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Understanding Neoliberalism: A Marxist Analysis May 13, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Consumersim, Development & Change, Development Studies, Economics, Free development vs authoritarian model, Globalization, Growth and Inequqlity, Neoliberalism.
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Neoliberalism, Harvey writes, is “a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms…within an institutional framework [of] strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade” [8]. He goes on to write that neoliberalism “seeks to bring all human action into the domain of the market” [9]. In short, neoliberalism offers a set of market-based solutions to social ills. It supposes that problems experienced collectively can be conquered by individuals. An important aspect of this an antipathy to state intervention. The state, in the neoliberal understanding, only gets in the way of individual entrepreneurs who want to alleviate problems. Hence, deregulation is a prime aspect of neoliberal practice. To quote Steger and Roy in Neoliberalism: A Very Short Introduction, “the state is to refrain from interfering with the economic activities of self-interested citizens” [10]. Neoliberalism presents a profound hatred of collective action in favor of individual motivation. This does not mean, however, that the state under neoliberalism is impotent, ineffectual, or meaningless. On the contrary. Although the regulatory and public service components of the state will be stripped bare under neoliberalism (we will examine this in more detail later), the military and police-the repressive state apparatus-will be inflated to new heights. Harvey writes that the state must “secure private property rights and…guarantee, by force if need by, the proper functioning of markets. Furthermore, if markets do not exist [in water, healthcare, and education, for example] then they must be created, by state action if necessary” [11]. Neoliberalism, then, is not against the state. It is against the state when it interferes with market mechanisms, but is perfectly happy to lean on the state when the neoliberal order is resisted or challenged. Under neoliberalism, the state must protect the interests of the aforementioned entrepreneurial individuals (the capitalists). It will not hesitate to use violence to do this.

It should be noted that this process of violent state intervention has been common, literally, since the very beginning of capitalism. An important part of the development of capitalism in England, for instance, was the land enclosure.  rich landowners used their control of state processes to appropriate public land for their private benefit. This created a landless working class that provided the labor required in the new industries developing in the north of England. EP Thompson writes, “in agriculture the years between 1760 and 1820 are the years of wholesale enclosure in which, in village after village, common rights are lost” [12]. He goes on to say,  “Enclosure (when all the sophistications are allowed for) was a plain enough case of class robbery” [13].

Click here to read more at  Write To Rebel: Understanding Neoliberalism: A Marxist Analysis


Ethiopia is one of the 19 poorest, unhappiest, unhealthiest, and most dangerous countries in the world November 8, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in Development, Development & Change, Development Studies, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Free development vs authoritarian model.
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Odaa OromoooromianeconomistEthiopia's regime crimes in OgadenMore reinforcement of Ethiopia's regime fascist ( Agazi) soldiers arrived in Begi, West Walaga, Oromia, 29 July  2016. p2Grand #OromoProtests, Grand ‪#‎OromoProtests‬ full scale Military massacre  has been conducted by Ethiopia's fascsit regimei n Naqamte, East Walaga. 6 August 2016 pctureSuruma people of the Omo Valley are being tortured by  fascist Ethiopia (Agazi) forces because  they protested their land being taken for Sugar  plantationEthiopia's scores in freedom in the world  2016, freedom House World Report, January 2016.Agazi, fascist TPLF Ethiopia's forces attacking unarmed and peaceful #OromoProtests in Baabichaa town central Oromia (w. Shawa) , December 10, 2015to-have-facebook-is-illegal-in-ethiopia

The Independent: The 19 poorest, unhappiest, unhealthiest, and most dangerous nations in the world

(Comoros, Ethiopia, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Libya, Niger, Guinea, Pakistan, Burundi, Angola, Mauritania, Iraq,  Chad, DR Congo,  Sudan, Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Yemen).

Many of the countries that feature toward the bottom end of the index have been hit hard by wars and outbreaks of disease.

The countries are generally lacking in strong economies, governments, and education systems.

The Legatum Institute, a London based research institute released its 10th annual global Prosperity Index, a huge survey that ranks the most prosperous countries in the world, on Thursday 3rd November 2016.

Prosperity may mostly be used to talk about money, but the Legatum Institute thinks there is more to it than that.

The organisation compared 104 separate variables to come up with its list. These variables include traditional indicators like per-capita gross domestic product and the number of people in full-time work, but also more interesting areas such as social tolerance and how good a nation’s internet is.

The variables are then split into nine subindexes: economic quality, business environment, governance, education, health, safety and security, personal freedom, social capital, and natural environment.

We’ve already shown you the 25 countries that the Prosperity Index rated as the most prosperous, or in other words, the happiest, wealthiest, and most crime-free places on earth. Now it’s time to look at the countries at the other end of the list.

Many of the countries that feature toward the bottom end of the index have been hit hard by wars and outbreaks of disease. They are generally lacking in strong economies, governments, and education systems.

We’ve taken the bottom 19 countries from the Legatum Institute’s index and ranked them in reverse order, where No. 1 represents the “least prosperous” country.

The index looked at the 149 countries in the world that have the most available data. As a result, it should be noted that certain prominent countries, including Syria and North Korea, do not feature because of a lack of available data.

19. Comoros — The tiny island nation of the Comoros is pretty safe in the grand scheme of things, ranking 69th out of 149 countries. However, it ranks as one of the least prosperous nations thanks to bottom 20 scores in five of nine subindexes, including being 135th in the entrepreneurship subindex.

18. Ethiopia — Ethiopia scored pretty well in some subindexes, but low levels of entrepreneurship and opportunity, and a bad score in the education subindex mean that the Legatum Institute ranks it as one of the 20 least prosperous countries on Earth.

(Getty Images)

17. Liberia — It was hit badly by 2014’s Ebola virus epidemic, and almost 5,000 people were killed in the country. As a result Liberia’s score in the health subindex was in the bottom five, its worst individual subindex score.

16. Mali — While it scored in the top 100 nations for personal freedom and social capital, Mali was pushed down the Prosperity Index by having a bottom five education score.

15. Nigeria — Nigeria may have one of Africa’s most powerful economies, but it scored pretty poorly in all nine subindexes, with its lowest rank being in safety and security, reflecting the presence of militant groups like Boko Haram and the Niger Delta Avengers.


14. Libya — After the ousting of brutal dictator Muammar Gaddafi, it was hoped that Libya would prosper, but a power vacuum and years of fighting have ravaged the country. The Legatum Institute puts it in the bottom 10 for personal freedom, governance, and entrepreneurship.

13. Niger — Niger faces similar problems to Nigeria when it comes to terrorist groups like Boko Haram, although it scores relatively highly (87th) for safety and security. Its worst individual subindex score came in education, where it was 3rd last.

12. Guinea — Despite a natural environment ranking in the top 60 globally, terrible scores for health and education keep Guinea’s overall ranking incredibly low, making it the 12th least prosperous nation surveyed.

11. Pakistan — Despite having fairly good scores for both economy and governance, Pakistan was ranked as one of the seven most unsafe countries on Earth. It has the worst natural environment of any nation, according to the Legatum Institute.


10. Burundi — Improving its position from the 5th least prosperous nation in 2015, Burundi’s top score came for personal freedom (101 out of 149). It was dead last when it comes to social capital.

9. Angola — Angola, on Africa’s south west coast, is oil rich, but not at all prosperous, according to the Legatum Institute. It is in the bottom 20 countries in all nine subindexes.

8. Mauritania — The North African country has a pretty good score for social capital (it’s 82nd out of 142 countries) but is in the bottom 15 for six of the 15 sub-indexes, meaning that it comfortably makes our list as one of the least prosperous countries on Earth.

7. Iraq — As one of the areas occupied by ISIS, it is not hugely surprising to see Iraq rank in the bottom three of the safety and security subindex. Despite ranking in the top 100 in one subindex — social capital — Iraq ranks 143rd out of the 149 countries surveyed.


6. Chad — In 2014, only the Central African Republic was less prosperous than Chad. Last year it was the 4th least prosperous, but it has improved its position again this year. It’s highest subindex score came for natural environment.

5. Democratic Republic of Congo — Citizens in the Democratic Republic of Congo have to contend with the country being ranked as the second most unsafe country in the whole Prosperity Index. Its top subindex score was 131st in social capital.

4. Sudan — Sudan has fallen from 134th last year to 145th now. The country’s citizens are the second-least free of any in the Prosperity Index, and it ranks in the bottom ten for all but two subindexes.


3. Central African Republic — As its name suggests, the country is located in the heart of Africa. The nation has improved its standing from least prosperous in 2015 to 3rd least this year, despite ranking in the bottom 10 in all but one subindex.

2. Afghanistan — Ravaged by war for decades, it is perhaps unsurprising that Afghanistan ranked as having the worst personal freedom of all countries surveyed, and the third-worst for governance. These factors, combined with poor scores across the board make it second-least prosperous of any country surveyed, the same position as 2015.

1. Yemen — Devastated by civil war, Yemen is dead last in the economy, entrepreneurship, and governance subindexes, second last in social capital, and in the bottom three for personal freedom.

Click here to read on the 25 richest, healthiest, happiest, and most advanced countries in the world


Tyranny of Experts, illustrated August 17, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in Development & Change, Economics, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Free development vs authoritarian model, Uncategorized.
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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

An Africanist Perspective

More on this here, here, and here.

H/T Khadija Mohamud.

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UMD News: From Duluth to Oromia: Helping Those in Need April 29, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in Development & Change, Oromia, Oromo, Oromummaa, Uncategorized.
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Odaa Oromoo

Amane explains how water will be distributed

Aspiring to Assist
Amane Wako, a UMD junior double majoring in accounting and international studies, is one of those students who has the desire to help others.

Lessons in Duluth
Amane has volunteered at the Damiano Center, a social services organization in Duluth, for years. She tutors children in math and reading at their Kid’s Café and she helps out homeless and low income people by serving meals in their kitchen.

She was impressed by the organization’s philosophy, and she wants to start her own non-profit organization, so she can help those in need someday.

That day came sooner than she ever imagined. This past winter, Amane helped 47 households in the Oromia region of Ethiopia.

Amane is originally from Oromia. She moved to United States with her mother and attended Cooper High School in Minneapolis. However, most of her relatives are still in Oromia, and she visits them regularly.

In December 2015, Amane watched television news and saw a protest by Oromo farmers and residents who wanted the government to stop taking their land. Security forces killed at least 40 people, hundreds were wounded, and thousands were detained during the three weeks of uprisings in Oromia.

Amane was upset and worried about the Oromo people. “I wanted to do something to help families back in my home region.”

Immediately she looked for ways to help get food and water to the people in Oromia. Amane talked with her professors and asked for a few minutes of class time to give presentations. UMD students donated hundreds of dollars to the cause.

When Amane went back to Minneapolis on weekends, she gave a presentation at a church and talked to friends to raise even more money.

By the time she went back to Oromia during the winter break, she had gathered over $1000. Amane was joined by her friends in Oromia to make deliveries. In spite of the dangers, she and her friends bought food and water to those most in need. They listened to the stories of the families affected by the violence.

“People in my home region suffered. Many were hungry, thirsty and homeless,” she said. “I want to do more to help them, but as a student, the only thing I can do now is to study harder.”

Amane has a plan though. “In the future, I want to build a place to serve free food, just like the Damiano Center does in Duluth,” she says.

Women wait UMD students from Oromia
Amane listened to stories of people affected by violence. UMD students from Oromia



Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa) 2015: The Oromo National And Cultural Holiday, Oromians Celebrated the Blessing Festival in Oromia and all over the Globe. Over 6 Million Celebrated At Hora Harsadi. Lammiin Oromoo Milyoona Jaha Ol Ta’an Hora Harsaditti Waliin Irreeffatan. November 18, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Culture, Development & Change, Humanity and Social Civilization, Irreecha, Irreessa, Khemetic Africa's culture, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo Culture, Oromummaa, Thanksgiving.
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An Amusing Historical picture Captured in 1903 showing Irreechaa celebration at Lake Hora, Bishoftu town of Oromia

Ayyaanni Irreecha Malkaa  Bara 6409 (ALO) kan Hora Harsadi (Bishoftuu) baka Oromoon miliyoona 6 ool irratti argamanii irreeffatanitti Onkoloolessa 4  kabajamee oole. Itti dabaleesi  irreeffannaa Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsa, Magaalaa Buraayyuu gaafa Onkoloolessa 11 bara 2015 haala o’aan bakka Oromoo milyoona hedduun argamanitti ayyaaneffatame. Haaluma wal fakkatuun Odaa Bulluqii fi Malkaa sabbataatti umman Oromoo irreeffatanii oolani.  Malkaa Awaas fi Onkoloollessa 18 baraa 2015   Malkaa Booyyee (Jimmatti) haala o’aa fi bareedan irreefftame. Naqamte, Haroo Adiiyaatttis Sadaasa 8 bara 2015 haala gaariin irreeffatame.

Akka sadarkaa biyyoolessatti kan kabajame Irreecha Malkaa Hora Arsadii booda Oromiyaa godina adda addaa keessatti ayyaan Irreechaa (Irreessaa) kabajamaa ture, isaan keessaa Malkaa Ateetee, Bokkuu Cittuu, Malkaa Hawaas, Hora Haadhoo, Karrayyuu, Naqamte, Odaa Bisli, Jimma, Haroo Maayaa fi Goonde yoo ta’u Sadaasa 15 bara 2015 immoo Aanaa Midaaqeny keessatti Wiirtuu Aadaa fi dhuggeeffata Oromo kan Galma Calalaqiitti  bakka irreeffattoonni milyoona tokko ol irreeffatanitti sirna ho’aan kabajamee ooleera.

Jilli UNesco Ayyaana irreecha Malkaa Hora Harsadii kan Bara 2015 irratti argamee odeeffannasi godhe.

Millions of Oromians, and visitors from around the world, converged in Bishoftu, Oromia, by Hora Arsadi (Lake Arsadi) on 4th October 2015, to celebrate this year’s Irreecha Birraa (‘Oromo Thanksgiving’) Festival, which is the largest such public event in Africa. Millions celebrated at Malkaa ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, at Odaa Bulluq (Horroo Guduruu) and Malkaa Sabbataa,  Oromia on 11th October 2015. The celebrations of Irreecha Birraa at Malkaa Hawaas (Awash valley, in the cradle of  humanity) and  0n 18th October 2015 at Malkaa Boyyee in Jimma (Western Oromia, the birth place of Coffee (Buna) was joyful and colorful with massive attendance.  In similar situation Irreecha Malkaa celebrated in Naqamtee city at Haroo Adiiyaa on 8th November 2015.

Irreecha Birraa( Malkaa) Oromo celebrated in Midaaqanyi (Central Oromia) on 15 November 2015. Over one million people in attendance.

