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Decolonizing Development:The Political and Cultural Locations of Nationalism and National Self-determination (The Case of Oromia) January 4, 2015

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 Decolonising Development:The Political and Cultural Locations of   Nationalism and National Self-determination (the Case of Oromia)

Several scholars have argued that national self-determination is a claim for cultural independence and that nationalism in general is based on the right to cultural autonomy, right to a culture. In the Oromo context, national self-determination is about the representation of collective identity and dignity. It is the demand of the Oromo people to govern themselves. Practically, this can be interpreted as let us be governed by people who are like us, people of our nationality or people who accept and respect our value system. For the last hundred years and so, the Oromo nation has suffered from Abyssinian expansionism, social, ecological and economic destruction and continuous and intensive cultural and physical genocide. The Abyssinians and Oromians connections have been the coloniser (refers to the former) and the colonised (refers to the latter) relationships. Contrary to the Ethiopianist discourse, they have not developed a common unifying identity, social and political system. While the Abyssinians feel a sense of glory of their kings, warlords and dictators, the Oromians feel victimisation to these rulers, so they have not emerged a common ancestry, culture and collective memory, which can result in common ‘Ethiopian’ identity. From the perspective of Oromo social construction, the present Ethiopian domination over Oromia is a continuation of what pervious generations of Oromo nation had experienced. Thus, the Oromo people, sees the present political arrangement as illegitimate because it is a rule by the people who have engaged in destroying them. So, they claim not only cultural but also political independence. Oromo nationalism is also very democratic. It follows the UN principles of self-determination for the citizens of Oromia, claiming independence from the tyranny of Ethiopian Empire. The latter has been constructed based on Amhara-Tigre nationalism. The Oromo nationalism also offers democratic solutions to the ethnic minorities in the Ethiopian Empire. Scholars of Oromo studies claim that there is fundamental behavioural, linguistic, ethnic and cultural differences between the Abyssinians (northern) and their subjects (Southern). The Oromo, Sidama, Afar and the Ogaden (Ogaden Somalians) nations, beyond their common Cushitic progeny, they have common experiences of victimisation and illegitimately absorbed by Abyssinian southward expansion. Their collective memory of past experiences and present victimisation are making common identity. This identity is a key to understand politics there and to work together for self-determination, to recover their lost humanity.

For the early version of this article, see Temesgen M. Erena, The Political and Cultural Locations National Self – Determination,  Oromia Quarterly, Vol. II, No.2, March 1999; Temesgen, M. Erena, Oromia: The Nation and the Politics of National Self – Determination, Oromia Quarterly, Vol. I, No.2, December 1997, ISSN 1460-1346.

Man knows himself only insofar as he knows the world, and becomes aware of the world only in himself, and of himself only in it. Every new object, well observed, opens a new organ in ourselves.

-Goethe, Maximen und Reflexionen, VI Build therefore your own world. -Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature

Introduction

The passions of national freedom and national interest are probably the strongest in the whole political spectrum that characterises the present world. Kellas (1998) holds that it is stronger than the passions aroused by religion, class, individual or group interest. This passion is not all futile, either. In Gellener’s (1983) understanding, nationalism has been considered as essential to the establishment of a modern industrial society. According to Smith (1991), it is ‘the sole vision and rationale of political solidarity.’ For Kellas (1998), it provides legitimacy to the state, and inspires its citizens to feel an emotional attachment towards it. It can be a source of creativity in the arts, and enterprise in the economy. Its power to mobilise political engagement is unrivalled, particularly in the vital activity of nation building. It is intimately linked with the operation of popular democracy. Indeed, the global pattern is a mosaic of political drives, economic interests, linguistic pride, cultural imperatives, psychological needs and nations seeking identity. These factors are manifesting as a powerful staying power in a modern Africa, either. As European colonialism and socialism melted away, the perpetual existence of the backlash against ‘neo-colonial’ colony colonialism and the reviving of national selfdom become more and more significant in social and political dynamics of contemporary multi-ethno-nation African societies. The African experience is motivated by the same aspirations as that of elsewhere. At its root is a need for freedom, dignity, for the right of people of distinct social communities to function freely and independently. In this regard, Oromia represents the case of rejuvenating claim for national freedom and the struggle against more than a century old Abyssinian Empire colonialism in Africa. Oromia is a homeland for an Oromo nation, a group of people with a common culture and value system (seera fi aadaa), language ( Afaan Oromo), political institutions (Gadaa), and historical memories and experiences. Oromia is the single largest, homogeneous and endogenous nation in Africa with a population of 40 to 45 million. Both in terms of territorial and population size, more than two-third’s today’s sovereign states that are making members of UN (United Nations) are smaller than Oromia. The Cushite (see Demie, 1998) Oromo people have inhibited their homeland, Oromia, since pre-history and in antiquity were the agents of humanity’s documented Cushitic civilisation in terms of science, technology, art, political and moral philosophy. The links between the Oromo and the ancient civilisations of Babylon, Cush and Egypt has been discussed in Asfaw Beyene (1992) and John Sorenson (1998) scholarly works. Utilising prodigious evidence from history, philosophy, archaeology and linguistics, Diop (1974 and 1991) confirms that the Cushite Egyptian civilisation was emerged from the Cushite civilisations of North East Africa, particularly, the present day Western Sudan and upper Nile Oromia (also known as Cush or Punt). Indeed, except the name of places, saints and prophets, many of the Old Testament and the Holy Koran moral texts are copies of the Oromo moral codes. The formers are written documents while the latter are orally transmitted. Since the late 1880s the Oromo people have disowned their sovereignty. They disowned their autonomous institutions of governance, culture, education, creativity, business, commerce, etc. Thus, they have been claiming for national self-determination, national-self government and the right to their own state and resist the Abyssinian Empire saver (supremacist’s) nationalism. The Oromians are not only against the quality of Ethiopian Empire governance but also against the philosophy on which it is based: domination, dehumanisation, inequality, double standard, hypocrisy, deceit, exclusion, chauvinism, war institution, rent-seeking, extractive state, conservatism, feudalism, Aste fundamentalism (Aste Tewodros, Aste Yohannis, Aste Menelik, Aste Haile Sellasie), etc. The political goal of national self-determination (national self-government) is asserted in the outlook and attitudes of the Oromo political and social organisations. Of course, the Oromo nationalism, which supports the interests and identity of the Oromo people, is a more subtle, complex and widespread phenomenon than common understanding and observation. It is within this context that we are going to discuss the Oromos’ politics of national self-determination and the search for the national homeland, the demand for reinventing a state of their own in the following sections.

Defining Nation, Nationalism and Self- determination

To define nation and nationalism is as Benjamin Akzin (1964, pp. 7-10) discussed five decades ago, to enter into a terminological jungle in which one easily gets lost. Different scholarly disciplines have their own more or less established and more or less peculiar ways of dealing with nation and nationalism. Ideally, our definition of nation and nationalism should be induced of elements of nationalist ideology. Getting at such a definition has confirmed phenomenally strenuous. Hugh Seton-Watson, an authority in this domain, has deduced that ‘no scientific definition’ of a nation can be concocted. All that we can find to say is that a nation exists when significant number of people in a community consider themselves to form a nation, or behave as if they formed one (Seton-Watson, 1982, p.5).Van den Berghe (1981) defines a nation as a politically conscious ethnic group. Several attempts have been made at making a cardinalist definition of the term, pointing out one or more key cultural variables as defining variables. Among those tried are language, religion, common history/descent, ethnicity/race, statehood and common territory (homeland). For a group of people to be termed a nation, its members typically have to share several of these characteristics, although historically, one criterion may have been predominant (for example, language in Germany, or culture and history in France). In the case of Oromo, common language (Afaan Oromo), common territory (Biyya Oromo, dangaa Oromiyaa or Oromia), common historical experiences (victimisation to Ethiopian Empire rules or Abyssinocracy) are particularly very significant. Stalin made his undertaking in 1913. His definition includes four criteria: the members of a nation live under the same economic conditions, on the same territory, speak the same language, and have similar culture and national character (Seton-Watson, 1982, p.14). Neither Ernest Gellner nor Eric Hobsbawn, two influencials, gave definite definitions of the nation in their major achievements. Indeed, they are very hostile towards what they define as nationalism. ‘…For ever single nationalism which has so far raised its ugly head…’ (Gellner, 1983, p.45), this is a Gellner’s conception and sees the world as naturally divided into nations, each with its own individuality. This implies an acceptance of the nationalist self-perception. There are also other conceptualisations. A social anthropologist, Thomas Hylland Eriksen (1992, p. 220) says ‘a nation is an ethnic group whose leaders have either achieved, or aspire to achieve, a state where its cultural group is hegemonic’, Anthony H. Birch (1989, p.6) considers that a nation is best defined as ‘a society which either governs itself today, or has done so in the past, or has a credible claim to do so in the not-too- distant future. Kellas (1998) defines the nation as a group of people who feel themselves to be a community bound together by ties of history, culture and common ancestry. Nations have ‘objective’ characteristics, which may include a territory, a language, a religion, or common descent, and ‘subjective’ characteristics, essentially a people’s awareness of its nationality and affection for it. In the last resort it is ‘the supreme loyalty’ for people who are prepared to die for their nation. The definition of ‘nation’ which we will make use of in the following is one suggested by Anthony D. Smith (1983,pp. 27-109, 1991, p. 14; 1995); a definition mastering well the ‘sounding board’ dimension. Smith here defines a nation as ‘a named human population sharing a historic territory, common myths and historical memories, a mass, public culture, a common economy and common legal rights and duties for all members. A recent definition of Smith holds nationalism, one manifestation of national-self-determination, as ‘an ideological movement for attaining and maintaining autonomy, unity and identity on behalf of a population deemed by some of its members to constitute an actual or potential ‘nation’ (Smith, 1991, p. 73; 1995). For Smith nationalism has a deep ethnic roots and rejuvenates itself in response to global and domestic impulses. While the phenomenon of globalisation and technocratic culture are there, nationalism is an eternal nature and nourishes and propels itself on technocratic innovations. In this context, national self-determination may be defined as many part aspirations of a nation: To be free to freely determine one’s own national identity, culture, including language, education, religion, and form of government, to be free of rule by another ‘nation’, that is to overcome social and political systems of domination and exclusion in which nations other than one’s own wield predominant power. To be free to select its own form of government; and those governed within it have the right of unflagging consent.

