Two Names Solution for Both Finfinne/Addisaba and Oromia/Ethiopia!
Nowadays two names solution for the capital – Finfinne/Addisaba is almost accepted by both pro-Ethiopia and pro-Oromia nationals, but why not for the country – Oromia/Ethiopia? The #OromoProtest clearly showed us the exisitng very deep mistrust between Ethiopian lovers and Oromian promoters. Pro-Oromia citzens payed huge sacrifice of their limb and life, while pro-Ethiopia opposition groups were endlessly discussing about motive of the movement and who is behind it, instead of joining the protest and galvanizing the freedom struggle. Main fear of the Ethiopianists seemed to be about the possible civil war between the Oromo and others as well as about eventual disintegration of the empire. Even the pro-Ethiopia rhetoric of unionist Oromos in ODF and OFC couldn’t help in convincing other Ethiopianists about union politics of Oromo people, which is already labelled as “separatist movement” by Abyssinian elites. Because of this mistrust, an inclusive and efficient revolution against the fascist and racist TPLF couldn’t yet erupt. Even there was a senseless arguement whether to call it Oromo protest or Ethiopia protest. In this arguement, there was reflectioin of a conflict between two ‘citizen identities’: Ethiopiawinet (being Ethiopian) vs Oromiawinet (being Oromian). The million dollar question not yet answered is: how can pro-Ethiopia elites and pro-Oromia forces trust each other and protest in unison against the fascist regime in order to get rid of the system by means of revolution?
It is a known fact that Oromos are the people having dual history in state formation of the country and because of that developed dual visions for its transformation. The Oromo were both in conquered (victim) and conqueror (victor) sides of the war during nation building. Now, among the Oromo community, some identify themselves with the conquered side and fight for liberation of Gadaa Oromia or change of Ethiopia to Great Oromia; the others see themselves as parts of the conqueror and struggle for the transformation of empire Ethiopia to democratic Ethiopia, which is also by de fault Great Oromia. The first group are pro-Oromia, while the second are pro-Ethiopia. Now, the two blocs have a sort of conflict and sometimes they even see each other as enemies with irreconcilable conflict. I think we can have a synthetic common vision as a compromise solution for the conflict; i.e use of two names (Ethiopia and Oromia) interchangeably for the same country, just as we are calling our capital city Addisaba and Finfinne simultaneously.
Just as Ethiopianists’ Addisaba is Oromianists’ Finfinne, the former’s Ethiopia is the later’s Oromia. Because of fact that the name Ethiopia is contaminated by meaning given from the Greeks (burnt-face, which is almost the same to the N-word used against blacks) and by the content given from Habeshas (making Ethiopia equivalent to Abyssinian empire’s system of domination, excluding and exploiting the Oromo as well as other nations), this additional name now or the possible change of the name in the future is mandatory, if we really want to live together. That is why I once asked Habesha elites: why not you accept the name Oromia, rather than trying to persuade the Oromo to join you in loving Ethiopia? Surprisingly, Abyssinian elites who once wanted to exclude the Oromo from Ethiopian ‘citizen identity’ are now doing everything under the sun in order to push us to accept this same identity.
Simply put, I want to tell those who do have similar attitude that the future of the empire will be either to be transformed in to a genuine union/true federation as ODF planned or to just face an inevitable emergence of Gadaa Oromia in a form of an independent republic as the OLF is trying to achieve. The union can be given the name Oromia if Ethiopianists agree. Both Abyssinians and Oromians know very well that Gadaa Oromia, being occupied by Abyssinia and kept within Ethiopia, will not last as long as they want. Transitional Ethiopian union to be forged on grave of the existing temporary Abyssinian empire can be used as a good prelude to either an independent Gadaa Oromia or an integrative Great Oromia. That is why we need to come to our sense and try to find a solution, in which we all do have a win-win compromise. Manipulating histories and legends is not what we have to do now. Important is a future-oriented creative thinking, which can benefit all nations in the empire.
Above all, nowadays, the narrow Ethiopianists define Ethiopiawinet (‘citizen identity’) as anti Oromia and use it as an instrument to antagonize Oromo nationalism. They know that Oromumma is now very necessary to mobilize the Oromo for freedom struggle and they want to hinder this. To tackle such move of exclusive Ethiopianists, Oromo unionists with inclusive politics like the elites in ODF and OFC better name the whole country Oromia, instead of Ethiopia, so that Oromos not necessarily should accept the imposed ‘citizen identity’, but enjoy Oromiawinet as our second identiy; the first being Oromonet (Oromummaa = Oromoness). That is why Dawite Mekonnen sang about Oromiawinet (‘citizen identity’) and Abdi Nuressa did it regarding Oromonet (ethnic identity). To realize Oromiawinet identity parallel to Ethiopiawinet, here are some reasons why that country should also be named Oromia:
– the Tigrai elites reduced both Oromia and the Oromo almost to half, just as planned by their leader Meles Zenawi to change the majority Oromo to minority; so it is better to reclaim the whole country than to accept the presently less than half Oromia ruled by OPDO.
