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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

Abstract:
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.

Article in PDF format

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Urban Centers in Oromia: Consequences of Spatial Concentration of Power in Multinational Ethiopia

Published in 2010, Jalata, Asafa, Journal of Oromo Studies - Archived on April 1st, 2014

Title: Urban Centers in Oromia: Consequences of Spatial Concentration of Power in Multinational Ethiopia
Author: Asafa Jalata (University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA)
Published: Journal of Oromo Studies, Vol. 17, No. 2 (2010), pp. 39-74.
Language: English
Keywords: Oromo, Oromia, indigenous people, centralization and spatial concentration, formation of garrison towns

Abstract
This paper examines the essence and characteristics of cities and urban centers in Oromia and the major consequences of the centralization and spatial concentration of Habasha (Amhara-Tigray) political power in a multinational Ethiopia. It specifically demonstrates how the integration of indigenous Oromo towns into the Ethiopian colonial structure and the formation of garrison and non-garrison cities and towns in Oromia consolidated Habasha political domination over the Oromo people. Ethiopian colonial structure limited the access of Oromo urban residents, who are a minority in their own cities and towns, to institutions and opportunities, such as employment, education, health, mass media and other public services. In addition to exclusion, the Oromos have been prevented from developing autonomous institutions, organizations, culture, and language, and have been subordinated to the institutions and organizations of the Habasha colonial settlers in their own cities, towns, and homeland.

Article in PDF format on “Selected Works of Asafa Jalata”   ……   Alternatively, On Gadaa.com

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Genocidal Violence in the Making of Nation and State in Ethiopia

Published in 2005, African Sociological Review, Bulcha, Mekuria - Archived on December 13th, 2013

Title: Genocidal Violence in the Making of Nation and State in Ethiopia
Author: Mekuria Bulcha (Mälardalen University and Uppsala University, Sweden)
Published: African Sociological Review Vol. 9, No. 2, 2005, pp. 1-54
Language: English
Keywords: Oromo, Oromia, Abyssinian homogeneity, Menelik II, creation of the Ethiopian empire state, nationalism of the dominant ethnic group, authoritarian rule, genocide in Ethiopia

Abstract:
Based on a qualitative historical-sociological investigation of the incidents of mass-killings that have been registered during the last one hundred and fifty years, this study concludes that both the unification of the Abyssinian state between 1850s and 1870s, and the creation of the Ethiopian empire state during last quarter of the nineteenth century were accomplished through wars that were clearly genocidal. Though their aims were building a state, there were differences between the types of state and nation envisaged by the two ‘categories’ of rulers. The attempts of the nineteenth century rulers were to purge the Abyssinian state of non-Abyssinian religious and ethnic communities they perceived as ‘alien’ in order to build an exclusive Abyssinian state and a homogeneous Abyssinian nation. The nationalism of late nineteenth century rulers, as represented by its architect Menelik II, was expansionist. Abandoning the idea of Abyssinian homogeneity, they opted for hegemony over other peoples they had conquered in the heyday of the European Scramble for Africa. The result was a multinational empire state. This study shows that policies used to build and maintain the empire state were implemented using methods that were ethnically oppressive, immensely exploitative, and genocidal. This had triggered ethnic nationalism that has been at logger-heads with the ‘official’ nationalism of the dominant ethnic group. Moreover, the conflict between the two brands of nationalism had increased in tandem with rising ethnic consciousness and intensified since the mid 1970s as a consequence of the policies of the Dergue. In order to legitimize the state, control dissent, and stay in power, the ruling elites built a huge military apparatus and used retributive genocidal killings. The study confirms that there is clear nexus between authoritarian rule, man-made famines, and genocide in Ethiopia. It suggests that there are several warning signs showing that genocide is in the making today. Taking the international context into account, the study indicates that the role of some Western states has been abetting rather than deterring genocide in Ethiopia.

Article in PDF format   ……   Alternatively, On Gadaa.com

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The Oromo, Gadaa/Siqqee Democracy and the Liberation of Ethiopian Colonial Subjects

Title: The Oromo, Gadaa/Siqqee Democracy and the Liberation of Ethiopian Colonial Subjects
Authors: Asafa Jalata (Department of Sociology, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee) and Harwood Schaffer (Agricultural Policy Analysis Center, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee)
Published: AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples Vol. 9, Issue 4 (2013): 277-295.
Language: English
Keywords: Gadaa (indigenous democracy), Oromia, Oromo/Oromummaa, Ethiopian colonial subjects/nations, national self-determination, Ethiopian colonialism

Abstract:
This paper explores the potential role of the Gadaa/Siqqee system of Oromo democracy in the development of a democratic multinational liberation movement of the colonized nations within the Ethiopian Empire in order to dismantle the Tigrayan- led Ethiopian terrorist government and replace it with a sovereign multinational democratic state in the Horn of Africa based on the principles of indigenous democracy. After a brief introduction, this study describes the presence of a democratic, Siqqee/Gadaa administration among the Oromo in the Horn of Africa in the 16th and 17th centuries and the subsequent changes that made them vulnerable to colonization. It further examines the essence and main characteristics of Gadaa/Siqqee, showing that it provides
a contrasting political philosophy to the authoritarian rule of the Ethiopian Empire. The study shows that in the face of oppression and exploitation the Oromo people have struggled to preserve and redevelop their indigenous democracy, written records of which go back to the 16th century, long before European nations embraced the principles of democratic governance. It also explains how it can be adapted to the current condition of the colonized nations within the Ethiopian Empire in order to revitalize the quest for national self- determination and democracy and to build a sovereign democratic state in a multinational context. Furthermore, the piece asserts that this struggle is truly a difficult one in the 21st century as the process of globalization is intensified and regional and local cultures are being suppressed under the pressure of dominating cultures.

Article in PDF format (Gadaa.com)

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Environmental Destruction in Ethiopia: A Leading Factor in Oromo Migration

Published in 2013, Addisu, Mardaasa, Seminar Presentation - Archived on November 28th, 2013

Title: Environmental Destruction in Ethiopia: A Leading Factor in Oromo Migration
Author: Mardaasa Addisu
Published: Seminar Presentation, the 56th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association (Theme: “Mobility, Migration and Flows”)
Language: English
Keywords: Environmental Destruction, Oromia, Migration, Forced Displacement

Abstract:
This paper demonstrates that the Oromo population of Ethiopia, who live on the largest and most resource‐rich land area, are denied key environmental protections in their homelands. Drawing together data from research conducted in a number of Oromo areas, the paper explores how massive state and corporate projects intent on accessing valuable resources cause environmental destruction, which results in involuntary forced displacement of the Oromo population.

I compile significant evidence of environment destruction to argue that it is a major cause of ongoing forced displacement. These data have not previously been brought together coherently. Actions covered include massive forest fires set by newly‐arrived settlers, bodies of water in Oromia polluted by state‐sponsored industrial development, ecological destruction and displacement due to state reallocation of land to private businesses, and seed and fertilizer manipulation schemes which make farming untenable for peoples who treasure the land. The combined impact forces massive displacement of Oromo. Donor nations have demonstrated little awareness of the scale of the displacement, showing a slow response to environmental issues. Based on the findings, the study attempts to establish the scale of the forced displacement, then provides some policy recommendations to address the reoccurring issue.

Seminar Presentation in PDF format

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