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Oromia: Knoweldge and Society: Mammaaksa Oromoo March 4, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in 10 best Youtube videos, 25 killer Websites that make you cleverer, Afaan Oromoo, African Literature, Black History, Chiekh Anta Diop, Culture, Cushtic, Indigenous People, Kemetic Ancient African Culture, Khemetic Africa's culture, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Art, Oromo Literature, Oromo Wisdom, Uncategorized.
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OOromianEconomist
True Knowledge is wisdom.  The Oromo value wisdom to the highest degree: ‘Rather than to be kissed  by foolish man, I prefer to slapped by  a wise man.’ How is true knowledge acquired?  The Oromo proverbs  answers: By inference, by study, through suffering, by moulding another person, by heart. ‘  One who does not  understand  an inference  will never  understand  the thing as it is.. …  But the great school of knowledge is  experience, long life and old age. … The Oromo proverb  offers  no definition of  knowledge; they are not interested so much in nature of knowledge  as the type of knowledge  they propose  as  a model for  man-in-society, and  it is clearly  a knowledge  obtained through  experience through proximity  to the object, as ‘the calf  is known by the enclosure to have become a bull.’ See  Claud Summer, Ph.D., Dr.h.c (1995), Oromo Wisdom Literature,  Volume I , Proverbs Collection and Analysis.

Makmaaksa Oromoo (Oromo proverbs):

Abba hin qabdu akaakyuuf boochi
Abbaa iyyu malee ollaan namaa hin birmatu
Abbaan damma nyaateef ilma hafaan hin mi’aawu
Abbaatu of mara jedhe bofti hantuuta liqimsee
Abjuun bara beelaa buddeena abjoota
Addaggeen hamma lafa irra ejjettu nama irra ejjetti
Afaan dubbii bare bulluqa alanfata
Afaan gaariin afaa gaarii caala
Afaanii bahee gooftaa namaa ta’a
Akka madaa qubaa, yaadni garaa guba
Akka abalun sirbaan boquu nama jallisa
Akkuma cabannitti okkolu
Akukkuun yeroo argate dhakaa cabsa
Alanfadhuuti gara fira keetti garagalii liqimsi
ama of komatu namni hin komatu
Amartiin namaa hin taane quba namaa hin uriin
Ana haa nyaatuun beela hin baasu
Ani hin hanbifne, ati hin qalbifne
arrabni lafee hin qabdu lafee nama cabsiti
Asiin dhihoon karaa nama busha
“Aseennaa natu dide, kennaa warratu dide otoo nabutanii maal ta’a laata”,jette intalli haftuun
Badduun fira ishee yoo hamattee, baddubaatuun niiti ishee hamatti
Bakkka oolan irra bakka bulan wayya
Bakka kufte osoo hin taane, bakka mucucaatte bari
Balaliitee balaliite allaattiin lafa hin hanqattu

Bara bofti nama nyaate lootuun nama kajeelti!!
Bara dhibee bishaan muka namatti yaaba
Bara fuggisoo harreen gara mana, sareen gara margaa
Barri gangalata fardaati
Beekaan namaa afaan cufata malee hulaa hin cufatu
Biddeena nama quubsu eelee irratti beeku
Billaachi otoo ofii hin uffatiin dhakaatti uffisti
Bishaan gu’a gahe nama hin nyaatiin, namni du’a gahe si hin abaariin
Bishaan maaltu goosa jennaan waan achi keessa jiru gaafadhu jedhe
Bishingaan otoo gubattuu kofalti
Boru hin beekneen qad-bukoon ishee lama
Boftii fi raachi hanga ganni darbutti wal faana jiraattu
Bulbuluma bulbuli hangan dhugu anuu beeka
Buna lubbuuf xaaxa’u warri naa tolii kadhatu
Cabsituun tulluu amaaraatiin giraancee jetti
Citaan tokko luqqaasaniif manni hin dhimmisu
Dabeessa uleen (jirmi) shani
Daddaftee na dhungateef dhirsa naa hin taatu jette sanyoon
Dawaa ofii beekan namaa kudhaamu
Deegan malee waqayyo hin beekani
dhalli namaa otoo nyaattu diida laalti
Dhirsi hamaan maaf hin nyaatiin jedha niitii dhaan
Dhirsaa fi niitiin muka tokko irraa muramu
Dugda hin dhungatan, hunda hin dubbatani
Durbaa fi jiboota garaa gogaa lenjisu
Iyyuuf bakkeen naguma, dhiisuuf laphee na guba
Dhuufuun waliin mari’atanii dhuufan hin ajooftu
Diimina haaduun nyaatani,diimaa arrabaan nyaatu
Dinnichi bakka gobbitetti hordaa cabsiti
Doqnaa fi garbuu sukkuumanii nyaatu
Du’aan dhuufaa jennaan kan bokoke dhiisaa jedhe
Dubbii baha hin dhorkani galma malee
Dubbii jaarsaa ganama didanii galgala itti deebi’ani
Duulli biyya wajjinii godaansa
Eeboo darbatanii jinfuu hin qabatani
Edda waraabessi darbee sareen dutti
Fagaatan malee mi’aa biyyaa hin beekani
Farda kophaa fiiguu fi nama kophaa himatu hin amaniin
Firri gara firaa jennaan kal’een gara loonii jette
Foon lafa jira allaatti samii irraa wal lolti
foon lakkayi jennaan rajijjin tokko jedhe
fokkisaan nama qabata malee nama hin kadhatu
Fuula na tolchi beekumsi ollaa irraa argamaa jette intalli
Gaangeen abbaan kee eenyu jennaan eessumni koo farda jette
Gaangoonn haada kutte jennaan oftti jabeessite jedhani
Gabaan fira dhaba malee nama dhabinsa hin iyyitu
Galaanni bakka bulu hin beekne dhakaa gangalchee deema
Gaalli yoom bade jennaan, gaafa morma dheeratu bade

Gama sanaa garbuun biile (asheete) jennan warra sodaanne malee yoom argaa dhabne jedhe  jaldeessi
Gamna gowomsuun jibba dabalachuu dha
Ganaman bahani waaqa jalaahin bahani
Gara barii ni dukkanaa’a
Garaa dhiibuu irra miila dhiibuu wayya
Garbittii lubbuuf walii gadi kaattu, warri qophinaafi se’u
Jaalalli allaatti gara raqaatti nama geessa
Gaashatti dhuufuun daalattii dha
Gogaa duugduun yoo dadhabdu saree arisaa kaati
Gola waaqayyoo itti nama hidhe lookoo malee ijaajju
Goomattuuf goommanni hin margu
Goondaan walqabattee laga ceeti
Gowwaa wajjin hin haasa’iin bakka maleetti sitti odeessa, karaa jaldeesaa hin hordofiin halayyaa nama geessa
Gowwaan ballessaa isaa irraa barat, gamni balleessaa gowwaa irraa barata
Gowwaan bishaan keessa ijaajjee dheebota
Gowwaan gaafa deege nagada
Gubattee hin agarre ibiddatti gamti
Guulaa hin bitiin jiilaa biti
Gowwaa kofalchiisanii, ilkee lakawu
Gowwaa fi bishaan gara itti jallisan deemu
Haadha gabaabduu ijoolleen hiriyaa seeti
haadha laalii intala fuudhi
Haadha yoo garaa beekan ilmoo jalaa qabani
Halagaa ilkaan adii, halangaan isaa sadi
Hanqaaquu keessa huuba barbaada
Haati ballaa (suuloo) ya bakkalcha koo jetti
Haa hafuun biyya abbaa ofiitti nama hanbisa
Haati hattuun intala hin amantu
Haati hattuun intala hin amantu
Haati kee bareeddi jennaan, karaa kana dhufti eegi jedhe
Habbuuqqaa guddinaaf hin quufani
Hagu dhiba jette sareen foksoo nyaatte
Hagu dhiba jette sareen foksoo nyaattee
Halagaa gaafa kolfaa fira gaafa golfaa

Hantuunni hadha ishee jalatti gumbii uruu bartii

Harka namaatiin ibidda qabaa hin sodaatani
Harki dabaruu wal dhiqxi
Harkaan Gudunfanii, Ilkaaniin Hiikkaa Dhaqu
Harree ganama badee, galgala kur-kuriin hin argitu
Harree hin qabnu, waraabessa wajjin wal hin lollu
Kan harree hin qabne farda tuffata
Harreen nyaattu na nyaadhu malee bishaan ol hin yaa’u jette waraabessaan
Harreen yoo alaaktu malee yoo dhuuftu hin beektu
Hidda malee xannachi hin dhiigu
Hidda mukaa lolaan baaseetu, hidda dubbii farshoo (jimaa)n baase
Hidhaa yoo tolcha, gadi garagalchanii baatu

hin guddattuu jennaan baratu dhumee jedhe
Hiriyaa malee dhaqanii gaggeessaa malee galu
hiyyeessaf hin qalani kan qalame nyaata
Hoodhu jennaan diddeetu lafa keenyaan hatte
Hoolaan abbaa abdatte, diboo duuba bulchiti
Hoolaan gaafa morma kutan samii(waaqa) arkiti
Ija laafettiin durbaa obboleessaf dhalti
Ijoollee bara quufaa munneen ibidda afuufa
Ijoollee hamtuun yoo nyaataaf waaman ergaaf na waamu jettee diddi
Ijoolleen abaa ishee dabeessa hin seetu
Ijoolleen quufne hin jett, garaatu na dhukube jetti malee
Ijoolleen quufne hin jettu beerri fayyaa bulle hin jettu
Ijoolleen niitii fuute gaafa quuftu galchiti
Ijoollee qananii fi farshoo qomocoraa warratu leellisa
Ijoollee soressaa dhungachuun gabbarsuu fakkaatti
Ilkaan waraabessaa lafee irratti sodaatu
Ilmi akkoon guddiftu dudda duubaan laga ce’a
Intalli bareedduun koomee milaatiin beekamti
Intallii haati jajju hin heerumtu
Itti hirkisaan kabaa hin ta’u
Ittiin bulinnaa sareen udaan namaa nyaatti
Jaamaan boru ijji keen ni banamti jennaan, edana akkamitin arka jedhe
Jaarsi dhukuba qofaa hin aaduu, waan achisutu garaa jira
Jaarsii fi qalqalloon guutuu malee hin dhaabatu
Jabbiin hootu hin mar’attu
Jaalalli jaldeessa yeroo fixeensaa garaa jalatti, yeroo bokkaa dugda irratti nama baatti
Jaalala keessa adurreen ilmoo nyaatti
Jaalalli allaatti gara raqaatti nama geessa
Jarjaraan re’ee hin horu
Jarjaraan waraabessaa gaafa ciniina
Jibicha korma ta’u elmaa irratti beeku
Jiraa ajjeesuun jalaa callisuu dha
Kadhatanii galanii weddisaa hin daakani
Kan abbaan gaafa cabse halagaan gatii cabsa

Kan abbaan quba kaa’e oromi(namni, halagaan) dhumdhuma kaa’a
Kan afaanii bahee fi kan muccaa bahehin deebi’u
Kan bishaaan nyaate hoomacha qabata
Kan citaa qabaa tokko namaa hin kennine mana bal’isii gorsiti
Kan dandeessu dhaan jennaan gowwaan galee nitii dhaane Adaamiin ollaa hagamsaa jiru bara baraan boo’aa jiraata
Kan gabaa dhagahe gowwaan galee niitii dhokse
Kan hanna bare dooluutu sosso’a
Kan hordaa natti fiiges, kan haaduun natti kaates bagan arge jette saani du’uuf edda fayyitee booda
Kan humnaan lafaa hin kaane yaadaan Sudaanitti nagada
Kan ilkaan dhalchu kormi hin dhalchu
Kan namni nama arabsi irr, kan abbaan of arabsutu caala

kan qabuuf dabali jennaan harreen laga geesse fincoofte
Kan of jaju hin dogoggoru
Kan quufe ni utaala, kan utaale ni caba
Kan tolu fidi jennaan, sidaama biyya fide
Kan tuffatantu nama caala, kan jibbanitu nama dhaala
Kan tuta wajjin hin nyaanne hantuuta wajjin nyaatti
Kan waaqni namaa kaa’e cululleen hin fudhattu
Karaa foolii nun hin jedhani jette wacwacoon
Karaan baheef maqaan bahe hin deebi’u
Karaan sobaan darban, deebi’iitti nama dhiba
Karaa dheeraa milatu gabaabsa, dubbii dheeraa jaarsatu gabaabsa
Karaa fi halagaatu gargar nama baasa
Keessummaan waan dhubbattu dhabde mucaa kee harma guusi jetti
Keessummaan lolaa dha abbaatu dabarfata
Keessa marqaa boojjitootu beeka
Kijiba baranaa manna dhugaa bara egeree wayya
Kokkolfaa haati goota hin seetu
Kormi biyya isaatti bookkisu biyya namaatti ni mar’ata
Kursii irra taa’anii muka hin hamatani
Lafa rukuchuun yartuu ofiin qixxeessuu dha
Lafa sooriin du’e baataatu garmaama
Lafaa fuudhuutti ukaa nama bu’a

Lafti abdatan sanyii nyaatee namni abdatan lammii nyaate
Laga marqaa jennaan ijoolleen fal’aanaan yaate
Lama na hin suufani jette jaartiin qullubbii hattee
Leenci maal nyaata jennaan, liqeeffatte jedhe, maal kanfala jennaan, eenyu isa gaafata jedhe
Lilmoon qaawwaa ishee hin agartu, qaawwaa namaa duuchiti
Lukkuun(hindaaqqoon) haatee haateealbee ittiin qalan baafti
Maa hin nyaatiin jedha dhirsi hamaan
Maal haa baasuuf dhama raasu
Mammaaksi tokko tokko dubbii fida tokko tokko dubbii fida
Mana haadha koon dhaqa jettee goraa bira hin darbiin
Mana karaa irra kessumaatu itti baayyata
Manni Abbaan Gube Iyya Hin Qabu
Maraataa fi sareen mana ofii hin wallalani
Maraatuun jecha beektu, waan jettu garuu hin beektu
Marqaa afuufuun sossobanii liqimsuufi
Marqaan distii badaa miti, irri ni bukata, jalli ni gubata
Marxoon otoo fiiganii hidhatan otuma fiiganii nama irraa bu’a
Mataa hiyyaassaatti haaduu baru
Midhaan eeguun baalatti hafe
Mucaa keetiin qabii mucaa koo naa qabi jettehaati mucaa
Muka jabana qabu reejjiitti dhibaafatu
Morkii dhaaf haaduu liqimsu
Nama foon beeku sombaan hin sobani
Namni akka fardaa nyaatu, gaafa akka namaa nyaate rakkata
Namni beela’e waan quufu hin se’u
Namni dhadhaa afaan kaa’an, dhakaa afaan nama kaa’a
Namni gaafa irrechaa duude, sirba irreechaa sirbaa hafa
Namni guyyaa bofa arge halkan teepha dheessa
Namni hudduu kooban galannii isaa dhuufuu dha
Namni mana tokko ijaaru citaa wal hin saamu
Namni nama arabsu nama hin faarsu
Namni badaan bakka itti badutti mari’ata
Namni gabaabaan otoo kabaja hin argatiin du’a
Namni qotiyyoo hin qabne qacceen qalqala guutuu dha
Nama kokkolfaa nama miidhuu fi bokkaan aduu baasaa roobu tokko
Niitiin dhirsaaf kafana
Niitiin marii malee fuudhan marii malee baati
Niitiin afaan kaa’aami’eeffatte yoo kabaluuf jedhan afaan banti
Nitaati jennaan harree qalle, hin tatuu jennaan harree ganne, qoricha jennaan isuma iyyuu dhaqnee dhabne
Obboleessa laga gamaa mannaa gogaa dugduu(faaqqii) ollaa ofii wayya
Obsaan aannan goromsaa dhuga
Obsan malee hn warroomani
Ofii badanii namaa hin malani
Of jajjuun saree qarriffaan udaani

