Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: #OromoProtests, #OromoRevolution, Africa, National Self Determination, Oromia, Oromo, Oromo youth of 1960's, Wallelign Mekonnen
Oromo youth: writer and activist of the 1960’s
By Walleligne Mekonnen
Arts IV, HSIU – Nov. 17, 1969
The main purpose of this article is to provoke discussions on the “sacred”, yet very important issue of this country-the Question of Nationalities. The article as it was prepared for a special occasion (where detailed analysis was due time and other inconveniences impossible) suffers from generalizations and inadequate analysis. But I still feel it is not mediocre for a beginning. I expect my readers to avoid the temptation of snatching phrases out of their context and capitalizing on them. Instead every point raised here should be examined in the light of the whole analysis.
We have reached a new stage in the development of the student movement, a level where Socialism as a student ideology has been taken for granted, and reaction with all its window dressing is on the defensive. The contradictory forces are no more revolution versus reform, but correct scientific Socialism versus perversion and fadism.
The Socialist forces in the student movement till now have found it very risky and inconvenient to bring into the open certain fundamental questions because of their fear of being misunderstood. One of the delicate issues which has not yet been resolved up to now is the Question of Nationalities-some people call it ridiculously tribalism-but I prefer to call it nationalism. Panel discussions, articles in STRUGGLE and occasional speakers, clandestine leaflets and even tete-a-tete groups have not really delved into it seriously. Of course there was indeed the fear that it may alienate certain segments of the student population and as well the fear that the government may take advantage of an honest discussion to discredit the revolutionary student movement.
Starting from last year, a small minority began to discuss this delicate issue for the most part in secluded places. Discussions, even private, leak out and because they were not brought into the open they normally led to backbiting, misunderstanding and grossly exaggerated rumours. I think students are mature enough to face reality even if they are very sensitive. And the only solution to this degeneration, as witnessed from some perverted leaflets running amock [amok] these two weeks, is open discussion.
What are the Ethiopian peoples composed of? I stress on the word peoples because sociologically speaking, at this stage, Ethiopia is not really one nation. It is made up of a dozen nationalities with their own languages, ways of dressing, history, social organization and territorial entity. And what else is a nation? It is not made of a people with a particular tongue, particular ways of dressing, particular history, particular social and economic organization? Then, may I conclude that, in Ethiopia, there is the Oromo Nation, the Tigrai Nation, the Amhara Nation, the Gurage Nation, the Sidama Nation, the Wellamo [Wolayta] Nation, the Adere [Harari] Nation, and however much you may not like it, the Somali Nation.
This is the true picture of Ethiopia. There is, of course, the fake Ethiopian Nationalism advanced by the ruling class, and unwillingly accepted and even propagated by innocent fellow travelers.
What is this fake Nationalism? Is it not simply Amhara and to a certain extent Amhara-Tigre supremacy? Ask anybody what Ethiopian culture is? Ask anybody what Ethiopian language is? Ask anybody what Ethiopian music is? Ask anybody what the “national dress” is? It is either Amhara or Amhara-Tigre!!
To be a “genuine Ethiopian” one has to speak Amharic, to listen to Amharic music, to accept the Amhara-Tigre religion, Orthodox Christianity and to wear the Amhara-Tigre Shamma in international conferences. In some cases to be an “Ethiopian”, you will even have to change your name. In short to be an Ethiopian, you will have to wear an Amhara mask (to use Fanon’s expression). Start asserting your national identity and you are automatically a tribalist, that is if you are not blessed to be born an Amhara. According to the constitution you will need Amharic to go to school, to get a job, to read books (however few) and even to listen to the news on Radio “Ethiopia” unless you are a Somali or an Eritrean in Asmara for obvious reasons.
To anybody who has got a nodding acquaintenance with Marxism, culture is nothing more than the super-structure of an economic basis. So cultural domination always presupposes economic subjugation. A clear example of economic subjugation would be the Amhara and to a certain extent Tigrai Neftegna system in the South and the Amhara-Tigre Coalition in the urban areas. The usual pseudo-refutation of this analysis is the reference to the large Amhara andd Tigrai masses wallowing in poverty in the countryside. For that matter during the heydays of British imperialism a large mass of British Workers had to live under inhuman conditions.
Another popular counter argument is that there are two or three ministers of non-amhara-Tigre Nationality in the Cabinet, one or two generals in the army, one or two governors and a dozen balabats in the countryside. But out and out imperialists like the British used to rule their colonies mainly by enlisting the support of tribal chiefs, who were much more rich than the average citizen of the British Metropolis. The fact that (Houphet) Boigne and Senghor were members of the French National Assembly and the fact that they were even ministers did not reduce an iota of Senegalese and Ivory Coast [Ivoirians] loss of political independence.
Of course the economic and cultural subjugation by the Amharas and their junior partners the Tigres is a historical accident. Amharas are not dominant because of inherent imperialist tendencies. The Oromos could have done it, the Wellamos [Wolaytas] could have done it and history proves they tried to do so. But that is not an excuse for the perpetuation of this situation. The immediate question is we must declare a stop to it. And we must build a genuine national- state.
And what is this genuine national-state? It is a state in which all nationalities participate equally in state affairs, it is a state where every nationality is given equal opportunity to preserve and develop its language, its music and its history. It is a state where Amharas, Tigres, Oromos, Aderes [Harari], Somalis, Wollamos [Wolaytas], Gurages, etc. are treated equally. It is a state where no nation dominates another nation be it economically or culturally.
And how do we achieve this genuine democratic and egalitarian state?
Can we do it through military? No!! A military coup is nothing more but a change of personalities. It may be a bit more liberal than the existing regime but it can never resolve the contradiction between either classes or nationalities. The Neway brothers and Tadesse Birus could not have done it. Talking about Mengistu and Tadesse, one cannot fail to remember the reaction that the Mengistus coup though a family one and at that by a sector of Shoa Amharas (with few exceptions, of course among the Workeneh) was very popular just because it was staged by “Ethiopians”-Amharas. With Tadesse, it was automatically a tribalist uprising. Why? Tadesse an Oromo cannot stage a nationalist coup but Oromo Supremacist.
I am not equivocal in condemning coups, but the Tadesse coup had at least one significant quality and a very important one too. It gave our Oromo Brothers and Sisters self-respect. And self-respect is an important pre-requisite for any mass-based revolution. Even the so-called revolutionaries who scoffed at the coup just like the mass of the student body, could not comprehend this quality. You can clearly see in this instance the power of the Amhara-Tigre supremacist [supremacist] feelings. They clearly proved that they were nothing more than the products of government propaganda on this question.
Can the Eritrean Liberation Front and the Bale armed struggle achieve our goal? Not with their present aims and set-up.
Both these movements are exclusive in character, led by the local Bourgeoisie in the first instance and the local feudal lords in the second. They do not have international outlook, which is essential for our goal. They are perfectly right in declaring that there is national oppression. We do not quarrel with them on this score. But their intention is to stop there. They do not try to expand their struggles to the other nationalities. They do not attempt to make a broad-based assault on the foundations of the existing regime. They deliberately try to forget the connection of their local ruling classes with the national oppression. In short these movements are not led by peasants and workers. Therefore, they are not Socialists; it would only be a change of masters for the masses. But for the Socialists the welfare of the masses comes first.
The same can be said for the Gojjam uprising. But I would like to take this opportunity once again to show how much Amhara supremacism [supremacism] is taken for granted in this Campus.
To applaud the ELF is a sin. If anything favorable is written out, it is automatically refuted by both USUAA and NUEUS. But the Gojjam affair was different. Support for it was practically a show of identity to the so-called revolutionaries.
Mind you, I am just saying that these movements are not lasting solutions for our goal-the set-up of a genuine Nationalist Socialist State. I am all for them, the ELF, the Bale movements, the Gojjam uprising, to the extent that they have challenged and weakened the existing regime, and have created areas of discontent to be harnessed later on by a genuine Socialist revolution.
One thing again is certain. I do not oppose these movements just because they are secessionists. There is nothing wrong with secessionism as such. For that matter secession is much better than nationally oppressive government. I quote Lenin, “…People resort to secession only when national oppression and national antagonisms make joint life absolutely intolerable and hinder any and all economic intercourse. In that case the interests of the freedom of the class struggle will be best served by Secession. I would also like to quote the resolution on the question of nationalities from the London International Socialist Congress of 1896 attended, supported and adopted by the Bolsheviks who brought about the October revolution, “This Congress declares that it stands for the full right of all nations to self-determination and expresses its sympathy for the workers and peasants of every country now suffering under the yoke of military, national or other absolutism.”
As long as secession is led by the peasants and workers and believes in its internationalist obligation, it is not only to be supported but also militarily assisted. It is pure backwardness and selfishness to ask a people to be partners in being exploited till you can catch up. We should never dwell on the subject of secession, but whether it is progressive or reactionary. A Socialist Eritrea and Bale would give a great impetus to the revolution in the country and could form an egalitarian and democratic basis for re-unification.
To come back to our central question: How can we form a genuine egalitarian national-state? It is clear that we can achieve this goal only through violence, through revolutionary armed struggle. But we must always guard ourselves against the pseudo-nationalist propaganda of the regime. The revolution can start anywhere. It can even be secessionist to begin with, as long as led by the progressive forces-the peasants and the workers, and has the final aim the liberation of the Ethiopian Mass with due consideration to the economic and cultural independence of all the nationalities. It is the duty of every revolutionary to question whether a movement is Socialist or reactionary not whether a movement is secessionist or not. In the long run Socialism is internationalism and a Socialist movement will never remain secessionist for good.
To quote Lenin again, “From their daily experience the masses know perfectly well the value of geographical and economic ties and the advantages of a big market and a big state.” From this point of view of the struggle as well, a regime like ours harassed from corners is bound to collapse in a relatively short period of time. But when the degree of consciousness of the various nationalities is at different levels, it is not only the right but the duty of the most conscious nationality to first liberate itself and then assist others in the struggle for total liberation. Is that not true of Korea? We do support this movement, don’t we? Then, what is this talk of tribalism, secessionism, etc…..?
Wallelign Mekonnen Kassa was born on March 22, 1945 in Debresina Woreda, Wollo, Ethiopia.
In 1965, he joined the Haile-Selassie I University and studied political science. He was one of the devoted university students who struggled to emancipate the Ethiopian workers and peasants from tyranny. Wallelign and his comrades were imprisoned by the Ethiopian government and released after five months. Wallelign was suspended from university by the administration.
The articles he wrote include, “The Question of Nationalities in Ethiopia”, which states the national repression and the solution for this problem, “Le Awaju Awaj”, an article in response to the emperor’s address in the radio regarding the university students, “Ye Azinaraw Eseregan” (Prisoner’s Azinara ) and “Message to Professor Afework Gebereyesus”.
Walelign acquired the love for his country from an early age, and he dedicated his life to Ethiopia until the moment he was assassinated, December 9, 1972.
Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: #OromoProtests, #OromoRevolution, Africa, Ethiopia, Ethiopia: state of emergency, Ibsaa Guutama, mass arrests and genocide against Oromo people, National Self Determination, Oromia, Oromo, Oromo News
The Final Desperate Emergency Martial Law of Ethiopia and its Implications
By Ibsaa Guutama
Emergency declaration simply means government issuing laws that could enable it control natural or man made crisis by suspending certain provisions of civil rights and/ or personal liberties for a given time and surrounding. Empire Ethiopia claims to have laws all through its existence. But it has been abusing human rights as if it was permanently under emergency situation. From among them the last twenty five years were those we tasted and are wounding our memories. Wala’ita, Sidaamaa, Ugadeen, Mazhangir, Benii Shangul, Afar and Koonsoo can be cited among those subjected to genocide. Once, Wayyaanee leader said that he can take measures simply for not liking someone’s eye colors. It has been about a year since the Oromo started uninterrupted peaceful protest because such arrogance and abuses became more burdensome and painful than ever. The energy released is so great that it has already shaken government of Wayyaanee from the foundation, attracted attention of world community and caused great devastation to human life and property. The Oromo are sure to at least end their subjugation by aliens. Protest later expanded to Amaaraa centers of Goojjam and Gondar. When they felt TPLF is losing grip over the empire many groups started to rally to get a share in the result as well as to stop Oromo national movement from dictating the outcome. Some want to share power with Wayyaanee, others want to totally replace it and still others to liberate their nations. Many look forward for the day and are making preparations, to participate in 1991 type transitional arrangement. It is like the saying, “Hearing someone saying Porridge Creek all women went out with stirring rod”. Claiming to suppress this protest, TPLF has issued what seems its last emergency declaration to enable it control the crisis itself created. This declaration is a martial law that puts the whole country under military rule. All constitutional rights are suspended. Major intentions of this declaration are continued occupation of Oromiyaa and hindering Amaaraa from getting the opportunity to replace Tigree.
The paradox is TPLF declaring that, wearing the mask of Kawa Xoonaa, the last king of free Wala’ita who was wounded and taken captive during 1884 colonial war in which half the population of the kingdom perished. This living captive mask seems to have come as harbinger of something final as the war was for Xoonaa. Southern Peoples and Oromiyaa will rise together as fallen together despite the quisling bait to derail their drive to freedom. Oromiyaa’s having rich natural resources, big manpower, intelligent and industrious population, the capacity to absorb aliens is a source of envy for so many. It is also different from the colonizers in nationality, language, culture and history that too had stayed scaring them. Therefore Oromo cannot ask “Why do they hate us?” They hate them because of what they have and who they are as well as the beacon of hope Oromo could be for all under colonial oppression. This deep sited feeling never seems to go away. A single utterance of an Oromoo nationalist at a conference they heard eavesdropping from afar had brought out all their ill wishes for Oromiyaa.
They have already taken solidarity placard at Amaaraa rally as a magic wand that has taken away Oromo aspirations for freedom and damped Oromo question once and for all. Solidarity with the abused is a righteous step of a humane society. But when it is attached to sinister motives and fail, it could create frustration among the unaware audience. There was no agreement between the two communities and so no betrayal as cried. They did not even notice that majority Oromoo have no vision for Ethiopia. Even taking it further they dared to question Lawyers’ Association leaders why they made separate meetings, “Are you not Ethiopians? They know that among them there are those that have decadent ideas like theirs but they crossed the red line because of their contempt for Oromummaa in those people. Be that as it may under the circumstance how can one come together with open heart? The so called “Forces of unity” as baseless as they are contribute to divisiveness rather than understanding among peoples. It is better to keep them at bay so that their hate does not generate harm. Contact with homeland Amaaraa and other peoples can continue if there is good faith.
The peoples generally called Habashaa stood together after crossing the Red Sea for advantage it gives them over people that were different from them in culture and language; otherwise they had never submitted to common constitution; their bond was that of marriage of convenience. They grabbed the name Ethiopia gradually from Greeks reference to peoples of Kuusaa and other African blacks and started using it off and on until Haayila Sillaasee officially declared it in 1941. It is a stolen name that replaced Kush in all records, spiritual and temporal. By adding all recorded history of Kush Itophiyaa they enriched their own. That helped them march under one mythological name, against their other African peoples. It was observable that whenever they get the opportunity they can even marginalize or push out each other from overseas relations. Without doing research on “The Book” he is carrying an opportunist Pentecostal priest who is saying people should listen to what he is thinking not to what he says, is heard meddling in nature of Ethiopia without knowing how it was formed. Ethiopia is not made in heaven but in Greek language.
The Amaaraa, leading in raids and battles in the past had taken other peoples and tried to impose on them by force Ethiopianism and their language, culture, religion, and history though not fully successful. Even that was reversed in i991 by recognition of TPLF of the right of nations and nationalities to be free. Pseudo Amaaraa organized as Ethiopian faced difficult after the fallout from power when it found it was not wholly Amaaraa. Those still are organized around the name “Ethiopia”. That is why Mallaa Amaaraa Party could not pick up because the “forces of unity” are halfhearted though more inclined to Amaara. They are mostly the “forces of unity” that formed Mallaa Amaaraa party. The gray area between Amaaraaness and Ethiopianism of “forces of unity” is blurring the cause of the Amaaraa and its relations with others. Expressing and exhibiting photo of Oromo prisoners at Amaaraa rally is a blessed deed and same was also expressed from the counterpart; but “force of unity” desecrated it. They tried to harass those with different opinion from them showing contempt for the nation. Freedom of expression is basic requirement in a democratic relation. They tried to hijack the good gesture between two struggling peoples for their own wicked end.
Tigree didn’t mix much with others but marched under the name Ethiopia without giving up own identity. Therefore when its chance set in it did not face problem but mounted the saddle under TPLF, with one army, one language and one culture betraying long standing Habashaa tradition. Old Nafxanyaa were disoriented when they dismounted from the saddle; therefore to get back to own identity came out as a test for them. It doesn’t seem Amaaraa and Tigree Nafxanyaa has ever disagreed as this time. What under lies their present quarrel is control of the empire accelerated by territorial infringement. Even the difference in banner that they made much fuss about is not difference in colors but about emblem. All past regimes had different emblems but had never been a point of dissension as the present. Historically use of flags with emblems is limited, most subjects use only green yellow red colors without emblems. Since the reign of Minilik, now for the first time Amaaraa and Tigree do not have one flag while Amaaraa and “forces of unity” seem to entertain the same.
Tigree has broken a covenant but it may not be something to complain about for they had come doing that on each other. Unlike the rift with colonies like Oromiyaa that are alien, theirs is internal contradiction emanating from TPLF’s greed, which seems momentary. From Amaaraa view, their boundary line is violated, their emblem with lion is replaced, and covenant of Habashaaness betrayed by Tigree. Oromo lost a country, identity threatened, life endangered and Oromo unity came under question. That is why transnational solidarity being fanned could be a source of misunderstanding because it is spontaneous and no agreement made as to its depth and breadth. Amaaraa grievance is between Tigray and Amaaraa and so internal Ethiopian problem. Oromoo grievance is against Ethiopian ruler at this time, the TPLF. The solution for Amaaraa is accepting Takkazee as the border line between Amaaraa and Tigray and fair power sharing in future Habashaa government. Both Amaaraa and Oromo are asking respect for their rights from TPLF; they both were answered with bullets. Therefore they can probe how to coordinate their operation for the moment to stop it. This does not change the context that Oromo and Amaaraa are sovereign and equal people that can freely determine their destiny. As free people and good neighbors they can be great together.
As for fundamental question of Oromo it will be answered when right of nations to national self-determination is implemented for them. Whoever does not accept those cannot be their partner. The Oromo nation has the largest population in the Horn of Africa. Who have the authority to tell them how to lead their lives? The only thing they asked is for the occupation by minority to end. The world is in the process of forming a new world order which hopefully will offer justice to the so far suppressed. Its mission is to bring the world closer for economic purposes not to erase national identity as some want to mistakenly interpret it. Look at Quebec, Scotland, Catalina and Britain, were they running away from their union or were they welding it? Can Ethiopian empire remain in the way it was, as aggressor? If Oromo youth says Oromiyaa is for Oromo, who can deny this legitimate demand. If you think their question is not legitimate let us put that to Oromo referendum? If you have any reasonable suggestion for the Oromo put it on the table not on the forum of insults and threats from those that call themselves “forces of unity”. These so called “forces of unity” are floating self-fabricating community of Old Nafxanyaa leftovers, who do not want to join where they legally or originally belong. These should not be confused with children of foot soldiers that lived integrated with the people even before land proclamation of 1974. The most vocal of them are from garrison centers turned towns. Still the loudest are those in Diaspora that are already citizens of another country. It is only direct discussion between peoples that could create harmony and bring to an end centuries of mistrust not those baseless “forces of unity”.
However because people do not tell each other on the face some smart Alek can create confusion so that clear demands on the other side is not understood. For example, majority Oromo don’t want to be called Ethiopians or Habashaa. Since they believe Oromiyaa belongs to the Oromiyaans any one that wants to occupy her has to cross over their dead bodies. Victories Ethiopia registered at different battles on which individuals with Oromo blood had shown heroic deeds are not taken as their own. They do not believe intermarriage and interbreeding can create political unity. They see country and individual relations separately. To treat their neighbors with respect and love is their culture. Oromo support strong union to be formed between peoples of Africa based on the will of each nationality. If a people try to put another under it without the other’s will and abuse, Oromo will stand with the abused. All relations with Oromo youth have to be based on points listed above. Don’t get surprised, after more than a century of oppression and dehumanization you have failed to break Oromo will, let alone in this era of advanced technology. If you have anything to negotiate about, base yourself on said stand. Be those neighbors or those born and brought among them, only proper and respectful approach, not insults as they used on their serfs are acceptable.
Under present treacherous situation, descendents of the Amaaraa that did not join the great colonial campaign but remained in their country are struggling to sort out themselves from myriad of peoples and assert their identity and unity. However there is now a strange breed “forces of unity” claiming to be Amaaraa after colonial campaign leaders. The campaign recruited from peoples it captured on its way as soldiers and christened and Amaaraanized them. Those are their descendant calling themselves “Forces of unity” and want status of Oromiyaa as a colony to continue. They also intend to take towns in Oromiyaa including Finfinnee as Nafxanyaa Island in Oromiyaa Sea if they cannot control the whole country. Actually their regrets are discovering being from groups they have been despising so far. They do not want to integrate with them but curb their own territory in the mindset of Oromiyaa. That will remain a dream for there shall never be half way liberation for Oromiyaa. They are also manipulating Oromo born from different ethnic groups as if they were aliens belonging to no group but ambassadors to Ethiopia from Mars. They always cite their marrying into each other, as an entitlement to the colonies. In that case Oromo have many in-laws in the world to claim Oromiyaa.
Not focusing on basic problem does not bring sustainable solution. Unlike the feudal system the capitalist system does not spend time and energy on vain glory but material benefit. These run away must realize that there is more benefit by investing as Oromiyaans than fighting the Oromo to be Ethiopian. Problems for the region are the empire system and elites with colonialist mind set. The Empire has to get uprooted and thrown away for all peoples to be free. It has been a moral burden for many thoughtful peace loving ordinary Ethiopians who could have advanced their civilization rather than wasting time suppressing other peoples and become obstacles for their freedom and progress. Maintaining colonies are no more acceptable under the new world order. It is possible to talk of the next phase between those that agree on this. Abyssinians have to be satisfied with their own territory which includes Amaaraa country and Tigray collectively called Ethiopia. The dream of Imperial Ethiopia as theorized by ancient Egyptian monks will only remain a dream. The campaign to realize it has come to the end after about one and a half century and has to march back home.