Culture and the Politics of Self-determination

Nation, nationalism and national self-determination are commanding attentions. One of the perennial issues within nationalism is whether national self-determination can stand alone, or whether it requires a ‘qualifier’ from within cultural or political ideas or both to clarify its precise cultural and political location. Several scholars have argued that national self-determination is a claim for cultural independence and that nationalism in general is based on the right to cultural independence and that nationalism is based on the right to a culture. Nielson, for example, peers a nation as groups of people whom ‘perceive themselves as having a distinct culture and traditions’, and Tamir presents that a nation is a community in which individuals develop their culture, and they therefore regard their place within a nation as membership in a cultural group. Indeed, she argues that ‘the right to national-self determination stakes a cultural rather than a political claim, namely, it is the right to preserve the existence of a nation as a distinct cultural entity.’ Will the people who demand national self-determination be satisfied with such an arrangement? Tamir gives credence to that the idea of basing the right to self-determination on the right to a culture is the one that has best conformity with a liberal internationalist viewpoint. That is thinkable, but international liberalism is incompetent on this particular matter. A nationalism, which is based on culture and cultural distinctions, was not very long a go. It is a concept that characteristic the thesis of right wing, or romantic theorists such as Herder. Indeed, Herder’s nationalism was not political, and it distrusted a state as something external, mechanical, not emerging spontaneously from the life of the people. Nevertheless, in the Oromo context the claim for national self-determination is a political rather than a cultural one. If we look at the distinction between the two, it would seem that the claim for national self-determination involves more than a demand to be tolerated while the cultural question is. For example, the Catalan’s and Quebecois’ culture and identity have been tolerated and respected to some extent, and yet many of them thought that this did not reflect a situation of self-determination. Indeed, meeting their claim would involve legislation and redefinition of institutions within the state, and perhaps even a new state. In the Oromo case the demand is actually the claim to have control over their lives. This does not mean over every individual’s private life, but over the public aspect of one’s existence, i.e. the system of mutual relationships, which reflect and sustain one’s membership of a certain collective. Here the self is conceptualised within the context of community, but one that has to be real, actual, and functioning and performing. Otherwise these communal ties are too abstract, which makes it impossible for the self to be defined by them. The statement of Cohen has to be recalled: ‘A person does not only need to develop and enjoy his powers. He needs to know who he is, and how his identity connects him with particular others. He must… find something outside himself which he did not create… He must be able to identify himself with some part of objective social reality’ (Cohen, 1988). Moreover, self-realisation, however, cannot be merely a mental situation; thus this community cannot be only cultural. It must be a political situation at least so that, in order for the Oromo people to realise themselves, they must not be dependent on the goodwill of a second party. They then must be certain that their self-realisation in all spheres of life will not be prevented by the Abyssinian government, the TPLF, the Orthodox Church, and so forth. They should therefore be politically active and watch such institutions carefully. In addition, they must participate in politics in order to decide collectively upon public matters, which influence their self-realisation. So the Oromos claim for national-self determination is about the realisation of their potential status, ability and collective character, which may be achieved only through participation in autonomous political institutions. But for more than a century Oromos have been denied access to these institutions, either officially or in practice. In other words, if  Oromos as a nation achieve self-determination they will better able to participate, better represented, better able to deliberate, gain much more control over their life than formerly and more autonomous. The Oromos demand for national self-determination thus, aims at establishing those institutions, which are needed for the realisation of the self-determination. When an Oromo demands national self-determination, he/she is not asserting that he/she would like to control his/her private life, e.g. his/her job, his/her shopping activities, his/her love affairs. Many Oromos do not control these aspects of their lives and yet nevertheless demand national self-determination. But the same principle also applies to cultural life. The Oromos may be allowed more-or-less to use their language, have their own newspapers and theatre, and the freedom of worship, etc. which are making cultural freedom. Actually, these rights are hardly exist at present. But when they claim national self-determination they are not only referring to these aspects of life, as political community: they want to be able to form and choose among and vote for the Oromo political parties, to observe the Oromo constitutional laws, to pay taxes to an Oromo authority, and to have a history (and indeed, myth) of independent Oromo state, from which their identity and self-determination can derive. Thus, the Oromo’s Declaration for Independence will emphasise parliamentary participation and the need to form a constitution, rather than cultural activities. In general the Oromos demand for national self-determination entails that the individuals in this nation should be citizens, engaged in politics as members of a community committed to the realisation of certain (their own) common goods, rather than participating as individuals who seek their self-interests, as it is implied by the right- to- culture school of thought and Liberal Internationalists. Perhaps for this reason Margalit and Halbertal revise the right-to- culture argument, arguing that the right is to a certain culture rather than to culture. A certain culture, then, becomes a common good. And yet, this is not enough, because they still regard the common good in cultural rather than political terms: ‘shared values and symbols… are meant to serve as the focus for citizens’ identification with the state, as well as the sources of their willingness to defend it even at the risk of their lives (Margalit and Halbertal, 1994). Why, then, do theories adhere to the culture discourse? Of course, for most of the Western theorists, the term national self-determination is affiliated to the strive to become part of humanity, to regain the human condition of autonomy; it is adjoined to the struggle to be part of the free world, of the more progressive forces; it is seen as decolonisation, as civilisation, as an attempt made to become part of the world of liberty, rights, and justice. But, it is seen as part of centrifugal forces, from the centre to the global, universalism or what Lane (1974) calls as ‘total situation’ or citizenship based on individual freedom and social justice. These theorists, therefore, universalise the notion of national self-determination: they make it part of liberalism. The liberals’ universal approach tends to be uniformist. This makes a society rootless and a citizen far removed from those who control his/her destiny. On the other hand, the notion as it is put forward and used by the Oromos that the demand for national self-determination is also centripetal, from the global and the greater units to the smaller ones. These groups demand the disengagement from the ‘other’, the global, the colonist, even from other humanity, by asserting that ‘we are not merely the essential equal and part of humanity, but rather we are also different and distinct: we have our own political identity, which we want to preserve, sustain, and establish institutionally, like the Scottish vision in multi-nation state Europe. This is the language of liberation from colonisation. It is also the language of particularisation within the universal or the global, and it seems that the uniformist approach is not sensitive enough to the real Oromos problems. Thus, the Oromos quest for self-determination involves the ultimate goal of particularism (its own unique space), reinventing the Oromia State, owning the national homeland. Of course, in a heterogeneous society of the Ethiopian Empire, though uniformity may simplify system of control, social justice will not be attained in one vast monolithic block of oppressed by colonial legislation, bureaucrats and its armies. An important work of Professor Asafa Jalata, an authority in the study of Oromo nationalism kindly quoted as’ The Oromo question involves both colonialism and ethno nationalism. Ethiopian colonialism has been imposed by global capitalism on the Oromo nation. Ethiopians, both Amharas and Tigrayans, through establishing settler colonialism in Oromia, have systematically killed millions of Oromo and expropriated their lands and other resources from the last decades of the nineteenth century until today. Ethiopian colonialists already destroyed the people called Agaw by taking their lands, systematically killing them, and assimilating the survivors. They attempt to do the same thing to the Oromo by destroying the Oromo national movement, confiscating Oromo lands, and forcing the remaining Oromo into ‘settlement villages’ or (reservations). Many times, some Oromo organisations attempted to democratize Ethiopia so that the Oromo would achieve equal citizenship rights and maintain their ethno cultural identity. Determined to maintain their colonial domination and to destroy the Oromo cultural personality through ethnocide or assimilation, Ethiopian colonialists destroyed or suppressed those Oromo political forces that attempted to transform Ethiopia into a multinational democratic society. Therefore, most Oromos are convinced that their rights and freedom cannot be obtained and respected without creating their own state, or state that they can create as equal partners with other ethno national groups interested in forming a multinational democratic society to promote ethno cultural diversity and human freedom. Hence, Oromo nationalism is an ideology of the subjugated Oromo who seek human rights, freedom, justice, and democracy’ (Jalata, 1997). In fact social justice can be attained when and only when the oppressed majority able to rule its homeland. The Oromos work for national self-determination is the great humanist and historical task in terms of Freire (1993) argument ‘To liberate themselves and their oppressors as well. The oppressors, who oppress, exploit, and rape by virtue of their power, cannot find in this power the strength to liberate either the oppressed or themselves. Only power that springs from the weakness of the oppressed will be sufficiently strong to free both. Any ‘attempt to soften the power of the oppressor in difference to the weakness of the oppressed almost always manifest itself in the form of false generosity; indeed, the attempt never goes beyond this.’ In this context, for Oromos in order to have the continued opportunity to express their ‘generosity,’ the Habasha colonist must perpetuate injustice, too. Tyranny is the permanent fount of this ‘generosity,’ that sustains at the price of death, dehumanisation, despair and poverty. ‘True generosity consists precisely in fighting to destroy the causes which nourish false charity.’ (Freire, 1993). For further discussions on Oromo nationalism, universalism, globalism, Ethiopianist discourses and Oromo Nationalism, see Sorenson (1998) and Sisai Ibssa (1998).

Concluding Thoughts

Man as a social animal always seeks his own territory and belongings to a social group in which his identity and sense of community is observed and respected. In the defence of the cause for social justice and social ecology, these are basic tenets to backlash against the danger of the rhetoric of universalism, polyarchy and false perspectives of social uniformity, which appear to appreciate the social problems from a single privileged point. Georg Hegel, The Phenomenology of Mind ( New York, 1967 edition), in his famous philosophical discussion of the relationship between ‘lordship and bondage’ maintained that a single consciousness could know itself only through another, even in a condition of totally unequal power relationship. According to this philosophical model, the lord (the oppressor) is lord only through the relationship with a bondservant (the oppressed, the one whose humanity is stolen). In the relationship, however, the other is annulled. The self of the mastery, the lord, derives from the conquest and negation of the servant, the bond. Only recognition of the selfhood of the other permits for its annulations. Thus, lordship covertly recognises the separate identity of the dominated. They are normally equal selves locked into unequal hierarchy. Metaphorically, Hegel’s dialectics of lordship and bondage is very important to understand the Ethiopian domination over Oromia. However, in the Ethiopianist discourse, the essential equality of the selves has been escaped totally. Rather, the persisting hierarchy has taken for granted. According to Sorenson (1998), Ethiopianist scholars like Clapham, Sven Rubenson and Levine because of their attachment to one version of the Ethiopian past and present make them either or unwilling to engage with the full complexity of the problem. From this point of view, to accept the unchanging polarity of Ethiopia and Oromia in the lordship-bondage relationship is to succumb to a structure of Ethiopian aggression and colonialism. The Oromians demand for national self-determination is, however, the civilised step out of the polarity upon which the coercive hierarchy relies, it is the collective political demand, as its main purpose is to achieve the good of the social whole, humanisation, the essential liberation of the Oromo national identity, dignity and the reinvention of Oromia as a sovereign state. The Abyssinian occupation of Oromia, the existence of the Abyssinian Rule, war-lordism and their armies in Oromia and the making of Finfinnee their garrison station, the centre of their crowds is not only an act of conquest, aggression and colonialism but also, from Oromo perspective, such elements are symbols of bondage and slavery that negate the Oromo selfhood as equal essential. For the last over hundred years, the Oromo nation has disowned selfhood, its own state or administration, and lived as a bondage of Abyssinia. The Abyssinian administration which has undermined the Oromo national traditions, exploited it economically, and maintained order through mechanical and repressive means- such a nation actually must seek national self-determination to foster within its politics, to bring dignity, justice, freedom and democracy and to survival as essential equal, as a nation and as part of humanity and its civilisation. It is necessary for Oromians to build the world of their own, a world which make them capable to sustain as a group of human people. They must able to liberate themselves and the violent, the oppressor too. In this context, the Oromo issue is a test case to the deceptive ‘democracy world-wide’ which is being advocated in the USA foreign policy and manipulated by the neo-nafxanyas (see Ibssa, 1998). It is a challenge to contemporary theories of democracy and polyarchy (Robinson, 1997) and actors of post cold war Ethiopian politics who simply take for granted that the boundaries and powers of political community in the ‘Horn’ have already been settled. Thanks to the dedicated works of human rights activists, particularly the OSG (the Oromia Support Group) and its UK based publication, Sagalee Haaraa, we have been well informed on plights of human population and their environment in the entire region. We are interested to recommend this publication to all actors of the region. In this context, we are confident to say that Ethiopian democracy rhetoric or federalism sham politics is nothing more than a fig leaf, covering up the continuation of an extraction of the ‘politics of the belly’, in terms of Bayart (1993) from ‘prudish eye of the West.’ Its democratic rhetoric is a new type of rent seeking (extracting economic rent). By making believe, it enables the collection of international aid that includes diplomatic, military and humanitarian. It enables the seizure of the resources of the modern economy for the benefit of the Tigrayan elites. The situation is not in democracy’s favour, rather it is a situation that the Tyranny is retaining control over the security forces, economic rents and the support of the West. Such manipulation is not new for Africa. Menilik, Haile sellassie, Mengistu, Mobutu, Biya, Senghor and Diouf did the same thing either in Ethiopia or elsewhere in the continent at one time or another. The Quote from Bayart’s (1993) African analyis comes to our mind ‘…The support of western powers and multilateral institutions of Bretton Woods and the Vatcan, who despite having waved the flag of democratic conditionality and respect for human rights, have not dared to pursue such sentiments to their logical conclusion and have continued to think in terms of ‘Mobutu or Chaos’ where Gorbachev given up saying ‘Ceaucescu or chaos’…’. Indeed, very recently, we have read the deceptive descriptions to neo-Mobutu, neo-Mengistu, etc.: democratic, new generation, confident and pragmatic, etc. Sadly, everything changes so that everything stays the same. Nevertheless, the oppressed Oromos are not passive objects, either. They have not allowed themselves to be ‘captured’, as in the past they have demonstrated their historical ability to resist dehumanisation, despair and poverty, and predictably will continue to resist until the justice will come to them. An everyday Oromo coins the following: ‘Victory to the Oromo people! Oromia shall be free!’ We feel moral and social responsibility to support the just cause of fellow humanity.