UNesco representative  attended the festival at Hora Harsadi, Bishoftuu, Oromia.

Irreecha Birraa 2015, the Oromo National And Cultural Holiday, Oromians Celebratied the Blessing Festival in Oromia and all over the Globe


Irreecha Malkaa Oromoo kan Bara 2015 Hora Harsadi, Bishoftuu, Oromia, Africa. Onkoloolessa 4, 2015 (6409 ALO)Oromia and the continuitity its Nile Valley Civilization, Irreecha Malkaa 2015 ( 6409 years since started on upper Nile (Mormore) Valley)Oromia and the continuity its Nile Valley Civilization, Irreecha Malkaa 2015 ( 6409 years since started on upper Nile (Mormore) Valley)Oromo, Irreecha Malkaa Oromoo 2015 @Hora Harsadi, Bishoftuu, OromiaIrreecha Malkaa 2015 @Hora Harsadii, Oromians from Finfinnee attendingIrreecha Malkaa Oromoo kan Bara 2015 Hora Harsadi, Bishoftuu, Oromia, Africa. Onkoloolessa 4, 2015 (6409 ALO)1Millions of Oromos, and visitors from around the world, converged in Bishoftu, Oromia, by Hora Arsadi (Lake Arsadi), to celebrate this year Irreecha Birraa Oromo Festival, which is the largest such public event in Africa.

Irreecha Birraa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Buraayyuu, Oromia, 11 October 2015 picture1 Irreecha Birraa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Buraayyuu, Oromia, 11 October 2015 picture2Irreecha Birraa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Buraayyuu, Oromia, 11 October 2015 picture4Irreecha Birraa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Buraayyuu, Oromia, 11 October 2015 picture5Irreecha Birraa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Buraayyuu, Oromia, 11 October 2015 picture3 Irreecha Birraa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Buraayyuu, Oromia, 11 October 2015 Irreecha Malkaa (Birraa) 2015 Kan Malkaa Ateetee, Buraayyuu, Oromia. Onkoloolessa (October 2015)3Irreecha Malkaa (Birraa) 2015 Kan Malkaa Ateetee, Buraayyuu, Oromia. Onkoloolessa (October 2015)Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture1Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture2Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture3Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture3

Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture4Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture5Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture6Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture7Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture9

Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture10Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture11Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture12Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture13Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture14Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture15Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture16Irreecha Malkaa Ateetee, Buraayyuu Oromia, October 11, 2015 picture 1Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture17Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture18Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture19

Irreecha Malkaa Sabbataa, 11 October 2015

Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Sabbataa, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture 2

Irreecha Malkaa Sabbataa, 11 October 2015

Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Booyyee, Jimmaa, Oromia, 18th October 2015 picture5Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Booyyee, Jimmaa, Oromia, 18th October 2015 picture2Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Booyyee, Jimmaa, Oromia, 18th October 2015 picture3Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Booyyee, Jimmaa, Oromia, 18th October 2015 picture4

Irreecha Malkaa Booyyee, Jimma (Oromia),  18 October 2015

Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa) Oromoo kan bara 2015, Haroo Adiiyaa, magaalaa Naqamtee sadaasa 8, 2015 picture10

Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa) Oromoo kan bara 2015, Haroo Adiiyaa, magaalaa Naqamtee sadaasa 8, 2015

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Waaqeffattoota galma naqamtee irreessa birraa yoo irreeffatan, Sadaasa 8 bara 2015Waaqeffattoota galma naqamtee irreessa birraa yoo irreeffatan, Sadaasa 8 bara 2015, pcture1Waaqeffattoota galma naqamtee irreessa birraa yoo irreeffatan, Sadaasa 8 bara 2015, pcture2

Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa) Oromoo kan bara 2015, Haroo Adiiyaa, magaalaa Naqamtee sadaasa 8, 2015 picture9Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa) Oromoo kan bara 2015, Haroo Adiiyaa, magaalaa Naqamtee sadaasa 8, 2015 picture8Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa) Oromoo kan bara 2015, Haroo Adiiyaa, magaalaa Naqamtee sadaasa 8, 2015 picture6Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa) Oromoo kan bara 2015, Haroo Adiiyaa, magaalaa Naqamtee sadaasa 8, 2015 picture5Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa) Oromoo kan bara 2015, Haroo Adiiyaa, magaalaa Naqamtee sadaasa 8, 2015 picture4Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa) Oromoo kan bara 2015, Haroo Adiiyaa, magaalaa Naqamtee sadaasa 8, 2015 picture3Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa) Oromoo kan bara 2015, Haroo Adiiyaa, magaalaa Naqamtee sadaasa 8, 2015 picture2Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa) Oromoo kan bara 2015, Haroo Adiiyaa, magaalaa Naqamtee sadaasa 8, 2015 picture1

Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa) Oromoo kan bara 2015, Haroo Adiiyaa, magaalaa Naqamtee sadaasa 8, 2015


// MALKAA QOFFEE, MEKI – YouTube// //

Colors of Oromummaa @ Irreecha Through Raayyaa Studio’s Lens | 20 Stunning Photos from the ‘Oromo Thanksgiving’ Festival at Bishoftu, Oromia.




Irreecha Malkaa Oromoo kan Bara 2015 (6409 ALO) Onkoloolessa 4, Hora Harsadi. picture2Irreecha Malkaa Oromoo kan Bara 2015 (6409 ALO) Onkoloolessa 4Irreecha Birraa Oromo Hora Harsadii, Onkoloolessa 4, Bara 2015Irreecha Birraa Oromo Hora Harsadii, Onkoloolessa 4, Bara 2015 picture2Irreecha Birraa Oromo Hora Harsadii, Onkoloolessa 4, Bara 2015 picture3IrreechaBirraa2015OromoThanksgiving4

Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa Hora Harsadi, Bishoftuu Oromia, Africa on 4th October 2015 (6409 in Oromo calendar)Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa Hora Harsadi, Bishoftuu Oromia, Africa on 4th October 2015 (6409 in Oromo calendar)1Irreecha Malkaa Oromoo kan Bara 2015 (6409 ALO) Onkoloolessa 4, WaaqeffatootaIrreechaBirraa2015OromoThanksgiving2




Irreecha Malkaa Oromoo kan Bara 2015 (6409 ALO) Onkoloolessa 4, Hora Harsadi. picture3IrreechaBirraa2015OromoThanksgiving15






Irreecha Malkaa Oromoo kan Bara 2015 (6409 ALO) Onkoloolessa 4, Hora Harsadi. picture1Irreecha Malkaa Oromoo kan Bara 2015 (6409 ALO) Onkoloolessa 4, Hora Harsadi.IrreechaBirraa2015OromoThanksgiving6








Irreecha: Waltajjii miliyoononni akka tokkotti itti mul’atan

Torban darbe keessa Magaalaan Bishooftuu akka nama guyyaan cidha isaa/ishee itti ga’ee ko’amattee turte. Sababni isaas guyyaan addaa Oromoon hawwii guddaan eeggatuufi bakka guddaa kennuuf Irreechi Malkaa waan kabajamuufi. Irreechi Malkaa, Horaa Harsadeetti bifa miidhagaa ta’een kabajamu kun yeroo maraa Masqalli ba’ee Dilbata itti aanuu bakka Oromoon bakka addaddaa irraa dhufee walitti qabame kan kabajatudha. Bishooftuunis ayyaan guddaa kana kabachuuf egaa jala bultii irraa kaastee kan ko’ammatte. Egzibishiniifi baazaariin, konsariiwwan muuziqaa, agarsiifni aadaa, mariin paanaaliifi wantoonni ayyaanicha miidhagsan addaddaa kan gaggeeffamaa turanis torbanuma darbe keessa ture.

Magaalattiinis poostariiwwaniifi barreeffamoota garagaraa waa’ee ayyaanichaa ibsaniin iftee jirti. Akkasuma, hoteeliinnii, manneen ciisichaafi bakkeewwan ummataaf tajaajila kennan sirboota Afaan Oromoo sagalee guddaadhaan banuun keessummoota isaanii “anaa haa dhufu” jechuun simataniiru. Qophiin haala kanaan miidhagee adeemsifame kunis xumura isaa kan argatu Dilbata ture. Gaafsis ilmaan Oromoo bakka addaddaadhaa dhufan aadaafi faayaa Oromootiin miidhaganii, harkatti marga jidhaafi keelloo qabatanii, sirba aadaa sirbaa ture kan gara Hora Arsadeetti imalan. Ilmaan Oromoo malees namoonni biyya keessaafi alaa ayyaana miidhagaa kana ilaaluuf dhufaniiru. Irreecha baranaa kan adda godhu wayita ayyaanicha UNESCOtti galmeesisuuf hojiin % 80 xumurametti kan kabajamu ta’uu isaati. Kanaaf ture waamicha Biiroon Aadaafi Turizimii Oromiyaa namoonni ayyaanicha kabajan bifa nagaan akkasumas, aadaafi eenyummaa isaanii ibsuun akka kabajaniif taasise fudhachuun eenyuuyyu caalaa ilmaan Oromoo haala bareedaa ta’een kabajatanii kan dabarsan. Ayyaanichaan dura namoonni miliyoona afur ta’an Irreecharratti ni argamu jedhamee kan tilmaame yoo ta’u, tilmaamani ayyaanichaa boodaa garuu lakkoofsi sirrii eeramuu baatuus isa jedhameen ol ta’uun isaa dubbatameera. Irreeffattoonni haala irranatti eeramaeen gara Hora Arsadee bu’an, rakoo nageenyaafi tasagabbii tokko malee guyyaa hawwiidhaan eeggataa turan kana miira tokkoon kabajuun ayyaaneeffataniiru.

Ani ayyaana Irreechaa irratti waggoota walitti aanan sagaliif kaniin hirmaadhe yoo ta’u, haalli kabaja isaa yeroodhaa gara yeootti miidhagaa, lakkoofsi hirmaattootaa dabalaafi waltajjii agarsiisa aadaa akkasumas, eenyummaa ta’uu isaadha kaniin taajjabe. Dargaggoonniifi shamarran uffata aadaa godinaalee Oromiyaa hundaa bifa ammayyaafi aadaatiin uffatanii, faayaawwaniin miidhaganii, marga jidhaa qabatanii laga bu’anii erga irreeffataniin booda sirba aadaadhaan dhiichisaa, nyaata aadaa nyaatafi wantoota bashannanaa garagaraatiin rakkoo tokko malee kabajatanii yommuu galanis argeera. Keessumaa barana, baayyachuu namaatiin waldhiibboofi ho’a uumamuu dandamachuun miliyoonoonni akka tokkotti yommuu Irreecha kabajatan arguu caalaa waan nama gammachiisu hinjiru. Inni biraan ayyaanicha adda godhu misiroonni 25 abbootii Gadaatiin eebbifamanii cidha isaanii raawwatachuu isaaniiti. Waliigala taateewwan irreecharratti mul’ataniifi tokkummaan ummatichaa  Irreechi UNESCO irratti akka galmaa’uuf kan gumaachuu ta’uu isaatiin kan dinqisafamudha.  Ayyaanicharratti argamuun haasawaa kan taasisan Hogganaan BATO Obbo Geetuu Wayyeessaa akka jedhanitti, Irreechi galmee addunyaarratti akka galma’uuf haayyoota biyya keessaafi alaa affeerun qorannoon galmee kanaaf gargaaru taasifamaa jira.

Ministeerri Aadaafi Turiziimii Ayyaanni Irreechaa galmee addunyaarratti akka galma’uuf Barreessaa Ol’aanaa UNESCO, Hora Aarsadeefi magaalaa Bishooftuu daawwachisaani jiraachuu Ministirri ministeerichaa duraanii Obbo Amin Abdulqaadir dubbataniiru.  Af-yaa’iin Mana marii Bakka bu’oota uummata Obbo Abbaa dulaa Gammada ummanni hojii irratti boba’ee jiru hundarratti kutannoon hojjechuu akka qaban dhaamaniiru.  Waliigala ayyaanni Irreecha baranaa haala yaadameen kabajamuun isaa naamusa ummanni Oromoo qabu kan agarsiisu ta’uurra darbee jaalalaafi kabajaa inni aadaa isaf qabu kan calaqqisuu ta’uu isaatiin jajjabeeffamuu qaba jenna.

Saamraawiit Girmaatiin,

Baga Booqaa Birraa Ittiin Isin Gahe! Happy Irreecha Birraa, the blessing Oromo Thanksgiving Season 2015 (6409 in Oromo Calendar).


Irreecha Naannawa Waashingten DCtti


Irreechi Ayyaana Galfannaa Oromoo waggaa waggaatti, xumura gannaa fi itti gala Birraatti ayyaaneffafu. Ayyaanni kun, yeroo ammaa, Oromoo biyyoota alaa jiraatan dabalatee  Uummata Oromoo keessatti bakka adda addaatti kan ayyaaneffamu yoo tahu ayyaaneffannaan inni guddaan Dilbata dhufu kana, magaalaa Bishooftuu ka jiru Hara Arsadii irratti ayyaaneffamu. Biyyoota alaa tii garuu, torban dabre kana jalqabe. Dilbata dabre, gaafa Fuulbaana 27 Oromoonni Waashington DC fi naannawa ishee jiraatan kan handaara Waashington, kutaa Maryland keessa jiru Hara Artimesia jedhamutti  ayyaaneffatan.

Irreechaa, Hara Artemesia irratti ayyaaneffame irratti, ijoollee xixiqqoo dhaa jalqabee haga maanguddootaatti Oromoota hedduu tu argame. Marti isaanii jechuun ni danda’ama, uffataa fi faayaa aadaa Oromootiin of kuulanii, abaaboo fakkaatanii turan. Yeroo gara malkaatti yaa’an, wallee ani dura isin dhageessise sana faa wallisaa turan. Eega malkaa irra ga’anii booda, maanguddoonni akka aadaatti  “as keessaa namni walitti gadde yokaan mufate yoo jiraate, otuu hin irreeffatiin dura waliif dhiisaa” jedhanii gaafatan.  Achii booda, dhiiraa fi dubartiin wal-harkaa fuudhaan, galataa fi kadhannaan, abaaboo bishaanitti cuubanii  irreefftaa turan.