With conquest of Oromiyaa the Nafxanyaa, enriched themselves with produces and natural resources, land and man power but did not plough back to their mother country like the Tigreans are now doing; majority of its descendents didn’t even visit their ancestor’s land. In 1974 they came to realize their mistake of abandoning the mother country which they could have escaped to, but it was too late. Though it may be hard on them to get down from the pinnacle of power and live as equals with their tenants still where they were born is their country. In this case unless it is a mental problem there is no one that has no country. It is individual’s choice; but Oromiyaa will not remain under occupation for their sake. The matter did not emanate from being mix or lack of country but the desire to deny Oromo nationhood and sovereignty over Oromiyaa. This is how a mind formed by propaganda of over seven centuries thinks. The paradox of Amaaraa colonialism is thus, if not psychologically, the motherland did not get material benefit from colonial army exploits like classical colonialism or like present day Tigray, from wrong perception of pioneer Nafxanyaa. As for relations of the Ethiopian Empire and the colonies it was not different from those of the Italians, French and British except their crudeness, level of technological development and similarity of their skins.
Those that call themselves “mix” are not from different races but black begot black. They were not born into white, yellow or red races. Those that fan this issue are narrow minded segregationist with chauvinist outlook and self-created identity crisis. Because a child is born from Italians or Chinese, Oromiyaa will not become these countries. Ethiopians have codes to differentiate them and the colonies one is “Nitsu Etiyophiyaawii” (pure Ethiopian) and the other “minamintee” to mean the impure. When Oromo youth started to wash off the impurity to become pure Oromo it was taken as treachery. Oromo purity is not that of blood but that of outlook. There are youth that are of non-Oromo ancestry but Oromiyaans that are involved in Oromo struggle and are paying no less sacrifice than others. Oromo born from different ethnic groups are among the top liberation heroes Oromo have. The majority, “colonial hopefuls” instead of standing with the oppressed class started to trace DNA. They became “force of unity” and those to whom injustice was done were branded “traitors, secessionist, narrow nationalists, divisive” for fighting for independence. The most ethnically eclectic nation by policy are Oromo. It needs to be a visionary and self-confident, to recognize the right of nations to national self- determination.
Ethiopia is not a people but a myth and curtain to hide behind. It has served its purpose during colonial days. With colonial period de facto gone with its privilege for colonial hordes, Ethiopia can go back to her precolonial territory. The matter concerns Amaaraa and Tigree. As their simpletons used to write, if Oromo are considered as “ciisanyaa” (tenants) with no country, it means peace is not desired and so the struggle will continue and truth shall prevail. Peoples that lost their history, culture, tradition and flag to colonialism are now coming out raising their resistance banner to claim their proper place among nations of the world. No one can tell them you are this or that without their will, but have to be treated as equals.
Oromo do not have any problem in forming any types of relation at any level as siblings and in equality with freed peoples. Since they have identical experience in life under oppression and contempt what they require to reconstitute themselves are similar. “Forces of unity” have to take note that calling Oromo gosa (tribe) which they are not is offensive. Ethnic also means a societal group that has similar culture, language and similar experiences not “gosa”. Gosa is a division of society above family lower than “qomoo”. Oromiyaa is a nation of several ethnic groups; even if it were single ethnic nation there is nothing wrong for such a great civilization and should not be presented as if natural law was broken. One chooses what one wants to be and no one has the right to impose own will on another. Who are they that want to ensnare over forty million people?
Wayyaanee is an outlaw that originated from the people of Tigray. Its ancestors conquered Oromiyaa when it was not in a situation to defend itself. And it is now replacing them to accomplish their mission of destruction and add something of its own. Now the situation in the surrounding and in the world has changed. For this reason unless TPLF goes back to its den peacefully, it will be inevitable for it to leave by force, in the manner it came. Oromiyaa is for the Oromo, on what basis does Tigree or anybody claim to rule over them? It happened from fire power imbalance at certain point of history a little more than a century ago. Now there is no moral or legal justification for continuation of the occupation. So far TPLF and those before it have ruled threatening with gun, and frightening with imprisonment and killings.
Now being numbed by abuses and fear of sufferings gone, peoples from all corners have risen saying enough is enough to the Wayyaanee. Instead of trying to abandon inherited tradition of oppression it is issuing laws to strengthen it. It has realized that its fall is nearing and that it cannot escape from the axe of justice. For that reason TPLF has declared emergency Martial Law to cover crimes to be committed henceforth as if crimes of the last twenty five years will be forgotten. Measures it is going to take will not be different from the past in quality; number of actors and their concentration and frequency of action may change.
Free measures (netsa irmijaa) to incapacitate, loot, search, rape, kill and imprison without any consideration are going to be sanctioned, just like in their established tradition. The Oromoo had survived to the present even from the most unimaginable cruelty on human standard committed by their rulers starting from Teedros until this day. Like them all, this one also has been trying to erase the Oromo from this planet. The Oromo have sprouting stumps that no amount of cutting can stop them sending out new shoots that can continue the fight for independence replacing the fallen ones. It is over a century since Oromiyaa totally came under military occupation. The present law may be taken as a psychological war to disrupt the revolutionary momentum that has almost crippled TPLF. Even though it is deploying all war machines it acquired as dependent of foreign powers to massacre the population in a desperate move, it cannot revive but can create damage with the last kick for life, which indeed are nowadays being reported daily.
From now on home burglaries, confiscations of communication and writing materials, gold, cash and live animals and materials of high value are going to be the norm. Torture, killings and rapes are going to be committed with higher rate unseen before not by will of soldiers involved alone, but as standing policy of TPLF government. Already it is told that thousands of snitches are employed to be paid lucrative amount for any piece of information on violation of emergency law. It is tempting for many to get the payment even if it were fabricating information against innocent compatriot, which has already started to be told. Under cover of emergency many institutions and machineries are going to be moved to safety of Tigray to be used after Wayyaanee retreat. So far protesters had imposed on themselves disciplinary limitation but henceforth it should not be expected under the emergency one. Culturally Oromo gives protection for unarmed peaceful persons that do not collaborate with the enemy and those that are war captives. It should not be a surprise if they also issue a proclamation countering enemy’s emergency declaration. Everyone has to be careful that it will be difficult to live with each other if one favors the enemy, give it comfort, or serve it as snitch. The situation demands to stand with the people at this time when injustice is being done, otherwise keeping silent could be considered as being an enemy collaborator. Both the war and its outcome are going to affect many relations.
Peoples started protest against Wayyaanee when the oppression reached intolerable level. The level so reached is one that made dying fending off preferable rather than live being tortured by it. Organizations operating under people’s name did not reach out for them for unknown reasons. For this reason they rose on their own. They started unarmed protest to give TPLF a chance to rethink its policy of genocide. They showed there crossed arms in front of them to show they were unarmed. But the response they got was rain of bullets. TPLF rather burned prisons with prisoners. It even disrupted religious celebration by scaring the crowd with helicopters, bombs and guns, killing many by stampede in addition to those that fell with gun shots. TPLF crimes are no less that Laurent Gbagbo who is now in Dan Haag had the world do not have double standards. TPLF caused peaceful struggle not to work for that country. As a result it seems protests are starting to changing colors. For this TPLF is solely responsible no one else; its abuses, like killing imprisonment, lootings, humiliations and suppressions are the cause for it.
Wayyaanee is making noise against this transparent movement saying there are foreign hands like those of Eritrea and Egypt involved through local political organizations without presenting any believable evidence. This is peoples’ movement and belongs to no organization. No one would have disliked if organizations have the ability to lead. It is the expectation of all that they strengthen themselves and give the movement a pattern. But instead they seem to have been conditioned to going around and socializing with adversaries of their nation to satisfy personal egos. TPLF ‘s Agaazii and federal police are all over Oromiyaa and Somalee Special Force in Eastern Oromiyaa are raining havoc over the people but no one is seen coming for the rescue. Had the movement got foreign support as alleged those blamed were African countries. Is it not on countries outside Africa that Wayyaanee depends for most of its administrative budget including those for armaments, training and management of its army? Are not Agaazii and police that mow down the peoples in particular foreign trained? Do they believe foreign aid is blessed only for Tigrean warlords even today, like the British did after the battle of Maqadalla, when they denied captured armaments to Oromo forces that defeated Teedros with them and gave it to Tigrean outlaw? Since Oromiyaa is a country occupied by force she has all the right to defend herself with all means. The baboon sitting on its own bald butt points to another baboon’s and says look at his bald butt; Wayyaanee sits on its own bald butt and points to others’ butt that is even not bald at all.
Had Wayyaanee got the brain, it should not have opened its mouth about foreign interference in the empire’s affairs. Wayyaanee thinks it has to use all the accusations on others that Darg used against it twenty five years ago. Most part of what Darg used to say were not totally false as that of the Wayyaanee; they were true. Oromo culturally do not like lies; and they do not hide the truth. Even if their own people lie they despise and reject them. It doesn’t mean there are no persons that changed their behavior because of sniffing around with aliens like the heifer that spent a day with the donkey. Such are dregs of Oromummaa. Any one that wants to befriend the Oromo should not lie or try to cheat the Oromo if they want to be partners in peace with them. As for foreign aid if help comes from anywhere it is welcome.
Oromo protest has put Wayyaanee out of balance. The emergency declaration it put out is only to give legal coverage for what it was doing unconstitutionally just yesterday. In the short days remaining to it in power, it is going to use the declaration as a cover to loot individuals’ property and to further humiliate the peoples. It is going to go away even without taking into consideration the fate of its PDOs, which it set against their own people. It wants to rub all its dirt on other countries rather than looking around for own redemption. Like its past practice it may perform criminal acts and prepare a drama to have caught foreign agents with evidence. OLF as usual is going to be the main character in the drama. OLF as formulated by the pioneer liberation fighters is the one that is self-reliant and independent. This is what continues haunting Oromo enemies; OLF the beacon of Oromo freedom. Look for the real not the impersonation. Our people have to watch what is going on around them and get prepared physically and temperamentally. Our struggle is to win but must also be ready to accept win, win situation.
Oromo have produced many knowledgeable. But their level of political consciousness is still lagging behind that of the people. It is worrying to see some young persons ready to give up their rights before they get them. The winning Oromo outlook is that listed by the initial objective principle or Kaayyoo. That is why great value is attached to the name OLF by the Oromo even under situation of organizational weakness. Oromo intellectuals moving as professional or activists are expected to enrich and advance not emaciate it. It will be helpful if they function as people’s cadre not politicians. The recent efforts to bring together Oromo of different political views are a good beginning. From the first we learn that such meeting should stay private and no public broadcast allowed. Views raised by participants were taken out of context and some wounding words were thrown by the cacophonous “forces of unity”. It also exposed deviations in Oromo camp. It will be a step forward if such convention could achieve consensus on common rules of Safuu for all Oromo to observe. For now better keep ongoing Oromo deliberations stay within the Oromo audience until official statements are given. Any convention has to be guided from the home and reflect national aspirations not that of diaspora alone which live in freedom and have choices. Their messages have to be transparent showing clear stand and vision of the Oromo for Oromiyaa and its neighbors. What must be known is that at the end it is the Oromo people alone that can determine its future not TPLF, “Forces of unity” or even Oromo organizations. Enemy agent among cadres should be watched out.
Cadres of the people have to be the vanguard revolutionaries, courageous enough to challenge the status quo. With years of struggle the Oromo have forced the empire state to accept series of rights like those in the last constitution issued by TPLF/EPRDF government. Nothing less than that is to be considered. It is the time when only the revolutionaries can produce result not tail wagging reactionaries. Oromo struggle is a national struggle and its priority is strengthening and enabling Oromo to get ready for emancipation and also to face third parties in unison. The blood of Oromoo children that spilled is not for deceptively hogtying the nation and throwing into enemy camp. Therefore those that are waging sincere struggle to empower their people have to watch out as not to be deceived by pusillanimous spineless Oromo Ethiopianists who are openly and clandestinely conspiring to sabotage Oromo struggle.