Ofi iyyuu ni duuti maaliif of huuti
Ofii jedhii na dhugi jedhe dhadhaan
Okolee diddu okkotee hin diddu
Ollaa araban jira akkamittin guddadha jette gurri
Ollaan akkam bultee beeka, akkatti bule abbaatu beeka
Ollaafi garaan nama hin diddiin
Ollaa fi kateen nama xiqqeessiti
Ol hin liqeessiin horii keetu badaa, gadi hin asaasiin hasa’aa keetu bushaa’a
Otoo beeknuu huuba wajjin jette sareen
Otoo garaan tarsa’e jiruu, darsa tarsa’eef boossi
Otoo farda hin bitiin dirree bite
Otoo fi eegeen gara boodaati
Otoo garaan dudda duuba jiraate, qiletti nama darbata
Otoo sireen nama hin dadhabiin tafkii fi tukaaniin nama dadhabdi
Qaalluun kan ishee hin beektu kan namaa xibaarti
Qaban qabaa hin guunnee gad-lakkisan bakkee guutti
Qabbanaa’u harkaan gubnaan fal’aanan
Qabanootuharkaa, hoo’itu fal’aanaan
Qabeenyi fixeensa ganamaati
Qalloo keessi sibiila
Qalladhu illee ani obboleessa eebooti jette lilmoon
qaaqeen yoo mataan ishee marge bade jetti
Qarri lama wal hin waraanu
Qeesiinwaaqayyoo itti dheekkam, daawwitii gurgurtee harree bitatte
Qoonqoon darbu, maqaa hin dabarre nama irra kaa’a
Qoonqoon bilchina eeggattee, qabbana dadhabde
Qorichaofii beekan namaa kudhaamu
Qotee bulaa doofaan, miila kee dhiqadhu jennaa, maalan dhiqadha borus nan qota jedhe
Qurcii dhaan aboottadhu jennaan, qophoofneerra jedhe
Raadni harree keessa ooltedhuufuu barattee galti
Sa’a bonni ajjeese ganni maqaa fuudhe
Saddetin heerume jarjarrsaa akka baranaa hin agarre jette jaartiin, salgaffaa irratti waraabessi bunnaan
Salphoo soqolatte soqolaa gargaaru
Saree soroobduun afaan isheef bukoo ykn. dudda isheef falaxaa hin dhabdu
Sabni namatti jiguu irra gaarri (tulluun) namatti jiguu wayya
Sareen duttu nama hin ciniintu
Sanyii ibiddaa daaraatu nama guba
Sareen warra nyaattuuf dutti
Seenaa bar dhibbaa baruuf bardhibba jiraachuun dirqama miti
Shanis elmamu kudhanis, kan koo qiraaciitti jette adurreen
Sirbituu aggaammii beeku
Sii uggum yaa gollobaa, anaafoo goommani ni dorroba inni gurr’uu soddomaa jette jaartiin horii ishee gollobaan fixnaan
Sodaa abjuu hriba malee hin bulani
Soogidda ofiif jettu mi’aayi kanaachi dhakaa taata
Sombaaf aalbee hin barbaadani
Suphee dhooftuun fayyaa gorgurtee, cabaatti nyaatti
Taa’anii fannisanii dhaabatanii fuudhuun nama dhiba
Takkaa dhuufuun namummaa dh, lammmeessuun harrummaadha
Tikseen dhiyootti dhiifte fagootti barbaacha deemti
Tiksee haaraan horii irraa silmii buqqisaa oolti
Tokko cabe jedhe maraataan dhakaa gabaatti darbatee
tokko kophee dhabeetu booha, tokko immoo miila dhabee booha
Tufani hin arraabani
Udaan lafatti jibban funyaan nama tuqa
Ulee bofa itti ajjeesan alumatti gatu
Ulee fi dubbiin gabaabduu wayya
Ulfinaa fi marcuma abbaatu of jala baata
Waa’een garbaa daakuu fi bishaani
Waan ergisaa galu fokkisa
Waan jiilaniin kakatu
Waan kocaan kaa’e allaattiin hin argu
Waan namaa kaballaa malee hin quufani
Waan samii bu’e dacheen baachuu hin dadhabu
Waan uffattu hin qabdu haguuggatee bobbaa teessi
Waan warri waarii hasa’aan, Ijoolen waaree odeesiti
Wadalli harree nitii isaa irraa waraabessa hin dhowwu
Wal-fakkaattiin wal barbaaddi
Wali galan, alaa galan
Wallaalaan waan beeku dubbata, beekaan waan dubbatu beeka
Waaqaaf safuu jette hindaaqqoon bishaan liqimsitee
Warra gowwaa sareen torba
Waraabessi bakka takkaa nyaatetti sagal deddeebi’a
Waraabessi biyya hin beekne dhaqee gogaa naa afaa jedhe
Waraabessi waan halkan hojjete beekee guyyaa dhokata
Yaa marqaa si afuufuun si liqimsuufi
Yoo ala dhiisan mana seenan, yoo mana dhiisan eessa seenan
Yoo boora’e malee hin taliilu
Yoo ejjennaa tolan darbatanii haleelu
Yoo iyyan malee hin dhalchanii jedhe korbeesi hoolaa kan re’eetiin
Yoo suuta ejjetan qoreen suuta nama waraanti
yoo dhaqna of jaalatan fuula dhiqatu
Yoo namaa oogan eelee jalatti namaa marqu
yoo ta’eef miinjee naa taata jette intalli


Mammaaksota Dubartootaa Oromoo

1.     Heeruma dharraanee(hawwinee) heerumnaan rarraane (rakkannee)

2.     Asuu oolle jette tan heerumaaf muddamte”

3.     Takkattii qayyannee taduraa hanqannee  ykn takkaa qayyannee lukaa gubanne

4.     Bakka dhiiganii hin fiigan.

5.     Kana muranii kamiin fincaayan jette haati manaa inni ofirraa mura jennaan.

6.     Kaanittuu abbaa argadhu jette haati intalaan.

7.     Intalti ariifattuun haadha ciniinsuubarsiifti

8.     Akka beekutti dhalaa(dahaa) nadhiisaa jette intalti harka namaa diddu

9.     Sirbaaf bayanii morma hin dhofatan jettee intalti waa hin saalfannee.

10.  Akka ebaluutti sirbaan morma nama jallifti jette intalti qalbii qabdu.

11.  Mucaa deenna malee mucaa hin geennu jette intalti of tuffatte.

12.  Wol  akkeessee ollaan marqa balleesse jette intalti ofiin bultun .

13.  Akka aadaa teennaa gaara gubbaa baanee teenna jedhe harmi dubartootaa.

14.  Ati baldi ta dhiirsa ka’imaa jette intalti abbaan manaa isii jaarsaa.
(Baldu : ashuu,qoosuu,taphachuu, busheesuu)

15.  Har’allee moo jette haati ijoolleen beelofne (shoomofne) jennaan isiin bakka cidhaatii quuftee waan galteef

16.  Ani ufiif hin jennee, mucaan keessan ka hangafaa sun fuudha hin geennee? jette intalti mucaa kajeelte.

17.  Soddaa fi dayma hin duudhatan.

18.  Osoo dhukubsataan jiru, fayyaalessi du’a.

19.  Ana bakki na dhukubu asii mitii maraafuu bakkuma gooftaan kiyya jedhe san kooba jette bookeen.

20.  Makkitu malee makkaa hin hajjan

(Makkitu : naamaaf mijooftu/mijaa’u)

21.  Akka dida’aa fi akka didanaatti na galchi

22.  Daalun xaraan kaanu tara.

Qopheessan : Abdii Boriiti

Source: http://opride.com/hamba/?p=231


Related:

Hiibboo Afaan Oromoo

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Voices: Traveling to Africa? Think twice about using the word ‘tribe’ By McKenzie Powell, Ohio University May 7, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, African American, Ancient African Direct Democracy, Ancient Rock paintings in Oromia, Chiekh Anta Diop, Muscians and the Performance Of Oromo Nationalism, Oromo, Oromo Nation.
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Oromo nation and Gadaa system

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Please do not call the Oromo people (the Oromians) a tribe and by extension all African  nations and nationalities:

You know Why?

Read the following: What Achebe wrote referring to his Igbo people is equally applicable to the Oromo.

Chinua Achebe the renowned African novelist and poet, the author of Things fall apart, the best known and best selling novel ever in his book Home and exile (Oxford University Press, 2000, pp.3-5) says the following:

“The Igbo people of south eastern Nigeria are more than ten million and must be accounted one of the major peoples of Africa. Conventional practice would call them a tribe, but I no longer follow that convention. I call them a nation. ‘Here we go again!,’ You may be thinking. Well, let me explain. My Pocket Oxford Dictionary defines tribe as follows: ‘group of people (esp. primitive) families or communities linked by social , religious or blood ties and usually having a common culture and dialect and a recognized leader.’ If we apply the different criteria of this definition to Igbo people we will come up with the following results:

a. Igbo people are not primitive; if we were I would not be offering this distinguished lecture, or would I?;

b. Igbo people are not linked by blood ties, although they may share many cultural traits;

c. Igbo people do not speak one dialect; they speak one language which has scores of major and minor dialects;

d. and as for having one recognized leader, Igbo people would regard the absence of such a recognized leader as the very defining principle of their social and political identity.

Therefore, all in all, Igbo people would score very poorly indeed on the Oxford dictionary test for tribe.

My little Oxford dictionary defines nation as, ‘ a community of people of mainly of common descent, history or language, etc, forming a state or inhabiting a territory. This may not be a perfect fit for the Igbo, but it is close. In addition I like it because, unlike the word tribe, which was given to me, nation is not loaded or derogatory, and there is really no good reason to continue answering a derogatory name simply because somebody has given it to you.”

https://oromianeconomist.wordpress.com/2015/01/04/decolonising-developmentthe-political-and-cultural-locations-of-nationalism-and-national-self-determination/

Voices: Traveling to Africa? Think twice about using the word ‘tribe’

We see the word everywhere: throughout news reports of African struggles, in old films and on the latest television shows. You’ve probably even heard it used in a recent class covering topics related to history or anthropology.

“Tribe” has become a well-known, frequently used word to describe a particular group of people, specifically within a non-Western nation. The word seems to predominantly flood media outlets when an African ethnic group is involved in conflict or famine.

According to the Oxford Dictionaries’ newest definition of the word, a tribe is described as, “A social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.”

But what exactly are we implying when we use the word “tribe?” In an African context, when did this word originate and what words can we use as alternates?

Assan Sarr, assistant professor of history at Ohio University, says the word tribe first began spreading throughout Africa during the Scramble for Africa, or the period of European colonization of the continent.

“For much of Africa it seems that the word tribe became associated with the continent more during the 19th century, which means that it coincided with European imperialism,” Sarr says. “So, for Africans, the use of the word is really wrapped up in colonialism and that is one of the major reasons why Africans, or scholars who work on Africa, do not prefer the use of the term tribe to describe Africans.”

With a powerful history and past, the word “tribe” reflects social theories of the 19th century regarding stages of evolution and primitivism.

Even today, many negative connotations and falsities have continued with the use of the term to describe certain peoples within continents like Africa. The fallacies provoked by this pejorative language can include visuals of ethnic groups as clusters of half naked, barbarous, uncivilized and uneducated individuals with long feathers in their hair or spears in hand.

Definitions of the word also seem to point toward a society that exists outside of the state, one that is simple, small and static, and without the same structure as that which may be found in other complex societies and civilizations.

Sarr says the discrepancies are easily noticeable when comparing a commonly labeled tribal group, such as the Igbo, with that of Flemings, or the Flemish. The Igbo and Flemings are similarly categorized by their language and culture, and the Igbo are actually drastically greater in size — yet only the Igbo are considered a tribe.

“You don’t hear of the Irish tribe, or the Italian tribe, or the Spanish tribe. It’s always the various Arab tribes, or the Indian tribes, or the African tribes and that, for me, is one of the most potent issues that we need to be aware of. Here we are essentializing these people, we’re making them look distinctive,” Sarr says. “You are using it to refer to a group of people that share a certain historical experience, certain cultural traits, a language. This seems to me to be the perfect definition of an ethnic group, so why use the word tribe?”

Americans and Westerners are not the only people using this term, as some Africans refer to themselves as a part of a tribe. However, Sarr says that Africans do not use this word with the same assumptions and implications as those who brought it to the continent in the 19th century, or as those who may use it today in Westernized states.

In fact, as mentioned in Talking About Tribe by Africa Action, when some Africans are taught English, they are told that the correct, recognizable word to describe their ethnic group is “tribe.” In their own language, such as Zulu, the word used to describe their ethnic group actually translates to “people” or “nation.”

People and nation are two alternatives of tribe that can also be used in English to portray these multifaceted groups. Using the term “ethnic group” is also acceptable, or just simply calling them by their names – the Mende, the Wolof, the Hausa and so on.

“If they call themselves Igbo that means that word itself has a cultural meaning that the people themselves can associate with, rather than this foreign concept, this idea, that is used by others to describe them that does not capture all of their complex sets of ideas and histories and relationships,” Sarr says.

Using words like tribe and continuing to view places such as Africa as one place with one culture and one type of people is common, yet very detrimental. It is vital to be conscious of the history of the language we are using, and what our words may be negatively implying or stereotyping.