Guutummaa isaa dhaggeeffadhaa

Report: Irreecha in Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Hora Gaasperplas | ‘Oromo Thanksgiving’ | Onk./Oct. 3, 2015

 Onkoloolessa/October 5, 2015 · Finfinne Tribune |



Irreessi IrreedhaCredit: Girma GemedaCredited: Girma Gemeda

Celebration of Irreecha Oromoo 2014 (6408 according to Oromo Calendar). 5th October 2014, Horaa Harsadii, Bishoftu, Oromia. Suura1Irreechaa Arfaasaa 2015 (17)Irreecha Oromo 2014 Hora Harsadii, Oromia 4Irreecha Oromo 2014 Malkaa Ateetee, Buraayyuu, Oromia

Tumsa ykn Yaadannoo Irreecha (Irreessa) Bara 2015 Cinaa (Bukkee) Hora Arsadiitti Geggeessamu

Tumsa ykn Yaadannoo Irreecha (Irreessa) Bara 2015 Cinaa (Bukkee) Hora Arsadiitti Geggeessamu1

Irreecha birraa 2015 ilaalchisee ibsa Gumii Waaqeffannaa irraa kenname: Baga Ayyaana Irreecha Birraa Bara 2015 Isin Gahe

Gumii Waaqeffannaa

Baga Ayyaana Irreecha Birraa Bara 2015 Isin Gahe

Irreecha birraa 2015 ilaalchisee ibsa Gumii Waaqeffannaa irraa kenname

Akka amantii Waaqeffannaatti, Waaqni uumaa waa maraati. Uumama qoollo kana keessa jiraatu kanneen lubbu qabeeyyii fi maleeyyii ta’an hunda kan uumee fi tiksee kan jiraachisu Waaqa dha.

Waaqni fulla’aa beelii-belel. Hin dhalu, hin dhalchu, kan hin dulloomnee fi hin duune jiraataa bara baraati. Hiriyaa fi morkataa kan hin qabne ta’uutti amanna. Waaqeffannaan amantii Waaqa tokkichatti buluu fi amanuudha. Akka amantii kanaatti Waaqni waan hunda kan uumee fi madda jireenyaa ta’uu dhugeeffanna. Waaqeffannaan amantii waggoota 6000 oli turee fi osoo amantiiwwan kanneen akka Kiristaanaa fi Isilaamaa gara gaanfa Afrikaa hin seeniin dura kan ture, amantii ummata Kuush isa duraa fi hundee amantiiwwan maraati.

Waaqeffatoonni seera uumaa fi uumman qajeelfamuu. Kabaja Waaqaf, jaalala uumamaf qabaachuu, dubbii hamaa fi cubbuu irraa fagaachuu fi lagachuun hundee amantichaati. Kana bu’uura godhachuun kaayyoon amantii Waaqeffannaa Safuu, Laguu, Hooda, Seeda, Aadaa fi Duudhaa Oromoo fi warra Kuush eeguu , kunuunsuu fi guddisuu irratti hojjechuudha. Gama biraan hordoftoonni Waaqeffannaa amantii fi aadaa saba biraaf kabajaa qabaachuu, elaa fi elaameen waliin hojjechuu qaban. Sirna Waaqeffannaa keesssatti, sabni Oromoo uuumaa isaatif Irreessa galchuun iddoo guddaa kennaaf. Kanaafu aadaa ummata Oromoo keessaa inni mul’ataa fi guddaan kabaja ayyaana Irreesaati. Amantii fi Aadaan waan hedduun walkeessa jira ykn walitti hidhataadha. Sabni ykn biyyi hundi amantii hordofuu fi aadaa jabeeffatu qaba. Kanneen lamaan akkaataa wal hin faallesiineen ittiin jiraatan. ” Sabni aadaa hin qabne garbicha” jedha, hayyuun argaa-dhageettii obbo Dabbasaa Guyyoo. Akkas jechuun sabni akka sabaatti bilisa ta’ee jiraatu aadaa saba biraa irraa waan adda isa godhu qaba. Yoo bilisa hin taane garuu, kan ofii gatuun aadaa warra isa gabroofateen liqimfama jechuudha.

Egaa ayyaanni irreechaa, kaleessa ykn waggoota digdamman darban keessa kan uumame osoo hin taane, amantii Waaqeffannaa waliin kan ture, aadaa Oromoon Waaqaa fi Uumaa isaa kan ittiin galateeffatuu fi isa fuulduraaf immoo kan itti kadhatudha. Ayyaanni Irreessaa akka duudhaa ganamaatti, ilmaan Oromoo naannoo jiraatan hundatti haalaa fi yeroo adda addaatti raawwatu. Haa ta’u malee dhiibbaa sirnooti darbanii fi amantiin biroon irraan gahaa turanin bakka hedduutti dhorkame ykn akka hin mul’anne golgame Ayyaanni irreecha birraa magaalaa Bishooftuu, Hora Arsadeetti kabajamaa jiru hambaawwan bakka bakkatti hafanii kabajamaa jiran yoo ta’u, baroota dhihoo keessa tattaaffii jaalatoonni aadaa Oromoo godhaniin beekamaa fi guddataa dhufee yeroo ammaa ummata kumaatamaan hedamu kan hirmaachisu, Afrikaa keessatti isa guddaa ta’ee kan mul’atuu fi ummata alagaa hedduu kan hawwataa dhufe dha. Ummati Oromoo, amantii, kutaa fi siyaasaan osoo walhin qoodiin tokkummaan eenyummaa isaa akka mul’isu kan godhe aadaa guddaa ta’uu isaa argina.

Yeroo ammaatti Irreechi aadaa moo amantiidha? kan jedhu gaaffiin ka’aa akka jiru hubanna. Akkuma olitti ibsame aadaa fi amantiin waan hedduun walitti hidhata. Akka aadaa Oromootti ammoo sirna raawwatu hunda keessatti osoo maqaa Waaqaa hin dhahiin waanti raawwatu hin jiru. Sirna gumaa, gaa’ela, araara ykn jaarsummaa fi waan kana fakkaatu irratti Coqorsa ykn marga jiidhaa qabachuun wal eebbisa ykn Waaqa kadhata. Coqorsi ykn margi mallattoo nagaa fi araaraati. Coqorsi ykn lataan qabatan irreecha jedhama. Haala kanaan irreechi aadaadha, amantiidhas. Yeroo irreeffannaaf Malkaa bu’an ykn Tulluu bahan Waaqeffatootaaf aadaa fi amantii yoo ta’u, warra amantii biraa keessa jiraniif ammoo aadaadha. Yeroo irreechaatti siiqqeen, caaccuu fi kaallachi, bokkuu fi meeshaaleen dhalaa fi dhiirri qabatu, uffati aadaa uffatamuu fi walleen achitti mul’atu marti aadaa fi seenaa Oromoo calaqqisa. Kanaaf ummati miliyoonaan lakkaa’amu, Isilaama, Kiristaanaa fi Waaqeffataan gamtaan walcina hiriiree Irreeffataa kan jiru. Haaluma kanaan jabaatee akka itti fufuu fi irreechi kan Oromoo qofa osoo hin taane, ummati Afrikaa marti kan ittiin boonuu fi waliin kabaju ta’uuf akka jiraatu abdii qabna. Kun akka ta’uuf Waaqni nu haa gargaaru, nutis ciminaa fi gamtaan waliin haa jabeeffannu.

Yeroo irreeffannaaf deeman tartiibni raawwii isaa akka armaan gadii ta’a.
1. Yeroo Malkaa bu’an ykn Tulluu bahan, dubartoonni uffata aadaa uffachuun siiqqee fi irreecha qabatanii Mareehoo jechaa dura deemu,
2. Abbootii fi dargaggoonni duubarra dhiichisaa ykn jeekkaraa hordofu,
3. Bakka irreechaa yeroo gahan, Abbaan Malkaa, malkaan saaqamuu ibsa.
4. Faatii waliif baafatu, kunis nagaa fi araara waliif buusanii , garaa nagaa fi qulqullummaan waliin irreeffachuuf,
5. Jaarsoliin akka angafaa quxisuutti walduraa duuba eebbisu. Eebba kana keessa waan argataniif Waaqa galateeffachuun, nagaa, jaalala, tokkummaa fi badhaadhina kadhatu
6. Sirni irreeffannaa ni raawwata. Yeroo kanatti warri irreessa qabate hundi irreessa isaanii bishaan cuuphuun Waaqa kanaan isaan gahe galateeffachuun, bara dhufus akkasuma nagaan akka isaan gahu gaafatu
7. Dhibaayyuu fi daddarbaan ni raawwata. Dachee sanyii biqilchiteef, waan irratti horanii fi argatan irraa matadeebii kennuu jechuudha.
8. Maatiin daa’ima ammachiisan yoo jiraatan, abbaan malkaa akka sirna ammachiisaatti raawwata
9. Sirbaa fi wallisaan duubatti garagalu, dhangaa qabatanii dhaqan waliin dhamdhamu ykn bakka qophii addaatti walgahanii nyaatanii dhuguun sirbanii gammadu. Bara dhufu nagaan akka walitti deebi’aniif eebbaan raawwatu.

Ayyaanni irreechaa mallattoo, nagaa, araaraa fi tokkummaa ta’uu irrayyuu aadaa Oromoo fi Oromummaa guddisu, akkasumas Oromiyaa addunyaatti kan mul’isu waan ta’eef,

– Ayyaanni irreechaa, akka ayyaana biyyoolessa Oromiyaatti akka kabajamuuf kalandera keessa galee fi guyyaa ayyana biyyooleessaa ta’ee beekamtiin akka kennamuuf,

– Dirreen ayyaana irreechaa itti kabajan, Malkaan Arsadee giddugaleessa ayyaana irreecha Oromiyaa waan ta’eef ummata ayyaana kana irratti hirmachuuf dhufan, akkasumas dawwatootaa fi tursitoota addunyaaf mijuu akka ta’u, bakki bashannanaa fi aara galfannaa naannoo kanatti akka ijaaramu qaamni Mootummaa Oromiyaa dhimmi kun ilaalu akka irrtti hojjetu kabajaan gaafanna. Nutis waan dandeenyun deeggarsa nurraa barbaadamu akka goonu waadaa galla.

Irreecha bara 2015, kan tokkummaa fi jaalalaan waliin haa kabajnu, kan hawwinuu fi barbaadnu Waaqayyo itti nuuf haa guutu!


Koree GWA

Ayyaana Irreechaa Bara 2015 Ilaalchisisee Ibsa Gabaabaa Qeerroo Bilisummaa Oromoo Irraa Kenname.


Ayyaana Irreechaa Bara 2015 Ilaalchisisee Ibsa Gabaabaa Qeerroo Bilisummaa Oromoo Irraa Kenname.

Fulbaana 24,2015, Finfinnee

Qeerroon Bilisummaa Oromoo Ayyaana Irreechaa Birraa kan baranaa 2015 Hora Arsadiitti kabajamuuf jiru, Onkololessaa 3/2015 ykn A.L.Habashaatti Fulbaana 23/01/2008 kan kabajamu ta’uu hubachiisuun , Uummata Oromoo hundaan baga jalbultii ayyaana Irreecha bara kanaa nagaan geessan, Barri kun Bara milkii,bara, kan hidhamee kan itti hiikamuu, gammachuu,bara qe’ee ofii irraa buqqa’uun dhaabatu,bara irreen Oromoo itti jabaatu, Bara gaaffiin mirga abbaa biyyummaa deebii itti argatu, Bara ‘’Master Plan Finfinnee’’ guutummatti haqamuu ,Bara Injifannoo fi Bilisummaa nuuf haa ta’u !!

Ayaanni Irreecha guyyaa Oromoon Malkaa/Tulluutti ba’ee Waaqa isa uume waan argateef kan galateeffatuu fi waan fulduratti barbaaduu fi hawwuuf itti kadhatudha. Irreechi Ayyaana Oromoon ittin beekamu,mallattoo Oromummaa fi Eenyummaa isaa ibsu, calaqqee Aadaa fi duudhaa keenyaa qofa utuu hin ta’iin dhaalmayaa hambaa seenaa uummata keenyaa kan qabsoo wareegama qaaliin as qaqqabedha. Goototni Oromoo uummatni Oromoo eenyummaan, aadaan, duudhaan,Afaanii fi biyyi Oromiyaa akka hin sarbameef  jechuun dhiigaa isaanii itti cophsuun, lafee isaanii itti cabsuun ayyaanni seena qabeessii kun akka uummatichaaf jiraatu taasisan bara baraan ni yaadatamu,

Ayyaanni irreecha barana 2015 sadarkaa Idil-Addunyaa UNESCO’tti galmaa’aa jiru kun bu’aa gootota ilmaan Oromoo;  Oromoo fi Oromiyaa akkasumas leecelloo Oromiyaa saamicha, faca’insaa fi gita bittaa gabrummaa jalaa baasuuf jedhanii wareegamaa qaalii kanfalaa turanii fi hardha illee Oromiyaa bilisoomsuuf wareegama wal irraa hin citne kanfalaa jiraniti. Ayaana Irreecha 2015 Ilaalchisee Ibsa Qeerroo Bilisummaa

Short Documentary on Irreechaa by OBS TV

Oromia’s Irreecha Festival – A Revival of an Ancient African Culture – An Attempt to Understand and Explain

By Mekuria Bulcha, Ph. D.

Irreecha (also spellled Irreessa), the Oromo equivalent of Thanksgiving, was traditionally celebrated bi-annually in different parts of the Oromo country. The Irreecha Birra festival is celebrated in the month of September and Irreecha Arfaasaa in the month of April. Although it was a non-political festival, the irreecha was suppressed by Ethiopian regimes. Brought back to life by a struggle for cultural revival which the Oromo have waged during the last fifty, the festival is now playing a significant role in the manifestation and preservation of Oromo national identity. The festival in its traditional form is celebrated in different localities across Oromia. At the national level, it is an event that brings millions of Oromos from all over the Oromo country and non-Oromo visitors from other parts of the world to the shores of Hora (Lake) Arsadi in the city of Bishoftu in central Oromia. As such, it has no parallel in Africa. The festival is celebrated not only in Oromia, but has become an event which is observed transnationally by tens of thousands of Oromos settled in many countries around the world.

This paper aims to shed light on the role of the irreecha festival in the expression of Oromo unity and national identity. It is said that a collective identity is constructed not only in and of its present life, but also in reconstructing the collectivity’s earlier life. I will describe the role of numerous pan-Oromo socio-cultural and historical symbols and artefacts which the festival has brought to light, in awakening the Oromo sense of belonging to a community. The pan-Oromo democratic tradition is reflected in the artefacts displayed in the irreecha parade, in the blessings of elders who officiate it, in the environmental ethics articulated and in the performances of artist who entertain the celebrants.

Elements of a reviving culture packed up in a festival

In the pre-colonial past, the IrreechaBirra marked the end of the rainy season and the beginning of harvest season. It is an Oromo custom to gather on the river banks and the shores of lakes and give thanks to Waaqa (God) for all his bounty and pray for Nagaa (peace) and Araara (reconciliation) among humans and with God. Today, the festival has come to mark the end of the rainy season, and more. It marks the end of the cultural trauma which had affected the Oromo for about a century. It heralds and confirms that the time when the Oromo culture was seen as “pagan and primitive” is gone for good. It denotes victory over a history of cultural denigration.