Even though Oromo organizations are many all claim in one way or other to have objectives to make Oromo life better and different from the past. Some might has slipped from the initial objective that Oromo struggle mapped out fifty years ago. That mission is not yet accomplished. Because some slipped into opposite camp before reaching the goal, the wheels will not turn back. Unless deviants can turn the wheel of Oromo revolution back, they are of no use to “forces of unity” however much they swear loyalty and being cosmopolitans. Presence of Oromo organizations that say we are there for you must be felt in the surrounding not from far off. Leadership is one that leads and not be led. It is how such vacuum is filled and consensus on minimum rules of Safuu that Oromo conventions have to try finding panacea for.
Criticizing or praising past or present actors discriminately, is an unproductive diversion that could harm the struggle; and so needs caution as not to create rift between freedom fighters at this time of national crisis. That doesn’t mean we will pass glaring sabotages on our struggle without exposing but we have to know the right place, time and audience. Oromo at home are dying on each other to bring about freedom and justice for all. It is a mass movement that no particular group could claim except the Oromo people. Any effort to advance Oromo revolution should be supported unconditionally. There are many that are trying to have access to the field of struggle denying this is arrogance and unproductive. Rather how to coordinate all efforts that will strengthen Oromo capabilities must be sought. If wrongs are observed they have to be pointed out internally. Any negative information is of value only for the enemy.
Wayyaanee has renewed the over a hundred years campaign and declared genocidal war on the Oromo. Nafxanyaa descendants are wiggling to detract Oromo struggle for which millions were sacrificed from its right course denying the sovereignty of Oromo over Oromiyaa. To build support they are seen trying to agitate Oromo children born from non-Oromo parents to break safuu and join them. With contempt they want us to wave their flag, which they carried when they broke us and want us to applaud their rulers that committed genocide on us and suppressed our freedom and they praised our galtuu as if they are representatives we sent them. Knowing all this there are Oromo elites that trot after them like dogs conditioned to leftovers. The heroes they praise at every occasion are Teedros, Yohaanis, Minilik and other avowed enemies of Oromo. They do not realize that at least we have liberated our minds and the way we relate to them is not as before that of slave and master. The can no more impose their will on Oromiyaa and no more will Oromo bow for aliens. It is only with this understanding that they ought to approach the Oromo, their benevolent host. They always talk of Ethiopian unity which no Oromo opposes as long as that doesn’t include Oromiyaa in it. If they want unity with Oromo it is not impossible but the approach has to change. There is no one in this world that speaks for Oromiyaa except the Oromo. Let alone with preconditions to meet or talk to, Oromo are not willing to talk to any one that rejects the right of nations to national self-determination. That is also a test for Oromummaan.
Amaaraa in homeland and Oromo have no grudges between them. They have led similar life of destitution under Nafxanyaa tyrants. From Amaaraa generation of the colonial campaign era, before a century and half there were persons that participated as rank and file in those campaigns. Probably if not psychological boost they benefited them nothing but imposed on them rule of tyrants. Both have countries they love in which they bring up offspring, pursue their faith, resources, and culture and bury their dead in. These peoples if they desire, they have the opportunity to deliberate on African unity, security of Horn of Africa and the protection of their mutual interest. To overcome the danger facing them directly today, they can also coordinate their operations. Normally, peoples want their boundary, security and their identity and interest not to be abused; not one to get dominance over the other. Dominance is the usual desire of those with autocratic mindset. Oromo do not have the culture and interest to deny other people are their freedom or conduct campaign against them. The advantages Oromo have in that region include having rich natural resources, having the biggest man power and their people being intelligent and industrious. Those are also what put them in disadvantage. Rulers of empire Ethiopia are one enemy. They want to monopolize their resources, deny their freedom and keep them suppressed. The group that calls itself “force of unity” also wants to get back to past oppressive system from which it was overthrown and do the same thing. Oromo give priority to peaceful resolution for problems in that region. If one comes with violence they will not give up without defending themselves. To bring peace to the region Oromo and Amaaraa in the homeland can play a great role. Sane people know war is devastating and so do not hurry to say, “Bring it on!” There is no doubt that those that fight for birth right and justice shall overcome. Unless one sticks to national kaayyoo, there is no way to win trust from compatriots. That is why many run to the unknown rather that live in suspense with one that wavers at every turn. This problem has to be overcome in order to wage a victorious struggle. The solution may be to reexamine and put ones house in order so that there will be trust among freedom fighters and no enemy agent is implanted in their mindset. They have to be self-reliant and ready to pay necessary sacrifice until victory. The blood of our kids, mothers, fathers and siblings will not remain spilt in vain. The struggle shall continue until it germinates freedom! Oromiyaa shall be free! Justice to all human beings!
Honor and glory for the fallen heroines and heroes; liberty equality and freedom for the living and nagaa and araaraa for the Ayyaanaa of our fore parents!
Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: Africa, Decolonizing Development, Dr. Asafa Jalata, Dr. Harwood Schaffer, National Self Determination, Oromia, Oromo Nation, Oromo Studies
The Oromo Nation: Toward Mental Liberation and Empowerment
By Dr. Asafa Jalata and Dr. Harwood Schaffer, in The Journal of Oromo Studies, 2016)*
In the second decade of the 21st Century, the Oromo people face a monumental national crisis that requires their urgent recognition and resolution. The Tigrayan-led Ethiopian government has clearly recognized the potential of the Oromo nation and is determined to destroy and/or suppress it by engaging in state terrorism and genocidal massacres, conducting mass arrests, violating human rights, and eliminating opposition leaders and their potential successors while replacing them with Afaan Oromo speaking nafxanyas (colonial settlers) and Oromo collaborators. The current regime continues to expropriate Oromo economic resources—including land—and transfer them to Tigrayans and their regional and global capitalist supporters. This regime has also begun the practice of enslaving and selling young Oromo girls and girls of other nationalities to Arab countries that have no respect for human dignity and rights. All these have occurred in the era of globalization or transnational capitalism, as global, regional, and local forces have been integrated through the intensification of globalizing processes known as deepening and broadening. As a result, with the financial, military, diplomatic, and intelligence support of global and regional powers, the Tigrayan-led Ethiopian regime has been focused on dismantling and destroying the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)—the hallmark, symbol, pride, and hope of the Oromo nation—and other independent Oromo civic and political organizations.
The attack on independent Oromo political and civic organizations and institutions was intensified before the Oromo national movement managed to achieve maturity. The consolidation of the Oromo national leadership and the maturation of Oromummaa (Oromo nationalism) are still incomplete. As such, the movement’s ability to defend itself from internal and external enemies has been significantly compromised. These challenges confronted the Oromo national struggle before the Oromo leadership was able to develop the ideological coherence and organizational capacity to catapult the Oromo national movement to an advanced stage. The crisis of the Oromo national leadership has emerged from both external and internal sources and Oromo nationalists urgently need to address both in order to find an appropriate solution. The impacts of external forces (e.g. Amhara-Tigray colonial structures and global capitalism) have been adequately addressed in books and scholarly articles. We now need to focus on the internal crises facing the movement’s leadership.
In our attempt to examine this internal dilemma, we address four major interrelated issues. First, we provide historical and cultural background to contextualize the problem in question. Second, we explore how Ethiopian colonialism has affected the process of the formation of Oromo elites and leaders. Third, we identify and examine the connections between liberation knowledge, the inferiority complex, and mental liberation in the development of a revolutionary consciousness. Fourth, we share some ideas on how to promote the development of mental liberation as a means of constructing a revolutionary consciousness. In addition, we suggest ways to cultivate Oromummaa (culture, identity, and nationalism) so that a united Oromo national leadership may be forged—from the bottom up—around a common denominator, thus ensuring the survival and liberation of the Oromo nation and other captive nations from the yoke of Ethiopian colonialism and global imperialism.
Conquest and colonial subjugation within the Ethiopian Empire
Before Abyssinia/Ethiopia colonized the Oromo and other nations in the Horn of Africa with the help of European powers in the late 19th century, the Oromo presided over a form of republican government known as the gadaa/siqqee system. From the 15th until the mid-17th century, the gadaa/siqqee government was organized on three levels: national, regional, and local. According to Lemmu Baissa, the Oromo government “was led by an elected luba council formed from representatives of the major Oromo moieties…under the presidency of the abba gadaa and his two deputies…. The national leadership was responsible for such important matters as legislation and enforcement of general laws, handling issues of war and peace and coordinating the nation’s defense, management of intra-Oromo clan conflicts and dealing with non-Oromo peoples.”
However, due to the geographical expansion of the Oromo territory and an increasing population, the central gadaa/siqqee government declined beginning in the mid-17th century and autonomous regional and local republics took its place. These regional and local governments formed pan-Oromo confederations to defend themselves from external enemies. The rule of law and social equality were the guiding principles of thegadaa/siqqee system. Although we have limited knowledge of Oromo history before the sixteenth century, it is reasonable to think that these people did not invent the gadaa/siqqeesystem while they were establishing Biyyaa Oromoo (what we now call Oromia). Historical studies suggest that during the 16th and 17th centuries, while various peoples were fighting over economic resources in the Horn of Africa, the Oromo were effectively organized under the national gadaa government for both offensive and defensive wars. According to Virginia Luling, “from the mid-16th to the mid-19th century the [Oromo] were dominant on their own territories; no people of other cultures were in a position to exercise compulsion over them.”
The gadaa/siqqee government organized and ordered society around political, economic, social, cultural, and religious institutions. Bonnie Holcomb notes that the gadaa system “organized the Oromo people in an all-encompassing democratic republic even before the few European pilgrims arrived from England on the shores of North America and only later built a democracy.” This system exhibits the principles of checks and balances (through periodic succession of leaders every eight years), division of power (among executive, legislative, and judicial branches), balanced opposition (among five parties), and power sharing between higher and lower administrative organs to prevent power from falling into the hands of despots. Other principles of the system included balanced representation of all clans, lineages, regions and confederacies; the accountability of leaders; the settlement of disputes through reconciliation; and respect for basic rights and liberties. There were five miseensas (parties) in gadaa; these parties have different names in different parts of Oromia. All gadaa officials were elected for eight years by universal adult male suffrage.
Colonialism and the Underdevelopment of Oromo Leadership
The Ethiopian colonial state destroyed the leaders of the conquered nations in the Horn of Africa who fought against Abyssinian/Ethiopian colonialism, co-opting those leaders who would collaborate with the system as intermediaries. Abyssinian access to European guns, cannons, technology, diplomacy, and administrative skills were utilized in colonizing these various nations, the largest of which was the Oromo. This paper focuses on the experience of the Oromo as a case study of the ways the Abyssinian/Ethiopian rulers have systematically destroyed the leadership capacity of the conquered peoples.
The Abyssinians systematically engaged in massacring and repressing Oromos while reorganizing Oromo society in order to control and exploit the Oromo people and their resources. Since the colonization of the Oromo people (as we shall see below), one of the goals of the Ethiopian state has been the destruction and underdevelopment of the Oromo people and their leadership; the Amhara-Tigray state has used both violent and institutional mechanisms to ensure that the Oromo people remain leaderless while it continues to repress and exploit them. To ensure its colonial domination, the Ethiopian state destroyed and/or suppressed Oromo institutions (e.g. the aforementioned gadaa/siqqee system, as well as an indigenous Oromo religion known as Waaqeefata) while glorifying, establishing, and expanding the Amhara-Tigray government and Orthodox Christianity. The state also sought to suppress Oromo history, culture, and language while promoting that of the Abyssinians.