“How do we talk about Africa in a more intelligent, culturally sensitive, and helpful way? It’s this idea of unpacking all of the things that one acquired and grew up with,” Sarr says. “You have all these assumptions, these Eurocentric views, but once you start unpacking that and seeing that this is not true, then you begin to see some real interesting facts about the world.”

http://college.usatoday.com/2015/05/06/voices-travelling-to-africa-think-twice-about-using-the-word-tribe/

The Sumerians, Kemetic and Oromo April 9, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, African American, African Literature, Ancient African Direct Democracy, Ancient Egyptian, Ancient Rock paintings in Oromia, Chiekh Anta Diop, Language and Development, Meroe, Meroetic Oromo, Oromo, Oromo Culture, Qubee Afaan Oromo.
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” “Assyrians themselves are shown to have been of a very pure type of Semites, but in the Babylonians there is a sign of Kushite blood. … There is one portrait of an Elmite king on a vase found at Susa; he is painted black and thus belongs to the Kushite race.” The myths, legends, and traditions of the Sumerians point to the African Cushite as the original home of these people (see. Perry, 1923, pp. 60-61). They were also the makers of the first great civilisation in the Indus valley. Hincks, Oppert, unearthed the first Sumerian remains and Rawlinson called these people Kushites. Rawlinson in his essay on the early history of Babylonian presents that without pretending to trace up these early Babylonians to their original ethnic sources, there are certainly strong reasons for supposing them to have passed from Cushite Africa to the valley of the Euphrates shortly before the opening of the historic period: He is based on the following strong points: The system of writing, which they brought up with them, has the closest semblance with that of Egypt; in many cases in deed the two alphabets are absolutely identical. In the Biblical genealogies, while Kush and Mizrain (Egypt) are brothers, from Kush Nimrod (Babylonian) sprang. With respect to the language of ancient Babylonians, the vocabulary is absolutely Kushite, belonging to that stock of tongues, which in postscript were everywhere more or less, mixed up with Semitic languages, but of which we have with doubtless the purest existing specimens in the Mahra of Southern Arabia and the Oromo.”
https://oromianeconomist.wordpress.com/…/oromia-untwist-th…/

The Sumerians were one of the earliest urban societies to emerge in the world, in Southern Mesopotamia more than 5000 years ago. They developed a writing system whose wedge-shaped strokes would influence the style of scripts in the same geographical area for the next 3000 years. Eventually, all of these diverse writing systems, which encompass both logophonetic, consonantal alphabetic, and syllabic systems, became known as cuneiform.

It is actually possible to trace the long road of the invention of the Sumerian writing system. For 5000 years before the appearance of writing in Mesopotamia, there were small clay objects in abstract shapes, called clay tokens, that were apparently used for counting agricultural and manufactured goods. As time went by, the ancient Mesopotamians realized that they needed a way to keep all the clay tokens securely together (to prevent loss, theft, etc), so they started putting multiple clay tokens into a large, hollow clay container which they then sealed up. However, once sealed, the problem of remembering how many tokens were inside the container arose. To solve this problem, the Mesopotamians started impressing pictures of the clay tokens on the surface of the clay container with a stylus. Also, if there were five clay tokens inside, they would impress the picture of the token five times, and so problem of what and how many inside the container was solved.

Subsequently, the ancient Mesopotamians stopped using clay tokens altogether, and simply impressed the symbol of the clay tokens on wet clay surfaces. In addition to symbols derived from clay tokens, they also added other symbols that were more pictographic in nature, i.e. they resemble the natural object they represent. Moreover, instead of repeating the same picture over and over again to represent multiple objects of the same type, they used diferent kinds of small marks to “count” the number of objects, thus adding a system for enumerating objects to their incipient system of symbols. Examples of this early system represents some of the earliest texts found in the Sumerian cities of Uruk and Jamdat Nasr around 3300 BCE, such as the one below. http://www.ancientscripts.com/sumerian.html

Sumerians, Kemeticand Oromo

Oromia: The 2015 Commemoration of Odaa-Bultum (One of the Major Oromo Gadaa System’s Administrative Centers) March 20, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Ateetee (Siiqqee Institution), Black History, Chiekh Anta Diop, Gadaa System, Kemetic Ancient African Culture, Odaa Bultum, Oromia, Oromo Nation, Oromummaa, Sirna Gadaa, The Oromo Democratic system, The Oromo Governance System.
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???????????Odaa Bultum

The 2015 Commemoration of  Odaa-Bultum (One of the Major Oromo Gadaa System’s Administrative Centers)

Finfinne Tribune | Gadaa.com

Oromos from all corners of Oromiyaa have converged at the once-banned Odaa-Bultum, one of the major Oromo Gadaa System’s administrative centers and located in Eastern Oromiyaa, to celebrate Odaa-Bultum and witness the peaceful power-transfer to the newAbbaa-Gadaa; the celebration will last for eight days, starting on January 28, 2015. According to sources, the new Abbaa-Gadaa of Odaa-Bultum will be inaugurated at this week-long celebration.

Odaa-Bultum, together with the other Odaa’s across Oromiyaa, was banned by the invading Habesha army at the end of the 19-century. Though the banning was meant to destroy and erase people’s memory of the Oromo Gadaa heritage, the strong collective societal memory of the Gadaa System continues to propel the ongoing Renaissance of the Gadaa System across Oromiyaa.

Video#1 (click on the clip to play):
https://www.facebook.com/video/embed?video_id=10101480773474883

Video#3 (click on the clip to play):
https://www.facebook.com/video/embed?video_id=10101480878105203

Odaa Bultum Revives - The Oromo Gadaa Renaissance in Action

OdaaBultum 2015_18

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OdaaBultum 2015_1

OdaaBultum 2015_2

OdaaBultum 2015_3

Source: Amajjii/January 29, 2015 · Finfinne Tribune | Gadaa.com

Jila Odaa Bisil

 ‘Waggoota saddettan dabraniif Gadaa Odaa Bultum kan bulchan Abbaa Gadaa Mahammad Hammad Bookee guyyaa har’aa hogganaa haraya ta’uun kan filaman Abbaa Gadaa Shaamil Hammadootti baallii dabarsan. Gadaan haarayni, Gadaa quufaa-nagaayaa, tan bilisummaan biyyaafi ummata Oromoo keessatti goonfannu akka taatu hawwina.’ Jawar Mohammed,  Guraandhala 4 bara 2015.

Abbaa Gadaa Mahammad Hammad BookeeAbbaa Gadaa Shaamil Hammadoo

More at :

http://finfinnetribune.com/Gadaa/2015/01/photos-and-videos-from-the-2015-commemoration-of-the-once-banned-odaa-bultum-one-of-the-major-oromo-gadaa-systems-administrative-centers/

OROMO: OROMIA@FEDERATION SQUARE (QOPHII ADDAA), MUDDE 22, 2014) December 23, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, African Music, Black History, Chiekh Anta Diop, Oromia, Oromiyaa.
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THEORIZING WAAQEFFANNAA: OROMIA’S INDIGENOUS AFRICAN RELIGION AND ITS CAPACITY AND POTENTIAL IN PEACEMAKING September 21, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, African Literature, Ancient African Direct Democracy, Ancient Egyptian, Ancient Rock paintings in Oromia, Ateetee, Ateetee (Siiqqee Institution), Black History, Chiekh Anta Diop, Culture, Cushtic, Humanity and Social Civilization, Irreecha, Irreecha (Irreesa) 2014, Irreecha (Irreessa) 2014, Irreecha Birraa, Kemetic Ancient African Culture, Meroetic Oromo, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Culture, Oromo Identity, Oromo Nation, Oromo Social System, Oromo Wisdom, Oromummaa, Qaallu Institution, The Goddess of Fecundity, Waaqeffanna (Oromo ancient African Faith System).
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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.

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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.

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

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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

Waaqeffannaa (Amantii Oromoo):The traditional faith system of the Oromo people August 10, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ancient Egyptian, Ateetee (Siiqqee Institution), Black History, Chiekh Anta Diop, Culture, Development & Change, Finfinnee, Gadaa System, Irreecha, Kemetic Ancient African Culture, Language and Development, Macha & Tulama Association, Meroe, Meroetic Oromo, Nubia, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Culture, Oromo First, Oromo Identity, Oromo Social System, Oromummaa, Prof. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis, Safuu: the Oromo moral value and doctrine, State of Oromia, The Oldest Living Person Known to Mankind, The Oromo Democratic system, The Oromo Library, Wisdom.
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Waaqeffannaa (Amantii Oromoo), the traditional faith system of the Oromo people, is one version of the monotheistic African Traditional Religion (ATR), where the followers of this faith system do believe in only one Supreme Being. African traditional religion is a term referring to a variety of religious practices of the only ONE African religion, which Oromo believers call Waaqeffannaa (believe in Waaqa, the supreme Being), an indigenous faith system to the continent of Africa. Even though there are different ways of practicing this religion with varieties of rituals, in truth, the different versions of the African religion have got the following commonalities:

 

– Believe in and celebrate a Supreme Being, or a Creator, which is referred to by a myriad of names in various languages as Waaqeffataa Oromo do often say: Waaqa maqaa dhibbaa = God with hundreds of names and Waaqa Afaan dhibbaa = God with hundreds of languages; thus in Afaan Oromoo (in Oromo language) the name of God is Waaqa/Rabbii or Waaqa tokkicha (one god) or Waaqa guraachaa (black God, where black is the symbol for holiness and for the unknown) = the holy God = the black universe (the unknown), whom we should celebrate and love with all our concentration and energy

 

– No written scripture (ATR’s holy texts are mostly oral), but now some people are trying to compose the written scripture based on the Africans’ oral literature.

 

– Living according to the will of the Supreme Being and love also those who do have their own way of surviving by following other belief systems, which are different from that of the Waaqeffannaa. It includes keeping both safuu (virtues) and laguu (vices); i.e. to love safuu as well as to hate and abhor cubbuu (sin).

 

– Correspondence with the Supreme Being in times of a great need (i.e. in times of natural calamities, unexplained deaths) and try to walk always on the karaa nagaa (on the way of peace = on the way of righteousness, on the road of truth).

 

– Having a devout connection with ancestors; in case of Oromo, the ancestors are all ways blessed and celebrated for the good inheritance we got from them, but not worshiped as some people want to mis understand.

 

The word “culture” is most commonly defined as the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group; different cultures are the distinct ways that classified people living in different parts of the world, that represented their experiences and acted creatively. African peoples have got our own culture, which distinguish us from other parts of the world, of course also having our own sub-cultures among ourselves. Aadaa Oromoo (Oromo culture) being one part of the Cush culture is one of the sub-cultures within the common African culture, which consists also the faith system of Waaqeffannaa as part and parcel of the Oromo/African culture.

 

Waaqeffannaa’s interaction with other religions

According to the expert opinions written up to now, the concept of monotheism is the whole mark of African Traditional Religion including the faith system of the Cush nations. It seems that this concept of monotheism have moved from Cushitic black Africans (including the Oromo) first to ancient Egypt, secondly, further to Israel of the Bible and lastly to the Arab world of Koran. The experts tell us that Moses was not the first monotheist, but Akhenaten was the first revolutionary monotheist; they even claim that Moses might have been black. It is also argued that Moses was an Egyptian Pharaoh known as Akhenaten before the exodus. Additionally, they do argue that Akhenaten’s monotheism revolution in Egypt was not inspired from inside, but induced from outside by the Cushites, i.e. Akhenaten might have derived his monotheism concept from Africa’s/Oromo’s concept of Waaqa tokkicha in a form of “Waaq humna malee bifa hin qabu (God has no physical form, but power).” This concept may have been misinterpreted so that the other religions later started to talk about God with a physical form.

 

It is also interesting to observe many similarities between some old Egyptian words and Afaan Oromo words; for instance, the similarities of the ancient Egyptian words “Anii and Matii” with the Oromo words of “Ana (Ani) and Maatii.” Anii of Egyptians, which means I (I am who I am), that is equivalent to God is similar to the Oromo word Ani, which also means I and refers to the first person singular (the actor = the main character of GOD). Matii being the designation of God’s congregation and the Oromo word Maatii for the family which is the “congregation” of ani (first person = God) are surprisingly the same. This is only one of many similarities between Oromo and Egypt registered by experts till now. It is not my intention to talk about this historical relationship here, but just to show the relation between Oromo’s traditional religion and the three Abraham religions, even though Judaism is not part of the current religions practiced by the Oromo. It means the new acceptance of both Christianity and Islam by Africans is the coming back of the same belief in Waaqa tokkicha to Africa in different forms.

 

This historical relation between Amantii Oromoo and the two big religions of the world suggests that Waaqeffannaa is the older version of monotheism and humanism. Waaqeffannaa as a faith system and Irreechaa as a major national celebration were part and parcel of Oromo public life. Now, some Oromo nationals prefer the name Amantii Oromo/Amantii Africa to Waaqeffannaa. It is important if we all can agree to call the Oromo traditional religion as Amantii Oromo/Amantii Africa, just like we agreed on calling our language Afaan Oromo and our country Biyya Oromo. So in short, we can say: Our land is Biyya Oromo, our language is Afaan Oromo and our religion is Amantii Oromo. It is known that some people may argue by saying “how can we call it Amantii Oromo, when we do see that more than half of the Oromo nowadays have Christianity and Islam as their religion?” Are Oromo with other first language rather than Afaan Oromo not Oromo, despite their lost Afaan Oromo? Should we say just because of these Oromo, who nowadays speak only English, German, Amharic, etc., that Oromo language is not Afaan Oromo? The same way, it is not logical not to call Oromo religion as Amantii Oromo because of the Oromo who overtook other religions. Actually, the designation Waaqqeffannaa (believing in and living with Waaqa) can also be applied to Christian Oromo and Islam Oromo even though most of the Islam Oromo prefer the name Rabbii to the name Waaqa. They all are believers in Waaqa = God = Allah = Rabbii. Amantii Oromo differs only because of its specificity for it is the older Oromo faith embedded in only Oromo/African culture without any influence from alien culture.

 

The fact to be accepted here is that God is universal even though we call HIM Waaqa, Rabbii or Allah. But, Amantii Oromo is the way how our forefathers believed in this universal Waaqa of humankind. We don’t have God or Waaqa, who is specific only to Oromo/Africa and doesn’t care for other nations. Waaqa is the God of nations. But, we Oromo do have a specific way and culture regarding how we do practice our belief in Waaqa. This way of practicing our faith is what we call Amantii Oromo. Amantii Oromo is simply the Oromo way of practicing the faith in the universal Waaqa. It is part of the Oromo way of dealing with the problems of life (it is part of Aadaa Oromo). Accordingly, aadaa (culture) can also be defined as the way, in which a certain collective or group of people deals with its own life problem.