– Oromo is Cush and Cush is Oromo, implying that other Cushitic nations (including Amhara and Tigrai, who denied their Cushitic base) in the country are offshots or progenies of the Oromo, so that they can be part and parcel of Oromia.
– according to some scholars, the whole country belongs to the Oromo and all the hitherto kings and leaders were Oromo; the Amhara being only soldiers of governments.
– brain and heart of the whole country (Finfinne) is the very center of Oromo nation, so that any country adminstered from that center can be called Oromia.
– the Oromo are single majority (about 60%) and Oromo region covers more than 60% of the whole country.
– all economical, specially the export, base of the country (coffee, gold, hide & skin, flower, chaat…etc) are from Oromo region.
– most of the heros and heroins, who did build and kept the country as it is now, are Oromo and most of the athlets, who contributed for the fame and image of the country, are Oromo.
– even the whole Gojjam, part of Gondar and Tigrai were Oromo and belongs to Oromia.
– the original Cushitic language in Meroe was highly related to Afaan Oromo and other Cushitic languages are branches from it; thus all peoples in the Country can claim Oromo as their common root.
– Waaqeffannaa, the indigeneous religion of Cushites, which was also Abraham’s own religion before the emergence of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, is still preserved among Oromo people and it needs to be revived as a unique religion of the country.
– the holy TREE (as mentioned in the Bible), under which the pre-Judaism religious peoples on earth offered to their Waaqa, is still revered in Oromo society.
– the known verse in the Holy book “Oromia stretches his hand to Waaqa” is named as Cush by the Jew and as Ethiopia by Greeks.
– Abraham Ashine of Akkasum (Axum), who was a Cushite is said to be more with Oromo characters and told to have Oromo fighters during his invasion of Asia.
– the Oromo are told to be indigeneous people on which others are grafted.
– the study of Egypt showed more Afaan Oromo character than Amharic in relation with old Egypt inscriptions.
– the present country is built at cost of the Oromo, actually with life and limb of Oromo people as well as with Oromo property.
– Oromo People are demographical majority to which all other peoples are highly related and Oromo region is geographical center in which all peoples of the country enjoy life in harmony.
– the Oromo died for building and keeping present Ethiopia and we deserve to claim the naming as Oromia and our core region can be designated as Oromo region.
– future democratic Ethiopia will be de facto Oromia, unlike the hitherto Ethiopia which is equivalent to Abyssinia, so that the Oromo should struggle to keep territorial integrity of this Great Oromia (future Ethiopia)
— ….. etc!
Some arguemnets against naming the country as Oromia are: name of one ethnie can not be used for the whole multi-national country; it is simply imposing Oromo identity on others; it neglects identity of other nations; it looks like an expansion of Oromo territory; it shows Oromo chauvinism;…etc. But none of the arguements is as such conviencingly correct. If we really want to have union of free peoples, which can never happen when Gadaa Oromia will be independent, it is necessary to call the future union as Oromia, so that the Oromo can be part of the union whole heartedly. All nations will have their freedom and autonomy within such a union called Oromia. Designating countries after the name of their biggest ethnie is not new. For e.g, the name India is derived from Hindi people, Russia from Russki and Spain from Spaniard.
Thus, I want to suggest for all Oromo nationals to call the whole country Oromia, instead of Ethiopia just as we named Finfinne, instead of Addisaba. Other peoples can further call it Ethiopia till we can decide for one of the two per public verdict. Now, we can follow this two names principle until we decide for one of them or otherwise in the future. To avoid any confusion, the present Oromia ruled by OPDO can be called Oromo region, not Oromia. Such inclusive Oromia (Ethiopia) consists of the existing Oromo, Amhara, Tigari, Southern, Ogaden, Afar, Benishangul, Gambella & Harari regions. The principle of countries having two names is not some thing new; for instance, Holland/Nietherland, Great Britain/United Kingdom, Germany/Deutschland & Egypt/Misir…etc. Oromo people can call the whole country Oromia and additionally tolerate the name Ethiopia, becuase of the fact that the positive image of Ethiopia is mainly due to Oromo’s contribution and due to relation of the name with ancient Cush civilization, to which Oromo nation is the main part.