The elders of the nation, their counsel and benediction

Like in the past, the haayyuu (elders, wisemen, the learned – both singular and plural) thank God and bless the nation as their ancestors did. They bless the nation; they remind their audience to uphold the Oromo ethics of safuu and nagaa (respect and peace), reconcile among themselves and pray to God to reconcile with them.  Although many of the Oromo concepts, vocabulary and semantics thehaayyuu use are archaic, the meanings of their blessing and sagacious counsel are comprehensible to their audience. The following is a rough translation of an excerpt from the counsel and blessing of a haayyuu who officiated an irreecha festival outside the city of Naqamtee in 2013.

Shall evil have no place amongst you?
Shall hate have no place amongst you?
Shall truth find you?
Is this your testimony before God?
Let peace be among all!
Let peace be among adults!
Let peace be among the youth!
Let peace be with the livestock!

He reminded the participants the connection that the occasion has with the Oromo heritage and counsels and commands them to confirm the authenticity of the occasion. He asked them whether spirit of the celebration is aligned with the spirit of Oromo traditions as reflected in the laws of the five major Odaas: Odaa Nabee (in central Oromia), Odaa Bisil (in western Oromia), Odaa Bulluq (in north-western Oromia), Odaa Roobaa (in south-eastern Oromia) and Odaa Bultum (in eastern Oromia). He asked them whether the traditions of Madda Walaabuu are respected. The five Odaaswere centers of the ancient gadaa republics where the Oromo met and elected their leaders and reviewed their laws and made new ones every eight years according to the constitution of the nation, and Madda Walaabuu was the seat of Abba Muuda, the high priest of traditional Oromo religion Waaqefannaa. The response of the celebrants is in the affirmative. This was followed by another moment of blessing which, roughly translated, said the following

You shall not conspire against one another
You shall not betray one another
Let God be at peace with you
Let the Earth be at peace with you

The significance of this ritual is not that the counsel of the haayyuu is translated into action, but the historical and cultural knowledge it conveys and the consciousness it raises in the minds of the audience. The past is memorized and communicated not only by the haayyuu but is also stored and reflected in the array of artefacts and costumes that decorate the irreecha parade. Combined with sagacious words of the haayyuu, the rich symbols of the Oromo gadaa culture – that attire the multitude who march in total harmony – reveal the dignity and pride with which the Oromo nation is re-asserting its culture and identity.

The poetic interpretations of artists

The collective memories of the nation, preserved in the ritual and symbols, then expressed in the words of the haayyuu, are supplemented by young artists who herald the revival of their heritage with songs and dances. Some of songs such as Galaanee Bulbulaa’s “Kottaa ni hirreefannaa, aadaa bade deeffannaa” which means (“Come let us celebrate Thanksgiving; Let us revive our banned culture”, Giftii Dhadhii’s Oromoon seera qabaa (“The Oromo have laws”), Abdoo Badhaasoo’s Irreecha irreeffanna (“We will celebrate Thanksgiving”), Gaaddisee Shamsadin’s Beenu Oromia, irreechi irree keenya (“Go on Oromia, irreecha is our power”) and Amartii Waarii’s Kottaa ni kabajna kuni aadaa keenyaa (“Come, let us celebrate our culture”), which were performed at the irreecha festivals and elsewhere, connect the Oromo present with the past. They herald the recovery, revival and survival of the Oromo culture from the destruction to which it was doomed by conquest and colonization. In short, they reflect the feelings which underpin the ongoing Oromo recovery from a century of cultural trauma. The “green” leitmotif of luxuriant vegetation and abundant water against which the artists perform, provides a symbolic connection with God and nature that suggest that the Oromo are and will be at peace, with God, and also with nature. Their lyrics imply that the earth, the forests, rivers, lakes, animals and all the other living things are both natural and divine. Their implicit message is that what hurts the eco-system hurts humans also.

The dynamics that are at work during the irreecha festivals and what the participants experience is more than what the eye can see or the ear can hear. It is a joy and sense of belonging and experience of being part of a community that cannot be expressed fully in words. It is more. What the participants experience is a resurrection of a nation and a reconstruction of collective memory through the festival and the array of artefacts it displays. The occasion creates a collective “reality” and history. This collective reality connotes a state of being of the same mind, sharing a collective memory about a shared past and, just as importantly, an aspiration for a common future. This is more than a product of individual perception or understanding. When asked by a journalist fromChina Central TV Africa (CCTV) what he was thinking about the irreecha celebration at the 2014 festival in Bishoftu, a young celebrants replied

I have don’t have a word to express what I see or feel. I believe that this is my culture and religion at the same time. This is what was forwarded to us by our ancestors; and it is what I will forward to my children.

This individual is not alone in having that “feeling” about the festival.  His feeling is shared by other Oromo participants around him and those who watch the process on TV.  They may or may not express what they see and feel with words, but most of them, share with him the experience that what they see is their culture symbolized in the festival. When human communities attach symbols to words, concepts and artefacts that signify their collective experience, they share a vision. A society cannot exist without a degree of this sort of vision shared by a majority of its members. The young respondent cited above says that what he sees is his culture and religion which was passed to him by his ancestors and which he will pass over to his children. In other words, what he sees reflects his identity and that of others around him. My point is that the irreecha festival is one of the ways in which the Oromo society “recognizes itself”, that is to say imagines, feels, experiences or knows about its own existence. As an occasion and venue for the symbolic expression of Oromo history and culture, the irreecha festival connects the Oromo to a common past through the tangible artefacts on displays in the massive parades.

It important to note here that the Oromo celebrate the irreecha irrespective of their religious backgrounds. Whether they are Waaqeffataa, Christians or Muslims they participate in the festival. The moral counsel and ideals officiated by the haayyuu do not contradict the essence of any of the three religions. In fact the haayyuu who officiate it are from all the three religions on most occasions. The festival unites the Oromo and harmonizes their thoughts and voices. It creates a “mental state” shared by the entire Oromo nation. Whether one interprets the occasion culturally or politically, the significance of the prayer, counsel and blessing of the haayyuu and the songs of the artists in raising Oromo consciousness and unifying the nation cannot be overlooked. It is important to stress, however, the fact that the aim of the counsel of the haayyuu and the songs of the artists is not to “mobilize” the participants for collective political action on the spot. The occasion is to celebrate a tradition and its revival. The traditional Oromo ethics of safuu and nagaa, or respect for and peace with God, humans and the natural world pervade the atmosphere in which the festival is conducted. As I will explain in more detail below, the tranquillity which the occasion demands is respected.

Tranquility underpinned by tension and ethically controlled anger

It is important to note here that the tranquillity that has characterized the Bishoftu irreecha parade of millions of men, women and children during the last few years is not a sign that the participants are satisfied with their situation or the status quo. The tranquility reflected in the massive annual parades should not give us the impression that Oromia is a peaceful territory and that Ethiopia is a stable polity.  In fact, the benedictions of the haayyuu who officiate the festival are often underpinned by restrained feelings of dissatisfaction. The songs of the artists who entertain the participants contain anger felt against the prevailing political conditions. During the 2014 irreechafestival, for example, the prayers of the elders were marked by a feeling of grief for the Oromo students who had been cruelly killed by the agents of the regime because they were opposing the so-called Addis Ababa Master Plan. The “crime” for which students were killed, as we all know, was participation in a peaceful protest against the eviction of the Oromo people from their land en masse. The haayyuu were not calling their audience to make war, but praying for the restoration of justice and for Oromo victory over all those who are harming or will harm them.  Concern about human rights’ violations committed by the TPLF regime was also reflected through slogans which called for “Respect to Oromo humanity and sovereignty” and “Respect Oromo Rights to their Territory” from the crowd. In short, the bright colors, the melodious songs and entertaining dances we observe in the irreecha parades do not signify Oromo satisfaction with their present situation in Ethiopia. We cannot expect a people whose youth are killed cruelly by a dictatorial regime, or, a people who are evicted from their homes and land, or, a people who are rounded up routinely and are thrown into jail en masse without the rule of law, to be satisfied. The celebrants of the irreechafestival were immensely dissatisfied with the Tigrayan regime. But, as Asmarom Legesse has remarked, “among the Oromo, war is war and peace is immensely tranquil” (see Gadaa Democracy, 2000, p. 77). The irreecha festival is an occasion that requires such tranquility. To feel anger about the injustice is normal and expected, but to express it would violate the spirit of a sacred occasion that Oromos greatly value. As a journalist from CCTV Africa who visited the festival in 2014 described it “the irreecha is a sort of family gathering.” Indeed, the festival is a sacred come-together for the different branches of the Oromo nation.  It would be considered immoral to disturb it.  However, given that the ruling Tigrayan elite are nervous about every Oromo gathering and that they have shown unprecedented impunity against the Oromo people, the possibility of interference by its security forces that can turn the tranquil “family gathering” into a bloody scene cannot be disregarded. During the last ten years the peace was disturbed by measures taken against participants of the festival: visitors were beaten, and many were imprisoned. Some of them were wounded by bullets fired by the police. During the 2010 festival 120 young participants were imprisoned accused of being “terrorists”; the gadaa cultural costume they wore was interpreted as a symbol of the Oromo Liberation Front (personal communication).  Yet the Oromo have continued to come to Lake Arsadi in an ever increasing numbers to continue with the revival of their ancient culture.

Artefacts that symbolize the “staying power of Oromo institutions”

After decades of suppression, the spontaneity with which irreecha, and other Oromo traditions, have come back to life during the last two decades has proved the resilience of Oromo culture. This shows that the majority of the Oromo people have successfully maintained a collective identity different from an identity which the Ethiopian ruling elites have been trying to impose on them in an effort to create a people with “one culture (Abyssinian), one religion (Orthodox Christianity), one language (Amharic) and one nation (Ethiopia)” out of a colonial empire.

The symbols that the irreecha festival has brought together are ancient and pan-Oromo reflecting what Asmarom Legesse has famously referred to as the “staying power” of the gadaa cultural heritage (ibid. p. 103). They symbolize justice, peace, and sovereignty which the Oromo of the gadaarepublics enjoyed in the past. In fact, the bokkuu which are carried by men and siqqee carried by women, as well as a range of other pre-colonial pan-Oromo gadaa symbols which are lined-up prominently by participants in the irreecha parade, reinforce the memories and values shared by the multitude gathered at the festival sites as well as those who are following the event in the media from afar, whether in Oromia or in the diaspora. The bokkuu and siiqqee are the symbols of the democratic ethos of the gadaa system. The bokkuu, a scepter which is carried by elderly men, is the symbol of the gadaa system, signifying both power and justice. As a symbol of gadaa democracy thesiiqqee stood for the inalienable rights of Oromo women and the inviolability of their human dignity. It is a symbol for an institution within the gadaa system. A woman is “accepted” into such an institution on her marriage day and thenceforth she is protected by it against any violation of her rights or human dignity, be it by her husband or other men.  The siiqqee entitles Oromo women to prticipate in many instances of decision making, in conflict resolution and other important matters that concern their society. The authenticity of the irreecha festival is reflected not only in the artefacts displayed in the parade or the blessings conducted by the hayyuu and songs sung by the artists, but is also in the amazing harmony which pervades the gathering of millions of people: the festival is serene; it proceeds peacefully and ends without incidents.

To go back to symbols, nations need symbols to frame their self-identification: that is symbols which help them to recognize themselves as collectivities, or that they exist as a “We”. Those who claim belongingness to such a collectivity share a culture, the elements of which are given significance in ritual practice. Thus, the array of symbols, such as the ones displayed in in the irreecha parades, constructs a narrative which holds together the imagination of a people and provides bases of harmonious thought and collective action. Nations around the world organize parades for different reasons. Some organize them to commemorate historical events such as their victories in battles or day of national independence. Others use parades to exhibit their cultural achievements or display technological progress. The irreecha festival, in the form it takes in Bishoftu today is, by and large, a national parade organized to celebrate the revival of Oromo culture. It heralds Oromo victory over ethnocide, or the attempted destruction of their culture by Ethiopian regimes. The costumes which the majority in the parade wear and the artefacts they carry reflect the culture and history which the different branches of the Oromo nation had shared and preserved. It is a history and culture which they rejoice with pride and will revive and defend.  For the Oromo people, the consequences of the Abyssinian conquest was prolonged cultural trauma. The irreecha festival heralds that the Oromo are now leaving behind that trauma.

The irreecha is taking the place of the ancient muudaa pilgrimage

What is very significant about the festival is that the multitude of men and women who converge on Bishoftu city from all over the Oromo country celebrate a culture that was denigrated, despised and suppressed for about a century. Such a massive gathering is reminiscent of another aspect of Oromo culture.  The spontaneous pan-Oromo participation in the festival suggests the manner in which the ancient pilgrimage to Abbaa Muuda was undertaken by thousands of jila (pilgrims) from the different gadaa federations. The pilgrimage to the holy muuda shrines attracted every eighth year tens of thousands of men who represented every Oromo clan from every corner of the Oromo country. Today, the irreecha festival celebrated on the shores of Lake Arsadi is playing a similar role.

The jila pilgrimage was both a religious and a political undertaking. Those who traveled on foot for months every eight years to the muuda shrines from regions which are far apart, were drawn together by a myth of origin from one ancestor, Orma. This was reinforced by a common language, a common religion through a strong attachment to their spiritual leader Abba Muuda, a common system of law, a shared attitude toward the natural world as well as their democratic character – all gave the Oromo who lived in different gadaa republics a sense of a single nation.  The muudainstitution maintained the moral unity of the Oromo nation until it was banned in 1900 by Emperor Menelik. The ban exacerbated the traumatic disruption of Oromo culture which I have mentioned above. The revival of the irreecha festival is a major step in dispelling the distortion of Oromo self-perception as a nation that was created by the disruption of conquest and colonization.

It is important to recollect here that it was the Macca Tuulama Association (MTA) that paved the way to take the Oromo nation into the present phase of their history. It is a well known fact that the activities of the MTA launched the recovery of the Oromo nation from the cultural and political traumas of conquest and colonization. It became the first forum to gather members of the Oromo branches from different parts of their country for a common purpose decades after the jilapilgrimages were banned by the imperial Ethiopian government. The MTA itself was banned by a successor of Menelik in 1968; but its work was resumed by the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) beginning in the mid-1970s. It was also by the initiative of the MTA members that the Lake Arsadiirreecha festival was revived in the mid-1990s overcoming the restrictive surveillance of the present Ethiopian regime. The MTA was banned and its leaders were imprisoned for the second time in 2004, but the irreversible work of Oromo cultural revival that had started fifty years ago has continued on a large scale as reflected in the Irreecha festival.