Ethiopian settler colonialism was firmly established in Oromia through the imposition of five institutional arrangements in order to tightly control Oromo society and intensify its exploitation: (1) garrison cities and towns, (2) slavery, (3) the colonial landholding system, (4) the nafxanya-gabbar system (semi-slavery), and (5) the Oromo collaborator class.The colonialists have been concentrated in garrison cities and towns and formulated political, economic, and ideological programs that they used to oppress their colonial subjects. The settlers expropriated almost all Oromo lands, and forced most Oromos to work on these lands without payment. The Oromo intermediaries have been used in subordinating the Oromo people to the colonial society. Many people were enslaved and forced to provide free labor to the colonial ruling class, while others were reduced to the status of semi-slaves so they could provide agricultural and commercial products and free labor for their colonizers. As a consequence of these efforts, the Ethiopian state successfully destroyed and/or suppressed Oromo institutions and independent leaders and replaced them with its own leaders and political, religious, and educational institutions; colonialism also fractured Oromo culture and identity.
The Ethiopian state targeted any sense of Oromoness (Oromummaa) for destruction and established colonial administrative regions to suppress the Oromo people and exploit their resources. As a result, Oromo relational identities were localized and disconnected from the collective identity of national Oromummaa. On a national level, the Oromo were separated from one another and prevented from exchanging goods and information for more than a century. As a result, their identities were localized into clan families and colonial regions. They were also exposed to different cultures (i.e., languages, customs, values, etc.) and religions and have adopted some elements of these cultures and religions because of the inferiority complex that Ethiopian colonialism sought to create in them. Consequently, until Oromo nationalism emerged, Oromoness primarily remained on the personal and the interpersonal levels since the Oromo were denied the opportunity to form national institutions. In addition, today there are members of Oromo society and elites who have internalized clan and externally-imposed regional and/or religious identities because of their low level of political consciousness or because of opportunism on their part, exhibiting the lack of a clear understanding of Oromummaa or Oromo nationalism.
Overcoming several obstacles, the founding fathers and mothers of Oromummaa created two pioneering organizations in the 1960s and 1970s: the Macha-Tulama Self-Help Association and the Oromo Liberation Front respectively. These organizations acted as a roadmap for the burgeoning Oromo national movement. Unfortunately, the national movement has since been confronted externally by the forces of Ethiopian colonialism – with assistance from their global supporters – and internally by an Oromo collaborator class that serves the interests of the oppressor of the Oromo people. Some Oromo elites have become raw materials for the Tigrayan-led Ethiopian regime and have implemented its terrorist and genocidal policies in the puppet parliament, the administration, and the army, and have participated in imprisoning and killing Oromo nationalists. These internal agents of the Ethiopian government have also participated in robbing Oromo economic resources. As Frantz Fanon notes, “The intermediary does not lighten the oppression, nor seek to hide the domination…he is the bringer of violence into the home and into the mind of the native.” The Oromo national struggle has to solve the internal problem of Oromo society before it can fully confront and defeat its joined external enemies.
It is estimated that the Oromo intermediary elites are the numerical majority at the lower echelons of the Ethiopian colonial institutions. These intermediaries have joined the Tigrayan-created and -led organization known as the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) to satisfy their personal interests at the cost of the Oromo nation. It is true that every colonized nation has a collaborator class that fulfills its interests and the interest of its colonial masters. However, a few elements of this class clandestinely defend the interest of their people. For example, some Eritrean and Tigrayan intermediaries under the Amhara-led Ethiopia protected the interests of their respective people. What makes the Oromo collaborator class different, however, is its total commitment to serve the oppressor (except in a few cases) without being sympathetic to their own people. Ethiopian history demonstrates that key Oromo collaborators have been king makers and have protected the Ethiopian Empire without seeking authority for themselves and their people. “The oppressed learn to wear many masks for different occasions;” Frantz Fanon notes, “they develop skills to detect the moods and wishes of those in authority, learn to present acceptable public behaviors while repressing many incongruent private feelings.”
Most Oromo members of the OPDO clearly exhibit such public behaviors. In every colonized society, those who collaborate with the dominant society are less competent and less accomplished, and yet they are “rewarded extravagantly with fame, fortune and celebrity status simply by their confirmation that the master’s consciousness and his reality is the correct way to think.” While imprisoning or killing independent Oromo leaders, the successive Ethiopian regimes have promoted to positions of authority less competent Oromo collaborators who have internalized and manifested their masters’ worldviews. The Oromo collaborator elites are politically ignorant and harbor an inferiority complex that has been imposed on them by the Amhara-Tigray colonial institutions. According to Hussein Abdilahi Bulhan, “Prolonged oppression reduces the oppressed into mere individuals without a community or a history, fostering a tendency to privatize a shared victimization.” Since they have been cut from their individual biographies and the collective Oromo history, members of the Oromo collaborator class only know what Amhara or Tigrayans have taught them and, as a result, they constantly wear “Ethiopian masks” that have damaged their psyches.
The colonizer was never content with occupying the land of indigenous peoples and expropriating their labor; he also declared war on the psyches of the oppressed. By introducing an inferiority complex, the Amhara-Tigray state attacked the Oromo culture and worldview in order to alter the perspective of the colonized Oromo from independence to dependence; consequently, every colonized Oromo subject who has not yet liberated his/her mind wears an Ethiopian mask by associating his/herself with Ethiopian culture and identity. As Fanon asserts, “All colonized people—in other words, people in whom an inferiority complex has taken root, whose local cultural originality has been committed to the grave—position themselves in relation to the civilizing language…. The more the colonized has assimilated the cultural values of [the colonizer], the more he [or she] will have” imitated his/her masters. As European colonialists did, the Amhara-Tigrayan colonizers have manufactured the Oromo collaborator elites in order to use them in their colonial projects. According to Bulhan, “in prolonged oppression, the oppressed group willy-nilly internalizes the oppressor without. They adopt his guidelines and prohibitions, they assimilate his image and his social behavior, and they become agents of their own oppression. The oppressor without becomes…an oppressor within…. They become auto-oppressor as they engage in self-destructive behavior injurious to themselves, their loved ones, and their neighbors.” It is no wonder that some members of the OPDO, from ordinary individuals to high officials, engage in imprisoning, killing, and robbing members of Oromo society, particularly those whom they suspect of sympathizing with or supporting the Oromo national struggle.
The Oromo self has been attacked and distorted by Ethiopian colonial institutions. The attack on Oromo selves at personal, interpersonal and collective levels has undermined the self-confidence of some Oromo individuals by creating an inferiority complex within them. Consequently, the manufactured Oromo elites are abusive to their people and they confuse their individual ambitions and interest with those of the Oromo nation. What Fanon says about other colonial intermediary native elites applies to the Oromo elites: “The European elite undertook to manufacture native elite. They picked out promising adolescents; they branded them, as with a red-hot iron, with the principles of Western culture; they stuffed their mouths full with high-sounding phrases, grand glutinous words that stuck to the teeth.” Since most Oromo elites who have passed through Ethiopian colonial institutions have not yet achieved psychological liberation, they consciously or unconsciously prefer to work for their colonial masters rather than work as a team on the Oromo liberation project.
What Walter Rodney says about the consequences of the colonial educational system in Africa also applies to the situation of Oromo intermediaries: “The colonial school system educated far too many fools and clowns, fascinated by the ideas and way of life of the European capitalist class,” he says. “Some reached a point of total estrangement from African conditions and the African way of life…. ‘Colonial education corrupted the thinking and sensibilities of the African and filled him with abnormal complexes.’” Similarly, some Oromo intermediaries who have passed through the Ethiopian colonial education system have been de-Oromized and Ethiopianized, and have opposed the Oromo struggle for national liberation. Colonial education creates submissive leaders who facilitate underdevelopment through subordination and exploitation. Considering the similar condition of the African Americans in the first half of the 20th century, Carter G. Woodson characterized the educated Black as “a hopeless liability of the race,” and schools for Blacks as “places where they must be convinced of their inferiority.” He demonstrated how White oppressors controlled the minds of Blacks through education: “When you control a man’s [or a woman’s thinking] you do not have to worry about his [or her] actions. You do not have to tell him [her] not to stand here or go yonder. He [or she] will find his [or her] ‘proper place’ and will stay in it.” The behaviors and actions of the educated Oromo intermediaries parallel what Woodson claims about the educated African-Americans. But, starting in the mid-20th century, most African-American elites developed nationalist political consciousness by overcoming their inferiority complex and participating in their national struggle for liberation.
There are also biologically and culturally assimilated elements that like to disassociate themselves from anything related to the Oromo. Most biologically and culturally assimilated former Oromos, like their Habasha masters, are the defenders of Habasha culture, religion, and the Amharic language and the haters of Oromo history, culture, institutions, and Afaan Oromoo. Explaining similar circumstances, Fanon notes, “The individual who climbs upinto white, civilized society tends to reject his black, uncivilized family at the level of the imagination.” The slave psychology of such assimilated Oromos has caused them also to prefer the leadership of the Amhara or Tigrayan oppressor. Through his seven years of experimentation and observation in Martinique, Frantz Fanon concluded that the dominated “black man’s behavior is similar to an obsession neurosis…. There is an attempt by the colored man to escape his individuality, to reduce his being in the world to nothing…. The [psychologically affected] black man goes from humiliating insecurity to self-accusation and even despair.”
These conditions apply to all colonized, repressed, and exploited peoples. Therefore, some Oromos also face similar problems. Furthermore, the attack on Oromo families and national structures introduced psychological disorientations to Oromo individuals, and incapacitated their collective personality. The family—as a basic institution of any society—provides guidance in values, norms, and worldviews and acts as the educational and training ground for entry into that society. Because Oromo families have lived for more than a century under colonial occupation and because Oromo national institutions were intentionally destroyed or disfigured by Ethiopian colonial institutions, the Oromo people lack the educational, cultural, ideological, and experiential resources to guide their children in the process of building national institutions and organizational capacity. Oromo individuals who have lived under such conditions face social, cultural, and psychological crises and become conflict-ridden.
Due to these complex problems, the low level of political consciousness, and an imposed inferiority complex, those who claim that they are nationalists sometimes confuse their sub-identities with the Oromo national identity or with Ethiopian identity. According to Fanon, “The neurotic structure of an individual is precisely the elaboration, the formation, and the birth of conflicting knots in the ego, stemming on the one hand from the environment and on the other from the entirely personal way this individual reacts to these influences.” The Ethiopian colonial system—as well as cultural and religious identities—was imposed on the Oromo creating regional and religious boundaries. Under these conditions, personal identities (e.g. religious affiliation) replaced Oromoness—with its unique values and self-schemas—and Ethiopianism replaced Oromummaa. Colonial rulers saw Oromoness as a source of raw material that was ready to be transformed into other identities. Since most of these individuals are psychologically damaged, they run away from the Oromo national identity. Are genuine Oromo nationalists free of these psychological crises?
The Psychological Legacy of Ethiopian Colonialism
Through political, educational, and religious institutions and the media, the Ethiopian colonial elites and their successive governments have continuously created and perpetuated negative stereotypes and racist values regarding the Oromo people and have led some Oromos to think negatively about themselves. That is why some Oromo parents reject Oromo names and give Amhara or Arab names to their children in order to assimilate them into the cultures they consider superior. Some educated Oromos also develop self-hatred and self-contempt and wear the masks of other people. Ethiopian colonialism and racism have made some Oromo elites hate their culture and language and avoid self-discovery. The process of de-Oromization creates alienation among some Oromos and imbues them with distorted perceptions of their own people. Everything Amhara-Tigray is praised and everything Oromo is rejected and denigrated; the colonialists have depicted the Oromo as barbaric, ignorant, evil, pagan, backward, and superstitious.