To help the two anti-TPLF camps (pro-Ethiopia and pro-Oromia elites) trust each other and cooperate in struggle, it is necessary that they agree on forging union of free peoples after freedom from the existing apartheid system of TPLF. The mentioned conflict in the ‘citizen identity’ can be solved by applying the above suggested two names solution. In that case, the Oromo should not necessarily accept Ethiopia and Ethiopiawinet as well as the non-Oromo peoples must not identify themselves with Oromia and Oromiawinet. We can use both Ethiopia and Oromia interchangeably to name our future common home (union of free peoples). If it is necessary to choose from one of the two names or to give another name, that can be decided by peoples in the country or by their representatives in the future democratically eleced parliament. Now, the Oromo better sing about only Oromia, Oromiawinet and Oromonet without confusing our youth with the rhetoric of Ethiopia and Ethiopiawinet, which are already rejected by some members of our society because of the misuse of Ethiopiawinet by Habesha elites. Thus, I again suggest that our unionists in ODF and OFC call the whole country Oromia, instead of Ethiopia. The multi-national federation they want to foster after freedom can contain self rule of Oromo region within shared rule of Oromian union.
If Addisaba is Finfinne, Why Not Ethiopia is Oromia?
We know that the north eastern Africa is living area of the Oromo, whose land the Greeks called Ethiopia, the Arabs designated Al-Habesh and the Jews named Cush, for more than 10 thousand years. This stem nation, the Oromo, slowly differentiated and be fragmented to different Cushitic speaking nations. Since the last 3 thousand years, these Cushitic nations started to be influenced by Habeshanization process and some lost their priori identity and became Ge’ez speakers, who further influenced the Oromo and Oromia, including the capital so that they named the city as Addis Ababa and changed the name of the country to Ethiopia.
Now it is time for the Oromo to reclaim both the city and the country. We already started to re-call the city Finfinne, now we should start to re-name the whole country, not only the Oromo region, as Oromia because of the fact that future democratic Ethiopia will be de facto Oromia. To solidify this, we shall promote Afaan Oromo to primary language of the union, Cushitic black-red-white to flag of the union and Oromia to name of the union. Read more:/
Oromian Sovereignty – not Amhara’s Model or Tegaru’s Style or Eritrea’s Type, but Oromo’s Way!
According to the ongoing discussion in Oromo nationalists’ circle, the three types of sovereignty for Oromia, in forms of Amhara’s model (assimilative Oromia), Tegaru style (imperial Oromia) and Eritrean type (exclusive Oromia) are not as such bad for the Oromo people in the future, but preferable is the Oromo way (union Oromia, instead of union Ethiopia). Amhara’s model is an assimilative having free development and use of Afaan Oromo at the federal level, which will assimilate the other neighboring language groups into being Oromo, thus practically Oromia = Ethiopia. This dictatorial assimilative approach must be distinguished from the democratic accomodative and integrative option of the Oromo’s way in the suggested union Oromia. Tegaru’s style is an imperial, where the Oromo people having free Oromo state, and at the same time, ruling over other nations. Such imperial rule is also not same as democratic autonomy for all nations and nationalities in the Oromo’s option. Eritrean type is an ‘independent Oromo state’ as separate nation-state, free from other nations; this Eritrean way can be a rule-out result, in case all other nations refuse and leave the Oromo way of union Oromia.
The new approach, which can now be pursued by Oromo organizations and Oromo people, if we want, is an optimal option, so that we necessarily ought not be fixated on only the option of “separation.” That is why the endless cry of TPLF cadres, who do lament day and night about their claim to “know the fact” that OLF is a “secessionist” organization and their accusation of Oromo nationalists as “separatists,” does not hold water. On contrary, the Gadaa people with our principle of freedom and democracy do prefer Oromo’s method leading us to our desired optimal sovereignty. We want to give chance to union Oromia; and only if this noble Oromo’s choice fails to be materialized, due to the possible arrogance and authoritarian nature of Abyssinian elites, Oromo people will be obliged to move towards the choice of being exclusive and reject the possible union with them.