 

The difference between this Amantii Oromo and the other two big religions practiced by Oromo is that the other two got not only the faith in one God, but also the elements of cultures from the people in which they first emerged. We can see here the Arabs accepted the concept of Waaqa tokkicha while still keeping pre-Mohammad Arab culture in Islam, which is far different from Oromo/from African culture, but Islam practiced by Oromo in Oromia is colored by Arab culture for it is adopted from there. Interestingly, this is the difference between Islam Arab and Islam Oromo; Islam Arabs adopted only the concept of Waaqa tokkicha from Cush of Africa/Egypt/Israel, but don’t seem to exercise alien culture from these areas, whereas Islam Oromo tend to adopt both the faith and the culture from Arabs. Egyptians and Israelis, who accepted the concept of the same Waaqa tokkicha, also do practice their faith being colored by their own previous culture; they don’t seem to practice Cush culture; but again Christianity practiced in Oromia is mostly colored by the culture of the Israelis, the Habeshas as well as by that of the Western world for Christian Oromo tend to adopt not only the faith, but also the alien culture.

 

That is why it is not actually bad that some Oromo nationals accept and believe in the two monotheist religions (Christianity and Islam) per se, but not good is giving more value to the culture of the nations from which the religions come to us, at the cost of the very valuable Aadaa Oromo. Of course, good elements of foreign cultures can be accommodated without damaging the good elements of our own. For instance, the similarity between dibbee Qaallu (Qaallu’s drum) and the beat of Tigrinya music shows how Tegarus have inherited and kept some elements of Oromo’s culture. This can verify that the suggestion of Donald Levine, who in his book called Greater Ethiopia wrote that “Tegarus are part of the Cushites of the Old Testament who denied their identity”, may be true. After all, why do they call their mother Aadde? Where does the name Barentu in Eritrea come from? Are they only inheritance of names or were they part of the lost Oromo/Cush? Anyways, it is good to follow the advice given once by Luba Shamsadin. He said (paraphrased here), when we try to accept religions from other nations, we have to identify and separate “the bone of the fish from the meat”; i.e. we need to identify and leave the unnecessary cultural elements of other nations, which are usually mixed with their religions we Oromo do tend to accept and adopt.

 

So as it is put here in short,

Waaqeffannaa (believe in one Waaqa of the universe) is practiced not only among the Cush nations, but also among almost all African nations. This faith system of Africans including Waaqeffannaa has been devalued as something “paganism, barbarism, religionlessness, uncivilization, Godlessness, animism, primitivism, etc”. The black color, which is the symbol of holiness in Waaqeffannaa was/is demonized as a symbol for Satan. All the blessing ceremonies of Waaqeffannaa and the utensil used for the blessings are condemned as a service, an instrument and worshiping of demons/Satan. Despite this denigration, the current revival of Waaqeffannaa and the celebration of Irreechaa in Oromia can be a good example-setting for the other African nations to revive their hitherto devalued and almost lost culture and religion.

 

To serve this purpose of revival, the right way of Waaqeffannaa (believing in, celebrating of and living with Waaqa) must be cleaned from alien non-constructive elements as well as from non-productive practices and rituals like that of “qaalichaa” (infiltrating idolatry), which are not serving the purpose of Waaqa in our personal or national life. That means, we have to differentiate Waaqeffachuu (realizing God’s purpose in our life) from waaqessuu (serving alien gods). Waaqeffachuu is applying Waaqa’s goodwill in our practical life, whereas waaqessuu is making someone or something be our Waaqa, i.e. practicing idolatry. The Oromo people in general have never had an idol to worship, but always had only one Waaqa to believe in and to celebrate. Of course, there are very few Oromo individuals nowadays tending to practice waaqessuu. Such purification of the African faith system from unimportant and useless elements must be done in all versions of the practices and rituals among all African nations.

 

Concept of God in Waaqeffannaa

To make Waaqeffannaa a little bit clear, here is a short narration about this faith system in practice. Oromo nationals practicing this faith do talk about Waaqa tokkicha, which is one of the evidences for the faith to be monotheism, just as the Christianity and Islam are. The concept of God among these believers is summarized by their usual saying: “Waaq humna malee bifa hin qabu.” These believers do not misinterpret Waaqa tokkicha as an expression of physical form for even the whole nature as a physical form is also an expression of his power. The believers and the Qaalluu or Qaallitti (local spiritual leader) are usually very lovely; specially the leaders are simply like a love in person. All their followers are selfless people full of good deeds and love; they do talk about Waaqa, calling him as abbaa koo (my father), and they usually do pray for children saying: “akka ijoollee keenyaa eebbisuuf abba keenya gaafanna (let’s ask our father to bless our children),” they usually don’t say “abba keenya kadhanna (let’s beg our father).”

 

Whenever they are challenged by life problems, they do assert by saying: “Waaq abbaan keenya eessa dhaqeetu (our God is not far away)”, denoting that Waaqa is always ready to help his children. They some times also talk as prophets in a way: “Abbaan keenya akkas jedha, ani sin wajjin jira, ani nan sin gargaara (our father says, I am with you and I will help you)”. According to them, the spiritual father is Waaqa garaa gurraachaa, i.e. Waaqa with holy heart, symbolized with black color, most of whose holiness is unknown to humans. Knowledgeable believers do tell that the concept “Waaqa gurracha garaa garba (black God with heart like ocean)” actually refers to the unknown future. What Waaqa may bring in the future is unknown, and that is signified by black color. Here, garaa garba is also about the unknown. One couldn’t know what is inside the body of water from afar. This point of view seems to be the reason for the color black in the Oromo tricolor to signify the unknown future.

 

In some regions of Oromia, there are a lot of congregations visited by Oromo at some big houses called gimbi (galma) which have got different names: gimbii diloo, maram, abbaa jama, hiike, etc; the spiritual practices done there include the following: dalaguu (dancing), irreenssa kennu (green leaf as a gift), wareeguu (offerings), hammachiisaa (blessing babies), gashaa (delicious food brought to gimbi), etc. Actually, people go to such gimbi regularly carrying green leaves of Irreensaa. In this culture, green grass or green leaf is a powerful symbol for life and prosperity, and it is an element present in all public rituals of Waaqeffataa Oromo, including funerals and prayers of remembrance, during which grass is spread on the ground or grave. The above listed different names of gimbi are Oromo spiritual holy places and palaces, which are equivalent to temple, church and mosque. In all the places mentioned, everyone prays to Waaqa. The practices mentioned above are just variations of spiritual practice to Waaqa.

 

It is also to be observed among the practicing Waaqeffattaa how balanced is their way of discussion and relationship. During sorts of discussions, they often discuss very wisely. For example, when they give comments, here is a sample of how they do: “Ilaa, kanaa fi sana waan gaarii jette. Haa ta’u malee, kunimmoo otoo akkana ta’e wayya (here and there you said good, but it is better if this one be so and so)”. They do not denigrate the opinion of the other side, but tell the better alternative to the opinion they do disagree with. They do tolerate the mistake of others and just tell the consequence of the mistake. As far as they are concerned, there is always cubbuu (sin) in their consciousness, but no concept for hell or condemnation after death. This simply implies that we all do experience the consequence of our trespasses regarding the safuu (virtues) and laguu (vices) expected from us during our life time.

 

Not to suffer such consequences of cubbuu, Waaqeffattaa Oromo have got a lot of very well said prayers in their practical life activities. The following are very few of the impressive prayers in the day to day life of the Oromo, which need to be presented here as examples. They are usually heard from the believers of Amantii Oromo, and they are almost similar to what the believers in Christianity and Islam do pray, let alone the similarity of the greatly formulated prayers we do hear during Irreechaa celebration with what the Christian Qesis and the Islam Sheiks usually do pray:

 

– Yaa Waaq kan dubbatee nu dubbachiisu fi kan hamaa nutti yaadu nurraa qabbi (God keep us from those who speak evil and make us speak the same).

 

– Yaa Waaq mirga nu oolch (help us to walk on the right way); hamaa nurraa qabi (protect us from evil).

 

– Yaa Rabbii, ilmi ga’e haa fuudhu (Oh God, let the young man be married), dubarri geesse haa heerumtu (let the young woman be married), this prayer shows howimportant family building for human blessing is.

 

– Yaa Waaq, ani galee, kan galee hin rafne narraa qabi; ani rafee kan rafee hin bulle narra qabi (I am now at home to sleep, save me from the evil ones who didn’t yet be at their home and didn’t sleep).

 

– Yaa Waaq galgala koo hin balleessiin (let my old age not be cursed), this is related with the conse -quence of cubbuu. The believers are asking Waaqa to help them stay away from cubbuu so that their “galgala (late age)” will not be bad/painful. Here we see something similar with the native American’s culture. They say: “when you came to this world, you cried and everybody else laughed; live your life so that when you leave this world, you laugh and everyone else cries”; i.e. to say live your life free from cubbuu and its conse -quence (suffering), the life style which leads you to the blessing in your old age.

 

This prayers indicate the fact on the ground how Oromo look at Waaqa and at the human-being. Waaqa is conceived as a holy father with whom we can correspond during our day to day life problems or when ever we face calamities or difficulties for his will is always good, whereas human-beings can be with either bad or good intention in relation to each other. Both Gadaa and Qaalluu institutions look at all individuals as human with equal rights in front of Waaqa; that is why there is no a “respect form” of addressing human-being or God in Afaan Oromo, just as there is non in English language. After losing our sovereignty, the Oromo people had to learn how to “respect” authority figures. For there is no such option in Afaan Oromo, we had to use plural verbs to address the authority figures. Even Abbaa Gadaa (chief of the government) and Abbaa Mudaa (the spiritual leader) were addressed as “ati = you in a singular form,” not as “isin = you in a plural form.” Today, we have to address our fellow human being with certain authority as “isin” to show “respect.” It is not bad if such addressing would have been mutual/symmetrical as for instance it is in German language. But such “respect,” which we are now applying is asymmetrical (only the authority figure is addressed with the “respect” form, whereas the authority figure can address the other person without using the “respect” form. Where it is the reality that we don’t use the “respect” form during addressing our Waaqa, as seen in the above prayers, why should we bother to use it in addressing our fellow human being? It would be better if we leave this culture, which we adopted from others with authoritarian culture in contrast to our own egalitarian one. Our concept of Waaqa doesn’t allow us to behave so submissively to any human being, who is equal to us.

 

Virtues and Vices of Waaqeffannaa

Here in short, safuu (virtue) can be defined as the “to do list” in order to serve Waaqa and to achieve his kaayyoo/goal in our personal and national earthly life; whereas laguu (vice) is the “not to do list” or the taboo, so that we can refrain from doing such activities diverting us from the kaayyoo Waaqa for our life. Cubbuu (sin) then in short includes both not doing the safuu and doing the laguu. Just as an example, if we take bilisummaa (national freedom) as Waaqa’s kaayyoo for the Oromo nation, what are the safuu and the laguu to be respected? If the kaayyoo of Waaqeffannaa is individual healing from any sort of illness, what are the safuu and the laguu, which both the healer and the sick person should respect?

 

In order to look at the virtues and vices of the traditional Oromo/African belief system for our earthly life, let us now try to describe Waaqeffannaa as we experienced it and knew it. Note that all the descriptions and notions we try to put here on paper are based on our own argaa-dhageetti (based on our own perception), which may differ from that of the other Oromo nationals. For instance, we could observe that Oromo is a nation filled with celebrations of eebba (blessing), who do have different celebrations for almost everything and everybody related to our life. For instance, taaboree as a blessing ceremony for young boys; ingiccaa for blessing young girls; ayyaana abbaa for blessing the ancestors for the good inheritance we got from them; ateetee for blessing our women; borantichaa for blessing adult men; jaarii looni for blessing our useful animals; jaarii qe’e or jaarii kosii for blessing our residence area; jaarii midhaani to bless our farms; garanfasa mucucoo as a celebration of the rainy season and, of course, gubaa and irreechaa for celebration of the coming birraa (the coming spring season) etc. We hope that Oromo students of anthropology, sociology and theology will make a scientific research on these blessing ceremonies and tell us the constructive and non-constructive elements of the activities in them.

 

But, let us mention few of the virtues (positive aspects) of Waaqeffannaa in our earthly life time. Here the reference point to judge certain elements as negative or positive is the position of the purpose, which Waaqa do have for our personal and national life, i.e. based on the kaayyoo (goal) our Waaqayyoo do have for us. To elaborate this relationship between kaayyoo and Waaqayyoo, we can ask: is Waaq-aayyoo our ka-ayyoo / is our ka-ayyoo the Waaq-ayyoo? It is about knowing what purpose we do serve in our daily life both cognitively and behaviorally, as individuals or as a nation. Be it that we do think and walk at political, religious or private level, we do try to serve certain purpose in life. In order to identify that purpose, we only need to be conscious about it, reflect on it and ask our selves: whom do we privately or collectively serve in our endeavors? Do we serve Waaqa’s purpose for us or that of the others’? Simply put, which purpose should we serve? Fortunately the hitherto cumulative knowledge and wisdom of different societies in general and that of the Oromo society in particular tell us what we ought to serve: i.e. to serve Waaqa’s purpose which is good for us as an individual and as a collective. This good purpose is given a sacred name and it seems to be what people call the will of Waaqa.

 

As a support for this assertion, we can look at an example written in the Bible of Christians, that states : “God is my objective”. Is this to be understood also as: “my objective is God”? Can we say that our good personal or political purpose is the will of Waaqa, whom we ought to serve? To comprehend this, it is no where clearly written other than in Afaan Oromo. Surprisingly the words kaayyoo and Waaqayyoo in our language do indicate to have the same source. As we know, the short word KA is the name given by our Cushitic ancestors to God and the word aayyoo is, of course, the name given to a mother, who does wish all good things for her children and does plan and try to fulfill it. So KA can be defined as the Supreme Being, which has good purpose for ayyoo’s children. This purpose is the “Goodness” for her children. So KA-ayyoo is God’s will (his good objective to her beloved children). The term Waaqayyo is the short form of waan-KA-ayyoo (what is planned from KA for aayyoo and for her children). So we can see that the good end, we have to serve, can be called kaayyoo from Waaqa. So the will of Waaqa is simply to be defined as the good end we should choose to serve as part of the balanced universe created by HIM.

 

To fulfill this service to the good end, fortunately the best thing we do observe among Waaqeffataa Oromo is the work-ethics they do have to achieve the purpose of Waaqa in their earthly life, specially in the life areas of career and family. They do love to be the best in both life areas; they love their family and most of them are very enthusiastic to be successful in their profession. They usually say “Waaq taa’i taa’i namaan hin jedhin (let HE not make us idle);” simply put, diligence is part of safuu and to be idle and lazy is part of laguu. We know that there are certain contamination from other cultures to be practiced as rituals contradicting this virtue and which are not serving the purpose of Waaqa for us. That is why we do recommend not only the revival of this marvelous belief system, which was the creation of our forefathers, but also we do suggest a necessary reformation to make the faith system to be fit, so that it can help us to cope with the 21st century challenge and situation. Waaqa’s creation and his keeping the balance of the universe is still going on, so that HE demands also a dynamic creative work from his creature, from the human being. Another impressive virtue of Waaqeffannaa necessary to be mentioned is its relation with nature and its persuasion to help us keep the environment healthy; it is the faith system which is simply through and through green.