Listen to Oromo Voice Radio (OVR) Broadcast Afaan Oromo interviews with Dr. Almayayyoo Birru on topic of Self-determination:

http://ayyaantuu.com/horn-of-africa-news/oromia/oromo-freedom-from-what-and-for-what-part-1/

http://gadaa.com/oduu/4613/2010/06/27/on-the-question-of-nationalities-in-ethiopia/

 

‘External self-determination, in particular, seems to carry dual meaning. On the one hand it is taken to mean full independent statehood, while on the other hand it is taken to mean external recognition by other states within the
international community.’

http://bemis.org.uk/docs/redefining-self-determination.pdf

 

‘Every individual/group possesses a moral right to secede. The burden of proof rests with the opponents of secession.’ 

This article is mainly credited to Oromia Quarterly 1997 & 1999.

Copyright © Oromianeconomist 2015 and Oromia Quarterly 1997-2015. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Oromia: Untwist the Twisted History December 28, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Development, Gadaa System, Humanity and Social Civilization, Ideas, Language and Development, Oromia, Oromo, Oromo Identity, Oromo Nation, Oromo Social System, Qubee Afaan Oromo, Sirna Gadaa, The Oromo Governance System, The Oromo Library, Theory of Development, Wisdom.
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Sof Omer Bale

Sof  Umar Wall, Bale Oromia (Ancient and magnificent past and present)

 

Oromo women necklaces1

Oromo women necklaces2

Parts of ancient kemetic (Kushitic), Egyptian, material culture (fashion accessories), courtesy of British Museum sources

Traditionally, Oromo women wear necklaces with telsum amulets, triangular and crescent shaped pendants protect from the evil eye and attract the power of the moon or to improve fertility.

PhotoPhoto

Farming in past and present Oromo (Oromia, modern kemet)Farming in ancient kemetic (Ancient Egypt)

Oromia: The continuity of farming in Oromo society from ancient Kemetic (Kushitic) to present Oromia

Ancient Oromo culture, Irreechaa from the time before the  Pyramid

 

As some indeed suspect, that the science which we see at the dawn of recorded history, was not science at its dawn, but represents the remnants of the science of some great and as yet untraced civilisation. Where, however, is the seat of that civilisation to be located? (J. W. S. Sewell, 1942)

Conquest and dominations are social phenomenon as are dying elsewhere will die in Oromia (Author’s Remark).

 

JEL: O5, D2

Oromia: Untwist the Twisted History

The topic is about Oromia’s location   in space and allocation in humanity and society.  It is concerned with Oromia’s physical position in terms of geography and relational to issues of economic conditions, social justices, cultural values, political history and destiny. Civilisation, Colonisation and Underdevelopment are presented in historical and geo-political perspectives.  They capture both the space and time perceptions. They are also representing the economic and social conditions and positions. The portrayal we procure the present of the Oromo nation, the core of the Cush (Cushite/ Kemet)/Ham (Hamite), the children of Noah, in North & East Africa in past age from the phantom of the Solomonic dynasty, the history thought in Abyssinian high schools, their text books and elsewhere in the invaders’ literature, abusive literary and oral discourses is that they   were savages and that, though Abyssinians and Europeans overrun their lands and have made mere subjects of them, they have been in a way, bestowing  a great  favour on them, since they have  brought  to them the benisons of Christian Enlightenment. With objective analysis, however, this paper obliterates and unmakes that inaccurate illustration, wanton falsifications, immorality, intellectual swindle, sham, mischievous tales, the bent and the parable of human reductionism. Hence, it is the step to delineate an authentic portrait of a human heritage, which is infinitely rich, beautiful, colourful, and varied in the retrograde of orthodox misconceptions.  The paper is not only a disinclination itself but also a call for and a provocation of the new generation of historians to critically scrutinise and reinvestigate the orthodox approaches to the Oromo history and then to expose a large number of abusive scholarship authorities on the Oromo and Cushitic studies and it detects that they do not really know the intensity and profoundness of the history of these black African people and nations and the performance these Africans registered in the process of creating, making and shaping  the prime civilisations of  human societies. The study acknowledges and advances a strict contest to an orthodox scholarship’s rendition of Egypt as a white civilisation, which arose during the nineteenth century to fortify and intensify European imperialism and racism. Depending on massive evidences from concerned intellectual works from linguistic to archaeology, from history to philosophy, the study authenticates that   Egypt was a Cushitic civilisation and that Cushite civilisation was the authentic offspring of the splendid Upper Nile/ Oromian legacy. The Greek civilisation, which has been long unveiled as the birthplace of Western philosophy and thought, owes its roots to the Cushites thoughts and achievements.  The original works of Asfaw Beyene (1992) and F. Demie (in Oromia Quarterly, 1998 & 2000) are giving motivations and also greatly acknowledged. The study also expresses that radical thinkers and multi-genius African historians such as Diop (1991) have not given due attention to the epic centre of Cushitic civilisation, Oromia, the land after and Eastern and South Eastern to Nubia, pre-Aksum central Cush, Aksumite Cush and Cushites civilisation southern to Aksum, etc. The method of enquiry is qualitative and the eclectics of formal and the informal sources, rigorous, casual and careful scholarship argument. Oral history and written documents on history, economy, sociology, archaeology, geography, cosmology and anthropology are based on as references. The paper studies the Oromo history and civilisation in horizontal approach and challenges the reductionist and Ethiopianist (colonialist, racist) vertical approach (topsy-turvy, cookkoo). It goes beyond the Oromo Oral sources (burqaa mit-katabbii) and Africanist recorded studies and western civilisational studies. The approach is to magnify, illuminate and clarify the originality of humanity and civilisation to this magnificent Cushitic (African) beauty. The Origin of Humanity When and where did human life first surface on our cosmos? Who contrived the original and prime human culture and civilisation? Ancient Egyptians contended that it was in their homeland, the oldest in the world, the God modelled the first of all human beings out of a handful of ooze soddened by the vivacity of the life giving sanctified and blessed water, the Nile  (see, Jackson, 1995). “The ancient Egyptians called the river Ar or Aur (Coptic: Iaro), “Black,” in allusion to the colour of the sediments carried by the river when it is in flood. Nile mud is black enough to have given the land itself its oldest name, Kem or Kemi, which also means “black” and signifies darkness. In The Odyssey, the epic poem written by the Greek poet Homer (7th century bce), Aigyptos is the name of the Nile (masculine) as well as the country of Egypt (feminine) through which it flows. The Nile in Egypt and Sudan is now called Al-Nīl, Al-Baḥr, and Baḥr Al-Nīl or Nahr Al-Nīl.”http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/415347/Nile-River Ar or Aur (Coptic: Iaro)  is Booruu in modern Afaan Oromo which means turbid in English translations. Lagdi Nayili jedhamee amma waamamu maqaan kun kan akkanatti moggaasameefi, bowwaa jechuudha. Warri kushii, warri biyyaa, waarri durii laga isaanii Aur (Ooruu) jedhanii waamu. Afaan Oromoo amma uni dubbannuutti booruu jechuudha. Booruu (turbid) jechuuni gurri’aacha (Kami) jechuu miti. Booruu (Ooruu, Aur) jechuun kan taliila hin taane kan hin calaliini jechuudha. Dameen laga kanaa kan Moromor (dhidheessa) irraa maddu galaana biroo itti burqan dabalatee biyyoo loolan haramaniin waan booraweef. kaartumitti yoo damee isa (isa taliila) garba Viktooriyaati karaa Ugaanda dhufutti makamu kanasi booressee misiriitti godaana. Dameen Garba Viktooriyaati dhufu iyyuu adii (white) jedhamee mogga’uuni irra hin turre. Bishaani adiini hin jiru. Bishaani hin boora’iini bishaan taliila. Bishaani taliilatu bishaan guri’aacha. Inni ‘Blue’ jedhanisi ‘Blue’ mitti. Bishaan taliilatu, gurri’aacha ‘Blue’ dha. ‘Blue Nile’ jechuu irra ‘Brown’ Nile (Mormor Booruu, Ar, Aur) yoo jedhani ille itti dhiyaata.

The word (Africa) Afrika itself  derived from kemetic (Oromo) language. In Oromo, one of the ancient black people (kemet), Afur means four. Ka (Qa, Waqa) means god. Afrika Means the four children of god. It describes the four sub groups of kemet people. Such type of naming system is very common in Oromo even today  such as Afran Qallo, Shanan Gibee, Salgan Boorana, Macca Shan, Jimma Afur, Sadan Soddoo, etc. For other theories in this topic please refer to   http://atlantablackstar.com/2014/09/23/9-theories-africa-got-name/