As far as Oromo people and our liberation organizations are concerned, we can even try to promote the type of unity, which the “pro-unity” forces want to realize. But, these forces have to be sure that the language into which we all need to melt will be the two Afaan Oromo’s, that means – not only Amharinya, but also Oromiffa. Now, some Oromo nationalists seem to support this view, hoping that the “pro-unity” forces do agree with this way of solving the language issue. Amharinya was in reality created by Oromo nobility in the year 1270 around Hankobar in central Oromia. The Oromo nobility just wanted to have a language, which was different from that of ordinary Oromo, thus created “Lisane Negus” – Amharinya. Now, both Amharinya and Oromiffa are suggested to be considered as Afaan Oromo (languages of Oromo people). Sure is that Oromiffa is language of Oromo heroes, who did start liberation struggle of Oromo people from the Habeshanized rulers of Agaw and Oromo, whereas Amharinya is unfortunately still associated with domination and subjugation of Gadaa people by this Abyssinized part of Cush nations.
This theory now seems to be entertained by the ongoing Oromo liberation movement. By the way, was Nagaasso Gidadaa’s UDJ party not one of those with the mentality of Habeshanized Cushites? When we look at program of the party, its §3.2.4 said: “Amharic shall serve as working language of the federal state; when approved by referendum, there can be another language, in addition to Amharic, that serves as working language of the federal state.”
Why not referendum on Amharinya, whereas it is compulsorily needed to allow Oromiffa to have the same status? Is this not a double standard? Why did Dr. Nagaasso and other Oromo nationalists in this party fail to put Oromiffa as one of the federal working languages explicitly, just as they did Amharinya? Are they not making the same mistake committed by emperor Minilik Caalaa and his best general Gobanaa Daacee? Both of these members of the nobility, being Oromo (the first being Habeshanized Oromo, the second non-Habeshanized), they could have promoted Oromiffa to be the working language of Ethiopian state they built, instead of making “Lisane Negus” the only one officially used in the country.
Now, Oromo liberation movement should take heed of Habesha organizations, which want to repeat the same mistake. No other move, except the following three ways of OLF movements, is acceptable to Oromo people: the first-generation OLF, which concentrates on achieving only an ‘independent Gadaa Oromia,’ as a fair goal without influencing other nations; the second-generation OLF talking about either an ‘independent Gadaa Oromia’ or an ‘autonomous Gadaa Oromia;’ and the third-generation OLF being more inclusive and open for an ‘independent Gadaa Oromia,’ an ‘autonomous Gadaa Oromia within union Great Oromia’ and an ‘integrated Great Oromia.’ I think these three options of our future sovereignty are not bad, but the question lies on the timing of stressing one of the alternatives vis-à-vis the other two. Clear is that any nation under oppression and with a threatened security prefers and stresses independence, whereas the nation, which does have a confidence to survive, to thrive and which is even sure to be able to lead other nations do emphasize the other two alternatives, the most confident nationals opting for an integrated Great Oromia.
We may then ask: which position should the Oromo people, who are still under colony and domination need to emphasize now? Surely, we need to stress independence, just as the first-generation OLF correctly had done and is still doing. Even though it is not bad that the second-generation accepted a possible autonomy within a union as another option, and the third-generation has now started to further entertain even the third alternative of an ‘integrated Great Oromia,’ the smart side of all the three generations is that they have never given up and will never give up the independence option. As long as Oromo people are under oppression, the question for ‘independence’ is mandatory as a rule-out result. But, care must be taken for this position is mis-used by TPLF cadres as a means to neutralize the “pro-unity” Amhara forces, which are also nowadays archenemies of TPLF. Clearly, TPLF regime is surviving and thriving by making these Amhara forces and the pro-independence Oromo fronts neutralize each other. Thus, it is better to tone down the independence rhetoric and emphasize the union option.
As repeatedly mentioned, the common denominator of the three OLF generations is ‘freedom of the Oromo’. The first-generation is for freedom of the Oromo + independence of Gadaa Oromia. The second-generation for freedom + independence (in a form of Gadaa Oromia’ or a ‘union of autonomous nations in union Oromia’). The third-generation is for freedom + independence (in a form of an ‘independent Gadaa Oromia’ or a ‘union of autonomous nations’ or an ‘integrated Great Oromia’). As I do see, we are moving from the status quo occupied Oromia of subjugated Oromo people — through the smaller OPDO’s Oromia — small OLF’s Oromia — the Gadaa Oromia — to Great Oromia = union Oromia with respected freedom and realized freedom of all nations.
