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The Oromo in Exile: Creating Knowledge and Promoting Social Justice

Published in 2011, Jalata, Asafa, Societies Without Borders - Archived on March 31st, 2012

Title: The Oromo in Exile: Creating Knowledge and Promoting Social Justice
Author: Asafa Jalata (University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA)
Published: Societies Without Borders Vol. 6, No. 1, 2011, pp. 33-72 (40)
Language: English
Keywords: Oromo, Oromia, Indigenous Peoples, State Terrorism, Genocide, Colonization

This paper explains how some Oromos who were forced to leave their country, Oromia, by successive colonial Ethiopian governments and live in exile have been organized in foreign lands to liberate their people and country by supporting the Oromo national movement. By demonstrating how global and regional forces have collaborated in the colonization, continued subjugation and dehumanization of the Oromo people, the paper illustrates how the Oromo people have lost their cultural, political, and social rights that are enshrined in the UN Universal Declaration of human rights and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and how they are still facing state terrorism and genocidal massacres. The financial support from powerful Western countries as well as the support from China to the Tigrayan-led Ethiopian government is threatening the survival of the Oromo people in the 21st century. In response to these gross human rights violations, Oromo activist intellectuals and other Oromos in the Diaspora are engaged in creating knowledge and promoting justice for their downtrodden people on global level.

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Terrorism from Above and Below in the Age of Globalization

Published in 2011, Jalata, Asafa, Sociology Mind - Archived on March 31st, 2012

Title: Terrorism from Above and Below in the Age of Globalization
Author: Asafa Jalata (University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA)
Published: Sociology Mind Vol.1, No.1, 2011, pp. 1-15
Language: English
Keywords: Terrorism, Globalization, 9/11, Capitalism, Terrorism Studies, Genocide, Colonial Terrorism

This paper explains how the intensification of globalization as the modern world system has increased the occurrence of terrorism from above (i.e. state actors) and from below (i.e. non-state actors). We cannot adequately grasp the essence and characteristics of modern terrorism without understanding the larger cultural, social, economic, and political contexts in which it takes place. Since terrorism has been conceptualized, defined, and theorized by those who have contradictory interests and objectives and since the subject matter of terrorism is complex, difficult, and elusive, there is a wide gap in establishing a common understanding among the scholars of terrorism studies. Most experts on the subject look at this issue from a narrow perspective by ignoring the reality that terrorism is a “social cancer” for all human groups affected by it. First, this paper defines the concept of terrorism in relation to different forms of terrorism, and explains how it has increased with the intensification of globalization. Second, taking the events of 9/11 and the case of Ethiopian state terrorism, the piece explores the general impacts of all forms of terrorism.

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Culture in Sustainable Development Thinking: An Indigenous Water Management System, the Case of Borana (Oromo) People

Published in 2011, Gashe, Dessu Dulla, Thesis Collection - Archived on March 19th, 2012

Title: Culture in Sustainable Development Thinking: An Indigenous Water Management System, the Case of Borana (Oromo) People
Author: Dessu Dulla Gashe (Department of Social Science, Wageningen University, The Netherlands)
Published: Thesis Collection
Language: English
Keywords: indigenous, customary, statutory, scarcity, institutions, social organizations, power, authority, kinship, property rights, legal pluralism