 

Waaqeffannaa’s position on the life after death

According to this belief system, we all will live further after death as ekeraa (in a form of soul/spirit) with our father, with Waaqa, without any possibility of punishment in hell. We recently read Martial De Salviac’s translated book, in which he wrote “Oromo invariably believe that they will go to heaven.” So, the consequence of our cubbuu is not losing eternal life, but suffering in our earthly life. To Waaqeffataa Oromo, Waaqa is the one who wants us not to do a collective cubbuu, but expects us to protect the balanced nature, in which HIS power is manifested. The wisdom that guides Waaqeffataa Oromo in fulfilling this mission seems to be our arga-dhagetti (believe and act on a principle of reality, i.e. based on what we see and hear).

 

According to argaa-dhageetti, the concepts like “cubbuun ni qabdi (sin has got consequence), cubbuun ni sirriqxi (the consequence of sin can be inherited), cubbu abbaatu eeggata or cubbuu irra abbaatu uf eega (everyone should keep him-/herself from committing sin and everybody is responsible for the consequences of the sin he/she commit)” are nice and practical. What we liked most from the principles of Waaqeffannaa is this concept of cubbuu. The consequences of cubbuu are only to be seen here on this earth, not in the coming life after death. There is no hell that Waaqayyoo has prepared to punish the people with cuubbu. This is hilarious and very healing for those who always have to live with the fear of hell or punishment after death.

 

Another interesting aspect of Waaqeffannaa is that we never heard from the practicing believers that they are believing in the presence of an evil spiritual power in the form of Satan, which acts and lives against the almighty power of Waaqa. Accordingly, there is only one sovereign power doing and undoing all things in a universe, that is Waaqa. Unfortunately, the concept Satan is now already spread among the whole Oromo population as a contamination taken from other religions. Waaqeffataa Oromo do believe that the evil things we do experience in life are due to the imbalance of nature as a result of the unwise or wicked deeds of humans as collective, i.e. it is a human cubbuu with its consequences on the earth. That is why they usually ask their Waaqa for wisdom to keep the balance of nature and that HE lead them to only those with good intention and protect them from those with bad intention, for example, in a prayer like: “yaa Waaq tolaa nutti qabi, hamaa irraa nu eegi (God lead who is good to us and keep away who is evil from us). Here it seems that good is someone, who works to keep the balance of nature; and evil is the contrary.

 

According to the faith system of Waaqeffannaa, there is nothing we have to do now to earn eternal life after death; life after death is simply a free gift we got from our father, Waaqayyoo, whom we just need to celebrate and thank as we do daily and during the yearly celebrations like Irreechaa. We also don’t need a savior, who has to suffer and die for us, so that we can get life after death. The only area where we have to work on is trying to live the quality life (the character of the eternal life) according to the will of Waaqa here on earth. To live this quality life, we need to activate our potentials given to us from Waaqa and then walk on the karaa nagaa towards the kaayyoo Waaqa for our life, being free from cubbuu by keeping both safuu and laguu.

 

Further recommendation

The very important aspect of Waaqeffannaa as part of Oromo/African culture is its principle of argaa-dhaggeetti (it is relatively an evidence based faith system, possibly trying to be free from superstition). This principle is about reading the real situations at hand and finding the appropriate solutions for the situations. Waaqeffannaa teaches that only Waaqa is not prone to change for HE is perfect, but all his creature and all the situations are changing with time; that is why his creative action is still going on and that we also need to be in a position to find new solutions for the changed situations. In short, we need to be situation oriented, time oriented and live accordingly. That means, it is good to know the past version of aadaa and Amantii Oromo/Africa; but better is to live and practice the present version of aadaa and Amantii Oromo; of course the best is to create the most beneficial version of aadaa and Amantii Oromo as well as to inherit it to our coming generation. So let’s learn from the past version, live the present version and love to create the future verion of aadaa Oromo in general, and Amantii Oromo in particular.

 

This article is of course coloured by subjective perceptions, so that Oromo nationals are welcome to complement or contradict it. All the sub-titles given in this article need a further meticulous research and study. Through scientific studies, it can be possible to cleanse Waaqeffa -nnaa from certain meaningless rituals adopted from the other sub-cultures, e.g rituals like that of “qaalichaa” (idolatry), xinqolaa (sorcery), etc, where the practitioners are actually making business in the name of the religion. Waaqeffannaa needs not only revival, but also reformation as part and parcel of the ongoing liberation from such sensless practices. Elements, which are against the will of Waaqa for all human-being in general and for African nations in particular must be removed, so that we can say Waaqa bless Oromia/Africa and then live accordingly. Adopting good elements, which serve the will of Waaqa for us, from other cultures and faiths is not bad as it is usually said: “waan gaariin bade hundi kan Oromo ti” (every good thing lost belongs to Oromo). Again, good and bad is defined from the position of the will of Waaqa for our life, i.e. from the position of his kaayyoo in our life, which is always a good purpose.

 

So, only celebrating the holidays and reviving the religion are not enough, if we want to be fit for the present 21st century situation and for the situation in which our future generation will live. Our forefathers created a faith system as part of the solution to their situation; we also need to do the same. So let’s not try to use the same key used by our forefathers in the past to open doors with totally different keyholes at the present and the future or we don’t need to ride a donkey at this age of driving a limousine; in short we need a right solution for the present and the future situations. Our next generation need to inherit from us the latest and modern model/edition/version of our faith system, Waaqeffannaa, which they also can reform, edit and secure for their children and grand children, so that we human-being continue to be as creative as our father, Waaqa.

 

Let’s give a simple suggestion as an example in the required reforming: why can’t we use bundle of flowers for Irreechaa, instead of only grass used by our forefathers? Why don’t we use water or oil, instead of butter to anoint others during the blessing ceremonies just for the sake of hygiene? Why don’t we use candle light or the modern beautifully colored electric light decorations instead of bonfire during wa-maraa (demera)? etc. Now it is a time to have Waaqeffannaa free from non-productive and untimely elements, so that it will be a faith system, which will be accepted and believed by the enlightened and informed Oromo in particular as well as by Africans in general (so that it will be a faith system serving the will of Waaqa for Oromia in particular, and for Africa in general).

 

Last but not least, Waaqeffataa Oromo need to be creative in realizing the will of Waaqa in our life, which is the only way to “evangelize” and convert others to the “karaa nagaa (to the right way) HE wants us to walk. We need to learn from the past (the known part of life, which is symbolized by white color), live the present (the challenging part of life symblized by red color) and love to know the future (the unknown part of life symbolized by black color). The karaa nagaa at this particular era/time includes the virtue of a passinate struggle in life both individually and collectively, not an attitude of the pacifistic stoicism. Waaqeffannaa doesn’t persuade us to do things to secure life after death, but it tells us that our effort and enthusiasm are part of the safuu we have to keep and implement in order to make our life here on earth the excellent success story.

Read the full article from original source @http://gihonpostsite.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/waaqeffannaa-the-african-traditional-faith-system/

 

 

Meroe, Oromo and Old Nubian: Solving the Mystery of Meroitic Language July 23, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Afaan Publication, Ancient African Direct Democracy, Ancient Egyptian, Ateetee (Siiqqee Institution), Black History, Chiekh Anta Diop, Cushtic, Gadaa System, Irreecha, Kemetic Ancient African Culture, Language and Development, Meroe, Meroetic Oromo, Oromia, Oromo Culture, Oromo Identity, Oromo Nation, Oromummaa, Prof. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis, Sidama, State of Oromia, The Goddess of Fecundity, The Oromo Democratic system, The Oromo Governance System.
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Meroe, Oromo and Old Nubian: Solving the Mystery of Meroitic Language
By Dereje Tadesse Birbirso (PhD),  College of Social Science and HumanitiesHaramaya University, Ethiopia
Abstract
 
 Meroitic language is one of the most controversial ancient languages but one of the few having advanced writing systems. Some classify it Asian, European, non-African, Semitic,or ‘unclassified’. This paper contends Meroe, similar to their Cushitic friends, are left victims of preconceived ideas based on an entirely argument from silence, an hegemonic epistemology that elevates a single perspective and silences other(s). This paper, thus,comparatively analyzes Meroitic and Old Nubian lexical and grammatical items with corresponding Oromo, a Cushitic family which, 
a Cushitic family which,vocabulary possibly the Ancientlanguage of the Nile Valley and/or Horn of Africa. Meroitic and Old Nubian lexical, grammatical and epigraphic data were collected from secondary sources by Meroitic researchers. Oromo corpora are obtained both from classical and modern descriptions and native-speakers. Results indicate Oromo lexemes show significant level of cognates with not only Meroitic and Old Nubian, but also with the Ancient Egyptian to their northern part.
Keywords:  Oromo, Meroe, Nubian, Ancient Egyptian, Cushitic, Chiekh Anta Diop
 Related Reference:
The Meroitic Ethiopian Origins of the Modern Oromo NationBy Prof. Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis

This paper deals, among others, with the development of Meroitic studies, the Meroitic civilization, the destruction of the city of Meroe, the dispersal of the Meroitic people after the collapse of their state, the Christianization of the post Meroitic states, the migration of the remnants of the Meroitic people in the direction of the Blue Nile and their possible relation of ancestry with the modern Cushitic language speaking Oromo nation. It must be stated clearly at the outset that the issue of Meroitic ancestry of the Oromo nation has not been considered, much less published in an academic journal or scholarly books. The paper was first presented in an academic conference organized by the Oromo Studies Association. Footnotes have been added recently.

1. The Development of the Meroitic Studies, the History of Kush and Meroe, and the Efforts to Decipher the Meroitic Scripture

Interest in what was Ethiopia for the Ancient Greeks and Romans, i.e. the Northern territory of present day Sudan from Khartoum to the Egyptian border1, led to the gradual development of the modern discipline of the Humanities that long stood in the shadow of

Egyptology: the Meroitic Studies.

Considerable advances had been made in academic research and knowledge as the result of the exploratory trips of the Prussian pioneering Egyptologist Richard Lepsius2 (1842 – 1844) that bestowed upon modern scholarship the voluminous ‘Denkmäler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien’ (Monuments from Egypt and Ethiopia), and the series of excavations by E. A. Wallis Budge3 and John Garstang4 at Meroe (modern Bagrawiyah) in the first years of the twentieth century, Francis Llewellyn Griffith5 at Kawa (ancient Gematon, near modern Dongola, 1929 – 1931), Fritz Hintze6 at Musawwarat es Sufra, Jean Leclant7 at Sulb (Soleb), Sadinga (Sedeinga), and Djebel Barkal (ancient Napata, modern Karima) in the 1950s and the 1960s, D. Wildung8 at Naqah, and Charles Bonnet at Kerma. . The pertinent explorations and contributions of scholars like A. J. Arkell9, P. L. Shinnie10 and Laszlo Torok11 that cover a span of 80 years reconstituted a large part of the greatness and splendor of this four-millennia long African civilization.

Yet, due to the lack of direct access to original sources and genuine understanding of the ancient history of Sudan, the legendary Ethiopia of the Greeks and Romans, which also corresponds to what was ‘Kush’ of the Hebrews Bible and ultimately ‘Kas’ of the ancient Egyptians12, we face a serious problem of terminology. We are confined to such terms as Period (or Group) A (3100 – 2700 BCE),13 Period B14 (2700 – 2300 BCE that starts with Pharaoh Snefru’s expedition,15 and the beginning of time-honored enmity between Egypt and Kush), Period C16 (2300 – 2100 BCE, when we have no idea to what specific ethnic or state structures the various Egyptian names Wawat, Irtet, Setjiu,Yam, Zetjau, and Medjay refer)17, Period Kerma18 (2100 – 1500 BCE, named after the modern city and archeological site, 500 km in the south of the present Sudanese – Egyptian border). What we know for sure is that, when the first Pharaohs of the New Empire invaded and colonized the entire area down to Kurgus19 (more than 1000 km alongside the Nile in the south of the present Sudanese – Egyptian border), they established two top Egyptian administrative positions, namely ‘Viceroy of Wawat’ and ‘Viceroy of Kush/Kas’. Wawat is the area between Aswan and Abu Simbel or properly speaking, the area between the first and the second cataracts whereas Kas is all the land that lies beyond. With the collapse of the Kerma culture comes to end a first high-level culture and state in the area of Kush.

We employ the term ‘Kushitic Period’20 to refer to the subsequent period: a) the Egyptian annexation (1500 – 950 BCE) that was followed by a permanent effort to egyptianize Kush and the ceaseless Kushitic revolutions against the Pharaohs;

b) the Kushitic independence (950 – 800 BCE, when a state is formed around Napata21, present day Karima, 750 km in the south of the Sudanese – Egyptian border);

c) the Kushitic expansion and involvement in Egypt (800 – 670 BCE, which corresponds mostly to the XXVth – ‘Ethiopian’ according to Manetho22 – dynasty of Egypt, when the Theban clergy of Amun made an alliance with the Kushitic ‘Qore’ – Kings of Napata, who had two capitals, Napata and Thebes);23 and d) the Kushitic expulsion from Egypt (following the three successive invasions of Egypt by Emperors Assarhaddon24 in 671 BCE, and Assurbanipal25in 669 and 666 BCE, and of Assyria, who made an alliance with the Heliopolitan26 priesthood and Libyan princes against the Theban clergy and the Kushitic kings), and gradual decline (following the invasions by Psamtik/Psammetichus II27 in 591 BCE, and the Achaemedian28 Persian Shah Kambudjiyah/Cambyses29 in 525 BCE) until the transfer of the capital far in the south at Meroe, at the area of present day Bagrawiyah (at the end of the reign of Qore Nastasen30between335 and 315 BCE).

We call ‘Meroitic’ the entire period that covers almost 700 years beginning around 260 BCE with the reign of the successors of Nastasen (Arkamaniqo / Ergamenes31 (the most illustrious among the earliest ones and the first to be buried at Meroe / Bagrawiyah), down to the end of Meroe and the destruction of the Meroitic royal cities by the Axumite Abyssinian Negus Ezana32 (370 CE). It is easily understood that ‘Kushitic’ antedates ‘Meroitic’, but the appellations are quite conventional.

The Ancient people of Kush (or Ethiopia) entered into a period of cultural and scriptural radiation and authenticity relatively late, around the third century BCE, which means that the development took place when Meroe replaced Napata as capital of the Kushites / Meroites. Before that moment, they used Egyptian Hieroglyphic scripture for all purposes of writing, administrative, economic, religious and/or royal. The introduction of the Meroitic alphabetic hieroglyphic writing spearheaded the development of a Meroitic cursive alphabetic scripture that was used for less magnificent purposes than palatial and sacred relief inscriptions. The first person to publish Meroitic inscriptions was the French architect Gau33, who visited Northern Sudan in 1819. Quite unfortunately, almost two centuries after the discovery, we risk being left in mysteries with regard to the contents of the epigraphic evidence collected in both scriptural systems.