When we look at such theoretical options and moves, Oromo people are actually in a very advantageous position regarding the possible three future outcomes of political struggle in Oromia. The three outcomes are 1. a ‘disintegrated Great Oromia’ resulting in multiple independent nation-states, including an independent Gadaa Oromia, 2. a ‘federated Great Oromia’ like it is now under the Woyane (just changing its fake status quo to the true federation) and 3. a ‘transformed Great Oromia’ from its present Abyssinized empire nature (Ethiopia with Oromo oppression and Habesha domination) to a union Oromia (with freedom for all citizens and nations). Oromo nationalists can use these three options to our advantage for all of the three options are not against the required freedom of Oromo people. Amhara elites are limited to the third option in which they think Amharinya will be the only federal language of all in Ethiopia, so they do hate the second option and do fear the first option, because the first and second options do limit expansion of Amharinya. Tegaru elites can use the second option as long as they do dominate Ethiopian politics, and they surely will opt to the first option in case they start to lose their domination, but they will never be able to exploit the third option for it will not give them the opportunity to dominate other nations in the future union Oromia (democratized Ethiopia).
Interestingly, we can see that the first-generation OLF is shooting against TPLF forces from only one position (from position of an ‘independent Gadaa Oromia’); the second-generation from two positions (from positions of an ‘independent Gadaa Oromia’ and a ‘autonomous nations within union Oromia’); the third-generation from three positions (from an ‘independent Gadaa Oromia,’ a ‘ union of autonomous nations’ and an integrated Great Oromia). Furthermore, we do also observe clear supportive position of all the three generations for an independent Gadaa Oromia; yet, all Oromo nationalists of these three generations just should take care not to play into hands of TPLF cadres, who also continuously sing “supporting” the unconditional independence of Gadaa Oromia. The motive of these cadres is not hard to understand. They want to antagonize Oromo movement for liberation with pro-democracy movement of the Amhara people. We should try to kill this divide-and-rule machination of the TPLF. Otherwise, the third-generation OLF, with an additional vision of transforming the Abyssinian-Ethiopia (the hitherto Ethiopia characterized by oppression, hunger, exploitation, tyranny and torture) to Oromian-Ethiopia (Cushitic Ethiopia of liberty, freedom, democracy and autonomy of nations), is really great. Oromo liberation struggle has already compelled Abyssinian elites to sing about these values of Oromian-Ethiopia, the values which are actually against their own culture and nature. Thus, the anti-thesis of Obbo Boruu Barraaqaa’s Abyssinian-Ethiopia www.maddaseena.com www.meeshalee.nl… -ethiopia/) is this suggested Oromian-Ethiopia.
We like it or not, Oromia can never go back to the past Amhara-dominated country, and keeping the status quo of the Tigrean domination sustainably is also not an easy job. Slowly but surely, the country has been changing because of the pressure from Oromo liberation movement, and it will continue to change from Abyssinian-Ethiopia to Oromian-Ethiopia. It is up to Oromo people to choose which form of Oromia to have in the future: OPDO’s map, OLF’s map, present Ethiopia being transformed to Oromia or the future Oromia’s map being the same to that of the Cushitic Ethiopia extending from Meroe to Mombasa? The idea of the second-generation OLF in thinking about the second type of sovereignty (autonomous Gadaa Oromia within a union) as another option of Oromia’s sovereignty, which is alternative to the original goal (independent Gadaa Oromia) was very disappointing for the first-generation OLF and its supporters. In the meantime, this second option seems to have been accepted by many Oromo nationalists, as long as the Oromo public will decide in the future per referendum. Now, the third alternative sovereignty (an integrated Great Oromia or geo-federation), which is now entertained by the third-generation OLF seems to be “disturbing,” not only for the first generation, but also for the second-generation. It may take a long time till Oromo nationalists of these two generations will start to realize that Oromo people, as a majority in the region, will have no disadvantage in all the three types of sovereignty, if really the future politics of the region will be that of freedom and democracy. Fortunately, the world is developing and moving in this direction of politics; the Horn of Africa can not be an exception.
The hitherto main mistakes done by both Amhara elites and Oromo elites, so that TPLF could beat them turn by turn, are the facts that Amhara elites still think as if they are in control of Finfinne palace and as if they do have political domination demanding from Oromo elites to give up the agenda of “Gadaa Oromia’s independence” as a precondition to an all-inclusive alliance. Oromo elites, on the other hand, think as if we have less power and influence, compared to Amhara elites, so that we still fear the comeback of old “era of darkness.” TPLF cadres know this fallacy of both groups and play with their emotion in order to polarize the opposition camp. The recent move of the OLF to correct these faults is an indication of a growing Oromo self-confidence to tackle such impasse and make a difference, not only in Gadaa Oromia, but in the whole Great Oromia (Cushitic Ethiopia), that is why it is a nice step. Of course, this will be fruitful only if the effort towards the third alternative of sovereignty (an integrated Great Oromia) is going to be seen on the real ground. A move in this direction is yet more of a theory rather than being the ongoing practice; nevertheless, I think the plan of an Oromian-Ethiopia (Ethiopia being transformed into Oromia) is a best vision, and it will be a possible reality in the future. Only if the Abyssinian elites and their Western handlers try to hinder the realization of this vision, then Gadaa Oromia’s independence within African union’ is the other option we need to strive for. The truth, in general, is that in all three ways of achieving Oromia’s sovereignty, the hitherto oppressed Oromo people will have nothing to lose in the future.