One of the oldest Cushites histories to account for the origin and early development of man and his culture survives in a Greek version of the thesis advanced by the ancient Cushites, Oromians and the rest. This marvellous people paraded in golden times in the region called Kush (Punt) in the Hebrew Scriptures and stamped on the present-day upper Nile Oromia (see, Jackson, 1995). Diodorus Siculus, wrote that the Cushites were of the opinion that their country was not only the birthplace of human race and the cradle land of the world’s earliest civilisation, but, indeed, the primal Eden where living things first appeared on Earth, as reported by the Scriptures. Thus, Diodorus was the first European to focus attention on the Cushites asseveration that Upper Nile (Oromia) is the cradle land of world’s earliest civilisation, the original Eden of the human race. Whether by almighty (God) or nature/ evolution (Darwin’s natural selection and survival of the fittest), Oromia was not only the birth place of man himself (e.g., Lucy) but also for many hundred years thereafter is in the vanguard of all world progress (see Diop, 1991 in his African Civilisation; Martin Bernal, 1987). These are also authenticated by the present archaeological inferences in Oromo tropical fields and rivers valleys. The original natives of Egypt, both in old and in the latter ages of development, were Cushite and there is every raison d’être for the discourse that the earliest settlers came from upper Nile Oromia. The original homeland of the Oromians and other Cushites including Chadic, Berber, Egyptian, Beja, Central Cushitic, East Cushitic, South Cushitic, Omotic and Nilotic was the present day upper Nile Oromia. It was from the original Oromo (Madda Walaabu) that the rest of humanity descended diffused to other parts of the world.  This can be understood in the analogue of the diffusion of two Oromo families (Borana and Barentuma). While those who expanded to other regions latter taken new family names like Macha, Tulama, Karayyu, etc and those who stayed in original place kept the original name such as Borana. In terms of linguistic, like most scholars, we believe that it is impossible to judge between the theories of monogenesis and polygenesis for human, though the inclination is towards the former.  On the other hand, recent work by a small but increasing number of scholars has convinced us that there is a genetic relationship between European, Asian, and African and Cushite languages. A language family originates from a single dialect, proto Cushitic/ Oromo. From such language and culture that must have broken up into Africa, Asiatic, and European and within them a very long time a go. Professor Bernal (1987, in Black Athena, p. 11) confirmed that the unchallenged originality of Oromians and other Cushites nativity to the region and put forward that the latest possibility for initial language break up would be the Mousterian period, 50- 30,000 years Before the Present (BP), however, it may well have much earlier. He further observed that the expansion and proliferation of Cushitic and other Afroasiatic as the promulgation of a culture long pioneered in the East African Rift valley (South Eastern Oromian) at the end of the last Ice Age in the 10th and 9th millennia BC. According to Bernal (1987, p.11) the polar ice caps caged the water within itself, which was during the Ice ages, thus water was significantly less than it is nowadays. He reports that the Sahara and Arabian deserts were even bigger and more inhospitable then than they are presently. In the centuries that ensued, with the rise of heat and increase in the rainfall, greatly the regions became savannah, into which adjoining peoples voyaged. The most successful of these were, the speakers of Proto-Afroasiatic from upper Nile Oromia.  Bernal further confirmed that these people not only possessed flourishing and effective   skills and techniques of hippopotamus hunting with harpoons but also had domesticated cattle and food crops. The following is quoted from Black Athena: ‘Going through the savannah, the Chadic speakers renched lake Chad, the Berbers, the Maghreb, and the Proto-Egyptians, upper Egypt…. With long-term desiccation of the Sahara during the 7th and 6th millennia BC, there were movements into the Egyptian Nile Valley from the west and east as well as from the Sudan. … A similar migration took place from the Arabian savannah into lower Mesopotamia ‘(Bernal, pp.11-12).