The earliest dated Meroitic hieroglyphic inscriptions belong to the reign of the ruling queen Shanakdakheto34 (about 177-155 BCE), but archaeologists believe that this scripture represents the later phase of a language spoken by Kushites / Meroites at least as far back as 750 BCE and possibly many centuries before that (hinting at a Kushitic continuity from the earliest Kerma days). The earliest examples of Meroitic cursive inscriptions, recently found by Charles Bonnet in Dukki Gel (REM 1377-78)35, can be dated from the early second century BCE. The latest text is still probably the famous inscription from Kalabsha mentioning King Kharamadoye (REM 0094)36 and dated from the beginning of the fifth century AD, although some funeral texts from Ballana37 could be contemporary if not posterior.

Despite the fact that F. L. Griffith has identified the 23 Meroitic alphabetic scripture’s signs already in 1909, not much progress has been made towards an ultimate decipherment of the Meroitic38. Scarcity of epigraphic evidence plays a certain role in this regard, since as late as the year 2000 we were not able to accumulate more than 1278 texts. If we now add to that the lack of lengthy texts, the lack of any bilingual text (not necessarily Egyptian /Meroitic, it could be Ancient Greek / Meroitic, if we take into consideration that Arkamaniqo / Ergamenes39 was well versed in Greek), and a certain lack of academic vision, we understand why the state of our knowledge about the history of the Meroites is still so limited.

Linguistics and parallels from other languages have been repeatedly set in motion in order to help the academic research. Griffith and Haycock40 tried to read Meroitic using (modern) Nubian. K.H. Priese41 tried to read the Meroitic text using Eastern Sudanese (Beja42 or Hadendawa43); and F. Hintze44, attempted to compare Meroitic with the Ural-Altaic group. Recently Siegbert Hummel45, compared the “known” Meroitic words to words in the Altaic family which he believed was a substrate language of Meroitic. At times, scholars (like Clyde Winters46) were driven to farfetched interpretations, attempting to equate Meroitic with Tokharian, after assuming a possible relationship between the name Kush and the name Kushan47 of an Eastern Iranian state (of the late Arsacid48, 250 BCE – 224 CE, and early Sassanid49, 224 – 651 CE, times)! However, one must state that the bulk of the researchers working on the Meroitic language do not believe that it was a member of the Afro-Asiatic group.

So far, the only Meroitic words for which a solid translation had been given by Griffith and his successors are the following: man, woman, meat, bread, water, give, big, abundant, good, sister, brother, wife, mother, child, begotten, born, feet. The eventual equivalence between Egyptian and Meroitic texts was a strong motivation for any interpretational approach, recent or not. More recent, but still dubious, suggestions are the following: arohe- «protect», hr- «eat», pwrite «life», yer «milk», ar «boy», are- or dm- «take, receive», dime «cow», hlbi «bull», ns(e) «sacrifice, sdk «journey», tke- «love, revere», we «dog». It is clear that vocalization remains a real problem50.

Through the aforementioned we realize why collective works, like Fontes Historiae Nubiorum. Textual Sources for the History of the Middle Nile Region (vols. I – IV, edited by T. Eide, T. Hägg, R.H. Pierce, and L. Török, University of Bergen, Bergen 1994, 1996. 1998 and 2000), are still seminal for our – unfortunately indirect, as based on Ancient Egyptian, Greek, Latin and Coptic texts – knowledge of Meroe.

2. The End of Meroe

Amidst numerous unclear points of the Kushitic / Meroitic history, the end of Meroe, and the consequences of this event remain a most controversial point among scholars. Quite indicatively, we may mention here the main efforts of historical reconstitution.

A. Arkell, Sayce and others asserted that Meroe was captured and destroyed, following one military expedition led by Ezana of Axum.

B. Reisner insisted that, after Ezana’s invasion and victory, Meroe remained a state with another dynasty tributary to Axum.

C. Monneret de Villard and Hintze affirmed that Meroe was totally destroyed before Ezana’s invasion, due to an earlier Axumite Abyssinian raid.

D. Torok, Shinnie, Kirwan, Haegg and others concluded that Meroe was defeated by a predecessor of Ezana, and continued existing as a vassal state.

E. Bechhaus- Gerst specified that Meroe was invaded prior to Ezana’s raid, and that the Axumite invasion did not reach lands further in the north of Meroe51

With two fragmentary inscriptions from Meroe, one from Axum, two graffitos from Kawa and Meroe, and one coin being all the evidence we have so far, , we have little to reconstruct the details that led to the collapse of Meroe. One relevant source, the Inscription of Ezana (DAE 11, the ‘monotheistic’ inscription in vocalized Ge’eze),52 remains a somewhat controversial historical source to be useful in this regard. The legendary Monumentum Adulitanum53, lost but copied in a confused way by Cosmas Indicopleustes54, may not shed light at all on this event. One point is sure, however: there was never a generalized massacre of the Meroitic inhabitants of the lands conquered by Ezana. The aforementioned DAE 11 inscription mentions just 758 Meroites killed by the Axumite forces.

What is even more difficult to comprehend is the reason behind the scarcity of population attested on Meroitic lands in the aftermath of Ezana’s raid. The post-Meroitic and pre-Christian, transitional phase of Sudan’s history is called X-Group55 or period, or Ballana Period and this is again due to lack to historical insight. Contrary to what happened for many centuries of Meroitic history, when the Meroitic South (the area between Shendi56 and Atbara57 in modern Sudan with the entire hinterland of Butana that was called Insula Meroe / Nesos Meroe, i.e. Island Meroe in the Antiquity) was overpopulated, compared to the Meroitic North (from Napata / Karima to the area between Aswan58 and Abu Simbel59, which was called Triakontaschoinos60 and was divided between Meroe and the Roman Empire), during the X-Group times, the previously under-populated area gives us the impression of a more densely peopled region, if compared to the previous center of Meroitic power and population density. The new situation contradicts earlier descriptions and narrations by Dio Cassius 61 and Strabo.62

Furthermore, the name ‘Ballana period’ is quite indicative in this regard, Ballana being on Egyptian soil, whereas not far in the south of the present Sudanese – Egyptian border lies Karanog with its famous tumuli that bear evidence of Nubian upper hand in terms of social anthropology. The southernmost counterpart of Karanog culture can be found in Tangassi (nearby Karima, which represented the ‘North’ for what was the center of earlier Meroitic power gravitation)

In addition, in terms of culture, X-Group heralds a total break with the Meroitic tradition, with the Nubians and the Blemmyes/Beja outnumbering the Meroitic remnants and imposing a completely different cultural and socio-anthropological milieu out of which would later emanate the first and single Nubian state in the World History: Nobatia.

Much confusion characterized modern scholars when referring to Kush or Meroe by using the modern term ‘Nubia’. By now it is clear that the Nubians lived since times immemorial in both Egypt and the Sudan, being part of the history of these two lands. But Nubians are a Nilo-Saharan ethnic / linguistic group different from the Khammitic Kushites / Meroites. At the times of X-Group and during the long centuries of Christian Sudan, we have the opportunity to attest the differences and divergence between the Nubians and the Meroitic remnants. The epicenter of Nubian center, the area between the first (Aswan) and the third (Kerma) cataracts, rose to independence and prominence first, with capital at Faras, nearby the present day Sudanese – Egyptian border, around 450 CE. Nobatia institutionalized Coptic as religious (Christian) and administrative language, and Nubian language remained an oral only vehicle of communication. The Nobatian control in the south of the third cataract was vague, nominal and precarious. Nobatia was linked with the Coptic – Monophysitic Patriarchate of Alexandria.

The Meroitic remnants underscored their difference from the Nubians / Nobatians, and the depopulated central part of the defunct state of Meroe rose to independence in the first decades of the sixth century. Its name, Makkuria, is in this regard a linguistic resemblance of the name ‘Meroe’ but we know nothing more. The Meroitic remnants inhabited the northern circumference of Makkuria more densely, and the gravitation center turned around Old Dongola (580 km in the south of Wadi Halfa), capital of this Christian Orthodox state that extended from Kerma to Shendi (the area of the sixth cataract), so for more than 1000 km alongside the Nile. But beyond the area of Karima (750 km in the south of Wadi Halfa) and the nearby famous Al Ghazali monastery we have very scarce evidence of Christian antiquities. The old African metropolis Meroe remained at the periphery of Makkuria, Alodia and Axumite Abyssinia.

Makkurians highlighted their ideological – religious divergence from the Nubians, by adopting Greek as religious language. They even introduced a new scripture for their Makkurian language that seems to be a later phase of Meroitic. Makkurian was written in alphabetic Greek signs, and the Makkurians preferred to attach themselves to Christian Orthodoxy, and more particularly to the Greek Patriarchate of Alexandria.

Alodia has long been called the ‘third Christian state’ in Sudan, but recent discoveries in Soba, its capital (15 km at the east of Khartoum), suggest that Alodia rose first to independence (around 500 CE) and later adhered to Christianity (around 580 – 600 CE) following evangelization efforts deployed by missionary Nobatian priests (possibly in a sort of anti-Makkurian religious diplomacy). We know nothing of an Alodian scripture so far.

The later phases of the Christian history of Sudan encompass the Nobatian – Makkurian merge (around 1000 CE), the islamization of Makkuria in 1317, and finally the late collapse of Christian Alodia in 1505. The question remains unanswered until today:

What happened to the bulk of the Meroitic population, i.e. the inhabitants of the Insula Meroe, the present day Butana? What occurred to the Meroites living between the fourth and the sixth cataracts after the presumably brief raid of Ezana of Axum, and the subsequent destruction of Meroe, Mussawarat es Sufra, Naqah, Wad ben Naqah and Basa?

3. Reconstruction of the Post-Meroitic History of the Kushitic Oromo Nation

Certainly, the motives of Ezana’s raid have not yet been properly studied and assessed by modern scholarship. The reasons for the raid may vary from a simple nationalistic usurpation of the name of ‘Ethiopia’ (Kush), which would give Christian eschatological legitimacy to the Axumite Abyssinian kingdom, to the needs of international politics (at the end of 4th century) and the eventuality of an Iranian – Meroitic alliance at the times of Shapur II (310 – 379), aimed at outweighing the Roman – Abyssinian bond. Yet, this alliance could have been the later phase of a time honored Meroitic diplomatic tradition (diffusion of Mithraism as attested on the Jebel Qeili reliefs of Shorakaror). What we can be sure of are the absence of a large-scale massacre, and the characteristic scarcity of population in the central Meroitic provinces during the period that follows Ezana’s raid and the destruction of Meroe.

The only plausible explanation is that the scarcity of population in Meroe mainland after Meroe’s destruction was due to the fact that the Meroites in their outright majority (at least for the inhabitants of Meroe’s southern provinces) fled and migrated to areas where they would stay independent from the Semitic Christian kingdom of Axumite Abyssinia. This explanation may sound quite fresh in approach, but it actually is not, since it constitutes the best utilization of the already existing historical data.

From archeological evidence, it becomes clear that during X-Group phase and throughout the Makkurian period the former heartland of Meroe remained mostly uninhabited. The end of Meroe is definitely abrupt, and it is obvious that Meroe’s driving force had gone elsewhere. The correct question would be “where to?”

There is no evidence of Meroites sailing the Nile downwards to the area of the 4th (Karima) and the 3rd (Kerma) cataracts, which was earlier the northern circumference of Meroe and remained untouched by Ezana. There is no textual evidence in Greek, Latin and/or Coptic to testify to such a migratory movement or to hint at an even more incredible direction, i.e. Christian Roman Egypt. If we add to this the impossibility of marching to the heartland of the invading Axumites (an act that would mean a new war), we reduce the options to relatively few.

The migrating Meroites could go either to the vast areas of the Eastern and the Western deserts or enter the African jungle or ultimately search a possibly free land that, being arable and good for pasture, would keep them far from the sphere of the Christian Axumites. It would be very erroneous to expect settled people to move to the desert. Such an eventuality would be a unique oxymoron in the history of the mankind. Nomadic peoples move from the steppes, the savannas and the deserts to fertile lands, and they settle there, or cross long distances through steppes and deserts. However, settled people, if under pressure, move to other fertile lands that offer them the possibility of cultivation and pasture. When dispersed by the invading Sea Peoples, the Hittites moved from Anatolia to Northwestern Mesopotamia; they did not cross and stay in the small part of Anatolia that is desert. The few scholars who think that Meroitic continuity could be found among the present day Beja and Hadendawa are oblivious to the aforementioned reality of the world history that was never contravened. In addition, the Blemmyes were never friendly to the Meroites. Every now and then, they had attacked parts of the Nile valley and the Meroites had had to repulse them thence. It would rather be inconceivable for the Meroitic population, after seeing Meroe sacked by Ezana, to move to a land where life would be difficult and enemies would wait them!

Modern technologies help historians and archeologists reconstruct better the ancient world; paleo-botanists, geologists, geo-chemists, paleoentomologists, and other specialized natural scientists are of great help in this regard. It is essential to stress here that the entire environmental milieu of Sudan was very different during the times of the Late Antiquity we examine in our approach. Butana may look like a wasteland nowadays, and the Pyramids of Bagrawiyah may be sunk in the sand, whereas Mussawarat es Sufra and Naqah demand a real effort in crossing the desert. But in the first centuries of Christian era, the entire landscape was dramatically different.

The Butana was not a desert but a fertile cultivated land; we have actually found remains of reservoirs, aqueducts, various hydraulic installations, irrigation systems and canals in Meroe and elsewhere. Not far from Mussawarat es Sufra there must have been an enclosure where captive elephants were trained before being transported to Ptolemais Theron (present day Suakin, 50 km in the south of Port Sudan) and then further on to Alexandria. Desert was in the vicinity, certainly, but not that close.

We should not imagine that Ezana crossed desert areas, moving from the whereabouts (vicinities?) of Agordat, Tesseney and Kessala to Atbarah and Bagrawiyah, as we would do today. And we should not imagine the lands in the south of present day Khartoum, alongside the White Nile, were easy to cross in the antiquity. In ancient times, impenetrable jungle started immediately in the south of Khartoum, and cities like Kosti and Jabalayn lie today on deforested soil. At the southernmost confines of the Meroitic state, pasturelands and arable land could be found alongside the Blue Nile Valley.

Since jungle signified death in the antiquity, and even armies feared to stay overnight in a forest or even more so in the thick African forest, we have good reason to believe that, following the Ezana’s raid, the Meroites, rejecting the perspective of forced christening, migrated southwestwards up to Khartoum. From there, they proceeded southeastwards alongside the Blue Nile in a direction that would keep them safe and far from the Axumite Abyssinians whose state did not expand as far in the south as Gondar and Tana lake. Proceeding in this way and crossing successively areas of modern cities, such as Wad Madani, Sennar, Damazin, and Asosa, and from there on, they expanded in later times over the various parts of Biyya Oromo.