Although the aim of the journey taken by Oromo masses to Lake Arsadi today is not exactly the same as those which stimulated the pilgrimage to the muuda shrines in the past, the effects are similar. It brings people from every corner of the Oromo country to one place. The irreecha festivals have re-established the sense of belonging to a single nation by the different branches of the Oromo nation in the way that the jila pilgrimage did in the past.  The national consciousness created by the irreecha festival may be even deeper than the awareness that was created by the muudapilgrimages and kept the Oromo nation intact in the past. Covered by mass media which takes the festival home to millions of Oromos at home and transnationally, the annual event makes Oromo imagination of their national community more vivid, immediate and real than it had ever been in the past.

For the Oromo their land is holy to all religions

As a cultural and religious site Lake Arsadi is located in a district which, de facto, was a holy land for the Oromo. Odaa Nabee, one of the oldest and most historic and ritually significant sites of thegadaa assemblies, is located about 15 km north of the lake. Tulluu (Mount) Cuqqaalaa (Ziquala in Amharic), Tulluu Erer, Tulluu Bosati, Tulluu Furii, Tulluu Eegduu, Tuluu Foyataa, Tullu Galaan and TulluWaatoo Daalachaa which were called Saddetan Tulluu Waaqayoo (the eight mountains of God) in Oromo tradition are also located in the district within less than 30 km distance from the lake. Scholars of Oromo studies have argued that mountains were seen as ceremonial grounds in the past and that the tops of the mountains mentioned here were used for that purpose.  In fact, the shores of a crater lake on Mt. Cuqqaalaa was a site for the irreecha festival for centuries. In short, the proliferation of ritual sites indicates the importance which the region has in the religious and political lives of the Oromo.

It is well known that Abyssinian kings and Orthodox clergy built churches in the lands they conquered to serve their soldiers and settlers, and in some cases also to Christianize the conquerd peoples. It seems that the Oromo region of Ada’a in which Bishoftu city is located was given more attention in this respect than normal. The conquerors did not stop with building churches and converting the indigenous population; the intention seems to have been  Christianizing the land and changing its Oromo identity as well. Biblical names such as Debre Zeit to Bishfotu and Nazret (Nazreth) to Adama. Farther south, two islands in Lake Zway were also called Galila Daseet (Galilee Island) and Debre Sina. The change of these place names in a region which is seen as sacred by the Oromo to Semitic Biblical names is perhaps to “Semiticize and Abyssinize” the region, deny its idigenous Oromo identity and claim it as a “holy” land proclaiming that it belonged to their Christian empire since ancient times. However, the policy did not succeed; the place names were reversed back to Oromo names in the 1970s, and now the irreecha festival is reviving the cultural identity of the district. Waqeffannaa, the traditional Oromo religion, with which the irreecha is culturally aligned, is also reviving. This does not meant there is no opposition to the re-instution of the Oromo heritage.  According interviews given by Abba Abdiisaa Dhaabaa, Hunddataa Waqwayyaa and Kaasaa Balchaa to a journalist from the Oromia Media Network recently (OMN TV, September 13, 2015), the opposition of the Orthodox clergy against the Bishoftu irreecha festival is still persistent. The denigration of the Oromo religious festival has not stopped.

The opposition of the Orthodox clergy seems to be even more marked against the celebration of the Spring irreecha on the shores of the crater lake on Mount Cuqqalaa. As mentioned above, the shores of that crater lake is an ancient site where the Oromo festival was celebrated for centuries. A monastery run by Orthodox Christians had also existed since the twelvth century on the same mountain. Its clergy had co-existed with the Oromo who follow their own religious tradition and celebrated irreecha festival on the shores of the crater lake. On the part of the Oromo, who do not see the co-existence of the different religions as a problem, this is not surprising. What is remarkable is the decision of the Orthodox clergy to share the shores of a small lake for ritual purposes with a people their church considers as heathen.  According to oral tradition the remarkable co-existence was a result of an agreement made with the Oromo by a bishop who founded the monastery. The condition which forced the bishop to accept the coexistence of the two religion is not clear. Ironically, the tolerance which the Orthodox clergy have shown over the centuries has changed into irrational opposition in recent years and the co-existance between the two religious communities is distrubed. According to my informant, the Oromo have been forbidden to celebrate the irreecha festival on Mount Cuqqaalaa since 2010. It is reported that a stelae calledsida Nabee (Nabee’s statue) which stood for centuries and was associated with Oromo traditions was also destroyed recently. According to the same source, the resistance of the clergy is against the revival of the Oromo religious culture. However, given the number of people of Oromo “pilgrims” who visit the irreecha celebrations, it is plausible to suggest that the revival of Oromo religious and cultural traditions is unstoppable. Above all, based on the religious backgrounds of the millions of people who participate in the irreecha festival and the haayyyuu who officiate it, one can say that today Bishoftu is a sacred place not only for Waaqeffataa (followers of the traditional Oromo religion), but also for Christians and Muslims. That shows that in Oromia people from all religious background are welcome. But, religious fanaticism is not. It is detested.

Refutation of Oromo misrepresentations and misconceptions  

The festival refutes many of the misconceptions which are created by Ethiopianist narratives. As I have pointed out my recent book The Contours of the Ancient and Emergent Oromo Nation (see Bulcha, 2011, Chapter 8), there are Ethiopianist writers who posit that the Oromo “have never had a sense of collective identity based on popular memory,” that the Oromo have no common historical symbols that are emotionally appealing to them or which could serve as primary symbols of their national identity and that they do not have a collective consciousness “rooted in myths and symbols.” The range of pan-Oromo symbols and artefacts, which are mentioned above, refute these propositions. They contradict the argument, which says the Oromo “do not possess a sense of belonging to a single societal community who shared important past experience and a common historic destiny.” The enthusiasm with which the Oromo are reviving the irreecha shows not only the resilience of this element of their traditional culture but also the revival of Oromummaa (being Oromo) in contradiction to the imposed culture of Ethiopiyawinet (Ethiopian-ness) with unexpected speed and vibrancy. Contradicting the picture of a “chaotic” people depicted in the Ethiopianist discourse, the festival also proves that the Oromo are a people who have a culture capable of bringing together millions of men, women and children from different religious backgrounds in one place to celebrate their ancient traditions with utmost harmony and peace. The revival of theirreecha festival in such a manner and on such a scale confirms, among others, that time when the Oromo were made to feel shame about their history, culture and identity; and the time when they strived to behave like or speak the language of their conquerors in order to be taken as Ethiopians is gone.

It is also interesting to note here the profound refutation the festival offers to the Ethiopianistmisconception of Oromo history, culture and identity. It refutes the misconception that the Oromo are a mixed bag of different tribes who do not share a common past or have a collective identity. As I have discussed at length elsewhere (see above), literature on Ethiopia – still in use – asserts the ‘fragility’ of Oromo socio-cultural features in contrast to the ‘tenacity’ of Abyssinian traditions. It has been argued by Ethiopianist historians that the Oromo lack a sense of community and solidarity and possess no collective memory or corporate history. For those who will understand Oromo culture and history it suffices to watch the irreecha festival. It narrates a cultural history shared by an entire nation. It does not narrate stories about kings and emperors who conquered and subjugated other people; it mirrors a heritage that is different from the Abyssinian heritage which the Ethiopianist historiographers have in mind when they talk about peoples “who lack history”.


Given what is said about the irreecha in this article, the following can be concluded. From the historical point of view, a recent and clear manifestation of the resilience of Oromo cultural heritage is that the Oromo have, in the face of a vicious colonial repression, preserved the irreecha.  This achievement shall be added to the preservation of important aspects of the Oromo gadaa system and the traditional Oromo religion, Waaqefannaa.  Indeed, this confirms that time when the Oromo were made to feel shame about their culture is gone for good, and the time has arrived when the Oromo culture assumes the place it deserves as a noteworthy cultural heritage of Africa and a significant contribution to global culture.

Taking into account the colorful costumes of its celebrants, it is clear that the festival has brought out expressions, colors, and art forms that are uniquely Oromo but which were hidden from public sight in the past.  It is incumbent on Oromo artists, designers, scholars and organizers of festivals and Oromo events to polish and create quality out of the treasure of Oromo arts, artefacts and narratives that have been preserved by their people and are now manifested in abundance in Oromo oral literature and cultural traditions, including in the irreecha festival. In short, the festival is an occasion that can be used by the Oromo to introduce themselves and their unique African culture to the world community.

As a parting word, I would like to point out that as an event which attracts millions of participants from near and far, the Bishoftu irreecha festival is becoming a major income generating event. Unfortunately, most of the beneficiaries are not Oromo. Frantz Fanon has reminded us that the poverty of a colonized people, national oppression and the inhibition of their culture are one and the same thing (see his Wretched of the Earth). This has been the fate of the Oromo. Because of the policy of the previous Ethiopian regimes, the majority of property owners in and around the city of Bishoftu are no longer Oromo. The present regime’s land policy which is encroaching on the district and displacing the Oromo from the area and is worsening their predicament. The income generated by the lease or sale of their land to local and international contractors along with the value generated by their cultural significance is not benefiting the Oromo. For the irreecha festival to benefit them, the displacement of the Oromo should cease, and the so-called Addis Ababa Master Plan (AAMP), which is encroaching on the district from the north, should be stopped. If the Plan continues, the irreecha festival will soon end up celebrated in a territory bereft of its Oromo inhabitants and culture.


Mekuria Bulcha, PhD and Professor of Sociology, is an author of widely read books and articles. His most recent book, Contours of the Emergent and Ancient Oromo Nation, was published by CASAS (Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society), Cape Town, South Africa, in 2011. He was also the founder and publisher of The Oromo Commentary (1990-1999). He is an active member of the OLF and has served in the different branches of the national movement since the 1970s.


We continue update this page since the celebration of the blessing event takes the month

(A4O, 3 September 2015) It is with great pleasure that to invite you to the annual Irreecha Birraa festival, Oromo National Thanksgiving day, of the year on Sunday 4 October 2015.

Irreechaa 2014

Irreechaa Birraa is a celebration that repeats once in a year-in birraa and involves special activities or amusements as it has a lot of importance in our lives. It symbolizes the arrival of spring and brighten season with their vibrant green and daisy flowers.

It’s a day all Oromian’s celebrate and cherish due to our ties to our root: Oromo Identity and country. It’s a time for reflection, celebration and a good connection with our best heritage, Oromummaa.

Theme: Moving Forward: A Year of Networking 

This year’s Oromian Irreechaa Festival is going to be bigger and better than ever, with a whole theme park devoted to diverse Oromian cultural Identity. The theme of this national Thanksgiving Day is “Moving Forward: A Year of Networking ” in which it aims to celebrate Irreechaa festivals as a medium for bringing all Oromias together to follow and promote our tradition and religion in society, to create public awareness where Oromo cultural and religious issues will be discussed, to provide a better understanding of Oromo culture and history, to pave the way for promotion of the Oromo culture, history and lifestyle and to celebrate  Oromo Irreechaa, a national Thanksgiving Day.

We celebrate Irreechaa to thank Waaqaa for the blessings and mercies we have received throughout the past year at the sacred grounds of Hora Harsadi (Lake Harsadi), Bishoftu, Oromia. The Irreechaa festival is celebrated every year at the beginning of Birraa (the sunny new season after the dark, rainy winter season) throughout Oromia and around the world where Diaspora Oromos live.

We celebrate Irreechaa not only to thank Waaqaa (God) also to welcome the new season of plentiful harvests after the dark and rainy winter season associated with nature and creature. On Irreechaa festivals, friends, family, and relatives gather together and celebrate with joy and happiness. Irreechaa Festivals bring people closer to each other and make social bonds.

OromiyaaIrreecha2014_8Moreover, we are celebrating this auspicious event to mark the end of rainy season[1], known as Birraa, was established by Oromo forefathers, in the time of Gadaa Melbaa[2] in Mormor, Oromia. The auspicious day on which this last Mormor[3] Day of Gadaa Belbaa[4]-the Dark Time of starvation and hunger- was established on the 1st Sunday of last week of September or the 1stSunday of the 1st week of October according to the Gadaa lunar calendar ‐‐ has been designated as our National Thanksgiving Day by modern‐day Oromo people.    Oromo communities both at home and abroad celebrate this National Thanksgiving Day every year.

Irreechaa as a medium for bringing all Oromias together

The Oromian Irreechaa Festival will not only serve as a medium for bringing all Oromias together, from all its diasporas, as one voice, but will also focus on promoting and enhancing Oromummaa in freedom struggle, tourism, arts and crafts, business, restaurants and hospitality, and entertainment. Moreover as a moving and flourishing heritage, Irreechaa also connects our Oromo identity with the global civilization in which the industrial and manufacturing sectors of heavy and light machinery of natural resources and raw materials.

During the event, we will be serving with Oromo foods and featuring with traditional dances by Oromo children, youth and dance troupes. Irreechaa is about a lot more than just putting on shows, it encourages engagement and participation from everyone in the greater community across our great city, country and the globe.

Please join and experience  Oromo culture.

[1] Rainy season symbolized as a dark, disunity and challenging time in Oromia.

[2] Gadaa Melbaa was established before 6400 years ago at Odaa Mormor, North-west Oromia.

[3] Mormor in Oromo means division, disunity, chaos.

[4] Gadaa Belbaa is the end time of starvation.

Irreecha Birraa 2015,   Oromo Thankisgiving, Toronto,   September 6, 2015

September 6, 2015

Canada Irreecha,

4745 Country Lane
Whitby, Ontario Canada

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Irreecha Birraa 2015, Oromo Thankisgiving, FrankFurt,  19 September 2015

– Waamicha Qophii Ayyaana Irreechaa Malkaa Kan Bara 2015: Waldaa Hawaasa Oromoo Awuroopaa (WHOA)/ Oromo Community Association In Europe (OCAE) e.V. (Inc.)

September 19, 2015


Am Römerhof 15, 60486
Frankfurt, Hesse Germ

Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa) 2015 | Oromo Thanksgiving | Oslo/Norway | Sept. 26, 2015 – Qophii Ayyaan Irreechaa Osloo/Noorwee, Fulbaana 26 bara 2015

September 26, 2015


Kristoffer Robins Vei 2 (Smedstua)
Oslo, Oslo Norway

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Ayyaan irreechaa kan baranaa Fulbaana (September) 26 bara 2015 biyya Norway, magaalaa Oslo, bakka hora Sognsvann jedhamutti waaree dura sa’ati 11:30 irraa eegalee kabajama. Ilmaan oromoo kannen dhihoo fi fagoo jiraattan hundi jila dudhaa ganamaa kana irratti uffata aadaatiin of miidhagsitanii akka ayyaana kana irratti hirmaattan kabajaa guddaa wajjiin sin afeerra. Malkaa jilaa dhufuudhaaf, baabura lafa jalaa (Metro) laakkofsa3 (Sognsvann) gara kallattii lixaa deemu(west bound) yaabbadhaa; buufatni isaa kan maayyii Sognsvann suduudaan isin fida. Erga qophiin irreechaa raawwatee booda qophii…

Erga qophiin irreechaa raawwatee booda qophii bashannanaa sa’aa 18:00 irraa eegalee qabna. Halkan guutuu waliin taphataa bulla.