The Origin of Civilisation

There are many things in the manners and   customs and religions of the historic Egyptians that suggest that the original home of their human ancestors was in the Upper Nile region and the biblical land of Punt/ Kush (Cush) Or Oromia which include the present day of Cushitic North and East of Africa. Hence, historical records showed that the antiquity of   upper Nile Cushitic Oromian civilisation had a direct link with the civilisation of ancient Egypt, Babylonian and Greece. Hence, the Egyptian and Babylonian civilisations are part and parcel of the entire Cushite civilisation. As it is described above, there is wide understanding that Cushites = Egyptians + Babylon + Oromo+ Agau + Somalis + Afars + Sidama + Neolithic Cush + other Cush. There is also an understanding that all the Cushites are branched out (descended) from their original father Oromo which can be described as Oromo = Noah=Ham= Cush= Egyptian + Bablyon+ Agau + Somali + Afar + Sidama + Neolithic Cush + other Cush. Boran and Barentuma, the two senior children and brothers were not the only children of the Oromo. Sidama, Somali, Agau, Afar and the others were children of the big family. Wolayita and the Nilotics were among the extended family and generations of the Cushite. As a hydro-tower of Africa, the present Oromia is naturally gifted and the source of Great African rivers and hosts the bank and valleys of the greatest and oldest civilisations such as Nile (Abbaya), Baro (Sobat), Gibe, Wabe, Dhidhesa, Ganale, Wabi-shebele, Omo, and Awash among others. Oromian tropical land, equatorial forest and Savannah have been the most hospitable ecology on the earth and conducive environment to life and all forms of human economic and social practices. According to Clarke (1995), many of the leading antiquarians of the time, based largely on the strength of what the classical authors, particularly Diodorus Siculus and Stephanus of Nabatea (Byzantium after Roman colonisation and Christianisation), had to say on the matter, were exponents of the vista that the Cushite, the ancient race in Africa, the Near East and the Middle East, or at any rate, the black people of remote antiquity were the earliest of all civilised peoples and that the first civilised inhabitants of ancient Egypt were members of what is referred to as  the black,  Cushite race who had  entered the land as they expanded in  their geographical space from the their birthplace in upper Nile Oromia, the surrounding Cushite river valleys and tropical fields. It was among these ancient people of Africa and Asia that classical technology advanced, old world science and cosmology originated, international trade and commerce was first developed, which was the by-product of   international contacts, exchange of ideas and cultural practices that laid the foundations of the prime civilisations of the ancient world. Cushite  Africa and also of the Middle East and West Asia was the key and most responsible to ancient civilisations and African history. It must also be known that there were no such geographical names, demarcations and continental classification at that time.  As a whole, Cushite occupied this region; there was the kernel and the centre of the globe, the planet earth, and the universe. African history is out of stratum until ancient Cushites looked up on as a distinct African/ Asian nations.  The Nile river, it tributes, Awash, Baro and Shebele or Juba, etc., played a major role in the relationship of Cushite to the nations in North, South and East Africa. The outer land Savannah, Nile, other Oromian rivers with it Adenian ecology were great cultural highways on which elements of civilisation came into and out of inner North East Africa. After expansions, there was also an offshoot, a graft, differentiation, branching out, internal separation, semi-independence and again interactions, interdependence and co-existence of the common folks.  Cushites from the original home made their relationships with the people of their descendants in the South, the North, East and the West, which was as both good, and bad, depending on the period and the regime in power they formed and put in place in the autonomous regions. Cushite Egypt first became an organised autonomous nation in about 6000 B.C. In the Third Dynasty (5345-5307 B.C.) when Egypt had an earnest pharaoh named Zoser and Zoser, in turn, had for his chief counsellor and minister, an effulgent grand named Imhotep (whose name means ‘he who cometh in peace”). Imhotep constructed the famous step pyramid of Sakkarah near Memphis. The building techniques used in the facilitation of this pyramid revolutionised the architecture of the ancient world (Clarke, 1995). Of course, Independent Egypt was not the original home of these ancient technology. However, it was an extension, expansion, advancement and the technological cycle of the Upper Nile Oromia, Nubia, Beja, Agau and other Cushites.  Ideas, systems, technologies and products were invented, tested and proved in upper Nile then expanded and adopted elsewhere in the entire Cush regions and beyond. . Bernal (1987, pp. 14-15) has identified strict cultural and linguistic similarities among all the people around   the Mediterranean. He further attests that it was south of the Mediterranean and west to the Red Sea’s classical civilisation that give way to the respective north and east. Cushite African agriculture of the upper Nile expanded in the 9th and 8th century millennia BC and pioneering the 8th and 7th of the Indo-Hittite. Egyptian civilisation is Cushite and is clearly based on the rich pre-dynastic cultures of Upper Egypt, Nubia and upper Nile, whose Cushite African and Oromian origin is uncontested and obvious. Of course, Cushite Egypt gave the world some of the greatest personalities in the history of mankind. In this regard, Imhotep was extraordinary discernible. In ancient history of Egypt, no individual left a downright and deeper indentation than Imhotep. He was possibly the world’s first mult-genuis.  He was the real originator of new medicine at the time.  He revolutionised an architect of the stone building, after which the Pyramids were modelled. He became a deity and later a universal God of Medicine, whose images charmed the Temple of Imhotep, humanity’s earliest hospital. To it came sufferers from the entire world for prayer, peace, and restorative. Imhotep lived and established his eminence as a curative at the court of King Zoser of the Third Dynasty about 5345-5307 B.C. (Duncan, 1932). When the Cushite civilisation through Egypt afar crossed the Mediterranean to become the foundation of what we think of as Greek culture, the teachings of Imhotep were absorbed along with the axioms of other great Cushite African teachers.  When Greek civilisation became consequential in the Mediterranean area, the Greeks coveted the world to ponder they were the originators of everything in its totality. They terminated to acknowledge   their liability to Imhotep and other great Cushites. Imhotep was forgotten for thousands of years, and Hippocrates, a mythical posture of two thousand years latter, became known as the father of medicine. Regarding to Imhotep’s influence in Rome, Gerald Massey, noted poet, archaeologist, and philologist, says that the early Christians cherished him as one with Christ (Massey, 1907). It should be understood that, while the achievements of Cushite Egypt were one of the best, these are not the only achievements that Cushite Africans can claim. The Nubians, upper Nile, central and eastern Cushites (the Oromo, Agau, Somalia, Afar, etc) were continue to develop many aspects of civilisation independent of Cushite Egyptian interactions.  These nations and states gave as much to Egypt as Egypt give to them in terms of trade, ideas and technology as well. There was also a considerable Cushite dominion on what later became Europe in the period preceding Christian era. Cushites played a major role in formative development of both Christianity and Islam. Both the Holly Bible and the Holly Quran moral texts are originated from the Oromo and other Cushite oral and moral principles, beliefs, creeds and teachings. There is a common believe and understanding that Abraham, a seminal prophet, believer and recipient of a single and eternal God was from Central Cush of present Upper Nile Oromia.  The Oromos believed in a single and eternal God, Black God (Waaqa Guri’acha) also Blue God according to some scholars who translated the oral history.  Waaqa also Ka. While the Oromian faith, social structure and policies were the prime and the origins of all, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam were all the derivatives and originated from the Black God. Waaqayyoo in Oromo is the original, the single, the omnipotent, the prime and the greatest of all the great religions. All aspects of the present day Christian churches were developed in Cushites. One of the more notable of Cushite contributions to the early church was monasticism. Monasticism, in essence, is organised life in common, especially for religious purposes. The home of a monastic society is called a monastery or a convent.  Christian monasticism probably began with the hermits of Cushite Egypt and Palestine about the time when Christianity was established as a licit religion (Clarke, 1995). Oral tradition and Arabian records confirm that Bilal, a tall, gaunt, black, bushy-haired, Oromo, was the first High Priest and treasurer of the Mohammedan empire.  After Mohamet himself, the great religion, which today numbers upwards of half a billion souls, may be said to have began with Bilal.  He was honoured to be the Prophet’s first neophyte. Bilal was one of the many Cushites who concurred in the founding of Islam and later made proud names for themselves in the Islamic nations and expansions. Europe was sluggishing in her Dark Ages at a time when Cushite Africa and Asia were relishing a Golden Age.  In this non-European world of Africa and Asian, Cushites built and enjoyed an age of advancement in technology before a period of internal withdrawal and isolation that favoured the Europeans to move a head of them. For more than a thousand years the Cushites were in the ‘Age of Grandeur’ but the second rise of Europe, internal strife, slave trade and colonialism brought the age of catastrophic tragedy, abase and declivity. The early Cushites made spears to hunt with, stone knives to cut with, the bola, with which to catch birds and animals, the blow-gun, the hammer, the stone axe, canoes and paddles, bags and buckets, poles for carrying things, bows and arrows. The bola, stone knives, paddles, spears, harpoons, bows and arrows, bow-guns, the hammer and the axe- all of them invented first by Cushites – were the start of man’s use of power. The present’s cannon, long-range missiles, ship propellers, automatic hammers, gas engines, and even meat cleavers and upholstery tack hammers have the roots of their development in the early Cushite use of (Clarke, 1995). Cushite offered humans the earliest machine. It was the fire stick. With it, man could have fire any time.  With it, a campfire could be set up almost any place.  With it, the early Africans could roast food. Every time we light a match, every time we take a bath in water heated by gas, every time we cook a meal in a gas-heated oven, our use of fire simply continues a process started by early Cushites: the control of fire. Of course, those early Cushite was the first to invent how to make a thatched hut. They had to be the first because for hundreds of thousand of years they were the only people on earth. They discovered coarse basket making and weaving and how to make a watertight pot of clay hardened in a fire. In the cold weather, they found that the skins of   beasts they had killed would keep them warm. They even skin covers for their feet. It was from their first effort much later clothing and shoes developed.  Humanity owes the early Cushites much and even much more (Clarke, 1995). The Cushites dociled animals.  They used digging sticks to obtain plant roots that could be consumed. They discovered grain as a food, how to store it and prepare it.  They learnt about the fermentation of certain foods and liquids left in containers. Thus, all mankind owes to Cushites including the dog that gives companionship and protection, the cereals we eat at break-fast-time, the fermented liquids that many people drink, the woven articles of clothing we wear and the blankets that keep us warm at night, the pottery in which we bake or boil food, and even the very process  (now so simple) of boiling water- a process we use every time we boil an egg, or make spaghetti, or cook corned beef. Canoes made it possible for man to travel further and farther from his early home. Over many centuries, canoes went down Baro, the Nile and the Congo and up many smaller rivers and streams. It was in this pattern that the early   Cushite civilisation was advanced. From the blowgun of antiquated Cushite, there come next, in later ages, many gadget based on its standard. Some of these are: the bellows, bamboo air pumps, the rifle, the pistol, the revolver, the automatic, the machine gun- and even those industrial guns that puff grains.  Modern Scientists certain that by about 3000 B.C., the Cushite farmers in the Nile Valley were growing wheat and barely, cultivating millet, sorghum, and yams.  Around 1500 B.C.  new crops farming were developed: – banana, sugar cane, and coconut trees and later coffee.   The cultivation of bananas and coffees in particular spread rapidly which are suited to tropical forest conditions. Cushites had also domesticated pigs, donkeys, horses, chickens, ducks, and geese, etc.  (Greenblatt, 1992). The agricultural revolution brought about a gradual increase in population. Then another development helped expand population still more. The technique of smelting iron innovated by Cushites. Iron working start and then advanced in the Nile valley and then started to spread to other parts of Africa and from who, by way of Egypt and Asian Minor, this art made its way into Europe and the rest of Old World. Iron greatly improved the efficiency of tools and weapons. Iron tools and weapons are much stronger and last longer than those made of stone or wood. Iron axes made it easier to chop tropical trees and clear land for farming. Iron sickles made harvest easier. Iron hoes and other farm tools helped farmers cultivate land more easily. Iron-tipped spears meant more meat. The new technologies boosted the Cushite economy; they increased food production that enabled more people to survive. In addition, iron objects became valuable items in Cushite trade and commercial activities. With his simple bellows and a charcoal fire the Cushite blacksmith reduced the ore that is found in many parts of the region and forged implements of great usefulness and beauty. In general, the Iron technology was instrumental in auguring the rise and expansion of Cushite civilisation (Greenblatt, 1992). Cushite hunters many times cut up game.  There still exists for evidences, drawings of animal bones, hearts and other organs. Those early drawings as a part of man’s early beginnings in the field of Anatomy. The family, the clan, the tribe, the nation, the kingdom, the state, humanity and charity all developed first in this region of the cradle of mankind. The family relationships, which we have today, were fully developed and understood then.  The clan and the tribe gave group unity and strength. The nation, the common whole was first developed here. It was by this people that early religious life, beliefs, and the belief in one God, the almighty started and expanded. The first formal education of arts, science, astronomy, times and numbers (mathematics) were visual, oral and spoken tradition given in the family, during social and religious ceremonies. Parents, Medicine men, religious leaders, etc were the education heads.  Ceremonial Cushite ritual dances laid the basis for many later forms of the dance. Music existed in early Cushite Among instruments used were: reed pipes, single-stringed instruments, drum, goured rattles, blocks of wood and hollow logs. Many very good Cushite artists brought paintings and sculpture into the common culture.  The early Cushites made a careful study of animal life and plant life.  From knowledge of animals, mankind was able to take a long step forward to cattle rising. From the knowledge of plants and how they propagate, it was possible to take a still longer step forward to agriculture. Today, science has ways of dating events of long a go. The new methods indicate that mankind has lived in Cushite Africa over two million years. In that long, long time, Cushites and people of their descent settled in other parts of Africa and the rest. Direct descents of early Cushites went Asia Minor, Arabia, India, China, Japan and East Indies. Cushites and people of Cushite descents went to Turkey, Palestine, Greece and other countries in Europe. From Gibraltar, they went into Spain, Portugal, France, England, Wales and Ireland (Clarke, 1995). Considering this information, the pre-Colombian presence of Cushite African mariners and merchants in the New World is highly conceivable and somewhat sounds. In this context, the first Africans to be brought to the New World were not in servitude and slavery, which contrary to popular creed. Tormenting references in the Spanish chronicles and other growing body of historical studies advocate that Cushites were the founders, the pioneers and first permanent settlers of   America. Commanding authentication as in Bennett (1993, p. 85) cited by Leo Veiner in his work Africa and the discovery of America suggests that African traders founded Mexico long before Columbus. Hence, the Africans influences were extended from Canada in the North to the Maya, Aztec, and Inca civilisation in the South America. The Cushite civilisation is therefore the basis of Indian civilisation. Unlike the western Sudan and in Egypt, the people and nations of upper Nile had lost written records of their ancient times and medieval history. These were destroyed and burned during war of conquests. The early travellers to these areas are also mostly not yet known. Notable kingdoms, republics and states did rise in this part of Africa and did achieve a high degree of civilisation of their time.  Scholarly undertakings show that Cushite Africans such as Oromos were the first in human history to invent and implement democratic institutions (e.g. Gada system  or Gadaa system), democratic forms of government, elections and unwritten constitution. Democracy was first invented in upper Nile Oromia then to Athens, Greek and to the rest. It was not the other way round. Gada, an accomplishment of Oromian social genius in socio-political organisation is one of the most complex, the world wonder   and by far superior to so far other humanity’s social and political imagination and civilisation. Gada in its vector of values constitutes, political institution, the power structure, governing constitution, the ideology, the religion, the moral authority, the economic and the whole way of life of the public, the collective, the social and the private individual.  Gada is the social civilization of the Oromo in the Nile civilization. Gada is an atonishing and complex social evolution in human social transformation and an Oromo social perfection. In old Egyptian (Cushite, oromo) dialect it means Ka Adaa. Ka means God. Adaa (law). It means the law of  God, the law of  waaqa (God). It also symbolizes the dawn of not only civilization  but also human freedom as civilazation. ‘Gadaa bilisummaa saaqaa.’ Orthodox historians and some archaeologists believe that the civilisation of Egypt is the oldest in the world, while others give that priority to western Asia or India.  It has also been suggested that, since all these cultures possess certain points of similarity, all of them may evolve from an older common civilisation. Men of eminent scholarship have acknowledged this possibility. In this regard, Sir E.A. Wallis Budge  (1934) indicated: “It would be wrong to say that the Egyptians borrowed from the Sumerians or Sumerians from Egyptians, but it may be submitted that the literati of both peoples borrowed their theological systems from common but exceedingly ancient source… This similarity between the two companies of gods is too close to being accidental.” A pioneer American Egyptologist, Breasted (1936) advanced the following views: “In both Babylonian and Egypt the convenient and basic number  (360), of fundamental importance in the division of the circle, and therefore in geography, astronomy and time-measurement, had its origin in the number of days in the year in the earliest known form of the calendar. While its use seems to be older in Egypt than in Babylonian, there is no way to determine with certainty that we owe it exclusively to either of these two countries.  A common origin older than either of is possible.” Sewell (1942) said that the science, which we see at the dawn of recorded history, was not science at its dawn, but represents the remnants of the science of some great and as yet untraced civilisation. Where, however, is the seat of that civilisation to be located?” A number of scholars, both ancient and modern, have come to the conclusion that the world’s first civilisation was created by the people known as Cushite (Oromian) and also known by Greeks as Punt (Burnt Faces). The Greeks argued that these people developed their dark colouration since they were adjacent to the sun than were the fairer natives of Europe. In terms of the sources of well-informed modern authority, Herodotus describes the Cushites as in Lugard (1964) as: “ The tallest, most beautiful and long-lived of the human races,’ and before Herodotus, Homer, in even more flattering language, described them as  ‘ the most just of men; the favourites of gods.’ The annals of all the great early nations of Asia Minor are full of them. The Mosaic records allude to them frequently; but while they are described as the most powerful, the most just, and the most beautiful of the human race, they are constantly spoken of as black, and there seems to be no other conclusion to be drawn, than that remote period of history the leading race of the western world was the black race.” Alexander Bulatovich (2000, p.53) of Russia in his 1896-1898 travels in Oromia described the Oromo, which is akin to Herodotus’s description as fallows: “The [Oromo] physical type is very beautiful. The men are very tall, with statuesque, lean, with oblong face and a somewhat flattened skull. The features of the face are regular and beautiful…. The mouth is moderate. The lips are not thick. They have excellent even teeth; large and in some cases oblong eyes and curly hair. Their arm bones are of moderate length, shorter than the bones of Europeans, but longer than among the Amhara tribes. The feet are moderate and not turned in. The women are shorter than the men and very beautifully built. In general, they are stouter than the men, and not as lean as they. Among them one sometimes encounters very beautiful women. And their beauty does not fade as among the Abyssinians. The skin color of both men and women ranges from dark to light brown. I did not see any completely black [Oromo].” According to Homer and Herodotus, the Cushites were inhabited in the Sudan, Egypt, Arabia, Palestine, present Ethiopia, Western Asia and India. In his essay of historical analysis of ancient East Africa and ancient Middle East, roughly in the years between 500BC and 500AD. Jesse Benjamin (2001), brought to our attention that  the importance of research focus on global formations, multi- and bi-directional and cultural relations, geopolitical  associations, archaeology, linguistics, sociology, cosmology, production, commerce and consumption patterns of these regions.  Benjamin (2001) indicates that historiographers have acknowledged and documented that the adored spices, cinnamon (qarafaa in modern Afaan  Oromo)  and cassia of the Mediterranean sphere produced and come from ‘Cinnamon land.’ The latter is also known in different names as  ‘ The other Barbaria,’ ‘Trogodytica,’ Cush, Kush,  Upper Nile. or ‘Punt’ but persistently representing the whole environs identified nowadays as the ‘Horn of African’ or that part of Oromia. These show the presence of production, consumption and commercial interactions in the regions. In line with Miller (1969),  Wilding (1988), Benjamin (2001) included the Oromian pastoralism, pottery, cosmology and culture in the antiquity and old world civilisation. The identification of the Cushite Oromian civilisation with the present Abyssinia Amhara-Tigre under the name of Ethiopia made by the post civilisation Abyssinian priests translators of the Abyssinian version of the Bible in the 5th and 6th century or some other time, has been a cheating and misrepresentation of true human history.  Those Abyssinians who were stealing the history were relatively recent migrant (conquerors) of the region. They occupied the present day Northern Ethiopia (central Cushitic of Agau and Oromo) long after the first human civilisation already originated and advanced in the area and spread to the rest of the world including to Arabia and Mediterranean Europe. The native residents of the region are the Cushite African people (Oromo, Agau, Somali, Sidama, Afar, Beja, Saho, etc). Ethiopian Jews (Falashas) are also Cushite Oromo and Agau who accepted Jews religion. Abyssinian tribes have fabricated their own myth and false history to claim legitimacy to the region and then established a regime truth through continuos fable story, phantom, indoctrination and falsification of the real Cushite history.  Semitic immigrants did not found Aksum but the Abyssinians resettled among the Cushites cities and commercial centres in which Aksum was one and latter dominated the ruling power in this very centre of the civilisation of the central Cush. Ge’ez was invented as a language of the centre and latter used as the official language of the church and the colonising Abyssinian ruling class. Ge’ez was initially developed from the mixture of Cushitic and Greek elements that was facilitated by the Cushite trade links to the Greek world. There was also Greek resettlement in Aksum and the surrounding central Cush commercial towns with primary contacts with endogenous Cushite. The earlier rulers of Aksum and Christian converts including Ezana were Cushites.  Though Ezana was the first convert from the above (the ruling class) to Christianity, he did not give up his belief in one God (Waqa) (Cushite/ black God). He was also not the first Cushite to be a Christian. In their linkages with a wider world, it is also highly likely and very logical and possible that there were Christians among the civilian Cushite trading communities who had already disseminated their new faith, as so many Oromo merchants were to do latter in the expansion of Islam. The splendid Stella, towers of solid masonry, with non-functional doors and windows at Aksum was not the earliest materialisation but it was the continuity in the manifestation of major indigenous Cushite tradition of monumental architecture in stone, which also later found expression in the rock-hewn churches of the Cushite Agau kings (see also Isichei, 1997 for some of the opinions). Abyssinians were the rulers. They were not the engineers and the builders of the stone monuments. It was the original product and brainchild of Cushite technologist. Of course, their advancement was thwarted with the unfortunate coming of the Abyssinians. Almost all of the original studies of the origin of Cushite civilisation could not penetrate far deep into regions south east to Nubia (Mereo) and could not dig out the other side of the twin, the close link and vast primary sources in present day Oromia. Though the British Museum has collected vast sources on Nubian, it has not kept on or linked any to the sister and more or less identical to the civilisation of the Oromo. For me, as native Oromo with knowledge of oral history and culture, as I observed the Nubian collection in British Museum, what they say Nubian collection is almost identical to Oromia, but in a less variety and quantity.  I can say that Nubian and other Cushite civilisations were extensions (grafts) of the vast products of Oromo. I may also be enthused to the inference that the people whose manners and customs have been so thoroughly capitulated by Herodotus, Diodorus, Strabo Pliny and other were not Abyssinians and other Black people at all, but the natives of Upper Nile, Oromos, Agau, Somalis, Afar and the rest of Cushitic people of the present Horn of Africa. Sir Henry Rawlinson in his essay on the early History of Babylonian describes Oromos as the purest modern specimens of the Kushite. Thus, Oromo is Kush and Kush is Oromo. Seignobos (1910), in his scholarly works on the history of Ancient Civilisation reasoned that the first civilised natives of the Nile and Tigiris-Euphrates Valleys were a dark skinned people with short hair and prominent lips, they were called Cushites by some scholars and Hamites by others.  So Cushite (Hamite) is generally recognised as the original home of human civilisation and culture both beyond and across the Red Sea. They are the original source of both the African and Asiatic (Cushitic Arabian) civilisation. Higgins in 1965 scholarly undertaking discusses: “I shall, in the course of this work, produce a number of   extraordinary facts, which will be quite sufficient to prove, that a black race, in a very   early times, had more influence   of the affairs of the world than has been lately suspected; and I think I shall show, by some very striking circumstances yet existing, that the effects of this influence have not entirely passed away.” Baldwin in his 1869 study of Arab history expressed in his own words the following: “At the present time Arabia is inhabited by two distinct races, namely descendants of the old Adite, Kushite, …known under various appellations, and dwelling chiefly at the south, the east, and in the central parts of the country, but formerly supreme throughout the whole peninsula, and the Semitic Arabians- Mahomete’s race- found chiefly in the Hejaz and at the north. In some districts of the country these races are more or less mixed, and since the rise of Mahometanism the language of Semites, known as to us Arabic, has almost wholly suppressed the old  … Kushite tongue; but the two races are very unlike in many respects, and the distinction has always been recognised by writers on Arabian ethnology. To the Kushite race belongs the purest Arabian blood, and also that great and very ancient civilisation whose ruins abound in almost every district of the country.” Poole (in Haddon, 1934) says, “Assyrians themselves are shown to have been of a very pure type of Semites, but in the Babylonians there is a sign of Kushite blood.  … There is one portrait of an Elmite king on a vase found at Susa; he is painted black and thus belongs to the Kushite race.” The myths, legends, and traditions of the Sumerians point to the African Cushite as the original home of these people (see. Perry, 1923, pp. 60-61).  They were also the makers of the first great civilisation in the Indus valley. Hincks, Oppert, unearthed the first Sumerian remains and Rawlinson called these people Kushites. Rawlinson in his essay on the early history of Babylonian presents that without pretending to trace up these early Babylonians to their original ethnic sources, there are certainly strong reasons for supposing them to have passed from Cushite Africa to the valley of the Euphrates shortly before the opening of the historic period:  He is based on the following strong points: The system of writing, which they brought up with them, has the closest semblance with that of Egypt; in many cases in deed the two alphabets are absolutely identical. In the Biblical genealogies, while Kush and Mizrain  (Egypt) are brothers, from Kush Nimrod (Babylonian) sprang. With respect to the language of ancient Babylonians, the vocabulary is absolutely Kushite, belonging to that stock of tongues, which in postscript were everywhere more or less, mixed up with Semitic languages, but of which we have with doubtless the purest existing specimens in the Mahra of Southern Arabia and the Oromo.

