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Ethiopian Language Policy and Health Promotion in Oromia

Published in 2006, Dugassa, Begna F., Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare - Archived on May 5th, 2015

Title: Ethiopian Language Policy and Health Promotion in Oromia
Author: Begna F. Dugassa (Toronto Public Health, Toronto, Canada)
Published: Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare Vol.1, No.2, 2011, pp. 55-64
Language: English
Keywords: public health, Ethiopia, health policy, health education, Oromia, colonial language policies

In the time of HIV/AIDS, epidemics for which we have no vaccination or cure, public health is bound entirely to depend on the traditional health education strategies to stop or contain this disease. This reality demands that we travel extra miles and thoroughly employ every health promotion tool at our disposal. The Ottawa Charter for health promotion stressed the need for public policy to create supportive social conditions for health. This necessitates a commitment to enduring social conditions for health and raises topics that have been neglected by the traditional public health scholars. A close examination of the colonial language policy of Ethiopia reveals that language is not value free and is intermingled with power and has significant public health impacts. In this paper, I critically examine Ethiopian language policy within the framework of health promotion and demonstrate the ways in which such policy creates a barrier for the Oromo people in making life choices. Additionally it hinders them from ensuring the conditions in which they can be healthy. This paper addresses a gap in the research literature on the impacts of colonial language policies on health promotion.

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A critical review of the political and stereotypical portrayals of the Oromo in the Ethiopian historiography

Published in 2006, Hussein, Jeylan Wolyie, Nordic Journal of African Studies - Archived on March 13th, 2012

Title: A critical review of the political and stereotypical portrayals of the Oromo in the Ethiopian historiography
Author: Jeylan Wolyie Hussein (Haramaya University, Haramaya, Oromia)
Published: Nordic Journal of African Studies Vol. 15(3) 2006, pp. 256 – 276
Language: English
Keywords: Oromo, portrayals, Ethiopia, identity

This paper attempts to make a critical review of the political and stereotypical portrayals of the Oromo in the Ethiopian historiography. For the theoretical and analytical purposes, the paper draws on the Marxist theory of representation. The fact that there is no one particular, unified and uniform portrayal of the Oromo is as important politically as why a portrayal is required. Even the Oromo academics have differences in this respect. While the majority of them express their pain about Oromo great antiquity thrown in as red herrings, some consider this as simple exclusivism and discursive premordialism whose value is less important in contemporary socio-political context of nation building. The European writers are also equally divided among themselves in their narratives about the Oromo. Some point out the effects of the long years of Amhara tight grip on Oromo national identity, while others emphasize the political side of citizenship, applauding the 19th century conquest of the Oromo as a resolute political fulfillment and in doing so legitimizing the continual suppression of ethnic rights. A critical look at the literature also suggests that each writer’s or a group of writers’ personal and political attitudes towards Oromo history, nationalism and ethnicity, which in turn is the result of each individual writer’s subjective and ideological orientations within the wider historical and cultural context, affects the way they portray the Oromo. The paper shows the tensions of settling the Ethiopian historiography. It seems that the force of those who are condemning years of injustice are stronger than that of those who like to maintain the hegemonic relationships. My conclusion is that a better solution to the current ethnic problems of the Oromo of Ethiopia lies in breaking with explicit as well as implicit traditions of socio-political denigrations of the cultural and political identity of the conquered ethnic groups. This calls for the re examination of the traditional historiography of Ethiopia, which seals the history of the country as a completed project.

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