Bakki qophiin bohaarsaa itti dhihaatu:
Kristoffer Robins Vei 2 (Smedstua)
0978 Oslo

Bakka kana dhufuuf, magaala /Oslo S irraa baabura gara Lillestrøm deemuu qabattanii bakka Haugenstuastasjon jedhutti irraa bu’uun bakka Smedstua jedhu yoo iyyaafattani salphaatti achi geessu. Ykn Stovner Senter irraa bus 65 yoo qabattanii bakka Smedstua jedhutti irraa buutani, bakki qophichaa cinaadhuma sanatti argama.

Odeessii dabalataa yoo barbaaddan yookiin gaaffii yoo qabaattan bilbila harkaa laakkofsa
+47 951 88 081 / + 47 911 85 127 / nuu qunnamaa.

Ana haadhufu!

Gadaan roobaa fi gabbina!

Koree Qindeessituu

Irreecha Birraa 2015 | Oromo Thanksgiving | Calgary/AB | Sept. 26, 2015
Edworthy Park,
5050 Spruce Dr SW
Calgary, AB Canada

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Also: After Irreecha Concert at 8pm

Irreecha Birraa 2015 | Oromo Thanksgiving | DC-Maryland-Virginia | Sept. 26 2015 – Kabajaa Ayyaana Gubaa fi Irreecha

September 26, 2015September 27, 2015

Gubaa + Irreecha,

4903 Sheridan Street
Riverdale, MD United States

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London: Oromo Community in UK: Baga jalbultii guyyaa Ayyaana Irreessaa nagaan geessan!! Ayyaanni Irreessaa Fulbaana (Sep) 26, 2015 London keessatti sirna ho’aan kabajamuuf: Irreecha – London, England – Sept. 26, 2015

Lausanne/Switzerland | Sept. 26, 2015 | Irreecha Birraa | Oromo Thanksgiving – WAAMICHA KABAJA IRREECHA 2015 SWITZERLAND

Gumiin Abbootii Gadaa Oromoo guyyaa Irreecha Malkaa kan Bara 6409 (ALO) ifa taasisee jira. Irreechi (Irreessi) Bishooftuu, Hora Hrasadiitti waggaa waggaan kabajamu, Onkolooleessa 4 Bara 2015 (Fuulbaana 23 Bara 2008 A.L.H tti) akka kabajamu Uummataaf ibsi kennameera.


Why Namibia doesn’t want to be called an upper middle income country July 16, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Development, Development & Change, Namibia, Theory of Development.
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Grand developmentalism: MDGs and SDGs in Sub-Saharan Africa June 3, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Development & Change, Development Studies, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Poverty, UN's New Sustainable Development Goals.
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“Development should be all about satisfying the needs of the people and improving their livelihood patterns. Development should be what the people actually want or need, and not what national governments or global institutions think that the people need or want. The MDGs – as aresult of modernization and neo-liberal ideologies – were articulated and presented by the international agencies as “real development’’ or as legitimate solutions to the development problems of people in the respective countries of the Global South. But in reality, they did not capture the priorities and problems facing the people in those contexts. The issue of sustainability is embedded in what people actually want and people are at the centre of sustainable development. The authors of the MDGs do not find out what the people really want – instead, they designed and formulated the goals on different assumptions, thus reinforcing the existing power relations in the global structure of power.”

“The argument that the Global South is facing problems of development may be generally true, but the problems are not actually defined and understood within the context of situations and everyday realities in the respective countries. It is thus important not to make general statements of development, but to concretise them in relation to the contexts and settings where they are to be applied. Both the MDGs and the SDGs, as general or universal frameworks for global development practice, fail to acknowledge how this general problem finds its expression in the concerned countries.”


“…An independent development commission should be inaugurated by the United Nations General Assembly in each country that is signatory to the post-2015 development agenda. The commission should be allowed to perform its responsibilities independently without undue interference from national governments and international institutions. The composition of the commission should include: local activists and NGOs, a national government official, local academics, development experts, a UNDP official and a representative of global financial institutions. The commission should be saddled with matter relating with global development financing, fund disbursement, monitoring, evaluation and implementation of development projects. The commission must also ensure that funds are channelled to approved projects, projects are executed according to approved standards and reflect the real costs of the projects. In evaluating the projects, the commission should develop its own yardstick for measuring whether targets and indicators outlined to actualise (a) particular goal(s) are achieved or not. This will help to checkmate the griming reality of weak state institutions, corruption and mismanagement that undermined the performance of the MDGs especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.” – A. Bayo Ogunrotifa, Pambazuka  News,    Issue 728


Grand developmentalism: MDGs and SDGs in Sub-Saharan Africa

A. Bayo Ogunrotifa*, Pambazuka  News, Issue 728


At the dawn of the twenty-first century, international development efforts have been coalesced around the framework of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs are a set of ambitious goals and national targets put forward and ratified by the United Nations General Assembly in 2000 to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger – however, a significant progress towards reaching the targets has been notably achieved or deemed successful in some countries but in others, especially in sub-Sahara Africa, the progress has been marginal or deemed unsuccessful. A variety of factors has been attributed to this failure: over-ambitious goals themselves and unrealistic expectations (Clemens & Moss 2005); aid dependence over growth and self-reliance (Manning 2010); lack of ownership and commitment (Amin 2006; Ogunrotifa 2012); limited state capacities and governance incapabilities (Mishra 2004; Oya 2011); non-emphasis on sustainable development (Sachs 2012); evaluation and implementation problems (Fukuda-Parr & Greenstein); and the failure to take into account different national realities, capacities and development levels (Rippin 2013).

The outlined factors are just symptoms and not the real issue that undermine the achievement of the MDGs in Africa. The fundamental trouble associated with the MDGs is the way in which goals, targets and indicators articulated in the programme of the MDGs are conceived, defined and formulated, which are in sharp contrast to the real world situation and do not reflect the true picture of what is on ground in Africa. This is regarded as ‘’grand developmentalism’’—the general and narrow way in which development issues are defined and problematized takes priority over questions posed by the empirical world.

This has important implications on international discussions on the post-2015 development agenda that emphasises the incorporation of visionary indigenous and independent development paths and ideas on the successor agenda to the expiring MDGs (the post-2015 development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs) that is currently in discussion.


The term ‘grand developmentalism’ was coined from the notion of conceptual fetishism articulated by C. Wright Mills in his treatise on sociological imagination (1959). Mills argues that abstracted empiricism loses its grip on social reality by prioritising methods rather than the problems of the empirical world. Mills posits that grand theory engages in a fetishization of abstract concepts in place of genuine and substantive problems of the empirical world.

In other words, it is the concepts rather than the actual problems that are of paramount importance to grand theorists. However, grand theory is particularly relevant to this paper because of its engagement with development discourse. Grand developmentalism is the dialectical engagement of grand theory but goes beyond the remit of the later. In grand developmentalism, development issues are problematized on the basis of narrow or general definition without adequate empirical grounding, such that the conceptual frames and schemes are created on the basis of a narrow problem definition. If the problem definition is flawed, the conceptual schemes, variables and methodology to interrogate the issue and arrive at workable solutions, will also be flawed, while the evaluation and implementation process will be problematic.

Development I define in this paper as solving the social problems of the people (citizens) in socio-culturally appropriate and locally sustainable ways, as they [problems] are experienced, perceived and understood by the people. This definition is in sharp contrast to the western-centric development paradigm that conceived the global north as ‘’developed’’ and the Global South as “underdeveloped’’ and that the latter needs to be more modern and develop by catching up with the former. International agencies (as appendages of the western imperialistic establishment) reinforce this development paradigm by ensuring that they control the aspirations of the Global South, and redefine their problems, priorities and realities in a way that has nothing to do with the actual situations.

Grand developmentalism lost all contact with the social, cultural and historical dimension of development of the societies it purports to offer solutions because it works at a high level of generality and superficiality. Given the degree of generality in its problem definition, grand developmentalism creates concepts that are suitable to the narrowly defined problem, whereas concepts should have been derived from the empirical world. This therefore negates the contextual and specific problem of development it seeks to analyse and proffer solutions.


The Millennium Development Goals are an outcome of the United Nations Millennium summit held in the year 2000. The origin of the MDGs goes back much further in time, and some of the most important components will be discussed in this paper. In fact, it is important to strip the MDGs naked in order to flesh out their basis, compositions and essentials. The MDGs comprise of 8 goals, 18 targets and 48 indicators. The goals and targets have been set (mostly) for 2015, using 1990 as a benchmark or baseline. They evolve out of the ‘resolutions of 23 international conferences and summits held between 1990 and 2005’ (Rippin 2013). They are clearly worked out by an ‘’Inter-agency and Expert Group on the Millennium Development Goal Indicators (IAEG), consisting of experts from the DAC, World Bank, IMF and UNDP’’ (Manning 2009; c.f. Hulme 2009; Hulme 2010). The development as understood in the MDGs is a reflection of neo-liberalism and a modernisation approach that seeks to reinforce the hegemony of the Western economic model in the Global South, and strengthen their mainstream development discourse. The 8 goals, 18 targets and 48 indicators articulated in the MDGs programme are quantitative in nature, design and outlook. They are designed to be evaluated and measured in a statistical format[1] .

The most obvious shortcomings associated with the quantitative approach are that they do not reveal the real life situations or subjective dimension of the life world of the people, context and settings under study. These goals, targets and indicators are the perfect example and reflections of grand developmentalism as they imply that development “research starts with a concern for numbers or measurement, which it elevates over the specific qualities of the empirical world it is attempting to analyse’’ (Gane 2012: 154). Technocrats of the respective agencies are unduly rigid towards the use of quantitative methodology and techniques – which is not wrong in itself, but in this case implies the impositions of quantitative techniques on all aspects and dimensions of development issues and problems regardless of the specific contexts and demands of the empirical world. The sort of difficulties inherent in the MDGs stemmed from the philosophical and methodological foundations that underpin the conception of the programme itself. The MDGs as a form of grand developmentalism can be expressed exemplary in the following ways:


The targets and indicators used to define, measure and tackle poverty and hunger obscure the nature of reality or real life experience of poverty in developing countries. Questions that need to be asked instead are: what are the natures of poverty in different countries of the Global South (but also Global North)? Is the poverty situation in Nigeria the same as the nature and level of poverty in Bangladesh and Vietnam? How is poverty seen and defined by the people in developing countries? What are policies that generate and engender poverty? Does the poverty situation transcend the global yardstick of US$1 per day [1993 Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)], or rather, what are the cultural, social, historical and moral dimensions of poverty? The established targets of reducing by half the proportion of people whose income is less than US$1 a day and the proportion of people who suffer from hunger is a one-size-fit-all yardstick that cannot adequately measure poverty and hunger. This is a danger of grand developmentalism.


The issue of gender and women empowerment features prominently in the third goal of the MDGs, and this intersects with primary education with respect to equality between boys and girls in terms of primary school enrolment. However, it is unclear what forms and shape gender takes in developing countries as far as the MDGs are concerned. Inability to understand how gender is entrenched and shapes the everyday lives of people in different places will affect efforts being made to address gender inequality in access to education and women empowerment. The MDGs failed to adequately capture the social, cultural and historical contexts that underpinned and shaped gender in developing countries; and the sorts of cultural beliefs and practices that promote gender inequality in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). In fact, without delving into the questions of what sorts of cultural practices inhibit girls’ education and what forms of national policies promote gender inequality in education enrolment and attainment, achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment will remain unrealistic and vague.


The most important targets to achieve environmental sustainability—which is the seventh goal of the MDGs—is to integrate the principles of sustainable development into national and global policies; reduce-by-half the proportion of people who have no access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation; and to improve the living conditions of slum dwellers. The indicators to achieve these targets seemed unrealistic and unworkable. This stems from the fact that the MDGs did not take into consideration the low level of industrialisation, the contribution of carbon emission to global carbon emission, and the policies and programmes that undermine the sustainable provision of clean drinking water in the Global South. The complexities inherent in the local realities of environmental sustainability make the targets and indicators impracticable. Furthermore, it is problematic that the western world, which is entirely responsible for the environmental problems the Global South is facing, is not mentioned in this goal and, even more remarkable, is not even asked to reduce their emissions or to make drinking water available by not letting firms like Nestlé etc. privatise the drinking water of the world! As a form of grand developmentalism, the issue posed by environmental sustainability in the MDGs did not address the nature of capitalistic policies that promote environmental problems in the Global South. This indicates that the important targets responsible for environmental problems in the Global South as far as the MDGs are concerned are neglected while unrealistic targets are put forward.


The implementation of programmes and projects required a guaranteed financial war chest to achieve its overall targets and objectives. Yet, as far as the MDGs are concerned, there is no guaranteed financial outlay or specialised savings and international gold reserve for their attainment. The means to finance MDG measures are based on financial pledges and commitments from the Global North. The financial commitment from developed countries is premised on the condition that recipient countries must operate openly and non-discriminatory towards the global trading and financial system. This is meant by the “global partnership for development’’. Basically, it determines that poorer countries must be part of a neo-liberal system that requires recipient countries to open their markets for all goods from the North before they can receive Official Development Assistance (ODA), aid and grants, and debt relief from the latter. This is not only problematic because donor countries may experience financial crises and economic recession and may not be able to fulfil their financial commitment and pledges. It may render aid dependent relationships futile and put the attainment of the MDGs into serious challenges. As the source of financing is not based on the size of the economies and the GDP of the respective LDCs but depends on foreign aid as the main source of financing, there is no independent financial pathway for developing countries to achieve the MDGs other than ODA, debt relief, aid and grants articulated in the eighth goal.


The millennium declaration that paves way for the endorsement of the MDGs in the global space was made in 2000 while the benchmark of its implementation was backdated to 1990. Technically, there was a period of 15 years to implement the MDGs across different societies in the LDCs. But it is unclear how the MDGs would be implemented in the Global South within the said period. Are the MDGs producing the intended effect? Are there targets set for each year? How are the targets going to be achieved? How much does it cost to achieve the targets? Whose agencies or institutions are saddled with the responsibility of monitoring, evaluating and implementing the MDGs? Do beneficiaries of development projects talk back about the effects of the projects? When they do, are their voices reflected as ‘’native’’ point of view or disciplined and translated to institutional points of view?