kemetic alphabet (Qubee)

qubee durii fi ammaa

The Greek alphabet, the script of English today, is based on the Kemetic alphabet of Ancient Egypt/Kemet and the Upper Nile Valley of Ancient Africa. Ancient Egyptians called their words MDW NTR, or ‘Metu Neter,” which means divine speech. The Greeks called it, ‘hieroglyphics”- a Greek word. The etymology of hieroglyphics is sacred (hieros) carvings (glyph). The Oromos (the Kemet of modern age) called it Qubee.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMUazEr3BSU&NR=1

Without OROMO, NO Amhara Culture & NO Amharic! – My Beta Israel & Zagwe Roots pt1 Ras Iadonis

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gLJnxgXs0Q&feature=share

http://gadaa.com/oduu/11117/2011/09/28/gubaa-%e2%80%93-the-oromo-thanksgiving-bonfire/#.ToQw3A0t84E.facebook

http://gadaa.com/oduu/797/2009/09/30/ethiopia-the-story-of-oromos-irreechaa-happy-thanksgiving/

http://www.creative8studios.com/oromia/

http://bilisummaa.com/index.php?mod=article&cat=Waaqeeyfataa&article=446

http://www.africa.kyoto-u.ac.jp/kiroku/asm_normal/abstracts/pdf/25-3/25-3-1.pdf

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/166451

http://www.gadaa.com/culture.html

http://www.gadaa.com/Irreechaa.html http://waaqeffannaa.org/?page_id=167

http://gadaa.com/oduu/10920/2011/09/10/irreechaa-a-thanksgiving-day-in-oromia-cushitic-ethiopia-and-africa/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Central_Oromo_language http://www.gadaa.com/language.html

http://www.voicefinfinne.org/English/Column/Galma_EOC.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamitic#Rwanda_and_Burundii

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1TM1ye/listverse.com/2008/08/29/15-fascinating-facts-about-ancient-egypt/

https://encrypted.google.com/search?q=old+egyptian+language&hl=en&sa=X&rls=com.microsoft:en-gb:IE-Address&rlz=1I7TSEA_en-GBGB333&tbm=isch&tbs=simg:CAESEgliBpRYQ9V-mSHFuQO6grmBWQ&iact=hc&vpx=662&vpy=231&dur=16406&hovh=128&hovw=216&tx=43&ty=214&ei=tnRJTsLpLIqXhQeyi7HCBg&page=9&tbnh=128&tbnw=186&ved=1t:722,r:10,s:166&biw=1280&bih=599

http://oromocentre.org/oromian-story/special-report-on-the-long-history-of-north-east-africa/

African Philosophy in Ethiopia. Ethiopian Philosophical Studies II with A Memorial of Claude Sumner http://www.crvp.org/book/Series02/master-ethiopia.pdf

http://thetemplesofluxorandkarnak.wordpress.com/category/africa/

https://www.facebook.com/notes/abdi-muleta/the-story-of-irreechaa/257191284319586

CHALTU AS HELEN: AN EVERYDAY STORY OF OROMOS TRAUMATIC IDENTITY CHANGE

http://oromoland.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/chaltu-as-helen-an-everyday-story-of-oromos-traumatic-identity-change/

http://www.opride.com/oromsis/news/horn-of-africa/3718-chaltu-as-helen-an-everyday-story-of-oromos-traumatic-identity-change

“Chaltu as Helen”, which is based on a novelized story of Chaltu Midhaksa, a young Oromo girl from Ada’aa Barga district, also in central Oromia.

Born to a farming family in Koftu, a small village south of Addis Ababa near Akaki, Chaltu led an exuberant childhood. Raised by her grandmother’s sister Gode, a traditional storyteller who lived over 100 years, the impressionable Chaltu mastered the history and tradition of Tulama Oromos at a very young age.

Chaltu’s captivating and fairytale like story, as retold by Tesfaye, begins when she was awarded a horse named Gurraacha as a prize for winning a Tulama history contest. Though she maybe the first and only female contestant, Chaltu won the competition by resoundingly answering eleven of the twelve questions she was asked.

Guraacha, her pride and constant companion, became Chaltu’s best friend and she took a good care of him. Gurraacha was a strong horse; his jumps were high, and Chaltu understood his pace and style.

A masterful rider and an envy to even her male contemporaries, Chaltu soon distinguished herself as bold, confident, outspoken, assertive, and courageous. For this, she quickly became a household name among the Oromo from Wajitu to Walmara, Sera to Dawara, Bacho to Cuqala, and Dire to Gimbichu, according to Tesfaye.

Chaltu traces her lineage to the Galan, one of the six clans of Tulama Oromo tribe. At the height of her fame, admirers – young and old – addressed her out of respect as “Caaltuu Warra Galaan!” – Chaltu of the Galan, and “Caaltuu Haadha Gurraacha!” – Chaltu the mother of Gurraacha.

Chaltu’s disarming beauty, elegance, charisma, and intelligence coupled with her witty personality added to her popularity. Chaltu’s tattoos from her chin to her chest, easily noticeable from her light skin, made her look like of a “Red Indian descent” (Tesfaye’s words).

As per Tesfaye’s account, there wasn’t a parent among the well-to-do Oromos of the area who did not wish Chaltu betrothed to their son. At 14, Chaltu escaped a bride-kidnapping attempt by outracing her abductors.