In order to avoid these perceived characteristics, some Oromo elites who pass through the Ethiopian colonial education system are Amharized and Ethipianized The colonization of the Oromo mind has indoctrinated Oromo students in order to isolate them from their families and communities and distort their identities by disconnecting them from their heritage, culture, and history. Oppressors don’t just want to control the body of the oppressed; they want to control their minds, thus ensuring the effectiveness of domination and exploitation. Na’im Akbar succinctly explains how the mental control of the oppressed causes personal and collective damage: “The slavery that captures the mind and imprisons the motivation, perception, aspiration and identity in a web of anti-self-images, generating a personal and collective self-destruction, is [more cruel] than shackles on the wrists and ankles. The slavery that feeds on the mind, invading the soul of man [or woman], destroying his [or her] loyalties to himself [or herself] and establishing allegiance to forces which destroys him [or her], is an even worse form of capture.”
The mental enslavement of most Oromo elites is the major reason why the Oromo, who comprise the majority of the population, are brutalized, murdered, and terrorized by the minority Tigrayan elites. What about the Oromo nationalist elites who are struggling for Oromo national self-determination? Are they mentally free? Why have they failed to build a united Oromo national leadership? There is no question that most of the founding fathers and mothers of Oromummaa or Oromo nationalism were mentally liberated heroes and heroines; that was why they created the Macha-Tulama Self-Help Association and the Oromo Liberation Front and paid the ultimate sacrifice. There have been thousands of Oromo nationalists who have followed in their footsteps and paid dearly. What about other Oromo nationalists (particularly leaders) who have partitioned the Oromo national movement by dividing it into different political factions? Oromo nationalists have failed to unite Oromo divided communities, which have been easily infiltrated by the enemies through clan and/or religious bonds. In addition, because of the inferiority complex that the enemies have inculcated in the Oromo mind, some Oromos have failed to respect Oromo leadership, just as Oromo leaders have failed to respect their followers. The nationalist Oromo elites, by failing to overcome the deeply entrenched divisions that the enemies of the Oromo created, have drastically failed to establish a united national movement.
Generally speaking, the necessity of liberating the Oromo mind from psychological oppression through liberation knowledge and consciousness-raising is totally ignored or unrecognized. Due to their political ignorance and ineptitude, Oromo intellectuals and political leaders have failed to organize the masses into a grassroots movement. As a result of psychological crises and oppressive institutions, Oromo collective norms and organizational culture are at a rudimentary level at this historical moment. Therefore, the enemies of the Oromo have found ample political opportunity to mobilize some Oromos against the Oromo national movement. Without the emancipation of Oromo individuals from the inferiority complex and without overcoming the ignorance and the worldviews that the enemies of the Oromo have imposed on them, the Oromo cannot have the self-confidence necessary to facilitate individual liberation and Oromo emancipation. Although it is uncomfortable to recognize the impacts of the psychology of oppression on the Oromo minds, the Oromo national struggle must engage in mental liberation by building liberation knowledge and political consciousness.
Liberation Knowledge, Consciousness-building, and the Politics of Empowerment
In order to achieve psychological liberation via the development of political consciousness, it is essential to understand the process of oppression by learning about the bankruptcy of assimilated Oromo elites and the crises in both individual Oromo biographies and collective Oromo history. As Bulhan asserts, “The experience of victimization in oppression produces, on the one hand, tendencies toward rebellion and a search for autonomy and, on the other, tendencies toward compliance and accommodation. Often, the two tendencies coexist among the oppressed, although a predominant orientation can be identified for any person or generation at a given time.” The oppressed are chained physically, socially, culturally, politically, and psychologically; hence it is difficult to learn about these problems and search for ways to overcome them. Conscious elements of the oppressed “opts for an introspective approach and emphasizes the need to come to terms with one’s self—a self historically tormented by a formidable and oppressive social structure.” 
As the current national crisis unfolds, Oromo nationalists in general and leaders in particular should start to engage in critical self-evaluation in order to identify the impact of oppressive and destructive values and behaviors on the Oromo political performance. Psychological liberation from ideological confusion and oppression requires fighting against the external oppressor and the internalized oppressive values. Most oppressed individuals understand what the oppressor does to them from outside, but it is difficult to comprehend how the worldviews of the oppressor are imposed on them and control them from within. As Bulhan explains, “institutionalization of oppression in daily living … entails an internalization of the oppressor’s values, norms, and prohibitions. Internalized oppression is most resistant to change, since this would require a battle on two fronts: the oppressor without and the oppressor within.”
The Ethiopian colonial system has denied education to almost all the Oromo in order to keep them ignorant and submissive. Even those few who have received colonial education have not been provided with a critical education and knowledge for liberation. As Woodson says, colonial education is “a perfect device for control from without.”  So it has been difficult and challenging for most Oromo elites to engage in a two-front struggle—liberating themselves from the values and worldviews of Ethiopians and Ethiopian colonial institutions and structures. Because of the lack of political consciousness, the oppressed individuals and groups learn the behavior of the oppressor, engage in conflict, and abuse one another. Attaining a critical political consciousness enables the oppressed individuals and groups to regain their identity, reclaim their history and culture, and regain self-respect internally while fighting against the oppressor externally. Those people who are disconnected from their social and cultural bonds are disorganized, disoriented, and alienated; lacking a critical understanding of individual biographies and collective history, they cannot effectively organize and fight against the values and institutions of their oppressors.
If the occupation of land…entailed the occupation of psyches, then the war for liberation had to be waged on two fronts: The colonizer residing not only without, but also within had to be confronted on both fronts. Otherwise, the vicious cycle of domination would continue. To battle the colonizer without first assumes a degree of self-respect and self-validation, a conviction that one is at least as good and as human as he is. It also assumes the existence of a bond with others, a sharing of similar experiences and determination…. The colonized had been reduced to individuals without an anchor in history, alienated from themselves and others. So long as this alienation prevailed, the colonizer without could not be challenged. His abuses, humiliations, and suffocating repression permeated everyday living, further undermining the colonized [person’s] self-respect and collective bonds.
Colonialism attacks the individual psyche and biography, as well as the collective history, of a given people. These damaging processes occur through various forms of violence, including colonial terrorism. “Violence is any relation, process, or condition by which an individual or a group violates the physical, social, and/or psychological integrity of another person or group. From this perspective, violence inhibits human growth, negates inherent potential, limits productive living, and causes death” [Emphasis given in original].Nationalist projects of the oppressed emerge to deal with these complex problems. A few Oromo nationalists who gained political consciousness and self-respect by overcoming the psychological and cultural impacts of Ethiopian colonialism in the 1960s and the 1970s began to engage in Oromo nationalist projects by creating a self-help association, a musical group, and a liberation front, while most Oromo elites were serving their own interests and the interests of their colonial masters.
When some elements of the colonized people develop political consciousness, organize, and engage in the struggle for freedom, they turn their internalized anger, hostility, and violence that destroyed relationships among them against the colonizers. The nascent Oromo nationalists face monumental political problems as the result of the decadent Ethiopian political system. In addition to brutal violence and repression, the oppressor uses various methods of social control. “The oppressed is made a prisoner within a narrow circle of tamed ideas, a wrecked ecology, and a social network strewn with prohibitions. Their family and community life is infiltrated in order to limit his capacity for bonding and trust. His past is obliterated and his history falsified to render him without an origin or a future. A system of reward and punishment based on loyalty to the oppressor is instituted to foster competition and conflict among the oppressed.” The Oromo have been living under political slavery for more than a century; they have been denied the freedom of self-expression, organization, and assembly. The colonialists and their collaborators have committed various crimes against Oromo culture, history, language, and psychology. The founding fathers and mothers of Oromo nationalism understood these complex problems and tried to solve them by developing social, economic, cultural, and political projects.
Human beings have basic attributes that Bulhan characterizes as “essential human needsand essential human powers,” both of which are necessary in order to survive and fully develop. The people who were colonized and dominated cannot adequately satisfy their basic needs and access their self-actualizing powers. These include “(a) biological needs, (b) sociability and rootedness, (c) clarity and integrity of self, (d) longevity and symbolic immortality, (e) self-reproduction in praxis, and (f) maximum self-determination.” Human beings must satisfy their basic biological needs, such as food, sex, clothing, and shelter in order to survive. However, these biological needs can only be satisfied in a culture that provides sociability and rootedness. Those people whose culture has been attacked and disfigured by colonialism are underdeveloped; their basic needs are not satisfactorily met and their self-actualizing powers are stagnated; “For to acquire culture presupposes not only a remarkable power of learning and teaching, but also an enduring capacity for interdependence and inter-subjectivity. Not only the development of our higher power of cognition and affect, but also the development of our basic senses rest on the fact that we are social beings.”
Colonialism can be maintained by committing genocide or ethnocide and/or by organized cultural destruction or mental genocide and the assimilation of a sector of the colonized population. Ethiopian colonialists expropriated Oromo economic resources and destroyed Oromo institutions and cultural experts and leaders; they have also denied the Oromo the opportunity to develop the Oromo system of knowledge by preventing the transmission of Oromo cultural experiences from generation to generation. All these colonial policies were designed to uproot the Oromo cultural identity and to produce individuals who lack self-respect and are submissive and ready to serve the colonialists. Under these conditions, the Oromo basic needs and self-actualizing powers have not been fulfilled. In other words, the Oromo biological and social needs have been frustrated. “If failure to satisfy biological needs leads to disease and physical death,” Bulhan notes, “then denial of human contact, communication, and affirmation … leads to a social and psychological ‘starvation’ or ‘death’ no less devastating than, and conditioning, physical death.”
The Ethiopian colonialists—having caused the physical death of millions—have further attempted to introduce social and cultural death to the Oromo people. Both the Amhara and Tigrayan elites have attempted to destroy or control the Oromo selfhood in order to deny the Oromo both individual and national self-determination. From all angles, the Habasha have tried their best to prevent the Oromo from achieving clarity and integrity of the Oromo self; they have prevented the Oromo from establishing cultural and historical immortality through the reproduction and recreation of their history, culture and worldview, and from achieving maximum self-determination. “The pursuit of self-clarity is … intimately bound with the clarity developed first about one’s body, the body’s boundary and attributes, and later one’s larger world. This pursuit of clarity has survival, developmental, and organizing value. It entails both a differentiation from as well as integration with others and with one’s past. Without some clarity of the self, however tentative and tenuous, there can be no meaningful relating with others, no expression of inherent human potentials, no gratification of essential needs.”
The founding fathers and mothers of Oromo nationalism purposely engaged in political praxis to save the Oromo from psychological, social, cultural, and physical death. Without a measure of self-determination, a person cannot fully satisfy his/her biological and social needs, self-actualize, and engage in praxis as an active agent to transform society and oneself. “Self-determination refers to the process and capacity to choose among alternatives, to determine one’s behavior, and to affect one’s destiny. As such, self-determination assumes a consciousness of human possibilities, an awareness of necessary constraints, and a willed, self-motivated engagement with one’s world.” As individuals and groups, the Oromo must struggle to achieve their personal and national self-determination. The Oromo have the internal power to make their choices from the best possible alternatives and to have control over what they do. The Ethiopian colonialists have assumed almost complete control over the Oromo in an attempt to deny them the right of self-determination, both individually and collectively.
