ between large and small farms. This process will remove already diminishing plots of land from family farmers; while the co-existence of large and small farms has been shown to drive inequality and conflict in other contexts.

Also, equitable agricultural development requires diverse forms of support to account for ‘different rural worlds’, including contract oversight for commercial producers, the development of local markets for poorer farmers, and job-creation and social protection for marginal groups.

Mega-PPP projects are unlikely to deliver this type of agenda, instead focussing on wealthier, more ‘commercially viable’ farmers and bigger, politically well-connected companies.

Asymmetries of power
Finally, for any form of large-scale public-private partnership to be effective, it requires effective governance to ensure a fair sharing of risks and benefits; and regulation to ensure that more powerful players do not use political and economic clout to capture a dominant position in the market.

These conditions of good governance do not exist, on the whole, in most African countries.

The asymmetries of power within these arrangements can be enormous. In the SAGCOT programme (a mega-PPP in Tanzania), four large seed and agrichemical companies involved in the initiative have combined annual revenues of nearly US$100 billion. That is more than triple the size of the Tanzanian economy.

This raises serious concerns that these companies could lobby for policies that are in their interest and squeeze out small- and medium size enterprise from burgeoning domestic markets.

What are the alternatives?
Is there an alternative to the mega-PPP vision of agricultural development? I think so:

Public sector investment in research and development, extension services and targeted subsidies for credit can spread the benefits of agricultural investment widely and encourage private sector participation in the sector. Currently, governments in Sub-Saharan Africa only spend 5 per cent of their total annual budget on the sector, which is unforgivably low.

Securing land rights for local communities. This will help to ensure that communities within the target area for these schemes are not dispossessed in the name of investment. Secure land tenure also encourages smallholders to invest for themselves in land and productive activities.

Finally, alternative business models such as the development of producer organisations and the clever use of subsidies to encourage local processing facilities can develop agricultural markets without the need for ‘hub’ plantation farms or growth corridors. These models should be explored in more depth as part of a more inclusive PPP agenda.

With some US$6 billion of donor aid committed to further the aims of the New Alliance and $1.5 billion earmarked for growth corridor initiatives, mega-PPPs lead to a fundamental question. Would this money be better spent on lower risk models of agricultural development that give a greater share of the benefits to the poor?

Read more @http://naiforum.org/2014/09/not-so-mega/

Restricted #Africa: #Ethiopia and Sudan along with Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, Cuba and Belarus are the most censored countries for Internet use September 11, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in African Internet Censorship, Facebook and Africa, Oromo Protests, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Tweets and Africa, Tyranny.
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OAfrican Internet censorship: an infographic detailing the freest and most restricted African countries for Internet users.http://afrographique.tumblr.com/image/96527785004

 

 

 

Seenaa Gabaabaa Aadde Faaxumaa Galmoo (Haadha Abdii) 1930-2014 September 11, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Aadde Faaxumaa Galmoo, Black History, Inspirational Oromo Women, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Identity, Oromo Nation, Oromo Wisdom, Oromummaa, The Goddess of Fecundity.
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OFatuma

 

Seenaa Gabaabaa Aadde Faaxumaa Galmoo (Haadha Abdii) 1930-2014

 

Qabsoo ummanni Oromoo gabrummaa jalaa bahuuf godhaa jiru keessatti injifannoon hamma yoonaa galmaawan heddu. Injifannoolee tana galmeeysuuf, biyya keessa qofa odoo hin taane, biyyoota alaa keessattiis wal’aansoo cimtuu tu adeemsifame. Akkuma kan biyya keessaatti, wal’aansooleen biyya alaatti godhamaniis seenaa if dandaye qabu.

Biyyoota sabni Oromoo maalummaa isaanii falmachuuf qabsoo cimtuu itti adeemsisan keessaa takka Somaalee dha. Tan lamadaa Jabuuti. Biyya Jabuutii keessatti maalummaa ifii beeysisuuf wal’aansoon Oromootaan godhamte, tan biyya Soomaalee tiin waldhabbii qabaattullee haala walfakkiitiis guddo qabdi. Kan biraa yo hanqate, hawaasa biyya sanii Oromummaa fudhachiisuuf qabsoon godamtee fii wareegamni saniif bahe tan biyya Soomaalee irraa gadii miti.

Akkuma kan biyya keessaatti, wal’aansoolee biyyoota alaatti godhaman keessattiis namoota seena qabeessa tahan tu jira. Haala kanaan, qabsoo Oromummaa beeysisuuf biyya Jabuutii keessatti adeemsifamte keessatti, warri maqaan isaanii alagaa fii lammii biratti sadarkaa duraatti beekkame keessaa tokko kan Aadde Faaxumaa Galmoo ti. Aadde Faaxumaa Galmoo, abbaa isii Obbo Aammad Muummad Galmoo fii haadha isii Aadde Aaminaa Alii irraa Bitooteessa 15, bara 1930-tti magaalaa Dirree Dhawaatti dhalatte. Abbaa fii haati aadde Faaxumaa, isii malees, ilmaan dhiiraa sadihii fii tan dubartii afur horan. Warri aadde Faaxumaa, Warri Galmoo, warra guddaa Dirree Dhawaa fii naannoo isiitti haalaan beekkame.

Gaafa umrin aadde Faaxumaa heerumaaf gaye, hireen bultii, Obbo Aammad Sheekh Usmaan Qawwee, nama dhaloonni Yakkaa, kan barnoota amantii tiif qe’eerraa fagaatee odoo daddeemuu Dirree dhawaa qubate, waliin walitti hiite.

Obbo Aammad akka aaddee Faaxuma fuudheen, bara 1964 keessa, hujii baabura gubbaa tan hojjachaa tureen haala walqabateen, gama Jabuutii deemuu mudate. Akka achi seeneen, warra aadde Sa’iidaa Abdallaa Kaamil, haadha warra Usmaail Galmootti dhihaate. Haati warra Usmaa’il Galmoo nama saba Affar irraa dhalate. Soddoonni obbo Aammad Jabuutii keessatti arkate gargaarsa barbaaduun itti dirmatanii, akka xiqqo tureen, hujii mootummaatti galmeeysan. Inniniis akka qubachuu isaa mirkaneeffateen, bara 1968 keessa, maatii isaa Dirree Dhawaa irraa if biratti godaansise.

Yaroon aadde Faaxuma biyya Jabuutii itti seente, yaroo warri biyyaa bulchiinsa Faransaayii ifirraa kaasuuf qabsaawaa turani. Aadde Faaxuma, nama sossoohinsi Afran Qalloo Dirree Dhawaa keessatti duruu onnee danfise waan taateef, dhibdee warra biyyaa hubachuuf yaroo irraa hin fuune. Falmaa abbaa biyyummaa fii fincilli sirna koloneeffataa ifirraa buqqaasuuf biyya Jabuutii keessatti godhamaa jiru, haala biyya abbaa isii tiin waan itti walfaakateef, guututti bira dhaabachuun barbaachisa tahuu daftee hubatte.

Aadde Faaxuma, sossoohinsa ummanni biyya Jabuutii godhaa jiran, kan ija isii tiin agarterraa hiis hubannootaa fii dammaqiinsa gudda arkatte. Kuni dammaqiinsa sossooha Afran Qalloo irraa arkatte daranuu keessatti cimse. If bira tartee, dubartoota Oromoo kanneen dammaqiinsa akka isii qaban, warra akka aadde Zeeynabaa Ibraahimii fii Halloo Sheekhaa (Habo Halloo) waliin tahanii, sossooha warra biyyaa maddii dhaabbachaa, ifiifiis wal gurmeeysuu jalqaban.

Haalli kuni, mootummaa Hayle sillaasee tan Jabuuti falmachaa jirtuu fii aadde Faaxumaa Galmoo walitti buuse. Embaasiin Xoophiyaa haala kanarraa isii qophuuf, waan itti jirtu dhiiftee, jaarmaya Waldaya Gargaarsa Dubartoota Iteege Manan kan ja’amu, kan maqaa niitii Hayle Sillaasee tan xiqqo dura duuteen moggaafametti akka makamtu ajajan. Saniifiis xalayaa miseensummaa dhaaba isaanii manatti erganiif. Garuu, onneen aadde Faaxumaa jibba gabroomsaa tiin guutamtee waan turteef, amrii gabroomfataa gurrattuu hin-qicanne. Inumaatuu, gochi jaraa, haala itti jirtutti daran akka cimtu godhe.

Waxabajjii 27, bara 1977, ummanni Jabuutii bulciinsa Faransaayii jalaa walaba akka tahaniin, Oromoonni biyya san keessa jiran, waldaya wal-gargaarsa Oromootaa kan Caayaa Oromoo-tti beekkamuuf jiraatu heeraan galmeeyfatan. Mootummaan Jabuutii, Maabara Xoophiyaa biratti Caayaa Oromoo galmeeysuun faallaa fedhii mootummaa Xophiyaa ti ture. Garuu murtii akkasii akka fudhattu an dirqe, tin’sa aadde Faaxumaa fii Oromoonni biyya san keessa turan qabsoo bilisummaa isaanii tiif godhani.

Caayaan Oromoo Jabuutii dhaabota biyya alaa keessatti maqaa Oromoo tiin jaaramanii heeraan galmeeffamaniif kan angafaa ti. Caayaan dhaabbatte, lammii Oromoo biyya san keessa qubatan gurmeeysuu malees, sossooha qabsoo bilisummaa Oromiya kan biyya keessatti jalqabameef dugugguuruu (lafee duuydaa) taate. Caayaan Oromoo Jabuutii damee lama qabdi. Dameen tokko kan Dhiiraa yaroo tahu kaan han Duartootaa ti. Damee lameen keessaa kan dubartoota haalaan cimaa ture. Kanaafiis sababni aadde Faaxuma. Gaafa Caayaan dhaabbaterraa, aadde Faaxumaa Galmoo, hooggantuu Caayaan Oromoo damee dubartootaa taate.

Caayaan Oromoo Jabuutitti dhaabbachun, yaroo mootummaan Soomaalee lafa Oromiyaa irraa hamma tokko kutachuuf, Dargii, warra Hayle Sillaasee iraa aangoo fudhatan waliin lola cimaa adeemsisaa turani. Lolli kuni, ummata Oromoo jalaa gubbaan ibiddaaf saaxile. Soomaaleen jalaan, Dargiin gubbaan, madaafa ijaa-gurra hin qabne waliti haruun, namaa-sa’a Oromoo qe’ee gugachiisuu jalqaban. San malees, yaroo sanitti, Dargiin Oromoota magaalota keeysa jiran Soomaalee gargartaniin araraasutti seente. Haalii kun Oromoota magaalotaa fii baadiyyoota lollii keessatti deemaa jiru, baqaaf qaadhime. Xiqqaa fi guddaan hawaasaa, Sheekkotiin, hayyoonni, manguddoon, waliigalatti, qarayyoon lammii odoo hin feene, qe’ee itti dhalatanii guddatan irraa biyyaa fii hawaasa hin beeyne, kan Somaalee fii Jabuutiitti, koluu bahuu jalqaban.

Aadde Faaxumaa Galmoo, tan yaroo tanatti Haadha Abdii taate, haala Oromoota mudate kanarraa akkaan gaddite. Isii fii aabban warraa tiis, ummata yakka tokko malee, qabeenyaa fii biyya isaanii irraa arihaman duratti jiruu sadoo jiraachuu maganfatanii, qabeenyaa fii onnee isaanii lammii isaanii tiif banan. Manaa fii mooraan isaanii kan baqattootaa tahee, Beet-Refuujii, ja’amutti seene.

Haadha Abdii tii fii mieensoonni Caayaa Oromoo Jabuutii, odoo dhibdee haalli armaa olii hawaasa Oromoo mudeef rakkatanuu, haalli qabsoo Oromoo biyya keessatti babal’atee, inniniis gama isaa tiin baqattoota alatti yaasuu jalqabe. Kuni Oromoota Jabuutii keeysa jiran kanneen ifiifuu jiruu jiraa gadii jiraachaa jiranitti ba’aa biraa dabale.

Yaroo tana, aadde Faaxumaa, yaroo hujii xixiqqoo cinatti hojjattee maatiif galii ittiin argaamsiiftu baqattoota gargaaruu irratti fuulleeysite. Baqattoota ummatarratti hiruun, warra ugummaa adda addaa qabanii hujii soquun, warra afaan hinbeeyneef simaa-baloo tahuun, kanneen dhukbsataniif qoricha barbaaduu fii mana yaalaa geeysuun hujii isii tahe.

Gama biraa iin, yo namni Oromoo toko du’e, khafana barbaaduun, lafa qabrii qotuu fii tajaajila reeyfaaf barbaachisu godhanii heeraan awwaaluun hujii abbaa Abdii yo tahu, awwaalchaa fii taaziyaa galte gurra namaatiin geeyuun hujii haadha Abdii tahe. Kana godhuuf, oowwa biyya Jabuutii kan halkanii fii guyya adda hin filanne keeysa, fooxaa isii mataarra kaayyattee, haga tokko lafarraa harkisaa, akka nama maratetti gandarra daddeemti. Haala isii kanarraa qalbiin fayyaa miti warri jechaa turan heddu. Awwaala boodaas, gaddi nama fira hin qabnee bakki itti taa’amu, yaroo baayyee, mana haadha Abdii ti. Akkasiin haati Abdii kan du’e awwaaltee, kan awwalcha dhuufe nyaachifte, addaan galchiti.