Chaltu’s grandfather Banti Daamo, a well-known warrior and respected elder, had a big family. Growing up in Koftu, Chaltu enjoyed being surrounded by a large network of extended family, although she was the only child for her parents.

Recognizing Chaltu’s potential, her relatives suggested that she goes to school, which was not available in the area at the time. However, fearing that she would be abducted, Chaltu’s father arranged her marriage to a man of Ada’aa family from Dire when she turned 15.

Locals likened Chaltu’s mannerism to her grandfather Banti Daamo, earning her yet another nickname as “Caaltuu warra Bantii Daamo” – Chaltu of Banti Daamo. She embraced the namesake because many saw her as an heir to Banti Daamo’s legacy, a role usually preserved for the oldest male in the family. Well-wishers blessed her: prosper like your grandparents. She embraced and proudly boasted about continuing her grandfather’s heritage calling herself Chaltu Banti Daamo.

Others began to call her Akkoo [sic] Xinnoo, drawing a comparison between Chaltu and a legendary Karrayu Oromo woman leader after whom Ankobar was named.

Chaltu’s eccentric life took on a different trajectory soon after her marriage. She could not be a good wife as the local tradition and custom demanded; she could not get along with an alcoholic husband who came home drunk and abused her.

When Chaltu threatened to dissolve the marriage, as per Oromo culture, elders intervened and advised her to tolerate and reconcile with her husband. Rebellious and nonconformist by nature, Chaltu, who’s known for challenging old biases and practices, protested “an alcoholic cannot be a husband for Banti Daamo’s daughter!”

Soon she left her husband and moved to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, to attend formal education and start a new chapter in life.

Trouble ensues.

In Addis Ababa, her aunt Mulumebet’s family welcomed Chaltu. Like Chaltu, Mulumebet grew up in Koftu but later moved to Addis Ababa, and changed her given name from Gadise in order to ‘fit’ into the city life.

Subsequently, Mulumebet sat down with Chaltu to provide guidance and advice on urban [Amhara] ways.

“Learning the Amharic language is mandatory for your future life,” Mulumebet told Chaltu. “If you want to go to school, first you have to speak the language; in order to learn Amharic, you must stop speaking Afaan Oromo immediately; besides, your name Chaltu Midhaksa doesn’t match your beauty and elegance.”

“I wish they did not mess you up with these tattoos,” Mulumebet continued, “but there is nothing I could do about that…however, we have to give you a new name.”

Just like that, on her second day in Addis, Caaltuu warra Galaan became Helen Getachew.

Chaltu understood little of the dramatic twists in her life. She wished the conversation with her aunt were a dream. First, her name Chaltu means the better one, her tattoos beauty marks.

She quietly wondered, “what is wrong with my name and my tattoos? How can I be better off with a new name that I don’t even know what it means?”

Of course she had no answers for these perennial questions. Most of all, her new last name Getachew discomforted her. But she was given no option.

The indomitable Chaltu had a lot to learn.

A new name, new language, new family, and a whole new way of life, the way of civilized Amhara people. Chaltu mastered Amharic in a matter of weeks. Learning math was no problem either, because Chaltu grew up solving math problems through oral Oromo folktale and children’s games like Takkeen Takkitumaa.

Chaltu’s quick mastery amazed Dr. Getachew, Mulumebet’s husband. This also made her aunt proud and she decided to enroll Chaltu in an evening school. The school matched Chaltu, who’s never set foot in school, for fourth grade. In a year, she skipped a grade and was placed in sixth grade. That year Chaltu passed the national exit exam, given to all sixth graders in the country, with distinction.

But her achievements in school were clouded by a life filled with disappointments, questions, and loss of identity. Much of her troubles came from Mulumebet packaged as life advice.

“Helen darling, all our neighbors love and admire you a lot,” Mulumebet told Chaltu one Sunday morning as they made their way into the local Orthodox Church. “There is not a single person on this block who is not mesmerized by your beauty…you have a bright future ahead of you as long as you work on your Amharic and get rid of your Oromo accent…once you do that, we will find you a rich and educated husband.”

Chaltu knew Mulumebet had her best interest at heart. And as a result never questioned her counsel. But her unsolicited advises centered mostly on erasing Chaltu’s fond childhood memories and making her lose touch with Oromummaa – and essentially become an Amhara.

Chaltu spent most of her free time babysitting Mulumebet’s children, aged 6 and 8. She took care of them and the kids loved her. One day, while the parents were away, lost in her own thoughts, Chaltu repeatedly sang her favorite Atetee – Oromo women’s song of fertility – in front of the kids.

That night, to Chaltu’s wild surprise, the boys performed the song for their parents at the dinner table. Stunned by the revelation, Mulumebet went ballistic and shouted, “Are you teaching my children witchcraft?”

Mulumebet continued, “Don’t you ever dare do such a thing in this house again. I told you to forget everything you do not need. Helen, let me tell you for the last time, everything you knew from Koftu is now erased…forget it all! No Irreechaa, no Waaree, no Okolee, no Ibsaa, No Atetee, and no Wadaajaa.”

Amused by his wife’s dramatic reaction, Getachew inquired, “what does the song mean, Helen?” Chaltu told him she could not explain it in Amharic. He added, “If it is indeed about witchcraft, we do not need a devil in this house…Helen, praise Jesus and his mother, Mary, from now on.”

“Wait,” Getachew continued, “did you ever go to church when you were in Koftu? What do they teach you there?”

Chaltu acknowledged that she’s been to a church but never understood the sermons, conducted in Amharic, a language foreign to her until now. “Getachew couldn’t believe his ears,” writes Tesfaye. But Getachew maintained his cool and assured Chaltu that her mistake would be forgiven.

Chaltu knew Atetee was not a witchcraft but a women’s spiritual song of fertility and safety. All Oromo women had their own Atetee.

Now in her third year since moving to Addis, Chaltu spoke fluent Amharic. But at school, in the market, and around the neighborhood, children bullied her daily. It was as if they were all given the same course on how to disgrace, intimidate, and humiliate her.

“You would have been beautiful if your name was not Chaltu,” strangers and classmates, even those who knew her only as Helen, would tell her. Others would say to Chaltu, as if in compliment, “if you were not Geja (an Amharic for uncivilized), you would actually win a beauty pageant…they messed you up with these tattoos, damn Gallas!”

Her adopted name and mastery of Amharic did not save Chaltu from discrimination, blatant racism, hate speech, and ethnic slurs. As if the loss of self was not enough, seventh grade was painfully challenging for Chaltu. One day when the students returned from recess to their assigned classes, to her classmate’s collective amusement, there was a drawing of a girl with long tattooed neck on the blackboard with a caption: Helen Nikise Gala – Helen, the tattooed Gala. Gala is a disparaging term akin to a Nigger used in reference to Oromos. As Chaltu sobbed quietly, their English teacher Tsige walked in and the students’ laughter came to a sudden halt. Tsige asked the classroom monitor to identity the insulting graffiti’s artist. No one answered. He turned to Chaltu and asked, “Helen, tell me who drew this picture?”

She replied, “I don’t know teacher, but Samson always called me Nikise Gala.”

Tsige was furious. Samson initially denied but eventually admitted fearing corporal punishment. Tsige gave Samson a lesson of a lifetime: “Helen speaks two language: her native Afaan Oromo and your language Amharic, and of course she is learning the third one. She is one of the top three students in the class. You speak one language and you ranked 41 out of 53 students. I have to speak to your parents tomorrow.”

Athletic and well-mannered, Chaltu was one of the best students in the entire school. But she could not fathom why people gossiped about her and hurled insults at her.

Banned from speaking Afaan Oromo, Chaltu could not fully express feelings like sorrow, regrets, fear and happiness in Amharic. To the extent that Mulumebet wished Chaltu would stop thinking in Oromo, in one instance, she asked Chaltu to go into her bedroom to lament the death of a relative by singing honorific praise as per Oromo custom. Chaltu’s break came one afternoon when the sport teacher began speaking to her in Afaan Oromo, for the first time in three years. She sobbed from a deep sense of loss as she uttered the words: “I am from Koftu, the daughter of Banti Daamo.” Saying those words alone, which were once a source of her pride, filled Chaltu with joy, even if for that moment.

Chaltu anxiously looked forward to her summer vacation and a much-needed visit to Koftu. But before she left, Mulumebet warned Chaltu not to speak Afaan Oromo during her stay in Koftu. Mulumebet told Chaltu, “Tell them that you forgot how to speak Afaan Oromo. If they talk to you in Oromo, respond only in Amharic. Also, tell them that you are no longer Chaltu. Your name is Helen.”

Getachew disagreed with his wife. But Chaltu knew she has to oblige. On her way to Koftu, Chaltu thought about her once golden life; the time she won Gurracha in what was only a boys’ competition, and how the entire village of Koftu sang her praises.

Her short stay in Koftu was dismal. Gurraacha was sold for 700 birr and she did not get to see him again. Chaltu’s parents were dismayed that her name was changed and that she no longer spoke their language.

A disgruntled and traumatized Chaltu returns to Addis Ababa and enrolls in 9th grade. She then marries a government official and move away from her aunt’s protective shield. The marriage ends shortly thereafter when Chaltu’s husband got caught up in a political crosshair following Derg’s downfall in 1991. Chaltu was in financial crisis. She refused an advice from acquintances to work as a prostitute.

At 24, the once vibrant Chaltu looked frail and exhausted. The regime change brought some welcome news. Chaltu was fascinated and surprised to watch TV programs in Afaan Oromo or hear concepts like “Oromo people’s liberation, the right to speak one’s own language, and that Amharas were feudalists.”

Chaltu did not fully grasp the systematic violence for which was very much a victim. She detested how she lost her values and ways. She despised Helen and what it was meant to represent. But it was also too late to get back to being Chaltu. She felt empty. She was neither Helen nor Chaltu.

She eventually left Addis for Koftu and asked her parents for forgiveness. She lived a few months hiding in her parent’s home. She avoided going to the market and public squares.

In a rare sign of recovery from her trauma, Chaltu briefly dated a college student who was in Koftu for a winter vacation. When he left, Chaltu lapsed back into her self-imposed loneliness and state of depression. She barely ate and refused interacting with or talking to anyone except her mother.

One afternoon, the once celebrated Chaltu warra Galaan took a nap after a coffee break and never woke up. She was 25.

The bottom line: Fictionalized or not, Chaltu’s is a truly Oromo story. Chaltu is a single character in Tesfaye’s book but lest we forget, in imperial Ethiopia, generations of Chaltu’s had to change their names and identity in order to fit in and be “genuine Ethiopians.” Until recently, one has to wear an Amhara mask in order to be beautiful, or gain access to educational and employment opportunities.

Likewise, in the Ethiopia of today’s “freedom of expression advocates” – who allegedly sought to censor Tesfaye – it appears that a story, even a work of fiction, is fit to print only when it conforms to the much-romanticized Ethiopianist storyline.

So much has changed since Chaltu’s tragic death a little over a decade ago, yet, clearly, much remains the same in Ethiopia. Honor and glory to Oromo martyrs, whose selfless sacrifices had allowed for me to transcribe this story, the Oromo today – a whole generation of Caaltuus – are ready to own, reclaim, and tell their stories.

Try, as they might, the ever-vibrant Qubee generation will never be silenced, again.

