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Transcontinental Emerging New Media Practices and Oromo Youth in Galvanizing Oromummaa

Published in 2012, Dugo, Habtamu, Seminar Presentation - Archived on September 15th, 2012

Title: Transcontinental Emerging New Media Practices and Oromo Youth in Galvanizing Oromummaa
Author: Habtamu Dugo
Published: Seminar Presentation
Language: English
Keywords: Oromummaa, Oromo media, new media, new media practices

Following the outflux of the Oromo to various Western and African diasporas in search of shelters from massive persecutions inflicted upon them by the Tigire-domianted Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF/TPLF) in the early 1990s, the Oromo have been utilizing new media technologies to tell their stories. Since the Oromo have been demonized and their stories have been misrepresented (or distorted) worldwide by the Habesha group and some complicit expatriates for over a century, the extension of the earliest practices of countering those misrepresentations and telling accurate stories on the new media can approximately be traced to the late 1990s, when only a few websites dedicated to Oromo socio-political issues such as www.oromolibeartionfront.org and www.oromiaonline.com were active. At the turn of the 21st century, Oromo online presence increased further with the addition of newer and independent websites. In the second half of 2000s, as in anywhere in the world, Oromo new media practices exploded on multiple platforms—the Web, blogs, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, professional networks, listservs and email groups. The purpose of this paper is to analytically explore the challenges and opportunities presented by the explosion of emerging new media practices in reviving Oromummaa and Oromo unity. It is very important to analyze the trends in youth and adult new media practices so as to map the problems and recommend solutions that are relevant in advancing the usage of new media for productive purposes. I argue that current Oromo new media practices are diverse, fragmented, individualized and even polarized, hampering the development of Oromummaa as the pan-Oromian national identity. The paper proposes some strategies toward the integration of emergent Oromo new media practices.

Seminar Presentation in PDF format

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