Haati Abdii, oggaa nama Oromoo tokkorra rakkoo tu gayee jachuu dhageeyse, gargaarsaaf yaroo itti lafaa kaatu if quba hin qabdu. Akkuma yaroo gaddaatti, fooxaa lafarra harkisaa, gandarra kaatti. Warra hojii qaburraa maallaqa hamma danda’an irraa funaantee kan rakkate rakkoo baafti. Waliigalatti, magaalaa Jabuutii keessatti yo namni Oromoo tokko hidhame kan gargaarsaaf yaammatu ykn himatu aadde Faaxuma . Kan dura dirmatuus isuma tahe.

Rakkoon baqataa Oromoo tii fii Oromiyan gabrummaa Habashaa jala jiraachuu haadha Abdii tiif takkaa hiriiba hin laanne. Dhuma bara torbaatamootaa, obboleeysi isii sab-boonaan, sossooha Afran Qallootiif utubaa ture, Obbo Usmaa’il Galmoo, manguddoota sossooha san tin’isaa turan waliin qabamee mootummaa Dargiitiin hidhame. Dargiin, isaa fii warra kaaniis hamma tokkoo eega mana hidhaa keessatti eega araraasan booda, galgala Waxabajjii 07a, bara 1979ii, mana hidhaa keessaa dhooysaan baasanii hiraataaf rasaasa nyaachisan. Kan kana godhaniif, firoottanii fii Oromoota biraa ittiin doorsisuu fi. Haa tahu malee, kuni, garaa aadde Faaxumaa daranuu jabeeysee, murannoo qabsoo bilisummaa tiif qabdu caalaa godhe.

Haati Abdii, guyyaan hunda caalaa isitti hammaate, kan isiin iraanfachu hindandeenye, bara 1991 keeysa, gaafa ummanni Issaa baqattoota Oromoorrati duula bananiin lammii isii bayyinaan qaqqalan tahuu mararfattee dubatti. Gaafana, baqattoota dhibba lamaa olii tu mana isiitti dhokote. Guyyaan kun guyya dukkanawaa jireenya isii tahee hafe.

Aadde Faaxuma, haala armaa olii tiin, jireenya sii guutuu, manaa fii maatii isii hadiyyeessitee, hara-galfii malee, arjummaa hambaa hinqabneen, baqataa Oromo tii fii qabsoo bilisummaa Oromoo gargaaraa akka turte, Oromoota haala baqattummaa tiin Jabuutii keeysa dabran, saboontaa fii qabsaawota bira dabree alagaanilleen ragaa bahaniif.

Haati Abdii, nama faxina dafee waa hubatuu fii baratu. Nama yaroo waa’ee saba isii haasawutti kaate, yaanni akka galaanaati qoma keessaa burqu dhagayamee hin quufamne. Nama odoo mana barnootaa hin dhaqin, afaan Oromoo malees, kan Arabaa, Soomaalee, Affaar, Amaara, Adaree fii Faransaayii sirritti dubbatu.

Jaalalti haati Abdii bilisumaa ummata Oromo tiif qabdu hoonga hin qabdu. Haa tahu malee, dhibdee dadarkaa umrii fii if tajaajiluu dhabarraa itti dhufteen, baroota as aanaa kana dhukubsattee siree mudatte. Yaroo hamma tokkoof, maatii isii tiin odoo tajaajilamaa jirtuu, bilisummaa saba isii tiif hawwitu odoo ijaan hin arkin, Fulbaana 09, bara 2014, biyyuma baqattoota Oromoo kumaatama gargaaraa turtetti, gara fuula Rabbitti deebite.

Haati Abdii, Abdi malees, haadha Fooziya (Hiddii), Usmaan, Sa’iida, Aniisaa fii Aaminaa ti. Aadde Faaxumaa Galmoo, seena fincila diiddaa gabrummaa kan bara dheeraaf deemaa jiru keeysati qoodni laatte haalaan gudda. Qooda qabsoo saba Oromootifi gumaachite, seenaan qabsoo bilisummaa Oromiyaa bara baraan yaadata.

Rabbi jannataan haa qanani’u.

 

Qabsaawaan ni kufa, qabsoon itti fufa!

Oromiyaan ni bilisoomti!

 

Abbaa Faayoo / Abbaa Urjii

Caalaatti dirree kana irraa dubbisaa (Read more )@ http://www.gulelepost.com/2014/09/11/seenaa-gabaabaa-aadde-faaxumaa-galmoo-haadha-abdii-1930-2014/

 

Seenaa Gabaabaa  Sabboontuu Oromoo Aadde Faaxumaa Galmoo     OMN  irraa caqasaa:

 

Qaallu Institution: A theme in the ancient rock-paintings of Hararqee—implications for social semiosis and history of the Oromo (#Oromia) September 11, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Ancient African Direct Democracy, Ancient Rock paintings in Oromia, Ateetee, Ateetee (Siiqqee Institution), Black History, Chiekh Anta Diop, Culture, Irreecha, Kemetic Ancient African Culture, Meroe, Meroetic Oromo, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Culture, Oromo Identity, Oromo Nation, Oromo Wisdom, Oromummaa, Philosophy and Knowledge, Qaallu Institution, Qubee Afaan Oromo, Sirna Gadaa, State of Oromia, The Oromo Democratic system, The Oromo Governance System, The Oromo Library.
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O

Qaallu Institution: A theme in the ancient rock-paintings
of Hararqee—implications for social semiosis and
history of Ethiopia

Dereje Tadesse Birbirso (PhD)*

International Journal of Archaeology Cultural Studies Vol. 1 (1), pp. 001-018, September, 2013. Available online at http://www.internationalscholarsjournals.org © International Scholars Journals
This article critically analysed some of the ancient rock paintings of Hararqee of Eastern Oromia/Ethiopia with the intention to understand and explain the social epistemological and rhetorical structures that underlie beneath these social ‘texts’. It did so through using sub-themes in the ancient Qaallu Institution of the Oromo as analytical devices. Multi-disciplinary approach that combined concepts from various disciples was adopted as a guiding theoretical framework, while the Eurocentric approach that de-Ethiopinizes these historic heritages was rejected. Field data was collected from various sites of ancient rock paintings in Hararqee. Archival data
were also collected. Two informants expert with wisdom literature were selected in order to consolidate the multi-disciplinary approach adopted with the interpretive framework of the traditional, local social epistemology. The results of the analysis revealed both substantive and methodological insights. Substantively, it suggests that the Oromo Qaallu Institution fundamentally underlies the social semiotic, linguistic and epistemological structures communicated by means of the rock painting signs or motifs. Some of these are the Oromo pre-Christian belief in Black Sky-God, pastoral festival in the praise of the cattle and the
fecundity divinity and genealogico-politico-identification structures. Methodologically, the unique Oromo social semiotical and stylystical rhetorics which could be referred as ‘metaplasmic witticism’ and the role of Qaallu Institution sub-themes as sensitizing devices and the emergent directions for future research are all presented in this report.

 

INTRODUCTION

Hararqee, the vast land in Eastern Ethiopia, is where over 50% of Ethiopia’s (possibly including Horn of Africa)
rock paintings are found (Bravo 2007:137). Among these is the famous Laga Oda Site “dating to at least 16,000
BP” (Shaw and Jameson 1999:349) and comprising depictions of bovines and many different types of  animals. This vast land of Hararqee is settled by the Oromo, the largest tribe of the Cushitic stock, and hence it is part of the Oromia National State. The Oromo people, one of the richest in ancient (oral) cosmogonal- social history , literature and especial owners of the unique socio-philosophico-political institution known as Gada or Gada System, consistently insist that theirs as well as human being’s origin is in the Horn of Africa specifically a place known as Horra βalabu/Ŵolabu ‘the Place of Spring-Water of Genesis of Humanity’ (Dahl and Megerssa 1990).

This and a plethora of Oromo social epistemology has been studied by the plausible Oromo historians (Gidada 2006, Hassen 1990, to mention a few) and non-biased European theologico-ethnologists (Krapf 1842; De Abbadie 1880; De Salviac 1980, Bartels 1983, to mention a few). Similarly, social semiosis is not new to the Oromo. Although Eurocentric archaeologists rarely acknowledge, “the identification of cultural themes and symbolic interpretation has revealed affinities between contemporary Oromo practices and those of other East African culture groups, both ancient and modern (Grant 2000: np.).In like manner, the Classical Greek philosophers wrote that the Ancient Ethiopians were “inventors of worship, of festivals, of solemn assemblies, of sacrifice, and of every religious practice” (Bekerie, 2004:114). The oral history of the Oromo states that it was Makko Billii, whom Antonio De Abbadie, one of the early European scholars who studied and lived with the Oromo, described as “African Lycurgus” (Werner 1914b: 263; Triulzi and Triulzi  1990:319; De Abbadie 1880) and son of the primogenitor  of the Oromo nation (Raya or Raâ), who hammered out the antique, generation-based social philosophy known as Gada System (Legesse 1973, 2006; Bartels 1983; Gidada 2006). A key ingredient in Gada system is the  For Oromo, the first Qaallu “Hereditary ritual officiant” and “high priest” was of “divine origin” and, as the myth tells us, “‘fell from the sky itself’…with the first black cow” and he was the “‘eldest son of Ilma Orma’” (Hassen 1990:6; Baxter, Hultin and Triulzi 1996:6). In its “dual[ity] nature”, Waaqa, the black Sky-God “controlled fertility, peace, and lifegiving rains… [hence] prayers for peace, fertility, and rain” are the core recursive themes in Oromo religion (Hassen 1990:7). Hence, the concept/word Qaallu refers at large to “Divinity’s fount of blessings in the world” (Baxter, Hultin and Triulzi 1996: 1996: 21). As De Salviac (2005 [1901]: 285) explicated “The Oromo are not fetishists. They believe in Waaqa took, a unique universal creator and master. They see His manifestations in great forces of nature, without mistaking for Him.” As a result of  this ‘pre-historic’, Spinozaean like social epistemology, but unlike Martin Heideggerean “ancients” who never  dared questioning or confronting ontology but endorsed only veneering it, for the Oromo social semiosis has never been new since time immemorial. Despite all these antique history and tradition, it is  unfortunatel, the so-far few studies made on the  Ethiopian ancient rock paintings and rock arts never consider—sometimes apparently deliberately isolate–the  social history, tradition, culture or language of the Oromo people as a possible explanatory device. What the  available few studies usually do is only positivist  description of the paintings (types, size and/or number of  the signs) rather than inquiry into and explanation of the  social origin and the underlying social meaning, praxis or  worldview. Partly, the reason is the studies are totally  dominated by Eurocentric paradigms that de-Africanize and extrude the native people and their language,  religion, social structure, material cultures and, in general, their interpretive worldview. Besides, some of  the native researchers are no different since they have unconditionally accepted this Eurocentric, hegemonic epistemology (Bekerie 1997; Smith 1997; Gusarova 2009; Vaughan 2003). As a result, we can neither  understand the social origin of these amazing ‘texts’ nor  can we explain the underlying social semiosis.. Equally, under this kind of mystification or possible distortion of  human (past) knowledge, we miss the golden opportunities that these ancient documents offer for  evolutionary, comparative and interdisciplinary social science research and knowledge. Above all, the old Eurocentric view narrowed down the sphere of semiotics  (archaeological, social) to only ‘the sign’, extruding the  human agents or agency and the social context.

The aim of this paper is to use the ancient Qaallu Institution of Oromo as analytical ‘devices’ in order to  understand and explain the underlying social  epistemological, semiotical and rhetorical structures, i.e., expressed in all forms of linguistic and non-linguistic structures. In sharp contrast to the aforementioned  positivist, narrow, colonial semiotics, in this analysis,
Theo van Leeuwen’s postmodern and advanced approach to social semiotics is adopted. Primarily, Van  Leeuwen (2005: 3) expands “semiotic resource” as  involving “the actions and artefacts we use to communicate, whether they are produced physiologically – with our vocal apparatus…muscles…facial expressions  and gestures, etc. – or by means of technologies – with pen, ink and paper…computer hardware and software…with fabrics, scissors and sewing machines.”
Van Leeuven (2005: xi) introduces the changing  semiosphere of social semiotics:

 Just as in linguistics the focus changed from the ‘sentence’ to the ‘text’ and its ‘context’, and from
‘grammar’ to ‘discourse’, so in social semiotics the focus changed from the ‘sign’ to the way people use semiotic
‘resources’ both to produce communicative artefacts and  events and to interpret them;

 Rather than constructing separate accounts of  the various semiotic modes – the ‘semiotics of the  image’, the ‘semiotics of music’, and so on – social semiotics compares and contrasts semiotic modes, exploring what they have in common as well as how they differ, and investigating how they can be integrated in multimodal artefacts and events.

Indeed, the Classical Western dualism which separates the linguistic from the non-linguistic, the literary from the
non-literary, the painting from the engraved, the notional from the artefactual must be eschewed, especially when
we build evolutionary  perspective to analyzing pre-historic arts.