Unfortunately, the oppression is not limited to national borders. Ethiopian colonialists have had psychological impacts on some Oromos in the diaspora, and have infiltrated diaspora communities and their organizations in order to dismantle them. Oromo individuals and groups who do not clearly comprehend the essence of self-determination and who do not struggle for it are doomed to both psychological and cultural death. “History and social conditions present [not only] alternatives but also constraints. We can choose to act or not act. But even when we lack alternatives in the world as we find it, we do possess the capacity to interpret and reinterpret, to adopt one attitude and not another. Without the right of self-determination, we are reduced to rigid and automatic behaviors, to a life and destiny shorn of human will and freedom.” At this historical moment, most of the Oromo in the diaspora are passive; they do not struggle effectively for their individual and national self-determination. This has left their communities vulnerable to infiltration by Oromo collaborators, who then attempt to turn Oromos against one another.
The founding fathers and mothers of Oromo nationalism as a social group reclaimed their individual authentic biographies and Oromo collective history and defined the Oromo national problem; they sought the political solution of national self-determination. In order to continue the policy of social, cultural, psychological, and physical death and control the Oromo society, the Ethiopian colonial state killed or destroyed these leaders. The present Tigrayan-led regime of Ethiopia has continued the same policy. Without psychological liberation and organized, conscious, and collective action, the Oromo people cannot fulfill the objectives of the Oromo national movement. Currently, most Oromo elites and leaders do not realize the problems they are causing for the Oromo national struggle because of their socio-cultural and psychological crises and their failure to critically understand the national crisis. The continuation of these crises and the absence of a united Oromo national leadership allow the continuation of the psychological, social, cultural, and physical death of the Oromo people.
Physical, social, or psychological death is too heavy a price for an accustomed passivity, a corrosive apathy, self-defeating individualism, and predictability of stagnation. Psychological work with the oppressed must give priority to organized and collective activity to regain power and liberty. One critical focus of intervention has to do with unraveling, through active involvement and demonstrations in the social world, the self-defeating patterns of relating, the tendency toward betrayal of the self and/or others, the internalized script for failure and disaster, as well as the conditioned fear of taking a stand or even fear of freedom—all of which derive from a contrived system of socialization, and elaborate formula to produce willing victim. Another crucial focus is the comprehension and refinement of strategies as wells as tactics for regaining power and liberty.
In the capitalist world system, might is right. Those people who cannot empower themselves through liberation knowledge, psychological recovery, and the will to organize and defend themselves in a united movement cannot survive as a people. We know that one of the major reasons why the colonialists were able to destroy most indigenous peoples in the world was the result of these peoples’ lack of unity and strong organization. It is not enough to know about the impact of colonialism without recognizing and solving the internal crises of the colonized or the oppressed. “A psychology of liberation would give primacy to the empowerment of the oppressed through organized and socialized activity with the aim of restoring individual biographies and a collective history derailed, stunted, and/or made appendage to those of others. Life indeed takes on morbid qualities and sanity becomes tenuous so long as one’s space, time, energy, mobility, and identity are usurped by dint of violence.” The Oromo elites and leaders must realize that the Oromo cannot achieve the liberation objectives without understanding and overcoming the internalized values that they have learned from their oppressors and the inferiority complex that they are suffering from: “To transform a situation of oppression requires at once a relentless confrontation of oppressors without, who are often impervious to appeals, to reasons or compassion, and an equally determined confrontation of the oppressor within, whose violence can unleash a vicious cycle of auto-destruction to the self as well as to the group.”
For instance, vicious cycles of auto-destruction recently arose in the Oromo diaspora communities due to clan and regional politics, as some Oromo groups engaged in the destruction of the OLF from a distance. This was the result of a failure on the part of the Oromo leadership to confront the oppressor within. Without using the tool of liberation knowledge to build political consciousness and restore their usurped biographies and history, the Oromo cannot confront and defeat the oppressor within. The Oromo national movement is still suffering from the oppressor within and the lack of effective leadership. Since the Oromo masses are not organized and educated in the politics and psychology of liberation, they have been passive participants in the Oromo national movement. They have been waiting to receive their liberation as a gift from Oromo political organizations. This is a serious mistake. Oromo liberation can only be achieved by the active participation of an effective portion of the Oromo people. As Gilly Adolfo states, “Liberation does not come as a gift from anybody; it is seized by the masses with their own hands. And by seizing it they themselves are transformed; confidence in their own strength soars, and they turn their energy and their experience to the tasks of building, governing, and deciding their own lives for themselves.” Developing Oromummaa or Oromo nationalism among the Oromo elites and masses is required to increase Oromo self-discovery and self-acceptance through liberation education. Without overcoming the political ignorance and inferiority complex among all sectors of the Oromo people, the Oromo national movement continues to face multi-faceted problems. The Oromo can challenge and overcome multiple levels of domination and dehumanization through multiple approaches and actions. As Patricia Hill Collins puts, “People experience and resist oppression on three levels: the level of personal biography; the group or community level of the cultural context…and the systematic level of social institutions.” Developing individual political consciousness through liberation knowledge generates social change. This is essential to the creation of a sphere of freedom by increasing the power of self-definition, which is absolutely necessary for the liberation of the mind. Without the liberated and free mind, we cannot resist oppression on multiple levels.
The dominant groups are against mental liberation, and they use institutions such as schools, churches or mosques, the media, and other formal organizations to inculcate their oppressive worldviews in our minds. According to Collins, “Domination operates by seducing, pressuring, or forcing … members of subordinated groups to replace individual and cultural ways of knowing with the dominant group’s specialized thought. As a result … ‘the true focus of revolutionary change is never merely the oppressive situation which we seek to escape, but that piece of the oppressor which is planted deep within each of us.’ Or…‘revolutionary begins with the self, in the self.’” Every Oromo must be educated and acquire liberation knowledge to fight for his/her individual freedom and empowerment. Without the liberation and empowerment of the individual, we cannot overcome the docility and passivity of our people and empower them to revolt and liberate themselves. “Empowerment involves rejecting the dimensions of knowledge, whether personal, cultural, or institutional, that perpetuate objectification and dehumanization … individuals in subordinate groups become empowered when we understand and use those dimensions of our individual, group, and disciplinary ways of knowing that foster our humanity as fully human subjects.” As Oromos, we have been objectified and made raw materials for others who have state power. How much longer will we tolerate such deplorable conditions?
Discussion and Conclusion
The only way the Amhara-Tigrayan state elites continue their colonial domination and exploitation of our people is by controlling our mental power and preventing our mental liberation. They have continued to disrupt our consciousness-building process through different mechanisms, particularly by infiltrating our communities and organizations and dividing and turning us against one another. These colonial elites have imprisoned and tortured or killed our self-conscious individuals and bribed and promoted those Oromos who are not politically conscious or those opportunists who cannot see beyond their individual self-interests. According to Akbar, “Human beings have consistently worked to create the circumstances to maximize their consciousness and to insure that each subsequent generation will know fully who and what they are. On the other hand, whenever human beings chose to oppress or capture other human beings, they also did all that they could do to undermine any expansion of consciousness by the oppressed…. They understand that ultimately the control of the people was in the control their thinking, in control of their minds, in control of their consciousness.”
By preventing the restoration of the Oromo heritage, culture, history, and institutions, the colonialists have limited the expansion of Oromo consciousness and self-knowledge. These colonialists have also continued to disseminate lies or distorted information to the Oromo people and others using the media, education, and religion, leading to their continued acceptance of the worldviews of their oppressor. Every Oromo must know and understand Oromo history, culture, heritage, worldview, and religion from antiquity to the present time in order to build his/her national consciousness and self-knowledge. We also need to learn about all of our heroes and heroines and Oromo accomplishments throughout history. People who do not know their culture and history are mentally dead, and any group that has military power and knowledge can easily impose its worldview on those who do not.
We must teach our people and children the correct information about their conditions. Explaining the conditions of African Americans, Akbar notes, “It is through self-celebration that we heal our damaged self-esteem. Yes, feeling good about oneself is a legitimate activity of cultures. In fact, any culture, which does not make its adherents feel good about them, is a failure as a culture. It is through the energy of self-worth that humans are motivated to improve and perpetuate themselves.” The process of mental liberation requires courage, hard work, discipline, and commitment; it involves individual, family and community. “Since the new consciousness can take a lifetime to begin to show tangible results,” Akbar writes, “it takes a great deal of courage to persist in breaking the chains of the old consciousness and developing a new consciousness.”
Those of us who are a part of the diaspora beyond Ethiopian political slavery must not waste our time and energy on trivial and unproductive issues; we must build our brains and communities to overcome the lonely and ill-equipped road to freedom. We do not need to wait for activists or politicians to engage us in mental liberation and community building since they are not any better than we are. Every Oromo nationalist has a moral and national obligation to promote and engage in consciousness-building projects. Colonialists use community divisions to keep mental shackles on their subjects, even in the diaspora. They use divide-and-conquer strategies, replete with tricks and deceit, in order to destroy Oromo community life. This is one of the reasons why many Oromo communities in the diaspora face substantial problems and are overwhelmed by perpetual conflicts.
Most Oromos—despite the fact that they brag about it—forget their gadaa/siqqee tradition, which was based on democracy, solidarity, and collectivity. We must realize that there is strength in democracy, solidarity, and unity, and there is weakness in loneliness and fragmentation. “As we gain greater knowledge and information, many of those divisions will disappear because they cannot stand under the light of Truth and correct information.”In the capitalist world system, the less informed are the less organized. The less organized are the ones who are physically and mentally controlled by those who are organized. In forming solidarity and building our communities, we do not need to agree on everything; our unity must be built on our common denominator. As Akbar states, “In the process of liberation, it is important to recognize that unity does not require uniformity. We can stand together and preserve our separate qualities which serve to enhance further the objectives of freeing ourselves and all of our people.”
We need to have faith in ourselves, both individually and collectively. We have many talented individuals in many areas, which can play central roles in the process of mental liberation and consciousness- and community-building. “We must work to re-educate ourselves and our young people by seeking and studying new information. We must find every opportunity to celebrate ourselves and we must challenge the fear that causes us to hesitate in taking the chains out of our minds. We must work together and we must have faith that our struggle will be successful, regardless of the opposition.” We must also stand with our heroes and heroines who have broken the Ethiopian physical and psychological prison house by shedding their blood and sacrificing their precious lives to send us around the world as Oromo diplomats to contribute toward the liberation of the politically enslaved, psychologically chained, and economically impoverished Oromos.
At this historical moment, we the Oromo in the Diaspora should overcome our passivity, political ignorance, individualism, naiveté, anarchism, fatalism, perceived inferiority, and community divisions by actively engaging in our psychological and mental liberation. How can we accomplish all these urgent tasks? We must attack the internalization of oppression and victimization by rejecting the worldview of our oppressors through un-brainwashing our entire people. This can be made possible by promoting quality informal and formal education through establishing alternative schools, study circles, cultural centers, and related institutions for engaging in small group workshops, discussion groups, seminars, lectures, etc. These kinds of engagements help us in overcoming our weaknesses and in fighting the basis of our powerlessness through participating in political actions that can be demonstrated every day. This array of activities can facilitate the further mobilization of our material, cultural, and intellectual resources to further develop Oromo communities. Once our communities are internally built and consolidated, it will be possible to disempower the agents of our oppressors who stand among us.
If we continue to allow these agents to divide and demobilize us, we will remain a weak society that always serves the interests of others. On the contrary, if we build strong communities, we can easily build alliances with progressive individuals and communities based on our political and social objectives. This is an important step forward for securing recognition for our nation and national movement from the international community. Furthermore, our political activism and actions must be expanded. We, the Oromo in the diaspora, must immediately take the following concrete steps to contribute to the survival and liberation of our people:
First, we must initiate town hall meetings in every town where an Oromo community lives and discuss the fate of the Oromo people, focusing on their achievements, failures, challenges, opportunities, and constraints as a nation. This is not openly possible in Oromia because the Oromo people are denied the freedom of self-expression, organization, and the media.