What we can’t deny is that there are significant number of Oromo nationals supporting either of the three types of sovereignty (either an independence, or autonomy within union or an integration), and none of these three groups do prefer a ‘dominated Oromo’ to a ‘liberated Oromo’. Thus ‘liberated Oromo’ is a common denominator for these three political views in Oromo community. Even though they do have the same stand on freedom, they do differ on the type of ‘sovereign Oromia’ to realize. The difference is based on version of the Oromo history each generation does have in mind and based on personal life experiences of their respective members. If the OLF manages to accommodate these three sections of Oromo society (pro-independence, pro-federalism and pro-integration), it can then surely be pragmatic, inclusive and smart. Liberated Oromo from domination under the Abyssinian system of colonization is unconditional; but the types of sovereign Oromia, which we, as a nation, want to realize, be it an ‘independent Gadaa Oromia within African union’ or an ‘autonomous Gadaa Oromia within Great Oromian union’ or an ‘integrated Great Oromia by transforming the Abyssinian-Ethiopia of dictatorship to Oromian-Ethiopia of democracy’ can be conditional, which depends on the future referendum of Oromo public in particular and that of all concerned nations in general.
Now, the best way to attack and defeat TPLF (which is using two cards of either ‘imperial Tigrai’ or ‘independent Tigrai’) is that the Oromo better concentrate on the third alternative, on an ‘integrated Great Oromia,’ rather than on only an ‘independent Gadaa Oromia’; the two methods (independence and autonomy) being theoretically the same ideology to that of TPLF, who in reality currently exercises an ‘imperial position.’ Fortunately, TPLF can never use card of an integration for it is representative of minority nation. Thus, according to the opinion given in this essay, an ‘independent Gadaa Oromia’ (Eritrean style sovereignty) is not the only type of sovereignty for the Oromo and Oromia, the people and land, which are at the center and core of politics in the country. An ‘autonomous Gadaa Oromia within a Great Oromia’ and only an ‘integrated Great Oromia’ are also other advantageous ways of securing Oromo people’s freedom and Oromia’s sovereign. Otherwise, we do see that Amhara elites have only one political card (that of integration) to play; Tegaru elites have only two cards (that of ‘imperial Tigrai’ and ‘independent Tigrai’); but Oromo nationalists have three cards to play – cards of ‘independent Gadaa Oromia,’ ‘autonomous Gadaa Oromia within Great Oromia’ and ‘integrated Great Oromia’. Time will show us whether Oromo politicians are smart and wise enough to use these three cards to an dvantage of Oromo people and to serve an interest of Oromoland.
As far as I am concerned, so long Oromo people are under colonial oppression, we should fight for an independent Gadaa Oromia without giving in and giving up. But, Oromia and the Oromo are neither geographical periphery nor demographical minority, like Eritrea and South Sudan, in order to opt for separation as the only best remedy. ‘Great Oromia’ (transforming Abyssinian-Ethiopia to Oromian-Ethiopia) can also be a very good version of our sovereignty; of course, an ‘autonomous Gadaa Oromia’ being a temporary and transitional solution towards either an ‘independent Gadaa Oromia’ or an ‘integrated Great Oromia,’ both as an alternative lasting solutions. So let’s Oromo nationals act as members of a nation with both geographical central position and demographical majority in the country, believing in ourselves and being confident that we can change our present condition of political minority to our legitimate status of majority and convert our current situation of being in a political periphery towards becoming political center. TPLF cadres, who continuously accuse Oromo liberation movement as a “separatist” movement should be told that it is illogical to talk about Finfinne’s “secession” from Finfinne, whereas the simple fact is that the peripheral Maqelee can secede from the center – Finfinne. Common sense tells us that the one who is minority and at periphery claims secession from major nation at the center, not vice versa!
Ethiopia as Union Oromia, Instead of an Empire Abyssinia!