We do not imply that the migration was completed in the span of one lifetime; quite contrarily, we have reasons to believe that the establishment of Alodia (or Alwa) is due to the progressive waves of Meroitic migrants who settled first in the area of Khartoum that was out of the westernmost confines of the Meroitic state. Only when Christianization became a matter of concern for the evangelizing Nobatians, and the two Christian Sudanese states were already strong, the chances of preserving the pre-Christian Meroitic cultural heritage in the area around Soba (capital of Alodia) were truly poor; then another wave of migrations took place, with early Alodian Meroites proceeding as far in the south as Damazin and Asosa, areas that remained always beyond the southern border of Alodia (presumably around Sennar). Like this, the second migratory Meroitic (Makkurian) wave may have entered around 600 CE in the area where the Oromos, descendents of the migrated Meroites, still live today.

A great number of changes at the cultural – behavioral levels are to be expected, when a settled people migrates to faraway lands. The Phoenicians had kings in Tyre, Byblos and their other cities – states, but introduced a democratic system when they sailed faraway and colonized various parts of the Mediterranean. The collapse of the Meroitic royalty was a shock for the Nile valley; the Christian kingdoms of Nobatia, Makkuria and Alodia were ruled by kings whose power was to great extent counterbalanced by that of the Christian clergy. With the Meroitic royal family decimated by Ezana, it is quite possible that high priests of Apedemak and Amani (Amun) took much of the administrative responsibility in their hands, inciting people to migrate and establishing a form of collective and representative authority among the Meroitic Elders. They may even have preserved the royal title of Qore within completely different socio-anthropological context.

4. Call for Comparative Meroitic-Oromo Studies

How can this approach, interpretation, and conclusion be corroborated up to the point of becoming a generally accepted historical reconstitution at the academic level? On what axes should one group of researchers work to collect detailed documentation in support of the Meroitic ancestry of the Oromos?

Quite strangely, I would not give priority to the linguistic approach. The continuity of a language can prove many things and can prove nothing. The Bulgarians are of Uralo-Altaic Turco-Mongolian origin, but, after they settled in Eastern Balkans, they were linguistically slavicized. Most of the Greeks are Albanians, Slavs, and Vlachians, who were hellenized linguistically. Most of the Turks in Turkey are Greeks and Anatolians, who were turkicized linguistically. A people can preserve its own language in various degrees and forms. For the case of languages preserved throughout millennia, we notice tremendous changes and differences. If you had picked up Plato and ‘transferred’ him at the times of Linear B (that was written in Mycenae 800 years before the Greek philosopher lived), you should be sure that Plato would not have understood the language of his ancestors with the exception of some words. Egyptian hieroglyphics was a scripture that favored archaism and linguistic puritanism. But we can be sure that for later Pharaohs, like Taharqa the Kushite (the most illustrious ruler of the ‘Ethiopian’ dynasty), Psamtik, Nechao, Ptolemy II and Cleopatra VII, a Pyramid text (that antedated them by 1700 to 2300 years) would almost be incomprehensible.

A. National diachronic continuity is better attested and more markedly noticed in terms of Culture, Religion and Philosophical – Behavioral system. The first circle of comparative research would encompass the world of the Kushitic – Meroitic and Oromo concepts, anything that relates to the Weltanschauung of the two cultural units/groups under study. A common view of basic themes of life and a common perception of the world would bring a significant corroboration of the Meroitic ancestry of the Oromos. So, first it is a matter of history of religions, African philosophy, social anthropology, ethnography and culture history.

B. Archeological research can help tremendously too. At this point one has to stress the reality that the critical area for the reconstruction suggested has been totally indifferent for Egyptologists, Meroitic and Axumite archeologists so far. The Blue Nile valley in Sudan and Abyssinia was never the subject of an archeological survey, and the same concerns the Oromo highlands. Certainly modern archeologists prefer something concrete that would lead them to a great discovery, being therefore very different from the pioneering nineteenth century archeologists. An archeological study would be necessary in the Blue Nile valley and the Oromo highlands in the years to come.

C. A linguistic – epigraphic approach may bring forth even more spectacular results. It could eventually end up with a complete decipherment of the Meroitic and the Makkurian. An effort must be made to read the Meroitic texts, hieroglyphic and cursive, with the help of Oromo language. Meroitic personal names and toponymics must be studied in the light of a potential Oromo interpretation. Comparative linguistics may unveil affinities that will lead to reconsideration of the work done so far in the Meroitic decipherment.

D. Last but not least, another dimension would be added to the project with the initiation of comparative anthropological studies. Data extracted from findings in the Meroitic cemeteries must be compared with data provided by the anthropological study of present day Oromos. The research must encompass pictorial documentation from the various Meroitic temples’ bas-reliefs.

To all these I would add a better reassessment of the existing historical sources, but this is not a critical dimension of this research project.

I believe my call for Comparative Meroitic – Oromo Studies reached the correct audience that can truly evaluate the significance of the ultimate corroboration of the Meroitic Ancestry of the Oromos, as well as the magnificent consequences such corroboration would have in view of

a) the forthcoming Kushitic Palingenesia – Renaissance if you want – in Africa,

b) the establishment of a Post – Colonial African Historiography, and – last but not least –

c) the Question of the Most Genuine and Authoritative Representation of Africa in the United Nations Security Council.

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NOTES

1. To those having the slightest doubt, trying purely for political reasons and speculation to include territories of the modern state of Abyssinia into what they Ancient Greeks and Romans called “Aethiopia”, the entry Aethiopia in Pauly-Wissowa, Realenzyklopadie der klassischen Altertumwissenschaft consists in the best and irrevocable answer.

2. http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/information … karl.html; http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Richard_Lepsius; parts of the Denkmaeler are already available online: http://edoc3.bibliothek.uni-halle.de/bo … start.html. Also: http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/LEO_LOB/L … 1884_.html. The fact that the furthermost point of ‘Ethiopia’ he reached was Khartoum is of course quite telling.

3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._A._Wallis_Budge; he wrote among the rest a book on his Meroe excavations’ results, The Egyptian Sudan: its History and Monuments (London, 1907).

4. Mythical figure of the British Orientalism, Garstang excavated in England, Turkey, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and the Sudan; Albright, William Foxwell: “John Garstang in Memoriam”, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, No. 144. (Dec., 1956), pp. 7–8. Garstang’s major articles on his Meroe excavations are the following: ‘Preliminary Note on an Expedition to Meroë in Ethiopia’, Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology 3 (1911 – a), ‘Second Interim Report on the Excavations at Meroë in Ethiopia, I. Excavations’, Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology 4 (1911 – b), ‘Third Interim Report on the Excavations at Meroë in Ethiopia’, Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology 5 (1912), ‘Forth Interim Report on the Excavations at Meroë in Ethiopia’, Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology 6 (1913), and ‘Fifth Interim Report on the Excavations at Meroë in Ethiopia’, Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology 7 (1914). His major contribution was published in the same year under the title ‘Meroë, the City of Ethiopians’ (Oxford). A leading Meroitologist, Laszlo Torok wrote an entire volume on Garstang’s excavations at Meroe: Meroe City, an Ancient African Capital: John Garstang’s Excavations in the Sudan.

5. Griffith was the epigraphist of Grastand and had already published the epigraphic evidence unearthed at Meroe in the chapter entitled ‘the Inscriptions from Meroë’ in Garstang’s ‘Meroë, the City of Ethiopians’. After many pioneering researches and excavations in various parts of Egypt and Northern Sudan, Faras, Karanog, Napata and Philae to name a few, he concentrated on Kerma: ‘Excavations at Kawa’, Sudan Notes and Records 14.

6. Basically: www.sag-online.de/pdf/mittsag9.5.pdf; among other contributions: Die Inschriften des Löwentempels von Musawwarat es Sufra, Berlin (1962); Vorbericht über die Ausgrabungen des Instituts für Ägyptologie der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in Musawwarat es Sufra, 1960-1961 (1962); ‘Musawwarat es Sufra. Preliminary Report on the Excavations of the Institute of Egyptology, Humboldt University, Berlin, 1961-1962(Third Season)’, Kush 11 (1963); ‘Preliminary Note on the Epigraphic Expedition to Sudanese Nubia, 1962’, Kush 11 (1963); ‘Preliminary note on the Epigraphic Expedition to Sudanese Nubia, 1963’, Kush 13 (1965).

7. As regards my French professor’s publications focused on his excavations at Sudan: Soleb and Sedeinga in Lexikon der Ägyptologie 5, Wiesbaden 1984 (entries contributed by J. Leclant himself); also J. Leclant, Les reconnaissances archéologiques au Soudan, in: Études nubiennes I, 57-60.

8. His recent volume Sudan: Ancient Kingdoms of the Nile, Paris/New York (1997) contains earlier bibliography.

9. Some of his most authoritative publications: ‘A History of the Sudan from the Earliest Times to 1821’, 1961 (2nd Ed.), London; ‘’The Valley of the Nile’, in: The Dawn of African History, R. Oliver (ed.), London. Arkell is mostly renowned for his monumental ‘The Royal Cemeteries of Kush’ in many volumes.

10. Presentation of his ‘Ancient Nubia’ in:

http://www.keganpaul.com/product_info.p … cts_id=33; for a non exhaustive list of Shinnie’s publications:http://www.arkamani.org/bibliography%20 … ia2.htm#S; see also a presentation of a volume on Meroe, edited by Shinnie et alii:http://www.harrassowitz-verlag.de/mcgi/ … 1163879905{haupt_harrassowitz=http://www.harrassowitz-verlag.de/acgi/a.cgi?alayout=489&ausgabe=detail&aref=353.

11. Many of his publications are listed here:

http://www.arkamani.org/bibliography%20 … ia2.htm#S; also here: http://www.arkamani.org/bibliography%20 … ypt4.htm#T. In the Eighth International Conference for Meroitic Studies, Torok spoke about ‘The End of Meroe’; the speech will be included in the arkamani online project, here:

http://www.arkamani.org/arkamani-librar … -meroe.htm.

12. Useful reading: http://www.culturekiosque.com/art/exhib … souda.htm; also: http://www.nubianet.org/about/about_history4.html; see also the entry ‘Kush’ in Lexikon der Aegyptologie and the Encyclopedia Judaica. More specifically bout the Egyptian Hieroglyphic and the Hebrew writings of the name of Kush: http://www.specialtyinterests.net/journey_to_nubia.html. For more recent bibliography:http://blackhistorypages.net/pages/kush.php. Also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cush%2C_son_of_Ham.

13. Basic bibliography in:

http://www.arkamani.org/bibliography%20 … y_a_b.htm; http://oi.uchicago.edu/OI/PROJ/NUB/NUBX … chure.html.

More particularly on Qustul, and the local Group A Cemetery that was discovered in the 60s by Dr. Keith Seele:http://www.homestead.com/wysinger/qustul.html (by Bruce Beyer Williams). Quite interesting approach by Clyde Winters as regards an eventual use of Egyptian Hieroglyphics in Group A Nubia, 200 years before the system was introduced in… Egypt:http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Bay/7051/anwrite.htm.

14. Brief info: http://www.nubianet.org/about/about_history3_1.html; see also: http://oi.uchicago.edu/OI/IS/RITNER/Nubia_2005.html; more recently several scholars consider Group B as an extension of Group A (GRATIEN, Brigitte, La Basse Nubie à l’Ancien Empire: Égyptiens et autochtones, JEA 81 (1995), 43-56).

15.Readings:http://www.cartage.org.lb/en/themes/geoghist/histories/oldcivilization/Egyptology/Nubia/nubiad1.htm;http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sneferu;ht … %20Snefrue),%201st%20King%20of%20Egypt’s%204th%20Dynasty.htm (with bibliography);http://www.narmer.pl/dyn/04en.htm; for the Palermo stone inscription where we have the Nubia expedition narrative:http://www.britannica.com/ebi/article-9332360; http://www.ancient-egypt.org/index.html (click on the Palermo Stone);http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palermo_stone (with related bibliography).

16. Readings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C-Group; http://www.numibia.net/nubia/c-group.htm; http://www.gustavianum.uu.se/sje/sjeexh.htmand http://www.hp.uab.edu/image_archive/ta/tae.html (with designs and pictures); http://www.ancientsudan.org/03_burials_02_early.htm(with focus on Group C burials and burial architecture). See also: http://www.ualberta.ca/~nlovell/nubia.htm;http://www.dignubia.org/maps/timeline/bce-2300a.htm;

17. References in the Lexikon der Aegyptologie. See also: http://www.nigli.net/akhenaten/wawat_1.html; one of the related sources: The Story of an Egyptian Politician, published by T. G. Allen, in: American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures, Vol. 38, No. 1 (Oct., 1921), pp. 55-62; Texts relating to Egyptian expeditions in Yam and Irtet: http://www.osirisnet.net/tombes/assouan … rkouf.htm;http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medjay; more in ‘Ancient Nubia: Egypt’s Rival in Africa’(Paperback) by David O’ Connor,http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/092417 … 67-0196731.

18. Brief description: http://www.anth.ucsb.edu/faculty/stsmit … erma.html; http://www.spicey.demon.co.uk/Nubianpag … htm#French (with several interesting links); http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Kerma (brief but with recent bibliography containing some of Bonnet’s publications).

19. Vivian Davies, ‘La frontière méridionale de l’Empire : Les Egyptiens à Kurgus,’ Bulletin de la Société française d’égyptologie, 2003, no157, pp. 23-37 (http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=15281726); about the ongoing British excavations:http://www.sudarchrs.org.uk/page17.html; about the inscription of Thutmosis I: http://thutmosis_i.know-library.net; also:http://www.meritneith.de/politik_neuesreich.htm, and http://www.aegyptologie.com/forum/cgi-b … 0514112733.

20. In brief and with images: http://www.hp.uab.edu/image_archive/um/umj.html; also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kush (with selected recent bibliography) and http://www.mfa.org/collections/search_a … kage=26155 (for art visualization). The period is also called Napatan, out of the Kushitic state capital’s name: http://www.homestead.com/wysinger/kingaspalta.html.

21. To start with: http://www.bartleby.com/67/99.html; http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9054804/Napata;http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/archaeology … apata.html (including references); most authoritative presentation by Timothy Kendall ‘Gebel Barkal and Ancient Napata’ in: http://www.arkamani.org/arkamani-librar … nubia.htm; also: ‘the Rise of the Kushitic kingdom’ by Brian Yare, in: http://www.yare.org/essays/kushite%20ki … Napata.htm. For Karima, notice the interesting itinerary:http://lts3.algonquincollege.com/africa … /sudan.htm, and http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karima.

22. Introductory reading: http://www.ancient-egypt.org/index.html (click on Manetho); http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manetho (with selected bibliography). Among the aforementioned, the entries Manethon (Realenzyklopaedie) and Manetho (Lexikon der Aegyptologie) are essential.