While in some settings in the Global South, measurement, evaluation and implementation are being taken seriously inability to take these questions in some settings into consideration constitutes a problem for measuring the progress and performance of the MDGs’ progress such that “even in the case of countries with a perceptible acceleration of progress consideration doubt has been raised whether this acceleration is the result of real national commitment or rather an effort of ‘speaking the language’ in order to secure donors’ support’’ (Rippin 2013: 19). This problem of evaluation and implementation makes the MDGs a form of grand developmentalism.


The third critique is the huge sustainability deficit inherent in the MDGs. Development should be all about satisfying the needs of the people and improving their livelihood patterns. Development should be what the people actually want or need, and not what national governments or global institutions think that the people need or want. The MDGs – as aresult of modernization and neo-liberal ideologies – were articulated and presented by the international agencies as “real development’’ or as legitimate solutions to the development problems of people in the respective countries of the Global South. But in reality, they did not capture the priorities and problems facing the people in those contexts. The issue of sustainability is embedded in what people actually want and people are at the centre of sustainable development. The authors of the MDGs do not find out what the people really want – instead, they designed and formulated the goals on different assumptions, thus reinforcing the existing power relations in the global structure of power. Sustainability here is linked significantly to ownership, participation and power-relations. The centrality of sustainable development indicates that people’s ownership and participation in the development conception and design will promote the sustainability of such project. I believe that people protect and sustain development projects that emanate from them and address their needs and wishes. The MDGs are suffering from sustainable deficits because there is no provision for how the projects would be sustained by the people who are the end-users.


The UN and other international (development) agencies are currently working on post-2015 development agenda. Following the UN conference in Rio de Janeiro (2012), an Open Working Group was established to develop a set of sustainable development goals that will be part ofthe UN development agenda beyond 2015.[2]

From the outline of the SDG proposal, it is already clear that the basic premise underlying development is still unchanged. The development paradigm is still a top-down approach; implying that the Global South is incapable of facilitating its own development without external assistance and seeks to foster aid-dependent relationships. The SDG proposal implies the notion that the respective countries of the Global South are incapable of driving and engendering their own developmental initiatives. The SDG proposal as a development programme is founded on the basis of modernisation and neo-liberal approaches whose rendition serves as the prism that shapes the orientation and mandate of international agencies towards acting as a sole repository of ‘legitimate’ development solutions that will ensure that development in the Global South is fast-tracked to the pace of development in the global north without having to undergo latter’s historical circumstances and processes. This imposition of development strategies and ideas on the Global South is the basis of grand developmentalism as people in the Global South are not allowed to control their development destiny and define their problems and priorities in relations to their respective local realities. This inhibits the ability of the Global South to develop according to their own pace, capacities and realities.

What is questionable in the proposal is how different national priorities and realities are taken into consideration. The SDGs set global targets for measuring development, with the authors of the SDGs assuming that those goals and targets are the legitimate solutions to development problems faced by the respective countries in the Global South, which they will not object to. What will be problematic in the proposed SDGs is that the definition of development problems and priorities will be put together in some capital city of the Global South where “policy is thus bureaucratised and depoliticised through ‘commonsense’’ practices such as planning and strategies” (Escobar 1991: 667) which are exogenous to social and political situations or been derived vis-à-vis grassroots movements.

Third, the SDGs are the rehash of the MDGs in terms of financing. Huge development projects and programmes implicit in the SDGs require guaranteed levels of financing for them to be executed and implemented. So far, it is not clear at all how guaranteed financial outlay or specialised savings and international gold reserve for the attainment of the SDGs are spelt out – and whether the third conference on financing for development in July 2015[3] will see an end to this.

Finally, the notion of ‘’sustainability’’ in the SDGs document is vague. What sorts of social relations to the grassroots are involved in the design, planning and implementation of development projects? What forms of power do the SDGs foster or undermine? The fundamental crux of the proposed SDGs is that international agencies’ notion of development articulated in the document prioritised and privileged bureaucratic and institutional definition of the problem rather than the actual problems obtained in local contexts. Sustainability in the SDG case is non-existent because people in the Global South are not the driver nor are they at the centre of such sustainable development initiatives, and as such, they are incapable of sustaining development projects that are not of their own making.


The argument that the Global South is facing problems of development may be generally true, but the problems are not actually defined and understood within the context of situations and everyday realities in the respective countries. It is thus important not to make general statements of development, but to concretise them in relation to the contexts and settings where they are to be applied. Both the MDGs and the SDGs, as general or universal frameworks for global development practice, fail to acknowledge how this general problem finds its expression in the concerned countries.

As far as the discussion on the post-2015 development agenda is concerned, a participatory process must urgently be facilitated. It must start from grassroots development research where local activists, anthropologists, sociologists and NGOs are engaged with a view to mapping out the real development problems faced by the people and identify sustainable solutions to them. The participatory process should proceed towards national consultations where policy makers, economists, and development experts are engaged in debates, deliberations and discussions about the findings of grassroots development research. Through this participatory medium, national capacity, the characteristics of the economy (i.e. GDP), and a country’s financial state would have to be taken into consideration and formulated into national priorities, targets and indicators for achieving national development goals. Thereafter, a thematic consultation between the national governments and global institutions should be facilitated. This would ensure that important national development issues with differentiated targets that reflect a universal goal framework are derived in a participatory process.

Secondly, an independent development commission should be inaugurated by the United Nations General Assembly in each country that is signatory to the post-2015 development agenda. The commission should be allowed to perform its responsibilities independently without undue interference from national governments and international institutions. The composition of the commission should include: local activists and NGOs, a national government official, local academics, development experts, a UNDP official and a representative of global financial institutions. The commission should be saddled with matter relating with global development financing, fund disbursement, monitoring, evaluation and implementation of development projects. The commission must also ensure that funds are channelled to approved projects, projects are executed according to approved standards and reflect the real costs of the projects. In evaluating the projects, the commission should develop its own yardstick for measuring whether targets and indicators outlined to actualise (a) particular goal(s) are achieved or not. This will help to checkmate the griming reality of weak state institutions, corruption and mismanagement that undermined the performance of the MDGs especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Finally, a fundamental re-examination of global development financing from aid dependent relationship (over-reliance on ODA as enshrined in the MDGs) to available domestic fiscal affordability is needed. This will help to create independent financial pathways for LDCs to achieve the development goals at their own pace and level of development. Rather than relying on donor’s agencies and international institutions in implementing all development goals and targets, the financial gap between country’s fiscal capabilities and national priorities has to be plugged through debt relief, ODA and financial aid from international institutions.

Conclusively, the ideas and practices of global sustainable development that would come after 2015 should be developed in relation to the complexities of development issues in the LDCs and not on abstract agendas and strategies that are constituted in a universalistic frame. This will incorporate the perspectives of the North and the Global South in the participatory process of drawing up a new agenda that will reflect a win-win situation where strategic ‘’engagement of local mobilization with global discourses, and of local discourses with the global structure of power’’ as Cooper (1997: 85) brilliantly captured, are entrenched.
* A. Bayo Ogunrotifa teaches at the University of Edinburgh, UK.


1. Amin, S. (2006): “The Millennium Development Goals: A Critique from the South.” Monthly Review, March 2006, accessed January 6, 2015,
2. Clemens, M. & Moss, T. (2005): What’s Wrong with the Millennium Development Goals? CGD Working Paper. Accessible at
3. Clemens, M.A., Kenny, C.J & Moss, T.J. (2007): ‘The Trouble with the MDGs: Confronting Expectations of Aid and Development Success’.World Development, 35 (5): 735–751,
4. Cooper, F. (1997): Modernizing Bureaucrats, Backwards Africans, and the Development Concept in Cooper, F. & Packard, R. (eds) International development and the Social Sciences: Essays on the History and Politics of Knowledge. Berkeley: University of California Press.
5. Escobar, A. (1991): Anthropology and the Development Encounter.The Making and Marketing of Development Anthropology. American Ethnologist, Vol. 18 (4): 658-682.
6. Fukuda-Parr, S. & Greenstein, J. (2010): How should MDG implementation be measured: faster progress or meeting targets? Centre for inclusive growth working paper 63. Accessible at
7. Gane, N. (2012) ‘Measure, value and the current crisis of sociology’. The Sociological Review, 59(S2) 151-173.
8. Hulme, D. (2009): The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): a short history of the world’s biggest promise, BWPI Working Paper 100, 2009
9. Hulme, D. (2010): Lessons from the making of the MDGs: human development meets results-based management in an unfair world, IDS Bulletin 41(1), 15-25
10. Manning, R. (2009): Using indicators to encourage development: lessons from the Millennium Development Goals, DIIS Report
11. Mills, C.W. (1959): The Sociological Imagination. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
12. Mishra, U. (2004): Millennium development goals: whose goals and for whom? BMJ. Sep 25, 2004; 329(7468): 742
13. Ogunrotifa A.B. (2012): ‘Millennium Development Goals in sub-Saharan Africa: A critical assessment’. Radix International Journal of Research in Social Science, 1(10): 1-22
14. Ojogwu, C.N (2009): The challenges of Attaining Millennium Development Goals In Education in Africa, College Student Journal.
15. Oya, C. (2011): Africa and the millennium development goals (MDGs): What’s right, what’s wrong and what’s missing. Revista De Economia Mundial, 27, 19–33. Retrieved from http://www.semwes.or
16. Rippin, N. (2013): Progress, Prospects and Lessons from the MDGs. Background research paper submitted to High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Accessible at…/Rippin_Progress-Prospects-and-Lessons-from-t..
17. Sachs, J. D. (2012): From millennium development goals to sustainable development goals.Lancet, 379, 2206–2211.
18. Sahn, D.E and Stifel, D.C. (2003): Progress towards the Millennium Development Goals in Africa. World Development, 31 (1): 23-52.
19. Sumner, A., Lawo, T. (2010): The MDGs and beyond: pro-poor policy in a changing world, EADI Policy Paper
20. UNDP (2003): Indicators for monitoring the MDGs. Accessible



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Ethiopia among the 10 poorest performers in the World Economic Forum Report for Human Capital May 18, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Developed country, Development & Change, Economics, Ethiopia the least competitive in the Global Competitiveness Index.
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???????????Ethiopia is the one of the lowest in social Progress 2015

Ethiopia Ranks 115 out of 124 countries in Human Capital Index 2015 Rank

Ethiopia  ranks at 115 out of 124 countries in the ‘Human Capital Index’ because of its poor performance on educational outcomes, says the Human Capital Report 2015 issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The index is dominated by European countries with two countries from the Asia and Pacific region and one from the North America region also making it into the top 10.

Finland topped the ranking of the Human Capital Index in 2015, scoring 86% of its human capital, followed by Norway, Switzerland, Canada and Japan.

Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Belgium also seized the places in the top 10 list. Ethiopia scored 50.25 out of 100.

The leaders of the index are high-income economies that have placed importance on high educational attainment and a correspondingly large share of high-skilled employment.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) released the Human Capital Report 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland on Thursday 14 May 2015.

The WEF prepared the report in collaboration with Mercer, an American global human resource and related financial services consulting firm.

The report elaborates the status of different countries across the world on the Human Capital Index and provides key inputs for policy makers to augment capacities of human capital in 124 countries it has surveyed.

In the index, WEF highlighted Ethiopia’s scarcity of skilled employees, poor ability to nurture talent through educating, training and employing its people.

“Talent, not capital, will be the key factor linking innovation, competitiveness and growth in the 21st century,” said WEF Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab releasing the report at a news conference in Cologny, near Geneva, Switzerland.

In sub-Saharan Africa, Mauritius (72) holds the highest position in the region. While another six countries rank between 80 and 100, another 17 countries from Africa rank below 100 in the index. South Africa is in 92nd place and Kenya at 101. The region’s most populous country, Nigeria (120) is among the bottom three in the region, while the second most populous country, Ethiopia, is in 115th place. With the exception of the top-ranked country, the region is characterized by chronically low investment in education and learning.

Human Capital Index 2015 regional Ranks

Except Yemen (40.7) all the 10 poorest performers are African Countries: Ethiopia (50.25),  Burkina Faso (49.22),  Ivory Coast ( 49.02),  Mali (48.51), Guinea (48.25),  Nigeria (48.43),  Burundi (46.76),  Mauritania (42.29) and  Chad (41.1).

The countries are ranked on the basis of 46 indicators that track “how well countries are developing and deploying their human capital focusing on education, skills and employment”.

 The index takes a life-course approach to human capital, evaluating the levels of education, skills and employment available to people in five distinct age groups, starting from under 15 years to over 65 years. The aim is to assess the outcome of past and present investments in human capital and offer insight into what a country’s talent base will look like in the future.


Human decision making and development policy: “Mind, Society, and Behavior” as explored in World Development Report 2015 December 9, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Development & Change, Economics, World Bank, World Development Report 2015.
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For the purpose of  development policy, the report explores  three principles of human decision making: thinking automatically, thinking socially, and thinking with mental models.