I once read an open letter written by Dr. Fikre Tolassa directed to Dr. Beyan Asoba of the ODF [Oromo Democratic Front] and also saw the different responses from few Oromo nationalists – including the one written by Dr. Beyan himself. It was really an interesting discussion. I couldn’t manage to ignore that discussion and to refrain from airing my own opinion in public for I used to write on such either pseudo or true histories of the Oromo, other Cushites and Abyssinians now living in Ethiopia (union Oromia). Let me express my view regarding Dr. Fikre’s open letter. I don’t belong to those who totally dismiss his view, but I do have certain concerns and a criticism in some areas of his writing.
As I first heard Dr. Fikre speaking and as I read his opinions, my reaction was: “here is a modern neo-Debtera carrying an Oromo name, and propagating the same old fictions and legends of Abyssinians.” I think he was also a bit like this at the beginning. For instance, he used to write that the Oromo are who “expanded in sixteenth century towards north and occupied Amhara territories”. He once wrote: “… The Amhara were not lucky enough to live in peace. Shortly after the Islamic wars were over, they engaged in a war with their other countrymen, the Oromo, who had started expanding into their territories in the 1520s when the Amhara were busy with their Muslim brothers. Compared with the Tigre, the Amhara lived in the most fertile regions of Oromia (Ethiopia). Initially, the different Oromo tribes fought the Amhara wherever they happened to be, looking for ideal grazing lands for their cattle….”
Thanks to Oromo liberation struggle, now he is writing that the Oromo are indigenous people in this part of the globe and many Abyssinian scholars have unwillingly started to entertain this fact. We need to congratulate Dr. Fikre for his change of mind and for being ready to learn from new facts he has ever got. I am not a historian and can not falsify or verify his current narration about history of the Oromo, but I can say one thing. His new version of Oromo history is better than what old Abyssinian Debtera’s used to write. They tried to denigrate the Oromo and regarded this great nation as an alien to North-East African region, whereas he glorifies and confirms that Oromo nation is backbone of the region.
When it comes to the genealogy he tries to tell us, I don’t want to say it is a fable, but I would like to recommend Oromo scholars with conscious mind of Oromo nationalism to engage him, find out the fact and try to consider his perspective in writing Oromo history from an Oromo point of view. As I could understand from one of his hitherto opinions, his information is based on one discovery of a very old literature in Nubia. He once wrote: “… This information is based on on my reading of Oromian history and Metsehafe Djan Shewa, (an ancient Ethiopian manuscript in Geez discovered by Meri Ras Aman Belay, in the ruins of an Ethiopian church in Nubia, a part of the Cushitic Kingdom) which has been, translated into Amharic, abridged and published as Metsehafe Subae by the discoverer himself… ”
According to this finding, the genealogy speaks more for Cushites, to which the Oromo is main stalk and from which other Cushitic nations of the region seem to be differentiated. The name Amara was derived from Mara (an Oromo term), “one of the sons of Deshet.” A-Mara means, according to his assertion, children of Mara. I think the logic behind this derivation is, if we take the genealogy at face value, that Amara are children of the Oromo (Cushite). This assertion supports the claim of some historians that Abyssinians are the self-denying Cushites whose priori identity could be either Agaw, Oromo or other Cushitic nations. I think it is better to say that Agaw and Oromo were brothers, and Abyssinians are the converted Cushites, who in due time changed their identity by accepting alien system of cultural and language domination claimed to be from Semitic origin, just to distance themselves from culture and language of the common people.
Coming to the appeals, which Dr. Fikre directed towards Dr. Beyan, it seems that Dr. Fikre lacks a necessary sensitivity regarding Oromo national liberation struggle of the last more than 150 years. Disregarding whether Abyssinians and Oromians are biologically related or not, the fact on the ground tells us that Abyssinian elites were and still are enemies of Oromo people because of the crimes they used to do and are still doing. Whatever name we give to the oppression (colony, domination, exploitation, dictatorship, empire-building and -keeping, tyranny, fascism…etc), Oromo people are in a bitter struggle to get back our freedom by any means. Dr. Fikre seems to have sympathy towards keeping the empire at any cost, instead of addressing Oromo grievance. To this end, he tries to instrumentalize his knowledge of history, be it pseudo or true history.
This attitude of him is well reflected in three demands he made: change of the alphabet used in writing Afaan Oromo from Latin to Saba; persuading Oromo to strive further in order to keep unity of “greater Ethiopia” by abandoning a “little Oromia;” wishing the Oromo to love the current Ethiopian flag; and asking the Oromo to accept Ethiopian identity rather than being proud of their Oromo identity. These demands actually faced furious resistance from almost all Oromo nationalists who had read his open letter. They perceived his opinion as a mischief calculated from Abyssinian camp to weaken Oromo national liberation struggle and to possibly reverse the victories achieved up to now.