23. For the Ethiopian dynasty, all the related entries in the Lexikon and the Realenzyklopaedie (Piankhi, Shabaka, Shabataka, Taharqa, Tanutamon) are the basic bibliography; see also: http://www.ancientlibrary.com/smith-bio/3017.html; the last edition (1996) of Kenneth Kitchen’s ‘The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (1100–650 BC)’, Warminster: Aris & Phillips Ltd, remains the best reassessment of the period and the related sources. Introductory information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shabaka; http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shabataka;http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taharqa; and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tantamani. Also:http://www.homestead.com/wysinger/mentuemhat.html; critical bibliography for understanding the perplex period is J. Leclant lectureship thesis (these d’ Etat) ‘Montouemhat, Quatrieme Prophete D’Amon, (1961)

24. Basics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assarhaddon; the edition of the Assyrian emperor’s annals by R. Borger (Die Inschriften Assarhaddons, Königs von Assyrien, AfO 9, Graz, 1956) remain our basic reference to formal sources. More recently, F. Reynolds shed light on private sources, publishing ‘The Babylonian correspondence of Esarhaddon, and letters to Assurbanipal and Sin-Sarru-Iskun from Northern and Central Babylonia’ (SAA 18, 2004).

25. For the Greater Emperor of the Oriental Antiquity: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashurbanipal; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shamash-shum-ukin; http://web.utk.edu/~djones39/Assurbanipal.html; until today we have to rely mostly on the voluminous edition of Assurbanipal’s Annals by Maximilian Streck (Assurbanipal und die letzten assyrischen. Könige bis zum Untergang Niniveh, Leipzig,1916); see also M. W. Waters’ Te’umman in the neo-Assyrian correspondence (Journal of the American Oriental Society, 1999, vol. 119, no3, pp. 473-477)

26. Heliopolis (Iwnw in Egyptian Hieroglyphic – literally the place of the pillars –, On in Hebrew and in Septuaginta Greek) was the center of Egyptian monotheism, the holiest religious center throughout Ancient Egypt; it is from Heliopolis that emanated the Isiac ideology and the Atum Ennead. Basic readings: the entry Heliopolis in Realenzyklopaedie and in Lexikon der Aegyptologie; more recently:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heliopolis_%28ancient%29.

27. Basic readings: http://www.digitalegypt.ucl.ac.uk/chron … tiki.html; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psammetichus_I;http://www.phouka.com/pharaoh/pharaoh/d … tik1.html; http://www.specialtyinterests.net/psamtek.html (with pictorial documentation). See also: http://www.nubianet.org/about/about_history6.html.

28. Hakhamaneshian is the first Persian dynasty; it got momentum whenCyrus II invaded successively Media and Babylon. Readings:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achaemenid_dynasty (with selected bibliography); the 2nd volume of the Cambridge History of Iran is dedicated to Achaemenid history (contents: http://www.cambridge.org/uk/catalogue/c … 0521200911.

29. Readings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambyses_II_of_Persia (with bibliographya nd sources). Cambyses invaded Kush and destroyed Napata at the times of Amani-natake-lebte, and his embattled army was decimated according to the famous narratives of Herodotus that still need to be corroborated. What seems more plausible is that, having reached in an unfriendly milieu of the Saharan desert where they had no earlier experience, the Persians soldiers, at a distance of no less than 4000 km from their capital, faced guerilla undertaken by the Kushitic army remnants and their nomadic allies.

30. Nastasen was the last to be buried in Nuri, in the whereabouts of Napata. Contemporary with Alexander the Great, Nastasen fought against an invader originating from Egypt whose name was recorded as Kambasawden. This led many to confuse the invader with Cambyses, who ruled 200 years earlier (!). The small inscription on the Letti stela does not allow great speculation; was it an attempt of Alexander the Great to proceed to the south of which we never heard anything? Impossible to conclude. For photographical documentation:http://www.dignubia.org/bookshelf/ruler … 00017&ord=. Another interpretation: http://www.nubia2006.uw.edu.pl/nubia/ab … 94e6349d8b.

31. Arkamaniqo was the first to have his pyramid built at Meroe, not at Napata. See: http://www.dignubia.org/bookshelf/ruler … 0018&ord=;http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergamenes, He inaugurated the architectural works at Dakka, the famous ancient Egyptian Pa Serqet, known in Greek literature as Pselkhis (http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/dakka.htm), in veneration of God Thot, an endeavour that brought the Ptolemies and the Meroites in alliance.

32. For Abyssinia’s conversion to Christianity: http://www.spiritualite2000.com/page.php?idpage=555, and http://www.rjliban.com/Saint-Frumentius.doc. The Wikipedia entry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ezana_of_Axum) is written by ignorant and chauvinist people, and is full of mistakes, ascribing provocatively and irrelevantly to Ezanas following territories (using modern names): “present-day Eritrea, northern Ethiopia, Yemen, southern Saudi Arabia, northern Somalia, Djibouti, northern Sudan, and southern Egypt”. All this shows how misleading this encyclopedia can be. Neither southern Egypt, northern Sudan, northern Somalia and Djibouti nor Yemen and southern Saudi Arabia ever belonged to Ezana’s small kingdom that extended from Adulis to Axum, and following the king’s victory over Meroe, it included modern Sudan’s territories between Kessala and Atbara. Nothing more!

33. Richard A. Lobban, ‘The Nubian Dynasty of Kush and Egypt: Continuing Research on Dynasty XXV’: http://209.85.129.104/search?q=cache:4F … clnk&cd=2; these inscriptions were published as early as 1821: E. F. Gau, Nubische Denkmaeler (Stuttgart). Other early publications on Meroitic antiquities: E. Riippell, Reisen in Nubien, Kordofan, &c. (Frankfort a. M., 1829); F. Caillaud, Voyage a Me’roe (Paris, 1826); J. L. Burckhardt, Travels in Nubia, e5fc. (London, 1819); G. Waddington and B. Hanbury, Journal of a Visit to some ‘parts of Ethiopia (London, 1822); L. Reinisch, Die Nuba-Sprache (Vienna, 1879); Memoirs of the Societe khediviale de Geographic, Cairo.

34. Readings: http://www.homestead.com/wysinger/candace.html; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanakdakhete; more analytically:http://www.arkamani.org/arkamani-librar … graphy.htm. The only inscription giving her name comes from Temple F in Naga (REM 0039A-B). The name appears in Meroitic hieroglyphics in the middle of an Egyptian text. See also: Laszlo Török, in: Fontes Historiae Nubiorum, Vol. II, Bergen 1996, 660-662. The first attempts to render full Meroitic phrases into hieroglyphs (not only personal names, as it was common earlier) can be dated from the turn of the 3rd / 2nd century BCE, but they reflect the earlier stage of the development.

35. C. Rilly, ‘Les graffiti archaïques de Doukki Gel et l’apparition de l’écriture méroïtique’. Meroitic Newsletter, 2003, No 30 : 41-55, pl. IX-XIII (fig. 41-48).

36. Michael H. Zach, ‘Aksum and the end of Meroe’, in: http://www.arkamani.org/arkamani-librar … s/Zach.htm. See also:http://www.soas.ac.uk/lingfiles/working … rowan2.pdf. Also: Clyde A. Winters, ‘Meroitic evidence for a Blemmy empire in the Dodekaschoins’ in: http://www.arkamani.org/arkamani-librar … labsha.htm. Kharamadoye was a Blemmyan / Beja king who lived around the year 330 CE, and his inscription was curved on the Nubian/Blemmyan temple at Kalabsha (ancient Talmis) in the south of Aswan; more: M. S. Megalommatis, ‘Sudan’s Beja / Blemmyes, and their Right to Freedom and Statehood’, in: http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/8-16-2006-105657.asp, and in: http://www.sudaneseonline.com/en/article_929.shtml. More general: http://www.touregypt.net/kalabsha.htm.

37. For Ballana: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballana; http://www.numibia.net/nubia/sites_salv … p_Numb=13;http://www.dignubia.org/maps/timeline/ce-0400.htm; http://www.hp.uab.edu/image_archive/fne … ndex.html; for the excavations carried out there: Farid Shafiq, ‘Excavations at Ballana, 1958-1959’, Cairo, 1963: http://www.archaeologia.com/details.asp?id=647.

38. His publications encompass the following:

‘Karanog: the Meroitic Inscriptions of Karanog and Shablul’, (The Eckley B. Coxe Junior Expedition to Nubia VI), Philadelphia, 1911; ‘Meroitic Inscriptions, I, Sôbâ Dangûl’, Oxford, 1911; ‘Meroitic Inscriptions part II, Napata to Philae and Miscellaneous’, Egypt Exploration Society, Archaeological Survey of Egypt, Memoirs, London, 1912; ‘Meroitic Studies II’, in: Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, vol. 3 (1916).

39. Readings: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergamenes; http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arqamani; list of sources concerning Ergamenes II: Laszlo Török, ’Fontes Historiae Nubiorum’, vol. II, Bergen 1996, S. 566-567; further: http://www.chs.harvard.edu/publications … tei.xml_1;http://www.ancientworlds.net/aw/Article/813603; an insightful view: Laszlo Torok, ‘Amasis and Ergamenes’, in: The Intellectual Heritage of Egypt. Studies Kákosy, 555-561. An English translation of Diodorus’ text on Ergamenes (III. 6) is here:http://www.homestead.com/wysinger/diodorus.html.

40. B. G. Haycock, ‘The Problem of the Meroitic Language’, Occasional Papers in Linguistics and Language Learning, no.5 (1978), p. 50-81; see also: http://www.arkamani.org/arkamani-librar … nology.htm. Another significant contribution by B.G.Haycock, ‘Towards a Data for King Ergamenes’, Kush 13 (1965).41. See: K.H.Priese, ‘Die Statue des napatanischen Königs Aramatelqo (Amtelqa) Berlin, Ägyptisches Museum Inv.-Nr. 2249’ in: Festschrift zum 150 jährigen Bestehen des Berliner Ägyptischen Museums, Berlin; of the same author, ’Matrilineare Erbfolge im Reich von Napata’, Zeitschrift für ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde, 108 (1981).

42. Readings: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ … /beja.htm; http://bejacongress.com;

43. Basic reading: Egeimi, Omer Abdalla, ‘From Adaptation to Marginalization: The Political Ecology of Subsistence Crisis among the Hadendawa Pastoralists of Sudan’, in: Managing Scarcity: Human Adaptation in East African Drylands, edited by Abdel Ghaffar M. Ahmed and Hassan Abdel Ati, 30-49. Proceedings of a regional workshop, Addis Ababa, 24-26 August 1995. Addis Ababa: OSSREA, 1996 (http://www.africa.upenn.edu/ossrea/ossreabiblio.html).

44. F. Hintze, ‘Some problems of Meroitic philology”, in: Studies in

Ancient Languages of the Sudan, pp. 73-78; see discussions: http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Bay/7051/mero.htm, andhttp://www.soas.ac.uk/lingfiles/working … rowan2.pdf.

45. In various publications; see indicatively: ‘Die meroitische Sprache und das protoaltaische Sprachsubstrat als Medium zu ihrer Deutung (I): Mit _quivalenten von grammatikalischen Partikeln und Wortgleichungen’, Ulm/Donau (1992).

46. See: http://www.geocities.com/athens/academy … ersc2.html (with extensive list of publications).

47. Readings: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/kush/hd_kush.htm (with further bibliography); http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kushan_Empire;http://www.kushan.org; (with pictorial documentation) http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/kush/hd_kush.htm;http://www.asianart.com/articles/jaya/index.html (with references).

48. Readings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arsacid_Dynasty; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parthia; authoritative presentation in Cambridge History of Iran.

49. Readings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sassanid_Empire (with further bibliography); authoritative presentation in Cambridge History of Iran.

50. See: http://arkamani.org/meroitic_studies/li … oitic.htm; http://arkamani.org/arkamani-library/me … rilly.htm;

http://arkamani.org/arkamani-library/me … graphy.htm.

51. http://arkamani.org/arkamani-library/me … s/Zach.htm (with reference to epigraphic sources).

52. More recently: R.Voigt, The Royal Inscriptions of King Ezana, in the Second International Littmann Conference: Aksum 7-11 January 2006 (see: http://www.oidmg.org/Beirut/downloads/L … Report.pdf); also: http://users.vnet.net/alight/aksum/mhak4.html;http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=37430160. Read also: Manfred Kropp, Die traditionellen äthiopischen Königslisten und ihre Quellen, in:http://www2.rz.hu-berlin.de/nilus/net-p … listen.pdf (with bibliography).

53. Readings: http://www.telemaco.unibo.it/epigr/testi05.htm; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monumentum_Adulitanum;http://www.shabait.com/staging/publish/ … 3290.html; http://www.homestead.com/wysinger/aksum.html;http://www.arikah.net/encyclopedia/Adulis; further: Yuzo Shitomi, ‘A New Interpretation of the Monumentum Adulitanum’, in: Memoirs of the Research Department of the Toyo Bunko, 55 (1997). French translation is available online here: http://www.clio.fr/BIBLIOTHEQUE/les_gre … hiopie.asp.

54. Readings: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04404a.htm; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmas_Indicopleustes; text and translation can be found online: http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/awiesner/cosmas.html (with bibliography and earlier text/translation publications;http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/#Cosm … opleustes; andhttp://www.ccel.org/ccel/pearse/more … copleustes. Also: http://www.henry-davis.com/MAPS/EMwebpages/202.html; http://davidburnet.com/EarlyFathers-Oth … eintro.htm.

55. Readings: http://library.thinkquest.org/22845/kus … oyalty.pdf

56. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shendi; N. I. Nooter, The Gates of Shendi, Los Angeles, 1999 (http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=1565561).

57. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atbarah; http://www.country-studies.com/sudan/th … ples.html;http://www.sudan.net/tourism/cities.html.

58. Syene (Aswan): see the entries of Realenzyklopaedie and Lexikon der Aegyptologie; also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aswan;http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14367a.htm.

59. Readings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Simbel; http://www.bibleplaces.com/abusimbel.htm; http://lexicorient.com/e.o/abu_simbel.htm.

60. http://www.numibia.net/nubia/ptolemies.htm; http://rmcisadu.let.uniroma1.it/nubiaco … zymski.doc. Dodekaschoinos was the northern part of Triakontaschoinos; the area was essential for Roman border security: http://poj.peeters-leuven.be/content.ph … al_code=AS. More recently: http://dissertations.ub.rug.nl/facultie … f.dijkstra.

61. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dio_Cassius; see details of the early Roman rule over Egypt here: Timo Stickler, ‘Cornelius Gallus and the Beginnings of the Augustan Rule in Egypt’,

62. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strabo (particularly in his 17th book); English translation available here:http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/R … 17A1*.html.

Archaeological Sites of the Island of Meroe