World Development Report 2015 explores “Mind, Society, and Behavior”

  • The WDR 2015 holds new insights on how people make decisions; it provides a framework to help development practitioners and governments apply these insights to development policy.
  • Research in the WDR suggests that poverty constitutes a cognitive tax that makes it hard for poor people to think deliberatively, especially in times of hardship or stress.
  • When used with existing policy approaches, new tools ranging from simple, low-cost changes such as better framing of messages and changing the timing of aid, can significantly improve outcomes.
 Real people are rarely as coherent, forward-looking, strategic or selfish as typically assumed in standard economic models—they sometimes do not pursue their own interests, and can be unexpectedly generous. Such dynamics should be factored more carefully into development policies, a point made in the World Development Report 2015: Mind, Society, and Behavior.
The newly launched report argues that development policies based on new insights into how people actually think and make decisions will help governments and civil society more readily tackle such challenges as increasing productivity, breaking the cycle of poverty from one generation to the next, and acting on climate change. Drawing from a wealth of research that suggests ways of diagnosing and solving the psychological and social constraints to development, the WDR identifies new policy tools that complement standard economic instruments. For instance, an experiment in Colombia modified a cash transfer program by automatically saving a part of the funds on behalf of beneficiaries, and then disbursing them as lump a sum at the time when decisions about school enrollment for the next year were being made. This tweak in timing resulted in increased enrollments for the following year. “Marketers and politicians have long understood the role of psychology and social preferences in driving individual choice,” said Kaushik Basu, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank, “This Report distills new and growing scientific evidence on this broader understanding of human behavior so that it can be used to promote development. Standard economic policies are effective only after the right cognitive propensities and social norms are in place. As such, this WDR can play a major role in enhancing the power of economic policymaking, including standard fiscal and monetary policies. My only worry is that it will be read more diligently by private marketers selling wares and politicians running for office than by people designing development interventions.” To inspire a fresh look at how development work is done, the Report outlines three principles of human decision making: thinking automatically, thinking socially, and thinking with mental models. Much of human thinking is automatic and depends on whatever comes to mind most effortlessly. People are deeply social and are influenced by social networks and norms. Finally, most people do not invent new concepts; rather they use mental models drawn from their societies and shared histories to interpret their experiences. Because the factors affecting decisions are local and contextual, it is hard to predict in advance which aspects of program design and implementation will drive the choices people will make. Interventions therefore need to take account of the insights found in the report and be designed through a ‘learning by doing’ approach. The Report applies the three principles to multiple areas, including early childhood development, productivity, household finance, health and health care, and climate change.
Open Quotes
This Report distills new and growing scientific evidence on this broader understanding of human behavior so that it can be used to promote development. Standard economic policies are effective only after the right cognitive propensities and social norms are in place. Close Quotes
Kaushik Basu Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, World Bank

When it comes to assisting poor people, a key message from WDR 2015 is that poverty is more than a deprivation in material resources. It is also a “cognitive tax.” Take the case of sugar cane farmers in India, who were asked to participate in a series of cognitive tests before and after receiving their harvest income.  Their performance was the equivalent of 10 IQ points higher after the harvest, when resources were less scarce. Policy can be designed to reduce some of the impact of poverty on the ability to make choices and plan for the future. Policy makers should try to move crucial decisions out of periods when cognitive resources are scarce. This may mean shifting school enrollment decisions to periods when poor farmers’ seasonal income is higher. There may also be ways of simplifying typically complex decisions such as applying to a higher education program. These ideas apply to any initiative in which good decision making is a challenge. Poverty in childhood, which is often accompanied by high stress and neglect from parents, can impair cognitive development, according to the report, so public programs that provide early childhood stimulation are critical. A 20-year study in Jamaica found that a program aimed at altering the way mothers interacted with their infants led to an increase in earnings by 25 percent once those children became adults, as compared to others who did not participate in the program. All major developing regions are featured in the Report, including the following examples:

  • In Malawi, a small performance incentive to encourage farmers to work with their peers increased the take-up of productivity-enhancing agricultural technologies (Ben Yishay and Mobarak 2014).  This intervention used social networks to amplify the effects of information programs.  
  • In the Philippines where encouraging saving was a challenge, one effective fix was to create products that allow individuals to commit to certain savings goals and not allow them to easily renege. When savings accounts were offered in the country without the option of withdrawal for six months, nearly 30 percent of those offered the accounts accepted them (Ashraf, Karlan, and Yin 2006). After one year, individuals who had been offered and had used the accounts increased savings by 82 percent more than a control group.
  • In Asia, a new approach, focused on establishing new norms that holds promise is Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS). In CLTS, leaders work with community members to make maps of dwellings and the locations where individuals defecate in the open. The facilitator uses a repertoire of exercises to help people recognize the implications of what they have seen for the spread of infections and to develop new norms to protect against the damaging effects of open defecation. A set of these programs in Indian villages lowered open defecation by 11 percent from very high levels. (Patil and others 2014).

According to the Report, because the decisions of development professionals often can have large effects on other people’s lives, it is vital that development actors and organizations put mechanisms in place to check and correct for their own biases and blind spots. Ultimately, behavior change matters for all actors in the development process.


Oromo: The call for social and economic self empowerment: Hawaasoma fi dinagdeen wal aangessuun dirqama December 8, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Because I am Oromo, Development & Change, Meroetic Oromo, Muscians and the Performance Of Oromo Nationalism, National Self- Determination, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo and the call for justice and freedom, Oromo First, Oromo Nation, Oromo Protests, Oromo students protests, Oromo University students and their national demands, Oromummaa, Seera Yaayyaa Shananii.
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“Oromo Empowerment” by Dr Birhanamaskel Sanyi


A failing project: International development aid November 24, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, African Poor, Aid to Africa, Development & Change, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, The extents and dimensions of poverty in Ethiopia, UK Aid Should Respect Rights, UN's New Sustainable Development Goals, Youth Unemployment.
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They tell us that poverty has been cut in half in the last fifteen years or so, but independent watchdogs have repeatedly shown that this claim rests on statistical sleight-of-hand. Moreover, it relies on a poverty line of $1.25 a day, which no longer has any credibility. A more realistic line of $2.50 – the absolute minimum for achieving normal human life expectancy – shows that 3.1bn people remain in poverty today, which is 352m more people than in 1981, according to a 2008 study. And all the while, the wealth ratio between the richest and poorest countries has grown from 44:1 in 1973 to nearly 80:1 today (according to my estimation). The richest 85 people in the world (Mr Gates being one of them) now have more wealth than the poorest 3.5 billion, or half the world’s population. The aid project is failing because it misses the point about poverty. It assumes that poverty is a natural phenomenon, disconnected from the rich world, and that poor people and countries just need a little bit of charity to help them out. People are smarter than that. They know that poverty is a feature of the global economic system that it is very often caused by people, including some of the people who run or profit from the aid agenda. People have become increasingly aware – particularly since the 2008 crash – that poverty is created by rules that rig the economy in the interests of the rich. –




The death of international development

The development industry needs an overhaul of strategy, not a change of language.

By Jason Hickel*

International development is dying; people just don’t buy it anymore. The West has been engaged in the project for more than six decades now, but the number of poor people in the world is growing, not shrinking, and inequality between rich and poor continues to widen instead of narrow. People know this, and they are abandoning the official story of development in droves. They no longer believe that foreign aid is some kind of silver bullet, that donating to charities will solve anything, or that Bono and Bill Gates can save the world.

This crisis of confidence has become so acute that the development community is scrambling to respond. The Gates Foundation recently spearheaded a process called the Narrative Project with some of the world’s biggest NGOs – Oxfam, Save the Children, One, etc. – in a last-ditch attempt to turn the tide of defection. They commissioned research to figure out what people thought about development, and their findings revealed a sea change in public attitudes. People are no longer moved by depictions of the poor as pitiable, voiceless “others” who need to be rescued by heroic white people – a racist narrative that has lost all its former currency; rather, they have come to see poverty as a matter of injustice.

These findings clearly demonstrate that people are beginning to reject the aid-centric approach to development. But instead of taking this as an opportunity to face up to their failures and change the way the industry works, the Gates Foundation and its partner NGOs have decided to stick with business as usual – but to cloak it with fresh language.

Leaked internal documents make it clear that the Narrative Project is nothing more than a PR campaign – a bid to “change public attitudes” by rolling out fresh language that will be more effective at securing public support and donations. The strategy goes like this: Talk about the poor as “equals” who share our values; emphasise that development is a “partnership”; stop casting rich people and celebrities as saviours of the poor; and above all, play up the idea of “self-reliance” and “independence”, with special attention to empowering women and girls. Progressive Westerners love this stuff.

This new framing amounts to little more than a propaganda strategy. Instead of changing their actual approach to development, the Narrative Project just wants to make people think they’re changing it. In the end, the existing aid paradigm remains intact, and the real problems remain unaddressed.

A failing project

Why do people no longer believe in the charity and aid-centric model of development? According to the Narrative Project, it’s because they’re all a bit stupid. They let their personal beliefs override the “facts”. They’re “old” and “conservative”. And they’re too calloused to care about social causes. It doesn’t occur to the development industry that people might have good reasons for their scepticism. And there are many.

For one, the aid project is in fact failing. There have been some achievements, to be sure, but the Gates Foundation and official sources like the UN want the public to believe that these piecemeal gains are tantamount to overall success. They tell us that poverty has been cut in half in the last fifteen years or so, but independent watchdogs have repeatedly shown that this claim rests on statistical sleight-of-hand. Moreover, it relies on a poverty line of $1.25 a day, which no longer has any credibility. A more realistic line of $2.50 – the absolute minimum for achieving normal human life expectancy – shows that 3.1bn people remain in poverty today, which is 352m more people than in 1981, according to a 2008 study.

And all the while, the wealth ratio between the richest and poorest countries has grown from 44:1 in 1973 to nearly 80:1 today (according to my estimation). The richest 85 people in the world (Mr Gates being one of them) now have more wealth than the poorest 3.5 billion, or half the world’s population.

The aid project is failing because it misses the point about poverty. It assumes that poverty is a natural phenomenon, disconnected from the rich world, and that poor people and countries just need a little bit of charity to help them out. People are smarter than that. They know that poverty is a feature of the global economic system that it is very often caused by people, including some of the people who run or profit from the aid agenda. People have become increasingly aware – particularly since the 2008 crash – that poverty is created by rules that rig the economy in the interests of the rich.

A system of plunder

We can trace this rigging process through history. The programmes that global South countries used successfully to build their economies and reduce poverty after the end of colonialism – trade tariffs, subsidies, social spending on healthcare and education – were in many cases actively destroyed by Western intervention in the name of “development”.  Western-backed coups in Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Congo in 1961, Brazil in 1964, Indonesia in 1965, Chile in 1973 – to name just a few – deposed democratically elected leaders with pro-poor platforms to install dictators friendly to multinational corporations. Most of these dictators received billions of dollars in “aid” from Western governments.

When coups fell out of favour with the voting public, the World Bank and the IMF stepped in instead. They leveraged debts to impose crushing “structural adjustment” programmes on poor countries, forcing them to privatise public assets, open their markets to Western goods, cut social spending and reduce wages, and give foreign companies access to extra cheap labour and raw materials. Structural adjustment was one of the greatest single causes of poverty in the global South in the 20th century, and it continues to this day under the guise of “austerity” .

These destructive policies only persist because voting power in the World Bank and the IMF is controlled by rich countries. High-income countries control more than 60 percent of the voting power at the World Bank, but are home to less than 15 percent of the world’s population.

Right now, developing countries lose as much as $900bn each year to tax evasion by multinational companies through trade mispricing, and almost the same sum again through transfer pricing. They lose another $600bn each year in debt service to mostly firslt world banks. These losses alone amount to nearly 20 times more than the total flow of aid, which is a paltry $135bn – and that’s not counting land grabs and other forms of resource theft.

All of this makes it clear that poverty is not a natural condition. It is a state of plunder. It is delusional to believe that charity and aid are meaningful solutions to this kind of problem.

Some people in the NGO community know this all too well, and they are calling for genuine political change: The democratisation of the World Bank and the IMF, fairer trade rules, and an end to tax evasion. But because the leadership at the Gates Foundation and some NGOs find these issues inconvenient  such alternative voices are being side-lined in favour of a disingenuous attempt to “fix” public attitudes by pushing ever harder on the same old charity and aid story.

If the Gates Foundation and NGO leadership want to get serious about tackling poverty, they might start by talking to the public about the importance of releasing developing countries from the siphons of rich countries and their corporations. They might help put the final nails in the coffin of the paternalistic story of charity and aid, white saviours and poor brown victims, and tell the real story about how the rich get richer off the backs of the poor. That would be a true starting point for development in the 21st century.

*Dr Jason Hickel lectures at the London School of Economics and serves as an adviser to /The Rules.

Martin Kirk, Global Campaigns Director of /The Rules, contributed to the analysis for this article.


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African presidents ‘use China aid for patronage politics’

Most of the $80bn of development funds sent to Africa went to areas where national leaders were born rather than the most needy, says AidData report

African leaders are almost three times more likely to spend Chinese development aid in areas where they have ethnic ties, casting doubt on the humanitarian effectiveness of Beijing’s strict “hands-off” policy in the continent.

China says it spends more than half of its foreign aid in 51 African countries, and AidData, an open-source data centre, says Beijing sent more than $80bn in “pledged, initiated, and completed projects” between 2000 and 2012. Most of that aid went to areas where national leaders were born, indicating a strong political bias, AidData said.

“As soon as [a region] becomes the birthplace of an African president this region gets 270% more development assistance (from China) than it would get if it were not the birth region of the president,” said Roland Hodler, professor of economics at the University of St Gallen in Switzerland and co-author of a report, Aid on Demand: African Leaders and the Geography of China’s Foreign Assistance, published in conjunction with the database.

Ghana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia received the most Chinese development assistance over the reporting period, the study showed.

China is sending development funds to African governments with the aim of buying long-term political alliances, Hodler said. Sierra Leone’s president, Ernest Bai Koroma, recently used Chinese aid to build a school in Yoni, his hometown, according to the report.

“To us, this suggests that the Chinese principle of non-interference in domestic affairs allows African presidents to use Chinese aid for patronage politics. I am sure the Chinese are aware of this, and I would argue that they accept it because they care more about having a president who is sympathetic to them than about the poor,” said Hodler.

But the study also noted that, contrary to popular belief, Chinese aid to Africa is not strongly tied to countries that host Beijing’s oil and mining operations. “We do not find a strong pattern that Chinese aid only goes to regions where there’s a lot of natural resources. The picture that they only go after natural resources is not really confirmed by our sub-national level analysis,” Hodler said.

Deborah Brautigam, director of the China Africa Research Initiative at John Hopkins University, said: “Most Chinese finance in Africa is not official aid, but business-related export credits borrowed by governments to finance infrastructure projects of various kinds. If these governments want to channel projects to their home town, Chinese banks would have no objection.

“For official aid, which is heavily diplomatic, the Chinese government looks beyond any sitting African leader to all the leaders to come, and to public opinion more generally. This is why they use their official aid for big, visible projects like stadiums, ministry buildings, and airports that can be seen and used by many people – in the capital city – and not tucked away in a rural hamlet.”

Researchers took data that China published on its foreign assistance and mapped where development projects were located. “The Chinese tend to send more aid to countries that are somewhat poorer but within these countries they go for the relatively rich regions,” said Hodler.

China maintains that it sends aid to African governments with the aim of furthering their development agendas.

The Chinese government said in July: “When providing foreign assistance, China adheres to the principles of not imposing any political conditions, not interfering in the internal affairs of the recipient countries and fully respecting their right to independently choosing their own paths and models of development. The basic principles China upholds in providing foreign assistance are mutual respect, equality, keeping promise[s], mutual benefits and win-win.”

• This article was amended on 21 November 2014 to clarify that the $80bn figure for aid to Africa between 2000 and 2012 was an estimate by AidData, not an official Chinese government figure, and that the estimate includes “pledged, initiated, and completed projects”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Parag Khanna @ The Atlantic, 26 September 2014


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

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

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

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

* * *

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

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

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

Another accelerant of devolution is ubiquitous data. Much as modern nation-states seem to have lost their monopoly on armed forces, so too has evaporated their dominance of information flows and narratives. Call it the triumph of transparency: Whether through free media, leaks, hacks, democracy, or legal pressure, people increasingly know how their countries are run—and crucially how their money is spent. This March, participants in a nonbinding online referendum in Venice overwhelmingly