Water is one of the precious natural resources required by human beings and other living organisms. The shortage of water sources has serious impacts in the developing world in general and pastoral areas in particular, because it traps the people of the region in the cycle of poverty by undermining economic development and health. Explicitly the pastoral groups of the Horn of Africa are severely suffering from the catastrophe. The Oromo people are one of the societies occupying the Horn. The Borana people are among the Oromo clans for whom pastoralism is a dominant way of life. As the pastoralists’ land is highly drought-prone, their livelihoods are extremely vulnerable to climate change led water scarcity and environmental degradation. A scarcity of the basic natural resources (water and pastureland) is the major problem both for the people and its cattle especially in an adverse climatic condition. Wells are the permanent water sources for the pastoral group and have a central position in the social, economic and politics of the Borana. A long-term consumption of natural resources is predominantly important for humans’ sustainability. A development explicitly interlinks with socio-economic, cultural and ecological issues of human societies. The arrangements of using scarce natural resources, like water, require robust management and conservation for present and future generations. Human societies deal a sustainability of resources use with multiple management laws and property rights arrangements. Legal pluralism deals with interdependent diverse legal forms that do exist in a society. Hence, this study aimed to explore the ways in which the Borana people have adjusted themselves to water source scarcity by analyzing its indigenous water harvesting knowledge, management institutions and property rights arrangements. It also analyzed the relevance and reliability of the plural legal forms exist in governance, property rights arrangements for a sustainable resource use and conflict resolution during adverse climatic conditions. This study pointed out that the Borana people have exercised a customary legal order that rooted to its culture to cope with social orders, social pressure and environmental limits. Traditionally, under the sprite of common property rights, a well is privately owned by a clan for which the inclusion/exclusion principles apply. Amid a harsh drought, the communities used to rely on wells that guided by an indigenous harvesting knowledge, management system, property rights arrangements and conflict resolution under the Gadaa institution for centuries. The effectiveness of these customary laws is based on the strong social networks across the clans, kinship, ready-made social structures, and power and authority vested on clan leaders and elders. But un-negotiated statutory laws and practices that introduced by other stakeholders are also visible in the Borana. The governments have developed a new resource management and property rights regulation laws and institutions. Climate change, political marginalization and population increase are the other factors that affect the effectiveness and efficiency of indigenous practices of the people.

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A Rule-Based Afan Oromo Grammar Checker

Title: A Rule-Based Afan Oromo Grammar Checker
Author: Debela Tesfaye (Information Technology, Jimma Institute of Technology, Jimma, Oromia)
Published: International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications Vol. 2, No. 8, 2011, pp. 126-130
Language: English
Keywords: afan oromo, grammar checker, rule-based grammar checker

Natural language processing (NLP) is a subfield of computer science, with strong connections to artificial intelligence. One area of NLP is concerned with creating proofing systems, such as grammar checker. Grammar checker determines the syntactical correctness of a sentence which is mostly used in word processors and compilers. For languages, such as Afan Oromo, advanced tools have been lacking and are still in the early stages. In this paper a rule based grammar checker is presented. The rule base is entirely developed and dependent on the morphology of the language . The checker is evaluated and shown a promising result.

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Colonialism of Mind: Deterrent of Social Transformation – The Experiences of Oromo People in Ethiopia

Published in 2011, Dugassa, Begna F., Sociology Mind - Archived on March 15th, 2012

Title: Colonialism of Mind: Deterrent of Social Transformation – The Experiences of Oromo People in Ethiopia
Author: Begna F. Dugassa (Toronto Public Health, Toronto, Canada)
Published: Sociology Mind Vol.1, No.2, 2011, pp. 55-64
Language: English
Keywords: colonial education, colonial knowledge, empowering education, disempowering education and indoctrination

An educational system and its curricula are shaped by the culture and epistemology in which it is embedded. It is influenced by the societal knowledge, but it also instrumental in shaping the knowledge of the society. Culture influences learning style. Based on cultural diversities and social needs, different societies have distinct curricula. As such, Oromo students ought to be taught now to interrogate the colonial epistemology and ideology as well schooled in the ways of dismantling the hegemony. However, in many cases, they are simply taught to reproduce the knowledge, culture, power structure, thinking and the worldview of colonizers. This means that education, which is supposed to be about critical inquiry and social transformation has been used to indoctrinate or brainwash some students. Such colonial educational curricula have invalidated the knowledge of indigenous Oromo people and compromised their needs. This type of education system, instead of empowering the students and their society, has incapacitated them. For the Oromo people, such curricula have distorted their history, image, identity, and damaged their social fabric. In this paper I argue that, colonial knowledge and education system is not in a position to bring about social transformation among Oromo people; on the contrary it disrupts their peace (nagaa), health (fayya) and (tasgabii) social order.

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