CLEARING SOME CONFUSIONS

Scholars have already explicated and explained away the old de-Ethiopianization historiographies in social sciences
(Bekerie 1997; Smith 1997; Gusarova 2009; Vaughan 2003), humanities (Ehret 1979) and archaeology
(Finneran 2007). Therefore, there is no need to repeat this here. But, it is necessary to briefly show disclose some

veils pertaining to Hararqee pre-historic paintings. As  usual, the ‘social’ origin of ‘pre-historic’, Classical or Medieval era Hararqee rock paintings is either mystified or hailed as agentry “Harla” or “Arla” (Cervicek and  Braukämper 1975:49), an imaginary community:
According to popular beliefs Harla generally refers to a mysterious, wealthy and mighty people, (frequently even
imagined as giants!), who had once occupied large  stretches of the Harar Province before they were  destroyed by the supernatural powers through natural  catastrophies as punishment for their inordinate pride. This occurred prior to the Galla (Oromo) incursions into  these areas during the 16th and 17th centuries” (Cervicek  and Braukämper 1975: 49; emphasis added).

In footnote, Cervicek and Braukämper (1975:49) quote Huntingford (1965:74) to on the identity of the Harla: “The
name “Harla” is first mentioned, as far as we know, in the  chronicle of the Ethiopian Emperor ‘Amda Seyon in the
14th century (Huntingford 1965:74).” It is clear that this mystification prefigures in the usual  gesture of de-Africanizing civilization of Black Africans to justify the so-called Hamitic myths, as explained well in  the works of the aforementioned post-modern scholars. Thanks to Professor Claude Sumner (Sumner 1996: 26), today we know the fact of the matter, that it was not Huntingford who composed about the imaginary “Harla”. It was the French Catholic missionaries by the name
François Azais and Roger Chambard who reconstructed to fit it to their interest the imaginary ‘Harla’ (spelling it
rather as “Arla”) from an oral history told to them by an Oromo old man from Alla clan of Barentuu.The story itself
is about a “wealthy” Oromo man called “Barento” who was “very rich but very proud farmer” (Sumner 1996: 26).
For it is both vital and complex (in its ironic message, which cannot however be analyzed here) we have to
quote it in full:

There was in the Guirri country, at Tchenassen [Č’enāssan], an Oromo, a very rich but very proud farmer called Barento. A cloth merchant, an Arab who was also very rich, lived a short distance from there at Derbiga. The merchant’s daughter went one day to see the farmer and told him: “I would like to marry your son.”—“Very well, I shall give him to you,” he answered. The merchant in turn, gave his daughter and made under her daughter’s steps a road of cloth, from Derbiga to Tchenassen, residence of the rich farmer. The tailor replied to this act by making a road of dourah and maize under his son’s steps, from Tchenassen to Derbiga. But God was incensed by this double pride and to punish him, shaked Tchenassen Mountain and brought down a rain of stones which destroyed men and houses; it was then that the race of Arla [Alla] was destroyed (Sumner 1996: 26). Confirming the antiquity and unity of this story and the Oromo, similar story is found in Western Oromo as far closer to the Southern Sudan: “in interpreting certain of their [Oromo] myths about the beginning of things, it was because of man’s taking cultivation and pro-creation toomuch into his own hands, that Waqa[Waaqa] withdrew from him–a withdrawal resulting in a diminution of life on earth in all its forms” (Bartels 1975:512). As a part of the general social semiotics adopted in this study, onomasiology (the scientific analysis of toponyms, anthroponyms,ethnonyms as well as of semiotic metalanguages) is considered as important component for evolutionary social semiosis, particularly for any researcher on Oromo since these are coded or they code social epestemes, are cyclical, based on the principles of  Gada System’s name-giving tradition, and, hence, are resistant to change (for detail on this see Legesse 1973). For instance, Cervicek and Braukamper (1965:74) described the Laga Gafra area and its population as: “The area of the site is part of the Gafra Golla Ḍofa village, and the indigenous Ala [Oromo] call it Gada Ba’la (“large shelter”)”, but appropriately, Baalli Gada. Here, let us only remember that Alla and Itťu clans are two of the Hararqee Oromo self-identificating by Afran Qalloo

(literally the Quadruplets, from ancient sub-moiety) who “provide[d] a basis for…construct[ing] models for
prehistoric land and resource use” (Clark and Williams:

Social semiosis, language and reality in the ancient ‘texts’ Social semiosis might be considered as old as homo
sapiens sapiens. But, for our analytical purpose, it is logical to begin from the Ancient Black Africans that some
19th century European missionaries and researchers  referred to as ‘Ancient Egyptians’ (although still others
refer to them by Ancient Cushites, Ancient Ethiopians, Ancient Nubians or Meroes), who are the originators of
the first writing systems known as ‘hieroglyphics’. Chiekh Anta Diop (Diop 2000), Geral Massey (Massey 1907)
and other scholars have illuminated to us a lot about  hieroglyphics. Initially, hieroglyphics was pictogram or semagram. That is, pictures of real world were ‘painted’ to communicate a  sememe or motif, the smallest meaningful structure or concept, for instance, a picture of sitting man for their  word equivalent to the English ‘sit’; a picture of man stretching his/her arms to the sky for ‘pray’; a lion for ‘great man’, etc., all or some of which is determined by
the lexical structures (phonological, syllabic, semantic, imagery they arise, etc) of their respective words. Based
on their social philosophy/paradigm, literary/figurative  symbolism, and/or their word’s/language’s phonology/syntax, for instance, equivalent to the English ‘woman’, they might have also depicted a picture of a pigeon, or an owl or a cow. This zoomorphic mode of representation as the ‘Sign-Language of Totemism and Mythology’ was the first and early writing system in human history. The Ancient Egyptians used the principles of, among others, sound-meaning association, semantic and ontologic (what something/somebody can cause) similarization, physical resemblance, grouping (duplication or triplication of the same pictograms to represent meaning), aggregation (pictograms are combined in or around a spot or a pictogram is duplicated as many as necessary and congregated in or around a spot), sequencing vertically or horizontally (representing lexico-grammatic, syntactic, semotactic or stylistic structure) and so forth.

Some of these or similar principles or ‘stylistic features’ are observed, particularly, in the Laga Oda painting styles. Cervicek (1971:132-133 122-123), for instance, observed in Laga Oda paintings such stylized ‘discourse’ as ‘group of horseshoe-like headless bovine motifs’, ‘paired ‘soles of feet’ from Bake Khallo [Bakkee Qaallu ‘Sacred Place for Qaallu Ritual]’, ‘oval symbo accompanied as a rule by a stroke on their left side’, sun-like symbol, in the centre with animal and anthropomorphic representations grouped around it’, paired ‘soles of feet’, carefully profiled styles (overhead, side, back point-of-view of bovines), zooming (large  versus small size of bovine motifs), headless versus headed bovines, H-shaped anthropomorphic
representations with raised hands’, superimposition and so forth. Any interpretation that renders these as isolated
case, arbitrary or pointless marks can be rejected outright. Some of these ‘early spelling’ are found not only across the whole Horn of Africa but also in Ancient Meroitic-Egyptian rock paintings, hieroglyphics and, generally, organized social semiosis.By the same token, Oromo social semiotical ‘texts’, like any ancient texts, textures “intimate link…between form,
content and concrete situation in life” (Sumner 1996:17-18). Professor Claude Sumner, who produced three volume analysis of Oromo wisdom literature (Sumner 1995, 1996, 1997), sees that like any “ancient texts”, in Oromo wisdom literature, “a same unit of formal characters, namely of expressions, of syntactic forms, of vocabulary, of metaphors, etc., which recur over and over again, and finally a vital situation…that is a same original function in the life of [the people]” (Sumner 1996:19). An elderly Oromo skilled in Oromo wisdom speaks, to use the appropriate Marxian term, ‘historical materialism’, or he speaks “in ritual language, as it was used in old times at the proclamation of the law” (Bartels 1983:309).
Moreover, he speaks in rhythmatic verses, full of “sound parallelism” (Cerulli 1922), “parallelism of sounds” or
“image” or “vocalic harmony” (Bartels 1975: 898ff). Even Gada Laws used to be “issued in verse” (Cotter 1990:
70), in “the long string of rhyme, which consists of  repeating the same verse at the end of each couplet” or  “series of short sententious phrases” that are “disposed  to help memory” (De Salviac 2005 [1901]: 285). The  highly experienced researchers on the ancient Oromo system of thought, which is now kept intact mainly by the Booran Gada System, emphasize that “‘the philosophical concepts that underlie the gadaa system’…utilize a  symbolic code much of which is common to all Oromo” (Baxter, Hultin and Triulzi 1996: 21). Long ago, one scholar emphatically stated, this is a feature “surely has developed within the [Oromo] language” and “is also only imaginable in a sonorous language such as Oromo” which “as a prerequisite, [has] a formally highly developed poetical technique” (Littmann 1925:25 cited in Bartels 1975:899).

Claude Sumner formulates a “double analogy” tactic as prototypical feature of Oromo wisdom literature, i.e., “vertical” and “horizontal” parallelism style (Sumner 1996:25), known for the most part to linguists, respectively, as ‘paradigmatic’ (‘content’ or ‘material’) and ‘syntagmatic’ (‘form’ or ‘substance’) relations or in both literature and linguistics, as contextual-diachronic and textual-synchronic, relations. Oromo social epistemological concepts/words/signs offers important data for historical and evolutionary social sciences for they recycle and, consequently, are resistant to change  both in form and meaning (Legesse 1973). In the same way, in this analysis of the ancient rock paintings of Hararqee, an evolutionary and multidisciplinary analysis of the interrelationship among the traditional ‘semiotic triangle’—the sign (sound or phonon, word or lexon, symbol or image), the signified (the social meaning, ‘semon’, episteme or theme) and the referent (cultural-historical objects and ritual-symbolic actions)——and among the metonymic complex (referring here to layers and clusters of semiotic triangles in their social-natural contexts) is assumed as vital meta-theoretical framework.

METHODS AND THE SEMIOTIC RESOURCES

For this analysis, both archival and field data or semiotic resources are collected. In 2012 visits were made to the
some of the popular (in literature) ancient rock painting sites in Hararqee (Laga Oda, Goda Agawa, Ganda Biiftu,
etc.; comprehensive list of Ethiopian rock painting sites is presented by Bravo 2007). Also, field visits were made to
less known (in literature) ancient to medieval era painting sites were made in the same year (e.g., Goda Rorris,
Huursoo, Goda K’arree Ǧalɖeessa, Goda Ummataa, Goda Daassa, etc). Huge audiovisual data (still and
motion) of both paintings and engravings were collected, only very few of which are used in this paper. On the one
hand, the previously captured data (as photos, sketches or traces) from some of the popular sites, for instance
Laga Oda and Laga Gafra (as in Cervicek 1971; Cervicek and Braukamper 1975), are sometimes found to be
preferably clearer due to wear-off or other factors. On the other hand, from the same sites, some previously
unrevealed or undetected motifs (painted or engraved) were collected. Therefore, both field and archival data are
equally important for this analysis. However, since the Qaallu Institution , and its sub-themes, is used as sensitizing device or a means rather than end— hence is capitalization upon social semiotic and linguistic aspects–there is an inevitable risk of undermining these complex philosophical notions. Yet, for the pertinent (to Qaallu Institution) anthropological-ethnological archivals used as additional secondary data or, to use Theo van Leeuwen’s term, as “semiotic resource”, original and influential references are indicated for further reading. More importantly, two old men skilled in Oromo social epistemology, customarily referred to as ‘walking libraries’, are used as informants. Taaddasaa Birbirsoo Mootii, 87, from Wallagga, Western Oromia (Ethiopia) and Said Soddom Muummee, 85, from Hararqee Eastern Oromia (Ethiopia). Mootii, Addoo Catholic Church Priest (‘Catechist’ is the word they use), was one of the infor- mants and personal colleagues of Father Lambert Bartels, who studied in-depth and wrote widely on Oromo religion, rituals and social philosophy. His scholarly and
comparative (with Biblical) analysis of Oromo religion and world view, child birth custom, praise song for the cow,
Qaallu Institution, Gada system geneaological-social hierarchy are among his seminal works. Although Bartels
only indicated Mootii as “one priest”, he and his colleague Shagirdi Boko (one of the Jaarsa Mana Sagadaa ‘Old
Men of Church’) were among his informant colleagues. Muummee, is not only well seasoned wiseman, but he
still celebrates and identify himself as Waaqeeffata—believer, observer and practitioner of the pre-Christian
Oromo religion founded on Waaqa, the Black Sky-God.

ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION

Qaallu Institution and the praise to the cattle Above, under Introduction section, we briefly touched upon the mythical-social origin of the Qaallu Institution and its relation with genesis and cow-milk. Qaallu comes from the gerundive qull (qul’qullu, intensive) ‘pure, holy, sacred, blameless; being black, pretty, neat’, pointing to the color and quality of Waaqa (see Bartels 1983; Hassen 1990 for detail).. The “ancient” Qaallu Institution of Oromo (Baxter 1987: 168 quoted and elaborated in Gidada 2005: 146-147) had been widely practiced in Eastern, Hararqee Oromo until the first half of the 20th century. It is as much cosmogonal, cosmological and ideological (identificational) as it is theo-political to the Oromo nation, in particular, and, at large, the pre-colonial (pre-Christian, pre-Islam) Cushite who uniformly believed in Water, as a source of life and on which life is unilaterally dependent, and in Waaqa–a concept/word that means, on the one hand, the abstract ‘Supreme Being, God, Devine, Heave’ and, on the other, the ‘concrete’ ‘Sky, Divinely Water (rain)’. For Oromo, the first Qaallu “a high priest”, the “spiritual leader” was of “divine origin”, as the myth tells us, “ ‘fell from the sky itself’…with the first black cow” and he was the “‘eldest son of Ilma Orma’” and in its “dual nature”, Waaqa, the black Sky-God “controlled fertility, peace, and lifegiving rains…[hence] prayers for peace, fertility, and rain” are the core recursive themes in Oromo religion (Hassen 1990: 6-7). For more on Oromo genealogical tree and history, see Gidada (2006), Bartels (1983), BATO (1998), to mention a few.

The Booran Oromo, who still retains the Qaallu
Institution ‘unspoiled’:

The Booran view of cosmology, ecology and ontology is  one of a flow of life emanating from God. For them, the benignancy of divinity is expressed in rain and other conditions necessary for pastoralism. The stream of life flows through the sprouting grass and the mineral waters [hoora] of the wells, into the fecund wombs and generous udders of the cows [ɢurrʔ
ú]. The milk from the latter then promotes human satisfaction and fertility (Dahl and Megerssa 1990: 26).

In this worldview, the giant bull (hanɡafa, hancaffa) is a symbol of angaftitti “seniority of moieties: stratification
and imbalance” (Legesse 2000: 134). Hence, the separation of the most senior or ancient moieties or the cradle land imitates hariera ‘lumbar and sacral vertebrae’ (other meaning ‘queue, line, suture’) or horroo ‘cervical vertebrae’ of the bull.

The primogenitors (horroo) of the Oromo nations (mainly known as Horroo, Raya, Booro) set the first ßala ‘moiety, split (from baɮ ‘to flame, impel, fly; to split, have bilateral symmetry’) or Ẃalaßu ‘freedom, bailing, springing’. The formation of moieties, sub-sub-moieties grew into baɭbaɭa‘sub-sub-sub-etc…lineages’ (also means ‘door, gate’; the reduplication showing repetitiveness). Jan Hultin, an influential anthropologist and writer on Oromo, states “Among the Oromo, descent is a cultural construct by which people conceive of their relations to each other and to livestock and land; it is an
ideology for representing property relations” (Hultin 1995: 168-169). The left hand and right hand of the bovine always represent, in rituals, the “sub-sections of the phratry” (Kassam 2005:105). That is, as the tradition sustains,
when the ancient matrilineal-patrilineal moieties sowed, dissevered (fač’á) from the original East (Boora), the
Booreettúma (designating matrilineality, feminine soul) took or went towards the left hand side, while the Hoorroo
(also for unclear reason βooroo, designating patrilineality, masculine soul) took the right hand side. Both correspond, respectively, to the directions of sunrise and sunset, which configure in the way house is constructed: Baa, Bor ‘the front door’ (literally ‘Origin, Beam, morning twilight’) always faces east, while the back wall (Hooroo) towards west (also Hooroo means ‘Horus, evening twilight’). This still governs the praxis that the backwall “is the place of the marriage negotiations and of the first sexual intercourse of sons and their bride [i.e., behind the stage]” (Bartels 1983: 296). For this reason, Qaallu Institution has had a special Law of the Bovine as well as Holiday of the Cattle/Bovine, Ǧaarrii Looni (Legesse 1973:96; Dahl and Megerssa 1990). On Ǧaarrii Loonii, cattle pen are renovated and embellished, and festivities and dances with praise songs to cattle was chanted (for more, Bartels 1975; Wako 2011; Kassam 2005). An excerpt from the praise song ‘talks’ about them with admiration (See also Bartels 1975: 911):

Chorus: Ahee-ee
Soloist: Sawa, sawilee koo–Cows, o my cows,
Bira watilee koo–and also you, my calves.
Ǧeɗ’e malee maali–Could I say otherwise?
Yá saa, yá saa—o cattle, o cattle!
saa Humbikooti–cattle of my Humbiland,
Saa eessa ǧibbu?–What part of cattle is useless?
Saa qeensa qičču–Our cattle with soft hoofs,
koṱṱeen šínii ta’e—from their hoofs, we make coffee-cups
gogaan wallu ta’e—from their skins, we make wallu
[leather cloth]
gaafi wanč’a ta’ee, — from their horns, we make wáɳč’a
[large beer cup]

faɭ
ʔ
anas ta’a!—as well as spoons! [See Fig.1A, B, C, D,
E]

Chorus: Ahee-ee

Lambert Bartels, a Catholic Father and scholar lived with  the Oromo, writes “When they bless, they say: ɡurrači
ɡaraa ǧ’abbii siif ha kenu ‘May the dark one [God] with hail under his abdomen give you all (good things)’
(Bartels 1983:90-91). Cervicek (1971:124 Fig.10) wonders about the unexplained but recurrent “oval
representations… painted black [and] white-dotted” and consistently painted “below” the cow udder (see Fig.2B).
This can be compared with wáɳč’a ‘drinking horn-cup’ or č’óč’oo, č’iič’oo ‘milking (horn-)cup’ (see Fig.1D). On
Irreečča ritual of Thanking Waaqa the Black Sky-God, a line of the doxology mentions, among others, “Waaqa

č’iič’oo gurraattii” ‘God of the dark č’iič’oo milking-cup’ (Sabaa 2006:312). The deadjectival č’óč’orree means ‘white dotted (black background); turkey or similar white dotted bird’, while Waaɳč’ee is a proper name for white-dotted cow.

Qaallu as ecotheological concept

Qaallu is also an ontological concept referring to the spirit that resides in sacred realities, the mountain hills, seas, river
beds, pasture land, etc. As an important place for ritual place for immortalizing (primogenitors, ancestors), blessing
(children, the young), initiations (to Gada classes, power take-over), praying (for fertility, abundance, fortune, rain),
and praising (God, nature, cattle), the sacred land of spirituality must be mountain foot (goda) where there must
be, naturally, laga ‘lagoon, river’, č’affee ‘marshy area with green grasses’ (symbol of the parliamentary assembly),
χaɭoo ‘pasture land’, and the evergreen oɖaa fig sycamores. Oɖaa serves not only as “a depiction of a political power”,
but “is also a centre of social and economic activities” and “symbolizes the entire corpus of their activities, history,
culture and tradition” (Gutamaa 1997:14). Five Qaallu centres are known in Booran sub-moiety: (1) Qaallu Odiituu, (2) Qaallu Karrayyuu, (3) Qaallu Matťarii, (4) Qaallu Karaar, (5) Qaallu Kuukuu, (10) Qaallu Arsii (Nicolas 2010). These centers are like cities of (con-)federal states and simultaneously are (sub-)clan names. These names are codes and decoders of not only genealogical and landscapes, but also of ancient (sub)-moieties and settlement patterns. Since they are cyclical, based on the principles of Gada System’s name-giving principle, they are widespread across Oromia and resistant to change. Werner (1915:2) observed that in Booran Oromo, “every clan has its own mark for cattle, usually a brand (ɢuʋa [ɡuƀá ], which is the name of the instrument used, is an iron spike fixed into a wooden handle)”, a fact which is
significated in other parts of Oromia with different signifiers, for instance, pattern of settlement, which is determined by a
korma karbaʑaa ‘bull that bulldozes jungles’ or korma qallaččaa ‘kindling bull’ (Gidada 2006: 99-100) or bull’s
anatomy (BATO 1998). For instance, quoting Makko Billii, the ancient Gada System law maker, the Wallaga Oromo
recite their settlement pattern in the anatomy of Korma the virile ‘buffalo-bull’ or ‘macho man’: Sibuun garaača. Haruu č’inaacha, Leeqaan dirra sangaati, ‘The Sibuu [Sabboo] clan is the abdomen, the Haruu [Hooroo] is the ribs, and Leeqaa is the chuck of the bull’ (BATO 1998:164).

Qallačča bull as a kindler is related defined qallačča “a white patch between the horns of a cow running back down the
two sides of the neck; a charm” (Foot 1913:33). See Fig.2 A, B, C and D . It is the symbol of a Qaallu’s qallačča, here
meaning, an inherited, from ancestors, spiritual and intellectual grace or sublimity. This is quite related to of
book’a ‘a black cow or bull or ram that has a white mark upon the forehead’ (Tutschek 1844:135-136), a natural
phenomenon considered as a good omen. Adda isá book’aa qaba ‘his forehead has a blaze’ is an idiom appropriately
meaning the person has the natural capacity, inherited from ancestors, to prophesize, foreknow. For this reason, “white-headedness” or wearing white turban is a symbol of (passage to) seniority or superordinate moiety (Kassam 1999). As usual, there is “intimate link…between form, content and concrete situation in life” (Sumner 1996:17-18).

Qallačča as a mysterious metal

Qallačča is a key concept in Qaallu Institution. One instantiation of this complex concept is that it is a mysterious
sacred material culture (Fig.3). Informants tell us that true. qallačča worn on the forehead by the Qaallu was made of

iron that fell from sky as qorsa (comet, metorite); it was only  recovered after pouring milk of a black cow on the specific
spot it dropped. For some ethnologists/anthropologists, it is a “white metal horn which is worn on the forehead” and is
“horn-symbolism” for “every man is a bull”, a symbol of virility (Bartels 1983: 146). For others it is just a ‘white
metal horn’ which is a symbol of fertility or just is “phallic ornament” (Haberland 1963:51 quoted in Bartels
1983:146). These argumentations share the root qaɾa ‘horn (sharp and tall), acute; graining fruit, granulate,
shoot’ and the inavariable qaɾ-ɳî ‘sex (characteristics)’. The very Oromo word for ‘sex (intercourse)’, namely
saala, also designates ‘horn, oryx, penis; awe, honor, esteem; shame, shameful’. But, these notions are only
part of the polysemantic and complex concept of qallačča. Amborn (2009: 401) might be wrong when he completely
rejects the “phallisphication” of qallačča by “some anthropologists”. He is right that qallačča is also a symbol
of “socio-religious mediator which is able to bundle positive and negative “cosmic” (for want of a better word)
energies” and rather “symbolizes a link between the human and the supernatural world; its function is to open
up this connection between different spheres.” Knutsson (1967:88-90 quoted in Bartels 1983:145) describes
qallačča as “a conically formed ‘lump’ of black iron…brought from the heaven by the lightening.” Plowman (1918:114), who took a sketch of qallačča (Fig.3 D), described it as “emblem” of the Qaallu “Chief  Priest” or of the retired Abba Gadaa ‘the president’. Plowman fleshes out the components of qallačča: (1) “seven bosses superimposed on a raised rim running
round the emblem”; (2) “upright portion made of polished lead”; (3) “circular base of white polished shell-like substance resembling ivory”; (4) “leather straps for  fastening emblem to forehead of weaver” (Plowman 1918:114). This mysterious cultural object has multifunction. Taaddasa Birbirsso Mootii, who is not only an informant, but, in the expression of the locals, ‘a man who has sipped mouthful’ (of Oromo traditional wisdom) explains the social epistemological structure underlying qallačča: During the time of Gada System, government by the people’s justice, the Waaqeeffataa used to pour out milk of black cow on Dibayyuu ritual and discover/see their qallačča [truth and abundance]. For it is a sacred object,
qallačča never moved [transported, communicated] withoutsacrificial blood of bulls. It must be smeared on
the forehead [See Fig.3A and P7B on the forehead]. How can urine/semen without water, child without blood, milk
without udder/teats be discovered [gotten]? In the aftermath of lengthy drought, too, they used to take
qallačča to depression/ford and hill-top to pray with one stomach [unanimously] to God with Qaallu the Spiritual
Father. Immediately, qallačča [God’s riposte] reconciled streaming milk from the sky [rains]. Hence, qallačča was
used for collective welfare. Qallačča is God’s qali ‘alethic truth, promise’. Note that from Laga Oda Cave, archaeologists (Brandt 1984:177) have found “‘sickle sheen’ gloss and polish”, which helped archaeologists to recover “possible
indications of intensive harvesting of wild grasses as early as 15, 000 B. P.”; “one awl”, “one endscraper” and
“one curved-backed flake” all “dated 1560 B.C.”; and, “a few microliths that show evidence of mastic adhering
close to the backed edges” which “strongly suggests” that by “1560 B.C…stone tools were being used (probably as components of knives and sickles).”