Unfortunate to Dr. Fikre and those who do have same stand like him, Oromo struggle has reached at the very irreversible stage. Using the Latin alphabet has got not only linguistic value, but also political meaning. Simply put, it is one of ways used to distance Oromo national identity from that of the oppressors. Also a flag has got both emotional and political dimension. One can not love the symbol of an enemy at any battlefield. Most Oromo nationalists, who fought and struggled against the Abyssinian empire, had to fight against forces carrying this flag. That is why it is wrong to expect Oromo nationalists to love and wear the present Ethiopian flag as Dr. Fikre seems to do.
Regarding “little Oromia vs. greater Ethiopia” he mentioned, I would like to recommend Dr. Fikre and all who love the empire to rename the country they want to save as Oromia. When we look at the version of history he wrote, the whole empire can be called Oromia. Just as their Addis is our Finfinne, their Ethiopia is our Oromia. Because the name Ethiopia is contaminated by the meaning given from the Greeks (burnt-face, which is almost the same to the N-word used against blacks) and by the content given from Abyssinians (making Ethiopia equivalent to Abyssinian empire’s system of domination, excluding as well as exploiting the Oromo and other nations), this change of the name is mandatory, if we really want to live together. That is why I asked: why not you accept great Oromia, rather than asking the Oromo to join you in loving Ethiopia? Surprisingly, Abyssinian elites who tried to exclude the Oromo from Ethiopian identity are now doing everything under the sun in order to persuade us to accept this same identity. The response of Dr. Beyan regarding this attempt is very precise and to the point:
“… I want to make one thing perfectly clear to you and your likes. The days when Oromos had to endure self-abnegation are over and shall never return. We have rejected the Itophiyawinnet that is the antithesis of being an Oromo and shall continue to do so as long as this antithetical relationship is maintained. The choice is yours and your likes’. You either accept us with our identity and other rights fully respected or you kiss goodbye to your much vaunted Itophiyawinnet and Ethiopian unity. Can you not see that there is something immoral in trying to build Ethiopian unity on graves of Oromos, Sidamas, Walayitas, Kambatas, Hadiyas, etc .? Why do you refuse to recognize that this aspiration is ultimately counterproductive? I only hope that this irrational, immoral and ultimately destructive aspiration would give way to a more sober and fair articulation of an Ethiopian identity that is as an amalgam of the identities of the various nations inhabiting its territorial space… “
Simply put, I want to tell Dr. Fikre and others, who do have similar attitude that the future of Ethiopia will only be either transformation of an empire in to a genuine union/true federation as the ODF planned, the union which can be given the name Oromia if you agree or you will just face the inevitable emergence of “little Oromia” in a form of an independent Gadaa republic as the OLF is trying to achieve. Both you, the Abyssinians, and we, the Oromians, know very well that Oromia, being occupied by Abyssinia and kept within Ethiopia, will not last as long as you want. That is why we need to come to our sense and try to find a solution, in which we all do have a win-win compromise. Manipulating histories and legends is not what we have to do now. Important is a future-oriented creative thinking, which can benefit all the nations in the empire. All anti-TPLF forces (pro-independence forces like the OLF, pro-federation forces like the ODF and pro-unity forces like the AG7) ought to come together unconditionally and deal with the fact on the ground, instead of the ongoing day-dreaming about any sort of past legend or future utopia.
Last, but not least, whatever our history is, there will be no compromise on the destiny of Oromo nation. All nations in the empire deserve an imperative freedom of their people and an optional independence of their land (based on the public verdict of respective nations). The Oromo, as a nation, have three alternatives after achieving the national liberation by our bitter struggle: an independent Oromia, federal union and an integrated Ethiopia (in the form of union Oromia, instead of the existing empire Abyssinia). I think Dr. Fikre and all pro-unity forces need to realize this fact. As far as I am concerned, free “little Oromia” within an Ethiopian union as planned by the ODF is only a temporary solution leading towards free Oromia within the UN as envisioned by the OLF. For Abyssinians to save unity of the country forever, they have to approach Oromo nation with a better idea than an independent “little Oromia.” That better idea can only be a transformation of the present Abyssinian empire to a future Oromian union of free nations, of course, with Afaan Oromo as primary working language of the union and flag of the union being black-red-white (BRW) with Mo’aa Odaa, instead of Mo’aa Ambasha or Mo’aa Anbessa, at its center. May Waaqa help all the Oromo to accept this reality!