Origins of the Afrocomb: Exhibition: Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK; 2nd July - 3rd November

Origins of the Afro Comb: 6,000 years of culture, politics and identity

http://www.gatewayforafrica.org/event/origins-afro-comb-6000-years-culture-politics-and-identity?__utma=1.1154313457.1380212922.1382522461.1382771276.8&__utmb=1.217.9.1382772351901&__utmc=1&__utmx=-&__utmz=1.1382771276.8.5.utmcsr=royalafricansociety.us2.list-manage.com|utmccn=(referral)|utmcmd=referral|utmcct=/subscribe/confirm&__utmv=-&__utmk=134257777&utm_content=buffer9ca97&utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=Buffer

Even today, a significant number of mainstream Egyptologists, anthropologists, historians and Hollywood moviemakers continue to deny African people’s role in humankind’s first and greatest civilization in ancient Egypt. This whitewashing of history negatively impacts Black people and our image in the world. There remains a vital need to correct the misinformation of our achievements in antiquity.

Senegalese scholar Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop (1923-1986) dedicated his life to scientifically challenging Eurocentric and Arab-centric views of precolonial African culture, specifically those that suggested the ancient civilization of Egypt did not have its origins in Black Africa.

Since some people continue to ignore the overwhelming evidence that indicates ancient Egypt was built, ruled, and populated by dark-skinned African people, Atlanta Blackstar will highlight 10 of the ways Diop proved the ancient Egyptians were Black.

Physical Anthropology Evidence
Based on his review of scientific literature, Diop concluded that most of the skeletons and skulls of the ancient Egyptians clearly indicate they were Negroid people with features very similar to those of modern Black Nubians and other people of the Upper Nile and East Africa. He called attention to studies that included examinations of  skulls from the predynastic period (6000 B.C.) that showed a greater percentage of Black characteristics than any other type.

From this information, Diop reasoned that a Black race existed in Egypt at that time and did not migrate at a later stage as some previous theories had suggested.

http://atlantablackstar.com/2013/10/25/10-arguments-that-proves-ancient-egyptians-were-black/

”’ኦሮሞና ኦሮሚያ”’

የኦሮሞ ሕዝብ መሠረተ አመጣጥ ከኩሽ ቤተሰብ የሚመደብ ነዉ። በቆዳ ቀለሙና በአካላዊ አቋሙ ከሃሜቲክ እስከ ናይሎቲክ ያጣቀሰ ዝርያ ያለዉ ሕዝብ መሆኑ ታሪክ አረጋግጦታል። በሰሜን ምሥራቅ አፍሪካ ከሚኖሩ ህዝቦች ጋር በብዙ መልኩ ተመሳሳይነት ያለዉ ነዉ። በዚህ ክልል የሚኖሩ ሕዝቦች ታሪክ መመዝገብ ከጀመረበት ጊዜ አንስቶ የኩሽ ቋንቋ ተናጋሪ መሆናቸዉ ተረጋግጧል።

ኦሮሞ የኩሽ ቋንቋ ተናጋሪ ብቻ አይደለም። ይልቁንም ይህ ሕዝብ በአህጉረ- አፍሪካ ቀደሚ ዜጋ ሆነዉ ከኖሩት ሕዝቦች መካከል የመጀመሪያ መሆኑ ይታወቃል። በዚህ የረጅም ዘመናት ታሪኩ ውስጥ ለሥልጣኔዉ የሚሆኑ ባህሎችን እስከማዳበር ደርሷል። ሊንች እና ሮቢንስ የሚባሉ ሁለት የዉጭ ምሁራን ሰሜናዊ ኬኒያ በተገኘዉ ጥንታዊ አምድ ላይ ከትጻፈዉ መረጃ በመነሳት ኦሮሞዎች በ3000 ዓመተ-ዓለም አካባቢ የራሳቸዉ የሆነ የቀን መቁጠሪያ እንደነበራቸዉ አረጋግጠዋል። ይህም ሕዝቡ በዚሁ ክልል ለመኖሩ አንዱ ተጨባጭ ማስረጃ ነው።

ከሊንች እና ሮቢንሰም ሌላ ፕራዉቲ እና ሮሴንፊልድ የተባሉ የታሪክ ሊቃዉንት “Historical Dictionary of Ethiopia” ኢንዲሁም ባትስ : “The Abyssinian Difficulty” በተባሉ ሥራዎቻቸው ; <<ኦሮሞ ጥንታዊ ዝርያና አንጋፋ; ምናልባትም ለበርካታዎቹ የምስራቅ አፍርካ ሕዝቦች የዘር ግንድ ነው>> በማለት ይገልጻሉ።

የኦሮሞ ሕዝብ የምስራቅ አፍርካ (የአፍርካ ቀንድ) ቀዳሚ ቤተኛ ስለመሆኑ አያሌ ማስረጃዎች ኣሉ። ስለዚሁ ጉዳይ ታሪካዊ ሰናዶች በብዛት ይገኛሉ። አባ ባህሬይ የተባሉ የአማራ ብሄር ተወላጅ የጋላ ታሪክ ብለው በሲዳሞና ከፋ ዉስጥ በመዘዋዋር ስላ ኦሮሞ በፃፉት መጽሃፍ በጥላቻ የተሞሉና ትክክል ያል ሆኑ ታሪኮችን ለማሳተም በቅተዋል። ክራፍ በ 1842 ፥ ፍት በ1913 በክልሉ በመዘዋወር ኦሮሞ በምስራቅ አፍርካ ከሁሉም የላቀ ስፍት ያለዉ ሀገር ባለቤት መሆኑን አረጋግጠዋል ።

ከ1850 በፊት ዲ. አባደ ቤክ፥ እስንባርገር ኢንዲሁም ክራፍ የተባሉ አዉሮፓዊያን ዘጎች የኦሮሞን ሕዝብ ፖለቲካዊ ፥ ባህላዊና ማህበራዊ አኗኗር ሥራዓት በማጥናት ለዉጭዉ ዓለም አስተዋዉቀወል። ከዚያም ወዲህ በተለይ ከ 18ኛው መቶ ክፍለ ዘመንና በኋላም ኦሮሚያ በአፄ ምንልክ ተወርራ የኢኮኖሚና የፖለቲካ ሥራዓቷን ከመነጠቋ በፊት ሲቺ የተባለ ኢጣሊያዊ እንዲሁም በሬሊ ; እና ሶሌይሌት የተባሉ የፈረንሳይ ዜጎች በኦሮሚያ ህዝብ ፖለቲኮ-ባህላዊ; ኢኮኖሚያዊና ማህበራዊ ታሪኮች ላይ ያተኮሩ ሥራዎችን አዘጋጅተዉ ለአንባቢያን አቅርበዋል።

ታሪካዊ ጥናቶች አንደሚያረጋግጡት ኦሮሞና ኢትዮጵያ ከ16ኛዉ እስከ 19ኛው መቶ ክፍለ ዘመን አንዱም ሌላዉን አሸንፎ በ ቁጥጥሩ ሥር ሳያደርግ ጎን ለጎን ሆነው ሲዋጉ መቆየታቸው ሆሎኮምብ እና ሲሳይ ኢብሳ በ 1900፥ ፕሮ. መሐመድ ሐሰን በ 1990፥ ፕሮ. አሰፋ ጃላታ በ 1990፥ መሐመድ አሊ በ 1989፥ ሌቪን በ 1965 ፥ ገዳ መልባ በ 1978… ሥራዎቻቸዉ ዉስጥ በስፋት አቅርበዋል። እንዲሁም ጄስማን የተባሉ ጸሐፊ ከ50 ዓመታት በፊት ባሳተሙት መጽሓፍ ከአፄ ምንልክ የደቡብ ወረራ በፊት የነበረችዉ ኢትዮጵያ በሰሜን ከፍታዎች አካባቢ መሆኑን ከመግለጻቸዉም በላይ ማአከሏም በሰሜን ትግራይ ፥ በጌምድር ፥ ላስታና ወሎ ፥ በመሃል ጉራጌ ፥ በ ደቡብ ሸዋ ነው ያሉት ከላይ የተጠቀሱ ምሁራን ያ ቀረቡኣቸዉን ቁም ነገሮች በተጨባጭ መልክኣ ምድራዊ ገጽታ የሚያረጋግጥ ሆኗል።

ጥንታዊቷ አበሲኒያ ቀደም ብሎ በተጠቀሱት ክልሎች ላይ ብቻ የተወሰንች ለመሆኗ አፄ ቴዎድሮስ ኢየሩሳሌም ሳሙኤል ጎባ ለተባሉ የእንግሊዝ ጳጳስ በጻፉት ድብዳቤ ውስጥ ከጠቀሱትም ቁም ነገር መገንዘብ ይቻላል። እችሳቸውም:-

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https://www.facebook.com/notes/abdi-muleta/the-story-of-irreechaa/257191284319586

Nubia and Oromia January 4, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Colonizing Structure, Corruption, Culture, Development, Human Rights, Humanity and Social Civilization, Nubia, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Culture, Oromo Identity, Oromo Social System, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Oromummaa, Self determination, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Oromo Democratic system, Tyranny, Uncategorized.
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Brownie: Spending an evening with Oromos

Today was such a pleseant day, i was invited to the Oromo community celebration of the beginning of the new Georgian year 2013. Oromo are the Koshian people of the State of Ethiopia. they are part of the Koshian civilization which Nubians belong to. So they are my cousins.
I have been introduced to the Oromo struggle in 2009, through my work in refugees’ issue in Egypt. One of my colleagues is a great man and he is from Oromo. He taught me about the struggle of his people against the central State in Ethiopia, actually they are sharing some problems with us, as Nubians, the suppression, neglection from the central government and cultural war to omit their deep rooted culture.

Oromo like many ethincities in Africa suffered specially after the colonization, because the colonizers built a wicked conflict in the African context which is the supremacy of a certain people or culture on the rest of the inhabitants of each country, after drawing unnatural borders.That was the case of Rwanda for example and that what lead to the genocide.
This wicked idea was entrenched through all means, political, social, economic and developmental.
Being in the trench of the unprivileged part means suffering by all means, no education, no health care, no development, complicated economic situation and for sure political prosecution if you dared to talk about your people suffering.
It is very problematic that the newly established states in Africa had hard time with the notion of nationalism, that they tried to embrace just one identity, and by that they completely deviated from the African tradition of respecting multiplicity. Africans suffered from the unnatural borders which cut some ethicities into pieces like the Nubian comminty when British cut Nubia into two part by the line of 22 north, which made some Nubians Sudanese and other Egyptians. even in the same states, some governments adopted very selective attitude in applying the notion of nationality, they made a check list and if you do not fit, you will suffer.
and Oromo do not fit, they are simply different.

That what happened to my Oromo-ian friend, he left the homeland, and he is a refugee here in Egypt, suffering from hardship of being a refugee in unwelcoming state like Egypt. but when you see him talking about his struggle you will only see the pride, that black pride which never vanishes.

Oromo people are struggling hard to be recognized and to have their human rights respected.
the Ethiopian state must stop its suppression to the Oromo people.

Respecting different people is essential, multiculturalism and persevering multiplicity is the pillar of any state.
Finally sometimes it is important to see Adhoc, this is a video showing how Oromo raised their flag in the last African cup for football:

Know more about the Oromo struggle  (http://www.oromoliberationfront.org/index.htm)
See the details at original source:
http://atbrownies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/spending-evening-with-oromos.html
By Fatma Emam: http://www.blogger.com/profile/17426809504085760083

Copyright © OromianEconomist 2014 & Oromia Quarterly 1997-2014, all rights are reserved. Disclaimer.