Qallačča and Gadaa—the generation-age-based
sociopolitical system

Baxter (1979:73, 80) calls it “phallic” or “ritual paraphernalia”, which is worn on the head “by men at crucial stage in the gaada [gadaa] cycle of rituals”. Informants make distinction between two types of qallačča: qallačča laafa (of the soft, acuminous), which is worn by the Qaallu or Abba Gadaa; and qallačča korma  (of the virile man or bull, macho). Viterbo (1892) defines “kallaéccia”, qallačča as ‘disciple, pupil’, which cuts para-llel with the anthropologist Baxter (1979: 82-84) who
states that, in Oromo Gada System, a young man’s grown tuft (ɡuuɗuu; see Fig.3D; we shall come back to Fig.3A in the final part of the discussion) is “associated symbolically with an erect penis” and discourses that he is “guutu diira”, which means a “successful warrior”, the one who has reached a class of “member of political adulthood”, for he has “become responsible for the nation”. At this age, Baxter adds, “each of its members puts up a phallic Kalaacha”, a “symbol of firm but
responsible manliness.” The feminine counterpart to  ɡuuɗuu hairstyle is “ɡuɖeya” (Werner 1914a: 141), guʈʈiya (literally go-away bird or its tonsure) or qarré ‘tonsure’ (literally, ‘kite’ or similar bird of prey) (Bartels 1983:262), while of the masculine qallačča head-gear is the feminine qárma (literally ‘sharpened, civilized’). In Gada System, this age-class is called Gaammee  Gúɖ’ɡuɖá (reduplication ɡuɖá ‘big’) ‘Senior Gamme III’, the age of at which the boys elect their six leaders to
practice political leadership (Legesse 2006:124-125).

Bokkuu: Insignia of power, balance and light of
freedom

Hassen (1990:15) discusses that bokkuu has “two meanings”. One is “the wooden scepter kept by the Abba
Gada in his belt during all the assembly meetings”, an “emblem of authority…the independence of a tribe,
and…a symbol of unity, common law and common government” (Fig.4). De Salviac describes it “has the
shape of a voluminous aspergillum (a container with a handle that is used for sprinkling holy water) or of a mace
of gold of the speaker of the English parliament, but in iron and at the early beginning in hard wood” (De Salviac
2005 [1901]: 216). Legesse (2006: 104) describes it as “a specially curved baton”, which shows that there are two
types in use. The second meaning of bokkuu is, “it refers to the keeper of the bokkuu—Abba Bokkuu” (Hassen
1990:15), or in plural Warra Bokku “people of the scepter” (Legesse 2006: 104). Hence, after serving for full eight year, Abba Bokkuu must celebrate Bokkuu Walira Fuud’a (literally to exchange the scepter bokkuu), a Gada system concept
that refers to two socio-political “events as a single act of “exchange”” (Legesse 1973:81): (1) the event of power
“take over ceremony”, i.e., the symbolic act of “the incoming class” and (2) the event of power “handover
ceremony”, i.e., the symbolic act of “the outgoing class”. This power-exchange ceremony is also called Baalli
Walira Fud’a “Power Exchange” or “transfer of ostrich feathers” (Legesse 1973: 81-82; 2006: 125). Here, baalli
refers not only ‘power, authority, responsibility’ (Stegman 2011: 5, 68), but also ‘ostrich feather’ and ‘twig
(leaved)’, both of which are used as symbolic object on the Baalli power transfer ceremony. De Salviac (2005 [1901]: 216) witnessed “the power is transferred to the successor by remittance of the scepter or bokkuu.” After power exchange ceremony, the ‘neophyte’ Abba Bokkuu: “falls in his knees and raising in his hands the scepter towards the sky, he exclaims, with a majestic and soft voice: Yaa Waaq, Yaa Waaq [Behold! O, God!] Be on my side…make me rule over the
Doorii…over the Qaallu…make me form the morals of the youth!!!…” (De Salviac 2005 [1901]: 213). See Fig.4B.
Then, the new Abba Bokkuu takes possession of the seat and “immolates a sacrifice and recites prayers to obtain
the assistance of On-High in the government of his people….The entire tribe assembled there, out of breath
from emotion and from faith” (De Salviac 2005 [1901]: 212). Above we raised that two symmetrical acts/concepts are
enfolded “as a single act [or word] of “exchange”” is performed by exchanging the Bokkuu scepter during
Baalli ceremony (Legesse 1973:81). That is, when the scepter is the one with bokkuu ‘knobs’ on each edge, it
suffices to enfold it ‘Bokkuu Baalli’ since the symmetricality principle of the act of reciprocal remittance
or power exchange is as adequately abstracted in the phrase as in the iconicity of the balanced bokkuu. Besides, the horooroo stick with a knob (bokkuu) on one side and a v-/y-shape (baalli) on the other side is a semagram and semotactic for the same concept of symmetricality principle, i.e., Bokkuu Baalli.

Ateetee in Qaallu Institution: Fertility symbolism

Cerulli (1922:15, 126-127) “Atētê …the goddess of fecundity, worshipped by the Oromo” and adds that “the
greatest holiday of the [Oromo] pagans is the feast of Atetê”; she is “venerated” by “even the Mussulmen”; she
is referred to “in the songs ayô, ‘the mother,’ often with the diminutive ayoliê, ‘the little mother’”. Women sing

“songs asking the goddess to grant them fecundity and lamenting the woes which are caused by sterility.” Long
before Cerulli, Harris (1844:50) wrote as follow: “when sacrificing to Ateti, the goddess of fecundity, exclaiming
frequently, “Lady, we commit ourselves unto thee; stay thou with us always”.”
The symbolic material cultures pertaining to Aɖeetee are important for our purpose in this paper. Bompiani
(1891:78) saw the Oromo on their “long journeys to visit  Abba Múdā” who, “as a sign of peace they make a sheep
go before them on entering the village… and instead of a lance carry a stick, upon the top of which is fixed the horn
of an antelope” (this is well known Ancient Egyptian hieroglyph). Indeed, sheep (ḫooɭaa), common in ancient
rock paintings of Hararqee, is also the favorite for sacrificial animal for Qaallu institution of “peacemaking
and reconciliation”, particularly black sheep, “a sheep of peace” (hoolaa araaraa)” (Gidada 2001: 103). In fact, the
word ḫooɭaa for ‘sheep’ and rêeé, re’ee for ‘goat’ (re’oṱa, rooɖa, plural) have meronymic relationship. The semantic

structure underlying both is ‘high fertility rate’ (arareessá, from ɾaɾí ‘ball, matrix; pool, rivulet’). The “antelope” that Bompaini names is in fact the beautifully speckled ʂiiqqee ‘klipspringer’ (Stegman 2011:45, 35), common in Laga Oda and other paintings along with ‘fat-tailed’ sheep. At the same time, ʂiiqqee (literally, ‘splendid, lustrous, graceful’) is, according to the
Aṱeetee Institution, a sacred, usually tall and speckled, “stick signifying the honor of Oromo women…a blessing… a ceremonial marriage stick given to a girl…a religious stick Oromo women used for prayer” (Kumsaa 1997:118). Kumsa observed that “the very old, the very young and all women, in the Gadaa system, are considered innocent and peace-loving” and quoted the renowned anthropologist Gemetchu Megerssa who expressed that in Oromo Gada tradition women “were also regarded as muka laaftuu (soft wood–a depiction of their liminality) and the law for those categorized as such
protected them” (Kumsa 1997:119). Concentric or circular or ‘sun-burst’ geometric motifs are as abundant as ‘udder chaos’ in the Hararqee and Horn of African ancient rock paintings (Fig.5C from Qunnii or Goda Ummataa; A and B Goda Roorris traditionally known as ‘Errer Kimiet’; G from Goda K’arree Ğaldeesaa or Weybar in Č’elenqoo; E Laga Oda from Cervicek
1971). Bartels (1983) studied well about another symbolic object in Aɖeetee Institution, namely ɡuɳɖo, a grass-plate, made from highly propagative grasses, plaited in a series of concentric-circles (see Fig.5D). It is used to keep bîddeena ‘pizza-like circular bread’ and fruits. Bartels (1983: 261) documented that, on her wedding day: [T]he girl has with her a grass-plate (gundo), which she made herself. This gundo is a symbol of her womb [ɡaɖāmeʑa]. Since…she is expected to be a virgin
[ɡuɳɖúɖa],  nothing should have been put in in this grass plate beforehand. Gundo are plaited [with an awl] from
outside inwards, leaving a little hole in the centre [ɡuɖé, qaa]…this little hole is not filled in by the girls themselves,
but they ask a mother of a child to do it for them. If they do it themselves, they fear they will close their womb to
child-bearing (Square brackets added).While, ɡuɳɖó stands for a woman’s gadameʑa ‘womb’ (from gadá ‘temple; generation, time-in-flow), the concentricity of the plaits (marsaa, massaraa, metathesis) is a symbol of the ‘recyclers’ of generations, namely mûssirró ‘the bride-woman’ and marii ‘bride-man’ (marii also means ‘cycle, inwrap, plait’). A bigger
cylindrical ɡuɳɖó with cover called suuba is particularly given as hooda ‘a regard’ to the couples (on their good
ethos, virginity) and is a symbol of súboo ‘the newly married gentlemen, the prudential gentlemen’. Father Lambert Bartels (Bartels 1983: 268) wrote that a buffalo-killer would bring a special gift for his mother or wife from the wilderness: namely, elellee (elellaan, plural) from his buffalo skin” Elellee and č’aačč’u refer to a string of cowries (of snail shells, obsidian rocks or fruits of certain plant called illilii) and festooned to a sinew cut from a sacrificial animal (Fig.5F). They are worn only by
women on the breastplate or forehead or worn to č’ooč’oo, č’iič’oo milk-pots, symbol of “a woman’s sexual and reproductive organ” (Østebø 2009: 1053). See also Fig.5F and G.
We need to add here a praise song to a beauty of woman, which symbolizes her by élé ‘circular cooking pot or oven made of clay’ and bede smaller than élé (Sumner  1996: 68): Admiration is for you, o <ele>… <But> I take out of <bede>…
Admiration is for you, moon shaped beauty. Rightly, Sumner (1996:68) states élé symbolizes “the mother, of woman” while bedé symbolizes “daughters” or the “moon [báṱí] shaped beauty”, i.e., her virginity (ɡuɳɖuɖa), uncorruptedness (baʤí) combined with ethos of chastity (aɖeetee). Woman is expressed arkiftu idda mačč’araa literally ‘puller of the root of one-body/-person’,a paraonomastic way to say circulator, recycler or propagator of the genealogy of Oromo moieties, namely
Mačč’a and Raya/Raã. Here, it is fascinating to observe the unique social semiosis at work—selecting and stitching (qora) the language and world according to the semblance and image the reality (world) offers as a cognitive possibility to operate upon. cowries of “giant snail shells…kept with a string made.

Spear piercing coffee bean

According to the Aṱeetee tradition, on her wedding ritual, the bride “hands her gundo to her mother-in-law who puts
some sprouting barley-grains in it. They are (a symbol of) the children Waqa will give her if he will’’ (Bartels 1983:
261). The mother-in-law will, according to the long tradition, adds some coffee-beans (coffee-beans and
cowries are look-alike, Fig.5 F from Cervicek 1971 and H); “coffee-beans are a symbol of the vagina,
representing the girl to be a potential mother. The beans are children in the shell at this moment, protected and
inaccessible as a virgin’s vagina” (Bartels 1983:261). Later on during the ritual, the elderly bless her: “May
Waqa cause the womb [gundo] sprouts children [grains]! Let it sprout girls and boys!” Amid the ceremony, the
bride “gives the gundo to her groom’s mother. She herself now takes his [bridegroom’s] spear and his stool.
She carries the stool with her left hand, holding it against her breast. In her right hand she grasps the spear….”
The spear, a representation of the male organ, is expressed in the Girl’s Song:

O sheath [qollaa] of a spear,
Handsome daughter,
Sister of the qaɽɽee [us colleagues of marriage-age]

Let us weep for your sake
The buna qalaa ‘slaughtering of coffee fruit’, which reflexes, in direct translation, the ‘slaughtering’ (qaɭa) the
virgin is “a symbol of procreation” (Bartels 1975: 901). The bride “puts the coffee-fruits from the gundo in butter
together with others and put them over the fire” (Bartels  1983: 263). Butter (ɗ’aɗ’á) is a symbol of fecundity
(ṯaɗ’āma) while the floor of the fire, or hearth (baɗ’ā) is a  symbol of the nuclear family that is taking shape
(Legesse 1973:39). While, all this was captured by Bartels in the late 20th century in Wallagga, Werner (1914
b: 282) captured similar events a thousand or so kilometers away at Northern Kenya with the Booran:
On the wedding morning, a woman (some friend of the  bride’s mother) hangs a chicho [č’iič’oo, č’ooč’oo] full of
milk over the girl’s shoulder….The bridegroom, carrying  his spear and wearing a new cloth and a red turban, goes
in at the western gate of the cattle-kraal and out at the  eastern, and then walks in a slow and stately way to the
hut of his mother-in-law, where the bride is waiting for him. They sit down side by side just within the door; after
a time they proceed to the cattle-kraal, where his friends are seated. She hands him the chicho and he drinks
some milk, and then passes it on to his friends, who all drink in turn.

In general, matrix-shape, milk-pots, sprouting beans all  symbolizes feminineness quality, the natural power to
‘reproductive faculty’ (ʂaɲɲí), a capacity to generate many that, yet, keep alikeness or identity (ʂaɲɲí).