Second, the Oromo in the diaspora must stop the politics of self-destruction by refusing to engage in inter-clan, inter-religious, and inter-regional politics, and by isolating the Oromo mercenaries from every Oromo community. Since the Oromo mercenaries use clan, religious, and regional politics to divide the Oromo people and turn them against one another, the Oromo community must reject them and their politics. The Oromo community must disempower them by maintaining a sense of the unity of the Oromo community across clan, religious and regional identities in the face of their self-destructive ideologies. The Oromo must achieve a sense of Oromummaa at the deepest level so that they are not distracted from the task of achieving psychological and physical liberation.
Third, the Oromo Diaspora must challenge the Oromo activists, who have built their separate organizations, to break down barriers among different Oromo organizations and unite them—around a common denominator under one structured organization and leadership.
Fourth, Oromo youth and women should be encouraged to actively participate in national dialogues and town hall meetings. They must play a leading role, since they are less corrupted by the ideologies of egoism, clan, religious and regional politics.
Fifth, Oromo nationalists must establish a rule of law based on the principles ofgadaa/siqqee and other democratic traditions and use them in the administration of their community and national affairs.
Sixth, since unconscious people cannot liberate themselves from the internalization of the inferiority complex, victimization, and colonial domination, the Oromo diaspora should cultivate liberation knowledge through regular dialogues, seminars, conferences, workshops, lectures, and study circles. We must learn about our history, culture, language, and traditions from antiquity to the present, and about the world around us. At this historical moment, the number one enemy of our people is political ignorance; Oromo nationalists must smash this enemy. By building our political consciousness and organizing ourselves, we are going to play a historic role commensurate with our number. When our sleeping giant nation is awakened, others cannot use us as raw material. One of the main reasons why the forty million Oromos are terrorized and ruled by the elites that emerged from about four million Tigrayans is the low level of our political consciousness. A low level of political consciousness results in passivism and fatalism.
Seventh, every self-respecting Oromo must realize that he or she has the power to determine the destiny of Oromia. Every Oromo must be educated about his or her potential power and what he or she must do to translate it to real power.
Eighth, the Oromo diaspora movement must start building from bottom-up a confederation of Oromo political, religious, community, and self-help organizations to create a Global Gumii Oromiyaa that will contribute ideological, organizational, and financial resources for consolidating the Oromo struggle, the Oromo Liberation Army, and self-defense militias in Oromia. The Global Gumii Oromiyaa will play a fundamental preparatory role in creating and building an Oromiyaa state fashioned after our gadaa/siqqee system. This state will be a key element of a democratic, federated multinational state in the Horn of Africa. In order to do this, the Oromo national movement needs to retrieve, refine, adapt, and practice the principles of our gadaa/siqqe system.
The idea of creating and building a national Gumii Oromiyaa must be given top priority by all progressive and revolutionary Oromos in order to revitalize, centralize, and coordinate the Oromo national movement. All nationalist Oromos should be encouraged and invited to participate in a united Oromo national movement and to own their movement. All Oromo activists and nationalist leaders should begin to search for ways of enabling Oromos to participate in the united Oromo national movement by providing ideas, resources, expertise, and labor. Although the fire of Oromo nationalism was lit by a few determined revolutionary elements, the Oromo national struggle has reached a level where mass mobilization and participation is required. In this mobilization, the united Oromo national movement should use the ideology and principles of democracy which must be enshrined in Oromummaa in order to mobilize the entire nation spiritually, financially, intellectually, ideologically, militarily, and organizationally to take a centralized and coordinated political and military action.
Ninth, most members of the Oromo diaspora must engage in public diplomacy by introducing the Oromo and their plight to the international community. In order to successfully do this, every Oromo in the diaspora must adequately learn about Oromo history, culture, and civilization and be able to teach others by refuting the lies and propaganda of the colonialists and their supporters.
Tenth, Oromo nationalists in the diaspora must start to build a well-regulated system that can provide support and security for individual Oromos who are determined to advance the Oromo national interest whenever they face hardship beyond their control.
Finally, the Oromo must believe that they will liberate themselves. There is no doubt that, despite hardships and sacrifices, the Oromo “social volcano” that is fermenting will soon burn down the Ethiopian colonial structures that perpetuate terrorism, genocide, disease, absolute poverty, and malnutrition in Oromia and beyond. The Oromo people and their leaders must intensify their commitment, hard work, and determination, and be ready to make the necessary sacrifices to restore Oromo democracy and to achieve national self-determination, sovereignty, statehood, and multinational democracy.
*(L) Dr. Asafa Jalata, Professor of Sociology and Global and Africana Studies, University of Tennessee, Department of Sociology, Knoxville, Tennessee USA; (R) Dr. Harwood Schaffer, Research Assistant Professor, University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, Knoxville, Tennessee USA
 Paper Presented at the Oromo Community Meeting of the United Kingdom, May 19, 2012.
 For further understanding of transnational capitalism and its impacts, see William I. Robinson, A Theory of Global Capitalism: Production, Class, and State in a Transnational World, (Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2004); William I. Robinson, Latin America and Global Capitalism: A Critical Globalization Perspective,(Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2008).
 See Asafa Jalata, Contending Nationalisms of Oromia an Ethiopia, (Binghamton, NY: Global Academic Publishing of Binghamton University, 2010); Asafa Jalata, “The Tigrayan-Led Ethiopian State, Repression, Terrorism and Gross Human Rights Violations in Oromia and Ethiopia,” Horn of Africa, vol. xxviii, 2010, pp. 47-82.
 For example, see Asafa Jalata, Oromia & Ethiopia, (Trenton, NJ: The Re Red Sea Press, 2005); Bonnie Holcomb and Sisai Ibssa, The Invention of Ethiopia, (Trenton: NJ: The Red Sea Press, 1990).
 The liberation of the Oromo is inextricably intertwined with the liberation of all of the peoples under the rule of the rule of the TPLF-led government. For a discussion of the relationship of Oromummaa to liberation of all oppressed nationalities in the Ethiopian Empire see Asafa Jalata, “Theorizing Oromummaa,” Journal of Oromo Studies 22 (1), 2015: 1-35.
 For further understanding, see Asafa Jalata and Harwood Schaffer, “The Oromo,Gadaa/Siqqee and the Liberation of Ethiopian Colonial Subjects,” with Harwood Schaffer,AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, Vol. 9, Issue 4: 2013, 277-295.
 Lemmu Baissa, “The Oromo Gada System of Government: An Indigenous African Democracy,” Ed. Asafa Jalata, State Crises, Globalisation and National Movements in Northeast Africa, (New York: Routledge, 2004), p. 101.
 Tsega Etefa, “Pan-Oromo Confederations in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries,”The Journal of Oromo Studies 15 (1), 2008: 19-40; Tsega Etefa, “A Great African Nation: The Oromo in European Accounts,” The Journal of Oromo Studies, 17(1), 2010: 87-110.
 Virginia Luling, “Government and Social Control Among Some Peoples of the Horn of Africa,” (MA. Thesis, the University o London); Asmarom Legesse, Gadaa: Three Approaches to the Study of African Society, (New York: The Free Press, 1973).
 Virginia Luling, ibid. 191.
 See, Asmarom Legesse, Gada: Three Approaches to the Study of Africa Society,(New York: Free Press, 19730.
 Bonnie K. Holcomb, “Akka Gadaatti: The Unfolding of Oromo Nationalism-Keynote Remarks,” Proceedings of the 1991 Conference on Oromia, (University of Toronto, Canada, 3-4 August, pp. 1-10.
 Asmarom Legesse, ibid.
 Lemmu Baissa, The Democratic Political System of the Galla [Oromo] of Ethiopia and the Possibility of its use in Nation-Building, MA Thesis, George Washington University, 1971); Lemmu Baissa, “The Political Culture of Gada: Building Blocks of Oromo Power,)Paper Presented at the Oromo Studies Association Conference, (University of Toronto, Canada, 31 July- 1, August 1993).
 Dinsa Lepisa, “The Gada System of Government and Sera Cafee Oromo,” (LLB Thesis, Addis Ababa University, 1975); Sisai Ibssa, “Implications of Party and Set for Oromo Political Survival,” Paper Prsented at the 35th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association, (Seattle, Washington, Nov. 20-23, 1992).
 For further discussion, see Asafa Jalata, Contending Nationalisms of Oromia and Ethiopia; and Asafa Jalata, Oromia and Ethiopia.
 For further discussion, see Asafa Jalata, Oromia and Ethiopia.
 For detailed discussion, see Asafa Jalata, Contending Nationalisms of Oromia and Ethiopia.
 Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, translated by Constance Farrington, (New York: Grove Press, Inc., 1963), p. 38.
Hussein Abdilahi Bulhan, Frantz Fanon and the Psychology of Oppression, (New York: Plenum Press, 1985), p. 123.
 Na’im Akbar, Breaking the Chains of Psychological Slavery, (Tallahassee, FL: Mind Productions and Associates, 1996), p. 41.
Fanon, Frantz, A Dying Colonialism, translated by Haakon Chevalier, (New York: Grove Press, Inc., 1967), p. 65.
Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks, translated by Richard Philcox, (New York: Grove Press, Inc., 2008), pp. 2-3.
 Hussein Abdilahi Bulihan, ibid. pp. 125-126.
 Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, p. 7.
 Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, (Washington, D.C.: Howard University Press,), pp. 248-249.
 Walter Rodney, ibid. p. 241.
 Carter G. Woodson, The Mis-education of the Negro, (Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, Inc., 1990 , pp. xiii, 2.
 Walter Rodney, Ibid. p. 42.
 Carter G. Woodson explains similar conditions in the African American society, ibid.
 Ibid. p. 127.
 Ibid. p. 62.
 For detailed discussion, see Asafa Jalata, Fighting against the Injustice of the State and Globalization: Comparing the African American and Oromo Movements, (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2012.
 Begna F. Dugassa, “Colonialism of Mind: Deterrent of Social Transformation,”Sociology Mind, 1(2): 55-64.
 Na’im Akbar, Breaking the Chains of Psychological Slavery, (Tallahassee, FL: Mind Productions and Associates, 1996), pp. v-iv.
 Hussein Abdilahi Bulhan, Frantz Fanon and the Psychology of Oppression, p. 55.
 Ibid. p. 56.
 Ibid. p. 123.
 Carter G. Woodson, ibid., p. 96.
 Ibid. p. 139.
 Ibid. p. 135.
 Ibid. p. 123.
 Hussein Abdilahi Bulhan, Frantz Fanon and the Psychology of Oppression, p. 262.
 Ibid. p. 263.
 Ibid. p. 264.
 Ibid. p. 265.
 Ibid. pp. 265-266.
 Ibid. p. 276.
 Ibid. p. 277.
 Ibid. pp. 277-278.
 Gilly Adolfo.  1967. “Introduction,” A Dying Colonialism, ibid. p. 2.
 Patricia Hill Collins, Black Feminist Thought, (New York: Routledge, 1990), p. 227.
 Patricia Hill Collins, ibid., p. 229.
 Ibid., p. 230.
 Na’im Akbar, Breaking the Chains of Psychological Slavery, p. 30.
 Ibid. p. 39.
 Ibid. p. 41.
 Ibid. p. 42.
 Ibid. p. 43.
 Ibid. p. 46.
 Jalata, Asafa, “Theorizing Oromummaa,” Journal of Oromo Studies, 22 (1), 2015, pp. 1-35.