Woman and a cow and infant and a calf

Cows are “a symbolic representation of women” (Sumner 1997: 193; Bartels 1975: 912) because both are equally
haaɗ’a manaa ‘the flex of the home/house’:
Sawayi, ya sawayi—o my cow, o my cow [too high
hypocorism]
ʼnīṱī abbaan gorsatu–a wise man’s wife/a wife of wisest
counselor husband
amali inmulattu–her virtues are hidden;/is virtuous and
has integrity;
saa abbaan tiqsatu–o careful owner’s cow/ similarly, cow
that the owner himself
shepherds/feeds
č’inaači inmuľaṱu–her ribs are hidden/her hook bone is
invisible (full and swollen).
Saa, saa, ya saa–cattle, cattle, o cow,
ya saa marī koo–o cow, my advisor/darling
ţiqē marartu koo–good in the eyes of your herdsman/am
overseeing you spitefully.
(Bartels, 1975: 912)
Likewise, an infant and a young calf are not only congruous, but also sung a lullaby to comfort them:
Sleep, sleep!
My little man slobbers over his breast.

The skin clothes are short.
The groin is dirty
The waist is like the waist of a young wasp
The shepherd with the stick!
Sleep, sleep!
He who milks with the ropes!
Sleep, sleep!
He who takes the milk with the pot!
Sleep, sleep!
The cows of Abba Bone,
The cows of Dad’i Golge:
They’ve gone out and made the grass crack;
They’ve [come home] again and made the pot.
(Sumner 1997: 181)

Basically, there is no difference between a newborn calf  and an infant; no need of separate lexisboth is élmee—
diminutive-denominative from elma ‘to milk’. Young calves or children are worn kolliʥa ‘collar’, ǧallattii
‘diadem, crown, tiara’ or č’allee ‘jewelry’ wrapping around their necks, all of whose semiotic significance is to
express ǧalla, ǧallačča ‘love’ and protection from ɡaaɖiɗú ‘evil spirit’ that bewitches not only infants and young of
animals, etc (Bartels 1983: 284-285, 196-197). The first meaning of ɡaaɖiɗú, gádíṱú is ‘silhouette’ or ‘human
shadow’ (see also Tutschek 1844: 54), but, in this context it refers to an evil spirit that accompanies or inhabits a
person. The evil spirit comes in a form of shadow and watches with evil-eye, hence it is also called, in some areas, ɮaltu, ilaltu ‘watcher (wicked)’. All these concepts are common motifs in Hararqee rock paintings (Cervicek 197). See
Fig.6 especially the silhouette-like background and in C an evil-eye motif is seen watching from above.
In accordance with the Qaallu Institution, the Qaallu (or Qaalličča, particulative) receives and embraces new
born children, giving them blessings, buttering their  heads and ɡubbisaa ‘giving them names’, literally,
‘incubating’ from ɡubba ‘to be above, over’ or ɡuƀa ‘to brand, heat’ (Knustsson 1967). Women call this process of entrusting children to the Qallu ‘aɖɖaraa ol kaa’, literally ‘Putting/Lifting up oath/children to the topmost (related to the prayer epithet Áɖɖaraa ‘Pray! I beseech you!’). Or, they call it Ők’ubaa ɢalča, literally ‘entering/submitting the Őq’ubaa’, which refers to “the act of kneeling down and raising one’s hands with open fingers towards the sky (Waaqa) and thus submitting oneself to Waaqa” (Gidada 2006:163), from the prayer epithet: Őq’uba ‘Pray!, Prayer!’, literally,
‘Take my fingers!’ A “perfect attitude at prayers in the Oromo’s eyes is to lift the hands towards heaven”
(Bartels 1983: 350). An unfortunate Oromo father/mother has to but say élmee koo ana ǧalaa du’e, literally ‘my offspring/child died from under/underside me’ while an unfortunate child would say abbo/ayyo koo ana’irraa du’e ‘my dear dad/mum died from above/over me’. Some lines from a song for a hero illustrate caressing and kissing the belly of his mother (Cerulli 1922: 48):

The belly which has brought you forth,
How much gold has it brought forth?
Who is the mother who has given birth to you?
If I had seen her with my eyes,
I would have kissed her navel.

These symbolic-actional rhetorical organizations are most probably the underlying ‘grammar’ of the recurrent
anthropomorphic signs, along with a newborn calves, ‘embracing’ the belly, navel of a cow (Fig.6CandD from
Cervicek 1971). Culturally, cows are given as an invaluable gift to an adoptee child, so that she/he never
sleeps a night without a cup of milk. The gift-cow is addressed by hypocoristic aɳɖ’úree ‘navel, umbilical cord’
(aɖɖ’oolee, plural, by play on word ‘good parous ones, the gray/old ones’), which means ‘dear foster-mama’
symbolizing cordiality, wish to long-life and strong bond, protection of the child (see also Hassen 1990: 21).
Earlier in this paper, we saw how matrilineal-patrilineal and moiety phratry are represented partly by bovine
anatomy. As recorded by the Catholic Father Lambert Bartels and others, Waaqa ‘Devine, God, Sky’
symbolizes Abbá, Patriarchic-side of the cosmos or Father or Husband “who goes away” while, Daččee
‘Earth’ symbolizes, the Matriarchic-side, Mother or Wife who “is always with us” (Bartels 1983: 108-111) and
“originally, Heaven and Earth were standing one next to the other on equal terms” (Haberland 1963: 563 quoted in
Bartels 1983: 111). As we observe the Laga Odaa pictures (see Fig.5A), we consistently also find another
interesting analogy–bulls are consistently drawn above the cows. In Oromo worldview, a bull represent ßoo
‘sacred domain of the male’ (vocative form of bâ ‘man, subject, being, masculine 4th person pronoun’), while a
cow (saa, sa’a) represent çâé, îssi ‘sacred domain of the female’ (also ‘feminine 4th person pronoun’) (Kassam
1999:494). From this worldview comes Oromo concept of Ḿootumma ‘rule, government, state, kingdom’:[Ḿootumma comes] from moo’a, autobenefactive: moo’ď/ʈ, is a cattle image. For example, Kormi sun him moo’a, “that bull is in heat” and sa’a sun iti moo’a ‘he is mounting that cow’. With reference to human beings, the implication is not necessarily sexual, but can denote superiority or dominance in general. An moo’a, an mooti is a formula of self praise by a new Abba Gada during his inauguration (Shongolo 1996: 273).

Qallačča and Qaallu: A jigsaw motif
In this last section of this analysis, we must consider the  symbolic significance of what an old man skilled in
Oromo oral history says is tremendously important: The Qaallu did this. For the daughter/girl of Ǧillee
[eponymous clan name] he took a heifer; for the daughter/girl of Elellee [eponymous clan name] he also
took a heifer. Then, for the Elellee girl he erected the  heifer of Elellee in such a way that her (the heifer’s) head
is faced upwards. For the Ǧillee girl, he erected the heifer of Ǧillee in such a way that her (the heifer’s) is faced
downwards. The girl of Ǧillee too siiqqee stick and hit the Mormor River; then, the Mormor River split into two
(BATO 1998:75; My translation).

This story offers us a tremendously important insight.It corresponds with the amazing critical observation and re-interpretation of my informant Muummee. Muummee rotated 90oCW Cervicek’s (1971) Laga Oda Figure 47 (=
Fig.7 A) and got Fig.7B after rotating. In this motif, the Qaallu , with his qallačča headgear, is at the centre. We
can observe one heifer above the Qaallu (perhaps Ǧillee heifer) her head inverted, serving as qallačča headgear,
and behind him to the right handside, two heifers (cattle, one headless), both of whose heads are facing
downwards but in between them and the qallačča cattle is one anthropomorphic motif, unlike on the lefthand
where there are many, possibly a chorus in praise of the sublime black cow and of the reverenced Qaallu. We also
observe, a heifer (cow?) whose head is faced upwards (possibly Elellee heifer).

As usual, it is likely also that this  style is as much for  associal-epistemological as is it for grammatical- semotactical reason.  The downward-faced heifer or Ǧillee (hypocoristic-diminutive from ǧiɭa ‘ritual ceremony, pilgrimage’), which is equivalent to qallačča headgear of the Qaallu anthropomorphic, is a signification of the semantic of ɡaɮa ‘to safely travel away and come home (or ɢaɮma ‘the Sacred Temple of Qaallu’)’ by the help of the Qallačča the providence of God. Thus, the collocation
forming gaɮa-gaɮča gives the polysemous metonymic senses: (1) to invert, make upside down, (2) one who causes safe home-come i.e., Qallačča. The same ‘play on word’ is true of Elellee: (1) reduplication (emphasis) of ēɮ, éla ‘spring up; well (water)’, and (2) őɮ literally ‘go up; upwards; spare the day peacefully, prevail’. “Őɮa!” is a farewell formula for ‘Good day!’ (literally ‘Be upward! Be above! Prevail!’).Yet, the most interesting aspect lies beyond the lexico-syntactic or semotactic motives. If we look carefully at this motif, the head of the Qaallu and the foreparts of the downwards (ɡaɗi) Ǧillee heifer merge, which makes the latter headless (ɡaɗooma). The Elellee heifer apparently with only one horn but full nape (bok’uu)
appears to be another jigsaw making a thorax (ɡûɗeɫča) of the Qaallu, possibly because in the “Barietuma” Gada
System, the Qaallu are “central”, i.e., “occupy a special position, and their members act as “witnesses” (Galech)
on the occasion of weddings or other important transaction” (Werner 1915:17, 1914a: 140; See also Legesse 2006: 104, 182, for “Gada Triumvirate System”). This is not arbitrary, but is stylized so that the notions of seniority are textured simultaneously, in caput mortuum. Pertaining to the “seven bosses” of the qallačča (Plowman 1918:114) ) is possibly equivalent to Cervicek’s (1971:192) description of this same motif: “Seven animal representations, painting of a symbol ((cen-tre) and pictures of H-shaped anthropomorphic figures…Painted in graphite grey, the big cattle picture a
little darker, the smaller one beneath it in caput mortuum red.” While we can consider, following Dr. Gemetchu Megerssa, anthropology professor, that the seven bosses might stand for the seven holes of human body (above the neck) which still stand for some mythical concepts we cannot discuss here, it is also possible to consider the (related) socio-political structure of the democratic Gada System. They must stand for what Legesse (1973: 82, 107) calls “torban baalli” “the seven
assistants” of Abba Gada in “power” (his in-powerness is makes him Abba Bokkuu, ‘Proprietor/Holder of the
Scepter’). Long before Legesse’s critical and erudite study of Gada System, Phillipson (1916) wrote:

The petty chiefs act in conjunction with the king. These  are, however, appointed by election of officers called Toib
[Tor b] or Toibi (= seven councilors or ministers). These are men of standing and character…. They are governed
by, and work in unison with, the head. These officers are appointed by the king, and each of the seven has an
alternative, so that the number is unbroken. Their office is to sit in council with the king, hear cases, administer
justice, and in the king’s absence they can pass sentence  in minor cases; but all they do is done by his authority.
For all that, this may act as a check if the king inclines to  despotism. There is no such thing as favoritism; the Toibi
stands in the order elected: 1, 2, and c (Phillipson 1916:180). These seven high ranking officials (aɡaoɗa) are
purposely represented by forepart of bovine body (agooda), because this is the strongest and most
powerful part. Ól, literally ‘up, upwards, upper’ is a metaphoric expression for those “On-High in the
government of his [Abba Bokkuu] people” (De Salviac 2005 [1901]: 212). Cervicek (1971:130) is accurate when he theorized “anthropomorphic representations do not seem to have been painted for their own sake but in connection with the cattle and symbolic representations only.” Despite the guttural sounds dissimilarization, as in the expression
ɢaɮčaan naaf ɡalé ‘I understood it by profiling. i.e., symbolically (i.e., from the gerundive ɢaɮču, kalču ‘profiling, aligning, allying’, or kaɬaṯṯi ‘perspective, façade’, or the base kala, χala ‘to construct, design’; see Stegman
2011:2, 17), the very word qallača itself is a metasemiotic language, meaning ‘symbolic interpretation’.

*Dereje Tadesse Birbirso (PhD) is Assistant Professor, School of Foreign Language, College of Social Science and Humanities, Haramaya University

Read full article @ http://internationalscholarsjournals.org/download.php?id=275978303829134960.pdf&type=application/pdf&op=1

Essence of the Scottish Referendum in the Eyes of an Oromo Nationalist #Oromia September 9, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in National Self- Determination, Oromia, Oromo Nation, Scotland, Self determination, State of Oromia.
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OScotland in the United Kingdom, and Oromia in the Ethiopian Empire (Illustration, Not Drawn to Scale)

Essence of the Scottish Referendum in the Eyes of an Oromo Nationalist

By Boruu Barraaqaa | September 9, 2014

It is obvious that both supporters and opponents of Oromian independence in Ethiopia are watching carefully what is going on in the UK. Both political entities have their own reasons for their respective wishes. Some Abyssinian elites could ridiculously try to resemble their cause to that of English elites, who were in the forefront of building the great nation, UK. However, there is no factual resemblance between the savage invaders from Abyssinia and the most civilized, prosperous and the leading democratic nation in the world. In spite of the fact that the British were once the brutal colonialist rulers in the world history, I don’t judge them by their history of yesterday in this context, but by who they are and what they are contributing for the betterment of our world today.

Therefore, our comparison should not be based on the past history, but on what is going on today. I am happy to see a historical test that is happening in a leading democratic nation, UK, but I will not have a cause to rejoice if I see the Scottish independence or to be sad by their possible defeat simply because of I am from a fellow suppressed nation in Africa. The encouraging event for the colonized peoples like the Oromo is just to witness such kind of referendums around the world and grabbing some experiences for their own future. Feelings that could spark from any result of the referendum should be left for the stakeholders.    

Before I try to shed some light on the prospective result of the referendum, let me contrast the politico-historical back ground of Scotland and Oromia.

First and for most, Scotland is a nation in the long civilized Europe, particularly part of the state whose flag remembered in history as ‘No sunset over the Union Jack’, while Oromia has been suffered under a barbaric African feudo-dictatorial system.

Oromia and Scotland share some similarities in their political, historical, religious, social, and many other features, however, their differences are much greater than their similarities in contrasting with the typical figure they have in their respective unions (empire in the Oromian-Ethiopian case). To start with population number comparison, out of 60. 6 million (2006 estimate, now approximately 63 m.) of UK population, England constitutes the majority number (around 83 per cent) while Scotland is a third minority with under 9 per cent of total population, followed by the least minorities of Wales (5 per cent) and Northern Ireland (3 per cent). However, being a home to the single largest national group, Oromia constitutes the majority number in Ethiopia with approximately 50% of the total population (including Amharic, Tigrigna and other languages speaking Oromos). So in the case of population number, land mass and economic significance, Oromia resembles to England, not to Scotland.

mapofgreatbritainThe other significant point of difference between the two nations is historical backgrounds.     The kingdom of Great Britain was formed by the Act of Union of 1707 between England and Scotland (emphasis add). England (including the principality of Wales, annexed in the 14th century and legally unified with England in the 16th century) and Scotland had been separate kingdoms since the early Middle Ages (emphasis added). Despite being part of the union, Scotland has retained its own legal system, its own Church (Church of Scotland), a substantially different education system, and the right to issue its own bank notes. However, Oromia and Ethiopia have never signed such acts of union in history. Abyssinia invaded Oromia in the second half of 19th century, which led to the creation of modern (not the Kushite great antiquity) Ethiopia as an empire. Retaining its own legal egalitarian system (the Gada), its own religion (Waqeffannaa), its own education system (Gada classes), and issuing its own bank notes were definitely inconceivable rights in the Ethiopian empire system.

In case of politics also we find an edifice difference between UK’s Scotland and Ethiopia’s Oromia. Scotland is represented by 59 Members of Parliament (MPs) in the House of Commons (prior to the 2005 general election the number was 72). With the parliamentary elections of May 6, 1999, Scotland gained its own Scottish Parliament for the first time in nearly 300 years. There are 129 Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) today. In Ethiopia, however, there were no such representation systems even for a symbol, until very recent time. Even in the Woyane’s federal administration system, members of parliament are ‘elected’ by their allegiance to the ruling EPRDF core party- TPLF, not by the will of the constituencies. Those who are said to have represented the Oromo people have no courage, right or the capacity to argue for the Oromo cause in their rubber stamp parliament.

scotlandThere has been an astonishing development in the Scotland politics of recent times. The people of Scotland have shown an interesting growing of nationalism in the last few decades, particularly from 1980. Two leading British parties, the Labour Party and the Conservative Party, shared the majority of Scottish seats in Parliament from the 1920s until the late 1970s. Since then, however, the Conservative Party, although the party of government for the United Kingdom as a whole from 1979 to 1997, increasingly became a minority party in Scotland. By the 1990s it had become less popular than the Scottish National Party (SNP), which was founded in 1934 in order to press for complete self-government.

In the case of Oromia-Ethiopia, however, the fact is quite a reverse one. The vanguard organization that represents the majority’s cause of the nation (Oromo Liberation Front), was forced to leave the system as soon as the regime took power and later has been banned for more than the last two decades. The two opposition parties in Oromia (OPC and OFDM currently merged as OFC) have never had the right to strengthen their influence over the ruling party in the region. Despite their later merger, the new united party is showing more emaciation to death, due to the ongoing deliberate harassments by the ruling party cadres.

The only point which resembles both nations, the Oromo and the Scots, could be roughly the political inferiority. However, even here the difference is greater. Scotland is a country in an outstanding world democracy that can fulfil its every demand in a peaceful and negotiable way, whereas Oromia is under one of the Third World notorious dictatorship systems which deceives the world under the guise of ‘on the process to build a democratic system’.

Let’s turn to the essence of Scottish upcoming referendum. Even though they have a legally recognized self rule system, the Scots are still never satisfied by the rights they have obtained so far. In 2012 election, the Scottish National Party (SNP) won the majority seats of Scotland’s parliament and proclaimed that it will hold a referendum in September 2014. Accordingly, now on the verge of possible secession after seven months, the UK Prime Minister David Cameron is reacting to the approaching concern. In one of his previous interviews with BBC Mr. Cameroon said “Centuries of history hang in the balance; a question mark hangs over the future of United Kingdom.” In his speech, he mentioned that there are four compelling reasons to save the Union: the economic benefits of being a bigger country, greater international clout, connection between people and the cultural impact of the UK. I personally share the four truths about UK that the Prime Minister mentioned. However in Ethiopia, if the Oromo gained such right to hold a referendum, the truths Mr. Cameron mentioned for UK do not work for it. As he remind, UK is both economically and politically one of the leading nations in the world. But Ethiopia is one of the poorest, starved and backward nations in the world, which has never shown any meaningful progress despite tens of billions of dollars it has earned from governments like UK itself. The reason is crystal clear. Its government is among the most brutal, suppressive and corrupt states on the globe. These are some of our shining differences. So no need to surprise if, in case, the majority of Scot population vote in favour of saving the Union or the referendum fails to win independence.

As I have mentioned above, all member states of the UK have a good devolved power to their respected countries. Scotland, which is one of these benefited countries, could neither lose much because of its voting for Yes nor gain much for voting No. Mr. Cameron also urged people in Scotland who wanted to see further devolution to vote No in the referendum. From the promise of more devolution by the UK government, Scotland could benefit more weather it votes for the No Independence or otherwise.

When we back to the fact in Ethiopia, the Oromo can see a huge deference in voting for Ethiopian unity or for Oromian independence. Constituting the majority portion of the total population with the significance economy, the Oromo have lost most of their political, economic, social and cultural benefits to the alien regimes who have ruled them with iron and fist for more than a century. To end the unjust system, there must be significant power devolution to Oromia level. Only after then, the need for stay in a possible new and just union or to go could be determined by holding a referendum.

As an Oromo, It is not my interest to see a torn apart UK. I don’t believe my nation would benefit from UK’s decline by any ways. Though I am not against the rights of the Scottish people, I believe that it is a stronger, a prosperous, an exemplary and a united Great Britain which can contribute much in assisting genuine world democratisations. I don’t wish to see their national failure in tit for tat of what they have contributed in supporting brutal regimes like that of Ethiopia. It is my wish to see them remaining as a strong and peaceful nation as they are and set the record straight by playing a leading role in taking major actions against the repressive regimes around the world, particularly Ethiopia’s EPRDF.

The author can be reached at: gulummaa75@gmail.com

Read more @ http://ayyaantuu.com/world/essence-of-the-scottish-referendum-in-the-eyes-of-an-oromo-nationalist/

The End of Globalization September 7, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Globalization.
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OASHARQ AL-AWSAT

There is also increasing examples of racist views and incidents sweeping across the West today on the pretext of protecting the homeland against extremist ideology, whether in the name of the war on terror or preserving national “identity”. In reality, of course, this is based on a fear of global openness.

Russia’s policy towards Ukraine shows it has failed this test, too. According to globalization, disputes between states cannot be solved through war but by means of dialogue, law and arbitration. However, globalization is dying and there are those who believe that it should stay dead. Others, however, believe that we need to resuscitate this phenomenon and bring it back to lifehttp://www.aawsat.net/author/hussein-shobokshi

 

 

Opinion: The End of Globalization?

By Hussein Shobokshi

Sunday  7th September 2014  Asharaq Al-Aswsat

 

 

Has the rising globalization that we witnessed over the past decades come to an end? There is no doubt that this seems to be the case on the political level. The US seems to have completely lost its appetite to deal with international AFFAIRS, concentrating instead on domestic concerns and devoting itself to the issues of immigration, gay marriage, taxes and unemployment. This policy shift has come at the expense of the deteriorating situation in the Middle East and the remarkable rise of Russian influence.

Europe is excluding itself from anything new, rejecting immigrant workers from Third World countries and becoming more racially discriminate on the pretext of safeguarding nationalism despite its economy’s dire need for fresh manpower. The long life expectancy rates and the negative population growth rates in Europe are threatening the success of any future ECONOMIC and development plans.

Many believe that the emergence of new barriers and the fall of globalization is due to the lack of a SHARED and unified conviction within the EU on how to deal with the US as a unified entity in the face of expanding Russian influence and Chinese incursions into Asia, Africa and elsewhere. The US had been the strongest promoter of this idea of globalization, particularly following the Bill Clinton era. However Washington today has neither the desire nor interest in guaranteeing the continuation of this policy.

At one point in time, the global FINANCIAL MARKET and the internet were the greatest icons of globalization. They accurately depicted the promises of globalization in terms of offering the world simple and easy solutions that went beyond sovereign laws and geographical borders.

But these icons were ultimately abused. Major mistakes were made, leading to the global financial crisis of 2008. No sooner did the crisis begin in the US than it moved to the old continent, harming one country after another. Gradually the dream of globalization—at least in terms of the FINANCIAL MARKETS—turned into a painful and extremely expensive nightmare.

The global financial crisis created a massive backlash, with countries seeking to secure their own national economies. US President Barack Obama stepped in to rescue America’s banking and insurance sectors by pumping millions of dollars into them to avert a financial meltdown which would have led to a complete breakdown in the US financial infrastructure. Obama did the same thing with the auto industry by providing aid, LOANS and exemptions in order to rescue the sector from complete destruction. Later, Germany led European efforts to provide financial support to debt-stricken countries, such as Greece, Spain, Cyprus and Portugal.

The main idea behind globalization is that the entire world will benefit from a closer exchange of ideas and views, including sovereign states. But ultimately, this swing towards globalization resulted in a back-swing away from his phenomenon. The West’s reaction to the FINANCIAL crisis was that it turned inwards, erecting barriers and imposing restrictions in order to “protect” national economies. Furthermore, countries gave priority to national industries. As a result of this, the idea of globalization being a uniting and unifying force that does away with borders has proven false.

There is also increasing examples of racist views and incidents sweeping across the West today on the pretext of protecting the homeland against extremist ideology, whether in the name of the war on terror or preserving national “identity”. In reality, of course, this is based on a fear of global openness.

Russia’s policy towards Ukraine shows it has failed this test, too. According to globalization, disputes between states cannot be solved through war but by means of dialogue, law and arbitration. However, globalization is dying and there are those who believe that it should stay dead. Others, however, believe that we need to resuscitate this phenomenon and bring it back to life. Read more @ http://www.aawsat.net/author/hussein-shobokshi

Ethiopia (Sub-Saharan Africa) and the Global Competitiveness Report for 2014-2015 September 6, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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OEthiopia Least competetive GCI 002  

“Strong institutions, available talent, and a high capacity to innovate hold the key for the success of any economy. These elements will continue to be even more essential in the future.”

-GCI Report 2014-2015  

“What Africa needs are strong Institutions Not Strong men.” -US President Barack Obama in Accra on his maiden visit to Africa as President .

 

“There is a monstrous relationship between the government and the citizen whereby the government is more powerful than the citizen” –  Rev. Fr. Anthony Adewale, Prof. of Philosophy and Theology Dominican Institute in the Guardian of Sep 9, 2012.  

 

 

“In the absence of institutions, strong men dominate, and the effect of their dominance is weakened rule of law and elevated uncertainty levels. Institutions have and follow rules, strong men have friends and follow whims. The outcome from one is calculable probability of outcomes; from the other uncertainty. Uncertainty makes decision making problematic and often results in either the avoidance of economic engagement or the high cost of hedging against undesired outcomes. These high transaction costs translate to uncompetitiveness for the economy. Even more troubling, high uncertainty which results in poor economic performance can create a class of people who are so left out they feel they have nothing to lose. With no stake in the social order they turned to conduct that more or less usher in anarchy, what Robert Kaplan quotes a Sierra Leonean Minister in The coming anarchy as dubbing ‘the revenge of the poor’.”  – Pat Utomi  

 

 

 

Ethiopia ranks  118th/ 144 in this year Global Competitiveness Index (GCI). The report says the country  ‘facing challenges across all pillars despite its recent record growth rates. The functioning of its institutions (96th) receives a weaker assessment across almost all indicators, including property rights, ethics and corruption, and government efficiency. Furthermore, the country’s goods market (124th) remains inefficient. Ethiopia also requires significant improvements in the areas of infrastructure (125th), higher education and training (131st), and technological readiness (133rd). On a more positive note, this year points to a slight improvement in the country’s labor market, although concerns about the quality of labor-employer relations (97th), hiring and firing practices (78th), and the alignment between pay and productivity (99th) remain. Primary education, with a net enrollment rate of 86 percent, is comparatively good (although the quality of primary education requires improvement), and women account for a high percentage of the country’s labor force.’

According to the report,  more than half of the 20 lowest ranked countries in the GCI are sub-Saharan Africa, and overall the region continues to under perform in many areas of the basic requirements of competitiveness: the infrastructure deficit remains profound, and despite gradual improvements in recent years, health and basic education remains low. Only a handful of sub-Saharan economies—the island states of Mauritius and Seychelles, in addition to Cape Verde—have noteworthy health and education systems. Higher education and training also need to be further developed to provide the skills required for higher-value-added growth. The region’s poor performance across all basic requirements for competitiveness stands in contrast to its comparatively stronger performance in market efficiency, where several of the region’s middle-income economies fare relatively well. Although large regional variations remain in terms of competitiveness—ranging from Mauritius, now a solid 17 places ahead of the second-ranked South Africa, to the lowest ranked Guinea at 144th—efforts to strengthen the very basic requirements for long-term growth will be crucial for sustaining economic growth and making it more inclusive. These efforts will need to emphasize closing the infrastructure deficit and providing the region’s (young) population with the necessary skills to carry out higher-value-added employment. Globally, Switzerland holds the number one spot, followed by Singapore and the United States. Finland and Germany both fell one notch, to the 4th and 5th. In this case, the top of the rankings continues to be dominated by highly advanced Western economies and several Asian tigers. For the sixth consecutive year Switzerland leads the top 10, and again this year Singapore ranks as the second-most competitive economy in the world. Overall, the rankings at the top have remained rather stable, although it is worth noting the significant progress made by the United States, which climbs to 3rd place this year, and Japan, which rises three ranks to 6th position. Brics economies presented a mixed performance, and China (28th, one place up compared to last year) leading the group ahead of Russia (53rd), South Africa (56th), Brazil (57th) and India (71st). The Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015 assesses the competitiveness of landscape of 144 economies, providing insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity. The report series remains the most comprehensive assessment of national competitiveness worldwide. Read the full report @ http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GlobalCompetitivenessReport_2014-15.pdf  

Report reveals sub-Saharan Africa’s 10 most competitive economies

http://www.howwemadeitinafrica.com/report-reveals-sub-saharan-africas-10-most-competitive-economies/43117/

Attention to Ethiopia (Africa): Corruption ‘impoverishes and kills millions’ September 4, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa and debt, Africa Rising, African Poor, Colonizing Structure, Corruption, Dictatorship, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Illicit financial outflows from Ethiopia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Undemocratic governance in Africa, Youth Unemployment.
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Corruption ‘impoverishes and kills millions’

 

Pile of dollars (file picture)
BBC (4 September 2014) The ONE group says money lost because of corruption would otherwise be spent on school and medicine. An estimated $1tn (£600bn) a year is being taken out of poor countries and millions of lives are lost because of corruption, according to campaigners.A report by the anti-poverty organisation One says much of the progress made over the past two decades in tackling extreme poverty has been put at risk by corruption and crime.

Corrupt activities include the use of phantom firms and money laundering. The report blames corruption for 3.6 million deaths every year.

If action were taken to end secrecy that allows corruption to thrive – and if the recovered revenues were invested in health – the group calculates that many deaths could be prevented in low-income countries.

Corruption is overshadowing natural disasters and disease as the scourge of poor countries, the report says.

One describes its findings as a “trillion dollar scandal”.

“Corruption inhibits private investment, reduces economic growth, increases the cost of doing business and can lead to political instability,” the report says.

“But in developing countries, corruption is a killer. When governments are deprived of their own resources to invest in health care, food security or essential infrastructure, it costs lives and the biggest toll is on children.”

The report says that if corruption was eradicated in sub-Saharan Africa:

  • Education would be provided to an additional 10 million children per year
  • Money would be available to pay for an additional 500,000 primary school teachers
  • Antiretroviral drugs for more than 11 million people with HIV/Aids would be provided

One is urging G-20 leaders meeting in Australia in November to take various measures to tackle the problem including making information public about who owns companies and trusts to prevent them being used to launder money and conceal the identity of criminals.

It is advocating the introduction of mandatory reporting laws for the oil, gas and mining sectors so that countries’ natural resources “are not effectively stolen from the people living above them”.

It is recommending action against tax evaders “so that developing countries have the information they need to collect the taxes they are due” and more open government so that people can hold authorities accountable for the delivery of essential services.

Read more @ original source:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-29049324

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-29040793

Poverty on the Streets of Finfinnee (Addis Ababa) September 4, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa and debt, Africa Rising, African Poor, Colonizing Structure, Corruption, Ethiopia the least competitive in the Global Competitiveness Index, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Free development vs authoritarian model, Poverty, Youth Unemployment.
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Poverty on the Streets of Addis Ababa

Published on September 1st, 2014 | by Meredith Maulsby

September 2, 2014 (The baines report) — Poverty can easily be seen throughout the capital of Ethiopia, but nowhere is it more evident than when you pass a beggar on the street.  Beggars are everywhere in Addis Ababa, and they represent a vast range of demographics. There are men, women, children of all ages and conditions– some with their mothers, some without, and the severely disabled.

Older children, rather than begging, try to sell you gum or clean your shoes, while the younger children walk in front of you asking for money or food, not leaving you until they spot another person to ask.  The women are often with young children, sometimes babies, and usually with more than one.  I was once walking down the street and a young child no older than 2 or 3 who was being held by his mother made the signal they all make to ask for food or money while calling me sister.  I thought this child probably learned this signal before he even learned how to speak.  Women are often seen grilling corn on the sidewalk on a small grill to sell to people passing by.

I have been told the severely disabled have most likely suffered from stunting, polio or the war.  I have seen men with disfigured legs so mangled that they can not walk but instead drag themselves down the sidewalk. Others are in wheelchairs and unable to walk.  And this city is not easy for the disabled.  The sidewalks, where they exist, are not always flat and not always paved. There are also often giant holes in the middle of the sidewalk or loose concrete slabs covering gutters.  On the main roads, near where I’m staying there are tarps and blankets off to the side of the road where the beggars must sleep or live.

It is a very difficult scene to walk through.  You want to help them all and give everyone a little bit of money or food. But there are so many it would be nearly impossible to give to them all.  We have been told to not give to beggars because once you give to one you will be surrounded by others.  When people do give money to beggars it is often very small bills or coins that will not go very far.

I have often wondered how much money they actually receive. Perhaps it would be beneficial to do more in depth look at why these people became beggars and where they come from. After a cursory search for research and reports on beggars in Addis Ababa, I found very little.  There is a study on the disabled beggars and a report focusing on children.  There is a documentary that follows two women who come to the capital from a rural town and become beggars in order to raise money for their family when climate change creates a food shortage.

Both the government of Ethiopia and large NGO’s, like USAID and the UN, are working to stop the “cycle of poverty.”   There are major health and nutrition projects being implemented all over the country, but these are long-term projects that do not address the immediate needs of people on the streets. Short term solutions such as creating shelters or centers for the disabled and homeless could allow beggars more opportunities for housing but could also generate income potential through workshops and other skill development programs.

Source: The baines report

http://ayyaantuu.com/horn-of-africa-news/ethiopia/poverty-on-the-streets-of-addis-ababa/

 

Related References:

Government  media in Ethiopia vs Scholars view of development: A stand-off paradox

http://oromiaeconomist.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/government-media-in-ethiopia-vs-scholars-view-of-development-a-stand-off-paradox/

A short life-span for water pumps in Ethiopia can threaten the very well-being of those who rely on it to survive.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2014/08/ethiopias-walk-over-water-20148249245383565.html

 

Exposing the great ‘poverty reduction’ lie

http://oromiaeconomist.wordpress.com/2014/08/21/false-accounting-the-great-poverty-reduction-lie/

 

Africa is Rising! At Least Its 1% Is

http://oromiaeconomist.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/africas-jobless-growth-economic-success-just-for-a-few-cannot-be-a-replacement-for-human-rights-or-participation-or-democracy-august/

‘Nagaa Oromoo’ from Raya to Mombasa as We Welcome New Season, Irreecha 2014! September 2, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Ancient Egyptian, Ateetee (Siiqqee Institution), Boran Oromo, Gabra Oromo, Irreecha, Irreecha (Irreesa) 2014, Irreecha (Irreessa) 2014, Meroetic Oromo, Munyoyaya Oromo, Orma Oromo, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Culture, Oromo Nation, Oromummaa, Rayya Oromo, Waata Oromo, Wardei Oromo.
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‘Nagaa Oromoo’ from Raya to Mombasa as We Welcome New Season, Irreecha 2014!

Finfinne Tribune | Gadaa.com |

From the Gadaa.com Editor’s Notebook

While researching about the Oromo tribes in Kenya, we ran into a video of Orma Oromo men engaged in friendly fighting competitions, where two men fight to see who will tackle their opponent first. Such a fighting match does also exist as a proud cultural element of the Raya Oromo, who nowadays speak Tigrigna or Amharic, which they have picked up from their neighbors in the North and West, respectively.

Gadaa.com

It’s to be noted that there are at least five Oromo tribes, in addition to the Borana and Garba, which call Kenya home. These five tribes, including their traditional homes, are listed below (alphabetically).

These tribes have been given many names over the last century-and-half by several authors, mainly without asking the people the name refers to (the same way the derogatory name for the Oromo made its way into academic works). The reason for this mix-up was primarily as a result of the use of second-hand sources, instead of the people themselves. It’s the task of the OromoQeerroo to conduct the researches on its own to learn about its own people’s history and roots.

Krapf, one of the early European travelers to Central Oromia (near the Tulama-land) and the southern Oromo tribes north of the Mombasa in the Tana Delta region in the 1850′s, had studied extensively about the Oromo on both sides of the border; he had published one of the early dictionaries of Oromo – one for each Oromo dialect. The dictionary by Krapf in Kenya was with Swahili and Afan Oromo. Unlike Krapf, many Kenyans do not have any idea about the ingenious Oromos who call Kenya home, and who are also their fellow citizens, in the Tana River, Isiolo and Marsabit regions; their only exposure to ‘Oromo’ is through the Ethiopian regime’s propaganda of the violence it inflicts in southern Oromia.

Reclaiming ‘Nagaa Oromoo’
Qeerroo (of both sides of the border) is at a historic position to reclaim the lost ‘Nagaa Oromoo’across the East African region; this historic mission will lead not only to the revival of Oromummaain the region, but also to the renaissance of Cushitic peoples in East Africa. ‘Nagaa Oromoo’ was disrupted by the invasion of Abyssinian warlords and the subsequent aggression of Abyssinian warlords – which still continues to this day. ‘Nagaa Oromoo’ is not only for Oromo; the Oromo people believe that, if their neighbor is not at peace, they are not at peace. ‘Nagaa Oromoo’ is not only for humans, but also for other living things and the environment. There is no peace when other living things and the environment where one thrives on and lives with – are exploited and polluted by reckless actions, like the one imposed on the Oromo Nation by Woyane thugs. ‘Nagaa Oromoo’from Raya to Mombasa as we welcome the new season, Irreecha 2014!

The Oromo Nation opposes the TPLF Ethiopian regime’s Addis Ababa Master Plan to annex the Oromo-land in Central Oromiyaa and to demographically alter the ethnic makeup of the region. Such genocidal campaigns disturb ‘Nagaa Oromoo’, and the Oromo people (old and young) will fight to regain ‘Nagaa Oromoo’ in the region.

The five tribes (in addition to the Borana and Garba) in Kenya:

1) Munyoyaya: live in the Tana River County near Garissa, Anole and Kora, and adjacent to the Orma tribe. One can listen to “Afan Munyoyaya” here; the linguistic similarity with Afan Oromo is unmistakable at a glance; more studies need to be conducted.

2) Orma: live in the Tana River County, north of the Galana River and West of the Tana River. Linguists have studied the Orma dialect of Afan Oromo, and some dictionaries are also available.

3) Waata: live in the Tana River County (a sub-group of Orma); live near the Kipini area by the Indian Ocean (by the north of Mombasa).

4) Wardei: live in the Tana River County; though Wardeis speak mainly Somali, they believe they are Oromo. As in the case of the Raya and Wollo of northern Oromia, Wardei have adopted their neighbor’s language; however, Wardeis trace their ancestry to Oromo.

Report on Wardei in Swahili:
5) Waso Boran: live in the Isiolo County. According to the book, “Being Oromo in Kenya” by Mario Aguilar, Waso Boran have still maintained many of the cultural elements of Oromummaa.

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The following map below is from early 2000′s and shows the approximate distributions of Oromo in the Ethiopian Empire and Kenya:

Distribution of Oromo in Ethiopia & Kenya

‘Nagaa Oromoo’ from Raya to Mombasa as we welcome the new season, Irreecha 2014!

 

http://gadaa.net/FinfinneTribune/2014/09/from-the-gadaa-com-editors-notebook-nagaa-oromoo-from-raya-to-mombasa-as-we-welcome-the-new-season-irreecha-2014/